There was a study commissioned by Post-It Brands in 2013 that founded you are not actually crazy when you forget where you're keys are on a regular basis. In fact, the results say the average person forgets four things a day. The study was conducted with 2,000 adults and the most common things forgotten in addition to forgetting where your keys are were misplacing your phone and misplacing your wallet. In total, most of the respondents were found to have forgotten over 1,400 things in a year.
According to this study, ladies, it should be noted that 56% of guys really rely on YOU in a relationship to remember things. The opposite is said for you; most women say they can't rely on their other half to remember things. There is also proof that guys are more forgetful on passing along important messages or remembering birthdays and anniversaries.
Post-It Brands says, “Our days are so jam packed full of tasks whether at work or at home, it’s no surprise people find it hard to keep track of everything. With much longer working hours, financial concerns and just busier lifestyles, even those with the best memory can stumble when it comes to remembering even the most simplest of things during a hectic day.”
So what are the most common things forgotten by people? They came up with what they called the "THE FORGOTTEN FIFTY.” Here are some of them. See if these are true for you.
Forgetting what you went into a room for, forgetting where you put your keys, forgetting where your car is parked, forgetting where you put your wallet, forgetting where you put your glasses or sunglasses when they’re on your head, forgetting your passwords or pin numbers, forgetting special days such as birthdays or anniversaries, forgetting a meeting and then double booking yourself, picking up the phone and forgetting who you were going to call, forgetting your debit/credit card in the ATM machine, forgetting to charge your phone, forgetting to flush the toilet or to put the toilet seat back down, forgetting to renew your car registration or inspection, forgetting to take your medication and finally forgetting to return library books
Those last couple are the ones that I have had trouble with over the years and still do. A couple of years after I moved up to Pennsylvania in 1987, I was going through my stuff and found a library book that had been due in 1979. It was 10 years late. They must not have missed it as I never received a notice in the mail. I have also forgotten to renew my car’s registration and inspection. My wife, Judy was stopped one time in my car with one of our youth from Hanover and was cited for an out of date registration. I think it was 6 months late. And then a year or so after coming to Idaville, Seth Johns and I were coming back from Gettysburg after delivering canned goods to the Gettysburg Soup Kitchen when I was stopped for an out of date inspection. I think it was only three months late. My biggest one even today is forgetting to take my medication. If my routine in the morning is changed in any way I forget to take it. In fact, one of the days I was working on my sermon for this morning I actually did forget to take my medication.
So, how about you? Yell out something that you tend to forget.
What do you think the following places have in common? St. Elmo, Colorado, Monte Ne, Arkansas, Monroe, VA, Tartown, PA, Aitch, PA, Ricketts, PA, Somerfield, PA. They are all towns that for one reason or the other were once alive and teeming with activity but today have been abandoned and forgotten.
The millstone would have been a very heavy stone usually four to five feet in diameter and a foot thick used for pulverizing grain into flour. Here God is telling us that Babylon is going to be pulverized into nothing, just as a heavy millstone pulverizes grain. It will no longer be a great city with great power. A stone of that nature would sink to the bottom of the sea. It could not float back to the surface and it would never be recovered. This stone is used to illustrate the judgment that is coming upon Babylon. It will be sudden, swift and sure. And it is a judgment that is forever settled! Babylon will be destroyed and will never be found again. We see a parallel in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in that no trace of those two cities has ever been found to this day.
This is stressed seven times in chapter 18 showing the completeness of Babylon’s judgment. We see this once in verse 14, once in verse 21, three times in verse 22 and twice in verse 23. Further, in each case the negative “no” or “not” in the Greek text is a very emphatic double negative that means “by no means.” This is the final incarnation of that evil city that Satan has used over the millennia for his purposes against the people of God. The destruction of Babylon that John is seeing will be violent, sudden and so complete that it will never be found again and will be forgotten forever. The warning for John’s readers and for us today is our big idea this morning. That those who align themselves with Babylon will be forgotten forever.
Three, there’s an end to the food industries. The millstones which grind the grain for flour will also stop. The food supply, which at that point is already in short supply, will now disappear altogether.
Four, there’s an end to the constant, twenty-four hour activity of the marketplace as illustrated in the loss of the lamps to illuminate commerce both night and day. The lamp which lights the homes and businesses will be permanently dark. A light in the window of a house suggests happiness, hope and family. All these are taken away when Babylon falls. The homes of the world will be plunged into darkness and despair! Darkness, symbolizing the spiritual state of the world and the system of the beast, will now engulf everything. Imagine how it would be to experience total blackness. This would again echo the plague of darkness in Egypt.
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Throughout history God has always had a witness in the world. That witness has always been at war with the kingdom of Satan. Here God is telling us that the light of a candle will no longer shine. This could also mean there is no longer a flicker of the gospel to be taught anymore because the day of salvation for those who oppose God is now past.
As Christ prophesied, men and women will be marrying and remarrying without any real concern for marriage as a divine institution of God. When marriage is entered into, it will be a mere convenience if they bother to marry at all. Life during the Tribulation will go on as usual in spite of its judgments, which shows just how callused people will become and how much they will be enslaved to the luxuries and pleasures of the world. All the activities of this ungodly system together will pridefully proclaim, “We can be happy and fulfilled and great without God.” But it will come to a sudden and violent end. Note that we’re told that none of these things will be found anymore in the city, or seen any more in the city or heard any more in the city. The diversity of occupations indicates the impossibility of escape—the destruction will fall on all classes of people alike. The sound of silence in Babylon will be final and deafening and that silence will be a testimony to God's devastating judgment.
The third part of our text this morning is called the “Reason for Judgment” and is found in verses 23b-24. This is what it says, “for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.”
There are three reasons we are given for the judgment of Babylon being so final. One, we’re told it is because Babylon’s “merchants” were “the great men of the earth”. The expression “great men” in the Greek means “the chief, noble, the magnates of society.” These are the men who were looked up to, worshipped, honored, adored, and presented to everyone as the ultimate. They had the power in society; they controlled the destinies of men, and lived in the super luxury which everyone is supposed to want and that people think will give them happiness.
They were made ‘great’ in a strictly human sense by Babylon and they held their greatness over others in an oppressive and inhumane manner. Matthew 20:25 says this, “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.” And James 5:1-6 say this, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.”
It is because of this viewpoint that judgment comes. It is a perversion and a prostitution of divine values and priorities. These were people who worshipped and longed for wealth and luxury and thereby compromised their principles and priorities to play the harlot with the merchants of Babylon. Money and luxury was their god. To them character, righteousness and integrity meant nothing.
Thirdly, we’re told that this judgment upon Babylon is so final because in the city was found “the blood” of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth”. The word “blood” is plural which stresses the many deaths and the magnitude of Babylon’s crimes against the people of God all through history. Babylon as a system was responsible for all the murders of God’s people from the murder of Abel to the time of John’s Revelation and to the end of time. Therefore, because of Babylon's accumulated guilt it will be destroyed once and for all at the end of the great tribulation.
Jesus similarly lamented over the generation of the city of Jerusalem in His time in Matthew 23:35. This is Jesus talking, “so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Jerusalem’s destruction was temporary, Babylon’s will not be.
At the end Babylon will be joyless, dark, and silent, and will stand out as a monument to the utmost vengeance of God. Babylon will fall and will never rise again. Her destruction can’t be cured or changed.
What a horrifying place this future city will be! What a dreadful system of ungodliness it will embody! No wonder God’s judgment will, at last, fall upon it so suddenly, violently and completely!
Pastor Stuart three weeks ago told us in chapter 18, verse 4 that we, God’s faithful people, are commanded to ‘come out’ of Babylon, lest we “share in her sins” and “receive of her plagues. But why do we need to “come out” of Babylon? What’s the harm?
In an issue of Atlantic magazine there was an article by Prof. Bernard Lewis of Princeton, the dean of American orientalists. At that time, before his retirement and disappearance from public life, he was a respected scholar and commentator upon all things having to do with Islam. In the article he notes that the two “expansive and civilization-defining” religions in the world are Christianity and Islam. Both of them, he says, have a problem with tolerance. And that is inevitable. For they both believe that they have the final truth from God and that everyone must believe that truth and accept it and live by it or else. Prof. Lewis, like so many others who think the same way, failed to recognize that everyone is intolerant in this way; the difference is simply what they happen to be intolerant about! Nevertheless in the article Bernard Lewis expressed the hope that more and more Christians would become Christians of the modern, relativistic type who believe that all religions lead to God, that there are many ways to conceive of religious truth, that there is nothing really important at stake in the choice of one religion or another. If so religion would increasingly become no big deal, certainly nothing to fight and die for as did the terrorists of 9/11. In that way we would all get along.
But to say that – and of course there are many others besides Bernard Lewis saying just that to the Christian church today – to wish that is precisely the same thing as saying that Christians should not come out of Babylon. It is to wish for the reverse of what John commands Christians to do. It is to wish that Christians would make their peace with Babylon, which, of course, is precisely what Babylon wants them to do! Then they will have forsaken Christ and gone over to the Devil, left the City of God to become a citizen of the City of Man.
I remind you that the Book of Revelation was written to and for the Church. This book was to be read in the worship services of the churches John was writing to. If you ask why churches go bad, why they lose their way, why Christian churches in great number, especially in Europe, the United States, and in Canada that once stood for the gospel of Christ, now spout smooth, vapid and toothless slogans to largely empty sanctuaries; why such churches no longer interest their own children; why they never witness the revolutionary impact of the gospel of Christ on human life; the answer is this: in every case they refused to come out of the world, they got into a double harness with unbelief, they weakened, blurred, smudged and then finally obliterated the bright line that distinguishes faith and unbelief, wickedness from righteousness, darkness from light, God from idols. They did precisely what Bernard Lewis hoped Christians would do! By refusing to keep the difference between Babylon and the New Jerusalem clear, by refusing to keep the distinction between the two kingdoms front and center, and then by refusing to live out that distinction, they lost the distinction altogether and became part of Babylon and didn’t even realize it in most cases. Many of Babylon’s most beautiful churches were once Christian churches! When Christians merge with Babylon, Babylon does not become Christian; Christians become Babylon! We need to come out of Babylon because if we continue to align ourselves with Babylon, we will be forgotten forever. That brings us to our next step for this morning. My next step is to come out of Babylon so I will not share in her sins and be forgotten forever.
My title this morning is taken from a Willie Nelson song called, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” It also comes from Monday Night Football back in the days of Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and Don Meredith. Don Meredith was a star quarterback in college at SMU and later for the Dallas Cowboys. His style was a down home, country boy image being from Texas. One of the funniest things he would do took place toward the end of games in which the outcome was obvious – one team was just too far ahead and it was a foregone conclusion that they were going to win the game. In this situation, Meredith would break into the old country western song by Willie Nelson…“Turn out the lights…the party’s over”. There is coming a day when the One who is the Light of the world, will turn out the lights of the world. The code name that is used here for the world is “Babylon.” What we have seen today is this evil city and its people in the end of time who are only worried about the “party” will be destroyed and will be forgotten forever.
In the late 90’s Judy and I were working with the youth at Uriah UMC just over the way from Idaville. For about three or four years in a row we would have a New Year’s Eve lock in. I remember our lock in on December 31, 1999. For weeks or even months everyone was worried about computers and other infrastructure in the area and the entire United States. What was going to happen when the clock struck midnight as we rung in the New Year and a new millennium? Would the world become dark and be plunged into chaos? Of course, I put a flyer together. I always thought I had a flair for the dramatic so would try to come up with a catchy phrase when putting events together. It actually comes in handy even now when I work on titles for sermons etc. So when I put the flyer together for this particular New Year’s Eve Lock In it read, “Where you going to be when the lights go out?” My premise was what better place than church to be at if “the world was coming to an end”. So as I finish this morning, I want to leave you with a question, “Where will you find yourself when the lights go out and the party’s over?” Will you find yourself aligned with Babylon, with this world, and forgotten forever, or will you be aligned with God and the Lamb and spend forever in their presence?
As the ushers prepare to take up the communication cards and the praise team comes to lead us in a final song, bow your heads with me as I pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, we confess that at times we are “of the world” and not just “in” it more than we care to admit. This morning we ask you for the strength to “come out” of Babylon. We do not want to share in her sins and be forgotten and separated from you forever. I pray that we would heed your Holy Spirit in our lives daily and follow your command to “be in the world but not of it.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.