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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1138

The Necessity of Hardship

July 27, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1138 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Oh, how faithful God is to do the things in us that are necessary. He is going to try our faith in a million different ways. But I’ll tell you, we’re gonna find out in the arena of life that it works. How many songs, how many testimonies have you heard where someone has gone through a hellacious time in their life—something they would never have chosen, a pathway they would never have chosen, and they come out to…and they struggle, and sometimes they don’t always do and say the right thing…and it’s a real life and death struggle spiritually. But they hang on, and they trust God, and they work through it, and they come out on the other side!

And how many testimonies have you heard where they’re just praising God for the experience, and they wouldn’t trade anything for the results that God has brought through that! They experienced God in a way they never would have any other way, and it’s just a ‘praise report’ instead of ‘oh me…God, why did You have to do it that way?’ It’s thank God! Oh, what an awesome thing it is just to let go and trust God with our lives.

I tell you, there’s nothing in this world that can overcome a child of a God who just puts themselves in His hands. As I say, you may feel like you’re the weakest of the weak, the youngest…whatever it is. I tell you, there’s a heavenly Father who knows about you and has given you everything you need to stand in this world, and to come through safely to the other side.

It’s the high and the mighty, and the strong in themselves who have a problem. And if you’re somebody like that, if that’s your personality, don’t you be surprised when God puts you…and throws you in the deep end of the pool. He’s not doing that because He hates you. He’s doing that because He loves you, and He knows that the pathway of your being able to stand for Him in this world, in a world like this, is not to be self-reliant! You and I will fail every time we try to rely upon ourselves!

How many times have we pointed out that the testimony of Paul in 2nd Corinthians 1, I believe it is, where God put him in a place where he was in such despair, had such a sense of hopelessness, that it says he, “…despaired even of life.” (NIV). He really didn’t expect to make it. But God brought him through, and in the experience God gave him something that he was able to share with others. But his testimony was that God brought us that way so that, “…we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”

I tell you, we serve a God who can raise the dead. Nothing is impossible for Him! Everything is impossible for us. We just don’t get that. We don’t understand what Jesus said. “…Without me ye can do…”

— Congregation: Nothing.

— Brother Phil Enlow: We have this delusion that we can do stuff! And of course, we confuse earthly stuff with heavenly stuff. Yeah, most of us can get out of bed, and do whatever we need to do to fix our face, and go to work, and shovel food in our mouth. But I mean, things of eternal value, forget it! We confuse the two. We mix the two.

We need God for every single thing we do! We need Him to get up in the morning, and to be able to say, thank You, Lord. This circumstance is still right in my face, Lord, but I thank You, because I know it’s being ordered of You. I know the devil could not have attacked me in this way if You had not pulled the hedge back and allowed Him to do it. But Your hope and the promise that You’ve given to me is that when You allow that, You will measure out the strength and the grace that I need, not so I can run from it, but so that I can stand up and come through it.

You notice what Paul says. It says, we must, through much tribulation. I’m going back to the King James language there. Through many hardships, we go into the Kingdom. It’s not just to them, and run. It’s ‘through’ them. There was no other way into that castle in that particular picture that was drawn for us, except going through the enemy. But I tell you, if we value the castle, if we value the Kingdom of God more than we value this world and our life in it, it’s worth everything to fight for it. God equips—God equips His children with everything that we stand in need of. Praise God!

So is your faith being tried? Is your faith being challenged? Are you giving in to belly-aching and maybe just a hint of discouragement every now and then? Surely I’m speaking to the spiritually elite here who would never experience those things, but I just have the sneaky suspicion that we just might deal with some of those realities in our lives.

Oh God, why did this happen? God…I’m right in the middle of being sick, and just in my Bible reading today, I’m reading about how Jesus went into a village and He healed everybody. What’s wrong with me? Oh my. You know, you’ve got folks that think it’s God’s will to heal everybody, and you’ve got other people that think it’s just never His will.

And you know…there’s no rule. God marks out a race for every individual! We are unique. There are no two of us alike! God knows what we need. He knows when we need it. And our place is to trust Him…to stand upon His Word, not to look at somebody else and say, they’re having it good. You might not have a clue. Most of the time you don’t. You’ll look somebody down the row and say, man, they’re just smiling, and everything’s great, and you don’t know what they’re fighting. And what’s really going on, is they’re looking down the row at you! And they’re seeing the smile on your face and say, boy, why can’t I have it like them, Lord? Every one of us has exactly what we need.

( congregational amens ).

And we have the same Lord. And we have the same ability to praise Him in the storm, and to rise up and say, thank You, Lord…not to blame, not to get bitter, not to get angry at God. I’ll tell you, if you’re angry about anything, you know who you’re really angry at? Is He not in control? Has He not allowed the thing that you’re angry about? Why don’t they drive faster?

( laughter ).

You know, it gets right down to silly stuff. It’s really silly if you look at it. I’ll tell you, we have a God who is so amazing, and one day we’re gonna get to the other side, and we’re gonna look back and say, boy, was I a dunce. He was so good to me, and I just didn’t get it. I fought it all the way, and He loves me, and He’s was with me. He never left me. Sometimes the footprints in the sand became single because He carried me all that way, and I realize that it was really true that He loved me. The devil was just telling me all kinds of junk, and I was listening to it. I can’t believe I believed all that stuff.

We all face the same things. We need to learn, but we don’t need to feel bad. We need to just realize, “…the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (KJV). There’s nothing that’s happened to you that hasn’t happened to somebody else and a whole lot worse. So we have every reason to come in here on a Sunday morning or whenever we get together, or whenever we just meet somebody, and just encourage one another.

Brother, have courage. It’s gonna be okay. I know right now the fire is hot, but there is a God who is in control, who has that thing exactly measured. No devil in hell can touch you. In fact, as I say so many times, it must be frustrating to be the devil, to realize that everything you do, God turns it around! God takes the biggest offensive that I mount, and He turns it around, and He turns it into something good for His people. It’s frustrating! I can’t win.

He’s so blind. He probably thinks He’s winning anyway. But if he ever takes an honest look at what’s really going on, and how great God is, and what Jesus accomplished at the cross, man, it’s got to be frustrating. You wonder why he’s angry? You wonder why the world is in the shape that it’s in? He knows his time’s getting short! Man, it is no time to be outside of the ark of safety.

Christ has given us everything we need. We have a kingdom that cannot be moved! Thank God for such a thing. Think about that—it cannot be moved! We have promises from somebody who cannot lie. So why do we listen to the lies of someone who cannot tell the truth so much of the time? Oh my brothers and sisters, we need…I need this just absolutely as much as you. My emotions go down in the tank just like yours.

You know, you have some condition. It may be a bodily condition. It may be a circumstance, whatever it is, and it just…you know, absolutely we get weary. And we need to be just constantly saying, brother, courage. God’s in control. It’s gonna be okay. Praise God! Praise God for the…what we need to fight with is the faith that He gives us! He births it in the heart of anyone who’s His.

Man, if there’s somebody here today that’s just, you’ve never really crossed that border, you’ve never crossed that line, I pray that God will open your eyes! Don’t you know that this…you’re gonna be on one side or the other come that day? The half-hearted are whole-hearted for Satan. There’s no other way. God doesn’t accept half-hearted people into His kingdom. You’re either His or you’re not!

Churches in America are full of people who think that they are His, and multitudes of them are not! God knows those that are His. He’s got His people, too. There are so many people that think they can have this little religion on the side, and fit Jesus into their life somewhere. Oh, my Bible says, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” There’s no half-hearted Gospel. There’s no compromising Gospel.

I tell you, you let God lay hold of your life. It’s not you trying to take hold of Him. It’s Him taking hold of you, and you letting go. He will equip you with what you need to stand in this world. We don’t have to face it with fear. We can face it with a confidence that He will absolutely be with us until the end of the age. Praise God!

So wherever you’re at right now lift up your heads. Lift up your hearts. Trust Him. As I say so many times, I hope I’m listening to this. I need it just as much as you do, but oh, we have a faithful, loving, wonderful, wonderful Lord, every reason in the world just to be shouting and rejoicing.

We don’t shout and rejoice because of the emotions that just sort of flow out into that. We rejoice by faith. That same conviction that lies in our hearts enables us to see beyond, enables us to say God, it’s okay. I thank You so much. You’re destroying something that would hold me to this world—that self-reliance, that carelessness of my spirit and my heart.

You’re forcing me to exercise this faith that You gave me in the first place. I didn’t earn this. I sure don’t deserve it. You gave it to me because of what Jesus did. I put my hope in that, but now you want me to take hold of that and exercise it in the arena of life, and as I do it becomes strong.

And as I do, I learn—I learn of Him, and I grow in Him. And I learn something about Him that just makes Him so much more precious to me. And the next thing that comes along…you know we get to the point where somebody comes to our door with a sword or with a gun and says, convert or die. We can say, well, praise God like several of us have said lately, and like that preacher said one time. What, are you threatening me with Heaven?

How can we lose? We’re not talking about just something about earthly benefits here. We’re talking about eternal benefits and eternal consequences for those who absolutely harden their hearts to say, no. God has fixed it to where it costs our life to enter this kingdom, but it’s worth everything. So God does it, God allows it, makes it this way because it eliminates the half-hearted. It eliminates those who really don’t have His faith. But it sure does make Him precious to those who have the real deal. But He does it to purge and to purify.

You know, we said faith is the fruit of the Spirit, didn’t we? But what did Jesus say about the one who bears fruit? He said if anyone in Me bears fruit, what does He do? He purges it, or He prunes it in our language. What does that mean? What is pruning? You’re cutting off something that isn’t necessary, isn’t fruit. Sometimes the strength of a plant, a fruit bearing plant is wasted on leaves and branches, and they’re sickly and struggling and the root system just can’t really support all that stuff. And if you really want to get fruit out of it or flowers or whatever the thing is that you’re after, you better cut it back.

Now that sounds pretty rough, and somebody who’s not a horticulturist will see, will go to some of the plants that Joel works with and say Joel, you’re mean. That was a perfectly good plant, and you cut it way back to near the ground. Why did you do such a thing? That’s terrible! You’re mean.

Sometimes we’re prone to think that of the Lord when He cuts things back in our life. But Lord, I needed that. The Lord says, no you don’t. I’m not after your leaves. I’m after My fruit. So the Lord is wise enough to do what it takes in our lives, to eliminate things that aren’t important and to strengthen things that are. And there just seems like there’s no other way. I mean we see the lessons in nature, just the simple business of pruning something so that it comes out healthier, stronger, more fruit.

I tell you, the church of Jesus Christ needs a lot of pruning, doesn’t it? Well, I believe with all my heart that when we are presented to Him we will be without spot and wrinkle and blemish. And I have no power to make that happen. Do you? There’s no program we can run that will accomplish that. All we can do is stretch forth our hands and say Lord, You promised. Do what it takes.

Let the circumstances of this world unfold as they will. And they are going to unfold in a satanic direction. We see it on every hand. We see the handwriting on the wall. But you know, God’s word to us is when you see these things, lift up your heart, lift up your heads. Lift, not hang them down. Oh, me. Oh, my. Lift them up! Say, that’s a sign to me that the end is drawing near, that Jesus Christ is coming.

And if He doesn’t come for another generation, He’s still coming. And we are still moving surely, certainly in the hands of an almighty God toward that end. Thank God for His power and His promise. But there’s gonna have to be a lot of trimming and pruning in all of our lives. And as painful and as much as it is, as much as we struggle with it, oh, we need to have a heart that says thank You, Lord. You know what I need. You know what’s involved in being over there. I don’t want to show up over there and not be, not fit in.

Can you imagine the average human being just suddenly dropped into Heaven? They think oh, wonderful. It’d be hell in a short deal here. It would be hell to somebody who’s still got their nature and their heart in this world to suddenly be there. But God knows what it takes to get us ready. That’s what we were made for. That’s the only atmosphere you & I were ever made to breathe. Sin entered in and took over and has ruined everything for the human race. God is transforming a people and getting them ready to live in such a place. Oh my, I’m ready. Aren’t you?

( congregational amens ).

Well, I’m ready in the sense that I want to go there. I’ll let the Lord decide when that time comes, but I know He’s faithful. How many have we seen go forth from this assembly, and they’re over there shouting their encouragement. They’re saying, don’t worry. It’s worth everything. You saw me. You saw what I was as a human being. You saw my weaknesses. You saw all those things, but in my heart of hearts I trusted Him. I gave Him my heart, and I trusted Him.

You know, I was thinking about Mike Marshall. Now he certainly was a human being with all of his faults and failings, but I was there in the hospital bed when he was, when they were getting ready to put in a breathing tube. Whatever it was, he was gonna be incapacitated, not able to communicate, and it was uncertain that he was gonna come out of it. And as a matter of fact, he didn’t. But there was a rest and a peace in his demeanor as he lay there and said, if I see you this side that’s great. If I don’t, I’ll see you on the other side.

It takes God to bring that kind of a conviction. That’s not just make-believe. That’s real, a God who can take somebody in the most extreme circumstances of life and fill them with a hope and peace. That hope is the anchor for our souls, isn’t it? That’s what Hebrews tells us. Thank God. I need an anchor, don’t you?

I need Him to just strengthen me and help me, but you know you talk about purging. I think from time to time of 1st Peter chapter 4, and I don’t know that I…well, I don’t know if I can explain this. I know I can’t explain this. But Peter in this case says this in the beginning of chapter 4, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body…” So he’s talking about something really very physical. Part of living in this world, his body is not happy right now. It’s going through something. “…arm yourselves also with the same attitude....”

So there is a way, there is a defense that we can have that helps us when our body doesn’t cooperate. Is there anybody’s body here who does cooperate all the time? We’ve all got something going on, some more than others. “…because he who has…” Why should we do that, “…because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.”

As I say, I can’t explain this, but there is a connection between somebody who stands firm when they’re going through physical suffering and the pull and the power of sin being…receding, actually being less, having less of a hold on somebody’s life. Sometimes God will put somebody through something in order to destroy a stronghold in your life. Now, of course we can belly-ache and complain and yield to that and go the other direction.

But I tell you, if we will look upon the things that the Lord allows in our lives, God is going to be breaking strongholds in our lives through the things that He lets us go through. And we have every reason to lift up our hearts and say, Lord, thank You. That’s what I wanted. There’s a part of me that wants to be held by that, and there is a part of me that wants to be free. And we’re in this tug of war so much of the time. We’re still fighting the battles, and the Lord says I’ve got to help them. I’ve got to help them, and it’s not gonna be fun, but I’ve got to let them feel something.

And all of a sudden, we’re so…we have to deal with this. Now we’ve got to deal with something, and it’s real. And we focus on that, and suddenly this becomes…this just sort of fades away. Its hold and its power begins to fade. You know when we’re in trouble is when everything is going great. Isn’t that your experience that when you just are floating along and you have money in the bank and you feel great, you’re in the worst spiritual shape, you are, you can be? Doesn’t that witness to our need—how readily we go the wrong way?

What did the hymn writer say, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love,” and the prayer of his heart, “Here’s my heart now take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.” Man, I need that. I need Him to do whatever it takes to bring me safely to the other side.

But we need to absolutely encourage one another. We have every reason in Jesus Christ to be encouraged this morning. So whatever your pathway holds right now, understand that it’s not just something that happened. It’s something God put in your pathway. And He did it because He loves you. And He did it because it’s accomplishing something that isn’t just for this world. It isn’t just for this world. It isn’t just so you have a better life here, your best life now kind of junk. This is about eternity.

( congregational amens ).

And yes, in a real sense, if you’re looking at it from God’s point of view it is our best life here because we’re freer from the pull of the flesh, freer from the pull of the world. But oh, we just need to yield ourselves into His hands and encourage each other and stand strong because He who has called us is faithful.

In the ultimate sense, He’ll do it. He’s gonna be the doer of that work that’s needed in you and me. So like Paul said, we must, in the King James, “…we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Now I can’t remember how it says it in here. But anyway, it’s the same thought. It’s necessary. It’s absolutely necessary for the will and the purpose of God that we go through trouble.

So rather than running, rather than complaining, we just need to say Lord, help me, not to run from it, not to belly-ache in it but to push through and to see beyond it. And to trust in the strength that You give and to know that in the process You’re doing something in me that could not be done any other way. And it’s eternal, and we’re gonna get to the other side. We’re gonna be closer, one step closer to Heaven. Praise God!

What do we have…I mean, think of what we have to look forward to. As little as we know about it, it’s still, we know enough to know that it’s wonderful, know that it’s worth everything. Praise God!