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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1241

I Want to Know Christ
Part One

July 17, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1241 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I had a scripture that just keeps coming back to me and I’m just going to go ahead and turn to it. It’s a familiar one, in Philippians chapter 3. And it just seems like every time I try to put it down, there’s thoughts that just kind of come without my trying to conjure them up.

And it’s nothing we haven’t heard, but I feel like we’re, many of us, in a place where we need the Lord to remind us and encourage us of things we know and just help us to push forward in the journey, because it is a journey, isn’t it? There’s no magic formula by which we can suddenly get propelled to this perfection, or whatever the goal is that the Lord has for us. But I believe the Lord wants to help us with the stumbling points in our journey and encourage us to go along.

And He certainly does this through the testimony of Paul, himself, who had come out of a religious system that taught him that the way to be rightly related to God was to, first of all, be a Jew and participate in all of their rituals and all of their…the identification through circumcision, all of these things in the laws that they had to keep. That was the way anybody came to God. And if a Gentile, particularly, were to come to God, they would first become a Jew and then become a participant in all of that.

And, somehow, over the centuries, that had evolved into a religion that was very, very far from what God had in mind, what His intention was. To their minds, they could be righteous in God’s eyes by a lot of external things that they did.

You know, there’s a danger of that today…that we forget that what God is wanting is an authentic, Christ-likeness that goes to the very bone, or goes to the heart, however you want to put it. And so, by the time Jesus came on the scene, you had, many times when He would look at people who were very zealous, religious practitioners, and He’d look them in the eyes and say, you’re exactly like a tomb! You know, men polish them up and make them look real pretty. But what’s inside?

And you know, you have the imagery, also, of a cup that’s meant to hold clear water or wine or whatever they were drinking, and He said, you’re just exactly like one that they really polish on the outside and make it look like it’s fit for a king, but you look inside and you think of all the most disgusting stuff you can think of, and that’s what’s on the inside. Can you imagine saying, God, here’s my righteousness, don’t you want a nice drink out of my righteous glass? And the Lord’s looking inside and He’s seeing what’s really there. And that’s the real picture.

And you know, for Paul, it would’ve had to be a major shock, for someone who was as zealous—I mean, sincerely zealous! It wasn’t that he was a ‘phony-baloney.’ This was one guy who really wanted God! And I believe God saw the sincerity of his heart and that he was just on the wrong track. He didn’t understand.

And you know, what it took for Paul is the same thing that it takes for us. I don’t care if you grow up here, it takes the same personal encounter with God, if you and I are ever to awaken to exactly what we were singing about—what the choir was singing about! To where we realize the truth about our condition and our need and we come to a place where we understand that being right with God is not a matter of keeping laws and rituals, it’s a matter of just coming to Him as we are and coming to a perfect, complete provision through Jesus Christ!

( congregational amens ).

What an awesome thing it is! And of course, for Paul, what a revelation it was. You think about all the parts that he had to go through to learn this. He had to live out Romans 7, where he was having to compare his old way of serving God through zealously keeping laws, and on the other hand, coming to Christ, as a hopeless sinner, and partaking of His life and the grace of God…two different ways to go at it. And he really thought that he could do it himself and he had to find out the hard way that he couldn’t. Anybody ever found that out?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! And so, he came to a place where it was just throwing up his hands, “ O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (KJV). And that’s when the Lord made real the heart of the Gospel, that we can come to Him just as we are! What a revelation! And just hand over our guilt, our sins, our past, our everything that’s wrong, and realize that God has already taken care of that on the Cross! That He gives us His gift of forgiveness and righteousness and life, a righteousness you and I could never attain to! He gives it to us as a gift. And He doesn’t leave us there, He comes in to live, doesn’t He?

What an amazing revelation that had to be for Paul. And he’s expressing the outworking of that, because, as we’ve said many times, coming to Christ and experiencing genuine forgiveness, the cleansing for everything that has ever happened…I mean, the guilt is gone when we really apprehend what He’s done for us and just give it to Him, and give Him our hearts and our lives! It’s gone! Oh, praise God! We don’t have to carry that burden anymore, because He carried it on His shoulders, to that Cross. And He got what you and I deserved! But oh, what a thing it is!

But just coming to Him now, in that and experiencing the gift of righteousness and the forgiveness of sins is only the beginning. Now you see, you go through Paul’s writings and you realize what God’s after here. You’ve almost got a picture, in a lot of what is called Christianity, nominal Christianity, and I’m aware there’s a remnant among them, but in many places, it’s almost like you get saved, like that’s just an event, and then you practice a religious, moral lifestyle, where you participate in church activities and you basically live…you don’t go too far outside the lines, as far as living a decent, moral life. And then you die and you go to Heaven one day.

But I’ll tell you what, there is a calling that God gives to everyone that He does call, that goes way beyond that! And that’s what Paul expresses in this passage. There is a goal that God has in mind. And it’s not just that I just muddle along with all my faults and failings and just sort of, well, that’s me and it’s all by grace, it’s done away with, and I just sort of muddle through. There is a goal to be achieved. There’s something that God is looking for. There’s changes that are gonna be made in you and me…we sang the song this morning. There’s gonna be changes made.

And so, Paul saw his whole life stretching out before him as like a race, going for a goal. There’s a goal out there that God has set before me. But not only has He set it before me, He has given me the means by which I can attain that goal and so, my life every day is about that journey. I’m not satisfied where…boy, I’m jumping way ahead of myself, but anyway, this is the heart of what he’s talking about in this passage.

And so, you can understand, with Paul’s experience in the religion of the Pharisees and now the amazing revelation of Christ, what he’s talking about in verse 2 of that passage. “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.” (NIV). What he’s talking about were religious teachers who were going around and supposedly embracing and preaching the Gospel, but what they were preaching among the Gentiles was you’ve got to be circumcised, you’ve got to become a practicing Jew. That’s a step towards…in order to have Christ, you’ve got to become a Jew, basically, and embrace all this outward stuff.

And you know, I never really paid attention to it, but Paul refers to them as people who do evil. This was not some little neutral thing. This was not some little religious difference of opinion. This was…these were agents of Satan! Maybe unwittingly, in some cases, I don’t know. God knows. But the thing is, they were agents of Satan to turn people aside from the simplicity of bringing everything to Jesus’ feet, laying it at His feet, and embracing the perfect hope of righteousness. I have no hope looking at myself! Neither do you, looking at yourself, or looking at me either. But praise God!

So, Paul is really concerned, because this was a problem. As the church…as the Gospel went out to the Gentile world, there were those who’d come right in behind it trying to say, hey, you’ve got to become a Jew, basically. And Paul says, that’s nuts! These are people who do evil. “For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.”

Boy, does that sum it up? Praise God! We’re the ones! All of that was a picture! It was real! It was for the time! But God was pointing to a day when something real was going to come and that was only a picture of it! We can leave that behind, because it doesn’t matter now whether you’re a Jew or a Gentile, you’re part of the people of God, if God has done that work of revelation in your heart and He has brought you to Christ and you have committed your life unto Him, He’s come in and made you a new person.

That’s what makes you a part of the people of God, not any of this external stuff. That’s it! So, we worship by the Spirit of God! Do you see where the energy for that comes from? You pick up on that little phrase? We worship, but how do we do that?

( congregational response ).

See, there was a kind of worship that Paul had engaged in before this where he was saying, yes, God, you’re worthy to be served and I’m going to give it all I’ve got. But he wasn’t doing it…he was doing it with his energy, his resources. That’s not what God is looking for. He is looking for people who will just come to Him in such dependence that even when we come together to worship God, or when we live our lives in a way that just glorifies Him, we do that by the energy He gives us!

There’s a sense of, not only dependence, but expectation, because that’s His promise! It’s His gift to us! And He longs for us to experience the life that He’s given to us, and so, even in worship, we worship by the Spirit of God! Boy, there’s such rich things that if we could just wrap our…if I could wrap my mind around it, it would make a difference, wouldn’t it?

“…Who glory in Christ Jesus….” It kind of reminds you of what he was writing in the book of Galatians, ‘cause he was dealing with the same issue, in much greater detail, where he’s talking about those people who feel like they’ve got to keep the law in order to be accepted by God. And he says, no, it’s not that way. We glory in Christ Jesus in the Cross. That’s all of our glorying! Because if you do something, and then you bring that and you say, God, I expect You to accept me because of what I did, you’re glorying in you and what you did.

( congregational amens ).

I have one place where I can glory and that’s in Him!

( congregational amens ).

He is lifted up and exalted and His name is the one that should give every one of us hope, because it means Savior! It means God has provided a Redeemer that is the answer to every issue in every one of our lives! And I don’t know, I sense His heart this morning wanting us to know that in a fresh way, because there are battles going on in many lives. But I’ll tell you, there’s one place to which we have the right to look because of God’s provision and God’s promise, and that’s Jesus Christ! He is not just a doctrine to believe. He is a real, living Person…

( congregational amens ).

…Who dwells in the midst of His people, to deliver! Praise His name! We glory in Christ Jesus! That’s what we need to be excited about and boasting about! We have nothing to boast about in ourselves, but we have everything to boast about in Him.

And who do what? “…Put no confidence in the flesh.” No confidence. That means in what I was born with, the resources I was born with. Man, I have no confidence that that can add to this or…but you know, that’s liberating if we ever come to the realization that that’s not where it’s at. ‘Cause how easy is it for a person, who’s just sort of weak, and don’t we all feel that way sometimes, in certain areas, to look at somebody else and say, well, it’s not fair, they’re strong and I’m weak, God can’t expect anything.

Well, if they’re truly strong in the sense that they are relying upon their own strength, you probably have the inside track, because you already know you can’t do it. And you will more readily come to the feet of a Savior and say, oh Lord, I just give myself to You!

Think about when Jesus was ministering and He would go out and He’d talk to the religious people who thought they had the inside track. They were up here. They looked down at all these poor sinners. And what did Jesus say? The harlots, and the publicans, and the sinners, they’re gonna go into the kingdom before you! Why? Because they know they need a Savior! Oh, what an advantage it is when God can bring us to that place where we have no confidence in the flesh!

It doesn’t mean we have no confidence. And you know, one of the tripping points for many of us is, we get to a certain point and our confidence sags…that we really can make this and we can go forward. But think about this. I had this thought. If our confidence is sagging, what’s it in?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! I mean, it’s like, has Jesus slipped up today, has He gone to sleep today, has He had a cold and He’s not doing so good? No! He, “…is the same yesterday today and forever.” If our confidence is in Him, and the salvation that God has freely provided for us through Him, we have no reason for any lack of confidence, because it’s not in us! Praise God!

( congregational amens ).

I believe there are many of us who come to that place sometimes, where we’re discouraged and we’re…but what are we looking at when we are? We haven’t got our eyes upon where they need to be. He is the source of everything!

And so Paul, of course, then enumerates his own natural qualifications, because God made him the ‘poster child’ of somebody who, if you could be righteous by what you did, this is the guy. So, Paul is basically saying, here are my qualifications and as far as I’m concerned, I consider this all a bunch of junk, a bunch of garbage. I’m gonna throw it in the trash can because it is worthless!

Well, guys, if that’s worthless, then everything we can do, everything we can trust in, in ourselves, is the same way. It’s completely worthless. You see the wisdom of God to call somebody like Saul, and turn him into Paul, and just give him such a depth of revelation that enabled a Jew, like a Pharisee, to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles and get it right, and not corrupt it by trying to mix it in with the law. Wow! Isn’t God awesome!

( congregational response ).

Praise the Lord! So, I’ll just go through what he says. “If anyone else thinks he has reason to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.”

I mean, if you were to measure it by the measuring stick that the Pharisees used, he got a 100. The only problem was, they got it right on the outside and inside their hearts were full of wickedness and God doesn’t care about appearance. I mean, He cares about appearance, you understand what I’m saying. That’s not what He’s after. He is after something that’s authentic that goes to the heart.

And so I’ll tell you, when he met Jesus and he compared the glory of Jesus and the message of the Cross and realized what Jesus had accomplished there and how it completely fulfilled the Old Testament, oh, man, he was ready to just chuck all this in the garbage can!

Do you know that’s what it takes? I started to say this a while ago. It takes that personal encounter. You’ve got to come to a place where you come face to face with Jesus. Because Paul is going to talk in this passage about knowing Him.

You know, there’s ‘knowing’ and there’s ‘knowing.’ We learn facts and we call it ‘knowing,’ but this is something different. This is something personal. You can get all the doctrines right. You can get all the rituals right. You can get all the ‘how-you-do-church,’ depending on which tradition you’re part of…you can get all of that right and miss the whole thing that matters!

Because there’s got to be a time when God comes to your heart and reveals His Son, and then you know something in here that just bypassed your will, it bypasses your mind, it bypasses everything, and you know!

You think about what it took to hold the disciples around Jesus when He was ministering. “Whom do men say that I am?” (KJV). And they listed off the opinions of people. And He said, “Who do you say I am…You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (NIV). I’ll tell you, you want a rock to build on, to build something spiritual on? It’s the revelation…it’s only God able to open a heart and reveal His Son in such a way that we are attached to Him and we see the vanity of this life, of this world and our course turns 180 in His direction and He becomes Lord, He becomes the goal of life, everything centers, from that moment on, on Jesus Christ. And it’s because it’s a revelation to the heart.

Folks, we’ve got people that we’re interested in. We need to pray that God will bring them to that place of encounter, ‘cause it’s not a matter of explaining it right, or explaining it better. There’s a place for ministering and teaching and reasoning. But I’ll tell you, I don’t care how well you reason, Jesus Christ Himself walked among men and how many people heard Him but didn’t hear Him? Didn’t know who He was? They went back and said, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (KJV).

But Jesus understood something. He understood this was a divine process, something only God could bring about. And He understood that those that the Father had revealed Him to, they knew. And it wasn’t a matter of, I don’t like what He said, I don’t like…it was none of the human considerations. It wasn’t how He makes me feel. Boy, we live in a nation today, in a world, a society, it’s all about feelings! My, God! You know…that’s another subject. We’ll leave that alone. You could go off on that. But Praise God! Whether we feel or not, there’s a knowing!

( congregational amens ).

And it’s not just knowing ‘about.’ This is knowing in a very personal sense! And I’ll tell you what…anyway, he goes through all of this. I forget what I was about to say, but it probably wasn’t important. Anyway, he goes through all of this and he comes to the end and he says, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (NIV). And I’ll tell you what, it is a choice. We are either relying upon us, in some fashion, or we are relying on Christ. There is no way to mix that.

( congregational amens ).

Period! And oh, do we want to cling to that sense of, but I’m somebody, I’m worth something! You are, but not the way you think you are. I’ll tell you, our value is measured by what Jesus Christ paid on the Cross. And that’s of infinite value. That’s not a value that measures our worth in the sense that we think of it, in a prideful sense. It’s what we’re worth to Him! Praise God! That’s what was expressed this morning. How amazing is that? How amazing is that?

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Now there’s something very personal about that. “…For whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” Praise God!

There’s such a simplicity to it that men stumble. They stumble through ignorance, through pride. But I pray for whoever’s here, whoever may hear this, I pray that God will open your eyes, the eyes of your understanding, ‘cause that’s what it has to take. There is no substitute for God making Himself real in a personal way. This is not just a study about somebody who’s way off somewhere. He’s got to come and become known to you in your heart of hearts, to where you’ll never be the same.