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The Blessings of Heaven Are Better & the Terrors of Hell Are Worse — Revelation 14:6-13

The Big Promises of the Bible Revelation 14 6-13 ARPChurch Anthony R Locke

by Reverend Anthony R. Locke
Sermon Series in Revelation # 28

Revelation 14:6-13
English Standard Version

6    Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.

7    And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

8    Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

9    And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10  he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

11  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12  Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

13  And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” [1]


 
During the last hundred years the Gospel has been proclaimed in every land. Every language, every culture and every people group can hear the message of the Gospel.

Like the Angels that sang to the shepherds on the day of Jesus’ birth, the joyful song of redemption is daily declared to the world by heavenly messengers.

Jesus said, Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Our evangelistic witness brings the glorious appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ closer.

We proclaim an eternal gospel to those who dwell on earth. It is not changing with the time. It is not reinventing itself to stay relevant.

There is only one plan of salvation that can save a soul from Hell. Adam and Eve placed their faith in that plan of salvation, in the promised seed of the woman, who would save them from their sins and redeem the world. That Gospel promise of salvation will continue to be effectual, it will keep working, until Jesus comes again in the clouds.

The blood of Jesus will never loose it’s power and it will never loose it’s relevance. There is no information more relevant to fallen humanity than a personal invitation from the Creator for fellowship, redemption and transformation.

There is no invitation as generous as the Father’s outstretched forgiveness.

There is no forgiveness more humbling than when a loving Father sends His only begotten Son to die for His enemies.

These are the biggest themes of scripture. Like a crimson thread that is woven through each book of the Bible, the thread of redemption and salvation unites the Bible all the way through to the book of the Revelation.

This Eternal Gospel uniquely informs us that Jesus has all authority and all power in Heaven and Earth, that the Father has given all judgment to the Son, and that the blessings of God will rain down forever upon those who place their faith in Christ.

That’s another Big Promise, a primary revelation of the Scripture, that Jesus is LORD.

This call to repentance is more of a command than an invitation. With a loud voice the messenger of God commands us to Fear God!

How do we fear God? By respecting His laws and His counsel. When we set His counsel above our own counsel we fear God.

The most fruitful pursuit during this time of our sanctification is our pursuit of the fear of God. It is the beginning of our path to Heaven.

Proverbs 2:1-5 My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God.

You can only know God by fearing Him. The Fear of God is the beginning of your relationship with Divinity. It is the beginning of your transformed Heavenly view of all things in this life and the next.

Listen to Ecclesiastes 12:13 here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.

Second, the Gospel messenger commands us in a loud voice to give God glory!

We glorify what we serve.

  • If I spend all my free time working in my yard, then I am setting the appearance of my house as more worthy of my heart’s attention than my wife and kids.
  • If I give my heart to career advancement and let other priorities slide, then I am glorifying myself and my career above my other responsibilities.

We glorify what we serve with our devotion.

This becomes a tool by which we can determine how much we glorify God. It doesn’t take much of a study to determine if our lives are being lived for God’s glory or our own.

Does your heart pursue fellowship with a Holy God or something less? When your mind goes into neutral, do you pray and consider God’s word, or do you only think about Earthly things?

The 6’s or the 7’s begin to show up when we ask these questions about ourselves. God is a seven, the Creation is a six. What marks your life?

This is how we determine WHAT we glorify, but next we have to ask HOW do we glorify God?

We glorify God by bringing the right opinion about God by our life. If we steal then we communicate that our God is soft on stealing. Maybe He steals a little glory that He doesn’t deserve. Maybe He requires obedience when He isn’t due that obedience.

If we lie then we make our God out to be no better than liars. Maybe things didn’t happen the way He says in the Bible. Maybe He didn’t make everything. Maybe He doesn’t control everything. By our lies we make our God look contemptible.

Our Revelation passage is proclaiming a classic Gospel call for repentance and faith. Fear God! Glorify God! Why? Because He is worthy.

This passage goes further and gives specific reasons why Jesus is worthy. Jesus has these rights for the Creator has the right to judge His Creation.

Don’t be shocked that Jesus is the only person who gets to determine if the life you lived in your body was for the glorification of yourself or for the glorification of God.

The world lies and says that no one has the right to tell me how to live.

That’s the voice of the False Prophet. He is telling you to glorify the secular world system that encourages you to live independent of God.

When we live for ourselves we join in the rebellion of the Dragon and give him glory.

Only a fool would live for the glory of that which has already been judged as unworthy.

8 Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

God is not keeping the eternal destiny of those who live for the pleasures of this world a secret. In the book of Genesis God promised that sin brings death. The wages of sin is death.

Babylon is already marked for destruction. Babylon is any organized society that seeks to push God out. Secularism. Humanism. Believing that living independent of God is better than living in a relationship with God.

The Tower of Babel was man’s attempt to organize for the glory of their own name. God has promised to bring her down to destruction.

Babylon is like an adulterous woman.

Remember how the old westerns always had a salon. And there was always an immodestly dressed woman who would seductively walk down the stairs and stand next to a man at the bar. She would laugh and order him drinks until she slowly walked him up to her room.

The world is offering us intoxicating drinks: Success, Fame, various Bragging rights, Riches and Pleasures. And all of her charms are meant to suck us under the waves.

When a large ship sinks the water sucks people in the area down. When the Titanic sank anyone close to the ship was sucked down under the waves as the ship sank.

Your only hope to not be sucked down is to stay far away from the doomed ship.

This world is like the Titanic. Sin opens the hull to the waters of God’s judgment, and the False Prophet lies to the passengers that this godless world is a safe haven for their souls.

But God is not keeping the eternal destiny of those who don’t fear and glorify God a secret.

With a loud voice the Gospel warns, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Let me make confession as a minister. I have never preached a sermon on the terrors of Hell. Every year I consider a sermon on Hell around the time of Good Friday, but the resurrection joy of Easter is more compelling.

Let me cover verses 9-11 with TWO thoughts.

First, there is no terror within the heart of a man that ever exceeds the terror of a man unprepared in the presence of a holy God. The most desperate prayers in the Bible spontaneously flow from the terrified hearts of people finding themselves unprepared in the presence of God.

They pray for the rocks and the hills to fall and cover them, for the darkness of the deepest sea to hide them, and for the grave to conceal their location.

But every soul that does not live in the fear of God, every soul that does not live for the glory of God, will discover that they are unprepared to stand before a thrice Holy God.

Second, there are lots of religious leaders within our culture that try to explain away the literal fires of Hell. But like any good metaphor, the reality is always more real and more intense than the analogy.

Therefore, the blessings and goodness of Heaven is better, and the terrors of Hell are worse.

While the mind has yet to imagine all the goodness that God has prepared for those who love Him, so the mind of man has also not begun to imagine all the bad things that God has prepared for those who reject His Son.

The themes in this passage are the big Gospel themes of the Bible.

Which is why the Church is called to persevere. 12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Keep looking to Jesus. Keep living for His glory. Keep living in the Fear of God. Keep sharing this message of God’s love.

Tell your friends that all judgment has been given to Jesus in Heaven and Earth. He has all power and all authority to rule according to His word.

The eternal promise of blessing is for those who live for something greater than the sixes found in this creation . . .

13  And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Heaven is when we enter into the 7, 7, 7 of the perfect rest of God.

There is a prepared rest, an eternal bliss that Jesus is preparing even now for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purposes.

May we keep our faith in the Lord Jesus until He comes. Amen.

 

 


[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


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About Tony Locke

Live in Gwinnett, GA next to Lake Lanier Islands. Married with four children. Pastored three churches over 18 years. Spent time serving as an Army Chaplain. Traveled in ministry to over 34 countries. B.A., M.A., M.Div., M.A.T.S., D.Min. BCC with NSC. Covering Georgia and upstate South Carolina

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