Will You Run or Repent?

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God's justice is just in time.

Revelation(52) (Part of the Jesus Unveiled(51) series)
by Stuart Johns(74) on June 24, 2018 (Sunday Morning(98))

God's Plan(9), Gospel(12), Justice(3)

Jesus Unveiled

Will You Run Or Repent?

(Revelation 6:12-17)

 

INTRODUCTION

“Colin Smith addresses people who object to God's judgment on sin:

 

You may say, "Wait a minute. How can any sin deserve everlasting destruction? If God is just, how can he punish like this?"

 

The best answer I ever heard to that question was given by a friend of mine who is a middle school pastor. He outlined the stages of the following scenario:

 

  • Suppose a middle school student punches another student in class. What happens? The student is given a detention.

  • Suppose during the detention, this boy punches the teacher. What happens? The student gets suspended from school.

  • Suppose on the way home, the same boy punches a policeman on the nose. What happens? He finds himself in jail.

  • Suppose some years later, the very same boy is in a crowd waiting to see the President of the United States. As the President passes by, the boy lunges forward to punch the President. What happens? He is shot dead by the secret service.

 

In every case the crime is precisely the same, but the severity of the crime is measured by the one against whom it is committed. What comes from sinning against God? Answer: Everlasting destruction.”

 

Colin S. Smith, from the sermon "God Will Bring Justice for You," www.UnlockingtheBible.com

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/august/5081511.html].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Running and repenting

        • As a high school student, some friends from work and I went to another friend’s house and toilet papered his front yard

        • While we were doing this, the neighbor’s dog started barking through the screen door, which drew the attention of the neighbor man

        • He hollered out the screen door at us and we ran away

        • As soon as I got home, I felt so convicted that I called my friend and confessed to rolling his house

        • His father was not pleased and was very upset with me

        • I had broken trust with him and it took a long time to rebuild that trust

    • My boys

        • There have been times when my boys have not told me about certain things that have happened, because they wanted to avoid the “wrath of Dad!”

        • There was a vase that I bought Judy in Romania that had gotten broken

        • I found out about it much later when we were packing to move

        • I’ve also found out about dents on vehicles after seeing it for myself – the boys never called right after the incident happened

 

  • WE

    • Run

        • Perhaps you have a story or stories from your youth where you did something and then ran

        • You didn’t want to get caught

        • Perhaps you got away with it

        • Maybe you have a story of doing something that you parents have never found out about

        • Some of us may be carrying around the guilt or pride of doing something wrong and never being caught

    • Repent

        • Others of us were caught in the deed or our conscience got the better of us and we repented

        • For some the conviction of the Holy Spirit was so strong that while we initially ran, we eventually repented

 

God is all-knowing, so whether or not we were caught by human beings here on earth, God knows what we did. ​​ He is aware of the circumstances surrounding how each martyr was killed throughout all time.

 

The sixth seal shows that God will judge and avenge the blood of those who were killed for the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained. ​​ We understand from this passage that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – God’s justice is just in time.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Revelation 6:12-17)

    • Signs (vv. 12-14)

        • Jesus opens the sixth seal and immediately we see that some pretty seismic things happen on earth and some pretty unusual things happen in the sky

        • PRINCIPLE – God is in control of His creation.

        • Earth (vv. 12b, 14b)

          • Earthquake

            • The imagery that John is sharing here would have been particularly alarming, especially for the churches at Sardis and Philadelphia (both cities were devastated by the earthquake that happened in AD 17)

            • Some pagans viewed earthquakes as judgment from the gods

            • Earthquakes are a part of God’s judgment

              • when the seventh trumpet is sounded and the seventh bowl is poured out

                • Revelation 11:13, 19, At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. ​​ Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven . . . Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. ​​ And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and earthquake and a great hailstorm.

                • Read Revelation 16:18-21

                • In Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, he says that the beginning of birth pains will include famines and earthquakes in various places (Matt. 24:7)

                • Isaiah 2:19, Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.

            • We see a couple of examples in Scripture where God’s presence on earth is sometimes accompanied by the earth shaking

              • In Exodus 19:18 we see the Lord descending on Mt. Sinai and part of what happened was the mountain trembled violently

              • At Jesus’ death we learn that the earth shook, rocks split, and tombs broke open (Matt. 27:51-52)

            • The shaking of the earth will cause mountains and islands to move

          • Every mountain and island removed from its place

            • The description here says that “every” mountain and island are removed from their place

              • The Greek word can be translated “all, any, every, the whole”

              • This earthquake will affect the entire earth

              • It will shake the foundations of the earth

            • Haggai 2:6, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ​​ ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.’”

            • Zechariah 14:4, On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

          • There is certainly seismic activity happening on the earth, but there is also cosmic activity in the heavens (sky)

        • Sky (vv. 12c-14a)

          • “For a people who held that the well-ordered movements of heavenly bodies were a token of God’s providential control, the breakdown of this order would be a grim announcement that the end of the world was at hand.” ​​ [Mounce, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 150]

            • Here the heavenly bodies that Mounce is talking about would have been the sun, moon, and stars

            • They knew the patterns and cycles well

            • They ordered their lives around the solar and lunar cycles

            • Some of us are more attuned to those cycles than others

              • Some hunters hunt based on the lunar cycles and how animals act and react during those cycles

              • Farmers are also pretty attentive to the solar and lunar cycles when it comes to planting and other aspects of farming

              • The ocean tides are affected by these cycles as well

            • The breakdown of the solar and lunar patterns and cycles will be an indication that something significant is happening – something has changed in God’s providential control of His creation

            • God is still in control of His creation and He is allowing seismic and cosmic activity according to His sovereign power

          • Sun turns black and moon turns blood red

            • We’re not going to spend a lot of time trying to explain how the sun turns black and the moon turns blood red

            • There are theories about how this will happen, but we’re not really told here

            • The principle that God is in control of His creation is the greater truth here

            • Here are a couple of theories:

              • The moving of every mountain and island will cause the surface of the earth to crack open and potentially allow volcanic activity (the ash and smoke from the volcanoes would block out the sun and make the moon appear red in color)

              • Nuclear warfare could produce a cloud “that would blacken the sun’s rays and make the moon appear red . . .” ​​ [Patterson, The New American Commentary, Revelation, 187]

              • Blood moons

                • These happen when a full lunar eclipse takes place

                • A full lunar eclipse is the result of the earth passing directly between the sun and the moon at just the right angel so that the moon is completely in the shadow of the earth

                • What causes the reddish or ruddy-brown color is a tiny bit of the earth’s light, from the sunrises and sunsets, fall on the surface of the moon, but the stretching of the light waves cause the light to appear red

                • There are three more lunar eclipses coming (July 27, 2018; January 19, 2019; July 16, 2019)

                • They will be visible in different parts of the world

              • The sun turning black and the moon turning blood red will be an event that the whole earth will see at the same time (they will either see the darkening of the sun or the moon turned blood red)

            • The prophets foretold these cosmic events

              • Joel 2:30-31, I will show wonders in the heavens and on earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. ​​ The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

              • Isaiah 50:3, I clothe the sky with darkness and make sackcloth its covering

                • The same imagery of sackcloth is used by Isaiah that John uses here in Revelation

                • “Sackcloth was a coarse woven fabric worn by ancient Israelites as a symbol of mourning – for the dead, for disaster, or for repentance.” ​​ [Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary, Revelation, 110]

            • The sun and moon aren’t the only heavenly bodies that are affected, but also the starry hosts

          • Stars fall

            • Most scholars agree that the stars falling to earth is the idea of a meteor shower

            • Easley explains that with our modern knowledge of astronomy we know that stars cannot literally fall to earth [Easley, 111]

            • Isaiah prophesied about this, All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; and the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree (Isaiah 34:4)

            • Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah in Mark 13:25 concerning the stars falling from the sky and the heavenly bodies being shaken

            • The heavens will be in such torment that the sky will look like a scroll being rolled up

          • Sky recedes

            • Patterson expresses it this way, “Almost certainly what is being described here are meteorological storms of such increased magnitude that tornado and hurricane-like effects are created everywhere in the sky, giving the look of the rolling up of a scroll.” ​​ [Patterson, 188]

            • I’m reminded of the what a tornado sky or massive storm front looks like (look at these pictures of a tornado sky and storm front skies)

            • For the 1st Century reader, the imagery of the scroll rolling up would have been poignant – if one of their scrolls had been torn down the middle while it was unrolled to be read, both sides would rapidly return to the wooden spindles they were rolled on to

            • That’s the idea of what the skies will look like when the earth is shaken and the heavens are in chaos

        • All of this happening by the divine sovereign will of God – He is still in control of His creation and His justice is just in time

        • The judgment that is being poured out on the inhabitants of the earth is really an effort by God to help them understand who He is and that they need to turn to Him to be saved

        • We see an important principle in vv. 15-17 . . .

    • No Escape (vv. 15-17)

        • PRINCIPLE – No one is exempt from God’s judgment.

          • Position in life doesn’t matter

            • John lists those who would normally get special treatment in this life (kings, princes, generals, the rich, and the mighty)

            • There will not be any special treatment for them when the wrath of God is poured out

            • Political, military, and economic leaders will not be able to drop names or shell out money to protect themselves

          • Social status in life doesn’t matter

            • John highlights the social status in the 1st Century – slave or free

            • This is his way of saying that everyone will come under God’s judgment – no one will be exempt

        • Response to God’s judgment

          • Everyone on earth hid

            • The mountains and islands aren’t in the same place – their GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) have changed

            • People are scrambling to find a place to hide from the wrath of God – they’re seeking self-preservation

              • Biblical examples [Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 295]

                • Lot and his daughters lived a cave in fear after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:30)

                • Five Amorite kings hid in a cave after Joshua had destroyed their armies (Josh. 10:16)

                • David hid in a cave from the wrath of Saul (1 Sam. 22:1)

                • The armies of the Israel hid in caves and rocks from the Philistines (1 Sam. 13:6)

              • We do the same thing when a natural disaster hits

                • Flooding – go to higher ground

                • Hurricane – flee inland or away from the hurricane

                • Tornado – retreat to the basement or the bathtub

                • Tsunami – move away from the ocean

                • Wild fires – leave our homes

            • They are fearful

              • Isaiah 13:6-8, Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. ​​ Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man’s heart will melt. ​​ Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. ​​ They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.

              • Isaiah 2:19, Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.

            • I like what Mounce says, “From the day when Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of God (Gen 3:8), the guilty conscience has made people fugitives from God. ​​ But now there is no longer a place to hide.” ​​ [Mounce, 152]

          • They seek death instead of repentance

            • They would prefer to die than to face God and Jesus Christ in judgment

              • Unfortunately dying will not keep them from judgment

              • They will still have to face God and Jesus Christ

            • Hosea 10:8, Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!”

            • There is also an element here of blaming God

              • They obviously know who is in control of the seismic and cosmic events

              • They want the mountains and rocks to hide them from the face of God and Jesus Christ

              • They will probably say the same things then that we say now, when natural disasters hit us

                • “It’s all God’s fault!”

                • “What did we do to deserve this?”

                • “Why is God punishing me?”

                • Insurance companies refer to natural disasters as “acts of God”

                • My parents experienced an “act of God” this past week when a tree fell on their house

                  • A branch went through my sisters bedroom and missed her by two feet

                  • It damaged both of my parent’s vehicles as well

            • They are still running from God instead of repenting before God

              • “There is no security, no firm ground to stand on, nothing in the universe to depend on except God himself. ​​ The rest of creation will collapse.” ​​ [Keener, The NIV Application Commentary, Revelation, 225]

              • We see here the total and complete rejection of God

              • They’re statement, “Who can stand?” shows that they have lost all hope and that they continue to refuse to acknowledge God and Jesus Christ as their Savior

 

  • YOU

    • Run or repent?

        • Perhaps you can relate today, because you are running from God or trying to hide from Him

          • God is all-knowing and present everywhere, so there is nothing you’ve done that is hidden from Him

          • You may think that running and hiding from God is working just fine for you, but a day is coming when the God of creation will remove every mountain and island from its place (God is all-powerful)

          • There will be no place for you to run and hide

        • There is hope for you

          • The wrath of God and the Lamb have not been poured out on the earth yet

          • We have not experienced the seismic and cosmic events that John describes here

          • There is still time for you to repent and turn to God and Jesus Christ for salvation

            • Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

            • Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

            • Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love four us in this: ​​ While we were still sinners, Christ died for us

            • Romans 10:9-10, 13, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved . . . for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

    • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior from sin and confess that with my mouth.

 

  • WE

    • As followers of Jesus Christ we have been commanded to take this message of hope and salvation to every nation

        • Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ​​ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”

        • We are called to Pursue, Grow, and Multiply disciples

        • Our personal testimony, of the life change that took place when we believed in Jesus and confessed that with our mouth, is the most powerful tool we have in sharing the message of hope and salvation to a lost world

        • We can’t stand by hoping that someone else will share this message of hope and salvation – we all have to be actively aware of the divine appointments that God provides for us each day

    • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Be attentive to the divine appointments that God has for me each day, to share His message of hope and salvation.

 

CONCLUSION

We learned last week that those who had given their lives for the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained were curious about the timing of God’s divine judgment and vengeance of their blood. ​​ He gave them a white robe and told them to wait a little while longer.

 

We saw today that God’s justice is just in time. ​​ He is aware of the afflictions of His people. ​​ He has not forgotten what we have suffered for His Word. ​​ He is aware of the testimony we have maintained. ​​ The day of God’s wrath is certain. ​​ It will happen. ​​ He will judge the inhabitants of the earth who have completely rejected Him.

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