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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1201

First Love

October 11, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1201 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: When you think about some of the things that we ‘do’ in our spiritual lives, praying, reading the Bible, spending time with the Lord, coming to a service, do you ever have almost a feeling of resentment? Almost a feeling like this is a duty, I’d almost just as soon not? Do you ever have to fight that off? What happens if that begins to have a little bit of an impact?

See, that was going on in these people’s lives. They kept bringing the sacrifices, but on the inside they were grumbling about it. They were saying, what in the world, what am I doing? Look at so-and-so, they’re getting along great. They’re not serving God. What am I serving God for? What am I getting out of it?

But do you see what the spirit behind that is? It’s about me and what I want in this world. And as soon as the heart begins to move in that direction, it’s me, it’s what I want. I’m gonna do something that pleases me. I’m gonna serve me and if God is good with that and if He blesses me in some way, well, that’s okay, too. But basically, what I’m really about is me. And it just kind of forms and it begins to be a direction.

And these people were, actually, some of them were to the point where if they were going to bring a sacrifice they’d say, okay, I’ll bring the sacrifice, but you know I’ve got that little runt of a lamb over there. I was gonna get rid of him anyway, so let’s just bring him. We’ll kill two birds with one stone. I mean, I’ll have a sacrifice and I’ll get rid of something I didn’t want anyway. And the Lord is looking at their hearts and watching what they’re doing. He’s listening and He’s aware.

You notice how the letters to the Ephesians, this particular one in Revelation, begins. I hold the stars in My hand. Now they were the angels, they were the messengers who were watching over the church. But He says, I walk among the candlesticks. Over and over again, He says, I know, I know, I know, I know.

I’ll tell you, we sometimes get to living our lives and we get lost in what we see and what we feel, what we experience, and we forget how close the Lord is, how real He is, that He is among His people, that He knows the deepest secrets of every heart. He knows our motivations. He sees all of it! He’s intimately aware with everything about every single one of us. Isn’t it amazing that He loves us, in spite of what He sees?

( congregational response ).

If there’s anybody here that’s, I mean, anybody here that’s got any honesty at all, you know that down deep there are things that aren’t pretty that the Lord wants to work on. But He loves us. Thank God! That is what’s really the bottom line in this thing, is God’s love. It’s not His condemnation.

But God continues to reach out and He’s even reaching out through Malachi! But over and over again, there’s this sense of God reaching out. If you just do what I say, if you’ll do it from your heart, if you will do it because you love me, there’s so much blessing I long for you to have. I want you to know the fellowship that I long to have with you, and they wouldn’t do it.

But in the midst of that, you go down…I’ve often pointed some of these things out in chapter 3. And, let’s see, let’s pick it up in verse 13, because now He’s still talking about the people. “You have said harsh things against me, says the Lord. Yet you ask, What have we said against you?” (NIV).

So there’s something about this…when you get on this road where it’s about me, that’s one of the points about it. It’s very self deceiving. Because it allows us to feel like we’re okay when we’re really just going dead opposite to the way God wants us to go. And they didn’t even know! God had to tell them.

He said, “You have said, It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.”

Do you see what was really going on in their hearts? I don’t know how much of this was verbalized, but it was in here. They were still doing it, but there was an inward resentment. There was an inward resistance. There was an inward turn of the heart in another direction that was beginning to eat away at the…it was like a dam that would look good on the top, but underneath was being eaten away. And all it takes is the right thing and it just all washes away.

But listen to what the Lord says. “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.” The same Lord, who walks among His people, hears this too. He says, “A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. They will be mine, says the Lord Almighty, in the day when I make up my treasured possession.” And so on…the glorious promise to those people who have it, not just doing the right stuff, but they’ve got it in their heart. This is what my life is about.

You certainly see it in what Jesus says about the scribes and the Pharisees. I mean, there’s the ultimate case of people who have just cobbled themselves a religion together that made them feel superior, made them feel like they were right with God, but the heart was completely wrong! He says, you’ve done all these things, you are so scrupulous about your little regulations, but you’ve, “…omitted the weightier matters of the law…” (KJV), justice and righteousness and all those things that are part of My character.

You think about what God’s nature is. What is His nature? If you’re gonna really break it down, you can say a lot of things about Him, but if you’re going to break His nature down or sum it up in one word, what would it be?

( congregational response ).

Love! Love is a relation word. Now I’ll tell you, if God is not satisfied with form in anyone’s life. I thank God for the degree of what God’s done here! But I’ll tell you, there’s a warning to my spirit! This is real! The issues that are here are real! God is not satisfied…I don’t care how great our doctrines are, I don’t care how great our songs are, I don’t care how great our services…praise God for His presence to the degree that it’s here. But none of that matters if that first love is gone!

I just said, it just starts with, sometimes little things. A heart begins to lust after something that is part of this world. And so, we begin to carve out a little space for self. This is mine. This is the Lord’s. Look at all I’m doing for You, Lord. Surely, I’m entitled.

It’s getting quiet again. But is that not the way the human heart goes? Is there anyone here that’s not affected by that kind of pull? Lord, have mercy. That’s what the Lord was seeking, to bring them back. How many of us just begin to carve out a little space, indulge ourselves, when the Lord wants to be the center of every part of our life?

Of course, the devil is there to whisper and say, oh man, your life will be a drag. You won’t get to do anything you enjoy. Oh, what a lie. There is such a, I mean, there is no end to the love. You talk about…we are created in the image of God. If there’s one thing that is meaningful, that enriches any human life, it’s love. That’s the hunger of every human being! To matter, to have somebody care and be concerned, and to be the object of somebody’s affection! We were made that way!

But what about God, Himself? What does He think about a relationship when it’s just about stuff, and doing, and doing the right thing? Oh, what technicians we are, sometimes. God help us.

You know, you see the principle in marriage, for example. I mean, the heart of marriage is not what you do. What is done is meant to be an expression of something. And it’s meant to be an expression of the love in the relationship, and the respect and all of those things. It’s a very personal thing! It’s, fundamentally, about relationship!

Out of that relationship now, you have a man who will be a man and who will go out and work and support and protect and all those things. And you’ll have a nurturing mother. This is God’s pattern. I mean, I realize it’s all screwed up in our society! But, this is what God looks for in a home, and that’s the godly relationship that is founded.

But if you take the love out of that, if it just becomes mechanical, if it becomes, I’m doing the right thing, I’m doing all the stuff I’m supposed to do, but yet, each person is basically kind of going their own way, doing their own thing, and you have these separate like ships passing in the night. They stay in the same home, but there’s no real affection at the heart of it. Is that satisfying? Is that right? Is that what it’s meant to be?

But you see the heart of God is reaching out to His people saying, you’ve got your little lives there. You’re kind of going your own way. I long to get back to where you are excited about spending time with me. There wasn’t anything in your life that you weren’t ready to share and bring me into the joy of what you’re doing. I’m not against you.

You know, a lot of the things that are pleasurable to us are not sinful. I mean, He gives us good things to enjoy. We get together and have a meal and rejoice and fellowship in the Lord. Praise God! Somebody cooks a real nice dish and everybody enjoys it, do you think the Lord’s against that? Of course not. And the people are there and they’re loving one another, they’re expressing His nature and His life and they are enjoying the time together! Man, God just loves that!

You don’t have to push Him into a corner and say, You hang out there for a while, we’re gonna do our thing, and then we’re gonna come and get You when we need You. But an awful lot of people begin to go down that road. You know, is there anything in our lives that we don’t want the Lord involved in? We just assume that He kind of…we just kind of leave Him in the side and just kind of go do that, and then we’ll come back, and we’ll kind of get right and we’ll just…oh my. God, help us.

This was what was going on in that wonderful church that we would have given, at worst, an ‘A-minus’ to. Man, this is an awesome church! Everybody ought to be like this church! And God says, you are on a road that if you don’t turn around, you’re gonna be gone. God’s values are different from ours.

You think about somebody like Enoch. What was God’s testimony? Did he do great things in the world? Not so far as we know. But he did one thing that brought him a place of honor in the Word of God. He walked with God. There wasn’t any part of his life that God was shut out from.

He didn’t have, well, he didn’t have computers…but he didn’t turn on his computer and say, now Lord, now You go over there. I’m gonna look at some stuff now. I don’t want You…I know that probably you won’t like this so You just go over there so You won’t be bothered.

Lord, help us, to let the Lord be the center of everything in our lives. I’ll tell you, there’ll be joy. There’ll be peace. There’ll be meaning. There’ll be…His presence will…you know, you think about what’s going on. If you’ve got somebody who is doing all this right stuff, religiously speaking…they’re doing everything they’re supposed to be doing, but yet God says you’ve left your first love. What does that mean?

God, who is love…it means you’re doing a lot of stuff that I’m not even in, because, if I were in it, my Spirit, which is love, would be filling it! What you do would be an expression of your love for Me, and your love therefore, for everyone else, and your love, and your concern, and your passion for the lost. There would be a passion about what you’re doing! And again, it’s not working up an emotion. Many times these are choices in dry times.

( congregational amens ).

It certainly was in Malachi. They didn’t have any fire flying or feelings to go on. But they knew to be faithful. They knew it was about, ultimately, about a relationship between you and the Lord. And that’s true of us as an assembly, but it is certainly true in our individual lives. What is the heart? Is it about you getting to know Him?

You know, Paul summarizes what he’s about and the focus of his life was about. He talked about having to press through. But what was the fundamental thing? It was, I want to know Him! Then he enumerates some of the aspects of what that meant! “…The power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death,” and all that! But the first thing was, I want to know Him!

( congregational amens ).

It’s not knowing “about” Him! It’s not “doing it right.” Oh, how easily do we fall into that trap of doing it right and thinking that we’re okay because we’re still coming to church! We’re still putting money in the box. We’re still…every once in a while we open the Bible, and we breathe a prayer when we’re in trouble. Oh my.

What is your life about? What is our life about? What are our lives about? Are they about knowing Him and saying, Lord, I love You. It’s not just a mechanical thing. It’s, Lord, I want to know You. I want to experience You.

Don’t you see the heart of God in this? This is not a condemnation. This is a heart that yearns. This is a heart that says, I want to fill your life with all of My goodness and all of My love and all of the joy that I have! There was a joy in the heart of Jesus because of what he was accomplishing for us! He says, I want you to know that!

You have no idea what you’re missing when you try to go it alone, and do your own thing, and please yourself, and that becomes the way that you go. You’re cutting yourself off from My heart and I want to be real to you. I want to take you through things that are sometimes very difficult, very challenging to your faith. But I want to be real to you in those! I want you to experience My faithfulness, so that our connection would just grow. There would be such a relationship that no devil in hell can break it.

You can take, you can strip away all the stuff that people do, all the distinct things of different groups and all of that. It comes down to one thing, it’s a love relationship between Christ and His people. It’s Him, it’s the Father in Him, and Him in us, and us connected to one another. And the flowing of His Spirit is His love. You take that away, all you have left is religion. Take that away from an individual life, all you have is a life that is devoted to self in some form or other.

So you wonder why the Lord’s word to Ephesus was so seemingly severe. I mean, you know, it’s like Jesus, get a clue! Look at all the good stuff that we are doing! It’s not…yeah, we have a little need in this area, but it’s not all that serious! But it was, wasn’t it? Because, they had kept the outward, but the inward was being rotted away and disappearing.

And I just pray that God will make this real to my heart. Part of thinking about this was, Lord, what do we do? But He does say to repent, doesn’t He? Repent is a choice! It’s a choice to turn around. It isn’t like jumping from here to, from Egypt to Canaan, but it is a choice to say, wait a minute, my life is not about me. Lord, help me to let You into every area of my life, and seek You, and desire You, and reach out for fellowship and learn to draw close.

Let me just start where I’m at! If I’m in a deep, dark place and the habit is gone, help me just to start. Help me to have a hunger to reach out to You because, I know You love me! I know you want me to! It’s not like You’re mad at me, and you’re just sort of pouting until I get straight!

See, that’s how we think. We think God’s mad at me because I’m not doing something right. If I’ll just do it right, then He’ll be okay. We get it all backwards. If God gets the heart, the outward stuff will take care of itself. Well, you know one of the other things that so often happens with people who start down…groups who start down the road of doing it themselves, and the heart and the spirit gets out of what they’re doing, and they wind up with a religious form, it becomes a self-righteousness.

You think about the people in, was it Matthew 7? Jesus talked about them arriving at the end of the way and saying, Lord, Lord. What was their contention? Why did they think that God should receive them? It’s what they did! Didn’t we do? Didn’t we do? Didn’t we do this? Wasn’t that evidence that we’re Yours?

Well, you look at this letter to the Church at Ephesus, no, it’s not. That’s not what God is after. If He has our hearts, He’ll have our pocketbooks, He’ll have our lives, He’ll have our worship, He’ll have our love for one another. It won’t be feigned. We won’t have to pretend. It’ll be real because He inhabits His people! That’s what He’s looking for!

So, He calls upon His people to repent and turn around and recognize, to take personal responsibility. Lord, I need You. Lord, I see this area of my life, and show me where I don’t see. Because, like I said, this condition is very self-deceptive, self-deceiving. It’s so easy to get to this place and not even realize what is going on, because we are judging by what we see and by our activity. And God always judges by the heart.

I just pray that God will apply this as it needs to be applied. I need it. I mean, it was almost like, God, who am I to preach this? I’m the one who needs it. But I believe it’s the Lord reaching out to His people…just not turning them loose. But saying, oh God, help us. Help…listen, listen to My word. Listen to My heart.

Don’t just do the right thing and think everything is good. Get to the heart. Let your heart be one with Me in everything that you do and all this stuff will absolutely take care of itself, and I’ll be able to lead you. You won’t be stuck in a form. You won’t be stuck doing the same thing year in and year out, thinking you’re doing great. And then, running into the issue later on of, well, why am I doing this? We need change.

We need…you know, you see the pattern of religion, how that begins to work? Well, way back somewhere, they started going down that road. If anybody is on that road, let’s get off. As a movement, as people, let’s say, Lord, we need You to be Lord. We need You to be the center of what we do, and what we think, and what we want…to lay everything at Your feet.

Show us where we’re blind. Every one of us is blind in some area. Show us our need. Give us grace to just let Your Spirit fill us, and let that be the dominating character. Let that be the life! Isn’t Christ our life? He’s not just our pattern-maker, religion-establisher. He’s our life! It’s not about religion. It’s about Him and His presence. Praise God!