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God’s Final Call, Part 1

Answering God's call to a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus, the redeemer of our souls.


Revelation 18:1-8 1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. 

 

And he called out with a mighty voice,

 

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!

   She has become a dwelling place for demons,

a haunt for every unclean spirit,

    a haunt for every unclean bird,

    a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.

For all nations have drunk

    the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,

and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,

    and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

 

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

 

“Come out of her, my people,

    lest you take part in her sins,

lest you share in her plagues;

for her sins are heaped high as heaven,

    and God has remembered her iniquities.

Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,

    and repay her double for her deeds;

    mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.

As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,

    so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,

since in her heart she says,

    ‘I sit as a queen,

I am no widow,

    and mourning I shall never see.’

For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,

    death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire;

    for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”


What is God’s calling and why does it matter? Two weeks ago, a young man in our church asked me, “Pastor how did you know that you were called to be a preacher?” I didn’t give him a profound answer but outlined a process; a process by which God had to mold me through situations to guide me to people and places to shape me into a person who was prepared to preach and proclaim the gospel whenever, wherever, and however God wanted.

 

In that sense, our calling is tied to God’s will that we looked at in Revelation 17.

 

The problem is that people often associate a calling with a profession. A calling is not what you do but what you were made for. It is the purpose and meaning of life that you were created for.

 

So, if you are searching for a purpose and meaning in your life, then search no more. Rather, pursue the calling that you were born with. First and foremost, it is the calling to a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus, the redeemer of our souls.

 

In Revelation 18:1-8, the early church was reminded of this calling, the purpose and meaning of life that they were created for. They were called to belong to Jesus and to participate in His redemptive work in the world. Therefore, verse 4 is a key verse in our passage. It calls the church, in all ages whether past, present, or future, to “come out” of the world or perish with the world.

 

The big idea is, if you do not want to perish with the world, then, in obedience to God’s calling on your life, come out of the world. How can we come out of the world when it is all around us? The context of Revelation 18 describes the world as “Babylon the great” which represents the satanic seductive spiritual and materialistic world.

 

We learn three lessons from our text that if we do not want to perish with the world then we must separate ourselves from the cultural corruption and sexual perversion, the commercial contamination and social perversion, and the corporal condemnation and spiritual perversion.

 

Here, we will only focus on the first point on Revelation 18:1-8 and the second and third points on the rest of Revelation 18 next time.

 

Separate Ourselves from Cultural Corruption and Sexual Perversion (Revelation 18:1-8)

 

We live in a society where cultural corruption and sexual perversion is celebrated on a national scale.

 

Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” Revelation 18:1-8 is the execution of that woe against cultural corruption and sexual perversion. The ESV translation of verse 1 reads, “After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory.”

 

Many think this angel is Jesus Himself because his authority is similar to Jesus’ authority in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18 where Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

 

Also, his glory is similar to Jesus’s glory that Peter, James, and John witnessed on the mountain of transfiguration. Matthew 17:3 reads, “there He [Jesus] was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” 

 

The Gospel of John 1:14 testifies, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” So, if it is Jesus, then His glory, power, and authority indicates He comes to subdue the earth and to fight the forces of darkness.

 

Nevertheless, I don’t want us to be dogmatic about the identity of the angel because the focus of the text is not the angel but the utter destruction of Satan’s seductive spiritual and material empire in this world, where cultural corruption and sexual perversion have reached their limit.

 

The pronouncement against the ever-perishing world in verse 2 reads, “And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” ” This is the same “Babylon the great” that we saw in Revelation 17:5-6 which reads, “5 And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.” 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”

 

In Revelation 17, Babylon was the spiritual seductiveness of this world which represents Satan’s seductive spiritual-religious global empire but in Revelation 18, Babylon is the materialistic seductiveness of the world which represents the satanic seductive commercial global empire.

 

The key difference between Babylon of Revelation 17 and of Revelation 18 is spiritual vs material and religious vs. commercial. Like a conjoined twin, they both are attached to one objective— propagate idolatry and immorality through state, spiritual, and sacred institutions of nations around the world.

 

The wording and Greek grammar in verse1 indicate that it is not an event in the future even though this event will take place in the end time toward the very end of the seven-year tribulation, but rather something that has already taken place. In God’s predetermined eternal plan, the fall of Satan’s spiritual and material empire has already happened, so fear him not. Rather pursue God’s calling on your life and come out of the world that is ruled and reigned by Satan and his demons.

 

In Revelation 18:2-4, we see three truths that help us to separate ourselves from this world because it has become a demonic, destructive, and dammed world.  

 

Demonic World.  Revelation 18:2 says, “She [Satan’s empire] has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.” Today, demons influence kings, rulers, and populations to follow Satan through seductive spiritual, religious, commercial, and material means but a day is coming when the world itself will become the dwelling place for them.

 

They will come out of the bottomless pit to rule the world. Imagine all the evil we see today plus all evil that will fall on earth because all of the one-third of the angels, the demons who were cast out of heaven, will dwell on the earth. So, to bring forth the new Jerusalem and the new earth, a world run by demons and Satanic powers must die. The world God created was wonderful and beautiful but the world that we have created in our disobedience to God and His Word is demonic to its core.

The cultural corruption of sexual perversion is the result of it. Today, laws are made to protect immorality and sexual perversion. It is not about being liberal or conservative; it’s about being corrupt and perverse. Therefore, God calls His people to come out of it.

 

Destructive World. Revelation 18:3 continues, “For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.” Prostitution and sexual immorality in Revelation 17 were symbolic of idolatry and immorality. It is considered to be the oldest profession and, in my opinion, the source of cultural corruption in sexual perversion. In Western culture, money, sex, and power might be conceptual gods but in the old cultures, they were gods and goddesses associated with prosperity, power, and prostitution.

 

Last week, I was sharing with Pastor Miller about a man who died at the age of 40 because of his self-destructive behavior. In a way, the world doesn’t need God’s help to destroy it because of its self-destructive behavior. The question is, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Are you engaged in self-destructive behavior in pursuit of money, sex, and power or are you pursuing God’s calling on your life, which as I said before, first and foremost, is the calling to a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus, the redeemer of our souls.

 

Damned World. The world was damned the moment sin entered this world back in the Garden of Eden. The only reason it lasted this long is that God wanted to redeem people who otherwise would perish with the ever-perishing world. Revelation 18:4 is God’s final call to the called, chosen, and faithful ones in the end times, but also a warning to all believers of the past, present, and future.

 

It reads, “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.” Did you know the Greek word for “church,” ecclesia means “called-out ones?” Essentially, the church is the community of individual believers who are called out of the world to follow Jesus. This calling is the decisive calling of salvation unto God and unless God calls us out of the world, we will remain slaves to sin and its consequences. However, when He calls us we must follow Jesus immediately.

 

Matthew 4:18-22 illustrates one of the most powerful responses to God’s calling, “18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

 

Next time, we will go a little deeper with this calling but for now, as a way of application, see three realities in Revelation 18:5-8 that should convict us to come out of the demonic, destructive, and damned world to pursue God’s calling on us and follow Jesus.

 

The Remembrance of Sins. Revelation 18:5 says, “for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” The idea of “heaped high” in Greek is the idea of being welded together. It reminds me of the tower of Babel in Babylon. The tower did not reach God but the sin, immorality, and godlessness that it stood for did reach God. God will not put up with our sinful, destructive behavior forever either. It is not a matter of if God will react in response to our disobedience but when He will react in His justice.

 

The Recompense for Sins. Revelation 18:6 continues “Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.” As a result, God not only gave the world what it deserved but doubled the portion of it.

 

The Reason for Sins. And Revelation 18:7-8 says, “7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ 8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

 

Recently, a person in our church asked if it is true that God does not remember our sins, I said that it is not that God has dementia and He forgets. He chooses to forget so to forgive our sins because of Jesus. He does not forget anything ever. If you remove Jesus, all the sins you ever committed, even the ones you do not recall, will stand against you with a just recompense. In Revelation 18, God gives fair warning to all believers in the past, present, and future to come out and be the church by separating themselves from the cultural corruption and sexual immorality or else “be burn up with fire” along with the ever-perishing world.

 

The action step is to make a choice between God’s calling on your lives, which is the calling to a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus, the redeemer of our souls, or a choice to pursue worldly passion. You cannot have both.

 

My appeal to you is two-fold: one, choose God’s calling and come out of the corrupt and sinful world to follow Jesus and to have eternal life with Him or else you will perish with the world, and two, ask yourself, “What worldly thought or action is God calling me to leave behind as I pursue God’s calling to come out of the world and follow Jesus?”

  

Study Questions

 

1.       Revelation 18:1 says that when the angel descended from heaven, his glory made the earth bright. Have any of the other angels mentioned in Revelation shared such a description? Who might this angel be? Could it be Jesus? 

 

2.       Why does Revelation 18:2 say that Babylon “has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast?” 

 

3.       To whom does Revelation 18:4 address as “my people?” Who are they and what does it mean when God says “come out of her” as in from Babylon?

 

Deeper Study Questions

 

1.       In what sense is God calling you to come out of the world?

 

2.       What aspects of the seductiveness of the material world do you truly struggle with?

 

3.       What practical steps would you take to separate yourself from cultural corruption and sexual perversion?

 

4.       In response to the message, “God’s Final Calling,” what one thing stood out for you?


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