Self-Centered People
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68. Self-Centered People
Revelation 18.4-8

"Then I heard another voice from heaven say, 'Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins so that you will not receive any of her plagues, for her sins pile up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given, pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her cup.' Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart, she boasts, "I sit as queen. I am not a widow, and I will never mourn." Therefore in one day, her plagues will overtake her with death, mourning, and famine. Fire will consume her, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.'" (Revelation 18.4-8)✞

Greed a Bottomless Pit

Roman Ship In the Roman Empire, merchants prove to be self-centered people who grow rich by exploiting others' desires. Some business people today are equally greedy and self-centered. As Eric Fromm (1900-1980), the German psychologist, writes, "Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction." Businesses, governments, and those who run them are sometimes motivated by pure greed, lust for money, and power. A corrupt system tempts many aggressive individuals to take advantage and to enrich themselves. However, Christians should stay free from the lure of money and status, which brings only ruin. Jeremiah 51.45-46 issues a similar warning to this Revelation passage when he writes, "Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the Lord. Do not lose heart or be afraid when you hear rumors in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and ruler against ruler."

Values Christ Exemplifies

Ancient BabylonChristians are called upon to live according to the values Christ exemplifies, that is, service, giving, self-sacrifice, obedience, holiness, and truth. It is an exacting standard to achieve. As Dr. J.I. Packer (1926-present), the English-born Canadian evangelical theologian, writes in his book, "Knowing God," "There is nothing more irreligious than self-absorbed religion." In an age of fake news and corrupt politicians, business leaders, even church officials, feel comfortable telling half-truths and lies to achieve their ends. The people of Babylon also live self-centered lives of luxury and pleasure. The city foolishly boasts, "I sit as queen. I am not a widow, and I will never mourn." The influential, wealthy people of this world are prone to this same arrogant attitude.

No Need For God

Roman Gold CoinsThose who are financially comfortable feel secure and in control, and therefore see no need for God. This kind of attitude defies God. His judgment against them is harsh. We try to avoid Babylon's sins. Instead, Christians are encouraged that if you are financially secure, don't become complacent and deluded by the myth of self-sufficiency. Use your resources and be generous to help others and advance God's kingdom as much as you possibly can.

Separate Holy People

Great wealth is always a temptation for Christians. Instead, we should become a separate holy people using everything we have to benefit others. Those tied to the world's system will lose everything when it collapses. It is akin to a stock market collapse when everybody's savings in stocks, mutual funds, or even blue-chip stocks dive. What they work for over a lifetime will be destroyed in one fell swoop. Those who labor only for material rewards will have nothing when they die. God's people should not live for money but be a separate holy people because wealth is worthless in eternity. They should always guard against the temptation to be greedy, a sin that is still ready to take over our lives. In the description of Babylon's coming fall, Isaiah 47.7-8 tells us of her boasting, "You said, 'I am forever — the eternal queen!' But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen. Now then, listen, you pleasure lover, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.'"

Come Out of Her

Roman MartyrThe cry "Come out of her, my people" in Revelation 18.4a does not mean evacuating the city but is the call to Christians to separate themselves from sinners. In contrast to the prostitute, Christ's bride, which is the church, is to be pure and obedient. Throughout history, people have been killed for their faith and for living a holy life. Over the last century, oppressive governments have murdered many Christians. The woman's drunkenness in Revelation shows her pleasure in her evil accomplishments and her false feeling of triumph. But every martyr who falls before her sword only serves to strengthen the faith of other Christians.

"Self-Centered People"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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