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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1152

Looking Unto Jesus With Confidence
Part One

November 2, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1152 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I believe with all my heart it’s the simple things that trip us up. I don’t think it’s any accident we started off singing what we did this morning. Sometimes we’ve just got to go back to those simple things. And we do over-complicate, and we do struggle with things that I believe God wants us to have freedom and victory in more than we do.

And, I just appreciate the Lord’s mercy and His presence. He has a way of taking us through circumstances that remind us of the simplicity of what He’s called us to. I thought of a scripture this morning that we certainly are over-familiar with in a way. And I believe maybe a fresh look might be in order. And that’s from Hebrews chapter 12. And it’s the one about looking to Jesus.

You know, I said Friday night that many times we think our battles…we think the real issues in our lives are things, people, circumstances. But the real issue is here…because the real issues of life have to do with what God’s purposes are. And God’s purpose is to make us like Himself, and we’re not. By nature, by what we’re born with in this world, we’re nothing like Him and He’s got a big job…one that only He can do.

But that’s the central thought, that’s the central purpose of His life, and all these other things, these circumstances, He weaves them into our lives, but with that in mind, always with that in mind. Where we’re trying to feather our nest and make things comfortable, He sometimes has to make things uncomfortable in order to get what He’s interested in done.

But it just keeps coming back to me, the simplicity of looking to Jesus. But I think we need a fresh appreciation of just what that’s about, because here’s where I stumble and I suspect one or two of you may have this problem, too. We know it, up here, don’t we? There’s a lot of stuff we know to be true because, well, the Bible says so.

But our trouble is that we are not just ‘thinking’ creatures. We are creatures with deep emotions and feelings, and there’s that other dimension to us that, many times we can assert, Jesus loves me, but emotionally we’re disconnected from that.

And I believe Satan gains an advantage over many of us and disconnects us from the simplicity of looking to Jesus, because we can’t really see Him as Someone who can really, really understand where we’re at, and really sympathize. We know it from the Word. But has anybody else ever struggled with, ‘yeah, right, can He really understand what I’m feeling and what…I just fell in the mud again, does He really get that, does He understand, or is He sitting there looking down His nose at me, saying what’s the matter with you?’ Am I the only one that feels that ever?

( congregational response ).

No! This is not a small issue. Folks, the Christian life is not just about head knowledge, even if it’s true knowledge. God wants to take what is in here and so ingrain it here that it becomes the controlling influence in our lives, and we are able to have a relationship with the living God that is real! That’s based upon that truth that we so readily assert, because we know it’s true, but yet we live as though it’s not true. Think about that.

Now I certainly confess that. There are days when I live as though, ‘well, surely He can’t understand me,’ like Chip just said…surely He doesn’t love me. Oh my. Do you believe God wants to take us beyond that, out of that realm?

( congregational response ).

I do, too. And so, the writer here begins with the familiar words, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV).

Now, that sets the stage for what He’s about to say about looking to Jesus, but let’s stop for a moment and just think about the cloud of witnesses, at least just make some reference to it because the writer does. He has just spent the entire chapter 11 enumerating for us examples.

And they are examples of people who, whether we want to believe it or not, they’re just like us. They’re not somehow in a different category. They’re not an alien species that somehow is just different from us. They are real people.

And man, if you read the accounts of some of the Heroes of Faith in the Old Testament, you’d say, really? You know, I just…interesting, I was working on a transcript yesterday, trying to get it ready because it’s connected with a broadcast, trying to get it ready for the website. And in that particular message I was mentioning the fact that I had just done a lot of reading from Judges. Well, guess where I was reading last night? In the Bible reading plan, it was mostly Judges.

And, wow! How many of you notice what a raw, pagan, difficult time that was? You had a people, supposedly God’s people…brought them out of Egypt, miraculously gave them the Promised Land, and they’re living like heathen. And even the people that God used, by any standard today, we would have thrown them in jail. I mean, we would have said, man, that’s immoral, that’s wrong! We’d have had all kinds of things to say about it, because they certainly were not nice and civilized, by our standards.

But here’s a God that is so merciful to His people that He was able to meet them where they were at! Now that alone tells me that a great deal of what I need to know is, that I serve a God…yes, He doesn’t approve of things that are wrong, but my God, He knows where I’m at, He knows what I’m made of! His purpose is to take me from that pit of sin, and to work in my heart and change me so that I will be at home in a place where there is no sin and nothing wrong! Does that take a miracle, or does that take a miracle?!

But I have a God who’s not saying, all right here’s the plan, go for it! I serve a God who is able to meet me and help me and love me and accept me, even though I am way back down here, and the goal is way up there. Now it’s awfully easy to say that, but I want to get it in a way that I can really believe it, and accept it and rest in it.

Well, the writer had the same burden for those to whom he wrote, and that’s why he enumerates all these examples. Here’s God commending, recording the lives and the experiences of people that we would have looked at their lives and said, man, I don’t approve of that. But here’s God laying them out in His Word, and commending them for their faith in believing God where they were at, at the particular time, the experiences that they were going through, they, nonetheless, in spite of all the rest that was wrong, they said, I believe God.

And God commended them, He accepted them, and they fit into His plan, and here they are in His Word to encourage you and me here this morning. Well, I want to take that encouragement. I need that encouragement this morning, don’t you?

( congregational response ).

Praise God! So I want to look at people like Samson and Jephthah and Gideon, and I can see all kinds of things wrong with them. But oh my, God brought great victory to His people through these crude, sometimes…people who did all kinds of things, like I say, that we wouldn’t approve of at all, but God loved them. Oh my, does that give you hope this morning?

( congregational response ).

You look in the mirror and you see everything that’s wrong with you and you say, oh, how could God…how could He even understand, how could He love? Well, He’s not like us, and He’s able to. Praise God!

And you know, “…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles….” It tells me about a process that’s happening right now that is part of God taking me from here to there. But it is a protracted process, it’s something that consumes the entire time that we are here in this world!

And sometimes we have expectations of ourselves that are rooted more in pride than they are in faith. And all the people said, ouch! But you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? ‘How could I do that?’ Well. you did it because you trusted in yourself, and you don’t have what it takes. Duh!

( laughter ).

I’m talking to myself, but we just don’t get it. We think because God has cleaned us up a bit that we’re okay, we’re fine now. We’re just good, righteous people. Oh, how could I do that, how could I be that, how could I think that? Oh God, give us a real, honest picture because what happens is, as long as we think that to any degree at all, who are we looking at and who are we looking to? We’re looking to here. We’re saying, I’ve got it licked. I’m better than you, and you start getting all kinds of things creep in that have no place in the Kingdom of God.

We are sinners saved by grace. There is only one place to which I can look and if I start looking in here, I am going to wind up face down in the mud. And it’s God’s mercy to let that happen, so that I’ll say, oh yeah, that’s right, I’m supposed to be looking to Him. Oh God, take away the pride that masquerades as righteousness and bring us to a place where we just are willing to be what we are, and look to Jesus with humble, child-like thankfulness and gratitude and faith! Oh my!

You know, the thing that keeps us when we come short, and we’re aware that we’re not what we ought to be…the thing that keeps me, I’ll guarantee pride has a lot to do with it! You know, how can I go to Him? Look what I did. Is there something wrong with that kind of thinking? But is there anybody who doesn’t do that. No…we do, that’s the problem. And I believe that’s what the Lord is wanting to deliver us from. That’s part of growing up. That’s part of learning, part of knowing. There is a looking to Jesus!

And obviously we see Jesus as the example. We know we can look to Him and say, well, He did this and there’s kind of the model, but thank God, as we know, that’s not the end of the story! It’s not just saying, Jesus is your example, imitate Him. That doesn’t work! But it does, nonetheless, give us a picture of what God is after. We see how Jesus handled life in a broken world and how he acted and interacted with people!

And we can understand, we see God and God’s character mirrored in His Son, who yielded Himself in every respect to His Father to live in Him. So in that sense, yes, we can look to Jesus, but I believe it’s a whole lot more than that. It’s a looking to Him as a source. This is the branch drawing the life from the vine, without which it will wither and die.

This is…Jesus has everything that I need—everything that I need! That’s the part that we don’t quite get! We think, well, yeah, He’s got a whole lot, I need a whole bunch that He’s got, but I’m gonna add to it. He’s come to enhance me. No, He came to replace you and me. He came to give us a brand new life, to replace the one that’s corrupted and that could never inherit the Kingdom of God. “…Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” But there is a new life that He’s given to us.

And oh the price that He paid to make that possible! My God! Praise God for His faithfulness and the mercy that reaches out to us, unworthy though we are. But, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus….” My God, how many times do we have to kind of say, ‘boing’…what are you looking at, what’s going on here? Here’s where your problem is. Here’s why you’re where you’re at. Lift up your eyes.

I don’t know any way to approach it except to say, Lord help me right where I’m at, and continually remind me until it gets more and more to be a habit, a way of life that I continually look to you. But the fact is, we are in a journey, we are in a race. And it is a race that is not just our life, the way we envision it, and we’re trying to get God to fix up our way and help us to do our thing. This is not a life of self-will where God is our servant. This is a race He has marked out for us. And our problem is we kind of take side paths sometimes…maybe you don’t but…

( laughter ).

We don’t always stay in the middle of the road, do we? But there is a race, there is a purpose, there is something that God has absolutely marked out for your life, and your life, and your life, and mine. We are not simply left here to muddle through and do our thing. God has set a prize before us, just like He did with Paul, what He expressed, what we said a few weeks ago. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (KJV).

There’s something, there’s a goal…just like a runner in a race…he doesn’t just run to show how good he can run. There’s a finish line! There is absolutely a course that he’s gonna take, if he’s wise and he really takes the race seriously, he is going to absolutely put one foot in front of another, but always with a goal in mind! Sometimes he may have to pace himself, he may have to grab some nourishment along the way, but there is a race to be run, there is a goal, and that race is not over until he crosses that finish line.

Well, that’s meant to be a picture for us. And you remember how Paul said in his last letter to Timothy. I have run my race. “I have finished my course…henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which…the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.” Oh my, what God has laid before us is something we could never begin to deserve, not the smallest measure…but it’s real, folks.

Here again, our problem is that we can say this but emotionally we don’t quite connect with it. And I just pray that God will make that more real to my heart and to yours, so that we will know that we are called to His Kingdom, that we can say with the same assurance that Paul did. I’m running my race, there’s a goal in mind, and I have confidence in that goal, I have confidence in the One who is with me. My eyes are upon Him and I expect to get there one day!

( congregational amens )

Do you?

( congregational response ).

Do you? Do you really expect that? Is that something you just assert because, well, you come here, and you know you’re supposed to, you know it’s in the book, but it’s not quite real. God wants to be real to His people. He doesn’t want us to be play actors. He doesn’t want us just to be a bunch of religious practitioners. He wants us to be people who know our God! What did the Word say in Daniel about people who know their God?

— Congregation: “…Shall be strong, and do exploits.”

— Brother Phil Enlow: Yeah. Are we not in such a time where what we need to know…we need to have a confidence on the inside that nothing that comes from the outside can shake.

( congregational amens ).

Well, I don’t have the strength to do that. I’m not smart enough to figure out and answer all the questions. And you know, just working up your emotions is not the answer either. We’re gonna have to have something that starts from heaven and winds up in our hearts. We have a God who wants to come and be real to His people.

( congregational response ).

But I’m not…my place is to continue to look to Him, to have my expectation toward God. How many times did David say that? “…Hope in the Lord…” “…My expectation is from him.” And how many times was he in dark places in his life, and that was the answer always?

Oh, get your eyes on the Lord, expect the help that you know you need! Maintain that attitude of expectancy! Where are you at in your life right now? Do you expect Jesus to be able to come to your rescue and to give you strength? You might be in a place where he’s not gonna deliver you from the place, at least not for a while! There are dark places that we go through in our lives, but I’ll tell you, God wants us to take Jesus with us in those places, and to know that He’s there, and to know that He not only is there, but He understands.

I mean, you think about the places throughout this Book, where this writer sets up this One to whom we are to look. He gives us the reality of the picture of Him so that we can look to Him, not as some monarch to be feared, and just…oh my God, how could He understand? But He is portrayed repeatedly as Someone who knows, who understands, who cares!

And I think it would be profitable just to kind of skim through and look at some of these things. Back in chapter 2, he talks about God’s purpose for the human race. We’re made for a dominion, we’re made with a place of honor in the grand order of things. We’re made, “…a little lower than the angels…crowned with glory and honour…” Everything put under man’s feet.

But that’s not what we see in this world. Something entered in and broke that. But what we do see in verse 9, “But we see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels…” (NIV). Now let’s not forget that. He may be up there with a name that’s above every name now, but there was a time when He, too, was down where we’re at, lower than the angels. Here are angels higher in power and authority at that point than Jesus Himself was. He lived as a man upon the earth. He was that!

“…Now crowned with glory and honor…” Why? “…Because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Any of you died here yet? Well, He’s already tasted something you haven’t.

( congregational response ).

He’s been every place you’ve been and He’s been places you and I haven’t been, yet. And He did it for us. Man, that’s Somebody I can look to. “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists…” Should do what? “…Should make the author of their salvation perfect…” Or complete…how? “…Through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”

So yes, He’s the King of kings, He’s the Lord of lords, but He’s also my Brother. And we don’t need to be ashamed to call Him that! We don’t need to be afraid to call Him our Brother! I don’t mean in a disrespectful way! But I mean in a way that is biblical! He is our elder Brother! He’s Someone who has been here! He’s Someone who knows!