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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1104

The Hope of His Promise
Part One

December 1, 2013

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1104 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! It’s good to see everybody this morning. I’m gonna get a button here somewhere.

( laughter ).

Praise the Lord. It’s getting hard to close it over that.

( laughter ).

Funny how that works. Sometimes the front porch grows a bit.

( laughter ).

Well, the Lord is good in all of these things that we experience in this life. Turn, if you will, to Romans, chapter 4. It’s a familiar passage. I’m just looking at some scriptures that I believe are relevant to every one of us here today. They certainly flow with the many things the Lord shared in a wonderful men’s meeting this morning. You know, sometimes you sit there and you do housekeeping stuff, and natural stuff…what are we gonna do about this and that? And then, the Lord just kind of comes, and you start sharing spiritual things, and it really…some wonderful testimonies of God’s faithfulness, just wonderful senses of burdens…and you just sense the Lord working.

And I just appreciate so much seeing God’s work. You know, a lot of times we want to see something, and we want to see something that’s really out there and spectacular, but the real work is the hidden work in the heart. And I see an awful lot of that. And, we need it, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

That’s the real need in all of us. There are times when God does the outward and the spectacular, and that’s fine, but that’s not what we’re…we don’t need to be addicted to that. We don’t need to be looking for that or worried about that. We just need to trust God, which is what Brother Doug was sharing, and that’s exactly right. But you know, that very principle works out pretty well—is illustrated very well by Abraham, isn’t it?

You know, Paul is really, in the course of the book of Romans, he’s unfolding what the real Gospel is. And so at this point in his argument, he is dealing with the issue of, “how does a man become righteous before God?” That’s the context of it. It’s not the particular lesson I want to draw, but…how does a man become righteous?

And the Jews, of course, had the idea that God gives us His Laws, we obey them, and He rewards us by declaring us righteous on that ground. And of course, we know from the scriptures that that was only a means to an end. The Law was a schoolmaster and a schoolmaster teaches, doesn’t it?

( congregational response ).

Well the lesson of this schoolmaster is that you can’t do it—that nobody can be righteous by that means. It’s gonna have to happen some other way. And so the principle that God established so clearly through Abraham was that men are declared righteous because of faith.

Now faith is a very particular thing. It’s putting one’s confidence in God. It’s exactly what Proverbs 3 is all about—it’s trusting God with all your heart. So it means your entire life…out of the heart are the issues of life…that’s your life—that’s you! That’s everything about you becomes…all of your trust becomes reposed in God, rather than in you and in circumstance. And so, that’s the lesson…that we find God reaching out to Abraham.

Now if you step back from all of this, you see a much bigger picture, don’t you? You see a God who had an eternal vision in His heart. It was to have a family. It was to have a family of sons and daughters who were like Him in their character, in the quality of life. He had a beautiful, perfect creation in mind. And, He knew long before what we’re in the middle of now, He knew that was all going happen, didn’t He?

( congregational response ).

Before the foundation of the world, He planned for all that we see. He planned for the principle of salvation, the gift of salvation to be offered to us through His Son and what He did on the cross. He knew about you, and He knew about me! That’s amazing! I mean, we just can’t think in those terms hardly. But He knew your name. He knew your need. He knew your heart. He knew everything about you long before the foundation of the world, and He made plans.

And, His plans, as I say, they look far beyond this. He knew that this creation was going to be corrupted because of rebellion, because of sin, and that ultimately He was going to have to destroy it and make a new one. But always, He had in mind that someone was gonna inherit that. That wasn’t just gonna be to sit there and look pretty, that was going to be a place, a home for His children, and a place where He could live in a love relationship with them forever and ever.

So that’s what this is about. The Gospel is not about a better life here, although God knows about needs and all of that. That’s not what the Gospel is about. The Gospel is about calling a people out of a world that is perishing, and getting them ready, making them brand-new people so they can be ready to inherit what He has promised.

And so, one of the things that it says in this passage…it refers to Abraham as the heir of the world! Now you think about what the Lord is really saying there. He’s saying that I’ve got this incredible inheritance. I’ve got a beautiful new world that is planned and it’s there, and it’s an inheritance for someone. Well, an inheritance is not much good without an heir, is it?

( congregational response ).

And so as He looked around the world of men in that day, in the unfolding of His plan, He picked Abraham. He said, I know Abraham…I’ve chosen Him. He’s gonna instruct his children after me. And He found in Abraham a man who had a confidence, not just in a specific promise or command, but in the Person, ultimately.

His real confidence was in the Person of God and that’s what carries everyone of us through the hard times, through those times when we don’t have the answers, and all we can do is simply stand and say, God, I don’t know, I don’t understand, but I know You! And so, my confidence remains the same. It’s in You, it’s not in my circumstances.

And you see, that’s the kind of a man that God found in Abraham. And of course, He had His hand in that, too. It wasn’t that Abraham was so great. It was what God had the power to make him! And so God called Abraham and he became the heir. He became God’s heir.

But it wasn’t just Abraham, himself, the heir, it was everyone who came forth from Abraham. So that sounds like every Jew is gonna be saved, right? No. That’s not the kind of inheritance, that’s not the kind of family that God was looking at. He did many things through and for the nation of Israel, thank God! That was part of His plan. But I’ll tell you, the inheritance…the family of Abraham consists of those who believe.

( congregational amens ).

And so yes, there are many who are children of his flesh who participate in that. Thank God for every one. Let the Gospel go forth, and let everyone hear and believe! But it’s not limited to that! It was the promise of God to him that all families of the world would be blessed. And so, the opportunity of the Gospel is presented equally to everyone. There’s no difference, my Bible says, between the Jew and the Greek. There is no difference. “…The same Lord over all is rich unto…” (KJV). How many?

( congregational response ).

All…who do what?

( congregational response ).

“…Call upon him.” There is a response when God works in a heart that He looks for, from any human being to call out to Him and to say, oh God, I recognize my need of You, and I call upon You to do what’s needed in my heart. That’s where it all comes from.

Now, as I say, the context of this scripture is, ‘how does a man become righteous before God?’ But the truth of the matter is, the principle that we see playing out in the life of Abraham has a lot more to do than just simply a declaration of, ‘hey, there’s a righteous man.’ This is every aspect of salvation! Because what Abraham did was simply to believe God! Well, what did God…what was it that he believed?

( congregational response ).

It was a promise! That’s the key word. God made a promise to Him of something that He was going to do that involved Abraham! And Abraham’s response was to believe that promise. Praise God! And so, let me just pick it up in the middle of this because that’s the central thought that I felt like was impressed upon me. And I know we’ve looked at this before, but I don’t know…I feel like there’s a fresh need, certainly in me there is. Now maybe I’m the only one…but I doubt it.

‘Therefore,’ in verse 16, and I won’t go into why it’s ‘there for,’ but anyway. “Therefore, the promise comes by faith.…” (NIV). Now again, the contrast is it doesn’t come by Law and law-keeping. It comes by faith. “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace….”

Now again, what is grace? Grace is God’s power. Grace is God’s very heart and being engaged to do something. This is God at work! In other words, something has to happen. It can’t come from me! I don’t have what it takes to fulfill God’s purpose and plan. All I can do is believe in a promise. But when I do that, then there’s some power that comes into play. You see, that’s where we all need help all the time.

( congregational amens ).

We’re forever trying to work things out, forever trying to struggle against circumstances and against weaknesses and needs. But the ‘coin of the realm’ at every point is faith in the promise of God, and that begins to bring God’s power into the equation.

( congregational amens ).

And that makes the impossible possible…and nothing else can possibly do that…Praise God! So that it may be by grace. “The promise comes by faith…” That’s our response. “…So that it may be by grace…” That’s God’s response. “…And may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law…” That’s the Jews. “…But also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” That’s the family that God’s looking at. Praise God!

“As it is written: I have made you a father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, so shall your offspring be.

“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why it was credited to him as righteousness. The words it was credited to him were written not for him alone, but also for us….”

See, God made a record of this transaction, this interaction with Abraham’s life. And He says, God wrote it down. He didn’t write this down just so we’d say, oh that was great for Abraham. He wrote it down for us.

( congregational amens ).

This applies to you and me here today! “…It was credited to him were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

Praise God! I mean, you see what’s going on, you see the big picture…of God having a purpose. And we can see in the scriptures that the out-working of God’s purpose is something that unfolds over time so far as we’re concerned. Now any of you ever have a problem with time?

( laughter ).

And the timing of things? Well Abraham did, too. He was just like you and he was like me. And, God made this incredible promise to him! How long was it before he even began to fulfill this promise?

( congregational response ).

Twenty-five years! We’ve got somebody who reads their Bible…praise God!

( laughter ).

No, I know many of you do. Twenty-five years! How many of you have been waiting for something that long to happen…something you’re burdened about, you’re concerned about? Something that needs to…you just see it in the purpose of God, it needs to happen. Well, I’ll tell you, you think about the passage of time for Abraham. Lord…we get impatient if something doesn’t happen in a day or two. We’re like, ‘right now!’ This is an instant society. We want to find the right button to push and just make something happen.

Well, you know, the point was made by someone in the meeting this morning, in our men’s meeting…that there are times when God does indeed do something right now, instantaneously. You pray for somebody, they’re healed right now! And God can do that sort of thing! He’s not limited by anything. But I’ll tell you what…except unbelief, I guess. But the thing is, most of the time God is working to accomplish something in the process of the unfolding of His purpose.

And I’ll tell you what, one thing is eliminated by a lot of the waiting that happens…it’s a lot people who don’t really believe in their hearts. They’ve never really surrendered their hearts and their wills. They’re just hoping for a quick fix for some problem in their life. And they’re sort of hoping God will do it…sitting there waiting, and then they’re waiting, and they’re waiting, and then, ‘oh well, the heck with that.’

But I’ll tell you what, if you have the faith—if you have real saving faith…in the first place God gave it to you. God gave you the ability. He gave you a conviction that He was real, that He’s trustworthy, that regardless of circumstances, we can put our lives in His hands and we can trust Him with the details, with the time element! And so, Abraham was enabled in spite of all of his wanderings and wonderings during that period of time, he was enabled to hang with it.

And ultimately, the bottom line every time there was an issue was, I’m gonna trust God. I’m just gonna wait. I’m gonna believe Him. You know, at one point, he brought up the issue. I mean, years had gone by! And one day, the Lord came to him, appeared to him and spoke to him. And he said, well, Lord, how’s this gonna be? This Eliezar of Damascus, one of his servants, I guess, by the custom of that time…he’s my heir. His chief servant, if the man didn’t have a son, I guess that was the custom. The chief servant would then become his heir. ‘He’s my heir.’

And the Lord said, no! Somebody coming from your own body is gonna be your heir. And you see how the Lord just kind of ministered enough faith to get him through, to say, all right…I don’t see how that’s gonna happen, but you could see that under his breath. You and I have never said that, have we?

( laughter ).

We know something is supposed to happen. We know the promises of God, but we look in the mirror and we say, it ain’t gonna happen…yeah, right. Oh God, give us the confidence to look beyond every impossibility, and to see a God, for whom nothing is impossible. But the further I go in my life, the more impossible everything that I profess to believe seems.

And that’s how it must have seemed to Abraham. He got older and his wife got older. It was obvious she wasn’t in any position to have children. And of course, you remember how that she finally came up with a solution…I’ve got a maid…well, I’ll have children through her. I guess that was another custom of the time. Got to have children some way, so we’ll just have a substitute wife here, or substitute mother, but that child will be reckoned as mine because of the arrangement. And so, of course, Ishmael was the result of that. And as I’ve said before, that wasn’t the heir, but I thank God, there are children of Ishmael today that are coming to Christ!

( congregational amens ).

See, it was for every nation! Even though it was through Isaac, it was for the benefit of all. So thank God, if a child of Ishmael happens to hear this, God loves you, and wants you to know Him, that you’re a part of this. But anyway, time went along, time went along, and like 24 years into this process, the Lord appears and tells Abraham, about this time next year, you’re gonna have a son. And he laughed to himself.

You think Sarah was the only one that laughed? He did, too. You ever had that reaction? I mean, it’s almost comical to imagine something happening. Oh I’ll tell you, we have a God who can fulfill His promises to you and to me. There’s no one who’s ever put their trust in Him who’s gonna be put to shame for having trusted Him.

Everything is going to look like it’s never gonna happen. But I’ll tell you, we need to learn to trust God and stand fast on His promises, and know that in His time, everything is gonna happen, because God had a time…God deliberately waited until every circumstance was completely impossible in the natural. And then, to show who He was, He stepped in, and Sarah, at 90 years old, long past the child-bearing age, she had a child. And Abraham was, I guess, 100 when he was born, 99 when he was conceived, I’m guessing. But anyway, it was totally impossible, but it happened, didn’t it?

And that’s something you see throughout the Scriptures. You see, even in the next generation, you see Rebecca, I believe…wasn’t she barren? And Isaac prayed and God opened Rebecca’s womb, and she was able to have children. And you see, down through the ages, the children of Israel winding up in Egypt…slaves, powerless against the mightiest nation in the world! Every circumstance was absolutely, utterly opposed to anything positive happening.

Was that a problem for God? Not in the least. And Moses certainly didn’t have any confidence that he could be part of that, did he? Well, that didn’t stop God, did it? God wasn’t the least bit impressed with Moses’ inabilities. Oh I thank God, because if you and I…if we had a clue, I think it would…I don’t know how we’d react, if we really saw the truth about ourselves and how utterly weak and helpless we are. God, there’s not anybody here who has a right to look down on anybody. We are every one, just like Paul said, sold under sin. We have no power against what stands against the purpose and the plan of God! We have nothing to look to except Him and His promise!

( congregational amens ).

And that’s what God brought His people through down through the ages…backed them up against the Red Sea. How many of you remember the movie…good grief, what was the name of it? “The Ten Commandments.” Anyway, don’t get old.

( laughter ).

But anyway, they’re all camped by the Red Sea, and Pharaoh rides out with his chariots and he said, well, their God is a poor general, leaving them no way of escape. Well, their God was an awesome General! Their God had an incredible way of escape that everybody in the world heard about! God has a way of getting His job done in a way that brings glory and causes His name to be known! He allows things to become impossible so that we know that God, and God alone, was at work!

( congregational amens ).

Amen! That ought to give every one of us some confidence this morning to face our impossibilities and say, well, that’s only God setting up the deal here! He’s not the least bit dismayed by my circumstances. And so, of course, we know how the Lord opened the Red Sea and they went through on dry land. He dried it off pretty quick, didn’t He? And the Egyptians charged in after them, and that didn’t do them any good. They wound up being overthrown in the sea.

Over and over again, they were able to march on the land and overcome giants. And yet…as a whole, the nation was a bunch of idol-worshiping rebels. Boy, you get down into the passages of Isaiah…but don’t you see the goodness of God? You read the last part of Isaiah…he’s talking about, yeah, the things are bad, but he’s giving a word of encouragement to that faithful remnant, that remnant that He preserved.

Always there was a handful that were looking for that day! But you know, there wasn’t anything that remnant could do, but just stand fast and trust God, because that was not the time! God had a perfect time to do everything! There was a time when Isaiah 60 was fulfilled! Behold, darkness is upon the face of the earth…gross darkness upon the people! But arise, your light is come! The glory of the Lord will shine upon you. I’ll tell you, when the Lord was ready, when the time was right in the unfolding of the purpose of God, in the fullness of time, Jesus Christ came.

( congregational amens ).

And do you know there were people who were just in a state of readiness, in a state of expectancy when He came? Most of the people were just lost in their little lives, enmeshed in their religion. But God had a few people who were absolutely waiting, watching, expecting! I want to be one of those people, don’t you?

( congregational response ).