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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1172

The Road to Freedom
Conclusion

March 22, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1172 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: 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. You think of somebody like Joseph. We all know the story. My God, God had a tremendous plan for Joseph’s life, gave him dreams that showed his brothers one day bowing down to him, even his father and mother bowing down to him. They loved that.

( laughter ).

And so his brother’s response to that…a bunch of them wanted to kill him. But you know, God was over all that. God put it into the heart of Reuben, the oldest, to say no, let’s not kill him. What they did do is to sell him as a slave.

So here is the young man that God had made all these great promises to. You’re gonna be somebody great. Everybody’s gonna bow down to you. Oh, we love that, don’t we…human nature? But God had a lot of work to do in Joseph before he could rightly occupy such a place. Do you think God’s in charge of such things?

( congregational amens ).

Was that God just sort of standing back and letting things happen? No, this is God absolutely orchestrating his path. He saw Potiphar, the slave owner that he was sold to when he was sold. And no doubt he saw him as the one who’s confining him, holding him back, and I don’t doubt he had thoughts. He’s human. Man, look what my brothers did to me. I want to be free. I want to be out of here.

But you know, there was something about Joseph that I need to learn. In spite of his circumstances, in spite of what his human nature would have craved, he humbled himself, and he honored and he glorified God right there. God was doing something in that young man’s heart.

You don’t think that exercise of being faithful, honoring God, doing what he knew to do regardless of the circumstance…you don’t think that was important? You don’t think that will form character? You don’t think that will build up the life that God has put in us? Oh my. There he was.

Well, the devil saw all of that, and he said I’ve got to do something. And the Lord let him. He let him be falsely accused, thrown into prison. Now he’s really in a bad place. And I’m sure the prisons weren’t, they didn’t have cable TV or the equivalent. They were not comfortable places. They were places to punish people and just treat them like dirt. And there he was, languishing in that prison, one week, two weeks, a year…years went by, and there he is.

But you know, you can’t keep a guy like that down. He still…you know the devil’s talking to him! You know he’s being tested! You know he’s being tempted! You’re serving God. What’s it getting you? What are you getting out of this? This is ridiculous! Give it up! He wouldn’t give it up. He was faithful. He continued to look to God and to honor God.

You know, and the folks running the prison noticed him. Hey, this guy’s different. We need some help down here. We’re gonna have him be a trustee. We’re gonna have him help some of the other prisoners. And then he became something of a leader in the prison.

Oh, God was forming a character in him. You think God just might have you and me in places that are confining because He loves us and wants to do something that couldn’t happen any other way? Do you think there’s just an outside possibility of that? Yeah, an inside possibility!

But anyway, there he was. You know the story. Of course, he tried to fix his situation himself. None of us would ever do that, I know! Here’s a chance. I can get out of this. So the butler and the baker had their dreams, and God gave him a supernatural interpretation of those dreams. And he said, by the way, which ever one it was that got back there…I think it was the butler. But anyway, thank you, Ron.

( laughing ).

I got this nice head shake. But anyway, the butler went back, and he said when you get there and you get back to your butler-ing, tell the king about me. And of course, he forgot about it. How in the world would somebody forget something like that if the Lord didn’t engineer that? It wasn’t time! He still needed to be hemmed in! God was still getting him ready for an important job that he couldn’t do if he just followed the dictates of his own nature.

When the time was right, Pharaoh had a dream, had a couple of dreams, didn’t he? Nobody could answer. The butler was overhearing all of this and said, ah, I remember my fault this day. There’s a guy down in the prison. He can tell you the answer.

Man, when God was ready, he came out of that prison, went right to a throne inside of a day, probably. I mean, bang, bang. When God’s through, when God’s done with what He’s doing, don’t think He just enjoys keeping us in a place of confinement! His aim is freedom.

You think of David and all the things that he expressed in his life. You think about how Samuel the prophet came to him, poured the oil on his head and said, you’re the next king. You know, our nature would be to say all right, let’s get organized. Let’s get some people. Let’s march down to Jerusalem, march over to Jerusalem and say, we’re here, here to take over. God’s anointed me king.

It didn’t work like that, did it? This was a man after God’s own heart. This was a man who had spent his time keeping sheep, but worshipping. He didn’t just waste the time. He was worshipping God, learning how to sing, learning about God, fellowshipping with Him, learning what He was like!

And still, for years it was necessary for him to remain on the run in fear of his life. There was a period toward the end of his run where he could not even stay in Israel. There was not a place in all of Israel, hills, mountains, caves, you name it, no place was safe for David, God’s anointed king! So he has to go live with the Philistines. And he gets down there, and he tries to do what’s right, and he goes back, and everything is gone! You talk about the walls closing in. You been in places like that?

( congregational response ).

It seems like no matter what you’re doing, it’s getting worse and worse and worse. But this was mentioned the other night, too. “…David encouraged himself in the Lord.” (KJV). There was something in him that constantly…his north star, if you will, was constantly…I’m in God’s hands. I am going to trust in Him. Nothing that has happened in my life is outside of his control. He loves me, and I love Him. And I am going to trust Him. If I die, I’m gonna die trusting in Him.

God was forming the character of his servant. And what a king he became. Yes, I know he had that one horrible lapse in his life. But, other than that, the record is that he was a man after God’s own heart. He was somebody that could forgive.

You know, I need to go back to Joseph, because you think about, not just the process of preparing him for a throne. But how many of us would have used our time in confinement to think about all the horrible judgments we could carry out on those wicked brothers of ours who were responsible for us being there! Oh, that would fester! And we would just enjoy thinking about the tortures we could inflict, thinking about how much we’re going to enjoy when they get theirs!

But God didn’t have him there to nurse a bitter, unforgiving spirit, did He? That’s the miracle of what God did in that place…that God was able to keep him, and to so deal with his heart that when he came out, there was no bitterness! None! What a miracle! You talk about freedom!

( congregational amens ).

There are loads of people going around in this world who are filled with bitterness and unforgiveness and resentment about everything that’s going on around them! You think they’re free? They are slaves! You think their bitterness is hurting the person they’re bitter about? No, it’s killing them! God had set His servant free.

And he came out there, and there was just a weeping joy in his heart when he was finally reunited with his brothers. And they were still scared to death. They knew what human nature was about. They said this is impossible. Look what we did, and he’s…I know he’s got something up his sleeve.

( laughter ).

One of these days we’re gonna get ours. We better walk very, very lightly. And when his father died, they came and they concocted something that their father had supposedly said. You know, ‘don’t take it out on us.’ He said, oh brothers, you just don’t understand. You meant it for evil, but what?

( congregational response ).

God meant it for good! But do we apply that to the things that happen in our lives? Does God really mean the things that we go through for our good? The answer is, yes. Your head goes this way.

( laughter ).

Yes, He does! And He did with David. You think of the freedom that he enjoyed. Even when he came to power…when he found out that Saul and Jonathan had died, his heart was broken. He wept, angry at the one who had killed him. And then he went around and said, is there not somebody from the house of Saul, the one that had been going around trying to kill him. Isn’t there somebody from the house of Saul that I can show kindness to?

Boy, that really came out of human nature, didn’t it! You think of the freedom that God had brought into his heart and into his life because he had looked to God, trusted God in so many different circumstances. You think there just might be a lesson for some of us in all of these things?

So David uses that language, You’ve hemmed me in. And human nature says, that’s a bad thing. That’s jail. I want to get out of that. But we might even think yeah, I’m here now, but I just can’t wait for God to be done with this so I can go on and be free!

( laughter ).

Well, the kind of freedom you’re thinking, if that’s how you’re feeling…the kind of freedom you’re talking about ain’t gonna do you or anybody else any good. That’s self, wanting its way. Don’t worry. When we are really free, God’s gonna take all the hindrances away.

But just think of just a handful of places, how David expresses this relationship with the Lord, how he saw it. Ah, let’s see. I’m thinking about Psalm 91. I mean, what a perfect Psalm. “He who dwells in the shelter….” (NIV).

So in the one place he’s saying, You hem me in! Here, he’s calling it a shelter! This is a place of safety! This is a dangerous world! If I’m just on my own out here, I don’t have a prayer! I got my own nature to contend with! I’ve got devils to contend with! I’ve got other people to contend with! Man, I don’t have a chance! But God’s made a shelter, and that’s where I’m at!

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord…” Didn’t we sing this, this morning? “…He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

And he goes on to describe the blessings of that. So he’s looking at this jail, but it’s not a jail to him! It’s a place of safety! It’s a place of blessing. It’s a place of joy. I get to be with the Lord. This is awesome.

Oh, your human nature doesn’t want that. You think that’s a bad thing. But here is a man who, with long experience, is here. His voice still rings out today. Man, you need this God.

Think about…just back up a few chapters here to 80, or 84 rather. I think this is the one. Well, this is one of them anyway. Yeah, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”

Let’s drop down to verse 10, and listen to the value. Listed to the way he looked at life and at the world, and how utterly different it is from the way the world thinks. “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun…” That’s light. “…And shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

And you go on through the Psalms, and you get this same sense that I’m dwelling in an awesome place. He’s my Shepherd. Yes, I’m in a place of confinement, but it’s a place of loving protection! He takes care of my needs! Even if I have to go through the valley of the shadow of death, He’s there! He’s right beside me. He never leaves me. Why would I want to be anywhere else? Why would I complain about where I’m at? Oh, it got quiet.

( laughter ).

I’m still under my parent’s rules. I don’t like it. I want to get free. If I had a better boss, if I had more money! Let the Joneses do what they’re gonna do. Quit trying to keep up with them.

( laughter ).

God has arranged our circumstances because He loves us. He has set boundaries, and those boundaries are there because He has an eternal purpose, and only a fool rebels against that. Only someone who’s totally blind doesn’t understand what God is about. I tell you, those who’ve been the closest to Him are the ones who say, I don’t want to be anywhere else. I want to be there with Him.

I’d rather be…well, it’s like we said Wednesday night, I’d rather be in the lion’s den or the fiery furnace with Him than anywhere else, because He is so wonderful. His love is so rich. He takes all the striving, all the anxiety out of my heart.

My God, are you one like the scripture describes? “…The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (KJV). Oh, I’ll tell you, He brings peace, when we stop striving, stop fighting Him, stop complaining and say, Lord, I’m in Your hands.

And the purpose of my life is to come to know You and to be set free from me. And I want to knowingly…I want to be on board with that. I want to work with You. I want to submit to You. I want to rejoice in You! I want to have a thankful heart toward You, because I get what You’re trying to do for me. I get what You are doing! You’re not trying! He doesn’t have to try. He is able to do exactly what He said He’s gonna do.

Do you know that we’re going to have such freedom as you have never imagined, but it will be a freedom from all of this that just drives us right now, that lusts after this, wants that, and when we get it, it isn’t satisfied. It’s just constant longing, constant unrest!

God wants to take all of that away from us and give us His nature. He’ll fill us with meaning, love, joy, peace, everything that we were ever made for, everything we were ever created for.

But I want to be like those who’ve gone before, who don’t see the place of confinement as prison, as something to resent, something to resist, something to fight. But something to say, Lord, thank You. This is the place of Your shelter for me. You’ve got me right where You want me, and You love me, and You’re making something amazing out of me for Your glory, and that’s what I want, too.

And so I just humble myself to this, and I say thank You. But Lord, You know I need grace in this. I need help. I need strength. I don’t have the ability in myself to do this, but You’ve promised that You would give me exactly what I need. And so I’m trusting in You for that too, Lord. And I thank You for it.

And Lord, even when it hurts, help me to say, thank You, because I know that’s doing something. That’s killing one part and making another part stronger. It’s not without a purpose. It’s for an eternal purpose, and God is gonna get the glory.

So has God hemmed you in today? I think the answer is, yes. Why? Because He loves you. He’s not punishing you or me. He knows what we need. If His own Son had to submit Himself to earthly parents, come on. Give me a break. You think maybe we’ll have to do a little bit of the same? I believe God has got so many things in store for His people that we can’t even imagine. But to Him be the glory. Praise God!