The New Covenant Christian life hinges on personal revelation. Revelation on who Jesus is, revelation on how good God is, revelation on the depths of our sin, revelation on Christ’s personal love for us on the cross, etc.
Peter saw Jesus as the Messiah by revelation (Matthew 16:17). And what was true for Peter is also true for us today. I have four small children and I often think about their eternal destiny. Yes, my wife and I must raise them in the fear of the Lord. And we are blessed by all the efforts of the Sunday School teachers in their lives. But flesh and blood (ALL that we do) simply cannot reveal Jesus as the Messiah to them. Only God can.
We ourselves were blinded from seeing the beauty of Jesus because the “god of this world” had veiled our hearts. But God, in His mercy, shone the light of the beauty of Jesus into our hearts, just like He created the world by speaking light into darkness (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
And a revelation of Jesus is not a one-time event. We need increasing revelations of Jesus. Revelation is critical for spiritual transformation, because we will be transformed from one level of glory to another as we behold more and more of the beauty of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). We don’t receive revelations of Jesus from hours of Bible study or prayer. It is a gift from God. He must do it!
Yes, of course we must come to God and ask Him for revelation(Jeremiah 29:13). But not even everyone who comes to God for revelation obtains it. The exalted rich young ruler never obtained what the sinful Zaccheus and the thief on the cross received.
So who then, are those who receive revelation? Jesus tells me in Matthew 11:25 - At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
It is the heart of an infant that receives revelation from the Father. So I want to share three characteristics of the “heart” of an infant that the Lord has gripped me with, in order to receive fresh revelations of Jesus and His Divine beauty.
1. Infants long for nourishment
Infants don’t know how to crawl or walk. They don’t know what 1+1 is. They don’t even know who their father and mother is yet. But there is something they are crystal clear about: They long to be nourished.
This is the heart of an infant that we must have spiritually. Even among the many sincere Christians who study the Bible or listen to sermons by godly Bible teachers, I believe that only a few still hold on to a hunger to be nourished.
Being nourished is the only thing that really matters through all our Bible study. Even if we’ve been busy all day taking care of family or work, we can ask the Lord to nourish us as we meditate on Scripture. Even as I’m lying in bed before I go to sleep, I can ask the Lord to speak to me from the words of God that I remember. I believe that the God who spoke the entire world into existence, can feed and nourish me for my entire lifetime from just John 3:16. How much more then with the many more truths of God in His Word.
2. Infants drink the milk
Infants don’t know how to spell milk or what it’s chemical makeup is. But it knows how to drink when it is given milk. And what does it mean to spiritually drink milk? It means to FULLY take in and joyfully obey what God offers me through His Word.
God has given us magnificently precious promises and loving commandments that we must fully take in and drink. For example, when God tells me that I must do all things without murmuring or grumbling (Philippians 2:14), I must fully take it in. And I must hold fast to it, like a drowning man clings to a rope thrown to him from a boat. Similarly, when God tells me not to be anxious but to take my problems to God through prayer with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6), I must fully drink in that command. And it’s the same with God’s promises and assurances to us. When God tells me that He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and that His love for me is greater than even a mother’s love for her newborn child (Isaiah 49:15), I must fully consume these promises into my heart.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus and seemed to want the secret to eternal life. So Jesus gave him a clear command to drink: Give up all of your possessions to the poor, and follow Me. But the rich young ruler did not want to drink what Jesus offered him. He came to Jesus, but he refused to drink.
Jesus said in John 7:37-38, Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “ If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
If I am truly thirsty, then I will come to Jesus AND drink what He gives me. This is what true belief in Jesus is: To come to Jesus and to drink what He offers. Belief is not agreeing in my mind. It is choosing in my will to accept what God tells me (what He offers me to drink).
And let me never think that what Jesus gives me to drink (obey) is too difficult. Otherwise Jesus would simply not give this to me. I don’t think any parent thinks that it is too difficult for their children to obey them. It is a command given to children, and we as parents are eager to teach our children to obey. We are hypocrites when we long that our children will joyfully obey us, but we do not joyfully obey Christ. Let us joyfully drink all that He gives us to drink.
3. Infants long to be held
I watched an experiment from the mid-20th century – where a baby monkey was put in a room with two fake sources of comfort. One was called a “wire mother” – which was a set of mesh wires that had a nozzle for the monkey to drink milk. The other was a “cloth mother” – which was a similar structure but covered with soft cloth but no source of milk.What researchers found was that the baby monkey spent 17-18 hours on the “cloth mother” and only 1 hour on the “wire mother”!! Researchers have found that we humans too crave and need the comfort (physical, emotional, verbal) of our parents.
Even in the spiritual realm, we need to feed on God’s Word to live. But I wonder how many of us have learned to abide in the warmth of God’s embrace.
When the prodigal son came home, the father ran out and hugged and embraced him (Luke 15:20). This was the picture of God as a Father that Jesus wanted us to see – a God who didn’t hold back in running out to embrace us. When the prodigal son was in the far country living in rebellion, the father waited. But the moment the boy came to his senses and headed home, the father didn’t hold back. He ran out to hold and embrace and kiss him. The boy came home for food. But before the father fed him, he held him. He wanted his boy to know that acceptance and intimacy was most important.
There is this beautiful picture of Jesus and the Father in John 1:18 - No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom (lap) of the Father, He has explained Him. The word bosom means lap. Jesus is seated on the lap of the Father. This is the spiritual position that Jesus shares with the Father – that of closest intimacy (J.B. Phillips – The divine and only Son, who lives in the closest intimacy with the Father, has made him known). So when we are seated in heaven in Christ, we tok are seated on the lap of the Father.
And when Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit, He introduced Him to us as another Comforter (John 14:16). Jesus was the first Comforter to His twelve disciples, but now that He was leaving, the Holy Spirit was going to be just like Jesus as another Comforter. When we ask God to come and live with us, it is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who comes in. And He wants to draw us to Him and be One who can hold us in sweet embrace.
I sadly suspect that MOST Christians do not live in the reality of this comfort as a lifestyle and a source of strength. That is why most have very little of a revelation of the Father.
Beloved saints, revelation is absolutely critical for our spiritual growth. And God is seeking those with hearts of infants. I believe that Jesus demonstrated that God looks past deficiencies in theology and one’s past, and will reveal Himself to those who seek Him like infants - with a deep hunger for nourishment, eager to drink what Jesus offers them, and who long for closeintimacy with God. To such, Jesus will be increasingly revealed in His beauty.
Isaiah 66:12-13 – For thus says the Lord, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
Psalm 27:4 – One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.
Related sermon: https://youtu.be/pUPyYT0diPo