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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1367

The True Vine

December 16, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: We need to say, God, do whatever pruning You need. Aren’t you glad He doesn’t do it all at once? He is so patient and so loving and so merciful to let us go. I know many of you have had this experience, I guess we’ve talked about it before, of going along and thinking everything was kind of okay. And all of a sudden, you run slap into something that just, oh, that awful thing that I feel rising up in me! It’s in control too much!

And oh, God, how can I — You’ve blessed me all these years, how could You have lived with this? And yet, we see a God who is so merciful to just meet us where we’re at, to take us from point A to point B and point C and right on through the alphabet, I guess.

But He’s gonna take us all the way to the end. He’s faithful to the end, just like the song that was sung this morning. This is not something He’s starting and then gonna bail out on us in the middle. This is something where He is — this is eternal. It’s just as eternal as the life that’s in Him! And that isn’t gonna end! Neither is His work gonna end for those who are His. So, praise God!

So, you’ve got two kinds of branches. You’ve got the kind that just has no internal connection. They’ve never really opened their heart and said, “You come in and be Lord. Take over my heart. I see the real need is not just for me to be religious. It’s for me to be dead, and for You to come in and live instead.”

But then you’ve got those that just need to become more fruitful. There is evidence that He’s there. Thank God. There’re beginnings of evidence that there’s a changed heart. But we need a lot more change, don’t we? And that’s what He’s so faithful to work out.

Now, He says, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” And I have many times read this and said, what in the world is that doing in that passage? It doesn’t make any sense. I mean, it’s true, but it’s like you’re talking about one thing and all of a sudden, you’re talking about something else.

But I’ll tell you, there is a cleansing, there is a purity that God is seeking. You see it in His cleansing of the branches that aren’t really part. You see it in the purging of that which is not there, which isn’t from Him, so that there’s more fruitfulness.

But, I’ll tell you, there has got to be, in the very foundation of our relationship with Him, there’s got to be a cleansing and it comes when He talks to us and we open our hearts and we believe what He says.

How many of you remember what it says in Revelation chapter 12? We’ve used the part many times about, we overcome him and so forth. But what about right down below that? What does the devil do when he realizes what’s happened? What’s the imagery there? You have a flood, a river, a great river that flows — where does it flow from? The mouth of the dragon! Who’s the dragon?

( congregational response ).

You see, that’s a symbol of Satan—it’s a picture of Satan. And what is the foundation of his influence in this world? It’s a lie! Everything he says is absolutely and utterly contrary to God and his will and his ways! And the only thing he has to work with is to disseminate as much garbage in the form of lies as he can!

Do you see the relevance of what I talked about earlier, that all these supposed church goers who strongly agree with ideas that we know flow straight from the mouth of the dragon? God wants his people to know this Book and to know the author of this book. You can’t have one without the other, really.

You remember how Jesus made note of the fact that the scribes and the Pharisees were great at studying the Book? They were great scholars of the Book. The only problem was, the purpose of the Book was to lead them to Him. And they didn’t make that connection. All they thought was, they could fashion for themselves righteousness out of the Book.

But you know, we need to get this. We need to understand truth, because if we don’t walk in an understanding of truth, what are we walking in?

( congregational response ).

If you’ve gathered your ideas from your worldly friends, even some of them religious friends — if you’ve gathered ideas from the movies and television and the internet, and you name it, you have got ideas that have come from Lucifer.

( congregational amens ).

And, I’ll tell you, the thing that set God’s people apart is that they have heard His voice. And they didn’t sit there and debate with it and say, yeah, I’ll take this part, but I’ll just hang onto my own little philosophy of life here. You’re kind of messing with me a little bit; I don’t quite agree with that.

Man, there’s an awful lot of that. That’s one of the things that produces branches that don’t produce fruit, because they have never really surrendered to the reality that if you’re part of this world, you’re growing up in this world, you have embraced lies! Your value system has come from Lucifer, ultimately, if it centers on you and making your way in this world, you have embraced something that will lead to death in the end!

You’re investing all of your life into something that can never survive. It will pass away. Jesus said, the world passes away, but the words that I speak unto you will ‘never’ pass away. Man, I want to build my life on something that is real, something that is true.

Do you remember how Jesus said, I think it’s just over a couple of pages, when he was praying? He’s praying to the Father. He’s praying for His disciples. In verse 17 of chapter 17, I believe it is, He says, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

What does sanctify mean? Ultimately, “set apart.” You’re not part of ‘this’ that’s going that way, I’m taking you out of that and I’m setting you apart for my purposes! This is the road that leads to eternity! I’m taking you for that.

But what sets you apart from anybody else? I’m a better person? No, no. I’m a needy sinner, but I have come to Him based upon truth!

( congregational amens ).

I have embraced truth and part of that truth is the reality that I’m an unworthy sinner and I need a deliverer! I need Someone who is able to fix me, not fix me, replace me, replace, at least, the life that animates me. Oh, praise God!

But oh, how much we need that Word! We need to have it form our whole world view, our way of thinking about ourselves, about God, about the world, about what matters. If we’re going by something other than this, you are laboring in delusion and for something that cannot last. His Word lasts. His kingdom lasts. I want to be a part of that, don’t you?

( congregational response ).

Now He goes to the simple truth here, “No branch can bear fruit by itself.” Well, I’d better back up here. It says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” Now, I’ve thrown in a few Greek grammar lessons here in the past, so let throw in a real quick one. Many times, a Greek present-tense verb is in what they call the indicative mood, you don’t have to remember all of this!

( congregational laughter ).

But anyway, it basically is a continuous kind of action. This is a way of life, I’m — and I have tended to look at this and say, oh, that’s probably in the indicative mood. Guess what? It isn’t. This is talking about a fact, this is not an activity where we remain in him. This is a fixed condition. This is a relationship! This is somebody who has become so connected to Him that they ain’t going back. I mean, didn’t we sing about that this morning? There’s no going back. I’ve decided to follow Jesus, no turning back. This is someone whose bridges are all burned.

( congregational amens ).

This is somebody who has so seen who Jesus is and what this is all about and their condition and their need of Him, that they have cast their lot completely upon Him!

( congregational amens ).

He is Lord, and I am with Him 100 percent, come hell or high water, I’m His! There’s a relationship there that has been established and it is not changing. That’s what ‘remaining in Him’ is about. It’s having that clear relationship.

You think about what Paul was brought to, when he was able to testify, I am persuaded—I’m persuaded. This is the bedrock conviction of my heart. This is what defines me. I, “…am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (KJV).

You see what coming to His kingdom is about. Man, you’ve given Him everything. You’ve given Him the job and are trusting Him to do what He has promised to do, to change us, to fit us, to make us fit to live with Him in that kingdom.

It’s not about this world. He teaches us how to live here. Like I say, we don’t go off in a cave. He teaches us how to be His people, just as he was planted in the earth, so are we, right now. But we don’t have to be like the people of the world in that sense.

Nor, do we have to be ‘holier than thou.’ My God, if you come to Him, you know you’re not holier than anybody else! You know you’re a sinner! You know you need a Savior! Praise God! We don’t have any room for that kind of a spirit.

So anyway, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” (NIV). So, isn’t that an awesome promise? It isn’t just our relationship with Him, it’s His promise to be in us! Think of the magnitude of God doing what it takes to be able to come and live in us! Boy, He’s got a clean-up job to do.

Someone that holy — do you remember how the holiness of God was taught in the Old Testament? Nobody went into that Holy place. The priest went in there once a year and he waved incense and he did exactly what he was supposed to. And they would tie a rope to him in case he died in there, so they could pull him out without having to go in.

And what happened when Jesus declared, “It’s finished”? That veil separating the Holy of Holies from everything else was torn from the top to the bottom! God opened the way, into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus! Praise God!

( congregational amens ).

Oh, and He has cleansed us to the point to where He can come and live in these vessels! His life can be shared with us and that’s what He longs to do. Thank God!

“No branch can bear fruit by itself….” Oh, that’s what we’re struggling to learn, isn’t it? Oh, how deluded we are with what we think we can do. “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Do you think maybe the Lord’s trying to cut across our pride just a bit? Oh, we are so proud, and so ready to think, just as Joni was saying the other night, just ready to think, we got this thing licked. We got Christianity kind of nailed. We’ve been around awhile and we know how it works. And our lives — we’re on track, we’re just on ‘cruise control’ spiritually speaking.

And how many of you discover when you’re on cruise control, the Lord has a way of throwing up an obstacle and you have to hit the brakes and say, wait a minute, I thought I had it licked and here I am.

And the older you get, the more infirmity you run into. I see the wisdom of God in that. God teaches us in so many ways, that we can trust Him with the smallest details of our lives. Then whatever infirmities, whatever difficulties He brings and allows, He is the author, the finisher of our faith. We can stand by Him and we can actually take those things as the means by which He’s doing what he’s gonna do. But oh, how many of us just…

( groaning ).

God, get that thing away from me. I can’t — I’m messed up here. I just can’t do what I’m supposed to do. Oh, take this thing away. And the Lord sent it because He loves you enough to say, no, you can’t do it. You’re trying to live without Me. You’re trying to do something in your own strength and you’re just spinning your wheels. You’re not gonna get anywhere. I love you enough to stop you, and to say, “Trust Me, let go. Let My life flow into you. I’ll give you My smile. I’ll give you your sleep, and…”

( laughing ).

And all of that and might even wake me up next time if I remind Him. Oh, praise God! The Lord is so awesome, isn’t He?

But without Me, you can do nothing. That’s a major lesson that you and I need to learn. Whether it has to do with our character and how we react to people and to life, you and I are running into things all the time, every day, where if we simply give into the inclinations of our old nature, it ain’t gonna be pretty.

We need His grace to be loving, to be gentle, to be kind, to be patient, to be all the things that we are not by nature. You see, this is not just a, okay I got a big ministry event here, I need the Lord! Well, yeah, you do. But I’ll tell you, before you get into that, God’s gonna be doing a whole lot of stuff. He’s gonna be changing you to the point to where you are really listening to Him and leaning on Him and trusting Him with the small things.

Oh, I can’t tell you how many testimonies I have read of people who have done great things for God. And if you go back to the beginnings of their life with the Lord, and you will discover the simplest, smallest little details where God brought them to a place of need and they had to — all they could do was stretch forth their hands and say, Lord, You’re gonna have to do this. And the Lord did it.

And in those lessons, God taught them things that later on applied to the big things. We don’t want to mess with the little stuff. We want to jump right over that and do great things for God. We need God to do great things for us. We need Him to do some major changes in our lives. But I thank God that He’s faithful, don’t you? Let’s see, where was I? Praise the Lord!

“Apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” So once again, you see the destiny of those who say, “No, it’s my life, I’m gonna think what I want, I’m gonna do what I want.”

Ultimately, that’s what they’re saying. They don’t just — most people don’t just shake their fist at God and say, “Get away from me.” But by their refusal to listen and humble their hearts before His truth when it comes calling, that’s what they’re saying. And they’re refusing that connection. God has planted the source of life that will last forever in the earth, and they’re saying, no, I don’t want it, my life is here. This is what matters.

It ain’t gonna be pretty at the end, folks. You see the destiny that he pictures right here. They are, “…picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me…” and now He says, “…my words remain in you….” So now you’re talking about a relationship. I believe God can bring us into a relationship where we are so in tune with His heart and what He wants, that God can energize and inform our prayers. We won’t be praying selfish prayers! We won’t be praying uninformed prayers! We can pray in faith!

God wants to teach us! But He’s gonna bring us to that point through a relationship. This is not just that we are in Him, but we are learning in the process of being related to him. Just as Jesus did, again, following His example. God wants to bring us to a place where what we do matters. What we do lasts.

And that’s why He says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” God is not wanting us to have a frustrated, stifled life. He wants us to be set free, so that what we do, again, matters and it lasts forever. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Oh, praise God! How much is that? How much did the Father love the Son? It’s kind of a bunch.

( congregational response ).

There’s no way to quantify that. I mean, that’s infinite. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” I don’t know if you ‘feel’ loved this morning, but you know, we need to learn how to rest in what He has told us. Because a lot of times what’s going on in here — there are so many lies that have become sown in our being, and the more we listen to them the more this doesn’t quite connect. God is trying to wash us and cleanse us.

By the way, he talked about cleansing in the Word, what about Ephesians chapter 5? You know, the instruction is to husbands to love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her that He might cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, so that He could present her one day as the beautiful, perfect bride. Praise God! Oh, do you need cleansing this morning? I do. I need my brain washed. In fact, isn’t that what — again, Romans chapter 12, be transformed, be changed. How?

( congregational response ).

The renewing of our mind. In other words, we don’t think straight. We don’t think right. We’ve got too many of the world’s ideas in here. We need to realize how much we don’t know.

( congregational amens ).

I was gonna make a comment about how teenagers know everything.

( congregational laughter ).

That’s all right, you did too when you were a teenager. But oh, my God, how much we trust in our own intellects, and our own ability to assess truth, what we call truth and ideas. And the world just loves to pick the ones that appeal to them. And what’s going on is this nature is simply in control. It wants what it wants and it’s gonna find a way to make that okay—justify it.

I need God to cut across all that junk and show me the absolute truth, and then lift up His Son and the hope of the Gospel. Praise God! And set me free from all of that, because it’s going nowhere. And I want to go somewhere, don’t you? Praise the Lord!

But this, “As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands….” Now this is not just keeping commandments. There are people that jump on this and it’s legalistic in their eyes. But I’ll tell you, we need to listen to what He says. You need to take seriously what He says, because it’s the truth.

“…Just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Now there’s the heart, that’s why God’s doing what He’s doing. Is it to make us miserable, to turn us into slaves? That’s Satan’s job! that’s what he does! He promises people liberty and he puts them in bondage and slavery and blindness, and leads them straight to hell!

But God wants to tell us the absolute truth. And as we bow to it, we find freedom. Praise God! And His joy. Praise the Lord!

And so, His command is this. “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” And what a relationship, you see, that He seeks right here. This reinforces what I just said. “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

Man! Friend of God! How can somebody like me be a friend of God? Only by His mercy, only by something He can do. I can’t do it! No way could I make myself somebody that could actually be called a friend of God.

But here’s the key. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” And yes, in this case, I’m certain He was looking at ministry. He was looking at the commission that He was gonna give His disciples to carry the Gospel everywhere. But it’s gonna be fruitful. It’s going to produce results.

And we need to pray that what is done here, in this church, and wherever God’s people are gathered, it will be fruitful! You can produce results in the natural realm that will not survive! People can build with wood, hay and stubble, or they can build with gold and precious stones, as Paul said.

What is that? That’s simply the product of God’s life in operation in our lives, in our interactions with one another. God, fill this church with Your life. That’s the only thing that’s gonna make it any different from the world. It’s not who we are. We’re not smarter, we’re not better, we’re not anything, except loved and chosen. God is faithful, isn’t He? And He gets the glory in all of that.

I have, “…appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.” You can go on and on. But what an amazing passage. I pray that it will just — I mean, somehow this will become part of our thinking. This needs to define who we are. It’s God’s truth, God’s Word, God’s purpose, what God has done and what God has called us to.

And I’ll tell you, as that defines our life, we will find our path diverging more and more from the way this world is going. That’s where I want to go. There is no turning back, because God has done something that you and I could never do. But He has called us because of His love and His mercy to be part of something that’s eternal. What’s your life? Where’s it going? I’m going with Him. How about you? Praise God!