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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1160

Are You Discouraged?

December 28, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1160 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: 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, and to think, oh, is there any hope? Yeah, there’s hope, but where are you looking?

The reality is, if you and I are discouraged, it’s simple. We’re not looking in the right place. How can we not look at Him…I mean, how can we look at Him and be discouraged if we rightly understand salvation? How can we look at the Lord and say, well, I’m so discouraged, like He’s not going to live up to His Word, like He can’t pull it off? “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He…” always lives to intercede for them. (NIV).

( congregational amens ).

He is a priesthood that never ends! He’s able! The ability is not in question. The promise is not in question. So the next thing it comes down to is, well, I know He’s able, but boy I tell you, is He really willing? Look at me. Here I am again in the same old place, the same old feelings, the same old failure. Surely He’s tired of me now. I know he can do it, but Lord, have mercy. If it were me I would have thrown me out a long time ago. Aren’t you glad He’s not like us?

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! So down here in verse 4 of chapter 12, “In your struggle against sin….” Now again, let’s bring this into focus. He’s not just talking about not doing all these sins of the flesh. He’s talking about what we are. My struggle is not always against that. My struggle is against ‘me’ trying to live for God in my own strength and take credit for it, trying to feel good about myself because I did the right thing.

My God, so many people’s religion is about what they do. There’s nobody in history that probably was any better at ‘doing’ than the Pharisees. That was their religion. I’ve got all the rules down. I’ve followed them religiously. They did. Therefore, I am righteous. And the Lord said, you’re like a grave with dead man’s bones. You look great on the outside, but inside you’ve just got a bunch of corruption in there. You think God is just interested in a bunch of outward behavior? God is looking at the heart!

( congregational amens ).

Oh my. That’s where we get off, being performance-oriented. Lord, have mercy. It’s just stinking pride. It’s just us wanting to do so God will like us, or thinking we have to. In some form or other, that’s what God is in the process of saving me from, and you!

And it’s not an easy job. It’s not something, like has been said this morning, that we are able to do, but we can sure look to Him, and believe that He is not only able to do it but that He ‘is’ doing it!

“In your struggle against sin…” which includes the sin of self-righteousness, “…you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons.” That doesn’t sound like encouragement, what’s coming…but it is. It means God’s doing what it takes. It means God is not just throwing you off because you’re full of problems and full of needs. He’s doing something about it. And therefore, we have a right this morning not to be discouraged but to be encouraged.

And that word of encouragement addresses you as sons, and it’s not a “gender” son. This is His children. “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

Now, we think of punishment as retribution of some kind. I’m gonna smack you down because you did something bad. It’s a correction of behavior. No! This is child training. If you look at the original word for discipline, this is training His children. And what He’s basically getting at is that God introduce into our lives the things, the experiences, the conditions, the circumstances that are necessary to teach us.

Now one way He does it if I mess up and if I really make wrong choices…you know we have the situation that comes up sometimes in human affairs. Suppose you’ve got a wayward child, a wayward son let’s say. And he just keeps messing up, and you bail him out, and he messes up and you bail him out. What’s the answer to that? Quit bailing him out. Let him experience the consequences of his behavior, and he’ll learn something by it.

Sometimes we learn from the consequences of our choices. And we have to say, oh God, I got myself here, and You in Your love allowed me to feel my need. God, I’m sorry. I repent. I turn to You. I look to You again. You are my help. You are my hope. I thank You that You allowed me to experience that.

But not everything that comes into our life that is hard is of that nature…in the sense that, well, you went out and you really did something that we think of as sin. You know, I guess the truth of the matter is though, if gonna we’re really define sin the way it ought to be, it would be about everything, wouldn’t it? It’s what we are. It’s trying to live for God in our own strength, and God has to put us in situations that remind us, that show us, that that’s not where it’s at.

And so he goes on and says, “Endure hardship as discipline.” Now, what’s the deal there? What’s going on here? “God is treating you as sons.” When God allows things in our lives that we have to contend with, that put us in the deep end of the pool, put us in places we can’t handle, show us what we are, show us the very things that if we focus on them cause us to be discouraged, He’s treating us sons!

He’s not treating us because He hates us—He’s not doing it because He hates us, or He’s disgusted. He knows what’s in me. He knows what’s in you. He knew all about us when He undertook to save us. And He did not look at the task and say, oh my God, I can’t pull that off. I can’t do…they’re just too far gone. No. He is able to save completely those who come to God by Him. That’s the incredible thing…that what we are totally 100 percent unable to do, He is 100 percent able and willing to do. That’s the glory of the Gospel.

So, “Endure hardship as discipline.” Boy, we would rather go a different way, wouldn’t we? We’d love to go the easy way. You remember…some of you who are familiar a little bit with Pilgrim’s Progress, you remember the part of it where the pilgrims are walking along and the path was a bit stony and uncomfortable? And one of them happened to notice, hey, there’s a fence along here, and on the other side of that fence is beautiful, green grass. Why don’t we hop over the fence, walk along, and at any point we can just hop right back over and be right on the path.

And what happened? They wound up in a prison, in a dungeon, in a castle called ‘Despair’ or…was the giant ‘Despair’ or the castle? Anyway, whatever it wasn’t good. And they were just beaten and in just terrible condition, about to die, and all of a sudden they finally realized, hey, we’ve had the key all along. It’s prayer. And they unlocked it, and walked out, and got back, and went back, right back to where they got off the path and repented. You ever had to do that?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah. No, we need to go the way the Lord’s marked out, even when it’s hard, even when it’s uncomfortable. Because God has called us that way because that is what is necessary to administer the strokes of death that this old man needs so that we are set free to actually serve Him. Because as long as this guy is alive and kicking, he is gonna get in the way every opportunity he can.

There is only one answer, and that is death. And that’s entering in…that’s the administration of what already took place at Calvary. Praise God! But this is how He administers it just as He did in the case of Paul. How many times do we refer to the fact that Paul was in a difficult place, and it said it was the sentence of death, and God did it so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.

The things that you and I have to contend with every day, and particularly the things that are not just out there, but are in here…that’s discipline from the Lord. He’s treating you as His child. Praise God! He’s absolutely putting us in situations that force us to trust Him.

And I guess there are two things that I want to emphasize before we are done here. But anyway, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.” And so on.

It says down in verse 11, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”

And here’s the thing…one of the things that I wanted to mention is to reemphasize something Carl said…that God is not doing this because He’s mad at us, not doing it because He’s displeased or disgusted with our weaknesses. He’s doing it because He loves us. That is the root of how He deals with His children.

And one of the greatest barriers that I face, the hindrances that cause me to get in that place of discouragement, and I suspect I’m not alone, is that we get in a place where we’ve messed up, we feel our weakness, we see an area where we just…Lord, I messed up again. And we say, yeah Lord, I know You can help me, but the way I feel right now I don’t even know if You want to.

You surely must be so disgusted, so tired of this that You’re just…the only thing I can really hope for is that I’ll just stew in my juices for a while. And then maybe I’ll just sort of sneak back in. I’ll crawl back in with my tail between my legs, so to speak, and just hope that maybe You’ll sort of…okay, I’ll give you one more chance here. My God, is He like that?

( congregational response ).

See, we’re thinking human…we’re imposing our vision of humanity, our ideas about life down here upon Him. He’s not like that. There’s a Father that longs for us just to come and be straight with Him, and humble ourselves and say, Lord, the problem is not so much what I did, it’s the fact that I did it.

Do you get that? It’s flesh acting, because whether I did something that we think of as sin or whether I tried to be righteous, it’s still me doing it. That’s what He’s dealing with in one way or another, but He’s doing it because He loves us. So if you get in a place of discouragement, the Devil will do everything in His power to separate you from the source of your help by obscuring that simple truth. God loves you. God loves you!

( congregational amens ).

Even in those times when we fall in the mud and we feel the desolation of our own need and our own weakness, He loves you.

And the other thing is this. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” There is a real choice that is made. This is not something where you take a casual glance. This is not something where…oh, we’re just so entranced. This is something where we have to literally drag our eyes and put them on Jesus, because it’s not the natural thing to do.

The reason we get discouraged is because our eyes are so drawn like magnets, they’re drawn to the wrong thing. They’re drawn to self and all of our weaknesses, and all of what we are, or the circumstances. They’re drawn to that! We have to focus! We have to choose to say I ‘will’ look at the promise! I will not be deterred from looking at the promise of God and putting my hope in it, because He is, “…the author and the perfecter….”

Now the perfecter, the completer, does have a future component, but it has a present tense component, and that’s where we live. It’s not only that He started and He’s gonna finish it, it’s what He’s doing now that we have a problem with.

( congregational amens ).

And that’s where we need to get our eyes on Him and say, Lord, You are fulfilling Your promise in this circumstance, in me laying here in the mud, You are fulfilling Your purpose. You are seeking to turn me away from trusting in myself, putting my faith back in the promise that You have made.

Why did He allow the Israelites to wander in the wilderness and to have to experience the things that they did? He said, I led you this way! The path marked out for them? I led you this way. I wanted you to understand that man doesn’t live by bread only. That’s the fleshly provision. But by what? “….Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord…” (KJV).

And that’s the other thing that you and I need. When we’re looking to Jesus, what are we looking for? Many times…every day we wake up. You know, we practice the… we sort of went over an old song this morning with the ensemble. Praise God! What was it?

( congregational response ).

“Brand New Touch”. Thank you, Jo. You’re the one who suggested it and I agreed with you immediately. Lord, I need a brand new touch. Yesterday’s gone. This is another day, and that’s a major part of it. God does not give us something that we can store up and live in the strength of that for months and years to come! There is a daily relationship that we need. We need to wake up in the morning and look to Him.

( congregational amens ).

And look to Him regardless of the circumstances, regardless of where we found ourselves. If we’re on the mountain or if we’re in the mud, we still look to Jesus! But we look in a sense that Lord, I need something. I need bread, yeah, I need all this stuff, but I need a Word from You. I need something that can sustain me today.

It might be two words. It might be just, God is love. It might be…whatever it is! If you know the Lord at all, you know what I’m talking about. You know that God has a way of quickening something to your heart and making it live. That’s the provision. That’s the bread that you and I need every single day.

“Give us this day our daily bread”, has a much larger meaning than simply the earthly provision. Looking to Jesus. We’re looking, not just as an example, but we’re looking to Him as a source of supply. Lord, I need something that can feed this spiritual man and give me the strength and the confidence to pick myself up and put one foot in front of another. I need to believe Your promises more than I believe the way I feel.

“Jesus is Lord of the way I feel.” Sound like the Lord may be emphasizing something this morning? Praise God! Oh, do we have a hope in Him! But we need to learn how not to be discouraged! And the way not to be discouraged is to quit looking at stuff, looking at us mainly, and accept the Lord’s dealings with us, even though they show us things we don’t want to see.

But we humble ourselves under His mighty hand, and we know that He’s gonna lift us up at the proper time. And we know that not only is He gonna be with us every step of the way, He’s right by our side, like Mike said. He’s right with us every step of the way, but He’s got the end of it handled. We’re not on a fool’s errand here. We are on a certain journey toward a certain end, marked out for us by a sovereign God. Praise God! We need to lift up our eyes and give Him praise this morning, because He is worthy.

( congregational amens ).

We need to rise up and be willing to say, I may feel…my emotions may feel down, but I choose to trust Him. I believe His promise is real. Praise God!

( congregational amens ).