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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1128

Loved By God
Part One

May 18, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1128 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Are you detecting a theme in the service this morning? I certainly have had thoughts kind of percolating over the last several days. I don’t always get to read, or take time to read the “God Calling” but I just happened to the other day, and some of you may remember that there was a scripture that was emphasized that had to do with the love of God.

And something about it just really jumped out at me. And it was taken from Romans chapter 8, a very familiar passage at the end of what Paul is describing what we have in the Lord, and what He’s done for us, and how nothing can be against us. And he basically says, at the end of that passage, “For I am convinced…” verse 38, “…that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV).

And what an awesome thing that it is that God’s love is the overarching thing about all that we are about. You know, you think about the many attributes of God. We think of His power and His omnipotence, His omniscience, the fact that He knows everything. He can do everything. He’s just all these awesome things. He’s Holy. He’s all of that! But when it comes right down to it, John, the apostle, when he was writing in his first epistle, he summed it up in these simple words, “…God is love.” If you want to know more than any other single thing what God is about, it’s about love!

And you notice, when Paul enumerates the gifts of the Spirit, the things that should be evident in the life of somebody who is indwelt by and controlled by the Spirit of God, what kind of fruit will that produce? What’s the first thing?

( congregational response ).

It’s love, isn’t it? And what was the one command that Jesus gave to His disciples? You know, Moses gave hundreds of them. But when it came right down to it, what was the one command that Jesus left us with?

( congregational response ).

“…Love one another.” And how do we do that? We allow Him, who is love, to dwell in us. That’s the only thing, the only factor that gives us that power. But the love of God, what an amazing truth that it is! And you know, the one who wrote that little devotional mentioned that this is the one thing that the people of the world are somehow craving and don’t even realize what it is that they’re craving. There’s this emptiness, there’s a hunger because we have…you know, we are created in the image of God, are we not?

( congregational response ).

And if He’s love, where does that leave us if we are separated from Him, and if we have become unlike Him, we have become just His opposite? Then, that is going to leave one heck of a hole in our hearts. And it’s the craving for being loved, being able to love, yes, but even being loved, being valued, being thought like we are worth something.

And boy, people will chase 1,001 rainbows in this world trying desperately to scratch that itch. You know, we have the expression about someone who looks for love in all the wrong places. They’ve got this deep hunger, and by God, they’re gonna throw caution to the wind, anything that looks like, or anybody that looks like they’re gonna give them some kind of an affection, some kind of something that makes them feel like, hey, I’m valued by somebody, then they’re gonna latch onto that and just throw caution to the wind, and just get burnt time, after time, after time, after time again. And people’s lives have been shipwrecked. And just this craving to be loved is just…it just drives people.

And others will feel unloved, and perhaps very much be unloved, in the circumstances of their life, and their reaction is to just be filled with bitterness and anger. You know, what’s wrong? Why am I so…why does nobody care? Why does nobody care about me? And so, you build up this terrible anger, and it just lashes out, and everybody around them feels that wrath when it’s stirred up just the right way.

And it’s even worse when they’ll look at something on TV or they’ll meet somebody where there’s obviously a family that cares about each other, and there’s a sense of community and love, and they just feel shut out and feel unvalued, and unloved, and ugly, and a whole lot of things that just afflict so many people. But I’ll tell you what, if we have one message it’s that God is love!

( congregational amens ).

You know, there’s a place for preaching the fear of God in the sense that people ought to take seriously their condition. And, there’s a deadly seriousness to the wrath of God and all those things. And you know, there’s a time to preach that. You know, Paul even said to Timothy, save some with fear. You know, everybody’s different, their circumstances are different.

I remember reading, and many of you may have as well, of the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, back in the 1700’s. He was a man of God, who was mightily used to go around and preach with a great anointing, and a lot of his ministry was in New England. And, you can see the effects of a region of the country that has turned away from all of that today. That’s where I grew up. I know something about it.

But I’ll tell you, at that time there was a tremendous move of God that was called ‘The Great Awakening.’ But, in the middle of that, there was one community that was a stronghold of Satan, just totally resistant to what God was doing and what God was saying. They were hard. I mean, you talk about the gates of hell? The gates of hell were wrapped around, were surrounding that town and boy, the people there were hard. They wouldn’t have anything to do with it. God sent him in there with a very special message.

Anybody remember what that message was? “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” I mean, you talk about the ultimate hellfire and brimstone message. That was it. And man, when God…I mean, he wasn’t even an impressive speaker, by all accounts. But I’ll tell you, God got in it. And he stood there and he delivered those words, and those people were just gripping the pews for fear of falling into hell. It became that real to them. And God broke the stronghold of that thing.

But I’ll tell you one thing, God didn’t leave them there, serving Him in terror. What He follows that up with is a knowledge of who He is and His love! And He brings people to the end of themselves and causes them to turn their hearts to Him, and that’s what He longs for. He doesn’t long for people to serve Him fearfully and tremblingly in that sense. Yes, we have a respect. There’s a fear that is respectful of Him, that just realizes it’s unthinkable to reject Him, and to disrespect Him, and to just kind of do our own thing and ignore Him. But oh, God doesn’t want us to walk on eggs.

You know, I’ve met all kinds of people, I guess, in my travels. And, I think of one young woman that I met during one of our travels overseas. And you know, a lot of religion can actually minister a kind of false picture of God? And she had grown up, among some people, and I believe there were some folks that loved the Lord, but it was all about…I mean every Gospel message you ever heard was this fire and brimstone stuff, trying to scare the hell out of people, instead of letting Christ come in and wrap His arms of love around them.

And you could see it in her countenance. There was a fearfulness about her. She was…like she had to walk on eggs. This remote God, who was angry at sin, and just was out there to strike somebody dead who didn’t line up, and there was a fearfulness about her. And you know, as the Lord enabled us to be around her and give out some Gospel messages while we were there, the love of Christ became the dominant theme. And you could watch her just begin to relax, and there was a change.

And she even said, you know, I’ve never heard the Gospel preached like this. This is wonderful! And before we were done, there was a freedom that had come into her life. You know, God wants us to know that kind of freedom!

( congregational amens ).

He wants us to see Him, not as some remote God that we just don’t quite know what He wants and if we just get the least bit out of line He’s gonna hate us, and oh, my God! Oh, God wants us to come to know Him as Father.

( congregational response ).

And yes, we can come to Him. We’re not perfect but we long to be motivated by His love. We long to be more like Him and we long to grow, but we also know that we’re accepted, that there’s a love…that nothing can, “…separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus….”

You know, we, as human beings, we easily come by the idea, trying to make our way through the world, many people do, that in order to have love, you must be lovable. Anybody ever thought or felt that way? Well, the reason people don’t love me is I’m not lovable. I must work to make myself lovable. I must…there’s something about me that causes me not to be able to be loved, and if only I were different.

Oh God, what a horrible burden that puts on people and particularly when you’re coming…when we start projecting those human ideas onto a God whose love is not the least bit like ours! Oh my God, what an awesome thing it is.

And you know, you could preach on the love of God and sort of describe all His attributes. You could go through 1st Corinthians 13, and talk about how love is kind, and it’s gentle, and it believes all things, and it’s all those awesome characteristics. It never fails. Right now we have faith, love and…faith, hope and charity, I guess it is. Faith and hope and love. I’m trying to remember…the King James throws the word charity in there. It really is love…but faith and hope.

But you know right now, faith is what? We have a promise in a God whose Word we can’t see, and we can’t see His Word, but we place our faith in that. We have our confidence in that which we cannot see, but which God has made real to us. And as long as we’re in this world, we’re gonna be walking by faith. But one day we’re gonna walk by sight, aren’t we?

( congregational response ).

And hope has to do with an expectation of the future which is likewise based upon the promise of a God who cannot lie! So, there’s a certainty about it, but it does relate to the future. But you know, there’s gonna come a day when hope and faith will be not needed any more. Everything will be reality.

And those who know Christ will be able to participate in a kingdom that has one guiding principle. It’s the love of God. Can you imagine just being bathed in the kind of love that we read about, and the kind that we’ve even tasted, at times? To know that is the reality, the very atmosphere we breathe is to know that we are loved beyond all imagining. My God! What could be greater than that? I just pray that God will reveal it, because I’m conscious, as I speak words, that there are no words that can convey something like this. God has to do it.

( congregational amens ).

God has to reveal to our hearts that we are loved. Otherwise, we’re always gonna feel like, I’m shut out. Yes, God loves them because they are loveable. But me, that’s a different story. Do you know what makes the love of God real, is the reality of what we are without Him?

( congregational response ).

And that’s what the Gospel is about. Praise God! You remember a message that we preached, oh I guess it was about a year ago, because it was just on TV this past week, the last couple of weeks? And it was that message, “Though You Are Evil.” I had somebody write in and commend me for preaching that, and commend the congregation for putting up with it. He said, most places you couldn’t preach that kind of thing. But it was the truth, wasn’t it?

( congregational response ).

Folks, if we are going to really appreciate the love of God, we need to be able to look in a mirror and see the kind of person that He loved! There are people out there that are so deluded, they compare themselves with other people, and they suppose that God would love them because they’re good. There’s none good.

Man, you go through what Paul taught, in the first part of this book, when he’s laying out the Gospel…and you see what it is, and the kind of people that God loves, in spite of the conditions, it becomes…boy, what that does to the reality of His love and what it’s about. It’s just beyond words.

You know, he describes how the human race plunged into darkness. It was not simple ignorance, was it? It was that what they knew of God, they rejected! They knew, looking at the creation itself, that there was a God! And they said, in their hearts, they made a conscious choice—the human race made a conscious choice to say, God, I’m not gonna serve You. I feel all these natural desires in me, and that’s more important to me to gratify them than it is to serve You. Get out of my mind. Get out of my life. I don’t want anything to do with You.

And there was such a persistence in the human race taking that line, that God finally said, I’m gonna turn you over. I’m gonna step back. I’m gonna give you what you want. And man fell into darkness. Men, “…Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” Paul said. (KJV). And all kinds of corruption has resulted in that. Not just corruption, but people who glory in their corruption of every kind.

And then he starts to talk about the Jews and how they gloried because they had the Law. They weren’t like everybody else. He says, yes, you are. He said, there’s no difference. You who have the Law, you go around sinning anyway…doesn’t make you one bit better than all those Gentiles that you look down your nose at. God has fixed it to where every single one of us is in the same position.

“There is no one righteous…” chapter 3, “…not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together 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. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (NIV).

You know, the love of God has to be seen in this context, of the reality of what we are as people. You know the song, the old hymn, I guess I know it under a different title. I was trying to find it this morning. But anyway, the opening lines, “One day when heaven was filled with His praises.” Remember the second line? “One day when sin was as black as could be, Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin, dwelt among men, my example is He!”

That’s what makes the love of God real, is the fact that He was willing to come down and do something in the face of our sinfulness and our utter unloving…talk about being loveable, there’s nothing loveable about any of us, not from God’s standpoint. He didn’t come here because He saw something in you and saw something in me. He saw nothing. It was not about what He found in us, it’s about what He has the power to make out of us. It’s the creative power of His love that has the power to change everything. Praise God!

You know…there are not many references to love, I was noticing this. As I thought about this verse, as a result of reading that devotional, but then I said, I wonder how many times Paul uses ‘love.’ How does that fit into his narrative about the Gospel? You know, there’s about one other place and that’s in chapter 5…two other places there, I guess. But the main one is verse 8. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

You know, love is not one of those things that you can sort of explain like you explain a scientific principal. It’s something you’ve got to see in action. Do you know how we know God…what love is? What does John say, how do we know what love is?

( congregational response ).

He gave His Son for us. It was an action on God’s part that absolutely came down into our space and transformed. That’s how we know what love is. I’ll tell you, I believe there’s plenty of people here who’ve experienced the love of God, and you know something about it, and you know, when you look in the mirror, you know that there’s nothing you are, nothing you can do that could possibly account for the fact that He loves you.

What a message we have! How it levels everything. There’s not one of us who can stick his chest out and say, I’m better than you, that’s why God loves me. I’ll tell you, God oftentimes will pick the lowest of the low just to demonstrate that it has nothing to do with that. It’s all His grace, and His mercy, and His love.

And I’ll tell you, that’s where we need to see the love of God. And I don’t know any place you see it more than in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. You think about the religious people of their day. My God, they were all about being righteous, weren’t they? And yet, they had hearts that were hard, and cold, and uncaring. They were all about keeping the law very scrupulously, but they didn’t have any love in their hearts. They totally missed out on the love of God. They didn’t know what it was all about.

And here Jesus comes. And think of the people that He reached out to. Think of the woman who came in Simon’s house, took this expensive perfume that it cost something like a year’s wages…it was a lot of money, whatever it was, it was expensive. You don’t just go pour this out for nothing. And she took that expensive perfume and went over to Jesus, poured it all over His feet, wiped His feet with her hair. What was it that caused her to do that? She was responding to the love of God that had reached out to her.

And when Simon was questioning this, Jesus reached out to him and said…and gave a picture about two men who each owed some money. One owed a little bit and one owed a lot. And neither of them had the money to pay, and the one who owned the debt forgave them both. And he asked the question, which one of them will love him more? And he says, I suppose the one that owed the most.

And He said, you’ve answered well. This woman…obviously this was one of these that had probably looked for love in all the wrong places. She had been out there trying desperately to fill that sense of emptiness, that void in her life, and it had led her from one sin to the next. Her life was a wreck. Nobody cared about her. Everybody thought she was dirt. And in Jesus, she found a love and acceptance that looked past that and was able to see the need of her heart, and she felt loved and accepted and valued, in spite of her sins! And it brought her to His feet in worship.

Oh God, give us such a sense of what His love means to us! God help us to be examples of those who have that kind of gratitude. When people come in here they don’t need to see a bunch of religious people practicing their religion. They need to see, they need to feel the love of Christ, who can reach to the lowest of the low.

You know, the examples that we refer to so many times…but you think of that woman who was brought in the very act of adultery. You know, like we’ve said, I don’t where they managed to leave the man out of the picture. It wasn’t something she did by herself, was it? Bunch of hypocrites! But anyway, they threw this woman down. They didn’t care anything about her. They just wanted to discredit Him.

But He saw…of course, He saw right past what they were trying to do. But what was the bottom line when He got to the end? And He asked her, “Has no one condemned you?” And she said, no one, Lord. What did He say? “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (KJV). It wasn’t an indulgence. It’s not a…it’s not this sentimental, I just love you so much, you can do anything you want. This was a love that’s gonna transform her life, that’s gonna turn her into a different path.