On Sunday we explored the letter written to Smyrna in Revelation 2. There was a lot of difficult news for the church in Smyrna to hear. It heard that there would continue to be testing, persecution, and difficulty. But there was one beautiful verse in the end of the letter that gives hope, not only to them but to us as well…
Jesus says, “Remain faithful, even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life”
Jesus simply says remain faithful and you will win life. He says hold on and you will win life. This is beautiful because sometimes in difficulty it seems impossible to win. Sometimes in chaos and hurt it seems like life is over. But here Jesus offers us a promise that even in the darkest times, when you are facing death, don’t give up and you will win life.
This is a great reminder for all of us. Because isn’t this what we need in the dark? A reminder that the dark doesn’t win. A reminder that the dark doesn’t last. A reminder that we don’t have to conquer the darkness…we just need to hold on and we will win life.
This is what we need to hold onto in the middle of tragedy and difficulty. Not that whatever situation we are currently facing isn’t tragic, difficult, or even wrong. But that in the end the dark won’t win, it won’t last, and it won’t linger. In the end life wins. Isn’t that the whole message of Christianity in a nutshell? Death loses, and life wins if we can simply hold on…
Big Idea: Be faithful and win life.
- “Our failure to hear His voice when we want to is due to the fact that we do not in general want to hear it, that we want it only when we think we need it.” Dallas Willard
- We need to truly be open to hearing the Spirit Speak
- Jesus didn’t die because he said, “God loves everyone”. Jesus died because he challenged the system.
- Jesus says, “Remain faithful, even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life”
- If you hold on, you will win life.
Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What did you take away? What has helped you to hold on in a difficult time? Who has helped you to hold on in a difficult time? How can you thank them? If you are having a difficult time how can you reach out to someone? If you aren’t struggling how can you support those around you who are?
Discussion Questions for Young Families: Spend sometime talking with your kids about some difficult times you’ve been through as a person. Help them to understand that they will come to difficult times but that Jesus helps us see it through. Give them a model and a story to remember when they go through difficulty.
Challenge for this Week:
Trust that Life Wins