Self Centered People
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Self Centered People
(Revelation 18.4-8)
Page 247-248

"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 are piled 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.' 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 are piled 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. Mix 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. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.'" (Revelation 18.4-6)

Greed a Bottomless Pit

Roman ShipMerchants in the Roman Empire proved themselves to be extremely self-centered people who grew rich by exploiting the desires of others. 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. Many aggressive individuals are tempted to take advantage of an evil system to enrich themselves. Christians, however, are warned to stay free from the lure of money, status, and this kind of good life which in the end brings to ruin. Jeremiah 51.45 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."

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 a tough 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 powerful, wealthy people of this world are prone to this same arrogant attitude.

No Need For God

Roman Gold CoinsThose who are financially comfortable often 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 are told 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

Roman MoneyGreat Wealth is always a temptation for Christians. Instead, we should give up everything as if there were a stock market collapse and become a separate holy people. Those who are 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 keep on guard constantly against the temptation to be greedy, a sin that is always ready to take over our lives. In the description of the coming fall of Babylon, 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 lover of pleasure, 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 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, many Christians have been murdered by oppressive governments. 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 © 2019

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