THREE SECRETS - Wellington First Assembly

Wellington First Assembly

326 W Botkin Lane, Wellington Kansas ........Family Faith Lessons - 9:30 AM........ Sunday Worship - 10:30 AM


Sunday, February 4, 2018


Three Secrets.
Everybody has secrets.  We do.  Secrets are not necessarily bad or good – they can be either.  Sometimes someone has told us a situation in confidence.  So, we hold on to it – it’s their secret.  Other times, there is a secret that we should let go of but can’t. So, it burrows into our life and slows us down. 

According to a recent study at Columbia business school, the average person has 13 secrets – 5 that they have never shared with anyone else – their whole life.  It could be as simple as I was the one who accidentally ran over my mom’s favorite rose bush.  Or it could be something terrible that tears up your insides every day. According to the research, secrets are usually over a violation of trust, a lie, a theft, or a hidden relationship.

Secrets, especially those negative ones, tend to bring stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem.  But there’s more than that.   A 2014 study showed that keeping secrets bottled up inside actually led to physical and mental impairments too.  The deeper, the bigger the secret, people could not judge distances, were not as stronger, and so on.  When people get pre-occupied on their secrets, it hinders them from walking in the joyous nature of God’s will – His plan and purpose for their life.  Secrets take a toll.
In our text today, we have a short passage that upon close examination unfolds three different circumstances of secrets.  The first two don’t jump out right away, but the third is a little bit more explicit. As we read the passage today, look for them.  Look at who is holding them.  Look at the transformation that comes upon them when they give their secrets to Jesus.  Look at how it affects the people around them – and the role that those people have.

As we read this, you might identify as a secret keeper, or as a secret giver, or both.  As you are able, please stand as we read aloud this passage together from Mark 1:29-34.

29 And immediately he[a] left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him.

We continue our series on Jesus, Man of Mystery, by looking at this passage of the Three Secrets.  This is our 4th week now in this series, and we’ve been doing some mystery experiments each week.  From money that doesn’t burn up, to overflowing red elephant toothpaste, to putting someone through the middle of a 3x5 card.  All things that looked impossible but were possible.  Today, I’m going to show you the three secrets that take ordinary stuff you have in your kitchen and make something fantastic out of it.  When we give our secrets to Jesus, he takes what it ordinary in our lives and makes something really cool.

Let’s take a look at our passage and set it into context.  As you might remember from last week, Jesus had just spent time reading scripture in the synagogue at Capernaum at the invitation of the elders.  The news that he was a miracle worker was starting to spread.  He had begun collecting his disciples in the prior weeks.  So, here on that Sabbath morning, he had been worshipping with his fisherman friends -- Simon Peter, Andrew, and James and John.

By this time, they had decided to follow him.  They didn’t know everything that was going on, but this was the Rabbi that they knew they had to chase after.  So, after the synagogue service was over, they did what we all do – head home for dinner and a nap.  And this is when the first secret was revealed.  Dinner isn’t ready.  Oh, the secret’s more than that.  Why isn’t it ready?  Because the house they are going to is where Peter’s mother in law is.  And she’s sick.

It’s not as if Peter had just found this out.  We don’t know how long she was ill, but the terminology used in the original language reveals a term that is for a deeper illness, a harsher sickness.  This is not just a headache or the sniffles.

For whatever reasons, Peter and the group did not reveal this secret to Jesus – until they got to the front door.  They had seen Jesus work miracles, cast out demons.  Perhaps they had already given up hope.  After all, in those cases, the people had been well enough to come seek out Jesus to receive healing.  Peter’s mother-in-law, stricken to bed rest, hidden away in her home, unable to perform her culturally appropriate duties was an open secret to the family, but something shameful and hidden in the shadows.  A ghost, a remorseful memory.

But something must have sparked in the disciple’s spirits that day.  They had seen with their own eyes what Jesus did.  They did not want to keep the secret they were holding.  Notice this phrase… and” immediately they told him about her.”  A secret that was bearing down on the family could be immediately released to Jesus.  This is our first point.

1. When we give Jesus our secrets…· He brings personal healing (31)
Secrets can be held on to or they can be given.  In the middle school short dystopian novel entitled “The Giver” (also a 2015 major motion picture), a central character is the memory keeper – he holds all the secrets of the society. Some secrets bring joy, others bring severe pain – his sole job in the community is to bear these secrets so no one else has to. In so doing, however, the other characters lose any personalization or experience of the true joy of being human.  He gains relieve only as he gives away some of his memories to his 12-year old apprentice.

Many times, we are like that character.  We hold on to secrets, we clutch old hurts, we grasp at items that injure us.  But Jesus lets us know – don’t hide your secrets.  Give them to me.  Don’t you know?  I won’t grow faint.  I won’t grow weary.  I’ll take all your secret hurts and pains, all your broken lives, all your misdeeds and I will trade it out with my power and my strength.

Don’t you dare to think you can do this on your own!  It doesn’t matter how strong you are.  These four, burly fisherman now disciples couldn’t hold it in.  The youth shall faint, and the young men shall be exhausted.  But when you give those secrets to Jesus, the prophet Isaiah makes it clear – The Lord shall renew your strength.  You shall mount up with wings like eagles.  You shall run and not be weary.  You shall walk and not faint.
The power of the secret is broken by the promise of the Lord.

So, what happened?  Jesus lifted her up, breathed new life into her, and placed her back into active service.  I guarantee that there was rejoicing that day in the house.  I can also assure you that this action of Christ confirmed to these four fishermen that they would follow him anywhere. 

There is no reason to stay bound in the chains of your own secrets.  Jesus will bring you personal restoration.  It might be through a healing in the body, it might be in restoration of family relationships, it might be in a new plan and purpose for your life.  But Jesus will bring you personal healing.  You can count on that!
And it doesn’t end there.  You see, Jesus cares deeply for each one of us, with our own unique quirks.  But Jesus doesn’t care just for us as individuals, he cares for all of us as a society in a relationship with one another. He cares for us as a congregation, a community, a city, a country. 

2. When we give Jesus our secrets, he brings community restoration (33)
We get a fascinating glance at the dynamics of this town in these next couple verses.  First, the people are devout.  They keep the Sabbath day holy.  They have an awe and respect for God.  When we read the gospel of Mark and we see the phrase – at sundown – that gives us a clue to day of the week it is.  In the Hebrew calendar, the daily cycle doesn’t begin when your alarm clock shrilly rings at 6 AM.  Days run from evening to the next evening, sundown to the next sundown.  It would not have been culturally appropriate for people to go rouse others awake and head over to someone else’s house for entertainment.  This was a day of rest.

Can you feel the anticipation though?  For the first in their lives, many of them had seen the miraculous power of God on public display in the synagogue that morning.  They knew that Jesus was a divine miracle worker and they were desperate for miracles.  I hope we are desperate for miracles!  As soon as the sun set, the people were up, gathering all those that had been ostracized in the community, shunned to the back rooms, ignored by society, been the family pariah, the black sheep and they headed over to Peter’s family home.  Secrets that had been hidden during the daytime were being illuminated at night.  People, revealing their secrets and shame for the first time, were moved from the shadows and to the center.

Jesus could have had two responses – let me sleep or let them in.  He chose the latter.  While the scriptures don’t say how long this miracle slumber party lasted, we do know from the next verse that the others might have slept in the next day.

Jesus welcomes the outcast.  Psalm 147:2 makes it abundantly clear.  The Lord builds up Jerusalem and gathers the outcasts of Israel.  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 

Jesus is pretty clear – personal healing is good, but community healing is even better.  Jesus came specifically for the ostracized, the outcasts, the shunned.  Jesus came for the person who feels abandoned.  Jesus came for the homeless.  Jesus came for the abused.  Jesus came for the forgotten.  Jesus came for the hurting.  Jesus came for the disabled.  Jesus came for the poor.  Jesus came for all the ones that we too often forget.  And that’s how Jesus brings healing to his community.

I’m going to guess it got a little chaotic in Peter’s home that day.  Just a little messy.  But I’ll take a mess any day if it means Jesus is in the house and doing his thing!
We come to the final secret.  The one secret that takes prominence in this passage over the others.  A secret that we share in, but that the people in that passage were not allowed to know yet.

3. When we give Jesus our secrets, he brings eternal salvation.
Personal healing is great, community healing is better, but eternal healing is the bomb.
At this point in Jesus ministry, his true nature is still a mystery to most.  Undoubtedly, the people knew him as a miracle worker.  But they did not know him as the Messiah, the Incarnate Son of God.

But the demons knew.  The fallen angels, standing in the presence of the One they had once worshipped knew that their reign on this earth had an expiration date – and they were looking at Him.  They could not help but to formulate words of worship even as they were condemned, but Jesus commanded them to be silent. Jesus would reveal his plan of salvation and announce just exactly who He was in His time.  From this day forward, Satan lost his authority to order events on earth. Jesus took the demonic secret and held on to it, forever crushing their power, so that the salvation for you and me, and all of history would be available.

Psalm 147:5 reminds us that Great is our Lord and abundant in power.  His understanding is beyond measure.

What else does this tell me about our Savior?  You don’t have to know everything about Jesus and he will still restore you – because he knows you.
Three secrets – when given to God --brings us a new creation.  We are what he intended us to be.  A beautiful instrument in His service, an artistic handiwork created for his glory.

The most powerful God took away the secret strongholds of the evil influences in this world so that we could begin to comprehend what redemption is all about.  The old man may pass away, but the new one will live forever.  The life I now live is the life of Christ who lives in me.

Secrets revealed have a way of freeing us to live into our identity, accept ourselves for who we are, and connect us to our deepest humanity. – Theresa Cho

When you give Jesus your secrets, he will put you back together again.  There is freedom in Christ when we recognize our identity in Him – the identity that he created us to be.  Most secrets revolve around us trying to be something we are not, putting on an actor’s mask, letting personal pride get in the way of His work in our heart.  At times we think are fully human when we run from what he created us to be.  But it’s not until we give him everything that we realize how much our humanity is created in the likeness and will of Jesus Christ.  When we are authentic about our struggles and real in our lives, shedding our secrets, that we are Christ’s best ambassadors.

Remember This
Jesus desires to relocate you from the shadows and piece you back together.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been there.  Jesus wants to move you from a place of shame and make you whole again.  No More Secrets.  It’s time to be beautiful.

Shall we pray.