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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1362

God’s War Against Sin

November 11, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: Folks, this is all part of that war. This is not just about having faith to get through a trial. Yes, that’s true, that’s part of it. But the real issue God is dealing with is this old nature and whether it’s gonna run the show or not. And if we come to understand that, we can say, I hope we can say more easily, God, just do what it takes. You’re the one who knows what drives this guy and this gal. And I need, I need to have that new life be the thing that dominates my heart and my spirit. God, do what it takes.

And so, you see this picture, we’ve read through it, about how we’re to endure all of this as discipline, understanding that God loves us, thankful for the fact that it happens, because if it doesn’t happen, something’s really wrong! And how we need to just look to Him and realize that this is going to have a wonderful harvest of righteousness and peace.

“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” (NIV). Don’t give in! Don’t give into the human tendencies and our natural reactions to these things! We all got them. Every single one of us has a reaction, I don’t deserve this. You know, there are a thousand-and-one reactions that we have. And God wants us to say, wait a minute, get up, strengthen your knees, quit boohooing, quit doing all that stuff.

“Make level paths for your feet….” Not one of us can go back and clean up where we’re at, can we? But we can go from here. “Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”

Do you see God’s heart in this? Do you see His heart? No matter what’s going on, His heart towards His own is the same. He knew — we’ve said this many times — He knew what He was getting into when He set out to save you and me. We’re the ones who are blown away with the magnitude of it as He unfolds it in our lives.

You’re just setting out on this journey? You just wait. You might think you’re doing pretty good. And you know, there are babies, you sort of let them grow, let them mature. You don’t sit there and try to correct every little thing right away. But you know, you as a parent, you know, you’re gonna have issues, you’re gonna have things that you just cannot let them go the wrong way. And then they become teenagers!

( laughter ).

That’s all right, you were a teenager once. But you understand what I’m saying. We can look back and see, and we gained a degree of understanding of what it takes to bring forth someone who has a degree of self-control. At least you’re dealing with human issues here, but God’s dealing with eternal ones, and He knows what to do.

You know, I thought of a couple of other scriptures that we’ve used at various occasions that bear on this. One of them is in Galatians, chapters 5 and 6. We’ve used this a lot in chapter 5, because this is where he talks about the war between the flesh and the spirit, isn’t it? The old nature and the new. And he even lists out the various expressions of the old nature and contrasts them with the fruit of the spirit.

And he tells us in verse 25 of chapter 5, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Now what does that tell you, by the way? That you can live by the Spirit and not necessary be in step with the Spirit. They’re obviously different things, aren’t they?

So, God has given life, but I’ll tell you, we can take that, we can take the gifts of God, we can take a course of self-will. And everyone of us has done it in some area of our lives. And so, the admonition is here. Let’s keep in step with God’s Spirit. Let’s learn how to cooperate with Him.

Let’s learn how to listen, learn how when something happens, to say, oh God, help me, open my understanding. I know You love me in this. I know you have a reason for this. At the very least, give me the patience to just say, yes, Lord, to humble myself, even when You’re not explaining everything like I’d like You to right now. Help me trust you. This is trusting in the Lord with all your heart. You see, that’s right there in that same passage, isn’t it, in Proverbs?

But listen to some of the things he says in chapter 6. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him…” Harshly…I mean gently. “…Gently.” Now listen to what follows. “But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”

You see, there’s no place for being up here and talking down here, as though I’m perfect, I’m righteous and you’re terrible. We’re all made of the same stuff. And so, there always needs to be that sense — I am — I’ve got my own weaknesses. I’ve got my own human nature to be concerned about and God’s working on me. So, it’s in that spirit that someone is restored. Praise God!

Let’s go down here and see this, in verse 7. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” That’s a principle. You don’t always see the harvest right away.

And I’ll tell you, one of the things that has jumped out at me and it’s come back to me a number of times, and it comes back to me right now. God is deadly serious about sin. As I say, there’s a lot of theology out there that makes it sound like, oh, that was all taken care of at the cross, we can just live our lives and go to Heaven one day. God is deadly serious about sin.

Now it’s not that He requires me in my strength to do something about it, but He sure wants me to surrender to Him and let Him do something about it, and be willing to humble myself under His mighty hand so that He can do the job. But I’ll tell you, it’s not automatic, is it? God does give us choices, gives us a will. And we do sow.

“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction…” or corruption or something that’s not good, “…the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” See how that all plays into the same war that God’s talking about and the part that we have that we play in that war.

You know, there’s a scripture that came back to my mind from 1st Corinthians 11, that I think is something we need to realize. Now the context here, he’s talking about the Lord’s Supper, and the problem in Corinth was that they didn’t have a clue what it was about. They just thought it was a meal that they got together and everybody ate selfishly. And one brought a whole bunch of stuff and ate rich food and got drunk and others didn’t even have anything, and they were ashamed. And it just didn’t have any bearing on what it was supposed to be about.

These were people that came out of heathen darkness. And there was a whole lot of stuff they didn’t know and Paul had to really teach them and correct them. It wasn’t somebody who grew up in a church world and that had some general idea what it was about. These were people who had no clue.

And so anyway, he’s talking about what it truly meant and then he warns them. He says, “Therefore, whoever eats…” this is verse 27 “…Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”

I’ll tell you, God takes this seriously, when we set out to serve Him. It’s not something we can just casually go through. There’s a seriousness. I’ll tell you, if we could see how desperately the Lord hates sin, what a horrible, destructive cancer it is in His universe! He will eradicate it!

The fact — we live in a world that is so full of sin and rebellion against God that it almost seems like, well, God doesn’t care. He’s not doing anything. Oh, He’s doing stuff. But He is putting up with stuff that is amazing, the depth of the evil that’s in this world. But He’s doing it to give the last ones a chance to hear the Gospel and to do what He’s gonna do in us.

He’s doing the same thing He did in the days of Noah. He put up with a world that had turned its back and become deaf to His voice, but yet there was 120 years He waited for the sake of His own people. God is gonna do what it takes.

But listen to what he says. “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” See, now you’re bringing in another concept here. This is taking it to another level.

But there are things that we can do, when we are just sinning against light that winds up bringing a measure of judgment on ourselves. It isn’t something God wanted to do, but it’s part of the fruit, it’s part of what is reaped as a result. And he says, “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” He means they’ve died. There are consequences to sin, aren’t there?

“But if we…” Now here’s the principle. “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.” See, there’s a responsibility that you and I have to have our heart set toward the Lord, where our heart is, I want to please You, Lord. I want to do what’s right. I need You to show me. I need You to help me.

And if that’s our heart and we follow through on that, I’ll tell you, there’s a whole lot of stuff we can avoid. That would be like the little child that just comes to you and says, I want to do right, tell me what to do, and they do it! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

( laughter ).

But the Lord wants us to be like that. But now here’s something that ought to give us — we ought to be able to sing about the greatness of God. “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined…” Why? “…So that we will not be condemned with the world.”

Whew! Do you see the love of God? Even a situation like David, as deep as he got into it, yet, God’s love and mercy reached out to him even in that extreme situation. I don’t want to be in that situation, where I have enough sense to say, wait a minute, hold on here. Lord I need you. That’s what He’s looking for.

But if I’m just going to blunder along and — I can get myself in a real mess. And He’s not going to let me get away with it. I remember hearing different ones talked about, over the years, I never get away with anything. Well, you better be jumping up and down for joy! That means God loves you and He’s not gonna let you get away with stuff that’s not right, it’s hurtful! My God, if He sees you heading for a cliff, what kind of a loving God would He be if He didn’t try to stop you?

But I’ll tell you, I believe there are Christians who have gone to an early grave. Well, it says, I mean, I don’t have to just believe that. That’s what Paul said. But I’ll tell you, even in that, there was a mercy that God showed. I’ll tell you, that just tells me that God’s serious, but also, that He’s loving and that He’s merciful towards His children.

I thought of a scripture that some of you may have thought about, in 1st Peter, chapter 4, “Dear friends, do not be surprised…” verse 12, “…at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

Folks, God is serious. And the things that He’s doing in our lives are a form of judgment against sin in our lives so that He can deliver us because He loves us and because He’s made full provision for us.

But if this is what He’s beginning, what’s it gonna be like? Do you have any idea what it’s gonna be like for this world? We just blunder along blindly like we’re just part of this world. We don’t really see the magnitude of it. I’d like to go back to Hebrews and just read the last of that chapter a little bit, just touch on some things, because he gets into, effectively, the reason why he wrote the book in the first place.

He wrote it because he was aware of people who had grown up as Jews, they were Jews, grown up with their religion and they’d became acquainted with Christ and yet there was something that concerned him as to whether they had really entered all the way, whether they’d really let go of the past and really embraced Christ all the way. You can come up to the door and stop short. That was the concern.

And so, he says, “Make every effort…” in the context here of God dealing with His children, “…make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Now, you got people who had their concept of that, but I’ll tell you, God’s gonna set us apart to Himself. And if we’re not willing to be set apart, there’s something going on there that isn’t good.

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God….” Again, the grace is extended, the ability, all that we need to enter into everything God has provided is there. But there are some people that just go like this, and say, no, I want my own way. See, this a message to the people that may be here or may hear this, and you stopped short. You found a way to live your life and think that you’re okay when you’re not. There’s a warning that God wants you to have.

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Now that is rightly applied many times to the spirit of bitterness that people can get and that we need to get rid of. That’s not — the real context behind this is found back in Deuteronomy 29 when Moses was expounding for the second time, and the younger generation, the Law, and what he was warning about.

This bitter root is actually a person who would say, basically, I’m gonna do as I please, but I’m gonna claim the blessings and the benefits of this wonderful covenant God has given us. Do you see what’s going on there? Do you see how people will find a way to embrace the hope of the Gospel in a way, but never surrender to the Christ of the Gospel and the cross?

Oh, I’ll tell you what, you enter into this, you’re gonna have to lay down your life. This is a bitter root. This is something that is — it’s a deception of the enemy that someone says, I can push aside what God says to me. I don’t have to listen to when He puts His finger on stuff. I can do my thing. I can find a way to do what I want to do with my life. It’s my life, after all. But yet, He’s such a loving and gracious God, I can embrace the hope of heaven. There are gonna be a lot of people who will say, Lord, Lord, didn’t we do all this? And He’ll say, “…depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (KJV).

“See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau…” (NIV). Now how was he godless? “…Who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.” I mean, think about this! God had done all these amazing things in the life of Abraham, given him a covenant that was gonna go on forever and ever. And here he is in the line to be the inheritor of that, and he has no more regard for that, than to throw it away because he’s hungry!

But isn’t that what people of the world do? They have so little regard for the Gospel and the truth of what God has given us in Christ that they’re more interested in the things of this world and what they can get now. That same spirit exists today.

“Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.” It would be like somebody who rejects the Gospel, comes to the end of the way, and says, oh God, let me into heaven anyway. There’s a time. There’s a day. There’s a time when God speaks and deals with our hearts. That’s when we need to listen.

Now he contrasts the Old and the New Covenants, and he paints the picture of the terror that the people felt when they stood before Mount Sinai! That whole mountain was on fire! There were rumblings and earthquakes and the sound of trumpets and it was a terrifying sight! God was letting people know, this is deadly serious! I’m God! You need to take seriously what’s happening here.

And then he contrasts that with the New Covenant. “But you…” verse 22, “…have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”

So, there’s a contrast painted. Look what they came to and see how God took that seriously. Now see what we’ve come to. So, what’s the message in that? “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.”

Folks, there’s only one thing that cannot be shaken and that is what Christ births in the heart. And that is what God calls on every one of us, first of all to obtain through surrender when He calls, but also, to nurture.

So, what’s the upshot of all this? “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

See, the underlying thing in all of this is God’s war against sin. And He’s fighting that in our lives, every single day. And it needs to be something that we take seriously, as seriously as He does. It’s not meant to cause us to be dismayed, but rather to see His love, and His mercy, and His provision, and to say, oh God, give me a tender heart. Give me a heart that understands what’s going on, is onboard, that looks to Jesus.

It does all of these things. It perseveres through the difficult times, it refuses to be discouraged, refuses to listen to the voice of the enemy who wants to condemn me and take away my hope.

It really comes down to the question, where are we in relation to all of this? If you’re a believer, that’s the place we need to occupy. It’s a place that’s sober. It’s serious. But it’s full of hope too. It’s full of a place where we can find a place of rest. We can be set free from these things that otherwise would rule our lives, because God is so faithful to do what it takes.

But we need to humble ourselves when He does, don’t we? There’s a place of humbling.

But if you’re one that has never really surrendered, I’ll tell you, this is what you’re looking forward to. Our God is a consuming fire. Nothing of this sinful old creation will be left. Nothing! Every bit of it is to be burned up! The judgment that determines what is going to happen was already carried out on Christ. “Now is…” He said, “…now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.”

We’re seeing the unfolding of that. But there will be a day when it will be done. I want to be a part of something that’s eternal. I can be, not because I deserve it, but because He is faithful! And I want to be onboard with that and just put my life in His hands and trust Him, and look to Him. In the good times and the bad, He’s faithful. And to Him be all the glory. Praise God!