AGCC Sun. a.m. 3/4/2001
#8 (Book of Revelation Series)

TEXT:  Rev. 10:1-11


The 2nd coming of Christ to most people is nothing more than a fantasy, to some it is nothing more than religious nonsense.  Modern man may wonder how sophisticated modern Christians can really believe that Jesus is coming again, or that there will be a tribulation period that will wreck havoc on this planet. Yet, as we get closer and closer to the 2nd coming of Christ such ideas hardly seem fanciful.  The closer to Jesus' coming the less fanciful the prophecies about the future will appear to be.  Even in the world there have been those times when things that sounded fanciful at one time became quite credible later on ... what seems incredible today becomes tomorrow's facts.  The world has frequently had to say, "Whoops, guess we were wrong after all."  Those who now believe the 2nd coming of Christ is a fanciful idea will one day have to say, "Whoops, guess we were wrong after all." -- but what tragic consequences will arise from their error. ILLUS:   The Goddard Space Center is named for Dr. Robert Goddard, the pioneer of rocket research. In 1919, he published an article describing a multistage rocket that could carry a payload to the moon. The New York Times laughed at the article and said Goddard lacked even "the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." Forty-nine years later, with Apollo 11 circling the moon, the Times ran a correction. "It is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum. The Times regrets the error." If you live long enough, you will find that truth always triumphs eventually. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997). Did you know that up until this century it was thought that the 200,000,000 man army mentioned in Revelation that comes from the East must be a "spiritual" or "symbolic" number ... how could this be real, BUT today China alone can easily put this many men in uniform!  (see Rev. 9:16)

Did you know that until the middle of this past century many "experts" thought the regathering of millions of Jews back to Palestine to become the nation of Israel again was nothing more than a "spiritual" concept ... though the Bible said it would literally happen at the end of time!  (see Ezek. 37)

Did you know that such descriptions in Zechariah and Ezekiel that describe a horrible force so great that people's skin will fall off of them from a blasting heat so sudden, and that their eyes will melt in their sockets while they still walk about seemed too far fetch ... until this century when the atomic bomb was dropped and this was the EXACT description by survivors who saw those exposed to the blast but still living ... walking about just like this!  (see Ezek. 39:6 & Zech. 14:12) What once seemed too fanciful to believe is quite literally possible today!  Jesus is coming again!!!  This is not a fanciful delusion, it will be fact! PROP. SENT:   The Bible clearly teaches that there should be an urgency in telling others about Christ's salvation, that Jesus is coming soon!


A. Details Reserved   10:1-4 1. John sees a mighty angel again ... probably the same one he saw in 5:2. a. The "rainbow above his head" shows that God never forgets His covenantal promises, of which the rainbow was a symbol.
b. The "fiery pillars" for legs remind us of the pillar of fire that went with Israel all through the wilderness showing God's presence among them at all times.
2. This angel held a "little scroll" or little book ... we don't know the contents however. a. The fact that the little scroll "lay open in his hand" however would indicate that this was to be revealed to John, it was after all "open."
b. There seems little doubt that this "little scroll" contained judgments of some kind, perhaps the judgments of the 7 thunders ... being "little" it may have meant that this was a part of a larger revelation.
3. The "7 thunders" remind us of the similar "7 seals, 7 trumpets," and the coming "7 bowls" ... all of which are judgments on sinners, so it seems consistent that these "7 thunders" would also be a set of 7 judgments.
4. The "7 thunders" utter their judgments and John is about to write down what they say when a "voice from heaven" tells him NOT to write it down, these judgments are to be kept secret until the day they are visited upon the Earth. a. While open to John, they are closed to us!
b. It would be foolish to speculate as to what they are, but no doubt they are horrible as are the "7 seals, 7 trumpets," and the "7 bowls" yet to come.
c. Perhaps they are of such a nature that one could guess the time frame from them, so they remain hidden.  We just don't know what the thunders said!
5. What is God doing here ... giving another final warning so that mankind cannot say they have not been warned! a. Tragically, too many today think that life will just continue on with them always in control ... the arrogance of man's heart in thinking that he has everything under his control for the future, that the need for God doesn't exist!

ILLUS:  The late Bishop Edwin Hughes once delivered a rousing sermon on "God's Ownership" that put a rich parishioner's nose out-of-joint. The wealthy man took the Bishop off for lunch, and then walked him through his elaborate gardens, woodlands, and farm. "Now are you going to tell me," he demanded when the tour was completed, "that all this land does not belong to me?" Bishop Hughes smiled and suggested, "Ask me that same question a hundred years from now." -- Bennett Cerf, Leadership, Vol. 1, no. 2.
b. We fail to realize that only God controls the future ... we really have little power for very little time!

B. Delay Rejected!   10:5-7

1. Though what the "7 thunders" said is not revealed, what they say will happen will happen! a. A sense of urgency is here, as the angel lifts his right hand toward Heaven and says, "There will be no more delay!"  10:6
b. There will be no more time to put off a decision for Christ, to avoid the judgments on sin, there is a fixed time for such a day of judgment, and it will surely come as God directs.
2. How we like to put off dealing with things! a. This is almost a way of life today, to put off until tomorrow dealing with something that we really should deal with now.
b. This is the way many people respond to the message that Jesus is coming again ... they say that one day they will seriously think about the claims of Christ ... maybe when they are older.
c. Jesus however will not delay His plans in spite of how we feel!
3. So many of us always think there will be a way to postpone such serious decisions ... yet not even the most powerful of human beings can change what is  inevitable!

ILLUS:  The dying words of Queen Elizabeth I were these: "All my possessions for a moment of time." Unfortunately, we cannot buy more time--not one more day, not one more hour, not one more minute. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

4. The "mystery of God will be accomplished" the angel states ... no more delay, just as God had "announced to his servants the prophets."  10:7 a. No wonder the Bible states so emphatically in 2 Cor 6:2 "... I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."
b. We cannot assume there will be another opportunity later, there will be a day when the angel of God will declare, "no more delay!"  10:6

ILLUS:  It's never too early to accept Christ, but at any moment it could be too late.  -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).
II. GOD'S FAITHFUL WITNESS     10:8-11 A. Disciple's Responsibilities    10:8-9 1. The same voice from Heaven now speaks to John again, and this time it asks something strange ... for John to "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." a. Notice that the angel doesn't GIVE IT to John, John is asked to GET IT himself.
b. John is being asked to be responsible here, with the scroll containing God's Word.
c. No angel will force him to take it, he must get it for himself from the angel.
2. God has chosen to ask us to take His Word ... He does not force it upon anyone!
3. Notice too that God says "It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." a. There is such a contrast here ... God's Word is sweet to John's taste, but sour as it settles in him ... I will deal with this in the next sub point "B. Disciple's Reaction"
b. The invitation is to receive God's Word willingly ... and to do more with it than just have it sit around our homes ... it is to be absorbed by us, to become a part of us!
4. The hardest thing about sharing the Word of God with others is that we are afraid it won't do any good ... but we must remember that our responsibility is to share it, the results are up to God! a. Sometimes it will produce nothing ... but maybe only for the moment, it later might produce life in the hearer ... we must not base our responsibility on what we think might happen!

ILLUS:  I learned a remarkable fact about the cocklebur: its sticky seed pod contains several seeds, not just one. And these seeds germinate in different years. Thus, if seed A fails to sprout next year because of a drought, seed B will be there waiting for year after next, and seed C the year after that, waiting until the right conditions for germination arrive. -- Graham R. Hodges in Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 4.
b. John was not told what kind of results would come from his taking the scroll ... just that he was to take it and consume it, whether it changes mankind or not, John was to obey! 5. We do have a responsibility to tell others about Jesus Christ ... and that He is coming again and that all sin will one day be judged. a. We are not responsible for people's responses, but we are responsible for telling them!
b. We can never know how people might respond, either initially or later ... but they CAN'T RESPOND if they don't hear!!! -- but they MAY RESPOND if they do hear!
c. How faithful have you been to tell others about Jesus?

B. Disciple's Reactions   10:10-11

1. What did God mean when He said that the scroll John ate would turn "your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey."  ? a. For the believer the Word of God is sweet, even the judgment against sin is sweet to one who is redeemed from sin for he is free from judgment!
b. BUT ... a believer who loves God should also love the world ... and when it is digested that God's judgments will come against the unrighteous it should make us sorrowful to realize that so many will suffer judgment.   When we realize all those who will suffer but don't have to, it should not sit well with us either!
2. It made John sick to his stomach to realize that God's Word will bring judgment against those failed to receive Christ. a. John experiences no delight in sinners being judged ... though the Word was sweet to him, he is pained over those who are lost in sin and now find themselves experiencing God's judgments.
b. This should be our heart too ... rejoicing over our own salvation, broken over those still lost.
c. We cannot become satisfied with just our own salvation.
3. Do others know we are Christians, that we are redeemed?

ILLUS:  Do not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage. -- Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 11292.
4. The fate of millions may well be in our hands ... and though we find our salvation such a sweet thing ... we must allow ALL of God's Word to settle in our hearts so that we see how tragic it will be for those who are lost ... our gut reaction to the lost condition of sinners should cause us to be uncomfortable enough to actively work to reach the lost. a. John's experience of the bitterness reflects the true heart of a godly disciple ... he cannot be fully comfortable knowing what is coming to those who don't know Christ although the Gospel tastes sweet to us who know Him.
b. What about us today ... the events of the book of Revelation are GOING TO HAPPEN one day, perhaps soon ... what are we doing about those who are lost in their sins?
5. Notice God's last statement to John in this passage:  Rev 10:11 "Then I was told, 'You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.'" a. John's call was to preach!
b. This is the good news ... that today is still the day of salvation!
c. John's message would go forth to all the nations, to all peoples, in all languages ... we can be a part of this today still!
6. We are fortunate that God has revealed the future to us, this way we realize how important and necessary it is that we tell as many people as possible the good news that Jesus Christ saves. a. Revelation should inspire us, and produce concern, godly concern for the lost.
b. While we may find the future events of the book of Revelation sweet, knowing we will be with Christ ... we must also let it settle in our gut that there will be many who will experience God's judgment ... and let this move us today to reach the lost.
c. It is just such a contrast that gives us a sweet appreciation for our salvation, and the impetus to reach out to others still lost.
7. How are your responding to God's revelation?  What are you doing about the future today, in both your own life and those around you?
CONCLUSION:   John is shown some of the final warnings and judgments, and he is told that the end is near, no more delay!  Such news is both sweet and bitter, sweet to him as a believer because his full reward is coming, bitter because so many will be lost.  Does the soon coming of Christ cause us enough concern to proclaim Christ's salvation?