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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1346

Entering Into His Promises

July 22, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: God wants to become real in your life and mine. We’re the ones who hold back in fear so many times. And so, here we are, needs in our lives, characteristics of our personality, all the things about us that impact whether we are really effective as Christians or not. Where do the resources come from to do something about that? Are there resources? And how easy is for us to quote this scripture and live as if it were not true, and just allow ourselves to become stuck? Yeah. God, help us! But He is.

As I said so many times recently, I don’t sense in God’s heart about any of this, a spirit of condemnation. I certainly don’t sense it in the heart of Jesus. We are invited to come. We are called to come. We are exhorted to come with boldness, when? In a time of high performance? No, wait a minute, a time of need. It’s the time when I really hit bottom, and I don’t know what to do, and I look at myself, and I see nothing but fault and inability. That’s when He invites us to come! Why? Because He’s been here and He knows what it’s like. Praise God!

But notice something in this. I don’t know that I’ve ever, my mind’s ever been focused on it or not, but His divine power! Does that not remind us of the reality of the situation we’re in? This is not neutral territory. We live in a world ruled by an enemy of God and all of his evil hosts. They are real beings. I know some people don’t like to talk about that, but it’s the reality, folks! That’s the world we live in! And they have power! And part of that power is what has blinded the minds of those who do not believe!

There is a real power! That’s why Paul speaks of coming into the kingdom of God. He said, He has delivered us from, what? “…The power of darkness…translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (KJV). There is real energy that has to be exerted if anything is gonna happen. Man, it doesn’t come from me, but it is come from God. God has the power over all the power of the enemy, and He’s given that to us.

But it’s His power that has done that! It’s His power that brought Jesus out of the grave, that enabled Jesus to go to the cross in the first place, that enabled Jesus to do what He did while He walked on the earth. It was God’s power at work! But that same power is still at work. His divine power has given us everything we need to be what God wants us to be. Praise God!

So now, he comes down, and he’s still tying this into His own virtue, His own character. None of this is ever dependent upon our goodness. He keeps using that kind of language. He said he, “…called us by His own glory and goodness.” (NIV). All right, through these, what…His glory and goodness. You see how he continually ties everything back to that truth. Through His own glory and goodness, “…he has given us his very great and precious promises….”

So now, he has placed into world, into the universe, words. These are expressions of His plan, of His purpose, of His promise to us. It’s the same principle that enabled Abraham to stand. All he had to stand upon for years and years and years was the fact, God told me. Everything else militates against the truthfulness of what God has told me, but I believe Him! I’m gonna stand based upon that. I’ll tell you, that’s what it comes down to, folks. Do we really believe God?

“…Very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature….” Now, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anybody put it this way, but I think it would be a truthful statement. Jesus Christ partook of our human nature that we might share in His divine nature. God is building a family. And a family is not just something that happens only by adoption. That happens by birth. That happens when we share, literally share, His life. That’s what faith brings into the picture, so that we’re not just religious people trying to be different, trying to be good. There is literally a life force that enters into the human heart that begins to change us and begins to move us in that direction.

Folks, having that doesn’t guarantee by itself that we’re gonna just walk in all of that, does it, though? You see? I had this picture because — well, let me back up and say this. Every one of us, by nature, looks for shortcuts. Just explain it to me right, and then I will — oh yes, the light will go on, and suddenly, I will be a victorious and overcoming Christian in every respect. That’s all it takes — if I just understand it all — run to the latest seminar and get a handle on it.

And there are a lot of folks that would like to just treat the promises of God as proof texts. And as wonderful as they are, there’s more to it than that. And what happens is, you read the temptation of Jesus when He was so long there in the wilderness, no food, trusting God. And it talked about the devil coming and tempting Him.

Well, our account of that is pretty simplified, isn’t it? The devil said, You’re hungry, make bread if You’re the Son of God. And He says “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (KJV). And basically, you have these little one sentence dialogues almost. And you could get the idea from that that all we have to do, the devil comes to us, we just quote a verse…

( snapping fingers ).

…And man, it just goes away. How many of you run into situations where it didn’t work like that?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. There’s nothing wrong with asserting what God says in the face of the enemy. But folks, there is more to it. And we’re gonna have to learn how to stand and how to fight. And I know people get tired of hearing, ‘cause I do sometimes, about the Israelites and how God gave them the Promised Land. But is that there just to entertain us with a little bit of history, or is there a real lesson for us?

God said, I have given you the land. Does that sound familiar? It says, He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. God gave — in both instances, God had given all that they needed for the Israelites to go in a live a fruitful life, a life of blessing, a life of peace and joy! But there was only one problem. There were giants there and they didn’t want to go. And the Lord didn’t just wave His magic wand…

( snapping fingers ).

…And say, they’re gone. They didn’t walk in there and announce the word, God has given us this land, go. Oh, okay.

( laughter ).

No! Man, they — I’ll tell you, when we set out in this Christian life, you’re gonna find entrenched opposition everywhere you look. And the worst of it is gonna be in here. You know, last week, there was an emphasis on prayer, and that’s got to be at the heart of everything, because that’s one of the chief methods of fighting.

But sometimes, it’s easier to say I’m fighting a defensive war. The devil’s trying to tell me this, and I know it isn’t so. Or, I’m fighting for somebody. What Peter’s emphasizing here is the building of Christian character so we can be effective. So, he’s talking about attacking enemies that are right in here!

And he’s reminding us that it’s not just something that happens because you assert what is true! It just doesn’t magically happen because the words are spoken, even though that’s part of it. There has to become an experience of walking with God in the face of that opposition and hanging on to His promise no matter what comes, and we will see victories that we have not seen.

But oh, what happened to so many of the Israelites? They won great victories. Whenever they looked to God and they saw a city that they needed to conquer and they trusted God, God gave them the strategy, they carried it out, they did it. What happened? God was with them, wasn’t He? They did things that were humanly impossible!

Of course, the first time, the walls of Jericho fell down by themselves. God knocked them down. They didn’t have to do anything but just say, praise God! What a lesson. I mean, God doesn’t do things the same way twice. That’s one of the things you and I face, because many times, we have seen victories in our lives that came a certain way. Okay, now we’ve got another issue. All right, I know what to do. Push this button, and it just happens. And it may not be the same way at all.

There are things that God will do right now. There are things that may take a real stand of faith over a period of time. But what happened to so many was that they kind of put forth an effort to take certain areas of land, but the people that were there were too stubborn. They wouldn’t go, and they couldn’t seem to muster the faith to continue the battle. What it boiled down to, they didn’t really believe what God had said about it. They kind of fought for a little while. The next thing you know, they’re backing down.

Anybody here ever done that? Yeah. I’ve run smack dab into this issue in my life, and it’s been there forever. And I don’t care what I do, it’s just still there. So, what did they do? Well, they just kind of gave up and settled into whatever territory they did have. And it says those particular people live among the Israelites to this day, when God had given them the whole territory, and there they were just allowing — but don’t we do the same thing? Aren’t there things that God wants us to begin to lay hold of His promises?

Again, Paul telling Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” (KJV). There are battles that you and I need to fight. And if any part of this doesn’t really come together, we’re gonna be at a tremendous disadvantage. If you don’t understand the foundation is entirely God, that He really is for you, that He’s not sitting here measuring your performance and saying, well, you get straight, and I’ll help you.

If we don’t get that right, we’re gonna give up, because the stuff we’re up against is too strong for us. The stuff in here that doesn’t want to give up its own way, it’s way stronger than you and I are. If it weren’t, then all salvation would be, would be a course in how to be a better person by your own strength. It doesn’t work that way. It’s salvation. It means divine power is the only answer for this.

But there is power that I can have. I can’t get out the manual and say, poof, magic words. But I can go, and I can take hold of what is there, because God has given it to me. But do you see where the disconnect comes. God’s done His part, but part of His plan for making us what He wants us to be, not just for time but also for eternity — He is building a family of sons who are overcomers.

We don’t get there simply by having everything handed to us. We have to literally fight for what He has given us. He gives us everything we need to do it, but there’s something in the process that forms that very character that we are seeking.

You know, even the world recognizes the difference between somebody who is a, maybe a rich kid, and everything’s handed to him, and somebody else who has every disadvantage in life but yet, there’s a spirit of perseverance. And they overcome one obstacle after another, and they achieve great things in this world. You think there’s a difference in the character of those two? Oh yeah.

There’s something formed by the very process of having to fight battles and learn how to know God and learn how to experience all that He has given to us and to be able to say this is not just theory I read in a book. This is something I have lived. I have been through it. I have walked this way. I have faced down these enemies. I know God’s Word is true, because I needed it! It was the only hope that I had, and He was faithful.

( congregational inaudible ).

And then somebody wants to come down to the altar and have somebody lay their magic hands and just take care of all these issues. You know, there are times God can meet us in unusual ways. I’m not doing away with any of that. But there is no substitute for what Peter is talking about right here, “…Participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (NIV).

How does that happen? Now, on the basis of this, what do we do? Do we simply go and just march in and claim the promises, there’s no opposition? No. He says, “For this reason, make every effort…” “…Make every effort to add to your faith goodness….” Where did he get the faith? God gave it to you.

But now, I need to experience something else, because there is so much in my character that is not like God. And, guess what? He is going to allow me to experience things in this world that will bring out the fact that I’m not like Him. What do I do about it? I’m gonna have to learn how to go to God. I’m gonna have to learn how to lay hold of these promises

 Many times, it will be as simple as looking, as God quickening a scripture that is applicable to the situation and the need that God exposes in us, and to begin to lay hold of that. God said this! Here I stand! I am laying hold of this, and I am believing it, and I’m coming to God. I’m spending time in prayer.

This isn’t just, okay, God, I’ve got to go. I’m gonna quote this to You, and I’m gonna run on my way and expect magic to happen. Sometimes, there are pitched battles. Do you know when they fought in those battles, they weren’t just one-day affairs. Sometimes, they would lay siege to a city. When you’re laying siege to a city, you spend all day trying to come against that city, and find a way in, and intimidate them, bombard them, however you would attack a city in those days.

And then you get up in the morning, and they’re still there! And then, you go to the next day, and they’re still there! And a month later, it’s still there! Did God really mean it? Or is there something to be gained by the process of having to stand in faith until the victory is experienced?

I remember years ago hearing a testimony. Some of you may remember this, and I won’t name the person. But, there was a man who had had — in his case, God brought him face to face with a long-standing addiction. It happened to be cigarettes, I think. Nicotine. And it was just something that God just convicted him, and he set himself up to really quit. Now how many — I’ve never, thankfully, I’ve never been addicted to that. But you who have know that it’s just real easy, right? Easy to quit, you’ve done it dozens of times!

( laughter ).

But, addiction can be serious stuff. So anyway, he really — he prayed, he just spent the weekend, basically praying and reading his Bible and looking to God and just asking, just standing, asking God for faith. And it didn’t happen in five minutes. It was a matter of days when he had to stand his ground and not give an inch, and he experienced God’s victory in that thing.

That’s how his particular battle played out, but he had to — to get from here to there, there was a battle in between where he had to stand on the Word of God and allow it to dominate and trump every other word.

Folks, if your confidence in what Peter’s talking about here is undermined by, “Is it really for me, does God really like me?” Why would you even ask that when Jesus went to the cross for sinners? God, help us just to trust His Word and His character. Nothing, nothing of what we’re talking about this morning is dependent upon your goodness.

You know, I want to drop this one thing in. Time is getting by, but I want to drop this in lest somebody mistake it. Verse 10, he says, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall….” And someone could look at that and say, boy, if I don’t measure up, He’s gonna throw me out.

What happened to Peter when he didn’t do those things? Back when Jesus was going to the crucifixion, let’s go back to that. What happened to Peter? He fell, didn’t he? But the Lord wasn’t through with him. In other words, his experience was, I didn’t measure up. I wasn’t able to stand up to that test. I fell. It didn’t mean he’d lost out with God, and God was through with him.

I mean, if there’s somebody who has truly been born of the Spirit of God, God has really imparted His new life to you, He’s sealed you with His Spirit, you’re safe in His hands. But God wants better for us than just to survive and get into Heaven one day. He wants us to be able to begin to lay hold of the things that He paid such a dear price for, and not to just say, this is good enough. I’m just the way I am. I’ll never — I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, and I’ll never conquer this.

So much of that trying is either we stopped short, or we were trying in our own strength, instead of coming to God based upon the promises that He has given to us and being willing to take our stand and just say, God, I’m gonna be like that widow and the unjust judge. I’m gonna get up every day, and I’m gonna say, here I stand. I’m looking to You.

I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who prizes that. He will never look at one who does that and say, boy, who do you think you are to come before Me? He says, that’s what I’m looking for. I want somebody who believes Me. That’s what faith looks like. It’s someone who is willing to look to the Word of God. God’s quickened that Word to you. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Whatever it is that’s pertinent to the need.

How many times have we pointed out how Paul learned how to deal with having a lot and having little? He learned it because he had to go through it, and he found out God was faithful either way. God wants you and me to experience things we’ve never experienced, and not to simply settle and say, I’m in, that’s good. Praise God!

That’s — I don’t know what else to say. I’m not gonna try to make an oration out of this, but is this the truth? Is there room in your life and mine for us to take higher ground?

( congregational response ).

Is there anything God has not done, any lack on His part? Is He looking for your strength? Is He looking for your goodness? Is He looking back at your track record and saying, boy, you’ve proven what you’re gonna be like all the rest of your life? No. forgetting what is behind and reaching forth to what is before, “I press toward…the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (KJV).

And I’ll tell you, we’re gonna find out, as we’re willing to do that against everything that would say otherwise, we’re gonna find out God is gonna be with us. And you and I are gonna experience God in ways that we have not imagined up to this point.

And I believe this is His heart. But it’s His heart for you this morning. And I know it’s easy to listen to this and say yeah, yeah, we’ve heard this a thousand times. But one of these years, we’re gonna actually believe it. And it’s gonna change what we do and how we do it.

And when we come up against something in ourselves, we’re not gonna say, oh well, here I am again. I guess I’ll just back off. Sorry, Mister Devil. We’re gonna say, wait a minute, He’s provided for this. And for once in my life, I’m gonna take a stand. I’m gonna believe Him. And if I fall down in the meantime, I’m gonna get up again, because I know, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

He’s with me in this. This is His path! This is how I get to what He wants me to be. It’s not to sit back and say, well, if He wanted me to be that way, He’d just sort of magically fix it. No. There’s ground that we can only take in battle, only take by an effort of faith that’s founded upon what He has purposed and what He’s promised. And I’ll tell you, the God who has promised all of these things will be with us in the process. And He’ll get the glory, won’t He?

( congregational amens ).

Praise God!