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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #952

Salvation: Submitting to God
Part One

January 2, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 952 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: Let’s turn back to Romans chapter 5 just as kind of a jumping off point. We’ll see where this goes, but there’s some truths that, though we know intellectually, I think there’s always a need to apprehend these truths in a deeper way…to see not just the doctrinal truth of something, but how relevant His truth of His Word is to every day of our lives, because that’s really what it’s about. It’s not simply about believing a creed and practicing a religion. God is up to something and we need to be a part of it.

And well, with Paul, you have to break into a thought. Paul has expressed there about the fact that we have peace with God. We’re justified through Christ. We have access because of Him into grace, certainly nothing we have done. And he talks about the qualities that God builds in us through the things that we experience, and the fact that all of this is God pouring out His love into our hearts. It’s not something where a tyrant is simply trying to bring us under his thumb, but it is the ultimate source of love--of real love, not what we call it down here, but God in love reaching out to us to rescue us from a terrible condition.

And that’s why he goes on in verse 6, Paul does, to say, “You see, at just the right time….” (NIV). You know, you could build a sermon on that, couldn’t you? Doesn’t God have a pretty good idea of what the right time is and we don’t often, if ever? God is the one who knows the right time to do everything. It’s a good thing when we can just let go and trust Him, isn’t it?

“…Just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die….” Well of course, he’s talking about human evaluations there. We think of some people as good and some people as bad, but the fact is, by God’s standard, there’s none good, is there? No not one.

But he’s just simply making a comparison with human conditions. He said, nobody’s gonna die for somebody who’s totally in the condition he describes here. But, there’s one exception to that. “But God demonstrates his own love…” This is not just a theoretical love, this is a demonstration of love. “…In this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Praise God!

Now, you know it’s interesting the description there and it’s one that cuts across human pride. We don’t like to think of ourselves as being in the condition that he describes there, but the very starting point for having a relationship with God is to come on the basis of truth, not the basis of how we would like things to be, not the basis of our posturing towards God and saying, oh God, I’m a pretty good guy, I just need some help here. This is coming as one who is powerless, as one who is ungodly, as one who is a sinner.

Now “powerless” is a pretty serious condition. That means you cannot help yourself. You and I, as we come to God, are in a condition where there’s nothing we can do--absolutely nothing that we can do--to commend ourselves to a holy God. To make ourselves acceptable, we’ve got to come God’s way, if we come at all.

And so, he goes on to say, what we’ve read recently, “Since we have now been justified by his blood….” Now let’s pause and explain that in English. Justified is kind of a legal term, but it has to do with whether we are viewed by God as righteous, because apart from something happening, you and I are certainly regarded by God as law breakers, as sinners, as rebels, as anything but righteous. But here is a way that God has arranged to cause men to be able to come into a standing before Him where He says, He can look at us and say, there’s nothing wrong, there’s no fault, there’s no guilt, there’s no sin. Oh, praise God!

( congregational amens ).

What a horrible burden God has removed from us by His grace. Oh how willing we ought to be to take this place and just get off our high horse and say, oh God, my only hope of standing before you is based upon mercy and mercy alone. Praise God for the love that You have shown to me. Lord, I bow to it.

“Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Folks, this world is headed for catastrophe. There’s nothing a holy God can do about the sin, and the guilt, and the corruption that is in this world except to obliterate it, to destroy it. And that’s what’s at stake and what he’s talking about here. But oh, he’s talking about another way, another hope, another path that we can follow.

But he says, “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Now everything about this just screams to us about the utter hopeless condition of a sinner before God. See here, not only are we helpless, not only are we…what else does he say, ungodly…not only are we sinners, but we are enemies! “Sinners” is not just a bunch of oops-es, of boo-boos, of oops, I shouldn’t have done that. Okay, I’m really still a good guy, Lord. It’s nothing like that. Oh God, I am so helplessly trapped by this power that it has rendered me Your enemy!

But oh we have a Savior who has gone and taken the guilt of our sin upon Himself, so that we can, by surrendering our lives, just repenting of our sins, turning from it, understanding what it is and saying, God, I don’t want to go that way anymore, but You’re the only hope that I have of rescue and help--oh, blot out my sins, Lord, based upon what Jesus did. That’s my only hope. You can’t look at me and find any reason to do this, Lord, but Jesus took them upon Himself. I put my hope in Him!

( congregational amens ).

You know, we said recently, that it’s not Jesus’ death that saves us. Here’s a situation where there’s a King of a kingdom. He has a glorious plan for people. But the problem is, the people that He has these plans for are locked in a death struggle against His kingdom. They have become enemies. They’re part of a different kingdom fighting against His kingdom. So how in the world can such people ever fulfill the purpose that He has for them when right now their status is one of enemy?

You see the first thing He can do before we could ever fulfill the purpose of God for our lives is to do away with the barrier that is between us. There has to be a complete reconciliation with God. Oh what an awesome thing it is to think that we can think of God, not with terror, not with dread, oh…we feel, we know we’re not what we ought to be…and what is He gonna do with me?…not this sense of dread and fear and wonderment. But we can think of Him as Father. We can have His peace. We can have the assurance that we are loved and accepted by Him. What an incredible salvation He has laid before us! Oh God, you got something better to live for than that? Oh I don’t. This is coming back to the reason we were made in the beginning…to come into relationship with Him by the blood of Christ.

But you see now, what He’s done is taken us from the status of enemy to friend. Now we’ve left one kingdom, we’ve been brought into another. So now the purpose for which He made us is still to be fulfilled. Well, how is that to happen? Does God look within me and say, all right I’ve brought you in, now it’s up to you? No, it isn’t that way, is it?

That’s the glorious thing…that this One who died on the cross, rose again with a life that has power over all sin, all death, all devils, everything that could possibly stand in the way of God’s plan for you and for me. He removed it. He rose victorious. The life that is in Him is God’s very life, and it’s that life that He imparts to us. He doesn’t say, I expect you to live as a Christian now, do better, straighten up, fly right. He says, I’m coming in. I know you can’t live for me. But I’m coming in, and I’m gonna live.

And your place right now…see this is where salvation begins. Salvation…now notice something about this. Paul is…here’s Paul, an apostle, well into his ministry, writing to these Christians and he says, “…much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved….” What’s the tense of the verb there? This word ‘saved’ is sort of tossed around in a very casual way by many and in many cases, sadly to say, I don’t think people have a clue what it’s about. They’ll say, I got saved…as though salvation is just an event. Okay, now you’re in, now you’ve just to wait and go to heaven one day.

That’s not what salvation is about. Salvation is about a transformation of our entire being. You and I were sinners, we were rebels, we were hopeless, unable to do, to be what God has made us to be. And now we have been brought into a relationship. Now we have a Person who lives within us. Well what’s the reason? What’s that about? Paul’s talking about a salvation that’s ahead. It describes the entire course of what God does in a life from the moment we are born of Him, from the moment He comes in to live, there is a change that has to take place in our lives.

And what is the nature of that change? It’s so that we can be like Him. What does John, the apostle, say? I mean, he has faith and confidence in God. He’s served God…he was an old man when he wrote the epistle of 1st John. He said, beloved, what an amazing thing it is that we should be called the children of God. Now he’s talking about little children there. He’s pointing to the fact that we’re just…we’ve been born into the family, but we’re not yet what God has intended for us to be.

He says, we don’t know what we shall be. You know, God hasn’t laid it all out for us. We couldn’t even imagine if He told us. We wouldn’t believe it. We wouldn’t get it. We would just be…okay, I can’t quite grasp that, Lord. But oh we live and we walk by faith. We know what He has done for us. We know where we’re at. I’ll tell you, if Christ ever comes into your heart, you’ll know it. You will know that there’s something that has changed that’s fundamental. You won’t be acting the part of a Christian, you will know that there’s a birth that’s taken place.

But John says, we don’t know what we’re gonna be, but we do know that when He appears, we will be like Him. So here’s what salvation is about. It’s taking sinners from this point, living in us, changing us ‘til we get to the other side…we’re made like Him. Oh, all of this stuff that just drives us and pulls us in every which way, that’s gonna be gone, it’s gonna be…man, won’t that be awesome?

( congregational amens ).

Won’t that be amazing to not have any cross-currents in our spirits, but just completely set free. But you know, God is seeking to get us to cooperate, to understand what it is that He’s doing, so that we can cooperate with Him in the process.

You know, we have the illustration that I guess we probably often refer to of the drowning man who reaches the point where he cannot help himself. There are only two alternatives when he reaches a certain point. Number one, he’s gonna drown. Number two, someone who has the strength and ability to save him is gonna go in there and rescue him. But there’s one thing that he can’t do and that’s try to…he can’t continually fight and try to help himself. He’s gonna have to surrender to the one who does the saving.

That’s exactly what God is looking for from you and from me. And I think you know that we still contend with what we were born with, don’t we? God is looking to bring us to a place where we are just so surrendered in His hands…. How many songs did we sing this morning? You know, ‘I’m Yours’, ‘You’re my help, You’re my hope, You’re my everything’. We sing the songs like, ‘You’re the Potter, I’m the clay’. Every time…every element of that is one of surrender, isn’t it? It’s God, I believe in what You are doing and I understand that there’s changes that have got to happen here. And so I’m willing to surrender my heart so that you can do in me what is needed.

That’s the biggest thing that God is seeking to do. We’re looking for God to bring a revival in our midst…this is the revival! This is the essence of it! It’s not just some mysterious power and presence that suddenly comes and we all feel exhilarated by that presence. God is…God is already in a people. There are people here who have God living on the inside, but He is so much bottled up and hindered by our…the exertions of our will that God has got to do a supernatural work in our hearts to which we surrender if those changes are to happen.

But I want just to look at one passage of scripture and just see…in James chapter 5, and just see some examples…actually it’s chapter 4…of some of the things the apostles had to exhort God’s people to do, and they’re the same issues you and I face every day. This is not theoretical, oh Christ is in me, it’s wonderful, I’m gonna be like Him one day, this is great and grand…this is where it happens. These are the issues with which…that we have to confront if we are actually going to be like Him, because by nature, we sure aren’t.

And so James…this is the human half-brother of the Lord who became leader of the church in Jerusalem and his particular burden and ministry was to Jews who had become believers. And he writes his letter to…he calls it the 12 tribes who are scattered abroad among the nations. And we know the Jews were scattered and lived in many, many places. And so James was particularly addressing this to them.

But listen to some of these practical issues, because you’ve got all these wonderful saints that are partakers of what we’ve been talking about this morning, and they’re squabbling and fighting. Now you and I would never, I understand, do that. There would never be any conflict between people. We’re much too spiritual for that! But just in case it ever happens, we need to understand what’s going on.

He says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” God, we fight such battles. We struggle, we strive…what the heck are we striving for? If we’d step back and say, what is this all about? Why do I feel such turmoil? Why is there such unrest in my soul? And I believe God would give us wisdom that would set us free.

Do you suppose that it’s God that wants us to feel full of anxiety, full of strife, full or turmoil, full of anger at somebody else because we feel justified…they did this, they’re that way, such is the case. No. Something needs changing, doesn’t it? God wants to deliver us from those things and bring us such a peace and a rest.

Did Jesus go around that way? Boy, look at the things they did to Him. Did he… “I’ll get you for that”? He had a perfect rest and a peace. His life was in God’s hands. He had a divine purpose to fulfill and He wasn’t deterred by all this stupid stuff down here that just wrecks our day. We let it just intrude into our lives. God help us. “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Now wait a minute. Whose desires? What’s the problem here?

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah. It’s when we assert our self will! Now what’s God’s plan for you and for me. What’s He saving us from? What is salvation about? That’s what He’s saving us from, folks. The very thing that we cling to, think is so much a part of our lives, it’s so important…oh this issue! God, don’t You see what they did? Oh God! God’s just waiting for us to get it. That’s the very thing that Jesus died to save you from, and He’s living in you and you’re yielding to all these earthly, self-centered desires. That’s where it comes from.

He says, “You want something but don’t get it.” Anybody ever experience that? Like every day! “You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.” That’s the problem with this whole world. Everybody’s out for what they want and it just creates nothing but conflict and strife and trouble. “You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Okay God, get them! They did me wrong, God! You see, You saw what they did. Oh God, I pray, go ahead and take care of them.

Well, there’s somebody there involved in that process that God needs to take care of, but it ain’t them! It’s you and me. It’s the one we see when we comb our hair in the morning. And we need to wake up and realize what it’s about. I tell you, we have a God who can…who does, not just can…He does orchestrate our lives. There’s one thing God is committed to do and that’s to complete what He started. He is going to institute the means of rescuing me from the greedy, grasping, self-centered desires that would otherwise rule us and ruin us.

And if God has put somebody in your path that rubs you the wrong way and brings these things out, we need to say, thank You, Lord, for showing me the kind of a person that I am, because, this is not about ‘them.’ This is not about the circumstance. This is about me! If I were truly letting go of these things and yielded to You, they could do whatever they want and I would be at perfect peace. I could be free. I wouldn’t have to hold resentments. I wouldn’t have to be unforgiving. I wouldn’t have to just be always…every time I see them, just grit my teeth and smile and say, how are you doing, brother, sister…oh, isn’t the Lord good? And we’re struggling and fighting through it.

God doesn’t want actors, and you and I don’t have the power to be what He wants us to be. It’s only Christ in us that can do that. But you know what you’ve got going here is a contest of wills. You’ve got God’s will on the one hand…that we should yield and be the kind of person that He wants us to be, to be controlled by love and joy and peace and patience and all these other virtues that…they’re not just abstract virtues. This is what He is! This is the expression, these are descriptions of His character as they relate to different kinds of needs.

And God is seeking to bring us in every circumstance to a simple conclusion and that’s just surrender. Lord, I give up my way in this. Okay, Lord, we’ll do it Your way. How many know what I’m talking about? You’ve fought and you’ve struggled and sometimes it’s gone on for days, weeks, sometimes years, until you finally…okay, Lord, I’m done here. My way is not working, I surrender. Or sometimes you go back and you pick it up again, and you go around the mountain again, but you see what’s going on? There’s a contest of wills here. It’s that selfish nature of ours…just struggling to assert itself.

And these are believers he’s talking to here. Let’s get real. This affects us. We’re not plaster saints here. We’re needy people. We love the Lord, but we’ve got things…we’ve got growing to do. And it just doesn’t work for us to suppose that we have reached a point of spirituality where we can just sort of coast along and just wait for Jesus to come, expect everybody else to arrive at our great spiritual level. If you think that way, you’re headed for a fall. And God’s gonna orchestrate it, not because He hates you, but because He loves you, and wants to deliver you from some of that stuff.

“You do not have, because you do not ask God.” And then, of course, then he goes on and says, “When you ask…” Okay, yeah I’m supposed to ask God. I forgot about that. Lord, I got all embroiled in this situation, and I’m supposed to be talking to You about this. Okay. But he says, “When you ask, you do not receive…” Well, why is that? I thought when we prayed, God was supposed to answer our prayers. “…Because you ask with wrong motives….”

It’s still your prayer. Even though you’re going through the form of coming to God with something, your motivation is still coming out of self! Lord, it’s the way I want things to be. God, smooth my path, fix my way, get the obstructions out of my…Lord, I’m tired of this, I don’t want this to happen anymore. God, just come and smooth things out for me. Boy, I can’t think of anything worse God could do for any of us than just to remove all the obstacles from our lives. We would settle in and just be fat and sassy and think we were doing great and we’d just be little babies. You know how much patience and selflessness a baby has? They want what they want and they want it now, thank you! And they’re very much focused on the moment.

But you know, that’s our problem. We need to step back and remember what God is doing. This is called salvation. It didn’t just happen in a moment and then it’s done. This is a lifelong process! God is changing us and we have a God who orchestrates our circumstances to fulfill, not our plans, not our dreams and desires…He’s not our Santa Clause. He is absolutely committed to His purpose! Oh, I’m so glad He is, because I’m all over the map here. If He weren’t committed, it would never happen. Faithful is He who calls you, my Bible says. Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it!