Summary: God has already saved us from our sins when we walk in faith with his Son. He is coming to save us from this sinful world to the place where there is no sin and therefore no death or sorrow.
“Await Salvation Expectantly”
We continue on in our series of messages called Victorious! which takes us through the book of Revelation. I hope you’ve been following the reading guide and have come prepared today because we won’t have time to read every verse in all six chapters. So, go ahead and open your Bibles to Revelation 15-20. We’re going hear John’s plea for us to await salvation expectantly.
The wrath of God is not a popular topic these days. In the face of those critical of the idea of God’s wrath, we are hesitant to speak about it. In fact, in some quarters, we have become apologetic about it.
Let’s face it. We all like to hear about the love of God. We like it when someone preaches or teaches about those tender moments with God. Apparently, according to our culture, if you believe in God, he never gets angry.
Maybe it’s just a reaction against a judgmental past; a time when pulpits thundered in storms of righteous anger but never broke forth in the sunlight of God’s love. Maybe we see the Westboro Baptist Church picketing another funeral with hard, bitter faces and signs that exalt a God of hate and we don’t want anyone to think that we are like that. Maybe it’s because so many in our broken culture come from abusive homes and they desperately need a whole new concept for the word “father.”
Those are not bad reasons. But when we avoid the truth of God’s wrath, have we lost something?
There’s an image that’s been going around Facebook for quite awhile that shows Jesus in the temple with the moneychangers. The caption reads: If someone asks “What would Jesus do,” remind them that turning over tables and breaking out whips is a possibility.
If the book of Revelation has taught us anything thus far, it’s this: God’s wrath is nothing to scoff at. It is holy and terrible, full-blooded. It’s just and fair. It’s completely unstoppable.
And that’s a good thing. I want a God of wrath.
That may sound strange . . . until you watch the nightly news. I hear of the atrocities perpetrated around this sorry globe, and I shake my head in shock and disgust.
Stories of 10-year-old Cambodian girls sold into sexual slavery. Stories of 13-year-old boys in the Sudan taken as child soldiers and brainwashed to kill. Stories of mother and fathers working in offices on a September Tuesday morning when planes crash into their towers with fiery destruction. Christians in the Middle East being beheaded for their faith in Jesus.
Murder, rape, kidnapping, drug trafficking, genocide, malnourished and abused children left to fend for themselves because their parents are too selfish to take care of someone other than themselves.
So we ask: When will it end? Who will stop this madness? And the answer is: God will.
We have a God who is coming to save us. God has already saved us from our sins when we walk in faith with his Son. He is coming to save us from this sinful world to the place where there is no sin and therefore no death or sorrow.
Who really wants a God who sees his people being brutalized by Satan, the bully of this world, and does nothing? No. I want a God who wades into the middle of our enemies and whips the lot of them.
Revelation 15-20 shows us a God who is coming to judge with wrath. For those who commit atrocities on the nightly news or just jeers at the notion of a God and a Satan, a heaven and a hell – this is very bad news.
But if you’re a follower of Jesus, this is very good news. The persecuted believers in the Roman province of Asia in the first century are surrounded by tormenters. They’re outnumbered and afraid and they need someone to ride in to their rescue. This section of the book of Revelation shows us what salvation looks like.
Salvation is a Deliverance from Slavery
In Revelation 15-16, we come to the final series of seven judgments. Rev. 15:1 – I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.
As we’ve seen, the seven seals, trumpets, and bowls all tell the same story – God’s judgment leading up to the end of time. Each retelling of the story carried a different emphasis. The suffering in the first cycle purified the saints. The second cycle called sinners to repentance. The final cycle simply unleashes full and final punishment on a rebellious world.
God has been releasing his wrath in increments. Rom. 1:18 – The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.