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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1122

Standing Firm in the Faith
Part One

April 6, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1122 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I’ve got a scripture I can’t seem to get off my mind, so I’ll just go with it and just see what the Lord has. It seems like I’ve been in 1st Peter for the last three Sundays, different emphases each time. But Peter, the Lord’s apostle from the very beginning, was writing, no doubt late in his life, to encourage believers, and I believe to give every one of us a picture of what we’ve been called to, because that’s what it is.

He begins in Chapter 1 with talking about how we’ve been chosen of God. He foreknew us. He did everything necessary to make it possible for us to have a hope that goes way beyond this world. It’s not something that depends upon our ability, or depends upon any worthiness in us, but it’s something that He has done.

The reality is that we go through many things in this life in the process of getting ready for that, but one theme you see throughout is the fact that God has called us to glory. You get kind of a little picture of that when Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, and he saw Him glorious, and it just was an overwhelming experience for him. You see another picture of that when the disciples saw the Lord transfigured. All of a sudden He began to shine like the sun, and their earthly eyes couldn’t take it in. But I don’t know how much we really appreciate what the Lord has for us and what it is that He’s called us to.

But that’s a theme throughout this, that Peter is seeking to teach us…first of all, the greatness of what God has done, but then, what is our part? How do we cooperate? How do we, as David said, not be like the horse and the mule? You know, the horse and the mule, you can’t explain what you’re going to do, you have to use physical means to kind of steer them the way you want them to go. But the Lord doesn’t want us to be like that. He wants to deal with us as sons and daughters, that He can communicate with, and that we will be willingly responsive, and loving Him, and all of that.

One theme that you will see throughout the book of Peter is a life of trust in the heavenly Father. You see it in Jesus. He talks about in chapter 2 how Jesus endured many things, but He didn’t fight back, He didn’t threaten. He just simply committed Himself into God’s hands, and that becomes a pattern for everyone of us…that our lives of faith, of trust…there are many things that we don’t necessarily understand—many things we don’t understand, but yet we know because of Who we’re trusting in that it’s gonna be okay. He’s got everything in His hands.

And so we are called to do the same thing that Jesus did. And there’s a sense, too, of our inter-relationships…he talks about husbands and wives, talks about ‘all of you’ in Chapter 3, verse 8. “…All of you, live in harmony with one another.” (NIV). And you get these themes of a sense of submission, of humility, of all those things, and you come to…I guess my favorite chapter is chapter 5.

And, there are many themes that we have talked about at one time or another. And there’s one that I just…my mind just keeps going back to that I don’t remember ever focusing on it exactly. But you remember how we’re encouraged to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another. That’s a defining characteristic of our relationship. Now if you scratch any sin deep enough, what do you find?

( congregational inaudible ).

Pride. That’s it! That’s what God is dealing with. That’s what caused Lucifer to be lifted up in his own estimation of who he was and to rebel against God…his pride. And so that is the thing that God has to deal with in us, and we are loaded with it and don’t realize it.

And so God is absolutely going to overshadow the lives of His children in a way that will challenge and crush the pride that’s there, not because He’s angry, not because He’s mad at us, but because He loves us enough to want to deliver us from that terrible destructive force that has taken root within us! And we simply cannot be what He has called us to be, unless He deals with that.

You know, chapter 5 begins with Peter speaking about Him being one who will share in the glory to be revealed. You get that theme that just kind of permeates this passage. And then you get down to verse 10, and you see, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory….” Again, the same theme. So this is where we’re going. We understand that it’s something only God can engineer, but we have a part to play.

And so, in past times we’ve focused on how we’re to humble ourselves, “…therefore, under God’s mighty hand….” And that involves recognizing that we are indeed under God’s mighty hand, that He is not absent from the things that happen to us in our lives. They do not happen by accident...that even things that are difficult, distressing, maybe unjust, maybe…whatever it is, they’re not accidents. God literally overshadows and orchestrates these events to do what?

( congregational inaudible ).

To deliver us! You know, I’ve said many times, if somebody gets your goat, it simply goes to prove that you have one.

( laughter ).

And we’ve all got them. And unless God challenges those goats in us, they’re gonna remain areas of resistance to God’s will, and areas of a stronghold that needs to be broken. And I certainly have my share. I’m made of exactly the same stuff you are. But God is absolutely going to challenge them, and He’s going to keep challenging the ones that get you, until you become more concerned with the fact that you’ve got a goat, than you’re concerned with what made it react.

( congregational amens ).

Now, just think about that one. What is God concerned about in these circumstances? Is He concerned about that terrible wrong that somebody said or did? No, He’s concerned with your reaction to it.

( congregational amens ).

And when we become more and more like Jesus, we don’t have to fight that kind of a battle. We can give it to the Lord, and humble ourselves under His mighty hand and see that power over us broken. And that’s what He’s seeking. So, “…Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand….”

And of course, we have the promise…it’s a promise and a warning all in one, where God opposes the proud. So if there’s an area where God keeps trying to shine His light, put His finger on in your life, and there’s something in you that just continually resists and rises up, that’s not a good thing. You’re in a place where God’s going to be continually opposing that. He’s going to resist you! You’re not going to get ahead. You’re not gonna prosper trying to exert self-will in any aspect of life. I’m not gonna prosper.

But there is a place where we can enjoy the presence, and the blessing, and the deliverance of God. And that’s when we let go and we say, Lord, not my will, but Yours be done. I mean, what better example do we have than our Lord Jesus? He came to fulfill a divine calling, a divine purpose. Every aspect of His life was devoted to that! He never deviated from that purpose!

And that purpose involved the ultimate humility, the ultimate humiliation of letting go of earthly value, everything that men treasure and saying, no, there’s something greater, and I’m in the hands of God, and that’s what my eye is upon. Oh my, isn’t that what we’re called to?

( congregational response ).

This is not an earthly calling. This is not a religion to add to your life. This is life itself! This is what everything is about! And Peter was just…you could just sense the yearning in his heart. He had seen the Lord’s glory. He had touched and seen and fellowshipped with the risen Christ. He knew this was real! He paid for it with His life ultimately! That’s how sure Peter was. And so, man, he wanted to somehow impart that vision. You see that in chapter 2…I’m sorry, in the second book where he talks about, “…we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! So, we’ve got a solid witness here as to what this is all about. Obviously we have to cast all our anxiety on Him, because we all have it. In the process those are natural reactions. Peter is certainly not preaching some kind of perfectionism here. He understands, as we all must, that this is a process. But what Peter is showing us is the road. This is the way you go. Yeah, we don’t certainly measure up, and we’re not earning our way by walking on that road, but we sure are cooperating with what God is seeking to do in our lives. And we are in the receiving position where God’s grace can flow. Thank God it is by grace!

( congregational amens ).

I don’t have any resource that I can look to for any of this. Do you, anybody here? No, we don’t have it. God understands that. I’m so glad we’ve got a heavenly Father that loves His children. He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust. Praise God! So…I don’t want in anything I say this morning, I don’t want to try to convey some high, unattainable something by which we earn anything.

But anyway…and I understand you had an emphasis recently on what He says after that. “Be self-controlled and alert.” That’s certainly true! Because we are not unopposed in this process, are we? We’ve got an enemy who is going to be all-out to divert us from the course and the way that God has called us. He’s gonna do everything in his power to say, no, it’s not this way, it’s really this way.

And so, we need to recognize that, and we need to not just bop along and think we’ve got a handle on it, the sun is shining, everything’s great! We’ve got an enemy we’re gonna have to learn how to recognize, learn how to detect him. God will help us, if we want to learn. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Now, this is something we’ve said before. He’s not talking to unbelievers here. He’s talking about the damage that can be done even in a believer’s life who is careless. You know, Paul warned that we reap what we sow! Many times we go certain ways and we give way to something that isn’t of God, and what happens? We reap a harvest that isn’t good.

And that’s what he’s talking about here. There are certain consequences because we have a part to play. There are consequences in the choices that we make. That’s what he’s saying. But I’ll tell you, we have a Lord who is ready to help anyone who will lift their heart to Him and say, Lord, I want to go Your way. We are not on our own. Thank God!

But the thing that has jumped into my mind…I’ve just thought about it over the last few days. Maybe it’s for me, I don’t know. We’ll just…I mean, I know it’s for me, maybe it’s only for me, but, somehow I don’t think so. “Resist him, standing firm in the faith….”

I was about to say, as I often do, I don’t know about you, but I do, since we are made of the same thing. This is not a small issue. How many times have you come in here, and you’ve heard the Lord speak to you in some way, and it’s really been real? And you see something, you see a part of truth, you see an aspect of truth, and it becomes real to you. And you say, yes, yes! That’s right!

And then you go out, and what happens? Does it kind of…dissipate a little bit? And what the Lord is wanting from every one of us is an absolute consistency—a move in the direction of having a consistency in our convictions…that our convictions are not up here, down here, over there.

You think about a football team, for example. We all remember, many of you remember “Facing the Giants,” and how the coach wanted them to build a stone wall, and ‘nobody-gets-past-me’ kind of attitude. Well, that’s a great attitude. That’s a wonderful picture of that kind of an ‘I’m-not-gonna-let-anything’…I’ve got a conviction here, I’m gonna stand!

But what happens if after a while I get tired…you know, this is beginning to be hard work, I’ve got something else I’d rather be doing, and all of a sudden you let down that effort? What’s gonna happen?

( congregational response ).

They’re gonna run right over you. What’s gonna happen if you have a city wall and you just kind of let it crumble…oh well, that’s okay…we put up a good effort for a while, that’s good enough?

You see the problem. Every one of us has areas where we need the Lord to teach us convictions that we can stand by, that don’t change with the weather, that don’t change with circumstances, don’t change with who we’re with, where we’re at. We need to have a sense of who we are! We’re God’s people! We’re headed for glory and we’re going to act like it under any and all circumstances.

Now I can just hear somebody with a legalistic bent saying, yeah, preach it! That’s what I’ve been looking for! I’ve got my standards! Here are my ‘do’s and don’ts’, and we’re gonna do this! And not only and I gonna do it, I’m gonna impose it on everybody who will listen!

No, this is not a ‘rules-to-live-by’ thing. This is a walking with the Lord. This is surrendering to His way. This is understanding…this is in the context of humbling ourselves under God’s mighty hand. This is in the context of allowing God to shine His light down in here, and not fighting back. And not saying, ‘God, it’s not quite like You say it is.’

How many of you have ever said that, or not really said it, but that’s kind of how it really was? No, it’s not really that bad! It’s not this way, it’s that way! I know better! There’s not a one of us here who hasn’t done that in some area of our lives. We resist, by nature, God’s light that would shine deep in our hearts. And oh, how God longs to pour in His grace and to see us surrender.

But I mean, even the conviction to walk with God that way, even the conviction to say, God, my life is yours! I’m not my own, I don’t belong to myself! That thing needs to be absolutely rock-solid, or the devil is gonna run rough-shod, and we’re gonna keep right on falling in the mud over the same issues.

And God needs to give us that sense of firmness, of ‘steadfastness,’ it says in the King James, where we’re gonna build, by God’s grace, we’re gonna build a stone wall, and we’re gonna be the same person, regardless.

Now, this applies to so many things. I just trust the Lord to help me to do it, to make sense of this. But you see it in a negative sense in Eve, don’t you? She knew what was right! When the devil asked her about the trees of the garden, she said the right thing. But somehow, at that particular moment, her conviction was not very strong, was it? And what she allowed the devil to do was to challenge the truthfulness of God’s Word, and to call His motivation into question, saying, He’s really not got your interest at heart! He’s got His own agenda! You would be better off to take this course than what He says! And so she allowed the devil to reason with what God had said, and obviously you see what happened. She began to consider. She began to listen. It looked good. It’s good for food. It’s this, that and the other. And one thing led to another, and down she went. And down we all went.