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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1337

Called According to His Purpose
Part One

May 20, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: I’d like to start with a very familiar scripture, but you know, even though you start, many times, in a familiar place, the Lord always has something that He wants to emphasize that isn’t necessarily just repetitious. But, I don’t know, there’s just something that I feel like the Lord has emphasized in my own heart and mind and it’s a need in people.

But I want to begin in Romans 8:28, certainly one of the most familiar and beloved scriptures by all Christians, because we do live in a world where things are not always smooth and we need to understand that there is something…there’s a purpose in it. But I have a particular thing that I want to use this as a jumping-off point for. But let’s just read it.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (NIV).

It’s an amazing, comprehensive truth that is meant to give His people a solid hope, a ground for just…a place of rest, a place where we understand that everything that has to do with our destiny has been given into His hands and it’s a safe place. What an awesome thing! God has given us a perfect Savior, a perfect Salvation.

And you know, you see in here a predestination, but I believe a lot of times this is a matter of debate among theologians as to God’s part and man’s part. God is sovereign on the one hand, and yet man is responsible to make choices, on the other. And I believe, with all my heart, there’s a middle ground between the two extremes.

And so, what God is describing here is not something where He says, I pick you, you, and you and the rest of you go to Hell, and we don’t have any responsibility in the process, or choice. There are choices that are made. But there’s a way that God gets to this point, and that’s kind of what’s on my heart this morning, because the promises are to those, “…who have been called according to his purpose.”

Now the word ‘call’ indicates God taking an action, doesn’t it? It isn’t that man seeks after God. We know he doesn’t. Left to ourselves, there isn’t a single person here who would have the least inclination to go find out about God. We just wouldn’t do it! We’d follow our inclinations and that would be the end of it. And not only that, we who are born into this world...well, we’re all born into this world, but as we’re born into this world...

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

…You know, every one of us has inclinations that arise from our nature within and we learn from our environment. We learn from what the world is about or what we think it’s about.

And, every one of us has our own purpose, basically. I mean, it’s not like getting to this position where we are part of His purpose is just like flipping a switch. What he’s describing is not a deal where God has to simply come down and explain it to us and we say, oh, okay. Man, there’s a lot to it. There’s a lot more than we may realize that’s involved in God lifting us out of the condition in which He finds us and bringing us out of our purpose and into God’s.

And every one of us, as I say, has a purpose in life. Now, we vary according to our personality and our circumstances. But I don’t care who you are, whether you are someone high and mighty, who has achieved great things and wealth and accomplishment, or whether you’re somebody who just pursues pleasure and that’s all your purpose is about, or comfort or a certain career that builds up your pride and gives you a sense of accomplishment, or whether you’re one that hides from life and just plays. I mean, everybody has a life that is founded upon self-will. It’s what we want! It’s what we think is right!

And that’s the fundamental issue that separates man from God. It’s self-will! Another word for it is simply, rebellion! God created everything with a purpose yet we insist on pursuing our own purpose. And man, it just, as I say, it doesn’t come easy to get from one place to the other. Boy, we’ve got to come to a place where God has got to perform a miracle.

( congregational amens ).

And none of us comes easy, none of us comes willingly! God has to do a mighty work in our hearts if we’re ever gonna come! And you know, I was thinking recently, and it came back to me again, something that I shared, oh, a little over a year ago, and it actually was from the message that forms the basis of this…the new article in the MCM.

But I had referred to seeing a Christian movie and the one thing that jumped out at me…there was a male character and a female character, and he was talking to her about people who come to ‘Christ’ quote, unquote. And he said a lot of people come to Christ by addition. And what he meant by that is simply that they find out about Jesus and they add Him to their life.

Now, you understand what’s going on here. I have not given up my purpose. I still live for what I want…it’s my life! I live with this illusion that though I have arrived here and just suddenly discovered America, it’s my life! I can do what I please with it. But, now I find out about Jesus, who loves me and wants to forgive my sins and so I’m gonna add Him to my life and that’s gonna help me achieve my purpose. I’m gonna be more successful. I’m gonna be happier, but it’s still my life and Jesus is more…becomes my servant to do what I want to do. That’s coming to Jesus by addition.

How many of you think that’ll get you anywhere? No! That’s not the Gospel. But I’ll tell you, that is the effective Gospel that is preached in many places. Even though the words may not be right, and even where there are people who preach the truth, and even here, regardless of whether people hear the truth, many times what they wind up doing is, they have cafeteria religion. Now, why do people go to a cafeteria?

( congregational response ).

They want to get what they want! I don’t like this, but I like that. You know, I can make up my own little plate and it’ll be what I want. I’ll tell you, when we come to Christ we take what He gives, because it’s right! It’s exactly what I need! I don’t need to write my own ticket and say, God, come be my servant.

But, there’s an awful lot of that where people come and they supposedly come and they embrace Christ and what they have embraced is a religious culture. It’s a tradition. It’s a way of life in which they can perform all the stuff. They can do all the religious activity, and go on their merry way believing that they are Christians, that they know Christ!

Oh, I’ll tell you, there are gonna be some awful surprises, one of these days. There are gonna be some terrible surprises of people that have taught Sunday School all their lives and come to the end and find out they’re rejected, because they never really became a part of what the scripture here is talking about. “…Called according to his purpose…”

There is a divine act that has to happen in everybody’s life where God arrests you and arrests me. It’s…however it happens, whatever the circumstances may be, it could be dramatic, it could be quiet, but man, there is an arrest. You don’t just go on your merry way and suddenly, oh, Jesus, come on, join me. Man, it’s not that at all. We join Him! There is a 180 that has to happen in every single life! “…Called according to His purpose…”

Well, back to that movie…after the one character explained it to this young lady, that so many people come to Christ by addition, then he says then there are others who come to Christ by submission. What a simple, pithy way of expressing the truth. Those who come to Christ by addition, add Jesus to their life, but oh, when you come by submission, it’s not your life anymore.

( congregational amens ).

There is a surrender! Your purpose is laid at the feet of the Cross to be completely submitted to Him, whatever He says, wherever we’re to go, whatever we’re to do.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! It’s not my life anymore! I am bought with a price! That price is the blood that Jesus shed on the Cross! Anything short of that is not the Gospel and it’s not Salvation! There are people who claim this scripture about all things working together and they’re thinking, but it’s my life, and yet they’re trying to claim this promise.

I’ll tell you, I pray…I believe there’s a good company of people here who have been called and you have surrendered and you’ve seen what this is about. But, I believe there’s a burden in the heart of God that would reckon with the truth and with the simple fact that there are people who hear the Gospel and somehow never grasp what it really means in their earthly life.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! We’re gonna have to come to that place where we come to Jesus by surrender! By submission it becomes His life, His will! And there’s no other way around it. We are either a part of His purpose or we’re part of our own. And I’ll tell you, your purpose will end.

( congregational amens ).

If that’s the way that you conduct your life, and I don’t care how religious you may be, if you simply live out what you want to do the way you want to do it and you try to integrate Jesus into your life, you’re gonna come to the place where you’re gonna die. Everything you have lived for will be left behind. And the rebellion that caused you to do all that will follow you to a place of judgment where you don’t want to be.

The relentlessness of our nature is such that it takes, as I say, a miracle of God to transform somebody, to take them out of that one way of life and bring them into another. Man, you’ve got to see something that can only be communicated by Divine revelation. You’re gonna have to come to a place where you see things in stark clarity as God sees them. And when you see it, you surrender! There’s no other way! There’s no other path that leads home!

But oh, there’s a heart of God that is reaching out to young people, to others that may be here. I don’t know. I have nobody in mind in this. I just…I’ve had this burden that we would see real conversions. And I know…I know how we do it, and I know how people do it. You know, you preach an emotional message and you get people to come down here and make a profession and God can work in spite of that.

But I’ll tell you, there is a work of God that goes on in the heart of everyone that He calls that has nothing to do with method! It has nothing to do with how well we explain it, has nothing to do with anything except it is a Divine work of God to call His people and to cause them to see the reality of His Kingdom and His claim upon their lives! And they’re brought to a place of surrender. Man, time and place is irrelevant! It means a Divine encounter.

I’m getting ahead of myself, in a way, but I want to go to some scriptures here…just look over a few scriptures. In John chapter 6 is one that we have referred to many times, and I will just pick out some of the things that Jesus was expressing here. They were making all kinds of…asking Jesus all kinds of questions and all kinds of people were seeking Him for all kinds of reasons.

Some of them loved His…the idea that He could manufacture food out of seemingly nothing. He could multiply food and is a miracle worker and man, they wanted Him so bad they were about to make Him king. I mean, they were really about God’s purpose, weren’t they? Sure! Totally earthly, had no clue what was really going on here, why He’d really come.

But oh…and other people were entertained by the miracles. This is exciting, this is…oh man, I want to be associated with this guy! And so, Jesus began to talk to them, and was really pointing out their unbelief.

But in verse 37 we see the familiar words. “All that the Father gives me will come to me….” Boy, that sounds pretty positive. There is a Divine action. If you find somebody who has been brought to the place where they have surrendered to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they have become partakers of His Spirit, it started in the heart of God, did not start with you! It started because God looked down and knew your name and made a plan to reach your heart! That’s the short version.

And then, God is the one who absolutely engineers it! Everyone that the Father gives me will come! That’s a positive statement. I’ll tell you, I’m leaning on that with all of my heart. I want to preach this, but I don’t want to preach it in a striving way, as though I’ve got to fix it, I’ve got to make it happen. I don’t have to do anything, except give out His words and believe with all of my heart that God will take those words, sow them in the hearts of those who are in need, and He will bring His people at the right time.

You can’t manufacture babies at the time you want them. There’s a process that happens. There’s a conception that takes place. There’s a time element. There’s a time to be born! And there is a time to be born into God’s Kingdom and that varies with every single individual that He calls. I believe with all my heart somebody could come this morning. This could be your moment! But I don’t know! You may not be brought to that place!

I want to look this morning at a little bit of that process, but I want to get…lay a little bit of groundwork here. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” What a foundation that is! God acts to bring people to the feet of Jesus. He says, I’ll never drive them away! There’s a hope, there’s a strength that comes, not from my willpower, not from my decision! Great day! It’s not a decision to accept. This is a surrender!

And Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” Even Jesus was surrendered to God’s purpose! He didn’t live out His own! He didn’t have something independent going!

“…This is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” See, there’s something that goes way beyond the grave. Man, nothing ends, with the end of this life, when you come to Christ. That’s the beginning! Praise God!

Everyone who truly is part of what I’m describing today, your hope lies not in this world, nothing in this world. We are sojourners. We are traveling through. We are learning. We are growing. We are finding out about what this is about. And in the furnace of affliction we are being changed into His image.

But I’ll tell you, there’s one day we’re gonna leave all of this behind. Every hindrance is gonna be gone and we will walk with Him in absolute purity. We will be like Him, not because we are special or something. Because He is! Because of what He has done!

“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life….” There’s more to this than a lot of this easy-believism gospel. It’s not that it’s difficult, but it’s not easy. And it’s made too easy. It’s reduced to a human decision, based upon emotion, and based upon misinformation, a lot of times, of what it means to come to Christ. Man, I’ll tell you, when people come to Christ, they’re gonna know what it means. They may not be able to explain the theology of it. That’s not important. But I’ll tell you, when people come to Christ they know it means surrender!

( congregational amens ).

So anyway, down in verse 44 Jesus goes on and says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him….” Boy, that kind of shoots in the idea…or shoots in the head the idea that people can just come any old time. Oh man, we are dependent upon God!

( congregational amens ).

What that tells me is I do not have the ability to come to God. Even if I theoretically wanted to, I can’t just come. I am dependent upon God working in my heart, right now! There’s an immediacy, there’s a confrontation, there is an encounter with the Living God where He presses the claims of the Gospel upon a human heart and there is a surrender to that, in that moment, in that experience!

( congregational amens ).

As I say, there’s no one pattern that has to happen exactly, but the principles are always gonna apply. God is always the Author of what happens. We do not possess the ability. It is God-given ability to surrender and to believe. Faith is not in here. The ability to surrender is not in here. It is given to me by God. Man, when He does it, when He comes, I need to listen! That’s the time! Does not the scripture say, “…call on him while he is…”

( congregational response ).

“…Near.” There’s gonna come a time when God’s gonna take His hand off of this world, as He did in Noah’s day. He said, “…My spirit shall not always…”

( congregational response ).

“…Strive with man...” (KJV). So you see, even then, even in the midst of their descent into such terrible darkness, there was a God who was striving with them, who was trying to reach their hearts! There was an influence that was coming to them and at them and trying to turn them from the way they were going, and they were so relentless and so headstrong in what they wanted to do with their lives and their purpose, that they shut their ears! And eventually He said, all right, I’m gonna take my hands off and let you go the way you’re gonna go, but judgment is coming. It’s the world you live in, world we live in.

But now, here’s the promise and the explanation of what’s going on. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (NIV). There’s that influence. “…And I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught by God.”

Now, this highlights a major difference between the Old Covenant and the New. The Old Covenant was not meant to be the final deal. It was meant to prepare people for the coming of Christ, end of the world, and the establishment of a Covenant that was gonna last forever. One sacrifice for all time!

But you see, the people didn’t deal directly with God, did they? They came to God through a priest. They listened to God’s words through a prophet. If they wanted to inquire about God, they went to somebody who represented Him. But I’ll tell you, in this Covenant every single person knows Him! It becomes a personal relationship with the Living God! Every single person is taught, how? By God!

Yes, there may be people involved, there may be God using a person to communicate it, but the real teaching that embeds itself in your heart, is God at work. I could communicate, or somebody else could communicate ideas to your head. That’s not the same thing as God speaking to the heart.

Folks, we need to pray. We need to not just pray and beg God as though it’s not gonna really happen. We need to pray with an expectation that God is gonna save. God is gonna do what He’s describing in this passage. There are people that are gonna hear this Word and they’re going to believe it, not because of anything about us, except God will do what He has promised that He’s going to do.

( congregational amens ).

I believe it! I confess it this morning! There’s a God who saves! There’s a God who convicts! There’s a God who does what it takes to save people! “It is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught by God.” See, now you’re getting a little bit of a hint of the process. “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.”

Do you see the work of preparation that goes on? This isn’t like somebody wanders in off the street, totally clueless, nothing has happened up to this point, all of a sudden they hear about Jesus and boom! Man, there’s a work of the Spirit of God to prepare that soil. It’s like sowing the seed. You don’t just go in there and sow it among all the thorns and all the briars and all the rocks. Jesus talked about that, didn’t He? There’s a preparation that has to happen. There’s a softening, there’s a work of the Spirit of God.