Sometimes Sweet, Sometimes Sour, Always True

Bible Book: Revelation  10 : 1-10
Subject: Steadfastness; Witness; Word of God; Bible

The Sweet and Sour Book

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, editior,

Revelation 10

In her book "Today's Good Word," Ethel B. Sutton tells the story of a young British soldier who was blinded in battle. A trained musician, he later spent much of his time playing the piano for the wounded who had been sent to a London hospital. Although he often heard the tramping of feet through the corridors as visitors came and went, he never let this distract him. He always put his best efforts into his playing, hoping his music would encourage and comfort those who were depressed by their painful injuries. One day when he paused for a moment to rest, he heard someone nearby heartily clapping his hands. Turning his sightless eyes in that direction, he asked with a smile, "Who are you?" The astonishing reply was, "I'm your king!" Without realizing it, the young man had been using his talents to entertain royalty, for the British monarch was visiting the wounded to cheer them up and strengthen their morale.

We need to know that as Christians we are always serving Jesus. Sure, we serve others and we serve the local church, but above all we must keep in mind that Jesus is our audience. Sometimes I fear that we enter into a worship service thinking that the musicians and preacher are here to entertain or serve us. Actually, those of us who lead worship are encouraging each other and you to truly worship our Lord. He is the audience! So tonight, as our Lord observes our worship, let's honor Him with concentration upon a very important part of His word - Revelation 10:1-10.

In our passage for tonight we discover an important message concerning the Word of God - the Bible. Revelation is about the final attack of Satan and his followers against our Lord. One approach Satan has used from the beginning is to assault the Word of God. That is what he did in the Garden of Eden. When he tempted Eve, he led her to question what God had actually said to her. He continued that by tempting our Lord in the wilderness after his baptism. How did Jesus resist Him? Jesus rebuked the devil during three periods of temptation, and He did so each time by quoting the Bible - the defeated the devil with the Word!

We are still in this battle with the enemy over the Word of God. We must stand in full faith upon the Bible if we expect to be faithful to Christ and to defeat the enemy. In our passage tonight we see that the Word of God is sweet and sour, which reveals that the Bible is a double-edged sword. That is, God’s Word is a blessing to those who accept and believe it, and it speaks of fearful, awful and terrible things to those who reject it and its author.

When Jayne and I were in Israel on our first trip there back in 1977, we visited the Nazareth Baptist Church. The pastor of that church was a man named Fuad Saknini. He was an Arab who had converted to Christ as a teenager. Some of you know his brother, Fayiz Saknini, who worked with the Georgia Baptist Convention for many years. That day as Jayne and I visited the church in Nazareth, Pastor Fuad told about his conversion experience. He shared how he and his brother went to the First Baptist Church in Nazareth one night when they were in their teens with a goal of causing a disturbance. They sat down near the back and observed the service for a few minutes. When the Word of God was preached, instead of causing a commotion, the brothers fell under deep conviction through the work of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts. Both of them went forward during the invitation and were gloriously saved. Then, years later Fuad was called to be the pastor of the church he once had desired to disrupt. Both Fuad and His brother entered the ministry and what incredible service they rendered to our Lord in those following years.

My point is this, the Word of God is powerful. The Word of God is swift in its ability to bring conviction and faith to the human heart. The Word of God is living. The Bible, the Word of God, is also sweet and sour. To be faithful we must accept both sides of the Word. Let me explain.

I. The Sweet/Sour Taste to the Believer

The promises of God’s Word are sweet to all of us who believe. It brings comfort and encouragement to our hearts and minds as we read or hear it. The love of God shared with us through the Bible is sweet to our souls. As candy to the tongue, so is the Bible to the heart and soul of a Christian.

Yet, I must say that the Bible is also sour to those who do not believe in Christ and to believers who rebel against their Lord. Just read the stories regarding the consequences of turning one’s back on God. I will not rehearse those tonight in order to limit the time this message will take but be assured that God is a Father who disciplines His children when they are disobedient and rebellious.

Look at Hebrews 12:5-13:

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

God is clear when speaking in this passage regarding a price to be paid by the Christian who lives outside the will of God. If you can live in sin and rebellion against God and experience no chastening, you must question your salvation, for every believer who disobeys is disciplined and chastened by the Lord. God's Word can seem sour to the Christian when he or she is living outside the Father's will.

The Word of God does four things about how the Christian is to live for the Lord:

i. It Tells us What is Right
ii. It Tells us What is Wrong
iii. It Tells us What is Necessary to stop the Wrong and return to what is Right
iv. It Warns us of the Price to be Paid if we stay in the Wrong

But we also need to consider what the Word of God says in our passage from Revelation 10 as it relates to unbelievers ...

II. The Sweet/Sour Taste to the Unbeliever

To the unbeliever the love of God is sweet and wonderful, for God's love sent His own Son into this sinful world to live a perfect life and then to die on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. You see, Jesus bore in His body the sentence and penalty for the sins of all people. God loved you that much! He cares about every person and it is not His will that any perish. You can be assured that if you go out to meet God unprepared for eternity it will not be the Lord's fault. He did all He could and He has warned us clearly of the impending judgment if we neglect the great salvation He has made available. There is a way to be forgiven and redeemed from the coming judgment for sin.

But, be assured that one cannot experience the love of God without coming to God in the way He has prescribed and prepared. You must repent and turn to Christ who died and rose from the dead for your redemption. The message to those who refuse God’s gift is sour, indeed! The judgment is offensive to people and they do not want to hear it. It is sour to the ears and heart to hear that there is a place where the lost will be separated from God. Yet, the truth is the truth! There will be a day when the lost will be judged, and no matter how sour that may seem to you today, it will be much worse for you if you are unprepared when it occurs. If you think the "Word" of this truth is sour, you can be assured that it does not compare to how sour the day will be if you reject it.

When I was a boy, I became ill and the doctor gave my mom and dad some medicine which I was to take for several days. I don't remember what it was, but it was the foulist tasting thing I have ever placed in my mouth. I still wince when I think about it, even after all these years. I remember my mother saying, "Son, your going to swallow this because if you don't you may die." With those words, I drank it down a spoonful at a time for a few days. Well, I'm still here even decades after taking that medicine. The medicine was not nearly as difficult as the rejection of it would have been. Life came by receiving, and death was the sentence if I refused. People turn up their noses at the gospel, for it seems sour to them. How sad! If only they would invite the Savior into their hearts, eternal joy would follow.

Yes, the Bible can seem to be a sour book, but it can be all sweetness to those who know and follow our Lord faithfully.

Let me tell you a story of a pastor who was called by a church. He had been in a seminary that upheld professors who were critical of the Bible and its authenticity. Thus, he preached a number of the falsehoods he learned in that seminary to the people who were members of his church. About two years after his coming, the pastor visited one of his members who was very sick. When he learned that the man had a terminal illness, he suggested, "Perhaps you would like me to read some Bible vereses and pray with you?" The sick man said, "Yes, please do,” and handed the pastor his personal Bible from which to read. The preacher took if from the man and opened it, but was shocked to find that many pages were torn out and missing. He asked the very sick man why pages were missing from the Bible. The man replied, “When you became our pastor, I believed all of the Bible. Yet, after these two years of listening to you, I have torn out the parts that you called into question. I think a couple of more years I could have thrown the entire Bible away.”

Listen my friend, God’s Word is to be taken as it is. It is HIS Word, not yours or mine. We can’t take the parts we like and throw out the parts we question or don't like. We cannot lick the sweetness and spit out the sour.

Peter V. Deison, in his book "The Priority of Knowing God," tells about Ramad, a man of India who was a member of a gang of robbers. On one occasion, while burglarizing a house, Ramad noticed a small black book containing very thin pages just right for making cigarettes. So he took it. Each evening he tore out a page rolled it around some tobacco and had a smoke. Noticing that the small words on the pages were in his language, he began to read them before rolling his cigarettes. One evening after reading a page, he knelt on the ground and asked the Lord Jesus to forgive his sins and to save him. He then turned himself in to the police and much to their amazement Ramad, the bandit, became a follower of Jesus Christ. And in the prison where he served his sentence for his crimes, he led many others to the Savior. The Word of God became to Ramad "the power of God to salvation." To Ramad, the sweetness of the scripture changed his life forever.


Are you a child of God? Are you saved? If you are, it is because of the Word of God, the love of God and the Son of God. Faith comes by hearing, and you must believe in the Son of God which the Word of God proclaims in order to have the salvation of God. Once we are saved, we are to live before God as faithful servants and we are to be living letters, witnessing to the world in which He has placed us. In 2 Corinthians 3:2 the apostle Paul tells us that Christians – true believers – are living letters. You can be seen as a follower of Christ by the way you live out God’s Word. As a Christian, can anyone come to Christ and His Word by seeing you as a living example of salvation?

This night we need to recommit our lives to living the Word we claim to believe. We must stand up for Jesus in this world. Is it possible that many are not turning to God today because we are not believing and living out His Word as we should? Yes, it is possible - it is likely. Come now. Let's recommit our lives to the Word of God and the God of the Word.

But also there is likely someone or several someones here who have never trusted in Christ. He loves you and God’s Word is the document that tells the story of His love for you. He wants you to spend eternity with Him. You can turn to Christ tonight by simply confessing that you are a sinner and placing faith and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. How do I know that He will save you - The Bible Tells Me So!