Seek: Secrets Revealed

Seek: Secrets Revealed

This morning, we continue our new message series entitled, “Seek.”  Over and over and over and over again, we’re called in God’s word to seek Him.  We know that if God calls us to do something, it’s not something that we’re going to do naturally on our own.

We were challenged so far to intentionally seek after God the way that He seeks after us.  Fervently, but patiently.  Urgently, but patiently.  Passionately, but patiently.  Like Jesus, deciding that not my will, but the Heavenly Father’s will be done.

We learned from the example of the M&M sisters, Martha and Mary, to maintain a healthy balance in our lives of seeking after God and building a healthy relationship with Him before doing the work of ministry.  Who we are is more important than what we do because who we are is the source of all that we do.

This week, we’re going to learn that fact that God reveals secret things to us as we seek Him.  You may have heard it said that the best place to hide something is right out there in the open.  In the Kingdom of God, this is often the case!

As an example, we have recorded this encounter between Jesus, the crowds, and His disciples.  Jesus chose to publicly declare God’s hidden things.  He plainly taught Kingdom secrets to all people. 

To those seeking after God who had eyes to see and ears to hear, they received the revelation of His secrets with joy.  They got it, they understood it, their lives were transformed as a result.  To those who doubted Jesus, He just spoke some good stories.  They didn’t get it, they were confused about what the big deal was, and they remain unchanged as a result.

The best place to hide things at times is right out in the open!  Jesus used parables as a tool of doing exactly this.

Matthew 13:10-17

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

This Biblical principle is often used about finances.  However, the actual context used when Jesus gave us this principle is the revelation of God.  Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken away from them. 

The bigger context here is the parable of the sower taught in parable form just before these verses and explained to His disciples just after these verses.  Don’t let the worries of this world or the enemy come and steal the revelation which God has given you!  Bury them deep into the rich soil of your Spirit-transformed heart as they take root and bear good fruit!

Jesus went on to say:

13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;

    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;

    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;

    they hardly hear with their ears,

    and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

    hear with their ears,

    understand with their hearts

and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

God, give us eyes to see and ears to hear what You are doing!  Give us a hunger and thirst for Your revelation!  Help us to understand what You are doing in us and around us!  Help us not to be stubborn and hard-hearted as we, Your people, so often are!

On the night that Jesus was betrayed by Judas and was put on trial:

John 18:19-23

19 …the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

Jesus, sharing Kingdom secrets, but not doing it secretly.  Publicly proclaiming hidden things about the Kingdom of God, but not doing it in hiding.  Oh the irony!  Imagine this scene happening before you!

The Word of God in the flesh standing before those who dedicated their lives to read, study, and meditate day and night on the word of God and they did not recognize Him.  Those patiently seeking out the promised Messiah coming to save them blinded to see Him and deafened to hear Him when He was literally, physically standing right in front of them!

God, give us eyes to see and ears to hear what You are doing!  Give us a hunger and thirst for Your revelation!  Help us to understand what You are doing in us and around us!  Help us not to be stubborn and hard-hearted as we, Your people, so often are!

God is speaking, but are we listening? 

Truth is all around us, but would we rather be deceived? 

Revelation all about God’s Kingdom of light abounds, but are we comfortable in the darkness? 

He longs to be found, but are willing to seek?

How is He speaking?

Where is His revelation?

What do I need to do to seek Him?

We start with God’s general revelation.  Jesus would often use general revelation in His parables.  He would give an example of things that are happening every day around us in order to reveal to us a deeper, spiritual truth hidden in them. 

It could be plowing and planting a field, the color of the sunrise and sunset, the flowers of the field, birds living out their lives, or even a father trying to get his two sons to do their chores.  Common, everyday things happening all around us shout the general revelation of God.

God’s word speaks very clearly about how significant general revelation actually is.  Just look in the mirror and you are looking at the very image of the one, true, living God; that is incredibly significant! 

Here are just a few examples found in the scriptures.  This morning, instead of starting with the bad news, we’re going to start with the good news about God’s salvation available to anyone and everyone willing to believe it.

Romans 1:16-20

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Psalm 19:1-4

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;

    night after night they reveal knowledge.

3 They have no speech, they use no words;

    no sound is heard from them.

4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world.

When we look at the natural world around us, God’s creation, God reveals to us so much about His attributes.  We are all without excuse for getting to know Him because of this.  Even if we have never heard the gospel or the name of Jesus, even if we have never read a single line of the Bible, we can look around and come to an understanding that there is a god and learn a whole lot about what he is like.  Creation shouts the glory of the Creator and draws us to desire to get to know and to worship Him!

Praise be to God, however, we do not have to rely on general revelation alone!  God has personally spoke to mankind and gave us His special revelation.  Thankfully, they decided to write it down and pass it along as well!  We have the Bible, God’s living word that still speaks to us today through the Holy Spirit.

God’s written, tested, tried, and true word gives us a standard and an authority through which to filter all other revelation through.  It gives detail and focus to general revelation.  After all, God would never contradict Himself; He would never lie.

This is why it is important to read, study, and understand thoroughly God’s written word.  It is a tool through which we can seek after God, too.  It is His voice speaking to us.  We could read the same verse every day and God can use it to speak something different to us daily and to bring fresh revelation as well.  His word is alive and active, not just stale words written thousands of years ago, but living words still speaking actively today.

There is another revelation that we can receive as well; personal revelation.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Although the Bible is whole and authoritative and complete, that doesn’t mean that God has closed His mouth and stopped speaking.

God still speaks to us today.  He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, His very Presence within us, the author of the Bible.  He helps us not only to better understand the Bible that He wrote through people in the past, but also actively speaks to us today.

However, it is so easy to ignore His voice and to miss out on the secret things that God is trying to reveal to us!  Consider this as an example of how easy it is to go about life and completely miss what God is doing!

Deuteronomy 29:2-6

2 Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:

Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. 3 With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. 4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. 5 Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. 6 You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”

Moses then makes a covenant between God and the Israelites to follow God alone and calls out the dreadful consequences of any one of them going their own way and breaking that covenant.  Then, he says:

Deuteronomy 29:29

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

The entirety of God’s word, this special revelation, was once a hidden thing.  Once it was revealed, it was recorded and shared for all future generations.  Here we are, some 3,500 years later receiving the same revelation that God gave to this people.

God has secrets for us.  Some are just between He and us, but most are revealed to us to share with others.  For example:

Revelation 2:17

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

I can’t wait to learn my new name given to me by Jesus and known only by us.  Saul became Paul, Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter.  Each name change was far more than just a name, it was prophetic; a declaration of a tremendous life transformation!

God has hidden things, secret things, withheld not from you, but really withheld for you.  As we intentionally pray and fast and seek after God, He reveals those secret things to us. 

Sometimes He hides things for a specific time. 

Habakkuk 2:3

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

If we knew things too early, perhaps we would run away from His plans and purposes out of an overwhelming fear.  Jeremiah was appointed as a prophet to the nations before he was born, but God didn’t tell him that until the right time.  It wasn’t until God’s people were in exile that he was to be such a prophet.

Joseph learned about God’s plans to have him rule over his family quite early in life.  It caused a whole lot of animosity and trouble, too.  However, that trouble and the hate stirred in his brothers hearts against him is actually what forced him to be moved physically to where he needed to be along the extremely difficult path that lead to the fulfillment of that revelation.

Sometimes He hides things until we are mature enough to receive them.  If we try to teach a first grader advanced trigonometric functions, they will fail to understand and apply them.  In our faith, we must understand the elementary teachings before we can understand and apply more advanced revelation.

Hebrews 5:11-14

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

There could be a whole host of reasons why God chooses to keep things hidden for us, but we must trust that His reasons are right, just, and best for us.  However, we absolutely must never stop seeking after those secret things!

Paul mentioned here that this people were no longer trying to understand and because of that, they became stagnant in their faith and had to relearn the basics all over again.  We must always be pressing onward, growing and maturing in our faith. 

We must never let our lack of understanding stop us from pursuing God and His truth.  We must train ourselves and never squelch our passion for more revelation about God, His Kingdom, and who we are within it! 

Living in both God’s Kingdom and here on the earth, there is always more!  There is always an abundance!  There is always something to learn more about.  There is always something to grow and mature in.  There are always secrets to be revealed.  There are always more ways to serve.  There are always things to seek out.

Have fun with it, too!  God wants to reveal far more than just deep theological truths.  Seek after God for a simple word of knowledge.  Ask Him, “What would really bless my spouse today?”  Maybe God shows  you a dark chocolate dove bar.  Simple, right?  And if you miss it, you can’t really go wrong, right?

So you surprise your spouse with that chocolate bar and they’re all like, “How’d you know?  Did I mention something?  All day, I’ve been craving this.”

As Jesus said, when we are faithful with little things, He will entrust to us with even greater things.  This week, be more intentional about seeking after God.  Ask Him simple questions and trust that you are hearing His voice, not just imagining things.  Have some fun with it, give yourself some grace to make mistakes, and see what God does as you commit to seeking Him.