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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1336

Are You in Prison?
Conclusion

May 13, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: Don’t we need to take seriously the kind of a person that God is making out of us? Think about what Jesus said in this same context, back in verse 8. See this is a further confirmation of the use of this verse. What does He say? “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (NIV).

And we’ve used this many times. Obviously, He’s not talking about physically seeing God. There is a discernment of God in the details of our lives that somebody whose heart is right toward God can actually discern…you can see that. It’s the eyes of faith that the eyes of the heart are able to say, God’s in this.

How did Moses endure? Hebrews tells us, in chapter 11. How did Moses endure all the things that he had to put up with? “…He endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (KJV). It’s the ability that only God can confer that enables someone to see past circumstances and say, God is orchestrating events even though they may be unpleasing to my flesh—distressing to my flesh.

There’s a God who’s orchestrating the details of my life. And I surrender to Him and His purposes. I know that it’s gonna come out the way He wants it and it’s gonna be good. I refuse to act like everybody, and react like everybody else in the world. I want to serve Him. I want to humble myself in His hand and believe Him in the face of all of this. Is this touching anything in your life?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, every one of us. I wish there was some magic button we could push and it would all vanish. We’re gonna go through life confronting things that are a part of our old nature. And there’s a God who’s not gonna give up on working. “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it….” He will! How long? Until He gets tired of you? No! “…Until the day of Jesus Christ.” He’s not gonna give up!

He is so faithful to His purpose! That’s why I have a foundation of hope that is not based upon my ability to serve Him! It’s based upon the promise of Someone who cannot tell a lie, and who has done all of the work that needs to be done to give me a foundation to stand upon!

But oh, if I’m standing over here, and I’m clinging to my sense of self-worth, and self-righteousness, and the rightness of my cause and all of that, and I’m refusing to give in and give up and let go, who’s hurt by that? You are. And I am! I’ll tell you, there’s a God who wants to let us out of prison.

( congregational amens ).

But you know what it’s like many times? We’re sitting in the back corner of a jail cell. The door’s open. There’s a light shining through the door! There’s someone outside saying, come, I have purchased your freedom. And we’re sitting there in the back corner, facing away from the light, refusing to give up! And in the face of it, declaring that we’re the one that’s right! Is that a picture?

( congregational response ).

That’s exactly how it is! Oh my God, we’re as stubborn as Pharaoh sometimes!

( congregational response ).

And who are we hurting? Folks, we’re hurting ourselves. We’re hurting other people around us that we could help.

( congregational amens ).

Oh my God, give us a deeper vision, a broader vision to be able to step back and see past the minutia of our life and the events, and see a God who knows how to orchestrate everything in a broken world, to gather together a people, to set us free, to break holds of sin in our lives that come because we cling to our own ways and our own ideas! Oh, what a joy it is when He brings us to the place where we let go of something! How many know what I’m talking about?

( congregational response ).

Oh, you’ve struggled, and you’ve struggled and you’ve struggled and one day you let go! And how was it? Wonderful! This freedom…why didn’t I do this before? And yet, how many of us are sitting here right now?

( laughter ).

I ain’t giving up! My cause is right. I will do what I will do! I’ll tell you what, my God, help us to understand.

( congregational response ).

What a simple thing this is, because there’s is an opportunity. You know, there are times we get mad! We’re angry about a circumstance! But God doesn’t want us to take that to bed with us and hang onto it! There’s a way to let go of that, because He says to settle matters quickly, while you’re in the way. There’s a point of time where we’re walking together and something is happening, and we have the choice of turning off the road or stopping, or whatever. What do we do? Settle matters quickly while we are in the way. And if we don’t, what happens?

( congregational response ).

Then you wind up in prison. And you don’t come out until you pay the utmost farthing. Now that’s not bribing the jailer to let us out and let us keep our sense of self-righteousness. That’s not what it means to buy your way out. What buys our way out is humbling ourselves the way we should have in the first place.

( congregational amens ).

And repenting of our inability, of our unwillingness, to do it! Oh I’ll tell you, what a blessing it is when God puts His finger on something in our lives. What do we do? At that point, we’re in the way with Him. He’s not doing it because He hates us! He’s doing it because He loves us!

He wants to show us something that’s desperately wrong and says, I want to help you with this! I want to deliver you from it! Will you just let go? Will you surrender? Will you repent? Will you trust Me? I’m allowing you to go through something terrible but will you trust Me in this? I know what I’m doing!

Boy, the poster child for this has got to be Joseph. You think about somebody…I mean, we talked about David and all that he went through. But Joseph…what an amazing example God has given to us of somebody who had a genuine revelation from God about his own destiny. He saw, in figurative…in a picture, his own family bowing down to him. And of course, they were excited and joyful when he told them about it.

( laughter ).

But, I don’t know, there was just an innocence about him. But somehow, he got it. Somehow, he had…God had worked with his heart. He was somebody who understood enough about God’s ways to keep trusting Him. And so he was able to endure the betrayal of his own brothers, who not only sold him into slavery but went back and told their father that he was dead. That’s a pretty bad betrayal.

Did he have something to gripe about, from a human standpoint? Man, talk about justified bitterness and anger…a spirit of revenge! Oh I’ll tell you, human nature thinks revenge is the answer. It just perpetuates the evil. Think about the spirit of Jesus. There was no revenge in His heart. Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing. They were still in the condition they were, but He was free. He could face with joy that incredible circumstance…He had to endure the suffering but there was a joy on the inside, because He saw! I’m doing something that is eternal! This is worth it all!

And Joseph, somehow, had enough faith to wind up in Egypt, getting sold into Potiphar’s house. And instead of letting that eat on him…someday I’ll [pay] them back, I’m gonna make something of myself and one day…was it the Count of Monte Cristo…was that the theme of that one? I think…some of you that have read it. But anyway, you’ve got somebody who’s badly wronged who comes back in a position of great power and takes all of his enemies out.

He didn’t have any of that kind of spirit, did he? He just went to work for Potiphar and became such a faithful worker that Potiphar recognized, there’s something about this guy. I can put everything in his hands and just take my hands off. He’ll take care of it. He’s honest. He’s trustworthy.

What enabled him to do such a thing? He did not take that fire of revenge and bitterness into his bosom! He let it go and he said, God, I’m in Your hands! I am gonna trust You! I’m gonna look to You! I’m gonna believe You! I will not carry this stuff forward! I’m gonna serve You and do what’s right. And he did! And God’s blessing was with him.

But God had something more that He wanted to do. It didn’t make any sense by human value standards. But one day Potiphar’s wife began to put her eyes on him and he rebuffed her advances. And she cried rape. And that was the end of his service in Potiphar’s house. He wound up in the prison—central prison, the worst possible place. I’m guessing it was right there near the capital, because he didn’t have far to go when the Lord brought him out.

But there he was. Can you imagine what the devil must have been telling him in the middle of all this? It’s not recorded, but can you imagine? I mean, he’s human! He’s like you and me…made of the same stuff! This is not some alien! This is a human being! God, what did I do to deserve this? I’m doing my best to be faithful in every circumstance, and here I am! Oh, God! What’s wrong? What did I do? What kind of God are you?

See how it kind of turns when we’re so relentless in clinging to our own rightness? The real danger is that we’ll begin to start to say, God, I don’t know about You anymore. You’re not doing right. But he didn’t fall into that trap. Something enabled him to humble himself, right where he was.

And once again, he rose to the top, even in that place where they hurt him with fetters. But he became the trustee of the prison. Everything was put in his hands. Even the prison officials trusted him to help the others and to help them keep order and meet the needs…whatever he did in that capacity. God was with him!

And you remember how he tried to engineer his own deliverance and it wasn’t time, and God blotted the thing out of the baker’s, or the butler…butler, I believe. Anyway, blotted it out of his mind…he was sent there by Pharaoh and then came out. And Joseph said, when you go out tell him about me. This isn’t right. Well, you know, that’s just shows his humanness, doesn’t it?

But there was a perfect time. But what God was doing…and how easy it is for us to sit here today, looking back over the whole story, we see what God was doing. He was in the middle of it. He didn’t know. But we can see that God was shaping the character of a man to be so humbled, so ready to just let go of any earthly hurt, however justified it might have seemed, and say, Lord I am going to get my security from You. I’m gonna get my validation from you. I’m gonna get my…everything that I need, that my nature would drive me to some human source, and then blame them if I don’t get it…I’m gonna get it from You. I’m gonna do right in Your eyes.

God was building a man, preparing him for a place of incredible responsibility, a man that would handle that just as faithfully, would not fall into the temptations. And oh what an amazing testimony it was when he got into that position, when all of a sudden, he goes right from the prison to the second place in authority in the entire kingdom! He has the power of life and death over all that population except Pharaoh who is over him. Oh, if he’d been the Count of Monte Cristo, what would he have done?

( congregational response ).

But he wasn’t. He was God’s man, who had at every point humbled himself in God’s hand and said, God, I am trusting my life, my destiny, the course that takes me to that destiny, into Your hands. I let go of all the stuff that I would gather to myself that would keep me in a prison that doesn’t have iron bars, but is far more real. Lord, I just want to be free to do the job you gave me to do.

And what an amazing testimony it was when he was reunited with his brothers. Oh, the guilt that they carried. They were the ones really in prison all those years, because they knew what they’d done. Oh, they never had a moment’s freedom from that guilt. They had never really let it go. And the terror they must have felt when they realized who this ruler was. This is…I am Joseph whom you sold into slavery.

And yet, God has so worked in his heart that he was able to react to all of that with love…didn’t hold a thing against them. And when Isaac finally…not Isaac, when Jacob-Israel, finally died, they figured…the brothers even then figured, he’s been waiting for Daddy to die, then we’re going to get it. And so they came to him and they lied and they said, Dad told us…be kind to us, or something. I forget what the words were. And his answer showed what he was able to see. He said, you meant it for evil but God meant it for good.

( congregational amens ).

Do you and I get that in our lives? How many times is it a matter of our will? We know what’s right, but oh, man, something just grinds in here and we can’t let it go. Man, we need to be crying out to God.

( congregational amens ).

There’s a throne. The right to that throne has been purchased for us, at the price of our Savior’s blood. We don’t go there because we deserve it.

( congregational amens ).

We go there because He has opened the way.

( congregational response ).

He has created a perfect way so that you and I as sinners could be reconciled to a holy God! Not only that, we can go to get the help we need. What do we get at that throne? We get mercy! That reminds us that, I don’t deserve this. But He’s giving me something anyway because it’s His purpose and it reveals to us His heart, His love for us. Here I am in a bad place and yet He’s willing to listen to me! He’s willing to help me!

But isn’t that what He says? We come there for mercy but also grace. Grace is that divine, enabling power, because I can’t be the kind of person He wants me to be. It’s just not in me. But if I’m willing and will come to Him, He will empower me and it will change me. It will make the new life that He’s put within me stronger. It will make the hold of the other one weaker.

That won’t go away completely until I die, but it doesn’t have to have a hold on me! God has given me a stronger power and a life that’s so much greater. Grace is greater than sin. The power of grace to help us is stronger than the power of sin to control us. But it does involve our wills. You and I can be stubborn. We can sit in our little prisons if we want to. But the way is open. The door is open. We can find grace. And when is that grace given to us?

( congregational response ).

In time of need. Are you in need this morning? Are you in prison? There’s a throne, whatever the issue is that’s put you in prison. I don’t care what circumstances brought that condition in your heart about. That’s not the issue. Your adversary in that thing was not the circumstances or all these other things. It was God.

And God did it, not because He hates you, but because He loves you. God is against the nature that would drive us into the grave, into judgment. But He is for everyone who will lift their hearts to Him and put their trust in Him.

I’m praying this morning that God will give me a deeper level of trust, and when He brings things to my attention and shows me why I’m in prison, He will also with it give me the grace. And I know He will, if I’m willing…the grace to let go and say, yes, Lord. I surrender into Your hands. Isn’t that…I mean the verse we’ve heard so many times. “Humble yourselves…” What? “…Under the mighty hand of God…” That’s whose hand is over everything!

If you’re His, He is going to use every circumstance of this life to shape you for eternity. There’s no way that He can make us like His son, which is His purpose, isn’t it? How can He do that and not deal with this? If all He does is bless the righteous and curse the wicked…what’s our motivation for serving Him? Hey, life is good! All that would do would be to strengthen the very thing that is going to kill us. He has got to deliver us.

But oh, what peace and joy there is available to every one of us, what freedom there is when we let go and we find out. Oh, we let the hurts go. We let the things that have happened go. We let the disappointments go.

We let our anger at Him because of things that have happened in our lives…when we let it go and say, God, I’m willing to come into a place of reconciliation with You. I refuse to judge You any longer. I recognize that when I’m angry with somebody, it’s really You that I’m angry with. And I repent of that, Lord. Oh, give me grace to let it go.

If you’re in prison this morning, the door is open. The real question is what are we gonna do when God…we realize who our real adversary is and why He’s our adversary. And the fact that in being our adversary He’s really the best friend we ever had. Didn’t Solomon write, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” We’ve got the greatest friend that could ever possibly be today.

Oh, I’ll tell you, there’s such peace. Why did Jesus say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (NIV).

Now that’s not our way, is it? Our way is to hold everything and measure everything by how it affects self. All that leads to is bondage. But the way of the cross, the way of following Jesus, learning from Him…and not living in that personal little prison of ours, what a joy and what a freedom it brings. To Him be all the glory!

I’ll tell you, if there’s adversity in your life, you’ve got an adversary. Oh, I pray that God will give you the grace to recognize who your real adversary is, and to humble yourself and agree with Him.

You want peace? He’s got all the peace you could ever want! And He longs to share it with everyone who will humble themselves today. If you don’t know Him, I pray that when He calls, you’ll recognize your need of Him. You’ll let Him bring you to that place where you say, there’s no point. The direction I’m going, if I’m gonna cling to my life and my way and my rightness and my hurts and all those things, it’s gonna lead to death. It may seem right to me, but it’s gonna lead to death. But you have opened a way of life, if I will humble myself, repent of my sins, put my faith in Jesus.

It’s not more complicated than that. That’s all it comes down to. Just surrender. There is a God who will wrap His arms around you, and give you a hope that, “…he is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede….”

( congregational amens ).

To Him be all the glory! Praise God!