. . . and God Remembered — Revelation 16:17-21
by Reverend Anthony R. Locke
Sermon Series in Revelation # 32
English Standard Version
17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!”
18 And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.
19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.
20 And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found.
21 And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.
My children love LEGOs. They build rocket ships, cars, planes and cities. Most LEGO sets come with very careful and detailed instructions. Sometimes when they are assembling the project, a piece is placed incorrectly. If one LEGO piece is set incorrectly, then the whole project is a little off. As a parent I have to disassemble their masterpiece until I find the wrong piece to put the project back on the right path.
God built His most impressive LEGO project when He pieced together this Creation. God didn’t work alone. God invited Adam and Eve to help piece together the moral environment within human society by giving them moral choices. Our first parents made some wrong choices. They set some LEGO pieces incorrectly and the Creation hasn’t progressed according to God’s detailed instructions ever since.
Someday our Heavenly Father will have to disassemble this Creation so that the wrong can be made right. God knows what’s wrong. God alone can fix it. God will disassembles this Creation, but then He will reassemble it without the sin and trouble.
That’s exciting and unsettling. I am very glad to know that God will correct things, but the disassembly part scares me. We live within this messed up LEGO project, but for God to fix the imperfections of this Creation, it has to be totally disassembled and reassembled correctly.
The Bible repeatedly tells us that God will un-Create this Creation and re-Create it according to the perfect life and character of Jesus. The prophetic books of the Old Testament are full of passages that explain God’s judgment. There’s LOTS of warnings that a future event of wrath in inevitable.
God has already discerned what’s wrong, He has the judgment to see the problem, and He intends to make things right.
These verses in the book of the Revelation are one of those places where God reminds us that life unravels according to God’s perfect design. Even death is a tool of God for disassembly.
Our bodies must disassemble that we might receive newly created glorious bodies. Old age, disease or even a car accident, are all unsettling tools by which God disassembles this world that it might be gloriously reassembled.
The resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of the new Creation. Our death is just the pathway toward our own resurrection.
Therefore, these calamities upon the Earth are a pathway to something better. When I read the warning passages, I don’t even hear the negatives anymore. When God says He is going to burn up the Earth, I only hear His glorious intentions to reassemble things without the stain of sin. God loves us too much to let us live within a broken Universe forever.
My children come to me in tears wondering why their LEGO project is not as good as it ought to be. In love I have to judge certain pieces as wrong and then break apart what they love that it might be corrected.
God has already figured out what’s wrong. One day soon God will disassemble and then reassemble the whole Creation without the brokenness. That’s the message of all the judgment passages in the Bible. God’s love compels Him to redeem people and fix things.
God loves you too much to let you live forever as a sinner. Even being regenerate isn’t God’s ultimate goal. God hates death, but He looks forward to the day that your body is resurrected into a glorious eternal life in Christ.
So what part of the Creation needs to be radically changed? What’s the biggest problem with society? The greatest sin within the Creation is a disregard for the person, life and work, of Jesus Christ.
Adam and Eve didn’t rightly value their daily fellowship with God. They scorned God’s love. They showed disrespect for God’s companionship.
Adam and Eve wanted their will to compete with God’s will. They wanted to know by experience good and evil so that they could decide what was right and what was wrong for themselves.
Adam and Eve chose to live without regard for God, without a fear of God, and without a constant dependency upon His words and commands.
Adam and Eve invented secularism. They pushed God out of their minds and tried to live as though God wasn’t relevant.
To live as though God doesn’t matter is Agnosticism. To live as though God doesn’t exist is Atheism.
This last week I was reading some material written by Atheists regarding the Sanctity of Life. Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday. The comments I read within the Atheist Forum were all answering the question, “How can life be considered sacred if God doesn’t exist?”
The forum revolved around the idea that if we live without regard for God, without a fear of God, then by what logic can we rightly conclude that life has spiritual meaning, a higher purpose or eternal value? Must we not conclude that life is not sacred?
Sadly, not a single Atheist debating within the Forum was able to conclude that life was worth protecting. Human life, from their point of view, is only a random expression of the evolutionary process. We are no more sacred than any other creature that roams the Earth.
If life is nothing but a chemical accident mixed with lightening and chance, and if there is no God, then how can life be sacred?
As Christians we believe something much more noble about human life. We believe that God made humanity in His image. Romans 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
The most glorious manifestation of God built within the fabric of this Creation was mankind. Gen. 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Nothing cries out the glory of God more than another human being. The most depraved human being reveals more about God then polar bears and old-grow forests . . . combined.
Hug a tree! Great, but hug your neighbor more. Love the baby turtles and pass laws to protect them, great, but love the people suffering after hurricane Sandy more.
Human life is the most sacred element within the Creation. We shine more of the glory of God than the Heavens, the animals and the angels combined. We are uniquely made in the image of God.
People who reject God generally reject that life is precious. Abolishing the image of God via murder is the most violent way to express our animosity toward God.
Adam and Eve experienced the horror of murder when Cain killed Abel. Murder should always shock us. I have friends with kids who cried the first time they saw a human being killed in a movie. It is supposed to be shocking.
Which makes me wonder if a lack of respect for life is the reason that American culture is experiencing more and more Columbine and Sandy Hook Elementary tragedies.
Our pop culture doesn’t teach the sanctity of life. It teaches killing. Video games help children overcome the natural discomfort of pointing a gun at another human being.
One of the military hurdles in World War I was overcoming our soldiers discomfort killing the enemy. Some of our boys pointed their rifles, but then didn’t pull the trigger.
That moral inhibition can be overcome through video game role playing. In the 21st Century, our children practice shooting people with video games.
Movies are filled with the glorious taking of human life. Many of the same movie stars advocating strict gun control laws are the ones who got paid lots of money while shooting it up on the big screen. It’s gross hypocrisy.
Even our politicians are duplicitous. They support the civil uprising in Egypt and Syria, but don’t want Americans to have weapons to mount the same kind of force against government. They even sent guns to Mexican Drug gangs, and then criticize law abiding citizens for owning guns to protect their families.
Politicians and the entertainment culture fail to teach the sanctity of life.
And surely our abortion laws are the most compelling argument within the minds of teenagers that life isn’t worth protecting.
Our tax dollars purchase pregnancy protection that is then passed out in our public schools. And when that fails the abortion clinics are right down the street to stop that most glorious expression of the glory of God within the Creation.
Remember, 1.3 million babies are snuffed out every year in America, over 50 million worldwide. Is it too painful to remember?
We might not want to remember, but God will. Verse 19 and God remembered.
God will remember and disassemble this Creation that He might reassemble it without the stain and oppression of sin?
This last week I watched a movie in the theaters called Zero Dark Thirty. It documents the American efforts to search and destroy Osama Bin Laden for his role in killing 2,982 souls on that fateful morning of September 11th, 2001.
The movie opens with radio and television broadcasts from that terror filled morning. We all learned how easy it is for terrorists to kill those we love.
We pursued what we prayed was a just war to weaken those we believed were connected with terrorist networks.
We have spent well over a billion dollars constructing memorials to never forget the tragedy that unfolded on that day.
I have visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York twice. Did you know that the names are not listed alphabetically around the site? The names are listed in groups according to their relationships with one another. You have to find a name on the directory and then go to where it is engraved.
But there’s another way to show that we remember.
On May 1st of 2011, Americans showed that they still remember the loss of our loved ones when we went into Pakistan with our military elite. We remembered through aggressive military actions that brought UBL to justice.
I like brick and mortar memorials, but I like our actions of remembrance better.
God feels the same way. God will bring Himself to remembrance. God will use aggressive military actions to disassemble this world.
God offers love and forgiveness now, but on that day, God will serve up His vengeance cold. His actions will be swift and just. God will not show restraint for those who showed disrespect for His Son. God will not show restraint for those who treated human life as worthless. God will disassemble the oppressors and cast them into Hell.
But we don’t have to fear that day. We can be disassembled today through repentance. God is offering to pull out the broken parts and correctly rebuild your life now.
How does God do it? God unraveled Jesus on the Cross. God disassembled the Son of God that His character and holy attributes might replace the broken parts of your soul. God places the Holy Spirit inside your heart and then uses the Word of God to direct you in His righteousness.
God strongly desires to begin fixing our life today. All we must do is repent. May God help us to run to Jesus. Amen.
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
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