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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1252

Are You a Christian?
Part One

October 2, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1252 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: As most of you I’m sure know, Brother Carl and I recently had the privilege of traveling to Kenya and visiting with a lot of different people. It was so evident that the Lord was with us. And one message the Lord impressed upon my heart to preach there, and I used it three different times, in obviously three different locations. And it had to do with the Gospel, what it is and what it isn’t.

And you know, I’m not intending to pull that out and just preach it exactly like that this morning, but it’s kind of been on my heart. You know, we live in a day 2,000 years after the beginning when the Devil has thrown a lot of mud in the water, and there are a lot things called the Gospel that aren’t.

And, you travel around today and you’ll find people that their Gospel is preaching against sin, trying to get people to repent and do better. Good luck with that. I need a new heart and new nature before I can begin to even think about things like that. And you’ve got others that it’s all about success and money and prosperity in this world…and you name it, it’s just a whole range of things that are preached. Some of it is intellectualism, some of it is signs and wonders and feelings and experiences, and everything in the world is substituted for the Gospel.

But I don’t know, just thinking about it…I actually considered going through that message, but I think it’s more doctrine, more something that would have been relevant to ministers. But I don’t know, I just wanted to come at it from a different angle this morning, because I believe that God is concerned.

You know, we just sang the song about ‘a line being drawn in the sand.’ If that’s ever been true, that’s true in this day. Most people aren’t aware of it, but there’s a line being drawn in the sand. And, most people in this world have no idea of what the real issues are. Because there are two kingdoms that are very real. We don’t see them. The world is not simply what we see with our senses and all of that.

You can get the strongest telescope that anybody’s ever made and you’ll see amazing distances, but you’ll never see to the end of what is. Because there is a God…He is over all. He is Spirit. He inhabits eternity. He permeates His creation, but He is beyond and outside of that. All power, all knowing, with a character that is…the central word that characterizes Him is ‘love.’ And all that He does is with a purpose, in spite of all the ugliness we see in this world, there is a reason behind all of it.

And of course, we know He has a Kingdom, he has many servants…we call them angels. But they are ministering spirits that are sent forth, that are told to minister to those who will be heirs of salvation. There is an innumerable company of angels that serve Him, that give Him glory, that fight battles, and all kinds of things.

But there is another kingdom and that’s the kingdom that rules over this planet because our first parents turned their place—the privileged place that God had given them, they turned it over to the Devil, without perhaps realizing what they were doing. They decided they were gonna go it alone. What they didn’t realize is, by going independently of God, they were literally handing the keys of this earthly kingdom over to the Devil, and he is very real, and he is devoted to use, abuse and destroy the human race without them being aware of what’s happening until it’s too late.

And the lines could not be more stark, could not be more clear, because every human being is one side of this line drawn in the sand or they’re on the other. And, as I say, Satan has obscured these issues until today, people can wear the name ‘Christian’ and most of the time it doesn’t mean anything. So, the way I felt like I wanted to come at this, I felt like the Lord quickened this and we’ll just see what He does with it, is to ask a simple question: Are you a Christian?

See, the meaning of that term ‘Christian’ has changed pretty dramatically since the beginning. Back in the beginning, we read, as the Gospel began to go out and reach the Gentile world, I believe it was at Antioch, which was where predominately the Word began to reach volumes of Gentiles, who were considered by the Jews to outside of God’s interest and God’s grace, in spite of what their prophets said. But the Gospel went there…but it says, the Christians, the believers, first began to be called Christians in Antioch.

And so, there was a name that began to be used to describe the followers of Jesus and it meant something! It had a very distinct meaning. There was no question. If you were a Christian, they knew what that meant. Today, if you ask people in the world, how many Christians are there, it would be north of a billion who would be adherents of some form of religion that uses the name of Jesus and claim to be followers. There are sects in large churches and everything in between that all have some claim to the name of Christ. And if you’re a part of that, then you’re a Christian.

And of course, if you grow up in a country or in a family that is attached to something called a Christian church or organization, and if you’re born into that, you’re kind of automatically a Christian. It’s become a cultural thing. It’s become a traditional thing. It’s become something that really has lost its meaning.

Satan, as I say, has thrown a lot of mud in the water and he’s thrown ideas and doctrines and everything in the world to split Christians into all of these groups, and then to turn what they had into something that wasn’t real. And so, most people who have that name Christian have hand-me-down religion of some form. It’s something that they observe on the outside. It is beliefs to which they give some form of assent.

I mean, if you go out and do a survey, you will find that a majority of America is Christian. You will also find a majority that stand for all kinds of things that are very, very un-Christian. I mean, it just doesn’t mean anything anymore. And I don’t know, I have this burden and I feel like it’s the Lord’s burden, that we don’t fool ourselves, that we have a clear picture of what it means to be a Christian, because this is not an issue where you can just kind of float through and then fix it later.

There’s coming a day, and we don’t know when it’s going to come, when that issue will be fixed. There are words at the end of Revelation where the Lord says, “…He that is holy, let him be holy still.” (KJV). “…He which is filthy, let him be filthy still.” There will be a point beyond which there is no going back and forth. You can’t change sides, and everybody is on one side or the other.

And the Lord’s burden is how easy it is for people, even to grow up here…I’m not talking about people down the street. You know, I thank God that there’s a remnant of people who really do know God that are scattered around, and they’re in places that would surprise us, as I’ve said many times.

But the issue is not people somewhere else who’ve heard a false gospel and all that. The problem is people here who come, who claim some form of adherence to Christ, who participate to some degree in the activities of the church…it might be just Sunday morning. It might be more. You might be growing up in a family that is Christian to some degree. They may be in the same boat as what I’m talking about. But yet, you participate in activities, and you believe certain things, and if someone were to ask you, are you a Christian, you would say, yes I am. But I’ll tell you what, it means something to be a Christian.

And I’d like to just read…this is probably gonna sound like…what I’m about to say is not something that I’ve organized exactly, but my mind was drawn to a passage in 1st Thessalonians. Paul had a ministry to people here, and I’m just going to hold that open and refer to how he got there. You remember Paul was sent out as a missionary. Paul didn’t volunteer to do what he did. God, rather forcefully in the beginning, lay hold of him didn’t He? He refers to God calling him as an arrest.

( laughing ).

Because he was absolutely in the enemy’s camp, but Jesus met him on the road to Damascus when he was going there to persecute the followers of Jesus, and called him to His Kingdom but also to His service. And He told His servant Ananias, when he went to help Paul there in Damascus, He said, I want you to tell him what great things he is going to be suffering for my sake.

And over a period of many years, God took him aside and taught him, and for a period of time, he was just basically one of the elders in, I believe the church in Antioch. And they would just come together like we come. And he and several others would minister and they would share and God would just strengthen the believers and there came a day when they were fasting and waiting on the Lord, and the Lord said, somehow supernaturally, separate Paul and Barnabas for the call and so forth.

And so they began to go out and they began to minister, and I believe it was in what is modern Turkey. I didn’t look all the geography up, but anyway, Asia Minor is what it was called at the time. He began to go and everywhere he went it became evident that he was in enemy territory, because it didn’t take long before the Devil said, whoa, we’ve got to stop this guy! And they would raise up persecution and he would flee to the next city and begin to get disciples together there, and then persecution would rise up and he’d go to the next place.

And, when they finished that particular journey, they reversed course, didn’t they? They went right back to the very places where they had been with all that opposition and they began to encourage the believers and they put them in God’s hands. I’ll tell you, there was a supernatural work going on.

( congregational amens ).

You think of what we think about that it takes to establish a church. They’d be there a short time, gather disciples, and leave them and put them in God’s hands and go on, and then come back and they’d still be there. I mean, we need that!

( congregational response ).

I don’t care what we do, in terms of organization and natural appeal to people, if we do not have the supernatural presence of God changing hearts, we have nothing!

( congregational response ).

I don’t care what it looks like, what you call it, it’s not what they had. And I’m not satisfied with anything less, are you?

( congregational response ).

We need Him! Because He has the power to do something that’s eternal! Whatever God does, it lasts forever, doesn’t it? That’s what I want. It’s not that He needs us. He certainly doesn’t need our abilities. We just need to be yielded to Him and say, Lord, You do Your thing. I just want to be part of it, but it’s Your thing.

So anyway, Paul later went out…I think this was…I didn’t look at all the history, but Paul went out later with Silas and they reached a certain point where he wanted to go to a certain place. You remember he wanted to go to Bithynia…tried to arrange all that and the Lord came in the middle of the night, and what happened? A man from Macedonia he saw in a vision, standing there saying come over to Macedonia and help us. And so they did.

And, the first place, I believe, that they actually ministered in Macedonia was a place called Philippi. Do you remember that? We talked about that recently. And, they began to minister and to talk to some women, I believe, eventually there, and there was a lady whose name was Lydia. We have a Lydia here, named after her, I presume. But anyway, she was named Lydia, and the Scripture specifically says, the Lord opened her heart! Do you know it takes that?

( congregational response ).

It’s got to be supernatural. God opened her heart! Why is that necessary? Because we don’t have the power to understand! People don’t realize the condition they’re in. We see what we see and we think it’s real!

You know, it was about a year ago…I was working on a transcript of a service that we had about a year ago, and it’s on the broadcast right now. And I used the illustration from Star Trek of the holodeck. How many of you remember that? Now, if you’ve never seen Star Trek, this won’t mean a thing to you, but they had device on these star ships that had the ability…the computer had the ability to create a totally artificial environment that was nonetheless real.

You could touch it, interact with it. If you wanted to go back and talk to Albert Einstein, they could bring Albert Einstein and make him totally real and you could have a meaningful conversation with him. So, you had something that was entirely real to every possible human sense, but it wasn’t. It was a construct, it was created.

And I’ll tell you, that’s what this world...I mean, it’s not artificial in that sense, but the meaning behind everything is artificial. We see the world through the Devil’s eyes in harmony, naturally speaking, in harmony with our nature, which is absolutely at enmity against God, and all of the meaning to which we attach to things is phony, it’s false, it’s a lie!

Satan is a liar from the beginning! He’s a murderer from the beginning! And he has, “…blinded the minds of them which believe not…” so they are unable to see! You know, we have people that come in here, and you’ll have two people sitting side by side, and one will just be ‘getting it’! It will be meaningful. It will be light in darkness and it will be life to them, and it will do something for them. And somebody sitting right next to them are just…it just doesn’t make any sense at all. What’s the difference? It’s not a matter of intelligence. It’s not a matter of any of those things. There is a power that totally puts blinders on and I’ll tell you, we need God to open hearts!

( congregational response ).

We need God to open the ability of people to see as it is. And so, God opened this woman’s heart and you saw where it led. It wasn’t very long before they continued to minister and they began to stay at her house. Well, they came back and ministered and one day there was a young girl who had a demon of fortune-telling. You want to know, when there’s a real power involved in that, not just a bunch of phony-baloney…you want to know where the power comes from? It comes from the Devil.

( congregational amens ).

And this girl had actual power of some kind and people were making money off of her. And that girl would run around saying, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” Well, Paul didn’t need the Devil’s testimony. And finally after several days, he said, enough of this and he cast the spirit out. And of course, the people who were making money off of her were just thrilled at her deliverance.

( laughter ).

And so, immediately they hauled them before the authorities and that’s how they wound up in prison being beaten and then singing at midnight, and all of that story. God turned that one around, didn’t He?

( congregational response ).

Praise God! He had something in mind…no matter what the Devil engineers, you see how God can take it and turn it around. God turned that around and saved the jailers family. Praise God! It gave a mighty testimony and encouraged the believers. But that was basically the end of their ministry in Philippi.

Well, the next place they went was Thessalonica. And that’s where…he was writing to the believers that he had left behind there. And so, I do not know the time frame. It was at least three weeks, but it can’t have been terribly long, because it talks about him going on three successive Sabbaths to the Jewish synagogue because there was one there.

And he understood, I have a responsibility first to let the Jews know because of the covenant they had and the promise of God to Abraham. Their prophets prophesied, all this is coming. I’ve got to let them know. And so he went in there and he opened the pages of the Old Testament and showed them from their own prophets who Jesus was and why He’d come, and showed it as a perfect fulfillment of the Old Testament promises.

And of course, the result is as it often is. There was a division, wasn’t there? There were some who began to follow, and also there were a number, quite a large number of Greeks who were not Jewish who began to follow. And it’s interesting, it said, and not a few prominent women. So I mean, he had quite a following in a very short period of time. And the success was such that the Devil said, I’ve got to stop this. And so he stirred up those who had refused to believe.

Now, that raises a point. Was their problem an inability to believe? These that didn’t believe…I see some heads shaking.

( laughter )

If you’re going like this, you’re right. No! I’ll tell you, when people are apprised of the Truth and it’s not just simply a man trying to expound it. God is present. God is working with hearts. If you’ve got that going on and you’ve got people that feel the impact of God’s voice and they don’t believe, that’s a choice.

(congregational response ).

That is a rebellious choice to harden the heart and say, no, I will not receive! You look at the beginning passages of Romans and you will see where the wrath of God comes. Kenny and I were talking about that briefly before the service. And I’ll tell you what, the wrath of God is against men who hold the Truth…they’ve got some knowledge of the Truth, but they absolutely refuse to bow to it! They will not have it! They’re going to harden their hearts, and say, no I will go forward serving my own desires! I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do! Nobody’s gonna tell me any different! And that’s what these people wound up doing.

And so they stirred up a lot of trouble, and basically it was a short time before Paul and Silas left. And they went on to Berea and that was the next place and then on to Athens for Paul. But you think about what was accomplished in that short a period of time! I’ll tell you, if God is at work in power, His presence is there, His convicting power is there, there are amazing things that can happen in a short period of time. And that’s what happened.

And you think about that history…I know it was at least three weeks, but I don’t know what the actual time frame is, so don’t quote me on how long it was. The Bible doesn’t say. But this was not a long campaign when he was there. And yet, listen to the words here. “Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.

“Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (NIV).

( congregational response ).

Yeah! Does that describe these 1.6 billion who wear the name ‘Christian’ in this world today? I pray that it’ll describe some here. But I’m not under any illusion that it describes all. But I’ll tell you, it needs to, because one of these days, every single person here is gonna stand before Jesus Christ and it won’t be like He was here on the earth. He’ll be in glory. There won’t be any question who’s in charge.