February 6, 2000 The Poor Church that was Rich Rev. 2:8-11
By Ronald E. George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church
As an old man once told me that it wasn't bad to be poor; it is just inconvenient at times. But the type of poverty that we hear the Lord speak of today is the type of poverty that is good!
In the pictures of the ancient Roman method of threshing grain, one man is always seen stirring up the sheaves while another rides over them in a crude cart equipped with rollers instead of wheels. Sharp stones and rough bits of iron were attached to these cylinders to help separate the husks from the grain. This simple cart was called a tribulum -- from which we get our word "tribulation." When great affliction comes to us, we often think of ourselves as being torn to pieces under the cruel pressures of adverse circumstances. Yet as no thresher ever yoked up his tribulum for the mere purpose of tearing up his sheaves but to disclose the precious grain, so our loving Savior never puts us under the pressure of sorrow and disappointment needlessly.
Purpose: To show in the 21st century church that even though we may be poor in the eyes of the world we are rich in the sight of the Lord .
Scripture Text: Rev. 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 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. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Matt 5:10 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.They would have been persecuted.
The New Year Massacre of Christians in Egypt
Between December 31, 1999, and January 3, 2000, a wave of hatred toward Christians exploded in a shooting spree in the village of El-Kosheh and nearby villages in Upper Egypt that resulted in the deaths of unarmed, peaceful Christians. Egyptian Muslims killed more than twenty Christians and left more than thirty-six gravely wounded. The Muslims continued their barbaric rampage by burning down a Coptic Church, looting Christian stores, and setting ablaze many Christian homes and businesses.
These violent actions were the bloodiest by Muslims against Christians in recent years. As bad as they were, however, they were not new to El-Kosheh. In 1998, Egyptian police arrested over one thousand two hundred Copts from El-Kosheh and subjected them to torture in order to extract confessions to crimes they didn't commit. The officers, who were responsible for the police brutality, were not charged; some incredibly
Are we ready and willing to share in his poverty in the world so that we may partake of
his heavenly riches when we join him at the marriage supper of the Lamb?