Summary: By comparing the first four seals of Rev. 6 to Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6, the world’s offer of “life” can be seen as a counterfeit to the offer made by God.
THE COUNTERFEIT KINGDOM
Rev. 6:1-18; Matthew 6:9-13
Sermon Objective: By comparing the first four seals of Rev. 6 to Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6, the world’s offer of “life” can be seen as a counterfeit to the offer made by God.
1I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" 4Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.
5When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"
7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" 8I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
Reading about the four horsemen of the apocalypse can be rather unnerving can’t it? It is meant to be. It shows us the consequences of loving this world and the things of this world. In another book written by John he specifically warns against this. 1 John 2:15 [KJV] says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Last week we looked at these four seals and discovered that human self-will attempts to provide security in life from all the wrong places and it always ends in ruin.
• Some Trust in “National Security” (v. 1-2)
• Some Trust in “Homeland Security” (v. 3-4)
• Some Trust in “Financial Security” (v. 5-6)
• Some Trust in “Physical Security” (v. 7-8)
When John wrote The Revelation the churches he was serving were under duress and extreme temptation. THERE WAS ANOTHER OFFER ON THE TABLE FOR THEM; AN OFFER THAT PROMISED TO ALLEVIATE THE HARDSHIPS THAT THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST WAS PRODUCING. The offer was to turn their eyes to the world … and trust the world (Rome) to meet their every need. Rome definitely boasted of producing and providing everything a man could ever want. This temptation is why the empire is graphically referred to as a seductress in the book. To “partner” with her brought you in league; her destiny and fortune was your destiny and fortune and, as far as Rome was concerned, “the future was bright!”
The problem with joining hands with the world was (and is) that everything it offers is fake and fleeting. Oh, it may look authentic and timeless but it crashes down in an instant and it always seems to crash down when you need it to be the most reliable too!
Throughout John’s book, the world offers appealing counterfeit alternatives to the authentic God. Whether it be salvation, material provision, inner peace and satisfaction, or even timeless existence. But John tells his church that choosing the world will always prove to be a bad choice.
And the price you pay to be in league with the world? Nothing less than your soul!
There are a lot of counterfeit things offered in our world. Some of them have serious consequences. Take the unsafe merchandise you can purchase as an example. Investigators have seized:
• Brake pads made of kitty litter, sawdust, and dried grass
• Medical test kits that give faulty readings
• Toothpaste made with a chemical found in antifreeze
• Baby formula with absolutely no nutritional value
• Cell-phone batteries that can explode
• Bootlegged medications like "Lipitor" and "Celebrex" containing the wrong active ingredients.
The reason there are counterfeit products is because the original is so valuable. The original offers us something genuine.
This world offers counterfeits, but God offers authentic, substantive life! In another book John wrote he quotes Jesus who said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (The Gospel of John 10:10).