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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1085

Though You Are Evil
Part One

July 21, 2013

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1085 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, good morning! Turn if you will to, I believe it’s Luke chapter 11. In fact, Joel just quoted from this. This isn’t what I exactly had in mind, but, there’s a phrase in that passage that is almost in passing, and yet I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. It’s kind of related to things that have been said lately. But there’s a reason, I believe, Jesus worded this as He did and I’ll just tease you with that for the moment.

‘Course this is where the disciples came to Jesus who was praying and waited till He was finished, and one of them said to Him, Lord teach us to pray. And they were referring back to the fact that John the Baptist had taught his disciples how to pray, and so He gave them some principles of prayer that we know as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It really should be ‘the disciple’s prayer’.

And then, this is where He talks to them about the principle of persistence, that God rewards persistence and talks about the friend who goes to a friend of his at midnight because somebody has come to visit him and he doesn’t have anything to feed them with. And so, the whole point of this is that the Lord says that even though this friend is gonna say, “I’m in bed, I don’t want to be bothered by this,” he’s gonna wind up getting up because the guy’s persistent. He just keeps right on knocking. He doesn’t stop knocking. And the point of it is that the Lord rewards those who are persistent in prayer. And they do knock, and they ask, and they seek, and they knock. And that was what Joel just quoted.

And then Jesus says something here, beginning in verse 11. He says, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know.…” (NIV). Wait! Freeze, rewind, wait a minute! Jesus, what in the world did You just say?

And that’s what…you know, I wonder if…I find myself wondering what in the world the disciples must have thought when Jesus said that. Just sort of a matter-of-fact, dropped a thought in the middle of a phrase, “…though you are evil.…”

Now that sounds like a great topic for a message, doesn’t it? I wonder how many places you could go in America or the world today, and the topic would be “Though You Are Evil”? But that’s not an incidental thing. That is so foundational to everything that I just believe that Jesus was not throwing this in just as an empty phrase, just as a theological concept. This was something that I believe God wanted His servants to know.

Now think about who He’s talking to here. This was not Jesus visiting the prison. This was not Jesus visiting among prostitutes and thieves and what we would consider to be ‘evil’ or ‘sinners.’ This was Jesus talking, not just to the crowds. This was a private deal. Jesus is talking to His disciples. God had absolutely revealed to Jesus who He was to pick, and they would become His followers. They would learn from Him. And you know, we learn from the writings of Paul that the church was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. So these were people who were foundational to the work of God in the earth and Jesus calmly says to them, “…though you are evil.…”

You suppose there just might be a lesson in that that affects you and me today? You know, as I said, we touched on this in the last couple of week, but for some reason I have not been able to get this out of my head. And I believe that God desires all of us, regardless of whether we know the Lord or whether we don’t…that’s something we need to really get, not just as a theological concept but to realize what our true condition is from God’s point of view, because we are so, by nature, deceived. We imagine things about ourselves. We set up our own standards that are very kind to ourselves, by which we measure ourselves against others and suppose that there is some goodness in us.

And the question is, is there anything good or is there anything commendable about us from God’s point of view? But yet, don’t we suppose so? Don’t we act like we think that’s the case? And you know it just flows out of, what? Pride! You go back to the beginning and you’ll discover there’s a character named Lucifer, who was a high, created angel, a servant of God at one point, who was invested with powerful capabilities, and great beauty, and great intellect, and so many natural things that God had given to him to fill a certain place in His Kingdom.

But what happened? Satan became infected with pride. He began to look at himself and suppose that he had some virtue in himself by which he could set himself up as a rival to God. He looked at God and said, hey, I could be like Him. Look at me! And pride took over and his eyes…there was a blindfold that went over his eyes and his mind. And in the vanity of his own thought, he supposed that he could literally succeed in rising up against God, and his persuasion was so persuasive that one-third of the angels followed him.

And it’s been disaster ever since, in terms of the condition of the world, because that’s where we got this awful nature that’s in us. That was a poison that entered into his system. It has entered into us, and I don’t know that we realize the depth to which we have fallen, and the real condition into which the human race fell when it fell into sin.

We have…many of you saw the movie the other night, and I hope those who haven’t will at some point…but “The Encounter,” and I think Carl actually referred to this at one service, where Jesus said, scratch any sin and underneath what you’ll find is pride. Pride is at the root of everything.

And that one character in there, who just remained resistant, was resistant for what reason? It was pride! He would not humble himself. It wasn’t that Jesus would not have given him everything! It was that he…the barrier was not on Jesus’ side, the barrier was on his side. It was absolutely pride. And I have all…I mean it’s so plain from the scriptures, that God wants His people to live, not groveling and not just, ‘oh poor me, I’m nobody, I’m nothing,’ but to live with the reality of what we are in ourselves. Because what that does is magnify the grace and the mercy of God!

And you know, this particular phrase right here comes…I mean I have to lift it out of its context, in a way, “though you are evil.” But what a subject! Because is that not the message of the Bible? Is that not the message of redemption? It’s, ‘though you are evil’! In spite of that fact, God is a God of love and mercy, and there is love and mercy. Praise God!

( congregational response ).

But there is nothing that will block the blessing of God—there is nothing that will block the grace of God, like pride, where we suppose, oh no, I’m not like that. And I believe with all my heart that part of the reason Jesus said what He did, was to plant that seed, so that there would be no illusion in these who would one day stand before multitudes in great boldness and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, that they would proclaim it with the knowledge of what they were. There would be no pretense, no illusion that we’re up here talking down to you poor sinners down there. There would be, absolutely, a testimony. I am the worst of the worst. God saved me! Oh, Praise God!

But I’ll tell you, this is not just for people who don’t know the Lord, although it is. Like I say, you saw in that movie, very well portrayed, that the one barrier was pride. And I’ll tell you, if you are here and you don’t know the Lord today, this…I pray, because my words have no power in themselves to do anything. But I pray that God’s Spirit will so work with your heart that He will bring you face to face with the truth about yourself.

( congregational amens ).

So that your illusions about your goodness will be forever shattered. You will have no place to hide, but to say, Lord, oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner. I’ll tell you, the moment you come that way to God, God will reach down to you with such mercy and such love. I mean, think of the songs that were sung this morning, about His amazing grace. But grace is not amazing if you suppose that you just need to be fixed a little bit.

Now think about the language that Jesus used here. He says, “though you are evil.” Now just break that down a little bit. He did not say, though you do some evil things, though you do evil…because when we hear something like this, we sort of break it down in such a way that, yeah, I do some bad stuff. I need help. I’m weak, and I do this bad thing, and I do that bad thing. But what we’re really saying is, I’m not really bad.

But Jesus did not say, though you do evil things, He says, though you ‘are’ evil! That’s a tough one for proud human beings to wrap their minds around. Man, this is bench-jumping stuff, isn’t it? But you know the truth of the matter is it leads to some pretty bench-jumping stuff when we get it. Oh, there is no more blessed place than just to realize what God has done and to surrender to it. And to say, yes, Lord! Yes, Lord! I lay down every pretense that I can do anything to obtain favor of You. It comes purely by Your grace.

And when You show it to me, it’s not because You found some commendable thing in me. Jesus didn’t pick these disciples ‘cause God saw possibilities in them. No! All there were, were impossibilities. That’s all there is in you is impossibility!

But you remember what Jesus said to His disciples when they were asking Him, Lord, “Who then can be saved?” What did He say? Who can remember what He said at that point? “With man this…” What? Salvation! “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” That’s the foundation of everything.

Boy, you’ve got so much that ducks this particular truth right here. How many places will you go and you will hear something that looks people in the eye and says, you are evil and you need to reckon with it, because it’s the truth? Man, people go to church to feel better about themselves. They want to get their emotions lifted up and feel more like God’s more friendly to them, and wants to fulfill their dreams, and all that stuff. I mean, you know what I’m talking about…their selfish, earthly dreams. Oh God, help us not to ‘dumb’ the Gospel down, not to fail to tell people the truth. Jesus told people the truth. He didn’t come to fix a few of our boo-boos, He came to rescue those who are helpless, and lost, and hopeless!

( congregational amens ).

Oh, Praise God! I’m thankful to take that place. But man, you know, we are proud creatures. We still don’t get this like we should. Anybody know what I’m talking about?

( congregational amens ).

We retain illusions. The minute God begins to do something for us, and clean us up, and work with out hearts and change us a little bit, oh it’s awful easy—awfully easy to begin to think that we’re better, when we’re not. We’re objects of God’s grace. Thank God! But just look at some of the scriptures about all this and just see what the Lord will do.

I mean, this is a truth that we know theologically, but my prayer is that it won’t be theology, it won’t remain just theology. Yeah, we’re sinners. God saves sinners. I’m a sinner. But do you really get that? And to what degree do you really see? ‘Cause it changes how we relate to God. It changes, as we’ve said recently, how we relate one to another. It changes how the Gospel becomes set forth through our lives.

There is nothing more repulsive than someone who supposes that they are righteous and looks down and tries to give a message of something or other to somebody that they consider to be beneath them. That will absolutely corrupt. I mean, there’s nothing that God hates more than self-righteousness, when we suppose that we are good.

But listen to Paul in the process of expounding the Gospel to the Romans in chapter 3. These are familiar scriptures. And to me, it’s significant that Paul’s background was that of a Pharisee, who above all people upon the planet, supposed that they were righteous. They had God’s laws. They had figured out ways to accommodate their lives to them and to keep them in an outward sense. And man, they looked down on everybody. They counted the Gentiles as dogs.

And here’s Paul saying, talking about Jew and Gentile, it says in verse 9, “What shall we conclude then? Are we any better ?” Well, that’s a good question we ought to be asking ourselves today. Are we any better? “Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.”

All right, they’re “all under sin.” Well what does that mean? So Paul is going to quote various scriptures from the Old Testament to illustrate what he’s talking about. “There is no one righteous…” And lest you missed that, “…not even one.” Well, look in the mirror and realize that means you, because God does not measure by human standards. God measures by the perfect purity of His holiness! Nothing from this world that is tainted with sin will survive into the other one. That’s the hopelessness of our state. It’s not as though Jesus can blot out our boo-boos, and give us rules to follow, and we just make our way to Heaven by that. Oh, God! I need a miracle!

( congregational amens ).

I need something…I don’t need a tune-up. I don’t even need an overhaul. I need a new engine. Because the engine I was born with can produce nothing but sin. And boy, if we get that, it makes a difference in how we live as Christians. It makes a difference in coming to Him.

How many of you here…I know there’s people here that when God brought you, you had a very distinct experience of God showing you your need. Yeah! You came face to face with what a sinner you were, and you felt the fear, the hopelessness, the utter futility of your life and you were looking at eternity and saying, oh my God, if I stand before Him right now, I am absolutely without hope. Did God do that to you because He hated you?

( congregational response ).

Oh, then what did He do after He did that? Praise God! J.P., what did He do after He did that?

— Brother J.P. Easterly: Changed my life forever!

— Brother Phil Enlow: Changed your life forever. He did that because He showed you Jesus, didn’t He? You know, the very foundation of everything…if we don’t get this, what’s the point? If this is not true, we don’t need a Savior. We may need a cheerleader. We may need someone to sort of steer us back into the right path, if we can do anything.

But that’s the point. We cannot! I need a brand-new life to enter into me, and to begin to animate me in a way that can make me like Him, because…well it’s the imagery of the tree and the…it only bears fruit after its kind. You know, Jesus…He was referring to false ministries, but He talked about, do men gather figs from thistles?

Well, why not? Why don’t you just tell the thistle to go bear figs? Because, it’s not in its nature to do it. It’s impossible for it to do it. And it is impossible for you and me, with anything we were born with, to produce anything, the smallest thing, that is acceptable to God. Now, intellectually we can agree with that, emotionally that’s a little tougher.

But I pray that God will get this through to our heads, not to grind us down, but so that we can occupy the place where He can just pour His blessings and His mercy into our souls and lift us up, and we can have the kind of gratitude that flows from someone who knows—who knows that there’s nothing about us that deserves to live on! Everything about us is fit only for the fire! Yet God, in His mercy…praise God! Though we are evil, that’s the theme, I guess.

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands…” I mean, you talk about blindness, not getting it, not really seeing things as they truly are from God’s point of view. “…There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” Now you think about the implications of that. If there is in you any interest in God, any inclination whatsoever, where did that come from?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! You wouldn’t have had that, I wouldn’t! I would have blindly pursued my own way, just fulfilling my own…gratifying my own earthly desires in one form or another…never giving a thought to the One who made the stars, or His purpose in making me. But God is so relentlessly faithful to His own nature, His own mercy, His own love, that He has reached out. He has worked with hearts to cause us to hunger after Him. Don’t you say, I sought God for years and I finally found Him. Well, God wasn’t lost.

( laughter ).

You were! God was drawing your heart out to reach out after Him, and He did that because He was longing to answer the cry of your heart. “All have turned away, they have together become worthless.” I mean, let’s just be straight. What we are, apart from God’s mercy, if you’re going to measure by the point of view of eternity, we are worthless. So I’m talking to a bunch of worthless people today. But of course, the one who is doing the talking is just as worthless, if you’re gonna measure by what we are, humanly speaking. Oh, my!

You see why this isn’t preached. People don’t want it. They don’t want to hear this. They don’t want to admit this. That is the reason people are not saved. They will not come as sinners who have no hope apart from God showing them mercy. They are bound and determined to cling to some notion that they are good. Oh, God! Pull back the scales from every eye. Christian, non-Christian alike, whoever hears this, whoever’s here today, whoever may hear it later. God, open your eyes to see the truth.

“…Become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”

Oh, my! There’s no peace in this world, is there? People are miserable, and restless, and struggling, and trying, and striving, and wondering what the problem is. Well, the problem is, we were made for God, and there is no peace outside of Him. Praise God! No peace! “…No peace, says the LORD, for the wicked.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” That’s the condition of humanity apart from God. That’s why grace is amazing. That’s why the fact that God would reach out to us is absolutely astonishing! If you just see yourselves as having a few things wrong with you maybe, and God needs to sort of help you to pick you up a little bit and put you on a better path, you don’t get it! You don’t see how amazing grace is!

I mean, as we said before, “Amazing Grace” has become little more than a pious folk song. People sing, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!” And they say, oh, you’re a wretch, are you? Wait a minute! Hold your horses now! What do you mean, I’m a wretch? Oh, God!

But you know, one of the amazing things that I see, and it blesses me: I think if there had been a real reaction on the part of the disciples to what Jesus said there, I think it would have said something. But somehow, there was enough confidence in Jesus, enough revelation for them to be able to sit there and not even react to Jesus saying, ‘though you are evil.’

But I’ll bet you, there’s a whole lot of emotional reactions to some of the things I’ve said this morning. If I look out there and say, ‘though you are evil,’ what does that do emotionally to you? Is there something that sort of rises up in protest? I believe…I mean that’s just human nature. We don’t want to get that. Somebody else, yeah, look what they did. But me, I’ve been a Christian for many years.

You know, there’s an indicator in some of that. I believe it afflicts us all, to some degree. We’ve got enough pride that we react to that and need grace. But one of the other things that you noticed in that movie was that one character, the wife who was struggling with their marriage…and you remember when Jesus, in the course of the conversation, she looked at Jesus and said, “You mean I’m not a Christian?”

That’s the kind of spirit that you get back when you touch somebody at this point of pride. What they think they are because of what they are and what they have done…this is false religion, folks. This is absolutely self-righteousness. In this case, it was in the form of a church-going Sunday School teacher who is convinced that she was fine because of all these wonderful things. What do you mean I’m not a Christian? How dare you?

You think about somebody who’d say, how dare you, to Jesus. And He looked at her with love and said, I’m sorry, but you’re not. He didn’t rail on her. In the end, His love won her heart, didn’t it?

( congregational response ).

But I believe He took away that prideful, ‘what do you mean!’ But I’ll tell you, think about that. If that something rises up in you…it just makes you angry, makes you resentful that someone would actually speak to you that way and tell you you’re evil, think about what that’s saying. You might be the very one that God would convict and say, yeah, I mean you.

And I’m not telling you this just to grind you down and make you feel like dirt. I’m telling you because it’s the truth. This is reality! This is what’s wrong with the human race. This is why we live in the kind of world we do. But it’s in this very world, though you are evil, God has reached out His hand of mercy!