A Better “Yes”

Series: Revelation: Christ is Coming
September 26, 2021
Revelation 16:1-7
George Robertson

Revelation 16:1-7

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.

The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,

“Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
for you brought these judgments.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink.
It is what they deserve!”

And I heard the altar saying,

“Yes, Lord God the Almighty,
true and just are your judgments!” (ESV)

Big Idea: Through John, Jesus shouts, "No!" to our favorite sins to enable us to say a better "Yes!" with our lives to His sovereign grace. 

Say "Yes" to Courage (vv. 1-3)

The first bowl calls us to say “no” to blending in and “yes” to courage. We are able to ascertain this meaning because of what we have already learned about the “worship of the beast.” In John’s immediate context the “beast” was the Roman Empire, used by Satan to hinder the work of the gospel. Sometimes the Romans did that by actively persecuting Christians, but Satan’s most effective strategy was to pressure Christians to blend in with the rest of the culture.

They didn’t have to recant their faith or believe that the Emperor was a god; they just needed to go with the flow of their culture and not draw attention to themselves. The result was that gospel didn’t advance in individual lives or society at large. By sidelining these Christians, the devil accomplished more than he would have by killing them.

If you are blending in, you must hear the warning of God’s voice, which speaks loudly in v. 1. In Scripture, whenever there is a “loud voice from the temple,” it is for the purpose of bringing judgment on those who have broken covenant with God, especially by persecuting his disciples (Rev. 6:6; 9:13; Is. 66:6). The good news for the believer in Christ is that even when we fearfully blend in—just as Peter did. Jesus restores us by being our eternal advocate with the Father so that when we stand before him, he will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The opinions of other people are temporary and have no bearing on our eternity. God’s opinion of us makes us who we are.


  1. Can you think of something you do or don't do around certain people so that you don't draw attention to your faith?

  2. How might Jesus advocating for you and giving you a firm identity embolden you not to blend in but live courageously? 

Say "Yes" to Contentment (vv. 4-7) 

The second and third bowls call us to say “yes” to contentment and “no” to materialism. The second and third bowls parallel the second and third trumpets but are more explicit and bring more complete judgment. The second trumpet brought “blood like that of a dead man,” but the second bowl leaves “every living soul dead.” Whereas the third trumpet turned the waters “bitter,” the third bowl turns the waters to blood.

Since commerce on the sea was the great engine of Rome’s economic success, these bowls promise complete economic devastation coming to those who have “stuff idolatry” (13:16-17; 18:17, 19). On the other hand, every suffering, every persecution, every worry, every fear, and every intimidating force in your life will be put in its place when you really believe God totally loves you.


  1. Do you idolize stuff? Here are some questions to diagnose "stuff idolatry": How much of your private thought life is spent thinking about acquiring or keeping stuff? What percentage of your income is spent on accumulating unnecessary stuff for life versus given for the gospel's progress? How upset do you become when your stuff is damaged, lost, or stolen? How protective are you with your stuff when someone needs it more than you?

  2. How has God proven that he will provide for you? How might an eternal perspective help with "stuff idolatry?" 

  3. How might Jesus advocating for you and giving you a firm identity embolden you not to blend in but live courageously? 

Back to Media Library