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God’s Final Call, Part 2

You are called to belong to Jesus and to participate in His redemptive work in the world, therefore, “come out” of the world or perish with the world.

 

Revelation 18:9-24 9 And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

 

“Alas! Alas! You great city,

    you mighty city, Babylon!

For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

 

11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.

 

14 “The fruit for which your soul longed

    has gone from you,

and all your delicacies and your splendors

    are lost to you,

    never to be found again!”

 

15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,

 

16 “Alas, alas, for the great city

    that was clothed in fine linen,

        in purple and scarlet,

    adorned with gold,

        with jewels, and with pearls!

17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”

 

And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,

 

“What city was like the great city?”

 

19 And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out,

“Alas, alas, for the great city

    where all who had ships at sea

    grew rich by her wealth!

For in a single hour she has been laid waste.

20 Rejoice over her, O heaven,

    and you saints and apostles and prophets,

for God has given judgment for you against her!”

 

21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,

 

“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence,

    and will be found no more;

22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,

    will be heard in you no more,

and a craftsman of any craft

    will be found in you no more,

and the sound of the mill

    will be heard in you no more,

23 and the light of a lamp

    will shine in you no more,

and the voice of bridegroom and bride

    will be heard in you no more,

for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,

    and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.

24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,

    and of all who have been slain on earth.”



Last week I asked, “What is God’s calling and why does it matter?” and I shared the story of this young man in our church who asked me how I knew that I was called to be a preacher. Remember that I did not give him a profound answer but outlined 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.

 

The problem with this process is that sometimes it takes too long and requires patience, persistence, and perseverance. Take the example of Moses. When God called Moses after 40 years as a shepherd in the wilderness, Moses had already gone through a long process that started before he was born to prepare him to shepherd God’s people called by His name through the wilderness for 40 years. So, calling is not what you do but what you were made for. You were made for worship, fellowship, and a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus which is a lifelong process.

 

In a way, the whole book of Revelation was a reminder of this lifelong process to which all believers— whether in the past, present, or future— were called. In Revelation 18:4, God called all believers to “come out” of the corrupt, contaminated, and condemned world to follow Jesus or perish with the world.

 

The big idea is that if we do not want to perish with the world, then in obedience to God’s calling on our lives, we must come out of the world because this world, called Babylon in Revelation 18, represents the Satanic, seductive, spiritual, and materialistic empire that is committed to propagating idolatry and immorality through state, spiritual, and sacred institutions of nations around the world.

 

Last time, in Revelation 18:1-8, we looked at the first of the three lessons that if we do not want to perish with the world, we must separate ourselves from the cultural corruption and sexual perversion. We learned it has become a demonic, destructive, and damned world.

 

Separate Ourselves from Commercial Contamination and Social Perversion (Revelation 18:9-19)

 

The idea of having more, that is, lusting after more progress, longing for more profit, and living for more possessions has contaminated the world with materialism and commercialism. In verse 4, God called His people to come out of the world or perish with it. We see three consequences for not coming out of the world in Revelation 18:9-19).

 

The Consequence for Lusting After More Progress. In the New Testament Greek, the word for lust is epithymia which is a passionate desire that can be positive or negative. Revelation 18:9-10 reads, “ 9 And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” ”

 

In verse 9, the result of this lust is sexual immorality which represents love of money, sex, and power.

 

Verse 10 ends “For in a single hour your judgment has come,” meaning that Christ’s justice will be swift against those whose lust after more progress made them easy targets of “Babylon,” the Satanic, seductive, spiritual, and materialistic empire.

 

The Consequence for Longing for More Profit. In our world, profit drives progress. What happens when businesses measure the value of human life against a profit and loss spreadsheet? In our country, a pill that should cost a dollar costs hundreds or thousands of dollars because businesses long for more profit.

 

In verse 11, God strikes the very foundation of the global wealth and economic system— the businesses. Therefore, Revelation 18:11 reads, “11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore.”

 

Verses 12 and 13 list different articles of their cargo as a sample of what they were selling to make a profit.

 

Revelation 18:14 says, “14 The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!” Like the kings, the merchants in verse 15-16 wept and mourned from a distance too, and verse 17 concludes with, “For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” Again, the judgment was swift against the lover of money.

 

The Consequence for Living for More Possessions. After rulers and business people, God turns His face against the transporters of goods and valuables across the globe, so verses 17-18 continues “17b And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?” ”

 

The city mentioned here is a hub of the global economy but when it went up in fire, verse 19 says, the traders and transporters “19… threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste.” ”

 

Three times in a short passage, we are told all of this will end in no time. What took Satan thousands of years to build, namely his materialistic empire, Christ will end in no time and with that, those who lust after more progress, long for more profit, and live for more possessions will perish.

 

I don’t know about your house, but our house is full of Amazon boxes. My wife orders everything from Amazon.

 

Now things might be packaged by Amazon in the US, but they are not from the US. No matter where you buy from, your house is full of things from around the world. Just check the tags of your clothes, the back of your phones, and the bottom of your shoes. Most things that we wear and use and even some that we eat are not made in America.

 

In many cases, such items are coming out of sweatshops overseas that governments around the world are turning a blind eye to. In pursuit of more progress, profit, and possession, slave labor and slave prostitution were not just a part of commerce in the old days. They are alive and well, even today, in the form of modern-day slavery and human trafficking. So, think before you buy.

 

The stage is set for the antichrist, who the Bible teaches, will create a one-world global economic system. All leaders of the world will pledge their allegiance to him and worship his image, not God.

 

The application is to take the warning against commercial contamination and social perversion seriously. Don’t put your trust in money because trusting in, living for, and selling our souls to the materialistic world may benefit us for a short period but after that, comes swift judgment.

 

Separate Ourselves from Corporal Condemnation and Spiritual Perversion (Revelation 18:20-24)

 

In the last four verses of Revelation 18, God declares three more truths in His Word about His Final Call.

 

The Celebration of Retribution. Verse 20 reads, “20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!

 

The Condemnation for Retaliation. The rhythm of “no more” in verses 21-23 illustrates the end of celebration.

 

Verses 21-22 reads, “21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more; 22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more.” That might be the sound of worship and celebration offer to the beast, the antichrist and Satan.

 

Verses 22-23 continues, “22b and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, those who crafted jewelry but also those who shaped idols to be worship “and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, 23 and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more.”  In other words, the sound of joy, celebration, worship, marriage, and market life all will cease to exist.

 

The Culmination of Restitution.  Verses 23-24 concludes “for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.” Just as God’s people were slain and were no more on earth, the culmination of the restitution was that she, the Babylon which is the Satanic, spiritual, and material world was slain and was no more on earth along with those who lust after her, longed and lived for her.

 

God’s Word in John 2:15-17 commands believers, “15 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. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” God’s corporal condemnation includes every soul that loves the world more than the one who created the world.

 

The application for us is to pay attention to God’s Final Call in Revelation 18:4 and in obedience to God’s calling on your life, come out of the materialistic world. If we do that we do not need to worry about corporal condemnation.

 

A man came to see a pastor. He said, “I lost my job and I have been pretending for a few weeks as if I am going to work every morning.”

 

The pastor asked, “Why don’t you tell your family that you lost your job?”

 

He replied, “I fear what they will think of me, what am I without my job.”

 

Too many men have been lied to that their identity, calling, and worth is in what they do. I want you to know that your identity is not in what you do but in what you were made for. You were made to worship, fellowship, and have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus which is a lifelong process.

 

Pledge to stop living for earthly possessions whether a house, car, or 401K, and start living for God to fulfill God’s calling on your life. Then, even if you make less, God will bless.

 

Men, today the world does not need more millionaires and billionaires. It needs godly men who put Jesus first.

 

Fathers and husbands, when you put Jesus first, you set an example for your wives and children.

 

If we put Jesus first, then we must separate ourselves from the cultural corruption of sexual perversion and the commercial contamination of social perversion to escape corporal condemnation and spiritual perversion.

 

The action step to take is to examine if your time and pursuits for worldly things outweigh the time and pursuit of God’s calling on our life to follow Him. If you come up short, you must seek after God. The doctrine of total depravity says that every part of our being, that is, our minds, wills, emotions, and flesh, all have been corrupted, poisoned, and polluted with sin.

 

Unless Christ, by the power of His Word, transforms our minds, we will always long for more progress, lust after more profit and live for more possessions. God is not against progress, profit, and possessions. He is against how wealth is acquired and used.

 

My appeal is to use your time and resources on earth to fulfill God’s calling on your life, which first and foremost, is a call to a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus. You are called to belong to Jesus and to participate in His redemptive work in the world, therefore, as Revelation 18:4 commands, “come out” of the world or perish with the world.

 

Study Questions

 

1.       Why does the world mourn the fall of Babylon in Revelation 18:9-19?

 

2.       In Revelation 18:13, why is the “human soul” on the list of things for sale? In Revelation 18:14, what does the “soul long” for? 

 

3.       In Revelation 18:20, why are the saints, apostles, and prophets called to rejoice over the destruction of commercial Babylon? 

 

Deeper Study Questions

 

1.       Why did God punish commercial Babylon? What do we learn from it? Give special attention to how swift this judgement was. In a “single hour,” all of this was done. 

 

2.       What did you learn about God’s judgment against the lover of money? 

 

3.       Is money, commerce, the desire for good clothes, food, or accumulating possessions wrong? Discuss why you think it is wrong or not. 

 

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