Kingdom Secrets

This morning, we’re going to be learning how God has kingdom secrets that are kept hidden for us to reveal.
I’ve heard it said that the best place to hide something is right out in the open for all to see.  For those of us going out Monday to get that trophy buck, we realize just how true this can be!  Something can be right in front of our eyes and yet we can easily completely miss it if we’re not looking for it carefully.
Today, we live such hectic and busy lives that we often miss what is going on right around us.  Our focus and attention is so divided that it is very easy for us to be sidetracked and consumed by things demanding our attention instead of living intentionally with purpose as we were created to do.  As a result, we become very weary, stressed, and burdened by mixed up priorities and taking on responsibilities that God never led us to take on.
Unfortunately, we don’t just miss out on what is happening in the lives of those around us, but more importantly, we too frequently miss out on what God is trying to say to us and ways in which He is trying to grow us and ways in which He is trying to reach out to others through us.  We miss out on some of the most exciting and life changing opportunities because we’re simply too busy and distracted.
Jesus said it this way:
Matthew 7:7-12
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Very frequently, we receive exactly what we expect.  This is obviously not always the case, but we might be surprised to find how often it truly is.  Often, it is just a matter of perspective and what we are asking for and seeking.
For example, if one person views Sally as being thankful and another views Sally as being a complainer, they will each receive from Sally what they expect of her.  They could all three have a conversation and one would walk away thinking about how thankful Sally is and another would walk away thinking about how Sally just never ceases to complain.  When we have preconceived notions and attitudes toward something or someone, those are our expectations.
Let’s apply this verse to that conversation.  We ask questions based on our perception and are given thankfulness or complaint.  We seek thankfulness or complaints and we find them.  We knock on the door of thankfulness or complaint and it opens to us.
This is why it is so important to allow God to transform and renew our thoughts and to see people from His perspective.  That is why it is so important to view and treat others as you would want to be viewed and treated.  People around us will never walk into their potential until we see it in them and encourage them into it.  More importantly, we’ll never receive, see, or have opened for us the kingdom of God until we are asking for it, seeking diligently after it, and knocking on its door.
Frequently, we receive from God exactly what we expect.  If we expect punishment from Him, then we see His judgment all around us.  If we expect His blessing, then we see things all around us to be thankful for.  If we expect to be ignored and overlooked by Him, then we see everyone else being blessed and promoted around us.  If we expect Him to be angry with us, we see His wrath all around us.  If we expect His peace in our lives, we sense tranquility.  It’s not a matter of God changing because He never changes; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  What changes, however, is our perspective of Him and His kingdom.  What changes is what we are truly asking for, seeking after, and knocking on.
Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
What are our hearts truly seeking after?  Chances are good that what they are seeking after is exactly what we’re going to receive.  How do we know what our hearts are seeking after?
The Pharisees and teachers of the law were arguing with Jesus because His disciples didn’t wash their hands before they ate, therefore breaking the traditions of their elders.  Jesus said this in response:
Matthew 15:16-18
16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
The number one way for us to discern what is in our hearts is what comes out of our mouths.  Each of us need to learn to stop being a divided body.  What comes from our mouth comes from our heart and we are seeking God for what is in our heart and that is what we will find.  This is why David cried out for God to create within Him a pure heart.  This is why Jesus said blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  This is why David said that only the pure in heart will ascend God’s mountain and stand in His holy place and receive a blessing from Him.
God’s desire is for us to have clean hearts, to know Him, and to make Him known.  God constantly is speaking to us, attempting to grow us, and attempting to work through us.  However, we can all too frequently know things about God and know His word and yet be deafened and blinded to the living Word which is always in plain sight before us shouting out wisdom to us.  God’s best kept secrets that He is trying to reveal to us are hidden away right before us out in the open for all to see and hear.  The problem has never been and never will be that God isn’t revealing Himself and His secrets to us, the problem is that we do not have eyes to see them and ears to hear them.
It’s not exactly that difficult for us to understand, either.  We know that right now, there are waves all around us that contain enormous amounts of data, whether they be a cell phone conversation, radio broadcast, football game, facebook post, or mp3 download.  However, we’re completely unaware of them without the proper equipment and technology to use them.  They are surrounding us constantly in plain sight and yet at the same time, are hidden from us.
Romans 1:20
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.
This is similar to how it is with God’s revelation as well.  Much of it, however, is literally in plain sight and just requires that we be tuned into the Holy Spirit to see and hear it.  Jesus explained this to His disciples in how we are stewards of God’s revelation that exists all around us in the most simple of forms.  He revealed powerful secrets about the kingdom of Heaven as they are revealed in plain and everyday things through parables.

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. 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.

So we see here that we are stewards of the secrets of the kingdom of Heaven.  Frequently, this scripture is applied to financial stewardship, however, in context, Jesus is specifically referring to the kingdom secrets.  He says that whoever has will be given more and whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them, which is why Jesus revealed the kingdom secrets in parable form.
Too often, we are like those prophesied by Isaiah.  We are ever hearing and seeing, but do not understand or perceive and therefore we miss God speaking to us.  Our sense never get a break as we immerse ourselves into entertainment frenzies everywhere we go.  We spend hours a day in front of a TV, computer, or smart phone always hearing and seeing, but never understanding or perceiving.  If we are to hear with our ears, understand with our hearts, and allow the Lord to heal every area of our life, we need to start being more intentional about asking Him, seeking Him diligently, and knocking on the kingdom’s doors.
We seek frantically and intensely; even asking for the assistance of others when we can’t find our car keys.  However, when we need things of far greater value and need the keys to heaven to receive them, we very quickly give up on God and go try and hitch a ride on whatever is available that will get us there quicker and easier no matter what the cost is of the ride.
The kingdom secrets are all around us.  God is simply waiting on us to ask, seek, and knock so that He might reveal them to us.  He’s waiting for us to intentionally seek after Him in the midst of our busy days so that He can reveal them to us.  Yes, it is best to set apart time to spend alone quietly just with Him.  However, we can also be seeking after Him no matter what we’re doing.  While we’re driving in our car, working, using the restroom, walking, whatever we are doing, we can still be praying in the Spirit and simply asking God to reveal Himself.  As we intentionally seek Him, it’s amazing at how He reveals Himself and how many shortcuts in life He is willing to reveal to us as we do it.  We could save so much time, frustration, and aggravation in life if we were just willing to humble ourselves and ask for Him to share His secrets with us.  The problems that we strive day and night to solve, He can provide a solution in an instant.
There have been plenty of times myself in the workplace where ideas and solutions that I came up with were nothing more than God’s revelation.  He can show you faster and better ways of doing things.  He can show you ways to get people who are fighting against one another to work with each other.  He can supernaturally repair things that are broken.  He can give you creative ideas that take businesses and your personal life to a new level that you never dreamed possible.  He wants to bless His people, but even more than that, He wants to reveal Himself to His people and to those who do not yet know Him.  When they see how real and relevant God is and when He uses everyday things and situations to show Himself to you, you can far easier show Him to others.
In Mark 4, right after Jesus had stated the same thing that we just read in Matthew 13, Jesus said this about the kingdom secrets.
Mark 4:21-25
21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

We are accountable for what is revealed to us.  When God reveals things about Himself or about His kingdom, His intent isn’t that we conceal it and hide it for ourselves like Gollum from ‘Lord of the Rings’, for it only destroyed him.  His intent is that we share with others who God is and what He and His kingdom are like.  We are stewards of the kingdom secrets.  If we take the secrets that God reveals to us about Him and His kingdom and share them with others, God will share with us even greater secrets.  However, if we fail to seek out the kingdom secrets or if we fail to share them and become a self-indulgent follower of Christ, even what we have will be taken away.
God’s will for revealing His secrets is so that not only we get to see a greater picture of who He is, but also that others get to see who He is and come to know Him.  Let us begin to dig in and to be intentional about asking, seeking, and knocking; consistently pursuing the kingdom secrets.  Let us have an expectation that God would speak to us and reveal to us His kingdom secrets.  And as God speaks to us and reveals Himself and His kingdom to us, let us have the eager desire to share that revelation with others as well to show them just how good, faithful, and awesome our God is!