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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1338

Called According to His Purpose

May 27, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: God knows about you and He has a purpose, and it’s not your purpose. It’s not mine. It’s His. And that’s the purpose I want to be worked out in me. And all I can do is just throw up my hands and say, God, You’ve got to do this. I don’t even know what’s wrong. I don’t even know the depth of my need. I’m so blind to my own condition that, God, You’ve got to do what needs doing.

Well, Peter certainly was in that condition. He had no clue. Not only that, he was a…we know him as a very…well, prone to speak up quick, prone to act, very zealous. Man, you say, go, and he’s half way down the track…just that kind of a person, a take charge, I-can-do-it kind of guy. Well, the Lord had a lot of work to change that, didn’t He?

But anyway, the first time we meet Peter is not in Galilee. It’s down in Judea. Did you ever pick up on that? It’s in John, chapter 1. And what’s happened is that in order to set up and prepare people for the ministry of Jesus, God raised up and sent a man named John the Baptist.

Talk about somebody who was not part of the establishment! This guy wore a leather girdle…leather clothes, lived out in the wilderness, ate locusts and wild honey! He did not graduate from their schools. He was not part of the synagogue crowd. He was just way out there somewhere, but He was God’s man.

God had prepared him with a message that was uncompromising. Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand! You quit living hypocritical lives. Do right before God. Come and baptize…receive this baptism that signifies you are repenting of your sins. Let your heart be prepared for the One who’s coming. I’m not the guy! He was plain when they sent out…who are you? What the deal here? Who are you? He says, I’m not Him, but there’s One coming after me. I’m not worthy to untie His shoes. But you need to get ready, get your hearts ready and listen to Him.

Well, you know, a lot of people were attracted. And the fact that we find Andrew and Peter, as he became known, he was not as that then. It was Simon. But the fact that you find them down there where John is baptizing and not home fishing tells me something. Does it tell you something? God was working, wasn’t he?

There was something they weren’t getting from their culture, their tradition. They probably went to the synagogue, but there was something missing, something that caused them to feel a need. That’s God! God was at work! You see, Peter had experienced the thing he talks about in his letter! And the point, I guess, where I started when I thought about all of this was seeing the process of God bringing us out of our own purpose into His. Let’s look at that in action.

And that’s an awesome example, is the life of Peter, because God…God a job on His hands, didn’t He? But don’t look at me like that. God has a real big job with you, too.

( laughing ).

And me. But you know what? He’s up to it. “…He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him…” Praise God! He’s not dependent upon your strength or will, or mine. He’s dependent on His power.

But anyway, so, we find the two of them down there in Judea over by the Jordan, actually somewhere in the general area of Jericho, a little bit north of there, but on the other side of the Jordan River, there’s John baptizing. Crowds are coming from everywhere, and these guys are there.

Well, this is about the time that Jesus was baptized. And you know, the Lord revealed to John. He says the One upon whom I set My Spirit, you’re gonna see the Spirit descend like a dove. That’s Him! That’s the…you know, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” was John’s testimony. (KJV).

Well now, pick it up. It says, “The next day…” in verse 35 of John 1, “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.” (NIV). So, this is not just casual people. These are people who had somehow attached themselves to John. Man, this guy is sent from God. I want to be a part of what he’s a part of. I’m not just a casual follower, but I’m somebody who wants to know what’s going on. I want to be on the inside of this one…so, he’s with these two disciples.

“When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, Look, the Lamb of God! When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.” So, they’d been following John, and all of a sudden, there’s the Lamb of God…okay, we better get with Him. So, there was something at work in their hearts that attracted them to this One. All right, you see God working in hearts?

“Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, What do you want? They said, Rabbi (which means Teacher), where are you staying? Come, he replied, and you will see. So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.” Which I believe is, what, 4 o’clock in the afternoon? So, now you’ve got these two disciples of John, former disciples of John, now, they’re hanging out with Jesus.

“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said….” So, now you’ve got this fisherman, brother of Peter…he’s not off fishing. He’s down there hanging out with John, and peeling off of John and going to be with Jesus. All right, “…was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, You are Simon son of John…” different John, obviously, “…You will be called Cephas (which, when translated, is Peter).” It means a stone.

So anyway, now he begins to head back to Galilee. So at this point, there is an encounter between Peter and Jesus. And Jesus begins to tell him a little bit about Himself and about where He’s going with this. Was Peter saved at this point? No. But I’ll tell you, there was a preparatory work going on. There was an encounter with Jesus.

And I’ll tell you, there are a whole of people that have encounters with Jesus that are…they’re not salvation, but they sure are meant to lead there. And somehow, there was a conviction. This guy is special. I respect Him. Man, I want Him part of my life. I want to somehow have a connection with Him.

Well, the next time you find Peter, he’s doing what? He’s fishing, isn’t he? Or he’s cleaning his nets. You have accounts in Matthew 4 but also in Luke 5, and I’m not gonna try to weigh in on this. There are people who believe there were two different accounts, two different incidents. You know, the one where they’re cleaning the nets, and he says, follow me, and the other one where he gets into a boat and goes out and catches a bunch of fish.

But the one that matters, whether Matthew was just generalizing what happened there, and whether that was the same incident, or not, what we see is God beginning to do a work that has not yet come to that place. He has not yet crossed the bridge and burned it. But do you know there’s no such thing as salvation where you don’t cross the bridge, as it were, and burn it behind you?

( congregational response ).

Peter was interested. It was a genuine interest. But at this point, he had never really understood! I mean, he was focused on who Jesus was. Well, that’s great! It’s got to start there. You’ve got to know who He is. God is the only One who can reveal that. But at this point, he didn’t really know, did he?

But then, you come to that other incident in Luke chapter 5. “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret…” which is Galilee, another name for Galilee, “…with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God….” So, at this point, you’ve got a lot of people who are kind of interested! You know, wherever God moves, there are always people who kind of gravitate to that for one reason or another. Peter was one of them at this point, wasn’t he? He was interested.

“…He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.” So, here’s Peter, he’s one of them, and he’s busy as a fisherman. He hasn’t caught on to what this is about. God has a purpose that’s way beyond his being a fisherman. Now, I’m not gonna try to translate that into every life, because God has a purpose for every life. Some of it, you might leave whatever you’re doing. Of course, the devil will tell you…oh, if I do this, He’ll make me go to a jungle and be a missionary. I don’t know what His purpose is, but I know it’s right.

( congregational amens ).

He might want you to stay right where you’re at and be a light. Somebody hears this, and you’re in prison, you don’t have a choice where to go. But you can be a missionary right where you’re at. You can be God’s representative right there. But it’ll be Him and not you. Praise God!

Okay, so now, he’s crowded by the shore. He sees a couple of boats. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon. So now, there’s another encounter with Simon. He still had this one by John’s baptism area. Now, he’s back up at home. Okay? “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

And you remember what Simon said. “Simon answered, Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” But you know, somehow, in his encounter with Jesus, something had happened. He had begun to have a confidence in who Jesus was. So, what was his next word?

( congregational response ).


( laughing ).

Thank God! Even though he had this feeling, looking at things naturally there is no point, we’ve just been out all night and we’re here fixing our nets, and You want us to go out again? We didn’t catch a thing. ‘But.’ So, you see the progression of him coming into contact with God through Jesus. Okay, “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

But do you see God working in his heart, drawing him, and him responding to that? That’s the key. He deals with everybody one way or another. He deals with people’s hearts. What do you do when He does? Do you always have an answer? Do you always say, no, it’s not this way, it’s that way? Do you always find a way to slip and slide, and the bottom line is you keep hold of your own life? It’s never really laid at His feet. You’ve never seen what you need to see. Peter was about to find out, wasn’t he?

“…Because you say so, I will let down the nets. When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them…” And who was that? James and John, wasn’t it? “…To come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this….”

Now, a lot of people saw miracles. A lot of people were wowed and entertained and drawn by the miracles. What was Peter’s reaction? This is a key. This was not about seeing…so much about seeing who Jesus was. He was convinced, certainly, at this point. “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” No one will ever come to Christ without facing, not only who Jesus is, but who they are.

( congregational response ).

Peter’s illusions about his own goodness, his own rightness, his own anything, they were gone. In that moment, he knew. God convicted him of his need. Man, this is at the heart. If God is calling you, this is part of it. You cannot escape facing the truth of God’s light that will come searching in your heart. And it may terrify you like it did him. He was so conscious of his unworthiness even to be in the presence of Somebody like this. He said, go away, Lord! Go away! I’m a sinful man! There’s this sense…oh God, I see what I am! I can’t run from it! It’s real! Oh, I feel it so keenly!

But what an awesome response Jesus gives us. Down below it says, “Then Jesus said to Simon, Don’t be afraid.” Oh, how we’re afraid to face what we are in God’s eyes. And here’s Jesus, the very Son of God, the sinless Son of God, standing there looking at Peter who’s full of the sense of his own sinfulness and unworthiness, hopeless in his own eyes, and Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid.”

That’s what He longs to say to every heart that will come to this place. Don’t be afraid! I didn’t come to the world to condemn it! I know what’s wrong! You don’t. But when you come to that knowledge of what you are, I don’t want it to terrify you and take away your hope! I want it to be a doorway into something that’s eternal! I have paid the price for your sins! I can deal with that! What I want is your will! I want you to come to a point where you’re willing to surrender. Leave your purpose. Leave your…that behind you, surrender it at my feet, and live out the life that I’ve called you to.

I’ll tell you, this was a point that he never got over, did he? He never, ever…he had some wobbles, didn’t he? But he never got over this moment. Up to this point, he was interested. He had a conviction. He could have said, that’s the Guy, man, He’s come. He’s the Messiah! He’s the One we’ve been looking for!

But he’s still on the outside. You see what’s going on? You understand? He was still on the outside. But now, Jesus brings him face to face with his own need, and there is a surrender of his heart. That’s what’s going on. Boy, we see the fruit of it so many times in his life. “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

And there’s another one of the accounts that said, I will make you—I will make you a fisher of men! That’s the key to everything when it comes to the Gospel. It’s not what we’ve got to do to keep rules! It’s that, I will make you! It’s a divine work. We saw it described in Romans. He who foreknew us, called us, and did all these things, and He finishes with glorifying us. Man, I want to step into something that’s eternal, don’t you? I want to be part of that.

The price of admission is coming to Him on His terms. It is unconditional surrender. It is the embracing, not only of who He is, but what I am and what I need. God has a way of bringing every single individual. You’re all different. We’re all different. For some it might be quiet. It might be late at night. It might be under all kinds of circumstances when God brings you to that sense of need.

Has He brought you to a sense of need in your life? You know, that theme jumped out at me as I was listening Wednesday night, those of you who were here, how God sees us in our condition, and He has this place of blessing over here. How do you get from here to there? If He leaves us like we are, if He leaves our circumstances like they are, are we gonna get there? No! We’re gonna be comfortable here. It’s familiar. It’s part of our life. But God has to bring us to points of need in our hearts where we know deep in our hearts we don’t have what we need.

( congregational amens ).

If you’re here this morning and you feel that sense of need, that’s God! That’s God reaching out to you, and He’s saying, don’t be afraid. But you have the right to call upon God from your heart and say, oh God, I don’t have what I need. Help me! If you’ll call from your heart, He will! He’ll make Himself known to you. He will blot out your sins and come to live and to give you a new heart and a new life. He’ll start you down a different pathway. Oh, when He hears, when He works with your heart, answer. And don’t answer, no! But answer, yes, Lord, I surrender.

Oh, Peter…this was Peter’s day. This was when he passed from death to life. This was when there was no going back. He didn’t just see Jesus and who He was and feel like, hey, I can attach myself to Him, and my life will be better. This is, oh my God, I have no part with Him, the condition I’m in. I need something I don’t have. And that’s when His message came and just broke his heart and saved him.

But you see it later when Jesus comes to the disciples and says, who do people say I am? You see a picture of religious people who were amazed at Jesus and said, oh, He’s one of the prophets. He’s this. He’s that. But who do you say I am? And Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And he said, you’re blessed, Peter. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you. This is something God has to reveal to the heart

 Has He revealed it to your heart? See, He’s gonna use means, He’s gonna work through people sometimes, but what He’s bringing you into is something that is eternal. Oh, when you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart. Christians, pray. I believe with all my heart that Christ is here in a measure. I’m certainly not gonna try to measure all that. That’s not my job. My job is to try to give out what God puts on my heart and anybody else that ministers.

We have the right to claim the promises of how God does stuff. We have the right to pray…not oh, God, please do something. But God, I know Your promise is true. You will save those that the Father knows. They will come. We can pray that God will absolutely do whatever it takes in hearts and in lives.

Like I say, I don’t know where you’re at. I don’t want to try to pick green fruit. You may be somewhere between the Jordan and Galilee. You may be interested. You may see something in the Lord, but yet, you’ve never been brought to the place where you’ve really seen yourself and let go. Keep looking to the Lord.

Christians, keep praying. I believe with all my heart that there are people here, young, some of them…they’re growing up. Bible Tabernacle religion will not save you. We do not have a religious culture to hand off to people. We have a living Savior.

( congregational amens ).

By faith, He is the Head of this church. I am not. You are not. He is the Head of this church. Our job is to be channels of His life one to another. He’s building us together. He lives in one another, and He’s bringing us out of a lot of tradition. But we don’t need to form our own traditions. We need Him. Every time we come together, we need to come together and say, God, speak to us. Speak to the need.

Well, there’s a need. There’s a need for people to cross this bridge and burn it. And God will do it for you. You don’t have that power in you, but when God speaks, you do. His grace will give you the power to believe and to repent. Listen! You will never ever be sorry.

I’ll tell you, do you think Peter was sorry when he came to the end of his life? Do you think he looked back and said, boy, did I mess up? My life has been hell. Everybody hates me everywhere I go. And now, they’re getting ready to crucify me all because I followed that crazy preacher a long time.

No! There was a revelation that only God can impart to the heart. He knew just like Paul. “I know whom I have believed. I am persuaded. He is able to keep what I’ve given to Him! I’ve committed it to Him against that day.”

That’s the kind of hope and assurance God wants to give every person. We don’t need second-hand religion around here. We need people who have met God! And they’ve met Him…they’ve come to Jesus, not by addition but by submission.

I’ll tell you, what He can do in the heart and life, that never ends. I just praise Him. I commit the message into His hands today. It’s up to Him to do what He’s gonna do with it, but He will. Praise God!