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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1074

The Need for Deep Conviction
Part One

May 5, 2013

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1074 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I have had a burden this morning and yesterday, and all I can do is just trust the Lord that it is Him and that He will help it to find expression. I think it would be good just to, at least, make some comments about the events of the last couple of days. You know, a lot of people react in shock and wonder about how can such a thing happen as what happened up in Connecticut.

And the truth is, sadly enough, it shouldn’t surprise us. We need to have a spirit of compassion. We need to pray for everybody that’s affected. But you know, the devil loves to raise up questions in people’s minds. If God is all powerful and loving, how could He let something like this happen? If He’s all powerful, then He must not be loving because He lets it happen. If He’s loving, He must not be all powerful, because He couldn’t stop it.

Well, that’s just a crock. Reality is that we’ve got a world in which He has given man responsibility and there are consequences for choices. And man has chosen to live in rebellion against His Maker, and we have a world that is going that way. It’s kind of arrogant for people to suppose that God ought to stop any bad thing from happening so we can just kind of live as rebels. That doesn’t quite work.

But, Jesus made a comment in His earthly ministry. There was apparently a disaster that everybody knew about. A tower fell and killed…was it 18 people, something like that? And, the question Jesus posed was, do you suppose that those people were sinners above everybody else? In other words, was that God’s judgment specifically on them? They were just bad and so God said, I’m gonna wipe you out.

And Jesus said, no! The implication is, things like that happen. But the truth is, you all need to repent. Everybody needs to repent. Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. And so, Jesus…what was God’s…how did God reach out to Israel? That’s a pretty good example. He sent them prophets. He did everything conceivable to reach out in love and to appeal to them, and the nation as a whole said, no…and said no to the point where they took Him and put Him on a cross.

Now we know that was actually God’s plan to allow that to happen, and it provides the only hope that you and I have. What was Jesus’ reaction to all that? Was He saying, oh good, We get to judge everybody? No. He looked at Jerusalem and He wept. And said, O Jerusalem, if only you had known, if only you had been able to recognize that I was reaching out to you in love. But now, you’re blind and the time is gonna come when your enemies are gonna hem you in.

And, we saw that happen in history about 40 years later. The Romans surrounded…they got tired of the rebels over there, and they surrounded Jerusalem, and I’m not gonna try to pull the figures out of my dusty memory bin, but it was an awful, awful time. Incredible amounts of people suffered and died in that. And, it’s God leaving man to reap the consequences of his choices.

And that’s what the wrath of God is all about. I’ll tell you what, you don’t want to be left in the hands of the powers that rule this world. But the fact is, we’re born into a world and that’s the condition of it. Wicked spirits that are in rebellion against God, that hate you, that hate me, that hate Christ and God above all…they rule this planet and they have blinded the minds of its inhabitants, so men are totally unable to see what we’re talking about this morning.

And it’s God’s love and His mercy that He reaches down, and He has done something about it. All He would have to do is step back and just let us go, but He didn’t. And He did it with incredible sacrifice. You know, I remember kind of a silly, humorous illustration one time. And I think the story was that a pig and a chicken were talking and felt sorry for somebody who was hungry. And the chicken suggested that they pool their resources and provide breakfast.

( laughter ).

And the pig said, well that’s all right for you. For you, that’s a contribution. For me, that’s a sacrifice.

( laughter ).

Well, that’s kind of silly and humorous. But my word…God has not given us a contribution. There was an incredible, personal sacrifice, beyond all sacrifices there have ever been. And you know, we’ve mentioned Christmas, and it certainly has become just a pagan holiday to many, but yet I believe we can look to God and we who know the Lord can remember Him, and understand why He came and what it’s all about.

You know, one of the things that you hear and the statements of Scripture that’s quoted often is, He came to bring peace on earth and good will to men. Well, the lost hear that and they have a whole different picture about what that’s about than is the truth. I’ll tell you what…in fact, Jesus Himself said later on, do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? What was His answer? He said, no, I didn’t come to bring peace. I came to bring a sword.

Now He didn’t mean warfare, but He did mean to convey the fact that He came as a light from God into a dark world and He was going to be reaching people in such a way that it was going to absolutely divide families. There would be people who would hear and embrace the hope of the Gospel and other people in their own family would actually become their enemies because they would say, no, I’m going this way.

I’ll tell you, that’s where the peace comes. It’s not peace in this world! There will never be peace in this world! This world is headed for catastrophe! It is headed for destruction! I know there are theologians that say there’s gonna be an era of peace. It ain’t gonna happen in this world. When Jesus comes, it’ll be as it was in the days of Noah. What happened when Noah came? There were some that were saved! But what happened to all the rest? Did life go on? No! They all died.

What happened in Sodom and Gomorrah? When he came and when judgment came, he got a handful out…actually three of them escaped. God got them out. He took care of His own, didn’t He? But I’ll tell you what happened to everybody else. Fire fell! That’s what lies ahead for this world. Man, we need to live in the light of that. But there is peace. He did come to bring peace! But it’s not the peace of politics and pleasantness down here. It is a peace between an individual heart and a living God!

( congregational amens ).

When the war ends!

( congregational amens ).

Oh God, just make that real to hearts because people need to wake up and realize the world they live in and what’s at stake here. And that’s the burden that I feel this morning. There’s people right in our midst that if nothing changes in your life, you will wind up in the fire one day! And I believe that Jesus doesn’t want you to go to hell.

( congregational response ).

It’s that simple. There’s a burden because some of you…you’re just coming, you’re hearing. Good! Listen. Open your heart. You don’t understand something, pray, ask God to work in your heart and to get it ready to where you can understand, and you can embrace, and you can see what this is all about. But oh, there’s people that have sat here and you think you’re a Christian and you don’t know.

I’ll tell you what, you think about what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7. I’ll just refer to what we know. He talked about two gates, two ways. Both of them were religious! Both of them were ways that were presented to men, a gate through which they should enter, a way they should walk. And the promise was, heaven is at the other end.

But Jesus said, many will go into the broad way and those who go that way come to the end and they find out, “…Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (KJV). I never knew you. And they’re gonna be shocked! They’re gonna say, Lord, Lord, we did all this stuff for You! We did stuff in Your name. We lived for You. I don’t get this. I don’t understand.

But there’s another way. Not many find it. It’s a narrow gate, narrow way, but there’s people that find it. And they come to the other end and they’re welcomed home. Now if you were to look at a situation where there are two groups described…one of them is described as many, the other is described as few, would it not be a reasonable conclusion that the great majority of people who believe that they are on the road to heaven, are on the road to hell and don’t know it?

And that’s the burden on God’s heart…that He would reach out and cause people to have their eyes opened to what this is all about. And I am so conscious that I have no power, absolutely none. It’s like we were talking about in the men’s meeting this morning…the only engine that can make any difference in this circumstance is prayer of God’s people, because we are not fighting against ideas, opinions.

We’re fighting against strongholds of the enemy. We’re fighting for people that devils have their minds and their hearts and they don’t see, and you can’t explain it. You can’t win it by debate and argument. What’s the matter? Why can’t you see? It makes as much sense in those circumstances as to say that to a blind man. What’s the matter? Why can’t you see the sunrise? It’s beautiful. That’s the condition of this world.

You know, technology has brought us a pretty good illustration of this. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but how many of you know what ‘virtual reality’ is?

( congregational inaudible ).

Yeah, it’s the ability to create an artificial world in a computer, and to so immerse your senses in that artificial world that it seems like to you it’s real. It might involve your eyes, certainly. You’d wear goggles and what you’d see is certainly just the creation of somebody’s imagination.

That’s a pretty good darn picture of what the Devil has done to the people of this world. They live in a false illusion about what life is about, what matters, what’s important. They think they’re pursuing happiness and they’re headed right straight, like lambs to the slaughter.

And I’ll tell you, it’s the love of God that reaches into such a world and calls people from darkness to light. But it’s not a matter of just religious effort. You can do all you want to religiously. If God’s not the ‘doer’ thereof, it will do nothing. And you know, when Jesus came, the angels did say He came to bring peace on earth, but it was to men of good will. It wasn’t to, like I say, a political thing. But there was the hope that was offered to mankind because of His death and His resurrection.

And oh, God began on the Day of Pentecost to preach the Good News with power, and people were convicted and they came to Christ, and the Gospel began to reach out. And you see the hand of God invading—invading our world, the world of darkness. You know, I quoted recently the scripture from Isaiah that prophesied the coming of the Lord into a world where darkness covers the world, “…and gross darkness the people.” It’s not just that darkness is everywhere, it’s the people! And it’s gross darkness the people!

But when Christ came, He said, “I am come a light into the world…” Well what’s the problem? “…Men loved darkness rather than light…” Why is that? “…Because their deeds were evil.” They wouldn’t come into the light. They don’t want their deeds to be exposed. They don’t want their life to be interfered with. Oh, there’s a Light that’s going forth in this hour and if we ever needed it, it’s now.

( congregational response ).

We have no idea. You know, there’s not a person sitting here who has a promise of five minutes after this service is over, that you’ll be alive.

( congregational response ).

That’s not just for dramatic effect. That’s a fact! We don’t have promise of our next breath. My God, if we understood where we’re at, if we understood how much God loves and is reaching out to people and to hearts. Oh, when He sees one harden their heart, there’s a weeping that goes on in His heart. There’s no joy in having to judge.

But you know, the Gospel began to go out and it reached out, and there was a young man named Saul who was so caught up in what he thought was serving God. That’s how deceptive darkness is. Here was a man who was convinced, with every fiber of his being, that he was serving God by persecuting Christians! That’s darkness, folks!

( congregational response ).

Was God angry with Him? God loved him! God chose that man to be a vessel through which He could reach out for great numbers of Gentiles with the Gospel. Oh what an amazing love it was that stopped Paul, or Saul as he was called then, dead in his tracks and just absolutely revealed Christ! That’s what it takes! It takes a revelation that causes us…if we see Him, if we really get it, who He is, and suddenly we see ourselves in an entirely different light.

Paul thought he was on the road to Paradise, and he realized that he had been on the road to hell and hadn’t known it. And God’s love reached out and arrested him, and called him and anointed him, and over a period of years prepared him and sent him out. Oh, what a burning heart he had for the lost. I pray God will share that with us! Do we care that people are lost? Do we care? Does it matter? It matters to Him.

( congregational response ).

I find myself wondering what He must think as we just sit here and go through the motions so much of the time. Oh God…and His heart is crying out for people. He’s looking down and saying, do My children even care? Do they know? Do they understand what’s at stake here? We’ve got children growing up. We’ve got people who come in among us. Thank God for every one, but God loves and is concerned for people, and He wants them to know the truth.

And so, of course, you know that Paul went out against great persecution and opposition. He preached the Gospel and God moved in power and He saved souls. You know, there’s a picture in 1st Thessalonians that comes to my mind many times. As I say, I don’t know where to go with this. I’m just looking to the Lord.

There’s a pretty good picture of what it really means when Christ is out preaching the Gospel, anointing people to preach the Gospel, and people are being brought together and they are becoming Christians. Today that word has no meaning. Everybody’s a Christian, so they think. And I’ll tell you, you’ve got a picture here, and I’m just gonna read a little bit there in chapter 1 where he addresses…it’s Paul and Silas and Timothy writing to the church of the Thessalonians.

Verse 2, he says, “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” (NIV).

That sounds pretty much like that’s the pattern, doesn’t it you? God sends somebody…why was Paul there in the first place? God sent him! Why did God send him? Because God had a people there that He wanted to reach with the message and the hope of the Gospel! This was God’s initiative! Folks, if we’re doing anything else other than something that’s God’s initiative, we’re wasting our time! But I’ll tell you, God wants a people that will be workers together with Him, that will cry out to Him and that He can work through the way He describes here! I believe He has done that in a measure in this place! I thank God, but I sense a need for so much more! My God, there’s strongholds that God wants to break—He has the power to break!

( congregational amens ).

But He’s looking for people that will say, oh God, come and come in power. God, don’t give us just words that are our words. Take our words and fill them with power and let them go forth and challenge the strongholds of Satan! Paul talked about his ministry and says, we don’t war like people in the flesh. The weapons God has given us are, “…mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (KJV). We demolish arguments and every pretense that rises up against God—against the knowledge of God. That’s what God equips His people with. Lord, we need something that can absolutely challenge the strongholds of Satan in hearts and lives, and take the blinders off so people can see. But yet it’s not the argument, it’s not the words. We need God to challenge hearts, and I sense that there’s people here, this morning, that God loves enough to want to challenge.

( congregational amens ).

Now what does he say here? What was the evidence to Paul that this was God’s work? It was the presence of God working! He saw the evidence of a supernatural work! Paul knew that he could not simply go out and recruit followers based upon his ability as a orator, which he evidently didn’t have. He was not an impressive speaker by all the testimony of the New Testament.

But I’ll tell you what, Paul was not looking for personal followers based upon him! All he did was give out the Word of God and say, God, it’s up to You! You’re gonna have to convince and convict and call! I don’t know who this is for! He would go into an area and give it out and God would work in hearts.

You read the accounts in Acts and it will say, he went to such and such a place and he preached, and God opened somebody’s heart, and they became a believer…this one and that one, and God was at work. I’ll tell you, the evidence that I have that God is concerned this morning, is the fact that I sense His presence and I sense His burden. That means there’s somebody here this morning that He loves.

( congregational amens ).

This is not His condemnation. This is His love and compassion reaching out to somebody to say you’re on the road to hell, and I love you and I don’t want you to go there. I sent My Son to die for you. Oh, we need that conviction because, without that what is there? That’s the problem with the shallowness of what is called Christianity in our day. There’s no real conviction.