Have you ever wondered about what good can be gleaned in the “dark” or perplexing phases of life? Has the thought ever occurred to you that some of life’s most valuable and eternally enduring things can only be birthed in difficult circumstances? If not, let’s travel this road together because God’s Word has something to tell us about this.
A Painting That Was Not Quite Right
First there is a story to tell. Years ago there was an oil painting hanging on a conference room wall of a lake cove and shoreline. The artist’s intent was to capture a driving wind that invaded the tranquility of a normally calm lake cove with vibrant blue, green and white brush strokes. The scene was colorful and detailed. But, there was just something missing. Something didn’t “register” or captivate the viewer. Instead of drawing one’s attention in towards the painting, the opposite effect occurred. Upon looking at the picture you seemed to take a glance and then abruptly turn to look somewhere else in the room. What was it? What was missing in the scene that the artist failed to capture?
Then one day after visiting this room many times the thought occurred: “I see it. This painting has no shadows”. The scene was shallow and uninteresting. Why? The painting lacked dimension and depth because the light source upon the lake was not clearly defined. The artist failed to master one of the hardest skills essential in painting – the proper handling of light and darkness. The painting was simply devoid of the contrasts between light and dark, differentiation between the shadows, dark areas and bright reflections of light on the objects being painted.
The objective here is not to disparage the artist’s honest effort, but to make a point. Life without shadows and darkness is shallow and one might say …. “lifeless”.
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see …………….. Amazing Grace
I think you “get the picture”.
As the opening scripture states there is a reason and purpose for dark seasons and difficult places in life. For it is here where God will give you some of life’s real treasures and riches.
Treasures of Self, Souls & The Savior
In our investigation into these treasures of darkness, we will look into three areas: Treasures of Self, Treasures of Souls and Treasures of the Savior. For it is in these three areas of our life that the Lord specifically commanded our attention and fulfill His greatest commandment:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31
Treasures of Self – Repentance, Redemption & Revelation
One cannot possibly “save” someone from sin unless they are first saved themselves. The first treasure from God has to start with ourselves – The Treasure of Self. What are these treasures the Lord has for us? Whether we like to admit it or not, as indicated in the opening scripture, they originate in our own darkness, the darkness of our own personal sin.
Before we begin, can we be candid here for a moment? God is not easily impressed. In fact, God is not impressed at all about us. And how can he be? After all He does know everything does he not? So, how can a God who has all power, presence and understanding be taken off-guard by anything we might say, do or think? If this statement holds water, then what can we possibly give to Him? What do we possess that God might take and do something with? One thing. Our brokenness, brokenness from the effects of sin. God can take and use the darkness of our brokenness and give us something better:
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. (Psalms 147:3)
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:18)
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalms 51:17)
And what is the treasure to be mined from our brokenness? It is called repentance. Repentance must always precede our receiving deeper treasures available to us from Jesus. Of course, people have talents, gifts, personalities and endearing traits which the Lord will use for his kingdom. But, the bedrock of salvation must be founded upon this first treasure – Repentance.
Treasures of Repentance
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. John’s sermon notes were not complicated and did not change from Sunday thru Saturday. John had one message to preach. Repentance.
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.(Mark 1:4)
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:1-2)
The message of repentance did not stop with John. Jesus took John’s message and carried it onward:
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.(Matthew 4:17)
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.(Luke 13:3)
And the early church continued with its importance as a requirement in God’s salvation plan for mankind:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent …. (Acts 2:38)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Repentance of sin is the first step in positioning ourselves for the great things of God – to receive deeper treasures He has for his church. And one never graduates from it because classes at the University of Self and Mt. Saint Flesh College are always in session. Furthermore, repentance cleanses our heart and mind in preparation to be a vessel where God can place his name. How does that happen? Through baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.
Treasures of Redemption
Now moving out of the darkness of our sin through repentance we can receive another treasure in our lives – the name of Jesus Christ. A bride takes on the name of her husband. The church being the bride of Christ can now receive the treasure of the name of Jesus:
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)
The Lord always places His name and blesses the centers of worship of His choosing. In the Old Testament, the Lord chose the Tabernacle as a center for worship. He placed his name there and blessed it:
And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. (Exodus 33:7)
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. (Leviticus 9:23)
The Lord also chose the Temple as a center for worship. He placed his name there and blessed it:
And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.(1 Kings 9:3)
The Lord did the same for the city of Jerusalem. And he blessed it and put His name there (I Kings 11:36, II Chron 6:6). In the New Testament, the Lord no longer put his name over cities or buildings of worship, but over people – His spiritual body, His church:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins …… (Acts 2:38)
The name of the Lord is placed over one’s life when they are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. As one writer penned it, “Jesus did not say in Matthew 28:19 to baptism believers in his words (Father, Son and Holy Ghost), but in his name.”
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (Ephesians 5:23)
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Through baptism, one’s life is now a place of worship where God places his name upon and blesses:
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:38-39)
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (Acts 19:5-6)
Another Treasure of Self available for the believer is the gift of the Holy Ghost. Having come through the cleansing waters of repentance (tears & remorse) and baptism (water immersion), the infilling of God’s spiritual waters is now available to you (John 7:37-39) to complete the cycle:
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:47-49)
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
The treasure of God’s Holy Spirit is the sealing of your soul over the power of sin and a down payment of the future promises awaiting you in Heaven:
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Treasures of Revelation
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
The God who spoke light into the darkness as recorded in the Book of Genesis is the same God who gives the knowledge of His glory through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
What revelation? The revelation of who Jesus is. The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John around 96 A.D. Notice the book is entitled “Revelation” and not “Revelations”. There is only one revelation, the revelation of the Mighty God in Christ (Rev. 1:1; 4:2, 10-11;5:1; 14:14; 20:11 & 21:5).
Why is revelation important? It is one thing to know someone’s name. It is another thing to know the person behind their name. Now having a heart purged of darkness (repentance), the washing of sin and the name of Jesus (baptism), the power of the Spirit (infilling of the Holy Ghost) and the revelation of Jesus in your life, you can pray, witness and live with authority and power:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12
God has some profound treasures to give us only available from the depths of our brokenness and darkness. And there are more to come. Be Blessed!
Coming Up: Treasures of Souls & Treasures of the Savior