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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1294

Just As I Am
Part One

July 23, 2017

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1294 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, Praise God! I’ll tell you, it’s humbling and thanks-producing to hear that God is working because, so often, we are so conscious of what we are in ourselves. And it’s easy for the Devil to take that and say, “Who are you?” But, even Paul, and I’m certainly no Paul, said that he was with the Corinthian believers, “in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.” (NIV). That’s hard to—hard for us to fathom when we read his words but, the truth is, for every one of us, it’s not us but it’s Christ in us. But, at the same time, we need to never forget what we are.

And I’ve had thoughts come to me—come back to me and I didn’t know if they were for writing or preaching or both. But, I’m gonna use something that I have used before. In fact, this scripture was read, it’s in Luke chapter 11, or referred to, I should say, in the men’s meeting this morning, in a different context. And let’s just see where the Lord goes with this because there’s so many different truths, so many different implications.

But the Lord is teaching His disciples to pray and we have the familiar, what we call the Lord’s Prayer, really, the disciple’s prayer. And then He encourages His people with the idea that they need to be persistent in prayer. They need to…He gives examples of one who is in a great place of need, there’s no other source, and it’s an inconvenient time. He goes to his friend at midnight and it just persists until he gets what he wants.

And the Lord’s trying to encourage us. Any of you in a long, drawn-out situation, in a battle and you need encouragement from the Lord? Well, it’s in His word. And many times battles are not—are not won with formula prayers that just…quickie little things. They’re real battles, and we need to learn how to stand.

But anyway, He goes on, and after the familiar scripture about asking and seeking and knocking He uses this example. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish…” this is verse 11, “...will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

And the…it’s an awesome truth, and I’m not so focused on that side of it as I am that little parenthesis the Lord throws in there. Because I can just hear…you know, I would love to know what the disciples thought when Jesus threw in that little phrase, “…though you are evil.” I can just hear some modern smart aleck say, whoa, freeze, rewind. What did you just call me?

Because that flies in the face of everything that we are naturally, and yet here the Lord is — He’s not throwing this in just to get in a ‘dig.’ I don’t believe there’s any ulterior motive. He’s not…it’s not just incidental to what He’s saying. But yet, it’s really presented as a matter of fact. This is simply the situation. We need to…and He’s letting them know what they really are from God’s point of view.

But I’ll tell you what, I am convinced, particularly where you’ve got people that grow up in church, and I’m not thinking of any one or two or whatever, but in a congregation this size, this truth is needed. This truth is needed wherever it goes.

( congregational amens ).

You know, I preached a message one time that we actually named, Though You Are Evil. And I had somebody write me an e-mail and actually commend the congregation for putting up with it.

( laughter ).

‘Cause truthfully, there’s a lot of places, you try to preach this, man, would they be mad. How dare you? And yet, here’s Jesus. He’s not talking to the publicans and sinners of His day. The murderers, the thieves. He’s talking to hand-picked people that He had called to follow Him, to learn from Him and through whom, ultimately, He was going to send the gospel to the ends of the earth. And He said, “…though you are evil.”

Folks, we need to see ourselves as God sees us if we’re gonna have a foundation for knowing Him and walking in truth. Because, otherwise, we’re gonna be doing exactly what some of these letters reflected. We’re gonna walk in delusion, trusting in ourselves and imagining, vainly, that we are good people. We are not good people who simply need God…who makes some mistakes and need God to fill in the cracks in our goodness. We don’t have any goodness. We’re nothing but corruption if we see as God sees.

And you know, we often go back to the beginning and we look to the garden and we see the choice that was made there to pursue godhood independently of God. Through disobedience and the death, the corruption that entered the human race, it took one generation for there to be a murder and for the murderer to lie to God’s face—to the Lord’s face. I mean, you see, immediately what has entered in the human family.

And you follow that on down and there’s a very small, godly line of people who begin to actually serve the Lord and that gets smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller until you come to Noah’s day, 1600-1700 years later, whatever it was, and God is looking down and He doesn’t find anything except Noah. Everybody’s, “…heart was only evil…” what?

( congregational response ).

“…Continually.” (KJV). This is not just on some evil punctuated with some good. This is total alienation from God. Everything about man was utterly obnoxious. Just…what’s the word? Anyway, God hated it! Totally contrary to His nature. Violence and hatred and every sort of evil in the earth. And, “…his heart…” it says, “…was filled with pain.” (NIV).

And we see how He destroyed everything except for He preserved for a new beginning. But a lot of times we don’t go back to what happened right after that and so, I want to pick it up in Genesis chapter 8, I believe it is. Because now they have come through the flood and God is talking to Noah and his family and they have come out. The animals are now being dispersed. Noah builds an altar and offers a sacrifice.

And verse 21 of chapter 8. It says, “The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” So, the flood did not solve man’s problem, did it? It was a major interruption. It was a major picture of how God thinks about us and sees the need that we have. I say, thinks about us, because we know that He loves us but, I’ll tell you, the love of God doesn’t mean very much. The Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t mean very much until we come to realize the depth of what we are in ourselves.

( congregational amens ).

And so, this was God’s testimony. Now, thank God, He promises that as long as the earth endures, so there is a time limit, isn’t there? As long as the earth endures, I’m never again going to destroy everybody like I did. That’s as long as the earth endures. Because we know Jesus said, it’s like it was in the days of Noah so is it gonna be when I come. Everybody’s gonna be doing his own thing and unaware until I come up, I show up and everybody’s gonna…and then judgement’s gonna fall, fire’s gonna fall. You put the scriptures together.

And this world has no idea what it’s facing or why. The blindness that is gripping our world…you know, the testimony of that prisoner. I thought that was quite insightful. The things they were sent to prison for we celebrate today. And our society has just absolutely drunk up evil like water. And we just…we justify it, we do everything in the world.

But my concern, I guess, is that people will never embrace the gospel, they’ll never really get the gospel until they come to a place where there is a genuine recognition of what they are. But you think about the reaction to the knowledge of what you are. This is the problem. Jesus said that, “Light has come into the world.”

And of course, He’s talking about Himself and the fact that God lived in Him to such a degree that when people interacted with Jesus, they weren’t just interacting with a flesh and blood man, they were confronting God! The very atmosphere around Him was such that they were coming in contact with God. Well, what was the reaction of most of them? You read in John 3. “Light has come into the world, but men loved…”

( congregational response ).

“…Darkness…because their deeds were evil.” They wouldn’t come into the light because their deeds would be exposed. And so, the number one reaction of people in this world to the knowledge…to where God would begin to come and to show them what they really are, at heart, is to run, to hide, to deny.

You read Romans 1 and you see how men fell into the condition that we saw in Noah’s day and are seeing again in our day, really, have seen throughout history, in varying degrees. You see the reaction of people to the light, is they will suppress it.

( congregational amens ),

They will deny it. They will do everything in their power to suppress it. You know, I’ve quoted before, the two basic tenets of atheism. I don’t remember where this originated and I wouldn’t just apply this to every situation but, very often what you see is someone who has two beliefs. One is: there is no God. Number two: I hate Him! See, they know. They know. But there is a deliberate suppression of what they know and the motivation behind it is I want to do what I want to do. I want to be my own god. I will not accept your testimony about what I am. I don’t believe it, I won’t accept it.

And that’s where that professor had been until God showed him mercy! Oh, the spirit in which he was telling this was not one of…it was one of repentance and one of shame. But to bring people to that place of shame…because there’s all kinds of other ways that people react to this truth. Of course, some of it is just simple denial. I’m not as bad as all that.

And I’ve told this so many times, I guess, but it really does fit here. And that’s that story I heard Ravi Zacharias tell about the two wicked brothers. Some of you probably haven’t heard it so I’ll tell it again. But anyway, two very, very wicked men lived in a small town and they just were guilty of everything under the sun. They were cruel. They were ruthless. They were immoral. They trampled on everybody. They just…somehow they’d gotten away with it. Everybody knew what they were but they were just…they’d gotten away with it.

One of them died. The other one decided he wanted to have a proper funeral for his deceased brother, so he went to a local preacher and offered him money to come and preach the guy’s funeral. He said, I have one condition. Somewhere in that funeral you have got to call my brother a saint. Do you think you can do that? And so he thought for a minute and said, yes, I believe I can.

So they went ahead and of course it came time for the eulogy, such as it was, and he stood up and he said something like, friends, we all know what kind of a man this was. He was a wicked, no-good man, he had no compassion for anybody, he was ruthless in business, he was immoral in every possible way, this is a wicked, wicked man. But — compared to his brother, he was a saint.

( laughter ).

See, no matter how many times you hear it, it’s still—it still makes the point, doesn’t it? You remember that business about God setting the standard? Well, the problem is, we set standards that are very self-serving. We want to see ourselves in a good light, think well of ourselves and so we surround ourselves with people, perhaps, that will feed that. And we do everything we can to set ourselves in a way that we think, well, I’m better than they are, I’m better than they are, I’m better than…I’m good. I’m one of the good ones.

And it’s almost like God’s gonna grade on the curve. You know, if you get above a certain percentile then you get to go to heaven. Do you think God’s gonna let one atom of sin into His kingdom? What happens to milk if you leave it out in the sun for a while? Yeah, it spoils, doesn’t it? Why? There’s organisms that get in there and they corrupt it.

So, what do you do about that? Do you clean it up? Fix it? It’s all you can do is throw it away. I’ll tell you, if you let the organism of sin into God’s kingdom, it will pollute everything! Look what it’s done to the human race. And here we are. We’re seeing it come out and God is…more and more there are people who have just basically said no to God. I will not listen, I will do my own thing and so God has just…He’s not gonna force people. He’s letting them have what they want.

But the denial that I’m not as bad as God says I am…I’ll tell you, this is God’s testimony. “Every inclination of his heart…” God said, way back then, “…is evil from childhood.” “Every inclination….” That’s how God sees the human race. Are you human? Yeah. This applies to you and applies to me. My God! If we don’t reckon with this truth head-on, face it, what are we reckoning on? It’s just fantasy. It’s fantasy.

And see, you’ve got those who would just deny it. Or you’ve got those who will…if they get to the point where they can’t deny it, they’ll excuse it. Well, I’m justified because…usually it’s somebody else that did something wrong and they’re just reacting to that and if it weren’t for them, they’d be fine. Oh yeah? I’ve said, so many times, if somebody gets your goat, it just simply proves you have one. You can’t blame somebody else for what’s wrong with us.

But you know, I think the most deadly response that people have to God’s conviction of what they are is that they turn to religion. I don’t think there’s anything more deadly. Because people will embrace some form of religion. I mean, even if it’s called Christianity, even if they sing about the cross and the blood, there’s people in churches in America…there’s undoubtedly some people right here, I don’t have anybody in mind, but I’m just saying in a crowd this big…there’s a reason this is on my heart this morning, on God’s heart.

( congregational amens ).

‘Cause I’d frankly argued with Him about it. But I believe there’s a burden on God’s heart that people face the truth. Because if they don’t face the truth, there’s no salvation! And people will turn to every sort of religious activity, profession, you name it, they will do—they will conform and act and just be busy about the so-called things of God, and nothing ever touch the real center of power and control in their heart. They never bring that to the cross.

Do you know there’s a significance to what happened with Jesus? I mean, it’s a silly question. But how it happened and the order in which things happened. Do you know, when we come to Christ, when we really are born of His Spirit, we really come to Him, according to the gospel, there is an absolute identification with Him and what happened, to the point where what happened to Him happens to us.

There’s a lot of people who would love to have His life and His blessing upon their lives. They’d love the resurrection part but they’re not so much interested in the cross. Yeah, as long as He takes care of all my boo-boos let’s just blow right on by that. Do you know what that cross means? Jesus did not simply die in my place, although that’s true, He died as my representative.

Do you understand the difference? Because now, I am invested. I am coming to Him. There’s an acknowledgment in my heart, I deserve what He got! There’s a sense of shame of what I am, to the point where I absolutely resign. God, that’s what I deserve! He is going there in my place but in His going, I am going! Oh, God, do I need deliverance! How can anybody cry out to God for deliverance unless they know the depth of the need that they are in?