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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1248

Wake Up!
Part One

September 4, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1248 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Let’s turn, if you will, just as a starting point this morning, to 1st Thessalonians, chapter 5. It’s a familiar passage. Paul is talking to the church at Thessalonica about the end of the age and yet, I believe there are truths in here that applied to them equally in their day. It wasn’t just something where he said, oh, let me explain what’s gonna happen way out there. But surely it does apply to us, doesn’t it?

( congregational response ).

And so, he’s talking about the very end and he says, “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, Peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (NIV).

I’ll just drop in a comment because it seems like, from time to time, there are all kinds of excitement in the news and among different people proclaiming such-and-such a date or such-and-such a time is gonna be catastrophe, it’s gonna be the end of the world. It seems like, virtually every time, when there’s that kind of focus on a date or a time, nothing happens.

So, I’ll tell you, there’s a different kind of readiness that’s needed than focusing on times and dates. And that’s what the Lord is after here because the truth of the matter is, Jesus said, it’s in such a time as you think not the Son of Man is coming. So this world will be in total shock. It will have no idea what’s about to happen.

They’ll be thinking everything is just about to be solved. We’ve finally solved this terrible ‘Christian’ problem. Now we’re gonna be able to go on and take control of the world and make it into our image and do what we want to do. And then all of a sudden, catastrophe is going to hit this world. And they have no idea about who’s really in charge and what’s really happening.

But I believe God wants His people to be aware and to be awake. And that’s really the…I think the general theme of what has been on my heart this week. And I certainly feel keenly my own need of it. But anyway, he goes on and he says this: “But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”

Now this passage and the one preceding it, uses ‘sleep’ in two different senses. Are you aware of that?

( congregation inaudible ).

In the earlier passage, he talked about those who are asleep, and he means those who have died and gone to be in heaven. And he tells everybody, don’t worry, God’s not gonna forget them. He’s gonna bring them with Him when He comes, and we’re gonna meet the Lord in the air. And so, we’ll ever be with the Lord. Praise God!

But anyway, there’s this other sense of being asleep that he really warns about and that’s why he says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” And I think if we are at all spiritually aware…if you’re not aware of this, you are asleep. But I think we are aware of how easy it is to be asleep spiritually.

And, being asleep is not so much believing wrong things. It’s not being in some church where they’ve done away with the Word of God and just replaced it with a social gospel. It’s not a lot of things that we think about. It’s not just being blissfully unaware of world events and all that kind of stuff. This is a lack of awareness of what’s really going on because we live in a world where there are two unseen kingdoms that are at war, and we know which one has already won the battle—already won the war, even though there are battles being fought.

But there is a kingdom of darkness that we’ve spoken of many times, and it rules over this planet. And, this planet, since the creation, in one sense has never seen day. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned and basically turned the government of this world over to Satan, by so doing, night fell on this planet, and it has been under the spell of spiritual night ever since.

And the people of this world live in utter darkness and deception and they have no idea what is really going on and what it’s really about. They think in terms of this earth and just getting along here, and living and doing and pleasing themselves. And yet, if you ever get your eyes opened, if the other kingdom ever penetrates the heart in such a way that we are able to see things as they truly are, all of a sudden, we have a different vision, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

We’re able to see beyond what is going on in this world and to understand that God has a purpose that He is carrying out, and there is a day that is dawning. It’s coming. It’s dawning in the hearts, first of His people. But there is another world that is coming. There is a whole other existence that is coming when this one is utterly done away.

But I’ll tell you, what God desires for His people, and He exhorts and He warns His people that we, who claim to know Him, we need to be awake and aware. And I’m very conscious as I even talk about this, first of all of my own need, but I’m also conscious that what is needed is not an emotional pep rally that generates activity. There’s something a great deal deeper than just trying to generate excitement, enthusiasm and activity.

You can get yourself all psyched up, but it’s not psychology that we need. It is a living awareness that we don’t lose, of what’s really happening in the world because it is so easy for God’s people to simply slide into a spirit of slumber and sleep, else He would not be exhorting.

And there are other passages that warn about the same thing. You know, we’re familiar over the years…how often we have used the parable of the ten virgins. And here they all were professing to be waiting for the coming of the Bridegroom. But what happened while they were waiting?

( congregational response ).

They all slumbered and slept. There was something in the very atmosphere in which they lived that generated a spirit of slumber and of sleep. And folks, that’s alive and well in our midst.
How easy is it to do that! And I’ll tell you what, the Devil is not particularly afraid of a congregation that has a little Life, but just kind of boxes it in and it’s just like a little part of our life, it’s just what we do, how we do it, and we’ve got this little religion in a box, and it’s good and it’s wonderful, and we’re gonna go to heaven one day, praise God. And ‘won’t it be wonderful when we see Jesus?’ And, ‘see you next time.’ And we come, and we take it, and we leave it, and we just…you know what I’m talking about.

Does this sound like it’s relevant to where we’re at and how easy it is to get in that place and not even realize it? I’ll tell you what, it scares me a little bit—it scares me a big bit! Because I don’t want to get that way, and I sense it in myself. It’s so easy! Our lives are just so geared to everyday activities, and before we know it, the stuff that we do that has to do with church, quote-unquote, is just another activity.

And we just go through our day and we shift gears and we show up and we do that, and then we go back to our other stuff, and it just becomes a routine before we realize it! And I thank God for the degree of engagement that we’re having. But I’ll tell you what, if we’re going to actually make a difference in the Kingdom of God, if we’re gonna make a difference in this hour of darkness, we’re gonna have to have something besides a complacent, sleeping, semi-sleeping, semi-awake congregation that sits behind walls.

( congregational response ).

And…I have a burden for myself, I have a burden for all of us because I feel the spirit of slumber, don’t you?

( congregational response ).

There’s an oppression that’s just gonna wear us out if we just sort of … ‘where I’m at is okay.’ Many times I’ve mentioned what happened when the Israelites conquered the land. Joshua was enabled to…was directed, rather, to apportion the land, and he gave the boundaries of each tribe and the land that they were supposed to conquer.

Well, the land was not just sitting there, was it? There were enemies on that land. You know, in many cases the record was that they tried to conquer this and they got so far, but they weren’t able to conquer that, and they weren’t able to conquer that, and the people live among them to this day. And, you can just sort of see where they got to a point where they said, this is as good as it’s gonna get. We’re gonna settle down and we’re gonna build houses, we’re gonna plant crops, we’re gonna raise herds, and yeah, it would be great if we had that territory over there, but after all, this is good enough.

Oh God, help us. Is that the nature of the Kingdom of God? To say, it’s good enough. To say, we have a little bit of Life and that’s as good as it’s gonna get. And we see bondages, we see needs, we see needs inside and outside, and we just sort of get to a point where we just accommodate all that. And yeah, we throw up a prayer here and there. But I’ll tell you what, I believe God is wanting to wake His people up to a greater degree than we have known.

( congregational amens ).

Because the trend throughout religious history…not religious, the trend throughout church history has always been down! How many of you know that?

( congregational response ).

God will visit a people! God will awaken a people, and there will be a fire, there will be a presence of God and sometimes it’s messy! Some of you were here years ago. You know it got messy sometimes! But I’ll tell you, God was here!

( congregational response ).

And what happens is, you begin over time to preserve the form of that! All right, now we’re established, we know what we believe, we know how we do ‘church,’ and so all that’s necessary for God to show up and to bless us is for us to keep that going! We just open the Word and we preach the doctrines we know, and we pray a little bit, and we come and we sing the songs, and we raise our hands.

You see, I’m not doing away with the degree of reality that’s here. Don’t misunderstand me. But I’m saying it gets to be a form over time, more than we realize. And God is wanting to wake up His people to realize that we need to realize what our lives are really about!

( congregational response ).

What did Paul live for? Obviously, he was called to ministry, but his exhortations were for all of the people to do what he did. As we’ve said recently, he said, I want to know Christ. I want to know, “…the power of his resurrection.” (KJV). I press on to lay hold of what He’s given me. My life is not about just settling down and finding a comfortable place. God has set before me something for which I…He’s given it to me, but He’s given me the ability and the strength and the call to fight for that, by faith, looking to Him to go through life as a journey in which I don’t always stay the same!

In fact, I never stay the same! I’m always gonna go forward. There’s always ground to take! I never reach that point where I just settle down and live my life, and let it pass by and when my time comes, they roll me up to the front in a box, and then they put me in the ground and praise God, it’s all good. There’s just a little more to it than that.

God has called us out of darkness into His Light. He’s called us into a Kingdom that is going to last forever. But He’s called us in the context of something where every instinct, everything about this world is going to oppress and oppose and hinder and engender sleep in every one of us, unless we put forth an effort, unless we are actively looking to God, because I don’t have the strength for this. Does anybody here?

( congregational inaudible ).

I sure don’t. You know, I was thinking about this whole business of…praise God. Lord, give me what needs to come next here. Our natural instinct in this world, let me put it this way. We don’t seek out…most of us…we don’t seek out trouble. We don’t seek out challenges and conquests. I guess there are people who do and that’s their thing, but most of us would like for life to be trouble free. We want to find a place where we can just kind of feel like we’re in control, feel like we can go from day to day, and we know what to expect and we know how to ‘do’ life. We know how to satisfy our desires.

And of course, our desires…we begin to cater to them in different ways, and life becomes a comfortable nest, is one way to put it. And that is, every instinct for every one of us here is along that line. The ideal life would be one that is trouble-free, that has no conflict to it, that we can just simply find a place of blessing. Blessing to us is just smooth sailing. Everything is just easy. Everything just happens.

I’ll tell you what, God has to send other things—God has to send trouble. God has to do things to wake us up! He has to do things to put to death these old desires for which we live! Because what happens so easy, is we begin to do little careless compromises. Very subtly, life shifts, our motivations shift after we come to Him and as time goes by. It shifts from pleasing Him to pleasing me…to satisfying desires that arise in ‘me.’ And, we find little ways that the Devil puts in our path by which we do that.

And then the Devil is very good at giving us a rationale as to why this little compromise and that one is okay. I mean, there’s the boundary way out there and you’re well within it, and God gives you liberty. And I understand…I don’t want to be legalistic and I don’t want to be extreme, but there is something that goes on here, And I think if there’s anybody with spiritual discernment here, you know what I’m talking about. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts, but it’s something that happens in the spirit.

( congregational response ).

God is not impressed with our services and our singing and our preaching, or any of that! He’s not impressed with the outward, with a form of it. What He’s looking for is something in the heart that really makes an honest, genuine connection with Him, and says, Lord, we need You. God, we want You. Lord, do something! Lord, come! Lord, be what You are and energize the Body of Christ so that we are a supernatural people, not just a bunch of religious people practicing a religion.

( congregational amens ).

And I’ll tell you, it’s something we need to hear, otherwise, why would he say, exhort one another?

( congregational response ).

Why would the writer to the Hebrews say, exhort one another while…well…yeah, that’s chapter 3, isn’t it? “Exhort one another…while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

You see, there is a deceitfulness that will absolutely get its hooks into your life! It does it with every one of us in one way or another and we need God to deliver us! If we’re gonna be effective for Him, God has to deliver us from things that are less than what He wants for us! God, help me. God, help us.

You know, I was reading this week, because I was working on a transcript of a broadcast that’s going out sometime in October, I think. And it’s from a service back in October of last year, I believe is when the original service was. It had to do with ‘first love.’ I don’t know if you remember that.

But my mind went, obviously because of reading it, my mind went back to it, and it had to do with the Church at Ephesus. Ephesus was a very key city in the province of Asia Minor and God wrote, through John, letters to the seven churches who were in that region, and Ephesus was the first one in chapter 2 of Revelation.

And you remember, what we talked about was the heritage that church had. I mean, they had Paul. They had Apollos. They had Timothy there for a while. They had John the apostle, who had settled there before he wound up on Patmos. I mean, they had a long history of really being grounded in the faith, brought out of heathen darkness, but grounded in the faith.

And you see the Epistle to the Ephesians. You see the letter of 1st Timothy which was to him while he was at Ephesus. They had a foundation and the Lord begins to enumerate all the wonderful things they could do. They were staunch in their defense of Truth. They recognized false leaders who would try to come in with deception. They were faithful. They didn’t give up! There was just a long list of things where we would have said, man, that is a model church!

And yet, when it came right down to it, the Lord said, but there’s one thing I have against you. Oh, great! Just one thing! Lord have mercy, we’ve got almost a perfect score there, and now all we have to do is bump this one up a little bit, and we’ll be good. He said, you’ve left your first love.

Something had happened on the inside. They didn’t stop preaching the truth. They didn’t stop meeting together. They didn’t lose their ability to recognize deception when it would try to come in and take over the church. When trouble came, they didn’t give up! They had a spirit of endurance! In other words, every outward manifestation of what we would think would be a model church, they were good! They never left that outward form, but what they lost was the inside. That’s the only thing God is really concerned about!

( congregational response ).

We could have many different outward forms, but I’ll tell you, what God is looking for is from the heart. And to the extent that we just sort of bop in here…and it’s like, okay, it’s another service. All right, it’s about 12:00. Let’s hurry up and finish so we can go do whatever we want to do. It gets to that, before you realize it. And, I sense the Lord’s heart and I sense His burden, but I know that you can’t just psyche people up about this. God has got to invade.

( congregational response ).

God has got to do something to shake His people up!