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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1205

The Truth About Ourselves
Conclusion

November 8, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1205 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Folks, if you’ve never had a confrontation in some fashion where you felt your need, you don’t know Him. This is foundational.

( congregational response ).

We cannot possibly have a relationship with God until we realize the depravity and the emptiness of our own heart, and our utter inability to produce anything that resembles goodness…not in God’s eyes. This is foundational.

But what happens when we really get this, I mean, we really embrace this, when we really understand it? My God, the glorious thing is when a sinner reaches that point where they realize what they are and their heart is moved and enabled by God to turn in another direction, what they find is not a voice of condemnation and rejection and making them squirm and feel like a worm, it is open arms of acceptance! Praise God!

It’s the exact opposite of what you and I would expect as human beings. If we really did something against somebody, and we had to own up to that and reckon on that, how many of us would go there expecting open arms? Oh my! You see, we think in terms of human nature, don’t we? But, God reveals the mercy and the grace that He has at the time of the greatest sense of our own need.

Oh, if God is convicting anybody, don’t you hold back. There are some arms, there are some everlasting arms of love and grace and mercy that will wrap you in those arms and accept you, because…not because you can produce anything, but because of what He has done.

( congregational amens ).

He has given you and me every foundation we need to stand before Him as if we had never sinned. He has blotted out. He’s done it! It is not through rising to meet a challenge, it’s through abandoning everything and saying, God, I give myself to You. I trust in Your salvation.

What a glorious fruit it is to humble ourselves to that simple truth. It’s the truth whether we humble ourselves or not! But to come to the place where we get off our high horse and say, oh God, I’m exactly what You say I am. I am not gonna try to maintain any sense in myself that oh, no, I’m really good. I abandon that. Lord, I just humbly give myself to You.

Oh, the peace that can flood a human heart when we enjoy and we realize that He loves and accepts us. That’s what He’s looking for. He’s not looking for the self-righteous. He’s not looking for the proud. He’s not looking for us to qualify ourselves. He’s looking for surrender. He’s looking for honesty, because He has the power to change what we cannot begin to change. Praise God!

But here’s another thing that affects Christians, because it is not easy for us to abandon this sense that we’re good and we can do stuff, is it? It doesn’t come naturally. I guess we have as good an example as there is in the Scripture in the Apostle Paul. Every bit of his religious training taught him that the way to be pleasing in God’s eyes and the way to be accepted by Him was to keep His laws and to live a righteous, live a Godly life. And so, when the Lord revealed Himself to him and brought him to faith, man, he was excited! He gave it all he had! Man, I’m…boy, I’m excited now. I’m gonna go for it.

And, I know most of you here know exactly what happened. It was a 100 percent failure. And what God did through that failure was to teach him a deep and a very painful lesson. How many of you have experienced some of that?

( congregational response ).

You know what I’m talking about. You know what Paul was talking about. You thought you could do stuff spiritually. You thought you had reached a certain point and now you could handle it. Never! This truth is one that goes with us as long as we are in this world…that what we are naturally, has no goodness to it, no spiritual ability.

And what Paul learned by that painful experience was that no matter how hard he tried, no matter how sincere he was, there was something in here that absolutely prevented him from having any possibility of pleasing God and living a Godly life! He always fell short, always hi-jacked, always twisted and turned in another direction! I want to do what’s right and I can’t! I want to refrain from what’s wrong and I can’t! Oh God, help me! He came to that cry.

And God helped him, didn’t He? That’s what the Lord was looking for. Again, it was coming to a reckoning of the truth about ourselves. Folks, we need a radical change that only God can perform on the inside. But, in our living, that’s what I need every day. The minute I get…and I’m just…many of you can testify to the same thing…the minute I get complacent, the minute I suppose that, hey, I’m arrived, I can do right. I know what to do. I can do it, and I get unhooked from the source of my life and my energy to any degree, I fall flat on my face. And so do you.

But oh what a glorious Savior we have, who stands ready at any moment to pick us up and wrap His arms of love around us again and to say, stop trusting in yourself, start trusting in Me and what I’ve given you and what I’ve done for you. I’ve laid the foundation. Coming to…I mean, living with an understanding where we get this. We understand it. It’s no longer a mystery. It’s not a question anymore. But I know in the depths of my being that I have no hope of living for God unless He does it in me!

I mean, how ridiculous would it be for a vine to tell a branch to produce fruit on its own. I mean, that’s what legalism does. That’s exactly what legalism does. But, you and I, without realizing it, fall into the same trap. And, God wants us to recognize that, yes, what I need to do is this, this and this, and I need to be this kind of a person, but oh, God, just be it in me. Do it in me. Lord, live in my heart. Live through me. I need Your life.

But one of the things that it…a real understanding where we could look in the mirror and realize what we are, it absolutely destroys a judgmental spirit. And boy, are we good at that. All we have to do is serve the Lord a while and see our life cleaned up and we live by good principles. The next thing you know we are looking down at others and critical at them because they’re not measuring up to our standard.

That is a horrible caricature of the Gospel. Oh God, get us to the point where we are compassionate one toward another. Where we can always see where there’s need, we can say, there, but for the grace of God, go I. Well, we say that, because we know we’re supposed to. But do you honestly believe that about yourself? Has God really shown you your own heart to the point where you know that you have no right to look down on somebody else?

But you see where that goes. You start getting this self-righteousness kind of trying to creep back into somebody’s life. We all have thought it. All have experienced it in varying degrees. But it’s one of the things that the Gospel and the truth of what we are absolutely destroys if we will humble ourselves and allow it to.

We can get to a place where we can love one another, and instead of gossiping and criticizing and all these negative fruits that come out of a self-righteous spirit, legalistic spirit, they go by the boards, because we know we stand by the grace of God alone. It’s kind of quiet. Is this the truth?

( congregational response ).

More oh-me’s than amen’s, I think. But you know, the Lord is not telling us any of this to condemn. His heart is always that we come to a knowledge of the truth so that we can find rest and hope in Him. It’s never to grind us down and beat us.

I mean, you think about it. Suppose you preached this truth in a legalistic spirit? I mean, what kind of…how ironic would that be? To demand that you be different people! Good luck! By what power shall we be different? Only by Christ! Only by His indwelling life can I have any hope of being a different person! There’s nothing in me that I can look too. But I have every right to look to Him because He has promised!

This is the heart of our Savior, our Creator, to give us a brand new life and to set us free. You know the things that we’re talking about that are wrong here, this self-effort, this striving, this self-righteousness, they are just…I was gonna say they are just as evil as murder and lust and every other kind of thing, but they’re worse! They’re worse because they masquerade as being right!

And we can look down…you have, sometimes, a person who is in church and they will be looking down at somebody who has fallen into some gross sin and not realizing the spirit of self-righteous that they have is worse in God’s eyes than what they did! God, give us an honest heart to look in the mirror and say, Lord, truth Lord! What You’re saying about me is true and I need mercy. I need to have the spirit of Jesus who would reach out to that one with mercy.

I mean, there’s one thing, if you’ve got somebody that is hell bent to do what they want to do and they’re just rebellious about it, you just kind of have to pray and let them go. But, if you’ve got somebody that is struggling, that is in need, my God, they don’t need condemnation. They need mercy. They need grace. They need something they don’t have in themselves! All they’ve done is prove what’s in them.

But God…what a horrible thing it is when we just gossip and talk about them and just really run them down and all those negative things. What does that come from? That’s not coming from Christ. Those are fruits of the old nature still operating in us. You know, we live…as long as we live in these bodies, we live with this paradox of having an old nature and a new one!

( congregational response ).

As soon as we leave this bodily state, the old nature will be gone! Thank God! Let it happen. Let it happen today, Lord. That would be all right with me. But God has given us the means by the indwelling of His Spirit to rule over these vessels that we live in so that they can produce righteousness and godliness, because His grace is stronger than that power of sin that wants to rule us.

But how subtly, how easily do we fall into traps of expressing the old nature and thinking we’re expressing the new one. I’m standing up for godliness. I don’t agree with that, but the spirit behind it is just Adam. It’s the very thing that Jesus was talking about when he looked at his disciples and said, “…though you are evil…” (NIV). The Bible doesn’t give any hint that they reacted to that. Maybe they had just enough confidence or maybe they just didn’t…whatever it was, they didn’t seem to react to it, but it was the truth. There it is.

But you think about all of these things that God wants to produce in us. And what about a humility and a compassion towards the lost? Do we look down on people because they are caught in sin and we’re living a respectable life? God give us the spirit of Christ that’s able to see needs, see a need and not just fault…that’s honestly able to realize if it were not for God’s mercy, I could be in far worse shape than they are. I have the same nature they do. God has been merciful to me. I want to be merciful. I want to show them a door of hope. I don’t want to come down and point fingers. I need to reach out with a hand of mercy and grace.

God give us that kind of a spirit when we confront people and we’re around them. They just don’t feel like, oh my God, I’m not like them so I’m gonna be rejected. We need to have a spirit of compassion and I believe God is working that in us, don’t you? But you see how this all runs back to the same truth? If we don’t get who we are, there’s a lot of bad fruit that flows from that, because we will absolutely operate in the energy of the old nature and every bit of fruit that that produces is gonna be bad in some way or other.

And it’s the very thing that salvation is about delivering us from! How many religious people will run right along and practice their religion in the energy of the flesh and think they’re serving God? Oh, God! Break us down to the point where we realize what we are and how much we need a Savior. So, those are just some of the things. But you know the greatest thing that this truth leads to? It magnifies the love and the mercy and the grace of God.

( congregational amens ).

Because you think about the context again, where we started. Jesus is talking to them about God’s promises to answer prayer and to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. In that very sentence, he says, though you are evil! So here’s God reckoning on the truth about us, the truth that we need to understand! We need to get this! He already knows it! It’s not a barrier to Him!

He doesn’t say, though you are evil, if you will straighten up I will answer prayer. We’re coming to him because we need! It’s the very sense of our lack and what we are not, that drives us to come to Him and say, oh God, help me! I need You. And there’s something in His heart, instead of pointing the finger and castigating and being negative, it embraces. He wraps His arms of love…He says, that’s what I’m looking for. I answer that kind of prayer.

When that publican stood in the temple and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” (KJV). God heard that prayer because he was honest about what he was. We can just be ourselves and say, Lord, I am nothing, I have nothing. But You love me and You’ve demonstrated…You didn’t wait until I got better. You came when I was a sinner. Christ died for me while I was a sinner. Oh, how that magnifies the grace of God.

Do you see why Paul didn’t glory in anything that was about himself? He gloried in the cross. He gloried in what God had done to open a door of hope for someone as worthless and helpless as he! He was the one whose testimony was “This is a faithful saying, and worth of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” He didn’t even say I ‘was’ the worst! You understand the difference?

( congregational response ).

It’s not that he was living a life of sin, expressing that, but, he recognized the depravity of his own nature when he wrote that. He said, in spite of what I am, God is rescuing me! He is saving me! He is loving me! He is forgiving me! He is giving me His life! He is doing everything necessary to deliver me forever from what I am!

It magnifies the grace of God! It’s not a place of groveling and feeling condemned and like dirt! It’s a place of feeling loved and accepted! It’s a place of rest, because it takes the burden off of us trying to be something that we’re not. It drives us to come to Him and say, oh God, live Your life through me. I have no power. Just do in and through me what I cannot do for myself.

Does that not honor Him? Does that not glorify Him? Folks, this is…do you get a little bit of why this truth is so critical? We cannot come to God and have a relationship without being honest. I mean, really embracing what we are. But we cannot live a Godly life without abandonment of all hope in ourselves and placing that in His hands, trusting in His promise.

But oh, what a glorious hope that there is for everyone who will simply live in the light—honestly live in the light of what we are. We can do it without fear, without condemnation. “…There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NIV).

How is it possible that I could be what he says I am and yet, not be condemned? Because He didn’t come to the world to condemn it, he came to save. He knew what he was getting into. We’re the ones who struggle against that. We’re the ones who fight it.

If you’re fighting it today, stop! Embrace the reality of what you are. Stop trying to be a good person in your own strength. Stop trying to cultivate this self image that I am really a good person. Just say, Lord, I’m a sinner saved by grace and I rest my hope in You. You are my hope. I just yield to You, I’m trusting You to live in me and to live Your life through me and to change me.

And I know it’s a process. But you see, that’s where Paul went in Philippians 3, wasn’t it. After enumerating all the things in which he might have trusted, he puts all of his hopes…he casts it all in the garbage can and says, I’m embracing Christ. My hope is in knowing Him! It’s in the cross! It’s in the resurrection! It’s in taking one step behind the other, pressing forward! It’s in laying hold of what he has laid hold of me for!

You see how that all fits in the context? It all rests upon a truth that Paul got! I’ve got nothing to go on when it comes to living for God…nothing, in myself. But in Christ, I have everything that I need. And so, I willingly, every day, I’m gonna leave me behind. I’m gonna bring me to the cross when it wants to rise up. I’m gonna lay hold of what Christ is, present tense in my life and my heart. And I’m gonna live that life and I’m gonna grow towards what He has promised to make me.

I’ll tell you, truth like this destroys so many things. It destroys self-righteousness among humanity. It destroys any illusion of real goodness. It destroys any way of slipping and sliding around this to have any relationship with God. It destroys pride and judgmentalism and legalism and all these bad things, and sets us free to enjoy what He has given us, the freedom of knowing Him and being accepted because of what Jesus did. Praise God! Praise God!