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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1316

Start Fresh

December 24, 2017

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1316 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: There are some really serious things that Jesus had to say about forgiveness…let’s just look over here at one. And I believe it’s in Matthew 18, if I remember correctly. Let me get over here and I’ll find it. Yes, Matthew 18, beginning in 21.

This is the occasion when, “…Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” (NIV). He thought he was being very spiritual. Seven times, that’s the number of perfection. That must be it. After that, then I can pound him.

( laughter ).

Then I can do whatever I want. I’m free to get even with him. “Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” In other words, you don’t stop.

And it’s very evident from the parable He tells after this that that’s the case. He says, “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents…” — this is a whole bunch of money — “…Was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“The servant fell on his knees before him. Be patient with me, he begged, and I will pay back everything. The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.” Now, this is, like we said before, this is like lunch money.

“He grabbed him and began to choke him. Pay back what you owe me! he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, Be patient with me and I will pay you back. But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant, he said, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” In anger his master tuned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.”

Now, this is a sobering verse. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Let’s let that sink in. How many people are there who have this kind of buried stuff in their spirits because of something that’s happened in the past? And there it is.

And there are a whole lot of consequences of that. There’s a whole lot of stuff you’re going through in your life, that if you could really trace it back, it traces back to this spirit that has made you bitter and unforgiving. I’m not gonna try to explain all the theology of that. I’m just gonna give you what Jesus said. That’s how serious He takes it.

Think of what the Lord has done for us. If we ever get a sense of what God has done for us and the forgiveness that He has given to us and we open our hearts to that, I believe God can give us the kind of compassion that will enable us to root out these things, to get stuff from the past that’s buried in our spirits, that keeps us not really able to walk in that place where we’re just walking with God, and there’s a peace, and there’s an unbroken relationship. It’s broken because we’re harboring something here.

You know, I’ll go back to something, to an illustration that I have used, an incident that…I believe it illustrates something that really bears on this subject. And it goes back to what Corrie ten Boom experienced in World War II. And without going through all the details, you remember that she and her family were Dutch. They worked to help shield Jews from the Nazis until they were caught.

And she and her sister wound up in a horrific Nazi women’s prison where the guards were free to be just as brutal as they wanted to be. People died. They were just in horrific suffering. As her sister said when they got there, she looked around and saw what was going on and said, “Corrie, we are in hell.”

And she lived that and watched the things that happened. But the Lord brought her through, miraculously delivered her and gave her a sense of what God can bring His people through.

What a testimony and what an encouragement that should be to us. No matter what we go through in this world, there’s a God who doesn’t abandon us to all of that. Even if we’re allowed to go through it for His purposes, He’s with His people! He’s always gonna be with those who put their trust in Him!

And how He used that to break down barriers between those who were in prison and to minister to people who had never even had anything to do with one another! Praise God! God’s got a different purpose in mind than ours. We just want to get through this world comfortably. He’s concerned with eternity.

And we’re gonna see some things in our day…in the days to come. Life is not gonna be what it has been. I don’t know when. I’m not a prophet as I’ve said these things many times. But what I’m getting to is the story that many of you remember is how she went around ministering and trying to encourage people.

After the war, she would hold meetings and tell about her experiences to encourage believers. God will always be with you. And one meeting, there was a man who came up to her afterwards, and she recognized him as having been one of the most sadistic guards that they had had to endure. And he shared with her how God had touched his heart and brought him to the feet of the Savior. And he said, I’ve come to ask you to forgive me.

Well, this was an example of something that every one of us experiences in some area or another. Because her reaction was, I can’t! How many of you have ever been there?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, there’s been something where you know what you’re supposed to do, you know what you ought to do, but you just can’t. That’s where she was. I mean, her mind…you can imagine what’s going through her mind. Her mind is going back and visualizing something that wasn’t all that long ago. This wicked man, just smiling in his wickedness, inflicting pain upon screaming, helpless, emaciated women, sometimes killing them with no conscience! And now, he is standing there saying, please forgive me. And the revulsion of it is just washing over her. And she just can’t.

But somehow, that simple thought came to her…well, I can extend my hand. Well, what is the lesson in that? What did that represent…her doing this? This was the extent of her faith, but it was faith. God wasn’t looking for the kind of faith that moves mountains! He was looking for faith!

And I tell you, if we will simply exercise what faith we have, God will do the rest! That’s all He’s wanting. And all He was looking for from Corrie in that circumstance was to do this. And as soon as she started to do that, the love of God flowed out through her, and she had no trouble reaching out to this man as a brother.

I mean, isn’t the Kingdom of God and the Gospel awesome! Can you imagine one day those two will be standing side by side as brother and sister in the Kingdom of God, both saved by the same grace and be able to go forward into eternity all because of what Jesus did.

But you know what? God just took something out of her heart and gave her a freedom that she had not even known that she didn’t have. I wonder how many of us are in that place in one way or another, where we’re not as free as we let on? Sometimes, we’re trying to walk with God, and there’s just something there, something buried in our spirits.

There’s not a one of us that doesn’t struggle with this particular issue. It’s just one of many, where stuff has happened. Somebody’s done you wrong as the country singers like to put it. And you just…and the devil is just gonna put a magnifying glass and stir up those feelings and put all the focus on what they did and how bad they are and how you’re justified in your feelings. Do you know that’s disobedience?

( congregational response ).

That is not according to the nature of God. That’s not according to His salvation. Folks, if we are refusing to forgive anything, are we not sinning against Him? Now, I know you can’t in some cases. But I tell you, that lesson from Corrie, if we will do what we can do, God will come in and will make a way where we can be set free from that. We can have a freedom down in here.

And that barrier that we just couldn’t quite understand what it was, why we didn’t feel close to God, that barrier will be gone. How many of you believe God wants to bring us to that kind of a place?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. I mean, that’s just one issue. There are so many other issues that are just sin. You know, sin is not something we just walk away from and say, well, I did that and just…there is a way that God has given for us to be cleansed.

What do we do? If we confess our sins…what does confession mean? Is it just, well, I did it. No. There is a place where we come to an agreement with God about our sin. Now, imagine you’re standing in a courtroom, and there’s the prosecutor telling what you did.

And instead of coming here making a defense and trying to say, well, it isn’t as bad as that…whatever defense you come up with…you stand over here, and say, yes. You do like David. I have no defense. Lord, it’s exactly what You’re saying. And I want to be set free from this, Lord. I don’t want to go that way. There’s a willingness. There’s a desire, not to nurture that, not to justify it, not to find a way to have your sin and God, too.

You want to know why you don’t feel close to God if you’re harboring something in your heart? If there’s something that you know about, and you keep pushing it down, and trying to pretty it up, and justify it, and say, well, it’s all taken care of at the cross. God knows I’m weak. The Devil has so many tricks in this area. But if we’re gonna be able to forget the past, we’re gonna have to be willing to bring it to the cross on God’s terms. Bring it right out into the light, and say this is what it is.

Read Psalm 51 if you want to know how it works. God gave His servant a spirit of repentance. And boy, what He did was terrible. There were consequences from it, but God did forgive him. And I tell you, God will cleanse and forgive His children, too. But David said on another occasion, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (KJV). He’s talking about prayer. Regard means, this is…I’m clinging to it. It’s mine. I’m not giving this up.

I tell you what, do we want a relationship with God, or do we want our sin? There’s a place where we can be free. But God is not saving people ‘in’ their sins. He’s saving us ‘from’ our sins…regardless of what it is.

I’ll tell you, there’s a condition that affects people who really are unbelievers at heart. You think of Judas. Now, Jesus knew from the beginning that he was an unbeliever, but he was there for the purpose of God. But he was right there, performing miracles, one of the twelve. The others had no clue what he was really like.

But there was a sin to which he clung his whole life, and it was greed. He loved money. And so, the devil had a perfect hold, a perfect way to get a hold of his heart. When the time came, they offered him money to betray Jesus, and he did.

You know, the Israelites went out in the wilderness, didn’t they? They all, apparently, believed, but there was unbelief that was in here. I’ll tell you, I want my heart to be open before the Lord. I want to, “…walk in the light, as he is in the light.” And as we do that, there’s a fellowship with one another, because we have the same spirt. We have the same heart. We want to go the same direction. We want to go away from the things that displease God, and walk with Him and have His blessing.

And what does the scripture say? “…And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us….” You see, it’s not talking about perfection, but it is talking about a heart that wants to go the right way.

I’ll tell you, here’s another scripture that bears on the ability to start out fresh in the morning, where Paul said, don’t let, “…the sun go down upon your wrath.” Don’t take your anger to bed with you. Don’t take your, whatever it is, don’t come to the end of a day with something that’s unresolved with you and God, where there’s something between you and Him, or something between you and somebody else. Get it right. You want to have a good night’s sleep? You want to be able to get up in the morning and say good morning, Lord, instead of saying, good Lord, it’s morning.

( laughter ).

You want to be able to get up and say, Lord, I get to walk with you another day. There’s nothing between You and me. I know there’s so much stuff that You have forgiven me and I’ve turned my heart away from that and I want to walk with You. Oh, God, cleanse me. Help me. This is all out of order, but that’s all right. I just pray that God will just bring this, make this real for hearts, what it means to be able to forget what is behind and press forward.

Oh God, do we bring our baggage! And God wants all of the infectious places in our spirts to be brought out into the light, and for us to turn our backs on them, whether it’s your love of your own will and your own way. I tell you, if that love is there, it will prevail if you don’t bring it to the cross, and say, not my will but His be done. Oh, we are relentless in wanting our way. But when we look at it in the light of the cross and the light of eternity, it makes no sense at all.

But I thought of the man, I think it’s in Mark chapter 9. And he had brought…I believe he had brought his little child. I guess I better look it up, too. He brought his little child to the disciples, and they couldn’t seem to do anything about it. And so, he looks…he finds out about the situation.

And so, verse 20, “So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, How long has he been like this? From childhood, he answered. It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us. If you can? said Jesus. Everything is possible for him who believes. Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (NIV).

And so Jesus said well, you go work on it a while. When you get your faith up to this proper level, then we’ll talk. What did He do? He healed him. You see the principle there of this, of using what faith we have?

These places in our lives where we get stuck, where we’ve got stuff that really we can’t start fresh every day like we’re supposed to, because that’s still there, God will bring them to our attention in His time and in His way, but when He does, every one of us is gonna find areas where we’re gonna have to say, God, I just don’t have it in me to deal with this. I don’t have the strength. I don’t have the will…I just don’t have it. But Lord, I just bring it to You. God, do whatever it takes to help me. Lord, I give You my inability, but I’m reaching out to You.

Do you know that’s all God’s looking for, is what we’re able to do to reach towards Him in faith? Do you know that faith is His gift to us, and it comes not from our ability but comes from His life? Sometimes we get in a place where we wonder, is there a way forward? Am I just stuck? Is this it? Is this the best there is? Is this all there is in Christ?

And I believe, with all my heart, God longs to say, no it isn’t. This business of reaching forth for all the riches that I have laid up in Christ Jesus, it’s not just for people like Paul. And think of who Paul was, by the way. Go back to who he was and what God did for him. God did that for him. He can do that for every single one of us, to bring us to such a revelation to where we can understand that I can leave whatever’s happened in the past, I can leave it there.

But it’s not that I’m gonna leave it there unresolved. I’m gonna bring it to the cross. I’m gonna be honest. I’m gonna bring it into the light. And by God’s grace, I’m gonna agree with God about it and then leave it at the foot of the cross and walk away. You know, when we do it that way, we can leave the past in the past. I feel better just talking about it.

( laughter ).

You know, the Lord longs for us to have that. Do you think He gets any pleasure out of watching His children in prison? None at all. There’s such a compassion that He has for every one of you. If we could only understand how He feels and what He’s done for us, we would just run from our own rebellion, from our own unbelief, from our own sin, and say, oh God, do what it takes. Energize my will. Energize my faith. Do just…God, I need You.

This is salvation. It’s not a self-help program. God wants to set His people free. If you’re in bondage, there’s a reason. You’re not there because that’s what God loves and wants to do. Consequences are not punishment. But I’ll tell you, we make choices to cling to the things that arise out of our old nature, that arise from self, whether it be bitterness, or unforgiveness, or lust, or envy, or gossip, or a whole lot of things. When we make the choice to cling to these and justify them, we are cutting ourselves off.

And there are consequences spiritually. There’s an open door for Satan’s influence. There’s an open door to so many bad things that God longs to set His people free from. And if we will just find the grace to take that low place…come back to that scripture in the beginning, to walk how?

( congregational response ).

Humbly with our God. Oh, we don’t like that part. But it just means being completely honest about who we are, and what we are, and what He is. But we can do that in the light of the kind of a God He is.

I’ll look back to the scripture that I mentioned on Wednesday night, because boy, doesn’t it help us to be able to walk with God, to realize that, “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd.” (KJV). And gently carry the lambs in His arms. It’s talking about His heart toward His people.

That’s His heart toward you this morning, regardless of what’s in your past. That’s His heart! That’s what He longs to do! But oh, if we can ever get off of our high horse and say, oh God, I just humble myself in Your hands. I believe Your promise. Change me, Lord. Change whatever needs to be changed, and You get the glory. Praise God!