What It Means to Serve a Just God

What It Means to Serve a Just God


Revelation 16:1-7 ESV  Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”  (2)  So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.  (3)  The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.  (4)  The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.  (5)  And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.  (6)  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”  (7)  And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”

  • Today we begin our study of the 7 final outpourings of God’s wrath on the earth, which are the 7 bowls or 7 vials of His wrath.
    • And for the next few sermons we are going to be talking a lot about the wrath of God… because that is what is going on in the scripture, and I refuse to skip over scriptures just because they make us feel uncomfortable! Remember what Revelation chapter 1 says…

Revelation 1:3 ESV  Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

  • Someone say “blessed”… Y’all want to be blessed? I want to be blessed! I want to serve a blessed church!
    • Therefore, to skip over the uncomfortable parts of revelation, to me it seems, would be to skip over blessings for you and for me and for this church, because it says right here “Blessed are those who read aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear!”
      • So if Revelation chapters 16,17 and 18 talk a lot about the wrath of God, then we are going to spend some time talking a lot about the wrath of God.
      • And we will be blessed for it! Amen?!
    • Now, if these sermons get you down, just go ahead and watch last weeks sermon to cheer you right back up, BECAUSE GOD ALWAYS WINS! Amen?! GOD ALWAYS WINS!
  • And part of that winning is God bringing the wicked to Justice…
    • We shouldn’t be worried about that, we shouldn’t be uncomfortable with that, we should rejoice that God wins, even over the wicked!
      • Now, it should give us warning that He is just over our own lives.
      • It should give us a since of urgency and compassion when it comes to preaching the Gospel and leading the lost to Christ.
      • But it should not make us in anyway uncomfortable… God wins, not just in the lives of the saints, not just in your and my life that is, but God also wins over the lives of the wicked.
  • And that is what we are going to see in these upcoming Chapters, God winning.
  • So today we are going to tackle the first three bowls of God’s wrath and the concept of God’s Justice. An important topic for all believers to understand as we grapple with end time theology and just with everyday life…
  • “What it means to serve a just God… the first three bowls of wrath.”
    • But before I get into it, let me plug the Passover feast for a minute…
      • Y’all, get signed up for the Seder meal… make it a priority! Make it a family tradition! Let it forever be a part of your life every Holy Week.
      • Not only is it the feast that Jesus had His last supper and gave us communion, but it is also an END TIMES prophecy… did you know that?
      • We talked last week about the song of Moses, the Song that He sang after fleeing from Egypt, it is the very song the martyrs will be singing as God takes the final victory!
      • But not only that… each of the Seven bowl judgments that we are going to go over, each one corresponds to specifically to one of the 10 plagues that were poured out on Egypt. We learn about and remember those plagues every Passover.
      • So let’s look at the three bowls we are covering today…

1st Bowl: Boils and sores on the beast worshipers -> Sixth Exodus plague
2nd Bowl: Seas turn to blood -> First Exodus plague
3rd Bowl: Rivers and springs become blood -> First Exodus plague

  • Now these are the bowls that we are covering today, I will show you the rest of the bowls and what they correspond to in the Passover next week… but seriously, if you haven’t already, get you and your kids signed up for Passover! Use the church app, if you need help ask Pastor Elizabeth or Pastor Jared, they will get you signed up if you don’t have a smart phone… but you most be signed up!
    • Now, with that, let’s pray and get into today’s two points.

Point One – Justice Means Crime Is Properly Punished

Revelation 16:5-7 ESV  And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.  (6)  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”  (7)  And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”

  • Point one this morning is that “Justice means crime is properly punished”.
    • A Just judge is a judge that properly punishes crime. A Just judge is not biased, or racist… a just judge does not show favor to some and not to others. A just judge treats all people the same and punishes are crime in a proper and fair way.
  • And as humans we have an indwelt sense of justice, don’t we?
    • We love to watch movies where the bad guys get what they deserve.
    • We like to watch crime dramas where the detectives always seem to get the bad guys.
    • And in real life… we get enraged when we watch someone, we believe is guilty go free.
      • News channels make millions covering trials and stirring up our emotions and our sense of justice.
  • We love it when the bad guy gets what he deserves, and we hate it when the bad guy gets off easy.
    • For example, you might have gotten upset recently when you watched a celebrity walk up on stage and slap another celebrity in the face… that’s assault…
    • Then the guy who just committed assault goes on to win an award and go partying…
      • And I don’t know about you, but that enrages me… because if I were to storm the stage on live TV and slap a celebrity, a horde of security and police would tackle me, drag me out, arrest me, and then they would through the book at me and I would probably get a hefty fine and jail time…
    • So we watch this and a sense of justice boils up and tells us “That is not just”.
  • And I think we get that sense of justice because we are made in the image of God and God loves justice!

Isaiah 61:8 ESV  For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Psalms 33:5 ESV  He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

  • So God loves Justice, and humans are made in the image of God, thus it makes sense that we love justice as well.
    • Our idea of justice, without God’s help, is of course tainted by this world. But we love justice non-the-less.
  • And God is JUST! It is one of the most wonderful things about God. (If it is possible for there to be a most wonderful thing about Him, for everything is wonderful… but if there is a most wonderful thing it is almost certainly His mercy, and coming in close second is His justice!)
    •  Crime get’s punished! Evil get’s wrath. The wicked do not get away with their sins. God is just.
    • In fact Scripture says that God’s throne has a FOUNDATION of justice and righteousness.

Psalms 89:14 ESV  Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

  • God is just! He punishes law breakers. THEY GET WHAT THEY DESERVE.
    • Now if you have heard the word sin thrown around in church and you wonder exactly what it means, I will tell you what it means… it means breaking the law of God.

1 John 3:4 ESV  Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

  • Sin is lawlessness… when we break the law of God we have sinned. And God is just and MUST punish lawbreakers.
    • That is what we see with the seven bowls of God’s wrath, and that is what we see in today’s world as well. God punishes sin.
  • Now let me read that verse in context, because the context has the Gospel and it has a warning…

1 John 3:4-6 ESV  Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.  (5)  You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.  (6)  No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

  • Sin is lawlessness… sin is breaking God’s law.
    • God’s law says don’t steal, so when we steal we sin.
    • God’s law says don’t gossip, so when we gossip we sin.
    • God’s law says we must forgive, so when we withhold forgiveness we sin.
    • God’s law says we must love, so when we withhold love we sin.
  • When we break God’s law we sin, and we deserve a just punishment from a just judge… but the good news is that Christ came to take away our sins and that in Him there is no sin.
    • Therefore, if you are not in Christ… if you are not born again, DO NOT LET TODAY PASS without giving your life to Jesus, there will be an opportunity for that at the end of service.
  • But with the gospel comes a warning… no true Christian makes a practice of sinning… we don’t keep on sinning… that is not to say that we don’t sin… but we don’t make a practice of sinning.
    • We don’t live a lifestyle of sin.
    • We hate our sin when it comes up and we do everything we can to stop sinning.
    • When we do sin, we confess and ask for forgiveness… that is what we do as Christians.
    • We are not proud of our sin, we do not seek out more and more sin… instead we seek to be free of our sin.
  • If you are living a lifestyle of sin. If your life is defined by sin… make today the day you get right with Jesus.
  • Because if not, the wrath of God will come for you.
  • Church you have two options when it comes to the wrath of God… because we have all sinned, we have all broken God’s law… our two options are simple…
    • Either the justice and wrath of God was poured out for you on Christ Jesus, and God’s wrath for your sin was satisfied on the cross…
    • Or, if you reject the cross… then the justice and wrath of God will be poured out on you.
  • And we have these first three bowls of wrath that are poured out onto the world…
    • Boils and pain for those who got the mark of the beast.
    • And all the water in the oceans, seas, rivers, and springs turned to blood…
      • Which by the way is going to do MAJOR damage to the economy that is dependent on trade routs through the ocean, these freighters are not designed to work in blood, they are designed to work in sea water…
      • And it will do major damage to the environment… not to mention drinking water supply!
    • So God is going to pour out His wrath physically on the earth… and we will REJOICE because of it.
    • Because the wicked, the evil ones, those who attacked us, mocked us, killed us… they will get what they deserve…

Revelation 16:5-7 ESV  And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.  (6)  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”  (7)  And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”

  • But the bowls are not even the worst part, the worst part is hell! When these sinners die, without Christ, they will find themselves in eternal torment…

Point Two – The Justice of Hell

  • So our second point this morning is about the Justice of Hell…
    • The Justice of Hell, that’s point two.

Revelation 16:7 ESV  And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”

  • So after the first three bowls of God’s wrath are poured out, as the world as we know it is ending… then the angels say “True and just are your judgments Lord God Almighty!”
  • And you know I always think it is funny that people think Revelation is funny… because far scarier than the judgments of Revelation are the judgments that Jesus talked about.
    • Matthew, Mark, Luke, Joh, 2 Thessalonians, 2 peter, even Jude…
      • I never hear people who are afraid of these books… but in them is describe a judgment far worse than the bowls, or trumpets, or seals of Revelation.

Matthew 5:21-22 ESV  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’  (22)  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 13:49-50 ESV  So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous  (50)  and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:41 ESV  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Mark 9:43-48 ESV  And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.  (45)  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.  (47)  And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,  (48)  ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 ESV [God will punish sinners]  in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  (9)  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

  • Look, I could go on and on and on reading verses about hell.
    • About how anyone who is guilty of sin deserves hell.
    • About how if you have broken just one of God’s laws, which we all have, then you deserve hell.
    • About how awful hell is, how it is a lake of fire, that burns eternally.
    • How you will be alone, in your pain, forever.
    • How you will suffer for all time, forever and ever.
  • These thoughts are FAR more terrifying than any bowl judgment that God is going to pour out in the last days.
    • These thoughts are far more terrifying than anything God is going to do to the earth and those on it as prophesied in the book of Revelation.
  • Yet, no one seems scared of the gospels… no one avoids the teachings of Jesus… yet so many Christians and so many churches avoid the book of Revelation, the only book with a promise of blessing for reading it and listening to it…
    • Why are we ok with Jesus’ teaching on hell, but not the book of Revelation?
      • I think it is because most Christians just chose to skip over the hell parts of the Gospel.
      • We read quickly over it and try not to think to hard about it.
      • Because if we are honest, when we think about it, it makes us wonder “Can a punishment so infinitely horrible really be just?”
  • Have you ever had that thought? How can hell be just? How can an eternity of suffering be a just punishment for a temporary sin?
    • Well, I want to give you the answer today, because as Christians we have the ability to understand true justice…

Proverbs 28:5 ESV  Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.

  • Now if you are one who seeks the Lord, then you should be able to understand justice completely…
    • Therefor I want you to understand that Hell is Just.
    • The Justice of hell can be understood, and it’s not that hard to understand either.
  • Do this thought exercise with me…
  • If you see a snail, all slimy and small, and you lie to that snail. You look him in his buggy slimy eyes and lie to him… what is your consequence from that snail?
    • Nothing, there is no consequence. It is powerless and has no sense of justice.
  • But what about this… what about if you tell a lie to your mom? What is your consequence then?
    • Well if you are not an adult you could get grounded or a spanking… as an adult you are going to make her upset with you…
  • But what if you tell a lie to your girlfriend? No I wasn’t looking at her babe, I don’t know what you are talking about.
    • Well your girlfriend might break up with you.
  • But what if it’s not your girlfriend, what if it’s your wife.
    • This could lead to you sleeping on the couch, or worse, she could divorce you.
  • Now if you lie to a police officer, is there consequences?
    • Yup, that’s obstruction of Justice,  you can go to jail for that.
  • If you lie to a judge, that’s perjury!
    • You can go to prison for that!
  • Now if you lie to the U.S. Government that could be considered treason and you could be executed for that!
    • The same lie that you told to this guy
  • No Mr. snail, I don’t know where the nuclear bomb was hidden”
      • Could get you killed if you tell it to this guy
      • “no Mr. President I don’t know where the nuclear bomb is hidden!”
  • You see what changed was not the sin, the sin was the same through and through… what changed was WHOM you sinned against.
    • The more powerful and just the entity that you sin against, the more severe the punishment is.
    • And when you sin against and infinitely just and infinitely powerful God then your punishment must be infinitely severe.
  • And make no mistake about it, when you sin, you are in fact sinning against God.
    • King David understood this, after sleeping with a married woman and killing her husband he wrote this in Psalms…

Psalms 51:4 ESV  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

  • Yes, of course David sinned against the woman, and yes, of course he sinned against the man he murdered… but David understood on the ETERNAL scale, what matter is that he sinned against God, and therefore he was desperate to get right with God.
  • Because he knew that sinning against God meant an eternal punishment, and he desperately did not want that.
    • You know I have had people leave this church because they say I preach too much about hell.
      • But there is a reason for it, I preach about hell because I don’t want anyone to go there!
      • I think there are going to be a lot of so called Christians who wake up in eternity surprised to find themselves burning…
      • Because there pastors never warned them, because there churches rather talk about only the feel good stuff.
        • That feels good!
      • Knowing that A Just God sends people to hell, but that He made a way for all people to be free and never have to go to hell!
        • That feels good!
      • Worshiping a savior that died for me, that lives for me, that intercedes for me!
        • That feels good!
      • Ignoring the reality of hell doesn’t feel good… BUT OVERCOMING HELL CERTAINLY DOES!
  • Hell is real, hell is Just, a just God punishes sin, and his eternally just punishment is an eternity in hell for your sins.
    • But you don’t have to go there, and God doesn’t want you to go there.
    • God doesn’t want anyone to go there…
  • Let’s conclude with that wonderful fact, that God does not want anyone to go to hell…


2 Peter 3:9 ESV  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

  • God is not willing for you or anyone else to go to hell. He does not want you to go to hell… He made a way for justice to be done, but for you to live eternally.
    • When I started this message I said  that, if it was possible to list which attribute of God was most wonderful, I would put His justice near the top…
    • There is only one thing I would say is more wonderful, and that is His mercy.
    • Because as James 2:13 shows us, “Mercy triumphs over judgment”…
      • Mercy doesn’t triumph over Justice, because Justice was done on the cross, but it triumphs over judgment.
      • The judgment has been made, you have been found guilty… but mercy triumphs over judgment, if you would but accept it.
      • I wonder, will anyone accept mercy for the first time this morning? The second, the third, the fifteenth time? Maybe God is calling you to accept mercy this morning…
    • So the Title of todays sermon was “What does it mean to serve a Just God”?
      • Here is what it means.
      • It means that we know wickedness will be punished.
      • It means that evildoers don’t get away with it.
      • It means our enemies will not prosper.
      • It means God never loses and never will.
      • And it also means that sinner must be punished with a just punishment…
        • And we just did a Gospel call, so I am assuming all of you here have some kind of relationship with Christ.
        • But I must ask this question: Are you living a life of sin?
        • Have you made a practice of sinning?
        • Because if so, you need to get right with God right now.
        • Because God is a just God…

1 John 3:4-6 ESV  Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.  (5)  You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.  (6)  No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

Rededication call

Aaronic Blessing


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