Polycarp, one of the early church fathers, was the esteemed Bishop of Smyrna in the mid second century and the city’s most famous martyr.

One day, persecutors gave Polycarp the choice of cursing Jesus Christ and making sacrifice to Caesar, or death by fire. That is when Polycarp voiced these famous words, “Eighty and six years I have served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

More than a half century before Polycarp’s death, a brief letter from Jesus arrived at the church in Smyrna, warning them of great suffering and persecution (Revelation 2:1-8). If the same warning came to your church today, are you ready for the flames of persecution?

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“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG