Zac Poonen - Coming Out Of Babylon | Full Sermon
Contrast Between Jerusalem And Babylon
When we compare the opening pages of Scriptures with its closing pages, we find that the two trees (the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil) have produced two systems, by the end of time - Jerusalem and Babylon.
That which is truly born of the Spirit - from God, through God and to God - remains for ever; whereas that which was born of the flesh - from man, through man and to man - perishes. Today, we are living between the pages of Genesis and Revelation. And whether we realise it or not, we are being caught up in one of these two systems - one determined to exalt and glorify God, and the other out to glorify and exalt man; one following Christ and the other following Adam; one living in the Spirit and the other living in the flesh and the soul. Both Jesus and Adam heard the voice of God - the difference was only in the fact that one obeyed and the other disobeyed. So too, Jesus said, it would be with those who hear His voice - one would obey and build on the rock, unshakable for eternity, while another would hear but not obey and thus build on the sand, ultimately to perish (Mt. 7:24-27). These two houses that Jesus spoke of are Jerusalem and Babylon. There are those today who are truly justified by faith and enter into the new covenant, sealed by the blood of Jesus, and follow Jesus in a life of obedience to God's will (particularly as described in Matt. 5 to 7), who build on the rock and have a part in Jerusalem. One has only to read Matthew 5 to 7 to discover whether he belongs to this company or not. Equally there are others (and this is by far the majority), who hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 5 to 7, but having a false understanding of justification, faith and grace, live in a false security, not caring to obey the words of Jesus, and thus build on sand - Babylon - finally perishing forever.
These are 'Christians' in their own eyes, for Jesus said that the man who built on sand was one who heard His voice, and therefore obviously, not a heathen, but one who read the Bible and went to 'church.' His only problem was that he did not obey and therefore could not partake of eternal salvation promised to all who obey Jesus (Heb. 5:9). His faith was not genuine, for it did not have works of obedience to perfect it (Jas. 2:22,26). Those under the headship of Adam follow their head in disobedience to God's revealed will, but are persuaded by Satan that they "will not die" (Gen. 3:4), because they claim to have 'accepted Christ.' Thus they live in false security in Babylon. Equally, those under the headship of Christ are identified by the fact that they "walk as Jesus walked" (1 Jn. 2:6) in obedience to God's will. These are the brothers and sisters of Christ (Mt. 12:50), and are a part of Jerusalem.
The interesting thing about the parable that Jesus spoke at the end of Matthew 5 to 7, is that both the wise man's house and the foolish man's house stood for some time, as both Babylon and Jerusalem stand today - until the rains and the flood came. While the foolish man was only concerned about the external appearance of the house (the testimony before men), the wise man was more concerned about the foundation (the hidden life in the heart, before the face of God) primarily. But when the floods and the rains came (the judgment of God), it was the foundation that was tested first.
The distinctive feature of Jerusalem is holiness. It is called "the HOLY city" (Rev. 21:2). Babylon however, stands out for its greatness. It is called "the GREAT city" (Rev. 18:10). It is called "great", eleven times in Revelation. Those who live in true holiness, in obedience to God and have partaken of the nature of Christ by grace through faith, are built together into Jerusalem; whereas those who are looking for greatness here on earth (the testimony and the honour of men) are built into Babylon.
For nineteen hundred years, the call has been coming to God's people, "Come out of her (Babylon) MY PEOPLE; do not take part in her sins, or you will be punished with her" (Rev. 18:4-Living). The call is even more urgent today, as we approach the end of the age.
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