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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1239

We are All Ministers
Part One

July 3, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1239 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Let me dive in here. The passage that I had is 2nd Corinthians 4. And, this letter to the Corinthians was written really because, largely, because Paul saw that there were false teachers that were coming in among the people. And perhaps they were eloquent. They had natural gifts. And so they were beginning to draw some of the people away and Paul was concerned because he saw that just having an ability to speak to people, to move them, to influence them, is not necessarily a good thing. It depends entirely on whether it’s the Lord.

And what he saw coming in was other spirits that were inspiring people to minister things that were leading the people astray. And so there’s a great deal of explanation and defense of his own ministry and really laying out that the ministry that he had been given was really a supernatural thing. It had been given from God and you had to have that if you were gonna have life. You can’t just minister words, you’ve got to have the right spirit, you’ve got to have the whole package…it’s just got to be Christ. That’s what it boils down to. And so, he talks a lot about what it takes for that ministry to happen.

But, if that’s all that we drew out of this passage that would be merely a way of teaching you to watch out for false teachers. But I see something much deeper in this because the principles that Paul enunciates in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 4, and indeed, throughout his whole writings, they do not have to do simply with ‘the ministry’ because in God’s view every single Christian is a minister—every single one.

Now, we don’t all have the same gifts and abilities, we don’t all have the same function, but everybody is a minister! Whether you want to be or not, you’re ministering something. And the health and the growth and the completion of what God’s vision is for His Church in the earth really depends, not upon having great preaching and good organization, and nice little culture to adhere to and to become conformed to. It has everything to do with every individual Christian experiencing what Paul is talking about in this passage.

And so as we read about Paul, I want every one of us to think about us…not, oh, I might have a ministry of preaching someday. That’s not the point. The point is, every one of us is called to have Christ living in us, to have His life be the thing that people experience when they are around us, in our words, our actions.

You know, ministry can be involved in something that doesn’t even have words! You can minister to somebody just by the quality of your spirit, without any words happening. Christ can make Himself known and this is the key to everything in the Body of Christ.

And so Paul has been talking, in chapter 3, about the ministry of the Spirit, where the origin of the words that are spoken are not merely just human words put together to tell you what God wants from you. This is rather a ministry of the Spirit of God that literally conveys His life to those who hear it and those who open their hearts. There’s something more than words entering the mind. There is life entering the spirit. That’s what is wanted. That’s what’s needed.

And so, he begins in chapter 4 this way. It says, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (NIV). I mean, you could stop and preach on that.

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah, there’s your ‘therefore.’ ‘Since therefore’…yeah that’s right, it has it, doesn’t it? ‘Since therefore.’ But here’s the point. How…you and I, every one of us have a ministry. If we’re His people, we have a ministry. It might be to encourage. It certainly is to pray! It’s to influence people with Christ’s life and Spirit and heart that you contact every single day, whether it’s your family, your friends, and influencing other people for Christ. There is something that needs to come out of every one of us. So we have everyone been called to this ministry.

But how did we get this? Is it because we deserve it in some fashion, or we work hard, or we’re more dedicated than somebody else? Is that what Paul is saying? I got this because I just really gave it my all. I went to school. I learned. I’m one of the elite. I’ll tell you, religion makes us think that way! And I pray that God will just root all of that kind of stuff out of our hearts, to where we realize, I don’t care what your position is in the Body of Christ, you stand on one ground, and one ground only, and it’s mercy. We don’t deserve a thing.

( congregational amens ).

And that was a shocking revelation to Saul, the Jew, who became known as Paul, because he had grown up thinking that the way to God’s favor is keeping His laws, and boy, he was good at it! In terms of his conception of what it meant to be a righteous man, he was an expert. He gave it everything he had and he was confident! You could not have told him that he was a sinner! You could not have preached this to him until God showed it to him.

( congregational amens ).

But one day, God showed him the reality of who Jesus was, supernaturally! And in the light of who Jesus was, suddenly he saw himself! He understood that I am a wretch. I am not only a sinner, I am the worst sinner there ever was because I dedicated my whole life to fighting against God and I didn’t even know it! But in spite of that, God has shown me His love!

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah! You wonder how people who come out of a life of deep sin and deep darkness sometimes have a greater appreciation for the love of God than somebody who has grown up in church and never really gotten in trouble.

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah. Here’s Paul…that set him on fire! What a message that there is hope for the worst of the worst because God has shown me mercy and I’m the worst of the sinners! If there’s hope for me, there’s hope for anybody!

( congregational amens ).

Oh, that’s why I stand! And he says, I have this ministry through mercy! That’s the reason I don’t lose heart! I don’t get discouraged! You know, if you are basing your thinking about how God thinks about you, how He relates to you, whether He likes you or accepts you or is pleased with you, on you and the perfection of your performance, you are in a world of hurt!

( congregational amens ).

But Paul understood that’s not how it is! “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” That’s the reason I can have hope because I’m not hoping, I’m not resting my hope in what I am! I’m resting it entirely in what Jesus did at the cross!

( congregational amens ).

Now, I’m not gonna just live any way I please because of that! If you think that way, you haven’t really seen it! But I mean, what a liberating thing it is to come to realize that I can rest, I can find rest and hope…I don’t know how to convey it, except just to say it, and trust God to make it real. I want Him to make it more real to me. I sense my need, don’t you sometimes?

( congregational response ).

There’s still an unrest, there’s an unsettled anxiety that gets into our spirits when we don’t feel something or we see weakness or whatever it is…just the oppression of the enemy. But I’ll tell you, if we can get our eyes open to see what Paul is expressing here…. It says, “Since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.”

There was plenty of stuff that would have discouraged Paul and caused him to just shut-up and say, “I’m worthless. There’s no hope for me. There’s no hope for anybody. God couldn’t use somebody like me.” Now nobody here has every thought that, right?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. But it isn’t based on that. It’s based on coming to rest upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. Praise God! That puts every one of us on shouting ground. We have no reason to get discouraged and lose heart, even though we come face to face with what we are!

You know, it’s necessary that we come face to face with what we are so we can begin to be set free from that, so that what He’s put in us can begin to come out. Of course, that’s where he’s going with this.

And he’s dealing here, in verse 2 with some of these other ministries and their motivations. “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.” But you know, it relates to us because we are…to the extent we operate in our human nature, we are manipulators!

( congregational response ).

We are actors! We are hypocrites! We serve self and we act in a way that will serve self and get people to do what we want them to do! And God is wanting to set…that’s part of the human nature from which He is seeking to deliver us, not just in an eternal sense where, praise God, I get to go to heaven, my sins have been erased. But He wants to bring that into operation to where there is an operational freedom.

And I’ll tell you, you look around in religion, you see what he’s describing here in a lot of places, where people are using what they call ministry to enrich themselves, to lift themselves up, to make themselves look great in the eyes of people! God, deliver me! God, deliver every one of us from every other motives except one! I want to get out of the way. I want Jesus to be seen.

( congregational amens ).

And He’s got a lot of work to do! But I’ll tell you, He’s up to the job!

( congregational amens ).

But if we’re onboard with that, if we get what He’s doing and what He’s after in our lives, we can flow with Him, we can seek Him, we can call upon Him! We can say, Lord, I see this need in me, but I know that You’re greater than this! Oh God, I’m trusting You right now to deliver me from this thing that I see. And I refuse to be discouraged because it’s there! Praise God! Because I know that Your grace is greater than my sin!

( congregational amens ).

The power of Your life that You’ve given to me is greater than all this that I see in me…all this need. And so, his method of ministry was, “On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

So there’s a simple honesty! Oh, we work so hard at being Christians. And I just sense in my spirit, God wanting to bring us to a place where we rest in Him! Being a Christian is not work in the sense that we think it is. Trying to be, trying to put on an image, trying to act…all these substitutes we have for simply letting Christ live in us, and believing Him to do it, and trusting Him, and growing in Him. There’s a rest that God wants to bring us to in a practical way. I sure need it, but I sense Him doing it.

But anyway, now he’s talking about the fact that not everybody can see this. And he said, “And even if our gospel is veiled….” Now he’s talked about the fact that I’m putting it out there. I’m not hiding anything. I’m gonna tell you the truth. I’m gonna just…there it is. But that does not mean that everybody who is exposed to that can understand it, can grasp it. In fact, “…If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.”

That’s a sobering thought, folks. That’s the condition of our world. We have people who are caught up in a system…the world here is not just the planet. This is a system! This is a world order. It has a worldview. It has a way of seeing and thinking about things. It has a value system. And everything about it is absolutely opposed to God and His Son Jesus Christ. It is devoted to a spirit of rebellion against Him and self-will and doing what pleases me. And I’ll tell you, when people are caught up in that system, it takes a powerful miracle of God to bring them out of it.

And I don’t care whether you’ve grown up in church, maybe that takes the greater miracle. I don’t know. But I’ll tell you, salvation is a miracle! It’s not something where you can hear an eloquent speaker and they wow you with their ability, and you grasp onto what they’re saying, it becomes a kind of second-hand faith to you! This is a work that God has to do deep in the heart of somebody!

And I pray that God will do it through people who hear this! I pray that He will do it in our midst! But the reality is, you and I cannot change people! We cannot change them! We can try to make them conform their behavior…and I’m not talking about kids that need to be trained. But I’m talking about people, people who we’re concerned about. God has to invade their heart, just the way He did Saul, where they have no doubt!

You see, this bringing people to faith in Christ is not an intellectual process, even though it is reasonable and you can make a reasonable argument for Christ and for the reality of the Gospel. But you can’t simply convince somebody’s intellect and see them changed. You’re gonna have to have something that goes way beyond that because the will and the heart of somebody that drives their whole being has got to be challenged.

Somebody is on the throne of their heart and I’ll tell you, there’s gonna have to come a time when that throne is challenged and Jesus Christ is given the chair! And the individual sees the reality of what they are, and they not only see it, but they surrender to it. And they say, Lord, I’m exactly what You say I am. But God has to do that! I don’t want us to ever be in the place where we’re trying to hold something together with human means. Do you understand what I’m saying?

( congregational response ).

You think about what happened when Jesus was talking to the people in, what was it, John 6? And He said some things in a way that they didn’t understand and they just didn’t get it. And a lot of people had been following him. I mean, He was getting popular! Anybody who can do the miracles He’s doing and creating all the excitement that He’s creating…man, I want to be His follower! And so, a whole bunch of people were there that were, not only just in the crowd, but they were following Him! This is a great teacher! I’m with Him! Oh boy, I’m with Jesus!

And, all of a sudden, “…This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (KJV). And from that moment, a lot of people went back. Now there was a company of those that stayed. We know that it was more than the 12 because there were still others that had been there throughout the whole. But I mean, it was a really pared down bunch!

You know, in modern religion we get all excited, and, oh my God, we’ve got to do something! We’ve got to have a spiffier program. We’ve got to entertain them in! We’ve got to coerce them in. We’ve got to give them jobs so they’ll feel important. We’ve got to do a thousand and one human things to try to keep the institution held up, supported. We’ve got to intimidate them, make them afraid.

God, I don’t want to do anything except give out the Word of God and have Him work in hearts. If that results in five people that really have it on the inside, then that’s what we need. So Jesus turned to them, and He didn’t say, “Oh my God, what do we do?” He said, “Will ye also go away?” He was completely at rest, understanding that the process of what was happening was totally something…it was orchestrated from heaven and all He was, was an instrument to that purpose!

And so, He was fine…obviously, I know, His heart was reaching out to those, and He wasn’t glad they went, but at the same time, He was at rest because He understood that, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (NIV). So you know, why would I get upset if somebody just doesn’t see and wants to leave? Pray for them. Love them. Have a good spirit, but you can’t try to make them stay. You’ve just got to let go and let God work. And I’ll tell you what, that’s what I want. I want to see God do something where this does not evolve into an institution.

( congregational amens ).

We’ve got enough of that as it is. God wants to take us beyond that. I believe, in a sense, God’s brought us a certain distance, but I don’t want to stay in the wilderness. I want Him to lead us on into the vision that was given so many years ago of the Body of Christ functioning under the headship of Christ, in a practical sense.

And He’s the only One that can do that! I don’t have the blueprint except what he’s talking about here. This is a road map. This is a way of living and thinking by which the Lord can take us from where we’re at and bring us to that place, and that’s what I want.

So anyway, this is the condition of people. It says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” And that’s what it comes down to. It isn’t a better religion, a better philosophy. This is a Person. Everything that God is, is focused in a Person, and it’s a Person who walked among us and who, not only told us about the love of God, He demonstrated it in the most amazing way that has ever happened in the history of this world.

When we were His enemies, without a peep, except to say, Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing. He allowed Himself to suffer the most ignominious, torturous death that anybody could dream up in that time. And He did it for you and He did it for me.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! What an awesome revelation that is if you ever see it! Praise God! Praise the Lord! Oh, when Paul saw it, it just captured everything about his life and his heart and his imagination. Of course, it doesn’t mean he had all his problems gone. Like us, he had to learn a lot. But anyway, this was the thing that got him. This is God…the Lord Jesus Christ…all I have to do is lift Him up. He says, “For we do not preach ourselves….” God, help us not to be the center of our world!

( congregational amens ).

That’s a horrible way to have to live, to try to think. But I’ll tell you what, God wants us to just be totally content to let the Lord live in us. Because I’ll tell you, if you do that, not everybody is gonna like it. And if you’re stuck on trying to make people like you, you’ve got a problem. Jesus said, they hated Me, they’re gonna hate you. They persecuted Me, they’re gonna persecute you. Everybody that lives Godly in the world is going to suffer persecution.

I’ll tell you, we need to have our value system totally changed to where even in our relationships, it’s not about me. I’m not manipulating people to get what I want. I want to just simply exhibit the life of Christ in my life so that other people can see Him! Now, I’m well aware that I’ve got a long ways to go, but so do you. But the Lord is well able to do what needs doing. Praise God!

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord…” Not just as Savior, and you get to do what you want. This is Lord! “…And ourselves….” Now here’s where your self-image comes in. Here’s what I think about myself. Am I Mr. Big? No! I’m a servant. That’s the sense that God has brought every one of us to, where we do not belong to ourselves. We belong to Him! We belong to one another! Our role in the Church, in the Body of Christ…not matter what our role is, is to be a servant!

I’ll tell you, I see…I don’t know, I see God having this amazing vision of sharing His Life with a company of people. And into each life there’s this deposit of His Life. But He wants it to grow. He wants it to transform them. But it isn’t just an individual thing. He wants to use every single member as a vessel through which to share that Life with somebody else, because the nature of that Life is love, isn’t it? It’s not just, oh wow, I’m the object of His love! The nature of God is to love someone else in a transformational way! It’s to lift somebody who doesn’t deserve something.

Do you dish out your favors based on whether people deserve it or not in your estimation? God doesn’t. Praise God! But here’s this nature that loves! And how can we be recipients of that? How can we be expressions of that if we ourselves are still selfish? God wants to teach us to have the same spirit that He saw in Paul, that Paul expressed. He didn’t see himself, you see, as this great apostle that everybody ought to be bowing down to and celebrating: Apostle Paul! No! I’m a servant. Didn’t Jesus say, those who want to great in the Kingdom, do what?

( congregational response ).

Serve! Yeah, it doesn’t work that way in the world. If somebody wants to be big in the world, they gain power, they gain control, they gain influence, and they tell you what to do and they say it’s for your own good!

( laughter ).

Like that’s true. Talk about hypocrisy! But that’s human nature, through and through. But there is such a simplicity. Look at Jesus, the very Son of God, taking off His outer garments, dressing exactly like a servant and washing their feet. Can you imagine having walked with Him and heard Him and seen His miracles…you know He’s the Son of God because God has shown it to you? You have no clue what’s going on. All of a sudden, there He is kneeling at your feet with a basin and He’s taking the place of a slave.

You wonder why Peter reacted like he did? Oh, zealous Peter! His sense of righteousness was just totally violated! And yet, the Lord was wanting to get across an amazing lesson. Peter, this is what it’s about. It’s not about being somebody. I’m a King, but I’m a servant-king. And that’s what I’m looking for from you. The same thing that I’ve done for you, you need to do one for another. You want to be big, be a servant. Let your life be about expressing a different life. You can’t do this in yourself. You’re gonna get in the way. But I have something that I’m gonna put in your heart. It’s gonna come out of you and it’s going to change people’s lives.