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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1015

Metamorphosis
Part One

March 18, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1015 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: You know, I heard a great story this week…I read it, rather. I had a letter from a prisoner who actually heard this in a chapel service, and I thought it was a great illustration. I’ll see if I can get it straight, but it seems like there was a man who was contending with a terrible smell in his house, and somebody finally suggested somehow, that it had to do maybe with his septic tank. So in trying to get somebody to work on it, the guy said, well, I can’t be there this afternoon, why don’t you uncover it for me so I can get to it the first thing in the morning?

He did that and he looked and his own assessment was, yeah, that’s the problem. So he went in, took a shower, went to bed, got up the next morning, went out to see what was going on, and wait for the guy to get there, and he heard some strange noises coming from the septic tank. He went over there and during the night a dog had fallen in there. And that poor dog was just swimming and sloshing, and trying his best, and worn out, and of course stinky and smelly, and everything…it was a pretty pitiful situation.

So he said, boy, I’d better do something about this and he tried to reach down and help the dog, and the dog bit him. You can imagine the dog was scared and panicked. Anyway he was in a state where he just bit the man who was trying to help him. So he thought, well, let me try something else. He stuck a ladder down in there. Maybe he can pull himself out. Maybe he can…you know, give him something to rest on. So the poor dog managed to get one paw but he was so exhausted, he just finally…he couldn’t do anything. And so finally the man realized the only way I’m gonna to get this dog out of here, I’m going to have to get down in there. And of course everybody here is just imagining what that would be like.

( laughter ).

Anyway, so he did it finally, and the dog was so exhausted by this time, he didn’t resist anymore, and so he finally was able to get underneath him, and lift him out, and climb out himself. I think the man was arriving who was gonna work on it and observed some of this. So he got a hose and was hosing himself and the dog down. The man observed the dog beginning to lick the man, beginning to realize what he had done for him.

But how many of you have already caught on that that’s a pretty good picture of what the Lord’s done for us, because that’s what we were. You know the Lord looks at this world and the world system, and the spirit that drives this world a whole lot differently than men do. It’s as bad to Him, and maybe worse, than that septic tank. We’re helpless, born in Adam—we are helpless. Our first father was a sinner and chose that pathway—chose to jump into the cesspool.

And you know, totally helpless, no matter what you do, you can’t stick a ladder of the law down and say, climb out. That doesn’t work, and yet how often when God tries to help us do we bite and resist and fight, and totally don’t understand the love that He’s trying to extend to us? But what mercy did the Lord extend to all of us to climb down into the cesspool, into the septic tank, and literally lift us out. Oh praise God! I’ll tell you, that’s something to think about. But I just appreciate His mercy.

Don spoke about Jesus and being willing to go to the death of the cross and surrender everything. Every part of His earthly life was completely given to the Father in total sacrifice for us. He didn’t have to do that. He had glory with the Father before the world was, and He would have had it right on. But God had such a larger purpose in mind, and He had us in mind. And so in His mercy He sent His Son, and His Son was willing to give up His life for us.

So that’s really a picture right there of what Paul was talking about in the entire first 11 chapters of Romans. It’s the mercy of God because all men, regardless of whether they’re Jews or Gentiles, one of the issues he deals with…we’re all in the same boat. We need exactly the same salvation and it’s entirely based on mercy.

Well then the question becomes…and this is what Paul is answering from the beginning of chapter 12 ‘til about the middle of chapter 15 is, “Okay, what does that mean for us?” What’s our place? What’s our responsibility? What is the proper response to what God has done?

You know, we’re a little bit further beyond the dog that licked the master…not his master, but licked the man’s hand. But you know there’s a response that God is looking for, and I believe God has called us to that. And while I thank God for the glory that will be, I believe there’s things He’s called us to here that flow directly out of what He has done for us, and that’s what Paul is dealing with in this scripture.

“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy…” (NIV). See that’s what it’s connected back to. “…In view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices…” As a living sacrifice, the Greek says. “…Holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual…” or reasonable, “…act of worship.” And, you know Jesus was a sacrifice, wasn’t He? In the Old Testament when there was sin to be taken care of, what did they do under the law?

( congregational response ).

They offered a sacrifice. Well what happened to the sacrifice? It was killed, wasn’t it? Sacrifice is something that has to die. There is something that has to die, and of course Jesus then became the ultimate sacrifice. As we know bulls and goats couldn’t do anything, but it was pointing, in faith, to what was coming, what God was going to provide, the Lamb that God was going to provide for the sin of the world. And so, the sacrifice has to die.

But now you’ve got a strange thing, it sounds kind of weird…how can a sacrifice be living? A living sacrifice—a living sacrifice Jesus said if anyone’s gonna to follow me, let him do what?

( congregational response ).

Well, it’s something before that. Deny himself. He must—not an option…he must say no to self. See this is the thing that we’re called to be saved from. There’s no way you can sort of pacify self and allow self to live and sort of redirect self into religious activity, and accomplish what God is after. The only way we can become what God has called us to be is for self to die. There just isn’t any other way. Deny self—say no to self. But it’s not just a negative, it’s a yes to something else. But it’s take up your cross…

( congregational response ).

All right there’s another word in there in one of those passages. In Luke 9, take up your cross…

( congregational response ).

…daily. So this becomes a way of life. That’s what He’s saying. You want to follow Me? This is the way of life to which I have called you. There is a cross. There is a death that I have called you to die daily. Praise God! And I’ll tell you, He says to the one that’s out to save his life—the one that’s trying to preserve self is gonna what? What’s the consequence of that?

( congregational response ).

Lose it. But the one who loses his life will…

( congregational response ).

For how long?

( congregational response ).

For eternity! Praise God! What a deal. We give up something, as the missionary once said, we cannot keep, to gain what we cannot lose. So that’s a pretty good deal to me, and that’s the mercy of God.

But oh I’ll tell you, self is so…well it’s just self. I mean, it’s imbedded in us. It’s what we are. It’s how we think. It’s how we live, and how we react. I am more and more conscious at just how incredibly imbedded all that is in us. We don’t have to think about it. If somebody says something cross to you, do you have to think, now how should I respond to that? Well let me think here. Well I could…you just automatically fire back. Why? Because it’s what we are. It’s how our brains are wired. My God, if we’re gonna be what He’s called us to, something’s got to change. Praise God!

But here is how, in this passage particularly, Paul tells us what our part is. He gives us a picture of what that looks like, not just in some little mystical relationship between me and Jesus in the sky, but in practical living. He gives example after example after example of what this Christian life is about and how it looks, that is what God is seeking to reproduce in us. What does that look like? How does that compare with the way we are naturally? But then, thank God, he gives us a wonderful pattern of how that happens.

Oh, I’m so glad He just doesn’t dump all this and say, all right now, here’s what I expect you to be. Go for it. No, His plan is so much wiser, because we’re so much like that dog. A ladder doesn’t do us any good. We need somebody to pull us out and clean us off. Praise God, and that’s what He has set Himself to do.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer…” There’s a definite presentation of ourselves to God. I mean this is something…I kind of looked up some of these words in the Greek just to refresh my brain. I don’t often do that, but…I thought, well, that’s probably a daily kind of thing, that’s repeated. No. There is a definite…that is…the tense of the verb there is an act. I tell you, I believe there’s a point in time when God has to reveal to us what our place is, and there is a surrender.

Now I think sometimes we come to the Lord…. I’m not gonna try to theologize this and say it’s this way or it’s that way, and teach some second experience or any of that stuff. This is just a fact. There’s a point in time when God reveals, you belong to Me. Your only reasonable response to what I’ve done for you is to give yourself completely to me so that I own you. You’re at My disposal.

That’s exactly what this means, to present—to put ourselves at God’s disposal and say Lord, I am, apart from you, I’m a mess. All I’m doing is swimming in a septic tank, and it’s gonna lead to death in the end, but you have pulled me out and God, I can’t even clean myself off. I can’t begin to be what You want, but oh God, I just put myself in Your hands, do what needs to be done. There is a surrender to Him. There’s a surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

And this is something that is so definite, this is like a ‘burn your bridges behind me’ kind of thing. This is not something where you’re trying it out for awhile to see how it works out, because inevitably you’re gonna run into something where self wants its way, and God says no, and you’re gonna say, well, I choose self. If I can’t have my way, I’m gonna pack my little bags and leave here.

I tell you, there is such a vision, there is such a conviction that only God can produce in a heart, where we’re gonna follow Him no matter what—no matter what it looks like, no matter where the path leads, no matter what difficulties and challenges, no matter what the form of death that comes, we’re able to see just like Jesus did, there’s a joy that’s set before me. There’s a hope that’s real.

I’ll tell you, you can’t manufacture this. This is a conviction that God has to give in the heart that it’s worth everything to serve Jesus Christ. It’s worth my life and I give it to Him. It’s a done deal. Now we may have to sort of remind ourselves of that. There is a reminder, but I’ll tell you, there’s an act there of literally saying, Lord, I am yours.

( congregational amens ).

And where you and I are with respect to that may explain a lot of things in our lives. And I’ll tell you what, once we pass that point and say, Lord, I have presented, I’m in—I’m all the way in Lord, I want Your will, I want to live for Your vision and Your burden, and Your idea of what I need to become and just let the other go. I’m Yours.

And from this point on, I want to live, but it’s not I but Christ that lives in me. See there’s the living sacrifice. You’ve got both going on in Paul. I’ve been crucified, nevertheless I live, a living death. But now it’s different, something’s changed. It’s no longer I that lives, it’s Christ that lives in me, and the life I live in the flesh… I’m still in the flesh, but I’m living by a different set of principles, not just principles, a different force of life is inside of me. It’s doing something. It has an effect. It makes a change that comes from the inside.

I tell you, if you’re in Christ you’re different. There’s something in here that has changed. You cannot ever be the same. There is a change that takes place in the heart. That doesn’t mean you’re not tempted, doesn’t mean you’re not weak, doesn’t mean you don’t experience all these other things, but there is something in here that is eternal and it’s real. Your motivation changes, your consciousness of sin changes, and that’s what God has called us to. It’s “…not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (KJV).

Now what in the world kind of religion is it where we accept His gift of everything for us and we don’t give everything to Him. That doesn’t make a bit of sense. That’s why he calls it a reasonable service. Spiritual act of worship, or reasonable act of worship. This is the only proper response.

So now I have given myself to Him, now what? Now he says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.…” Well that’s been a problem all along, hasn’t it? You know Paul describes those in Ephesians, chapter 2…says you were once dead in your sins, you lived in them, you followed the ways of the world, you lived for the lust of your flesh, you lived under the power that rules over the darkness of this world. That’s where you were at when God’s grace began to deal with you and pulled you out. You were swimming in that septic tank. But God had mercy on you and He pulled you out when you could do nothing to help yourself.

But here’s the thing. There is constantly a pressure upon us and it is the most natural thing in the world for us to just simply go on being what we are naturally. That’s the world we live in. Everything that feeds in…nearly everything that feeds into our mind, where does the wisdom come from? Where does the motivation? What is life about to people in this world? Does that affect anybody else here?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, and the problem is we’ve got flesh that’s still likes all of that. It’s still in harmony with all that, and so easy to just kind of go along with the crowd. I’ll tell you, there’s tremendous pressure when you’re a young person. We’ve all been there…the ones of us that are no longer there. We know what it’s like. Man, you want to be accepted. You want to be liked by people.

Well, what’s the price of that? Most of the time it’s to compromise. It’s to go their way instead of to be different and to say, Lord, I’m gonna follow you. I’m gonna love, I’m gonna be a right kind of person, but I want you and I need you, and I’m willing to step out of the crowd.

In fact, you can go back to verse 1 ‘cause he describes that living sacrifice as holy, doesn’t he? What does the word holy mean? What’s the real root meaning of the word holy? There is a separation. There is a devotion, a dedication of something to a particular purpose. It’s no longer just for the purpose that it once served. If a king goes out and takes somebody who’s just lived a normal life and they’ve just been doing their own thing, and now he lays his hand on them and calls him into his service, and puts a uniform on him and gives him responsibilities, he’s been set apart. He’s not just like his old buddies.

God has called us to literally be His people, separated from what this world is about. Now that’s not the same thing as saying we’re holier-than-thou, stuck-up kind of people at all, because we know why, we know the foundation of that is mercy.

( congregational amens ).

We know we’re not fundamentally better than anybody else or more deserving than anybody else, but God has shown mercy and we bow to that mercy. We say, yes, Lord, I’m willing to be Yours. I no longer belong to that. That’s not what I’m about. I tell you, this is what it means to follow Jesus. I’m not my own anymore, I am bought with a price.

The purpose of my life is not to just live and do my own thing, it’s to glorify Him. It’s that my life should be pleasing…isn’t that another word that’s used there? It’s not just holy, separated unto Him, but pleasing. My God, what a standard! Is what I do pleasing to God? Does God look at me and smile?

Of course if you’re conscious at all of your weaknesses, you’re saying, oh my God, no He never smiles at me. He’s constantly disgusted with me. No, I think God is a lot more gracious than that. But I’ll tell you, He’s looking at the heart. He’s not looking at the perfection of where we’re at in any given time, ‘cause we’re not there. But I tell you, if He sees a heart that is wanting, pulling toward Him, always getting off course but getting right back on saying, Lord I’m sorry, this is what my life is about. Cleanse me, clean me up, help me to go forward. God is pleased with that. That’s what He’s looking for. He’s looking for a heart that says God, I need you and I want you. Praise God!

So this is our part, to present ourselves. It’s a separate thing, it’s a sacrifice, it’s something that’s dying, something that’s living. That’s the pattern of our life. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world…”(NIV). What’s the alternative? “…But be transformed…” Now that word in Greek is the word from which we get our word, metamorphosis. You know what metamorphosis is?

( congregational response ).

Well yeah, that’s the perfect example, the caterpillar to the butterfly. God has built in the natural development of this creature an amazing picture for us of something that looks just like a worm…it might be a pretty worm but it’s still a worm. It’s just crawling around on the ground and pretty vulnerable to birds and all kinds of things. But there comes a time when that little caterpillar begins to spin a cocoon. I’ll tell you, there’s a separation that takes place, isn’t there? No longer is that caterpillar able to go to caterpillar parties, or whatever they do.

( laughter ).

You know, live life with his buddies, there’s a real separation. And it’s a place of confinement for awhile, isn’t it?

( congregational response ).

You’re not just free to run and do, but that’s not the end of the story. Thank God, the cocoon is not a tomb, it’s not a grave, it’s not a coffin, I guess is the word I was looking for. It’s something that’s intended to take him to something that is glorious in the latter end.

Now of course, all of that happens instinctively, but God wants us to enter into a metamorphosis that is with understanding that we get what God is after. We may not see it all. We don’t know what we will be, but we see enough to say, Lord, I’m Yours. You have pulled me out of that septic tank, I belong to you. God, I want to be what you want me to be, and I’m willing to do what it takes to get there. I’m willing to live a life where it’s gonna be a place of confinement. I can’t just run and do. I’ve got to sit there and I’ve got to allow the changes that God is seeking to bring about to happen in me, and they’re changes on the inside.

And I’ll tell you, there comes a day though, doesn’t there, when that cocoon begins to split? I haven’t watched it. I’ll probably get it a little bit wrong. Somebody is welcome to correct me. But I do know that there’s not only that confinement, there’s a place of struggling there for awhile, isn’t there? If you were to break the cocoon open right about the time it’s time for him to come out, you’d have this spindly, little, fat, juicy something or other that looks ridiculous, that wouldn’t survive.

There’s some wonderful changes that’s taken place, the form is there. But in the struggle of coming out of that there is a change that actually accomplishes the purpose of becoming that butterfly that’s able to just fly free in the sun and looks so beautiful. The very struggle of coming out of that cocoon is what forces that fluid in that crazy juicy body, whatever you want to call it, all that fluid has to be forced out into those wings. Then when you get done, you’ve got a nice, sleek, little body, you’ve got these wings that are beautiful. And he comes out of that thing and it isn’t long before he’s in the air.

What a picture of the metamorphosis that God is producing in our lives today. Folks, He’s called us to something that doesn’t make any sense to the world. I mean if we’re not gonna be conformed to this world, we’re gonna have to be conformed to something different. There’s a different set of values, there’s a different set of everything.

How much religion in our day caters to human nature, instead of confronting it and saying, I have come to deliver you? I have come to change you and make you something. God give us a vision. God give us something…an understanding that will enable us to have a commitment to something beyond what we have known, because I believe God has called us to something.

I’ll tell you, everything in religion, it seems like, and everything in our natural way of thinking is against this. But we’ve got One who is for it, who is the Lord of Heaven. I am determined to stand by what His word says. I tell you the devil attacks my confidence and my…attacks me all the time. Who are you to say all these crazy things? Well, I’m nobody. But they’re not my things.

( congregational response ).

They’re not my ideas. We’re talking about the Word of One who cannot lie.

( congregational amens ).

And God has called us to believe that there is One who can take things that are not, and
call them as though they were.

( congregational amens ).

Because He has the power to do it. Folks, that’s what salvation is all about. It’s a miracle. It’s submitting to God, allowing Him to accomplish something we could never do! Well, praise God, I want to sign on. I just pray that there’ll be some folks that’ll go with me. And we can encourage each other along the way and have a true vision and not just go along. We need a revelation from Heaven. We need a work of grace in the heart and we need some changes to happen here, and that’s what this is about in this particular verse.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed.…” Now I’m gonna go ahead and just give you a couple things from the Greek here. Interesting the word, ‘be transformed’…first of all, that is a present tense verb. Now some of you will recall from other times when we made this point, a present tense verb in the Greek, the simple present is a what? It’s a continuous thing, isn’t it? So we’re not talking about…

( snapping fingers ).

…Something that happens and then it’s done, we’re talking about “be transformed” as ‘an everyday, right through your entire life’ kind of thing. This is a way of life in which change is constantly happening here and here. If I’m going to become someone who can walk in the rest of this passage, and you read it, there are gonna have to be some changes, and it’s going to have to start with the way I think. So that instead of acting and reacting according to the way the world dictates, and the way of my nature that I was born with dictates, I’m gonna start reacting like Christ. That needs to be a way of life with us. If we’re not living a life of sensitivity where God can actually talk to us, and show us the degree to which self rules, then what’s happening? Nothing.