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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1118

Living the Life We’re Given
Part One

March 9, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1118 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Let’s just go to a familiar book in Colossians and just ask the Lord to bring the thoughts out of it that He wants to bring, and cause us to build on what I believe He’s teaching us. I believe He longs to bring us into a place of greater rest and freedom…you know, we sang the song this morning, “There Is a Place in God.” And, we sing, we can find it today, and yet we struggle. And I believe God longs for us to experience that.

And as long as we’re struggling and trying in our own energy, that’s not gonna happen. But when we truly come to understand, and I believe He’s teaching us…when we truly come to understand His salvation, it’s not that there’s no fight, it’s not that there’s no effort, but it’s a different effort. It’s flowing with a power that comes from on high. It’s living a life that is given to us, that we didn’t have to earn.

We came as we were, broken, just like the watch that Steve was talking about. And I was hoping he’d get to that point that it doesn’t matter if the watch is smashed and all over the place, God can fix broken lives.

( congregational amens ).

The truth of the matter is, even when you think the watch is okay, before it gets smashed, it’s still broken from heaven’s point of view. We’re every one broken. It doesn’t matter if you grow up in the church, or if you go out and live a life that you consider to be wasted. God can take it, and mend it, and make something eternal out of it. We all have the same need. The one who go out doesn’t have any more need than the one who sits here. We need Him.

But anyway, let’s just begin, and there’s so much in this, because everything Paul writes is about the Christian life and how to serve God. And the people here, whom he had never met, actually, had been brought to the faith under the ministry of another man, but somebody Paul knew. So Paul had them on his heart.

They were being pulled in directions that were not helpful to the Christian life. They started out great, and then all of a sudden they were moving off on to another false foundation of self-effort and pursuing knowledge that came from some dubious sources.

But anyway, he says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse.” (NIV). Now it would be tempting to suppose that Paul had just a handful of special ones in mind, and he really wasn’t addressing the rest of them, but that’s not so.

You notice at the beginning of many of Paul’s letters, he addresses the saints at such-and-such-a-place—the saints at such-and-such-a-place. We have a tendency to think of the word ‘saint’ in a very specialized sense. And I think it probably is influenced, in part at least, by the Catholic Church, who has treated saint-hood as a spiritual attainment. One puts forth so much of a sincere effort of working and serving God, and doing all this that they reach this point where they are called saints.

And actually I believe part of the qualification for that is that God attests to their attainment of this high spiritual level by some miraculous happening connected with them, and once they authenticate that, then instead of just Carl, it’s Saint Carl. And the general idea is that they have accumulated so much spiritual merit through their service to God that they have extra, and they have the ability to share that extra with us, and so we pray, and you know…that’s kind of the logic behind a lot of that.

But I’ll tell you, being a saint is not an achievement. Being a saint is something that God gives to us. It simply means we’re set apart. That’s what the word means. It means God sees someone who is walking along the pathway of life in this world, caught by the power of sin, headed for destruction, and He deals with that heart in such a way that that person is turned into a different path, ‘set apart’ from this world for God, ultimately set on a path that leads to a different destiny!

Well, the moment they turn, they are ‘set apart ones.’ And I think that is something that we need to see in a much more practical sense. I think most of us that know anything about the Lord, know that these things are true…that we have been given a standing, we have been given a place in God that is ours, not because we deserve it, not because we have earned it, but because Christ went to the cross and has given it to us. We are saints!

So even though Paul, for example, was writing to the Corinthians, who had a long litany of problems that were very serious, moral shortcomings, lack of order, so many things that needed to be set in order, but Paul still called them saints, called of God, set apart for His purposes!

And I believe with all my heart God wants us to see ourselves in a different light than we do, because we are forever trying to attain something, feeling like we’re less than, we’re short, we’ve got to do something to get to this place where we have favor with God, and we earn this place of peace and rest, when that’s not it at all.

Now, I’ll use a silly illustration, but yet I think it’s a good one. How did Carl and Don become Johnsons? Were there qualifications set up and they had to earn their way in? Or were they born that way? I was expecting a laugh on that one?

( laughter ).

Come on, wake up!

( laughter ).

No, seriously, they were born that way. They were born Johnsons! They didn’t have to attain that. But just suppose for a moment that somebody was born into the Johnson home and then they got kidnapped, and somehow raised somewhere else, and their mind, their whole culture, their whole way of thinking was formed by something else. And so they grow up and they think of themselves in a certain way and they’re…somehow the Johnsons are held up here, and it’s something you can never be…is really the underlying thought. You can try but you will never really be that.

Does anybody live their Christian life with that kind of underlying attitude and that kind of underlying thought? Does anybody not fight against that? See there are two kinds of people that populate churches, at least. You have some who are trying to be what they truly are not. They’re trying to be Christians, but they’ve never actually met Christ at the cross in repentance and true faith.

And so it’s them trying to take on lifestyle. They’ve never actually been born of the Life, they’re trying to imitate that Life and its outward aspects, but they’ve never had a changed heart. It still loves the same things it loved before. And that person just doesn’t know the Lord, and needs the Lord. I’ll tell you, when you come to the Lord, there is a miracle that is performed in here. It’s not that everything goes away and all your bad desires and thoughts just disappear. But you’ve got a different heart.

( congregational amens ).

It wants to go in another direction It feels…there’s something that it feels, there’s a tenderness of conscience when you do something that’s wrong…you know…you don’t feel the same way about it. Every once in a while, I guess I’ve used this illustration before, but I’ll have somebody that’s living for themselves, and then they’ll come to me, and they’ll say, well, I’ve straightened up. I’m serving the Lord now, I’m going to church. And you know…you can just easily see it’s just them turning over a leaf of reform And I have to bite my tongue…many times I’m tempted to say, why don’t you try something really easy like, go park yourself in a garage and try to be a car.

( laughter ).

You will have just as much success trying to be a Christian as you will trying to be a car…it’s not in you to do that! That’s why we’ve got to come and present ourselves just as we are, broken, and lost, and hopeless, and helpless! God doesn’t need your help to save you! He needs the abandonment of all of your hope in self, all of your self-effort, all of your self-righteousness, all of your excuses and justifications! He just wants you period! He is the Savior! That’s the whole deal! You don’t need reform! You need to kill the life that you were born with, literally, and be infused with a brand new life!

And so the starting point for the Christian life is not that we are in the gate and now we’ve got to attain something, attain a standing. We have the standing! Praise God! The moment Christ comes in, you are a saint—you are a set-apart one. Now a Johnson, when he is born, is not exactly…you know, you think about it…they’re pretty helpless, just like the rest of us. They squall a lot. They make a mess. They’ve got a lot to learn. They’re very self-centered…want what they want when they want it.

But you know, what’s lacking? Is that a way of saying, well you’re not really a Johnson yet? No. What’s needed? Time, growth, maturity…and does Mama love that little Johnson any less because of those characteristics of immaturity? No.

Do you think our Father is any less loving of His children? Does He not know where we’re at? Does He not see all of the needs that we have? We stress about the things that we see about ourselves. He has to show us!

But to us, many times we allow the devil to turn that around to say, I’ve got to fix this so He’ll accept me. No, He accepts me. And He is with me, and He’s showing me that, so that by His strength, I can…we can attack this thing, and we can start to live the life that we’re actually born to. It’s in there! We have what we need in Jesus. We have everything we need in Him! So what’s needed is to grow!

And that’s the sense that you get in this entire letter. I don’t know how far we’ll go with this, but praise God, let’s just take it as it comes. You know, many times I’ll have thoughts ahead and that was the case last week, still couldn’t get them organized. The Lord won’t let me do that, thank God! You’d be inflicted with a sermon if He did. And this is one of those occasions where I’ve had these thoughts, kind of in the last two or three days along this line, and every time I sit down and try to really read the Scriptures and organize it, it just kind of…

( blowing ).

…It evaporates. And I’ll just say, all right maybe that’s not it, and I’ll put it away and then the thoughts will start again. Finally the Lord says, just get up and trust Me. Well, praise God! So I’m trusting Him.

But anyway, Paul says, “…Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” Oh, thank God! Grace being the help that we need, and peace is the fruit of just surrender. If you don’t have peace today, you’re probably struggling and striving and not believing His promise. Guaranteed that you won’t have any peace as long as you are striving and struggling and not believing in what Jesus did for you. Oh my! Praise God!

This is one of those things, again, where I hope I’m listening, because I’m exactly like you. You may not believe it, but I fight exactly the same battles you do, and probably fall in the mud just as much as you do. But I have a heavenly Father who has made me His child, who wants me to grow, who wants me to learn, who has everything I need, and He is constantly working!

And I’ll tell you, the end result is as sure as the One who made the promise! Once He put me on that road by His mercy and His grace, it’s as good as done, and my job is to surrender and believe Him. And that’s what He longs for, for His children to come to that place, where we realize that there’s nothing we can do except believe Him and cooperate. Oh my, do we fail to reckon what He did for us!

But anyway it’s grace and peace, that’s what God longs to put into your heart! And it’s not that we’re seeking an emotion. I won’t go through the story again, but you remember that thing that I told you about when I was in college, and the Lord brought me to a place where I said, Lord, I’ll serve you if I never have a feeling. And He reminded me of that at the piano this morning. You know, we were singing these wonderful songs and I was expecting the emotions to just overflow, and they weren’t. And the devil said, something’s wrong! But the Lord helped me to say, no it isn’t! I refuse to live under the tyranny of my emotions! I’m gonna praise God anyway! I told Him I’d serve Him whether I had a feeling or not! I choose to serve Him! I choose to praise Him!

( congregational amens ).

His Word is still true! It does not depend upon this barometer that we go by. I’ll tell you, there’s so much in the world today that’s called worship that is nothing more than jacked-up emotions! And if people feel the emotions, they say, oh God is here, God is here. Well, maybe. Maybe not! Praise God! You can work something up that isn’t God! But I want to have something that’s real, and it can be real in your darkest hour…just exactly what we were singing…well, we were practicing a song about our darkest hour. Even in my darkest hour I will sing!

You see, it’s a choice involved in that. I will sing! I will praise Him! I will stand upon what He says! I’m gonna praise Him and let the emotions come, let them go! That’s not the foundation of anything. See that’s part of learning to walk by faith, learning to grow up. Man, if you’re dependent upon emotions, you are way down here, spiritually speaking. And that’s not to condemn, that’s just to inform, because none of us are condemned that have given our lives to Him. Condemnation is gone, that was nailed to the cross.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! So this is what God wants. He longs to give strength to us in our weakest times. And we can have that if we’ll just let go and let God have His way.

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven…” That’s a good, safe place, isn’t it? Praise God! God’s put that in a place the devil can’t get to. “…That is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit….”

Oh I pray that it will in this hour. There are hearts that need this. I believe God is gonna reach a people in this dark hour, in spite of the fact that we see the world going the way it’s going. You know, instead of being in despair over that, we need to say, well, God told us about it, but it also means that His coming is drawing nigh. We need to lift up our heads and say, praise God! You know, it’s all right with me if the Lord comes and burns this up today, but I know He’ll do it when it’s exactly right, when He has saved every one of His. It’s gonna be right. Praise the Lord!

Anyway, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.” And, obviously understanding is one of these things that you don’t get all at once. But I’ll tell you, if you come to Christ, you’re gonna understand that it’s His doing. You’re come at least to that understanding. You can’t do it yourself. You cannot save yourself. You’re gonna have to give your case completely into His hands, just as you are.

How do you come to Him? Lord, I’m working on it—Lord, I’m working on it! No, “I come broken, to be mended”…and all the rest of those awesome words. Praise God! So, that’s a fundamental understanding for coming to Christ.

And then He refers to the fact that, “You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you….” Now what’s the course of His prayer? God, help those people to straighten themselves out so they can be something? “…Asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

Now those are three closely related, but different things. You know, if you have a little baby Johnson, there’s a lot of stuff he doesn’t know. There are facts that he has to learn about the world and about his life. And that doesn’t come all at once. You don’t expect a second-grader to be versed in Calculus, or to be able to explain “Hamlet”! You understand that they’re where they’re at, and you rejoice. You know, a small child, if they can write their name, man, that’s a big deal! Now, when you get to be older, well, big deal!

( laughter ).

It’s expected because you’re older and you’ve learned that. But there’s a point of gaining knowledge. It doesn’t make you any more God’s child, but it is something that God wants us to learn. And our problem so much is ignorance. That’s why God has to continually give us these things. This is not new material, but yet God can make it fresh. God can take us where we are at in our experience and say, look, I want to go over this because I know you’re gonna get something you didn’t quite get. You’re gonna get it a little bit deeper. You’re gonna have it a little bit clearer. I want you to understand what I’ve called you to. You’re like that little child that was kidnapped out of the Johnson family and his mind has been screwed up. He doesn’t think straight. He doesn’t think that he can really ever be a Johnson. Nah, I won’t say it.

( laughter ).

He longs to be, but he’s trying somehow to attain to something, and he needs to learn his true heritage. He needs to have his mind changed. He needs to learn things and un-learn some things. How are we transformed?

( congregational response ).

Renewing of our minds. That’s the problem. We have been filled with stuff that just ain’t so. And the devil is real good at just constantly throwing in more garbage. And if you and I will listen to that, we will be ‘garbaged-up’ and we will be a mess.

But God longs for us to get our eyes single, to believe His promises and His Word to us, and not to sit there and hold ourselves under a microscope and let the Devil say, you’re not a child of God. If you were what you’re supposed to be…constantly pointing out our deficiencies, and then provoking us to self-effort to try to fix that. You will spin your wheels and go nowhere…when God has accepted you through His Son. You are His child. He loves you whether you made a mess, or done something He needs to correct. It doesn’t have any effect upon His love for you. That’s a constant!

God, wake us up to realize the constancy, the unconditional character of His love and His faithfulness. I know that’s a hard thing to grasp when you’re looking at yourself, because the thing is, when you come to Christ, your conscience is awakened! There are things you wouldn’t think twice about that all of sudden you become conscious that this isn’t right. It’s not right for me to be this way! Oh God, fix me! God, what’s wrong? And then we go into that spin cycle of just going round and round trying to fix it.

But God knew what He was getting into when He saved you. He’s not the least bit dismayed by the things that are wrong with you or even the things that are wrong with me, ‘cause that’s kind of how we look at it. We’re easy on other people…well, sometimes we are. But I’ll tell you, all of the Gospel is wonderful. Believe it! You believe it! Take it personally! Understand what God has given you in His Son…it’s everything you and I need. Everything we need to stand there!

Oh, we sang the song “What A Day That Will Be.” I’ll never forget the time that we sang that in a church in Brooklyn, 50 years ago, I suppose, close to it…almost 50. And just…I don’t know, the Lord came down. It was an invitation song, of all things. They even had an altar call…and the people got to singing that, and over, and over, and over again, and people’s hands were raised and tears come running down their cheeks as God just made that thing so powerful and so real.

That was one of those times when the Lord came and yes, emotion was there. You didn’t have to work it up. It just happened because God was there. Of course, now, trying to work that up is another story. We just need to do what we need to do, do what’s right, and trust God with whether we feel it or don’t feel it. That’s no proof one way or the other. God has said He’ll never leave us nor forsake us.

( congregational response ).

Is that true or not?

( congregational response ).

Sure! Sometimes He hides His face to teach us to grow up and to be strong and to start going by His Word instead of by these other things.

So anyway, knowledge of His will, knowledge of what God wants, knowledge of His plan. God wants to educate us and cause us to know the facts of what He’s called us to. But a lot of times we don’t ever get beyond that, do we? And sometimes we can just know something and we still don’t ‘get’ it. Yeah, I know that’s true, but! Understanding has to come into play.

God wants us to not only know something, but begin to have, oh yeah…I get that. I understand God’s wisdom in it being that way. I see His purpose! You know, that’s one of things we have to learn when it comes to the hard things in life. We can look in there and know that, yes, God is over everything, and it happened because He wanted it to happen. But, when you’re in that immature state, you don’t understand, you’re not really happy about it.

But you know, when God gives us an understanding of what it is He’s trying to accomplish, then like Paul, we can look at that thorn in the flesh, whatever it is, we can look at that through different eyes. And instead of saying, God, stop this! This is bad! We say, Lord, I get it—I get it! I understand Your purpose in this! Lord, here I’m wanting to serve You, and You’re answering my prayer! It wasn’t the way I expected, but You’re answering it! So thank God! Bring it on, Lord! Do whatever is necessary! You know, do you have the faith to pray, God, do what it takes in me?

( laughter ).

I hope, I hope, I hope it isn’t too bad.

( laughter ).

God, give us that kind of faith and trust, because that’s trust! Do you really trust Him? Do you really know that He loves You and has your best interest at heart, and that if He allows something, it really and truly is with eternity in mind, and His glory, and your ultimate glory and awesome end?

That’s part of understanding. God wants us to have an understanding heart, so that we can react properly. We can relate to Him. We can grow in our appreciation for Him and the relationship. It’s not just, I know there’s a God somewhere and I know some stuff about Him, but you begin to know Him. You begin to have a rest and a confidence where you can cast your cares upon Him. You know He cares about you. You know if He’s brought something in your pathway, you know it’s good and you can say, Lord, help me with this. You’ve promised that You’d give me strength. Lord, if You want to, You can make this go away. But if You don’t, if it’s Your purpose for me to experience this, I know You’re here with me.