Sermon Qs 01/14/18

Text: Rev 19:11-21 (read as group)
Notes: emmauscf.org/sermons
Begin with sharing general thoughts about the Sermon/Sermon Text
1. Who is the “Rider on the White Horse” in Rev 19 and what does he represent? 
2. What is the central message given in Rev 19:11-21? Briefly summarize and share. 
3. What is the most comforting truth that you have learned in studying Revelation thus far? Share.

Family Application: Discuss this week’s Catechism questions and share how to communicate these truths to your family.

Gospel Sharing Application: Share about ways in which you have been able to share, proclaim, display, or model the Gospel during this last week.

Suggested verse for meditation: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭19:11-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/rev.19.11-16.esv

Posted in Study Guides, Gospel Community Groups, Russell Schmidt, Posted by Russell. Comments Off on Sermon Qs 01/14/18

Sermon: Christ Our Champion: Revelation 19:11-21

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 63:1–6

The Lord’s Day of Vengeance: “Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.’” (Isaiah 63:1–6, ESV)

Sermon Text: Revelation 19:11-21

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:11–21, ESV)

Sermon

Brothers and sisters, you notice that we are rapidly approaching the end of our study of the book of Revelation. I have mixed emotions about this. I do look forward to what’s next (a carefully study of the book of Genesis), but I’ve grown to love this book that, at one time, seemed intimidating and impractical to me. Now when I think of the book of Revelation I think of a book that is relatively clear, and immensely helpful to the people of God. The thought of the book of Revelation warms my heart and encourages my soul. That is something that I could not say five years ago.

I hope to finish our study of the book of Revelation strong. These last two and a half chapters are most glorious, in my opinion. But they are also often misinterpreted (this is especially true of chapter 20, I think). And so we should not let off the throttle as we come into the homestretch of this prolonged study, but we should finish strong – concentrating; handling the book with great care; and laboring to apply the text to our own lives through to the very end.

I wonder if you would allow me to remind you of the 7 principles that have helped to guide us in our interpretation of this book over the past year. These principles were introduced to you in sermons 2 and 3 of this series (this is sermon number 55). I have reminded you of some of these principles along the way. A couple of them I have mentioned numerous times. But I would like to quickly list them for you now to remind you of them so that they might continue to be a help to us as we approach the finish line of Revelation 22:21. These principles are drawn, remember, from Denise Johnson’s commentary, “Triumph of the Lamb.”

One, we must remember that the book of Revelation is given to reveal. The name itself suggests that it’s purpose is to take things that are mysterious and to make them clear. If the book only makes mysterious things more mysterious, then perhaps you have the wrong approach.

Two, we must remember that Revelation is a book to be seen. This book communicates truth via symbol. It’s literary genre is prophetic and apocalyptic. To take the book literally whenever possible is to ignore it’s genre. Indeed, John was shown what would take place, as the first two verses of the book indicate. John saw visions, and those visions are filled with things symbolic.

Three, we must remember that numbers count in Revelation. In other words, the numbers that we encounter in this book are also symbolic. This we have seen with the numbers 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 12 and their multiples, 24, 666, and 144,000. This we will encounter again in the closing chapters with the mention of the numbers 1,000, 12, and 144. Numbers function symbolically in Revelation. We should strive for consistency in our handling of the numbers found in this book.

Four, remember that the book of Revelation makes sense only in light of the Old Testament. Put another way, the key to understanding the symbolism of the book of Revelation is the Old Testament. So no, we are not free to take the symbols of Revelation and to interpret them any way we please, but we are to allow scripture to interpret scripture. The Old Testament, and in many cases the New Testament also, functions as a key and a guide to our interpretation of this symbolic book. To look to current events as the key is foolish. To look to the rest of scripture is wise, for it is clearly what the author intended.

Five, do not forget that Revelation concerns what must soon take place. And this statement is to be understood, not from our vantage point, living now in 2018, but from the vantage point of those who originally received the letter in the first century A.D., for it was to them that John wrote, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place… Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Revelation 1:1,3, ESV). And remember that the same thing is repeated at the end of the book: “‘These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.’ ‘And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book’” (Revelation 22:6–7, ESV). Any interpretation that pushes the fulfillment of the majority of the prophesies contained within this book way off into the future from the perspective of the first century audience should be met with suspicion given that it contradicts what the book says about itself. Indeed, some things in this book are about the time of the end – the second coming of Christ, the final judgement, the arrival of the new heavens and the new earth – but these reference to the time of the end are easy to identify. Most of the book describes how things will be in the time between Christ’s first and second coming. So indeed the words of Revelation 1:1 are true. This book did reveal, and does reveal, “things that must soon take place”, for, more often than not, it describes how things will be in the here and the now leading up to the consummation.

Six, remember that Revelation is written for a church under attack. The objective of the book, as you have seen, is to urge the Christian to persevere in the midst of tribulation. How sad that most preachers today say that “the church will not be here to experience tribulation.” I can hardly imagine a more backwards and unbiblical teaching. No, the book of Revelation reinforces the words of Christ when he spoke to his disciples, saying, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33, ESV). The book of Revelation portrays the church as being under constant assault. The type and the intensity of the assault will vary from time to time and from place to place, but the church will always experience pressure. And the book of Revelation says, persevere! Conquer! Overcome! Remain faithful in Christ! And it shows why we should by providing us with the heavenly perspective on the things we experience in this world.

Seven, remember that Revelation shows above all else that the victory belongs to God and to his Christ. And this is the source and foundation of all of the encouragement that we receive in this book. Though it looks as if evil has won, though it looks as if our enemies are too strong, though it looks as if Christ has been defeated and the dragon has won, the truth is that Jesus the Christ has conquered and is bring all things to their God ordained end.

These seven principles were presented in sermons 2 and 3 of this series. They have been helpful up to this point in our interpretation of this book, and I pray they remain as a help to us up to the very end.

In sermon 4 I presented seven observations concerning the structure of the book of Revelation. All of them were important. I’ll remind you once more of the seventh, which was that the book of Revelation repeats. I’ve also put it this way: the book of Revelation recapitulates. In other words, the book is not ordered chronologically, as if the order of events in the book corresponds to order of events in human history. Instead, the book is ordered thematically. It provides us, time and again, with different perspectives on the same event. It provide us with different perspective on the same period of time, be it the time immediately preceding the last day, the last day itself, the consummate state, or the church age. The book repeats. Now that we are in chapter 19 I can I ask the question, “how many times has the return of Christ and the final judgement been shown to us in the book of Revelation?” I don’t have the number for you. The point is that you know we have been brought to the time of the end again and again throughout this book, the earliest picture of it being found way back in 6:12 with the opening of the sixth seal:

“…behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” (Revelation 6:12–17, ESV)

That’s Revelation 6:12-17. It describes the day when the wrath of God and the Lamb are poured out. It’s a description of the last day. And it is found, not in the closing chapters of the book – not in chapters 19, 20, 21, or 22 – but in chapter 6! And there are many other passage like this one peppered throughout the book which provide us with a different perspective of that last day. The book is not ordered chronologically, but repeats. This you have seen clearly in our study.

So why the prolonged introduction? And why the all of the review? It is so that we might finish strong. We are coming to portions of the book of Revelation – indeed we are in one now – where it is necessary to remember these things, lest we interpret them badly.

Let’s consider what is happening here now in the book of Revelation.

Notice that there is a a lot of repetition found here in chapters 18 through to the end of 20. We are, again and again, shown something of the last day when Christ will return to rescue those who are his, to pour out his wrath upon his enemies, to judge those not in him, and to make all things new. Indeed, we were shown something about this last day way back in 6:12, but here in this section references to the last day are concentrated and they are detailed.

Remember that in chapter 18 it was the judgment of the harlot, who is called Babylon, that was described to us. Ironically she is said to be judged, not directly by Christ, but will be devoured by the beast upon whom whom she once so happily sat and the kings symbolized by the ten horns of the beast. I will not here rehash the meaning of that in detail. For now recognize that at the end of time the great cities and cultures of the world, which do seduce men and women to worship the things of this world instead of their Creator, will be judged, not directly by God, but as God does permit their self destruction. The beast (and all that he symbolizes) will turn on the harlot (and all that she symbolizes) to devour her (Revelation 17:15-18). These two, who ever since the fall have worked so happily together, will in the end self destruct. This is the judgement of God poured out upon the harlot. Revelation 18 has described it to us.

Now notice that here in chapter 19 we find a description of the judgment of two other figures. Look at verse 19:

“And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:19–21, ESV)

And so here we have a description of the judgement of the two beasts that were first introduced to us in Revelation 13. The beast is captured. He is the beast that John saw rising from the sea in Revelation 13:1. And so too the false prophet is captured. He is the same as the beast that was seen rising out of the earth in 13:11. This is the one who deceived men and women to receive the mark of the beast and to worship its image.

These two will be captured by Christ and his army, and they will be “thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.” And those who belong to them and follow them will be “slain by the sword that [comes] from the mouth of him who [is] sitting on the horse”, that is to say, Christ.

And so do you see that by the end of chapter 19 the return of Christ has again been described to us. When he returns he will pour out his wrath upon all of his enemies. All will be slain who do not belong to him.

The beast, symbolizing political powers that persecute – symbolizing nations and kings and their armies who oppose Christ and all who belong to him – will be judged – thrown into the lake of fire.

The false prophet also, who symbolizes those social and religious and economic institutions that the evil one uses to urge the worship, not of Christ, but of the beast, will also be judged – thrown into the lake of fire, we are told.

And all who follow after these two will also be slain. In verse 21 we read, “And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh” (Revelation 19:21, ESV).

You do understand that this passage describes the judgement that will come upon people at the end of time, don’t you? This passage refers to the judgement of people – that is to say, all not in Christ.

Yes, in the vision we see two beasts and the multitude of people that follow them. But we should remember that these beasts symbolize people – people who have positions of power within governments. People who are kings. People who are governors. People within armies. People who teach false things. People who use powers of many kinds to turn the screws on God’s people.  These are the once who have listened to the false prophet themselves, who have bowed before the beast from the sea, and who now do their bidding. Put another way, these are the ones who have taken the mark of the beast who, at the end of time will be judged personally by Christ. This is what is symbolized here in Revelation 19.

Isn’t that what the announcement of the angel of verse 17 tells us. He cried out and “with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great” (Revelation 19:17–18, ESV).

And so notice that by the end of chapter 19 we are taken yet again to the end of time and we are shown something of what will happen when Christ returns. When he returns that harlot Babylon will have been ravaged. When he returns he will slay the beast from the sea, the beast from the land, and all who have followed after them, trusting, not in Christ, but in this world.

Who is left then to be judged? Who is left to be judged in the narrative of the book of Revelation? The beast, the false prophet, and the harlot have been judged. Who is left of the enemies of God? What other loose end need to be tied up before the new heavens and new earth can come in fulness?

The answer is that the dragon must be judged. The dragon, that ancient serpent is still roaming, as far as the narrative of the book of Revelation is concerned. Put differently, have been made to rejoice by the end of chapter 19 as the enemies of God and his people fall one by one – the harlot, the beast, the false prophet and all who belong to them and serve them – but the reader should also here stop and ask, what about the dragon who did motivate them all? What about the dragon, that ancient serpent, whom the beast, the false prophet and the harlot did serve?

Look ahead with me briefly and see that that is what chapter 20 describes. Chapter 20 does not follow chapter 19 chronologically, but it repeats and provides for us another persecutive on the dragon, his career, and his judgement. Verse 7 of chapter 20:

“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:7–10, ESV)

When will this happen? It will happen when Christ returns. It will happen on that last day when Christ returns. It will happen on the same day when the beast, the false prophet, and all who belonged to them will be judged. It will happen when Christ returns. He will return to do many things – to rescue those who belong to him who are under assault, to pour out his wrath upon the enemies of God, and to cast the devil himself into the lake of fire to “be tormented day and night forever and ever”. When Christ returns he will judge, after which he will make all things new.

If we assume that the book of Revelation is organized chronologically we will be very confused. Indeed, we will be confused throughout (not knowing what to make of all of the reference to the end peppered throughout, nor knowing what to make of the mention of the birth of Christ in 12:1), but we will be especially confused here in chapters 18, 19, and 20 as we try to fit this all on a timeline. It is far better to see that the book is organized thematically and it that it does recapitulate, providing for us different perspectives on the same period of time, in this case, the last day when Christ returns.

More broadly, the book of Revelation describes to us how things will be in the whole time between Christ’s first and second comings. It tells a story. It paints a picture, telling us about the challenges we will face in this world, and how things will go in the end. It exposes our enemies. It shows their true character. It shows their end.

Go with me to Revelation chapter 12. And notice how Revelation 12:1 all the way through to Revelation 20:10 tell a story.

In Revelation 12:1 we were introduced to a women with child. Who is this woman? Remember, she symbolizes Mary the mother of Jesus. More than that she symbolizes Israel who was indeed “pregnant” with the Christ until he did come. Even more than that she symbolizes Eve, who heard the promise of God when he spoke to the serpent who deceived her, when he said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15, ESV). So even Eve was “pregnant” with the Christ as she carried within her womb the promise of God concerning a Redeemer who would come from her seed.

This woman of Revelation 12 – who is Eve, Israel, and Mary – was pregnant with a child. And she was being harassed even before the child was born. And who was it that harassed her? “A great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems” (Revelation 12:3, ESV). In 12:9 we were told that he is, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.” (Revelation 12:9, ESV).

This dragon pursued the woman. But she was kept by God, being preserved by him in the wilderness.

This dragon sought to devour the Christ child, the “one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5, ESV).

But the battle between the dragon, the woman and her child was not over. “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea” (Revelation 12:17, ESV).

So there is a conflict, then. There is a battle that rages between the dragon, who is Satan, and Christ. The dragon was confined to the earth at Christ’s first coming when Christ was caught up to heaven where he is now enthroned.

On earth the people of God find themselves under assault, then. They are pursued by the dragon even still. But the dragon uses the beast from the sea (political powers that persecute), the beast from the land (false prophets), and the harlot who rides upon the beast from the sea (the seductiveness of the world), to war against the people of God. These three were introduced to us successively in chapters 13 and chapter 17.

Now notice what we have here in chapters 18, 19 and 20. Each of these enemies of God are removed from the scene in the reverse order they were introduced.

First the harlot is made desolate. The beast that she once road turned on her to devour her, and the people of the hearth lamented her fall. This is what chapter 18 describes.

Secondly, the beast and the false prophet are captured and thrown alive into the lake of fire. This is described in chapter 19.

And thirdly, the dragon himself who did motivate these three is also judged. This is described in chapter 20 with the words, “and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10, ESV).

Friends, the book is ordered thematically, and not chronologically.

The enemies of God and his people are introduced:1, 2, 3, 4.

The promise is that God will preserve those who belong to him even as they are pursued, tempted, and assaulted on earth by these enemies.

And then the enemies are swiftly removed from the seen having been judged by God and his Christ: 4, 3, 2 and 1.

Do you see, then, how everything comes to focus upon Christ who is our Champion and our King?

The enemies of God seem, at first, to be so powerful, so terrifying, so ferocious. They are the seven headed and ten horned dragon, the seven headed and ten horned beast, the beast who speaks like the dragon, and the harlot who’s seductiveness made even John the Apostle to marvel at her.

And indeed, Christ seems to us to be distant. He was, long ago, caught up to heaven – crucified, buried, raised and ascended. We do not see him now. We see our enemies! We feel their power! And indeed they do look so intimidating to us! But what does God word reveal? Our Lord will one day return. And when he does he will slay all of his and all of our enemies with the word of his mouth.

John “saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse”, the kind of champion war horse that a Conquering King would ride.

“The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war” (Revelation 19:11, ESV). This is Christ our King!

“His eyes are like a flame of fire”, because he sees all and will judge with purity in the end.

“And on his head are many diadems” which put the ten counterfeit diadems warn by the dragon and his beast to shame.

“And he has a name written that no one knows but himself” (Revelation 19:12, ESV), for though we know Christ truly, we cannot comprehend his power and glory fully.

“He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood”, for his is the one who will tread out the “great winepress of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:19, ESV).

“The name by which he is called is The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13, ESV). It is God’s word that will stand in the end, friends.

And this great warrior King is not alone, but has “the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure… following him on white horses” (Revelation 19:14, ESV). Who are these? They are his people, redeemed from the earth, who have been caught up with him to meet him in the air on that last day (1 Thessalonians 4:17). They are the Bride of Christ. She “has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints (Revelation 19:7-8, ESV)”. These redeemed of the Lord now return with the Lord to conquer with him.

Verse 15: “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15, ESV).

This is in fulfillment to that great Messianic Psalm, Psalm 2, which says,

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2, ESV).

Lastly we read that, “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16, ESV).

Conclusion

Brothers and sisters, this is the story that followers of Christ the world over need to hear.

These truths are the ones we need if we are to stand up in the face of persecution, false teaching, and the seductiveness of the world.

Look at the end of the matter, friends.

The things of this world that seem so attractive to you – look at their end! Do not go the way of the harlot. Her end is destruction; her path leads only to death.

Think also of the end of the false prophet who’s words seem so pleasant to your ears. The false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire. Pay no attention to his smooth and flattering speech! Listen instead to God’s word which stands forever. Look to Christ and trust in him, for he is the Word of God; he is the one who will slay his enemies with the double edged sword which proceeds from his mouth. Give heed to God’s word. Obey the word of Christ if you wish to have life. Reject the words of the false prophet. His end is destruction; his path leads only to death.

And what about those who persecute you? Think of their end. Think of what Christ will do to those who have assaulted his beloved Bride when he returns for her on that last day.

It is popular today to only talk of the love and mercy of God. And indeed God is loving and merciful, but he is also holy and righteous and just. If you do not believe in a God who will judge in the end, then you do not have the God of the scriptures, but an idol that you have erected for yourself in the mind and in the heart. If you do not believe in a Christ who will judge in the end, then you do not have the true Christ, but a false Christ who is the product of your worldly imagination. Friends, God and Christ will judge in the end. Concerning this the scriptures are clear.

And this is a comfort to the people of God, particularly those who have experienced persecution. True, we are to pray for our enemies. True, we are to love them. And it is the knowledge that God and his Christ will set things right in the end which enables us to do so. It’s not ours to take vengeance – that is God’s job. It is not ours to pour out wrath – Christ will. Indeed, it is this knowledge that enables to love even those who persecute us.

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19–21, ESV).

How comforting it is for the people of God to know that if we suffer in this world our Savior, who has himself suffered, will set it right in the end.

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Revelation 19:11-21, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Sermon: Christ Our Champion: Revelation 19:11-21

Week Of January 14th, 2018

WEEKLY READINGS
SUNDAY > Gen 8, Matt 8, Ezra 8, Acts 8
MONDAY > Gen 9–10, Matt 9, Ezra 9, Acts 9
TUESDAY > Gen 11, Matt 10, Ezra 10, Acts 10
WEDNESDAY > Gen 12, Matt 11, Neh 1, Acts 11
THURSDAY > Gen 13, Matt 12, Neh 2, Acts 12
FRIDAY > Gen 14, Matt 13, Neh 3, Acts 13
SATURDAY > Gen 15, Matt 14, Neh 4, Acts 14

MEMORY VERSE(S)
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:7-9, ESV).

CATECHISM QUESTION(S)
Baptist Catechism #4:
Q. What is the Word of God?
A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and the only certain rule of faith and obedience.

Posted in Weekly Passages, Posted by Mike. Comments Off on Week Of January 14th, 2018

Sermon: Hallelujah!: Revelation 19:1-10

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 148

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 148, ESV)

Sermon Text: Revelation 19:1-10

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.’ Once more they cried out, ‘Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.’ And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, ‘Amen. Hallelujah!’ And from the throne came a voice saying, ‘Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.’ Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’ Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.’ For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:1–10, ESV)

Introduction 

The thing that differentiates the people of God from those who are of the world is that those who belong to God worship God, whereas those who belong to the world worship the things of this world.

All people worship. Even the most devout atheist worships. The atheist, though he may deny the existence of God, has a god of his own. Someone or something owns his heart. He lives for something. He finds his pleasure and satisfaction somewhere. He has some source of hope. Even the atheist worships as he looks to this thing or that, saying, “this is of ultimate worth.”

The questions is not, “do we worship?”, for all do. Instead the question is, do we worship aright. Do we worship that which is truly worthy of worship? And do we worship that one aright?

You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that the book of Revelation is all about worship. When we began the study of this book over a year ago you probably assumed that the book was about the future. What we have found is that, although the book does reveal some things about the future, it is really a book about worship. It reveals what it reveals in order to urge the reader to worship aright – to worship, not the things of this world, but God who made the world, and the Christ, who is the God-man, and our redeemer.

Really, those are our two options. Either we worship the things of this world, or we worship the God who made the world and all things therein. That we will worship is unavoidable! To worship is to be human, and to be human is to worship! The question is, will we rightly worship our Creator, or will we wrongly give worship to something in his creation?

One way for us to talk about the fall of man and the entrance of sin into the world is to describe it as worship gone wrong. The first sin, and indeed all sin, can be described as worship misdirected, or worship bent out of shape. To sin is to transgress God’s holy law. And the summary of God’s holy law is to, first, love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and second, to love our neighbor as ourself. Every sin that we commit is committed because we have, in some way, failed to love God supremely and as we should. We have looked to some other thing in God’s creation and have loved it more than God. To sin is, therefore, to fail in worship.

Some worship their possessions. Some worship their entertainment. Some worship their food, others their drink. Some worship other people and the relationships that they have with them. Some worship sex. Some money, power and fame. Some worship demons. And some worship god’s that they have made for themselves, either god’s carved out of wood and stone, or ideas about God that come, not from him, but from themselves, based, not upon divine revelation, but upon human reason.

Those who belong to God worship God as he has revealed himself to us in history, through his Son, and by his word. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1–2, ESV). It is the wholehearted and faithful worship of this God that the book of Revelation is urging. We are to worship this God, the one true God who created the heavens and the earth. He is the God who speaks. He has given us his word. He has graciously disclosed himself to us. We are to worship this God, the one true God, through faith in Jesus the Christ, who, because of our sin and our alienation from God, has been graciously given as the only “mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5, ESV).

What do you worship?

Whom do you worship?

To whom or what do you look to and say, “that is of ultimate worth and is worthy of my devotion, my trust, my heart, indeed my very life?”

Notice three things about Revelation 19:1-10.

We Are Seven Times In This Passage Urged To Give Worship To God

First of all, notice how we are seven times in this passage urged to give worship to God.

The word “hallelujah” appears four times in this passage. In verse 1“a great multitude in heaven” is heard by John “crying out, Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God” (Revelation 19:1, ESV). In verse 3 they again cry out, saying, “hallelujah!” In verse 4 it is “the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures [who fall] down and [worship] God who was seated on the throne, saying, ‘Amen. Hallelujah!’” (Revelation 19:4, ESV). And in verse 6 John again hears the voice of a great multitude “like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns’” (Revelation 19:6, ESV).

The word “hallelujah” here is a Greek transliteration of a Hebrew compound word which means, “praise YHWH”, or, put all in English, “praise the LORD”. So when you say “hallelujah” you are in fact speaking Hebrew. You are urging the praise of YHWH! “Praise the LORD”, is what it means.

It was appropriate for us to read Psalm 148 at the beginning of this sermon for the first and last words of that Psalm are, in Hebrew, “הַ֥לְלוּ יָ֨הּ”. And the throughout the repeated refrain is, “praise the Lord!”

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created.” (Psalm 148:1–5, ESV)

PsaLm 148 and Revelation 19:1-10 share this in common: both urge the praise of YHWH using the word “hallelujah”.

The praise of God is urged also in Revelation 19:5 where we read, “And from the throne came a voice saying, ‘Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great’” (Revelation 19:5, ESV). Also, we should consider verse 7 where the multitude says, “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory…” (Revelation 19:7, ESV). And then seventhly, and lastly, in verse 10 we read John’s words, “Then I fell down at his [the angel’s] feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God” (Revelation 19:10, ESV).

Do you see, then, that the objective of this passage from beginning to end is to urge the worship of the one true God, YHWH, the Creator of heaven and earth, Lord Most High. And do you see how easy it is for our worship to be misdirected. Even John the Apostle, being perhaps overwhelmed with the vision that he saw, did bow down before an angel, bring upon himself a swift and firm rebuke: “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.”

You see God is the only one who is worthy to receive worship. Nothing in all of creation – not even holy and righteous angels – are worthy to receive praise, for they are creatures, and not the Creator. Angels and men, though a different species, share much in common. Both are volitional creatures made for the service of God. Not even they, holy as they may be, are to be worshiped, but God only. So the distinction is not between things holy and things sinful, nor is the distinction between things spiritual and physical, but it is the distinction between Creator and creature that is useful in determining who is worthy to receive worship. It is the Creator only who is worthy to receive worship from his creation.

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created.” (Psalm 148:1–5, ESV)

If you are alive today you owe God worship for he is your Maker. And to refrain from giving him the worship he so rightly deserves – worse yet, to take the worship that he deserves and to give it another –  is a most terrible thing. I have a hard time finding the words, to be honest.

The comparison that comes to mind is that of a child, who having been brought into this world by his parents, and having been nurtured by them – sheltered, clothed, fed, loved, disciplined and protected – he goes on only to dishonor them. He cares little for them. When he does speak to them, he speaks rudely. He calls only when he wants something. His love he will not give to them, but he will gladly give to those who are unworthy. He responds to his parents love with hatred, but those who have not true love for him, those he loved. The son, having been shown love, responds by spitting in his parents face. There are hardly words to describe just how terrible this is.

But it is far worse for a creature to do this do the Creator. And yet this is what all men do in their natural state and apart from the saving grace of God. They, in one way or another, spit in the face of their Creator. They repay his goodness with hatred, his kindness with contempt, his faithfulness with faithlessness, his patience with stubborn pride.

Friends, if you are a worshipper of God today do not forget that this is how you once were, but God has been merciful to you. He determined from before creation to bring you to himself. And though you were a child of wrath, he has made you a beloved son. This he did through the shed blood of Christ who paid for the sins of his people. This he did by calling you to faith by his word and by his Spirit. When God’s word called out to you to trust in Jesus – when God’s word called put to you saying, hallelujah! Praise the Lord! – you responded to that call with a “yes” and “amen”, not because you were by nature one who was a worshipper of God, but because God has been gracious to you. Seven times in this passage we are urged to give worship to God. It is those predestined, called and justified who have, do, and will.

This Passage Stands In Contrast To The Preceding One

Secondly, notice how this passage stands in contrast to the preceding one.

Chapter 18 and verses 1-10 of chapter 19 share this in common: they both describe responses to the judgement of Babylon.

Remember the way that the earth dwellers responded. They wept and mourned over her. “They threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, ‘Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste’” (Revelation 18:19, ESV).

But even in chapter 18 we heard a call for a different response. In verse 20 we read, “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” (Revelation 18:20, ESV).

This is precisely what we have in 19:1-10. Here heaven responds to the call of 18:20 and rejoices, saying, “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants” (Revelation 19:1–2, ESV).

The two responses to the judgement of Babylon could not be more different. But this only further shows how different the kingdom of God is from the kingdoms of this world. These two kingdoms stand in stark contrast to one other. The citizens of these kingdoms value entirely different things, so that what causes one to weep and mourn, causes the other to shout for joy and to give glory to God.

Babylon will be destroyed, friends. And if this is where your treasure is, you will be found weeping in the end. But the kingdom of heaven is eternal. God is everlasting and unchanging. If your treasure is stored up with him, in the end there will be rejoicing.

Notice the Reasons Given For The Worship Of God

Thirdly, notice the reasons given for the worship of God.

God will be worshiped in the end for the glory of his righteous judgments.

Verse 1: “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants” (Revelation 19:1–2, ESV).

God will be worshiped in the end for the glory of his salvation.

Verse 6: “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” (Revelation 19:6–8, ESV)

The bride of Christ is the church.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:25–32, ESV).

Christ shed his blood, not for the world, but for his church. He gave himself up for her. He died for his bride, that is to say all of the elect, so that “he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

Here in Revelation 19 we have symbolized the consummation of these things where Christ and his bride do enjoy their wedding feast. This will happen at the end of time when the Lord returns for his betrothed and judges her enemies.

When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth he spoke this way, saying, “I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:1–2, ESV). When Paul preached the gospel and saw men and women come to faith in Christ he saw them as betrothed to Christ. His objective in teaching the church was to prepare the church for her wedding day, so that he might present the church to Christ as a pure virgin.

Notice that two different perspectives are presented side by side concerning the churches preparation to meet Christ.

First we are told at the end of verse 7 that “his Bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7, ESV). This emphasizes the responsibility that we have to persevere in the faith, to contribute to our sanctification, and to work our our salvation with fear and trembling.

But to protect us from thinking that we can, in any way save ourselves, or to prepare ourselves for salvation, we are told in verse 8 that “it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Revelation 19:8, ESV).

Indeed, we come to faith in Christ because God has granted it. We persevere in Christ because God has granted it. We will be able to stand before God and Christ on that last day “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing”, not because we have provided this clothing for ourselves, but because God has provided for us in Christ Jesus. Indeed we do receive the fogginess of sin and Christ’s righteousness by faith. But has been granted by our God by his grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9, ESV).

Conclusion 

Brothers and sisters, what should we do in response to the things that we have heard?

Let us worship God!

Individually

May he have your heart.

Trust in him.

Hope in him.

Find your pleasure in him.

Give him glory with your tongue.

Pray to him.

Give thanks always.

Testify to his goodness.

Obey him in all that you do.

Do not do that which he has forbidden.

Do that which he has commanded.

Have his word as the lamp which illuminates your path and directs your steps.

In Families

Corporately with the Church

Keep the Lord’s Day Sabbath; rest.

Do not neglect the assembling of yourselves.

Engage in the means of grace from the heart.

Let us worship him through faith in Jesus the Christ, for there is no other way.

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Revelation 19:1-10, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Sermon: Hallelujah!: Revelation 19:1-10

Week Of January 7th, 2018

WEEKLY READINGS
SUNDAY > Gen 1, Matt 1, Ezra 1, Acts 1
MONDAY > Gen 2, Matt 2, Ezra 2, Acts 2
TUESDAY > Gen 3, Matt 3, Ezra 3, Acts 3
WEDNESDAY > Gen 4, Matt 4, Ezra 4, Acts 4
THURSDAY > Gen 5, Matt 5, Ezra 5, Acts 5
FRIDAY > Gen 6, Matt 6, Ezra 6, Acts 6
SATURDAY > Gen 7, Matt 7, Ezra 7, Acts 7

MEMORY VERSE(S)
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV).

CATECHISM QUESTION(S)
Baptist Catechism #1-3:
Q. Who is the first and chiefest of beings?
A. God is the first and chiefest beings.
Q. Ought everyone to believe there is God?
A. Everyone ought to believe there is a God; and it is their great sin and folly who do not.
Q. How may we know there is a God?
A. The light of nature in man and the works of God plainly declare that there is a God; but His Word and Spirit only do it fully and effectively for the salvation of sinners.

Posted in Weekly Passages, Posted by Mike. Comments Off on Week Of January 7th, 2018

Sermon Qs 12/31/17

Text: Rev 18 (read as group)
Notes: emmauscf.org/sermons
Begin with sharing general thoughts about the Sermon/Sermon Text
1. What is the primary and central warning that Rev 18 offers to its readers? 
2. Where are you most often tempted by “the city of Babylon” to commit idolatry and walk toward sin? Share. 
3. What is the ultimate fate of Babylon? What implications can be drawn? Discuss.

Family Application: Discuss this week’s Catechism questions and share how to communicate these truths to your family.

Gospel Sharing Application: Share about ways in which you have been able to share, proclaim, display, or model the Gospel during this last week.

Suggested verse for meditation: “And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.””
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭18:2-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/rev.18.2-3.esv

Posted in Study Guides, Gospel Community Groups, Posted by Russell. Comments Off on Sermon Qs 12/31/17

Sermon: Heaven’s Commentary Concerning Babylon: Revelation 18

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 51

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon, against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai, and I will send to Babylon winnowers, and they shall winnow her, and they shall empty her land, when they come against her from every side on the day of trouble… For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of hosts, but the land of the Chaldeans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel. ‘Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance, the repayment he is rendering her. Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad. Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed. Forsake her, and let us go each to his own country, for her judgment has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies. The Lord has brought about our vindication; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God… ‘I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea before your very eyes for all the evil that they have done in Zion, declares the Lord. ‘Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, declares the Lord, which destroys the whole earth; I will stretch out my hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and make you a burnt mountain. No stone shall be taken from you for a corner and no stone for a foundation, but you shall be a perpetual waste, declares the Lord… For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.’ Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me; he has crushed me; he has made me an empty vessel; he has swallowed me like a monster; he has filled his stomach with my delicacies; he has rinsed me out. The violence done to me and to my kinsmen be upon Babylon,’ let the inhabitant of Zion say. ‘My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,’ let Jerusalem say. Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will plead your cause and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her fountain dry, and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing, without inhabitant…’ The sea has come up on Babylon; she is covered with its tumultuous waves. Her cities have become a horror, a land of drought and a desert, a land in which no one dwells, and through which no son of man passes… Go out of the midst of her, my people! Let every one save his life from the fierce anger of the Lord… Jeremiah wrote in a book all the disaster that should come upon Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: ‘When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, and say, ‘O Lord, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, and they shall become exhausted.’ Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.” (Jeremiah 51, ESV)

Sermon Text: Revelation 18

“After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.’ Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.’ And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, ‘Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.’ And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. ‘The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!’ The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, ‘Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.’ And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, ‘What city was like the great city?’ And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, ‘Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!’ Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.’” (Revelation 18, ESV)

Introduction 

It is important that we see Revelation 18 as a continuation of the description of the judgement of the harlot that began in Revelation 17.

In 17:1 we read John’s words, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters…” (Revelation 17:1, ESV). After that John was shown a vision of the harlot. She was seen, “sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality” (Revelation 17:3–4, ESV).

When we consider the way that the harlot and the beast upon which she rides is described it becomes clear that, for the original recipients of the book of Revelation who were alive in Asia Minor in the first century A.D., she symbolized the seductiveness of the Roman culture in which they lived. The Rome (the city of seven hills) was seductive. It’s sinful pleasures did have the power to seduce men and women to abandon Christ and commit spiritual adultery, which is idolatry. So, for the members of the seven churches to who Revelation was addressed, the harlot was Rome.

But when we consider the harlot’s name it becomes clear that she symbolizes, not only Rome, but all of the cultures of the world that seduce in the way that Rome did, for “on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations’” (Revelation 17:5, ESV). By this time the ancient city of Babylon had come to symbolize the seductiveness of the world. It was ancient Babylon that conquered Judah. It was there to Babylon that the people of God were exiled. It was there in Babylon that the Israelites were to remain pure. It was from Babylon that God would rescue his people as the great city was judged. This is what was described in Jeremiah 51. And so ancient Babylon, Judah’s captivity there, followed by their redemption and the judgement of that place have come to have symbolic significance. Babylon is code for “all that is evil and seductive in the world which does tempt men and women to commit idolatry”. By the end of chapter 17 we are told that this harlot symbolizes “the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18, ESV).

For the members of the seven churches to whom Revelation was addressed, the harlot stood for Rome. For the people of Judah carried away to captivity in the sixth century B.C., the harlot was Babylon. For you and me who are alive today the harlot symbolizes the seductiveness of our own culture.

So just as the beast from the sea and the false prophet of Revelation 13 have alway been active in the world, so it is with the harlot. The dragon of Revelation 12 has always used these three – political powers that persecute, false teaching and the seductiveness of the world, to draw men and women away from the worship of the creator into an idolatrous worship of the creation instead.

So by the end of chapter 17 we have a good idea of what this prostitute represents. She represents the seductiveness of the world. She represents the way in which the world – particularly the great cultures and great cities of the world – seduce and drive men and women to chase after her pleasures and to make them ultimate – the pleasures of money, power, fame, and sexual immorality, to name a few. Indeed, the “kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality” with her. And it is from her cup that “the dwellers on earth have become drunk” (Revelation 17:2, ESV).

Notice also that by the end of chapter 17 we have only a description of the harlot (along with the description of the beast upon which she rides). She is beautiful and the power of her allure is recognized even by John. But as of yet we’ve heard nothing of her judgement as was promised to us in 17:1, when the angel said to John, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters…” (Revelation 17:1, ESV). That is what we have in the chapter 18 – a description of the judgement of this prostitute whose name is Babylon.

What is the point of all of this? Why was this vision given to John, and through him, to us? What does God desire for us to take away from this?

I think his desire is that we would come to see the sinful seduction of the world for what it is – something that is empty; something that leads only to death; something destined for judgement. And having come to see the harlot (or Babylon) for what she is, then we are able to flee from her to God through faith in Christ Jesus and to the heavenly and eternal city of Jerusalem.

Revelation 18 describes the judgement of Babylon (or the harlot) to us, but in such a way that we also receive a heavenly commentary on Babylon’s true nature. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion concerning the happenings of this world. Turn on the television or talk radio and you’ll find no shortage of commentators. But friends, it is God’s commentary that matters most. It is his perspective on the world that we should be most eager to hear. Indeed, it is his point of view that every child of his should adopt as their own.

Notice five things:

A City Already Fallen

First of all, recognize that when God comments on Babylon he speaks of her as already fallen. This we see in verses 1 through 3 of Revelation 18:

“After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.” (Revelation 18:1–2, ESV)

Of course, Babylon was not fallen in John’s day. Indeed, she is not fallen today (this world, and the great cultures of this word, are still very seductive). But this angel from heaven says that “Babylon the great” is “fallen, fallen”. It is as good as done. It is as if God has inscribed above the city the phrase, “abandon hope all ye who enter here”, for Babylon’s end is certain destruction.

From the human perspective it is hard to understand how this could be. When the Christians of the first century looked upon the Rome in all of its power and glory I’m sure they were tempted to think, “this empire will never be moved.” When the people of Israel were enslaved to Pharaoh I’m sure that they were tempted to think, “this power will never come to an end.” And we too are prone to look upon the great powers of the world in the same way today. These great nations and these great cultures seem to our natural senses to be immovable, all powerful, and eternal. It is no wonder, then, that men and women are often lured into the worship of them! These great powers seem to be almost divine and worthy of our worship to our natural senses !

But human history does show, and the word of God does plainly declare, that these powers are as good as fallen. This is true of individual nations, for in the last days “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” (Matthew 24:7, ESV). But it is also true of the whole course of human history which is marked by the succession of nations for, in due time, “the end will come” (Matthew 24:14, ESV).

How foolish it is, therefore, to put ones ultimate hope is something that is destined to fail. That seems to be the point of it all. It is stupid to place your trust in, to live for, and to worship that which is as good as dead, and yet that is what men and women the world over do.

A City Fueled By An Insatiable Desire For Pleasure

Secondly, notice that Babylon is described as a city fueled by an insatiable desire for pleasure.

In verse 3 the reason for Babylon’s fall is given: “For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living” (Revelation 18:3, ESV). It is this passion for sexual immorality, for wealth, for power, and for luxurious living that drives Babylon. That’s what makes her tick.

Notice how those that belong to Babylon mourn when she is judged. Verse 9: “And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning” (Revelation 18:9, ESV). Verse 11: “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls” (Revelation 18:11–13, ESV). Do you see how far men will do to have pleasure in this world? They will stoop even to the level of trading in human souls!

In verse 14 the idolatrous love affair that these men did have with the world is most plainly seen as the voice from heaven ridicules them, saying, “The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!” (Revelation 18:14, ESV). Clearly these men were driven by an insatiable desire for pleasure. They loved to the core of their being this world and the things of this world. They worshipped the creation instead of the Creator. Do you see how throughout this passage they are, again and again, described as “weeping” and “mourning” and “crying aloud? Verse 19: “And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste” (Revelation 18:19, ESV).

Truly, these men had their treasures stored up in Babylon. This is where their hearts were. They, being children of Babylon, lived with an insatiable desire for the pleasures of this world.

A City Filled With Pride 

Thirdly, notice that Babylon is described as a city filled with pride.

Verse 7: “As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’” (Revelation 18:7, ESV)

Certainly this is how the prideful and powerful within our societies do think of themselves – as if they are untouchable, as if their empires will never come to an end.

A City Ripe For Judgement

Fourthly, notice that Babylon is described as a city ripe for judgement.

Verse 5: “For her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.” (Revelation 18:5–6, ESV)

The phrase “God has remembered her iniquities” is meant to be heard in contrast to the covenant promise made by God to his people, when he says, For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34, ESV). God has covered the sins of his people by the blood of Christ. Though their “sins are like scarlet”, God has made them “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18, ESV). “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11–12, ESV).

Not so with those who are of the world. The worlds sins – the sins of those not in Christ – is piled high like heap of garbage, stinking and rotting. “Because of [their] hard and impenitent heart[s] [they] are storing up wrath for [themselves] on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5, ESV).

In verse 21 John sees a depiction of the judgment of Babylon: “Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more…” A milestone is a very large and heavy stone used to mill grain. You can imagine what it would look like for one of these to be thrown into the sea, and how quickly it sink and vanish into the dark abyss. So it will be with the judgemnet of Babylon.  Then we are told that “the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more…” These things that once made the culture so pleasant – these guilds which the Christians and Rome after found themselves barred from – will come to an end. Why? “For your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.’”

This is quite a commentary on human culture. We should take care not to push this too far in assuming that all cultures are equally wicked. Indeed, some are corrupt than others. Some are more fueled by an insatiable desire for pleasure, than others. And some are, therefore, more ripe for judgement than others, the pile of their sins being heaped hire than others.

The judgement pronounced against Babylon here is not meant to be applied with such exactness, but communicates more generally that this is how the world works. The engine that drives the world is fueled by an insatiable desire for sinful pleasure. The sins of the world do not go unnoticed by God. The world – all not in Christ – is indeed “storing up wrath for [themselves] on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5, ESV)

A City To Flee

Fifthly, notice that Babylon is described as a city to flee from.

Verse 4 seems most important.: “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues…’” (Revelation 18:4, ESV).

Here is the point. God wants his people to see the world for what it is. Recognize the seductiveness. See what is good in it and rightly to be enjoyed to the glory of God, but recognize also what is sinful. See how the world does temp men and women to live, not to the glory of God, but for their own pleasure. And see the end of the matter, that the world, and those of the world, are destined for judgement.

Flee from Babylon. “Come out of her… lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.”

Of course this is not all call to leave any particular city, or cities in general, but to flee from worldliness in general.

Listen to what John says directly in 1 John 2:15: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17, ESV). What John says directly here is communicated via the symbolism in Revelation 18.

Conclusion 

So what should we do in response to these things?

Come out of Babylon! Flee from the harlot. Her power may be concentrated in the large and prosperous and particularly seductive capitals and cities of this world, but her tentacles are far reaching.

I wonder, Christian, has she grabbed ahold of you? Does she have a hold upon your heart?

Your impulse might be to say, certainly not! But I would urge you to slow down in your reply.

How is your heart, friend?

How is your thought life?

What do you truly treasure? Is God and Christ? Or do you treasure the things of this world?

What is ultimate for you? What are living for? What can you not imagine living without?

The answers to these questions help us to identify the idols that do reside within our hearts.

Brothers and sisters, do not be deceived to think the things of this world to be of ultimate worth and worthy of our worship. Indeed, only God is worthy of our worship, and we must come to him through faith in Christ.

And once we come to faith in him we must worship and serve him as he has ordained in his word.

We are to obey God’s commandments in this world. We are to “Abhor what is evil [and] hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9, ESV).

We are to live for the furtherance of his kingdom in this world, understanding that there is also a kingdom of darkness.

We are to live in this world for his glory.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)

Posted in Sermons, Revelation 18, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Sermon: Heaven’s Commentary Concerning Babylon: Revelation 18

Household Worship Guide – Week of December 24th

While it is true that the people of God are to gather corporately to worship on the Lord’s Day (Hebrews 10:24-25), the scriptures also imply that we are to worship God in our homes between each Lord’s day (Deuteronomy 6:7). Emmaus’ weekly Household Worship Guide provides structure to lead singles, married couples, and families with children of all ages in the daily worship of God within the home. The guide simply encourages Christians to read, pray, and sing. In addition, the elder’s of Emmaus encourage the use of the Baptist Catechism for systematic instruction in the Christian faith.

This is a guide and should be used as such. The intent is not for an individual or family to follow the guide point by point, but rather to utilize the resource to craft a daily worship experience appropriate for their home. Keep it simple, keep it short, and keep it consistent (and don’t forget to be patient and flexible too).

For a detailed prayer guide, and for commentary on the catechism, please follow the links provided in the corresponding sections below.

May God be glorified each and every day!

Worship Through The Reading of God’s Word

·      SUNDAY > 2 Chr 29, Rev 15, Zech 11, Ps 142

·      MONDAY > 2 Chr 30, Rev 16, Zech 12, Ps 143

·      TUESDAY > 2 Chr 31, Rev 17, Zech 13, Ps 144

·      WEDNESDAY > 2 Chr 32, Rev 18, Zech 14, Ps 145

·      THURSDAY > 2 Chr 33, Rev 19, Mal 1, Ps 146‐147

·      FRIDAY > 2 Chr 34, Rev 20, Mal 2, Ps 148

·      SATURDAY > 2 Chr 35-36, Rev 21-22, Mal 3-4, Ps 149-150

Scripture Reading For The Upcoming Lord’s Day – December 31st

Sermon Text: TBD

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Worship Through Prayer – The Lord’s Prayer

Baptist Catechism 106

·       Q. What rule [has] God given for our direction in prayer?

·       A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer, but the special rule of direction is that prayer; which Christ taught His disciples, commonly called the Lord’s Prayer.

Recitation of the Lord’s Prayer

·       “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ ”For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.(Matthew 6:5–14, ESV)

Click the link for the Emmaus Prayer Guide (Will update link)

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Worship Through Song

Songs that are sung regularly on Sunday can be found here.

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Catechism – Systematic Instruction of God’s Word

Doctrinal Standard BC #114

·       Q. What does the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us? A. The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen,” teaches us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise Him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to Him; and in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, AMEN.

Memory Verse(s)

·      “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me”  (II Timothy 1:12, ESV).

Scripture

·       Study Passage: I Chronicles 29:10-20

·       Support Passages: II Chronicles 14:11, 20:6-11; Ephesians 3:20-21; Philippians 4:6; Revelation 5:13, 22:20-21

·       Bible Story: II Timothy

Click the link for the PDF version of the Doctrinal Standard

Posted in Devotional Thoughts, Family Devotional Guidelines, Posted by Phil. Comments Off on Household Worship Guide – Week of December 24th


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warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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