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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1130

Freedom
Part One

June 1, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1130 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I’ve just had, again, thoughts kind of percolating in my mind, and I’m not sure exactly where to go with it, but I’m just gonna start out and trust the Lord…and I mean this, if this doesn’t go anywhere, somebody please have the courage and the grace to let me know, because we need to hear from the Lord. How many of you believe the Lord wants us to be a free people?

( congregational response ).

You know, we sing a lot of songs about, ‘I’m free, I’m free to be a servant of the Lord,’ and I’m persuaded by observation, but I’m persuaded by personal experience that we don’t enjoy the half of what God has given to us. And I believe, with all my heart, He longs for us to be much freer than we are.

And freedom is not just an emotion. It’s not just feeling good. It’s literally a…all the barriers between us and God are gone. There’s just something that the Lord wants us to be able, as the prophecy was given when Jesus was about to be born, the prophecy was given that God would enable His people to serve Him without fear. Now obviously, He’s not talking about the kind of respect that we have for a Holy God, but He’s talking about this…well, like we’ve said, we’ve used the expression several times recently where we don’t have to feel like we’re walking on eggs with God. There’s a place of freedom, of joy, of fruitfulness in our lives that God wants to bring us to.

You know, Jesus…I think of some of the things that He said when He went to the Synagogue at Nazareth and they gave Him the book of Isaiah, I believe it was, to read. Anyway, it was the Old Testament. And, He read the prophecy that was actually referring to Him and talking about Him coming to open prison doors—let the prisoners out.

And it’s interesting that He was talking in the context there of God’s people. He wasn’t talking just about the heathen, was He? He was including everybody. There was a…the fact of the matter is that everybody was in prison, and when Jesus was speaking to the multitudes that one day…you remember the conversation where the record says that as He spoke to them, many believed in Him. Well, it became quickly evident what their faith was about and there really wasn’t much to it. Because Jesus said, after that, He said, “If ye continue in my word…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (KJV).

Well, Jesus said the wrong thing. He pushed the wrong button for these religious folks. They were definitely not in the category of slaves and so they immediately came back and said, “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man.” And Jesus immediately pointed out to them that he that serves sin is the…or he that, “…committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

And that’s ultimately what salvation and what the freedom is about that we need. We desperately need to be saved from the power of a force that absolutely holds the human race in its iron grip. The thing is, people do not realize…and God’s people, I mean, the Israelites, even those among His own people, did not get it. They did not realize the condition that they were in. They thought their religion made them good in God’s eyes.

And of course, you remember the fellow that stood before, or that went into the Temple to pray? And what was his prayer? Now he was a good, religious Pharisee. What was his prayer? He said, I thank You, Father, that I am not like other men. Well, that was his first mistake. He was exactly like other men, but he actually was in worse condition because he didn’t know it. But that other fellow, he got it, didn’t he? He said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Wouldn’t even lift up his eyes. “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

Now I’ll tell you, that’s the thing. Mankind does not realize the condition that he is in. And Jesus Christ came to absolutely open the prison door and release us from a power that we had no power to overcome. I mean, you might as well tell a man, under his own power, to fly. Why can’t he do it? There’s a force called gravity that holds him in place. And I don’t care what he does, there’s no getting around that. He can’t escape that power.

But you know what man’s response to his own condition typically is? It’s some form of religion, isn’t it? And religion is supposedly…it comes in the guise of something that can break that power and make us free. But oh, God, what a horrible place of bondage that is. Is everybody here as free as you want to be today?

( congregational response ).

No! I’ll tell you, that’s…we talk about the Lord setting us free and in one sense He does. When we come to Him, there’s a freedom that comes. But oh, my! We’ve still got a lot of grave clothes on us, don’t we? We need to be free.

But one of the things that Paul was concerned about, in many instances, was simply this. He would go around to Gentiles who didn’t have any background in the Law of Moses. Their religion was truly something totally false. They worshipped gods who weren’t gods at all. They were demons. And they would just drink up the words that Paul preached about the freedom from the power of sin that God gave us through His Son. He broke the power, broke the guilt, took our sins upon Himself and made a way of escape, that we could escape this awful power that holds the human race!

And then you’d have some of these folks who were Jewish in background and had some sort of knowledge of Christ, but somehow they had never escaped this sense that they had to approach God by keeping the Law of Moses, there’s something for them to do. Oh, my! I’ll tell you what! That is a human condition that is prevalent in our world today. Man substitutes religion of every sort, and it just never touches the problem. You remember what we talked about a few weeks ago about what Law does to us, what any form of self-effort does to us? Does it make us free?

( congregational response ).

Not only does it not make us free, it makes us more the servant of sin than if we’d never known the law to begin with. It absolutely puts us in a place from which there is no escape. And Paul reached that point at the end of Romans 7 where he said, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

But I’ll tell you, what we have in the land today, and we’re not exempt…is so many people that have embraced a form of Christianity, quote-unquote. And what it really is, is religion. It even takes good and true principles, and it just infuses those into people’s minds. It sets out a religious culture to practice.

You know, I preached a little bit about this in the convention. But I want to tell you something. Bible Tabernacle religion will send you to Hell if that’s all you have. There are a lot of folks who grow up, there are some who come in, and what they do is learn what we believe. They learn how we do things. They learn to sing the songs, when to lift their hands, and when not to, and what to do, and all the things that go into the outward observance of being a part of this particular group. And they think, okay, well, I’m all right now. And they don’t have a thing.

( congregational amens ).

But oh, how true it is of so much in our world today. God did not send His Son to deliver us just from sin, as we think of it, but from every form of religious self-effort that stands between us and a Holy God, that has no power to free us. It’s like a man who learns to flap his wings and thinks by that he can fly. Or, it’s like a man who is so convinced that he has what he needs and he’s got the answers, he’d jump off a cliff and live with the illusion that he’s flying. He doesn’t realize that gravity, that force that holds every man apart from Christ, has got him in his iron grip and that he’s headed for destruction.

Oh God, deliver us forever from the notion that there is one single thing, one single atom in us that we can count on, that we can look to, that we can justify, that we can do anything, but just say, oh, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

( congregational amens ).

I believe, with all my heart, there are people here that need to come to that place where they let go and realize what it means. You don’t just come here and learn to be a Christian. That won’t work. There’s got to be an encounter with the living God. You’ve got to have a life you weren’t born with.

( congregational response ).

The problem is that the life force that you and I were born with, as a result of being born into Adam’s family, is hopelessly infected with sin. There’s no way you can get rid of it, no way you can beat it, no way you can enlist its help to overcome it! It won’t work! Absolutely, the worst you’ll get…I mean, here’s the thing. Religion is worse than useless! It’s useless because it cannot solve the problem! But it’s worse than useless because it gives men the illusion that they are solving the problem!

Why do you think Jesus warned about the two gates and the two ways? There is a wide gate being preached in so many places in our world today that allows man to come in with his own self-will and self-effort, bring all of that right into the Kingdom of God…come in and help God out, become great practitioners of religion. And they come to the end of the way, and what happens? Jesus looks at them and says, “…depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” I never knew you. And when he says that to them, what do they point to?

( congregational response ).

Their works! Lord, haven’t I done this, and I’ve done that, and I’ve done many wonderful works in your name. “…Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” What is that word? That word iniquity is ‘anomia’ in the Greek. It means lawless. It means a spirit that is self-driven. This is a human heart that was never conquered by the Gospel, never faced up to its own utter corruption and need before a Holy God, but somehow was able to come into what purported to be Christ’s church, and engage its own abilities in doing something for God, and expecting by that to be accepted by a Holy God. Folks, there is no such thing. God has put us in the same place. Every single one of us stands before a Holy God with the same need.

( congregational amens ).

There’s not one of us that can look at another. I don’t care if you go out and see somebody that’s been ruined by sin, lying in a ditch. There’s not one of us here who can look at him and say, I’m better than you are. I am more worthy of God’s love than you are. We are not! God’s love and mercy reaches to the lowest of the low!

( congregational amens ).

I just pray, if there’s somebody here that’s never come to that place, and you’ve embraced religious culture, that God will just convict you, because my words have no power in themselves. God has to confront your heart and say, ‘you need Me!’

I’ve got to come back to this story. How many times does it fit? And it’s not just a story. This was a testimony of a preacher, a man who preached the Gospel, went from place to place as an evangelist, and never, somehow never found peace in his own heart. He kept feeling like something’s missing.

Is something missing in your heart and your life? Something was missing in his, and he just couldn’t put his finger on it. And his response, every time, was to try harder. I will get up earlier. I will read my Bible more. I will pray more. I will do this. Lord, I’ll do something. I’ll just…I’ve got to make this feeling go away.

And the Lord arranged for him to sit in somebody else’s Gospel message, and Gospel service. And that man opened a scripture, and he hadn’t even planned to use this scripture. Boy, does the Lord know how to get in things?

( congregational response ).

He knows how to speak. And he laid on that man’s heart the scripture from 2nd Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” And those words just penetrated to the depths of his heart. Do you know we’ve got a God who can penetrate past every defense that you’ve got? I pray that God will absolutely turn people who need this every way but loose. Not because He’s mad but because He loves you, because you’re in bondage, you’re headed for…and if you don’t know Him, you’re headed for Hell. And He loves you and He doesn’t want that.

But anyway, that man was just gripped with that thought. And his prayer was, Lord, if I’m not saved I want to be, or something to that effect. And the Lord said, “You’re not.” Think about that. A man who’d preached the Gospel. And the Lord had to convict Him and say, “You’re not.”

But what was the problem? The problem was simple. The Lord said, I am completely satisfied with what my Son did to pay for your sins. When you are completely satisfied with what He did to pay for your sins, I’ll save you. That man was trusting in himself. Folks, the freedom that God has for us is not a freedom for self, it’s a freedom from self…

( congregational response ).

…To where we are able to rest in the arms of Somebody who loves us, that we are able to rest in something that has been ‘done,’ not something that we must ‘do’! Oh, if you’re trying to do, if you’re trying to be a Christian, give it up! Give Him the job of saving! Cooperate with Him, believe Him, yes! But the energy behind the salvation that I need doesn’t come from this guy.

Every time I have a problem, every time there is a bondage, every time there is something in which I am not free, it’s because of this guy! It’s not because of Him. And I can’t always just blame the devil. Yeah, he loves to work through me, but I’ll tell you, my eyes need to be on Him.

( congregational amens ).

There is a freedom that God has purchased for us in Christ. It’s a freedom from the power of sin, from its guilt. Folks, I’m tempted to ask how many of you are tormented with guilt. I’m not gonna do it. You answer that within your own heart. But it’s just something you can’t beat, and you can’t get on top of it. You just feel guilty all the time.

Is that what Christ died to purchase? That we should live like that? Did not the Father accept the sacrifice of His Son? Did He not bear witness by taking that curtain that was in front of the Holiest Place and tearing it, not from the bottom, but from the top to the bottom? This was a witness that God was absolutely taking away the barrier that separated you from a Holy God!

Oh, wow! How counter to our nature this is, to be able to say, I can do nothing, but I can be free, because I just surrender and accept what somebody else did for me. Praise God! God wants you to be free! If you’re struggling with something like this, God wants you to be free!

( congregational amens ).

Not just to try to proof text your way out, but God wants to make this real.

( congregational amens ).

God wants us to experience the freedom that Christ purchased for us and purchased for me! Man, I am preaching this to me as much as to anybody else. Because even though we are called into a place of freedom, we do not possess it instantly. There are battles that are fought, very much like the Israelites had to fight for a lot of the land that the Lord had already given them.

But what did He tell them? He said, every place that you put the soles of your feet on, I have given to you. He didn’t even say, I ‘will’ give you. He said, I’ve given it to you, I’ve already given it to you. You’ve just got to put your foot on it.

God, help us to understand and to believe in the freedom that God has given to us. It’s a freedom from guilt. It’s a freedom from the power of sin. What is it that can give me a freedom to be able to say ‘no’ to sin, except another power coming in? You think about that man who stands there and he’s expected to fly. The law of God comes to him and says, thou shalt overcome this law of gravity. Good luck!

But what if, by a divine miracle, that man is suddenly given wings? Ah! Now that changes the picture, doesn’t it? Now, suddenly, there is a power that has the power of lifting him above the law of gravity. Does that mean the law of gravity has gone away? No. it just means that there is a greater power.

You think of what Paul followed up when he said there, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ…” So there is no condemnation! I better go over there and read that. Praise the Lord! Somebody help me. I just went totally blank.

( congregational response ).

Yes, thank you. Thank you! Praise God! See, we need one another, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

So anyway, Paul talks about…well he talks about him being a wretched man. Who shall deliver me from this body of death? “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (NIV). But now, in verse 1 of chapter 8, he says, “Therefore, there is now…” Oh, what a wonderful thought! There is now! There is now! Get your mind around this thing. Get your heart around it. “There is now…” What? “…No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

There is a transaction that happens when we come to the end of ourselves and cast ourselves upon what He has done. There is a turning away from sin. There is, oh God, I need to be delivered. God, I have no power to help myself. I give myself to You. At that moment, every sin is cast into the sea of His forgetfulness, and like somebody has said, we don’t need to go fishing in the sea of God’s forgetfulness.

( congregational amens ).

It’s gone! There is a freedom! And here is where He illustrates, or here is where the spiritual truth that’s behind what I said about the wings is. “…Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be…” What? “…Fully met in us, who…” What? “…Who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

That’s what’s missing in the Gospel in so many places. And I pray that God will not only bring everyone who hears this into the reality of the new birth, where you’ve got that new life, you’ve got those wings, you’ve got wings that were given to you by God that you don’t deserve. You’ve got the power to do something about this condition. I pray that God will make that real and bring you in! But I’ll tell you what, just because we have the wings doesn’t mean we always use them. How easy it is to become weary. How easy it is to become swallowed up in the circumstances we find ourselves in. We every one do it…

( congregational amens ).

…When God is longing to teach us to live, not by the strength of this old life, not to try to cope with life, not to try to grow in Him, not to try to be Christians, but to rely upon that new life that He has given to us.

Folks, that’s the whole deal. We either have the new life or we don’t. If you don’t have the life of Christ actually living in, what do you have? You’ve just got you! Now you can be as religious as you want to. You could have the truth. You could have exactly the right truth, every ‘i’ is dotted, every ‘t’ is crossed, your doctrine is perfect, your style of life is perfect but if Christ is absent on the inside, there’s never been a real birth, then you have nothing.

But there is a place of freedom that God desires every one of us to enter into. But folks, I’m gonna stop and say this, if there’s somebody here, and it’s not just my words, but God’s talking to you, and maybe you’ve been doing the best you know. You’ve been trying to be a Christian.

You know, God doesn’t despise that. Think of Cornelius. Now, could Cornelius be saved by giving alms to the poor and doing all the things…could he be saved by that? No. But what that represented was a heart that was reaching out toward God, and that God recognized! But what did He do? He sent to him somebody who had words whereby he could be saved, and then God gave him His Spirit, and then he was truly born again.

You might be one of those that’s trying, that’s coming, that’s listening and you don’t quite understand. God wants you to get it. God wants you to know that there is no way to life except coming to the end of yourself and saying, I am a sinner, I need a savior, I have no power. But, not stopping there. Saying, Lord, I believe Your promise. I ask You to come into my heart and into my life, and to take it, and save it, and rescue it. Have you ever really come to that point and just said, Lord, I surrender, I just give myself to You, and I thank You?

( congregational response ).

You know, it’s like that lady who was trying to get rid of a spirit. You remember the story Brother Thomas told, when he was in the service and somebody came up and had a demon that was trying…she was trying to get it to go. And you remember what happened? She kept commanding go, go, go, get out of here, devil! I command you to leave! I command you to leave! And it wouldn’t leave.

And Brother Thomas recognized what was happening. And he said, as long as you’re saying, go, what you’re really saying is he hasn’t gone. And so, what you need to do is realize you have power over this spirit! You command it once to go and then you turn and you thank God that he’s gone.

( congregational amens ).

You see, that’s where faith lets go, and it claims the promise, and takes it, and it’s no longer begging God to do something. It’s standing upon what He has said, in His Word…and then thanking Him, saying, Lord, here is the ground upon which I come, and I thank You. Your Word is true.

Because what are we doing when we don’t do that? What are we really believing? What are we believing? We’re believing in our doubts. We’re believing in the lies of the enemy. We’re believing in something other than the promise of God!

And you follow through Paul’s teaching about this. I’ll tell you, the faith that God has imparted to us goes back to where? To Abraham, doesn’t it? What did Abraham do? What did he do to become acceptable to God?

( congregational response ).

He believed God!