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    All the Hidden People

    Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday, 28 May 2005

      "Yahweh overturns the thrones of princes
      And enthrones the gentle in their place.
      Yahweh pulls up nations by the roots
      And plants the humble instead ...
      Pride was not the Creator's design for man
      Nor violent anger for those born of women"
      (Ecclesiasticus 10:14-15,18, NEB, Apocrypha)

    Today's sermon is entitled, "All the Hidden People". It was not the one I had originally prepared but was given to me by Yahweh on Thursday morning. And it all started with a dream I had that morning that I want to share with you.

    There was in front of me a little girl, no more than about 5 or 6 years old. She had rather clumsily dressed herself as an adult. The makeup was not put on very well and the clothes were too big. She had a little suitcase shaped like a heart which she opened. And inside were some neatly pressed clothes, sewing needle and thread, a clothes peg, and other domestic items. She was very intense in what she was doing but I did not recognise her. Then she changed into a cat or a dog, I am not sure which, but the animal came to me to be petted. It came and yet it was afraid. It would not allow me to stroke its head but stopped for a while so I could stroke its back. It came near and drew away, and came near again, before finally deciding to draw away again. Then it was the little girl again, sitting in front of a little round table with her little open suitcase. Nearby was an elderly man, smiling and very much 'at home' with what was going on. Then a teenage boy came to me and started talking to me. He was worried about something, he wanted to do something and yet didn't want to. He was in two minds. Things were not as he had supposed. So I put my arms around him and told him it would be all right. I looked back at the little girl and she had taken a bottle out of the little suitcase, like a bottle of shampoo. I took it and look at it closer and to my surprise it had my name written on it. I looked intently at her and then I saw it was someone I knew, and I was surprised. It was one of my own daughters.

    I woke up from my dream and went into deep thought. All I kept hearing were the words, "All the Hidden People". I knew this had to be my sermon for today and that it would probably be one of the most important ones I had ever given, not because what I want to share with you is necessarily new, but because it is vitally important for my family, for this congregation, for the Church, and for the whole world. I could see things I had only know in my head before as I thought about these things, but this time I understood. I could see all the people in the world hiding because of fear and pain. I could see that people had made themselves invisible so that they could feel safe. I could see that people were making masks in order to protect themselves just like the little girl wore all that makeup and was trying to be an adult.

    Yahweh opened up a vision as these things came to me. I saw a garden and a long row of small plants. Every plant had this beautiful daisy-like flower on it that was yellow and had other colours too. I moved along this long row of lovely flowers and then, quite suddenly, like popping soap bubbles, the flowers began to vanish and the little plants were made bare. My heart sank as though something terrible had happened but then, to my surprise, I saw new flowers appearing, only quite unlike the previous one. This time they were like purple lavender, appearing in place a second or two after the daisy-like flowers had vanished, until they were one long row of beautiful lavender. And then the same thing happened - they just 'popped' and disappeared, and again I caught my breath, fearful that something terrible would happen, but once again new flowers appeared, completely different from what I had seen before. I drew back, having seen what I was supposed to see, and saw the rest of the garden. All kinds of plants were there - blue flowers, all kinds of flowers, and the vision closed.

    The moment the vision closed a scripture was in my mind and this is it:

      "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Yahweh-Elohim gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever" (Rev.22:1-5, NKJV).

    Now the evening before I had been praying about the water of life, desirous to partake of it because I felt so physically weak and unwell. I recalled how Yah'shua (Jesus) had offered it to me before and so I approached Him again, asking: "How do I partake of this living water? What must I do practially?" And all I heard coming back were the words, "By faith, by faith". The Tree of Life is not one tree but many all in one, and each of those trees has twelve different fruits, one fruit for each month. What a tree! Such a tree does not exist in the natural world, but in the invisible it is the most important and common Tree in the Kingdom of Heaven. I understood that each month it brought forth different flowers and after the flowers had been fertilised they brought forth unique fruits. It was this Tree that Adam and Eve were eventually denied because they had partaked of the forbidden Tree of Death - the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That is what almost everyone in this world eats - they are seeking God through head-knowledge and ending up on Satan's road.

    On Wednesday evening I joined a theology chat group in PalTalk. I don't usually do that but a friend of mine had been so persistent in inviting me that I decided I would do it. As groups go, it was a very good one. People were talking theology and most of it was quite interesting. I learned a few things. But afterwards I was left lifeless. Why did I feel that way? As I pondered this question I realised that most of the people had not been talking from their hearts but were on their own little pedistals preaching their own version of the Gospel. They were not connecting beyond their minds. They were hidden. As I listened to them I could sense hurts and fears. I could see the masks. People were learning from the Tree of Knowledge but were not partaking of the Tree of Life. Many times throughout the discussion I just turned the sound off as my soul grew weary of hearing them. These were the masks of hiding people talking - boldly and confidently sometimes, but not communicating. Eventually I could take no more, politely excused myself, and left.

    Brethren and sisters, what am I talking about today? I am talking about the small child in all of us. I am talking about the real you and me which through the course of our lives has become hidden because of fear or pain. I am talking about the masks we wear in order to protect ourselves and feel safe. I am talking about the way we often react to masks by getting irritated or annoyed because the people we are talking to aren't being genuine. And then I am talking about how, in fact, these masks trigger us into realising that we too wear masks in order to remain concealed. And there are thousands of different types of masks people wear. People hide in all sorts of way, thinking they have found safety, when in fact all they are doing is compounding their loneliness.

    One of the greatest evils in this world is not allowing children be children. So many have been turned into 'little adults' before their time. People are intolerant of childhood these days. People are impatient to become adults and have the privileges, as they see them, of the grown-ups. But we were not made to be that way. We were made to grow up in safety, where we could be transparent and honest without the fear that others would hurt us. We were made to be free. But how can a little child grow up free, and happy, and open if his or her parents are not free themselves? Children imitate their parents and guardians. They copy them in complete trust because that is the way Yahweh made them. And then suddenly, or gradually, depending whether they experience trauma or not, they realise that the big people aren't as safe as they thought they were. What are they to do? When you are small and vulnerable and afraid, you reflexly hide. It is a gift of Yahweh, even if it is not the best choice. But sometimes we do hide in order to cope. And no wonder when the adult population have forgotten the tools of parenting. And whay have they forgotten? It is as Isaiah tells us:

      "Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment" (Isa.1:5-6, NKJV).

    When men and women turn away from Yahweh and from His commandments, this is the resulting condition. It only takes one generation to do this and the subsequent ones will be ruined because the children grow up to imitate their parents. And when they see in their innocent and pure minds and hearts the horror of a demonised soul, what they do? At first they cleave to the parents, not understanding, because that is the natural impulse in them - to cleave. And then, when they get close, they are repulsed and revolted, so they recoil. And then they are in a dilemma, What do they do? They hide, they split, they try to cope, and those precious gifts of God become damaged and dysfunctional, like their parents. And if they are unfortunate enough to have grown up in a family where violence and abuse are the daily diet, then they become shattered people like a smashed mirror.

    When a generation of people like this comes to pass, there is no human way that they can recover. No amount of psychiatry, changing laws, or self-effort will reverse the deathly tide. No amount of hiding will give us the safety and protection we all so desperately want. In a world where wickedness is pandemic, as it was in the days of Noah before the Flood, and as it is becoming today, the only hope is in the Heavenly Rescuer. To Him the adults must first turn, the One spoken of in Isaiah:

      "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and Yahweh has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa.53:4-6, NKJV).

    The solution is the resurrection power of the Messiah of whom Isaiah speaks here. He is the sin-bearer who takes away all our sorrows and grief as we repent - change the direction of our lives - and come to Him. Many conclude that this resurrection power is then enough. All anyone has to do is turn to Yah'shua (Jesus) and invite Him into the heart. And this is nearly right. This is the first and most vital step. This is the beginning of all freedom and release from sin. But it does not end there. A Christian counsellor explains what I am trying to say with an illustration:

      "If as a boy I leave my hoe in the garden and leap the back fence to play basketball, I have committed a sin of disobedience. It would have been all right to play basketball if I had finished hoeing the corn as I was commanded. But I disobeyed and stole that time, and of course I lied about it to my parents. That not only left me with guilt and fear of discovery, it hurt my heart and darkened my ability to be at ease with my dad and mom" (John & Paul Sandford, Healing the Wounded Spirit, p.4).

    To be at peace with Yahweh and to have that resurrection power flow through us and cleanse us, we must also make restoration. And by that I mean healing relationships damaged by our sin. That means, sometimes, facing inner fear and going to talk with those we have wronged. It means we must come out of hiding. But how?

    Now I think all of us have know the fear of having done something wrong and being afraid to come out and confess. We fear, in part, what father or mother will say or do if we do. Perhaps we have observed them deal harshly with other siblings, or perhaps we have a memory where we have experienced the wrath of father or mother which so terrified us that we instinctively never want it to happen again. That fear can carry over into adulthood and spoil our relationships with others too. It can make is hide away inside and insulate ourselves as much as we can so that we don't get hurt again. Yes, parents can be too harsh sometimes. I know I have been and have bitterly regretted it. I have seen one or two of my own children close up and I been frustrated in my attempts to reach them.

    After my dream I reflected back on my life and the way I have treated both my own children and others I have known. Years on I have, I hope, matured, and given the opportunity to do things again, I expect I would have done things a little differently. I have had to undo years of wrong learning from school and the media and allow Yahweh to re-teach me His way. And that education is still going on. Thursday was a case in question. Sometimes we have to re-learn again and again because of our habitually falling into old mind-traps built and reinforced by years of fear and hiding. It is a hard climb out of darkness and into light but it is not only worth it for ourselves but for all the others we know and love. Who, after all, in their heart of hearts, wants to poison relationships? Deep down we all want to get on and be free and open. But we are afraid to, both because of the dark impulses in ourselves and because of the dark impulses in others which we fear to unleash.

    In our text this morning we read: "Yahweh overturns the thrones of princes and enthrones the gentle in their place". Today gentleness is despised and toughness is exalted. But it is only gentleness that will coax out those who are hiding. We can't force people out of their dark holes of fear. They need to feel that it is safe for them to come out. To be sure, those fears may be irrational and demonic, but still we need to gently persuade them that it is OK to come out and be exposed to truth. Neither can we lie to them or deceive to get them out because the only real safety is in truth and holiness. Therefore if the Church of God is to survive then some adults have got to struggle their way out of the darkness and into the light, trusting their all in Yah'shua (Jesus). And when they have done this, they must be the fathers and mothers to both young and old so that those who are afflicted and oppressed will have something good, safe and wholesome to imitate as adopted children.

    The sad truth is that we live in a world populated by adults who are yet small children inside because they have never been allowed to grow up. They were forced into adulthood before their time. But you can't skip those years. They are a necessary part of our maturing process. Yahweh gave us long childhoods because to become whole we need to experience the blessings and freedoms of each age. We have a need to be carefree under the safe umbrella of our parents before having the responsibilities and tribulations of the world thrust upon us. We need to be shielded. Therefore this first generation of New Covenant Christians has to prepare itself for a massive parenting mission - not just of small children but of adults who were never allowed to be children. We have to patiently coax them out with love but at the same time strictly adhering to the truth, for without the truth we will simply hurt those we are trying to love. Truth defines love, not the other way round, therefore we must first diligently seek in Yahweh's Torah.

    In my 40's I learned to live the missing years of my life, and in particular my teens, a time I somehow skipped. I am still filling in gaps here and there. Slowly but surely, and by the grace of Yahweh, I am making it and feeling better able to help those who have also missed childhood years. Our first responsibility as New Covenant Christians is to get fixed and then, as Yahweh fixes us, to bring redemption to the hurting souls around us. If we attempt it in our own strength we will fail, and if we try to be adults before our time, we will fail also. Which brings me to this truth, and it's a vitally important one to learn: it is not the duty of children to love their parents, but of parents to love their children. It is the duty if children to obey, and of parents to love and nurture. When those rôles get reversed, as they so often do, you create major dysfunctionality in society. That means as parents we not to go craving love from our children but to get healed by going to the Messiah so that we can love our children in Yahweh's appointed order. We must not place unnecessary burdens on our children.

    Which brings me to my final point. Once we have brought forth those who have been hiding, we cannot leave them bound! What do I mean by that? When the dead Lazarus was brought to life by Yah'shua (Jesus), he was bandaged up in burial clothing. After the Saviour brought Lazarus out of the tomb He ordered him to be unbound and released. When we bring small children out of their hiding places in the soul they too must be immediately released from the demonic bondage that has placed them there in the first place - from their burial shrouds, for lies bring death. When you think dead, you are bound. The captives of death have to also be released from the fear that bound them up in the first place. And then, finally, delivered by Christ into life through faith in His Resurrection, unbound through deliverance, what do the children need? Boundless love. An ocean of limitless love and acceptance. Amen.

    This page was created on 6 June 2005
    Last updated on 6 June 2005

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