Class Notes: 5/9/2021
Smyrna, the pivot for SPQR part 37
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Thomas Jefferson
Gal 5:1; It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm in freedom and do not allow yourselves to be enslaved by evil tyrants again.
Allow yourselves to be humbled under the powerful hand of God so that He can promote you at the proper time 1Pet 5:6;
John 8:31-32; So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; (32) and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
2John 7-8; (NET) Many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not acknowledge Jesus as Christ coming in the flesh. This person is the deceiver and the antichrist! (8) Watch out, so that you do not lose the things we have worked for, but receive a full reward.
2Tim 3 12-13; Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Because evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
2Cor 4:1-18; Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,
2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bondservants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
12 So death works in us, but life in you.
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we also believe, therefore we also speak,
14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In our study on Smyrna, the base of the pivot power for the first gentile client nation SPQR. We are in Rev 2:10; that starts with the mandate "not to fear what you are about to suffer"
When we stopped last time we had noted that It was not until Constantine the Great and the edict of Milan, in 313 AD, that the Church officially ceased to be persecuted by Roman rulers. At that point a new more insidious danger arose: the union of Church and State.
Christianity failed the prosperity test because they were happy to become a state religion and that was evil. The Church can never function when it is sponsored by the state. The Church cannot be the state; the Church must operate under the state, under government, but never be the government.
These "ten times of suffering" do not include Nero's persecution of the Church because that occurred before this verse was written. Nero executed the apostle Paul in the year 68 AD and in that same year the Lord answered Nero when he was assassinated.
Nero died in 68AD. The times of the Gentiles did not begin until 70 AD when Titus destroyed Judah and Jerusalem. These ten persecutions start in 96 AD. Nero did persecute the Church, but it is not one of the ten times mentioned in this verse.
There are two reasons why Christians suffer. One of them has to do with blessing and one of them has to do with divine discipline. All suffering for blessing occurs inside God's spiritual power system and it is a part of the momentum testing that is required for the believer's spiritual advance.
All divine discipline occurs when the believer is residing inside of satan's cosmic system. This is why rebound turns suffering for discipline into suffering for blessing. Whenever we suffer for blessing there is a great advance spiritually so there are wonderful things in store for believers who are patiently persevering through suffering for blessing. 2Cor 4:17;
Furthermore the problems of suffering are not difficult to deal with when the believer is residing inside of God's spiritual power system because with the ministry of God the Holy Spirit combined with the perception of Bible doctrine believers are able to solve the problems that they encounter in the suffering by the deployment of the power of God's Word of truth to their experience.
Honing believers is fine because it makes them stronger, because development of capacity for happiness and blessing is related to patient endurance through suffering. Adversity and prosperity are the two greatest tests that believers face.
Both require the application of Bible doctrine to experience; both require the flexibility that comes from the virtue love that is developed from residing in God's spiritual power system.
The ten special persecutions of Christians are related to the times of the Gentiles and Rome becoming the first Gentile client nation to God. In the Roman Empire there would be the test of great suffering and then there would be the test of great prosperity.
They would have to pass the suffering test, they would have to pass the prosperity test, and as a result Rome as an empire would then become a missionary base. Rome is the first Gentile client nation to God.
The church at Smyrna survived all the persecutions of Christianity by the Roman Empire because of their residence and function inside God's spiritual power system, and this means they survived because of their perception and application of Bible doctrine.
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