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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1006

Be Careful What You Want
Part One

January 15, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1006 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Bro. Phil Enlow: I just have a distinct burden and I pray the Lord will help me to express it this morning. It’s in…let’s just begin in Proverbs chapter 4 as kind of a jumping off point here. You know a lot of the Proverbs were gathered and set down by Solomon, the son of David, who was…you remember God asked him when he was young and taking the throne, and feeling his weakness, what do you want Me to do for you? Instead of asking for power and the life of his enemies, and riches and all that, he asked for wisdom. He said, I don’t know how to lead Your people. Lord, I’m just a child, I don’t know how to go out or come in.

God was pleased and gave him wisdom. And He said it was wisdom above all that were upon the face of the earth. Solomon became the greatest king on the planet in his day. People came from everywhere to hear him.

But anyway this is one of the Proverbs that he set down. A lot of it had to do with wisdom, and being willing to listen, to learn, and not be stubborn and self-willed, and all those things. Let’s just begin in verse 20. He says, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” (NIV).

I tell you, I believe God is concerned about us and concerned about our being able to walk in true wisdom and true knowledge, because by nature that’s the opposite of what we are. We are self-willed. We don’t want to get in the potter’s hand, do we? It takes a work of God’s grace to bring us to a place where we recognize just how desperately we need God. Then He imparts to us a willing spirit to be able to yield ourselves and put our trust in Him.

But the verse that I particularly wanted to use as a jumping off point is verse 23. Now he begins this verse with “Above all else….” and that ought to be a red flag for us or some kind of a flag, anyway, that tells us that hey, this is important…I’m saying a lot of important stuff here, but this is paramount. This is way up at the top of the list. If you don’t get anything else, make sure you get this.

“Above all else, guard you heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” What is it in the King James? “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Everything about our lives flows from our hearts, and He’s not talking about the physical part that pumps blood. He’s talking about the center of our being. What it is that we want, what it is that our affections are set upon, what is our life built around, what is it that we want most in life?

I just see it, I sense that we are…I mean this has always been true, but we’re coming into a time in history when God is trying the hearts of men, perhaps as never before. And what men do with what He does in dealing with them is absolutely…saying it’s important is not strong enough. It is absolutely destiny-sealing, and people do not realize what is happening.

Because not only is God testing hearts, there is a principle we can see throughout history, we can observe it if we will in our world today when God will deal with people for awhile, but there comes a time when He stops dealing. There comes a time when He says, all right, I’m going to let you have what you want. The scary thing about it is, when God does that with somebody, they don’t know it. That’s an awful position to be in.

Now think about the world of Noah’s day. What was God’s testimony about the people in Noah’s day? I mean they had had certainly light. They knew about God, but He says…His testimony in Genesis 6 is, “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become.” (NIV). It wasn’t always that way, was it? This was a process. This was something that set in to humankind and it grew, it kind of snowballed, it was a trend that absolutely set the direction and the tone.

But here’s what had happened. It “…had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Now think about it: every inclination! Whatever desire there was that arose from the hearts of men — and that’s what drove men to do what they did, and how they behaved, and what they live for — everything was evil. It was something that was contrary to the will and the purpose of God. It was something that God knew would lead them into darkness, and destruction, and death, and they chose it anyway. It comes to the point where He said, I’m not gonna strive with them anymore–I’m not going to strive with them anymore.

And you see the wisdom of what Solomon wrote there…keep your heart with all wisdom, Above all, guard your heart. There’s plenty of scriptures…I just want to look at a few scriptures that bear this out. There’s two thoughts, one of them is the admonition to watch what your heart is set on. That’s one thing. But the other thing is the warning that if we persist in wanting what we want instead what God wants, there’s going to come a time when God will take His hands off.

That’s the world we live in, folks. And that affects people that are sitting here; that affects people that may hear this. There is nothing more important than what your heart is set on, because there’s an awful lot of people who delude themselves that they can serve Jesus, but their heart’s really on something else.

And, you wonder, how did men get in this condition? I mean, how did we come to this place when only Noah was left? He was the only man in the world who really found grace and still had his heart set upon God and righteousness. How did they get there?

The answer is very plain in the writings of Paul at the beginning of Romans, beginning in verse 18. Paul writes and says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress…” (NIV). I think the King James says, “Hold.” But the sense of the word is not just I’m holding it. This is, I’m holding it down, I’m repressing it, I don’t want this, I’m just pushing it out of my consciousness. God, I don’t want to hear You anymore. I want what I want, just go away and leave me alone. That’s the spirit of the language that he uses.

I’ve seen something for years, I feel, in a measure. You know, there’s a time when God just pours out the wrath. I mean, there it is, it’s straight from heaven, it’s judgment. But there is an aspect of God’s wrath that happens when all He does is step back. You think of the grace of God. Do you think that any one of us would live? What would be the condition if God simply took His hands off? “...We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers.” You see the wicked things that fill the news headlines every day and they’re getting worse, and they’re getting worse…unbelievable things that are happening. What would happen if God took His hands off and left us to the mercy of demons? That’s what’s happening in the world gradually. And I thank God…man, there’s a place of safety in Jesus.

( congregational amens ).

Oh bless the Lord. I want to be in Him. I want to say, Lord, let my heart be fixed where it needs to be. But here you see what happened. The wrath of God is being revealed and all men had to do was to persistently, persistently choose to go in the wrong direction, and God would say, I’m gonna let you go.

Well, that wasn’t just into a vacuum. That was into the rule and the control of demons who hate God and who would do everything they can to absolutely corrupt and destroy anything to do with man. because we were created in God’s image. And he hates God, and so he hates us. So the deeper and stronger the hold of devils in lives, the more resistance there was. It just like a snowball going downhill. Well some of you don’t know much about that but, some of you grew up in the northern climes know what that’s like.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness….” (NIV). Here it is, it isn’t just, I don’t want to hear, it’s I want something else. My choice, my heart’s affection is so trapped, it’s so connected to something else other than what You want that I choose that, and because I choose that, I don’t want to hear this anymore. That’s the spirit.

And he says, “…Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” I don’t care if you grew up in school, and you got taught all this stupid stuff they teach you now that Darwin came up with, and all the other atheists. (I heard a very good definition of atheism recently that there’s two parts to it. Part one is, there is no God. Part two is, I hate Him.)

( laughter ).

Now that humorous, but that’s sadly true. Because the truth is, what they know, they know. It’s just a willful suppression, it’s a choosing not to know, not to acknowledge. I tell you what, there’s a God of mercy who would turn men from a path of destruction if only they would listen to His voice. This is not a bully in the sky who just wants to grind people and make them do what…dance to His tune. This is a God of infinite love who wants to set us free from the tyranny of self-will that absolutely possesses men’s hearts. I tell you, I want to serve Him, don’t you?

But anyway, here’s men without excuse. They know better. You can’t say, well, I didn’t know. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile.…” In other words, they’ve got ideas about how it all is, and how it’s supposed to work, and what life is about, but they’re stupid. They don’t go anywhere. They don’t produce any results. They go down a pathway of destruction. They blindly march off a cliff claiming they’re heading for the Promised Land. That’s how futile it is.

“…Their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” All right, so what did God do about that? It says, “Therefore God gave them over…” See there came a point when God said I’m going to let you have what you want. Man, that’s scary stuff.

You go back to the scripture we started with, let’s put it in modern English. Be careful what you want–be careful what you want. That’s something every one of us needs to look into our hearts and say, what do I want–what do I want? Because sooner or later God’s gonna give you what you want, but you may not wind up happy with the result.

God’s mercy would turn us into a path of life, and hope, and joy, and love, and peace and all the wonderful things He has planned. But if someone is just…bent in their own way, there will come a time and He’ll say, all right I’ll let you have what you want. And man, you may think you’re in high cotton for awhile. It may feel, oh man, finally I’ve got what I want, everything is great.

Have you ever seen cases, looking back into the history of the church, where you see people that are sitting here and they’re uncomfortable, and they go out, and they’ve never been happier–never been happier? What’s going on there? Does that mean they finally found God, found peace, and everything’s great? No.

What did Jesus say in John 12? “Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.” That doesn’t mean they don’t walk, doesn’t mean they don’t think they see. They think everything is just great. Man, I finally got rid of all that nagging voice that wants to be down on me and critical of me and say all kinds of bad things about me. I got rid of that finally, I’m free to do as I want. And you’re free to march right into hell…and don’t know it–they don’t know where they’re going.

“Therefore God gave them over…” Now what was it that He gave them over to? “…In the sinful desires of their hearts.” There were desires that took root. What did James say about temptations? “Let no man say when he is tempted, I’m tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (KJV).

Men are tempted when they are drawn away by their own desires. Every one of us, because of the fall of Adam and the entire race that has followed, we have got desires that are contrary to God. They are real. And if we’re gonna serve God, we’re going to have to find His strength, because we don’t have it. We’re gonna have to be willing to give ourselves to Him and acquire His strength to live in victory and self-denial of those things, in order to possess something of infinite worth that He has let before us.

Now the problem with the person whose heart is fixed on these things and just so married to their desires, they have such a stronghold in them, they don’t see it that way. All they see is someone who wants to come and mess with them, and interfere with what they want to do, and condemn them, and made them feel bad, and all the excuses that the devil piles on. Oh I’ll tell you, we have a God who longs to turn people from the way of darkness into the way of light. What He has is incredible.

But you see what’s going on there. There are sinful desires, there’s things that Satan would impart. He would absolutely egg us on into pursuing these natural desires in ways that God never intended them to be used! And it leads to bondage. It leads to spiritual and physical slavery. It leads to death and it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

But it’s just like the drug addict. What’s the answer when you start coming down? More, more, more! And it never, ever, ever really scratches the itch that’s there. It might feel good for a little bit, but it never, ever really deals with the issue, and somebody is just being led like a lamb to the slaughter and doesn’t even know it.

I can just sense God’s heart watching His creatures do this. He’s a God of love, and He didn’t just the first time they made the wrong choice, say, boom! done with you. There was a mercy. There was, what? There was over 1,000 years here if you count out the chronology there. There was 1,500-1,600 years, something like that from Adam, where He waited. Generation after generation He reached out.

There were a few like Enoch who walked with God. But I’ll tell you, even Noah’s father and his grandfather weren’t involved in…I mean there was no record that they were involved in following God. They were straight from Enoch’s line. I mean, Enoch’s son, Enoch’s grandson weren’t even involved in what God was doing when He called Noah.
Folks we live in a world…this is not just a nice little doctrine. This is the world we live in. This is what is happening. God is testing men’s hearts.

Now think about what we’ve read so many times in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, about the children of Israel. He called them out. He did glorious miracles to deliver them from Egyptian bondage! They saw His power. They saw His hand, but yet in unbelief, because of their rebellion, because of their unbelief, they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, and what did God say that He was doing in doing that? I’m gonna test you. I’m gonna find out what’s in your heart, whether you’re gonna serve me or no. I see that over and over, and over again where God tests His people to find out what’s in our hearts. Think about Jesus, our Lord. Did God test Him?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. God allowed Him to be tested at every point just like we are. Now what was that about? That was allowing Satan to try to appeal to something in Jesus that would have caused Him to say no to God’s will and yes to something else, some other natural desire. He tried everything he could think of. He appealed to His hunger and His weakness…command these stones to be made bread. You know, we just got a little summary of some of that temptation in the wilderness.

He tempted Him by saying, You’re gonna wind up as King of everything, I’ve got a shortcut. You don’t have to go to that old cross. I mean, that’s silly. Just worship me, I’ll give it to You. We’re done here. Oh I’ll tell you, are you looking for some other way? Are you looking for a way to have what your flesh wants and still feel like you’ve got God?

But Jesus was tempted in every single point, and He overcame because He chose to believe and to walk in, and embrace the Word of God over anything else. You know Ben referred to that scripture this morning I think in his prayer that we’re learning to walk, learning to go by the word, learning that we don’t live by bread only. It’s not just what appeals to what we need here and all those things, that’s not what drives our life. What drives our life is what God says. But you know we have a God who knows what we need in this world, doesn’t he?

( congregational response ).

Praise God! He is mindful of the needs of His children. Here again you’ve got these people that it says, God gave them over. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” (NIV). So it’s like, okay I’ve got the truth of God. The heck with that, I prefer this. You think about the language there. “Exchanged.” Now you get a gift and you don’t like it, but you’ve got the price tag, you go take it back, and you get something you prefer.

Well, think about what he’s saying here. God has given them truth. God has given them His Word. God has given them a pathway to eternity to life with Him, to be part of His eternal purpose, and they say, the heck with that, this is what I want.

You think about Esau. Isn’t that what he did? He was in line, the firstborn son, and he chose to cast, to despise the birthright…now what good is that to me? I’m gonna die here, give me some soup, or a bowl of beans, or whatever it was. It was more important to him than the covenant of a holy God with His people. I tell you, this is sobering stuff. I want God to search my heart.

So, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.” And again, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.” Down in verse 28, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” And he describes all the terrible things.

That’s how we got to where Noah was. Unfortunately, after the flood and men began to spread across the world, the same thing took over–the same process. The evil in men’s heart became the paramount value. The thing that they valued was what they wanted to do. Folks, this is absolutely the determining factor in where men and what men’s eternal destiny is. And everywhere I look I see this in our world where men are choosing.

Let’s look at a couple other scriptures that touch on this. Look at Psalm 81. Now here is where…there’s a Psalm looking back to the Israelites in the wilderness. Verse 8, He talks about what He’s done for them. Then He says, “Hear, O my people, and I will warn you–if you would but listen to me, O Israel! You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

God is saying, I’ll take care of you. There’s no need that you have that I’m not concerned about. I am aware of all that. You just come to me and I’ll take care of those things. But what happens? It says, “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.”

So what’s the result of that? “So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.” It’s no accident that we have the scripture where Samuel the prophet, I believe, was talking to Saul. And I remember some of the King James language there. I don’t remember the exact…how it is in this translation. But stubbornness…rebellion is as witchcraft, “…stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” You know, God can deal with anything. He can deliver us from anything except a stubborn heart, because a stubborn heart is when self rules. We want what we want, and God has nothing to do with it.

I’ll tell you, think about the things in our lives, and look at people around us. If that boyfriend has a stronger hold on your heart than God does…it’s getting quiet…that’s not a good place to be. You are in darkness, headed for darkness, headed for trouble, because God knows about all those issues. He’s got a beautiful plan for every life that will surrender to Him and allow Him to be the Potter.