Summary: The seven bowls of God’s wrath, as described in the book of Revelation. Full text, preaching outline, MP3, and Powerpoint will be placed at www.sermonlist.com
The Bible begins by showing how man fell away from God. In the rest of the Bible, it shows how God pursues man so we can be reconciled to Him. And the Bible ends by showing how God takes those who love Him and takes them to Heaven.
But the end of the Bible shows something else, too. It shows how God pours out His wrath on those who do not love Him; those who have refused to live for Him.
Today, I would like to spend some time in the book of REVELATION, the last book of the Bible; specifically chapters 15 and 16.
A young cadet was going through the police academy and was taking the final exam before graduation. The last question on that exam posed this scenario.
“You are on patrol in the city when a large explosion occurs on the next block. You rush over and find a big hole in the middle of the street, and a van turned over on its side.
“You rush to the van to find a man and a woman. You recognize the man as an escaped convict and you recognize the woman as the wife of your police chief. And they both smell of strong alcohol.
“Then you notice a man running out of a nearby house saying the blast has made his wife go into labor. At the same time, you see a man lying on the ground who has been injured in the blast, and then a motorist stops to offer assistance and you realize he is wanted for bank robbery.”
The question ends by asking the officer to write down what he would do in that situation. The officer writes, “I would take off my badge and join the crowd.”
The first thing we need to realize is that people of any time period are just like the people of any other period of time. Our basic feelings and instincts never change; when people don’t know what to do, they always seem to “join the crowd”.
Keep that in mind as we review the seven churches in Asia. Also, keep in mind that one of the worst things we can do when it comes to God, is to “follow the crowd” as the crowd is always walking away from God.
In earlier chapters, we see where God’s partial judgment will come upon the earth as the sounding of trumpets; all because of man’s sin and rebelliousness against God.
We see where the judgment is shown as reapers going out to collect the inhabitants of earth and throwing them into the winepress of God’s wrath, just as a farmer would do with grapes.
And in chapters 15 and 16, it shows us the full fury of God’s wrath against Rome. But before you think the book of REVELATION is all about God’s wrath and resultant punishment, it is also a book of God’s love and His wonderful promise. We see the victory those people have who didn’t just “join the crowd”, but who stood tall and followed the Lord, even in perilous and uncomfortable times.
We see where the saints of glory had been persecuted by the nation of Rome, which also represents our world today, and they were standing before the very throne of God. They were given white stones with their names written on them, which was God’s sign of victory! They are encouraged through death to receive the holy blessings of God.
Those saints were like the old janitor at a local high school. He would sit in the bleachers after school, reading his Bible as the high school students practiced basketball. One day, a coach, who was also a pastor, asked him what he was reading and he said he was reading the book of REVELATION.
The coach asked him if he understood what he was reading and the janitor assured the coach that he understood it very well. He said, “It means we are going to win, and that alone is what keeps me faithful to my Savior.”
Chapters 12 and 13 show the devil standing on the shore as a beast emerges from the sea. That beast brings chaos and pure hate against God’s people. But in chapter 15, John describes looking at a sea that is like glass mixed with fire. It is like a beautiful sunset reflecting off a calm sea. It is a picture of absolute tranquility and peace.
And upon this sea are those who have defeated Satan and gone on to be with God. They are holding harps and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
REVELATION 15:3-4 give us the words to this wonderful song.
"Great and Marvelous are your deeds Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.