Derek goes to the book of Revelation to look at the root cause of the wrath of the Lamb, which is the general degeneration of human character. The particular aspect that is highlighted there is pride, and the main way for us to deal with it is through confession of our sins. Derek then discloses something else God hates, which is carnality.
I want to look also in Revelation 6 for a moment again. Revelation 6, verse 14:
“Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.”
I have to tell you that staggers me. I mean, I sit back and I gasp to think what that will mean.
“And the kings of the earth, the great men and the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’“
There was one thing that sinful man could not bear, it was to be exposed to the light of God’s countenance. And there’s one phrase there which has impacted me in the last year or so, it says, “hide us from the wrath of the Lamb.” None of us has ever seen an angry lamb. I don’t believe there ever has been an angry lamb in the history of humanity. But one day something totally without parallel or without precedence will happen, the Lamb will become angry. Ultimately, the rebellion an the wickedness of man will provoke even the Lamb to wrath. And that sight will be so terrible that men would rather be crushed under rocks or mountains than have to look at it.
Now, what is the root cause of all this? Why does God have to deal this way with the earth and with the human race? Many answers could be given and I’ve read books that explain why we’re facing disaster. Some trace social causes, some trace economic causes. I’ve just been reading a book that deals with the United States called, The Coming Economic Earthquake, which I have to say I think it inevitable. I don’t think there’s any way the United States can avoid the earthquake that lies ahead. But that’s not the root cause. It’s not economic, it’s not social, it’s not political. The one root cause, and the Bible so unerringly exposes it, is the general degeneration of human character.
What is the one particular word or aspect of conduct or character that is singled out all the way through as that which ultimately provokes God’s wrath? Pride, that’s right. God has been dealing with me personally on the subject of pride for nearly two years.
And you know, there’s various ways of dealing with pride. Let me tell you one good way that we learned. That is, to confess your sins. I think that’s become old fashioned, you know. The church today, we don’t confess our sins. But the Bible says confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another that you may be healed. The King James Version, for some reason, says “confess your faults.” I think maybe they were afraid of being too close to the Roman Catholics. But the word in Greek is sins, it’s just the same word that’s used for sin all through the New Testament. Confess your sins one to another.
And you know, it’s very hard to stay proud when you’re confessing your sins. You try it. Let me recommend it to you. Especially for a husband to confess his sins to his wife. I mean, if there’s one thing that a husband doesn’t want to do, that’s it. But I’m glad that I had a wife to confess my sins to. And I’m glad she listened so patiently. She confessed sins to me, too.
What I’m saying is, I have a totally different view of pride from what I had before. There’s one thing I’m afraid of, it’s being proud. I don’t claim that I’ve achieved that. And when I see Christians, especially ministers, who demonstrate manifest pride, I tremble.
See, it seems to me that in the church today you can get away with pride. It’s not considered sinful. In fact, it’s almost considered something to be emulated.
A lot of people say pride goes before a fall. That’s not true. It says pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. I don’t want to end up in destruction. I’m speaking to you out of personal experience. Please don’t imagine that I think I have achieved it. I am literally amazed that He would tolerate things in me so long.
And let me say I’ve never been guilty of adultery, or immorality, or fornication, or drunkenness, or misuse of funds, or other things that people think about when a minister speaks about sin. That’s not where it was. I think God wants me to tell you this. The thing that God convicted me of most was carnality. And about 2:00 a.m. one morning on the day in which I ended up in hospital, though I didn’t know I was going to be there, the Lord woke me and very graciously and gently showed me how much He hated carnality.
You know that God has got strong feelings, you know that? God loves and He hates. He says in Malachi, “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated.” And Esau is one of the Biblical types of carnality. God showed me that carnality is absolutely hateful to Him. He didn’t say I was hateful, He reaffirmed His love. And this is my definition of carnality as far as I’ve been able to see it. The writer of Hebrews said, “Here we have no continuing city, but we look for one to come.” And any time we begin to think and act and live as if this world was our home and we had something permanent here, that is carnality. It doesn’t need to express itself in any big or ugly sin, but once we lose the vision of eternity and are not living in the consciousness of eternal issues, that is carnality.
I tell you, God hates it. He doesn’t hate you, He doesn’t hate me. He’s infinitely patient but He wants to deal with it.
Afterwards when I was recovering physically and getting better, the Lord told me that it would take time, that He was going to do it but it would take time. And then He said something so sweet, He said, “Be patient with me as I have been patient with you.” I couldn’t argue with that! I’m still being patient.
Now I say all that because I don’t want to just—well, I felt the Lord prompted me to say it. I don’t want to be just in the abstract. There is no abstract theology in the New Testament, you cannot find it. Every time there’s a theological truth propounded in the New Testament it’s applied to the way we live. Without exception, you can look but you’ll never find just abstract theological truth.
We all agreed on one thing, the thing that God hates most is what? Right, let’s say that again. “The thing that God hates most is pride.” Amen.
So, we come down back to 2 Timothy 3, which is where we were before.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come...”
Dangerous times, tough times. The marginal reading in this version is “times of stress will come”. Why? Because men will be certain things. What is the root problem? It’s the decline of human character and behavior. And, it’s progressive. And, it cannot be reversed. This is something God showed me, corruption is irreversible once a thing becomes corrupt. You can halt corruption, you can slow corruption, but you cannot reverse it. Take a piece of fruit, any vegetable, anything like that. It’s corrupt. And if you leave it its corruption will become totally manifest. You can take the most beautiful, succulent looking peach, but leave it a week and it looks much less beautiful and tastes much less succulent.
Now, you can do something. You can put it in a refrigerator. A refrigerator will not reverse the process but it will slow it. Forgive me for saying this but I think the church is like a refrigerator. You put a person in the church, it doesn’t change his corruption but it does slow it down.
But God is so realistic. He doesn’t try to reverse corruption. He has only one solution, a new birth, a totally new start. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new, and all things are of God. The new creation is totally God originated. There’s not one element of corruption in it.
So, you can remain in your corruption. If you want to sit in your refrigerator, you can do it. But, the only thing that will change you is new birth, the new creation. And if you’ve never had that, you need it. Young or old, man or woman, it makes no difference. There’s no sex in the new birth.