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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1238

We Don’t Live for Ourselves

June 26, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1238 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: 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.” (NIV). 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!

( congregational amens ).

Lord, Jesus, live in me, and when I speak with somebody, You talk to them—You speak. I believe we can grow in that. It’s not something we can suddenly have an experience, and we’re there. But that’s the sense that I long to have, in a greater way, and the Lord’s brought that to my mind. Lord, I’m in a situation where I can’t help…if it’s just me, it’s not gonna help. I don’t care how I act or what I say or what I do. It will not help the situation. I need You to speak.

And even if I’m not going to preach or teach or do something like that, just being. Do you realize the power of Christ in you just to create an atmosphere that can help somebody else, that can bear testimony to somebody in or outside the body of Christ? That’s where He’s taking us.

Oh, there’s a joy, there’s a peace, there’s fruitfulness in that that God longs to bring us into that place where we, we just are what He is, because, as I say, this is not a bunch of principles. This is the law of being. This is the way God is! He doesn’t have to try to choose to be this way. He is that way. That’s what He’s seeking to bring forth in me.

And so this is how he unpacks…what does this look like? And so I’ll just kind of go through some of this scripture that we know, but I want to get to the context of chapter 14 as well. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Boy, that’s natural, isn’t it?

( laughter ).

Yeah, you see where we’re gonna have to, constantly…we’re gonna have to, not only think differently, we’re gonna have to get the strength. We’re gonna have to believe God for the ability to do what He says here, and as we exercise it, it’s gonna happen, because He’s faithful.

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

But now he’s going to get…go to the outside. He said, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” You know, once in a while I’ll imagine some situation where somebody really does something criminal or nasty or some form of persecution to come against me, and I can feel that reaction wanting to come up. Get them, God.

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

You know, you just really want to lash back. I’ll tell you what, the Lord’s nature is not like that. It’s like Jesus. It’s like Stephen when he was stoned. “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” (KJV). That takes divine grace. That takes the other nature taking over. I need that. But you know the amazing thing as we exercise these things in faith, they’re gonna happen. And we’re gonna have more and more of the peace that He wants us to have. Praise God!

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony…” (NIV). You know, you think about our selfish nature and how easy it is for us to sort of kiss off what somebody else is going through and say, well, I’m doing great. But God wants us to have a genuine empathy, because isn’t that how He feels when we’re going through something? Does not His heart sympathize with that? Doesn’t He share our sorrows and our griefs? See, that’s what He wants to reproduce in me and in all of us.

“Live in harmony with one another.” You know, I mentioned this sense of inward harmony? If we’re walking in this to the degree we are, there’s going to be a rightness between us and God. There’s going to be a sense of peace. There’s going to be a joy on the inside. Our inside is gonna be in perfect harmony. But what the Lord wants to reproduce is that harmony between us. And that’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s where run into trouble.

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Now, obviously, you’re gonna run into people that will not be at peace with you, but let that be a one-sided deal. Lord, I just put that in Your hands. I’m gonna have a right spirit, and I need You to help me to do that, but I’m willing if You’ll help me.

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.” And so forth, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” And I’ve seen that interpreted as a sense that when you don’t react like he expects you to, that’s gonna draw his attention, so it’s gonna touch his conscience with a sense of shame about his own behavior. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

And then of course he…I’ll just kind of gloss over some of this, but he talks about a submission to governing authorities. We don’t need to be law-breakers. We don’t need to be rebels. I’ll tell you one thing, if it comes down to a place where they tell us can’t serve God, I’m sorry, that’s where I get off the bus. But if they’re telling me to be a law abiding, tax paying citizen, praise God! That’s part of my living in this world. I have no right to say, well, I’m not a citizen of this world, so I’m free. No, we need to…you know, part of living out the life of Christ in this world is to be that kind of a person.

But listen to…verse 8 is interesting considering we have started this Financial Peace thing. “Let no debt remain outstanding.” See, it’s in the Bible.

( laughter )

( laughing ).

I believe the Lord wants to help us in this area, and I’ve been as guilty as anybody, that we fall for the American idea that we’re supposed to just live in debt and get what we want now, and always be owing somebody something. But I believe God has a better way, and I believe He can get us there if we’ll just start.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. The commandments…” And so forth, he enumerates, “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Yeah. Well I can’t do that unless He does it in me. But I can if I’m willing to allow Him to do it. I can make that choice to say, Lord, by Your strength and by Your grace, I will do what is right. I am trusting You, Lord. Live in me. Praise God!

“Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”

You know, I’ll tell you the truth, I’ve tended to think of this scripture almost like an end time thing. But Paul didn’t write this in 2015. He wrote this way back in the first century. You know, if you really get the proper perspective about our life in this world. It’s short! It’s not necessarily a matter of the world ending, so much as our time in the world is short. Our salvation, our final deliverance is nearer than when we first believed, and that’s what we need to be living for! That’s what he’s talking about here.

“The night is nearly over.” Doesn’t that sound good to you? You know, one of the things that was expressed this morning, and I have often felt this, and I’m thankful God doesn’t listen to me about this. Jesus, why don’t You just hurry up and come? Get me out of here. This is terrible. There’s times when you just look at the world and you say, I’m done with this. This is ridiculous. Lord, just come and end it all.

I’m so glad that the Lord is not like me. You think of the patience that He had in the days of Noah. The proclamation of His assessment…His assessment of the human race was that every heart was only evil continually, and He said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” (KJV). But, even in that condition, how long was it?

( congregational response ).

A hundred and twenty years. I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who is patient. There will come a day when it will be over, but I want to have His heart toward people, where I’m not wanting Him to come. Lord, I want You to hold off. I want You to save this one. I want You to save that one. I want You to reach people that can be reached. Oh God, don’t close the door until every heart has made its choice. God, hold back Your judgment, oh God! Lord, no matter what we have to go through, Lord, I want to be on Your side, here! I want to put up with this for the sake of the one that can reached! Isn’t that God’s heart? I believe it is. God, help me to have more patience along that line, become more like Him in my thinking.

But here, he’s talking about us living here, not so much with respect to others like that but, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.” Oh, thank God! So, what’s the conclusion to that? “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” That’s something God’s given to us.

“Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immortality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” So, it’s not just these gross sins of the flesh that we think of, but this means, get along! Dissension is when there’s discord between people. I think this, and I’m mad because you think that! Or, you’re doing that, and I don’t approve of it. God, help us to get over those kinds of things, because they fly in the face…we’re never gonna experience what God has given to us in Christ if we go down that road.

So, what do we do? How do we get rid of that? Gear up our wills? No! It says, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” Lord, by faith, I just put You on. That’s what you said. I can’t do anything else but believe Your promise that I can have You cover me, and change me and help me to live in a manner that’s consistent with Your nature and Your heart.

I’ve got to believe for that, just like I believed for Him to cleanse my sins. I can get up in the morning and say, Lord, live in me today. Help me. Do you believe He will? Do you believe He wants us to pray that way? Do you believe that He wants us to expect that He’s going to help us? “And do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

And now you get into to some other things. “Accept Him whose faith is weak….” So, now we’re relating one to another, and what comes into play here is the fact that we are in a process. We are in all stages of imperfection. We are coming from every different direction under the sun, so to speak. My background is different from yours and different from somebody else’s. We grew up in families that had values, had ideas.

We come out of church backgrounds that have their ideas. We come out of so many life experiences that form the way that we think, the way that we react. On top of that, we all have our individual personalities. And this is what God’s working with. He’s got a mess to clean up! And He’s able! Praise God!

But here we are trying to relate one to another, and how easy is it for us to put the focus on things that we see in somebody else that we don’t quite accept or like? “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters.”

There are a lot of things like we read later. It’s not about meat and drink. Well, they had questions. They had real issues in their lives about their convictions about what they should do or not do with respect to different things. It had nothing to do with whether I’m His, I’m accepted by Him. But they’re convictions that affect my practical living.

One of them had to do with eating meat. And the biggest reason behind their problem with that was that it was part of the culture of the day, the heathen culture, that before meat was sold in the public markets, it was literally carried into a heathen temple, dedicated to a heathen deity. So, it was pretty hard for someone coming out of that background not to associate, hey, I’m participating in demon worship if I eat meat.

Now, we have different reasons today for different lifestyles and different habits in some of these areas. I’m not talking about getting drunk and going out and robbing banks and all that stuff. I’m talking about little practical things about the way we live. How easy it is for us to point the finger or try to impose our convictions about things on somebody else, as though we are the gold standard, by God. We know what is right, and we want to make everybody conform to us, and if they don’t…you see how the devil uses human nature to build walls?

How many of you do that? If you’re honest enough, you kind of have that attitude sometimes. You’ll look at somebody, and, well…you are looking down your nose at them because they don’t quite conform to your standard and how you think they ought to be. How many of you do that, and it just fills you with the joy and peace of the Lord?

( congregational response ).

Wouldn’t it be nice if we would recognize and be honest about such things? I’ll tell you, there are people who could come in here out of a lifestyle of sin, and God could save them wonderfully. Do you think they would instantly become like you?

( snapping fingers ).

No, there would be a lot of things that God would be working through. But you know what He’s looking for is the heart. The work of God to change you and to change me has got to begin in here. And it begins when I surrender to Him. He comes in, and His peace comes. He accepts me! Not that He’s going to leave me like I am, but He accepts me. I am, “…accepted in the beloved.” (KJV).

But oh, as I say, how easy it is for us to take these differing convictions that we have arrived at through all of our life experiences, and begin to look down our nose or negatively about somebody else, and it begets criticism. It begets gossip and chatter. It begets all kinds of things that just builds walls in the body of Christ, and it leaves people with no peace. It blocks the flow of God’s Spirit.

So, that’s why Paul, right in this context…you know, it’s not about you. Okay, I’m right with God. My convictions are such, and I’m living according to my convictions. I don’t approve of that one over there or this one over here, but I’m okay. But we don’t live to ourselves. It just doesn’t work that way. God has put every one of us together, and He wants to reproduce that same sense of tolerance, patience, acceptance that He affords to you, and to you, and to you, and all of ‘your’ imperfections. He wants you and me to have that toward one another.

I’ll just skip to this one verse and read it down at the end there. Chapter 15, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me,” and so forth. (NIV).

I’ll read it. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement….” Now where does this come from? Where does endurance and encouragement come from? It comes from Him, doesn’t it?

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Praise the Lord!

Just some practical things that I believe God wants us to get, wants us to understand, He wants that to filter down into our attitudes, and that to filter down into our actions, and all of that has to be fueled by our faith in His life and His promise.

And I’ll tell you, it leads to peace. It leads to joy. It leads to harmony, not only in here but out here. And I’ll tell you, that’s the only thing that’s gonna be a testimony in this world. It’s not our programs. It’s not our doctrines. It’s not our singing. It’s not all these things. It’s the life of Christ reproduced in His people.

And I’ll tell you, if we will cry out to God and cooperate with what He deals with in here that’s hindering that, we’re gonna see it bust out. We’re gonna see Him work as we’ve never seen Him before. I praise Him. I’m thankful for what I see! I just want to see more. I want to experience more! I’m the one who needs…I really needed to be out here hearing this this morning, because I need it!

But the Lord knows what He’s doing. He uses weak, imperfect vessels. That ought to encourage every one of you, because He wants to use you. Everyone here can be a minister of Christ, of the life that He’s given to you. We have that privilege. Praise God!