As a pastor and teacher, it is always a joy and privilege to be able to bring forth God’s Word. However, as we journey through Scripture, there are portions of God’s Word that are not so pleasant to teach due to the horrific and heart-wrenching content. Such is true this morning as we work our way through Revelation 16. The vial or bowl judgments are indicative of God’s wrath upon this earth that you and I walk on every day.
When I read through The Revelation and other passages that speak of events prior to and leading up to the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it almost takes my breath away. I find myself gasping in awe and horror at such things that will take place during the tribulation period. Some have sought to “soften” the content by saying that the language is poetic and apocalyptic, but not literal. Really? Was the flood judgment literal (Genesis 6-8)? Was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah literal (Genesis 18:17-19:29)? Were the plaques in Egypt literal (Exodus 7-12)? The answer to all of the above is yes. Such is the case with these judgments in The Revelation.
Beloved, be sensitive to the divine balance in God’s Word. Yes, God’s Word is a word of comfort and hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Romans 15:4), but it is also a word of judgment and terror (2 Corinthians 5:11a; Hebrews 10:26-31). All of God’s Word is weighty (2 Timothy 3:16-17); every single word has been divinely placed by a holy God Who says nothing that is flippant or casual (Matthew 5:18).
I do believe that the prophetic message of Scripture is one of urgency and vital importance (1 Peter 4:7; Revelation 1:3; 22:10). Yes, the gospel is good news, and I praise my God every day for His redeeming grace and mercy upon my soul. Yet, as we will see this morning, when men persist in hardening their hearts to the message of the gospel, the door of the ark of salvation is closed forever. Daily God cries out to mankind to repent and trust in His Son Jesus Christ for the remission of sin (2 Corinthians 6:1,2; Acts 17:30-31). God’s Word tells us to exhort one another every single day lest any of our hearts be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).
Those exhortations are not to be taken lightly! The parable of the sower reminds us that the impact of God’s Word is determined by the condition of the heart (Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:2-20; Luke 8:4-15). What kind of soil describes your heart today?