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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1159

Are You Discouraged?
Part One

December 21, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1159 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! Did you come in this morning discouraged? Are you more encouraged now?

( congregational amens ).

Amen! Praise God! I appreciate the Lord’s encouragement to us this morning. I certainly need it. If I say anything this morning, I’m basically preaching to myself. You’re welcome to listen in if you want, but I think we’re all in the same boat and need the same things. And the scripture that I had, as more of a starting point, was one that Carl referred to and just about everything I had thought about this morning has been referred to in one way or another. So, maybe this is confirmation.

But Hebrews chapter 12 is a very familiar scripture but I think it’s very appropriate for me and I know the Lord can bring out something that is pertinent to this particular need. ‘Cause that’s what we need. It’s not just a lecture on Bible truth. We need something that He’s saying to the church right now. That’s what I need. But anyway, I’ll just read the two verses as a starting point.

“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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NIV).

I’ll go ahead and read the next one. “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

And how easy that is. For the reasons that have been enumerated this morning, they all have to do with not getting our eyes in the right place. And usually where they’re at is on us. But, this is in a context of a book that’s written to people who were…who had known the Law and needed to get a handle on the fact that Christ had come to replace it. What He did was perfect, was complete. It had come to totally replace the Law, so that righteousness was not based upon our efforts or anything we could do. It was based entirely on something that He has done perfectly and it’s done. It’s history. The Devil cannot touch it.

And so, if you go back to…let’s just back up to chapter 10, near the end, verse 19. And he has just been…the writer has just been talking about the fact that we’ve been made perfect forever by one sacrifice, one offering. We have a complete salvation. It says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence….” Do you have confidence this morning? Do you have confidence? When I look at myself, I don’t find any reason to have any confidence, do you? I mean, when you look at yourself.

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

Praise God! I walked into that one, didn’t I? But you know what I’m saying. There’s a place where you and I can have confidence this morning. And I want it, and that’s important, isn’t it? To have confidence in where we’re at, and where we’re headed and what’s going on? But we have confidence, to do what? “…To enter the Most Holy Place….”

How in the world could someone like me enter the Most Holy Place? You think about the Old Testament Tabernacle and the Temple that followed. There was a place there where nobody went, except the High Priest, and he only did it once a year, and he had blood that he carried in there that represented a sacrifice for sins, and not only that, he had to wave something that obscured the…Ark, I guess it was, the Ark of the Covenant with smoke, so everything was obscured. I mean, that was just treated as something so awesome, so amazing. If anybody else went in there under any other circumstances, they would be instantly dead.

( snapping fingers ).

Now here are you and I, in all of our need, actually having a way to come into that place that is Most Holy. Think of what Isaiah saw when He saw the Lord and how it changed his understanding of himself. Where he had been one to say, woe is you, woe to this one, woe to that one, he went there and he said, “…Woe is me! For I am undone….” (KJV). But yet, there is a way where you and I can come into that place with confidence. Wow! Talk about wow. This is a greater wow than all those reefs in the world put together.

“…We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus…” (NIV). You try to come any other way, it won’t work. But because the price has been paid, every sin has been judged. How does that make you feel about…when you think about the things that you are and the things that you’ve done, and think, He was judged for that? All the punishment that I should have had was poured out upon Him.

“…A new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…” You see, he keeps talking—he’s talking to people who knew the Law and so he keeps referring to the imagery of the Temple and of the Tabernacle.

“…Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Again, the imagery of the Temple with ritual cleansings and the sprinkling of blood is all part of the process.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess…” Now, why can we do that? Because we are faithful in all of our ways and we live up to it? No! Oh, my God! “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” End of story.

( congregational amens ).

That’s it! That’s the only foundation I can stand upon. But I’ll tell you, God has laid a foundation for us. Oh, my! If you’re trying to come to God or relate to God on any other ground, you have no hope. But I’ll tell you, we have a sure hope, a solid hope when we rest upon what Jesus did and that’s it!

But now we get into the real, everyday Christian living. And he says this, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” So, now there’s a relationship one with another where we need to help each other.

And in this context he says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Now do you think the reader put that in there for a reason? I mean the writer. Yeah! Because he understood that we get discouraged! We are human. We absolutely…we see our weaknesses. We see circumstances. We get our eyes in the wrong place, and the next thing you know we’re doing what Carl said…we’re like this and the Lord has to do this.

But you know, we need to be doing that to one another. We need the fellowship. We need the ministration of Christ. And of course, he’s encouraging them because the reality is we live in a world that is full of trial and difficulty and trouble. And we have no right to expect it to be any different.

And I’ll tell you, people are coming to Christ through a Gospel that promises life is going to be wonderful and full of joy and peace, and you don’t balance it with the reality of, yes, we have that, but we have it in the midst of trial and difficulty and trouble, then they’re getting a false picture.

And we need to reckon on what Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble…” — pretty simple statement. You will! It’s not a question. Not, you might. You will. But cheer up, I’ve overcome the world. So, this journey that we are on is something that is laid out for us, as the scripture said over there in Hebrews chapter 12. It’s one of God’s choosing, not ours.

And the difficulty we have is that we get our eyes off of Him and we get…we drag our feet, and we’re discouraged, and we stop, and we bellyache, and we complain, and the Lord is wanting to teach us and to grow us up because, absolutely, we are in His hands. He is doing a full and a complete work. He is bringing out of what is already a finished work, He is working it out in us and bringing us to a certain and a sure conclusion. Not a devil in hell can stop it.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God!

( slapping podium for emphasis ).

I’m about to get encouraged here.

( laughter ).

I need this absolutely as much as you do! ‘Cause I’ve experienced exactly the same thing that Brother Carl was talking about. You start looking at yourself and you start looking at your failures, and next thing you know, oh, my God! But you know, he talks about the need of faith. Now what’s faith rooted in. Faith in what?

( congregational response ).

Faith in the promise of God! Well, that’s good. What about God? Is this Guy Someone we can trust?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! This is a God who cannot lie! It’s not in His nature to tell a lie. When He says something it’s true, and who is greater than He is that can stop it? No! See, that’s the whole deal here. We are called to put our confidence, not in ourselves or anything we can do. And that’s our problem. We are so performance-oriented that we shoot ourselves in the foot and we need to recognize that we have a God who cannot lie, who has made promises to us, and we need to fix our eyes upon Him and upon those promises.

And so, when he talks in chapter 12 about the witnesses, who are they? Who are these witnesses? They are the folks in chapter 11. And you see, one by one, every one of them was called to walk a…to run a race that was, what? Marked out for them. You see the contrast, even within the chapter. You have some that did great things. Oh, they won great victories. They vanquished the enemy. They accomplished wonderful things. And others didn’t! They absolutely suffered and died for their faith. Everyone’s journey is absolutely different.

And you know, that’s one of the things that we trip over. Why am I not like them? Well, they’re saying the same thing about you. You’re looking at the outward appearance and not realizing that God has called you to be you. He has marked out a route…a race for every single one of us that is designed to bring us to a place that He has purposed for us.

You are not me and I am not you. But every one of us, everyone that He calls, has a unique and important place in the kingdom that He is building, a kingdom that will last forever. You are a unique product of His grace. You are a unique creation of the Potter’s hand.

And this is a Potter who knows what He’s doing. He is a Master Craftsman. “…We are His workmanship…” (KJV). Paul says in Ephesians 2. Created—created! This is a God who said, “Let there be light: and there was light.” Let there be galaxies and there were galaxies. Let there be Carl, and let him be my child. Put your name in there. “…Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” See, this is a divine, supernatural process from beginning to end.

( congregational amens ).

And where you and I trip up is we do bring it down into the natural realm. We do run in our own strength. We do run ahead of God. We are fixers. We are worriers. We are all of the above. And that’s what God is trying to deal with in us. How can He deal with the weaknesses and the needs if He doesn’t let us experience them? See.

And you think of the supernatural side of all of this. I mean, there’s no greater example, I guess, in the Old Testament, than Abraham, the very Father of Faith, who was called to do something that made no sense at all, to leave his family and go to a place he didn’t know anything about, and trust God, and then believe a promise that he’s gonna be a father of many nations, and then live 25 years to where the promise is naturally impossible. But what a witness to the fact that there’s nothing impossible with God. God’s not limited by you! He’s not even limited by me.

Oh, my! I’ll tell you, the further I go, the more I look in the mirror, and the more I experience and become aware of what’s in here, the easier it is to be discouraged if I look at that. I just see the relentlessness of my flesh wanting its way and just trying to take hold, and just bucking against and resisting and fighting. It’s a war! And we will never—we will never win it trying to fight it ourselves. Oh, my! The more I go, the more I know I need Him.

( congregational amens ).

The grace and the strength has got to come from Him! And Abraham was brought to that place where it was wholly impossible until…but God said, a year from now you’re gonna have a son. Praise God! And of course, Sarah thought that was funny, and then denied it when the Lord said, did you laugh? She said, I didn’t laugh. Well, the Lord didn’t allow that to stop Him, did He? A year later they had a child. Oh, my! Impossible by every human standard.

And then the incredible test later on where the Lord told him to take that son, called him your only son, even though he had another one of the flesh. Oh, I’ll tell you, what we produce in the flesh doesn’t count in God’s economy, does it? “Take your son, your only son…” (NIV). And sacrifice him. And he came to the point of raising the knife and the Lord said, stop. I see that you won’t withhold anything from me. Oh, God help me, God help every one of us to stop withholding from Him.

( congregational amens ).

Oh, wow! God had such a loving, wonderful purpose but it meant believing in the promise of God in the face of every obstacle. And that’s what you and I are called to do. And you walk through the lives of every one of these people and you will see examples of people who had to contend with so many things in their lives. They were far from perfect.

I mean, even a man like David, a man after God’s own heart. He’s listed. There’s nothing particular said about him, but he’s listed with another group along with Samson and Jephthah and David and Samuel. Every one of those you could find imperfections in their lives. David, the incredible failure of committing adultery with Bathsheba, engineering her husband’s murder, marrying her, and being in such a spiritual state that he didn’t even know what he’d done. But yet, God reached out in love and in mercy to him and he found a place of repentance. I’m so glad I don’t have to be perfect for Him to love me.

( congregational amens ).

God’s love was still set upon David’s heart. And so, all of these, in spite of personal failure, in spite of difficulty, in spite of wrong turns and wrong choices and consequences of things, every single one of them had one thing in common. They believed the promise of God, even to the point where Isaiah was stretched out and they took a saw and sawed him in half, and he remained faithful and true to God.

And what they were looking for was something that was still future. We have the privilege of being able to look back to the cross and we can see, particularly if God opens our eyes, but I mean, we can see historically, this happened!

And when God shows us the real deal of what really took place there, oh my, we have a reason to look back and say, praise God, what they had was a promise that I’m gonna take care of things. I’m gonna send a Savior one day. He’s coming and He’s gonna make everything right. And in the hope of something they could not see, was not even part of history yet, they lived and they died.

Oh, what a testimony for us here this morning, with all that God’s given. Because God’s promise, God’s purpose was not just for them, it’s not just for us either! It’s for all of us together. Every child of His, from every age, every country, every language, every tribe, every tongue and nation, to be made one family in Christ. Praise God!

“…Only together with us…” at the end of chapter 11, “…would they be made perfect…” or complete. See, it’s in the light of that that we have the ‘therefore.’ “…Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…” They’re witnessing, they’re testifying to us. Trust God! Stand in the day of difficulty! Life is going to be hard! You are going to stumble! But we have a God who loves, in spite of our failures, who is faithful to His promises even when we fall short! Don’t give up on Him! Don’t falter in your pathway! Run the race that He has marked out!

It’s worth it all! I’ve been where you’re at! I know how it feels! I know what it feels like to look inside and be discouraged and be downcast because I’m such a failure, and I think how could God love somebody like me? I’ve been there! And I experienced the faithfulness of God and He’ll be faithful to you too! Trust Him! That’s the witness that’s being borne here in the scriptures.

Oh, what, “…were written aforetime were written for our learning…” (KJV). “…Written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” We are to take courage and we take confidence from what we know. “…That we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” I’m trying to recall the quote.

But what a joy that the Lord has set before us, even as He did His Son. “…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” (NIV). That sounds easy. Theologically it’s fine. But we don’t live in a theology class, we live in the real world.

And just like the brothers that testified this morning, what he tells us to do here is not something we are able to do in ourselves. That’s the thing. We read these things and we say, oh, I’m gonna do that, I’m gonna try harder, I’m gonna…you know. And that doesn’t work, does it? And all that leads to is discouragement, and the whispers of the wicked one. Maybe I’m not even His, maybe this, maybe that, what’s the matter with you? Everybody else is doing fine, look at you. Nobody here’s ever had the Devil whisper any of that to you? Just about 100 percent.

( congregational response ).

Yeah! That’s how…that’s the battle we’re in. I’ll tell you, the sin that so easily entangles…you know, it was mentioned this morning, there’s no greater sin than self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is when we try to achieve something through self-effort and then say, look at the good I did. There’s no such thing.

( congregational amens ).

And, wasn’t it…you quoted something about Andrew Murray. He said, it’s bad enough when the flesh wants its way and goes to sin that way, but there is no greater sin than self trying to live for God. Every bit of it is sin because that’s not how it happens! It does not flow out of a nature that is infected with sin. You can’t produce righteousness out of sin.

The problem is not what we do, it’s what we are! That’s what God is delivering us from. We can do something that is outwardly good, but it’s sin and wickedness in God’s eyes, because it lifts us up with pride and makes us think we’ve done something. Oh, my God! That’s what God is delivering us from.

And that’s the thing that gets me so discouraged when I realize how much of me and how much of what I do is really that and not the other. I don’t think I’m alone. I sense the same things going on in so many lives. How easy it is to become discouraged by that.