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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1059

Today
Part One

January 20, 2013

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1059 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I’d like to…I don’t know, I can’t get this passage off of my mind. I can’t say I’ve had any angel speak to me or anything like that, but turn to Hebrews chapter 3. And I’d just like to first read a very familiar passage. And, then we’ll just see what the Lord has out of it.

And this is where the writer here begins in verse 7. “So, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways. So I declared on oath in my anger, They shall never enter my rest.

“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.

“Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.

“Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, So I declared on oath in my anger, They shall never enter my rest. And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: And on the seventh day God rested from all his work. And again in the passage above he says, They shall never enter my rest. It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (NIV).

Some sober words, aren’t they? And yet words full of hope and promise. And, I usually…oftentimes I’ll just jump into a passage and start commenting, but I felt like I wanted to read the whole thing so that we get the sense of what’s going on here, because the writer here was addressing people who’d grown up in the Jewish religion…that’s what they knew. The Jews had made a religion out of what God had done through Moses. It had become more of a tradition than anything else and that’s what they were used to. They believed that was the way to come into a right relationship with God…was to observe the laws and the rituals of sacrificing animals and all those things.

And so the writer here was deeply concerned that of those to whom he wrote, that there would be some who would fail to recognize what God was really doing, which was namely to take them from this which had been…the purpose of all of this was to look forward. The purpose of it was to give them a picture and to prepare them for what God really was after, and that was what He had purposed to do through Jesus Christ. And so that was the eternal plan. That was the thing that mattered. It wasn’t just gonna go on and on and on, sacrificing animals…they could never take away sins, as he says later on in this same Book.

So the concern was that among the people there would be some who would indeed get a hold of this and there would be others who would just fail to ever enter in. You see the problem here was not as some have tried to teach, that there were people who got saved and then somehow were lost after that. This is people who were among the people of God and partakers of the blessings. They heard the promises. They went along…and outwardly they appeared to be part of the people of God and yet in their hearts, they really weren’t. And sooner or later, that became manifest. And so there was this warning that was given.

And of course, he uses the example…always he compares what was happening then to looking back to the Israelites that Moses brought out of Egypt. And we know actually that a great majority of them were unbelievers at heart, weren’t they? There were some among that first generation…there were very few who actually believed God, understood His promises, and were faithful even in the face of others who were not. But most of that first generation absolutely refused to believe God, refused to embrace the hope of the promise, clung to self-will, and perished in the wilderness.

And we know that Joshua did ultimately lead a generation into the promise that God had given, but the writer here makes the point that that’s not all it was about. You know, the whole deal there was not just about what Joshua did, because it was centuries later that God spoke through David and said, “Today, if you hear his voice.…” So this is like hundreds of years later, God says, today, hear His voice. There’s a rest for you. And so always there’s this sense of ‘today’ that God wants to speak, and that’s why this is relevant to us as much as it was to those to whom he wrote.

Because in a congregation this size, you, inevitably almost, at this point certainly, you inevitably have people who are part of it, and you have many people who are just sort of fellow-travelers. They’re here outwardly, but somehow they have never really gone through and given their lives, surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and really, truly at heart become a part of what this is all about.

And, this is not a small issue. This is not undertaking a religious lifestyle as opposed to a self-driven lifestyle, or kind of ‘six of one and half a dozen of another,’ you know, ‘you pays your money, you takes your choice’…the old expression. The issues here are eternal. This has to do with the reason for which this world was created and the reason that we are all here…because, I was kind of thinking about this yesterday, not knowing, necessarily whether it was gonna have anything to do with today, or not.

But I was really struck with what God said about His work being finished, since the creation of the world. I wonder if we get that! You know, we think about God doing this at a certain time, and doing this at a certain time, and doing this at a certain time, and yet, God’s Word declares that the whole point of what He’s making in this passage is that everything God has done, has in reality been done at the creation! Because the Word says that all of His works were, what?

( congregation inaudible ).

Finished! That’s all of it was finished! That’s why the Devil has no hope.

( congregational amens ).

He’s going up against something God has already done. There ain’t no undoing it!

( congregational amens ).

See, we’re involved in something that is eternal in the heart of God. It was a purpose He had in His heart long before He created the world. He understood everything that was gonna happen. He knew all of your names. He’s so great that He knew all about everything that would ever happen. And He absolutely came up with a plan of action. And what we see when we see Him acting in history is not…oh, I better figure out what I’m gonna do now, I didn’t really plan on that. It wasn’t that at all! It was simply the outworking of what He had already done. And now is the time to implement this! Well, it was already done back there.

And so the question becomes, are we going to participate in something that is eternal, or are we gonna cling to our own way? And that really is what it comes down to! And the problem is men don’t understand that. You know, it goes back to the beginning. What is our problem really? Our problem is that in the beginning, God handed a beautiful creation, a perfect creation to Adam and Eve, didn’t He?

( congregational response ).

It was wonderful! You’re in charge, He said. He gave it to them and began to teach them and help them. Adam was the one who got to name the animals. And so it was a wonderful time. There was no breach of fellowship between them and God. Everything was perfectly comfortable and wonderful. When the Lord came, they ran to Him with gladness. I mean, it doesn’t specifically say all that stuff, but you get that sense by what happened afterwards, that there was no breach between them and God, no sense of, hmm, I don’t know about this.

Does anybody here think about God that way? There’s a little bit of sense of unrest and unease and uncertainty about how does He really feel about me? Well, there wasn’t any of that in them. They were absolutely pure and innocent, and in absolute harmony with this eternal purpose that God had purposed…to have a family, to have a people. But into that came the serpent. Into that came the adversary and he deceived them into saying, there’s another way!

Yes, I know God told you this, but let me tell you why He told you that. This God you think is so wonderful has an ulterior motive. He’s really very selfish. He’s really trying to hold you back and keep you from a better destiny! He sort of wants to make pets out of you, and just hold you down and keep you in this nice little bottle so you can kind of tickle His fancy or whatever. But, let me show you another way where you can take this independent path and you can be gods just like Him.

And so they embarked on a course of rebellion and self-will where instead of ‘what drives my life and what determines my life is the loving purpose of God that was established in eternity,’ it becomes, ‘what do I think?’ What do I want? What pleases me? That’s what it was all about.

And, I don’t think that human beings even begin to appreciate that truth, because we are born into a world that simply thinks that way. It’s our nature to think in a very self-centered, self-pleasing kind of way. That’s our whole intellectual formulation and the Devil is active in trying to keep people inside that little bottle of deception.

You know, the scripture says in a couple of places in the Proverbs, “There is a way that seems right to a man.…” It seems right! And I’ll guarantee there’s people here today and you could talk to them and they would say, no, this is right! The way I feel is right! Well, the scripture says, yeah, there is a way and it does seem right to a man. And then what’s the next word?

( congregational response ).

But! The end of that way is death! You know, it’s well if we take heed to the Word of God. We’re talking about Somebody who’s been here from all eternity who loves us with an everlasting love and doesn’t lie. And so this is the kind of a message that we’re dealing with. This is the kind of a God that we’re dealing with.

And you know, we need to reckon honestly with our own limitations. We simply do not know! We don’t have a clue, folks, in ourselves. You know, what Paul said, and I believe God brought him to it, as we’ve said so many times in Romans 7. He felt a kind of self-confidence that his religious background had taught him in serving God…that all I need is the information. All I need is for God to tell me what to do and I’m good. I can do it!

He just found out he couldn’t though. He found out that there was a principle operating in him that absolutely defied the law of God, would not allow him to successfully keep it. No matter what he did, he was undermined by this thing that was built in. You and I were born with that same built in rebellion against the God of Heaven.

There’s nothing we can do outside of something happening to us from outside. God has got to intervene in our little playhouse…tear it down and put a brand-new life in there or we are just gonna go the way of the world. There’s no other…that’s it! I mean, this is just two ways…there’s two ways and two destinies. And so he begins back in verse 7. As the Holy Ghost says, ‘today’…that’s a significant word, because today is all we have.

( congregational amens ).

And it’s today…if God speaks today, no one has a promise that He will ever speak again, or that there will ever be another day! How do you know? Many of you will remember the story that Brother Thomas told, the account I should say, from his days as an evangelist when he was traveling around and preaching his heart out to people and trying to share the Gospel. And one night there was man who left the meeting under conviction and just wouldn’t yield.

And he went out and the next morning they found him at a railroad crossing. He’d been killed. I mean, I’m sure that man thought, well, I’m gonna think about this. Maybe one day I’ll do it but I’m not ready right now. But he didn’t have another chance. That was his chance. And of course Brother Thomas being Brother Thomas, I think he tells us he had a casket brought into his next service, and put down in front to remind people just how serious what he was preaching was about. This is not some ‘religious somebody’ we’re dealing with. This is God!

( congregational amens ).

This is the God of the universe who absolutely comes down and speaks to individual people! It’s not just some blanket thing. This is when God begins to confront a human heart. If His voice comes, and it begins to disturb, and it begins to challenge your life of self-will, and your way, and the way your life is going…that’s the issue! And there’s always a ‘today’—a sense of today. God only speaks in the present. And do you know the reality is that no one—no one has the power to come to God when they want to!

( congregational amens ).

That is a deception to think that well, I’m gonna think about this and one of these days I’ll get ready, and then I’ll just come and I’ll say, okay, Lord, now I’m ready.

( congregational response ).

It won’t work! No one has the power to come. Again I’ll use the illustration of somebody who’s floating along in the raging river heading for a cliff, and unaware of their fate. And into that situation comes One who says, you’re heading for disaster here, but here’s My hand. Take My hand now and I will lift you out and I will rescue you. Now what if that man says, you know, I’m gonna think about this. And he floats on down and he says, “Yeah, I think that’s a good idea, okay, I’m ready, Lord.” Well, the hand is gone. God doesn’t just stand there and wait on you. He’s God, for heaven’s sake!

( congregational response ).

Who do we think we are? To debate with God and question Him as though we’re up here and we’re sort of equals. And we say, I don’t know whether I want to agree with You or not. Oh God! God, wake us up! Wake up everyone who needs to be awake. Where is your life going? What’s it about? No one has a promise that there will ever be another day. Now is the time of salvation. “…Now is the day of salvation!” I believe it is, in 2nd Corinthians 6, I think it is. There is only one time and that’s today.

This point is emphasized several times in this…while it is called today, doesn’t he say down there? While it is called today! God says, okay, today there is an opportunity. Today I am speaking. Today I am reaching out My hand to you! This is your opportunity! You either take it or there is no possibility, or there is no certainty, I should say, that it will happen again. That’s a sober thought, isn’t it?

It’s no accident that he begins that quote from the Psalms with that word ‘today.’ “Today, if you hear his voice.…” Oh God! And if you hear His voice…I know the King James says, if you ‘will’ hear his voice. But almost every other translation leaves out the word will, but your will is involved. Because right after that he says, don’t harden your heart, so there’s a sense that…what am I gonna do with this? Yeah, I’m aware of the voice.

How many people heard Jesus? That was the voice of God to them. And yet, how many of them heard them with their natural ears, but never, ever got it, never understood…hey, this is Almighty God talking to me and reaching out to me, a lost, hopeless sinner headed for hell and basically saying, I don’t want you to go to hell. I’ve got something for you, but you’re gonna have to give Me your heart and give Me your life.

So that’s what this is about! “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” And that’s what happens! If you find any reason to set at naught something that God says to you, you’re in a condition of hardening, bringing in the calluses over your heart and over your ears. And you’ll be less and less sensitive to God’s voice as time goes along, and there’ll come a time you won’t even be able to hear it, if that continues.

That’s how serious this is. That’s why today matters. That’s why whenever God confronts you, that’s the time to surrender, because you’ve got divine help right there. You’ve got God reaching His hand down to you! You don’t have the power to believe! You don’t have the power to repent unless God gives it to you.

( congregational amens ).

There’s just no other way to put it. Oh, I’ll tell you, we’re gonna find out at the end that everything God did before the foundation of the world has unfolded perfectly and the Devil has not been able to stop a bit of it. But I pray that there’ll be people…this is part of the way that God has ordained to carry that plan out! He chooses the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe!

He bypasses all these smart people who are gonna try to figure it out, bypasses the fellow that’s looking for a sign. God, show us a sign and I’ll believe. He bypasses all that junk that’s full of self-willed unbelief, and He simply calls upon people to proclaim the message, and He works in the heart and there’s a connection there. And somebody is born of the very Spirit that is speaking, and their life is changed on the inside. And the fellow next to them, doesn’t get it.

But we’re gonna see at the end that God has called every one of His that He has foreknown. I’m not gonna try to explain all that. I’m just gonna tell you that’s how it is. God has done this thing and we part of something this morning that is eternal. But oh the warning, don’t harden your hearts.

And He looks back to the people in the wilderness who were brought out…they saw such incredible miracles. I mean, can you imagine—can you imagine being back up to a sea, the mightiest army in the world is coming down on you with all their chariots and all their forces and you’ve got nowhere to go, and you’re crying out and you’re saying, Moses, what are we gonna do, what are we gonna do? And God talks to him and He says, “…Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” (KJV).

And then he stands there and stretches out a shepherd’s rod, like that’s gonna do something. That’s what he had. That’s what God uses. Do you know God uses what we have, if we’ll give it to Him? God took that little old shepherd’s rod, he held it over the water and the water divided.

Can you just imagine walking through between two walls of water? And there’s fish swimming in there…well, I’m sure it was not so smooth that you could see the fish…this is at night anyway. But I mean, can you imagine walking through the walls of water and seeing this incredible miracle. Nothing like this had ever happened before.

Coming to the other side, and then the army says, well, if they can do it, we can. So they charge in there…the only problem is God wasn’t with them. This was an opportunity for God to demonstrate who He was to the world! Everybody from Europe to China heard all about this. Did you hear what happened to Pharaoh’s army? I’ll tell you, there’s a people who were slaves and their God caused this mighty miracle and delivered them!

( congregational response );

God is gonna get glory for His name.

( congregational amens ).

I just want to be on His side, don’t you?

( congregational response ).

But oh, those people saw that miracle, they stood before the mountain, they saw the shaking and the quaking, and the bright lights, and everything. I mean, it was just an awesome sight. They just wanted to draw back. All those things they saw, and yet somehow they never, never got it. And what was the problem? They stayed on the throne.

You know, God tells us that He took them out there to put them to the test! I’m gonna find out what’s really in their heart. I’m gonna put them in a variety of situations, I am never going to fail them, but I am going to make them hungry at times. I want them to look to Me. I want them to put their trust in Me, and realize that I can take care of them. I’m gonna allow them to get thirsty sometimes. I want to see what’s really in their hearts. Are these people who believe me, are these people who are willing to trust me in the hard times, or do they just want it their way?

See that’s the problem. People want their way! They want God to come and fix their life their way! God’s not in the business, as I say, of filling your dreams and doing things to suit you! He is calling us out of that very life that has got us prisoners, in order to give us something that is eternal!

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! But these people were in a place where God was testing them! Guess what they were doing? They were testing God! They were saying, all right God, You get on the witness stand. We’re gonna cross-examine You. You think of the arrogance of people who are constantly holding on to their own opinion, their own life, filtering everything through their desires, how they think things ought to be done!

Every time something went wrong, it wasn’t God, it was Moses. You put yourself in this place! Who do you think you are? They never had a clue what God was up to…never were willing to let go of that prison that they were in of serving themselves, and putting their trust completely in God.

Oh I’ll tell you, that’s been the problem with everybody that’s ever heard the Gospel and turned away. Self has reigned! Carnal opinion has absolutely been elevated above God Himself! God, You have got to meet my demands. You’ve got to prove Yourself that You’re worthy of me going along with You…and that’s what it really is.

And every time something happened that was great…yeah, yea God! Man, wasn’t that awesome! Look at what He did to the Egyptians! Look what He did to deliver us! This is an awesome God! Yea, God, I’m with You—I’m with You. Then a few days later they were thirsty and they weren’t with Him anymore. God stopped measuring up to their opinion.

And there are so many people that come to God and they’ve got their own desires, they’ve got their own plan. This is how I see my life. This is what I want. If this God is real, He’ll give me the husband I want, He’ll give me the wife I want, He’ll give me the job, He’ll give me the career…I’ll be able to do this, I’ll be able to do that. They’ve got it all mapped out as to what…and God’s got to meet their requirements or they’re out of here. But God is absolutely gonna cut right across all of your requirements of Him. He doesn’t owe you a thing.

( congregational response ).