You’re a Rich Man – Revelation 2:8-11

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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An adult Christian couple I know has a clear testimony of knowing Christ as their Savior. They devotedly embrace the distinctives of grace proclaimed by Paul, and they also attend a grace church. They have beautiful, happy, healthy children that delight the soul. Though they are of modest means, I told the husband, “You are a wealthy man.” By that I meant, they know the riches of salvation and dispensational truth, and God has blessed them with riches in these young lives entrusted to their care. That makes them rich. They knew exactly what I meant and nodded in agreement.

The message of the Savior to the church at Smyrna was, “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9). Notice there is no rebuke here, only acknowledgment of their faithfulness. Their “works” were no doubt remaining faithful to proclaim salvation through the Lord Jesus as the prophesied Messiah of Israel. The mission of the Jewish kingdom church was to “go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel [of the kingdom] to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Their “tribulation” assuredly included persecution from unbelieving Jews who vehemently opposed faith in the Savior and those who proclaimed Him. Those who opposed were willing to “say they are Jews” (Revelation 2:8), or boast of their heritage as God’s chosen people as if this merited eternal life (Matthew 3:9). Even though attending the temple, as unbelievers they were of “the synagogue of Satan” in their opposition to Christ. The “poverty” of these Jewish saints was due to their obedience to the Lord’s commands to “take…no thought for the morrow” (Matthew 6:34). Jewish believers were to abandon earthly “treasure,” and trust the Lord to provide for them supernaturally, as He will in the Millennial Kingdom. This is not our instruction for today, but it was taught by Christ, practiced and proclaimed by the apostles (Mathew 19:27), then carried on by Jewish believers in early Acts (2:41-47). Their faithfulness to the Lord made them “rich” in the potential for eternal reward.

While the program and requirements are different for us today, we too can be either rich or poor regarding God’s approval and eternal reward. We must choose to be sold out to the Lord, no matter the hardship, and view this as being “rich.”

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."