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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1198

God is Calling
Part One

September 20, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1198 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! What a hope, what a Gospel the Lord has given to us! And it certainly, as is evident from so much that’s been sung, that there’s nothing we could ever do to begin to deserve what He’s…the love that He has shown to us.

I feel my weakness to a greater than normal degree this morning. And that’s a good thing, because we don’t need human strength, we don’t need human anything, we need Jesus. And I believe there’s a company of people here who love the Lord, who are hungry for Him, and He’s the One that we need.

You know, I’ve had thoughts about a certain area of truth going through my mind for several days and I’ve just tried to think about it, put it on the shelf, think about it again, but over and over again, in the scriptures, you will see the Gospel referred to, and God’s people referred to with the words ‘called.’ And the gospel is a ‘calling.’

And, you remember how Peter preached the very first sermon on the day of Pentecost and he talked about the forgiveness of sins, the gift of God’s Spirit, and he said, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (KJV).

And, how often we have quoted and taken comfort from Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV). There is a sense that that word is continually, throughout the scriptures, connected with God’s people, that we are not volunteers, we are conscripts in the Kingdom of God.

I remember somebody’s testimony--I remember hearing a couple of testimonies. One talked about being dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God. And of course, he didn’t mean he didn’t really want to come, but he meant every part of his natural being was resisting it. You know, people have different experiences in coming to the Lord, and that was his.

And, seemed like I remember, was it C. S. Lewis who grew up as a, basically, an atheist intellectual? And, somewhere along the line, God just began to deal with him and get a hold of him and when he finally surrendered, he called himself the most reluctant convert in all of England.

But I’ll tell you, the call of God is a reality. And I pray, because I know that people who grow up in the church, there has got to be a time when you have a personal confrontation with God. And I believe we need to understand, all of us, have room to understand more about the call of God.

You know, you go back to the beginning and you see…you begin to get just a picture of why it’s necessary. Because, when Adam and Eve sinned and became conscious of their sin…you remember how they became conscious that they were naked and sewed fig leaves to cover themselves? But what happened when God came? What happened when the Lord came and was going to spend some time with them?

( congregational response ).

They hid, didn’t they? There was something. They felt the barrier. They felt something that wasn’t right between them, and their instinct was to hide. Well, what did the Lord do?

( congregational response ).

He called, didn’t He? So, you see the initiative. And that’s the thing--that’s the first thing that really jumps to mind when you think about the call of God. It is God’s initiative.

( congregational amens ).

Because the reality is, if God simply took His hands off of the human race, what would happen? Is there a single person, who’s ever been born, other than Jesus…who’s ever been born on this planet, who would ever think about God, would ever want to know Him, would ever hunger for Him, would ever have any kind of response?

We would live and die as intelligent animals following our natural instincts and desires, killing one another, lusting, struggling, and dying and that would be the end of it. I mean, we have no idea. We live in such an illusion in this world as to how things really are and what our real condition is.

And I mean, with the songs we’ve sung this morning. “I come broken to be mended.” There’s a reality that God has to bring us to. But the call of God, first of all, is God reaching out to us. And does that not reveal His character?

( congregational response ).

That we could be in the condition that we are in, compared to what He had in mind in His original purpose, and that He would care! That He would reach out in mercy and love when we’d be spitting in His face and struggling and wanting to go our own way, resisting Him with every fiber of our natural being. And yet, there’s a heart of love that reaches to you and to me and it doesn’t demand that we rise up, through some human effort, to make ourselves acceptable to Him. It reaches us right where we are at! At the lowest point His love is there!

But you know, I was thinking about the call of God. And one thing that it does and one reason why everybody doesn’t just jump on it and say, yes, praise God, is because the call of God tells us the truth.

( congregational amens ).

Because, until we feel our need, until we know that we are helpless, hopeless sinners and feel that in the heart of hearts, there is nothing, there is no reason why you or I would ever, ever really come to Him. We have got to know that we are helpless, hopeless sinners!

And I’ll tell you, there is…you talk about cutting across human pride? If you’d start telling people they need a Savior, and they don’t really come to that place of deep conviction of what they really are and they don’t face that, what they tend to do is to try to cobble for themselves together a religion, of some sort, that enables them to feel good about themselves and feel…but basically, what’s really happening is they are clinging to their own will, their own way, their own life, and trying to add enough of God there to quiet their conscience a little bit, and then they feel like, God will accept me like this. There’s an inborn resistance to the truth of God that would come searching our hearts. And oh, God, I just pray that everyone who hears His voice will just be able to surrender to that!

( congregational amens ).

Because there’s no way we can come to God with illusions about who we are and what we are. There’s only one way to come and that’s as we are, with a full awareness of what we are and a surrender to the reality of what we are. Man, if you are harboring any illusions about yourself, you’re in deep trouble. That’s why…you think about Jesus and how He came and the reactions of different people to Him.

The hardest people to reach were what? The religious! Because what the people had done was to take the revelation of God, through Moses, a revelation that was designed to show them what they were so they would seek a Savior, and would realize their need, but they took that instead and fashioned a religion that caused them to feel like they could be righteous through their own efforts.

And don’t you dare tell me I’m not righteous! Don’t you dare suggest that there’s anything really wrong with me! Don’t you dare put me in the category with those sinners down there! And yet, they were the very ones that were shut out. Jesus looked at them and He said, the publicans and sinners and whoever else, they’ll go into the Kingdom of God before you. Why? Because they knew they had a need.

Oh, what a glorious thing it was when people who had no illusions, they knew what they were, they knew they needed a Savior, they knew that God…there was nothing that could cause God to possibly accept them. And yet, in the light of God’s revelation of what they are, they didn’t feel rejected. They didn’t feel pushed away, as though God was just so disgusted with them, there was no hope! In that reality, in that revelation, there was the love of God that says, surrender!

( congregational amens ).

What you cannot do, I can do! Oh I’ll tell you what, there’s got to come a time when there’s a true revelation of what we are that we face. How many of you remember, in the movie that we saw a while back, The Encounter? Boy, what a truth that was! I mean the whole thing was just a marvelous construct to show how different souls had to actually come to a time of real confrontation…an encounter with Jesus that dealt with them right where they were at and brought them into the love of God.

But you remember that one fella who was so proud, so cocky? He had been an NFL star and then he’d started this restaurant business and he was just full of himself. And at one point, Jesus looks at him and talks about repentance and he says, “I don’t have anything to repent of.” And boy, he stuck to his guns. You could tell where Jesus was getting to him. One time he grabbed His lapel and said, “Don’t you mess with me!” There was something that was really digging at his heart, but there was a resistance there!

Oh God, help us to come to a place where we realize the absurdity of resisting a God who made us and who loves us with an everlasting love, and is demonstrated in Christ! But oh, what a call it is! It’s a call that, like I say, it has to reveal the truth.

You know, I was thinking about trying to refine an illustration that I’ve used at one time or another. And I guess, one way to express it would be that life in this world is a whole lot like drifting down a river, and you’re bound hand and foot and blindfolded. But somehow, that’s all you know, and in the middle of that experience, in your own mind, you are on the pathway to fulfillment and happiness and everything is wonderful and, of course, you’re able to converse with others who are traveling the same way and you have no idea what your true condition is. And you have no idea that that river drops off a cliff into certain destruction.

And then a voice comes! And then there’s Someone who begins to call and begins to reveal your true condition. I’ll tell you, there are so many different--there are so many different ideas out there. You’ve got some people that will…because I see a balance in how God works. But there are so many people out there that imagine that salvation is just so much on God’s side. He just arbitrarily says, I’m gonna pick you and not you. And you have no choice in the matter. It’s just purely what I want to do. Life is like a chess board and I’m gonna play the pieces, and you don’t have anything to do with it. And they would imagine that Jesus just picks people out and plops them on the bank and that’s the end of it.

But I’ll tell you, the Gospel calls, and it calls for a response on the part of the person, doesn’t it? You’ve got that balance. But you’ve got somebody who has got to come to the point where they are willing to lay down their lives and they are willing to come to a point where they recognize, yes, not only am I in real trouble, I am bound hand and foot and there’s nothing I can do about it. And I’ve got to come to a point where I am willing for You to do something about it. I’m gonna have to recognize my utter helplessness.

Because on the other hand, you have got churches filled with people who have heard a gospel…they have heard some of the facts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and they have been led to believe that if they will only acknowledge that they are sinners, if they will only come and they will pray a ‘magic prayer’ and say, Jesus, I’m a sinner, please come into my heart…that it’s all up to them! As though salvation is almost like God lays His cards on the table and my will is the one that really determines what happens. I have the power at any point to pick up that offer and say, all right, Lord, I accept You. I believe Your promise and that’s the end of it.

Now does God work in spite of a lot of that? Yes, He does! He has saved plenty of people who have come to an altar and prayed ‘The Sinners Prayer.’ But only when He was working! There has got to be a time, there has got to be a reality. Because it is a heavenly call, it’s not a religious call. It’s not something where men can take a formula and expound words, and then use emotions and draw people to make some kind of a ‘decision’ and then get people into the Kingdom of God. There has got to be a Divine work! God has got to be anointing a message that penetrates to the heart of a needy sinner to the point where they know that God is talking to them!

( congregational amens ).

They know God is dealing with them! You don’t have to use all kinds of external stuff. You don’t have to use emotion and emotional altar calls. It doesn’t have to be at an altar. It can be anywhere that God confronts the human heart. There is a time when God is there and the hand is available.

You think about that person who’s floating down that river, totally helpless. Thank God, the Gospel doesn’t say, undo your bonds and come to Me and then I’ll lift you out. It is simply a point of time when the person has to humbly acknowledge their true condition, their true need. But God is looking for a response, isn’t He?

( congregational response ).

You know, over and over again you’ll hear the words of the scripture, repent, believe. So it involves repentance and belief, doesn’t it? But do you think that in the condition in which we are born, trying to draw upon the strength and the inclinations of human nature, do you think that there’s a person on this planet who has the power to repent?

( congregational response ).

So, you see how supernatural this has got to be? You can explain it ‘til you’re blue in the face, unless God gives special enablement, which we call grace, and as God works and prepares the human heart, you will never ever have a person who’s willing to turn from their sins.

Some of you remember Brother Thomas talking about somebody he was conversing with one time. I guess he was going door-to-door at the time and he talked with this man. And the man talked about a point in his early life when he had just picked up an atheist tract or something and read it and something had happened in his life and from that moment on he had never felt the slightest inclination towards God. ‘Course he didn’t believe in God but, you know what I’m saying. No matter what Brother Thomas had said, no matter how anointed it was, God was not dealing with that man.

I’ll tell you what, there’s a time when God deals with people and there’s a time when He doesn’t. This is an absolutely supernatural thing. Nobody can repent, nobody can turn from their own way, unless Jesus extends supernatural help and influence.

I’ll just throw this question in. Has there ever been a time when Jesus has really gotten down into your heart and said, ‘you’? Because you could grow up in this church and just kind of embrace the religion of your parents, up to a point, whatever, in varying degrees and just sort of learn the lingo, learn how to act and what to do. But I’ll tell you, there’s got to come that encounter. You’ve got to hear His voice and know that without Him you will perish!

And even though you’ve grown up in a protected environment, perhaps, where you weren’t so aware of your needs, I mean, you’re not out in the gutter…you know, we’ve had people who have gone out and gotten into all kinds of things. It seemed like it was necessary for them to realize what they really were, and what their true need was. But you could grow up here and be clean as a whistle, morally, and until God reveals Himself to your heart, you will never understand why you need a Savior! You will never feel the desperation!

Thank God for testimonies that have come right here in our midst, of people who have grown up, and suddenly it’s dawned on them, I’m lost! I’ve sung in the choir, I’m lost! I don’t know Him! If I were to die this moment I would…and they feel the terror of that!

It’s not that everybody’s experience has to be the same. It’s not. But boy, there has to come a time when somebody realizes without Jesus I have nothing at all! I’m lost! I’m broken! There has to come a time when it’s not about anybody else but, suddenly, it’s you in the spotlight and nothing else in the world matters except you and God! And your need of Him! And your helpless state!

Oh, I’ll tell you, there’s no…a lot of folks, like I say, they’ll argue about how it all happens. Is it God’s will alone, is it man’s will is what’s in charge? But I’ll tell you, God is looking for a response. Because the same word that talks about our being called, and the Gospel as a call, and it’s a call by grace, which mean God has to give all the power that operates. But it also says those who, “…call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (KJV).

And I’ll tell you, for someone to call on the name of the Lord, in that kind of situation, that means something, too, doesn’t it? That’s not just this little prayer that I just muster up out of my own strength, and I try to be sincere about it. Oh, there’s got to come a time when I recognize, I fully embrace what that revelation of His call has done in my heart. I absolutely have got to surrender to it. I’ve got to say, oh God, if You don’t help me, I am lost!

It is not a, God, I’ll try harder, God, I’ll do better, God, I’m sorry. Please wipe away my sins and stick a ticket to heaven in my back pocket. That’s almost...it almost comes down to that in a lot of places. But I’ll tell you, the call of God is one of utter surrender. There is no other response except to say, oh God, I’m exactly what you say I am. Lord, I make no pretense. I’m helpless here unless you help me. But oh God, I believe Your promise!

Where does that impulse come from, to call upon Him? Where does it come from? It comes from Him! If you even feel that, that means God’s reaching out. That’s an evidence that God is reaching to you! If God weren’t reaching to you, you wouldn’t care. You’d go right along and you would feel no pain and you’d laugh it off. Oh I’ll tell you, the preaching of the Gospel…what is it to those who are perishing?

( congregational response ).

It’s foolishness. It doesn’t make any sense at all until God opens the eyes! Why? Because the people floating down that river are blindfolded. They don’t see. They don’t have any clue what’s really going on until God just takes that blindfold off and causes you to see your true condition and your true need.

Oh I’ll tell you, it’s a call to…it’s radical! It’s a lot more radical than we have any idea. Particularly, until you hear it. Because it’s a call to absolutely repent. Do you know what repent means? It’s to turn around. It means you’re going this way and you turn around and you go this way. It means a complete, radical turnaround in your life.

There’s so many people that said, I’m the Lord’s, I believed, I’ve this, I’ve that. All it is, is a human exercise. It’s a religious exercise that has caused people to have a false hope, and to think that they’re on the road to heaven when they’re on the road to hell and they don’t know it. There’s no real heart change.

They’ve tried to add a little bit of religion to their life but they’ve got the reins of their life, by God, and they’re not gonna let it go. They’re gonna find some way to mix the two. There ain’t no mixing. If you and I are gonna answer the real call of God, we’re gonna have to turn loose, turn around and go the other direction. And I’ll tell you, we are called to belong to Him.