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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1352

Sanctify Yourselves
Part One

September 2, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: I’ve just had this thought come to me a number of times, and I’m just gonna really cherry-pick something out of this particular event. You know, the Israelites had been led by Moses to a certain point and Joshua was given the leadership and Moses passed off the scene, and the Israelites were about to go into the land. And so, they were at the Jordan River and now it was time for God to act.

And, in Joshua chapter 3, verse 5, “Joshua told the people, Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” (NIV). And, like I say, I’ve had that phrase come to me a number of times, because I believe with all my heart God wants to do things in our midst. And He wants to minister the truth that has been shared this morning. He wants to see people ‘really’ come to faith and not just — we can get to a point where we assert the right things, but we need to see God change lives.

( congregational amens ).

And that’s the burden that I have coming into a meeting and I’ll probably say some things that are uncomfortable, but that’s good. I need a little bit of discomfort myself. It’s awfully easy coming into something like this with a heritage and history that we have had for it to wind up being a time of fellowship, a time where we enjoy getting together, we enjoy singing songs that are familiar to us and give us good feelings, and we enjoy hearing truths that we are used to hearing, we agree with them, they’re said well and there’s a measure of life. We enjoy all that and so we go out with a good feeling. We’ve been encouraged and everything is great and grand. And I believe with all my heart God wants to take us beyond that.

( congregational amens ).

I’m thankful for everything I see God doing and I do see Him working. I’m thankful for that, but there is so much more that I believe God would do in our midst. And the reality of what we need to share in the Gospel has got to begin with a people who already know the Lord. Where are we at?

( congregational response ).

Are we really where we should be? Is Christ that real to us? You know, there’re so many dangers in the world in which we live. In the first place, feelings are central. We’ve said that many times before. Everything is about how I feel. Don’t you dare mess with me and upset me feelings and all of that.

But there’s an awful lot that has crept into what is professing Christianity, where it’s about coming to a feel-good religion. I want to go out of a service feeling good, feeling good about myself, and feeling happy, and trying to engender those kinds of feelings. You can do all that and totally miss what God has, because God dealing with human beings, particularly sinners like us, it isn’t always going to be stroking our fur the right way. In fact, it’s ‘not’ going to be. God is going to have to make some major — do some major surgery in our hearts and in our lives if we’re gonna be what He wants us to be.

( congregational amens ).

I mean, this is a holy God. We sing that — or we say it and assert it and agree with it intellectually, but I wonder if we really understand the holiness of God. We sing about His love and praise God for His love! I mean, we sang the song, He loves me as I am. Well that’s true. That’s one side of it. But He doesn’t love me to leave me there.

( congregational amens ).

He doesn’t love my sin. He doesn’t tolerate my sin. One of the myths that I think has affected people’s thinking — you know, we read the Old Testament and we see a God who is very serious about sin and holiness, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

I mean, He created — He had them build, rather, a Tabernacle and then a Temple later. And as we pointed out, it had a special room where the Lord’s presence dwelled in power. And only the priest could go, the high priest, properly prepared, could go in there once a year with a sacrifice. And he was — boy, there was a whole lot to it. He was waving incense to obscure the altar — they were meant to learn that God was not like us. There is a purity and a holiness to God that we know nothing about. And if somebody were to just bop in there and ignore all of that and essentially say, I don’t have to pay attention, You’re just like me, I can do as I please, what would happen?

( congregational response ).

They would be instantly dead. That’s how serious what we’re talking about is. And I believe with all my heart there has come an unbalanced emphasis on the goodness, the love, and all the ‘good feelings’ side of God. And, thank God, eternity is gonna be beyond our imagining in that regard. The beauty, the holiness, the love, the purity, everything is just gonna be amazing.

But I’ll tell you, getting there is a whole different thing when we truly reckon on the holiness of God and the purity of God. And the thing is, people will look at the Old Testament and say, okay, that God is not like the God of the New Testament. Or perhaps, He’s changed. Perhaps, He was serious about it and now He realized, hey, that didn’t work, so I guess I’d better try a different way.

He is exactly the same from eternity to eternity. And, you talk about how serious sin is, look at the cross! You know, we sang this morning about the fact that the wrath of God—the wrath of God was expressed at the cross It was the wrath I deserved.

( congregational amens ).

And boy, if you don’t see that, if you never see yourself in the light of the cross and the light of God’s holiness, you haven’t seen God. You don’t know anything about Him. There is a purity that would just — I mean, what would happen, what do you think would happen if God came here, not even in the fullness of His presence, but just a real manifest expression of His presence? What do you think would be the result?

( congregational response ).

Every one of us would be flat on the floor on our faces with the awareness of how amazing, how pure, how holy He is, and how — oh my God, I’m not like Him. Oh God, have mercy on me! We would come in — it’s easy to come in here and sort of feel good about ourselves. We’ve carved out a little life in which He has a place, some more, some less, and we know how to do church.

This is another one of the dangers. You know, we have a heritage here. God has blessed. There have been some powerful moves of God’s Spirit in the history of this church. But folks, we can’t just sit there and ride that. That’s wonderful, but that’s God. We need to have the presence, the living power and presence of Christ at work in hearts now, today!

( congregational amens ).

I need it! We need what some of those folks had and what they experienced! And we need to have more than just a meeting where those who know God come together and go away feeling good. We enjoyed one another’s company. We enjoyed the familiar expression of church life. And oh, it felt so good and we go away feeling encouraged. And people go away like they came.

God wants to do amazing things! God wants to get down into the depths of people’s hearts! There are people who need the Gospel that was being talked about this morning! They don’t need to just — they need to do more than hear about it. They do need to hear about it, but they need to do more than hear about it. They need to come face-to-face with the cross and with their need! And come to the point where there is a surrender!

( congregational response ).

There is a point where I have got to fall on my face and put all of my hope in Jesus. I have no ground whatsoever to stand before this holy God!

( congregational amens ).

I mean, we look at the Old Testament and how God showed His holiness. You think of Aaron’s sons. You know, Aaron was the original high priest and his sons were being groomed as priests and they had a privileged place. And there was one time where God called Moses and Aaron and Nadab and Abihu were there and they all went up on the mountain. This was Mt. Sinai. This was the heart of God establishing His covenant with His people. I mean, these were young men who really had a place of honor and responsibility.

How many of you remember what happened? They went in and offered strange fire, unauthorized fire. They just said, hey, I’m a priest, I can take fire, I can go into the presence of God. What happened?

( congregational response ).

They died. God was showing that He’s serious. You talk about sin, it’s a serious thing! And somehow in our culture — well not somehow, I know how. I know the spirit of the world. I see what’s happening and I see the plunging of our culture and our world into darkness. There’s a power that is blinding the minds of men and suddenly sin is not sin anymore.

( congregational amens ).

And it affects us. And we don’t take seriously a lot of things. People can sleep around, people can do this, people can do that, and it doesn’t have — it isn’t important. It isn’t a big deal anymore. It is!

( congregational amens ).

God is holy! He didn’t come to save us ‘in’ our sins. He came to save us…

( congregational response ).

…From them. And I’ll tell you, this has got to start with God’s people getting serious and saying, I need God. I need Him to show me needs in my life. I mean, you go on through and you see times when people encountered God in some manifest way. Every time it was terror! It was, oh my God!

One guy, was it Gideon, saw an angel and he expected to die. I mean, people just can’t see that kind of stuff and live. This is way out of my league here. I’m gonna die. Oh, how the — I don’t know how to convey what I feel. But I just pray that God will do it, will give us the balance, because I’m so thankful that God loves and all the awesome characteristics that He has toward those whose hearts are towards Him!

He’s not looking for performance and perfection from us. He’s looking for surrender. He’s looking for trust. He’s looking for people who will simply lay down their arms of rebellion and say, oh God, I’m a sinner, but You have made a way and I lay my life down. ‘Sanctify yourselves,’ means to be set apart to Him.

( congregational response ).

It means that I’m coming into a meeting — and this really should be all the time — but I’m coming into a meeting with a sense of focus. I’m not just here because I’m looking forward to my friends coming and we’re gonna visit and we’re gonna have a good time. But God wants to come!

( congregational response ).

God wants to be here in a greater way than we have seen Him!

( congregational amens ).

He wants to challenge the hearts of people with the claims of the Gospel and change hearts forever!

( congregational amens ).

We need for young people, like I said so many times, who grow up in this church to really come through, pass from death to life!

(congregational amens ).

And see a change happen in their hearts that is eternal! I remember the generation that was around when I first came and that was a long time ago. That was like 48 years ago. And there was a group of young people God had touched, many of them. Some of you are here today. I look around and I see some that I knew when you were kids. But I’ll tell you, God got hold of your heart, didn’t He?

( congregational response ).

There have been bumps in the road, there’s been a winding trail sometimes, but God did something permanent in your heart and you ‘know’ that He’s God!

( congregational amens ).

There’s no turning back! That’s the reality. God, we need His presence now! What good is history if we don’t have Him right now leading us?

( congregational response ).

We live in this world of moral relativism where everything goes and it’s just — you see the world getting worse and worse and you say, oh well. God, we need to — and part of me that really fights this side of the Gospel and this side of the truth is that I have seen, and so have you seen it so perverted, abused.

You know, some of you remember the little story Brother Thomas used to tell about the little boy who went to his dad on the farm and said, our mule’s got religion! His dad wondered what in the world was he talking about. He’s got a long face just like such-and-such, Aunt So-and-so, or whatever. And she’s the most religious person I know.

God, help us! That’s not what we want. There are a lot of people out there who would preach what they call ‘holiness’ and all it is is a self-righteous legalism. It’s simply a scheme by which I qualify myself by living according to rules.

God, we don’t need that! We need Christ to come and change the heart and I’ll tell you, when He changes the heart it’s not a drudgery, a rule-based living. It is a life-based living where His nature comes forth, and I’ll tell you, there is a joy! We don’t have a long face. We have a deep smile and a joy and a peace that stays down in here. That’s what God wants to give!

See, there’s a pathway to all the love and all the beauty and all that stuff, but boy, it comes through the cross! It comes by recognizing the depth of my need! And the only way I do that is an encounter with God! Folks, we who know Him have a part to play in what I’m talking about!

( congregational amens ).

God wants us to sanctify ourselves and get serious about what the Gospel means in our own lives! And I’ll tell you, the more we exhibit what Christ is, the more we get what we ought to be and become what we ought to be, the more the young people and others are gonna see something and they’re gonna say, “I need that.” God’s gonna convict people.

And I’ll tell you, there’s going to be a message that will reach out to the highways and the byways. We’ve got the only message that this world needs! But oh, it’s so easy, as I say, just to settle in. The danger — you see it, for example, in the church of Laodicea. I mean, what was wrong with their religion? They taught all the right stuff. I don’t recall the Lord pointing out and saying, you’ve got this error, you’ve allowed this error, this terrible doctrine to come into your — no!

They didn’t have any of that! All they’d done was just become comfortable. And the more you just kind of settle into a routine and assert all the right things, do all the right things, you go to sleep!

And you don’t even know it! I wish I could remember the quote, but, I think it was Dr. Tozer, when I was growing up, I remember him saying something like, 90 percent of Christianity, the Holy Spirit could withdraw completely and nothing would change, because it’s all done with human energy and tradition.

Oh, God! Do you not see the danger? Do you not see how much we need to be crying out to God and saying, God, deal with my heart! It’s not enough to just believe the things that we know to be true. I need You to change me. We need to come — I mean, time and time again, you see in the scriptures God dealing with His people in a way where they would come together and there would be covenant renewal, and they would be sometimes on their faces saying, oh God, we repent of all the evil that’s gone on, and help us, oh God!

As I’ve said, we have this idea abroad that there’s a difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. And you see all these instances in the Old, but what about Ananias and Sapphira? You know, when the church was young, there was a power, it was a supernatural thing. It wasn’t just a collection of people practicing their religion. It was the supernatural presence of God in a people!

And in that context, you had people, you had a couple who were gonna do a good thing, seemingly. You remember how there were practical needs and some people would sell their property and bring the money and lay it at the Apostles’ feet? Well, this is great! This is Body life! This is people caring about one another! This is awesome!

But one couple decided they were going to sell it and they were going to bring just part of the money and lay it at their feet. And that wouldn’t have been any problem! There wouldn’t have been anything wrong with that. What was wrong was that they both lied and said, we’ve given it all. And one by one, the husband first and the wife came in afterwards, they were struck down dead. And what happened? Great fear came upon all the people. You know, there is a fear that is not good. But there’s a fear that’s good.

( congregational amens ).

A scripture was quoted this morning, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning…”

( congregational response ).

It’s the ‘beginning’ of wisdom. In other words, you don’t have any wisdom if there is not a deep, holy, abiding respect for God. Oh God, we need Him. How many times have we pointed out Isaiah’s experience? Oh, the message he was given in chapter 5. Half a dozen time or so, he was pointing out sins in this group of people and that group of people. He says, woe to you who do this, woe to you who do this, woe, woe, woe!

You know, you can get in a position as a human being where you deliver a message like that and you begin to lift yourself up and look down, as though, those terrible people. And I’m up here and I’m righteous. And so, the Lord intervened, didn’t He?

The very next chapter, he was in the Spirit and God lifted him up and showed him a place that was so pure and so holy, and showed him the Lord, showed him these angelic beings flying, and saying holy, holy is the Lord — holy. And he felt — he didn’t have to have this explained to his intellect. He knew the moment his eyes beheld that scene, I don’t belong here.

That’s all we need, folks. We need the presence of God in such a way that people will not be able to live with the illusion that, I’m okay.

( congregational amens ).

You see, if that can happen, something’s missing. We may have a measure of God’s presence, but we need God’s presence to the point where there will be a conviction that will first fall upon us!

( congregational amens ).