A Church With A Fragrance2
A CHURCH WITH A FRAGRANCE . . .
**Chapters two and three of the book of Revelation are addressed to seven specific Churches that were in existence at the time the Apostle John was prompted by the Holy Spirit to write the things he was about to see and hear.
**There are three ways the message to the seven Churches can be studied. The first way they need to be studied is HISTORICALLY. When you examine each message to each Church, you can see the Church the way the Church was in its historical context. Each of these Churches were real local Churches dealing with real problems and issues.
**The second way you can study the message to the seven Churches is PROPHETICALLY. Each of the seven Churches represents a panorama of Church history from the time of the Apostles up to the time of the coming Apostasy (falling away). Ephesus represents what the Church was like just before the Apostles died and Laodicea represents what the Church will be like just before the tribulation begins!
**The third approach you can take to studying the message to the seven Churches is PERSONALLY. Seven times God says “he or she that has an ear, let him or her hear what the Spirit says to the Churches”!
**Today we are asking the Holy Spirit to speak to us from the words Christ sent to a Church called SMYRNA. This Church was located 35 miles north of Ephesus. Unlike Ephesus which is still a city of ruins, Smyrna is a flourishing city with about 200.000 residents.
**The name Smyrna comes from the word Myrrh and it means perfume. It was this perfume or fragrance that God chose to anoint the Tabernacle with!
**Of all the things I could tell you about the Church at Smyrna, the one thing that stands out to me is that it was A CHURCH WITH A FRAGRANCE!
**When you think about it, every Church is A CHURCH WITH A FRAGRANCE! The only question is what kind of a fragrance is it? It is sad but some Churches have a fowl odor as their fragrance but not the Church at Smyrna. It was only one of two Churches that did not receive a stern rebuke from Christ.
**Let’s read out loud the words that Christ sent to this Church With A Fragrance and see what can we learn from this Church With A Fragrance that will help us in our daily lives?
**First of all A Church With A Fragrance has discovered:
I. STRENGTH FOR HER CHALLENGES!
**Notice the challenges this Church was facing: I know your TRIBULATION and your POVERTY . . . Do not fear what you are about to SUFFER . . . Tribulation, Poverty and Suffering!
**When I think about our own Church I see so many parallels to the Church at Smyrna. We have had our share of Tribulation, we were birthed out of Tribulation and our Church was born into Poverty AND right now several of our members are Suffering various trials and tribulations.
**So the question we need to ask is:
*Where can we find STRENGTH in the midst of our CHALLENGES? I believe one source of strength is found in:
A. The PROMISES of Jesus!
Rev 2: 8 These things says He who . . . was dead and
**Notice the first promise Jesus reminds these people of who were going through Tribulation and Poverty and were about to experience a new form of Suffering. He reminds them that He Is:
2: 8 To the angel of the Church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead and has come to life!
**I don’t even like to think about what it would be like trying to face Tribulation, Trouble, Tumors, Cancers, Death, Demons, Poverty or any kind of Suffering if my God was dead!
**Not only does Jesus remind them that He is ALIVE but He also reminds them that He is:
2: 1 . . . The One who walks among the seven golden lamp-stands!
1: 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lamp-stands; the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp-stands are the SEVEN CHURCHES!
**Not only is Jesus Alive and Active but Jesus also gives them the Promise that He is:
3: 20 Behold I stand at the door and knock; if ANYONE hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him AND he with ME!
**Aren’t you glad that Jesus is Available?
**Not only can we find STRENGTH for our CHALLENGES from the PROMISES of Jesus but we can also find Strength for our Challenges from:
B. The PERCEPTION of Jesus!
Rev 2: 9 I KNOW your . . .
**In this one verse (2:9) we can see that Jesus knows three important things about our lives:
**Jesus knows our:
2: 9 I know your works
**There are times when we feel like nobody knows the kinds of things we do for the Lord. Many of the things that we do go without ever being acknowledged but Jesus says to you today I KNOW YOUR WORKS . . .
Charlie I know the lawns that you mow!
Jeff I know the hours that you serve running the sound
Joe I know the number of trips you make to the Church
Pat, Paige, Jadon, Stephen, Andre I know the hours you spend with Adopt-a-Block!
Elaine, Monsella, Paige, Linda I know the hours that you clean the Church
Yvette I know the hours upon hours that you spend serving other people!
Curley and Larry I know the time you spend fixing things at the Church!
Kim, Shaye, Kevin I know the hours you spend serving the Children!
Choir I know the hours that you spend in rehearsal . . .
Sonny and Jean I know the money you invest in taking people to lunch each week!
**Not only does Jesus know about our Performance but He also knows about our:
2: 9 I know your tribulation
**The word for tribulation is thilip-sis and it means “a pressing together” or “oppression, affliction” and it has been translated “distress and straights”.
**Jesus says to us that He Knows about the Tribulation or pressure that we are dealing with.
**Elaine He knows about the nodule you need to have removed!
**Curley He knows about the cancer you have been diagnosed with!
**Not only does Jesus know about our Performance and Pressure but he also knows about our:
2: 9 I know your poverty
**A Church With A Fragrance has discovered STRENGTH for her CHALLENGES but she:
*Has also discovered there are times she will:
II. SUFFER FOR HER CONVICTIONS!
**There are not many people who will acknowledge that SUFFERING is a part of being a Child of God! So when it comes to SUFFERING:
A. The REALITY of it must be CONFRONTED!
2: 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer
B. The REASONS for it must be CORRECT!
2: 10 The devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you might be tested!
**There are three major reasons that we may be required to suffer before we die. As this world gets worse and worse and the spirit of anti-Christ becomes more and more prevalent, we will be required to suffer because of:
1) The LORD that you LOVE!
2) The LIFE that you LIVE!
3) The LESSONS that you LEARN!
**Job was more righteous than any person on the face of the earth when God allowed him to enter into a season of sifting and suffering.
**As good as he was going into the season of suffering, he was even better after the sifting had been completed.
**I would not take a million dollars to go through some of the seasons of suffering I have been through in my Christian life. **However I would not trade the things that I learned for a million dollars after having been through them either!
**When we Suffer for our Convictions there is a sweet fragrance that is released into the atmosphere. When I look at some of your lives, I get a glimpse of a Sweet Fragrance In The Atmosphere!
**So we see that A Church With A Fragrance has discovered that there is Strength for her Challenges and that there are times she must Suffer for her Convictions AND she:
III. STRIVE FOR HER CROWN!
A. The POSSIBILITY of RECEIVING a crown
1 Cor 3:14 he will receive a reward
1. The INCORRUPTIBLE Crown!
1 Cor 9:25-27 but we for an imperishable crown
*This is given to anyone who has been Faithful to SCRIPTURE and Faithful to SERVICE!
2. The CROWN of REJOICING!
1 Thess 2:19-20 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
*This is given to anyone who had part in the salvation of a soul
3. The CROWN of LIFE!
Rev 2:10 Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life
*This is given to anyone who has endured persecution for Christ’s sake, even to death (James 1:21)
4. The CROWN of RIGHTEOUSNESS!
2 Tim 4:8 there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, the Lord will give to me on that Day and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing
5. The CROWN of GLORY!
1 Peter 5:2-4 When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away
B. The PRIVILEGE of RETURNING a crown!
Rev 4:10 The twenty-four elders fall down before Him…and cast their crowns before the throne, saying…