KNOWING WHAT TO SPEAK
Father, You are worthy of praise. Your generosity is lavish, Your love unconditional and Your joy overflowing. I worship You.
Read REVELATION 10:1–11
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We need to be swift to listen to God’s Word and wise in what we communicate.
John is on earth as he observes another powerful angel descending, whose stride stretches over land and sea. There are many features that this angel shares with Jesus himself. As he shouts, thunder rolls out and John can hear what is said, but he is told not to report it. These revelations are not to be announced at this time.
Instead, the focus is on the little scroll in the angel’s hand. John is told to swallow this scroll, just as Ezekiel had to do (Ezek. 3:1–3). Then the command comes to prophesy again. John is given revelation about specifics of the last days. The sweetness of receiving God’s message is mixed with the bitterness of its content. Even when God’s word goes out through his appointed prophets as seen in the following chapter, the hearers reject them and the God who has sent them.
We too know this mixture of sweetness and bitterness. Gospel preaching is at the center of the church’s ministry. Our main task is to call people to repentance and belief in the wonder of salvation in Christ Jesus. To speak of the love of God in Christ is a sweet task, but there is bitterness in seeing people reject that message so that in the end, all they will hear from God are his judgments. We must present both the hope that Jesus has extended and the reality that will come upon those who reject him. Medieval churches were full of depictions of judgment. Cranmer, writing the Anglican Communion liturgy, inserted “words of comfort,” quotes from Jesus, Paul and John, to focus the congregations’ minds on the grace of God. We should never leave people only hearing God’s judgment without the message of salvation in Jesus. We should never preach on hell without tears in our eyes.
Reflect on your recent Gospel conversations. Have they had the right balance of mercy and judgment?
Lord, as I share my faith, give me a tender heart of love and a clear grasp of the essential Gospel.
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