Sermon #27 — Habakkuk Series
Title: What’s wrong
with my religion?
Text: “The remnant of the people shall spoil
thee.” Habakkuk 2:8
Subject: Understanding God’s Judgments
Date: Tuesday Evening — May 3, 2011
Tape # Habakkuk #27
Readings: Larry Criss and Bob Duff
(Revelation 19:1-6) “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous [are] his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.”
“5 ¶ And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
Try to picture the scene John has described. Judgment has come. The wicked have been cast into hell. And the saints of God are singing and shouting the praises of God with joy because of His true and righteous judgments upon the wicked. What an awesome scene! As eternity commences, the saints of God in heaven are rejoicing and praising Him for the damnation of the wicked. This passage of Holy Scripture declares this fact most plainly:— The eternal torments of the damned will be a subject of eternal praise among the redeemed.
Who will sing this song? This song is sung by a great multitude in heaven. It is the same multitude we see throughout the book of Revelation before the throne of God. It is the whole Church of God’s elect in heaven (18:20; 19:1-4). This is that great, elect multitude who sing the praises of God for His great salvation — The 144,000 sealed ones (7:3-4, 9-10). These are the men and women who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation on the earth, who praise God for His distinguishing grace in Christ (5:9-10). These are the blessed dead who have died in the Lord, having kept the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (14:3-8, 12-13). This is that great multitude which has lived and died in every generation for the Word of God and the testimony of His grace (6:9-11).
The day of retribution has come and these chosen, redeemed, saved, glorified souls are singing over the very souls of the damned for whom they once prayed and labored anxiously, with loving hearts. There is the Lord Jesus Christ, singing over Jerusalem for whom He once wept. There is Paul, singing over his kinsmen for whom he was willing to die. There is David, singing over Absalom for whom he once sobbed. All the prophets are singing! All the apostles are singing! All the saints are singing! All the angels are singing! All are singing because of the judgment of God upon the wicked!
What is the theme of this song? — “And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever” (v. 3). — The word “alleluia” means “praise Jehovah!” So the theme of this song is the praise of the Lord our God for all that He is and all that He does. “Alleluia” is an expression of great joy. It appears that the saints in heaven never get weary of their heavenly employment. Again and again they sing, “Alleluia!” “Amen!” “Alleluia!” “Praise the Lord!” It is the great joy of God’s saints in heaven to praise God for His wonderful works.
This word, “Alleluia,” is also an expression of admiration and wonder. Every glorious view of Christ, every act of His hand, every word of His mouth, every revelation of His character, every display of His majesty, greatness, power, and glory causes the souls of the redeemed to burst out with another song of praise, saying, “Alleluia,” for His salvation (v. 1), His attributes (v. 1), His judgments (vv. 2-4), and His sovereignty (v. 6).
What is the occasion of the song? What is the event that here causes God’s saints to burst out in joyful praise? Here God’s saints are shouting, singing, and rejoicing over the fall of antichrist, Babylon, all false religion. Babylon is the mixing of everything together, stirring it well, and calling it Christianity. It is the religion of the world. If outward sin damns its thousands, religion is damns its tens of thousands. But one of these days God is going to get around to judging this thing called “religion,” which has corrupted the earth with her fornication and persecuted His saints in every age. In our text, God has finally caught up with religion. And after antichrist, Babylon, and all the promoters and followers of free-will, works religion are cast into hell, God is still on his throne. The saints are happy about that, and shout, “Amen! Alleluia!” The world will mourn forever over Babylon’s fall. But the saints of God will rejoice forever over her fall, for then God will have “avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.” The people who are singing are the saints of God. The theme of their song is the praise of God. The occasion for their song is the judgment of God.
Now, let’s take one more look at Habakkuk 2, where God’s prophet prophesied of this great judgment deed that shall proceed from the throne of our God.
The title of my message is — wrong with my religion? The religion of this world is specifically cursed of God. It is spoken of in the most vile terms by our God and Savior and by His holy prophets and apostles throughout the Holy Scriptures.
Š It is called “the way of Cain, the error of Balaam, and the gainsaying of Korah.”
Š False religion is compared to a “strange woman” in Proverbs 7.
Š The angel of God calls it Babylon “the Great Whore” and “the Mother of Harlots.”
Š False religion is the broad way that leads to destruction.
Š Yet, it is the religion naturally embraced and followed and taught and defended by all men. It is the way that seems right to man.
When confronted with the Gospel of Christ people coil up like snakes ready to strike and ask, “What’s wrong with my religion?” When pressed with the claims of Christ in the Gospel, realizing immediately that the light of the Gospel exposes the blackness of their chosen form of idolatry, they pull a shield around them, draw out a sword, and plant their feet, ready to defend their own Dagon at any cost, and dare you to answer — “What’s wrong with my religion?” People will fight you to the death to defend their gods, quicker than they will to defend their families.
Proposition: So evil is the religion of this world, the religion of Babylon, the religion of antichrist, all free-will/works religion, that the Lord God has sworn to publicly repudiate it and destroy it in the Day of Judgment.
That is what the 2nd chapter of Habakkuk is all about. In the eighth verse of that chapter the prophet of God declares — “all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee!”
(Habakkuk 2:8) “Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men’s blood, and [for] the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.”
Because Babylon has spoiled all the nations of the world, — Because Babylon has made herself drunk with the blood of immortal souls by her doctrine, — Because of the violence of that religious system that stones prophets and murdered the Lord of Glory, the Lord God here asserts that — “All the remnant of the people shall spoil thee!” That is to say all God’s elect shall in the last day spoil Babylon.
Why has the Lord God pronounced such judgment upon the religion of this world? What is so terribly wrong with it? — Does any will worship Arminian ask, — does any happy/clappy Charismatic ask, — does any Papist ask, — does any Mohamedan ask, does any religious legalist ask, “What’s wrong with my religion?” Hold your Bible open on your lap at Habakkuk 2, and I will show you.
Here are six crimes charged against all free-will/works religion, six crimes charged against Babylon by God’s prophet Habakkuk.
1. Babylon, all false religion, all free-will/works religion causes men to swell with pride, whereas the Gospel of the grace of God lays sinners low in the dust before the throne of God and teaches them to live by faith in Christ (Habakkuk 2:4-5; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 4:7).
(Habakkuk 2:4-5) “Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. 5 ¶ Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, [he is] a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and [is] as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:”
(1 Corinthians 1:26-30) “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
(1 Corinthians 4:7) “For who maketh thee to differ [from another]? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive [it], why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received [it]?”
2. Babylon, all false religion, all free-will/works religion teaches sinners to save themselves from evil by building a tower and a refuge to heaven (v. 9), whereas the Gospel of the grace of God destroys every refuge of lies and saves sinners from evil (Isaiah 28:14-20; Ephesians 2:1-2:10).
(Habakkuk 2:9) “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!”
(Isaiah 28:14-20) “Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which [is] in Jerusalem. 15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. 19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only [to] understand the report. 20 For the bed is shorter than that [a man] can stretch himself [on it]: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself [in it].”
The Father’s Purpose
(Ephesians 1:3-2:10) “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
The Son’s Purchase
“7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
The Spirit’s Power
13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
“15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
The New Birth
“2:1 ¶ And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
“4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
3. Babylon, all false religion, all free-will/works religion is built by the blood of immortal souls sacrificed upon the altar of man’s pride and covetousness (v. 12), whereas the Church and Kingdom of God is built upon the precious blood of Christ sacrificed upon the altar of Divine justice (Galatians 3:13-14; 1 Peter 1:18-20; 2:24; 3:18)
(Habakkuk 2:12) “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!”
(Galatians 3:13-14) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
(1 Peter 1:18-20) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
(1 Peter 2:24) “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
(1 Peter 3:18) “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
4. The religion of Babylon, all false religion, all free-will/works religion always exposes and looks upon man’s nakedness (sin) (v. 15), whereas the Gospel of Christ proclaims a covering for our nakedness (Jeremiah 23:6).
Š An Altar of Steps — Babylon
Š An Altar of Earth — Christ
Š The Prodigal’s Robe
(Habakkuk 2:15) “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to [him], and makest [him] drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”
(Jeremiah 23:6) “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
5. Babylon, all false religion, all free-will/works religion, the worship of antichrist exposes the foreskin of the uncircumcised idolater (v. 16), whereas the worship of Christ identifies the circumcision (Philippians 3:3).
(Habakkuk 2:16) “Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD’S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing [shall be] on thy glory.”
(Philippians 3:1-3) “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
6. Babylon, all false religion, all free-will/works religion is a teacher of lies, causing men to trust the works of their own hands (vv. 18-19), whereas the Gospel of God shuts sinners up to sovereign mercy, proclaim “Salvation is of the Lord!”
(Habakkuk 2:18-19) “What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? 19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it [is] laid over with gold and silver, and [there is] no breath at all in the midst of it.”
Babylon proclaims and promotes Satan’s lie everywhere.
Š God loves all men.
Š Christ died for all men.
Š The Holy Spirit draws all men.
Š God’s Part — Your Part!
The Gospel of God is truth and God’s servant all proclaim the truth, seeing eye to eye (Isaiah 8:20; 52:7-11).
(Isaiah 8:20) “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.”
(Isaiah 52:7-11) “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean [thing]; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.”
Yes, all God’s prophets see eye to eye. They all believe the same God and preach the same Gospel.
Š Divine Sovereignty!
Š Total Depravity!
Š Unconditional Election!
Š Limited Atonement!
Š Irresistible Grace!
Š Preserving Grace!
Š No Condemnation!
Perhaps you ask, “Bro. Don, what should my attitude be toward free-will/works religion?” Let’s me see if we can find an answer to that question in this Book.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 7:1 ¶ Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
(Revelation 18:4) “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
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