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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1237

We Don’t Live for Ourselves
Part One

June 19, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1237 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, it never fails that when we have a men’s meeting, there are all kinds of wonderful thoughts that are expressed, and I come out of it feeling like I just need to sit there and have all of that replayed. ‘Cause there’s just a lot of wonderful things that were expressed, and I believe they’re from the Lord’s heart.

But I did have a scripture that, I believe, is very much tied in with many of the things that were expressed. And it’s just come back to me, time and time again, without a whole lot…it’s like a phrase but without a whole lot behind it. But I’m just trusting the Lord will open it up and emphasize what He wants to.

But it’s in Romans chapter 14. I will just sort of cherry-pick a couple of scriptures there and then just see how I believe that fits into the picture of what God is doing. And, particularly, unpack the passage itself, if the Lord can help us.

But anyway, Paul is in the process, having opened up the Gospel in what God has done for us. There is that huge ‘therefore’ that transitioned into chapters 12 and following about what is our part in this…what is He trying to do, how does He want us to live and relate to one another? All those things are laid out in these chapters, and he’s dealing with the fact that there are differences among us and how that causes us, in our flesh, to react sometimes to one another. And so, he…basically, what he says about some of these issues is in verse 7. That’s the scripture that’s come to me.

It says, “For none of us lives to himself alone none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (NIV). And I’ll tell you, if you want a world view, if you want an understanding of what our lives are meant to be in this world, that really unpacks it, because it flies, absolutely, in the face of human nature because, by nature, we are selfish. We want what we want. Our world revolves, as we’ve said many times, around us.

But when we partake of Christ’s nature, then we are introduced to an entirely different way of living, an entirely different set of principles, though it’s a lot more than that. Because, what the Lord is giving us here, in these passages, is not so much rules to live by. Because, that’s how we tend to think. Okay, God, I’ve done it wrong now show me how to do it ‘right,’ quote-unquote.

But it’s not a matter of ‘doing’ so much as it’s a matter of ‘being.’ Because what He is unfolding here are, basically, the characteristics of divine nature as they would unfold in a broken world, because this is where we’re called to live.

And not only are we called to live in a world that is broken, we are called to still live out that life within bodies that really don’t want to. They fight us all the way. They’re still wanting what self wants, and yet, we’re told to come to Him and to find the grace and the strength to overcome all of that and to live for Him anyway.

But, it involves learning many things, but this is the essence of it. Because, as I say, what God is seeking to do is to reproduce His nature in me and His nature in you. And, to our flesh that sounds like a horrible prospect because, as I say, it flies in the face of what we want to do and we suppose, sadly, that our best happiness is to be found by doing what self wants, pleasing self.

And, it’s actually just the exact opposite. The entire world has been deceived on this point and just locked into a blind state of rebellion against God, and one, as we’ve said in recent messages, in which there is no possibility of peace. There’s no possibility of any sort of inward rest and harmony in our lives.

And you know, there’s another scripture that jumped out at me, later in this passage, because one of the issues Paul is talking about are differing convictions that people had in that day about what they should eat and drink. And you know, this is an area where it really doesn’t have any bearing on your relationship to God. I mean, He doesn’t have dietary regulations for us. If you do this I’ll like you, and if you don’t I won’t like you or I won’t receive you. That has nothing to do with our relationship to God.

But what is the essence of it, in verse 17 he says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” So, this is where God’s going with this. You know, the fruit of His Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, all those wonderful virtues, and they’re not things that we have to muster up, work up, somehow will ourselves to do, they are things that absolutely happen as a result of, by faith, living out the life He’s given to us.

And, if you today are full of unrest and something other than this, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit, it’s not coming from God. Nor is it coming from anything that He’s requiring of you, because many times, as I say, we substitute religious principle, religious activity for what He wants and all it does is lead to struggle, lead to strife, lead to unrest because I’m never doing it quite right, never doing enough, we’re always worried about it.

But God wants to bring about, in every one of His children, what He describes here. Righteousness is a state of being right in the eyes of God. There’s nothing in between us. We’re…and of course, he uses the word ‘peace.’ But where God can look down and say, now there’s a person that is right. There’s a person that in my eyes, is righteous. They’re not lawbreakers, they’re not rebels anymore. They’ve come over to my side, and I see them as right.

And of course, we know that the only way that He can do that is to see us as a part of Christ. And when we come to Christ, we come to Him on the basis of exactly what was being sung this morning, of being broken, needing to be mended. We come to Him just as we are, without any possibility of adding something. It’s not like we can contribute to this. We just come and say, oh God, there is no hope for me unless You take over and do what needs doing in me. Remake me, change me.

And you know, we’re very good though, at saying, change me, but don’t touch that, don’t touch this, don’t…you know. We squeal like a stuck pig when He touches the wrong thing and puts His finger on the wrong thing in our lives. But I’ll tell you what, His purpose is to bring us into that place.

But I started to say, when we come to Christ, we come broken to be mended, we come lost, unworthy, but yet, He literally brings us into a relationship with one who has already borne our sins.

( congregational amens ).

Already put them away. Already removed all of the guilt that could ever stand against us in the court of Heaven. Praise God! Talk about the Supreme Court? That’s the Supreme Court! That’s the one I want to stand before and I don’t care what the rest of them say about me. Well, I do…but you understand what I’m saying. I mean, I don’t want to be a criminal and get in trouble from that standpoint, but I don’t care what the world’s opinion of me is. I care what Heaven thinks. I care about being in harmony with Him.

And I’ll tell you, that’s gonna cost us something as we go forward. It’s gonna cost some of us our lives, in a literal sense, going forward. But I’ll tell you, I would rather serve Him, I would rather be a part of His Kingdom than anything that this world has to offer. If you ever get your eyes open, if you’re ever born of His Spirit and you see the reality, that there is a Kingdom, you cannot see, you cannot touch, it’s coming in its fullest sense.

And we were singing the song about longing for that world where there’s perfect righteousness, perfect harmony. You know, you think about that, oh Lord, I want perfect harmony. And what we’re thinking of, so often is, nothing to bother self.

( laughter ).

You know, we have a totally, wrong concept of what that means. But I’ll tell you, when God works in us and He begins to put to death the things that control us, it’s only then that we find peace and joy and righteousness in God’s heart, in God’s sight.

Because this is what He is seeking to bring to pass in every one of us! He wants us to live lives that are peaceful and harmonious in here, ‘cause you’re not gonna find it in the world. You will never find the peace and the harmony you’re looking for here in this world. But I’ll tell you, we can have a reservoir of peace that is in here and it comes from letting self go, learning of Him, growing in Him, doing what He says, living the way He says, and doing it in His strength!

Aren’t you glad He doesn’t dump all this on you and say, you figure it out and you muster it up, and you work up your will and you engage your will and you do all this? Thank God! I can’t do that, can you? But I’ll tell you what…so you see where God’s going with this. I don’t live for myself.

And when I come to present myself to Him, as Paul says to do in the beginning of chapter 12…we’ve used that so many times, present myself as, “…a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” (KJV). That’s a sacrifice that dies and still lives. What an awesome mystery that is!

( congregational amens ).

That there’s a way where I can literally die and let go and become progressively free from the influence and the power and the dominion of this old nature I was born into this world with! And yet, I can do that and still live and have another life that begins to take over. And the more I experience that life, the more of this peace and the joy and the harmony and all that, I’m gonna have.

But it only comes when we’re willing to come to Him and say, God, change me, do whatever it takes! Lord, I lay my life down! I get it. I’m a mess! I could never participate in what You’ve got for me! There’s no religion I can practice! There’s no set of ethics I can adopt and just live that way, and no principles I can live by that just, ‘I can do’! I’ve got to come and I’ve got to let You change my heart so that I begin to think like You do. I begin to learn and understand Your heart. I want to see myself and I want to see the world, I want to see others, not through my eyes, but through Your eyes.

( congregational amens ).

So, you see where he’s going. I’ve got to think differently. And the essence of all that he said comes down to this. I don’t live for myself anymore. That’s a mouthful! That takes thinking about. Because when you break it down, we pretty much live for ourselves, in one fashion or another. What we do, how we think, how we act and how we react. It’s about me! And you can even take this…individualism is central to our culture, isn’t it?

( congregational response ).

We are an individualistic society. It’s me and my pursuit of happiness. And it becomes a very self-centered kind of thing. I have rights! Nobody better trample them! Nobody better even make me feel bad! I mean, that’s where we’ve gotten to in our society! And I’ll tell you, there is no…I heard somebody say one time, there is no constitutional right to be an unoffended person. When people feel bad and are offended by things, that’s a choice they make. And I don’t want to be rude and all of that, so I’m getting off on a tangent.

But I’ll tell you, God wants to change us. And it’s not a change of externals where I simply learn how to behave differently on the outside. It’s got to begin in here. And it’s got to be an unfolding—we know it’s an unfolding work! There’s no quickie, boom, it’s done, now I’m suddenly a little Jesus walking around and there’s none of the old life hanging around. We are works in progress! Aren’t you glad that God receives us like that?

( congregational response ).

Praise God! Praise God! He’s not looking down His nose because you still act like a little kid, spiritually. But He does want to reach out and say, come up higher, learn of Me, grow with Me. Oh, look where you’re going, look where I’m taking you! I’m taking you to a place where your heart’s gonna be right with Me! There’s gonna be no barrier! When you think about Me, you won’t think about Me with fear and drawing back and the sense that oh, God, I just can’t feel close to You because I’m so bad! God wants to take that out of our hearts. He wants us to feel a joy that we can come into His presence and have a rest and a joy and a peace because there’s nothing between!

You know, there’s a song that, I don’t know…I know Sue and I would know it, but, it was sung a lot when I was growing up, as a solo, usually. “Nothing between my soul and the Savior.” Yeah, I see Livera’s head shaking. So there’s a few of us ‘old-timers’ that remember that one. It was a great song.

But I’ll tell you, there’s…do you see what God’s heart is here? God’s heart is not dumping upon us a way of life that is drudgery, that is work, that is so distasteful to us that we just have to force ourselves to do it. This is a way of setting us free from the very thing that fills our lives and hearts with unrest, so that we can enjoy the peace and all that He has given to us!

It is so counterintuitive to the way that we think, and yet, it is the pathway to all that He has for us! And so, I don’t know how to unpack this. There were so many things expressed this morning that were very much along this line, that we’re not our own. A lot of it had to do with our relating to people outside and having a burden for people, because we’re not our own. It’s not just my life to live as I please. God’s heart cares about people! He cares about my brothers and my sisters! When I look at you, I see people that God’s heart cares more than we can possibly imagine!

You want to know the measure of that? Look at the Cross! That’s the expression of God’s heart towards you and towards me. He did what it took! What a price! What a cost! What an amazing demonstration of His nature and His love! But oh, how contrary is it to mine, to my way! But He wants me to offer myself to Him so that He can begin to change the way I think, because it’s got to start here. If I can’t begin to think differently and see life differently, then I’m gonna be in a mess! But once I begin to do that, then I can begin to function in a way that relates to other people within the body of Christ, because then he goes into this familiar passage.

And this is one we’ve used, mostly, in this section of Romans. It’s the fact that God gives every…we are all members one of another. That’s the miracle of the Gospel! It does not simply make you someone who has this private little relationship with God, though it is personal. But it’s not private in that sense, it’s not separate. We actually come to share the same life!

Now, the crude illustration of that is the fact that my body shares the same life. My foot can’t say, well, I’ve got a different life than the head or my hands. Every part of it shares me…for better or for worse, every part of it shares me! But I’ll tell you, when we come to Christ, we actually have the Spirit of God! The very life of God is deposited in our innermost being! And it begins to change us, it begins to grow up. But that life is not just you and Him. That life is something that is shared with every other one! And that’s where He has to begin to change the way that we look at our lives, the way we look at one another.

And so, the very first thing he says that we need to…well, let me go back to it. “Do not think of yourself…” this is in chapter 12, verse 3. (NIV). “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with…” What? “…The measure of faith God has given you.”

So, right there, you’ve got something that originates in God. What I need is not something that He has to dredge up out of me, somehow. This is not natural. Everything that pertains to this living entity called the Body of Christ has to start in Heaven. It has to come from His heart, from His nature, from His power. There is grace that is given.

So, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with…” What? “…The measure of faith God has given you.” So, God gives to each of us. “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

So I’ll tell you, I can’t think of myself…it’s so easy to get self-focused, self-absorbed. We all do it. We all have those moments when it’s all about me. Oh, poor me…I’m this, I’m that. And all we think about is ourselves. But I don’t belong to myself, I belong to you. Whatever God has given me belongs to you. God help me! I feel so short in this area. Pray for me! And I’ll pray for you!

But I’ll tell you, God has given measures of His Spirit to every single member of the body of Christ! And you belong to me, as well! I’ll tell you, I was blessed this morning listening to so many that shared in the meeting! And you all belong to me and you blessed me! I want you to be encouraged! I want you to realize that God has given you something!

And that conviction, that work of His Spirit in your heart is something that when it finds expression, by His Spirit, it absolutely imparts something that is real! If our eyes could be opened in the Spirit, we would see real ‘something.’ It might appear as light. I remember, years ago, there were visions given where, literally, the Spirit of God would be pictured as something going out.

I’m trying to remember, one time there was a vision given of an angel standing next to Brother Thomas. And that angel…there was a beam of light coming into his ear and then going out his mouth, and there were words that were running down and coming out. And that was going out. I mean, that’s a real substance! That’s as real as if we were literally dispensing water or dispensing some form of physical food. There is something real that happens! If it isn’t, it’s just words. But God help us! We need Him!

( congregational amens ).

We need to have a hunger and a desire for Him, but we need to realize the power that we have as members of the Body of Christ to bless each other. Oh, how we sink down and have pity parties and lose touch with what God is longing to bring us into, the place of blessing.

“Just as each…” Well, I read that, “…So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.”

So, again, every one of us not only has…it’s not only a matter of what we do, but it’s a matter of the degree to which we do it and how we use it! It’s always got to be Christ in me doing whatever is being done.

“If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” But, I want you to stop and think about these things, because he’s talking about ways in which we relate one to another, but what he’s not talking about is using natural ability!

( congregational amens ).

Oh, it’s so easy to get lost and we sort of fall out of the context of what he’s saying. Everything here, your ability to encourage one another, your ability to show kindness, your ability to show love, whatever function that is…just to speak a word of encouragement, we need to have the sense, I need Him!