9.5.2021 | Revelation - Week 4 - To The Church In Smyrna :: YouVersion Event
Dover Assembly of God
9.5.2021 | Revelation - Week 4 - To The Church In Smyrna
Locations & Times
  • Dover Assembly of God
    4790 Carlisle Rd, Dover, PA 17315, USA
    Sunday 10:30 AM
  • Dover Assembly Online
    Sunday 10:30 AM


Welcome to Dover Assembly of God! We're glad that you've joined us this morning. If you're on Facebook, we encourage you to take a moment to check in at Dover Assembly.

Weekly Bulletin
September 5, 2021

Welcome to Dover Assembly!
We are so glad you have chosen to attend Dover Assembly this morning. It is not by accident that you are here. We believe that God has allowed you to be here so that you might receive all that He has for you. We pray you are blessed as you allow the Lord to work in your life.

9:00 am ~ Coffee & Donut Fellowship
9:30 am ~ Sunday School
10:30 am ~Worship Service
10:30 am ~ R.O.C.K. Children’s Ministry
1:00 pm ~ Spanish Service

Labor Day

10:00 am ~ Sectional Pastor’s Meeting

6:30 pm ~ FAMILY NIGHT

6:30 pm ~ Prayer Night

6:30 pm ~ WOP “Encounter”

6:30 pm ~ Spanish Service

Promotion Sunday
Today is the first day of our new year. It is also the first day of our new teaching team and schedules. We are moving your children to their appropriate age class. Not every child will move, but please see the insert in the printed bulletin to know which class your child is in and who their teacher is.
Youth Convention
Thanks to everyone who supported our teens with our Hot Dog “Grab ‘n Go” last Sunday. We raised $327.00 towards their expenses. Special thanks to Dustin for manning the grill and supervising the teens who helped.

The next Hot Dog “Grab ’n Go” will be next Sunday, September 12! If you are not a hot dog fan, donations are welcome!
Pastor Appreciation Day
October has been designated as Pastor Appreciation month. We have set aside Sunday, October 10 as the day we will honor our pastors and their wives.
~ Jeff & Anna Bender
~ Luis & Edith Nunez
Ladies, please mark your calendars for the upcoming events!
Fri., Sept. 10, 6:30 – 8:30 pm ~ “Encounter” is a night of praise, worship and refreshing as Judy shares with about ‘encountering’ Jesus! Refreshments will be served. Sign-up sheet is in the upper foyer. Hope to see you there!

Starting Mon., Sept. 13, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, Women’s Ministries’ (WOP) will resume our Monday evening Bible Study beginning on Monday, September 13, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm in the R.O.C.K. room. All ladies are welcome! Bring a friend! This fall’s Bible Study is entitled ‘A Life of Excellence,’ the Book of James. Who better to tell us about the life of Jesus other than his very own flesh and blood brother!

‘The Word of God Implanted in Your Heart Has the Power to Save Your Soul!’ James 1:21

There is no other book like the book of James in the entire Bible. Written by Jesus’ brother, James, there is no other book so close to the heart of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. From James’ first-hand experience in observing the life of Jesus, James gives us a look at what the nature of God is really like ~ the very same nature that we have inherited from Jesus when we were born again!

Sign-up sheet is in the upper foyer on the women’s table. Please plan to join us! Cost of the Bible Study book is $20 (it is the book and study guide combined). Please see Anna if a scholarship is needed. We want all ladies to be able to attend without concern of the cost of the book.

Fri., Oct. 8, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. ~ Jewelry Exchange ` do you have some jewelry lying around that you no longer wear? Would you like to exchange that jewelry for some other unused jewelry? Then this night is for you! Join us for refreshments and exchanging of jewelry!

Fri., & Sat., Nov. 12, 13 (or Friday only or Saturday only) ~ District Women of Purpose (WOP) Annual Conference. For any ladies wanting to attend only Friday or Saturday and driving on their own, please see Anna ASAP so we can order you a wristband before the conference fills up. For those ladies already signed up, more information will be provided regarding departure time, etc.

Fri., Dec. 10, 6:00 pm (note time is half hour earlier than the other events) ~ Annual WOP Christmas Dinner will be held at the church. Please join us for Fun! Laughter! Worship! Jesus! Stocking Gift Exchange! More details will be provided.

Shut Ins
Continue to pray for those of our church family who are no longer able to join us for worship.
~ Leon C.
~ Beulah S.
~ Rose K.
~ Cindy D. (Angel’s mom)
~ Betty N.
~ Marian T.
~ Olga K.
Prayer Warriors!
Prayer nights continue on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 6:30 pm. Join us as we seek the Lord for Dover Assembly and our own lives!
Ministry Staff Meeting
Thank you to everyone has volunteered to be a part of the ministries at Dover Assembly. Because of your availability, we have been able to not only staff all the ministries, but we have been able to have rotating schedules to allow time for our volunteers to be in the service in addition to those ministries.

For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians, as you still do.- Hebrews 6:10 (NLT)

Download our app!

Download the Dover Assembly app to stay connected all week! Keep up to date with the latest news and events, watch our latest videos, and more all within our app! We're back on Google Play for Android users! Also available on the iOS App Store.


Online Giving

Thank you for your faithfulness! You can now give to Dover Assembly online at your convenience. Click the link to learn more!


Sep 5, 2021 - Week 4 - Rev. Jeff Bender

Last week, we talked about the church in Ephesus. This was the church that had lost their first love-a desire from the heart to love God.

This week, we're going to go to the next church, the church in Smyrna. This is a church that is suffering persecution for their faith.
Each of these 7 letters are as applicable today as they were when they written. It is easy for us as a body to fall into any of the categories that are represented in these letters.

This was one of only two letters (the other being Philadelphia) out of seven that did not have a negative report. All the other 5 the Lord mentioned something that they had to correct.
Smyrna was a city located in the country of what was Greece. About 40 miles north of Ephesus. This was an extraordinarily large and beautiful city. About 200,000 people. It was a very wealthy city and well educated.

Greece as you know was into the worship of all the Greek gods, such as Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite. In fact this particular church was located between a temple for Cybele and a temple for Zeus.

Its neighbors were Temples for Apollo and Aphrodite.

Smyrna was the center of Emperor worship. Romans were big into emperor worship and Smyrna wanting to be like by Rome, followed suit.

Rome, in fact allowed them to be the center of worship.

During a 15 year span, emperor worship was mandatory under penalty of death. Every year, each person had to burn incense on the altar to the godhead of Caesar. After he did that, he was issued a certificate.

It was near the end of this 15 years that the Book of Revelation was written. So this church was well aware of persecution for their faith.
If you know the name of Polycarp, he was burned alive for not denouncing Jesus in Smyrna about 60 years after this letter was written. His dying words were "86 years have I served Christ, and he has never done me wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"

There was also a large and hostile Jewish population which were instrumental in Polycarp’s death.

How many of us, when we face our own troubles can say that? And I doubt that we will face death for it.
Jesus starts out with a word of truth for encouragement. Sometimes in our struggles we only need to hear or read something we already know, but as we read it again, and we realize its truth, we are comforted.

Jesus is the first and the last. He was before us and He will be there for us when it’s our time.

He was in control regardless of appearances.
As these people were facing death, they needed reassurance that the Lord will be there in the very end. He died and came to life again. That’s the cornerstone of our faith, the resurrection.

The Bible says that if Jesus did not rise again we are still in our sins and our faith is futile. It also says that if we live for this life only, we are to be pitied more than all men.

This is the truth that they needed to hear to help them in their hardship.
We all at one time or another need to be reassured.
In Smyrna, they were physically and materially poor. They were refused jobs, income and food because of their faith.

This is in contrast to Laodicea. They thought that because they had wealth and did not need a thing, they were blessed by God.

Material wealth is no indicator of a person’s spiritual condition. It’s usually the opposite.
But so we don’t lose hope about those who don’t know Christ, but have material things . . .
We can’t save anyone, but God can!

And now this church has afflictions (also translated persecution) and poverty.

This poverty is talking about material wealth not spiritual wealth because he ends that sentence by saying YOU ARE RICH. He has to be talking about their richness towards God.
The city of Smyrna was a wealthy city. And yet, this church was in poverty.

Why? Because they refused to conform to their godless ways. If they refused, the first thing to go was financial support. The Christians became black balled so to say. The people in the town refused to do business with them.

He had no correction for them, only encouragement as they were about to face even more persecution.

Sometimes serving the Lord entails economic loss.

Here is another example of faith filled Christians who were not blessed by God materially . . .
It was the unbelieving Jews in Smyrna who were inciting the persecution of this church.

Jesus says they claim to be Jews but are not.
They claim to be Abraham’s descendants but Abraham’s true descendants are those who have their faith in the "Seed of Abraham" - Christ!

The Jews thought that since they were “predestined by God” to be His children, nothing they could do would ever change that because they were born Jewish, but Jesus said to them, that they left the covenant because they didn’t do what they were called to do.

There was a condition to them being “children of God” and they didn’t do it so they were out. They thought they were speaking and acting for God when they weren’t.

And that same thing happens today.
Many people who claim to be Christians sometimes give us the hardest time, because we aren’t "showing the love and grace of God” for others who don’t believe.

In other words, we can’t be exclusionary, because God loves everybody.

Here’s a news flash-God’s love doesn’t save anyone. God loves everyone, but not everyone loves God and is saved.

It’s not love that saves them. It’s faith and repentance.
We saw how the Jews stoned Stephen.

The Jews in Smyrna probably thought that this small church represented the worst type of heresy.

But in this statement we see a well known truth. The author of all persecution and afflictions is the devil.
He uses men as his weapons, but he is the author of it all.

The Bible says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers and authorities and against the powers of this dark world and against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

When we face this type of trouble, be reminded of who is really behind it.
As the persecution and afflictions kept coming, naturally those Christians began to be afraid and their fear was growing.

This verse literally means, "Stop being afraid"

Notice his next sentence:
Notice a few truths in this statement.

1) He did not give false them any false hopes. And no promises of peace and prosperity.

Sometimes we don’t like to hear the truth, but the truth always allows us to be prepared. If he had given them false hope and a promise of peace that did not come about, could you imagine what they would have thought?

They would be in the middle of all this hardship waiting for this promise which in fact would never come. They would immediately begin to believe that because of some sin in their lives, that they were missing out on this promise.

If only I would have been a better Christian, I would not be here. It is just the opposite, if they are in prison, knowing that this is exactly where God has me, then I am able to endure it with His help.

If you are terminally ill, would you not rather know it. You would be able do things and plan things that you normally would not plan.

2) Not everyone will suffer the same. He says that Satan will put SOME of them in prison.

Not everyone experiences the same problems. Do you ever wonder why some people seem to suffer much more than others?

Jesus does not say why some in this church will suffer, so also we do not know why some in this life suffer more than others.

3) He does not promise to deliver them from this persecution. Sometimes we are not delivered, sometimes God answers our prayers by saying NO!

For ten days. This is either a literal 10 days or a Jewish saying for a short period. This is like our life on earth. It is very short in comparison to eternity.
Sometimes our faithfulness requires our life. In fact even if there is no persecution, we need to be faithful until we die. But if we are martyred, Jesus himself will give to us this crown of life.

Think of this, a crown, a symbol of wealth and position, to replace their poverty and a crown of LIFE, to replace their life which they gave for Him.

Jesus is a just rewarder. Their rewards did not come in this life but they came in heaven.
If you study church history, about this time, there were many such persecutions often resulting in Christians being burned at the stake, thrown to lions, tortured and killed in many ways. Much of Foxes book of Martyrs was written concerning this time.

But you will also notice that this was the time when the church was the strongest.

In the years that followed when the persecutions ended, so did spiritual increase. In fact except for the occasional revival, there was a great time of spiritual decline.

Persecution always throughout history has brought the church together. Hard times always gets peoples minds on the Lord.

Remember the Gulf War, 9/11? Many people flooded in. When the war was over, they slowly left. I wonder if the church will see an influx due to Afghanistan.

Jesus says that these people about to be in prison, were going so they could be tested.

One commentary said that this testing will show themselves and their captors where their true loyalty lies and another ones says this will try them but not destroy them, but to improve their patience their faith and courage.

In either case, their faith will be put to the test.

Warren Wiersbe says: “A Faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted.”

In this country, where everyone almost claims to be a Christian, I believe that one day, God is going to put us to the test, to see where our loyalty lies.
Let him hear what? That he who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

What is the second death?
If we overcome, we will not be in the lake of fire.

It doesn’t say if we overcome we will escape death, it says that if we overcome, we will still die, but that is not the goal, to not die, it is to be with the lord forever.

The Christians in Smyrna were persecuted unto death, but the lord said to them, some of you will suffer great things and some will even die, but there is a more awful death. That is the separation from God.

Away from God’s mercy, his grace, his peace, his love. To be in the lake of fire in to be totally away from God.
People who say that they don’t want God in their lives will one day experience just that.

Right now will all benefit from God’s mercy. Even people who don’t love God experience his blessings. The Bible says that it rains on the just and the unjust.

One day that will end. The second death is much worse than the first death.

The first death lasts only for a minute. The second death lasts forever.
As I read this I wondered how this could apply to us today?

We don’t face this type of persecution in this country. None of us face death. None of us face that type of economic catastrophe.

What we do face is everyday decisions about things in our life. These believers had to make everyday decisions that would determine if they lived or died.

Sometimes our decisions will ultimately show us where we are in our walk of faith.

How much are we willing to do for the Lord? The Lord tells us that our right decisions here will give us rewards and blessings on the other side. Is that not what we are striving for?

Are we willing to live our lives faithfully for Jesus regardless of our personal cost? It cost the people in Smyrna everything. Are we willing to just be a little more holy for the Lord’s sake?

The Lord only asks us to be faithful. Sometimes being faithful will cost us. Are we willing to pay the price (with no guarantees of blessing in this life)

Even if our obedience gives us no temporal blessings?

Thank you for joining us!

If you haven't already, be sure to check out our website and follow us on social media @doverassembly! Have a great week!


Watch online

Miss part of the sermon or want to share it with others? Catch the replay on Vimeo, YouTube or Facebook!