Summary: God’s judgment should give hope to the saint and motivation to repent to the sinner.
WHO CAN STAND?
Rev. 6:12 – 7:12
Sermon Objective: God’s judgment should give hope to the saint and motivation to repent to the sinner.
Oh! Excuse me everyone. I was so busy reading this morning’s paper that I didn’t listen to Rit’s song before my sermon. To be honest with you, I’d like to preach this morning but I am really engrossed in the Sunday newspaper. I seem to be a bit fixated on all the tragedies that are happening in our world. They seem to be dominating the headlines. It’s sort of unnerving. There is something about the fear and despair they produce … the sense of “urgent hopelessness” they incite that is riveting … almost intoxicating. I can’t seem to pull myself away from its magnetic draw!
And surely what I read from the news sources is the whole story. Right? They are objective. Right? They would not be showing me only the underbelly of the world simply to sell papers. Right?
I mean … the world must really be falling apart at an unprecedented pace and proportion. Right?
Do you think the world is falling apart? Do you think it’s all hopeless? That global ruin is inevitable? Many do.
I did a google search this week of the question, “Is the world falling apart?”
A sampling of the results from that entry would include:
• A citigroup economist saying that if you are talking about the global economy the answer is “yes” and that the euro may not even be around in one year.
• A young lady from Tokyo says observing that the hurricanes and earthquakes of recent years suggests it is.
• A Georgetown University professor suggesting that the cultural fracturing brought on by 9/11 and radical Islam are steering us toward end-times apocalypticism.
• A blogger suggesting that the violence in Mexico, Columbia, Iraq and other places is an indication of collapse.
• One ecological entry prophesied that the world’s determination to be dependent on a depleting oil supply was a guarantee that our world would collapse in short order.
• An ezine article stating that the fast changing/deteriorating social and cultural shifts taking place across the globe are signs that the world is indeed falling apart.
It’s not hard to find people who will tell you that the world is falling apart. In fact, it seems harder to find people with a confidence in a sovereign God who actually believe that “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1) than it is to find doomsday prophets.
And it’s not hard to find people who read John’s Apocalypse as if it is a doomsday newspaper either. In fact, reading it like it’s a Christian thriller novel or Nostradamus-style doomsday prophecy has become the new definition of the term “apocalypse” instead of what it really means … “revelation.” And perceiving the book as a sneak peak to the end of humankind rather than a motivation to trust a sovereign God and follow a conquering Lamb is now the modus operandi.
We must remember that the purpose for the book is encouragement and confidence not to be a sneak peak or pulse racing thriller novel.
Chapter six is a turning point in John’s Revelation. Jesus begins to open the scroll which has all the markings of a first century legal document – particularly a last will and testament.
What we have discovered in the first five seals suggests that natural man’s hope for an “inheritance” is sought via the things of this world. We discovered that such pursuits are a foolish place to put one’s hope and trust. The “four horsemen of the apocalypse” (the first four seals) show us how silly it is to trust in:
• “National Security” (v. 1-2)
• “Homeland Security” (v. 3-4)
• “Financial Security” (v. 5-6)
• “Physical Security” (v. 7-8)
The martyrs (which are introduced in the fifth seal) contrast this transitory security. They are safely nestled under the altar of God and are given robes of honor because of their faith and faithfulness.
Seal number six (today’s passage) again shows us that trusting and reveling in this world … any part of this world … will end in disaster while trusting in God brings victory.
6:12I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.