Revelation 10:10

Sermon preached on March 17, 2013 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

Eating is an interesting experience. Sometimes you think that something is going to be really good and as soon as you put it in your mouth, it's a disappointment. That's happened to me when I thought what I put into my mouth was a chocolate chip cookie and instead of chocolate chips I tasted raisons. Did that ever happen to you? That's a horrible experience. I actually like raisons, I just don't think they belong in cookies. Why would anyone do that, putting raisons in instead of chocolate chips? That's cruel.

There's a story in the Old Testament about a group of prophets who cooked up a stew and as soon as they began to eat it, they knew something was wrong. They said to Elisha, (2 Kings 4:40)

"O man of God,
there is death in the pot!"

They knew right away something was wrong with it.

With some other things it's different. Some things taste good in your mouth but after you eat them you feel sick. People have poisoned themselves when they picked and ate the wrong kind of mushrooms. When they ate them they had no idea that they were poisonous. They couldn't detect it. It tasted good. It wasn't until it got into their system that they felt sick.

At other times your experience is completely different. You think that something is not going to taste good and it surprises you how tasty it is. A few years ago I read a story of 4 guys whose sailboat capsized in the storm in the South Pacific Ocean. Their boat, the Rose-Noelle, stayed afloat but it was upside down and there was no way they could put it upright. The cabin didn't fill with water and if my memory of the book is correct they continued living in the upside down cabin. It was four months before they drifted back to land and were rescued. They kept alive by catching fish. At first they didn't eat the fish organs, but the fish were so scarce that after awhile they decided that if they were going to have any chance to stay alive they needed to eat as much of the fish as they could. Here's what one of them wrote after they started eating the heart, liver, and the eyes. (Capsized! by James Nalepka and Steven Callahan.)

"They are full of strong, meaty, pungent flavors. The heart is a rare micro filet mignon. The liver is a sweet pâté."

Those things really tasted good to them. How good were they? Listen to what one of them wrote in his diary. While they were drifting for those four months, one of them kept up his spirits by imagining a future, after they were rescued. He wrote,

"At times like these I forget that we are in the middle of the ocean on a capsized boat. Instead Rick and I are paddling a kayak, then at home, ashore, watching over a steaming pot. Let's have a taste. 'As good as those fish guts we had aboard the Rose-Noelle? Nah. Never that good.' And so we reminisce, remembering those days years ago, when we were lost at sea."

I love that line—'never that good'. To them, nothing in the world could ever taste as good as those fish guts did.

Now if you think about ideas as being food, you realize that it's important what we incorporate into our inner being. What we believe in our inner being is vitally important. This is obvious. If you think that racism is okay it's going to hurt other people and it's going to hurt you. In order to try to turn the German people against the Jews, the Nazi propaganda machine, instead of teaching that the Jews and everyone else was made in the image of God, depicted Jews as a 'disease', as 'animals', as not being human. They were referred to as 'filth', as 'rabble'. (Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich at War, p. 50) Some of their cartoons depicted the Jews as rats. The propaganda worked to a certain extent. Many people turned against the Jews. That made the holocaust possible.

Writer Gore Vidal believed that the conversion of Western civilization to Christianity was the worst thing that ever happened to it. That idea didn't originate with Vidal but it has greatly influenced our society. Christianity is looked down upon. Its ideas of Jesus being the only way to God is seen as being arrogant and too exclusive. Many of the reject Christianity out of hand.

The ideas that you incorporate into your life do you either great good or great harm. We need to make sure that we digest the right ideas, the right beliefs. This is true for us as Christians. We see this in our text. The angel told John to eat the little scroll. He was to digest its contents and incorporate them into his life. That's what we are to do as well. We are to incorporate God's Word into our lives.

Yet, interestingly, when John ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in his mouth but in his stomach it turned sour. We really need to incorporate the joy of the gospel to help prepare us for the hardship that will come. In a way this is parallel to the seed that fell upon rocky soil that Jesus talked about in the Parable of the Sower. Jesus said, (Matthew 13:20–21)

"The one who received the seed
that fell on rocky places is the man
who hears the word and at once
receives it with joy.
But since he has no root,
he lasts only a short time.
When trouble or persecution
comes because of the word,
he quickly falls away."

One of the lessons from our text is that we must not be like that. We should receive the Word with joy—and we need to have the joy of God's Word so deeply incorporated into our lives that no amount of persecution or trouble will be able to take us away from it.

This morning we're going to look at what the sweetness of the scroll means, and Lord willing, on an upcoming Sunday we'll look at what the bitterness of it in his stomach means. Sweetness comes before hardship.

The sweetness of the scroll, what does that mean? Why is it important that we understand this truth and hold on to it?

The main lesson from our text is that

the word of God, the will of God is sweet. We should receive it with great joy.

We should appreciate the sweetness of the Word and of God's will. There's nothing like the good news of the gospel. How wonderful it is. In Matthew 13:44 Jesus pointed us to the joy that should be ours from knowing the gospel. He said,

"The kingdom of heaven is like
treasure hidden in a field.
When a man found it,
he hid it again,
and then in his joy went
and sold all he had
and bought that field."

He continued, (Matthew 13:45-46)

"Again, the kingdom of heaven
is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
When he found one of great value,
he went away and sold everything
he had and bought it."

You'll remember Zacchaeus' joy when he found that Jesus was interested in him? He said, (Luke 19:8)

"Look, Lord! Here and now I give
half of my possessions to the poor,
and if I have cheated anybody out of anything,
I will pay back four times the amount."

The gospel is such good news for sinners. We should appreciate it as such. As Isaiah 52:7–9 says,

"How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
'Your God reigns!'
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the LORD returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem."

When Jesus began His public ministry He read from Isaiah 61:1–3. Notice the words of joy in it.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor."

What this means is that you who are Christians should always strive to keep in mind the joy of your salvation. Don't let it grow old. Delight in it as you did when you first believed.


you should find great sweetness in the Word of God because it is your life.

Do you know that God's commands are your life? Do know that they are for your good?

One of the great reasons we should have joy as Christians is because the law is no longer a curse to us. Without Jesus, the law would do nothing but condemn us. We're sinners and the law requires perfection. In Jesus we have the perfection. He kept the law for us. His perfect righteousness is given to us.

Therefore the law is not longer a curse for us. As Romans 5:1 says,

"Therefore, since we have been
justified through faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ,"

We have peace with God. We have been brought near. Or think of Romans 8:1.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus,"

No condemnation—but acceptance. We are now the sons of God. Jesus is preparing a place for us. We are headed to glory. You Christians should be rejoicing in the gospel. It truly is good news. Having Jesus we have the most important thing in the world. We are delivered from death and misery and are given eternal life. It's all because of Jesus. How we should rejoice in Him.

Why did God give us the commands? There are many reasons. One of the reasons was to show us our inability to keep the law and so drive us to Christ. As Galatians 3:24 says, the law was our '
schoolmaster' (KJV) to bring us to Christ.

But now that we have Christ, obedience to Christ is the way to blessing, to joy, to satisfaction, to intimacy with God. The law is now one of the means He uses to draw us closer to Him, to be blessed by Him.

We see these themes in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 32:45–47, when Moses finished giving the Lord's commands to the people of Israel, he said to them,

"Take to heart all the words
I have solemnly declared to you this day,
so that you may command
your children to obey carefully
all the words of this law.
They are not just idle words for you—
they are your life.
By them you will live long in the land
you are crossing the Jordan to possess."

God's commandments are your life. They are the way to blessing. As we read in Deuteronomy 6:1–3,

"These are the commands,
decrees and laws the LORD your God
directed me to teach you to observe
in the land that you are crossing
the Jordan to possess,
so that you, your children
and their children after them
may fear the LORD your God as long
as you live by keeping all his decrees
and commands that I give you,
and so that you may enjoy long life.
Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey
so that it may go well with you
and that you may increase greatly
in a land flowing with milk and honey,
just as the LORD,
the God of your fathers, promised you."

Bruce Milne tells us that God's commands, (The Message of John, The Bible Speaks Today, p. 141)

"are the 'maker's instructions' perfectly designed to meet his creatures' needs."

The commands of God are our life. They are for our good. They bring contentment, satisfaction, joy. They are the way those in Christ please God. They are the way to blessing.

The Israelites were also told that if they disobeyed God, misery would come upon them. In Leviticus 26:14–17 God said to the people,

"But if you will not listen to me
and carry out all these commands,
and if you reject my decrees and abhor
my laws and fail to carry out all my commands
and so violate my covenant,
then I will do this to you:
I will bring upon you sudden terror,
wasting diseases and fever that will destroy
your sight and drain away your life.
You will plant seed in vain,
because your enemies will eat it.
I will set my face against you so that
you will be defeated by your enemies;
those who hate you will rule over you,
and you will flee
even when no one is pursuing you."

People in our society today talk about the evil in the world and use it as an argument to deny the existence of God. There is certainly a great mystery there. But the Bible makes it clear that God is not the author of evil. Evil did not come from God. It did not have its origin in Him. But people still ask that question. But that's really the wrong question.

Why is there all this suffering in the world? Why all the evil? It's because Adam and Eve disobeyed God. It's because they thought they would be better of by disobeying God than by obeying Him. Satan told Eve that if she ate she would be like God, knowing good and evil. Who was she going to believe, God or Satan? Whose word was she going to delight in? She believed Satan. When Adam had his choice, who was he going to cling to, God or his wife Eve? He made the wrong choice.

So you see, the lesson is simple, it's clear—sin brings misery, obedience brings joy. Yet people today just don't get. This is so simple and obvious that people should have learned it before kindergarten. But we don't take it to heart.

Many people sin because they think that they'll be better off sinning. That's what they think and that's one of the reasons they sin. Nothing could be more wrong. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sin is the source of all the suffering in the world. Sin is the source of everything bad. No one is better off by sinning.

Our society today is putting pressure on everyone to accept their ideas of what is right. They're in favor of gay marriage. They're in favor of your 'following your heart' and walking out our your wife and children if you happen to find your 'soul mate'. They will tell you that staying in an 'unfulfilling' relationship would be unhealthy, and well adjusted people move on. They are in favor of abortion and will tell you that it's not an issue of 'murder', but of women's rights, of women's freedom, of ending the oppression and injustice. Society wants us to accept these things and if we don't accept them we're characterized as 'hate mongers', as 'unhealthy', as 'anti-women'.

Christians, don't buy into society's ideas. If you don't accept these things—persecution will come. But those practices are sinful. Those practices are going to bring great judgment on the world. We see that in the subsequent chapters in Revelation. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:18,

"The wrath of God is being
revealed from heaven
against all the godlessness and
wickedness of men who suppress
the truth by their wickedness…"

After that these people will suffer a horrible fate. As we read in Revelation 21:8,

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving,
the vile, the murderers,
the sexually immoral,
those who practice magic arts,
the idolaters and all liars—
their place will be in the fiery lake
of burning sulfur."

Christians, love God's Word, delight in it, realize that it is your life.

The third reason we should delight in the gospel, in God's commands is because

God's commands are not arbitrary, they reflect God's character.

Why should we delight in God's commands? Why should they be sweet to us? Because they reflect God's character. God is a God of truth and because of this it's impossible for Him to lie. He tells us to uphold the truth and not to lie.

This means that you should delight, find great joy in God's commands, find great sweetness there—because when you obey them you are becoming like God. God is perfectly blessed. He is full of joy. When you obey God's commandments you can experience some of the joy that comes from being righteous. There is nothing like being righteous. What satisfaction, what joy, what contentment it brings. 1 John 5:3 puts it this way,

"This is love for God:
to obey his commands.
And his commands are not burdensome,"

Our sinful nature finds the commands of God burdensome. But that's only because we are so unspiritual. Robert W. Yarbrough writes, (1–3 John BECNT; p. 274)

"the closer one grows to God, the more delightful his moral and ethical guidelines become."

Yarbrough goes on and says,

"Jesus knew an intimacy with God in which submission to his will, while often not easy, was by far the highest good…"

By the grace of God, as we are led to obey God's commands by the power of the Holy Spirit—we experience an intimacy with God, we experience joy and blessedness.

Christians, do you delight in God's commands? Do you say to God, as David did in Psalm 119:103.

"How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

Do you feel that way about God's commands? Psalm 19:10 says of the ordinances of the Lord,

"They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb."

Is that the way they are to you?

Christians, know all these things about the gospel, about God's commands. They are such sweet things. Hold on to this sweetness so that when trouble comes to you because of your devotion to God—you will never waver from Jesus. Realize that in Jesus you have the pearl of great price.

Yet in all this, make sure you rejoice in Jesus and give Him thanks. Our works, our obedience, is nothing for us to boast in or put our hope in. Quite the contrary, it's the power of God that comes to us through Jesus in the Holy Spirit that makes us what we are. As Ephesians 2 tells us, we are 'God's workmanship'. In John 4:34 Jesus said,

"My food is to do the will of him
who sent me and to finish his work."

Your greatest desire should be to serve your Master and serve Him well.

Lastly, for those of you who don't believe in Jesus.

Know that you're totally deceived.

In Jesus is life. In keeping His commands there is great joy. You need to wake up. The sin that is keeping you from Jesus, whether it's pride, or self-sufficiency, your works—it is going to bring you misery. It is going to bring you eternal destruction. You need to repent and go to Jesus today.