Robert Jeffress - You Are What You Eat
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Jesus said, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". The Bible is our daily source of spiritual encouragement. And today, we're going to look at an unusual passage from the Book of Revelation that reminds us of our dependence on God's word. My message is titled, "You Are What You Eat," on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
You are what you eat. Have you heard that before? Maybe you've even used it with your own kids to try to encourage them toward better nutritional choices. "You're going to turn into a pizza if you just keep eating pizza all the time". Of course, which begs the question, "Well, mom, dad, would you rather me turn into a stalk of broccoli? Is that better"? You are what you eat. We understand what that means. What you consume affects you physiologically. That's also true in the spiritual realm. You become spiritually what you consume, what you watch, what you listen to, what flows into your life really does determine the kind of person you are. God is so concerned about what comes into our life and affects our life that he gave Paul this direction. He told him to write in Romans 12:2, "Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind".
How do you renew your mind and therefore transform your life? Well, we're going to discover a very practical way to change your spiritual diet and therefore, change your life in a very strange passage of scripture we're going to look at today. If you have your Bibles, turn to Revelation, chapter 10. When we come to the last or the sixth trumpet judgment before the final judgment in chapter 16, John's going to give us a long interlude from chapters 10, all the way up to chapter 16 in which he's going to talk about other aspects of the Great Tribulation. And today, we see one of those interludes. It has to do with the appearance of a strong angel.
Look at verse one. And I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, and he was clothed with a cloud. That's a reference to his celestial origin and the rainbow was upon his head. Remember the rainbow is a sign of both God's judgment and his mercy. And his face was like the sun and his feet like pillars of fire. But the most interesting thing about this angel is the action that he takes. And he had in his hand, a little book which was open. I've read theory after theory about what this little book the mighty angel had in his hand was. I think the best answer to it is it's the same book we've looked at earlier, the seven sealed book from chapter five, the book of redemption. And look at how large this angel is. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. That's one big angel. One foot on the land, one foot on the sea.
This isn't just a reference to his size, but to his authority. Many people on the earth will think the world is out of control, but it's not out of control. It is under God's control. And by the way, that is true of your life. There is no part of what is happening to you right now that's not under the control of God. That's what this angel is representing. That whole world belongs to God. After he takes his claim upon the earth, notice what John is forbidden to do, verse three. And he, that is the angel, cried out with a loud voice as when a lion roars. Can you imagine the sound of this majestic angel, the roar that he let out? When a lion roars, it's a sign of conquest. It's a sign of victory. That's what this roar of the lion is. He cried out with a loud voice. And when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices.
And when the seven peals of thunder had spoken, John says, "I was about to write and I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them'". There are some things, there are some truths of God, which are a mystery still. They're not to be shared. We shouldn't be surprised by that. Remember in the book of Daniel, the prophet was told several times to seal up the things that are in the book in Daniel 12:4. Daniel was told to "Conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time". And then in verse nine, Daniel was told to go about your business because God has concealed and sealed up truths that would not be revealed until the end of time.
Why doesn't God tell us everything we might want to know? Perhaps it's because God knows we can't comprehend every truth of God. But God has revealed to us everything we need to know. But there's some things we can't know, especially about the end times. That's what Daniel said, these things are sealed up until the last days. John was forbidden to write the things that he heard in the peals of thunder. And then, you see this announcement of the strong angel in verse five. Then the angel, whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land, lifted up his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who is forever and ever, who created heavens and the things in it and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things that are in it. And what did he swear? That there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished as he preached to his servants, the prophets. This angel raised his hand toward heaven, and by God's authority, he swore two things.
First of all, he swore that there would be delay no longer. What does that mean? Christ's coming will no longer be delayed. You see, from our perspective, Christ's second coming has been delayed. The first century Christians thought he would come back in their lifetime. Every group of Christians have thought the Lord was returning in their lifetime. There will one day be a time when there will no longer be a delay and that means they'll no longer be a time for repentance. And then, the angel says, "Not only will there be no longer a delay, but the mystery will be finished," verse seven. What does he mean the mystery is finished? In the Bible, a mystery is a truth of God that's been hidden in previous generations, but is now being made known to man. The mystery of Christ will be finished. And then when we get to verse eight, we see something very strange. We see John, who up to this point has be been an observer of the Revelation, he becomes a participant in it.
Now stay with me on this beginning with verse eight. Then the voice which I heard from heaven, that is God. Then the voice I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me and saying, "Go take the book, the little book, which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land". Now, underline that word take. God tells John to go take the book out of the angel's hand. John's a little reluctant to do that. If you saw gargantuan angel, you might be a little hesitant to take something from him. And so John says, "I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, 'no, you take it and then eat it. And it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth, it will be sweet as honey'. And so I took," underline that, "I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and I ate it. And then my mouth was sweet as honey. And when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. And then they said to me, 'you must prophesy again, concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings'".
John had to take the book, the angel didn't give it to him. God, doesn't cram his message to us down our throats. We have to willingly take it. But it's not just enough to take it. We have to eat it. Now don't get hung up on whether John literally ate this entire book. Remember, Jeremiah was commanded, Ezekiel was commanded to eat the scroll of God. Whether or not he ate it literally is unimportant. The point is it was a picture of assimilating God's word into his own life. Remember you are what you eat, make God's word a part of your life. And so, John did that. He assimilated, he digested the truth of that little book into his life before he could go out and prophesy to the nations. And when he ate the Word of God, either literally or figuratively, first of all, made his stomach bitter. It was bitter in taste. But then it became as sweet as honey.
Hebrews 4: for the Word of God is alive, it's active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. That's the power of the Word of God. It produces hurt. That's bitter, that's unpleasant, but it also produces healing. Now, what does this mean to me? We've talked about a big angel. We've talked about John digesting the little book. What does it mean to me? Remember the thesis of the message today. You are what you eat. The Bible says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he". If you want the transformed life God's has planned for you, you have to change your spiritual diet. You have to eat, you have to assimilate God's word into your life. And so today, I thought I would close the message by giving you five very practical ways you and I can eat the book, assimilate God's word and make it a part of our life. Now remember what the angel commanded John to do? He said, "Take the book". Here's the angel, the mighty angel, with a book in his hand, and John was supposed to take it. And he ultimately did take it from the angel. He didn't just use one finger to take it. If he had used one finger, he couldn't have grabbed the book. If he had just used two fingers, he could have easily lost the book. To get a grip on that book, he had to use all five fingers.
In the same way, there are five ways you and I can get a grip on God's word, eat it, make it a part of our life. And I want you to write down these five ways to do that. First of all, to get a grip on God's word, to eat the Word of God, we need to listen to God's word, to listen to God's word. Romans 10:17 says, for faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ. There is something powerful about listening to the Word of God. That's the thumb. That's the first finger, but that's not enough. Secondly, we need to read the Word of God. Read the Word of God. The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:18, open mine eyes that I may behold wonderful things out of thy law. There's something even more powerful about reading than simply listening to the Word of God. That's the second finger. You listen, you read, but the third finger is to study the Word of God. Study the Word of God.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. If we're going to get a grip on God's word, take it and assimilate it into our life, we need to listen to the word, we need to read the word, we need to study the word. And then fourthly, the fourth finger, we need to memorize the Word of God. Memorize, especially key verses that deal with difficulties we're going to encounter in our life. Do you know where to turn if you were consumed with anxiety and didn't know how to quit worrying, if a temptation suddenly came into your life? Do you know which scripture to turn to change your heart and attitude to flee that temptation? If it was necessary for Jesus to hide the Word of God in his heart, how much more important is it for us to do it?
Psalm 119:11, thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against God. We listen, we read, we study, we memorize. But that fifth finger is perhaps the most important one. We need to meditate on the Word of God. Meditate, and what do I mean by meditate? You mean get yourself in some transcendental trance and mwaaaa? Yeah, no. That's not what meditation is. Here's the definition of meditation. Literally, it means to turn over in your mind. The living Bible, Psalm 1 captures it best. Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men's advice, who do not hang around with sinners scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to and they are day and night meditating on God's word, here it is, thinking of ways to follow him more closely. That's what meditation is. Turning God's word over in your mind, thinking of ways to follow God more closely.
God didn't give us his word to make us smarter sinners. He gave us his word to make us more obedient disciples of Christ. That's what it means to meditate. Thinking about God's word, thinking about how it applies to you and making what change is necessary. This week, earlier in the week, I was listening to God's word. I was listening to a sermon that had happened to be on Malachi chapter three, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse," Malachi said. And I was listening to that sermon, and I thought to myself, boy, that preacher has made an excellent point. I need to go share that with my church next Sunday. And then the Spirit of God said to me, "No, before you share it, you need to apply it". And God brought to my mind some extra income I had received, didn't expect to receive, and I hadn't written my tithe check on it yet.
Now I'm going to tell you, I'm going to be painfully honest with you. When I realized what I had to do, it was bitter for just a moment. It hurt just a little bit as I thought about writing that check, but that bitterness was replaced by sweetness right away. As I was able to thank God I even had the income to be able to tithe on. It was a great blessing. And yes, in the first service, I deposited that check into the offering plate, if you're wondering. But that's exactly what God's word does. Yes, it hurts, it convicts, but it does so in order to bring blessing into our life. And if you want to experience God's blessing in your life, you have to assimilate God's word into your life. Again, not just to increase your knowledge, but to increase your level of obedience. Isn't that what God said to Joshua in Joshua 1:8? "This word of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night. And be careful to do what is written in all that is in it for then, you will make your way prosperous. And then, you will success". That's the value of eating the Word of God.