Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds God's thorough judgment of the wicked.
[Message] Well, we are turning again today to our exposition of the book of Revelation, and for those of you who were here several weeks ago when we finished chapter 15, you know that chapter 16 is the topic for today. Chapter 16, verse 1, and today I would like to cover the entire chapter, so I want to read through the twenty one verses for our scripture reading, and John writes,
“I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God into the earth.” And the first angel went and poured out his bowl into the earth, and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image. And the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died. And the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and springs of waters, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “Righteous Art thou who art and who wast oh, holy one because Thou didst judge these things.” For they pored out the blood of saints and prophets, And Thou hast given them blood to drink. The deserve it.” (As you can probably tell from the margin of your Bible, the text reads literally, “They are worthy.”) “And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, oh Lord God the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.” (That reference to the alter, incidentally, is probably a reference to those who were under the alter, who are mentioned in chapter 6, and perhaps also in chapter 8, and so this represents the voice of them agreeing with the sentiment that the Lord is righteous and true in his judgments.) “And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun that was given to it to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with fierce heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and they did not repent of their deeds. And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river the Euphrates, and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east” (Most interesting reference to the participation of the kingdoms of the east in the events of the last days.) ” And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Then the 15th verse, notice particularly is a parenthesis, probably a parenthesis because here is a word from our Lord himself in the misdt of the revelation.) “Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the who stays awake, and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and they see his shame.” And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew, Harmageddon.” (Or the mountain of Mageddon literally) “And the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning; and sounds and fields of thunder and there was a great earthquake, such as there has not been since man came to be upon the earth. So great an earthquake was it, and so mighty and the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of his fierce wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hail stones about one hundred pounds each came down from heaven upon men, and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because it’s plague was extremely severe.”
May the Lord bless the reading of his word and let’s bow together in prayer.
[Prayer] Father we thank Thee for the Revelation of Jesus Christ. We thank Thee for the great truths that are found within this great book. We need them. We need to be admonished and reminded that there is coming a day when the fires of divine judgment shall burn in our society, and we thank Thee that in the word of God we have clearly revealed the way of escape through the lamb that taketh away the sin of the world. We are grateful, Lord, for the blessings that are ours through Jesus Christ, and among those blessings are the words of warning and admonition. May we be properly responsive to them.
We thank Thee for the day in which we live for the great things that are transpiring in our societies. We think particularly of the events in Europe, and the things that these things may mean, and we thank Thee for the many who have come to a measure of freedom, and we are not surprised but delighted that there is evidence that the work of God has been going on all along while evil empires have sought to keep men in subjection. We know, Lord, that the word of God will run and have free course as thou dost desire. Thou art the sovereign God of this universe.
We pray, Lord, for our country and for our President, and in the difficult decisions that he constantly has to make. Give him wisdom and guidance, and for other governmental agencies under who we live, we pray for them as well.
We thank Thee for the whole church of Jesus Christ. For the great opportunities that exist today, we pray that thou willt lay up burdens upon the hearts of individuals to serve as the Lord’s servants to meet the needs that exist in our world. May the preaching of the gospel continue. May it be boldly proclaimed. May it be proclaimed in its depth, and through the Holy Spirit, touch the hearts of men to respond. We pray for the sick, especially those who’ve requested our prayers. We pray for them. We ask Thy blessing upon them.
We pray for those who are bereaved, some this week. Give comfort, consolation to them. We thank Thee Lord for the confidence that we have that thou art with us. We pray for our elders, for our deacons, for our members, for the friends and the visitors who are here with us today, especially, Lord. May through the ministry of the word of God, their hearts too be touched as ours are by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are so grateful for the forgiveness of sins, for the justification of life, and for the literally scores of other blessings that are ours day by day not the least is the providence of God that keeps our steps constantly. We pray that in our meeting, our singing of the hymns, the reading of the word of God, the exposition of it may redound to Thy glory, our great triune God, father, son and Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen.
[Message] The passage that we are looking at today in our message entitled “The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath” explodes two commonly held religious fallacies, and the first is the hope of ultimate restoration of the wicked in hell. It’s sometimes stated by people that surely individuals in hell suffering eternal hell fire and the torments thereof must repent, but Scripture gives us indication that rather than repent the rebellion continues
In the 9th verse we read that men were scorched with fierce heat and blasphemed the name of God, and they did not repent so as the give him glory. In the 11th verse, we read that they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and they did not repent of their deeds, and for the third time in this chapter in the last verse, when the huge hailstones fell from heaven, the men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail because the plague was extremely severe. In other words, the spirit of rebellion settles upon men and settles upon them so firmly that it becomes a spirit of perdition, and so far as Scripture is concerned, the natures of men passing from this existence continue in the same rebellion against God.
The other truth is one that we frequently referred to, and that is that God is not only a God of love, and the fallacy that we are exposed to so often and it’s consequences is that God is supposed to be only a God of love. We don’t deny of course that God is a God of love, but to say that he is only a God of love, is to say something that Scripture does not support. If you’ll notice the 5th, 6th, and 7th verses, you will see that in that day the alter cries out in the 7th verse, “Yes, oh Lord God the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.” The angel of the water says in the 5th verse, “Righteous art thou who art and who wast oh, holy one because thou didst judge these things. They poured out the blood of the saints and prophets, you have given them blood to drink, and they deserve it.” So in our concept of our God, according to Christianity, we must make ample room for the fact that while God is a God of love, defined by the propitiation, which Jesus Christ offered on Calvary’s cross, he is also a God of judgment, a righteous and holy God.
Mr. Spurgeon used to say that as a young person who did not know the Lord, that when he thought about God and the claims of judgment and justice and righteousness that were associated with him, that he thought that if it were true that God did not execute the justice that the Scriptures proclaimed that he would, that he ought to. He said he felt even as a man outside of Christ that God ought to judge him, and therefore he could never accept the idea that God is such a God of love that he is going to ultimately restore everybody to a divine blessing.
One of the individuals, a Scottish theologian, who has spoken to the point, is Hugh Martin, and Mr. Martin said in one of his books, “If God comes to me a guilty transgressor of the Lord and tells me that he means to let me off. That he means to let my sin pass. That he cannot find it in his heart to inflict upon me the vengeance which he threatened, and so without any more a due, I pass away free from judgment, free from terror, I soon begin to question whether I am so greatly indebted to divine beneficence as in the first rapture of my escape, I fancied.”
In other words, what he was escaping was not so great and terrible a destiny as he thought. “I begin to consider whether after all it is any great token of God’s love to me that I have just obtained, and I argue that if it was God’s option, as his mere option, to cast me into hell or save me from it without any expiation of my sin, or any satisfaction to his justice. If it was in his power to free me from wrath and woe without any claim of divine of justice interposing to object or needing to be meet. If there was no imperative call of righteousness demanding my condemnation to eternal death, but God could free me simply if he chose, and no interests of righteousness be injured by his doing, why then by instead of arguing any wonderful benevolence on his part toward me that he puts forth with infinite ease, his will and power to save, the wonder would be that he should abstain from doing so. I cannot possibly recognize any peculiar stamp or signature of marvelous divine mercy in the act which frees me from a fate which no demands of justice assign to me too.” So the Scriptures make plain, there is no ultimate restoration of the wicked in hell and that God is also a God of justice and judgment. The Apostle Paul was right, he said, “Behold therefore the goodness and the severity of God.” These things belong to the God set forth in Holy Scripture.
Now, the bowl judgments are the third of the series of judgments that God pours out upon the earth in the latter days. We are affirming essentially that they’re largely poured out during the great tribulation, the last three and a half years of Israel’s seventieth week.
Now, these judgments that are set forth in chapter 16 are closely connected to the trumpet judgments, which we have expounded in previous messages. You can tell the likeness of the two if you just read them side-by-side, but the judgments of chapter 16 are particularly related and similar to the plagues of Egypt that Egyptians suffered in the days of Moses and the deliverance of the nation from bondage. Both of those things, however, were somewhat limited, that is the trumpet judgments and the plagues of Egypt, but in these, in chapter 16, the bowl judgments, there is a gathering of all the horrors and terrors for one last deluge of destructive disaster.
Now, you don’t notice it quite as quickly in the New American Standard Version, but in the original text the adjective “great” appears eleven times in this chapter, which shows you that what we are talking about are truly great judgments that are poured out upon the earth, but the 8th verse of chapter 15 says, “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.”
Now, if that is true there is no one in the temple of God, and John as John sets forth in his vision, there is no prayer taking place there, there is no worship taking place there, and only God is in the temple. “He’s there hidden in the smoke of his wrath,” as someone has put it, and so when we read in chapter 16, verse 1, “And I heard a loud voice from the temple.” He’s telling us that that is the voice of God, no angelic intermediary, but this is voice of God. This is of course his way of trying to show us that it is even more serious, so it God himself who speaks.
I know when we read these great judgments and reflect upon them, we wonder how can it possibly be true. You can understand, I think, why some people would like to speak of these as simply figurative of great judgment, and the idea that they will have a rather literal meaning in the future and a literal occurrence, is difficult for us sometimes to take in, but let us think about the things they are likened to. They are likened to the plagues of Egypt. Those plagues did take place, so if we just simply reason what has been, can be, it’s just a minor step from them to these great judgments of chapter 16, both the plagues of Egypt and these plagues, the plagues of the seven angels come from the Lord God.
Now, what I’m going to do is, I want to read each of the bowl judgments again, and make some comments on places that I think benefit from a few comments, so we look now at verse 1 and 2 where we have the first of the bowl judgments, “sores upon the earth”
“I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God into or unto the earth.” And the first went and poured out his bowl into the earth, and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who have the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.”
Evil malignant ulcerous angry sores, as in the sixth plague that Moses was involved in, in the land of Egypt, described in Exodus chapter 9, in verse 8 through verse 11. What is interesting about this is the fact that it is meant especially for the men who had the mark of the beast, and who worshipped his image. In other words, they had the physical mark of their devotion to their god, the dragon and the beast is representative, and so it’s as if the Lord gives and indigent reply to those who have the mark of the beast, who have prostituted their bodies to false worship by taking his mark upon them this is his way of answering their rebellion, and so he causes loathsome malignant sores upon the bodies of those who have the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. They say this is the mark of the beast. He in affects says this is the mark of divine judgment.
Now, the second angel and his outpouring of judgment is described in verse there,
“And the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.” The food of that day must have been affected since the lamb was already barren from judgments, a terrible judgment upon the man of the time. The third bowl is described in verse 4 through verse 7,
“And the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the water saying: Righteous Art thou who art and wast oh, holy one because Thou didst judge these things. For they pored out the blood of saints and prophets, And Thou hast given them blood to drink. The deserve it. And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, oh Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.”
These of course, that is the judgments of the third bowl, blood in rivers and fountains are fatal to animals. Can you not image some of the things that might transpire during this time? You decide that you would like to have a glass of water, so you go to your faucet, and you turn on the water for a glass of water, and out comes blood, or if you decide that you would like to have something to eat, and so you decide that you want to cook something, and again you prepare to cook in water, and instead of water out comes blood, or to make it even simpler, you get up in the morning, and you go into your bathroom to brush your teeth, and you turn on the facet, and blood comes out in which to wash your teeth. It staggers the imagination although, of course, I image if you live in that day you might not be interested in such simple things as brushing your teeth or turning the facet on. The obvious is plain. These are awful judgments that are being poured out.
The fourth bowl is described in verses 8 and 9, and we read here,
“And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with fierce heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.”
Heat from the sun, and the fifth bowl described in verses 10 and 11.
“And the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores, and they did not repent of their deeds.”
In wisdom, the book of wisdom, chapter 17 in verse 21 is the expression an image of that darkness, which should afterward receive them, and so here when the kingdom of the beast becomes darkened, and men are gnawing their tongues because of pain and blaspheming the God of heaven, we have just a little bit of the image of what it means to gnash ones teeth in eternal hell fire, of which our Lord Jesus is almost the sole speaker in the New Testament.
How fitting it is that hell, Gehenna should be in the New Testament upon the lips of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, only, the only reference in which Gahenna is found that is not upon our Lord’s lips is a reference in the book of James. I think that’s so fitting because of all the people qualified to announce with credibility, the coming of Gahenna, the lake of fire, is the Lord Jesus Christ who is known to us as the one who has revealed a God who has loved so much that he has made it possible for our sins to be forgiven through the propitiation which he offered on Calvary’s cross.
You can just image men sitting in the darkness gnawing their tongues for pain, and yet using their tongues, using their tongues while as he says, “gnawing their tongues because of the pain” to blaspheme God. What an awful picture it is, and then the sixth bowl describes an eastern invasion. Verse 12 through verse 16,
“The sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east, And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God the Almighty. Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake, and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew, Armageddon.”
I think it’s striking that the reference is made to the kings of the east, evidentially from Media and east from that reminding us of the ways in which Babylon, the ancient capital, was finally over throw. Perhaps in your reading of history, you may remember that it’s Horatitus who describes the way that Cyrus overcame the city of Babylon. Babylon was located in such a way that with a giant wall around it, that the Euphrates River flowed right down through the city of Babylon, and when Cyrus arrived to make war against the city, according to Horatitus he discovered that the walls around Babylon and the defenders were so skilled that he must make another way in somehow, and they finally devised the plan of diverting the Euphrates River, which they did. They diverted the Euphrates River into a lake, and in the diversion of the river, of course that left land, dry land, upon which the army of the Persians might enter into the capital of Babylon and win the battle.
Daniel describes the event in Daniel chapter 5, and so one senses, as this is written, that there’s something like that in the background of this, but whether there’s any definite reference or not to it, I have no way of knowing, but at any rate the kings from the east have a major part to play in the events of the last days. That’s rather interesting isn’t it? In the light of the revival and resurrection of Japan, the significance of China, and the things that are happening there, and perhaps the explosion that may occur there, India.
In other words, Oriental millions will probably be involved in the last days, and someone has suggested that in the light of the fact that these great judgments that fall upon the earth, the seals, the trumpets and now these judgments, may make it impossible for our modern technology to be useful in those times, and in fact that might even account, this is pure speculation, but might even account for the fact that the description that is given of the warfare of the last days appears to be a step back in time, so far as the technology of it is concerned, but at any rate the kings of the east form an important part of the events of the last days, and Daniel in chapter 11 mentions specifically that tidings out of the east affect the antichrist in the last days of his kingdom
God fulfills Scripture remember, as written, not as interpreted. That’s why we need to keep our minds upon the words of Scripture. I think it’s interesting too that he mentions in verse 13, “That out the infernal trinity of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet.” The dragon, being Satan, the beast being the antichrist, the false prophet being the unholy spirit who causes men to worship the beast, that out of them come three unclean spirits like frogs.
Now, if someone were writing a comic strip and had a frog in it, I can imagine that they might write the comic strip in such a way that the frogs protest the part that they play in the last days, but this is of course like frogs. Augustan once said, “The frog is the most loquacious of vanities, and so three unclean spirits like frogs who are known for their croaking, have you noticed how frogs make noise, that’s one of the things they do, what a nice figure for propaganda agents, and so evidently these three unclean spirits like frogs croaking constantly are those that are called spirits of demons who perform signs which go out to the kings of the whole world to gather them together for the war of the great day of the God Almighty.
In other words, they are useful for drumming up the idea of a campaign directed against whom? Against the lamb and those who belong to him, as the next chapter points out in this book, which we’ll deal with in a little more detail, so we have persuasive, deceptive, plague-like unclean, the frogs incidentally in Moses’ law were unclean animals or reptiles, what ever you want to call a frog, and they have empty speech, it’s really of not much worth, but you can image that these unclean spirits going out to the heads of state saying, “Look it’s either the lamb or us, and we better make war against him and the followers that he has left.”
The battle of the great day of the God Almighty is what we know of in Scripture as the battle of Armageddon. We’ll talk about that later, so we’ll leave it for a later discussion, but it’s interesting isn’t it how in our society, in our world, it almost seems as if at times of our history, the men who are upon this earth, who have authority develop a passion for warfare that is even hard for historians to explain. Characteristic of them is their inability to explain some of the things that have happened in some of the great wars that have characterized human nature.
In the 15th verse, we have this marvelous little word from our Lord himself as a kind of break in the action and our Lord says, “Behold I’m coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.” That little parenthesis put in a word from our Lord by way of admonition to those who may be upon the earth when some of these things are transpiring, but it’s a word addressed to us also. Alfred Edershime wrote “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,” two marvelous volumes. Every Christian ought to have it in his library, and every Christian ought to read those volumes. They are marvelous expositions of our Lord’s life and ministry, and if you don’t have them in your own personal library they are here in our library, and you can take them out, providing you sign the card, and providing you bring them back when you are supposed to bring them back, and profit from Mr. Edershime’s very, very intelligent discussion of our Lord’s life and ministry.
Now, what I’m leading up to is this, that in his book he comments upon the fact that it was customary in the temple for guards to guard the temple at night, and it was also customary for someone to go around during the night and check and see if the guards were still awake and were maintaining their watch properly, and so the captain of he temple during the night would make his rounds, and when he came to guards who were asleep, I look out over the audience and see if we have any such in the audience today. Raise your hand. [Laughter] At any rate, when he would come and find individuals that were asleep, the judgment that was pronounced was that their garments were taken off, and they were set on fire, and that individual had to make his way home through the back ways in order to keep others from seeing him naked, and that may lie in the background of this particular text, where the Lord says, “I’m coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments” (That is that he doesn’t loose them) “lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.”
I’m not enough of a student of all the details of the affairs that touch the temple to tell you if that is bound to be what our Lord is speaking about, but Edershime was a great student. And he suggested that in his great volumes.
Now, finally the last of the bowl judgments, earthquake and hail, and we read in verse 17, “And the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne saying, It is done.”
Now, if you are a reader of Scripture you will remember that there are three occurrences of expressions that are very close together. First of course is the, “It is finished.” That our Lord uttered on the cross, in which he in affect said, “What I am doing is the completion of the work of redemption.” And so the “It is finished” is the first. It’s the “It is done of redemption.” John chapter 19, in verse 30. Now, this is the “It is done of retribution.” In other words, this is the completion of the great bowl judgments.
Now, in chapter 20 and 21 in verse 6 we read this, “And he said to me, It is done. I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without costs.” That he called the “It is done of restoration.” Now, we do read here in verse 19,
Jerusalem, although there has been some difference of opinion of that.) “and Babylon the “And the great city was split into three parts.” (That probably is a reference to the city of great was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of his fierce wrath. And every isle and flood away in the mountains were not found and huge hailstones about one hundred pounds each came down from heaven upon men and men blasphemed God because of the plagues of hail that they were experiencing.”
There are instances in history of individuals, who made travel journeys in various parts of the world, and there was a man by the name of Hook who made some travels in Tartery, and in the 19th century he describes some of the experiences that he had. He said, “Hail is a frequent occurrence in these unhappy districts, and the dimensions of the hailstones are generally enormous. We have seen some that weighed twelve pounds. One moment of such a hailstorm exterminated whole flocks. In 1843”, he says, “During one of these storms, there was heard in the air a sound of as a rushing wind, and there with fell in a field near a house a mass of ice larger than an ordinary mill stone, and it was broken to pieces with hatches, and yet thought the sun burned fiercely for three days, there still at the end of the three days, they were not entirely melted.” Well, those are just little pebbles in the light of hailstones one hundred pounds each, which came down from heaven upon men. “And men instead of responding,” we read, “blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail because of its plague was extremely severe.”
I’d like to conclude by making a couple of comments. First of all, I’d like for you to notice again that refrain in verse 9, verse 11 and verse 21. Verse 9, they blasphemed the name of God. They did not repent. Verse 11, they blasphemed the name of God. They did not repent of their deeds, and in verse 21, men blasphemed God, still the last of the plagues, and men are still blaspheming God.
Now, I’d like to point out this. Blasphemy is only possible when men know truth. In other words, blasphemy takes place when there is revelation of truth about God. These men are unmoved by the bounty of divine provision forgiveness of sins, justification of life, the permanent end dwelling of the Holy Spirit, and all of the other great blessings that are ours by the atoning work of Christ, they are unmoved by that when they have announced the message of the lamb of God who takes away their sin, they do not respond. They are impervious also to the severity of the judgment although they know of the existence of God.
Blasphemy takes place when men know God exists, furthermore in the case of these individuals, they have the experience of the hand of God in history, and they still, even though they know of the existence of God and they know his hand in the events of history and even thought they admit his power, they nevertheless blaspheme God. They blaspheme God because of the plague of he hail. These great events they recognize as coming from the Lord God, and they blaspheme them because of them. The tragedy of life and of the world is not that men do not know God. “All men deep down within their hearts, know God exists.” That’s what Paul says. He says, “That is theirs because of the fact that they were created in the image of God, but that which they know they seek to suppress. In fact as a Christian witnessing to a non-Christian, when an individual tells you he does not believe that God exists, you can know that he is really suppressing the truth that is implanted upon his very being, and so the tragedy of life and of the world is not that men do not know God, but that in knowing him they insist on going their own way.
That leads us of course to the fact that there is one way of escape and that’s through the lamb of God, whom the apostle has preached already about in this great book, and in fact in the 6th chapter, when men cry out to God, they cry out that they might not have to look upon the face of the lamb of God.
Many years ago, I read a little story of a true event in the preaching of the gospel by Jack Wordsome. Mr. Wordsome had for many years, carried on a ministry in Times Square in New York City, and he’s had other ministries as well, and he still carries on ministry, but he was preaching one night in Times Square, and there was a sailor who was in his audience, and who heard him talk about the fact the we must be born again. He resisted the preaching, and a few weeks later he was on his ship, and he was off the coast of India in his ship, and he worked in the radio room of the ship, and as he was dialing his radio he picked up a Word of Life delayed broadcast, that is Wordsome’s ministry the Word of Life, and it was the very program that he had walked out of a few weeks before in New York City.
As he listened to the singing and the testimonies, he thought to himself. He said afterwards, “Where have I heard this before?” and then he said when Mr. Wordsome started preaching, “You Must be Born Again,” he realized that he was listening to the rebroadcast of the same program he had attended in Times Square a few weeks before, but by this time instead of getting mad or shutting off the radio and walking away, he listened, and when Mr. Wordsome called upon individuals to respond to the invitation, he said he got down on his knees all alone there by the side of the radio, thousands of miles away and gave his heart to Jesus Christ, and the next Sunday afternoon he met with a group of missionaries holding a street meeting in Bombay, and there he stood up with them and gave the testimony of how he had been born again. Marvelous testimony of what God does in the hearts of men.
There is a way of escape. The way of escape is through the Lamb of God. Most of us who have come to know our Lord, can give an experience that tells the story of our salvation, something like this. We can talk about how we grew up, and we can talk about the things in which we trusted. Some of you may have been trusting in your church, and you discovered finally that there’s no salvation in the church. Some of you may have been trusting in your education or your culture or even trusting in your family, and the relationship that your family had to the things of God, but finally there came that moment of illumination, when you saw yourself according to the word of God, and you realized that you must be born again.
Now, you’re in him, and you’ve come to understand that salvation exists only in our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. Wrath comes, but escape comes too for the individual who pleads, “Rock of ages cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee,” and so as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus, I call upon you to respond to the invitation that the Lamb of God has issued, and that the apostles have issued. Come to Christ. Believe in him. Trust in him. He’s offered the sacrifice for sinners, and forgiveness of sins may be yours, and the confidence and assurance that the future rests in the hands of a loving and also a just God, and that your salvation is a thoroughly righteous salvation, for Christ has paid the full penalty for sinners.
Come to Christ. Trust in him. May God so touch your heart that you say within your heart, “Lord, I know I need this savior. I know that I need forgiveness of my sins. The Scriptures do say that Christ has died for sinners. I’m coming and trusting in him.” May God give you grace to make that decision. Don’t leave this auditorium without having made it. I speak to the young people and those of you who are older. This decision is for all. Let’s stand for the benediction.
[Prayer] Father we are grateful and thankful for the warnings and admonitions of the word of God, and we thank Thee that in Scripture we are told that the future is not bright for those outside of Christ, but the future is bright for those who are in him. Remember our Lord’s admonition that he comes as a thief and that his coming will be a surprise, and we pray, Lord, that if there should be anyone in this auditorium who does not know him or anyone who hears this message over the radio, who does not know him, that he may at this very moment turn and believe in our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, in whom there is forgiveness of sin. Go with us as we part in Jesus name. Amen.