So Don't Be Afraid!
October 26, 2008
日本キリスト教団 頌栄教会牧師 清弘剛生 Pastor Takao Kiyohiro, Shoei Church, Church of Christ, Japan
Translator M.A.F., Indiana, USA
Nothing Is Concealed That Will Not Be Revealed
1. "Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, and nothing is hidden that will not be made known." That's what the Lord said. This sounds like an aphorism from back then. However, in quoting this aphorism, Jesus was not speaking about [the topic] of "Some day hidden scandals will be exposed." It is a message on salvation. It's about how the messiah has come. It's about how that Jesus of Nazareth is the very savior whom the people have been expecting. To say that the savior has come is to say that salvation has arrived into this world. It is to say that the perfect love of God has arrived.
2. However, if we go by the words of Jesus, it is still concealed. Thus, it is still invisible to the eye. And indeed, it is that way. What is being reflected into our eyes is a world that is still to this very day unsaved. It is a wretched world with unending cries of grief. It is a hopeless world. It is a world still filled with human sin. And because of human sin, it is a world that seems just to be heading for collapse and destruction. People are living in it but all the while bearing upon themselves suffering and pain. They are alive but always loaded down with many injustices and absurdities.
3. When it comes to this matter, it doesn't make a difference if you're a believer or not. Just like everybody else, believers live always having a cut in this world's suffering and pain. I would even venture to say that the early church actually had it much more severe than the situations we're in. Today I read to you from verse twenty-six, and this speech from Jesus continues up to the speech on persecution. The scripture says things like, "You will be handed over to regional courts, in the synagogues you will be whipped," "On account of my name, you will be hated by everyone." The fact that these words of Jesus remain suggests that such things did actually come to pass. Living with faith never meant that one is exempt from suffering.
4. Thus, if we look only at the places that can be seen by the eyes, this world is still an unsaved world, and furthermore believers are not exempt from this world's suffering. But, Jesus says, "Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed."
5. Even though the sun is hidden by a thick cloud and cannot be seen at all, it doesn't mean the sun doesn't exist. It's just not visible. So, when the time is right, it will become visible. Similarly then, God's salvation has already arrived. The sun of righteousness has come up. The messiah has come. Christ has already accomplished the atonement of the world's sin. Therefore, this world is no longer a world given the verdict of guilty, given the verdict of the death penalty. This world is a world where the cross has been erected, a world where God's salvation is already in it. God loves this passing world and us who are alive in it. He does; that is the truth.
6. However, we are in the kind of situation where even though the morning has already come and the sun is up, we are in a house with the windows still shut tight and some thick heavily lined curtains still closed over them. We're in total pitch black darkness. We cannot see either the sun that's already up or the light of the sunshine that is brilliantly pouring down. So, many people harbor eternally dark kind of thoughts. They are afraid. But, since it is only invisible and it is only concealed, the time when it will be completely revealed is coming. "Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed."
7. In today's second recitation of the scriptures, we read the Revelation of John. "Look!, God's tabernacle is among people, God will live with people, and they will be the people of God. God himself is with humankind, he will be their God, and he will wipe each and every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; sorrow, grief, and toil will be no more. For, the first things will have passed away," (verses three and four). The world where God will wipe away each and every tear from [our] eyes is still not visible yet. But as it is no more than some kind of concealment [from us], since it it is being covered over, the time for it to be uncovered will come. The time when our eyes will see clearly will come. "Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed."
While Hearing The Lord's Address
8. Therefore, until the covering is removed, until our eyes clearly see God's salvation, we will walk by faith and not according to things that can be seen. Walking by faith means to walk according to the words of the Lord. We live by the words from beyond this passing world and not the words from this temporary world. We do not live by the things that are seen, but by the words of the Lord who speaks of things unseen. We live, so to speak, by the words of the Lord who speaks about the side beyond the veil, past what is invisible to us.
9. In the passage of scripture that I read to you today it is written that "I am speaking to you in the dark," (verse twenty-seven). He did; the Lord did address them within the darkness. This expression of "[I am] speaking to you in the dark" must have sounded so real, especially to the church when it was being persecuted. I say that because they often used to worship in the dark with the door closed and locked, so that no light would leak out, so that [nobody] would find out where they were meeting. At certain times, for this reason, they went so far as to meet in underground cemeteries where no light [could] get in. In actual darkness, the Lord certainly did speak to them. Similarly, the Lord does address us, even today.
10. Then he goes on to say, "What is whispered in the ear." Jesus is whispering. The Old Testament has a story like this. There once was a time when the prophet Elijah was afraid of Queen Jezebel and had fled. " Elijah was led by God to Mount Horeb, and there he heard the voice of the Lord. The details of that time are described with truly impressive expressions as follows. "The Lord said, 'Depart from there and stand before the Lord in the mountain.' Behold, at that time the Lord came passing by. A terribly fierce wind came up before the Lord, it tore the mountain, it smashed the rocks. But, the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, an earthquake came up. But the Lord was not in the earthquake either. After the earthquake a fire came up. But the Lord was not in the fire either. After the fire, a softly whispering voice was heard," (First Kings 19:11). In this way then, the Lord is addressing us now in a softly whispering voice. Even now as we are so assembled together, is not the Lord whispering into our ears? Is he not addressing you in a voice only you can hear in the inner most recesses of your heart?
11. That softly whispering voice of the Lord is addressing us about the opposite side of the covering. He is addressing us over truths invisible to the eyes. When the things that bring hope are not apparent to our eyes, he speaks of the hope that he has already given us. He states that the sun is already up. You are already in salvation. You are already made righteous. You are already a child of God. You are in the perfect love of God the Father. It's just that it still isn't plainly revealed to you, but you are already saved, except that it is concealed to you, he says.
12. That's right, when we hear the gospel, it is very much like that. And after we hear the word of the Lord and when we live by faith, we can live like we are already in the light of the sunshine. Listen everyone, even if you were in a completely darkened room, what would it be like if you knew that it was already going around nine in the morning? I doubt you'll be afraid any more like you're afraid of the dark night. It's exactly the same as that. It might be dark but we can live nine A.M. by faith. That's what it means to live by faith upon hearing the Word.
Announce The Message Of Salvation!
13. Furthermore, the message addressed to us, whispered to us by the Lord is not being given so that we just live as saved people. It is not being given so that we receive comfort and remember it in our hearts. The Lord says, "Speak in the bright light what I am telling you in the dark. Speak it out on the roof what I have whispered in your ears."
14. We go out into the world having been told that we are already in salvation. And we speak God's salvation. We speak as persons who already know that we are in God's perfect love. We speak as persons who know that we are already in God's perfect love, and whether we live or die we are in God's perfect love. Therefore, there is truly no need to be afraid of anything. There is truly no need to be afraid of anyone. Jesus put it like this, "Do not fear those who cannot kill the soul though they kill the body," (verse twenty-eight).
15. As a matter of fact, even in the times of persecution, the church did not stop preaching salvation. They did not stop proclaiming Christ. Why is that? Because they knew that whether they lived or they died, they were in God's salvation and they were in [God's] perfect love. Just as Jesus had said, at most what humans can do is to kill the body. They cannot hurl it outside of God's love. Neither can they cast it out of God's salvation, nor can they destroy it in hell. On this even Paul says the following. "I am confident. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor beings that govern, nor beings present, nor beings future, nor beings with power, nor beings in high places, nor beings in low places, nor any other kind of creature can separate us from the love of God as shown through our Lord Christ Jesus," (Romans 8:38-39). When Paul was standing with this confident conviction, he, too, had no need to be afraid.
16. Put the opposite way, in order to live in this world unafraid to have a publicly open faith, to witness to Christ, and to proclaim salvation we don't need to be brave or become strong. That's right. It is not mental strength that we need to conquer fear. That's not what we need, rather we are to listen to what we're supposed to listen to and to fasten our eyes right across to the other side of the veil. We are to fasten our eyes on what we can't see and not on what we can see. [-- Which is this:] As persons already loved by the Father, whether we live or we die, we are to believe that we are in the Father's perfect love and in [his] perfect care.
17. The Lord said the following. "Are not two sparrows sold for one assarion [,(a Roman copper coin)]? Yet, not even one of those birds will ever fall to the earth unless your Father permits it. Even the very hairs [on your head] are counted not leaving out one strand. Therefore, do not be afraid. You are far more [valuable] than a bunch of sparrows," (verses twenty-nine and thirty). Supposing that a sparrow has fallen to the earth, it doesn't mean it fell to the earth because God doesn't care for the sparrow. Even two sparrows worth one assarion (about six hundred yen) fall to the earth under the care of a perfect God. How much even more so, for us human beings, does his care go even further! Even when we will have fallen to the earth, we will fall under the perfect care of the Father in heaven who will ultimately remove the veil and show us perfect salvation; because God is not indifferent towards us. If we go by the words of Jesus, [he cares] so much that even the very hairs [on our heads] are counted not leaving out one strand. As a result then, the Lord says, "Therefore, do not be afraid." Unafraid and carrying the word of the Lord, let us humbly go sent out from here into the places of [our] daily lives for the next week.