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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1329

Don’t Lose Heart
Conclusion

March 25, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: There is nothing that has ever arisen in your heart and your life that you just look at, and man, you want to crawl in a hole and hide and say man, that’s ugly…there is nothing that has ever arisen in your heart He didn’t know completely before Jesus went to the Cross!

( congregational amens ).

And He did it anyway. That’s the kind of a God that we’re dealing with. Thank God! And see, that knowledge just overrode every kind of objection that the enemy could plant in His mind. You’re worthless. You’re hopeless. There’s nothing You can do. Look how bad You are. God wouldn’t use You. He wouldn’t…you know, it goes on and on like a record.

And it’s a bunch of lies. God wants to set His people free. He wants us to come to the place, as we’ve said so many times recently, where there is an honesty, where we are willing for Him to shine the light in the deep and dark places of our hearts, and we’re not afraid of it.

You know, the testimony of Paul should give us comfort that it’s not something to be afraid of. It’s something that’s necessary, but it’s not something where we are spiritual by wallowing in that. There’s nothing spiritual about that. It’s coming to a place where we say truth, Lord, like David. This is 100 percent on me, God. You’re perfectly righteous in everything You do, and I’m the one who has sinned.

( congregational amens ).

I’m the one. But oh God, I come to You on the basis of Your promise that You have the power to cleanse me, and I am not gonna sit here and wallow in the guilt of this thing. I’m gonna recognize what I am, but I’m gonna recognize what I am in You.

( congregational amens ).

Because You have made me something else. I have the power, through Christ, to leave that behind…to be honest about it but to learn from that that I cannot trust in myself, cannot trust in my goodness, cannot trust in anything that I can muster. I can leave that behind. I can learn from it, not to trust, and then I can go forward and, man, can I share with somebody else, because Your grace is gonna come in. Your grace is gonna show me. Your grace is gonna help me to be able to lift up who You are and what You are. And I can put my whole attention, not on what I was and what He’s saving me from, but what He’s saving me for.

( congregational response).

You see the difference? So, Paul says, “…we do not lose heart.” (NIV). Praise God! So, he comes down and he talks about the fact that…something we’ve pointed out many times. “…We have this treasure in jars of clay…” You know, he comes to the end and he talks about the glorious future. Oh, how wonderful it is. Just hang on, it’s gonna be glorious.

But you know, that’s one side of it. Absolutely, that’s true! For somebody who’s the Lord’s, it’s gonna be a future beyond our imagining. But it’s not just the future God is concerned about! He has made provision for now! See, Paul wasn’t just hanging on for his dear life. Oh, it’s gonna be wonderful someday. He’s saying, it’s good now! What God has done is right now. It’s on time. It’s part of a plan that He is working out. It’s helping people right now, and He’s gonna bring me through whatever else He needs to bring me through so I can help somebody else. There are glorious processes going on. Praise God!

“…We have this treasure in jars of clay…” That’s these bodies. Now, what’s the purpose of that? Okay, it’s, “…to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” God deliberately works through people who are weak, who are unqualified in themselves, who have everything going against them. He works in spite of that, and He gets the glory. Praise God! “…To show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

So now, he describes some of his circumstances, and you can blow through this if you want to…or it would be easy to do that, and imagine that, well, these were just little things that happened, and he just blew them off with a prooftext. I’ll guarantee these were deep experiences. I’ll guarantee there were points in time when he was really wrestling with deep emotions…despair, questioning, what’s going on? I’m just…the devil is pounding on his mind just exactly the way he does with you and me. Paul went through some deep things here.

But in the process of coming through those…I mean, these things could have taken years, some of them. In the process of coming through, he learned something about God that enabled him to look back and see the hand of God doing something, not against him, but for him.

( congregational amens ).

Pushing down, putting to death this old life but lifting up the new one, and always, this change happening, always, this transformation. In fact, you go back into the end of the last chapter, and you talk about what happens when we behold God, when we’re open, our hearts are open. There’s not a veil here. There’s not a will that’s just resisting God. But there’s one that’s saying oh God, I welcome Your light into my heart. I want to see Jesus, and in the light of Jesus, I see not only who He is, but I see what I am. I see my need. But I see the solution in Him.

What happens when that goes on, when we are looking to Him with all of our hearts? What happens? We, “…are being transformed into his likeness with every-increasing glory.” So, do you see that there’s a process? It’s not only the goal, it’s the process in the meantime. And so, Paul is talking about having reached a place where God was able to use him in a measure to help others. But what did it take to get there? It took standing in the face of whatever school lessons God brought in his life.

And some of them were described here. “We are hard pressed on every side…” So, now, he’s got circumstances coming. “…But not crushed…” I tell you, the crushing that affects us the most is when we’re crushed in here. And when we allow ourselves to be crushed in here, when we allow things out here to sort of interpret what God is doing to us. Oh, He’s punishing me. Oh, this, oh, that. And not to see the hand of God who is doing something, not against us, but for us.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! But Paul was able to talk about these things honestly, and you know, again, that he’s confessing I had some real emotion to deal with. I really was struggling with this, but I was not crushed. God’s grace came and it strengthened me and enabled me to stand in the face of this and my faith grew stronger because of it. All of this is implied, and you can see it in other scriptures.

“Perplexed…” Man, we all love that, don’t we? We love to be in places where something is happening. There’s an oppression on our mind. There’s something going on, and there are circumstances. We’re just…I don’t know. We’re just sort of down. Our emotions are down. There are a thousand and one things going on. Why, Lord? David prayed that kind of prayer, didn’t he?

( congregational response ).

How long, oh Lord? How long? You know, God allows us to be in those kinds of situations. They’re real! It’s part of living in this world. People experience this. But I’ll tell you, look at the value of someone who has really, deeply experienced all of this and yet, has come through it, learned of God’s faithfulness, experienced, as Paul said in chapter 1, His comfort, His strength, the answers that came when they were needed. And now, they’re standing there and saying I can look back and boy, it was rough, but God…there’s a God who will bring you through if you’ll put your trust in Him.

( congregational amens ).

That’s the bottom line. Lord, I trust You. I know who You are! I know that You don’t bring me through things to hurt me. You bring me through things so that the flesh, this old nature gets weaker. Every time I experience something, and I make a choice to trust You and not to lean in that direction, I trust You, Lord…every time that choice happens, there’s something that goes down on this side and up on this side. And His life gets stronger. Praise God!

“Persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” In every case here, just stop and imagine what he’s saying there. And think about the fact that he was summarizing, in a handful of words, things that probably were some long standing situations—long standing things where he was struggling and had questions, but he kept one thing in his mind. God is faithful. God’s grace will bring me through. I am in His hands. I have given my life into His hands. I am persuaded, he says later, that He is able to keep what I’ve given to Him. I’ve committed it to Him.

A commitment is a one-way gift. It’s not something I’m gonna take back. There is a commitment of everything that I am, everything that I stand for, I am giving it into His hands. I know He is able to bring me through. That’s the bottom line. So, I may not understand where I’m at, but I know.

Not only that, I’m beginning to understand. You sense that in Paul’s writings here. I’m beginning to understand, not only just that these things happen, but why. Because, you see, it’s not just about pie in the sky. It’s about me right now and the ability to do the ministry that God has given me, because I can’t do it if I’m relying on me. I can’t do it if I haven’t learned not to trust me, but rather, to trust Him.

And so, there’s the necessity if God is going to express His life through me to help somebody else, He’s got to do something about this guy. He’s got to. Man, we don’t have any idea. We don’t have a clue about the ugliness that is in here. It would kill us if we suddenly saw the depth that God sees. But God knows how to bring us face to face with ourselves. Man, when He does, we need to say, yes, Lord. Truth, Lord. Not be afraid of it.

He’s not. He’s not dismayed a bit, because He knows what’s in there, and He loves us. And so, He doesn’t want us ever to just wallow in that and say, oh, God, I’m so bad. I’m so terrible. We need to be able to say, God, You have shown me what I am, but I know who You are! That’s what I’m looking at. That’s what I’m trusting in.

So, he says…down in verse 11, well, verse 10. “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” So you see, he’s got the idea of what’s going on. Everything that would, that would provoke something wrong in me is actually God’s hand showing me something so that I can let go of that. I can bring it to the Cross. I can let go of whatever affection or whatever reaction it is. If I’m angry, I can let go of the anger. If I’m not wanting to forgive, I can let go of that. Whatever it is, I can let it go and surrender it.

But then, I can turn around and look to Him and say, oh God, I need grace. I’m gonna come to that Throne of Grace. I’m gonna come because You were here. You know what I feel. You were tempted every way that I was, and You know how to face it! So, I’m looking to You as Someone who knows what I go through. You know exactly what I’m feeling. Man, I want to be able to go to somebody like that. Don’t you?

( congregational response ).

Praise God! I know a lot of this is stuff that we’ve heard, but I don’t know. I just sensed it with a certain emphasis this morning. And I hope it’s getting across. I’ll just leave that with the Lord.

“For we who are alive…” verse 11, “are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake…” Why? “…So that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Now, one of the things that this reveals is, what is Paul’s life about? I mean, what is he living for? He’s living for others is right. He’s not living for personal comfort. His highest value does not revolve around me being comfortable and happy. There is something beyond that.

There is something deeper than that can actually rejoice when I’m dealing with…when God’s dealing with something in here, but He’s bringing me through, and He’s giving me the strength, because my focus is on what I can do for Him and for somebody else. I realize that God has a great eternal purpose to gather a company of people out of this broken world before it’s destroyed. And I have a purpose. I’m not only a part of that in an individual sense, I’m a part of it in a corporate sense. I’m a part of something bigger than myself.

( congregational amens ).

That even as Jesus did not come to be served but to serve, that’s my place. And He is still serving, but He’s just doing it through me and through you.

( congregational amens ).

But in order to do that, He’s got to deal with stuff that’s in here. In order to deal with stuff in here, that’s in here, we’ve got to see it and face it and be honest and bring it to Him. But then, in order to serve Him, we’ve got to be able to leave that and say, thank You, Lord. That’s done. I’m going forward.

( congregational amens ).

I see the purpose. You are making me more able to serve You. And that’s great. That’s awesome. That’s what my life is about. I’m not gonna sit here and worry about what’s behind. I’m gonna be able, like Paul said, to forget it and to go forward. Praise the Lord!

“It is written: I believed; therefore I have spoken.” He’s quoting from the Psalms there. And so, he says, “With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.” This is not something he’s figured out. This is something that God enabled him, supernaturally, to see. This is revelation where the Lord Jesus from Heaven said, I want you to understand what’s going on. I want you to understand this ministry that I’ve given to you.

I want you to understand what it takes for me to be able to use a sinful human being and to give eternal life, words that have power to change lives. I want you to get it, and I want you to be so totally on board with it, that you will not be thinking you’re something and sticking out your chest. Nor, will you be cowering in the corner and saying, I can’t do anything. There’s that wonderful, awesome balance in God. Praise God!

So, “With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you…” Notice that. “…With you in his presence. All this is for your benefit….” So, you see the heart and the spirit of God Himself is being reproduced in Paul’s life. It’s for your benefit. I’m willing to do what it takes because I want to be part of this thing that’s so amazing. God…I mean, Jesus came down, and He didn’t just seek His own, He sought my welfare, and I was a rebel. I was the worst rebel that ever was on this planet. And Jesus gave His life for me. Praise God! See, that takes away everybody’s excuse.

( congregational amens ).

There’s nobody too bad to save. Praise God! Praise the Lord! “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people…” Grace that’s reaching—grace that is reaching. You see God’s hand in it. It’s not anything that I can do, but it allows the…it allows God to flow. “…Reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”

And he says it again, “Therefore…” understanding all of this, “…therefore we do not lose heart.” I don’t know if there’s somebody here this morning that struggles with this. You’ve lost heart. You don’t want to face what you really are. But the message that I see in this is that we can face everything about ourselves. We can look it square in the eye, as it were, and know that God has given us everything we need in Jesus.

He has blotted out the worst of the worst of our sins. He has already put us to death on the Cross. That is working out in our lives. We have every reason to turn around and to look forward and to lift up our hearts. You know, I think one of the things…I know one of the things, because I’m human, that causes us problems is when the Lord shows us what’s wrong with us, our reaction is oh God, how can I do that? How can I be that way? And so much of that is nothing more than pride. Get over yourself. We’re sinners!

( congregational amens ).

It’s not about God showing us stuff so that we can try harder! It’s showing us what we are so we can let go and believe Him to come and begin to move us forward! Is it something that happens like this?

( snapping fingers ).

No, it’s something that happens over our lifetime. As long as you’re in this body, the life that’s in this body is gonna want to pull you the wrong way…and me. But God’s plan is to teach us how to rely on Him, how to lean upon Him, how to live out His life in the place of that. And it’s a gradual thing that, like I say, it goes until your toes turn up.

And those of you who have been around people, saints who have lived for the Lord and been at death’s door, you know there are still battles being fought. They’re battles of faith, of trusting God right down to that last breath. But I’ll tell you, there’s a God who brings His people through.

( congregational amens ).

Because the life that He has given us in Christ cannot die. And oh, once we’re done with this, man, it’ll be awesome. But God’s purpose right now, it’s not just about hanging on until we get there, it’s about being able to help one another while we’re here.

( congregational amens ).

And so, the familiar verses, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” So, what should we be looking at?

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah. Oh, I’m wasting away. I’m so bad. No. That’s not what Paul’s looking at. He said, yeah, I’m doing it, but that’s my gateway to this! I can’t get there without going through this! I’ve got to…this is got to die for that to live. And said, yes, God is dealing with this day by day, giving me the grace and the strength to handle it so I can let go and let God have His way. And the more I go, I’m getting stronger. I’m being renewed inwardly. I’m being changed.

“For our light and momentary troubles…” And there’s the perspective of looking at this in the light of eternity. They, “…are achieving for us..” What’s the verb tense there?

( congregational response ).

It’s present. It’s a continuous present. This is not our momentary troubles ‘will’ achieve for us someday, somehow. No! This is an ongoing thing that has a climax, yes, but it’s happening now. It’s happening every single life in your life and in mine. And I’ll say this, it’s not just the churchy stuff when we’re here. What we are is what we are out there.

( congregational amens ).

And I tell you, God is gonna bring us through circumstances that will bring out what is in us. He does it so we can bring it to the feet of Jesus, lay it there, leave it there and draw from Him the life and the strength that we need to become somebody different. There’s no other way it can happen. But oh, these things they, “…are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” No way will we look back and say it wasn’t worth it.

So, what’s the conclusion? “So we fix our eyes….” There’s a choice. There’s a conscience choice, and I’ll guarantee there are people here right now that need to make that choice, because you’ve been drowning in what you’re not. Oh, I’m so bad. I just see so much that God’s got to do in me.

So does He. He’s not shedding tears over that. He’s trying to deal with it a day at a time, and you’re trying to eat the whole elephant in one bite. It doesn’t work. God is not dismayed. But right where you are, if you will trust God and walk with Him today, and face what you are but bring it to the feet of the Cross, God will change you, and you will be…you will have the power to let His life flow through you to somebody else. And everybody grows by that means. Grace doesn’t just come out of the ether waves, it comes one to another, as well. God’s plan is so amazing, because it takes us all in.

So, what do we do? “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. What is seen is temporary….” Thank God these bodies are temporary! I don’t want to live in this one a whole lot longer. It’s getting older. But I’ll tell you, God has got something for us. In fact, that’s what he goes on and talks about in the next chapter. I won’t go there, but man, this is gonna be over. We’ve got something better that’s coming, and that will last forever.

But you know, in the meantime, you see the dual emphasis of Paul here. It’s looking to the end, but it’s also looking to the middle in the process and saying, right now, God has given me a ministry. I can do this because of what He’s brought me through. And in order for me to go forward, He’s going to do whatever it takes for me to do that. And it’s always going to be this balance in my life. So, what am I gonna look at? Am I gonna constantly focus on all that I am not, all that’s wrong? Oh, I’m so bad. Or am I gonna say, God, I thank You for Your grace.

( congregational amens ).

Lord, I put my faith, not in me anymore…less and less in me but more and more in the grace of God that is flowing through me. Man, every one of us should go out of here this morning and say we will not lose heart.

( congregational amens ).

We will not be discouraged by the process. We can be honest. We can face what we are, but we can face it with a confidence that it’s not too much for God…that He must show us these things in order to set us free from their tyranny so that we can live out His life. Praise God! What a glorious Gospel we have!

( congregational amens ).

And what…the wisdom of God in calling somebody like Saul, the Jew, to teach all this…the worst of the worst. If He can do it for him, He can do it for anybody. Every single one of us has a place in the body of Christ that knows Him. You’ve got a Christ in you, and that Christ wants to flow and wants to express Himself through your life.

( congregational amens ).

And so, we just need to trust Him this day. Give today’s issues into His hands and believe Him and rest in Him and know that it’s okay. We can go forward with a joy and a confidence and not this, I’m so bad. But rather, He’s so good. Praise the Lord!