As the apostle says, “because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man” (Romans 5:17) Death was never the norm. It was never original sown in the fabric of man. Death shouts to us that “Something is horribly wrong!” Wars, rumors of wars, life-taking earthquakes, and tsunamis, and Alzheimer’s disease. They all stare in the face at us every day and they just cry out, “Sin and death! Sin and death! Sin and death!”
I want to you to notice something with me, notice very carefully. If you’re in Luke 21, look with me, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”-Luke 21:10-11. Make sure you don’t miss that last part, “great signs from heaven.” Jesus calls all these things, signs, these terrors, the terror of death, the terror of destruction, the terror of war, the terror of disease and pestilence. He calls these things; signs from heaven.
A sign, what is a sign? It’s a pointer; it’s an indicator that is meant to aid our perception or insight or knowledge of something. In other words, a tsunami is a sign that is meant to indicate or communicate some sort of reality. Don’t miss this, the sign is from where? It’s from heaven, which means what? The sign comes from who? The sign comes from God. From heaven means that God sends it. Am I saying that God is responsible for Alzheimer’s, earthquakes, tsunamis, and the civil war in Lydia? Folks, it doesn’t matter if that’s what I’m saying or not; that’s what the Bible says! The Bible clearly indicates, Isaiah 45:5-7. “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” Deuteronomy 32:39; “ See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”
Brethren, already, I just simply Googled; “Is the tsunami from God?” There’s already threads on the Internet. Listen to the one I found; “Is God responsible for earthquake and tsunami in Japan? If yes, how? If no, how? Someone has to take responsibility for such mass destruction.” Listen to this, Response #1: “If yes, then he’s a terrorist. If no, then it’s natural disaster.” That was somebodies response. Response #2: “No. The Earth follows its own physical laws, in accordance with the freedom that God has given to all his creatures. It is the movement of tectonic plates that causes earth tremors, not the will of God.” Response #3: “Of course not. Why does ‘someone’ have to take responsibility for naturally occurring phenomena?” Response #4: “Whether God is responsible for it or not, no one can say clearly.” Response #5: “People were thanking God for representative, Gabrielle Gifford’s, on January 9, 2011, who survived the shooting. If you give someone kudos for the goods things then they must also take responsibility for the bad things.”
Now listen to this, Revelation 16:8, “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.” Brethren, I think this a picture in this age, God sends his burning sun to cause drought, he controls nature to send lighting and create great fires, waves to take out great cities. Brethren, He’s in control and His judgments come to us through nature. They say, “O, it’s Mother Nature, it’s tectonic plates, it’s thermal air-masses rising in the gulf!” Brethren, God controls, God designed. Have you ever listen to what God Almighty told job? He takes all credit for all of it, brethren. The snow, the cold, the heat, the animals, and the lighting. He knows where it comes from, He’s the author of them all. Verse 9, “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed,” our ESV (Bible Translation) says, the word is blasphemed, they Blasphemed, “the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.” Verse 10; “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast (Brethren, the throne of the Beast. The Beast in Daniel’s prophetic utterances is kingdoms, governments, and nations.). There’s wrath from this bowl poured on the throne of the beast and it’s kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish. A again, they cursed, they blasphemed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.”
What are they blaspheming? What are they cursing? They blasphemed; they cursed the name of God but not just any God. Did you catch what God it is? “Who had power over these plagues;” He has power over them, that’s who they blaspheme! Look, man is going to blaspheme God, two ways in the mist of this tsunami. There are those who basically look and say, “God will never do that! He’s too impenitent, He’s too pathetic, He’s too mild.” They make him into a God who does not hate sin like the Bible’s says He hates sin. They want to undermine his character; they want to make derogatory statements about him, present him as impenitent, soft, “Santa Clause” or they come along and say He’s a terrorist, He’s a monster.” They want to call him every abomination they can think of, but oh brethren I’ve got a better answer for these people a biblical answer and it’s this: impotence? Please! This is the God who is expressly says his power is over these plagues. Listen at the beginning of this very book of Revelation it describes God this way “I am the Alpha and the Omega says the Lord God who is, who was, and who is to come the Almighty.” Daniel 4:35 some of you very well know the words of Nebuchadnezzar, “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, He does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’”.
We sang this song, ‘God Moves in a Mysterious Way.’ Brethren his will is unbending. He determines and it comes to pass. His ways are often mysterious to us, but his ways are for certain. He works according to the counsel of his will and brethren nobody stays his hand. You better believe it, he’s not playing around. When that tidal wave, have you seen the picture of the wave coming in? It was the second wave, those waves came in for an hour, they’ve got footage of this wave going all the way down that beach coming in. The second tidal wave. Brethren I’ll tell you… when those disciples looked at Christ long ago, when he said “Peace be still.” (Mark 4:39) They said “Who is this?” Even the winds and the waves obey him? Brethren I’ll tell you this, you may not have seen then, but there was unseen Christ riding at the head of that tidal wave. He had that thing reigned, it was doing exactly his bidding. Oh brethren, but here’s what Luke says, “these things are a sign.” When I drive down the highway I see a speed limit sign, it tells me something about how fast the law says that I can go. I see a sign that tells me that Houston is 300 miles away. It’s giving me information, signs give us information, their speaking to us, their telling us something. Billboard it tells me there’s a McDonalds 18 miles up at exit 387. I see that, it’s telling me, it’s feeding this information. Luke says these are signs, but a sign of what, what is he trying to tell us? Listen to this again, Revelation 16 -“The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and it was aloud to scorch people with fire.” Signs, they were scorched, “they cursed the God who had power over these plagues.” Listen very carefully “they did not repent or give glory to God.” That’s always the issue, repentance is the issue, every catastrophe, every calamity, every death and terror that comes along, God means it for a sign. A sign means God is sending a message, God is in control of the plagues, God sends the signs from heaven, God is speaking. Brethren it stares us in the face from the newspaper, the T.V., the computer, the giant wave is a sign to all the world. What’s it a sign of? Brethren ‘they did not repent or give God glory.’ That’s always the issue, listen let me tell you something, God is no monster. Brethren even in his judgments he’s proclaiming mercy. It’s a sign. This is a warning about what’s going to happen to you, but I call you to repent, to turn, come to me. Brethren God is speaking. When your watching that God doesn’t expect the word terrorist to come into your mind, He expects you to look at that and to think and to reason “Come let us reason together saith the Lord,” (Isaiah 1:18) He wants you to reason with him. Your life is short, your sinners, what’s you see here is what your sin deserves. “But I the God who reigns in the tidal waves I am also the God who sent my only begotten son.” God is saying you’re going to die someday and it will be when you don’t it expect it! God wants you to look at these things and ask yourself and come face to face with the reality. Am I ready? He’s saying to you get ready! Be ready! Stay ready, turn away from sin. He’s saying in those things “Fear me.” He doesn’t expect you to look at it and deduce it to tectonic plates, He expects you to look at satellite images of city’s, they were there a week ago and they have been wiped off the face of the earth. Do you remember what He said about Sodom? “This is an example.” That’s what Peter tells us (2 Peter 2:6) Sodom is an example of “what will happen to all the ungodly.” Have you ever read that? Brethren there are signs. Turn away from sin, fear me. Tsunamis’ ought to put the fear of God into us. God is saying to us “Vengeance belongs to me and I will repay.” (Romans 12:19)
He calls you to hear, to fear, to trust his Son. He calls you to abandon your own unbelief, your idols. Stop being a fool! Realize, wake up, this little sign of wrath is an indication of a great day of judgment that is coming, the smaller judgment just to reminder of a greater judgment, stop believing that sin is better, that’s what he’s saying. When that wave comes in and crashes in there He’s saying “Young people sex is not better!” because it’s only for a season and this is an indication that there is hell to pay, there is judgment at the end of this. Look at Sodom, look at those villages along that coast, look at them, wake up. God says “Why will you die oh house of Israel? Why will you die?” (Ezekiel 18:31) Can you imagine? I have slain my own son, I struck him, I smote him, I afflicted him. Hear me, these are signs that your life is not long, that you have sin on your shoulders and to your account. You do not want to have to pay and why would you? “Will you love your sin so much that you refuse my Son who has paid that sin in the sinners place? Will you refuse that? Will you go on? Do you think drink, and friends, and party’s, and cars, and money, you think that’s better?” So did a lot of those Japanese. Brethren, folks.
In Amos 4:10 you don’t need to turn there listen to this, God says this, “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp to go up into your nostrils, yet you did not return to me declares the Lord”
I tell you this God is not ashamed, He is not to be mocked, He is not to blasphemed, he doesn’t hesitate to admit that he killed their young men with the Sword, not like some professing Christians who want to cower away that admitting that hurricanes and calamities and ruthless rulers and all that, that there not according to The Lords design. Brethren they are, God is not ashamed to admit it, you shouldn’t be, when this onlooking world is watching we should be bold, be of courage brethren, you say to them “That’s a judgement of God, and its meant to show you people to turn, and run into his arms,” I mean he sends these things, but the same God also stands with open arms ready to receive any that repent, if they take that sign and heed that sign. He’s saying “Yes indeed i did it, fear me, come to me” but again did you hear that last part there? I killed you’re young men with the Sword, and carried away your horses, and i made the stench of your camp to go up into your nostrils, yet you did not return to me declares the Lord” Isn’t that always the issue? God smites, that men may see the sign and turn to him.
Isaiah 9:13 says “The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire the Lord of Hosts” Daniel puts it this way “as it written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us, yet we have not entreated the favour of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities.” Isn’t it amazing, how often in Gods word, calamity is clearly set forth as God sign to us to turn to Him. Turn to Him. Look, Jesus comes along says (Luke 13:3) “You guys want to talk about that tower in Siloam that fell” You know what happened? In Jesus day there was a tower, don’t know if it just got old or was badly engineered or what, but the tower fell over and crushed 18 people to death on the spot. If Jesus was here today, He would say to the city of San Antonio “you think those Japanese are worse sinners then you? No, but unless you repent you will likewise perish.” It’s always the issue, repentance is always the issue. “You mean men have to lose their lives to bring that sign?” Brethren this is the wrath of God against justly deserved sin, what about all the rest of the days out of the year when God didn’t destroy those cities? They were just as deserving all those other days, but isn’t that what it says in Romans 1, “The Wrath of God is revealed” Why? “Because they did not honour him or give him thanks.” They’re quick to call him a terrorist! What about all the other days when they should have been praising Him. Brethren its repentance, repentance! You say “Well that was certainly hard luck on there part.” Brethren let me tell you, everyone of us deserved this by nature, guess what, the vast majority of those people that perished were alive when the tsunami hit Indonesia. God was saying “Wake up! Wake up! Turn to me!” and you know hat will happen tomorrow, and the next day? Many who have seen this, they will be the next objects of God’s wrath. You resist Gods mercies long enough, and eventually you are going to be the object of Gods Wrath, and you can’t escape it, there is no escape, and men don’t like to believe this, men do not want to believe that there is an Almighty, sin hating God who sent that calamity on Japan, because if they believe that there is such a God who would do such a thing, then they are suddenly confronted by the fact that they are in deep, deep trouble. And scripture says of course that they are, and that’s what Gods saying. “This is a sign, you are in trouble!” But brethren my message to these guys writing there threads out there is “No God is not impotent,” like some of you say and “No God is no monster!” These are merciful warnings. Isn’t it amazing that in this world right now, even in God’s most severe judgements, He means mercy by it, that is phenomenal that God does not wipe out the whole planet in a moment, but that he gives us these flashes, flashes. And you say “but if I do repent?” Brethren there’s a text in Isaiah 43:4 that says that He gives men for Israel. It’s true, God will bring judgement on some and bring others to repentance through it, He will give some men for the sake of others. Brethren I want to tell you that these messages are messages of mercy if you will have eyes to see them. Look brethren, we know, we know, we prayed for Papa’s wife, my mother in-law, we prayed. Papa fasted for years. But you family members, you grandchildren, her death on Friday is meant to be a wake up call to, the terror of death is meant to be a wake up call. You don’t have forever, and as fun as your sin might seem, it comes to an end, and it may come to end much sooner then you think, a week ago those people sat secure, in there homes, in Japan. They never thought that they would be in eternity an hour later, never. God’s calling you to repent, if you’re lost without Christ, you’re just as bad. If right now the earthquake had happened here, a building had falling on you, and they were watching the news of that, it would have been just as just of God to do that, it would have been no different. Would have been server justice both ways, but it’s merciful warnings to those who are watching, and you what the truth is, on Friday God didn’t take all of us, what a mercy, what a mercy! The answer the world so desperately needs to hear is -God is an Almighty, merciful message sender even in judgements.
Brethren, not brethren, to you that are lost, eternity hastens , the day of mercy is short. Listen mercy isn’t always going to be extended to you, the time is going to run out, you’re going to come to the end –why are you waiting?! The marriage feast is prepared. It’s there, you’re invited! The tsunami is like an invitation, it’s a sign, its like an invitation to the marriage supper of the lamb. The table is set. Turn away from your sins and come in. “I offer you such riches and glory in my Son that will overwhelm you, stagger you, they’re outside of this world in it’s riches and it’s joy. My Son, you’ll have Him, you’ll have all of the joys, and you’ll have pleasures forever more at His right hand.” (Psalm 16:11) Wake up, don’t tarry, tarrying is deadly, the wrath of God is coming, that gigantic wave on that TV that is moving across is meant to show you that there is another wave coming. Ephesians 5 says it “the wrath of God coming.” There is a wave, we cant’ escape, it’s coming. There’s a storm coming. These are just glimpses, wake up, step down off your high horse (proud), stop your rebellion at once!
To the Christian. This is a wake up call to us to. The sands of time are sinking, as the song says that we sing “Death is coming, hell is moving.” Brethren the masses are perishing. You may have heard this story, if you haven’t, it bears repeating. D.L. Moody, he basically constructed this two part approach to this crowd. He came to this crowd, and he delivered the first half meaning to bring the second part a week later. That week God’s judgment fell and the great fire of Chicago swept through. That crowd never gathered again. Moody learned a lesson. Brethren we need to preach Christ now! We need to wake up. Listen, when you hear of wars and tumults -one, do not be terrified. My brothers and sisters, though the economies of the world shake and collapse and fall, though in all likely hood America is diminishing, it’s greatness, its grandeur in this world. Don’t be terrified. You hear of wars. Even when America gets their bubble burst (collapses) and these things set on our front door, “Don’t be terrified.” That’s Jesus’ words to you.
For these things must first take place. But the end will not be at once. Then He said to them “Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, there will be great earthquakes and in various places famines, pestilences, there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. Before this they will all lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues, prisons. You will be brought before king’s and governors for my name sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness.” I realize that may be more local to what He just said. “When they lay hands on you to deliver you to the synagogues and prisons you will be brought before kings and governors, this will be your opportunity to bear witness.” But brethren I take that as a more overreaching statement here. When the tsunami comes, when the earthquake comes, when wars and rumors of wars come. Brethren, this is your opportunity to witness! This is it! Take it brethren, take it. Don’t you dare shy away and try to pawn of God as something that He is not. God is the god of the plagues. God is the god of the earthquake. God is the god of the tsunami and they are meant to wake people up. Brethren beseech them (the lost) to come at once. Beseech them, call to them. And just one last word. It comes to us from Habakkuk, he had it right, there were terrors in his days. Judgment in his days. Listen, when God brings the judgments -Christian -Christ says “don’t be terrified.” Let me tell you this, when that wave was coming. God’s eyes were on everyone of His people. And let me tell you this –Every tsunami and every earthquake has to bow down to Romans 8:23, everyone of them! It will work for your good. Don’t fear. He’s got the hairs on your head numbered. (Luke 12:7) You are precious in His sight. (Isaiah 43:4) Things were bad in Habakkuk’s day. But he said this (3:17-19) “Though the fig tree should not blossom, not fruit be on the fines, the produce of the olive fail, fields yield no food, the flak be cut off from the fold, there be no herd in the stales, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the deers, He makes me tread on my high places.”
Brethren let me just remind you. When those ten plagues came upon Egypt they never touched Israel. Whatever God sends in this world. As terrifying as it may seem. Jesus says “Don’t you be terrified.” (Luke 21:9) Brethren what is the worst case scenario? You lose your life and go to be with the Lord forever, forever, and forever? And He wipes away every tear. That doesn’t sound to bad! If a tsunami does that to you, are you going to complain? No more sorrow, no more death, no more sin, and you get to see Him face to face and be like He is. If that’s what a tsunami brings me, bring them on, right?!
To the Christian. Haggai 2:5 -“according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.” (6) For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. (7) And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. In all His shaking brethren, He is filling the house. He’s bringing them in. The riches of the Gentiles, of the nations, He’s harvesting, through all of it brethren, through all of it. I’ll tell you this. When that tsunami lands on our front door, that’s not time for you to hi-tale (run away) and act like the rest of the world. That is your opportunity to bear witness. That is an opportunity to show love, to help others. When the catastrophe comes, when the calamity falls. For us to rise up and show that were not like the rest of the world. To seek to love people and share our food and share our money, and to have a message of hope in the midst of all of it. “O, Israel, fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name. You are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1) Brethren His eye is on you for good. He sends His signs, yes. But you remember, they are all in submission to Him and He’s given you this massive promise, (Romans 8:28) “It all works out for your good.” You belong to Him? You’re called by Him? Everything in creation is subservient (obedient to) to that. Amen.