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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1341

Be All You Can Be
Part One

June 17, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: I appreciate the things that have been shared. I appreciate the Lord’s burden and I pray the Lord will direct my thoughts. I’ve had thoughts going back for days now and I believe it plays into what has been said. I believe, with all my heart, the Lord is wanting to equip His people and bring us to a place where we are effective, where we can, truly, help one another, where that’s the focus of our lives, we understand the kingdom of God and how it works.

You know, we talked last week about the condition of the world and the last rebellion and how we’re seeing that unfold. We’re seeing the spirit of man, who is all about himself, his pleasure, his pride, everything to do with himself, and everything that would repel everything God stands for, in the pursuit of selfish interests. But I’ll tell you, God has called us out of that world and He’s called us to a kingdom. And, more than we realize, we’re affected by the world in which we live. I think we all know that.

And I’d like to read some familiar scripture, but I believe, always, the Lord has a particular way He wants…a particular thing He wants to emphasize. And He emphasized this to my own heart and my own mind in a slightly different way from a scripture that I was very familiar with. I’m just gonna go ahead and read a few scriptures, verses rather, in 1st Peter, chapter 5. And Peter is writing here.

It begins, “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

“Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (NIV).

And there we come back to the song…the scripture that was the inspiration for the chorus that we began the service with. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” We’ve even ministered, in the past, upon this scripture where we say, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand…,” and I feel like the danger, perhaps in my own past thinking, and in our way of looking at this, we tend to think of our spiritual life as us and God.

And it’s almost a private thing. I need to have a certain humble attitude toward God, realizing He is greater than I am. He knows better than I do. He’s able to arrange the circumstances in my life, and so I need to humble myself and be thankful and recognize His goodness in spite of things that I may not like. But it basically is that it’s kind of a vertical relationship.

You understand what I’m saying? I mean, how many of you kind of thought about this that way? Well, I’ll tell you, when you look at this in the context, it certainly involves that, but I don’t believe that’s what it’s about at all. In fact, I was thinking about what to call this…and I didn’t start with this, as I imagined I would, but I’m gonna trust the Lord with how this comes out. But it would be this simple phrase, and it’s a phrase we hear in advertising for the US Army, if I’m not mistaken: “Be all you can be.”

And you know, the world conceives of that as, you need to dig down deep, you need to assert yourself and develop your abilities to the greatest degree. And of course, the army is selling themselves as that’s the way to make it happen. But, whether that is or isn’t the case, I’ll tell you what, we serve a God who wants us to be all we can be!

( congregational amens ).

But we need to understand what that means, because it doesn’t mean what the world means by that. We do not become all that we can be by asserting self. It’s exactly the opposite. But you know how this works out in practice? It isn’t just me and Jesus on the Jericho Road trying to learn how to say, yes, Lord, and I agree with You, and I’m humbling myself and all of that. Do you know where this works out? It works out on horizontal relationships.

Do you know God has an order to His kingdom? We see just a glimpse of it in the early part of this passage. God has an order. We’re not all the same. Every one of us has been given certain gifts, certain abilities, a certain place that God has designed just for you, just for every single one of us. There’s nobody who’s unimportant. Even though some may be over others in the way their gifts operate, it’s never with this selfish…I’m better than you, I’m more important that you, never with any of that kind of a spirit.

Now just go back into what we began with. He’s talking to elders. He’s talking to people who have a responsibility to watch over. He says, be overseers, doesn’t He? So there’s a leadership there, there’s a role that’s being carried out through people. It’s God’s oversight, ultimately. He’s the Great Shepherd, isn’t He? He’s the One who’s over all, but He uses others, He works through others to rule over…not rule, that’s a bad word. But you understand what I’m saying…to have leadership over others.

But look at the character of that leadership. He says, “…not because you must, but because you are willing.” Now, what’s the contrast there? You’re talking about somebody who is so self-willed, he says, all I care about is myself. I don’t care about those poor sheep. I don’t care about watching over them. I’ve got my own life to live. Do you see the contrast between the spirit of Christ and the spirit of selfishness?

Well, what about the greedy part? How many people are in religious positions today and you watch their lives and you see how they live them out, and it’s greed? It’s greed for pride, it’s greed for money, it’s all kinds of things that just pollute the name of Jesus and bring dishonor to Him, because they do it in His name!

But this is the polar opposite of what God wants His people to seek. It’s not what I can get, it’s what I can give. It’s what God has empowered me, because He has designed me for a certain purpose, and when I yield my vessel to Him, and when He operates by His spirit through my members…and I’m saying this of everyone, then I have the power to bless somebody, though in myself I could never do that.

If you got what’s in me, you’d be messed up. But if I have the privilege of standing here and yielding myself, in any measure, to the Lord, and obviously, this is a process of getting more and more mature and more able to be used…exactly what Thomas was talking about. You know, that’s one aspect of it. It’s caring and giving of yourself and focusing on the needs of somebody else in prayer. That’s a powerful way this works out.

But how do I see myself? Is it just me and my little world and my little life? Is it about me and what I can get? Or is it what I have the privilege of giving? You see, what is God’s nature? What is the very life, the character of His kingdom? But it’s God’s Spirit! And God’s character infuses everything that is a part of His kingdom!

Can you imagine? We’ve talked about this before. Can you imagine what it’s gonna be like when it’s all there is? Every flower, every bird, every creature, every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, if there are any…if we’re not all the same at one point. But you understand what I’m saying? Every fiber of everyone’s being is infused with a principle of love, with a principle of peace, of joy, of purpose.

Talk about being all we can be! This is the pathway! It’s not the pursuit of self. It’s losing our lives and giving them to Him and allowing His nature to take control and to work through us for the benefit of others, because that’s His focus.

You know, there’s an example we have used before from 1st John 4, I think, where it talks about how God’s love is made perfect, or made complete. Think about that. God loves us. He’s demonstrated that by what Jesus did on the Cross. It’s a practical thing. He did something that was the only answer to our need. We had no hope of ever having a relationship with a Holy God unless God did something to do away with the barrier of our sins. He’s demonstrated His love.

So, how is that love complete? Now, we would tend to say, well, He loves me, I’m gonna love Him back. Well, that’s true enough, but that’s a private thing. But God’s love is made perfect when we love one another. It’s not meant to be just a bounce back thing. This is meant to be a river that flows through and out and permeates whatever it touches.

And of course, when His love flows through us to somebody else and they open their hearts to it, that’s God’s love for them. What do they do? In turn, they’re opening their vessel and allowing that life to flow. And one day, that’s all there will be! Oh, man! That’s where we’re going. Don’t we want to participate in that now? Isn’t that what this is about?

( congregational response ).

It’s about the Kingdom of God and His will being done on earth as it’s done in heaven. Well, it’s not…we’re not gonna see this world transformed. This world is gonna be destroyed, ultimately. And I don’t believe it’s that far off. But nonetheless, God’s Kingdom is real! Jesus is real! He is on the throne and He is working in the hearts and lives of all of His people. I want to be one of those people, don’t you? So, you see the spirit of this.

But here’s something that jumped out at me a number of years ago. It says, “Young men, in the same way be submissive.” Now, he’s just talked about leaders. He’s talked about people who are leaders over others and now he’s talking about, “in the same way be submissive.” That doesn’t compute to a human mind. We think of leaders as people who would gain power for themselves and use that power, often selfishly, or use it to lord it over, the very thing he says not to do…to lord it over others and command them and put them down and put them in an inferior place.

This is the very opposite. What he’s saying is leadership is a form of submission! It’s submitting my own private life and my world for the benefit of somebody else because of gifts that God has given to me. He didn’t give them to me to make me something. He gave them to me to allow me to participate in His very life and His very nature, for the benefit of somebody else. But He did that for you, too.

But what’s the price here? What’s involved? It’s a spirit of submission, isn’t it? It’s being willing to take the place that God has designed for you and for me. Do you really believe that God knows about you and He’s designed you for a particular place in your kingdom…in His kingdom? I do! There’s a place only you can fill! God put you there. He gave you every gift that you need to flourish. And that’s His design. He wants every member of the body of Christ to be all that you can be! Praise God!

I don’t know. I don’t want to just give this out with emotion, but somehow that’s just really captured my imagination. I saw this in a way that I hadn’t really seen it quite before. And yet, it does pull together ideas that we’ve heard. “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older.” This gets down to personal attitudes. This gets down to our relationships one with another.

Do we have this, “nobody tells me what to do” spirit? You know, if you don’t come to the end of that, fundamentally, and come to Christ and bow the knee, you’re not even part of this. There’s got to be—there’s got to be a laying down of our life and embracing and inviting Him to come in and be the Lord, and wash away our sins and all of that!

But I’ll tell you, just because that’s happened doesn’t mean all the other just goes away. We’re still infected with the influence of this world and our old nature. It rises up and, boy, do we have self-will! Oooh, we want our way! Our way’s right, after all!

You know, we all go through this. But, you understand what I’m saying? You see how God is wanting this to work out in every area of our lives and we’re…if we are truly submitting to God, which is where he’s going with, “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,” how does that happen? Is it possible for me to have a humble spirit before God and not to have a humble spirit towards you?

( congregational response ).

No! But I can kid myself, can’t I? I can live in this little private world and imagine that I’m so spiritual. I’ve got this wonderful, glorious relationship, and all those poor schmucks out there that don’t quite get it…you know, I’ll be real impatient with them and short with them.

No! It doesn’t work that way. God wants His spirit reproduced in us, and the way that works is the relationships that exist among His people, because you and I are not the only ones. We’ve got brothers…I mean, right here, we’ve got a company of brothers and sisters.

And I’ll tell you, God wants to produce a unity, a humbleness of spirit one to another where we’re not just bickering and fighting for our way and criticizing and all of the negative things that come out of human nature. God wants us to humble ourselves and realize, most of the time, when there’s any kind of problem, we’re the problem! And of course, I know in your case it’s different.

( laughter ).

Couldn’t possibly be any other way! Because you’re right! Boy, the Devil’s slick! He has so many ways of justifying our acting in a way that’s exactly the opposite of what the writer is talking about, what the Lord, through the writer, is talking about. Because we value, we sort of imagine that the greatest value that we could uphold is being right!

( tapping ).

And, of course, it gets down to stupid stuff, sometimes. Which way do you hang the toilet paper?

( laughter ).

How do you squeeze the…do you squeeze or the roll of toothpaste? Tube? You know what I’m talking about. But I mean, sometimes it gets down to a whole lot of other stuff. But I mean, how we stupidly assert our rightness! But oh, when it comes to something we have a conviction about…I’m not talking about whether we’ll rob a bank or not…understand what I’m saying. But when we come down to so many issues in our lives, we’ve got a conception in our ‘punkin’ heads of what’s right and that becomes the highest value, and so Satan has a way of justifying a rotten spirit.

How many times, over the years, have we heard it said, rightly, “You are wrong, even if you’re right, if your spirit is wrong”? Now, the problem is, so many of the times, we’re not even right!

( laughter ).

But suppose, for the sake of argument, you really are! Does that justify asserting that old nature to try to make that happen, somehow? No, it doesn’t. God is more concerned with our heart and our spirit and our attitude than any other thing. If He sees someone who humbles himself to something that is technically wrong…again, I’m not talking about somebody who says, let’s go rob a bank. Okay. I’m not talking about that kind of stuff. You understand. And we can even have a right spirit in not participating in something that we know is wrong.

But I’ll tell you, God is more interested in your attitude and mine, a humble spirit. If He sees that, even in the face of something that’s wrong, does He not observe that? Does He not know? Does He not care? Will He not honor that one? Will He not even work through that circumstance to produce the fruit of a spirit that is able to do that, when it matters? I’ll tell you, when God can mold that kind of a spirit and character into us, He’s got someone to work with!

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God…” (KJV). Because he says, it’s not just the young submitting to the older, it’s everybody being humbled about everybody. So, he really stops and says, you know, I’ve talked about a lot of specifics but this really applies to everybody! We need to have a humble, caring spirit towards one another, that’s not quick to fight for our way and our ideas and our this and our that.

Oh, how wise the Lord is to put us together, knowing we’re like the rough stones in a tumbler. The Lord’s gonna tumble us around…and get rid of all the rough edges. Well, I’m afraid I’ve got plenty and I think you do, too! I know you do! No?

( laughter ).

But there are so many scriptures that you could use on this, but I’m just gonna go back to some that get into specifics. First of all, back in chapter 2, verse 9, there is a kind of a summary of where God’s going and who we are and then it kind of unfolds in some of these other issues. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…” Why? “...That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (NIV).

‘Declare’ is more than just talking about it. ‘Declaring’ is manifesting. God wants the world to be able to look at us and interact with us and see something of Him in us. That’s what he’s talking about.

He called us, “…out of the darkness…,” we’ve been talking about, “…into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Now, let’s see how some of this works out. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men.” Now think about the world in which this was uttered and written. This was a world ruled by a pagan emperor in Rome, who was seriously cruel. In fact, the one who wrote this, probably wasn’t all that long before he was crucified.

You had the Jews, who were just about to be destroyed, because the nation, as a whole, was destroyed because of the resistance and the failure to recognize their Messiah and their rejection of Him. And then you had a pagan world that was full of cruelty. And here God says, submit yourself! You got to be kidding!

But do you see what God is seeking to produce? He’s seeking to produce a heart that sees past all of this and says, God, I want to be the kind of a person You want me to be. You have allowed me to be in this circumstance and you’ve allowed me to live at this time, and under these circumstances. Lord, I want to be the kind of a person you want me to be. I want to have the right attitude. Boy, do we live in a world today that is full of hate, full of anger on all sides. There’s an anger that is gripping our nation and it’s awfully easy to get involved in that and say…

( growling ).

 …You stupid idiot, why do you say that? Instead of saying, Lord, help me to be the kind of person you want me to be. Help me to see past all of this and see people and care about people.

“…Every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

“Slaves….” See, there was still slavery here. Now you could talk in terms of an employer-employee relationship if you want to, in today’s world. But, “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”

Boy, there’s no wiggle room here, is there? He doesn’t say, as long as they do right, I’ll submit, I’ll go along. No! You’re not the boss! God is forming his character. You’re gonna see, in a minute, where this…how this was really portrayed for all of us. “…But also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it?”

Oh how noble we are. We mess up and we just patiently, humbly receive the…good grief, big deal! You deserve it! But what he’s commending here is somebody who doesn’t deserve something and they take it with a humble spirit! God takes note of that. God is changing something on the inside. It’s not just a bunch of rules and religion, is it? This is a character change. This is a character transplant, if you will.