The God of this world has two viruses he has been infecting all of humanity with since the dawn of the human race: Religion (making my own way to God) & Materialism (things are more important than God) -Religion is trying to achieve God’s favor by human achievement. -Materialism is seeking physical things (pleasures, possessions, power) more than God.
We’ve come to hour 18, in our journey through the book of Revelation, the 18th class. We’re covering Revelation 18 and 19. What’s amazing is the title of this lesson, When the World Passes Away. Most often, prophetically, we think of that, like the slide you see, the disintegration of the Earth. I’d like to read 1 John 2 and want you to connect in your mind how the book of Revelation connects other portions of the scripture, as we’ve seen in almost every lesson.
Now, 1 John 2:15-17 is one of those core verses that in this list of verses we publish online. I call it the 108 verses every believer should know. This is one of them. It’s the core of everything we believe and know about the Lord. 1 John 2, and I’ll read it to you.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Now that’s a very serious verse. Most of you have heard the next verse, verse 16.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
So, God in 1 John 2 is defining world, or what you may have heard in discussion of Bible study or in church, worldliness or world likeness or being conformed to the world. All of those concepts are what we’re talking about the world is passing away.
1 John 2 says this, look at verse 17, “And the world is passing away.”
So, what we’re looking at is when the world passes away, in context. Look of Revelation 17- religion. Revelation 18, where we’re going to begin materialism. Those are Satan’s deadly viruses, but when that whole chapter is done look what we come to. The saints in Heaven and the second coming of Christ. So, God has designed Revelation to show us His priorities. As 1 John 2 says, “the world is passing away, and the lusts of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
Look at this, “the world is passing away, […] but those that do the will of God abides forever.” They come with Christ at His second coming, they’re at the wedding supper, banquet of the Lamb in Revelation 19 1-10. They are the ones who do not love the world and when the world passes away, their world hasn’t passed away, because it’s the Lord.
Let’s pray and ask the Lord to bless this word we’ve read in this chapter to our hearts.
Dear Father, I thank you for this lesson. Perhaps this lesson touches most on where most of us are because most of us are constantly immersed in a world that seeks to get our attention onto the physical and off of the spiritual. Seeks to make your word dull, seeks to make your word not more than our necessary food, but something we often forget about for great periods of time. How I pray that this lesson and the world that’s passing away will renew in all of our hearts, a desire to not love the world. To not love the things in the world. To be aware of the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. To know that loving the world means we don’t have your love within us. Increase your love within us so that we love you and your word and your truth and your plan. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Remember where we were yesterday? Satan’s two deadly viral infections. Satan has two desires that we get infected with.
- Number one, he wants us to be infected with religion, making my own way to God. Like the idea that it really doesn’t matter whatever I think, whatever I want to, God will accept anything. That’s Satan’s view, that’s an infection and it’s deadly.
- Materialism, as opposed to religion, is things are more important than God. So, physical things, my pleasure is more important than God. My possessions and me accruing more, and earning more, and having more is more important than God and His word, and His will, or me having power. You know, what’s interesting is that God said His strength is made perfect in our weakness, but materialism says you have to have more power, you have to seek physical power and domination.
The next slide, remember where we are in the book of Revelation? Christ Church on Earth is the first three chapters, 1-3. Christ Church in Heaven is chapters 4 and 5 and look, we’re going to be on the other half of that. Revelation 19: 1-10, it goes back to the Church in Heaven and we see the great banquet and we’ll read those words. Then, where we began many, many classes ago, the tribulation events in Heaven and on Earth, that’s Revelation 6 to 18.
So, if you remember
- 1-3 Church on Earth.
- 4&5 Church in Heaven, as well as 19:1-10.
- Then, from chapter 16-18, is the tribulation. Look where we are, we are in chapter 18, concluding our view of the tribulation on Earth and the culmination.
- The exclamation point of the tribulation is the second coming of Christ, when He comes to right all wrongs, to execute vengeance. So, that shows us the fourth event, the second coming.
- Then, we’re going to see in the next class, Christ Earthly millennial rule in Revelation 20. As well as maybe 10% of the Old Testament is all about when Jesus returns, rules on Earth, and Israel comes back to all of her promises in the Davidic covenant.
- Then, we see the final rebellion. We’ll see that in the next class, which is just an amazing time to examine the real core of humanity, being our hearts are deceitfully wicked, Jeremiah 17 tells us.
- Then, dwelling with God in Heaven.
Our lesson for today, live for what’s eternal. Look at this, remember yesterday I told you these are your handouts because you’re out there on the other side of electronica. I can’t send to you your handouts, but I can. Hand, write them for you on these white boards and you can, if you need them, take screenshots or whatever.
Number one, live for what lasts. Live for what’s eternal, the slide says.
Now look in your Bible with me, in Matthew 6, verse 24. The Sermon on the Mount. This is what Jesus said. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Live for what lasts. What the Lord is saying is, Satan is always wanting us to target the temporary. To give up the eternal for the temporary, the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, the pride of life as 1 John 2, we just read. So, if he can’t get you infected with religion, which is earn your way to Heaven and find your own way, and just as Isaiah 53 says, go your own way. “All we like sheep have gone astray, we’ve turned to our own way.” That’s religion. If he can’t get you that way, Chapter 18 says, he’ll get you with materialism. Living for the material world, for physical pursuits, physical possession, physical power. That’s what Satan wants. Jesus said, no, you can’t have two masters. You can’t serve me and religion. You can’t serve me and materialism. You can’t serve me and the world that’s passing away. So, it’s huge. This is what Revelation 18 tells us, a cataclysmic day is on the horizon of the future that will launch a series of events that arrest everyday life on planet Earth.
Now, you just got a preview of it. There has been no history in modern times that compares to this COVID-19 period where basically, almost every country on Earth is following some kind of sheltering, social isolation, social distancing, and watching the millions of infections rise. Did you know there’s coming a day when it’s not going to be a shortage of meat in America? The fact that there are drug shortages and ventilator shortages we’ve heard about and all that, what’s going to happen is a complete economic collapse. What the Bible says is that there is a coming global financial collapse. Wow.
That’s what chapter 18 is all about. There is going to be a worldwide collapse of materialism. Of the seeking, and finding, and living for material things. There’ll be no radio, no TV, no telephone. The internet, the supply of power will fade and blink off. Darkness will rule in the homes and businesses of the world. In short, there’s a day when the lights are going off all over planet Earth and will not come back on. Now, some of you think that’s like a solar flare, or a disaster, or some kind of global warming event? No, no, it is the result of God’s saying you have lived for the world and the world is passing away. That’s what chapter 18 is about. It’s a fulfillment of what God’s word says in the 18th chapter of Revelation.
We see a roadmap for the coming economic collapse of the world. Why do you think we have this? We’re actually not even going to be here on Earth, according to the scriptures. If you’re a born-again Christian watching and taking this class, you won’t even be living on Earth during this time. So, why does chapter 18 even matter to us? See, that’s the power of this. God says, when the world passes away, I want to show you what happens so that before it passes away, you don’t get targeted by Satan to be neutralized. Living for what is only temporary, live for what lasts. See that’s what chapter 18 is about. We can see the response God desires from us as His servant, not only in the ultimate collapse, but in any coming financial reversals between now and the end. Also, in every day of our life.
Let me show you what I mean. Revelation 18 is Jesus condemning worldliness. Let’s read the first three verses of chapter 18. If you have your Bible or your electronic Bible, I actually have my paper Bible because I love to underline and remind myself of things I learned. The first three verses, chapter 18.
“After these things I saw another angel coming down from Heaven, having great authority, and the Earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice.” And this is verse 2, captures what he says. John heard it, wrote it down. ” Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
Whoa. Do you remember in chapter 17, religion was compared to a harlot, there was a cup, and everyone was drunken with her harlotries. This materialism in chapter 18 is presented the same way of being drunken with this irresistible, what I call the infection of Satan of either materialism, religion, they’re both deadly.
Verse 3, “all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the Earth have committed fornication with her. “
Again, we talked about this in the last class, what does fornication have to do with religion and materialism. We are to be in engaged to Christ, to marry Him. We are to keep ourselves pure as a chaste virgin and betrothed, engaged to Christ. When we drink of the potion of Satan, the infection of Satan and start going our own way, we’re getting drunk on his false ways, like religion is. Or when we live for the physical world, materialism, we’re getting drunk and we’re not faithful anymore to our creator.
So, that’s what He’s saying, I created you to be my children, to be my possession, to be my chaste virgin, that I will forever be exhilarating in, and as your creator and redeemer in Heaven.
Keep reading. “And the merchants” in verse three, “of the Earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
So, back to verse 2, “and he cried mightily.”
The first lesson of Revelation 18 is that worldly possessions can’t buy spiritual life. What they do buy is spiritual death. If you take the pathway of religion, the end result is spiritual death. You take the pathway of materialism, living for the physical world, the pathway is spiritual death.
Actually, what I think about, this scene in Revelation 18 depicts graphically what Jesus said, look on your side. Do you see the other reference on your slide? Matthew 16:26. Listen to what Jesus said,
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
I believe that the loud voice booming through the Earth at the time of the global financial collapse. Is going to be an echoing of what Jesus said in Matthew 16: 26. What does it profit you if you have gained the whole world, if you have gotten infected by Satan’s deadly virus, if you have lived for pleasures and possessions and stuff, you’ve gained all of that but what have you lost?
Do you remember what Revelation 20, verses 11-15 talk about? “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon the throne from whose face Heaven and Earth fled away.” And “the books were open. Another book was open, which is called the Book of Life.” And “if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.”
What the Lord said is, if you love Satan’s way, if you have got infected with Satan’s deadly viruses; of religion – you’re headed to the Lake of Fire. Of materialism – to the total neglect and ignoring of God, you’re headed to the Lake of Fire. That’s the sobering message and that’s the loud voice.
- What are you giving an exchange for your soul?
- Are you going your own way?
- Are you living for stuff?
It’s such a condemnation by Christ of worldliness.
Jesus says something in verse 4, look what it says in Revelation 18: 4.
“And I heard another voice from Heaven saying,” Now, this is curious, “come out of her, my people,” Who is that directed toward? Do you see, even till the last minute of this coming meltdown of the world and it’s passing away, a voice from Heaven gives one last chance for people to repent, even at this crescendo of Satan’s deadly viruses. Just as the whole world financial system and material world and everything, all the music stops.
Can you imagine what it’s going to be like in chapter 18? It says there’ll be no sound of music. Some people are going to go crazy. Have you ever met the people that have to have music playing in the background all the time, either in their earbuds, or the television? They can’t live without music. God turns it all off. Wow.
Jesus said, “come out of her, my people.” Jesus, see the slide, calls saints to come out of worthless worldliness. Keep reading verse 4
“Lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues […] for God has remembered her iniquities. Rendered to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works.”
This is God saying, religion in 17 and materialism in 18, they only will make you come up empty, dry, hopeless, purposeless, restless, and endlessly suffering. So, what He’s saying is, if it’s all going to be destroyed, if it’s all going to be worthless, why live for it now? That’s what He says about coming out of worldliness.
Next side, let’s look at the end of worldliness, starting in verse 20.
“Rejoice over her, O Heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her. Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.”
“Your merchants where the great men of the Earth.”
Now wait, in our world what do we love? The rich and the famous. We love to see the houses of the rich, to see the trinkets and toys, and even looking back in history we’re just amazed at the treasures of the pharaohs and the treasures of all of these great and mighty people. They’re the great ones of the Earth, the ones that had material things, but the Lord says the lust of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, the pride of life. Don’t live for that, live for what lasts.
There’s another verse on your screen I want you to look up with me, 2 Peter 3. Jesus said don’t live for what, in 2 Peter 3, is going to burn up. This is what it says in verse 11.
“Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved.” Remember again, Revelation 18 is explained by 1 John 2, as well as 2 Peter 3:11-12. “Since all these things,” verse 11 “will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” since the world is going to pass away?
What should you live for? He’s saying, “looking for” verse 12 “and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Therefore we,” verse 13, “according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new Earth in which righteousness dwells.”
What Peter is saying is underscoring the lesson of chapter 18, live for what lasts, don’t live for what’s going to burn up. God has shown us the end of worldliness. God has shown us in 2 Peter the end of the physical universe, He has said the world is going to pass away. He actually uses the word dissolve. He said, live for what lasts.
Now let’s go to the very first book written in the New Testament. No, it’s not Matthew. Actually, the first of the New Testament books that was written down is James. So, James. Remember, James was the Earthly brother of Jesus. Jesus had four brothers, one of them was James and he wrote the book of James. Another was Jude, he wrote the book of Jude. They were leaders in the early church.
See the slide in front of you, James 4:4 totally parallels with Revelation 18:21 and on. This is what it says in chapter 4, verse 4.
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world…” What did 1 John 2 say? ” Love not the world or the things in the world.” “For all that is in the world, the lust of flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away.”
So, this is what James says.
- He was the first pastor, of the first church, in Jerusalem
- He was the Lord’s brother.
- He wrote the first epistle of the New Testament.
He says this, “do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself the enemy of God?”
Totally paralleling what John will say 60 years later. Wow. The question the slide poses, are you a worldly person?
In Revelation 18 we find there are seven elements of the world system Jesus brings to an end. The rejoicing of the world will end because they’ve ignored their creator. The Lord will remove everything that has distracted people from looking at Him. So, as we go through this list, starting in verse 21 of Revelation 18, you’ll see the current dangers and traps and snares that keep us from the Lord.
Look at verse 21 of chapter 1. A worldly person’s identity is found in the world and not in Heaven. In fact, it’s curious how the Lord shows us this, all the way through the book of Revelation. This is what unsaved people are called, Earth dwellers. That term, an Earth dweller, or those that dwell upon the Earth is how God identifies the lost. The saved are those who are citizens of Heaven. Now, they still live on Earth, they’re not in Heaven yet, but they are the saints. They say this world is not my home, I’m just passing through, my treasures are in Heaven.
Look at verse 21, “Thus with violence the great city of Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.”
A person’s identity that is worldly is found in what they do, what they have, what they hold onto. They dress like the world. They act like the world. They’re drawn to the world. God destroys everything that their identity is rooted in.
Secondly look at verse 22, a worldly person finds escape through amusements and entertainments and pleasure seeking.
Look what it says in verse 22, “The sound of harpists, musicians, flutist, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you.”
A worldly person has to be amused. Do you know what amusement means? Muse means, think deeply. Amuse, the alpha privative means not, not to think deeply. An amused person doesn’t think deeply, people no longer want to think they just want to be carried along by action and excitement. Society is become captivated by movies and music and everything else. It’s entertaining, but God turns it all off. There won’t be any more distractions.
Verse 22 the second half, it says, “No craftsmen or any craft shall be found in you anymore.”
It’s the third direction that a worldly person goes. A worldly person uses work, career, accomplishments, and even daily life as a way out of spiritual responsibilities. They’re too busy working to get in the word. They’re too busy protecting their possessions to give them away and sacrifice. They say stuff like, I don’t have time for that because I have to work, or I don’t have time to leave my family. I don’t have time to read my Bible. By the sweat of our brow and diligent labor we’re supposed to earn money to support our family but when our work excludes us from worshiping God, then it is no longer pleasing God.
Fourthly, if you look at verse 23 it says, “The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore.”
A worldly person is tied to technology, science, and the knowledge of this one world, not the next. They’re Earth dwellers. Their antennas are pointed down. They are not looking for Heaven. They’re living for Earth and they’re tied. Such a person is constantly looking at the Bible through science than looking at science through the Bible. The Bible has always communicated the principles of hydrology and astrophysics and everything else. God cuts short the distraction that has kept them from Him and there’s not going to be any lamp. In other words, it’s a total electronic stop.
Look at the end of verse 23, “the voice of the bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore.”
A worldly person is tied to their social life, their party life, their calendar, their holidays. This is a person who lives for the weekend. He or she goes from one social event to another, because life represents an endless party. That’s how they live. That’s why God lets us see that He strips all those things away and they begin to weep.
Now, the end of verse 23 in chapter 18, “your merchants were the great men of the Earth.”
A worldly person is tied to their finances, their wealth, their possessions. They measure people their worth. By how much they own and possess and show off. Society makes gods of the millionaires and billionaires. Earth dwellers find their greatest joy in money and belongings. They live to acquire and hold. If all of your assets were erased, what would you have left that really mattered? That’s what the Bible says. You gained the whole world, but you lose your soul.
Finally, look at what it says in the end of verse 23, it says, “by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.”
A worldly person is intoxicated by the world. The end of this first speaks of drugs and sorcery, which can include alcohol, as well as drug induced witchcraft. There are also people who are intoxicated by the world. They don’t care about the gospel. God just brings an end to all of those things.
Look at the next slide because Satan always targets the same three areas. That’s what 1 John 2:15-17 says. The apostle John in 1 John 2 explains the world we’re not to befriend or love, is all of the lusts and evil desires packaged in the various shapes and sizes and colors. They always come under these three categories.
The world operates by sending us temptations packaged as enticements for our lusts.
- The first one is the lust of the flesh. We are tempted by the flesh to chase pleasure. That equals the cravings of the body.
- The lust of the eyes, we are tempted by our eyes to chase stuff. That’s the lust for things.
- The pride of life is, we’re tempted to change status. That’s the boastings of our mouth. This is selfishness because I’m most important. This is irritableness because the world should revolve around me. This is untruthfulness because I always need to protect myself. This is laziness because I want to rest and comfort myself. All of these things are pride, as well as the obvious lust for status. Pride in all its forms is heinous to God.
Now look at this. The lust of the flesh is our body as it chases pleasures. Do you know what the Lord said? If you live for pleasures, that’s not of the Father. Now, God designed the greatest pleasures, but we don’t live for them. They’re a by-product of doing the will of the Father. You know what it says in Psalm 16:11? God wants to show us the path of life, He wants to guide us. If we will say to Him, I want your will then, it says in your presence is fullness of joy. So, if we stay close to Him, we find pleasure that can’t go away. We find if our pleasure is attached to a person or a possession or something that we have power through, it can be taken away. That person can leave us. We can have our possessions stolen. You know what the Lord says? If you stay close to me, at my right hand are endless pleasures. What the Lord said is, I’ve designed pleasures for you. You know what a few of them are? Loving the beauty of the world. Loving the sound of music that God designed. Loving the joys of marriage and relationships. God designed all those things, but He said they’ll only be lasting if you follow me. Let me guide you through life. If you stick close to me, and if you stay at my right hand, that means do what my word says pleases me. The lust the flesh, see the slide, equals the cravings of our body, chasing pleasures. God said that doesn’t please me.
Number two, the lust of the eyes equals the temptation of our eyes. Our eyes are chasing stuff. Have you ever met people that if they have those shoes, or that outfit, or that car, or that house, or that trip, do you understand? It’s our eyes, the lust of the eyes. Do you remember what the Lord had Solomon say? The eyes of a man are never satisfied. Satan infects us with this desire. See, Satan’s virus, when we’re infected with the materialism virus, our eyes are never satisfied.
Look back at this slide. The pride of life equals the boastings of our mouth. We’re chasing status. We sure live in a time this is so obvious. This is a posting somewhere, a picture of all that I’m boasting about or writing about. This is so prevalent in our world, this pride of life, that I show off. Satan always targets these, whether it’s food, or pleasure, or fun, our bodies are craving what God says we are not to allow our flesh to control, our cravings. God says fleshly desires are worldly. He’s against lust. Lust of the eyes, we’re tempted to chase things. We think that, that’s not as bad as the lust of the flesh, but actually the Lord calls this chasing stuff, covetousness, which is idolatry. We’re so tempted to chase status, boasting about our lives.
What’s God’s solution for that? 1 John tells us, that’s not of the Father. So, what’s the solution? Paul in 1 Timothy 6 gives us, basically, a list for how we can learn contentment. Now, do you remember how Paul learned contentment? That’s a famous verse. That’s another one of those 108 verses. Philippians 4:11. “I’ve learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”
How do we get content? 1 Timothy 6 gives us a pathway. I want to take you through that and show those to you right now. Contentment is a by-product of following the Lord. Remember He said, I will show you the path of life, when we turn and start following the Lord. Do you remember how Jesus called His disciples? Two words, follow me. When we do what He says, follow Him, He said you will learn contentment. Contentment is a by-product of following the Shepherd. It’s experiencing an inner peace only He can provide. It’s knowing that He will promote us at the right time. Have you ever thought about the fact that the Lord has your email address? He knows your phone number. He knows where you live. Most people think that they’ve got to promote themselves. Our culture teaches us that, if you’re not on LinkedIn and if you don’t have a good CV and if you are not… that you’re going to miss something in life. God says, Hey, I’ll show you the path of life. In my presence is fullness of joy, at my right hand or in those pleasures. Learn contentment by following me. Contentment is a sense of satisfaction that comes to a husband and wife as they emulate the provision of the care of the Shepherd to their own children. Contentment comes from serving Christ instead of money, from providing not only financially for your family, but emotionally and morally and spiritually.
How do we cultivate that? 1 Timothy starting in verse 6, all the way down to verse 17. Let me walk through these verses with you quickly.
Principal one. Remember that things are only temporary. This is what Paul said. “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, […] We can carry nothing out.” Do you remember the great lesson, you can’t take it with you? Most people live like they’re going to be able to take it with them. First lesson to be content, the first lesson to fight against Satan’s materialism that we’re all infected with, the way to build contentment and grow content, number one, remember things are temporary.
Number two, look at verse 8, “having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” Only seek necessities, wait for the rest. Now, there in the class is my wonderful wife Bonnie. I never will forget moving into our very first apartment after we were married. We drove from our wedding, it was in New York, and we visited my family in Michigan, then we visited friends on the way, all the way to California. I went out to be on staff with Dr. John MacArthur at Grace Community Church. We moved into our first apartment that was called a step saver apartment. Do you know what that means? I could touch both walls. It was that small. It was really a step saver apartment. I remember we had no furniture in the apartment, so Bonnie and I went out and drove behind the supermarket. We found the crates that grapes or bananas or something came in that were in the trash. These were wooden crates in California, back in the eighties, and we brought home crates. That was the first furniture in our apartment. Then we got bricks and boards and built a bookcase, and we got a mattress and had it on the floor. We didn’t even have enough money for the frame. Then, we went to the Goodwill and bought a used couch. Do you know what we did? Look, only seek necessities, wait for the rest. We didn’t go out and buy it all and go into debt. We gradually bought what we could afford, and we’ve never been in debt. Our whole marriage we’ve always spent less than we earned. You see, that’s the old world. When we were counseled for marriage, they said the best way to survive is you spend less than you are earning. That is not what you hear nowadays. Most people are very discontent because they don’t think things are temporary. They don’t seek necessities. They never wait for anything. They buy the brand new everything. Wow. We need shelter and the basic provisions of life, everything beyond that is simply a great blessing, whether it comes or goes is okay. God said, all we’re supposed to expect in life is food and clothing and be happy with that.
Principle number three, avoid the consuming desire for prosperity. Look at verse 9,” those who desire to be rich fall into temptation…” Like what temptation? Like sacrificing everything for your job. Like moving to the other end of the country, where you’re out of touch with your family and with any Christian accountability, just to earn another thousand or five or $10,000. Wow. “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation” and “many foolish and harmful lusts.” “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith,” “and have pierced themselves through,” verse 10 says, “with many sorrows.” America is being fed a prosperity diet. You might say, that’s not me, I’m not rich. If you have a car, you’re rich. 95% of the people in the world can’t afford a car. Don’t ever forget your watch. If you have a watch on and your clothed, you’re worth more than hundreds of millions of people on Earth. Tens of thousands of people starved to death around the world and we throw so much away. Avoid a consuming desire Paul said in 1 Timothy 6, verses 9 and 10. Because it’ll “pierce us through with many sorrows.”
Principle number four is in verse 11, “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness,” verse 11. Do you know what that is? Flee materialism. Satan’s deadly virus is that you’re only happy when you have that thing you want. You’re only happy when you have that possession or that pleasure, that trip, that power, that position. Flee materialism. If we seek to accumulate possessions at the expense of growing in Christ likeness, we’re not living for what lasts. If you live from materialism, you’re living for now, you’re an Earth dweller. You’re living like a lost person. Citizens of Heaven are on Earth, but their antennas are pointed up. This world is not my home. My treasures are in Heaven and that’s where my heart is pointed. Flee Materialism.
Principle number five, it says in 1 Timothy 6:12, that we should cling to eternal life. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called.” Wow. We need a whole generation of people who hold tighter to eternal life than they hold to this world. You know what? God can direct you anywhere. Remember what the famous Jim Elliot saying, he is no fool who gives what he can’t keep. Material things. Earth. To gain what you can’t lose, live for what lasts.
Principle six is in verse 17 and it says this, “Command those who are rich […] not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God.” You know what that principle is? Fix your hope on God, not on the corporation, not on the company, not on the IRA, not on the 403B, not on the stock matching fund, not on your real estate, whatever. Cling to eternal life. Verse 17, fix your hope on God. “Command those who are rich […] to not be haughty, but in the living God” to cling.
Finally, number seven. Give until it hurts. “Let them do good, […] ready to give, willing to share, storing up […] a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” Cling to eternal life. Fix your hope on God. Give until it hurts.
This takes us now to a juncture. We leave chapter 18 with that call for saints to deny worldliness and we head, for one of those views, back around the throne. That’s what chapter 19 is.
In the first 10 verses this is what we see, we see what Jesus described in Matthew 8 and verse 11. The first 10 verses are what Jesus describes in Matthew 8:11. This is what He said, in fact this is one of my favorite descriptions of Heaven Jesus gives, in Matthew 8:11.
“Many will come from the east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven.” Did you know, when Jesus describes the saints in Heaven, He describes it as a giant banquet? Now see, the best way to understand the Bible, remember the first canon of textual interpretation is to, understand what it meant to the people it was first written to.
To most of the people in the first century, they got up early in the morning, went out and worked all day, came home, dead tired at night and ate their meal, and went to bed to go back to work. They just worked all the time and if they didn’t work, they couldn’t eat. So, a banquet where you sat and didn’t work, and had food put in front of you, that you didn’t go out, and cultivate, or grind, or catch, or clean, or whatever, was an unbelievable delight.
Think about it. Are you getting ready for the ultimate banquet? The greatest party of all time is approaching. The King of Kings, the Lord of the universe is preparing a wedding feast, like no other. It’s in the most breathtaking location imaginable. He’s spreading an immense table. The greatest names of all time will be present at dinner. The invited guests will be rubbing shoulders with Adam and his lovely wife Eve and their twin son, Abel will be sitting next to them. As well as Seth and his wife. Not too far away will be the amazing preacher, the earliest known prophet Enoch, and his family. That’s what Jesus is saying. They’re already there and we’re going to join them. That’s the first 10 verses.
How do we understand the book of Revelation? This chart is just a reminder. Of the technicalities of interpretation, eschatology that’s the theological term for last things, has three divisions. See it on the chart, the Amillennial view and Preterism. The Post-millennial view and Reconstructionism. The Pre-millennial view, that’s us in this class and most of the popular teachers that you know and maybe have their study Bibles, are these types of people.
Amillennialism would hold to what we would call a non-evangelical, allegorical view of the Bible. So, basically the non-evangelical churches, mainline denominational churches, do not believe that prophecy is talking about the events, they would say all these are symbolic. They’re not literally what they say. Other than this one, even the mainline denominations, believe in the second coming but they don’t really know anything about the context for it. They certainly don’t believe in this part, the Lake of Fire.
So, that chart is just to show you hermeneutics. That’s how you interpret the Bible from allegorical to literal. Allegorical is amillennial. Center is Post-millennial, but Pre-millennial, pre tribulational evangelical belief is, taking the Bible for what it says.
What does chapter 19 tell us? Four things.
The first verse “I heard the loud voice of a great multitude in Heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord.”
We celebrate our salvation when we get to Heaven. That’s the first lesson of chapter 19 verses 1 & 2. Secondly, we celebrate in verse 2, His judgment because He is the one who has avenged the blood of His servants. In verses 4 and 5 of chapter 19, when we get to Heaven, there’s another Alleluia and that’s the Alleluia of worship. Finally, in verse 6 it’s the Alleluia of our Sovereign God.
So, we come, in verse 7 see what it says in verse 7 of chapter 19, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory.” Now, this is one of my favorite, favorite parts of the book of Revelation, look at what it says, “for His bride has made herself ready. “
Keep reading in verse 7, ” ‘His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” closed in this fine linen.
So, this is what we’re going to be wearing in Heaven. Want to know what you’re wearing in Heaven? Fine linen. What is it made of? Righteous acts of the saints. Did you know, the saddest things I know of, is people that are taught that we’re under grace and doesn’t matter how you live, and the Lord’s already forgiven us, so it’s okay to just kind of slip and slide and be in the ditch half the time and live like a lost person. Those kinds of people mock those who deny ungodliness, who get up early in the morning and spend time in the word, are always memorizing, are always saying, no, no, no, I don’t think I can do that, I don’t think it pleases the Lord. They just laugh at them. Do you know what is going on here?
Look again what it says in verse 7. “The Lamb has come. His wife has made herself ready [and…] she’s arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” We’re going to a wedding banquet where we’re going to wear what we were in God’s sight, as His servants. Did you know, that verse is so powerful that it changed the life of Martin Luther?
Martin Luther, see the slide, I have two days on my calendar – today and the Day I stand in front of Jesus Christ, clothed with what I lived, the righteous acts that I did, the choices I made, the sanctified choices. Sanctification, remember I’ve told you all the way through this class, sanctification is how useful I am. Its usefulness to God. Martin Luther said, I’m living my life every day seeking to be useful to God. That’s why in the Lord’s prayer I focus on my Father in Heaven. I say, thy kingdom come, I want you to control me. Your will be done, I want to follow you. Why? Because I’m headed to this banquet.
This banquet is described in 2 Corinthians 5: 9-11, it says there we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that we may each receive for the things done in our bodies. The righteous acts. What is that going to be like?
It says in Daniel chapter 7:9-10, that we’re going to be in front of a throne, burning with fire, and a river of fire coming out in front of it. Why does that matter?
1 Corinthians 3:10-15, actually, I’ll never forget the moment I understood this passage. When I was in high school, I used to go to Burger King because they had Whoppers, which were this big around. Whoppers today or I call them whimpers, they’re about that big. They used to be as big around as a saucer and you could get two for 99 cents with a coupon. I would get my two Whoppers. I’d eat them in my car, and I would just enjoy going to Burger King. What I was doing one day is, after I made my order, I moved down the counter and I watched them. I saw the way that they cook them, over flames. They would put the patties on this little conveyor belt, and it would go over a fire. The fire would be coming up through, and on the other end someone would catch what didn’t get burned up. They put it on a bun and give it to me. All of a sudden, I saw 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
This is what it says in 1 Corinthians 3. It changed the direction of my life as a high school student. It says. “Take heed what you build on,” verse 10. Verse 12, “for anyone who builds on this foundation, gold, silver, and precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble.” Verse 13, “each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test each one’s work. If anyone’s work, which is built on endures, he’ll receive a reward,” the righteous acts of the saints. “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he’ll be saved, so as through fire.”
This is describing the bema seat judgment, see on the slide, obedient. Obedience, what we do under sanctification, all good for Him is eternal and a crown. What’s wasted, what burns up is all good for nothing. The time we spend doing things that aren’t sin, they just don’t last.
- Is it a sin to watch football game? Absolutely not.
- Is it sin to watch home shopping network?
- Is it a sin to play a video game? If you’re murdering, it is. If there’s bloodshed, if there’s witchcraft, if there’s immorality or nudity, it’s sin. But if it’s just playing some game, is it sin? Nope.
Look in the middle of that chart, it’s wasted. It’s good for nothing. It’s burned. The cross took all my sin and shame away and everything that’s wasted gets burned up at that moment of the judgment seat of Christ. What makes it through the fire is what lasts forever.
What’s the only thing you can take to Heaven? People.
Well, that takes us to the final section before we go, the second coming of Christ.
The second coming of Christ is the return of the King of Kings. It’s described all the way through the Old Testament.
We’ve talked about all the vengeance of Jesus. Probably the climactic moment is described in Zechariah 14:12. Let me read it, the second coming of Christ. He’s coming in the clouds with all of us behind Him. All the armies of the Earth, Armageddon are right there, we already saw that in chapter 16. They’re all standing there, marching toward Jerusalem to destroy the Jewish people. Jesus shows up in the clouds and listen to what Zachariah 14:12 says, totally parallel with Revelation 19:14 to 21.
“And this should be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people with who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongue shall dissolve in their mouths.” It’s the vengeance of Jesus. It’s His wrath on sin.
What it’s saying is, Jesus will right all wrongs. Do not avenge yourself. Romans 12:19 says “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”
“The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.” 2 Peter 2:9.
Jesus writing all wrongs is when the world passes away. The lesson for us? Are you living for what lasts? Do you know what helps you to live for what lasts? Watch for Christ’s return. He’s coming back. He wants to clothe us with the righteous acts we offer for Him. Sanctification. Sanctify them by thy truth, thy word is truth. Let’s pray.
Father, thank you for reminding us the world is passing away. May we have your love, for your truth, for you as our guide, not for this world passing away. May that be embedded in our hearts for Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.