What's on the menu? - Revelation 10:1-11

This is a sermon by Lee McMunn from the Riverside Church service on 15th November 2015.

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One of the central tasks of Christians before the return of Jesus is to tell the world the good news that Jesus is the promised Rescuer and the promised Ruler.

 

Of course we will do other things. We are to do all things in the service of Jesus.

 

But one of our most important tasks as a church is to proclaim the good news of the gospel to a world in desperate need of salvation.

 

In order to keep on doing this throughout our lives we need convictions. I want to share with you two biblical convictions that help me keep passionate about evangelism.

 

  • The message is powerful

 

  • The messenger needs patience

 

Why have I started with my sermon like this? Not because evangelism is my hobby horse but because speaking the gospel is what Revelation chapter 10 is all about.

 

Behind all the symbolism the big take home message is - before the return of Jesus, the church has a big task to do. That is to proclaim the good news about Jesus around the world.

 

Let me show you this from the text.

 

The secret message (Vs 1-4)

 

Look at verse 1. Read verses 1-3.

 

There is a striking contrast between the awe inspiring power of this angel and the little scroll that he is holding.

 

The angel came down from heaven. Was robed in a cloud. Had a rainbow above his head. Face was beaming bright. Legs not just like pillars but like fiery pillars. He was so large that he could put one foot on the sea and another on the land. Had a very loud voice - like the roar of a lion.

 

We are supposed to be impressed by this angel.

 

And yet he held a tiny little scroll in his hand. We are supposed to wonder what this is. Perhaps this too is powerful even though it looks small and insignificant.

 

However, before we discover the identity of this little scroll we discover something very strange for the book of Revelation. Look at verse 4. Read verse 4.

 

The strange thing is that John is told not to write something down. All throughout there is constant encouragement to write down what he sees and hears for the edification of the Christians who will hear and read this book. But at this point he is stopped.

 

Or in other words, John has heard a message that will always remain a secret to us as we wait for the Lord Jesus to return.

 

It’s helpful to ponder the significance of this.

We only know the truth about God because he kindly reveals the truth to us. It’s not about academic abilities or social position, it’s about the gracious revelation of God.

 

How much has God revealed to us? Only what we need to know. There are many things God hasn’t told us.

 

Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever.”

 

What does this mean?

 

First, it should increase our gratitude for the understanding we have been granted.

 

Second, it should set our expectations. We will never be able to work everything out.

 

We will need to trust God when the path ahead is dark. Not because we are naive or gullible but because God has already shown enough of his light to enable us to trust him in the dark.

 

The public message (Vs 5-11)

 

Let’s read on. Look at verse 5. Read verses 5-6.

 

What do you expect to hear next? The seventh trumpet. And we expect to see a vivd description of the end of the world. But that’s not what happens next.

 

Instead we are told what will happen in the days before the end. Look at verse 7.

What is this mystery?

 

Ephesians 3:7-12, “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.  8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.  10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,  11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.  12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

 

How will the mystery of God be accomplished?

 

This is where we discover the identity of the little scroll. Look at verse 8. Read verses 8-10.

 

The scroll is a message. A message that is both sweet to the taste for the follower of Jesus and yet a message that also has the potential to cause much heart ache and pain.

 

What is this? It’s the gospel!

 

This message is such good news for the Christian.

 

However, it can also cause much heart ache and pain. Two ways this can happen.

 

 

 

  • Allowing the gospel to shape our behaviour is painful.

 

  • The implications for our friends and family.

 

We are to know the message. We are to digest it. We are to own it.

 

Then what? Look at verse 11. Read verse 11.

 

The message is to go down deep but then it is to go out wide.

 

This message is powerful. It may look small and insignificant but it is God’s power for the salvation for everyone who believes.

 

We also need patience. We trust in God’s timing. Not all is revealed to us.

 

But one of the things that is revealed is that the one of the most important tasks of the church as we wait for the Lord Jesus to return is to proclaim Jesus to a desperate world.

 

Let’s pray.

 

 

 

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