Summary: The bowl judgments remind us of the seriousness of sin and the need to repent continually
Randy, the painter, often thinned his paint to make it go further. So when the local Baptist Church decided to restore its biggest building. Randy put in a low bid and got the job.
He bought the paint, and, yes, thinned it to make it go further. Well, Randy was painting away, the job nearly completed, when suddenly there was a clap of thunder. The sky opened, and the rain poured down. It washed the thinned paint off the church.
Randy fell from the scaffold, landing among the puddles of paint that had run off the building. He was no fool. He knew this was a judgment from the Almighty. Randy raised his voice to the heavens, crying, "Oh, God, forgive me; what should I do?"
And from above, a mighty voice roared: “Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!"
While we might chuckle at that really bad joke, the fact is that sin and repentance are no laughing matters. And perhaps the greatest benefit of the passage that we’ll look at this morning is that it reminds us of just how serious of a matter that sin is.
What is not surprising in our culture is the fact that unbelievers underestimate the seriousness of sin. So to an extent that I’ve certainly never seen before in my lifetime people openly flaunt behaviors that the Bible clearly identifies as sinful. They joke that they don’t mind going to hell because all of their buddies will be there, too, and they’ll have a great time partying together, not realizing that the fate that awaits them will be more horrible than they could ever imagine.
But what is really scary to me is that those of us who identify ourselves as Christians also have a tendency to underestimate the seriousness of sin. And much of that blame must go to the church itself and to those within the church that have peddled a “cheap grace” that minimizes the seriousness of our sin and the need for genuine repentance. So there are many so called Christians who just keep on sinning because they figure all they have to do is to ask God and He’ll forgive their sin, which He will, at least up to a point.
But I’m convinced that we will never truly be able to live the kind of life God want us to live until we begin to see our sin from His perspective and realize just how serious it is. And chapter 16 of Revelation very clearly presents the seriousness of our sin from God’s perspective. You’ll want to go ahead and open your Bibles to that chapter and follow along this morning. Since we’re going to cover the entire chapter, I’m going to break it down into several sections. Follow along as I begin reading in verse 1:
1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.
4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,
“Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
for you brought these judgments.
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink.
It is what they deserve!”
7 And I heard the altar saying,
“Yes, Lord God the Almighty,
true and just are your judgments!”
8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
1. Sin is serious because its impact is far-reaching
You will note a pattern here that we’ve previously seen in the Book of Revelation as these first four bowls are poured out against God’s creation. We also saw that same pattern with the first four seals and the first four trumpets. These first four bowls impact the earth, the seas, the waters and the objects in the heavens. But, as we’ve discussed before, there is an increasing intensity to these judgments of God. While the seals and trumpets only impacted a portion of God’s creation, the bowls impact all of it.