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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #967

Experiencing Christ’s Resurrection
Part One

April 17, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 967 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! We have a lot to rejoice in this morning, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

Praise God! I’ve had a hard time, as I know at least one other person has, of getting the Wednesday night service out of our minds and out of our hearts. I believe the Lord is trying to communicate something with us that is very important. And, I’d like to go today to a scripture that I believe ties together this day with what was spoken of in that service, and this is in Romans…I’m sorry, it’s in Ephesians chapter 1.

This is the day when, above all others there is remembrance made of the most important fact of history, and that’s that Jesus rose. Praise God! If He didn’t rise, then nothing else makes any sense. It’s just religion among religions and we don’t need that.

You know, I made the comment that was probably startling to some on Wednesday night, but I believe it’s true the more I think about it. It’s not Christ’s death that saves us--that doesn’t save us. What that does, however, is tear down the barrier that separates us from God. We are born enemies of God. Everything in us is against Him. And no matter what we do, all we’re gonna do is pile up sins that destroy that relationship and that cause it to be null and void.

And what Jesus did, in order to fulfill the plan of God was to take our sins upon Himself, bear them to the cross, receive the punishment that was due to us, but now the sins are gone, like the song that we sing. They’re gone, they’re out of the way. That means we are free, therefore, putting our faith in Him to have a relationship with a holy God. But that’s…so far, that’s not salvation. That’s just getting us to the starting line. Salvation is what happens after that.

And whereas the death of Christ deals with the sin problem and reconciles us to God, it is the life of Christ that actually saves us, because if all God did was wipe away our record and then say, all right, now you’re free to live for Me — well we’re not free to live for Him, are we? That was the problem in the first place. We don’t have it in us to do it. We need a Savior, not only who sits there and tells us what to do, but who comes in and enables us to do it! That’s the other half of the equation.

And I sense in my own heart and in my own life, and I know others are going through this, as well, that God wants us to get this in a deeper level. Because we experience a disconnect, all too often, with what we hear in church and what we believe with our heads and how we live. We don’t experience the thing that God did all this to give us.

You know, Ephesians begins with Paul going on and on and on with this rapturous language about the purpose of God, this plan, this…well, first of all, it was a purpose that God conceived before the world was, before sin ever entered, before any of this. And it doesn’t just have to do with sin, it has to do with eternity and a relationship that He desires to have with sons and daughters, who will live with Him, who will enjoy the beauties of a creation that He can lavish all of His creative ability upon…that we can enjoy it and enjoy Him.

Of course, knowing what was going to happen, knowing that we would turn from Him in rebellion, that a sacrifice would be necessary, He instituted a plan back then to take care of the purpose. He starts with a purpose, and we saw a couple of weeks ago, whenever it was, that that purpose is immutable, it’s unchangeable…once He fixes His mind on something, He ain’t changing. It’s gonna happen. It’s something that He is, with all of His being, He is utterly and completely committed to, and so because of that commitment, that caused Him to commit Himself to doing what it took to fulfill that purpose and that involved sending His Son to the cross.

And so we see the greatness of God’s provision for us that everything that’s possibly needed to make this happen has been provided by Him, not demanded from us as though we could contribute something to this. It was provided just as in the garden when Adam and Even sinned, who provided the covering that took care of the problem? I mean, they tried to provide one, but it wasn’t very good. God provided the covering. It was the death of those animals that provided the skins that made them clothing, and it was just a little bit of hint of what was to come.

And so we see the riches of God’s grace lavished on us as he begins this book and the purpose, that there’s a day coming when all of this is going to come together. Everything that’s in Christ will be gathered together in heaven and in earth. This is the people that God has chosen, then you go on and you see in Him, verse 11. “In him we were also chosen…” (NIV). And I think an alternate reading is like the one you have in the King James…we were made heirs. But there is an inheritance, there is a reality to what God has instituted.

“…Having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” God’s gonna take care of that. You know, you and I don’t bring much glory to Him. We certainly don’t do it in ourselves! But God has fixed it to where when it’s done, people are gonna look at us and say, wow, what a great God!

That’s what they ought to be saying now. God help us. God deliver us from this, that we can so live that when people look at us they say, man, I want to know that God. He’s awesome! He’s wonderful! Look what He can do with a life! Look what He can take from the gutter and bring out and just…infuse His character and His life into that person and that life. That’s what it’s about. Praise God! And, of course, he’s talking about the grand sweep of history, but of course, we arrive in history at a certain point in time, don’t we?

It says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth…” This is when it becomes personal. This is when the thing that He knew and planned for in the beginning and foresaw…He knew you back then, but this is when it actually begins to happen for you and for me. We hear His voice. Those who hear His voice, I mean in this sense, they live. Life is imparted.

The Gospel of our salvation is what we hear and there’s a believing of that, there’s a commitment to the reality of that, to the truth of that. It becomes the foundation of our very soul. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” You know as the song goes on, “I dare not trust the sweetest frame…” Which is a fancy way of saying the nicest words you can string together…you’re framing something. “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly…completely…lean on Jesus’ name.” That’s the solid rock we have to stand upon.

But God didn’t want us to be without hope or without assurance. “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession--to the praise of his glory.” So this is the foundation for everything.

So now Paul having laid this, he understands by experience that there is a problem now…there is a need, I should say, that it’s one thing to know this--it’s one thing to even have our heads educated with this truth, but it needs to become something that is real to us in our day to day living. And so that’s why he says what he does in verse 15. “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you….”

Praise God! It’s good to have somebody who’s praying for you, isn’t it? This is not incidental to this, by the way. Paul felt the need, not just to communicate information here; there was a going to God for people. And this is something that needs to be a part of this equation. We don’t just need to say, well you’ve got everything you need in Jesus, go for it. We need to be praying and saying, God help, strengthen, cause Your Spirit to flow to the dry places in people’s lives. Set them free. Make this truth that you have given to us in the Gospel, make it real.

Boy, I am a candidate for this. I need a lot more of what he’s going to be talking about in this passage to become more real in my life. I think there’s one or two of you here that could possibly profit from this.

( congregational response ).

And so he says, I’ve not stopped giving thanks for you, “…remembering you in my prayers.” Now what are the content of his prayers. “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

There’s a lot in that. You want to know something about spiritual things? There’s all kinds of ideas about where that knowledge comes from and a lot of people think that if you can just get the right set of principles and you can study this book diligently, you can ascertain truth! It ain’t so. There’s nobody on this planet that’s that smart.

And you’ve got all kinds of theological systems out there that are built because men make rules of how to understand this Book, and then they go interpret it and they deliver their conclusions. Jesus spoke to a group of the religious people one day and he said, you study the scriptures--you diligently study the scriptures. And he says the reason you do it is ‘cause you think you’re gonna have eternal life…you think it’s in there somewhere if you can just dig it out. But you won’t…the scriptures actually testify about Me, but you won’t come to Me!

There is a spiritual content to truth, in fact, truth is really a Person! Ultimately truth is a Person. Now we find that Person expressed in words, but the purpose of the words is to lead us to the Person. And not only that, you cannot understand this Book apart from the Author. We have got to have something that goes beyond human understanding and human ability. This world is full of people who will study this book and don’t have a clue. You know, Paul spoke about many of his fellow Israelites and he spoke about their blindness, and he said there was a veil. But where did he say that veil was?

( congregational response ).

It was on the heart. See that’s where this has got to get. God is seeking to so reveal Himself, not just to our heads so that we can have the right doctrines and ideas, He’s working a lot deeper than that to reveal Himself to our hearts because it’s out of the heart…Proverbs says, out of the heart of man is where the issues of life come from. This is what determines what you and I do on a day to day basis. We can know stuff here, but our heart is one that determines which way we go. And so, to whatever degree these things are not real down in here, they’re not gonna be effective in our lives.

And I sense in me and I sense in others, God is wanting to make what He has done real. There’s nothing lacking in what He has done, but yet we go on and on and on and on with so many things in our lives unchanged, untouched by the truths of the Gospel. And I just pray…this is the burden of Paul’s heart. He wants God’s Spirit to so work that we will have wisdom, we will understand things. I mean, we’ll understand, not just the ‘what’ of things, but the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of things…how to relate to Him, how to seek Him, the fact that our life is connected to a Person, not just the walking in a religion.

And notice what the purpose of this wisdom and revelation is…is what? So you can know stuff? So that you can have the proper theological education? You can uphold the faith delivered to our fathers, and by that they mean a set of doctrines? All of that is utterly and completely vain if it does not lead us into a relationship with Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Paul’s concern is not that they just get all this stuff in their head, but they know the Person, because His Life is what transforms. His Life is the only hope that you and I have. Praise God!

And so, he prays that God would, “…give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Now it’s interesting, he doesn’t say, so that you will know Him, does He. He’s talking to people who know Him--know the Lord, they know the Lord. But here’s the deal. We don’t know Him well enough. There is a process. There is a walking with Him through life in which we get to know Him better. And tomorrow it’s a little better and after that a little better. That’s God’s plan and that’s God’s purpose for salvation. Our sins have been blotted out, but I need to be saved as an ongoing process. I need to experience the transformation.

What is God after? Is it to just blot my sins and take me to heaven one day? No! His purpose is to make me like His Son. There is a change that needs to happen in my heart and in my life. And I can’t do it--I can’t do it. He knows we can’t. You know, the sooner we recognize He knows how helpless you are. We sang the song, “Lord, you know how weak I am.” Thank God He’s not, as I said before many times, He’s not counting on us. He’s not counting on my faithfulness. He’s not counting on my will. He’s not counting on anything that’s in me. But oh, He has everything. He has the strength of will, He has the courage, He has the faith that I need. He has all that I need in His Life. And just like the vine, or the branches that simply draw life from the vine, that’s what God is seeking to work out in us.

And he goes on and he says, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart….” Now see this is where it gets right down to it. Paul could communicate in a few sentences the doctrines involved in what he’s trying to say, but he understands that that’s not enough. You have got to have these eyes down here opened. And I’ll tell you, what I find in my own heart is that there is a…as I said earlier, there is a tremendous disconnect between the stuff that we know that God has said in His Word is true, and its relevance to our day to day living. And I find the Lord, more and more, putting His finger on things and saying, wait a minute, what about that? Does my salvation not deal with that? Does my salvation not have any provision for this or for that other thing? Anybody here know what I’m talking about?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. This is so relevant. Now what is it that he wants our hearts to begin to be able to see? “…In order that you may know the hope to which he has called you….” Now that’s being able to have such a confidence in what is coming, that it serves as an anchor, as the writer to the Hebrews says, an anchor for our soul. That’s the thing that holds you when the wind blows. That’s the thing that keeps you from “going to hell in a hand basket” when the trials and difficulties of life come because you know that there’s a hope.

That has not changed! This has changed. But I have something that connects me to that. And so I refuse to be deterred, I refuse to take my eyes off of that, I refuse to be dismayed in the face of what’s happening in my life. I’ll tell you, if all you know is something in your head, you’re gonna struggle when these times come. We’re gonna struggle anyway. I mean, these are genuine tests of our faith! But if we have something down in here, if God has planted by a revelation of His Spirit the reality of that, the hope that that can give us, then we’ve got an anchor. And I’ll tell you, that’s an anchor that holds. Praise God!

All right, so it has to do with knowing the hope, knowing “…the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…” And what I want to get to is what’s next. “…His incomparably great power for us who believe.” Now that ‘incomparably’ that’s translated all kinds of different ways. It just means it’s amazing, it’s great, it’s beyond anything else you can compare.

I’m sort of amused by the translation, because he says, it’s incomparably great, and then he says, it’s like this in the next…you know. Whoever translated the one verse didn’t translate the next one! But anyway, it’s great. You can’t compare it with anything else.

But this is the thing. We know with our heads that that was pretty great. For God to be able to step into history and against all of the will of hell itself arrayed against what was happening, for His Son to come forth from that tomb and be totally and utterly and completely victorious over death and sin and hell and the grave, and anything you can name. You know, when He came forth He didn’t have to get up and shake and rub His eyes and take off the sheets that wound Him. He just…

( snapping fingers ).

…was gone. And the sheets that were around Him just sank right in place ‘cause He wasn’t on the inside. That’s why when they went in they saw the linen clothes lying exactly where He’d been, but He wasn’t in them. Oh, what a wonderful thing! But you know, as wonderful as that is, God’s purpose in communicating the reality of what happened on that great morning is not just so we can say, yea God, isn’t that great!

( clapping hands ).

Hooray, Jesus! You did it--You did it! You deserve to be on that throne. Aren’t You great! Well, it is that, but it’s so much more. God just didn’t do that so that we could stand on the sides and cheer and say, isn’t that great. That was for us!

( congregational amens ).

And He wants us to know that there is a connection between what was revealed on that morning and the way we live every day. That’s the connection He’s seeking to make for you and for me. And so, Paul is praying, I want you to know. I want you to get it down here. I want you to know in the depths of your soul that His death means your victory and your liberty.

( congregational amens ).

That’s the thing that He’s after. . “…His incomparably great power for us who believe.” Now he’s gonna lift that power up, talk about it. “That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”

I mean, He’s number one--after the Father, He is number one. He has all authority. Oh isn’t that great…good for Him. Is that what that’s about? No it isn’t. “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him…” I skipped over something. I’m gonna go back to it in a minute. “…And appointed him to be head over everything for the church….”

So this is the thing. What He did in Christ is for us! And that’s the part I skipped over back in the beginning of 19. “…And his incomparably great power…” There’s two words that follow that. “…For us--for us, for us…” If I say it enough, maybe I’ll get it. You know this is the kind of message that the devil could easily say, well, who are you to preach this? Well, the truth of the matter is, is there any man alive who can preach this in the sense that they’ve arrived? Because what Paul is getting at here is not some secret, spiritual button you can push that suddenly catapults you into this high realm where the battles and the trials of life are behind us, and we just simply sail over life and never have any more trouble. This is not a destination, as the saying goes, it’s a journey--it’s a description of the journey.

And now think about Paul’s own experience with this and just hold your place here for a minute and let’s go to the familiar scripture over in Philippians chapter 3…’cause you will get Paul’s understanding and where he fit into the picture. Here’s Paul praying for them, and we could say, well, okay Paul, what about you? Well, here’s what about Paul. He describes all the good stuff that he thought was so great.

And he comes down and he says in verse 10, “I want to know Christ…” So he’s talking about…again the heart of what he’s saying is I want to know Him--I want to become acquainted with Him! And what? “…The power of his resurrection…” This is not just simply head knowledge. This is, I want to experience what that life that he came forth with…I want it to be relevant to me in my life every day. “…And the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” He’s not talking about the bodily resurrection. He’s talking about experiencing spiritual resurrection and what that means in our life.

But now, where is Paul in this? Is this something where he has, like I said, found the spiritual button and pushed it and he’s there, and now he can just back and be somebody, and invite people to his seminar and let them in on the secret. No, it isn’t that way at all, is it? You know it isn’t. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Now notice where the initiative was. It was Jesus took hold of me. Paul wasn’t looking for Jesus. Jesus was looking for Paul. And there was appointed occasion when there was a revelation. It was not just information, it was a revelation to Paul’s heart. Jesus is real, He is alive, He is the Lord of heaven. My hope is in Him. And so Paul turned from all of his religious heritage of which he had been so proud and cast all of his hope in Jesus.

But he realized in doing so that there was a purpose to which he had been called. It wasn’t just to have his name on a roll and go to heaven one day, but Paul had been called to serve Him and to have things accomplished in his life. And that required a reaching forth on his part. It wasn’t a reaching forth of self-effort, it was a reaching forth of faith. It was laying hold of the things that God has provided in Christ. And it all revolves around knowing Him better, knowing the power of His resurrection, all these things coming into an experiential knowledge of this.

Well, the very nature of life here, the very nature of salvation is such that you don’t get all this in one easy lesson. This is a process that happens throughout our entire lives. No matter how far you get, no matter how much victory you experience, whether you may reach the point where God has just filled you with faith and you can raise the dead, and cleanse the leper, and all those things, but there will still be things that need to be changed. There’s still gonna be opportunity for us to need to know Him better, to gain greater victory over this area of our lives or that area, the things that nobody else knows about maybe, but you do.

I mean, think of how Paul struggled with pride. Don’t we all? We’re made of the same stuff. Well, the Lord had the prescription for him…let a devil beat on him a while and told him that His grace was enough. But I’ll tell you, we have a faithful heavenly Father who is so committed to making salvation real for us that He’s gonna do what it takes. And as we’ve said any number of times, this is an individual thing. There is no grand formula that I can give you except to point you to Jesus.