Jentezen Franklin - God Can't Keep A Secret
Go with me now to Matthew chapter 6, and I'm going to preach just a brief message. I want to welcome Metro Atlanta Prison, I want to welcome Hayes State Prison, give him the big warm welcome today. We love you guys, I forgot those two campuses, and we appreciate you so very much. All right, I want to focus on a couple of things, and I want you to notice in these verses how many times the word "Secret" is found. I originally wrote this message, I want to say at least 16 years ago, and going through some things I found it, and I never really preached the whole message, I preached little pieces from it. And the Lord quickened me to it. And some of the things that I wrote in my own writing, handwriting, moved me to my core, because my mind reverted back to that moment in time, when we had nothing like we have today, concerning what God has entrusted us with. But even back then, now for 30 years we've been doing this fasting, this praying, this 21 days of fasting, it's crazy what God has done. And there is a secret source to our power. And it is the power of fasting and prayer.
Now, look with me and listen to these words, Matthew 6:1, "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds", or your giving, "Before men". Verse 3, "But when you do charitable deeds, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deeds", or your giving, "May be in secret: and your Father who sees in secret will himself rewards you openly". Verse 6, "But when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door", you're by yourself, you're isolated, "Pray to your Father", listen to these words, "Who is in the secret place", don't you love that? He is waiting for us in the secret place. He's always there. If you'll shut the door on the world, and pull away from normality, and say, "I'm giving you this time", he is waiting in the secret place. Everything about your life: the questions you have, he is waiting for you in the secret place. "And your Father who sees in secret will reward you publicly, openly, publicly", it's what that word means.
Verse 16, "Moreover, when you fast". He's giving then three instructions: give, pray, now "Moreover, when you fast, don't do it as the hypocrites", don't go around telling people what you're doing, bragging, don't become egotistical and act silly, and super-spiritual and all of that. Don't do it. Nobody on your job should know you're fasting, and you shouldn't go around, you know, bragging and walking into the room like you're something special. You're nothing special, just just fast and seek God. It's not about you, it's about him. And so, he says, "And when you fast, don't do as the hypocrites to be seen of men", verse 17, "But, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face", and brush your teeth... No, "And wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting", listen now, "And your Father who is in the secret place: and your Father who sees in secret he will reward you", no respecter of persons, you "Openly", publicly.
I'm preaching today, because that word secret is over and over and over, it's so obvious God, this is a Bible principle. It will work for anyone who works it. I'm preaching today, "God can't keep a secret". If he sees you do things in secret, it will not stay secret, he will reward you publicly. People will scratch their head, and say, "Why does that happen for them? Why is that? What is? Why?" somewhere God and you got alone in a secret place, and you kept to your heart a vow that you made with God, and he saw it, and he says, "What you do in secret, I can't keep secret. I cannot keep a secret". God reveals secrets.
There's a scripture in Luke chapter 8, the parable of the sowing of the seed. And when it's all said and done, it falls on different ground, and everybody starts out all the grounds, he gives, I think it's three or four examples of the kinds of grounds, and all the ground has the Word of God sown into it, but only one of the grounds produces a hundred fold, and this is what it says in the conclusion of that story. "For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light", we almost see that as a negative, afraid God's going, you know, show all the bad stuff in our life that we do in secret.
And certainly that would apply, I guess, you know, on the Judgment Day. But, here's what I want you to see. All of this is in reference to the sower sowing the seed, and some of them, the cares of life and all of that, the busyness, it choked the seed out of their life. But then there was that one word, it fell on good ground, and he's giving all this, and what you did in secret God saw it, watch, "Therefore take heed", now, "For whoever has, to him it will be given". This is a strange verse, "And whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him".
Now, get this, he's saying there are two kinds of people: there are people who seem to have, in other words outwardly they act like they're the real deal, there are those who seem to have, and there are those who have. And only God can reveal the secret. And God says, "When you do more than you seem to love God, you seem to be a Christian, you seem to want to please him", and then there are those who have the word, they have it, there's no question they have it. They have a heart for God, and they have it. And when God sees you manifest that in secret prayer, in daily prayer, in daily devotions, in daily reading, you don't seem to have it, you don't say, "I'm saved", but there's not much fruit really, but you really have it. God says, "I see the stuff you do consistently, secretly, and I will absolutely reward you publicly, in massive ways, when you obey me, and you love me, and you don't seem to have it, but you have it". There's a big difference. This is where we are in the body of Christ right now.
God reveals secrets by giving, and by taking. Let me show you what I'm talking about, I promise I'm going somewhere. The story of Job is a great example, there was a meeting in heaven, the angels came before God, Satan came with him, and God asked Satan "Where have you been"? He said, "I've been walking to and fro in the earth", and he said, "If you considered my servant Job: he fears me, he loves me, he pleases me, he honors me, he sacrifices to me, he does things on a daily basis, he sacrifices animals on a daily basis, and worships me, and when nobody's looking he's doing it. He doesn't seem to have it, he has it". And do you know what the Bible said? The Bible said, "The devil said, 'let me take everything he has, and he doesn't have it, he just seems to have it'", this is what the devil is saying, "'he seems to have it. You let me take his money, you let me take his health, you let me kill his children, you let me mess with his marriage, you let me really let all hell loose on him, and even though he looks good right now, and seems to be a good Christian, I promise you, he'll curse you. He doesn't have it, he just seems to have it.'" and God said, "I take the hedge down. Go".
God's watching you when you're going through trials, going through loss, going through setbacks. You either have it or you don't have it in those moments. Anybody can have it when you're on top of the world, but when you really find out what you've got is when nothing is going right, and it's not getting better, and there comes something called "The patience", the patience of Job. The patience of Job. God's timing, waiting patiently, knowing that you've got a word that "He won't leave me. And though he slay me, yet well I trust him", and "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away". I don't just seem to have it, I've got it when I'm crying, when I'm standing at the funeral of a child, or I'm standing in the devastation of something that has hit my life that I never dream would come in my way. But that's not just something, my faith and my religion is not something that I just seem to have. That's when I really have an anchor. And the devil said, "Let me do it", and at the end of the trial God said, "No, you were wrong, weren't you mr devil? He didn't seem to have it, he had it, and by the way, now he's going to get double", and God gave him double, God gave him double.
Now, here's why I say "God reveals secrets by by taking", because he took from him, and he revealed his heart. But then he turned around, and gave him double by giving. When God gives to someone, and he's letting someone receive something good, everybody should know that that person has done something in secret, that God is now rewarding in public. God rewarded him publicly, and even the friends that talked about him, they brought gifts to him, great gifts, and restored his wealth. Every day Job just kept sacrificing, and God saw it. And when you're doing the right thing, and nobody is looking, and you keep on doing, it God can't keep it to himself. He says, "I'm gonna have to bless that one publicly. I'm gonna have to do something right there, because they keep doing it secretly".
I was living in Kenly, North Carolina, and fasting is the birthplace of assignments, fasting is the birthplace of assignments. And I was 19 years old about to turn 20 in the same year, and the Lord told me to fast for three days, I felt impressed to fast for three days, and I went on a three-day fast as a 19 year old teenager. And at the end of the three days God called me to preach, I knew it, it was undeniable to me. It was the birthplace of my assignment. It came off of a three-day fast. I found my mission, I found my calling. The word "Call" is spelled C-A-L-L, C-all. You'll never see all God wants you to have, until you step into your "Call". Now, I don't know where that came from, but it's pretty good. I honestly don't know where that came from. Some of you will never see all God wanted you to see. This is how sermons come, right? Some of you will never see all. You dream so little, God sees all. He says, "I can take you higher, I can do so much, but you've got to come into the secret place", I got to stay calm, because I need to stay calm.
And I then heard Satan whisper to me, now I wrote these notes almost 19 years ago, and I wrote these words down, because I remember, this is what I was talking about when the Lord took me back. I heard Satan speak to me after I accepted the call, and told my mother and my family, that God had called me to preach. And then I went off, and they were so encouraging, but then the reality of it set in. And I heard Satan whisper to me in my own mind, "Look at you. You'll never be anybody. You can't do anything. Nobody will ever ask you to preach for them". And so, I don't know why I did it, except the Holy Ghost had his hand on me. And he said, "Now, let's go deeper". And I don't recommend this, I don't, you shouldn't do it, unless God just almost audibly tells you, and I'm not God. But the Lord told me in my spirit, and gave me grace to do it, to go on a 21-day fast. And I did it without, and I just drunk water and some juice when I needed it.
It was one of the most difficult things, when I watched naked and afraid sometimes, and I see those people, I think I know exactly how you felt, I was that hungry, I was that defeated, I was that pitiful, had my clothes on, but I'm just telling you, I just, it was awful. Every time I watched that, I think about 21 days of fasting. I really do. But something happened to me on that fast. In little Kenly, North Carolina, God saw me in the secret place, and he said, "I can't keep this a secret. He's got a heart for me. He's not real special, but he's got a heart for me. He doesn't have what other people have in education, or whatever, but he really has a heart. And he's a worshiper, he really likes to worship me". That's all I had. And he went public.
And when that fast was over, I preached a couple of the messages, I turned 20 and started preaching, had preached, but then I went on this fast, and some of the same messages that I had preached when I went, and preached somewhere else, there was a force behind that, there was a favor that came on my life from that day forward. God can't keep secrets. He can't keep it to himself. What you do in private, he will reward publicly. Where there's little private discipline, there's little public reward. Victories are not ever in public, they're never won in public, they're always won in private first, and then God brings the public victory.
Let me give you this example, now stay with me. Matthew chapter, 4 Jesus is in the wilderness, all by himself. In the secret place fasting for 40 days. And the whole thing that happens is Satan comes and says, "If you are the Son of God", it's all about a battle of his identity, his mission, his call. If you're called, if there really is a mission for your life, if you are who you claim to be, then turn this stone into bread. And Jesus refused to. He was by himself, and he said, "It is written". He was fasting, and he was into the word, and he said "It is written". Keeping the word, Satan hit him three times, keeping the word, keeping the word, standing on the word. He didn't seem to have it. Jesus didn't seem to have it, he had it. When Satan come against you, just like job, and you don't seem to have it, but I have it. What can the devil do with you, when you go through, and face him face to face, and he had to leave for a season, he had to leave, because Jesus kept saying, "It is written. I don't just seem to have it, I have it".
I want you to understand, you may not be turning stones into bread, yet Jesus, but when the time is right, when you come, the Bible said, "And he returned after the 40-day fast in the power of the spirit", watch this now, "And his fame went out through all the region". Wow, he's in the desert by himself fasting, praying, seeking God, humbling himself, and he comes straight from that, the verse before it said, "And he returned in the power of the spirit", and the very next verse says, "And then his fame went out". Jesus became famous. We're not trying to be famous, but my point there's a real principle there: if you do something in secret, God can't keep a secret. And he says, "I'm gonna shout it from the rooftop. I'm going to give you a public victory, because of your private consecration". Wow. That was God revealing secrets. He won the secret battle with the devil. If you can ever start winning the secret battles with the devil, it's a matter of time before God goes public with your victories.
Jesus, listen to this now, this is so important, every time you won a battle, every time you win a battle in secret, it is directly connected to a public victory that you're going to win in the future. Every time you win a private victory, it is in direct connection to a public victory that God will manifest. So, when nobody's watching, God's watching. God rewards secrets. Now, watch, watch, remember what happened in the desert: Satan came to Jesus and said, "If you are", identity, identity, now watch this, God rewards secrets so much so, that throughout his ministry people started attacking Jesus, they wanted to stone him, because he claimed to be who he was, but he won the identity battle in secret. And even when he was hanging on the cross, a pharisee walked up and wagging his finger, said, "You say you're the Son of God? Come down off that cross. And if you come down off that cross, we'll believe you". Prove your identity.
The reason he was able to stay on the cross, and he won that battle was because he won it in private in the wilderness years before, and now when he's hanging on the cross, nothing can get him off of the cross. He doesn't have to prove his identity, because he's fasted and prayed, and won the secret battle that day in the desert, and now he's in his mission and his purpose to save the world, and any other man would have come down, but he had won that battle privately, and now, watch the public now, here's the best part of the story. And just when you think, "Well, it's just going to stay secret", the very next part of the Bible says, "And there was a centurion, who walked over, and saw Jesus hanging on the cross and Jesus died, and he starts screaming out in public, 'truly this man is the Son of God'", filled all that whole area up there, everybody, the earthshaking, and when the earthquake was over, a man gets up and makes a public announcement, a centurion soldier who help crucify him, "Surely". What's going on? Private victory, public victory.
David fought the bear and the lion privately. Nobody was watching him, nobody knew of him, nobody saw him, but he fought in private. He had private secret devotion to God. He risked his life for the sheep in private, when nobody knew his name. And when he began to win private battles of devotion to God, sitting out on the hillside with nothing but his heart, his other brothers had gone to line up and be anointed by Samuel, and he's sitting out there, worshiping God, and defending the sheep, risking his life to fight a lion off, to fight a bear off in private. And God says, "I got a secret. I don't choose you, hot shot. I don't choose you brother, I don't choose you, you, you, you, you... I like what this guy does in secret. I'm gonna go public with it, pour the oil on him, because he won something privately, and in the secret place. And I'm gonna give him public reward".
Watch this: if you will begin to win the private consecration to God, reading your Bible, praying, fasting, God says, "The bear in the lion", or the or the private battles, but Goliath, he did that in front of all of Israel, and he became famous, they started writing songs about him, and ultimately became king of Israel. You cannot fast and pray, you cannot seek God, you cannot... I don't care who you are, I don't care how insignificant you feel, I don't care what all of you don't have, and who you don't know, and what connections, and what money you don't have. I have nothing when God found me in that corn field in Kenly. All I had was a godly family that raised me, and I had the Bible, and I had a heart that I was crying out to God. Today I have watched the Lord bless this ministry, I have watched him do things that would astound your mind. And it wasn't because I'm special, it was because I won in private over and over and over, and God rewards it public. And he will do the same for you.
I'm almost done, but the best is yet to come. Samson had a secret vow, did you hear me? He had a secret vow, a nazarite vow, "You can't cut your hair, razer to your face", he had long hair, beard. He did not drink wine, he would not touch wine, and he would not touch dead things, he could not touch dead things. He had victory not because of outside strength, but his victory came from a secret vow, secret consecration. What you do with Delilah in secret will be revealed. Don't ever let a Delilah spirit take your consecration. Your consecration in secret is what wins the battles in public. When he revealed, and let Delilah take his secret consecration, he started losing the public battle with the Philistines. Oh, God, help us. You think your business is blessed cause you're such a hot shot? You need to get back to the secret place, and you need to realize that you are blessed because God laid his hand on you. God's shown his favor on you. God has raised you up and given you the power to get well. And you better remember it, and acknowledge it.
I'm almost done, listen, this is something God really dealt with me about, and I want you to hear it. Battles from your future will come visit you, when you're all by yourself in secret. Battles are not just about your present, they are about your future. Battles from our future we will not win if we don't win the battles in the present. When nobody's looking, when we're all by ourself, when you take that time in the morning, and you open this book up, and you give God... Just do it for 21 days, don't say you're going to do it for the rest of the year, just do it for 21-days, just do it for 21-days, just reach over and pray for 21 days with your husband or you wife, just pray together, just do it for 21 days. Watch what God will do. It's a it's a private thing, it seems so insignificant and small, but it will release into your life massive public victories.
So, Joshua is about to take the city of Jericho, and he needs a word from God. He's standing there, and a man with a sword appears. He says, "Who are you"? He says, "I'm the captain of the host of the Lord", and then he gives this amazing instruction, "Take off your shoes, you're you're standing on holy ground". And the Jewish symbol for giving up rights, and giving up ownership, and humbling oneself is to take your shoes off, this is over and over and over in the Bible, and I'll have time to give you all the references, the story of Ruth, etc, when you are giving right to, when you are giving ownership to, when you're humbling yourself. It was even in the Jewish culture today: take the shoe off. In that moment, when in the secret place, in private, all by himself he took his shoe off, as an act of humility and submission, fasting is humbling yourself before God, when he did that, all of the people must might have thought that the walls were falling at Jericho because of the shout of God's people or all the Marching, but the truth is: all that was was a public manifestation of a private consecration of a man, whom the Bible said in private took his shoes off, fell down on his face, and worshiped God. And then, when he walked into the next day around those walls, the walls fail flat.
Privately, God can't keep a secret what you do in secret, he will reward publicly. Now, let me let me close with this: how many of you like me, were watching Monday night, this past Monday night in the early hours, the second day of the new year, NFL football game, and suddenly something happens on the field in the first quarter? Tackle was made, and the man who did the tackle for the Buffalo Bills, were the Buffalo Bills were playing the Cincinnati Bengals. And number three, everybody say number three, his last name's Hamlin, he went into cardiac arrest, his heart stopped beating, he had to be resuscitated, he was given CPR, he died in front of the whole world on the field. All of a sudden on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on everywhere you could turn, every network: NBC, CNN, CBS, you know, Fox Television, everything everybody, the number one trending thing was "Pray for number three, Hamlet".
All of a sudden, wait a minute, let me get this out, 80000 people, it's like God on the first part of a new year, interrupted regular scheduled programming, and he said, "There's a young man, 24 years old dead on the field". At that moment a question had to be asked: the commissioner of football, business people, coaches, professional athletes, they all had to make a decision: are we gonna play? Or are we going to pray? And God said, "I want to see what America would do. I want to see what people will do. And if I can't get them to pray in the church, I'll go to the coliseum and interrupt the football game. If I can't have a miracle in the church, because they don't believe in it anymore, I'll go do a miracle in the mall, I'll do a miracle in Walmart, I'll do a miracle in a ball field".
Wait a minute, wait a minute, let me finish. Wait, wait, I got to finish. So, here's this young man, by the way his aunt, the boy's mother's sister goes to our Spartanburg campus, and she's there this morning. She called the ministry, and called pastor Javon, and said, "Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray! That's my nephew". Boy, I love the fact I watched it, I watched the players get down on the field, and all of a sudden woke culture had a heart attack. Now, before there was a, you know, they fired a coach in high school for having prayer on the field, but nobody's interrupting now, nobody's having a fit now. Where in the world were the people, the atheists? No atheists, I almost wish that an atheist would have walked down there and said, "No, no, you can't pray". I'd like to see those big old football players, what they would have done.
All of a sudden, those football players had to make a choice: play or pray? And at that moment every one of those football players said, "I don't care about my career, I don't care about my money, I don't care about my fame, I choose to pray. I choose to pray", and then the people in the stands pray, and even Godless people. All of a sudden, when they started praying, coaches who don't like each other, walked over and put their arms around each other, and said, "We need to like each other in this moment, because we got a dead boy. This is bigger than a ball game, this is a dead son laying on the field". And the Lord spoke to me and said, "Tell the people: I interrupted normal schedules in the early part of the year to tell husbands, to tell dads, to tell moms, 'if you will pray, I can restart their heart. If you can pray, I can get the heart that's out of rhythm with God in your young person, and I can restart their heart'".
I want you to listen, I'm almost done. Prophet Elijah for three years (everybody say three) what was the number of Hamlin, the football player, laying dead on the field. He died, folks, they resuscitated him, but he died. And his number is number three. Oh, you'd have to be, you know, a preacher is going to preach that. Number three is laying dead on the field, reminds me of another story I read. They hung him on the cross, and they killed him, and they put him in the tomb, but on the third day, he said, "Roll the stone away, I'm coming out, I'm the resurrection and the life". And just when it looks like a generation after COVID, you know, when we finish this fast, almost at the exact same time is when COVID-19 started three years ago, exactly three years in the month of February. Three years on a generation.
Satan has interrupted the heart rhythm of millions of young people, and they've lost their way. When I look back on the last three years of what has happened, the pain, the death, the pandemic, families lost, marriage is lost, brokenness, hurt, pain, sorrow, confusion, and this is exactly where Elijah, he had prophesied, "It would not rain for three years", but now the three years has come to an end. And the Bible said, "He goes on top of the mountain", I've been to that mountain, and he got down, and put his head between his knees in a birthing position, and he began to pray, pray. God said, "Interrupted, it's time for something to change". And after three years of dryness, three years of famine, three years of death, three years of sorrow, and funerals, and tears, and brokenness, and pain, and addiction, three years of suicide, three years of craziness, he prayed and suddenly he saw a hand, the size of a man's hand, and he makes this statement, "I hear the sound of an abundance of rain".
I'm closing, but I gotta read this, and I want you to hear it, because this is what happens when you fast and you pray. Everybody say "Rain". Say it again, "Rain". Joel 1:14, "Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly: gather into the house of the Lord, and cry out to the Lord". Joel 2:12, "'now therefore', says the Lord, 'turn to me with all of your heart, with fasting, with weeping, with mourning. Rend your hearts and not your garments, for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and he will redeem'". Joel 2:15, "Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, sanctify the people, sanctify the congregation". Verse 17, "Let the priests weep between the porch and the altar: let them say, 'spare the people, don't give your heritage as a reproach to the nations'". Verse 18, "Then the Lord", after you fasted, after you prayed, "Will be zealous and pity his people, and he will send you grain, and new wine, and oil".
Say somebody, "Grain", come on, "Grain and new wine, and oil". That is spiritual, that's not natural, that is spiritual. The anointing, new wine, joy, grain, fullness of blessing, oh, it's coming. Verse 23 is remarkable, "And I will send the former rain, and the latter rain, and I'll cause the rain to come", verse 24, "The threshing floors will be full of wheat, and the vats will overflow". Everybody shout, "Full". Everybody shout, "Overflow". Everybody shout, "New wine and oil".
But here comes the kicker. After three years Elijah, of three years of pain, and depression, and sorrow, and fights, and argues, and brokenness, and all kinds of things, "I will restore to you the years that the enemy has stolen. I'll restore the years. I am the healer of broken dreams, and I am the restorer of stolen years". Three years the enemy has stolen from us, but this fast, God says, "I'm going to interrupt this nation, and get people on their knees to pray. And if they will pray..."
Oh, can I finish the text? Can I finish the text? Here it is, everybody stand up, everybody stand up. Verse 26, "And my people will never be ashamed". The devil's tried to shame you, embarrass you, humiliate you, defeat you, but shame is gonna lift. Verse 27, "My people", he says it again, "Shall never be ashamed", verse 28, and here it is, and it'll come to pass afterwards, this is after you fasted, "I will pour out my spirit, the rain's coming on all flesh, your sons and your daughters..."
Clap your hands like you believe! Clap your hands! Don't you believe it's not too late? He said, "I'll restore all the damage done the last three years". I want it in my own life! I want it in my own soul! I want it into my own spirit! Somebody, lift your hands and face in the rain! And then he ends by saying in verse 32, all of this connected to fasting, "And whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved", revival, "And from mount Zion shall come deliverance". Deliverance from nicotine, deliverance from alcoholism, deliverance from drug addiction, deliverance from hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, filthiness of the spirit, and the flesh.
I want you to raise your hands, and I want you to give yourself to God right now. I want you to say, "Here I am, the Lord. I want my call, I want to see all that you have for me. I'll never see it until I get in the secret place. And I'm coming after you these next 21 days, I'm interrupting, just like you interrupted the nation, and got them on their knees to pray". And I've heard the clarion call, and I have to make a decision: is this going to be another year, the same old? Are we going to play this year or are we going to pray? I'm going to pray, I'm going to fast, I'm going to seek his face. And what you do in private, he will bless, and you'll have victory publicly. He'll prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies.