The End of Self / Revelation 18:9-24

Posted on April 26, 2016

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This is the Forty-sixth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on April 24, 2016. This message looks at the dangers of a self-centered society. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not necessarily a full transcript.
SERMON AUDIO:

Rev 18:9-24

SERMON NOTES:

Vv.9-13:
How foolish to place your faith in anything but Jesus Christ!

Their faith will be in their wealth, their goods, their power, their luxury, their convenience and their pleasure.

What is the common denominator? Self!

They will have whole-heartedly bought into a self-centered ideology. Self-centeredness, self-fulfillment, self-esteem. This type of self-focus can never esteem Christ. One of the dangerous teachings of the “New Age” movement which has spilled over into modern evangelicalism is the notion of “self-esteem.”

Many psychologists—even Christian professional counselors—are attributing society’s ills to a lack of a “positive self-image” or “self-esteem” on those who exhibit antisocial behavior. We are told they need more self-esteem in order to appreciate their own self-worth. The problem with this idea is that it is both unscriptural and unrealistic. To esteem one’s self, always leads to the disregard of others. Here, we see that slavery will have been revived (v.13). This despicable disregard of others is where this type of ideology ultimately leads.

Don’t get me wrong, people are not to hate themselves.

  • Ephesians 5:29

Instead of learning to esteem ourselves, the Scripture commands us each to esteem others.

  • Philippians 2:3

Even the Paul considered himself so unworthy that he called himself the chief of sinners.

  • 1 Timothy 1:15

We are told by some Christian leaders that the measure of our great value in the sight of God is the fact that Christ paid such a high price—His own death—to redeem us. The fact is, however, that His death is not the measure of our great value, but of our terrible sinfulness.

  • Romans 5:6

In fact, the rise of this self-esteem idea is itself a sign of the last days, when men shall be “lovers of their own selves.” It is the main characteristic of “New Age” humanism. Christ died for our sins because He loves us, not because He needed us.

Vv.14-16:
This self-centered, self-fulfillment attitude leads to an unhealthy lust for riches. This can be seen in the return of slavery. Men will sell other men for the sake of profit. The love of money will lead people to do wicked things in order to attain more and more of it.

  • 1 Timothy 6:10

The problem is, in the end it will only bring sorrow. For when it is gone, all you can do is stand and weep.

Vv.17-19:
All that they worked for, all that they longed for, all that they loved will be gone in an instant. If only they’d known the words of Job.

  • Job 1:21

Instead, they are like the rich man.

  • Luke 16:25
  • Matthew 16:26-27

V.20:
Though the lures of wealth may have appeal, God’s righteousness and justice will prevail.

Vv.21-23:
The fall of Babylon will destroy the last bit of worldly comfort that will still exist. It will be the end of everything that this world considers normal. People will finally realize that their end is near, there will be no more escaping it.

V.24:
This is a society that has fed on the blood of the saints, but it’s destruction brings hope. For in her fall, the glory of God will shine bright!

Let this be a warning not to get caught up in the world’s vanity and values. God’s people should not live for money, because money will be worthless in eternity. We should keep on guard constantly against greed, a sin that is always ready to take over their lives. God wants us to work and to provide for our families, and he commands the proper use of money. But when the desire for money fills our lives, it becomes a false god. Don’t be enslaved by the desire for wealth. Instead, become a bond servant of Christ.

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Posted in: Eschatology, Sermons