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Spiritual Indigestion

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Have you ever had spiritual indigestion in your relationship with God? In Revelation chapter 10, the Apostle John eats God's Word, and it tastes sweet but turns his stomach sour. Why? In the same way, God's Word to us is also sweet and precious but can cause spiritual indigestion. Why? There are many reasons. Spiritual indigestion is normal in our walk with God. Let's explore what spiritual indigestion is and how to handle it.

Notes
Transcript

Please turn to Revelation chapter 10. Revelation, the last book of the Bible, chapter 10. beginning at verse 1.
Have you ever had spiritual indigestion?
or before we think spiritually…let’s get real…how about just PHYSICAL indigestion.
OF COURSE.
Most of us are not consciously aware of our body’s digestive system. You really don’t put any effort into your body, when you eat, your body absorbing nutrients, getting rid of waster and digesting your food.
For the most part, our digestive system in our body just does its thing.
and did you know, some fun facts about the digestive system, that when it comes to your saliva—your body produces how much saliva per day---2 pints—that’s 4 cups. that’s a lot of spit.
and did you know that even if you stand on your head, you can still digest your food through your small and large intestines—because your muscles move it through.
and did you know that the 2nd part of your small intestines is the jejunum—that’s just a fun word to say.
while most of us don’t consciously think of our digestive system when it is working…we do become aware of it—if our stomach hurts, if we have heartburn, if we have to empty its contents frequently or violently...
and if you have young children…you are always aware of their digestive system.
and when Thanksgiving, taking them to your families and relatives, eating WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR…and your relatives think it’s hilarious to feed them all sorts of things—you know it affects their digestion.
well, here in Revelation chapter 10—the Apostle John is going to get what I call some spiritual indigestion—some spiritual heartburn with the vision he receives from God.
Remember - We are right smack in the middle of this strange yet awesome book.
In it, God is giving the Apostle John a vision to encourage Him and the suffering church back then how to endure in our relationship with God. How to endure through hard times and suffering and persecution because God is on the throne.
And this vision throughout Revelation is a dramatic vision with weird symbols and stories meant to encourage us, and remind us it is worth it to follow Jesus.
we just finished a vision of 6 of the 7 trumpets in chapters 8 and 9, and now there is an interruption before the 7th trumpet.
Would you stand as I read:
Revelation 10 NIV
1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.” 5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” 8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
so where we have been in Revelation
Revelation chapters 2 -3 7 letters to the 7 churches back then
Chapters 4 - 5 vision of God and the Lamb on the Throne
Chapter 6 - the 7 seals (the first six)
Chapter 7 - 144,000 and Great Multitude
Chapters 8 - 9 The 7 Trumpets — we saw 6 of them and the 7th seal
and now—before we get to the 7th trumpet in chapter 11, we have an intermission. chapter 10.
a vision of the Apostle John getting this little scroll from this mighty angel...
and look what he is told to do:
Revelation 10:9–11 NIV
9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
he gets some spiritual indigestion.
now, this may seem weird to us—but it’s not the first place in the Bible we see a prophet of God told to eat His Word.
back in the OT in Ezekiel —
Ezekiel 3:3 NIV
3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
but later, verse 14 reads this:
Ezekiel 3:14 NIV
14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord on me.
John is experiencing what the prophet Ezekiel experienced.
so sweet yet bitter. it’s not that they are LITERALLY eating it, but God has commissioned them to ingest it spiritually and then share it. to receive God’s Word and His Ways—and then to go out and share it.
Why was he getting spiritual indigestion, and why do we get it too? Why is the scroll here, representing God’s message to John, representing God’s plan to bring his kingdom to completion on the earth—his rule and reign IN ITS FULLNESS—why is it sweet yet sour. why is that way for us?
Why do we get spiritual indigestion?
Why is following God both sweet and sour?
because God will bring his kingdom in its fullness, BUT there is a delay (10:6-7)
look at verse 7 again—this is the sweet...
Revelation 10:7 NIV
7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
God is going to accomplish his mystery—(more on that in a second)—it will be accomplished. You can take it to the bank—that is the sweet part!
but look at verse 6.
Revelation 10:6 NIV
6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay!
but there has been delay in accomplishing it
sweet and sour.
so what is this mystery that God is accomplishing that is sweet like honey.
it started in the OT—God told Abraham that through Him he would bless all nations. God’s mystery is to bring his blessing, his kingdom blessing in its fullness the entire universe—to all peoples—both Jews and Gentiles who receive Him.
here are a couple of verses that express it
Ephesians 1:9–10 NIV
9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
we see the word mystery there—God’s mystery is to make the entire universe fully under the reign and rule of Christ in its fullness—with no more sin, no more suffering, no more problems—all centered around the throne of God.
part of that mystery is that it includes people from all backgrounds
Ephesians 3:6 NIV
6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
that’s great news!
Christ is the one who brings this “mystery” about
Colossians 1:27 NIV
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
so the mystery here in Revelation—is God’s plan to bring the entire universe, heaven and earth, his people under the beautiful rule and reign of Christ.
and Revelation 10 says it is going to happen, it is going to be accomplished. even though you are suffering now.
however, there has been delay in accomplishing this.
God announced this plan to do this back in the OT—thousands of years ago—that he would bless all the nations through the Messiah.
God announced that he would bring his kingdom in its fullness—but it has taken A LONG TIME.
delay.
I don’t know about you but I hate delays. i am not talking about school delays—my kids love those.
i don’t like it when projects get delayed, my food gets delayed at a restaurant, I have to wait in line longer, a flight gets delayed---....
and when it comes to the kingdom of God—God’s rule and reign. here is the confusing part for all of us—this is why it is mysterious...
GET THIS — God’s kingdom has already come…but has not come in its fullness.
IT’S HERE b/c of Jesus but not yet here fully. since Jesus has come—he said the king is here, the kingdom of God is here—but not yet fully.
this is why God’s way feels sweet and sour.
it’s sweet because our sins are forgiven—wiped clean. we have the righteousness of Christ, but we sometimes still struggle with sin—its sour.
it’s sweet because we have victory over all demonics powers, yet we still face temptation and accusation from Satan.
it’s sweet because we have victory over death—we die—we are with Jesus—BUT we still die.
and if you forget the sweetness of the kingdom—you will become a sour person—you will be a horrible person to be around. God moves in kingdom power NOW. in verse 5—it mentions the supernatural angel of the lord is standing on the sea and the land—this is a reference that God and his kingdom are over EVERYTHING. He is all powerful. verse 6—he created all things—the heavens, the earth, the sea, all that is in them—he lives forever and ever!
but if you forget the sourness of the kingdom right now—you will be naieve. and annoying. not facing reality—that times can be tough and hard for us right now. and we need to go through the process of lament and grieve well before God—that’s part of healing.
do you need to remember God’s sweetness today? maybe you have grown sour?
OR maybe you are having a hard time coming to grips with reality—that there are some sour realities to still living in this world. AND YOU NEED TO GRIEVE WELL.
Jesus is showing John—that God’s kingdom will come SOON but there is a delay—put your hope in the king—King Jesus who will accomplish his purpose in his time.
Sweet and sour.
HERE’S ANOTHER REASON WHY—God’s Word and Ways are sour.
because God's message includes both salvation and judgment. Grace and justice. Mercy and truth. Forgiveness and punishment. (vs. 9-11)
vs. 9-10- we see that John takes the scroll; eats it, digests it.
verse 11 — it’s hard--
Revelation 10:11 NIV
11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
while this message is unique that John would give—we as Christians follow in John’s footsteps. We too are commissioned by God to go and make disciples, that is followers of Jesus. (Buckingham on Dec. 11 will do that). and share God’s message.
and there is a sweetness to this message. We go telling people that they can be forgiven and made right with God! That there is a God who LOVES THEM so much He sent His Son to live and die FOR THEM. And they can KNOW this God and ENJOY THIS God forever. and it makes the difference now and for eternity. This kind of relationship is so sweet where you walk and talk with Jesus; you gain a spiritual family—brothers and sisters in Christ; you get the Holy Spirit guiding you. it can often save your marriage; change how you lead at work; change how you parent—Jesus CHANGES EVERYTHING! THAT’S SWEET!
but…there is a sourness to this message.
for all of us when we embrace Jesus and what’s called the Gospel—you have to embrace the bad news first. the bad news is that we are not just messed up—we are royally messed up, and in need of a Savior. We all are self-centered, all of us look to others things other than God to fulfill us and identify us. The Bible calls us sinners.
and it’s not just out there “other people are sinners.”—sin is in here. it is a spiritual cancer—and we have to admit, “I am a sinner before God.” “I deserve to be punished by this holy, awesome, Creator, loving God.” “I deserve it.” and this is painful.
and if I don’t turn to God, if someone doesn’t turn to God, they will live in their sin now and for eternity. if they die in their sin, not only do they physically die, but spiritually die and spend eternity away from God. that can be incredibly sour for us to swallow and us to swallow.
BUT coming to grips with this can be sweet. it’s sour at first. when you admit you have a problem in something, it feels bad, but there is often relief—b/c you are bringing it into the light. it no longer stays in darkness where it can get moldy, and mildewey; it brings healing; freedom;
and the good news of the Gospel is that we are covered by God’s grace—He invites us to admit our neediness. all you need to be saved is need. you don’t earn—you receive it like a gift from Jesus—who lived and died on the cross on your behalf.
we just saw in the previous chapter that with the trumpets of God’s judgment blasting—people did not repent. God was getting their attention, they did not. that is one of the hardest things about being a follower of Christ. You can preach and teach and share your guts out for Jesus; you can serve with love for Jesus—and people still may not change. that can cause some serious spiritual heartburn.
this is especially tough if you have family that doesn’t know Jesus; kids that don’t co-workers, friends, a spouse. or someone you know who USED to follow Jesus and now they want nothing to do with Him. and nothing to do with you.
this is the sourness of it—the cost.
you can experience the sourness in ministry—serving people—yet people don’t appreciate your efforts, or you may feel betrayed in ministry just like Jesus did…part of the sourness.
here’s how Jesus said it
Luke 9:23 NIV
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
we die to ourselves for Jesus’ sake. that’s what John has to do here. that’s what the church in Revelation had to do. and it’s what we do—it’s painful at times.
it may cost relationships at times
Matthew 10:34–36 NIV
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
application:
as we apply this 2nd point—have you embraced this Gospel message—its sweetness, but also its sourness? for you personally?
are you willing to share it, even at great cost? it doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk…is there someone God is calling you to share it with?
don’t embrace it partially—but fully...
here is another reason why God’s way is sweet and yet sou
because God rules and reigns over everything, even over our suffering (vs. 1-5)
in the first 4 verses of this chapter, we see some astonishing descriptions of this mighty angel. some think that maybe this is Christ. maybe this is a high ranking angel. maybe it’s what the OT calls the angel of the Lord—like a representative of God Himself. either way—this is a powerful being representing God. he comes down from heaven.
and the descriptions used of this angel remind us of the time of the Exodus—when God delivered his people through Moses from Pharaoh in Egypt. (as well as Noah’s Ark)
verse 1 says he is robed in a cloud. verse 1 describes his legs like fiery pillars.
back in the Exodus—we know that led the Israelites with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. it was his presence.
verse 2 mentions the sea—we know that in the Exodus—God parted the red sea miraculously—so that the people of Israel could walk across on dry ground, and when the Egyptians pursued them—the waters came over the Egyptians defeating Pharaoh’s Army.
verse 3 mentions thunders—several times God’s mountain at the time of the Exodus—where God met with Moses shook—with loud blasts, and it shook the ground.
(and verse 1—mentions a rainbow—God gave Noah and his family a rainbow—a promise that he would never destroy the earth in this way—it’s as if God was starting over—creating a new people)
John and the early church, and now us are being reminded we serve an all-powerful God. this God that was active in Moses’ time, is active in John’s time, and is now active in our time. and his standing on the sea and the land—is showing that God is in control of everything—both the stable forces of the ground and the chaotic forces of the sea.
including our suffering...
chapter 11 is going to describe more suffering for us the church
chapters 12 and 13 will describe it too—as beasts come out of the sea and land.
and yet through it all, God somehow mysteriously is in control.
this is sweet and comforting...
but souring at times—why would God allow it, if he can do something about it, why doesn’t he? why is His plan this way? I feel like I could think of a better plan, Lord!
while we can’t answer these perfectly...
we do know this—and this will lead us to communion
if you don’t have communion elements, go ahead and raise your hand; ushers will come in
if you are at home—we encourage you to gather some elements; you can even pause it.
though we don’t know why God’s way isn’t sweet all the time...
we know we have a God who entered our sourness.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fully God, became man.
he entered our sourness, and suffered, he swallowed our sourness and bitterness completely. on the cross, Jesus Christ took the suffering and punishment we deserve; so that if we believe and receive Jesus as our Lord—our sourness goes on him, and His sweetness comes to us. in fact, there is a brief mention of vinegar given to Jesus on the cross, reminding us of the spiritual bitterness he drank on our behalf so that we could drink the cup of joy.
Jesus did this for you—personally, and the church corporately. It’s amazing!
and now if He is your Lord—he guides you daily by His Spirit like a cloud, like the pillars of fire.
communion is open to anyone who is a believer in Jesus. you don’t have to be a member or attender to partake—we just ask that Jesus be your Savior and Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NIV
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
the bread points us to Jesus’ body given to us.
the cup his blood shed for us. that he has started his new kingdom—it’s here but not fully—it will be here someday. and we can experience his kingdom now.
the Gospel, the good news of what Jesus does—helps calm our spiritual indigestion—because He gets us!
He paid our sin for us!
and He will set everything right one day!
we have to ingest the Gospel spiritually daily—to overcome our indigestion.
take a moment and praise Jesus for what He has done for you.
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