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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1024

Many Shall Try
Part One

May 20, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1024 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I have a burden and a thought that I can’t seem to shake, so let’s just see what the Lord has in mind. It’s from Luke Chapter 13. You know sometimes the Lord deals with us in all kinds of different ways. You come into a service sometimes, you think you have a burden and the Lord just takes it off in another direction. You know that’s the Lord. Sometimes you come in with…you think you have something, and like I say it just goes another whole direction. But in any case these thoughts are so…and I pray to God will do what He wants to do with them.

Let’s begin with verse 22 and just read a little bit of scripture. It says, “Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, Lord, are only a few people going to be saved? He said to them, Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, Sir, open the door for us. But he will answer, I don’t know you or where you come from.

“Then you will say, We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets. But he will reply, I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers! There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” (NIV). That’s a sobering scripture isn’t it?

( congregational amens ).

Somebody might read this and wonder, how in the world could people try to enter the kingdom and not be able? That doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t seem fair for people to actually make an effort of some kind to enter the kingdom of God and yet be rejected. Now it’s interesting Jesus didn’t even volunteer this. This came in response to a question. I tell you, I believe God provoked the question, don’t you?

( congregational amens ).

Perhaps there was just something in Jesus’ teaching that caused them to think that maybe it’s this way or just to wonder, but the answer, as I say, is a very sobering one. And I believe it’s well if we understand what He’s talking about. Now I’ll say this at the outset, I don’t think Jesus said these words to make people afraid in the wrong sense. I don’t believe He said them in order to cause people to be afraid as though somehow their own efforts to be good enough for God or something like that, that they’re gonna have to be measured by that, and that somehow they’re gonna fall short or they’re gonna be rejected. What He’s talking about is a different kind of thing altogether, isn’t it?

( congregational amens ).

It’s a different kind of effort that’s involved. Now it’s interesting that the…there’s two different words, very different types of expressions here where He says on the one hand “Make every effort....” I think the King James says to strive. The original word there is the word from which we get agony or agonized—pretty serious effort He’s describing there. And on the other hand He just talks about people who try. See there’s a very different level of effort there. But what He’s really talking about is a deadly seriousness and a soberness about it where coming to…entering into the kingdom of God becomes the single most important thing in life.

And that’s what’s happening with so many that actually gathered around Jesus, listened to His words, probably said, isn’t that great. Isn’t this wonderful? This teacher is doing so many wonderful things, saying so many wonderful truths, man, I’m with Him. They just somehow identified themselves with Him or imagined that they were part of what He was talking about, but did not actually have a clue because He said, the door into this kingdom is not just some broad… this is a narrow door.

Now He uses the analogy or the illustration of a house and somebody owns that house, and for a time there’s a door—there’s a way into that house. And that door at this point in time was open but it was a narrow door. You couldn’t just say, well, I think I’ll run around to the back door. I’ll come in that way, or I’ll slide in through a window, or I’ll just sort of… you know. There was only one way. Everything else was shut up tight.

There was one simple way to get into the kingdom of God. I believe that’s where people fall down. It’s not an effort to somehow get God to accept you. We’re not earning our way into the kingdom by anything that we could possibly muster or do. There’s nothing in the way of human strength that will ever cause God to accept you.

( congregational amens ).

So what in the world is He talking about? You know it reminds me of the scripture that I believe the same word is used, and it talks about striving to…well, let’s turn over to Hebrews, Chapter 4. Just keep your place here. But Hebrews, Chapter 4. Now here I believe the writer is essentially talking about the same thing, isn’t he? He’s talking about people who are outwardly identified with Christ in some fashion, but the concern on the part of the writer is that there will be people who will go so far, but yet they will stop short of actually entering in. It’s like there’s a door, a lot of people hang out on this side of the door imagine that they’re in when the fact is they need to enter in.

And let’s see, down in…he uses the analogy of how God gave the Israelites a place of rest, didn’t He. He gave them an inheritance. It was something that He had provided. There was no other way that they could obtain it except God had given it to them. Then later on He warns the people. It said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

See what happens is, God speaks but there is a level of resistance there, there’s a level of trying to re-jigger it a little bit and say, yeah, I like this part of the message but I don’t quite go along with that. There’s some kind of resistance. Where’s that resistance? It’s inside isn’t it? Something in here is resistant to some aspect of the gospel message. Now I tell you the gospel message is an uncompromising one. It puts us all in the same place, doesn’t it?

( congregational amens ).

But here is God having provided something that is perfect, that is wonderful. It doesn’t depend on my effort or yours, doesn’t depend on my deserving it, nor you. It’s a gift of God. Just as the original creation was a gift of God that all Adam and Eve had to do was to enjoy it and obey God. That’s it. There wasn’t something they had to do to earn it. Thank God we don’t have to earn our way into the kingdom. That’s not what this is talking about at all.

( congregational amens ).

But he says, “There remains…” in verse 9, “…then, a Sabbath-rest…” And he uses…it’s kind of… it points back to the fact that God rested at the end of the creation. There was something that was finished. All we had to do was enter into that and enjoy it. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also…” does what? “…rests from his own work.…”

Right there that tells you this isn’t the kind of effort he’s talking about, is not an effort to try hard to be a Christian. Boy, I’ve met all kinds of people who fall in that category. There’s…churches are full of them. You know I’ve met people…I can think of some who you know they had trouble in their life, things weren’t right, and there was problems, all of a sudden they’d come to me one day, you know I’m really trying. I’ve joined a church. I’m going faithfully. You know they start telling you all about this religious life they’ve taken on and how they’re trying to be faithful in church. And they think that’s what God’s after.

Oh my God. They don’t have a clue. They’re trying. They’re trying so hard to be a Christian, but that’s not what it is. “For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works....” I tell you the pathway into the kingdom of God is to stop trying to get God to like you and accept you. He already does.

( congregational amens ).

He loves you. He loved you when He sent His Son to the cross when you didn’t care about Him at all. You weren’t even around, but I mean you know “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s what the love of God is. We don’t have to get God to love us. I don’t care how far in sin you’ve fallen, God loves you.

( congregational amens ).

But I’ll tell you, there’s nothing you can do to earn your way into this. Make every…now here’s the expression, it says, “Let us, therefore…” in view of what God has done, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.…” Now that sounds crazy. Try real hard to stop trying.

( laughter ).

But here’s the issue. I kind of alluded to this. You think of what it is that stops you—stops people from coming into the kingdom of God? What is it really? I mean you might say well, their friends laugh at them or the devil works real hard on them. That’s not the issue. The issue’s in here. The issue is, are we willing to let go of the things that would keep us?

I don’t care what the devil does, if you in here want God and are willing to surrender, there’s not a devil in Hell could keep you out of the kingdom of God. He has no power except what you give him. I tell you if the devil has a hold of your life, he has a hold because you gave it to him. You might not have realized you were giving it to him but you did.

I tell you there’s somebody…and He’s here this morning…who has the power to set you free from whatever the devil has done in your life, but you’re gonna have to give Him what you gave the devil. It’s gonna have to belong to Him lock, stock, and barrel. You don’t have the power to change. You don’t have the power to beat what’s working on you. My God, we need to preach salvation.

( congregational amens ).

There’s so much that goes out there and preaches how people ought to live and they ought to do and all this stuff, without giving people the means by which that happens. It’s salvation. I am an unworthy, unable sinner. There’s not one good thing that I can look in here and depend upon to help me either come to God or to live the Christian life. I need Him to come and take possession of my vessel and live in and through me.

There’s nothing else that qualifies as the gospel or salvation. That why I say churches in America are full of people who are religious but don’t know they’ve run afoul of exactly the thing that Jesus was talking about. What is it that stops us? As I say, it’s in here isn’t it?

I will allude again to the imagery that John Bunyan used in Pilgrim’s Progress. You remember how all the things that stood in the way—several things. I’ll give you one. One was the castle. You remember how he was taken to the house of the Interpreter and showed a castle, and he showed a bunch of dark figures who were standing there in between this man who came up to try to get in that castle and the castle. What did he have to do? He had to fight.

You know the kingdom of Heaven is “…forcefully advancing…” It “…suffers violence…” and what? “…the violent take it by force,” or “…forceful men lay hold of it,” in the modern translation. In other words it takes that kind of an effort, but what is it that’s being overcome here? It’s self.

( congregational amens ).

It’s the utter resistance that we have to surrender to God. Self is absolutely encamped. We are polluted with self. It’s what we are about, apart from Christ. I tell you there is everything in this world that will fight not to surrender, and what happens is that there’s people who have never given up the throne of their life, who have taken on some of the packaging—some of the outward things that have to do with following Christ. They are among the people of God but they have never surrendered to Christ.

I tell you Jesus didn’t do this—didn’t tell them this to scare people in the wrong sense. As I said, He told them out of a heart of love. I don’t believe He railed on the people. You know I guess we tend to be real forceful when we talk about things like this. I apologize. I don’t want to do that in human energy, but it was a deep burden on His heart.

You want to know how deep it was? Look at what happened right after that. Verse 34, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

This wasn’t in anger that Jesus uttered these words. It was anguish. There was a weeping, there was a longing on the part of His heart for people to wake up and to recognize that there’s going to be people…always it’s been this way, who would become outwardly a part of the people of God. I tell you I don’t care how weak you are, how new you are, how old you are, if you surrender to Jesus Christ, you put your life in His hands, you’re in a safe place.

( congregational amens ).

It’s not designed to make you afraid. But there’s people that need to be awakened who don’t understand, because look at the reaction of the people. Jesus is saying there’s going to come a time when the door is going to be shut. This is God’s house. It’s not ours, we don’t control the door. He shut it. It’s closed. That’s it. But what was their reaction? They’re standing on the outside knocking. Open, hey we’re part of this, let us in! What did He say? I don’t know you.

Did Jesus utter these words just to make talk? No, there was a real issue involved. You think about some of the people…some of the things that Jesus taught, it gives us an insight into what kind of an effort people make. What’s this business about trying and not being able? Well, what about the rich young ruler? Did he try? Yeah, he wanted to get into the kingdom. What’ll I have to do? What do I do?

Jesus gave him the law. He patted himself on the back about how well he kept that. But Jesus knew something about this man. I can tell you there are churches today that would have welcomed that man. There would have been dollar signs in the treasurer’s eyes about this fellow because he had money. He’d say, boy our problems are over. We can meet the mortgage now. Oh God.

But Jesus looked at the real issue in the man’s life. There was something in his life that he loved more than God. What’s the first commandment? “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (KJV). I tell you salvation starts by putting Him first. And that’s the problem—people will go so far and something will come up that they love and they’ll come up with a rationale how it’s okay. I’m rich, so I can put lots of money in the offering. I can do this. I can work hard. I can be a part and never really surrender that thing that’s most important.

I tell you, if you ever come to God, He’s going to put His finger on the number one issue of your heart and your life. I tell you I believe the Lord is concerned. I know Brother Thomas was concerned throughout his ministry. He’d look out and he would know…and it’s not any particular person, he would know that there were people and you talked to him, some of you who did. You know he was aware that there were people who had just come who just had Bible Tabernacle religion. They were attracted to the strong ministry that he had. They were attracted to the singing, attracted to something and felt, I’m a part. I’m part of the activities. I agree with this. I agree with that and just count themselves as a part, but Jesus had never conquered their heart, never really come to that place.

I just sense in a small measure God’s heart in this thing. There’s a longing. There’s a weeping that people could actually come to such a place where they really thought they were. There’s a deception. I tell you, if you love something and your heart is fixed on it, the devil is going to feed you something that will make it seem like it’s okay. And you’ll embrace that deception more than you embrace the real message of Christ that says surrender your life and give up your life. He that loves his life will…

( congregational response ).

Lose it. Did Jesus mean you? He meant me. Man if I want to just take hold of my life and say I’m going to do as I please and I’ll serve you on the side. That becomes my God—whatever I set ahead of Him. Oh God we are so…we have no idea the shape we’re in, what we need in the way of salvation. We are so full of self, deception, and pride, and all these things, God has to touch those things. Thank God, if you’re weak and you’re crying out to Him, you have all the hope in the universe. I don’t want you to be afraid in that sense. Jesus is safe. His salvation is full and He’s able to take the lowest of the low and save them completely. Praise God! We’ve got a hope we can proclaim today.

( congregational amens ).

But the problem here was people who wanted to somehow have that. They wanted to go to heaven, but they wanted their life, their rights, their way here. No such thing. That was the problem with that man. What happened? When Jesus put the finger where the problem was, he went away. Jesus didn’t get mad at him. Jesus loved him. I believe there was a sorrow in His heart.

Jesus loves you too. That’s how He regards you. That’s why I don’t want to yell at you this morning. I just pray God will give me grace to somehow reflect not just the words, but the Spirit behind the words. Because there’s a sorrow in His heart over the depth of the need that people have and how easy it is to stop short and be side-tracked.

You know one of the parables that Jesus gave was the parable of the sower wasn’t it? Now you had some that just had no capacity whatsoever. The Word just didn’t have effect on them. They were the seed that fell on the wayside where people had trampled and it didn’t get in.

But there were two kinds of soil where something came up, weren’t there? Now one of them was soil that had a little bit of depth on the surface, but underneath was what we would probably call hard pan, or rock, or something, whatever it was there was a place where the roots could go down a little bit, but they couldn’t really get down.

I tell you that’s a picture of a lot of people who hear the hope of the gospel. Man they love the singing, they love the fellowship of the people, they’re warmed by the presence of God. They enjoy that. They are absolutely…it’s awesome the idea that we can have our sins forgiven and go to heaven one day and the Lord will be with us through this world. They just cherry-pick all the wonderful things and just latch right on quickly to all that. But by and by what happens? Trouble, persecution, something begins to challenge that Word and what happens? There’s no root. The sun comes out. It just burns it right up. I tell you, if people come to Christ, God’s going to have to get down into that heart level and break it up.

( congregational amens ).

That represents a hard, a stiff self-willed resistance that’s never really challenged. How many places today do you go and you hear the gospel and it’s kind-of a superficial thing to so many? You can get people to say yes, and come and become church members, but their heart is never, ever really challenged. In fact if somebody came in and really tried to challenge the heart level issues, what would happen to him? They’d throw him out. I tell you we need people in this hour that will preach the truth…like Brother Thomas used to say, if it hair-lips Grandma. And it’s not trying to do it just for effect or just so people would say, wow, isn’t that great. We need it because it’s the truth. We’re talking about life and death here. Does this matter?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah. Jesus is talking about people who get to the other end and they have an awful surprise. What happened? I came. I listened. I sat under Brother Thomas all those years. What do you mean I’m not? Oh God, wake up. I believe there’s people that need to search their hearts and say, is Christ really the Lord in my life? Have I really, really surrendered to Him? ‘Cause there’s no salvation in any other way. If you’re still sitting on the throne and trying to fit Jesus into your life and just make your life, you know, make that the dominating factor of your life, you don’t know the Lord. There’s no other way to put it. You don’t know Him. There’s no use pretending that you do.

I tell you the Lord is concerned because He has a perfect salvation. But He’s not coming to make your life better in this world and just dump all this great stuff on you and let you be the Lord. We’re gonna have to…I mean that’s the fundamental…that’s what’s wrong. What’s kind of salvation is it that never touches on the deepest issue that’s wrong with us to begin with. That’s what we need to be saved from.

( congregational amens ).

It’s me, with my strong will asserting my way and saying I’m gonna do what I want to do and Jesus, I’m gonna fit you in here. Praise you Lord. I’m gonna adopt the lifestyle. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna do that. I’ll work. I’ll give lots of money Lord. I’ll be real zealous for your kingdom. That’s not what He’s looking for. He’s just looking for you.

I know many of you heard the story that Brother Thomas use to tell about the…I’m guessing this was something from David Brainerd. I don’t know because he was a missionary to what were called Indians at that time. The man was under conviction and he came to the clearing where the missionary was camped and praying and He just wanted salvation. He knew he needed something, so he came and gave his blanket—something that was very, very important. I’m willing to sacrifice this if I could just have peace, if I could just have forgiveness of sins. But it wasn’t enough.

He brought his—I don’t know if it was his rifle or his horse—but he brought things in succession that were greater and greater in value, and he was still under deep conviction. Then one evening he came in, he didn’t have anything with him. He said, I give myself. Of course the way they tell the story, Indian give himself. But that’s what it is. If the Lord has you, He’s got all the rest of the stuff.

Oh I’ll tell you what—we will fight, kicking and screaming. You think it’s easy just to kind of embrace the gospel. Oh isn’t this grand and great. There’s going to be a pitched battle between…that involves self trying to live and Satan will throw everything he can at you to stir that up. He will dump fear after fear, after fear into your heart about what this is going to mean. Oh my God. What about this? What about that? Will I be able to marry, ta-da-da-da-da-da?

You know all these things are gonna come into your mind. Satan is going to feed that. Your problem is not Satan, your problem is self that tends to agree with him and finds it so easy to listen to him. I tell you if you surrender, and I guarantee there’s lots of people here who could testify. You went through this in some form. There was a battle. You didn’t want to surrender. You didn’t want to give up. You didn’t want to let go. But what happened when you did? Peace.