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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #965

God’s People Under Pressure
Part One

April 3, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 965 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: Let’s turn if you will to 1st Peter, chapter 4, just as a kind of a starting point. Hopefully the Lord will guide my thoughts this morning. I believe that He has some things that He wants to share with me and maybe you could listen in, and hopefully we can all profit. A very familiar passage just beginning in verse 12…there’s one scripture I want to get to.

But it says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised 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.” (NIV). That’s an interesting thing right there. You know, I don’t know that we can really appreciate God’s blessings either here or on the other side without having seen the other side of it. I’ve noticed that the people who seemed to love the Lord the most, people who have the deepest passion for the Lord, are often the people who’ve come out of the deepest ditch. Notice that? Didn’t Jesus say, he who has been forgiven much will, what?

( congregational response ).

Love much. Yeah, there seems to be a connection there, doesn’t there? But obviously in the context of scripture we see God working in us and I’ll just refer to the words that I believe the Lord gave me on Wednesday in another context…that our job is to be the clay. His job is to work out His eternal purpose. Our job is to recognize that, and cooperate with it, and submit to it.

But here’s a situation where people are actually…Christians are actually called to suffer things. And this wasn’t just, I’ve got an operation this, that, and the other. Those certainly are trials, but this is persecution. These were people who were literally suffering and sometimes being thrown into prison, sometimes even being killed because they were Christians. And the truth is that is the kind of a world we live in whether we recognize it or not. So it calls for us to live with a great deal more awareness of what’s going on than I think sometimes we are prone to, particularly in this country.

So he goes on and he says “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? And, If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

I see and I sense with all my heart that more and more as we go along, God is going to put us through many kinds of things in this school that we call life. And the things that we have to learn are not learned as in a lecture. They aren’t learned simply by saying words from a pulpit, they are learned by going through the things that we go through in life. The thing about this scripture here is that this does not happen in a vacuum. We live in a world that is, as far as the world system is concerned, it is ruled by devils.

I was just writing to a prisoner yesterday, and of course his situation is that he’s behind bars, literally. He doesn’t have the freedom to come and go. But the truth is that this world is a prison. This world system is a prison and the devil is the warden and there is no power any human being has to escape from that prison apart from Jesus Christ and what He did at the cross.

( congregational amens ).

And so we need to stand on that with all that we have got in this dark hour, because that is the only answer, that is the only hope any of us has, is to put our hope in Him and to stand because He is the master of every demon. We do not have to be intimidated, and I don’t intend to be.

We look back in our own church’s history and I believe there’s some things that happened that I’m seeing unfolding. I was just expressing this to Sue and she was readily agreeing with me. Some of you will remember that one of the main themes of all this period of revelation that we experienced about, a little over forty years ago, concerned the loosing of Satan.

You know somebody would say, well, why do we need special revelation, why do we need visions and angels to tell us those things? It’s in the Word. Well why did the Lord send angels when Jesus came the first time? That was in the scriptures too. It’s a principle that God often observes that when He takes something and it’s time to be fulfilled, there is some special word to His people. Hey, now is the time, wake up, this is happening.

But some of you will remember that there were more than one vision, but the basic theme is this…where whoever was in the vision literally was carried to a place, saw hordes of demons. I think one time it was in a castle, another time it was in a dark cave, whatever it was, it was something along that line where there were just hordes of them and then all of a sudden there was a loosing. They went flowing, they went out into the earth in great innumerable numbers--they were innumerable. The interesting observation was that they didn’t just go attack trees, they went and attacked people. They didn’t just beat on people on the outside, they flowed into people.

Folks, that is the world we live in. We live in a world that is demonized whether the people recognize it or not. They don’t know where many times, their own thoughts come from. We don’t know what is speaking to our minds, many times as Christians. This affects every one of us. But we live in a world that is controlled by darkness, and Jesus, himself, said that before His coming, there would be a time of great tribulation such as never was from the beginning of the world until that time.

Tribulation is…the root meaning of the word, tribulation, is pressure. If you and I are expecting to coast through and get snatched out, you’ve got another think coming. Folks, we are gonna have to stand for God, we’re gonna have to stand for truth, and we’re gonna have to stand for what is right in a world that hates us. And I don’t know if you realize it or not, but this church is under attack on many fronts from the realm of darkness, not just one but many. We need to be aware, and alert, and engaged. If you’re just coasting along, living your life, and you don’t know what’s happening, and you’re not engaged in it, then that’s not good.

Because I’ll tell you, we are on trial and yet we have somebody that is in us and with us who is the Master, as I said, of every demon. We don’t have to be afraid, but we do have to be alert and aware. And I pray that God will give us that kind of an awareness, because God’s people are under pressure. We are called to live under pressure. Jesus told us we would be living under pressure. He said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation…” (KJV). Pressure. But thank God the verse doesn’t end there. He says, “…But be of good cheer…” Cheer up! That doesn’t sound like something to cause people to cheer up! Cheer up, it’s gonna be tough!

( laughter ).

Well, you know, that doesn’t sound like it goes together very well, does it? But when Jesus says, cheer up for “…I have overcome the world.”

( congregational amens ).

I have overcome the world! That puts it in the past! It gives us a ground upon which to stand and hold, because it isn’t based on us! It isn’t based on what we’ve done! We stand and point the devil and everybody to the cross and say, there is my ground for victory. I do not have to listen to the enemy! We have every reason to rejoice in the victory that Christ has won.

But I’ll tell you, there’s…you come back to what we started with here…this judgment beginning at the house of God. God is going to put us in situations that will reveal things that are in our hearts. And frankly they’re not pretty. I said something weeks ago, I don’t remember exactly the context that it was talking about, the body of Christ and the work of God to build His church and to build His body together, and I said it’s a pretty messy business sometimes. It’s a messy business because we’re people.

You know some of you may actually remember this, I know it’s been told many times but, I believe I was there in this service when visitation was going on. It was the first convention and we were sitting there and some man came in and He stood up in the service and he said…basically the gist of what he said was, I’m looking for the perfect church. Well, Brother Thomas quickly apprised him, he hadn’t found it.

( laughter ).

And also said this thing…He said, well I tell you this, let me give you some advice. If you’re looking for the perfect church, please don’t join it, because then it won’t be perfect anymore.

( laughter ).

Well, praise God! God has called all kinds of people. I mean you look at the New Testament. We talk about the New Testament Church and how glorious it was, like Corinth, for example. They came behind in no gift. They had a foundation laid by Jesus through the Apostle Paul. They had other teachers who’d come in. Look at the things that were wrong with that church!

I’ll tell you what, we’re gonna have to contend with a lot of things, and we’re gonna have to seek God and be patient with each other. God will see us through, but our enemy is never one another, our enemy is the devil and all his hosts. And God will put us in situations to make manifest what’s in our hearts. And sometimes--sometimes you’re gonna see a back-door revival…I hate to say it…before you see much of a front door one. But God knows. I’ll tell you, there’s not a person here that wants to serve God and that’s what you want from your heart, that God won’t help you.

( congregational amens ).

Because the devil will absolutely tell you, it’s up to you. Man, if you don’t measure up, you know if you fail, God’s gonna throw you out. Oh no, He’s not. There’s a bruised reed He will not do away with.

( congregational amens ).

I tell you what, we serve a wonderful Lord. So I don’t know where all to go with this. I’ve had various thoughts, but I’m just gonna trust the Lord. But I’m gonna go back to a scripture that Joel referred to on Friday night. There’s a lot in that because you see God’s people put in a very difficult situations…if I can remember where it’s at. 1st Samuel 30, I think.

This is the occasion where David and his men really got to a pretty low point. You know David had been picked by the Lord, anointed by the prophet of God to be the next king of Israel. So of course, he marched right down to Jerusalem and said, I’m here, Saul get off the throne. Didn’t work out that way, did it? He spent years…he was a teenager probably, when all this started. But he spent years in God’s school.

Well, God’s school wasn’t like one of our schools. Well, you might think so actually. You know, some of you that had mean teachers, and a lot of homework and all that. But this was not like any human school, this was reality, this was being on the run, this was being betrayed, this was being hated, this was having no place, having to cry out to God and learn an utter dependence upon God.

I believe with all my heart that’s something God is really seeking to turn the screws on, because He loves us…to bring us to a place where we understand that’s the only way to live. It’s the only way we can live and survive in this world. If you’re looking out and singing “It’s a Beautiful World,” you got another think coming--you need a different song. I’ll tell you there’s a beautiful world coming. Or, it’s a wonderful world, isn’t that the song? Seems like the writer of that song just passed away in the last few days, didn’t he? Did anybody else read that? Anyway, well praise God, it may be a beautiful world to him and he’s gone. I’ll tell you, we need something, we need a hope that goes beyond all of this.

But anyway as I said, David was on the run. Saul was jealous of him. Saul was moved upon by demons. There was one time when there was David playing the harp and trying to encourage him, and Saul was so filled with jealousy, he took a javelin and tried to kill David, twice that happened I believe. You know the stories and the accounts of how he was on the run from Saul. One time Saul went into a cave and didn’t know that David and his men were in the back of the cave. David snuck up and cut off a little corner of his robe and went to the cave and called, and a pretty shocked king, of course…and at the moment he recognized that he was in the wrong and he backed down. Later on something similar happened when they had the power to have just done away with Saul if they’d done it.

But I’ll tell you, David was a man after God’s own heart. He was one who was tuned in and who knew when to move and how to move, and the fact that he was dependent upon God for everything that he did. Every situation turned his heart toward God. Now David wasn’t perfect in case you didn’t know that. If you read it and look at the scriptures honestly, you’re gonna see that David was under such pressure that there were times he lied his way in and out of trouble. There’s no way to sugar-coat that, it happened. But I’ll tell you what that tells me is that God is a Redeemer of sinners.

( congregational amens ).

God is a Redeemer of imperfect people. I don’t believe David did that because he had a deceitful heart. I believe David was a human being, and he felt his weakness and his distress in certain situations, and under pressure he didn’t handle it the way…the perfect way that we would’ve looked back and say, oh, you should have done it this way. Well, you and I weren’t there, and the fact is we are weak and we need God.

( congregational amens ).

We need His help. There’s something wrong with every one of us and God is gonna put us in situations to bring out what’s wrong. Don’t let it distress you. We need to be able to look in the mirror and say, my God, I didn’t know, help me. But always realize that He stands ready to help. He is the One who brought that thing out. We have hope in Him at every turn. Thank God!

So here’s David really at the low point of his career and what he undoubtedly does not know is that he’s about to get what the Lord had given him. His run was just about over, but he didn’t know that. You know many times, we hear the saying, it’s darkest before the dawn. God had his little band of people that were on the run following David, He had them in a special school where they learned how to trust God in desperate situations, because He wanted a man on the throne who knew what God was about, and who was willing to trust Him and do the right thing under pressure.

How many of us can say that we do the right thing when we’re under pressure? That’s not an easy one is it? There’s not one of us that can stand here and say, well, I don’t ever make a mistake. Oh yes we do. We need the Lord, don’t we? And you just get under a pressure situation, you find out what’s in you, and so will I. Oh, I’m thankful that we serve a merciful God.

But anyway, David at this point, he’s finally figured he just didn’t have any place to hide in Israel anymore. You know the story, how he finally decided to move into the Philistine territory. I mean that’s desperation when you go to the place where you’ve been the chief enemy of the people. You know they were singing this song, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (NIV). Well those 10,000 were Philistines. So he is so desperate at this point that he says, maybe…I have no place in Israel, let me go over there and Saul will quit looking for me. And so he does.

And he becomes a model citizen, as it were, of one of the Philistine leaders. They had several leaders, several kings that ruled over their territory, and he behaved himself so wisely there that he became a trusted friend and actually was given the city of Ziklag. That’s how Ziklag actually became part of Israel. It was this heathen king that gave it to David and his men. He had 600 men, but it wasn’t just the men, it was their families too, their wives, their children. And so there they were settled in that land and David went out on raiding parties, and it’s kind of a rough time.

But anyway, what brought things to a head was that the Philistines and the Israelites were going to war. So this particular king didn’t have any qualms about bringing David along until the other Philistine leaders saw him, and said, what in the world are you bringing him along for? This is gonna be the perfect opportunity for him to get back in the good graces of Saul by turning on us in battle. Get rid of this guy!

And so the leader, I don’t know how you pronounce it, for absolute sure, I will say Achish, but that’s my best guess. In verse 9 of chapter 29, it says “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, He must not go up with us into battle. Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.”

Well, you think about male testosterone, and men who are used to fighting, and they are geared up for battle. You don’t just turn that off. So these guys were all of a sudden told you can’t go with us, we’re sending you home…and you’ve already got your engine on go. That’s a pretty…deflating kind of thing. All of a sudden you’re already kind of in a negative frame of mind, and you’re having to go home and live with that kind of disappointment, and somebody doesn’t approve of you. We all like to be liked. So anyway, they get in this situation and now they’re going home.

Well, the Lord had a very special surprise that he allowed to happen when they got home. It says, “David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day.” This is a three day march they’re on now. We read this story and we know how it comes out, so it’s almost like we don’t quite get it, sometimes. I feel like as I read this, I know how this one comes out, so hey, David, hang on, it’s gonna be good. Don’t worry about this. But David didn’t know all this. His men didn’t know.

And so they got back there and there was nothing but ashes. I mean, talk about being in a low place. You’re doing your best to serve God. God has put His call on your life. You’ve laid down everything for Him. You’re on the run and it looks like there’s no place to go and God has left you. You ever feel like that? But was God the author of this circumstance? Yes He was, and what the devil intended as a time of great defeat for God’s servant, God intended as a time of great victory.

And I’ll tell you, I need to remember this and you need to remember it. There is no offensive that the devil can mount that God does mean for our good. If we will put our hope and our trust in Him, and stand fast, and recognize who our enemy is, close ranks, and resist the devil and seek God, God will be with us. He will honor us. The devil will have to be put on the run and we will come out on top.

( congregational amens ).

That doesn’t mean there won’t be a whole lot of things to go through on the way. You know one thing that David, not David, Paul…let’s jump back to the New Testament for a second. Paul was writing to Timothy about the ministry. Well, Paul was an expert at what it takes. He knows that if you’re gonna be effective, the devil is gonna have his guns trained on you. There’s no way to get out and be in the fight, and actually be a threat to the devil, without him really turning all his forces loose on you. He knew that he had to trust in God in desperate situations.

But his advice to Timothy was very simple. He said, bear hardness. “Endure hardness…” he says, “…as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (KJV). And I sense that need in my own life. Many times we are so quick to complain. Oh God, my toe hurts. How can I serve you?

( laughter ).

A little exaggeration…but not so much. We are so quick to make excuses and to sort of get disengaged when God is wanting to focus our attention. I believe God wants to use this church.

( congregational amens ).

I believe that some of the things that are going on right now are because the devil is upset and he is afraid…because there are people here who are looking to God and desiring to be effective as a church. We can have a comfortable little church. We can come here and congratulate ourselves with our pretty little sermons and pretty little singing, and go home and accomplish nothing if we want to. But I’m not satisfied with that. I don’t believe God is either.

( congregational amens ).

This is a time for God’s people to be awake, and alert, and to recognize what’s going on in your life and in the church, so that we don’t get pulled in to all of Satan’s tricks. Anyway here they are…the Amalekites. You remember the Amalekites? Saul was supposed to take care of business a long time ago. He didn’t do it. Here they show up again…the Amalekites. They were just a bunch of lawless people who went around just killing people, raiding their stuff.

“Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag.” The Negev is the part down…what do they call that today? Anyway it’s the desert between Israel and Egypt. It’s down in that portion in the southern part of Palestine there. And by the way, I understand the word Palestine is related to the Philistines. There is a linguistic connection. So it’s interesting to make that connection.

But anyway, they come back and the Amalekites “…Had attacked Ziklag and burned it, and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.” Anybody see the goodness of God in that?

( congregational amens ).

I mean these were lawless, demon driven people. There’s nothing that could have stood in their way normally to just killing people. But God had a greater plan. God saw to it that His people were preserved in a desperate situation. Now of course at this time none…neither David nor any of his men had a clue what was going on. They did exactly what you and I would have done. “So David and his men wept aloud.” That must have been something to see 600 men just bawling their eyes out.

And it says they “…wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.” Have you ever been like that? Have you ever wept to the point to where you just…I can’t cry anymore--can’t even cry anymore, it’s so bad. I mean they were in a terrible, low place. But who put them in that place? Who really put them in that place?

( congregational response ).

God did, didn’t He. Did He do it because He was mad at them…’cause He hated them? No, this was part of the judgment upon His people. And judgment is not a negative thing. This was a trying, let’s put it that way. That’ll be a better word. This was a trying of His people. This was a teaching situation. This is one of those teaching opportunities, and I believe it should be one for us as well.