Let’s pray together. Father, as we come to Your Word, we ask that we would have by Your Spirit’s working and Your grace the right frame of mind.

Lord, to hear with spiritual ears.

Lord, to truly savor and have a deeper love for Your truth. A greater willingness to obey it. A longing to just know You more.

Father, You are so faithful. And we know that Your will being done is…

is always good and right. Lord, so we need not hope and pray for anything else besides for Your will. Lord, because Your will always shows us the greatness of Your glory and always brings us to an infinitely better place than we thought we could bring ourselves. Lord, Lord, Lord, bless our financial giving as each of us have given.

Lord, perhaps online or physically writing out a check, whatever that is, Lord, we pray we would give gladly, give faithfully, give obediently that Lord, we could say that we are giving You the first and the best of what You’ve given us. And we love You. We pray that in Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen.

Well, good evening. I want to return after a long respite from the book of Revelation. I want to jump back in this week. And we left off… at the end of 14. We completed chapter 14. And we’ll be in chapter 15 this week. And I had intended on preaching the whole chapter of 15 because it is one unified thought, but I couldn’t get past verse 1. And then I couldn’t get past one word in verse 1. So we’re just looking at the very beginning of chapter 15.

And simply, verse 1 says, Then I saw another sign in heaven great and amazing seven angels with seven plagues which are the last for with them the wrath of God is finished.

As best I can to recap Revelation. Of course, I could spend hours recapping what we’ve learned in so many sermons up to this point. But the big picture, if you remember, it happens in between three sevens. Seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. Remember, we started with Jesus writing these letters to the churches. And these letters were encouragements, they were exhortations, they were corrective in some places. But on the whole, Jesus wanted to say to his churches on earth at the time, be faithful. Be faithful because the end is near. And there’s so many wonderful, precious, spiritual truths for us in those letters. But you moved out of those letters and John gets a vision of, if you remember, of the church. Remember the heavenly throne room. He sees the throne with a sea of glass for the floor around it. Remember, he can’t really describe any of it. He can just kind of yell out colors and different precious minerals or stones. And he says, it’s like this. It’s like an emerald rainbow. It’s like Carnelian, the one who sits on the throne. He gets this vision of the Father in his throne room. And it’s so amazing. But the Father has the scroll in his hand. And nobody can open this scroll. And John starts to weep. The elder says, don’t weep. And then appears this slain lamb. And this slain lamb is worshipped because he’s the only one that can open the seals of the scroll. And what is the scroll? The scroll is the beginning of the end. It’s the beginning of the end when God wraps up his great grand story of vanquishing the enemy of God, bringing himself glory, saving his people, judging the unrighteousness, So one by one, we see Jesus break these seals. And as it happens, there are different kinds of catastrophes that come on planet Earth. And after those seals, there are some intermittent visions. There’s visions of the future. Remember that word proleptic. It means take something, even though it hasn’t happened yet, but take something, but it’s so sure it’s going to happen. Go ahead and believe it’s happened. So we see several of these visions of the saints who have been martyred. They’re in the heavenly places worshipping God for what he’s going to do, how he has saved them. You get visions of the martyred saints praying for their blood to be avenged at some point. Then we come to the trumpets. And what were the trumpets? The trumpets were an even more intense outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The wrath of God on unsaved humanity. After the trumpets, you had the rise of the Antichrist. Remember there was the dragon who was Satan in the heavenlies. He fell and he had his Antichrist. And the Antichrist ruled, but the Antichrist, that beast, there was a second beast. And remember the second beast was something of a religious figure. So the Antichrist established his government. And the second beast, the false prophet, establishes a one-world religion. And he creates an image of the first beast, of the Antichrist. And it was enforced that you all have to worship the image that represents the Antichrist. And even the image itself seemed to be somehow able to move and to bring suffering upon people. And ultimately, it was demanded to take the mark of the beast. But still, in 14, just the last chapter, we were shown a beautiful picture of God’s saints standing on Mount Zion. We see the victory coming, even though it hasn’t happened yet. We see the wrath of God being poured out. But as we come to 15, we come to the bowls of judgment. You know, bowls would have been similar to something that you would have seen in a temple or something in a house that was shallow. So it could easily have been just jolted out and tossed out. That’s what’s going to happen. The significance of the bowls are they’re the end of the end. So the seals were the warm-up and the bowls are the end of the end.

I simply want us really just to think about this verse. As John sees another sign, a great and amazing sign, seven angels, seven plagues, which are the last. For with them the wrath of God is finished. The wrath of God is finished. There comes a point where God’s wrath, is fully poured out. As I was writing this point, as I was processing this point, I was at a coffee house that I frequent to write sermons at. And as I was writing this, I looked up and I saw a man dressed as a woman walking in the coffee house. So totally feminine haircut, totally feminine garb, and he had a black leather coach purse thrown over him.

And it’s not to say that that’s the only sin or that you and I aren’t really good at sinning in subtle and visible ways like greed or anger or gossip. But there is such a thing as fever pitch. And a society is at the heights of its wickedness when sexual norms are abandoned. And it always goes hand in hand with the rejection of God’s word. This is Rome. What you’re seeing played out in America is a repeat of Rome. Rome became a nation falling apart when it began to indulge, indulge in all sorts of wickedness. And it’s a picture of Babylon. Babylon is the Antichrist one world system. And it gets to this point where sexual immorality of all kinds is normalized completely. So I’m not trying to import, don’t get me wrong, because I’ve said we should never do it. I’m not importing America into the Bible. Only that it’s alarming, at least it should be alarming, when we can see, we can see in Revelation the very worst of what a nation state can look like that deserves the worst of God’s wrath. And we look just like it in our real time lives. That should be concerning to us. And this is the story, friends, of every nation that goes this way all the way back to the Old Testament. Paul recounts this of the Israelites in 1 Corinthians 2. 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 6. 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 6.

He’s writing to the Corinthians, referring to the Israelites in the wilderness. He says, Now these things took place as examples for us that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were. As it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did. And 23,000 fell in a single day. And then what is it that Paul says in Ephesians chapter 5, verse 3 to this church, this young church? He says in Ephesians chapter 5, verse 3, But sexual immorality and all impurity and covetousness must not even be named among you as is proper among saints.

In what the angel did cry out in the last chapter, Revelation chapter 14, verse 8. Revelation 14, verse 8. Another angel a second followed saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She who made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.

At some point, God’s patience runs up. God’s patience runs up for those who fully reject time and again His call to repentance. And, you know, as ethereal and feels like the book of Revelation is untouchable and all of its symbolism. Really, this whole book just had a pretty simple meaning the whole way through. And it’s not, you know, it’s not cryptic. It’s simply this. Repent. The wrath of God is coming. That’s really been its central message. And that message has been weaved throughout so many stories in so many different ways. And it’s the same thing Jesus said when Jesus showed up on the scene in the beginning of the Gospels. What was Jesus’ first thing? He started to cry out. Repent. Why? The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Don’t be on the wrong side. Don’t be on the wrong side of the kingdom when it’s fully manifested among you. But then I want to remind you about the sevens. Maybe you remember this. Hopefully you remember this. I feel like I’ve said it a million times in this, although it’s been since, I think, November since we were in Revelation. But remember, the seven always represents fullness or completeness. So as we see sevens, it’s a way of saying that that thing is full and complete.

So we’re seeing in chapter 15

seven angels, seven plagues, and with it the wrath of God is finished. It’s whole. It’s complete. Against the Antichrist, against his kingdom, against even the earth and the very nature of it as it is before the Lord remakes and reshapes the earth. And makes it new again.

And not that wrath needs a definition, but think of this as fury. Think of this as, even I think a good description for it is passionate longing. Passionate longing. God has a passionate longing against evil. Against evil. And I think maybe for, maybe not for you, maybe sometimes for you, but certainly for, I think the culture of even the church that we have in the 21st century, there’s kind of this question of, or this feeling of, do we have to talk about that? Do we have to talk about wrath? And if you’ve been here on Wednesdays, the video series, it’s funny, it almost goes hand in hand with this verse. What we do so often in the church today is we wrongly paint the God of the Old Testament as this really angry, stiff guy, and he’s just ready to destroy people, and really it’s not the case at all. And we think of the New Testament God as this mellow guy, and he’s finally taking a chill pill, and he’s soft now, and that’s not really the case at all. The Old Testament God withheld the book of Revelation until the end of the New Testament. The Old Testament God should have, could have brought Revelation on us at any time. What we have in the Old Testament is a God of forbearance who’s waiting, allowing sinners to have time to repent.

Romans chapter 9 verse 22 says this, What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make his power known, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy? Earlier Paul says in Romans chapter 3 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that’s in Christ Jesus. Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. So what we see from the witness of Scripture is whatever you think is mean and nasty of God in the Old Testament it didn’t end with the eternal judgment that every single one of them deserved. Whether they were a part of Israel or not. And you and I woke up this morning and had breath in our lungs and so did the worst, nastiest sinner on the planet woke up today and he has breath in his lungs. So nothing about the wrath of God has anything to do with fairness. God abusing what’s fair. God abusing what’s true. The doctrine of eternal punishment or the function of the wrath of God if I see it as unfair that’s my fleshly perspective. That’s your fleshly perspective. If I can imagine a scenario where none receive the wrath of God and everyone gets off the hook in the end it doesn’t invalidate the God of the Bible. It just proves I’m really good at fiction. That’s what it proves. It shows my mind just isn’t willing to submit to the entirety of, let’s be honest, the plain counsel of God’s Word. The plain counsel of what the Bible says in so many ways, in so many places that God, how He deals with unrepentant sinners. But here’s what it does most of all. Here’s what it does most of all if I want to reject the wrath of God being a biblical reality. It shows I don’t hate sin as much as God hates sin. God isn’t wrathful for the sake of being wrathful and He’s got this gun and it’s blowing and you just better hope you don’t cross its path. God is wrathful against evil. Against what’s wicked. Against what’s sinful. Wrath is a justified response and function as one commentator has said, of His holiness. God is wrathful in defense of His holiness. In defense of His character. God’s holiness and righteousness would be less than perfect if He wasn’t wrathful in all that’s opposed to Him. He would be mostly, largely holy. Mostly, largely just. Because indifference toward any variance of a life that breaks God’s law, anything in God’s universe, if the Lord kind of said, ah, it’s over there, not over here, I won’t deal with it. Well, that would show some serious flaws in God’s character and His commitment to His own sense of truth and justice. It would show even, would you agree, that He’s an accessory to it. Because He’s allowing it to go on, knowing about it. We can’t believe that. James Montgomery Boyce, he’s passed away now, but he was a great Presbyterian, Reformed theologian and pastor. And he says it simply like this, and I think he says so much in this little line. The wrath of God is not ignoble, rather it is too noble, too just, too perfect. It is this that bothers us.

So friends, I want to suggest this, when we find ourselves rubbed raw with the business of a seven times perfectly wrathful God, we need to look at this. Look in the mirror and say that’s not God’s problem and that’s not the Bible’s problem. That’s my problem. And I need the humility to submit myself again to what God’s Word says and say that this Word is good and God has spoken and God has revealed it to me. And if God didn’t want me to know about it, guess what? He wouldn’t have put it here. But if God put it here, He wants me by the grace and power of the Spirit to bring myself under it. And here’s the thing too, not to begrudgingly accept it, but to worship the Lord for it. Certainly God longs for sinners to repent, to turn from their sin, and so we should too, because we’re His people. The Lord says in Ezekiel chapter 33 that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would have all repent, the Word says. But the Word, at the same time, teaches us there comes a point when every heart is fixed in one direction or the other. When one soul has a master, one or the other. Certainly in these end times when you see the masses of people taking the mark of the beast. And it’s the prophet Isaiah who says, seek the Lord while He may be found. So then it’s just as befitting, for those who have been saved from sin to hate it as much as God hates it. You and I don’t stand over unbelievers as if, like, I’m intrinsically better than you. Not at all. By God’s grace, I have a divine disgust for sin as God does, because He’s shown me the goodness of His Son, Jesus.

I really think if we could scratch the surface of the heart of this verse, heart of biblical wrath, I think it would start a fire in us. An unquenchable fire in our own lives for holiness. For righteousness. I think if we really could just touch it a little bit, and not gloss over that word wrath, and just the heavy weighty reality that it’s coming. It’s coming on humankind. I think we would not passively acknowledge the sin in our own life. I think we would have a violent hate for the sin in our own life. I don’t think we would be disappointed in ourselves when we sin, or see sin patterns. We would weep and cry and repent for mercy and beg more for Christ to be manifested.

I think every lustful thought would be caused to fall to your knees where you stand and grieve and implore by the blood of Christ for mercy to have a purified mind. Every enemy would be caused to debase yourself if you had to, to seek peace and to do right before God and man. I think every worldly possession you held would be expendable so that you don’t gain the whole world and lose your soul. I think every attitude, action and thought would be kept under intense scrutiny of God’s word that by it you would be approved on the last day.

And if that seems like too much and that seems like a whole lot of grunt labor we just don’t want to fool with, I don’t think we love our own souls. And I don’t think we love holiness the way God wants us to love holiness. But if we could scratch that surface, friends, I really think we would have an untamable biblical revelation style passion for the greatness of the grace of God for ourselves and for other people. For other people. I think we would be dumbfounded by this whole business of God never being able to do to a tree that Jesus bore the wrath of God. He took it in its worst possible form. He absorbed it all so that we didn’t have to. That would be a daily mesmerizing thing and catch myself worshiping, maybe crying, Lord, how could you do this for a sinner like me? One so deserving of God’s wrath. Oh, how we would seek to live in the power of the cross. How we would wonder at grace. And you’ll complain a lot less about a number of other things that don’t matter. We would wonder at the cross so much the idea of celebrating Easter would seem silly to do it once a year because you do it on the daily. If we read this verse right, I think we would recoil at the word compromise. Every petition made by folks inside the church and outside the church to soften the doctrines of the gospel, man, those would fall on deaf ears. Can’t hear you. If we would read this verse as the Lord would have us, we would care for other people’s souls more than they care for their own souls. We would gladly suffer mocking, derision, awkward, uncomfortable conversations if only it meant one soul was saved from this wrath. We would pray intensely for sinners. We would plead with sinners. We would weep over sinners. Because this verse, read or write, it stirs up an urgency that we wouldn’t passively wait around for Jesus to come back, but we would actively be about the Father’s business. Our Lord’s command to make disciples.

How precious is the blood of Jesus, friends? How precious are the wounds of Jesus that by them we have been healed and we have been spared from the eternal wrath of God. You ain’t got no cross. You ain’t got no good news if you don’t first see the dreaded wrath of God upon your soul. How tender and loving a Savior. How tender and loving a Father. He would have us fear His wrath so that we would not experience it. He would have us love sinners that they wouldn’t experience it.

And I want to say to you all that comes out really practical. It all comes out really practical. It’s like you know, I don’t know who said it, but I think it must be C.S. Lewis. He says everything catchy, but God can use a crooked stick to draw a straight line. And it’s amazing how God uses you and me. Really, I’m just amazed about me. He uses me to reach people with the gospel so they wouldn’t perish in fire and feel the wrath of God. He uses a bunch of broken, messed up, can’t get it together people. You and I, we are God’s plan to see so many spared from the wrath of God. And that makes people so small. And I want to raise my hand and say I can’t do that. You’ve got to have somebody else. No, that’s not me. But friends, it comes down so plain and basic to that. It comes down to you and I just taking our master serious. Taking our master serious. Just obeying the call of the gospel to live holy before the Lord and preach the gospel of repentance to sinners. Are we willing to obey our master? And I will be the first one to confess disobedience. It’s easy to just do the motions, of life and raising kids and even just showing up to church and all those good things, but it’s so easy to skip out on the tough parts. It’s so easy to skip out on other people’s soul and just be worried about mine. But that’s not the fullness of the calling. The fullness of the calling is to make disciples of the nations. It’s to preach the gospel to every man and woman and child and boy and girl. It’s the call to die to self, is it not?

And I’ve just been thinking about Providence more. I think about, we’ve been able to do some good things over the years and I’m really grateful for the Pregnancy Center and I’m thankful for the way that the last couple years, that was a good place for so many of us to serve in different ways and share the gospel in many ways. Boy, I still think back to the time that Richard was able to sit around the table with men and boy, I just sit in my office and just listen to him wear them out, man. He’d wear them out with the gospel. He’d give it to them over and over again. Man, that’s the stuff of heaven. And I know Chase was able to get in the room and he was able to do the same thing with guy after guy after guy and I know he made so many hats and we raised so much money. It’s a wonderful ministry opportunity but I know at the same time that seasons pass and you know, new seasons come and I’m praying and I’m asking you to pray about it with me like Lord, our church, where we are, what’s it look like for us to evangelize well? What’s it look like for us to gather together? What is that thing? I want to know that thing and so I’m asking you to pray about that and that’s maybe part of what I want to talk about Wednesday night but I think that’s so important for us to rally together and say God, let us keep sharing. Let us keep being in the uncomfortable place. We got to do that together. We’ve got to train together. I love Sundays and I know I’ve said that a million times. You know, I grew up going to church nine months before I was born. You know, I’m sure that’s some of you too, going to church and Sundays are great and I love Sundays but Sundays can’t carry the weight of all the discipleship you need. It’s putting too much weight on the back of Sunday. You need times like Wednesday nights where we can challenge one another in the actuals of it, train one another. So again, I’ve been grateful for us talking more in Acts about what is the gospel and doing some more training on how do we do this? How do we fulfill personal evangelism together? How can we pray for one another? How can we lock arms together? Who can we be reaching together? How can we do that? Friends, that’s where it’s at. So I can preach a most touching, you know, sermon, an oration for the ages but at the end of the day, if we’re not, you know, boots on the ground walking it out, walking it out, it means nothing. It means nothing.

It’s so funny. None of us have an actual sword in our hand. None of us actually have a breastplate. We don’t have a helmet. We don’t have a bow. We don’t have a shield. Yet we’re called to wage war against hell. And I was thinking about this, you know, Jesus says, I will build my church though. It’s not, yes, he’s using it, but he’s building it. And he says what? The gates of hell will not prevail against it. And you don’t have to be a Lord of the Rings nerd, but I let Dawson watch Lord of the Rings last night. You want to watch the third one? We got to the end of it and there’s Aragorn, king of Gondor, and there are all of his friends in this fellowship and they stormed the Black Gate to Mordor. And it’s just, it was such a great picture as I was thinking on these things that that is literally what we are doing. That’s literally what we’re doing. And as weak and as frail as we are and as afraid as we are, Jesus says, I will build my church. And the gates of hell won’t prevail against it. Friends, he is sending us out to call God’s people home that before the wrath of God comes, and it is inevitable, and it will be full and complete someday. Friends, that many would be spared.

So I say to you at the end of this, as Paul says, make your own call. Be willing in election, sure, that you are in Christ. And then give your heart and give your life with the local church to reach the lost who need to hear. And then give your heart and give your life

Preacher: Chad Cronin

Passage: Revelation 15:1