Title: Sure ‘Nuff Spiritual Warfare.
Text: Revelation 6:9-17.
CIT: Between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus, people dying for Christ will escalate
and God will send disasters to the earth.
Theme: Living and dying for Jesus is the norm, not the abnormal.
General William Tecumseh Sherman, the great Union general during the Civil War made this very meaningful statement as his army marched towards Atlanta, “War is Hell!”
Takashi Nagai, a survivor of the Atomic Bomb in 1945 Japan explained what he saw saying, “After a few minutes I saw something coming up the road along the river that looked like a parade of roast chickens. Some of them kept asking for ‘Water! Water!’
They were all naked, and they were skinned. The skin of their hands had been torn away at the wrists. It was hanging from their fingertips just behind the nails, turned inside-out like a glove. In the dim light I thought I saw many other children lying all about the yard.” Like Sherman, he experienced the fact that “War is Hell!” And it is.
In Revelation 6, from the opening of the first four seals it is evident that the world has been plunged into a terrible and frightening time of war. This is the “Great Tribulation.” Jesus said of this time:
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:21-22).
Sherman, Nagai and countless others who have written about the horrors of war would think their war was a walk in the park compared with what we are studying about here. It is truly warfare, but its Spiritual Warfare and it takes our breath away.
This morning, I want you to come along with me and learn of “Sure ‘Nuff Spiritual Warfare.” First, learn of:
I. Satan’s War Against God’s People.
When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Things are going badly. Amen! The bow of the horseman on the white horse is broken. Blood flows. Famine follows. Disease and sickness runs rampant. So who does the world blame? Whom do they punish? The believers who had came to Christ during the Tribulation. This is who we find under the alter, those who have already been killed because of the Word of God and their witness.
This is not new. In the days of the Black Plague, one of every four people died. The one group of people spared was the Jews. Today, we know it was because they were simply following the biblical principles of personal hygiene. But their contemporaries, convinced the Jews were the reason for the plague, persecuted them.
The same will be true in the Tribulation. Amid sickness and blood, economic disharmony and war — believers will be martyred. Listen first to:
a. The Martyr’s Cry.
Their cry is, “How long!” They are impatient for the Lord to avenge their blood and to judge all those who caused their deaths. This vengeance will not be carried out completely until Revelation 19:2. Second, see:
b. The Martyr’s Clothing.
They are each given a white robe of righteousness. It is the wedding garment of Matthew 22 and is a sign of blessedness. These martyrs are free from possibility of defilement, the victory is won, and they can rest.
Can I say to you, that today comfort and encouragement are afforded to those still struggling in the world, there is a white robe of perfect righteousness awaiting each one of us. What a wonderful picture this is. Last, see:
c. The Master’s Command.
They are to rest a little while longer until their number had been completed. Rest because when Jesus comes again, we are to rule and reign with Christ. We will not be sleeping.
God’s vengeance is going to come but it is going to come in His time, not yours nor mine. We see Satan’s Warfare Against God’s People. Next, we find:
II. God’s Warfare Against Satan.
I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?
We read in these verses that, like it was written in the song by Jerry Lee Lewis in the early fifties, there is “whole lot a shaking going on.” Why? “A great Earthquake!” Some believe this describes a nuclear winter — the result of a nuclear exchange in which the sun would be darkened, the stars would fall, and the tectonic plates of the earth would shift. I believe the shaking and quaking is the result of God getting involved when He sees His children being attacked and persecuted. God is going to shake up the world. First see:
a. The Convulsions.
There have been many earthquakes, but this will be more than an earthquake. All the earth’s faults will begin to fracture simultaneously, resulting in a cataclysmic, global earthquake. Accompanying the earthquake will be numerous volcanic eruptions; and large amounts of ash and debris will be blown into the earth’s atmosphere, blackening the sun and giving the moon a blood-red hue.
The stars of heaven will fall. Some believe this will be a giant meteor shower, showering the earth. I believe the same God who hung each star into place and keeps everything going by His power of His might is going to let them simply fall out of the sky by the millions. The Convulsions. Then see,
b. The Catastrophe.
Can you imagine the chaos? The earth’s atmosphere will be somehow dramatically affected and the sky as we know it disappears. Isaiah 34:4 describes it like this:
All the host of heaven shall be dissolved,
And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll;
All their host shall fall down
As the leaf falls from the vine,
And as fruit falling from a fig tree.
Under the stress created by the global earthquake, great segments of the earth’s plates will begin to slip and shift, realigning whole continents. These actions are going to be catastrophic. Fear and panic will run rampant. Then, I want you to see:
c. The Chaos.
And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne ...”
Refusing to call upon the Rock of Ages, mankind has no other choice than to call out to the rocks of the earth to fall on them to protect them from the wrath of God. I can imagine the scene as billions of people look for rocks to hide under, just as Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God in the Garden of Eden. Chaos!
Last, we need to learn of:
d. The Cause.
Men drunk with their sham liberty, and rejoicing in the triumph of a blatant God-defying dictator, will for a brief period turn this earth into a great mad-house. The vileness of those days will be indescribable. They, it will dawn upon multitudes that the Lamb of God whom they rejected and whose gentle rule they had spurned has in visited their sins upon their own heads.
Then we have depicted what some one has called “the greatest prayer-meeting of all history,” when “the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the chief captains, the mighty men, the bond and the free” shall hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, crying out in their sore distress for the mountains and the rocks to cover them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, “for,” they will cry as with one voice, “the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?”
Incredibly prior to this, these people will be living life as usual. Listen as Jesus teaches His disciples in Matthew 24:
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
God’s warfare against Satan.
You would think that people who endured such devastation would reach out to Jesus. Amen! Yet we read of no repentance, we read of no true turning back to God or trusting His Christ — just an awful realization that it is the rejected Lamb whose wrath they would escape. They are like those of whom Jeremiah prophesied who will cry in that day of the fierce anger of the Lord, “The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
How about you? Are you saved this morning? Have you put your trust in the Lamb of God? In a moment we are going to be singing a song of invitation. It is your invitation to come and do business with God. Won’t you come this morning in reply to God’s call on your life?
God might have some other decision He wants you to make this morning. We invite you to come and follow the Lord’s command.
FBC, Hughes 08/24/09