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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1048

A Vision for the Future
Part One

November 4, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1048 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Good morning.

( congregational response ).

The Lord’s good. I sure appreciate His presence. Praise the Lord! I thought of something that I wanted to just refer to that some of you may remember Brother Thomas reading over the years. It kind of came to me recently when I was thinking about some things. It was that quote from A. W. Tozer. And he was a man of vision. He was around when Sue and I were growing up. He was somebody that…it seems like a lot of people are turning back to him and glorying in his words. I hope they’re getting the reality of it. I hope we are.

But anyway, he had quite an insightful look at the religion of his day, and he wrote these words. He said, “Surely we need a baptism of clear seeing if we are to escape the fate of Israel (and of every other religious body in history that forsook God). If not the greatest need, then surely one of the greatest is for the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic vision. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist. Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come, we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy.

“But the cross is always the harbinger of the resurrection. Mere evangelism is not our present need. Evangelism does no more than extend religion, of whatever kind it may be. It gains acceptance for religion among larger numbers of people without giving much thought to the quality of that religion. The tragedy is that present-day evangelism accepts the degenerate form of Christianity now current as the very religion of the apostles and busies itself with making converts to it with no questions asked. And all the time we are moving farther and farther from the New Testament pattern.

“We must have a new reformation. There must come a violent break with that irresponsible, amusement-mad, paganized pseudo-religion which passes today for the faith of Christ and which is being spread all over the world by unspiritual men employing unscriptural methods to achieve their ends.”

Ouch. You know, I was thinking about this recently. Dr. Tozer died in 1963, and think about that. That’s almost 50 years ago. And if that was true in his day, think about where we’re at today. I’ll tell you, we need the Lord, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

You know, we had an elders meeting yesterday in Columbia, and I believe there’s a lot of prayer that went into it, and those prayers were answered. God was with us and it was a blessing. There was just a good spirit, a good sharing, many sharing concerns and burdens, but in a wonderful way that brought us closer together, and that’s surely what we need.

And I had a burden that had been on my heart and I expressed some of it. And just riding home with Don yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t get it off my mind. And so, I’m just gonna trust the Lord to help me to share some of the things that I was thinking about.

You know, one of the great difficulties—one of the things that brings about the conditions that Dr. Tozer described there, is the passing of generations. Many times you will have a Christian leader who will really have something from God and they break through, as it were, into a realm of fruitfulness and revelation, and just a wonderful life with the Lord, and of ministry, and something…the ministry gathers around them and then you move down the stream of time through generations and you come back a few years later and it’s not the same thing.

And, Tozer was in the second generation of the movement I was a part of, and it was near the end of his ministry when we were growing up and things were changing—things were moving away from what the founder had had, which was an amazing, amazing vision—amazing power and life from the Lord. His sermons used to be printed on the front page of the New York Times, if you can believe that. Different era, to say the least.

But anyway, God mightily moved and there was a generation that we grew up among that really had something amazing. Sue and I had an interesting conversation the other day. We were talking about some of these things, and thinking about where we’re at, and what happened, and both of us can remember being among, and being around, to some degree at least, spiritual giants from an earlier generation when we were growing up.

She was recalling for me being in prayer meetings, all night prayer meetings. Now her mother didn’t take her all night, but anyway they were there for parts of them. And they were in people’s living rooms, and people were on their knees. And some of the old saints, she can remember as a little girl kneeling there and listening to some of these old saints, just pouring out their hearts to God. And there was a life in that particular church. There was a power, there was something real that was engaging.

But by the time that she graduated from high school, the same era that I was in, something had changed. The prayer had stopped like it was, disunity had come in, younger ministers had come in with all kinds of cool new ideas. And what happens over time is that people just simply conserve what was there in the past. You know, we have the message. We’ve got our orthodoxy. Now we know what to preach, so all we need to do is just kind of give it out and everything will just happen and be hunky-dory, without understanding that there is a power, and there is a life, and there’s a reality that’s needed if that’s gonna be effective. I don’t care what words are said, if God’s Spirit is not in it, they will absolutely drop dead, and you’ll see it reflected. God help us.

We need more. We need the engine of prayer so that what we preach becomes actually life in people. I sense my need of more of this. We need…the burden that I had was that we not fall into the trap…that virtually every generation before us has fallen into, to one degree or another, that we absolutely have something to hand down to the next generation that will not only sustain them and keep them going, but will actually enable them to go beyond us, because that’s the need—that’s the need of the hour in which we live.

Many times I have asked the Lord, and I don’t have any grand revelation, but you know, Lord, what is my place, what am I here for, what am I doing? That’s a good thing to be asking the Lord for. We need to pray and say, God, why are we here? Are we here just marking time, practicing religion, living our lives? And obviously the answer should be no. What we are a part of here should be our life in the sense that we are about the kingdom of God.

But one of the things that keeps coming to me, it has come to me over the years, is this. A great part of my job is to help prepare, certainly not me alone, to help prepare the following generation. Because if the Lord tarries, you’ve got young people, teenagers, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, they’re going to have the spiritual burden, and what the church will be then will be in your hands. And so you need to know what it’s about.

We all need to know what it’s about. The older generation needs to be living and modeling what we are about. It cannot be simply transmitted through words. It’s got to be transmitted by what we do and what we are. It’s got to be transmitted in our homes. It’s got to be transmitted here in the assembly. But we need to absolutely understand what we are about and what God has called us to.

You know, Tony shared some things yesterday and was very eloquent and passionate in what he shared. It was wonderful. But one of the things he pointed out was a scripture…in fact, I’m gonna go ahead and turn over there. Genesis 18…he sort of paraphrased some of it, and it concerned Abraham. And this was the occasion when, right before Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, and the Lord actually visited Abraham in human form along with two angels.

And in verse 17, it says, “Then the Lord said, shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” (NIV).

Man, there’s a lot in that. But you see, the purposes of God are first of all from eternity. God has plans, He has purposes. He had a reason that He appeared to Abraham in the first place, he was Abram at that time, and began to reveal Himself to Abram, didn’t He? And the first promise was…well, He told him what to do, He said, get out of your country. Go to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation. And I’ll bless those who bless you, I’ll curse those that curse you, and in you will all families of the earth be blessed.

Now, this obviously was not something that simply pertained to Abraham’s life, was it? The promise of God was looking far down the stream of time. And so for that to absolutely happen, part of the purpose was for Abraham to transmit this faith that God had imparted to him, to his son Isaac. And he did, and the Lord revealed Himself to Isaac, and it became real to him.

And he handed it down to at least one of his sons. Esau didn’t get it, did he? Esau despised the birthright. He was the first born. In the normal course of things, he should have been the one through whom all of this was carried on, but he was an unbeliever. And in spite of Jacobs…you know, the way he went about things, God worked in spite of all of that to impart His vision to Jacob. And Jacob became Israel, a man who absolutely prevailed with God.

And you follow down through the history of Israel, you find two kinds of people, don’t you? You find a nation of idolatrous unbelievers, rebels who didn’t get it at all. But in the midst of that, you always, in every generation, there were people that were born, as it were, spiritually of Abraham’s faith. And they held in their hearts the promise of God.

You know, you look in Hebrews chapter 11, my mind went back to this. I know, some of these things we’ve talked about, but I just have a sense this morning…I don’t know, I just cannot get this off of mind. So we’ll just…I’ll take that as from the Lord. But this whole chapter has to do with one thing.

You know, the whole book, first of all, has to do with the coming of the Gospel, the promise of God that was to reach out to all men, and the fact that that is the fulfillment of everything that happened in the Old Testament. All of that was pointing to one thing, the coming of Christ and the Gospel. And the writer here was concerned that people be stuck in their religion and not be able to understand what had happened.

But now he goes back to these men of God, and he says, “By faith Abraham…” verse 8, “…when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father….”

Praise God! You see, you just kind of get the supernatural side of all of this. Everything, and you follow this through, everything that God had prophesied and promised to him was something only God could do. You know, one of the things you sense, you get in Tozer’s quote is when religion has come down into the hands of men, they turn it into cute methods. They turn it into religion. They turn it into something where they’re gonna go out and use their cleverness to try to do something for God, and it’s no longer supernatural—it’s no longer God acting.

Folks, if this work ever gets to that point, we are toast. This will be worthless to the Kingdom of God. I don’t believe that’s gonna happen. I believe God is with us. I believe there’s a stirring. I believe there’s an awakening and I just pray that it will continue. But not just continue, because I don’t know the time element of what God is gonna do in the world—I don’t know it. Anybody here know?

No! But I do know one thing. Whether Christ comes today, or whether Christ comes 100 years from now, God is seeking a people who will be alive, who will be awake…I mean spiritually alive, awake, aware, in tune with Him. When God was gonna do something in the scriptures, just as He did with Abraham… “shall I hide from Abraham what I’m gonna do?” Always God has people He communicates with in the world as to what’s going on.

And there’s a place…we’re not here just to have our lives and practice a little religion on the side. If that’s what you’ve got, you need, at the very least, you need to wake up. And some may need to be born again. I’m just telling you straight. We need God. We need a reality. We need a revelation. I need it in a greater way in my life. I certainly am not standing here as somebody who is…who could even be in the same platform with some of these that I know from the past.

And I’ll tell you what, there was a sense…Abraham was…you see a pattern in these lives throughout this entire chapter, of men of God who were believers in the promise of what was to come. And yet, they also lived in their own generation. So what to do? There’s two things. They weren’t so buried in the moment that they were lost here and forgot about that. But they weren’t so stuck on that, that they forgot to live.

God is looking for a people who will absolutely seek Him and do what He says, and serve Him in their generation, and put all these issues in God’s hands. Now if the generation to come does no more that simply regurgitate our teachings, and carry out our practices and the way we do things, you will die. What we need to transmit to…what we need to practice, what we need to transmit to the next generation is to introduce you to Jesus, the only Head of the Church, who absolutely has the plan of the Father, who knows what we’re supposed to be doing, who knows how we’re supposed to let our light shine in a darkening world, who knows how to finish the promise that has been set before us.

And you look at…let’s go on and read a little bit here. It says, “By faith Abraham…” This is where I left off, I guess in the middle of this. “…By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father….” Folks, in every generation, if we do anything for God, it’s because God enables us. There’s nobody smart enough, there’s nobody gifted enough. There’s nobody who has what it takes to do anything of any value in the kingdom of God!

Now if somebody happens to hear that and you’re proud of your natural abilities, you need to come down, way down off your high horse. You are nothing when it comes to this. None of us, we are nothing in ourselves. We are nothing…there’s only one thing we can give to God, and that’s a blank check. That blank check is our lives. Lord, You write in the amount. You tell me what to do. This is not my life anymore. It’s Yours and it’s Yours to do with as You please.

God, help us and wake us up that we really live in the reality of this. It is so, it’s so challenging…I don’t know anything worse than trying to serve … I don’t know any stronger tactic the enemy has against the Kingdom of God than ease and prosperity. And for all the challenges and difficulties that we talk about in this society, they’re nothing compared to what a lot of our brothers and sisters are going through right now in the world. And spiritually, most of them have more than we do. They’re closer to God. They have more of a sense of the reality…they know they’re dependent on a holy God to help them and strengthen them.

But we haven’t chosen the time and the place, but I’ll tell you what, we need to be aware and alert. If nothing else, I hope the Lord will get in these crazy words this morning and plant some seeds in hearts that will spring up and as long as there is time ahead of us, God is gonna be looking for a people who will absolutely stand in the center of His will, and do His will and be a light, and live, not only for their generation, but also for the promise and the hope that God has set before us.

So anyway, he was enabled to become a father, why? “…Because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.” That’s all it is. “And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died.”

And you know, that’s kind of what may happen. You know, I look around and I see all these gray-headed people, and an awful lot of them were, together with me, we were the young people. And it wasn’t all that long ago. Yeah, hey Billy. Yeah, you’re not only gray, but you’ve lost some of it,

( laughter ).

Well, praise God, that’s all right. You know, that’s the way it is. And I can remember Brother Thomas standing up here and telling us the same thing. Some of you remember that. He said, someday it’s gonna be in your hands and God’s gonna…you’re gonna have to look to God. Well, I’m gonna look you in the eye and say, that’s the same thing for you. You’re gonna have to have the goods, and understand what this is about, and know how to move in God, and know how to believe Him and seek Him and be used of Him.

And God could take somebody here and set them before nations, ‘cause it has nothing to do with who we are and what we are. It has everything to do with the call and the purpose of God, and His power and His anointing. That’s what we need. And I believe we have every right to expect it! Praise the Lord!

So anyway, these people were living by faith when they died and that may be where it comes to. There may come a day when many of us will pass off the scene. Well, I’ll tell you one thing, that does not affect the promise and the purpose of God. That endures to the end of time. There is something coming that we need to be living for, and focused on, and understanding. It needs to define what we are about. And that is the promise of God—the hope that God has set before us as a people. That’s what drove these people.

Okay? So they were living by faith when they died. “They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them….” See, God can give us a vision of something that hasn’t happened yet. He can give us an ability to see it and to know that it’s real, and to know that it’s coming, and for it to be so real that we stand against whatever the darkness throws at us. Now you read through some of this and you’ll see that a lot of them paid with their lives.

Okay, it says, “And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.” Where’s your heart today? A lot of folks are…well, they feel their need in some sense to seek after God, but their heart’s really, really back there. That’s not a good thing. God’s gonna give you a chance to show where your heart really is. Sooner or later it’s gonna happen.

What do you think is gonna happen when conditions change in our world — and they will? I promise you that. It’s not always gonna be like it is right now. We’re gonna have to have something on the inside. We’re gonna have to have an anchor for our souls, a reality. God’s gonna have to become personal. Christ is gonna have to be a real, living Lord who reigns, for you and I to be able to stand against the things that the enemy is gonna be allowed to bring upon the earth.