The Patient Wrath of God on Rebellion: A Meditation on Revelation 14:14-16:21

Revelation 14:14-16:21

A Meditation on:

The Patient Wrath of God on Rebellion

I know that what I’m going to say this morning is not en vogue. It’s out of vogue.

So many speak of “grace”. When they say grace they don’t mean the patient, fatherly kindness of Jesus toward his repentant followers who hate their sin and lean hard on the justifying work of the cross.

When they say grace they mean a blind acceptance of one’s sinful rebellion as ok, because, well, they are forgiven and there is no need for us to see what Jesus does not see, and there is no need for us to ask you to not do that anymore.

The Lord is patient toward his people. But the Lord’s patience will run out toward those who will not seek repentance.

1. The Lord enslaved his people 400 years in Egypt because the sin of the Amorite was not yet complete.

Genesis 15:1-16

And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. 

A. But, make NO mistake. Father is just. When the Amorite does not repent, there is an end to his patience for those who persist in their fallen rebellion. He will send the conquest by the hand of Joshua to hand out justice.

2. The Father was pleased to crush his own son and put his righteous indignation for our sin on his sun in order to bring us peace.

Isaiah 53

A. When the nation does not repent for their rejection of the Messiah, Father sends the Romans in to crush the people who murdered the Son and would not repent. “He came to his own and his own did not receive him. But to those who receive him, he gave the right to become children of God.”

3. The Father has subjected the church for a season to the devices of fallen man to suffer as our King suffered, and to join him in his suffering, in order for fallen man to have a witness of the sufferings of Jesus in their place for their sin.

Philippians 1:27-30

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”

A. When the rebellious of the nations subject the church to unjust punishment because of the name we bear. Make NO mistake. It is not wasted. We fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of those who need to see, taste and know the suffering of Jesus in their place for their sin. It is a gracious and glorious calling to be in that calling to suffer. But make No mistake. Jesus will not allow us to be the object of suffering forever. That day will end. Jesus will vindicate his name and rescue those who bear his name from the hands of evil people and crush those evil people in JUST CONDEMNATION.

1. Jesus patience precedes his judgment, so don’t delay, repent!

Revelation 14:14-20; Revelation 15; Revelation 16

The wrath of the Lord is laid up for the unrepentant.

The wrath of the Lord is NOT for those whose treasure is Jesus and who hope in his name.

The salvation of the Lord is secure if one has tasted the salvation of the Lord.

The Scripture is clear on what a “saved” person is and does.

One of those indicators of fruit is the idea of “meta-noia” “repentance”.

1 John 3:1-10

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

There is a clear indicator of who belongs to Satan and who belongs to Jesus. Those who remain in their sin and those who seek to escape their sin; those who are satisfied in their sin and those who hate their sin.

An appeal inside the church…

We cannot isolate these passages from the rest of Scripture.

For 6,000 years the Lord has been gracious in allowing rebellious man to trample over his name, reputation and glory. He has sent prophets to warn man. He finally sent his Son to call man to peace.

Jesus has been more than patient and kind.

For us who are in the church, there is a sober warning here. That warning is that we not persist in any sin or love any sin or in any way test the patience of the Lord.

In Deuteronomy 32:35 (verse 15 warns of forsaking the Lord in one’s own pursuits), Jesus reminds his people that if they turn toward their sin and away from him there will be a time when their foot slips and their doom comes quickly.

I want you to hear part of the commentary of Jonathan Edwards to his church to be careful about testing the grace of the Lord in persisting in sin.

“O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment. And consider here more particularly,

Consider this, you that are here present, that yet remain in an unregenerate state. That God will execute the fierceness of his anger, implies, that he will inflict wrath without any pity. When God beholds the ineffable extremity of your case, and sees your torment to be so vastly disproportioned to your strength, and sees how your poor soul is crushed, and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom; he will have no compassion upon you, he will not forbear the executions of his wrath, or in the least lighten his hand; there shall be no moderation or mercy, nor will God then at all stay his rough wind; he will have no regard to your welfare, nor be at all careful lest you should suffer too much in any other sense, than only that you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires. Nothing shall be withheld, because it is so hard for you to bear. “Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet I will not hear them” (Ezek. 8:18). Now God stands ready to pity you; this is a day of mercy; you may cry now with some encouragement of obtaining mercy. But when once the day of mercy is past, your most lamentable and dolorous cries and shrieks will be in vain; you will be wholly lost and thrown away of God, as to any regard to your welfare. God will have no other use to put you to, but to suffer misery; you shall be continued in being to no other end; for you will be a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction; and there will be no other use of this vessel, but to be filled full of wrath. God will be so far from pitying you when you cry to him, that it is said he will only “laugh and mock” (Prov. 1:25, 26, etc.). 
How awful are those words which are the words of the great God. “I will tread them in mine anger, and will trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment” (Is. 63:3). It is perhaps impossible to conceive of words that carry in them greater manifestations of these three things, viz. contempt, and hatred, and fierceness of indignation. If you cry to God to pity you, he will be so far from pitying you in your doleful case, or showing you the least regard or favour, that instead of that, he will only tread you under foot. And though he will know that you cannot bear the weight of omnipotence treading upon you, yet he will not regard that, but he will crush you under his feet without mercy; he will crush out your blood, and make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on his garments, so as to stain all his raiment. He will not only hate you, but he will have you, in the utmost contempt: no place shall be thought fit for you, but under his feet to be trodden down as the mire of the streets.”[1]

 

A. We may never conquer temptations or times when we totally mess up and sin, but we can’t

love our sin and persist in it in joy and be followers of Jesus Christ

1. When you sin, does the Spirit do his convicting work in you?

2. When you sin, does your entire being feel sick and weighted down?

3. When you sin, do you quickly run to the cross, confess and revel in justification?

 

B. We must never allow love of sin over love of repentance

1. When you sin, do you take grace for granted?

2. When you sin, do you think that it’s more enjoyable than the fruit of righteousness?

3. When you sin, do you know you have sinned? Is there any Holy Spirit conscience?

 

C. If you are in the Gospel, repentance will be a dominant characteristic of your life

1. When you sin, Holy Spirit will convince you of your act and bring you to repent as

a kind and gracious father trains his children to be like him.

2. When you sin, you will want to never do that again, even if you do, you will not want

to do that again, and you will fight for life against this Romans 7 wrestling.

3. When you sin, you will seek accountability in community for your recurring challenge.

2. Man’s fallen nature has enslaved him to his chosen “god” and he persists in his sin

Revelation 16:9; Revelation 16:11; Revelation 16:21

An appeal to those outside of the Gospel…

A. If you or a friend is persistent in sin, warn them to run to the cross and be saved

B. If you or a friend die without the justifying work of Jesus credited to your account you will face

a just and righteous hell that is totally deserved and Father deserves to be worshiped for such right

justice

3. For those who will repent and believe the Gospel, worship!

Revelation 15:3-4; Revelation 16:5-7

A. We worship in response to the justice of God to punish those would trample his name

1. This is a reminder of the grace of the Lord to take justice on our behalf so we would

not have to take justice.

B. We worship in response to the amazing work of Jesus to save us

1. This reminds us that we are saved not because of our good deeds but because of Jesus.

C. Join in the worship of saints and angels as they give glory/weight to Father for his justice


[1] Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

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