Deur’s Main Idea:
Don’t let the fear story define your story. Know that winning when you reach the finish line means being faithful in the face of the worst circumstances.
Smyrna had a reputation to maintain.
What’s the reputation (good or bad) that your current town/city has?
What about your home town?
How do you fit in or feel out of place?
Thoughts on Sunday’s teaching…
In writing letters to each city, Jesus through John used imagery and cultural context very familiar to them.
- What was new or interesting that you learned from the message?
- What questions or confusion do you have?
The followers of Jesus in Smyrna didn’t fit in. They were on the bottom wrung socially and economically in a proud and prosperous town. They were marginalized by their neighbors and by their Jewish brothers and sisters.
- Share a story of when you felt marginalized or left out, like you didn’t belong.
- How do you respond when you feel threatened by physical danger, future uncertainty, relational or emotional hurt, etc.?
Read together Psalm 91.
- What’s something new that you noticed about this passage?
- What problems or questions do you have about this passage?
- How does it fit in with the rest of Scripture and its teachings about fear and trust?
- How does this passage shed light on Jesus’ letter to Smyrna in Revelation?
- Does this passage have any implications for our lives now? How?
The followers of Jesus in Smyrna needed a different perspective to overcome their fears. They needed to know how Jesus saw them and how all of their circumstances were going to turn out.
- In what ways does your fear story lie to you about who you are or what you’re really going through?
- What is Jesus’ perspective on who you are or what you’re going through?
Jesus doesn’t promise rescue or vindication in the here and now for them or us.
- When you know that, does that inspire hope or doubt? Why?
- What do you feel you most need to get through the circumstances you’re facing?
Jesus invites us through Smyrna that in the face of difficulty and hardship not to fear, but to be faithful even to the point of suffering and death.
- Take time this week to reflect on what it would look like for you to not allow the fear story to be your story.
- Take time right now to pray with/for people in your group who are facing extremely difficult circumstances.