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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1171

The Road to Freedom
Part One

March 15, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1171 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! Good to see everybody this morning. Let me ask a simple question. How many of you this morning want to be free?

( congregational response ).

But you know, asking a question like that and answering it in the affirmative begs a question, doesn’t it? And the question is, what is freedom? How do you define freedom? What is it that we want to be free from and what is it that we want to be free for? And I believe there are some insights into God’s ways that, I think we know, many of us, and I think we need to be reminded of, I certainly do, myself. But I believe, with all my heart, that’s what God desires for every one of us is that we enjoy a freedom.

But we need to understand what that’s about. Because the problem is…it goes back to the beginning, doesn’t it? When Eve was tempted, think about, again, the temptation that came. Basically, they were in a position where God was simply giving them instructions and they were obedient to those instructions.

And so along comes the Devil and says, it’s not really the way God says it is. What He’s doing, He’s keeping something from you and He knows that if you do what…if you go against what He said, if you partake of this, that you’re going to have knowledge. You’re going to, “…be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (KJV).

And so in effect he was implying, you’re not really free. You’re in bondage. You’re in a kind of slavery to this God you worship because He’s telling you what to do and He probably has His own motives for doing that. He’s holding you back. What you need is real freedom to make your own choices.

And of course, she fell for that and convinced her husband to follow her. He walked in with his eyes wide open, and you see what it’s done to the world. And so what the natural man thinks of as freedom is basically the freedom to do what I want, to do what I please. I don’t like someone telling me what to do, for example. I don’t like limitations in my life. I don’t like anything that would hold me down. I want to be…I feel these intense desires. I have imagination. I can visualize all these things that I believe will make me happy and those are the things that constitute freedom. So yes, I want to be free!

And the freedom that people are talking about is basically a freedom to be a rebel. It’s a freedom to do as they please, and the problem with that, is that what men do not realize is what they call freedom is the greatest slavery that there is!

And, we see that throughout the nation of Israel. There was a…this was the constant drive of the nation, as a whole, was to rebel against God, to not see Him as Someone who had brought them into a place of blessing and shelter, but as one who was demanding things of them that they got tired of and didn’t want and wanted to be like the other nations around them.

They were constantly drifting in that direction — and sometimes to the point of killing the ones He sent to tell them about it. And there was just a persistent rebellion. Oh, we don’t want to serve you, we want to be ‘free’ quote, unquote. And in one place Isaiah, no, it was Jeremiah, I think, through his lips, the Lord characterized them as a wild donkey, used to her own ways, running around in the wilderness, in heat.

That’s a pretty good picture. You know, just following natural desires. Nobody tames me, nobody hems me up, nobody puts me in a corral, by God! I don’t do any work. I’m free! Oh, my! How backwards do men have it?

You know, we can all think of people, that we have perhaps known or know today who are captives, basically, to something, let’s say, that’s really obvious. Because the fact is, sin in any form is addicting. But let’s talk about something that is pretty obvious to everybody like alcohol or drugs or something of that nature. And it’s pretty easy for anybody looking on to say, man, you are a slave! Your life is completely controlled by that thing and you call it freedom. You say, nobody’s gonna tell me! I want to have the freedom to drink.

And the concept of freedom is, my life is a mess and the only escape I have is in the bottle. But all they’re doing is really making slaves of themselves to something that is absolutely going to destroy them. And it’s destroying and making everybody miserable around them. It’s a slavery that men call freedom.

I’ll tell you, with all my heart, God is longing to bring people into true freedom. And there’s no way it can be like that. I think of a scripture that…where is this? It’s 2nd Peter chapter 2. Peter, at the end of his life and ministry, is warning about false teachers. And these false teachers, basically, are still under the dominion of their own nature. They’ve got a certain kind of a religion but it is at the beck and call, and the service of their ‘old nature.’ That’s what they want. Lord have mercy, do we have plenty of that today?

( congregational response ).

Send me your money and all these wonderful things will happen to you. Yeah, you’ll get poorer and they’ll get richer. They’ll live like kings, and you’ll sit there and send your money in like a fool. Oh God, help God’s people! God, help people everywhere to recognize what’s going on. But Peter…that’s not the subject, particularly…but there’s no extra charge for that.

( laughter ).

But anyway, Peter’s warning about false teachers and the way he describes them…well, let’s look at verse 12, for example, of chapter 2. “But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct…” (NIV). That is, whatever rises up from within, they go by that. “…Born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.” Boy, that’s a picture, isn’t it?

And he goes on and describes the influence that they have over others. It says, verse 17, “These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.”

What a description of the world. Living in error, thinking it’s one way, and it’s totally another. Thinking they’re heading for…chasing happiness, chasing the rainbow and not realizing they’re heading over a cliff to utter destruction.

Listen to this. “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity”for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” As I say, it’s really obvious, if you’re talking about something like alcohol or drugs but it could be anything. Pride, greed, you name it. It’s anything that men follow, where they follow their own nature and they say, I want to be free to…and it’s give vent to that. And all it leads to is slavery.

And the thing is, people don’t realize that there’s…it’s not just you and nothing. It’s you and there’s a kingdom of darkness out there that is all too happy to entice you to follow those things knowing that you will become their slave, they will get their jollies through you and in the end you will be destroyed. And they’ll just…they’ll laugh and go on to the next victim. You think I’m exaggerating? I think I’m understating it.

( congregational amens ).

But that is the reality of the world we live in. And men are blind, completely…all they know is just follow what’s…follow your heart. Oh, yeah. God, you better give your heart to Him and let Him change it…give you a brand new heart.

But anyway, “…a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

“Of them the proverbs are true: A dog returns to its vomit, and, a sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.” And you get a real picture of what’s going on here. Because someone will read that and say, oh, they got saved and then they got lost again. No, they didn’t. You wash a sow, it’s still a sow. Duh!

( laughter ).

You might pretty it up a little bit, but it’s still a sow. I’ll tell you, when somebody really comes to Christ, I mean when they really come to the realization of what their need is…God, I need freedom from me! I need freedom, Lord, from the power of sin…the guilt of it, yes! I need it wiped away, but I need freedom from me, oh, God! I need you to do something that will set me free so that I am not the slave of whatever…these things that rise up from me! God, I need to be free!

And then you come to Him, give your heart and life to Him and He comes in! There’s a new life! You’re not a sow anymore! There’s a new creation in Christ Jesus! Yes, there’s...as long as we live in these bodies, those other desires are gonna be there to contend with. But, you’ve got something with which to contend! There’s another life that’s more powerful.

God, give us the freedom that Jesus bought for us. And that’s the only place it comes. God has to bring somebody to a place where they understand, I’m not free, I’m a slave and I need freedom. Only…I pray that God…you know, let’s pray. Pray that God will open hearts!

You can preach all you want to, but unless it’s seasoned with prayer that’s gonna convict and cause people to really see as they need to see, they’re never gonna want…they’re never gonna understand, this is gonna sound crazy. It’s exactly the opposite of what men teach and how men think. The only freedom I can possible have is to die, and live, because I lay down my life and I take up my cross and I look to Him and He changes my heart and He gives me a brand new reason to live! And He begins to work with me and He begins to set me free. And how many want that kind of a freedom?

( congregational amens ).

How many get it? You’re not the solution! That’s how men think. I’m the solution! I’m gonna do as I please! If everybody would just get out of my way, stop telling me what to do, stop boxing me in! Do you know, we need to be fenced in?

( congregational response ).

Do you know there’s no freedom outside of being fenced in? That was the thing that just…it stuck with me since our Wednesday night service. We need the kind of freedom that God alone can give. And it doesn’t come the way we think! We are idiots! We’re blind! We think a certain way, and it’s the mercy of God to come down and work with us at all!

( congregational amens ).

Lord, the more you see of what you are and how deep your need is, the more amazing grace becomes!

( congregational amens ).

Why would the God of the universe, as vast and amazing as it is, have any concern for somebody like me? By nature, I’m His enemy. But His nature is to love and to nurture and to change. And He has the power to back it up. Praise God!

Oh Lord, have mercy upon His people and upon those who need Him in this hour. Because it’s getting late and this world is being swallowed up with the same spirit of ‘I’m gonna be free to do as I please.’ Well, ‘as you please’ is gonna take you right down the drain with this world. We need a brand new heart, a brand new reason to live and a power that’s beyond us. It has nothing to do with practicing religion. You can practice all the religion you want and you’ll go to hell.

( congregational response ).

We need a transformed life by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need that power that was released when Jesus went to the cross, cried, ‘it is finished,’ went to the grave, and then they couldn’t keep Him there, could they?

( congregational response ).

Praise God! Praise God! That’s the life! The same life that brought Him forth out of that grave, they couldn’t keep Him there, is the life that you and I receive when we open our hearts to Jesus Christ! But you know, it isn’t as simple as just saying, okay, Jesus, come in. That’s it. You and I need a lot of changing, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

You and I need a lot of God dealing with things in our lives, and us learning how to trust Him, learning how to let go. And oh, how easily do we fall for that line. I just want to be free. I want to get out of this.

And what stuck in my mind was…you know, Ron read the scripture on Wednesday night, Psalm 139…tremendous testimony of David and the faithfulness of God, who had him in the palm of His hand and watched over his life, and had his life planned out, and David had this sense, there’s no place I can go where You’re not!

( congregational amens ).

And that’s not a bad thing! That’s an awesome thing! That’s a wonderful thing! I can’t get over how wonderful that is, that I can’t get away from You, Lord! I don’t want to! Not only that, he comes to the end and says, Lord, I want You to search my heart. I want to know if there’s something wrong here. I want You to deal with me. I want You to deliver me, Lord.

That’s my problem. My problem is not ‘being free’ in the sense of the world. My problem is I need this to be changed. I need You to lead me in a way that’s everlasting because the way of man is, what?

( congregational response ).

It’s death. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (KJV).

Lord, if God had not come down and intervened in our lives, where would we…where would any of us be? Any of us! Oh, how we need Him! But thank God for what He has done.

But the scripture that popped out at me was when Billy went back and sort of focused, for a moment, on what David said. I’m gonna go ahead and turn back there so I’m not just trying to pull this out of my scatterbrained memory here. Psalm 139. He’s talking about how the Lord knows everything. Even his thoughts, even before he speaks a word, God knows it completely.

But verse 5 says, “You hem me in….” (NIV). Now prop that up besides “Don’t Fence Me In.” And here’s David, a man after God’s own heart and he says, “You hem me in….” And he’s not complaining! In fact, he thinks it’s awesome! It’s wonderful that You hem me in. Lord, You have put boundaries in my life! I’m not free to just do as I please, and it’s the most wonderful thing in the world!

I wonder how often we see God’s hand in our lives and we understand that it’s a protection, it’s a loving thing. My God, the people of the world are like babies wandering in the jungle, playing with every pretty snake and thinking it’s great. They don’t have any idea the danger of living in a world that is ruled by lust, self and demons!

What chance does a human being have in an environment like that if God does not come in and place…build a place of protection that we can occupy? His love, His favor, His guidance, His hemming us in when He needs to! I need hemming in. What happens if God were to…what would happen if God were to suddenly turn us loose and say, okay, you’re a Christian now, go live for Me? Oh yeah, you’d see what you see in religion. We’d be full of pride! We are anyway, God, help us. But He’s working on it. But I need Him to hem me in. I need Him to cut me off at the knees where I need cutting off. There are things about me that will get in the way!

You think about the apostle Paul. Now, here’s a man that you would say, well, this is Paul, he’s way up here. Yeah? He’s a person, somebody just like us. You think of the things God had to do so that the life that people saw in Paul was not Paul, but was Jesus. There was a continual application of the principle of death in him.

What does that mean? That means God had to cut off things like pride, like self-will. He had to constantly challenge, had to constantly put him in situations that were a roadblock to him that caused him to say, my God, I need You. Lord, I get it. I feel this impulse in me that would pull me in the wrong direction. But I also sense that You’re dealing with me, You’re doing something so that has no power over me, that I have a strength to manifest You instead of me! God, if You didn’t do that it would be a mess. My ministry would be gone, it would be worthless to anybody.

“…Death worketh in us, but life in you.” (KJV). He said to the Corinthian believers. Oh, that was for Paul, that’s not for us in the pew. Oh yeah? That is for every single believer. What did Jesus mean when he said…when He talked about taking up your cross daily? Your cross. Doesn’t that tell you that we are individuals? There’s a uniqueness about every one of us. We’re not just cookie-cutter little Christians. That’s the amazing thing, that God can take people who are so different!

You know, Ben was talking about how many different backgrounds we come from. We sure do. But how God can take us from that and work in us, and prescribe a process”set up a process where every single one of us is brought to become what He has purposed in the beginning. He is the Master Craftsman! He knows what He needs to do in me to make me what He is…He already sees the end product. He’s just…oh, there’s a smile on His face when He looks at what He’s gonna make out of this mess. And trust me, it is. That’s what it is in itself. I’m a mess. And so are you.

( congregational amens ).

But we have a God who can take these messes that we have, that we are, and can turn us into something that will absolutely astound everybody looking on. They will say, wow, what an incredible God this is!

( congregational amens ).

Look at what He’s able to do! Look at the glory that radiates from that person, completely free from all of this that’s wrong down here! We’re able to stand before Him, able to live with Him forever and ever.

You know, I thought about this business of dying and what that means to be dead to sin. You know, one of the things that I think, I know, distresses a lot of folks is this idea, I’m supposed to die to sin, that means it’s not supposed to…these desires are supposed to just go away. It doesn’t work that way, does it? I mean, sometimes the Lord can take away a particular thing that maybe there’s a spirit involved. But I’m talking about in general.

You think God’s gonna fix your body so it doesn’t want the wrong things anymore? No! Sin doesn’t die! We die to it! And we do it by faith and participation in what He has done for us at the cross because we understand, I was there. I don’t understand that with my intellect but He said it. He, in His purpose, He put me, He put every one of His believers in His Son. They were there. They died. That’s money in the bank. I have the right to reckon on what happened there.

But the thing that was just made real to me…Wednesday night and since, is what God has to do, many times…well, all the time. He’s got to hem us in. He cannot turn a single one of us loose, and just say, oh, it’s gonna be fine. All they have to do is follow their heart and everything will be great. No! God is gonna have to put us in places of confinement. And the human nature is to say, I don’t like that. I don’t want to be shut up. I want to be free. Well, if that’s your reaction, boy, do you need to be hemmed up! Lord have mercy!

You know, it especially affects young people. It affects us, every one. But you think about young people. How many young…how many kids are there, how many young people that are here and you just can’t wait to grow up and get out from under the rules? You just don’t like it that you can’t do as you please when you please! Oh, you better fall down on your knees and thank God if you’ve got parents who care enough about you to say, no!

( congregational amens ).

God didn’t give you perfect parents. And you can’t condition your reaction to them based on them being wrong. In the first place, they might not be. Second place, that’s not the issue. God is seeking to build a quality of surrender and trust and faith in a situation in which you are confined! What are you gonna do about it? How are we going to react to those kinds of situations? Are we just gonna chafe and complain and fuss and fight and say, I want to be free? Or are we gonna say, Lord, thank You? This is not a place, this is not jail. This is freedom.

( congregational amens ).

This is freedom.