The Worthlessness of Worldliness

 

REVELATION 18:1-24

 

JESUS CONDEMNING WORLDLINESS (18:1-3)

Revelation 18:1-3 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed

fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

WORLDLY POSSESSIONS CAN’T BUY SPIRITUAL LIFE. The rich and powerful families of the World from Rockefeller to Rothschild, from Getty to Gates will stand and watch their billions go up in the smoke from the wrath of God. This scene depicts graphically what Jesus said in Matthew 16:26 “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

􀀹 James 5:1-6 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.

 

JESUS CALLING FOR SAINTS TO COME OUT OF WORLDLINESS (18:4-8)

Revelation 18:4-8 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.5 “For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.6 “Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.7 “In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’8 “Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

This is a repetition of the continually repeated call of God. He wants us His saints to live out our high calling. We are called to be holy in all parts of our lives! Separate from and get out of Babylon is called for 7 times in the Word of God. Some of the key calls of God were for men to get out of worldliness.

 

􀀹 GOD CALLED ABRAHAM OUT OF HIS WORLD TO FOLLOW GOD'S WAY. Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family And from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.

 

 

􀀹 GOD CALLED LOT TO TOTALLY ABANDOM THE SINFULNESS OF SODOM. Genesis 19:12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place!

 

􀀹 GOD CALLED MOSES TO STAY OUT OF THE VERY PRESENCE OF THOSE REBELLING AGAINST THE LORD. Numbers 16:23-24 So the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’ ”

 

􀀹 GOD PROMISES GREAT BLESSING FOR LIVING A LIFE OF AVOIDING THE UNGODLINESS AROUND US. Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

 

􀀹 JESUS PRAYED FOR OUR REALIZATION OF THIS WORLD AS NOT OUR HOME. John 17:14-16 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.16 “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

 

􀀹 GOD EXPECTS HIS CHILDREN TO COME OUT AND STAY OUT OF WORLDLINESS. 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”

 

􀀹 GOD CALLS US TO BE CAREFUL IN NOT ASSOCIATING WITH SIN. 1 Timothy 5:22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.

 

JESUS DESCRIBING THE WORTHLESSNESS OF WORLDLINESS

(18:9-19)

WORLDLY POSSESSIONS CAN’T LAST FOREVER. Revelation 18:9 “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning,

 

􀀹 The words “bewail and lament” speak of an uncontrollable sobbing and beating of the breast in anguish! They are insecure and not enduring in the end.

 

WORLDLY POSSESSIONS CAN’T MEET OUR DEEPEST NEEDS. Revelation 18:10-12 “standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’11 “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: 12 “merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble 13 “and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.

 

􀀹 There are 28 types of possessions named in 8 categories:

 

 

1. POSSESSIONS OF SECURITY. In all of history gold, silver and precious stones have been a vehicle to hold the wealth of the rich against inflation, warfare and decline.

 

2. POSSESSIONS OF EXTERNAL BEAUTY. These are the fine materials of clothing, decorating and fashion.

 

3. POSSESSIONS OF EXQUISITE FURNISHINGS. The woods (thyanine a fragrant, rare coniferous wood of Northern Africa makes table tops worth $10,000 each), ivory, marble (the most expensive building material) and so on.

 

4. POSSESSIONS OF PERSONAL LUXURY. These are the fragrances of perfumes and incenses, the oils of ointments and beautifiers, the spices of exotic cuisine.

 

5. POSSESSIONS OF PERSONAL INDULGENCE. The inclusion of wine would cover all the personal intoxicants including distilled spirits (not known in the ancient world), and drugs (known and used back then). The oil named may be olive oil of the ancient world or a prophetic look ahead to the vast petroleum industry.

 

6. POSSESSIONS OF LIFE. The list also has foodstuffs for daily life, this would be all agricultural products, and then also are the fine meats named.

 

7. POSSESSIONS OF TRANSPORTATION. The word for chariot is not the normal 2 wheeler from the movies like Ben Hur; it is the four wheeled wagon (Greek: rheda) of travel. This may be a prophetic look at the vast automotive industry.

 

8. POSSESSIONS OF SLAVERY. The including of slaves “souls of men” may indicate a resurgence of slavery which was outlawed by Christian nations in the 19th century (although in Asia and Africa it continues), or this may be a spiritual reference to the sale of indulgences

 

WORLDLY POSSESSIONS CAN BLIND THE SOUL TO ETERNAL CONCERNS.

rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear9 of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16 “and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! 17 ‘For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance18 “and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’19 “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’

 

􀀹 In four verses the earth dwellers lament their loss of luxuries, money and things (v. 9, 11, 15, 19) and the lightning like speed of their loss (v. 10, 17, 19).

 

􀀹 But in all the weeping and wailing THEY FAIL TO EVEN NOTICE the greatest loss is of their own souls! What a tragic scene!

 

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