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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1244

Participating in His Purpose
Part One

August 7, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1244 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: But I just sense the Lord wanting to encourage His people. You know, I had some inclinations as to where to go with it, and I just kept coming back to the familiar Book of Ephesians. And, I’m just gonna go ahead and try to go through and hit the spots that I feel like the Lord wants to emphasize. But in verse 3, chapter 1, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us….” (NIV).

What an awesome truth! It puts it in the past tense. He’s not waiting to see how I do! He has! There is something that’s real that’s coming from heaven for us, to help us! And He’s already done it! It’s not a matter of waiting to see what we do. This is God initiating something. Praise God!

“…Who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”

And that adoption is more than what we think of as adopting somebody into the family. This is bringing somebody to a full-grown stature where He can say, this is My son. Remember how He did that with Jesus? “This is my…Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (KJV). Well, I believe that God’s purpose is for everyone that He calls, to bring us to that place. That’s hard for me to wrap my mind around. Anybody else here?

( congregational response ).

That He could actually accomplish that kind of a work in me. It’s not something I can do. All I can do is cast myself upon His provision. I’ll tell you what, I see His…you could make a nice sermon outline out of this. God’s purpose, and God’s provision, and our participation. If you want to just kind of have a little outline to hang these truths on, that would be it.

But Paul had this burning desire to share with God’s people in the Church of Ephesus, and through them, all of us, this sense of seeing ourselves, not just as muddling through, trying to somehow relate to God, trying to ‘be a Christian,’ whatever that means, but seeing ourselves as part of something that began in the heart of God before the world ever existed. And it’s as certain as His power to bring it to pass. Praise God!

And I know it’s easy to say, I know we’ve heard these things, but you’ll listen as you go along. Paul goes on and talks about this. He says…well, let me back up. “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ…” (NIV). Based on what? “…In accordance with his pleasure and will.” That’s the basis! Praise God!

If you’re struggling, thinking how could God love me? Look what I’ve done. Look at me. It isn’t based on that! It’s based upon His saving power, His pleasure! You think about pleasure…you know, we think about pleasure, well, that’s a bad thing. Well, I’ll tell you, if you have pleasure based upon the heart and the mind and the character of God, it’s the most awesome thing in the world!

David said, “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (KJV). God’s not against pleasure. What He’s against is the destructive thing that human beings call pleasure, that’s nothing more than gratifying lust to their own destruction. But oh, God loves pleasure!

And this is something that gives Him pleasure. You think about that! For God to look down and to see somebody who is in the gutter of sin, He doesn’t look at that person in their need with disgust and contempt! He’s saying, oh boy, look what I get to do! Think about that! Think about what he’s saying…that He gets pleasure out of being able to take somebody like that and lift them all the way to the halls of heaven. Boy, I want to share His heart in some of that, don’t you?

( congregational response ).

God, change our minds and our way of looking at things! That’s what Paul is seeking to communicate in this. He wants us to get so in harmony with God’s purpose and His provision that we can be participants! That’s kind of where he’s going with it.

All right, praise God! “…To the praise of his glorious grace…” (NIV), which again, gives us how this all happens. It all comes with divine power and energy that comes from heaven! It’s all something…when we come to the end, we’re gonna say, man, that was awesome! Lord, look what You did! Every bit of this came from You and You allowed me to share in it! Praise God! I can’t begin to even think about anything in me that got me here! Lord, it’s You and I praise You! Praise You for Your grace, Lord!

“…Which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him…” Christ! “…We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…” Anybody here got a way of getting rid if your sins? I don’t either. I need Somebody who bore my sins on that tree—every single one of them! That is my only hope! Praise God!

And what a perfect hope it is! How could we possibly stand if we didn’t understand what He has done? Long before we got here, everything that we stand in need of, He’s already provided, hasn’t He?

( congregational response ).

“…The forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us….” I mean, even using a word like ‘lavish.’ Okay, I see your need, I’ll sprinkle a little grace…no! This is the outpouring of His heart! Seeing the greatness of the need…and remember that grace is greater than sin?

( congregational response ).

Do you remember that passage? You see how these themes come from everywhere in Paul’s writings! Oh, yes, sin is a terrible thing! Satan’s power is a terrible thing, isn’t it Michael? But grace is greater—grace is always greater! Thank God.

“…He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” And I never really paid any attention to that particular phrase, but I wonder why that’s in there? I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who knows how to do the thing that He has purposed from all eternity to do. We are ones who want to jump in and muddy the water, fix things. God knows how and when and where to do what He wants to do in individual lives.

And I need…and I imagine there’s one or two others here that may need this…learning how to move with Him, learning how to be participants in what He is doing instead of trying to get stuff done that we think ought to be done! God knows how to dispense grace when…exactly how to time things out so He can deal with the heart, bring them to the place where they sense their need, they know they need God, and suddenly He’s able to reveal something that would have been meaningless until they got to that point!

There’s a wisdom there that’s beyond anything we can imagine…that knows the depths of human hearts and human need, knows how and when and how to do things, when to come, when to ride to the rescue. Do you ever watch somebody and you say, God, why don’t You do something? Look at this mess! That’s human thinking. God knew about that mess before the world was! God knows how and when to bring about the circumstances to fix that mess! And we do have a part to play, but not in human wisdom! Thank God for His wisdom! All of this plays such a rich part in the picture that’s being painted for us.

“And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure…” There’s that word ‘pleasure’ again. “…Which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment.” He’s describing something that was conceived in eternity. There’s an outworking and there’s a climax that’s coming. There is a climax to all this that He has purposed and it’s gonna come when…he says, He’s going, “…To bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” Man, won’t that be awesome?

( congregational response )

All evil banished forever! All suffering, all sorrow, all weakness, everything that’s wrong with this world is going to be gone, and He’s gonna do it all. And He planned all this. He knew what it was gonna take. Oh, I’ll tell you, it’s amazing when you look at the price that was paid through Jesus Christ for our sins. How can you…I mean, we talk about it and we can get emotional about it, but I’ll tell you, one glimpse of that place and it’s suddenly gonna dawn on us the greatness of what He’s done. I pray that God will make it more and more real to us here. And that’s what Paul is seeking to communicate, somehow.

All right. “In him…” Now he’s talking about the grand purpose. Now he says, “In him we were…” So now he gets it down to the people. “…We were also chosen, having been predestined according to…” our worthiness and our…wait a minute. “…According to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Can anybody think of an awesome parallel passage to this? And we know that all things work together for the good of them…for good…praise God!

( laughing ).

I’m stuck between two translations. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

( congregational amens ).

Does that sound like he’s saying basically the same thing as he is in the 1st chapter of Ephesians? He’s talking about His purpose and where He’s going with it. Oh God, help us to understand where He’s going with this so that we can be participants and not just simply along for the ride…and kind of muddling through, lost in what’s going on in this world.

I believe that’s what God is seeking to do to wake His people up, because He’s getting ready to wind this thing up. I don’t know the time frame, and don’t know everything that’s gonna happen, but I know that it’s gonna get dark. I know that we’re going to have to have a living faith. We’re gonna have to be people who know their God, and know how to participate in something that He started back here…well, I’ll do it in your direction. Back here, and he’s carried it out, He brought it to the cross and now it’s come down to us, and He’s going to finish the work that He began. Praise God!

All right. “…In order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Now he brings the eternal process, this eternal deal down into the timeline of history. And what he’s saying applied to the Ephesian believers, and then it applies to everyone who hears His voice and His call today.

“And you also were included in Christ…” When? “…When you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed…” So this is a revelation, this is a confrontation between you and God, where He wins and you lose, except that we win by losing. Praise God!

But this is something where we suddenly are able to see the truth about ourselves, the truth about Christ, the truth about His purpose, and we surrender and we put our faith in Christ. And now, something that was conceived in eternity comes to pass, and our lives become functionally, physically and spiritually a part of it.

Okay, “You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit….” I’ll tell you, when we’re truly born of God, there is a difference down inside. It doesn’t mean everything goes away, every battle is over, by a long shot. But there is a real birth that happens. Without that, we’re nothing but religious. I’ll tell you, we need Christ…we need the Spirit of God to reside in our hearts, that brand new life that’s born. That’s the one that’s gonna live forever.

But anyway, “You were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Now, what is he talking about there? The ‘redemption,’ the ‘purchased possession’? Do you know that from other Scriptures? What’s that about? We have the Spirit, until what? It’s not that He takes away the Spirit, you understand what I’m saying. There is a deposit guaranteeing what He is going to accomplish in us until the redemption. What is that?

( congregational response ).

That’s the redemption of our body. That’s when every part of our being is fully transformed and there is not so much as an atom of sin left, and resistance to the will of God. Praise God!

( congregational amens ).

That’s what’s coming! That’s the hope of the Gospel! It’s that by His power and because of His purpose and His pleasure, all of these things come to pass. Praise God! “For this reason…” Because of all the stuff that he’s just tried to express and put into words. “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you….”

Trying to explain all this…wait a minute. There’s something coming into this, isn’t there? “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Does that sound like last week, a little bit?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. But notice this dimension. Paul understood something. He understood that spiritual knowledge does not come because somebody is able to stand up and explain it properly. Do we understand that? How many times do you try to get somebody to see something, and they can’t? Why? Because human beings cannot understand the things of God!

( congregational amens ).

In fact, Paul says elsewhere, they are foolishness to him! They are spiritually discerned! Man, in his wisdom, the wisest men upon the planet, cannot…they do not have the power to discover the things of God! You could be a student of this Book, and I believe it’s the Word of God…but you could be a student of this Book from now ‘til doomsday, devote every waking moment to try to study it and discern its meaning, and if God does not open the heart and the mind, you will know nothing of eternal consequence.

( congregational amens ).

A little child, that God opens their heart and their understanding can put their faith in Jesus and be saved for eternity! See, Paul understands that the need of the people to get what he’s talking about is not a product of proper explanation. It’s a product of God revealing it to the heart!

But notice the connection of how this happens! And this is really central, I believe, to what God is trying to tell me, what God is trying to tell every one of us. And it’s one of the major keys to our participation in God’s eternal purpose! Paul did not, as I say, feel just that he could explain this and it would accomplish the purpose. He says, I pray! Because I know you will never get this unless God does it supernaturally in your heart. And so…I realize that the best thing I can do is to be a part of His purpose by praying, oh God, open hearts, open minds!

Do you see this participation? How did he participate? Yes, he did expound the truth, but he understood, I’ve got to pray. I’ve got to become a channel of spiritual Life in prayer so that God can move through my prayers to touch somebody else’s heart and open their hearts and their minds. Does that lend a different dimension to some of this?

( congregational response ).

As to how God does stuff…oh my! You know, you can go in two ditches. And people go in a lot more than that. But one is to look at this awesome truth about the sovereignty of God, and just know that somehow, some way, this great, awesome God, who’s way off somewhere is gonna do it all! And I get to just sort of expound that truth, and believe it, and rejoice in it, and just basically muddle through life and wait for somehow, magically everything to happen. Or, I can jump in the other ditch, and man, I can go 100 miles an hour, trying to somehow bring about the purpose of God, and it’s all me doing it, or I’m relying upon my will and my strength, and my this and my that, and my understanding, my ability to study the Bible.

Oh, I’ll tell you, there’s a simplicity that I believe God wants to bring us to, where we learn how to come to that place where we, in our heart of hearts, there’s an understanding of the place we occupy. We feel, when the Devil talks to us like we’re down here, ‘under the circumstances, I’m doing okay.’ Well, we’re not supposed to be ‘under’ the circumstances.

And I understand that there are times when, in one sense, we are. There are battles being fought. They are real. But at the same time, God longs for His people to know in their heart of hearts that ‘I am a child of the King, the One who is greater than all is in me.’ I’m jumping ahead here. And I am not down here powerless. I am part of something that is eternal. Not only can I experience His victory in increasing measure…it’s a process, I get it, but I can become a vessel through whom divine Life can flow to situations that are humanly impossible, but that are part of what God has determined to happen before the foundation of the world.

God has this incredible purpose. But His purpose…the outworking of His purpose involves you and it involves me. And I’ll tell you, we can sit here and sleep, and there are things that God longs to do and He has got to first wake His people up in order to do them. And so Paul is not content to just explain it, is he? I keep asking!

Notice that his prayer is pretty specific, isn’t it? This is not, oh God, bless the church! This is…I see a particular need and this is gonna be a request of mine before God. I am gonna keep asking. God, I get it! I know that no matter how well I explain it, they will not get it unless You open their hearts. That’s certainly my job to pray that, but I’ll tell you, you can pray it, too.

( congregational response ).

God, I don’t get these things like I know You want me to. Lord, open my understanding! I want to know You. I want to understand. I want to be a participant in what You’re doing. But Lord, I see others that I know that I can reach up to You and make a difference in their life, not by trying to get in their face and fix them, but by going to the Throne of Grace with something specific and saying, God, there’s a need, and I’m gonna stand in faith and bring this need before You because You’re the only One that can fix it.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” That’s what we need, isn’t it? “…May be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power…” Does anybody here need to have a greater apprehension of God’s power?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. Well, here’s where it starts. We have got to go back to the foundation and see the incredible demonstration of God’s power in action where it mattered most, and that was the death and resurrection of His Son, because everything funnels right back into that. That’s the heart of His plan. Everything flows through and out of that into eternity. And what you and I need this morning was demonstrated by what He did in that event.

So I want you to know, “…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church…” and so forth.

I’m gonna to that in a second. But I’ll tell you, if you and I are going to succeed in the Christian life, in the world in which we live, it’s gonna start with the recognition that He is head!

( congregational response ).

He is head. He is Lord!