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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1117

Glory in the Cross
One Part Only

March 2, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1117 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise the Lord! I don’t know that I have anything but a simple thought but, let’s just give that out and see what happens. You know, it’s certainly…I believe the Lord wants us to focus this morning on the reality that He has provided everything for us, don’t you?

( congregational response ).

Is there anything that God has failed to anticipate that’s necessary for us to be there in Glory one day? Anything? Has He failed to do something? Has He left it up to our ability in some way? That’s the thing that…these riches that have been laid up for us because of the cross, are inexhaustible. There’s absolutely nothing you can add to it or take away. It’s enough to do the job.

And there is, however, a very subtle way that the devil has of making the truth that we say we believe, ineffective when it comes to a practical walk with Christ. And it’s as simple as this. He causes us to say, “yes, but.”

Now think about that phrase. Does that make any sense? Because it can’t be both. It’s like saying, “yeah, that’s true, but.” Well, if there’s a ‘but,’ you’re saying it isn’t true. And I believe with all my heart God is wanting to bring us to a deeper realization of what He has done for us, so that we will start doing away with those ‘buts.’

You know, I know He died for my sins, ‘but’ I’m so bad, or I knew better and now I’ve reached a point where…I knew better, surely He could forgive me all that bad stuff in the past, but not this… not.

Just one little example: why do we wallow? When we fall in the mud, when we really screw up, and it really comes to us and we realize, oh my God, how did I get here, how did I do that yet again, what’s going on here? Do you struggle to reach a point where you actually accept that you’re forgiven? Does anybody here have any problem with that?

What’s the problem? Is the problem that God is unwilling? Is He unwilling? Is He saying, yeah, I’ll forgive you for this, but I mean, you really messed up this time? I don’t know. You’re gonna have to get out of this yourself. But you’re gonna have to do penance. You’re gonna have to do this, you’re gonna have to do…you’re gonna have to sort of ‘earn’ your way back into my favor. If you do this and you do that, okay, we’ll talk. Is that the Gospel?

( congregational response ).

See, we acknowledge that with our minds, but the ‘but’ still kind of hangs around, doesn’t it? God help us to get to a place where the moment we realize where we’re at and what’s going on, that we can stop and say, wait a minute. Jesus paid it all. That means this! That means He thought about this. He means, He planned for this. He knew about this. He knew what I was like! He knew what I was made of! He didn’t leave this out of the deal.

And I need to be willing to have enough confidence in the cross to begin to take what I need right now. And oh God, do I need it! You know, that’s the crazy thing! It’s when we need the cross the most, that’s when we often avail ourselves of it the least. Does that make any sense to anybody?

( congregational response ).

God help us to get it to the point where it’s not just something we acknowledge up here, but something we are able to lay hold of. My God! Did God save us because we were worth saving, because of some value He found resident in us? He said, yeah, I want to build on that. I see that good thing in that person. Man, I want to get them…I know there’s a lot of garbage there and I’m gonna clean the garbage off, but I’m gonna take that thing and build on it. We’ve got something here. Zero!

( congregational amens ).

I have nothing to offer Him but myself. But that’s the Gospel! He’s not looking to save the righteous. He came to save sinners. Well, I’m afraid I qualify. To my shame, I qualify. But I’m gonna just come with an honest heart and say, oh God, there’s nothing I can bring you. There’s nothing I can do to qualify, but I believe, and I just surrender to the cross and to what you did for me there.

But oh, don’t we need to do that every day? Does not the cross need to be a reality? We just get buried in the moment, buried in our feelings, buried in circumstances that we struggle with, just buried in life! And suddenly the cross begins to be a little hazy, a little bit, that’s a Sunday thing. No, it’s a 24/7 reality that God wants us to live in the reality of, and simply lay hold of the benefits.

My God, how stupid would it be to have a bank account with an unlimited amount of money in it, and to run around in rags, eating out of garbage cans? But that’s the life a lot of Christians live! We don’t understand what He’s done for us and so we are afraid to go…and, ‘I don’t deserve this.’

Well, of course you don’t. That’s the whole deal! That’s the whole game. I mean, that’s what salvation is about. We don’t deserve a single thing! It’s not based upon you! It’s based upon His character and His love! That’s what He is! He can’t deny Himself, can He? He can’t say, well, I know I’m supposed to love, but I just don’t feel like I can love them.

But that’s kind of where we live sometimes. How could God love me? Well, what are you looking at? You’re looking at you! You’re wallowing in your inabilities, and your failures, and whatever is wrong. You know, the devil is pointing out, magnifying whatever’s wrong with you. God never loved you the first place because of what was in you. He loved you because He is a God of love!

And it’s a redeeming love! And we sang that this morning. It’s a love that has the power to take nothing and make everything out of it! Wow! That’s incredible! That He could take somebody like me and actually do something! That’s an awesome God!

But that brings every one right to the same level. We have the ability to have confidence in God because of His declaration of love toward us…and not just the declaration. That’s good enough because…that ought to be good enough. He’s a God who can’t tell a lie. That’s a pretty strong reason to believe anything that He tells us.

But He didn’t just tell us, did He? He made it so evident in what He did in Christ! He demonstrated! We know what His love is like! We know exactly what it’s like. All we have to do is look at the cross. Do you doubt God’s love for you this morning? Oh, my! We need to lift our eyes to the cross, but we need to see it through the eyes and the heart of our Father. We need to start bringing the things that rise up in us that are contrary to this Book, contrary to what He has revealed to us, and begin to bring those things to the cross.

Have you ever have to do that…where you just…you know what I’m talking about? There’s something that rises up in you, and you realize, hey, that didn’t come from God. That’s from me. And here I am going by something that has arisen in me, my feelings, my perception, my wisdom, my this, my that.

And I’m living as though that were the reality. That was what was true. That’s what I’m going by. I don’t feel good this morning, so God doesn’t love me today. That’s how stupid it gets though. And we all get there. If God really loved me, He would fix this, or that, or He would rearrange this or that!

Oh God, help us to just come to the cross and say, all the stuff that comes from me, the wisdom that I think I possess, the knowledge…who am I to sit here and understand God, think that I can understand Him? All that stuff…you know, I had some of these very thoughts this morning, as I was just praying about the service. I said, Lord, I don’t want any of my thoughts, I don’t want any of my feelings…just help me to bring them to the cross and realize You dealt with them there.

Lord, help me just to get rid of all that junk that fills my mind and that I get so absorbed in. Anybody here know what it is to be self-absorbed? Your world is the world of your feelings. How you’re feeling today, what somebody said, how they looked at you…’my world is my feelings.’ Oh, God! What a prison!

( congregational amens ).

We need to be able to bring those things to the cross! And say, Lord, You put all that junk to death and You love me! You demonstrated it! You’re real! Lord, I want to experience your feelings! My God, we weren’t made to be independent beings!

I’ll tell you what, the people of the world, they don’t get it! All they know is just to follow their natural desires, and that just brings them…it allows them to become home for demons! That’s the simple reality. But I’ll tell you, you can be a Christian and be influenced strongly, have strongholds in your life and in your mind that are ministered through demons, through ideas, through feelings and experiences that you can’t let go.

And God wants us to let go, and be able to surrender and bring every unanswered question, every feeling, every hurt, every whatever it is in your life, bring it to the cross and say, Jesus, you bore that thing there for me! Not just in general, not some vague theological principle! You took me there, with all of the things that…all my warts, all the things that are wrong. My whole life, You ended that that, there.

And because of Your love, Your choice to love me, I have the right now to come in faith based upon Your promise and Your provision. I can come to You, and instead of letting devils trample my mind and my life, I can let You come and live, and bring Your peace.

( congregational amens ).

I want to feel Your heart. I want to know…I want to get my mind off of me and onto…let You express Your feelings towards others. My God! Wouldn’t we be different people? Oh, my!

You know, Paul expressed, in a scripture that Ron read, his weakness, didn’t he? I mean, first of all, he says, God didn’t call many of the world’s mighty, smart and all those kinds of self-sufficient people, who would seemingly have a reason to be self-sufficient. He didn’t call many like that. It didn’t say He didn’t call any. But boy, when He calls people like that, He’s got to do a mighty work to get them down before He can bring them up. Because they’ve got to lose that!

If you’re starting out weak, you’ve almost got a head start. Just accept the reality that you’re weak, and God’s not basing His salvation on finding some strength in you or me. We don’t have any. The sooner we can come to a place where we recognize, God, I am a helpless candidate for salvation, I’m weak, I have no power to be anything that You want me to be…it’s when we come to that place, and we just look up and we say, but You…but look what You did for me, look what You’ve promised.

Lord, I just…not my will, as Ron said. I just surrender to You. Lord, change me. Do what’s needed in my life. How many times does God bring us to a place where He has to remind us, yet again, of what we really are? Does He do that to grind us down and make us feel like dirt? Does He do it ‘cause He’s mad at us? He does it ‘cause He loves us enough to want to deliver us from trusting in ourselves, so that we’ll learn to trust in Him.

What did Paul say in…I’ll just refer to scriptures you can look up later but I thought of the scripture in 2nd Corinthians 1, I believe it is. He’s talking about a time of great distress. Why in the world would God allow a mighty apostle of His to go through a time of distress? That doesn’t make sense to our natural, kind of carnal reasoning. If God’s got a mighty servant and He’s gonna honor him, why doesn’t He just roll out the spiritual red carpet, and let him waltz through the Roman empire, and just be one victory after another, one miracle after another? Man, I’m God’s servant! I’m here to bring salvation!

That isn’t how it was. He allowed Paul to get in a place of such distress that he didn’t think he was gonna live. He was sure, it’s over. I don’t understand this, but God has brought me to a place, I guess my ministry, my life must be over. I’ll just let it…I’m gonna have to trust Him with it. And God didn’t just answer him right away, did He? He allowed him to experience those things and those feelings. You know, when we have inexplicable things in our lives we just want…

( snapping fingers ).

…We want to go into the closet, pray a little prayer for five minutes, come out with a whiz-bang answer that just lifts us onto the mountain top, makes the problem go away, if particularly, but at least explains it all. Well, who do we think we are? That’s not trusting God, is it? That’s not what He’s looking for. He’s looking for people who can humble themselves and put their trust in His provision.

The Lord did give Paul enough spiritual wisdom and an insight to be able to say, in this experience, he said, God did this, “…we had the sentence of death in ourselves…” (KJV). Why? What was the answer? What was the reason? What was God trying to make Paul understand? Anybody remember that scripture?

( congregational response ).

So, “…that we should not trust in ourselves.…” We do that unconsciously. We do that like breathing, folks. And God has to do some pretty drastic things to bring us to the place where there’s nothing we can do. We’re just gonna have to stretch our hands out and say, oh God, You’ve brought me here. But I’m here, not because You’re mad at me, I’m here because You love me, because You want to teach me something more about Yourself than I’ve known before.

Anybody know what I’m talking about? Has God got you in some places right now that, you don’t get it? You don’t understand why! Why, why is this happening? God wants you to trust in Him. God wants you to bring your feelings about what’s happening to the cross, everything about your expectations, everything you think you know, bring that to the cross and say, Lord, I don’t know anything as I ought to know it. I don’t have any strength. I don’t have any…I don’t know what to do, but I can sure lift my hands to You. You made a provision for this right now!

That’s the difference between being in Christ and being in the world! If somebody in the world gets to that place, what do they do? Many times they’ll take a bullet, because there’s no hope. Folks, we have not been left without hope. We’ve been given the Hope of hopes!

( congregational amens ).

The certainty of what God did through Christ, and the promise that He who has begun that work will complete it! Praise God! So, Paul came to understand that God put him in this place so that he would learn where his help came from, and trust, look to the cross, look to everything that God had provided for him there.

But it wasn’t just for Paul, was it? Do you know there’s nothing that God does in your life that’s just for you? Because God has ‘builded’ us together. He is building us together. We are members one of another. We may not act like it. We may not live like it. We may not think like it! But if you’re in Christ, you are one with His people, and God is going to make those connections real, and living, and effective. And He’s got to do a lot of work in me, got to do a lot of work in all of us. But He’s doing it, isn’t He?

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! You know, you think about Paul’s experience that we refer to so many times, when all of a sudden, he was doing great, and he’d had these revelations, and he was just flying high spiritually, feeling full of confidence and all of that…all of a sudden he starts getting oppressed by a devil. He even said it was a devil. It was a messenger from Satan sent to buffet me.

Well, I’m sure Paul pulled out his little formula. I know how to make a devil go away…only he didn’t go. And the Lord allowed him to go on and on in that experience for quite a while, didn’t He?

( congregational response ).

You know the lessons that we need to learn don’t happen in five minutes. Many times they go on, they go on as long as they need to. And God desires that we just have patience, particularly when we’re in something we don’t have the answer. Man, we want an answer.

You know, we think, well, if I could just understand what’s going on, I could deal with this. And many times God wants you to deal with it for a good, long time, whatever His timeframe is in the circumstance, by simply trusting Him.

( congregational amens ).

I know several have made note of the reading in that little devotional book that many of us use. I think it was January 4th, I’m not sure, but where God’s people were encouraged to develop a new habit. And the habit is simply this. When anything happens, particularly things that are not what we want them to happen, we learn to say, “Jesus, I trust you.”

But see, there, instead of reacting like we would naturally, we’re going to the source of our help, and we’re surrendering…you know, our questions, sometimes, are the worst things, the hardest things that we have to deal with. Why is this happening?

You know, David, you see him cry out in the Psalms, how long, oh Lord? But that’s part of serving God and trusting Him. But you know, in those times we can go to the Lord and know that He is faithful. He hasn’t changed. He loves us the same. His provision is the same. And we have the right to draw from Him the grace and the strength that we need to take our stand, and to trust Him, so that instead of falling back and falling under the weight of that thing, we press on through, and we receive the benefit that He has for us.

Paul received a great benefit that he has passed on to every one of us because of that demon that buffeted him. He came to a richer place in his experience and in his ministry, from having been there, than if he had never experienced that to start with. He was able to know that, number one, God’s grace is enough. But also that what God was looking for from Paul was not the mustering of Paul’s strength! It was Paul’s weakness! We don’t like that much, do we? We want to be strong. Do you know where that comes from?

( congregational response ).

It’s just pride. It’s the same thing that rises up in every man and woman that’s ever been born in this world, except Jesus. And He had to put it down. He had to put the impulse down. Scripture says, He was tempted in all points just like we are.

But here’s Paul grappling with, I want to minister, this is a burden, this is a hindrance! I can’t do, I can’t be what I want to be because of this thing. And the Lord finally says, when you’re weak, you’re strong. And suddenly the light went on.

This didn’t happen overnight. This was something that Paul had to grapple with over a period of time. Finally, when the time was right, God gave him an understanding heart, and he was able then to surrender the issue, and then to go to the provision that God had given because of Jesus and because of the cross, and find the strength that he needed, at that moment, to do what he had to do…exactly what Ron was expressing. How can I do that?

You know, we think of Paul as somebody different. Well yeah, this applies to Paul because, after all, he was a great apostle, a great minister of the Gospel. This applies to every single one of us, every single day. Just living for Christ, doing what comes to our hand, requires exactly the same principle! We are not able to do anything.

The secret is not that we are able, but that we surrender, that we bring that weakness, we thank God for that weakness, and we say, Lord, just come and live in me. Make the changes that are necessary so what comes out and what people see is not me anymore, but it’s you. And then we have to be patient with the process. Just what was said. There’s no push-button way where we can suddenly open the flood gates and…

( whooshing sound ).

…The whole benefit of the cross just transforms us magically, instantly! We just grow like a crop. We grow. We mature. We drink the nutrients and we get a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, a little bit more like what God’s doing.

But I don’t know where you’re at today, or if you’re struggling with guilt, or if you’re struggling with weakness, you’re struggling with unanswered questions. Bring them to the feet of Jesus. Bring them to the cross. Lay them there. Trust Him. Look to Him. He will bring you through. Everyone who looks to Him is gonna find the grace and the strength. Our distresses, so many times, come from our unbelief and our struggles.

And I know many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve struggled with something, and you struggle with it, and you struggle, and it’s a source of great distress to you! Until suddenly, God gets through and you stop struggling! Praise God!

We do need to learn to think the way He thinks. You don’t get rid of distress by trying harder. You get rid of all of that kind of stuff by surrendering. Bringing it to His feet. Letting His peace flow. The fruit of the Spirit is what? Love, joy...

( congregational response ).

…Peace, and patience, endurance, the ability to endure. All that comes from Him. He’s not looking to me to struggle, and work it out, and fight, and say, oh, it shouldn’t be this way, it’s supposed to be this way. Those are things we just have to trust Him. If you’re struggling with your guilt and your weakness, bring it to the cross. He dealt with it there. Don’t carry it a moment longer. Believe His promise and you can walk out of here with a light and a free heart.

( congregational amens ).

If there’s somebody that you’re around, and you can’t love them…well, guess what? Nobody can love anybody really. We need Him. And we were talking this morning when we were standing around the piano. Love is, first of all…all of these things, this applies to everything, but love is a choice. Doing what God wants is, first of all, a choice!

But it’s not a choice where we say, I’ve got to find it in here. I’m just gonna somehow muster this up. No! The choice is to do what God says, but it’s to do it in the expectation that God’s grace and life is going to flow into that, and it’s going to become real, and it’s gonna become natural, and it’s gonna become normal. And changes happen, not because we have engineered them, but because we’ve believed in His promise.

Believe in that cross today. Glory in that. There’s nobody here that has anything to boast about, in yourself. I certainly don’t. But I’ve got somebody I can boast in. Man, Jesus paid it all. He took me and my sins to that cross. He came out of the grave victorious. He lives, and His promise is real today. And I just praise Him. Praise the Lord!