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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1311

A Time to Wake Up
Part One

November 19, 2017

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1311 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Turn, if you will, to Romans, chapter 13, as kind of a starting point this morning. Interesting…last week was one of those days when I woke up Sunday morning not knowing what the service was gonna be about. This time I’ve had thoughts going around my head for several days. So, it’s kind of up to the Lord how He wants to do things but that’s all right, as long as He does it.

But, you know, we’re coming into a passage here where Paul has been giving us the ‘therefore’ that follows the reality of the Gospel and what God has done for us. And you know, back in 12, he talks about giving ourselves to the Lord and being changed, being not conformed and made like this world.

And then he begins to kind of elaborate on specifics as to the kind of people that God wants us to be, with relationship to each other, with relationships to people outside, with relationships to governments and authorities and taxes and he covers the gamut of stuff…the kind of people He wants His people to be in the world.

But anyway, verse 11 is kind of where I want to jump off, because he says to do all these things, it says, “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (NIV).

And so, Paul’s…I guess the central theme in this is wake up and recognize the time—understand the time that we’re living in. Now what’s interesting is, we are inclined to think of this in terms of the end of the age. But here was Paul two thousand years ago saying the same thing. So, in one sense, this is always true—it’s always been true. We live in a world that hates God. Every inclination of man’s nature is against God from the time that he’s born.

You know, we read that in several places. We see it following the flood, the great judgment of God upon the world of the wickedness of that day, but it wasn’t long before it was very obvious, what the nature of man and the results that were going to be in the world. And so we, as God’s people, those who truly know Him, are called to live in a godless world, and it’s a world that is forever pressing in upon our spirits.

Anybody know what I’m talking about? Particularly lately, it just seems like it’s more and more the case that we have to stand up for the Lord and keep a spirit that’s free, a spirit that’s free to worship God and have a relationship with Him and with each other, but do it in a context that is absolutely, utterly opposed to that. Everything in the world pulls at us.

And you know, we shouldn’t be the least bit surprised about the conditions. It’s exactly what the Lord has warned about, isn’t it? Not only do we know that the general condition of this world is one of darkness, but that the Lord is going to, as time goes along, He is going to be moving…I mean, allowing man to do what he wants to do. There’s going to be a climax of evil. There is going to be a time when the world will be completely taken over, the world system, by Satan and everybody who doesn’t know the Lord is going to be absolutely, clearly sealed in darkness.

I mean, that’s a scary proposition! And it’s awfully easy for us to rock along in our lives and lose kind of the focus of what’s going on in the world. What are we here for? Where are we going? What is the Lord looking for from us? And it’s evident, from numerous places in the scriptures, that one of the dangers is that God’s people will experience slumber and sleep and kind of a carelessness and a drifting. And it’s something we really need to take seriously!

And you know, I’ve had to look at my own heart in some things and just say, wait a minute, what’s going on here? I’ve just sort of…I’m rocking along, I’m giving into what I want and this, that and the other, and the sense of the immediacy of what the Lord is doing is not there like it has been at other times. And this is a danger, is it not?

( congregational response ).

Anybody else feel what I’m feeling?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah! We are being pulled! And it’s a dangerous time! And I wonder if we realize the danger. You know, Jesus warned us, in Matthew 24. Let’s just look at two or three scriptures that kind of confirm what I’m talking about, particularly with respect to the end of the age. It’s not just that things are gonna rock along and all of a sudden Jesus is gonna show up: there’s going to be a true climax of history.

And Jesus warned His disciples who had asked about the end of the age. Some of what Jesus said, I believe, applied to the end of the Jewish age when Jerusalem was destroyed, but it certainly applies to the end, in verse 9, for example. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death….”

It’s a little hard for us to kind of wrap our minds around in the United States, but that’s the way…that’s true in much of the world today. Do you think we’re going to be exempt from having to possibly lay down our lives for the Lord and to take it that seriously? This is not kind of a fun, little religious game that people play. I mean, there are so many places in the world, right now in America, particularly, where it’s really an atmosphere of kind of religious entertainment that keeps the people’s interest! God, we need to have something that comes from the heart!

( congregational amens ).

We need to have something that is real, that’s built on the presence of Christ in our lives and an awareness of why we’re here and what’s going on! So anyway, it says, “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Now here’s a key scripture here. It says, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” You see, there’s something that just happens in the very atmosphere of the world if we don’t live with an awareness of what’s going on. And if we just rock along and live our lives as though, well, God’s in charge, I’m just in His hands, everything’s gonna be fine, He’s gonna take care of everything, man, that’s a dangerous place to be!

And I just sense…I sense a need. I believe the Lord senses a need in our own midst. You know, when I first came to this church, a long time ago…man, how the years do go by. It was right on the heels of that tremendous visitation we experienced in the ‘60s when there was a tremendous spirit of revelation, of the end of the age, the conditions that were going to come.

And not only that, there was a presence of God that you could about cut with a knife when you’d come into a service. I mean, those of you who were here, you remember it. You come in, there was an electric atmosphere! And we lived with a sense that, man, we were at the end of the age. Man, don’t even go on vacation. Don’t plan for the future. I mean, it was almost that feeling among the people. We just need to huddle together because Jesus is about to come and this is all winding up and it’s all dark and…I believe the revelations themselves were true. I think I’ve said this a number of times. But I think we, in our zeal, took…misunderstood some of the timescale. But let me tell you, the things that God showed us, they’re happening.

( congregational amens ).

And if you’re anywhere near my age group, or you lived back in the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, you know that this is not the same country that we were brought up in. It is absolutely being transformed from what it was to Sodom! I mean there is a spirit of wickedness that is being allowed to prevail in this land. We’re seeing the unfolding of what God warned us was happening.

He warned us that Satan was loosed like never before and it was very specific. This was the last loosing before the end of all things. There wasn’t just one or two little things, there was so much that was all tied in together that made it plain. That’s what the Lord wanted us to understand. We have been seeing the unfolding of that ever since.

And if you’re paying attention at all to the news, there’s not a day that goes by but what there’s some incredible story about some person who goes absolutely berserk, from the world’s point of view, and does something totally unthinkable! And you know, we know what it is. The Lord showed us, showed visions of spirits entering people and they begin to act crazy. I mean, we understand—we need to understand! This is not a time to just rock along and go to sleep. This is a time that we need to be alert and awake!

But there are…let me look at a couple of other scriptures that we’re familiar with, 1st Thessalonians, chapter 5, I believe it is. This is specifically about the end of the age. And Paul was encouraging the people. He’d just been talking about the fact that the Lord is coming and don’t worry about those that have gone on before, we’re all gonna meet together in the air. We’re gonna be transformed. I think that comes from 1st Corinthians, but, anyway, he ends chapter 4 with, “Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

But now he’s looking at the bigger picture 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.”

Now, the day of the Lord is an expression you find throughout the Old Testament prophets and it’s basically, this is the time when God’s gonna show up and judge and straighten things out. He allows wickedness to go so far, but then the day of the Lord is coming and man…you remember how Joel cried out, sound an alarm! “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill…the day of the LORD is coming.” And there’s not gonna be anything left when His army goes through. It’s gonna be lights out for the world.

And here is the condition. “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.” I mean, that’s the reality of the world we’re living in and people are going along, figuring nothing like that’s gonna happen, we’re just gonna go rocking along in our lives and, yeah, we got to solve the problems of this world, it’s true, but all that stuff, that’s just passé, that’s just religious dogma.

I’ll tell you, it’s the truth. And it is a truth that we need to live in the light of. And that’s why he follows it up with this. He says, “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.”

Now, you can almost take that and say, well, we’re fine then. There’s no need to do any exhorting, that’s just a simple fact, we’re of the day, we’re not gonna be surprised and all of that. But why does he follow it up by saying this? “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep….” Why would he say something like that if there weren’t a danger, if this were not something that we had to live with an alertness to the possibility of?

“…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…” That is, whether we’re still living at the time or we have passed on by way of death, “…we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

So, on and on you get this same sense. I was just thinking about some of the things…why does this danger exist? Why is it so easy? One of the reasons, certainly, is the fact that there is a delay…a seeming delay. So far as we’re concerned, this is what happened in this church, so many years ago. It was like, oh my God, five years, at the outside, Jesus is coming, it’s all gonna be over.

And of course, obviously, that wasn’t what the Lord said. He wasn’t trying to tell us that. But, there was that sense in some. And I’ll tell you, is it not true there were people who were here, who were basically thinking that and, I’d better be here because I’m scared? There were people whose motivation was self-interest and it wasn’t really the kind of a faith that perseveres because when it didn’t happen and years went on and the generations passed and…you know, well, I guess that wasn’t real.

You know, the Lord allows it to be that way to show where people’s hearts really are? If you get somebody all excited about something that might happen, you can draw them in on very natural grounds. But I’ll tell you, when the Lord comes, it’s going to seem like the Devil has won. I’ve brought this point out a few times over the years, but it’s something the Lord made really…I don’t know, He really impressed upon me a number of years.

I’m not gonna go into all the where’s and why-fores of this…whys and wherefores, I guess it is. But anyway, I’m convinced there is a loosing of Satan, that is pictured in Revelation chapter 20, that I believe is what is unfolding at this time. And what is it that Satan does, when he is free to do whatever he wants? It talks about him going out to the nations of the world and he’s gathering them together.

Is not globalism one of the big ‘isms’ that’s sort of…we’re marching toward it with…you know, here and there there’s a little bit of the brakes put on but that is the driving spirit of our age. Tear down nations. Build a world order. Bring it all under one head. There’s an inspiration behind that. This is symbolic language, undoubtedly, in Revelation 20, but it talks about him compassing about the camp of the saints. What’s that about? What do you think he wants to do with anybody who names the name of Christ and still serves Him?

( congregational response ).

He wants to destroy and obliterate any kind of opposition, anything to do with Christ, he’s going to oppose it, he’s going to do his best to just blot it out! And there he is pictured…he’s compassed about the camp of the saints. He’s not talking about us being in some camp in a geographical place, but he’s talking about a sense of spiritual…we’re surrounded. It’s gonna look like Satan has won.

We’re gonna have to have the real thing! Anybody that stands in that day is gonna have to be in a living relationship with Jesus Christ, the head of the Church. He has promised to be with us to the end of the age! It’s not something we need to be afraid of, but we sure need to be aware of it.

( congregational amens ).

And thank God for the way it turns out! I’m like Jimmy Robbins, I’ve read the last chapter, it turns out real good! Because right at the time when it looks like he’s ready to close the deal and obliterate Christ from the earth, that’s when the Lord is gonna come and destroy his kingdom. And then it’s gonna be the judgment and everything is gonna be completely set right. Thank God!

But oh, as we come closer and closer to that time, I want to be among those who are walking in the light, who are doing what Paul said, that we’re living…there’s an awareness. But that sense of delay is one of those deals where…you think about what Peter said in 2nd Peter chapter 3. Wasn’t he talking about how the world would begin to mock? Where is this coming we’ve heard about? Since the foundation of the world, everything continues like it always has. This is nonsense. And it talks about the sense that He’s delaying.

But, the Lord says He’s not delaying. He’s “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (KJV). There’s a sense of mercy, there’s a sense of purpose. God is working out something that is absolutely sovereign and is going to result in eternal glory for all those that He brings in at that time. But there is that sense of delay that causes us to begin to sort of relax, if we’re not careful.

You know, we’ve often used the scriptures from Malachi. You remember how the Israelites were judged. They’d fallen into terrible sin and rebellion, in spite of all the words of the prophets and God judged them and carried them off to Babylon. And after 70 years they began to have a restoration. And under people like Nehemiah and Ezra and Zerubbabel, the king, and some prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, they rebuilt the wall, they rebuilt the city, they rebuilt the Temple and there was a restoration of the covenant.

You remember how they were gathering and listening to the words of the Law and the Word went forth, ‘the joy of the Lord is your strength, this is a time to rejoice’? There was a restoration of the covenant. And so, all the things that they had been taught to do under Moses Law, they started doing.

Well, Malachi was written about a generation, roughly, later. And what had been a worship of God, what had been something that was real and restored to them, suddenly became a duty. It became something that they were just kind of doing and grumbling about it under their breath. Why are we doing all this? This is ridiculous. Time to have a sacrifice, okay…well, where is that scrawny runt of a lamb that we didn’t want anyway? Let’s carry him to the Temple and offer him.

And the Lord was warning them about the condition of their hearts. The situation was this, everybody was doing the right stuff still. If you had come in from the outside you would have said, here’s a group of people who love God, who are serving Him. But God was able to look down in the heart and see that something had changed down in here.

And you know, there is a pull that comes from our nature, that comes from the world, where a love for God, an awareness…living with the kind of awareness that the Lord is talking about in these scriptures, it begins to drift, it begins to become a habit, doesn’t it?

You know, let’s talk about just gathering together. And this isn’t just about hey, why don’t people come more? That’s a symptom of something. As to whether people…you know, why do you come? See, that makes a difference. And it’s far too easy to come because it’s 10:00 on Sunday morning and that’s what we do. Or, that’s what we do in our family. Or, it becomes something that’s just a routine, a habit.

And once it begins to be like that and you think of it, I’ve got to do that, rather than, praise God, I want to be with God’s people. I need to be in a place where I can be fed. I want to fellowship. I want something that goes on in the Spirit. I’m in tune with that. That’s why I want to be there.\

It becomes a duty and a habit. I guess I jumped ahead to the word duty. God doesn’t want His people to come out of some…like it’s some kind of a law. He doesn’t want us doing anything that’s part of our spiritual life like it’s just a law and something that…by God, you better do this. Because, pretty soon, once you get to that place of habit and duty and all of a sudden it’s not very far before you’re at the same place the folks in Malachi were. It’s grumbling on the inside and before you know it, it’s looking for excuses. It becomes easy to find a reason to stay away or to not be engaged.

And reading the Bible, praying, seeking God, it’s a personal thing as well. It’s not just gathering with the saints when they gather, but it involves all of these things. God is concerned that His people not fall down this trail where all of a sudden it’s an onerous duty and a burden.

I mean, literally, the people in their hearts in Malachi, got to the point where they said, this is a burden. What good is it…what are we getting out of this? I mean, can’t you kind of see why so many religious groups are into the place where they’ve got to do something in the natural to entertain people and to engage them and give them an experience that makes them feel good?

Folks, we’re gonna have a whole lot of times when, going forward, when we’re gonna have to go against what our nature wants. We’re gonna have to have a faith that sees beyond how we’re feeling and what’s going on in our lives to where we are so tuned into Him that we’re gonna stand. We’re gonna do something, even in those times when He allows things just to rock along. The fire’s not flying, but He’s just as real. He’s just as real in the hearts of His people and He wants to be close to His people. I feel a need in my own heart, do you?