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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1302

Overcoming the Beast
Part One

September 17, 2017

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1302 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: In the last week, the subject had to do with how God works in our lives to prepare us for what He wants, individually. It wasn’t just, hey, trials have a purpose in some vague sense, but how God uses them, individually, very personally, to prepare individual Christians for their place in His kingdom.

And our place with respect to that is, of course, to stand fast in our faith, keep looking to Him and trusting Him through the process, and knowing that the process itself develops the quality of perseverance, which is never giving up, and that quality of perseverance is what takes us to the final goal. There is certainly a standing and a yielding and all of that to it.

But you know, as I kind of got into this week, the Lord had several ways of reminding me that that’s only part of the picture, that if we’re going to be the kind of people God wants, there’s more to it. And you can see it, certainly, in the writings of the New Testament.

And, Paul’s exhortations to Timothy, for example…many cases he’s writing to younger men and he’s writing out of a lot of experience of recognizing that he has been through things himself. He’s had to discover things about himself that weren’t fun.

And I have a feeling that’s where a lot of us are. We’re having to reckon on the truth of what God is saving us from and…seeing ourselves, in the big picture, as objects of God’s mercy. You know, Paul got to the place, the self-righteous Pharisee, got to the place where he could write with a straight face, this is something that’s true, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” (NIV).

So, instead of seeing himself as somebody who was pretty good but had a few boo-boos along the way, he saw himself as the very worst of sinners. And of course, it put him in a position of being able to look anybody in the eye, no matter what they were caught in, and say, there’s hope for you because look what God did for me and I’m worse than you are!

( congregational amens ).

Now, that doesn’t come naturally. We love to think of ourselves in ways that enhance our own vision of who we are. We like to measure ourselves against somebody else and if we see somebody else whose life is dissolute, caught in some obvious sin, and they’re…it’s kind of out there for everybody to see, we look down on them as though they’re somehow lesser than we are. And the truth of the matter is every single one of us has exactly the same nature. It simply expresses itself in different ways.

And, if we’re going to serve God, we’re gonna have to reckon honestly with the reality that we live in bodies that hate God. They have a nature, on the inside, that hates God, hates what is right, and absolutely will stand in our way, if we let it.

And, a lot of people, as I think I’ve said on a number of occasions, think of salvation as simply God blotting out the guilt of our sins and giving us a ticket to Heaven. But there’s so much more to what He has done for us and what He has purposed for us than simply blotting out our sins and saying, okay, go live your life and I’ll take you to Heaven one day. He is doing a work of changing, of transforming, of giving us a different life.

( congregational amens ).

But while we live here, His purpose in giving us that other life is that we may learn to live by it and not by the old one. And so, his instructions to Timothy are full of warnings about…you need to overcome. And there’s a scripture…I don’t know why, somehow it just absolutely has left me. But I can tell you what it says. But it’s a part of what he wrote to Timothy, when he talks about the fact that in a house…somebody can tell me where this is at…yeah, I found it, thank you…2nd Timothy chapter 2. This is one of those things I had not marked. It’s between two other things I had marked, so, praise God!

But anyway, he has just finished talking about how, “The Lord knows those who are His….” But then he says in verse, was it 19? “…And, everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” And here’s the principle. “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

And it’s on the heels of that, he says, Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” And, there are other instructions to him. But this recurring message to Timothy is, don’t just…basically, the underlying thing is, don’t just assume that because God saved you and He’s called you to do a work that you’re equipped to do that. You have a part to play and if you don’t deal honestly with sin, and the principle of sin that would operate in your body, you’re gonna be hijacked. You’re gonna be rendered useless to the master.

And there’s a scripture where Paul talks about having come to that realization himself and I think it’s in, what is it, 1st Corinthians chapter 9? I think I’ve got the right scripture. Yes! The end of chapter 9 in 1st Corinthians tells how Paul looked at his own ministry and his own life.

He says in verse 24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

So, being saved, being genuinely even born again, is an awesome thing! It’s wonderful! But if we’re gonna actually be useful to God in the world, there’s going to have to be…there’s gonna have to be some overcoming, isn’t there? There’s gonna have to be some reckoning, honestly, with sin. And I feel like…I feel like that’s something that God is bringing many of us to, in a way that perhaps we haven’t seen before. Am I wrong? Am I the only one?

( congregational response ).

I was thinking, the other day, of a scripture, and I’ll just refer to it. You can read it later, but it goes all the way back to the beginning of Genesis, in chapter 4. And in Genesis 4, you read the account of Cain and Abel, two of Adam and Eve’s children. And it talks about the fact that Cain did this and Abel did that.

But they brought offerings to the Lord. And obviously, there was a difference between them. The Lord doesn’t spell it all out for us and tell you all the ins and outs, but God recognized Abel’s sacrifice and did not receive Cain’s and Cain was mad! And the Lord reached out to him and said, why are you angry? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? But He says if not, sin crouches at the door. That’s an interesting…and, “…it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

That’s an interesting picture how the Lord portrays sin. You know, we think of sin as ‘sins,’ acts that God doesn’t approve of. We think it’s like breaking rules. But God pictures sin here, not as a bunch of rules, but as a beast, as a powerful, angry, destructive beast that’s ready to devour you.

And I’ll tell you, I think there’s a place for really coming face to face with that. How many of you remember that Paul did? You know, Paul’s concept of being right with God, at one time, was entirely based upon rule keeping. It was practicing a religion and practicing its rituals, practicing its rules, refraining from this, doing that and all of that.

And boy, if I’ve got all of that, like it’s supposed to be, man, am I righteous before God…and do I really despise so-and-so over there. And God had to take him all the way from that place down to where he was actually able to say, and it wasn’t just something he said, it was something he believed from the depths of his soul, I am the worst of sinners!

What was it that accomplished that in him? We’ve talked about it many times. He came to a place, when he met the Lord, where his zeal just kicked in full bore. Man, he was gonna serve God. He was gonna give it everything he had! And so, he just went for it and man, I’m gonna obey God’s laws and everything is gonna be wonderful and the only thing is, he absolutely and utterly failed.

And I know there are people here who know exactly what he was feeling. Because he was…the whole idea of law is based upon one simple thing. It’s God demanding something of you that you in your strength rise up and do in order to acquire His favor. And an awful lot of people have that idea about God. He’s just the Rule Maker in the sky.

And Paul still had to really learn something about why it was he needed a Savior to begin with. And he came all the way down to where he recognized, I want to do right, why can’t I? What’s going on here? I don’t get this. He says, if I do what I don’t want to do, then it’s no longer me but it’s sin that dwells in me!

He ran into that beast! He recognized there’s a beast in this body that lives here. As long as I’m in it, I’m gonna be dealing with it. It’s there. It’s real. And so he cried out, oh God, what a “...wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (KJV). There was a real confrontation.

And my purpose at this point is certainly, not to exalt sin and try to make us feel like, oh God, there’s no hope. That’s not the point at all. But if we’re gonna deal honestly with life and with serving God, we’re gonna have to reckon on the reality…that we’re up against something we have no answer for, in ourselves.

( congregational amens ).

And you know, the Lord allowed me to experience something the other morning. And, it doesn’t matter what it was about, but I woke up and I just felt this presence and it certainly was a spirit. But it didn’t feel…in one sense, I wasn’t thinking, this is a spirit. It was like, this is that beast. This is sin. And it was projecting onto me this feeling of, I’ve got you. I’m more powerful than you. You cannot beat me. You cannot…I rule over you. Your situation is hopeless. It’s futile. No matter what you do, I’m gonna win. I’ve got the upper hand.

Well, of course, thank God, that’s a lie! But I won’t ask you for a show of hands. How many of you ever really realize what you’re up against? You’ve had some run-ins with that beast when you suddenly felt the terror of sin’s power. I’ll tell you one thing it does. We were singing about Jesus and what He…and in taking upon Himself our sin, man it wasn’t just the guilt of a bunch of acts of sin, He became sin! That beast just…I don’t know how to even put it into words, the magnitude of what He did for us, to face that beast down, and to conquer it on our behalf! My God! What an awesome, amazing thing!

But over and over again you will see Paul exhorting Timothy and Titus and Christian believers, and you get this feeling, don’t you dare take sin lightly! Don’t you dare just blow through life as though all you have to do is show up and just live your life and sin is not a problem anymore. If we’re going to be God’s people in an hour of darkness, we’re gonna have to reckon on the reality of what it is that we fight.

Paul didn’t say, just show up and minister. God’s called you. That’s all you have to do. He said, “Fight the good fight of faith.” And I don’t want to be one…and this is part of my fight…I had a big fight to get up here today. Thank God for everything that was shared! I appreciate it! God put that into your heart, Matt, and others, to get up and share. Because we need…there’s an honesty we need!

And I believe that we do need to be reaching out. We need to be fighting back. We don’t just need to show up and expect, hey, God’s salvation is so great, He’s just going to take care of it. There is a part we play. There is, absolutely, a part that we play. Timothy was not just told, as I say, to show up but you have to fight. “Fight the good fight of the faith.” (NIV).

And you know, the question, obviously, how do you do that? And you know, that’s one that I’ve had to wrestle with. Thank God that He takes us through these things, though! We cannot be His servants and not go through the things that help us to understand what it’s all about.

So, if you’re going through a battle today with self, if you’re going through a battle with your nature that wants to rise up and take control, God is allowing that because He wants you to understand the magnitude of salvation and He wants to turn our eyes to the solution, to the greatness of the salvation that He has given us so that we don’t yield to that thing, we don’t back down when the Devil roars in our face.

And I praise God! I mean, I praise God for the battle. I praise God for times when feelings aren’t there. Because if it’s not…I mean, to say it’s by faith…praise God, we live by faith and if it’s all feelings, that’s kind of not very honest either. There are times we’re gonna have to rise up and say, God’s Word is true!

Well, just like I had to do this morning. I had to say, Lord, okay. You’ve put this in my heart. I can’t do anything about it. It’s really not what I wanted to preach, because it’s so real to me, it’s so personal. Who am I to stand up and talk about these things? And the Lord went the extra mile this morning, didn’t He?

( congregational response ).

But I believe what He told me is true this week. He kept reminding me, you’re not the only one. You’re not the only one. God’s people are being tried in so many ways. But I’ll tell you, if you want to live a defeated life with sin in control, in one way or another, you just get up in the morning and waltz through your life. Maybe say, hi Lord, how are You doing? See You later, so to speak. But you just simply live your life, in your own strength, doing what you want to do and I guarantee sin will beat you every single time.

And if you’re not even aware of that, you really are in a bad place. If you can live your life and you’re not even aware that there is something that is wanting to rise up in you that is against God, that is wanting to take control of your life, if it can…I’ll tell you, that’s a bad place to be. I’m thankful! I’m thankful for a sensitivity. I’m thankful for an awareness.

You know, I read something online. It doesn’t matter all the details. But it was somebody who was talking about being caught in a lifestyle, I guess I’ll put it that way. And it probably isn’t what you’re thinking. But anyway, they were caught by something. And one of the things that was expressed in this was a sense of terror at a loss of control.

How many of you have gone down the path of a weakness in your life and you’ve reached the point where you don’t have control anymore? You just kind of go right along and you know, hey, this is not what it’s supposed to be, but you just…somehow you can’t stop. That’s a scary feeling. But I’ll tell you what, if we did not have an answer to what the Bible teaches us on this subject and what we experience in our lives, if we didn’t have an answer, we might as well turn the lights out and go home. There’s no religion you can practice that’ll deal with this.

( congregational amens ).

But I’ll tell you, there’s an answer that God has already set in motion. He gave laws, yes. But He didn’t give them to save us. He gave laws to restrain evil among the Israelites in the Old Testament. It did a limited job but at least they knew what was right and what was wrong in His eyes.

But He also gave it to demonstrate to every single one of us that we are sinners and we need something beyond ourselves. We need to learn the same lesson that Paul learned. And if God is taking you through something like that in your life right now, do not be discouraged by it! Don’t you give up! Don’t you look at yourself in the mirror and say, there’s no hope and give in to that beast that wants to look you in the eye and say, I’ve got the upper hand, there’s nothing you can do! And what Ron says…it doesn’t matter whether you’re up here or down here, we fight the same battles.

( congregational amens ).

And God has arranged it that way. It’s right that every single one of us, who serve God, have to fight the same battles. And so, don’t you say, I’m different than so-and-so. I can never amount to anything. God has a place for you in His kingdom but He wants every one of us to face that beast and to know how to defeat it. Praise God!

And so, the answer is, why do you do that? Well, let’s just look at a couple of passages of scripture. I don’t know which one to go to first. Galatians 5 is certainly one of them that we’ve used many times. And Paul is specifically dealing with the question of law and so that’s not especially what I’m worried about. We’ve already talked about that. But the Galatian believers had come to Christ and somebody had come in behind Paul and tried to impose the law on them as though you need Christ and the law. And he says, you can’t do that, you can’t mix them.

But anyway, coming down to verse 13, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” So, that right there tells me that we have a part to play, that the course of our Christian life is not just something where we lay back and God performs operations on us: we have a part, we have a response, we have a responsibility. In the course of our life are we going to be victorious or are we not? Every one of us can do the wrong thing, can yield to the wrong thing.

And I mean, do you know the letters that Paul wrote were not written to unbelievers? Every one was written to believers, warning about things. And I’ll tell you, as I say, just coming to Christ doesn’t eliminate all this. Why else would Paul say, now you’re saints, you’ve been called, you’ve come to Christ, so stop lying to each other, stop…you know, stop having sexual immorality, stop all these things.

Obviously, there’s no instant transformation that happens, in a practical sense, in people’s lives. You’ve got to teach and exhort and help people to understand what the Christian life is about and how to get there. You don’t get there by rules, you get there by taking in the new life and living by it.

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Now, that’s written to Christians.

( congregational amens ).

It’s a warning, isn’t it? There are a lot of people sitting in churches who would look down their noses at somebody who’s caught in sin and lying in the gutter somewhere. And from God’s point of view, they might be in worse shape because they are shameless gossips, they’re people who run people down with their mouths, they have all of these other kinds of self-righteous sins of the spirit, and they’ve got a strong hold and it defines their character. And yet there they are, pointing the finger down here. I’ll tell you what.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”