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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1209

Power Through Weakness
Part One

December 6, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1209 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! Well, the central thought of what Brian was sharing was simply, how do we live? Do we live by trying, or do we live by surrender? What is God really looking for from us? And, I don’t know, I feel like Ron a lot this morning. I’m just gonna start out…I’ve had some thoughts that I have not been able to get organized and I don’t think that’s what the Lord wanted this morning…you know, to plan it all out. Every time is different. But anyway, I’ll start in an unlikely place.

A lot of people…I’m sort of amused sometimes when I hear people say, oh, we want to be like the New Testament Church. And, of course, that begs the question, which New Testament Church is it that you’re talking about? Are you talking about the one in Corinth where they had all kinds of immorality and all kinds of problems—a long list of problems that Paul had to deal with? Or are you talking about Ephesus that lost its first love? Or are you talking about Laodicea…you know, the Lord’s outside knocking to get in? Which New Testament Church do you want to be like? And, I think, obviously, the Lord gave us a history of all of this to teach us…but we are sure made of the same kind of stuff, aren’t we?

( congregational response ).

We have the same kinds of issues in one fashion or another, and they all come from our old nature. The Lord is seeking to gain mastery over it, to give us the mastery over it. But anyway, in the book of 2nd Corinthians, Paul was writing because, man, there was a long list of issues. But one of the main ones was that there still were problems…he had written, he had tried to deal them, he had tried to help them.

But then, one major problem that comes up throughout the book is that there were false teachers that were coming in and they were impressive in various ways, and they were beginning to steal the hearts of the people away from Paul. And so Paul felt a need, in a way, to defend his ministry, and it put him in an awkward place, because, you know how the world does things. It’s power on power. I’m better than you. I can do this better than you.

And he realized that’s not the deal here. This is not me trying to say, hey, I’m better than these guys, but rather that the ministry that I have is not me at all, but it’s Christ in me. And so, he’s fighting this…you know, I need to convince these people not to listen to these false voices, but that I have something that can help them, and I have to do it without sounding like I’m bragging.

And, you trace that theme throughout and you’ll find Paul starting right out at the beginning — these are scriptures we refer to many times — where he talks about the circumstance where he was definitely in what we call the deep end of the pool, over his head, didn’t know what he was gonna do, thought he was gonna die.

But, he says the Lord taught him through that that it was not to destroy him but rather to teach him not to trust in himself but in God who raises the dead. So it was a life lesson for Paul. And so, he goes on and teaches…what he really gets down to is the value of weakness. And that sounds like a real bench-jumping subject, doesn’t it?

( laughter ).

I mean, you know, you talk about the scale, the human value system, if you’re talking about bad stuff, weakness would be really up there, right up there with humiliation and root canals.

( laughter ).

We just don’t like to be weak…human beings, that’s the last thing we want to be. And it starts right out when you’re kids. I mean, you watch kids squabbling over toys, and you watch the strong ones beating up on the weak ones. And, it’s all about me and what I want, and somebody else is in the way of what I want, so we’re gonna have a squabble about it. And, everything about human nature teaches us to try to be strong. But it’s a human kind of strength and it’s in service of self.

And of course, you go to school…those of you who are still in school, you know…we all were there at one time, and it’s just really a power game, isn’t it? I mean, you’ve got kids…the popular kids get together and they beat up on, or they look down on, and sneer at the slow ones, the unpopular ones. The jocks get together and the bullies get together, and you’ve got all these games going on.

And you’ve got these kids that are a little slower than the rest, a little smaller than the rest and they feel powerless, and they’re mad about it, and upset about it. And, you think, well we’re gonna get out of school and we’ll end all that. Yeah, right! All you do is, you get into a world system that enthrones all that stuff. It just is a little more sophisticated. It’s a little less obvious sometimes.

But, you’ve got political people who want…some of them are idealists and some of them just want the power. And then you’ve got people that chase after money because money gives me power over others and privilege, and life is just all about me and getting what I want and acquiring power! And so, that’s the value system, as I say, of the world.

Now you come to Christ and you come to a brand new creation! And everything is totally flipped upside-down when it comes to that sort of thing. And, how many of you just simply, you get that instantly? You flip your entire personality, your entire way of thinking, 180 in a day! I mean, somebody lays their hands on you and you are transformed, and you don’t think the same way.

Now thank God, there is a transformation that happens when we come to Christ. But, the scriptures would not tell us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice and to be transformed by the renewing of our mind if we didn’t have problems in this area, because, we come to Christ with this in-built tendency to seek after self and to rise to every challenge.

And you go into motivational seminars, and it’s all about trying to draw out the human potential and it just values people who persevere against the odds and they rise to become people of power and people of influence…and oh, we ‘ooh and aah’ unless, of course, you get into Pinocchio’s motivational seminar.

( laughter ).

Of course, that was a test to see how many of you watch TV.

( laughter ).

Very amusing commercial…but anyway, for those of you who haven’t seen it. But anyway…but for those of you who haven’t seen it, he’s trying to tell people he’s seen all this potential and his nose gets longer.

( laughter ).

Obviously, he’s just blowing smoke. You know, we, by whatever means, people are seeking after a way to feel strong and to feel powerful because life is obviously a battle. And, we sense it, we see it, that’s what the world teaches us. And so, like I say, every instinct is to be strong.

And a lot of people bring that into their religion. And that’s the reason that we have so much religion that is basically human driven. The spirit, the motivation behind it, is simply human beings either trying in their own strength to please God and then deluding themselves that they can do that, or you have people like these false teachers that he was dealing with. You know, one of the ideas they were floating around was, Paul is not a very good speaker, is he? Well, is that relevant?

( congregational response ).

Does that make any difference? Is that the issue from the point of view of God’s Kingdom? We value that! We love to hear somebody that, man, they can just really rip it out there, and they’ve just got this natural ability. And a lot of people try to bring their natural ability unto God, as though what I was born with in Adam can help God out. I mean, you think about it! That’s what’s behind it!

( congregational response ).

If I, or somebody, is a person with natural leadership qualities, then they are a candidate. Man, if we could just get them converted, and give them the stuff to do, we could get the Kingdom of God built! I mean, this is gonna be great! And, people will get together and they’ll pool their natural talents. And it’s like, God, tell us what to do and turn us loose! We’ve got the abilities here, we’ll just…you know.

My God! That’s not the Kingdom of God at all! Thank God it isn’t! He needs people who are just, like Brian said, who’ll just surrender. And so, but these people…religion is full of people that just glory in their power over others and their ability. And you see the same dynamics working inside churches that you see in the world! And God has brought us into His Kingdom to change us!

And, we can…as these thoughts were coming, I said, God, this is like a broken record. We’ve heard this a gazillion times. Is this really what you want? And the truth is, it doesn’t matter how many time we hear it, there is a disconnect between what we know up here and how we live! And if you’re at all like me, we’ve got a long ways to go before what we know about the Kingdom of God gets really translated into everyday life!

We still play the power game in a lot of subtle and not so subtle ways in our lives. We try to dig for the strength and it’s like…well, it’s like what Brian was saying. What can I do for You, Lord? And that’s…in our minds, it’s, give me a job, Lord. Give me something. Let me show You what I can do. Or, Lord, I need to beat this. I’m really gonna do it this time. Man, I’m gonna try! I just believe I can do this.

How many of you have been down that road? Yeah. And, you know, then we get in this place where…God, I did it again! Oh, Lord, what You must…how You must despise my weakness! That’s human thinking! God’s heart runs to the weak! He knows what we’re made of! That’s why we need a Savior! Duh!

But we don’t get that! We still think that we could just rise to occasions and just draw on what we have as natural people. And we look at somebody else, and they seem to be strong and we just say, oh God, if I could just be like them. You better be thankful that you’re not! If you’re one of those that feels like you’re on the bottom of the totem pole, and you’re the least of the least, and you’re just weak, you better be praising God!

Because the truth of the matter is, if we are going to be effective as Christians, let alone in Christian service, that’s what we think of…but just as Christians, as members of the Body of Christ, there’s gonna have to be a lot of changes in our lives! Our entire way of thinking and looking at life has to be transformed! And it doesn’t happen by just a few seminars!

( congregational response ).

It’s…many times the progress is painful! And it’s painful because we fight against it! We don’t get what God is doing and we’re just…

( groaning ).

God, I need to rise…I need to…where’s my strength? Oh God, give me…you know. And what we’re trying…we’re struggling and striving, and He’s trying to bring us to a place where we really get it. Oh God, I really can’t do this. I’m in way over my head. There is no possibility that I can do, that I can be what You want me to be. And it’s like, that’s defeat. And what it is, it’s the only path to victory. Something to think about, isn’t it? It affects every area of our lives.

So this is where Paul was at. What am I gonna do here? I’ve got these believers and they’re just…they’re listening to false voices. They still haven’t been willing to repent of sins that I know about. I’ve got to come…I’ve wanted to come and I couldn’t get there. I sent…was it Timothy or Titus…Titus, I think.

And, so he’s off somewhere trying to deal with the issues. He didn’t have Facebook, didn’t have any of that stuff to work with. And so he’s having to try to pray for them and encourage them. But, at the same time, there is this need to convince them that what he has is the thing that they need! It’s really from God…and to do it without promoting self! Man, we need the Lord, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

Thank God that He can bear witness to such things. But he gets into ministry…and you go through scriptures that you know, and many times we’ll go to a passage without seeing it in the big picture. And so, he comes into the ministry and how some people are just in it for the money. He said, we’re not in it for the money. We come and in fact, our business is to write a letter from God in your hearts, and we have no ability to do this. Our ability comes from God. End of story.

So that’s what chapter 3 is all about. He goes into the Lord’s power to change people, but it’s entirely an ability that He gives. May God just burn this into our souls so that we never get to the place where we are carrying on a tradition! We are going to have to be connected to heaven if we are going to have anything! It doesn’t matter who we are, what we’ve done, or where we’ve been, or how true things are that we believe! We’re gonna have to have a living connection to heaven. There is no substitute for that.

( congregational amens ).

We need to get that so fixed in our brains that it will not just be a doctrine that we believe either. But it will be something that we actually live and do. And of course, he talks about his ministry and goes on in chapter 4 and talks about the greatness of the ministry of allowing the light of Christ to shine into the darkness of human hearts and what an awesome thing it is! “But we have this treasure…” (NIV). In what?

( congregational response ).

“…Jars of clay….” So here we are with this awesome treasure, but we’ve still got this to deal with. And so that’s where Paul goes into the process that God had to bring him through in order to use him. And the process was that he had to be put to death every single day, in one fashion or another!

And so some of that, in his case, involved things like this. “We are hard pressed…” This is verse 8. “…On every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake…”

Why? “…So that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” Is that not the heart of what it’s about? And I’m gonna say this now and I’ll probably say it again. We look at somebody like this who’s talking like this, writing like this and we say, oh, that’s about ministry. That’s about spiritual stuff. That’s about the special things that God gives us to do that are part of the work of the ministry. That is about life!

( congregational response ).

That’s about every member of the Body of Christ every single day. Now does that mean that we’re gonna live lives of unrelenting misery? That’s not what it’s about. But what it is about is God doing whatever it takes to put to death this…the inclinations that arise from our being born into Adam’s family, that cause us to act for self, out of the resources of self, and just absolutely get in the way!

I mean, you think about somebody like Peter, you think about how zealous he was and how confident he was! Would it be fair to say that Peter was just blowing smoke, that he really didn’t feel that way? No, he was sincere! It was utter, complete sincerity! Lord, I love You! I want to do what’s right! Oh, I’m gonna do it, Lord! I’ll never deny You! But he meant it! So do we, many times. Yeah, we mean it, too!

And the Lord warned him…and the essence of the warning was, you are trying to do this, you’re imagining that you can do this in your own strength. You don’t get where the engine is that you need…where the power comes from! And so, you better do some praying. You better get some of heaven’s power if you expect to pull this off. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

You know, I remember a line in “Doctor Zhivago,” the movie…it just pops into my head every once in a while. But it was a priest talking to the young woman who became the major female character in the book…or in the movie, and she had been pulled into an immoral lifestyle. And he was telling her, ‘the flesh is not weak, the flesh is strong! You’ve got to rise up and do something about it.’

Well, that’s true, too. But the thing is, the real point of this is not that…when it comes to carrying out the will of the flesh and carrying out human nature, the flesh is strong! It’s a real enemy. But what Jesus was talking about was, when it comes to doing the work of the Kingdom of God, your flesh won’t cut it. It doesn’t have it.

I mean, you think about it this way. We have been called out of a world that is corrupted by sin. Every one of us is infected with it. We were born with a nature that’s infected with that. What is the destiny of all of this? It’s destruction. What is the penalty…what is the consequence of sin? Death. There won’t be any of this…the nature that drives this world, the ideas, the philosophies that drive this world, there won’t be any of that there!

( congregational amens ).

Now how foolish is it to suppose that we can bring the resources of this world into the Kingdom of God and draw upon them to serve God and to build up His Kingdom! That’s ludicrous, isn’t it?

( congregational response ).

We do it! Yeah, we do it because we don’t know any better! We just sort of automatically…it just happens because we haven’t been changed, we haven’t submitted. And that’s…you see that coming out in Paul.

Boy, there’s an awful lot of Paul’s inner life that’s revealed in this book. He really has to bare his soul, because he’s so concerned…not because he wants them to say, wow, what a great saint! It’s because he wants them to see what this is really about. He wants them to understand that…look, when I give you something…yeah, I’m not an impressive speaker, that’s not the point. The point is, I’m giving you something from heaven that can change your destiny! You need to listen, not because it’s me doing it! I don’t care what you think about me! I care what you think about Him! I care about you hearing His voice.

( congregational amens ).

God, give us every one that kind of spirit…where we stop caring about the stupid power games that people play in this world, and start saying, Lord, it’s not about me. It’s about Him. Praise God! So anyway, you see Paul’s value system…he’s got a measure of revelation about this, that this is necessary for God to constantly remind me that I cannot do what I have been called to do with any natural resources. I’ve got to have Him, every step of every day.