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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1010

God’s Vision for the Church
Part One

February 12, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1010 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, praise the Lord! I continue, I guess, as perhaps many do…I think the Lord has caused us recently to focus on thoughts respecting what we’re about. And I just continue to have things that the Lord quickens, and so I’m just gonna do my best to share some things, because I believe God wants us to understand His heart and His purpose and what it is that He is looking for from us and what His vision for His church is.

As I’ve said a number of times recently, we live in a country in particular, certainly a world, but a country in particular where American culture has overrun the church, what is called the church, the church world. It has literally taken the ways of the world, the way of thinking of the world and just infused it into what purports to be God’s church. And it’s changed it completely…well, I say completely. You can tar something with too broad a brush, but I feel like…what I want to share tonight is two things. Number one, to help us understand the religious climate in which we exist, and to understand in contrast what it is that God is looking for from us. And I think it would bring some clarity…I hope it does.

But you know, you go back all the way to the beginning and Satan rebelled against God, didn’t he? He said, I want to be like the Most High. I’m gonna do things my way, self will is the way to go. And of course, we know he led the human family into that. That has characterized human nature ever since.

And it seems like, when you look at our culture, individualism reigns in our thought pattern. And it’s understandable, first of all human nature, but second of all you go back into our history and you look at the people who first settled here apart from the native Americans, I understand, but you look at the colonists who came. What did they come here for? Well, persecution, wasn’t it? It was religious persecution. It was the freedom to worship God, not being constrained by the Church of England, or the church of whatever. It was something that was absolutely saying you’ve got to do it our way, or no way and you’re gonna be persecuted and they came here wanting freedom.

And the folks that put our constitution together, which is being shredded today, but nonetheless, that’s another story…they enshrined the principle of individual liberty and freedom into our constitution. Well, I’m thankful they did. It’s not that I’m against that. But the point is that individualism basically is, it’s about me. My interests, my will, my rights, what I feel, what I want to do, that’s paramount. That takes precedence over the group, over the society, over whatever. I have the right to do as I please. That’s the spirit that is a part of the American’s picture.

Now, of course, you go into human society and you see the other side of it. And I’ll tell you, when you’re talking about just human society…take God out of the picture for a moment, you really only got two alternatives, don’t you? You have individual self-will, or you’ve got some form of tyranny in which a society, a gang, something controls other people and forces them to do what they want them to do instead of what they feel individually they want to do. You’ve got this tension in society.

Well, I tell you, you see this reflected in religion everywhere. And particularly the spirit of individualism has utterly corrupted what God intended His church to be in the beginning. And you see it in the Scriptures, don’t you? You think…some of you probably have already thought about Deuteronomy chapter 12, and we see just one example of what happens when people imitate the people around them, because that was the way it was in the heathen culture in the days of the Israelites when they were being prepared to go into the land to inherit what God had promised.

Now the heathens, the heathen nations, everyone had their gods. If you were Egyptian, these are your gods. If you were Hittite, these were your gods and so forth. But when it comes to worship—when it came to worship, everybody kind of did what they wanted. They had household gods. They would establish places of special worship where they would offer sacrifices…you hear the expression ‘high places’…they had a special significance in the heathen religion. So if you found a particularly nice hill with a nice tree on it, that was a great place to go and practice your private little religion.

And so, it’s in that setting that Moses says this. “These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess—as long as you live in the land. Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.” (NIV). God meant business! He’s not gonna have any other gods before Him!

But listen to this part. It’s not just, get rid of the stuff. It’s get rid of the way in which…the principle of this individual ‘I’m gonna do as I please’ kind of spirit. Because he says, “You must not worship the LORD your God in their way.” You see? This is where the spirit of the world just constantly tries to come in and corrupt the way we think.

Don’t do it that way. “But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling.” You know, I don’t even have that marked, that last little part there. I was sitting in the chair this afternoon trying to look up this Scripture again, because I thought about it and wanted to refresh my mind, and I didn’t happen to have my red pen…you know, I just don’t feel dressed if I don’t have my red pen, but I guess that was the case.

But anyway, that’s significant, folks. God is interested in a dwelling place. He’s interested in calling people to His dwelling place. But I’ll tell you, you look at the American scene today and they are doing exactly what God said not to do. It’s ‘religion according to me.’ I’m gonna do what I want to do. I’m going to look for what is meaningful to me. I am the highest authority in my spiritual life.

Now of course, the point was made—well, made this morning that when you kind of approach the things of God and religion, I should say, that way, it’s very easy to dress it up and make it sound real spiritual. Jesus is leading me. Well, if Jesus is leading everybody that says, Jesus is leading me, He is really one confused fellow.

( laughter ).

Because I’ll tell you, you can find somebody that’ll say, Jesus led me to shoot you. There’s all kinds of craziness in the world. But I mean, even when people…there’s people that are sincerely caught up in a way and imagine this is an acceptable thing to God for the church to be just…you go here, I go there, I go down the street. I prefer contemporary music. You prefer this style. You prefer that preacher. You prefer this…and that’s fine. You go your way, I go mine. Jesus is cool with that. Oh my God, is that what Jesus died to bring about?

( congregational response ).

You see, there’s something that’s happened here. The authority has fallen to the individual. He has become god of his own will, his own way, and the devil has found a way to dress that up and make it seem like they’re serving God. Oh God, open our eyes to see the reality.

You know, I thought of an illustration that may seem humorous. But I’ll tell you, it really pictures it for me. And that’s comparing the church world with the restaurant business. You’re basically appealing to people’s desire for their particular preference in food! Now you’ve got people that are…their lives are in a hurry…they don’t care. They’re gonna run by and shove a Big Mac down their throat, and grab a ‘choka-cola’ and go on.

( laughter ).

That’s what food is to them. And you’ve got people all over the map who have their particular taste, whether it’s fish, or barbeque, or you-name-it…Hungarian, or Polish, or what have you, you’ve got all these cuisines that are designed to appeal to the individual taste of people.

And of course, it’s not just the food, is it? We’ve got folks in the restaurant business here. But how would it be if you served your very best food and you set up a table out by the garbage can? That wouldn’t work too well, would it? You see, it’s not just the food, it’s the ambience, it’s the experience, it’s the setting. And if you’re gonna eat Italian food, you want to feel like I’m in Italy, or something. There’s a certain amount of décor that goes with that experience. If you’re gonna eat Chinese, there’s things that go with that.

And so the people in the restaurant business are out there trying to appeal to everybody out there and they’re competing for business based upon people’s personal preferences. Because I don’t have to go to a particular restaurant, they’re gonna have to get me in there based on appealing to my desires. But you think every one of these things and a million other variations are doing what? They’re appealing to people’s personal tastes.

( congregational response ).

So what’s driving all of this? Who’s in charge of this system when you really get down to it? The customer—the customer is king. But we’ve got a religious system where the customer is king. And so you can look at huge congregations that give this incredible appearance of religious, spiritual success. Man, they can draw the crowds. There’s excitement. They’ve got the ambience to go with the full blown religious experience.

And you listen to their message. I’ll tell you what it doesn’t ever address. It is self. It’s the self…the independent self will is never challenged. It is to make people feel good. Give them what they want. I define what I want to hear. Oh my God. Just think about all of this, ‘cause there’s an appeal…I’ll tell you, you can get out there and you can see all kinds of things that look good. If we had persecution break out in this country, what do you think would happen to the visible church? Do you think it would all rise up and be a mighty fortress for our God? No!

( congregational response ).

They’d run for the hills! And I’ll tell you, there’s another trend that is so obvious and it doesn’t always involve bad people, and that’s making rock stars almost out of religious personalities. It could be singers. It could be speakers. It could be a preacher with a particular gift and he might even be a real man of God in some cases. But I’ll tell you, there’s a generation that makes rock stars out of them.

( congregational response ).

They’ll run after it…and oh man, wasn’t that great? Let me show you that in the Scriptures. Turn to Ezekiel 33…interesting Scripture. You know, we need to understand the world we live in and what drives it, because I believe God wants to sharpen our thinking and help us to understand what’s going on, because what I’m describing is the spirit of Babylon.

( congregational amens ).

It’s the same spirit that drove Lucifer to do what he did and it’s running right into the church and beginning to drive it so that people are appealing…they’re afraid to preach the truth!

( congregational amens ).

They’re afraid to preach that people need to die to self, give up their lives and follow Jesus. They’re afraid to lift up the blood of Jesus and all those old-fashioned things. I’ll tell you, they want the seeker-friendly church. Let’s just get them in here. Let’s seminar them into the Gospel. We’re gonna have a little program…on day seven, oh yeah, let’s take care getting them saved. Okay, believe in Jesus. I’m not exaggerating very much.

( congregational response).

I’ve seen stuff just about like that. I may be saying it in words they wouldn’t say. But I’ll tell you, we’ve got a Gospel out there that’s just…accept Jesus as your personal Savior. Can anybody show me that in the Bible? That does not exist! You repent toward God! You put your faith in Jesus Christ as the only sacrifice for your sins! You bow to Him as Lord!

( congregational amens ).

And He’ll save you!

( congregational amens ).

But this idea of just ‘accepting Jesus’…man, they’ve got a religion that will make you…that will damn you to hell.!

( congregational response ).

I read an article by my brother-in-law that was written 20 years ago and he made a statement about this compromised Gospel and I agree with it. And he said, basically it damns the sinners it promises to saves, and corrupts the church it hopes to build! Man, does that say it straight? The devil has tricked people into trying to make a show in the flesh. Oh God…the measure of success is people and activity and the appearance of really having something, and so the Gospel gets soft-pedaled, and we’re gonna appeal to people’s natural desires. You can fill stadiums if you’ll tell people you’re gonna give them the secret to success in life. Tell them God loves them and He wants them to have all the good things of life and go to heaven at the end. It’s a false gospel, folks.

( congregational amens ).

And God is calling a people to stand for the truth in the midst of a great falling away. You know, Ron read that Scripture last night. There is an apostasy, and I believe we’re in it, we’re seeing it. It’s running from the truth and it’s embracing in the name of Jesus Christ a spirit of rebellion. It’s about me and what I want. I’m in charge. Nobody can tell me what to do. I am an independent soul just looking to Jesus. Oh God help us to get free from the influence of that.

But I started to take you to Ezekiel, didn’t I? Let’s go there. Ezekiel was a prophet, just in brief. He was carried away when Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in the first wave. They took Daniel and some others. They took a lot of the best of the people and carried them off to Babylon and settled them in communities, most of them. And this was a guy…Ezekiel was settled in one of the communities of Jews living in Babylon.

And God began to use him as a mighty prophet and actually carried him in the Spirit several times back to Jerusalem, showed him the wickedness he prophesied of what was coming…that greater and greater judgment was coming, ‘cause he saw the wicked people of Jerusalem actually practicing idolatry in God’s temple. God was through with it. So this was a man who had a tremendous prophetic ministry that was really hard hitting and straight. So just because somebody preaches the truth doesn’t mean that everybody who rallies around them is walking in it.

( congregational amens ).

So I say there’s a rock star mentality sometimes. Look at verse 30. “As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD. My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.”

Can you see that kind of thing as you look around? See, there’s a lot of false prophets out there. You’ve got some people who know the Lord that are mixed up in this system. We do have some brothers and sisters. And it’s not the people that I’m so interested in…that I’m trying to expose so much as the spirit. It is the system that God wants to get out of us. You know the problem with the Israelites was not getting them out of Egypt, it was getting Egypt out of them.

( congregational amens ).

‘Cause they kept going right back. I mean you take them down centuries later when, was it Jeroboam rebelled against the house of Solomon? After Solomon died he took the ten tribes and they went off…what’s the first thing he did? Anybody remember what he did? He set up two golden calves. I mean, you go right back to the very thing that they had a problem with in the wilderness. He said, look, we’ve rebelled against Jerusalem and we can’t very well go down there and worship. We’re gonna establish our own little center of worship. Oh, I’ll tell you what, Jesus Christ has promised to build His church. I want to be part of that.

( congregational amens ).

I haven’t got the…I’m not smart enough, I’m not gifted enough, I don’t have what it takes to try to…I mean, even if I could build something religious, what would it be? Could I build a little religious play house and say, God come bless it? My sister was involved with a church several years ago that latched on to one of these great church building schemes. And all of a sudden, she saw it change. And they were so busy trying to entice people to come there by making it friendly…not friendly in the sense that…hi there, how are you doing. I mean in terms of, we’re not gonna talk about the hard stuff. We’re gonna prophesy smooth things. We’re gonna appeal to people’s desires to have a better life. We’ll get them in there and then we’ll begin to teach them about Jesus and then somewhere along the line, we’re gonna get them so sign on the dotted line and accept Jesus and that’s all there is to it.

We have got a church world that is full of lost people that have never, ever bowed before Jesus as Lord. And we need to stand up and tell the truth. Thank God for every one that the Lord saves in spite of that!

( congregational amens ).

Thank God, He’s not done. I’ll tell you, this is an interesting picture here. You’ve got people that sing for the Lord and…then rah, rah, you know, they’ve got this big crowd just whooping and hollering. How many of them do you really think know the Lord? If you follow their lives, would they be sold out to Jesus? You know, Jimmy, I remember when you and I and some others went to that coffee house so many years ago. I’ve never forgotten that. Some of the Jesus people…not all of them were bad by any means, but this…whatever it was, we went there anyway. We were gonna sing…we took a group and sang there.

They were polite, I think they received us politely. But I’ll tell you, as soon as we got down, they had what they call a Christian rock group get up. You don’t remember that? Boy, I’ll never forget it. You could not distinguish that from the rock music of the world, except if you listened real close you caught some Gospel words put to it. Everything about it was designed to appeal to a generation that loved rock music. They said, well if we just change the words, it’ll be great. We’ll draw them in there and we’ll get them in for Jesus. I’ll tell you, we don’t need to compromise the Gospel.

( congregational amens ).

We don’t need to compromise anything. We’re not out for crowds. We’re not in the restaurant business. We’re not trying to compete with a different menu to see who we can entice. We’re not trying to compete with churches down the street or anywhere else. We have one job. That job is to give out the living bread of life, to have God work through us, because we have no power to do anything!

( congregational amens ).

I don’t care what we build. If it’s us doing it, it will fall. It will be worthless. But to the extent that we can be instruments of His Word, His will, His purpose, I’ll tell you, we’re gonna see something that will last forever.

( congregational amens ).

And I just sense the burden of the Lord to cause us to understand where we’re at, understand what’s going on! You know, we’ve had some that have been pulled, and I’ll say with others, I’m just praying that God will open eyes to see what’s going on.

( congregational amens ).

Because there’s plenty of religious experience out there that can have you going home saying, boy, that was great. I felt good. The music was this, and the message made me feel real cool and real good. But did it ever challenge self? I’ll tell you what happens, the thrill might wear off and then what happens? Then what do you do…if you’re going to something like that? Well, you go find someplace else. See that’s the individualism of it. You’re in charge. If I don’t like one restaurant, if I find a bug in my soup that isn’t supposed to be there…

( laughter ).

…I’m perfectly free to take my act on the road.

( laughter ).

 But that’s what you’ve got. Is that what is acceptable to Jesus?

( congregational response ).

Is He gonna come for that kind of a church?

( congregational response ).

Something has got to change. Is that God’s vision? No! There’s something that is beyond our power to imagine that He has in mind. I just struggle against unbelief myself, in this area. But I’ll tell you, we’re gonna have to go by this Book.

( congregational amens ).

You know I mentioned the question of authority. Individualism, I’m the authority. And then you do have this tyranny that exists in religion, too, in some cases, where people just abandon their authority. It’s all about…I don’t know and so-and-so seems to, so I’m just gonna blindly put my faith in them. That’s not God. That’s not what God’s after. God is not after either individual self-will, nor is He after tyranny in any form! What He is after is bringing us under divine authority.

( congregational amens).

I’ll tell you when we’re under His loving authority that makes all the difference. Man I want Him. My life is not my own to do as I please.