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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1315

Start Fresh
Part One

December 17, 2017

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1315 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: You know, it seems like a theme that I believe the Lord has been emphasizing with all of us, for some time now, is expressed in that verse that Ben gave out a while back, where the Lord said, “…what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (NIV). And the simplicity of what God wants from His people is walking with Him every day.

And we know from the words of Jesus that there is a place where we come to Him, we lay our burdens at His feet and we walk with Him. We take His yoke upon us, which is a way of walking with Him, isn’t it? And we learn from Him and what do we find?

( congregational response ).

Rest for our souls! You know, we sing that song — we’ve mentioned this before — about there’s a place in God where rest is complete. And I think it’s easy for us to think of that as being some high, seemingly unattainable place in God where all of our troubles are behind us, everything is smooth sailing from there on and we just have this glorious, peaceful, ‘tropical beach’ kind of peace.

( congregational amens ).

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

But, it’s not that kind of a peace. There’s a different kind of a peace the Lord has for us, that’s just as real, but is not dependent on earthly circumstances. And you know, that’s what He longs to bring us into.

And another thing I’ve seen the Lord emphasize recently, and I’m glad it’s a truth, but I want to explore some aspects of it this morning, that some of which we haven’t perhaps focused on, and that’s the idea that God gives us the reality, rather than just an idea — that God gives us a fresh start every single day.

The Gospel is not about carrying baggage, it’s about literally, being able to walk with God without the baggage of the past. And you know, there are two applications to that. One is to people that don’t know God, and need to come to that place of a relationship with Him.

I’m thankful that…you remember when Jesus was speaking with Nicodemus? Nicodemus was a very religious ruler, very self-righteous. I mean, he’d been taught a religious system, that was full of self-righteousness. You do this, God accepts you.

But he recognized something in Jesus that was different and so…but he didn’t want to really come out in the daytime. He snuck in there and had a private meeting with Jesus and that’s when Jesus told him, “You must be born again.” You know, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (KJV).

There’s no way to be right with God based upon human energy. We just weren’t born with what we need. It takes another kind of birth. There’s a spiritual birth, a miraculous birth that comes from Heaven and it’s out of that life that we can begin to relate and have a relationship with God.

And, he didn’t understand that, at the time. We have every reason to believe that later on he certainly did. He was one, if you will remember, who actually helped Joseph, I believe, of Arimathea, was it, who helped bury the body of Jesus. So, he was still a disciple and we have every reason to believe that he continued to do that.

But, in that conversation, that’s where the most famous verse, perhaps, in the Bible, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

But the next verse is the one that I kind of wanted to get to because it really focuses on what God is like in this present age, in the sense of reaching for people. He says, I didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through me, might be saved.

And you know, there’s going to come a day, and I don’t think it’s very far off, when God is gonna come in judgment. It’s going to be very emphatic, final, it’ll be very real, it’ll be worse than you could possibly imagine, because sin is a terrible thing, it’s a terrible blot on God’s creation, and God’s not going to put up with it. It’s going to be done away with.

But from the Cross until that point, there is a hand of mercy that is open to human beings, where we are able to come to God, in spite of whatever past we may have. You know, I remember some of my visits to overseas countries. Ben and I got to minister one time in a women’s prison in the Philippines and I had been there one time before with Brother Jimmy. And I remember the message the Lord gave me and it was called “A Fresh Start.” And it was a very simple one where I looked at different lives that Jesus interacted with.

You know, He was very hard on the religious people who thought they were righteous, but when it came to sinners who were just simply caught in the power of sin, there was a heart of compassion. There was never a moment’s compromise with their sin. It wasn’t a lovey-dovey, you’re okay, I love you just like you are kind of thing. This was, I know what’s got a hold of your life and I love you and I see past that and I have the power to change that.

And so, the Lord took Him…the Father took Him, early in His ministry, through Samaria, of all places. I mean, there was a history there with Israel. Samaritans were half-breed. They had a sort of a mixed religion where they looked back to the Law of Moses but it was nowhere near what the Jews considered to be a pure version of their religion. And so, they absolutely had nothing to do with these dirty Samaritans.

In fact, even though Samaria was in between Judea and Galilee, if you look at the map. Here’s Judea and here’s Samaria and here’s Galilee. If a Jew was going from Jerusalem to Galilee, he would cross the Jordan, go up here and go back across, rather than go through Samaria. That’s what they thought of them.

But Jesus went right through because God had an appointment that day, didn’t He? He didn’t look at people like we look at them, particularly like religious people look at people. Thank God! Aren’t you glad?

( congregational response ).

And so, they got there to this small village and the disciples went off to get some food and Jesus is waiting there by a well and there’s a woman who comes out. Well, in the first place, it wasn’t the right time for a woman to come out. But there was a reason why she had to come out by herself. This lady had a history. I mean, she was not particularly well thought of among her own people. They knew this woman was somebody who just had a lust spirit, to put it plainly. She had gone from one man to another and to another and to another and so I’m sure the ladies didn’t like her much, felt like she was a threat to them in some way.

But anyway, there she was and Jesus initiated a conversation. Now, that alone was something a Jew would never do, a man would never do to a woman, a Jew would never do to a Samaritan. I mean, He crossed every social boundary. And He asked, may I have a drink of water? And she said, what’s going on here? Why do you, a Jew, ask of me, a woman of Samaria, for a drink of water? Jews have nothing to do with us.

And He said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (NIV). And I’m not gonna rehearse the whole conversation, but…even if I thought I could remember it all. But anyway, that initiated a conversation with her in which she began to ask about…well, I’m gonna go ahead and turn over there. It’s John chapter 4. You know where it’s at. Too many good things in here.

Jesus said, verse 13, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” So He’s not talking about H2O. This is a spiritual reality.

Oh, I pray that everyone who’s here, and everyone who hears this, knows what this is about, because there is something that God longs to pour into the spirit of a human being that will give life! This water represents, literally, life! Praise God!

So she, of course, says, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” She didn’t quite get it. So Jesus had a way, though, of getting to the real issue in her life, didn’t He? “He told her, Go, call your husband and come back.” Well, He knew what was going on, but this was a simple way to draw her out and help to focus on the need in her life.

She says, “I have no husband…Jesus said to her, You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Well, it’s pretty obvious He knew things that He couldn’t have known naturally. And so, she recognized, this guy’s a prophet. “Our fathers worshipped….” Now she’s got a religious question. How many times do we have religious questions that deflect what’s really going on…what the real need is in our hearts? Oh, we think, if I can get…now I get my questions answered. Good Lord! Let’s get our hearts right. Leave the questions in God’s hands. He knows how to answer what we need.

You know, there’s a childlikeness that God seeks from every one of us. And I feel my need of it more as I go. You know, when you’re young, you’re full of human energy, human imagination. And we live in a fantasy world so much of the time. And God wants to bring us back to that simple, childlike faith and trust in our heavenly Father. And there are a lot of questions. If you want to go through this Book, I’ve got lots of questions I don’t have the answers to. But you know, I know Somebody who does.

( congregational amens ).

And I trust Him completely. He knows exactly what to do, and when to do it, and why, and all the questions that man can raise up. You know, men raise questions to put God at a distance and try to make Him bow down to their little minds? It’s a device of unbelief. And I’ll tell you, a child doesn’t need to know everything. They just need to know who they’re putting their trust in.
And I’ll tell you, He has a way of cutting through all the garbage.

So anyway, He does answer her question. He says, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when…” Well the question is, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. Jesus declared, believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” There’s not a matter of geography.

“You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

The woman said, I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared, I who speak to you am he.” I mean, what an amazing meeting this was with this woman. Everything that you could have imagined, from a human standpoint, was against it.

But here’s the…and this is not just Jesus, the man. This is God! This is the God of the universe, who was so interested in this poor woman who’s just…society would have dismissed her, no hope for somebody like that. But God saw a need and He reached out to meet that need. And God gave that woman a fresh start in life! I mean, they stayed there two, three days and a whole bunch of the people became believers in who He was.

And you know, what an amazing example of a Lord that could tell the truth, could cause that woman to face the absolute truth about herself, and yet find love and acceptance in God. Praise God! Oh, how we shrink from facing what we are! But there’s no reason to do it. But that lady got a fresh start in life, didn’t she?

And the classic example, I guess, would be in John, chapter 8. We know that story. I’ll just kind of hit the highlights. But the Jews were looking for some way to discredit Jesus. That’s what their real motive was. And so, they found this woman who was taken in the act of adultery! And according to their law, she’s supposed to be stoned! So now they’re gonna come and embarrass Jesus and throw this woman down in front of Him and say, here’s this woman taken in the very act of adultery! There’s no question. This is not rumor. We were there. We saw it. Our law said…Moses told us to stone such a one! Well, what do you say?

You know, I’ve read I don’t know how many different testimonies of people, around the world, who have opened their Bible for the first time to this passage and had God just reveal Himself to them, reveal His true character through the answer. I remember reading one testimony, I believe it happened to be a Muslim, who was reading through the New Testament and came to this passage and saw the challenge that was there and said, what can He possibly answer? They’ve got Him now. How could He possibly answer this? And when he read down and saw how Jesus answered, it just did something on the inside. What a revelation it is of God. Praise God!

And His answer was, after a little bit of delay and writing on the ground, he said, let him that’s without sin cast the first stone. And then He went back to writing on the ground and God began to work, didn’t He? And God began to convict them. You can’t do it. You might as well leave. You can’t throw…I mean, you’re not without sin. How can you throw a stone at this woman? Good lesson in that for us, isn’t there?

( congregational amens).

I’ll tell you, when there’s somebody who’s caught in something, we have no right to look down our noses at people. We need to have a spirit of gentleness and humility. It’s not a matter of compromising with what’s wrong, but it’s a matter of recognizing that we’re made of the same stuff.

We need…we stand by grace and mercy alone. There’s not one righteous thing that anybody here has ever done that is the reason that God accepts you. Oh, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Praise God! And that gives me a hope because if my hope rested, in any measure, upon anything I have ever done or was, turn the lights out, go home, we’re all without hope. But thank God, Jesus didn’t come to condemn, did He?

So anyway, they all left. He looks up and says, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? No one, sir….” And then she’s probably wondering what in the world is going on here. “Then neither do I condemn you…go now and leave your life of sin.” I mean, you talk about somebody who had…who was just caught dead to rights. She knew what the law was. She knew that there was absolutely no hope and here’s the Son of God looking at her and giving her a fresh start in life. “Go…leave your life of sin.” Praise God!

What about somebody like Saul, the Jew? I mean, you talk about somebody who had every reason to have no hope before God. In the name of God he was killing the followers of Jesus Christ as relentlessly as he could! I mean, he was committing murder! He was committing everything you could think of!

Until one day, he encountered Jesus Christ in a supernatural confrontation. And Jesus said, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? Can you imagine what was going on, on the inside? The turmoil, the anguish, the sense of, oh, my God! What’s going on here?

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Oh, my! But Jesus told him to go to Damascus, I believe it was, and wait and somebody will come and tell you what you’re supposed to do. Can you imagine what he felt like for three days? Just sitting there, all of this going over and over in his mind, and he’s thinking about people he had pulled out of their homes, and carried them off, and seen them stoned, and seen them killed, and seen them thrown in prison, and looked at their faces…and thought, oh, my God, what’s He gonna do to me? How could I possibly have any ground to have any hope?

And then the Lord’s messenger comes, not with a message of condemnation, not to destroy him, but to welcome him in as a brother, to see his sins, everything blotted out. That’s the only ground by which anybody could possibly have a hope to be able to get up in the morning and go on, ‘cause there’s nobody who occupies that place where we haven’t sinned before a holy God.

Oh, thank God! What a message we have to preach! It doesn’t matter what your past is, doesn’t matter what there is in it, God has the power to blot it out as if it never happened and give you a completely fresh start. What an awesome truth. Praise the Lord!

I don’t know how long this will go this morning, but I just…there’s a thought…when it comes to believers…several times recently the Lord has emphasized what Paul said in Philippians chapter 3 about I want to know God and all of His…the emphasis that he made in his life and what his life was about. But the simple fact that he said, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself…” This is Philippians 3. “…Yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward….”

And I’ve seen the Lord emphasize to me, and I believe in our midst, that this ‘forgetting what is behind’ is a message to us that we have the privilege, every single morning when we get up, to start fresh, regardless of what has gone on before.

But you know, as I was thinking about this, it would be easy to get the wrong idea about forgetting what is behind. Because the only basis upon which we can truly forget what is behind is if there is some kind of a resolution of what is behind. God is not saying, okay, you really messed up, you did this wrong, you did that wrong, but just forget it.

Understand what I’m saying? He’s not talking about burying something that needs to be brought out into the light, from which we need to be set free. There’s an awful lot of Christians who are trying to walk with God and there’s stuff that just keeps hanging on and it keeps bubbling to the surface.

You know, we understand the principle when it comes to the human body. If you’ve got an infection that’s set in, you don’t solve the problem by putting a bandage over it and pretending it isn’t there, right? How many of you have ever done that and it didn’t work very well? Yeah! That infection just doesn’t go away, it hangs around and it gets worse, and it has a way of coming out, and you’re conscious of it, and you’re trying to pretend, hey, I’m just doing great. But there it is.

But you know, there are so many things in our lives, as believers, that I believe with all my heart, God longs to set us free from because they’re a lot like that infection. There’s something there that has happened in our past and it’s still buried there and it’s unresolved. It could be a lot of things. You know, the one obvious thing is forgiveness, isn’t it?