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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1253

Are You a Christian?

October 9, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1253 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I don’t care if you were raised in Sunday School or if you were raised in the gutter. There’s no difference. The problem is not just a list of things that we do. The problem is what we are. Paul’s conclusion in Romans 3 about our condition is ‘all’ have sinned. So now he’s looking back and saying, there’s not a person…I don’t care if you’re Jewish, Gentile, whatever, everybody has sinned!

Everybody has done things that are totally contrary to God and His nature and His purpose and everything. We just violated it. We’ve run in our own way. We’ve latched onto things that He hates. We love things He hates and we hate things He loves. We’ve got a record that we cannot erase.

But see, He doesn’t stop there, does He? He said, all have sinned and fall short. So now he brings it up into the present. See, that’s where the Gospel…what so many people call the gospel, stops short. They want to erase the guilt but they don’t change anything. That’s not the Gospel! The Gospel is not God erasing your record and then saying, go live your life, I’ve taken care of everything! That leads to people serving their flesh and justifying it and saying, it’s okay, Jesus died! He paid my penalty, I’m good! He came to save us from our sins, not in them!

( congregational amens ).

Obviously, we’re not perfect and we need to grow and all of that. I’m not trying to jump in the other ditch and go to an extreme. But oh, I’ll tell you, the problem that makes us sinners to begin with is not simply that we just do bad stuff, and some of us are better than others. How did you get to be a sinner? You were born into Adam’s family. That’s all it takes! Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” (KJV). I don’t care how religious you make that flesh, it’s still flesh!

That’s what’s wrong with most of what is called Christianity in our day! It’s people who have never been born of God’s Spirit! All they’ve got is Adam’s life in them. But by God, they believe in Jesus in some fashion. And they have no idea how it really is.

You think about what Jesus said in Matthew 7, two gates, two ways. And he describes a wide gate and a narrow gate. The wide one, He says, many go that way. You see, in the context He’s talking about false prophets. He’s talking about people who profess to be giving them a message, here is a way that leads to life at the end. This is the way to God’s Kingdom. And so they go in that way and they’ve got a lot of company, and they’re merrily going along and they’re busy! They’re working for God! They’re doing all kinds of stuff! And they get to the end, and He says, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

( congregational response )

“I never knew you.” Think about that. It’s not saying, I knew you once but then you messed up. No, I never knew you. And in the context He’s talking about the lordship of Jesus Christ! Because they adopted a way of life that had the outward veneer of Jesus Christ being the one who’s lived for and honored, but inside nothing had changed! Self was still on the throne!

They were doing what they wanted to do for their purposes! Lord, Lord, have we not done many wonderful works in your name? Depart from me, I never knew you. Thank God, there’s another way. It’s a narrow way. And what you can’t do is take your own life in there with you. You’re going to have to leave it behind at the cross.

( congregational response ).

I’ll tell you, it takes conviction, it takes a divine work to get any human being to do that. We do not turn loose of this old Adamic nature without a fight. It’s enough of a battle when you know the Lord. But I mean, coming to the Lord, it’s not this easy thing that people make it out to be sometimes. It’s not that it’s complicated…you understand what I’m saying. But, it’s a war! And you’re right, that word ‘surrender’ is at the heart of it.

But, somehow, God got right through into the very heart of these people. And He calls it, not just conviction, but ‘deep conviction’! That means God got all the way down to the bottom issues of every life! He didn’t just get so far and say, all right, that’s good enough, we’ll get to the other later. He got down to the issue that mattered the most.

You notice what follows that passage about the two gates and the two ways. Anybody remember? Jesus starts talking about the foundation. He talked about building on the right foundation. See, in the context He’s talking about those who build upon the foundation of a rock. That rock is Christ. To get to Christ, I’ve got to go through everything. God has got to be able to shine the light on the thing that is the most important in my life—the thing that drives me, the thing that rules me. And He’s got to shine His light and say, ‘that’ is the thing that is keeping you from the Kingdom of God!

What about the rich young ruler? Prime example…what must I do? He comes to Jesus and the Lord gives him the commandments and all that. He said, I’ve kept them from my youth. There’s one thing you lack. And I can see the smile come on his face. Okay, okay, what’s that? He said, “…Sell everything you have and give to the poor…then come, follow me.” (NIV).

And that’s not a one-size-fits-all law. What that was, was God putting His finger on the man’s god. You talk about being saved from an idol…in this case that was an idol. That was something that was more important to him than the Kingdom of God. And what happened? He made a choice, didn’t he? He was sad about it. But, he said, I want both. But when it comes down to it, if I have to choose, I’m going this way.

That man’s been dead 2,000 years. Do you think he’s just a bit sorry now for the choice he made? Oh my God! There’s gonna be a lot of people that when they pass from this life it’s suddenly gonna become clear. Finally, they’ll understand but it’ll be too late. The power of the Gospel is to awaken people, to enlighten them, to put the finger of divine light and conviction upon the thing that rules our hearts, and to bring us to a place of repentance.

And that is a willingness to turn from that thing, to give it to God, to say, Lord, I am yours without condition. I belong to you now. It’s not my life, plus Jesus. It’s not me just accepting Jesus and participating in religious activities and all of that, and basically living my life the way I want to live it. Oh, people are so good at that. And they’re so good at keeping it within boundaries so they feel okay. Oh, God…I know this hasn’t come to me because there’s no reason.

( congregational response ).

God is concerned about people. You have no idea what’s going on in this world and the cosmic battle that is raging around us. You see its effects in our society. You see the way things are going. One of the things that has absolutely obscured these issues in our society is the relative freedom that we have had! It makes it easy to be the kind of a Christian, quote-unquote, that I’ve described here! To be on the broad way and to get to the end and be shocked not to be received!

You listened to the preacher! You did what you knew to do! You were busy! But you never came face-to-face with Jesus Christ and surrendered to Him. You might have even known that there was another way. But you thought those people were fanatics and didn’t take it seriously. After all, look at so many…they can’t all be wrong. I’m afraid they are, so many.

And I’ll tell you, it’s God’s heart. Sometimes you sit there and say, God why do you let things go on? Then, I think about the words through the prophets. “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord!” (KJV). It’s like, don’t you know what that means? It’s a day of darkness and destruction. I’d rather say, Lord, hold off as long as you can.

( congregational amens ).

God, don’t let anybody go without hearing and facing that choice, and making a choice.

( congregational amens ).

God, open hearts! God, break though! I can see a day coming when it’s gonna mean something, like it did in the early days. It’s gonna mean something to be a Christian. There are places in the Middle East right now where…let’s say a young man, young woman, either one. Let’s say, let’s make it a young woman. She hears about Jesus and over a period of time she comes to faith. And she doesn’t run around and shout it on the street, but it becomes known. You know what happens in so many cases?

( congregational response ).

More than that. Dad will hire his brothers to waylay and murder her. I’m not making that up. That’s what happens in many cases. Sometimes the Lord spares them for a reason, for a testimony. Other times, that’s the end of it! If that’s what it costs to follow Jesus, do you have the kind of conviction that would enable you to say, I’m with Jesus! I don’t care, come what may! I know who He is! I know why I need Him! From the depth of my soul, I know why I need Him.

Have you ever felt the terror of what you are without Him? Not everybody’s experience is exactly the same. But I’ve heard so many testimonies of people who’ve suddenly come to the conviction and they think about what would happen if I died. If I died tonight, today, where would I be? And they suddenly realize, I don’t have what I need! I’m not what I should be!

And I have no claim upon Him. How can I…I can’t come and say, God, I’m a good person, help me. I have one possible claim upon God…His mercy—His promise to show mercy to those who humble themselves and come with a penitence, with a sense of, oh God, I desperately need You. I want You. Take my heart, remake it. Give me a brand new life. Give me a heart. Oh, praise God, that’s the Gospel!

And the reality is, God answered that cry for these people. He brought them to that kind of deep, deep conviction! They saw themselves in God’s mirror and they didn’t like what they saw! And they realized, without Him I’m helpless—I’m helpless! I have no future! But Jesus has opened a way. God has revealed, not His wrath against me, but His love, and I embrace it. Oh, I come upon that ground alone.

“Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling.” That’s my hope. That’s what You did for me. You gave me everything that I need. I surrender to it. That’s the line drawn in the sand, folks. And I don’t want it ever to be said that somebody came to this place and didn’t hear the truth.

( congregational amens ).

I don’t want to ever get to the place where we sugar-coat things and try to get people in here so we can have a bigger crowd and a bigger program. God, if this line in the sand means there are five people, but those five people really know the Lord, then you’ve got something. You don’t have a thing if you’ve just got a hall full of people singing Christian songs and pretending to be Christians!

Oh I’ll tell you what, and God’s not saying all this because He’s angry. I don’t want to convey that. But there’s a hurt in His heart at the thought that somebody could hear and be around His truth, and just continue to go on their way and be blind and not realize, not wake up. Because you need a Savior! You need Jesus.

You think about the conviction that would enable them not to just to serve Him but to be filled with joy! Do you think this is gonna fill you with dread? Oh, look at all I gave up. What a horrible duty this is. No! When they saw it through God’s eyes, it was deliverance! They saw, I was controlled by these idols!

Now these were real idols. These were literal, carved images that they believed were gods. There were really demons behind them. The stone wasn’t anything, but it represented demonic power. And I’ve been in places where there are these things.

I told some of the kids the other night at that sleepover. I’ve been in back-water villages in India where they literally have beautiful colored flags waving in the breeze at one end of the village. And Brother Kumar said, to these people those are gods. And all kinds of other images and other types of things…they’re representations of demonic power. That’s what it is.

But do you think America, just because we don’t bow down to images of wood and stone, that we don’t have idols? Paul told believers in one place to forsake covetousness, which is idolatry…because your affections, your attention, your everything gets wrapped in something…your work, your business, your car, your house, your life, you name it. Trying to make your way through this world becomes the idol that drives you.

Oh I’ll tell you what, we need to be willing to let go and let God just have His way. God can make people successful in this world if it suits His purpose. But other times it means not having such a good time here. But these people, they suffered—severe suffering it says! “In spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (NIV).

Do you have any idea what this is about? Now were these just empty words, or do you understand what kind of a reality can so possess your soul that you can be having a terrible time on the outside, if God so permits it, and be filled with joy!

The same thing that enabled Paul and Silas in the situation they were, in the prison at midnight…instead of bemoaning and trying to plot how they were going to get those guys who did this illegal thing, they were sitting there praising God and praying! And everybody heard it and God shook the place. But do you understand what it is that enables people to do that? Folks, you and I can’t do that naturally. I don’t care how hard you try. Peter found that out.

( congregational amens ).

We don’t have what it takes. And I’ll tell you, if one day they come to you and you’ve never really bowed the knee and been born of God’s Spirit, and they point a gun to your head and say, are you going to serve Jesus or not? You will not have the strength—you will not have the strength, unless Jesus is literally in here. And I’m not suggesting any of that would be just a walk in the park. It would be a battle. But I’ll tell you, it’s a battle we can win because He is greater who is in us, than he that is in the world!

( congregational amens ).

But boy, when the name of ‘Christian’ was first tagged upon the followers of Jesus, when they were first tagged with that, it meant something! It meant they were willing to die and many of them did! There were people who were in business and they had friends and they did things together, and those friends turned their backs upon them! Probably drove some of them out of business, I don’t know.

That certainly happened in Jerusalem, to the point where Christians from other parts of the world were literally sending offerings to Jerusalem because of the poor saints there. Their poverty was not because they were lazy! Their poverty was because of persecution and rejection from their fellow countrymen. But in spite of that, they would not give in.

James, the brother of Jesus, one of the ones who was sort of mocking his own brother during His life, didn’t believe in Him! But after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to James. James became the leader of the Jerusalem church and wrote the book that we have in the Bible.

One day the religious authorities thought they would take care of business! Let’s end this thing once and for all! We’re gonna put James up on a high place in the temple and we’re gonna have him tell the people this is a bunch of nonsense, it’s a lie, I don’t believe in Jesus anymore! Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way. He got up there and he gave a ringing testimony of who Jesus was. He wasn’t going to give in.

So, they threw him off the temple. And I don’t remember the details, whether they stoned him or whatever it was, but they killed him right on the spot in the temple courtyard. But do you have that kind of conviction in your heart? Only God can put it there. And it only comes to a heart that hears the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is Good News in that though we are sinners, though we are helpless, though we are unworthy, though there’s nothing we can bring to Him, to offer Him, but ourselves. He loves us enough to receive us on that ground.

All I can say is, today if you hear his voice, don’t see it as Him trying to bring you into a place of misery, but trying to pull you out of darkness into His marvelous light, to pull you out of a kingdom that will destroy you forever, and to give you a hope that will last forever. That’s what captured these people. That’s what kept them!

After Paul’s short visit he could write back and say the things that he did. Everybody knows about your faith! Were these exceptional people? No, they were people just like us. But they gave themselves to Him and He did such an amazing supernatural work that they were able to stand and rejoice in the face of suffering! Nothing could deter them because Jesus was real!

Is He real to you? Or is this just a little bit of religion on the side? So, in the light of this, are you a Christian? And I’m gonna leave that between your conscience and God. But if the answer of your heart is ‘no,’ if this produces fear in your heart, you need to cry out to Him and say, oh God, do what it takes. I want to be Yours! God, conquer me. Take my life. He will, and you’ll never be the same, and you’ll never be sorry.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! Are you a Christian?