Lake Eufaula Christian Church
If you’ve ever had to be the bearer of bad news, then you know how awful it is. It’s simply no fun to tell people what you know they won’t want to hear. Jesus gave the bad news to the early Christian Church at Smyrna, in which believers were being hurt, persecuted, and shamed for following Him. Its message is relevant for all facing hard times.
The Smyrna church struggled against two hostile forces: a traditional Jewish population opposed to Christianity and Pagan gentiles who supported Emperor worship and sacrifices to the Greek gods. The city was nicknamed the “Port of Asia” because it had an excellent harbor on the Aegean Sea. Citizens were very proud of their progressive city with its melting pot of strong opinions which unfortunately led to scorning Christians and their inevitable persecution.
Jesus’ letter to the Church at Smyrna began with, “These are the words of Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.” (Revelation 2:8) Imagine the recipient standing in the pulpit saying, “I have a letter straight from Christ the Lord. Jesus dictated seven letters to our brother John on Patmos, and one of the letters is addressed to us. And I want to read this to encourage you.
“I know your afflictions and your poverty— yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful.” (Revelation 2:9, 10) The Smyrneans’ knew that Christians imprisoned would be tortured until they denied Christ and swore allegiance to the emperor. If they hadn’t denied Christ after ten days, they’d be killed, but Jesus told them to endure. “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you a victor’s crown.” (Revelation 2:10b) That promise is also for all of us who follow Jesus. When our faith is being tested by bad times, we must remember God has always been faithful. The bad times will pass and we will receive our ultimate reward in heaven.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (Revelation 2:11) The second death is synonymous with the lake of fire. It is a “death” in that it will be eternal separation from God’s loving presence, the Giver of life. It’s called the “second” death because it spiritually follows after physical death.
In our sinful humanity, we must be born again spiritually of water and the spirit. (John 3:5) When you choose to believe and follow Jesus, trust Him, and are born again, you avoid the second death. At LECC, we remember it like this: If you’re born only once, you’ll die twice. But, if you’re born twice by faith and baptism, you’ll only die once. And for the Christian believer, dying once means being at home with the Lord who created you, and loves you for eternity.
Please join us at 415897 Highway 9, Eufaula where we still have small group Bible study at 10am, Worship at 11am, and Wednesday night classes for all ages at 6:30pm. Our services are full of love and praises to our amazing God who has always been, is currently, and will always be faithful.
God Bless You!
Jeremy Little, Minister