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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1146

Where Freedom Is
Part One

September 21, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1146 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I just had a thought come to me yesterday morning and it kind of applies in a lot of areas, but certainly my first thought was, boy, this is about me. This isn’t for the people, this is something I need. But anyway, it seems like the Lord has developed it, so let’s turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 3.

It’s a familiar passage to many of us. Paul is describing his ministry and contrasting it with the law. But he comes down to…verse 17 is where the thought came from, and then we’ll just kind of ask the Lord to guide us and to expand out from there because this absolutely applies to everyone here this morning. And, as I say, it applies first, to me.

But, I just ask the question, is everybody here free this morning? I mean just completely free? There are just no areas of need, or bondage in your life. You just…you’re there. No! See, that’s true of every one of us. We have needs, don’t we? Now Paul is saying this, he’s writing this: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV). And that was the thought. That was the heart of it. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Now you know, I’ve said on a number of occasions recently, and the Lord has made it more and more real to me that we, as a people, were created in the beginning to be animated, to be empowered, by God’s life. There’s no other way we are meant to function. We were endowed with glorious and wonderful gifts from Him to create, to enjoy pleasure, just a thousand and one things that are a part of our make-up naturally because we are children, because we are the offspring of God, as Paul said. We are created in His image.

But none of those things have any real meaning unless God’s Spirit is at the center and the heart of it, unless they are literally energized as an expression of His being. You remove that and you remove the very reason for our existence. You remove every barrier to corruption, to what we call sin because sin is basically, simply missing God’s purpose. It’s moving outside of the purpose for which we were created. It’s not a list of don’t do this and don’t do that. I mean, it comes down to some of those things. But the fundamental thing is that if man is trying to live apart from God, there’s nothing he can do but sin.

And this passage talks about…this text talks about freedom. But what happens when men try to live apart from God being at the center and being the very life that is being expressed? What happens? Don’t look at me that way.

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

Okay, I’ll have to tell you. It’s just simply slavery, bondage! Instead of man being free to be who God created him to be, he becomes a slave! And one becomes a slave to his intellect and his pride. Another becomes a slave to this capacity we have for pleasure, except that it pulls him in every wrong direction with self at the center, and he becomes absolutely overpowered and a slave to sin.

And this is a condition from which there is no human answer. There is no way for us to escape what we have come to refer to, in many instances, as sin’s prison. It’s a prison! There is no...there’s absolutely no way out of it. Jesus talked to some of the religious leaders and, at one point, they claimed to believe in Him, some of them, and He said, continue in my word…if you’re my disciples indeed you’ll continue in my word…anyway, it’ll lead to freedom. What was their answer? What was their response to that?

( congregational response ).

They said, we’ve never been…we’re not anybody’s slaves. We’ve never been in bondage to any man. What do you mean, we’ll be set free? And Jesus…what did Jesus say there? Whoever sins — that is whoever practices sin — is a servant of sin.

Paul said plainly in Romans chapter 6 — he’s describing our need to yield ourselves to the life of God and to the grace of God — says, to whomever you yield yourselves, you become the servant to whatever you yield to. But the thing is, apart from the Spirit of God, men have no defense! They have no way to avoid becoming ensnared by the very desires that God created to be a blessing. They turn into a curse. And they lead to corruption, they lead to death, and there is no escape.

And so Paul is, first of all, he’s dealing with that need. It’s the need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to reach out and actually do something about this! And his contrast, as I say, in the passage is about the ministry of the Law versus the ministry of the Spirit.

And you go back into the previous passage, and he’s talking about…let’s look at verse 14 of chapter 2. He says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession…” Boy that sounds pretty good. And says, “…and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ….”

Paul’s message was not simply words. It was not religious doctrine. It was not anything. It was absolutely the living Christ! Everywhere he went, everywhere he expressed himself in the message that God had given to him, the people did not simply contact a bunch of ideas. They contacted the very Spirit of God.

And so Paul goes on into chapter 3. As I say, he contrasts his ministry with that of the Law of the Letter. Now the Law of God was basically a whole lot of things that they were not to do, and if they did them they would be judged for them. Is that right?

( congregational response ).

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (KJV). Thou shalt not do…you know, it was a whole lot of commandments. And what was the purpose of those commandments? Why did God do something like that?

( congregational response ).

To show us that we have needs! In other words, He did not show us the Law to give us a way by which we could qualify ourselves to be accepted by Him. There is no such thing.

( congregational amens ).

The need is too great. And the problem with the Pharisees in Jesus’ day was that they had found a way, in their own deluded thinking, they had found a way to take the words of Moses and twist them into a religious lifestyle. And in their minds, as long as they observed that lifestyle, they were good to go. They were acceptable to God, and He liked them, and they looked down on everybody else who didn’t live according to their rules, and that was their life. And it was those very people that Jesus said, if you sin—you commit sin—you are the servant of sin. You need to be set free.

But oh, the problem with the Law is so simple. It tells me what to do but it doesn’t give me any power to do it. Oh God, it doesn’t touch the need of my heart. Without Him I am lost, I am hopeless. There’s nothing in here that has any power to do what is right! I’m constantly fighting something in here.

Look…listen to the words of Paul, who cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Oh, thank God! God had to bring…has God ever brought you to that place where you understand?

You know, it must sound crazy for us to come together and sing about the blood of Jesus. What in the world is that all about? What’s the penalty of sin? What did Jesus say…what did God say in the beginning? It’s death! You know, we were practicing a song this morning, “I Should Have Been Crucified.” That’s the truth.

And the song, “Barabbas.” I don’t whether the real Barabbas got this or not, but the truth is there. He went to the cross in my place. I’m the one that should have died! But if I paid the penalty of my sin, that would be the end of me. But oh, the love of God that opened up a way for someone who was without sin to go to that cross and to take my guilt!

( congregational amens ).

Oh, my! The Law demands the death of every sinner! Do you think God, in all of His justice, can ignore that and just say, well, I just feel so sorry for them, I’m gonna let them in anyway? No! God…the miracle is that God has found a way to uphold His justice and yet to allow for mercy!

( congregational praise ).

Jesus took upon Himself every bit of my guilt.

( congregational amens ).

He paid the price in full! He didn’t leave anything for me to pay! “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

( congregational amens ).

The blood that poured from His wounds on that cross represents the death that He died for me. And I’ll tell you, when Jesus saw the blood of that sacrifice…I mean, the Father saw the blood of that sacrifice, He accepted it. The justice of God was completely satisfied!

I’ll tell you, everyone who comes to Him, and recognizes their need, and opens their heart and say, oh God, there’s nothing I can bring, nothing I can do! I have to humble myself and become the sinner that I am, and just completely put my trust in You. You’re the only one who can save me and help me. That opens the door for God to show you mercy. But His help is not just information on how to live a successful lifestyle. I don’t need that. I need Jesus.

( congregational amens ).

I need actual life. And so Paul’s message in contrast to the Law just telling me what to do and not giving me any power to do it, Paul’s message was ‘Jesus’! At every point it’s not a religion, it’s not a doctrine. It’s a Person! And that Person sits on a throne in Heaven, but He fills heaven and earth by the Spirit. That’s that One, who sits on the throne that we worship rightly, today. He’s here, today!

( congregational amens ).

Our eyes are limited to the physical realm, but He is here and He resides in people’s hearts that have opened their heart to Him! There is a new life that we can have in Him once the sin question has been moved from the picture, once God has cleansed from sin! Then there’s a vessel that He can come in, and He can live, and He can impart a brand new life.

That’s the message of the Gospel! Do you know any other way that deals with the bondage of sin…that could possibly give me freedom? You got another way that I can be free? Oh, my! You know, we’ve got all kinds of people here this morning. This applies in one way or another to everybody.

( congregational amens ).

But if you’re…I just pray that God can open hearts who are in need, because His heart reaches out, not in condemnation, but in love! What do you think it was that allowed Jesus to go in the place of sinners like us? He reached out of the very heart of the love of God. That shows the kind of a God that He is! He longs to reach out and to cleanse and to set free.

You think He’s happy to see people that are in bondage and captivity to sin? Oh, we cling to the very thing that is carrying us over the cliff to destruction, by nature! And yet, we have no power to let go in ourselves. And yet, our pride keeps us right there. I can do it. I can…it’s my life. I can do as I please. Oh, God! Deliver. God, just convict where it’s needed.

( congregational amens ).

Set people free from that awful captivity of sin. There’s freedom! We’ll never be free unless the Lord comes on the inside. That’s the whole thing. “…Where the Spirit of the Lord is…” (NIV).

( congregational response ).

Liberty, freedom! I need that freedom. I have no power to be free from anything that this world offers except through Him. Oh, all I can do is put this out and say, God, just take it, convict of sin, but do it with the love that you’ve shown me.

( congregational amens ).

Reach out and embrace somebody, and just bring them to that place where there is freedom. There’s no freedom apart from Him. I’ll go back to this. We were not made to live independent lives. There is no possibility of our ever being what God made us! There’s no possibility of our being anything but a slave! We live in a world populated by devils who hate God and hate you!

They are…they have had thousands of years of practice of knowing how to appeal to this nature of ours, and sell us a lie that if you will go this way, if you will do that, you will discover what you need, you’ll be fulfilling your destiny, you’ll be satisfying the needs that you have in your life! Keep scratching that itch! Yes, I know you’re miserable now, but if you’ll scratch it a little more, you’ll get there someday! Oh, God! What a lie! This Devil has blinded the world.

You know, Paul prefaces what he says in verse 17. “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” There is something blocking people’s vision. And you go on into chapter 4 and you see what it is. Verse 3, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.”

Now why is that? “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers…” Why? “…So that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” Boy, do you see how much we need Him?

( congregational response ).

This goes all the way back to the beginning. God in the beginning said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” Do you know ‘that’ God is here today? Do you know He has the power to look into somebody’s heart and command, let there be light?

( congregational amens ).

Folks, we have the privilege, if we know Him, to pray and say, God, open hearts. God, let the veil just be pulled back, let it be torn down, let all illusion disappear! Let people who are in need see their need and understand that there’s no answer!

Religion will not do it! You know why people gravitate to religion? Why do they gravitate to religion? Now, I’m using religion in a specific way here. It’s because religion simply gives man stuff to do, and stuff to believe! But it leaves him as the master of his own soul! I’m in charge, and if I only will take this lifestyle, this belief system, this way of living to myself, and I will practice this, then I will meet my need. Oh no, you will not! That religion will descend with you into Hell. There’s only one answer and that’s Jesus. We need His life!

( congregational amens ).

We need to come to a place where we…our vessel once again becomes inhabited by the very life of God. Then freedom begins to happen. And the first thing He does is set me free from my sins! How many of you know the difference between feeling your need of God and the horrible guilt of the sense of how your sins have separated you from a Holy God, and then to come to a place where you lay it at the feet of the cross, and suddenly the guilt is gone?

( congregational praise ).

We serve a risen Savior who has the power to erase even the guilt that we live under! To take it away and to cause us to know that we’ve been accepted by Him, that the Father has accepted the sacrifice that He made at that cross. Oh, praise God! We do have everything to shout about today, to be thankful for! There is freedom in Christ!

( congregational amens ).

Oh, if you’re laboring under the bondage of sin, you can’t break free, you’re stuck and there’s nothing…everything you’ve tried has not worked. There’s only one way. You’re gonna have to lay down your pride, you’re gonna have to come as a broken sinner and lay at the feet of the cross and say, oh God, take over. I cannot do this. I cannot live. I cannot be what I ought to be.

Oh, my! That’s true for every single one of us here. We cannot live. We don’t have the power to do it. Oh, my sufficiency. It’s the same thing Paul said about his ministry. He said, I’m not competent to do this. See, even in ministry, Paul was confessing his utter inability! He said, God gave me this ministry, but my competence, my ability to do it does not come from anything that resides in me. I can’t do this! But God has made me able.

( congregational amens ).

Why did God make Paul able? So He could lift up Paul, and we could say, wow, Paul, yay, Paul? No! He came down upon an unworthy sinner who declared himself to be the chief of sinners, poured out His power and His Spirit upon him, and sent him forth into a world that hated God, with a message of life and hope, and one after another people gravitated to that message and people were set free, and congregations were formed.

In city, after city, after city, they’d start a congregation, and then they’d stone him, and run him out of town, or something, but God was reaching into a world. It was the heart and the love of God reaching right into Satan’s strongholds, and declaring, I understand where you’re at. I know that you’re in a place that you cannot escape. But I want you to know, there’s freedom in Christ. I want you to know that I have the power to set you free. If you’ll call upon the name of Jesus, you can be set free. See the love of God just engineering all of this?

And this is what Paul was declaring to these people. I’ve got a message and my message is not a doctrine! It’s a Person. The Lord is the Spirit! He talked about the ministry of the letter, which is just words, ideas, and the ministry of the Spirit! Literally, he meant that when he preached and God was there inspiring what he preached, his words were more than words. There was a Spirit, the very Spirit of God, that went forth and that Spirit had the power to enter into someone’s life and break strongholds!

He said, “…The weapons of our warfare…” over in chapter 10. They’re “…not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (KJV). He was talking about his ministry! Now I know that applies on an individual level. We have the power to withstand the thoughts of the enemy, and to cast them down, and to find freedom. But Paul was talking about his ministry there. I’ve got something. I don’t have to stand here and try to tell people what to do, knowing that they can’t do it. Oh, God. There’s so much that is called Christian, it’s labeled Christian, and all it is, is a bunch of ideas that come from the Bible that are imposed upon people without the Spirit! And what’s the result?

( congregational response ).

Bondage! Oh, all you do is put people in greater jail than they were to begin with. My God! I just pray that God will set me free in a greater way. As I say, my first thought, when I read this, I said, man, I need this. I’m just conscious, specially facing this trip. My God, I’m just conscious of how much I need Him, and how many things there are that are lacking in my life, how many areas of bondage there are! I need greater freedom!

Where is the place of freedom? It’s where He is! I can’t go to a seminar and get a list of…a nice little formula where I can…well, okay now, I’ll do this, and I’ll do this, and then I’ll be free. No! Freedom is Christ. Period! End of story! If my faculties are not absolutely given life, if life is not breathed in by the Spirit of God to what I do, it’s worthless. God help us! God help me here! I want to give out something that has life in it. And I’m just so conscious as I walk up here…and I had to say it again this morning. I said, God, I can’t do this, but You can.

( congregational amens ).

But that applies to every one of our lives. God, I can’t do this! And then He turns around and says, but I can. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.

( congregational amens ).

Oh, we are so full of pride and self-sufficiency! Man, we just want to get a hold of it and do it! And feel like, look what I did…oh God, aren’t you happy with me? That’s our nature. We don’t say that outwardly, but that’s how we think. Oh my God, what a blessed place of freedom the Lord has for us when we stop trying and start trusting in Him. You know, that’s such a central principle. It’s that coming to God is not a matter of doing and trying. How many of you know what I’m talking about? You tried.

( congregational response ).

Any of you succeed at that? Not a one. Unanimous. “But to him that worketh not…” that doesn’t work, “…but believeth on him that justifieth…” declares righteous, “…the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” There’s not a thing I can offer to God and say, here’s the righteousness that I need in order to be accepted from you.

You think God is gonna walk up and say, yeah, that’ll do? Put it to my account. No! There’s no such thing. I can’t offer Him that. But I can believe in His Son and what He did for me. And that faith, that confidence, that trust, that’s not just a mental thing. This is my heart, putting my full weight of trust on what He did for me, instead of anything I could do.

I’ve got to stop doing, realize that I can’t do it, abandon the effort and say, Lord, I have only one thing I can offer. I can put my trust in Your Son. He says, yes, that’s what I’m looking for! He puts my name down in His Book. There’s a righteous man, he believes in my Son. It’s His power to save me that gives me any hope at all.

That levels the field, folks! There’s not one of us, as I’ve said so many times, that can look down on another, and say, I’m better than you. I’m not. Are you? We, every one, have the same need. We may not have had the same background, the same earthly circumstances, but one sinner is as bad as another.

( congregational amens ).

We have the same need. But oh, what a glorious message Paul had. “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV). I’ll tell you, the only thing that’ll make you and me free is when He literally comes in to live.

( congregational amens ).

Then freedom starts. Praise God! But as I say, when I first was thinking about this, I was thinking in terms of me, and realizing just how many things in my life are needy, how many areas where, if I’m gonna be honest, I’m not free. The Lord has purchased a freedom. I mean, we can sing, “I’m free, I’m free to be a servant of the Lord,” and it’s true and it’s good to confess the truth, but every one of us here has areas of our lives that we need more freedom.