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Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans’ sermons are also streamed and downloaded over 20,000,000 times annually. #tonyevans #tonyevanssermon #Perseverance

if you’re going to go through down times

suffering times tribulation times the

key thing you going to need to know is

he’s there God is right there when

you’re going through it make Jesus Lord

that does not always mean he will

deliver you from but it does mean he’ll

join you in and if he joins you in

there’s Victory even in the




and God has a major problem with

part-time Christians who don’t want to

be full-time

Saints who want to identify when it

comes to a

blessing but not when it comes to a

struggle who want the benefits of heaven

but not the trouble that heaven brings

on Earth John the Apostle writes to this

second Church the church at

Smyrna Smyrna is

located 35 miles north of our previous

Church Ephesus and it is a Seaport Town

very well off somewhat

prestigious but there was trouble in

Smyrna in verse

eight Jesus

says to the

pastor the angel of the church the one

who’s going to deliver the

message he

says the first and the last the one who

was dead and alive says

this the phrase the first and the

last that phrase is used of almighty

God in fact in Isaiah 481 12- 13 he says

I am the first and the last the god who

created heavens and

earth so when Jesus Christ declares

himself in Revelation 2 verse 8 to be

the first and the last he’s declaring

himself to be

God so he picks this Old Testament

designation of God and applies it to

himself now we know he’s applying it to

himself because he says I was

dead and now I’m alive well God the

Father didn’t die God the son

died so in that little phrase Jesus

speaks of both his

deity and his Humanity he’s the first

and the last he’s God but he died so


man in fact that is as we’ve often said

the uniqueness of Jesus Christ the same

one who died could rise from the

dead because he is both the first and

the last as God and he’s the one who

died man but who’s now

alive we explained last time that he now

sits as the Risen ascended

Christ so you must learn to look at and

relate to him now in his current

status as the one in

charge it is to

this person that we read the

phrase he says

I know your

tribulation I know your

trouble I know what you’re going through

if your world has been shaken today he’s

aware of it not only because he’s

omniscient God but because he’s human

man and so he’s got that dual reality of


identification while transcending time

and being involved in

time he says I know you got trouble now

let me give you the first category of

trouble these Believers were

facing this is

Smyrna the mountains around

smyrner look like a crown a crown that a

king would where they were shaped that

way many of the buildings in

Smyrna were built to reflect this


look of a

crown the reason why that is a big deal

if you lived in

Smyrna is because as a Roman

Colony they

worship Caesar as Lord you had to

recognize Caesar


God well these

Christians had another

declaration Jesus is

Lord that created a

conflict with the Roman government oh

yes so they were going

through the pressure and

oppression of not yielding to the


Authority when it claimed the rights of

deity while everybody else was saying

Caesar is

Lord they were declaring no Jesus is

Lord while we will recognize government

and respect

government we won’t bow to government

because Jesus and not Caesar is

Lord that created a

problem because once you rejected

Caesar you were now An Enemy of the

State and as a result of that there was

confiscation of

property it says you are having trouble

and you are

poor now it’s bad

enough to have

trouble but it’s show up bad when you

have trouble and no money

cuz you can’t afford to cover up your

misery see one of the uses of money is

the hide how messed up you

feel you can spend money on

entertainment you can spend money on

parties you can spend money on this and

that to help cover up the trouble

tribulation that you may be going

through well what they were facing in

their declaration that Jesus is

Lord was an impoverishment

economically the loss of something

financially because of their

commitment to the Risen ascended Christ

and their unwillingness to

compromise their declaration in front of

Rome that you are not our God

Jesus Is Our

God so they were spiritually Rich that’s

why he says in the next phrase you are

rich you are rich because of your

decision to be committed to me even

though it’s costing you a price tag he’s

talking about the recognition of Jesus

Christ as Lord in the face of a

rejecting government

government and let me explain this real

clear we are getting to the place in

America where if you publicly

declare Jesus Christ is Lord not the

Democrats not the Republicans not the

congress not the White House Jesus

Christ is Lord and it is he that will

make the final decisions for the church

not the government we’re living in a day

when there’s little respect for our

faith when religious freedom is in

Jeopardy and regardless of which party

you’re for that’s not my point my point

is it ought to be clear and there ought

to be no mistakes about it that our

ultimate Allegiance is not to Washington

it’s to the King of Kings and the Lord

of lords


CU I know the trouble you’re facing I

know that you’re on delicate territory

now when you do not declare that Caesar

is Lord when you do not declare and and

in fact in fact unfortunately many

Christians and certainly the secular

political world don’t even really

understand what’s happening right

now I told you this this summer let me

remind you 2 Chronicles chap 15: 3-6 it

says in those days there was no true God

no teaching priest no law there was no

peace to him who went in peace to him

who came out City Rose up against City

and Nation rose up against nation and

then it says for God troubled them with

every kind of distress now if God is

your problem only God Is Your

solution if God is your problem I don’t

care who you select kick me out your

schools kick me out your courts kick me

out you just going to kick me out well

I’m going let you see what your country

looks like when I go

he says I know your

trouble I know when you don’t compromise

at work you might not get that

promotion I know when you don’t

compromise with your friends you might

not get that

recognition but that’s the piece of your

commitment you need to know about so

that you’re not shocked when it happens

so that you don’t know where that came

from say I know you’re trouble and I

know there is a price tag to full

commitment to me I’m not talking about

suffering because of you doing evil

that’s one kind of suffering I’m talking

about when you trying to live for God

when you trying to Proclaim Christ when

you try and it’s still going

south it had to pass through his fingers


okay one reason he does

it is to Humble Us 2 Corinthians 12 ver7

yes inde to Humble us yes yes in other

words he he wants to he wants to deal

with something in our character that we

either actually or potentially are

headed toward so he allows something in

our lives Paul says God allowed a

messenger of Satan a thorn in the flesh

a thorn is something that pricks you

that irritates you he calls it a

messenger he had a person in his life

who was driving him

nuts and irritation and he says I prayed

to God to get rid of it three times and

God says I will not get rid of the

irritation that I allowed the devil to

put in your life and the reason I’m not

going to allow it is to Humble you

so that you don’t think more of yourself

than you ought to

think and he says my Grace will be

sufficient and in your

weakness I’m going to make you

strong so God didn’t let it go right

then because he wanted to do something

different in his life but if you don’t

know that that’s one of the reasons God

allow you to suffer all you going to see

are the Pricks and not the

purpose he does that to Humble

us another reason he lets us when we’re

seeking to live for

him is to use

Us 2 Corinthians chapter 1 verse4 Paul

says in our Affliction we going through

stuff we’re trying to serve God love God

please God walk with God and we are

underneath Affliction suffering he says

God met us in our Affliction watch this

so that we would now be be able to

comfort others who are in the same

Affliction so God lets you go through

stuff even though you’re trying to

please him and are publicly associated

with him cuz he has somebody else down

the line who’s going to be going through

what you are now going through and he

doesn’t just want you to quote Bible

verses he doesn’t just want to say I’mma

pray for you he wants you to feel what

they feel and Mo where they mo and

because you’ve been where they’ve

been he says I want to use the Comfort I

give you in what I allowed you to go

through he does it for another reason to

grow us James chapter 1: 2 to4 says the

testings of your

faith is to develop you he wants to take

you to another

level so there is purpose in the pain if

you’re seeking to

live for him publicly I ain’t talking

about privately I ain’t talking about in

church I’m talking about declaring out

there Jesus is

Lord then he will allow people to come

against you people to to reject you

people to talk about you as sure as you

born he will he will allow that people

to scheme against you he will allow

people to politic against you he will

allow somebody else to get that

promotion that you’ve been working

hard because he has a reason oh yes he

he oh here’s

one to deepen his reality in your

life watch this it’s called in

Philippians 3:10 The Fellowship of his

suffering Fellowship means increased

intimacy and so he does that to deepen


intimacy with his people yes

inde he says I know what you’re going

through I know you you’re struggling


now but he says it’s even worse than

that I know verse n the blasphemy of

those who say they are Jews and are not

but are a synagogue of Satan oh wait aen

he started with the secular world now he

says you get in trouble from the

religious World synagogue that’s a place


worship these were the Jews who rejected

Christ who were now persecuting the

Christians these are church folk who


you because you’ve taken your stand for

Jesus Christ cuz just cuz they in church

don’t mean they

right just cuz they in church carrying a

Bible under their arm cuz these Jews

were carrying the Old Testament just

because they carrying a Bible under

their arm doesn’t mean they committed he

goes on to

say oh I like this do not

fear cuz you can get

scared when you’re hurting because of


faith are they going to accept me are

they going to like me are they going to

befriend me are they going to are they

going to work with me are they going to

are they going to are they going to are

they going to I’m talking about

appropriately but clearly representing

the faith he says do not

fear why do he tell him do not fear

because he said getting ready to get


oh see see I lost my amens right there

get ready get

worse he says do not fear what you are

about to suffer and he already told him

you’re suffering he says well something

else coming he says behold the devil is

about to cast some of you in

prison so that you will be

tested and you will have tribulation for

10 days he say so some of y’all are

going to jail in fact some of you here

may feel like you’re in jail a

circumstance you can’t get out of a

suffering you can’t get away from and

you feel like I am in prison he said

it’s going to get worse and then he

tells you but don’t

fear don’t fear well wait a minute I’m


struggling you’re telling me if I keep

my public identity with you

it’s going to get

worse and then you tell me don’t be

scared come on

man how am I going to deal with that he

says don’t be afraid

because you will undergo some trouble

for 10

days in other words I got my hand on the

clock I’m going going to allow it but

I’m also going to determine when it’s

going to end so watch this if God says

in 10 days it’s going to be over you

want to make sure you done and Satan is

on a

leash and I didn’t given him 10 days to

do his stuff for me to do in you what I

want you to do but at 10 days I’m

jerking that sucker


back cuz he’s not just the devil he my

devil and I use him as I please if you

don’t believe me ask

job he my devil I tell him how far he

can go and how far he can go and how

long he can stay there cuz I am the

Sovereign God and I am in charge so you

make sure you are identified with


me this is not a time for weak need

Christians this is not a day for silly

Saints this is a day for men and women

who name the name of Jesus Christ to

name the name of Jesus

Christ and do not fear he

says that’s that’s why I like the three

Hebrew boys shadra mhack and abedo

Nebuchadnezzar gets the big

head Nebuchadnezzar gets the big head


Nebuchadnezzar says I want everybody in

my kingdom of Babylon to Bow everybody

bow before

me Shadrach Meshach and abedo said


ohing we G to respect you


um let it be known because the king had

said anybody doesn’t bow we’re GNA put

in the fiery furnace okay three Hebrew

boys said

okay let it be known to you you

today that we will not

bow we we’ll serve you we’ll give you

because they were in the employment of

the king so we’ll give you the best of

our time the best of our energy but

hitting our knees oh

no no we ain’t doing

that and as to your

threat as to your threat that you going

to fire us as to your


Our God watch this watch this next

phrase whom we

serve not our God who we talk about in

church not our God who we just reference

every now and then our God who we

continually serve this ain’t new we just

bringing up this today we’ve been

serving him while we’ve been working in

the secular government but our God whom

we serve is able to Deliver Us from your

fiery furnace oh King you may be in

charge but you’re not the final word

even if he does

not even if I lose the job lose the race

lose the contract lose the

recognition even if he does

not let it be known to the king this day

we will not

bow we going to make that clear

so King is hot now cuz they ain’t doing

what what he told him to do and he their

boss but he’s asking him to make him

Lord they can’t do that so they are put

in the fire put in the fire they made it

seven times hotter cuz he was so hot he

made the fire

hotter he comes to the glass in the

furnace he he looks the

fire whoa

he asked his boys how many people we put


there oh King you put in three people me

sh sh

well I’m looking through this glass


now and I’m seeing four

folk there’s meak Shadrach abedo and

there’s another dude in

there like the Son of God walking around

now here it is here it is watch this

watch this this I like about it before

they put them in the fire they bound

them hand and

foot but when the king looked in and saw

them it says they were walking around in


fire they bound them up but they walking

so I’m here to tell you make Jesus Lord

that does not always mean he will

deliver you from but it does mean he’ll

join you in and if he joins you in

there’s Victory even in the

fire so what do you want what do you

want from me Lord here he tells you at

the end of verse 10 I want you to be

faithful under

death that’s the message I want you if

you’re going to be an overcomer to be

faithful until the

end until this life is

over I want you to go all the way for

me faithfulness is

dependability regardless of

circumstances says be faithful unto

death and your commitment to me and your

living underneath my lordship

and if you

do I will give you verse 10 says the

Crown of

Life I will give

you a crown you’re in a privileged

position I’mma give

you the

recognition I’mma give you the notoriety

y that it looks like you gave up because

of your commitment to me I’m going give

you the Crown of Life and he closes by

saying he who has an ear let him hear

okay everybody who’s paying attention

this morning what the spirit says to the

churches and then he speaks to you as an

individual he who

overcomes will not be hurt by the second

death now that is a

curious that is a curious is phrase yeah

he who overcomes what does he mean by

overcoming he who overcomes the

temptation to abandon your confession

during tough

times he who overcomes the temptation to

walk away because things have gotten

rough because of your faith yeah the

Overcomers will not be hurt by the

second death now the reason why that’s a

curious phrase is that the second death

refers to Hell Bible says hell is cast

into the Lake of Fire and that is the

second death so that’s hell but wait a

minute he’s talking to Christians here

these are believers who suffering so

they not going to hell they’re going to

heaven don’t let folk who going down

keep you from maximizing going

up don’t let them do that your

commitment must be to me and when you

fail dust off confess repent get up and

go on the road to

faithfulness don’t throw on the towel


quit and if we are not developing those

kinds of Christians as a church we

failed because our job isn’t have

church our job is to create disciples

who who are not ashamed to say Jesus

Christ is

Lord so you don’t quit if you’re going

through a tough time and you’re living

for Christ if you’re not living for

Christ that’s a whole different story

that’s getting right but if you if you

have made the decision I have decided to

follow Jesus no turning back no turning

back you’ve made it known everybody

understands that that’s who you are

because when God comes through for you

when God even if it’s letting you know

he’s there you will discover that

greater is he that’s in you in the fire

than he that’s in the