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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #957

Radical Relationship
Part One

February 6, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 957 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: Good morning. Praise the Lord! I’d like to turn to a familiar passage this morning. It’s just something that’s been playing around in my mind. You know, the Lord has a way of bringing things to your attention that He wants you to think about. And sometimes it’s a book you read or it’s a magazine that gives a report of something that’s going on in the church in another part of the world. It could be just prayer. It could be reading the Word…sometimes things just come together and I just sensed some simple things that I trust the Lord can help me to bring out of this passage.

It’s certainly one we’re familiar with. And, so the tendency, the danger is that we say, oh I’ve heard that. And in a way I can say that. I’ve read this Scripture in 1st John chapter 1, I’m thinking of particularly. I’ve read it all my life and it’s like…you get to a point where sometimes you can almost quote it and it’s so easy to become calloused. It’s so easy to become careless. It’s so easy to not really get it. And I’d just like to begin to read a little bit and then we’ll just see what the Lord has in mind.

“That which was from the beginning…” (NIV). Now this was written by John, one of the Lord’s disciples. He was known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. There seemed to be a unique kind of relationship. John was part of the inner circle of Jesus. There were three disciples, Peter, James and John, that He sometimes singled out for special experiences.

I mean the three of them were the ones that went up into the mountain with Jesus and they saw His face shine like the sun. Can you imagine? You go up with somebody who’s…you know He’s special. You know He’s the Son of God. God’s already made that much real to you. You’ve seen the amazing things that He’s done. Maybe you…I suppose at this point He’d already walked on the water and done many things. But now all of a sudden He’s standing there, and all of a sudden His face begins to glow and it’s so bright you can’t even look at His face, there’s just such a sense of awe and wonder. Who is this? What in the world is going on?

And you know, Peter just babbled in the throes of that experience. But John was one who was there. He witnessed all of this. And so now he’s beginning to write to the church…I don’t know which church particularly, but certainly it applies to us all, doesn’t it?

And…it was evident very shortly after things got going, after the Gospel began going out, that the Devil had designs to corrupt and bring down the church. Jesus had given the disciples a picture in a parable, hadn’t He, in Matthew chapter 13 about what the Kingdom was going to be like? He said a farmer went out to sow good seed in his field. And so he’s planting, and the crop he particularly planted was wheat, wasn’t it? And so he goes out and he plants wheat. And he goes to sleep.

Then he says, while men slept, an enemy came in and he sowed weeds among the wheat. And so they wait for this crop, and everybody is anticipating this wonderful wheat crop, and lo and behold weeds come up. And he says, what’s going on here? What’s happened? And somebody says, an enemy has done this. And the word was, wait, let them grow up together, and there’s gonna come a time of separation.

But it became quickly obvious that the Devil had sought to corrupt the church, not merely with persecution from without, but with believers and false professors from within. And so this book was largely written to Christians to give them a real picture of what it meant to serve God, what it meant to be His people, and with that knowledge--armed with that knowledge to be able to begin to distinguish between God’s people and people who were just religious.

And so he writes, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

You know, something has just been more and more real to my heart and to my mind. It’s something that I thought about, I guess, when we went to our trip last week. You know, it’s always an opportunity to get away and to rest, and to read, and to think, and to walk, and to do a lot of things, but…of course, it’s never long enough, is it? But I thank God for every opportunity.

But you know, as I encounter accounts of Christians in other parts of the world, as I look back in history, as I look into the pages of Scripture, it should pretty obvious to us that what we see that is called Christianity in America today is a far cry from what Jesus came to establish. You know, we’ve heard expressions like, the American church is 3,000 miles wide and a half inch deep…I’m not sure it’s that deep.

I’ll tell you, there is something that is…and the word that keeps going through my mind as I read this passage is ‘radical.’ I don’t know if we understand, if we really get it just how radical a matter it is to serve God and to be His people. And I pray that God will begin to make it more real to me, because it’s cheap, it’s easy to be a ‘church-going Christian’ in quotes in America today. It doesn’t mean much.

You know, Reggie reminded us of something the men’s meeting this morning. It’s something, if you pay attention at all, you know where this world is headed. And you know there are people out there who not only oppose us and everything we stand for bitterly, but they have every intention of trying to stamp out the name of Jesus from the earth. And I mean persecution, I mean whatever you can imagine. There was actually an atheist on television that was basically delivering a warning to Christians that persecution is coming. Well I don’t need his warning to tell me that. But folks we need to have the real deal. We need to understand what it means to follow Christ.

And, think about the point of view, the point of reference that John was expressing. In the first place, he says that which was from the beginning. This is not a religion started by a good teacher. This is something that goes back to the very creation of the world.

We know from the Scriptures that Jesus Himself is the actual…He wasn’t called Jesus at that time, but the Son of God was with the Father before the world was and it was through Him that He created all of us. The One we worship when we worship Jesus is our Creator. He is the One against whom the world has rebelled and turned its back and said, we will go our own way. We want darkness rather than light.

You know, the Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (KJV). I mean this is the very foundation of everything that we should be about. It’s something that goes from the very beginning of God’s purpose for our lives and for this world and why He made us.

And if our lives are not about the reason He made us, then they’re about something else. And that something else is on a wrong road. It’s going to perish. Everything this world is about is headed for the fire. God, wake us up and God, help us in spite of the ease in which we exist, to have the kind of radical relationship that God desires us to have. Boy, you know, when you start even talking like this, it sounds like, oh that’s just a bunch of fanaticism. Well, you know, I believe real Christians are fanatics to the world. But at best, we all have room to go. I don’t care how dedicated, how devoted, how focused we are in our spiritual lives, there’s always room to grow. There’s always a path to walk. There’s always places to go.

But think about what it was that John witnessed because, first of all, he came to understand where this One had come from, that He was actually the Son of God, the Creator, but now He had humbled Himself. He had come down and He had lived His life as a man, as a human being. But there was something dramatically, totally opposite--His life was the polar opposite of everything that people knew anything about.

He was especially the opposite of every…of just about everybody that had anything to do with religion. This was Somebody whose whole life was about allowing God, His Father, to not only inhabit Him, not only have some sort of a vague relationship, but I mean to be an instrument. I mean for God to live in Him so that the words He spoke, the deeds He did were not those of Himself, but they were those of the Father.

See John is talking about a fellowship, but this is the beginning of the fellowship. It’s the fellowship of the Father and the Son. And as John looked back, he didn’t see somebody that was…He was an okay guy, He was a nice guy, He had his faults, but most of the time, He was pretty dedicated. And we saw Him mess up here, we saw Him…He didn’t say that quite right. I’ll tell you, he looked back and he saw a perfect life. He saw a life that was completely open to His Father. I mean, His will at every point was subjected to His Father, and He was happy about it!

That’s not our nature. We suppose that that means drudgery, religious duty…oh my God, I just have to toe the line! I can’t do what I want. But for Jesus it was a source of joy and happiness and fulfillment and purpose. I’m here not to do my own will. I’m here to do the will of the One who sent me.

And so they saw Him, they watched Him, they saw what God was like by looking at Him. And you know, everywhere Jesus went, He provoked two very opposite reactions. You know, it’s amazing the place that you would think that would receive Him most was the one that rejected Him the quickest, and that’s where He grew up. I mean, you think about it. He lived there. He worked as a carpenter. I know He went to the synagogue. That was His custom it says in Luke 4. And He was an active participant in the community. Everybody knew Jesus. I’m sure they thought well of Him and all of that, but nothing particular.

But then one day, the purpose of God began to unfold and it became time. It was time for Him to go to John, the one that God had sent as an anointed forerunner and to submit Himself and to be baptized. That was an act of laying down His life. And the Father gave a witness to John and said, “This is my…Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And so the Spirit of God came upon Him. John said, I wouldn’t have known Him--I wouldn’t have known Him, except the One who sent me said, the One on whom you see the Spirit coming, that’s the One. So there was nothing about Jesus that really would have caused people to really know who He was other than those few to whom God revealed it.

But now, something had changed and man, the Devil didn’t like it much, did he? And God wanted Him to be a tried, true stone. You know when God said in the Old Testament, He promised us a foundation…promised you and me that He was gonna give us something we could build our lives upon that would be solid, that would be true, that would be dependable. Do you know anything in this world that you could build your life on that will last, that is sure? Put your money in the stock market and see what happens. Put your trust in, I don’t care which President, which party…I mean we have our preferences from a functional standpoint, but I’ll tell you what, Jesus Christ is the only Lord of all, the Lord of Glory.

( congregational amens ).

And our allegiance needs to be to Him, first and foremost without compromise! And so here’s Jesus living an uncompromised life and in order to really establish the fact the He was somebody…He was one of us who had stood the test, He was sent into the wilderness to fast for 40 days. Some of us can’t fast 40 minutes.

( laughter ).

But anyway He did. And the Lord gave Him the strength and His purpose, His sense of what He’d been called to do was so uncompromising that He stood there toe to toe with the Devil, and the Devil threw out these different temptations and He stood upon what? The Word of God. God’s Word is the anchor of my soul. That’s what I’m standing upon. I don’t feel like it. It doesn’t look like it. It looks like you’re offering me a shortcut! But my eye is fixed. My purpose is set. I’m gonna resist you with everything in me. Devil, it’s written, get out of here.

Well the Devil got out of here--got out of there. And the Lord sent angels to strengthen Him. And what’s the result of that? He returned in the power of the Spirit, and He began to preach, and He began to do wonderful things, and God began to work and began to move. You know, I think that’s where some of us are. God is seeking to do a work in our hearts of trying, of oppressing…has the Devil come against you lately? Has the Devil tested you? Has the Devil tempted you?

You know, we need to do what Jesus did. We need to understand that if we’re gonna be used of God, we’re gonna have to have an uncompromised life where our purpose is modeled on Jesus. That doesn’t mean He’s expecting you to be way up here, but I’ll tell you, it’s like we heard recently. It’s not perfection, it’s direction. What is our life pointed toward. We have somebody who’s able to live in us as the Father lived in Jesus, who’s able to make us what He wants us to be. But we’re gonna be tested, we’re gonna be tried. We’re gonna have to be people that the Devil cannot undercut and compromise because of things in our lives. Only God can accomplish what needs to be accomplished. But I’ll tell you, we need to be His, don’t we?

( congregational amens ).

Without any fear of compromise. I’ll tell you, I feel like we need in our spirits in this church to take a stand against the Devil and all that He stands for! And say there’s no demon that is welcome in this church. We need Christ to be our head and our life.

( congregational amens ).

Not just somebody we talk about. Not just somebody we profess. We need to have the reality of His presence in our lives. I believe God is doing that work in our hearts. I pray that He’ll continue. But you want to know what the model of the Christian life is? You look at the life of Jesus Himself. There’s a relationship that He enjoyed with His Father and it’s just amazing when you watch it. And I mentioned that John couldn’t look back and see, well Jesus was an okay guy, but He had His faults. He didn’t have any. He was somebody that was so given to His Father that He was willing, in order to fulfill His Father’s will, to lay down His life even to the point of death.

I wonder how many people that are warming the pews in churches this morning would stand up if we suddenly found ourselves under a government like China, North Korea, Viet Nam, a lot of the Islamic countries, a lot of places. You know, it’s every week virtually, ‘cause I’m on mailing lists of several organizations that are in touch with the persecuted church. And it just humbles me every time I open one of those magazines and I read what it’s costing people to serve Jesus Christ.

What does it cost you? What does it cost me? And I see people who are sold out to Christ, who’ve lost everything…some of them have suffered unspeakable tragedy and loss. A woman who sees her husband hacked to death because he won’t give up his faith in Christ…sees her children destroyed. And yet they go on and they have a joy and a positive spirit to share Christ because they have the hope in their hearts and there’s a joy that carries them through.

My God, there’s something real that God wants to make more real to us. The easiest thing in the world would be to lay back and build a religion based upon what Brother Thomas taught us. But we need …thank God for everything that came from God through him. I appreciate it. It’s necessary. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that. But I’ll tell you, Christ is the head of this church and everyone here needs to have the spirit…I’m looking to You, Lord. I want to follow on. I want the reality. I’m not satisfied with the doctrine, and the practice, and the culture! I want You.

This is a radical fellowship, folks, where we are called to follow Jesus Christ, just as radically as the people in the New Testament who stood before the authorities, like Stephen. He said, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart…ye do always resist the Holy Ghost” And I’ll tell you, he went to his death with a prayer on his lips for the persecutors. And from that day to this, Christians by the, I’m sure millions, over the centuries, have laid down their lives because Christ was more real to them than this world.

I’ll tell you, there wasn’t a thing in this world that was more real to Jesus, that pulled on Him and said, no, I need to do this, this is more important. He had one priority, it was to serve His Father. Praise God! You think about that. The Life appeared. This is what John is talking about. He said, I was there. I watched Him. I watched Him in moments when He was in the crowd. I watched Him someplace else, and I saw Him in private. I know that He was the same man every place.

I think I mentioned this once before, but the first time we visited India, Jim and I were…basically Brother Kumar hired a taxi. And that’s a profession there where people are basically private transportation services. And the young man who was driving us everywhere was a young Muslim. He was a nominal Muslim. He wasn’t…his family wasn’t real religious, but that was his background. So, you’re born in a Muslim family, you’re a Muslim. Sort of like America, you’re a Christian…it meant about that much.

But anyway, He had taken around a lot of different preachers in the course of his business, and I was…we were both very thankful for his testimony, because he said there’s a difference with you guys. I mean, he had to say this through Kumar, ‘cause we don’t speak Telugu and he didn’t speak English very well. But anyway, he says, he’s watched so many times when preachers will get before a crowd and they’ll act real religious and real spiritual and then he notices how they are when they’re not in front of the crowd and they’re back in the car…and the coarse joking, and there’s a totally different spirit.

You know, you and I need to be the same person with the same whole-hearted service to Christ…I don’t care where you’re at. I don’t care if there’s another person connected with the Bible Tabernacle that sees you, we need to be what we are all the time.

( congregational amens ).

We don’t need a Sunday face that we put on, that is a put-on. We need this kind of radical relationship with Jesus Christ. And so that’s what John was talking about. And he had been, as I say, a participant, an observer. He watched, he experienced God in Jesus Christ. He watched the suffering. He watched the persecution. He watched the steady Spirit that absolutely refused to give in.

And He heard Jesus talk about the relationship. He said, I’m in the Father and the Father is in me. The Father and I are one. There was such an unbroken spirit of unity…every part of Him that you could think about was in total harmony with the Father. There wasn’t any part of His life that was hidden or secret or private or any of those things that bedevil us. God deliver us. God make us completely, wholly transparent in our relationship with God, because that’s what Jesus…that’s the kind of relationship He had.

But you know, as Jesus prepared to end His ministry, He spent a lot of time talking to the disciples. I know He spent the three hours in prayer, but I’ll tell you, if it had been you and been me facing what He faced, I suspect we would have been a basket case for days going into that. But Jesus was free to share, free to talk about the vision and the purpose of God. He said, I’m not gonna leave you. I’m not gonna leave you comfortless. I’m not gonna leave you like orphans. I’m gonna come.

And you’re gonna know, you’re gonna understand when I come that it’s…the Father’s in me, you’re in me and I’m in you. So now the relationship that began with Father and Son is going to reach out. It first is going to embrace and bring into that relationship the apostles. Those are the ones he was talking to at that particular time.

And, of course, we know from the day of Pentecost when Peter was anointed to preach the great message that he was…to explain what was going on when they saw the demonstration of the power of God coming upon His people. He said, the promise is to you. That was everybody that was there. He said, it’s to your children. It’s to all that are far off, to as many as the Lord our God shall call. That means you and I are a part of the purpose that God was absolutely unfolding on that day.

And so John is talking about a relationship that he had observed from the outside. And now all of a sudden he had been brought in and it was such a glorious, it was such a joyous thing. And I noticed…it just jumped out at me the other day as I was thinking about this, well the entire period I’ve been thinking about it, is that word ‘joy.’ As I said, when you and I think about having a relationship with a holy God, joy is not the word that tends to come to our minds. I mean, if you know the Lord, yeah, you’ve been changed and you can think that way. But I mean, from a natural standpoint, you think about the God that we’re talking about, and you think about the various encounters that men have had with God and what their reaction has been.

You go back to Mount Sinai, for example. God is about to make Himself know to the children of Israel. He’s brought them through the Red Sea. They’ve seen His mighty works. They’ve seen a manifestation of a cloud and pillar of fire, and smoke, and now they’re brought to a mountain. And they’re told they’re gonna receive His laws, they’re gonna hear from Him, and what happens? All of a sudden, the mountain begins to tremble and shake, and there’s a noise, and the trumpet gets louder and louder, and there’s thunder and lightning and they’re…they’re petrified.

Well any one of us would be. I mean they were awestruck at this God. And their…their instinct was not to run to Him and say, oh I love You, Lord. Their instinct was to run and hide and say, Moses, we’re scared. You go talk to Him. We don’t want to get anywhere near this God.

You know, it kind of goes back to the garden. What was the instinct of Adam and Eve? To hide, to cover. But you know, there was another side to that. What was God’s instinct? It was to reach out and search. Adam, where are you? You see that in history. You see that dynamic going on…of men who want to hide, and a God who seeks. Thank God! I want to know that God, don’t you?

( congregational amens ).

I want to get past that reluctance, that resistance in me that would run and hide in fear. I want to come to what John is expressing here.