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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #969

How God Trains His Children
One Part Only

May 1, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 969 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: Isn’t the Lord good?

( congregational response ).

My God, if we can just get a grasp of what it is that God has brought to and what He’s doing in us, we would quit our belly-aching and our complaining, and we would worship God, and just rejoice in Him. You know, like Jo said, I’m saying that to me as well. We’re all in the same boat.

But how good God is…and isn’t it wonderful to step back and see, number one, God has brought us into this, not because of what we are! Now that just levels the playing field. There’s not one of us that could even begin to qualify for His purposes and His call upon our lives. We simply…it’s gonna be by grace or it ain’t gonna be. We are unworthy, unable, unfit for His Kingdom. But oh God, if we could ever learn to abandon all trust in ourselves and anything else, anything we could ever do, anything we could ever strive to be, and just say, Lord, it’s just You. Oh I’ll tell you, if you’re here this morning and you doubt God’s love, just take a look at the cross.

( congregational amens ).

Take a look at the cross, because God had you in mind when Jesus took all that’s wrong with you upon Himself, and He went to that cross willingly, joyfully. I just praise God! But you know…from our point of view He’s got a big job, doesn’t He? Now it’s not hard for Him. But what’s impossible for us, as we said recently, is possible with Him. He is able to take creatures such as we are and make us fit to live in that place. That’s awesome! That’s incredible! I mean, how could such a thing be?

It’s like we said recently, you think of what Isaiah was allowed to see and the effect that it had on him. One glimpse of the Lord in glory, the holiness, the purity, the brightness, everything you want to say about it was just so awe-inspiring that all he could do was fall down and say, oh God, there ain’t no way I can be part of this. That’s the new translation.

( laughter ).

But that was the essence of what he was saying there. Oh wow, I thought I was a good guy and I see this! Man, I am…in the light of that, I see what I am. But did God do that to discourage him, to defeat him, to grind him down and say, oh I hate you. I just want to grind you in the mud and make you feel like dirt. Oh no. It was to give him a true picture, but it was to show the divine answer that God had for him. Because what happened to Isaiah? I mean, there he is, he’s seen it, he’s reacted. What was the next thing that happened?

( congregational response ).

The Lord…where did he go? He went to the altar, the place of sacrifice. There was a coal that was part of the fire that had fired that altar, that had burned the sacrifice. He took that coal, touched his lips and said, it’s clean. I’ll tell you, God through Christ has made us clean. Every whit…oh praise God! You know, if we’ve been cleansed, then we’re clean. We need to understand that.

But what’s been talked about this morning, if I could even talk, is the process of God changing us, and God bringing us to that glory. I mean, here’s the glory that Isaiah saw and knew that in himself, he could never hope to be a part of it. But what God is purposing to do is, to so work in us that we can be a part of that and be at home in that. Is there anybody here who knows how to make that happen? No. We need God to supernaturally work in our hearts and we’re gonna have to submit to Him and trust in Him, and just let the things happen that need to happen.

And there’s been a lot of encouragement about the facts. We have this foundation, we have the promises of God that He’ll be with us, that our situations and circumstances of life have meaning, that they’re not just simply random things that happen and God’s not in control. They have a purpose, that glory is the ultimate result. And in a general sense, we can understand that.

But I’m so glad that God just doesn’t leave it that general. I believe that there are things that He tells us that are specific as to the why. You know, the scripture that Troy read is one of my favorites of Paul’s testimony, there in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 1, that…talk about Christians under pressure, this is God’s servant. Now you know, we interpret the things that happen to us very negatively oftentimes. Well, I must have done something. God’s punishing me. I’m…He’s got it in for me. I did something bad and now He’s slapping me down. I’ll tell you, God does not do that to His children. We don’t understand if we think that at all, in any measure.

But here is God’s servant, a mighty apostle of God, commissioned to carry the Gospel to a world that had never heard it. He went to nation after nation. God was with Him in great power and yet, He allowed him to get in such a state that he was scared he wasn’t gonna live. As far as he was concerned, it’s over. I’m just…

( blowing ).

…I’m beyond every sort of strength I could possibly muster. It’s over, God. Was God mad with him? Was this for evil? What was God teaching him? What he says…it says, “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.” Now, we talk about the cross, and it means our redemption, it means our sins were there and they were done away in Christ. But I’ll tell you, there’s another truth that we were there, because, as I said, what we are naturally, can never participate in the Kingdom of God. God has to do something about this guy. I need…I don’t need a little tune-up, I need replacing. I need a brand new life to animate my being so that I can actually live with a holy God. There’s nothing I can do.

You can’t fix this. Just like the spoiled milk that’s been sitting out in the sun for a week. You ain’t gonna put it through any kind of process that’ll fix that. You’re just gonna have to throw it out and replace it. Well, that’s what God has to do with me. If I’m gonna live with Him, He’s gonna have to replace this life that I naturally have.

And that’s what Paul said. I felt that. You know, he taught us, you died in Christ. Well, here’s Paul experiencing…hey, some of that sentence is being carried out right now in me. That’s an outworking of a sentence. It’s a decree. It’s something that happened, but yet there is an experience of it. Jo used those words this morning. What happened there, we’re experiencing.

And just to say, just to suppose that, well He did it…we just sit back and float to heaven, that’s not the way it is. There is a death that needs to be died for the life that’s in us to come out. Praise God! That’s part of that old shell that keeps the little chick in. Something’s got to happen. That’s got to be broken.

But anyway, here is Paul saying, I have…there’s a sentence of death. I sense that, I understood. God gave me an understanding of what was happening in this, so that even though I was experiencing emotions of despair, yet, there was something that held me. I thank God that in our darkest moments, there is an anchor for our souls that will hold those who have put their trust in Him. Praise God! So even though this experience was this deep, it did not destroy Paul, it did not take him down.

Surely the Devil had that in mind. But we’ve got a God who can turn every effort of the enemy into something positive, something of eternal value. Praise God! If we’ll just keep our eyes focused on God, He will bring us through everything.

But it wasn’t just, okay, I’m experiencing the sentence of death here. I know what that’s about. What was the detail? What were the details of that sentence, of that experience? He said, why did this happen? “…This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God….”

Now I’ll ask a very stupid question. Is there anybody here that does not naturally default to relying on yourself when stuff happens? It’s like pushing a button. We’re gonna try to look for the resources to deal with whatever’s going on. But that’s not what the Christian life is about. God has got to bring us to a place where we do not rely on this guy and ourselves, we’re gonna learn to trust in God and know that it doesn’t matter whether we’re beyond strength or not, because His strength doesn’t ever run out.

And so, it’s very much the process of God delivering us from something that is holding us back. Suppose Paul had gone ahead in his ministry with a spirit of self-reliance. What would he have accomplished? Nothing. I’ll tell you, we need God to work in us. I need Him. I need to learn to let go and let God have his way, because there’s nothing I can do. If I put my hand to something it will go flat, it will be worthless. But we serve a glorious God who is absolutely doing in us what is necessary to happen in order for us to get where we’re gonna go. “…This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God…” Has God put you outside your comfort zone?

( congregational response ).

One of the most beloved comics in history is certainly “Peanuts.” And while the originator of that, I believe, has gone on, certainly I don’t think anybody’s mad at all that they’re still running, re-running and re-running and re-running, and probably will as long as you can imagine. But one of the favorite characters of everybody in “Peanuts” is Linus. What’s Linus known for? A security blanket! That’s what I need to face life. I can’t face life unless I’ve got this blanket held up to my…well, you know.

We see the humor of it and we observe these kinds of things in children. But the truth is, it’s us too. Everyone of us has something that gives us a sense of security. But it’s a natural thing and we can’t let go of it. You know another illustration I’ve used in the past is…you know you see it, perhaps in movies, maybe you’ve really seen this happen. You see a child that has somehow gotten themselves hung by their hands, I should say, by a tree branch. They might not be that far off the ground, but to them it’s just life and death. I’ve got this thing and I cannot let go! Are you like that? Am I like that? I mean, that’s all I know. I know this branch is there. If I can just hang on to that, then I won’t fall down and die, even though it might be two inches.

( laughter ).

You know, that’s the kind of perception we get into. I have got to have this thing. I cannot let it go. And there’s Daddy or there’s somebody down below, just imploring, let go! I’ve got you, it’s okay. You don’t have to rely on your strength, I can hold you. You will be safe if you will just let go. Isn’t that what God is seeking to do? He’s just seeking to get us to let go, and understand that He is faithful, that He will bring us through, that He loves us, that there’s nothing we can get into that He can’t handle, that we need to learn to rest in Him.

You know a scripture that’s been used many times, and I’ll just go through it real quickly. I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a lot of time. I think the point is pretty clear…what the Lord’s trying to help us understand, and that’s in Deuteronomy 8. Because here’s a people who are pretty primitive in many ways, at least in their background, their whole mentality was built by a heathen world. They’d been slaves, they didn’t know much. They’d heard about the God their fathers, but they had no real experience. And here’s God who has a great purpose to bring them out of Egypt, bring them into a wilderness place, but ultimately to do what? To take them to a place of great blessing.

So now after 40 years, an unbelieving generation…they’re having to wait for them to die off, Moses is giving them another reminder of what this is all about. And he says, “Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today…” Now why that? “…So that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers.”

Always it’s about entering into something God has provided. It’s about blessing, it’s about strength, it’s about eternity, it’s about all the things that Jesus bought for us at the cross! Do we want to enter into those or do we want to cling to this life and to the things of this life, and self? And that was the problem they had. It’s the same problem we face. “Remember how the LORD your God led you…” How much?

( congregational response ).

That’s a good word, isn’t it? “…All the way…” There was never a time when God wasn’t there. When the Amalakites attacked, when whatever was going on…even when there was great sin, God was there! Even when there were serpents biting the people and they were dying, God was there and He gave them a remedy. He said, raise up a brass serpent. Whoever looks will live. And I’ll tell you, that’s still true today. If we will look to Him, we will live!

But remember this. Don’t forget what you’ve been through. “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to…” Do what? “…To humble you…” Man, I don’t care who you are, where you’re at in your station of life, we are polluted with pride! We don’t like to just come to God as unworthy, helpless sinners who just are completely dependent upon the mercy of God, but that’s the truth. And the sooner we can just get down off our high horse and say, oh God, I am nothing, but You love me anyway, and I’m trusting in You, I’ll tell you, the better it will go in our lives.

And so he says, remember…it’s to humble us. Is what you’re going through and what I’m going through, is it humbling you? Is it causing you to let go? Is it causing you…then God is doing something wonderful--God is doing something amazing for you. But it was also to test, wasn’t it? You know, we read the scripture last night about judgment beginning at the house of God. I believe God is putting His people through our paces. He’s teaching us and He’s doing it because He wants us to be effective. He’s doing it because He wants to bring us to a place of greater victory.

And if you’re a kid hanging under the branch, you can’t experience the love of the Father’s arms around you like He wants you to. I’ll tell you, I want to let go. There’s things in me that I see, and I know that it’s true of everybody here. There’s things that God is putting His finger on. God give us grace to just let go. Oh, I’ll tell you, if we had any idea of what kind of a God we serve and just how much unbelief is really still a part of us, I’ll tell you, it would just amaze us.

But to humble and “…To test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you…” Now how did they hunger? Why did they hunger? It says, He caused you. “…Causing you to hunger…” So if God has put you in a place of great need, don’t you bad-mouth the devil and say, oh that bad old devil. God allowed that, just like God allowed His servant to get in a place of desperate need and weakness. God did that! But God’s purpose was to bless. God’s purpose was to make alive. God’s purpose was to strengthen. God’s purpose was all positive!

So, He humbled you, causing you to hunger, but He didn’t leave them there, did He? “…And then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you…” Now what was the teaching going on? What was this about? What is God trying to teach us? It’s the same thing. “…Man does not live on bread alone….” This is the natural stuff. This is what we think that we need to feed this natural life. We act like this is all there is. Even believers, we act like this life is all there is. Oh God, if I can’t…I’ve got to get this arranged right, I’ve got to…no! God has taken us to Himself to get us ready to live with Him forever. Oh praise God!

The older I get, the readier I am to say, Lord Jesus, come. Man, wouldn’t that be awesome not to have to be here anymore? But we’re gonna be here just as long as we need to be. But I’ll tell you, we serve One who has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. Oh, I’m counting on Him, aren’t you?

But see, here’s the question. “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” The problem with that one generation was they just didn’t believe God. I mean, God did all these amazing things. He promised all these amazing things. And no matter how much He did all that, they didn’t believe Him. And this is what it’s coming down to. God is wanting to establish something that is so foreign to the human mind, that there’s no way to describe it. It is foreign for us to say, God is all I need. I love Him, I trust Him. No matter what circumstance He puts me in, He is faithful. He has an answer when nothing else makes any sense.

I mean, what better example do you have than a bunch of…the millions of people out in the desert with nothing to eat, and God feeds them? And God gives them everything they stand in need of. Their shoes didn’t even wear out! I mean, what a picture of the God we serve, and what He’s able to do. And God wants us to come to a greater place of rest and trust and confidence in God, so that we will take these things, and distressing as they may be, just bring them to God and say, God, I know You love me. God, I know You’re doing something that’s necessary in me and I submit to Your hand. I look for Your provision because I’m in over my head here, Lord. I don’t know what to do, but I stretch forth my hand, Lord.

It’s a position of humbling. It’s a position of confession of my inability and my need. But it’s also a confession of who You are, Lord, and how much You love me. I know You’re faithful. And so, I make a choice here, Lord--I make a choice to put my hope and my trust in You. Oh there is a God whose heart, His eyes are searching for people like that. You don’t have to be the high and the mighty somebody. You can be somebody that in your own eyes, you’re just nobody. But you’re not ‘nobody’ to Him.

( congregational amens ).

You matter to Him. He loves you. Praise God! So here’s a God who makes them hungry and then feeds them. But He’s teaching that they not live by bread only, but on every word…it’s the reliability, it’s the critical, essential element of the Word of God. “Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land--a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills…” and so forth. He goes on to described the fruitfulness of it, and warns them when they get there and they start enjoying it, don’t forget what God has been teaching you. Oh praise God!

I guess I was thinking of another scripture, but there’s scriptures in the prophets about how the Lord…no, it’s right here. “Your clothes…” in verse 4. “Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart….” Know this! Get this in your head. Fix your brain, wrap your mind around this fact. This needs to be the guiding principle. “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.”

Now, discipline in the minds of many people is a negative thing. It is not! We equate discipline with punishment. God does not punish His children. He disciplines, He trains, He allows things to teach. He allows things to build proper judgment, proper understanding, like He’s describing here. He didn’t say, you did something bad…whap! That’s not the Spirit of God. God doesn’t do that with any of His children ever!

( congregational amens ).

Always His Spirit is one of nurturing, of training, of teaching. Yes, He has to use difficult things at times, but it’s never because He’s angry or rejecting. It’s always because of His heart of love toward you! Sometimes we get hard-headed and He knows that allowing us to go that way will lead us into trouble, and He has to do something important and drastic to get us to stop, but He’s not doing it because He’s angry, He’s doing it because He loves us, because He wants to pull us back from the direction we’re going, so that we can go in a good way. Oh thank God, that we serve this kind of a God.

( congregational amens ).

I want to love Him, I want to trust Him, I want to put my, all of my heart’s trust in this God. He’s what a Father ought to be!

( congregational amens ).

He loves His children. Oh thank God! And all of His design for us is to bring us to something that is beyond our power to even begin to imagine. I just want to trust Him this morning. I thank Him for the things that I’m experiencing. I thank Him for things you’re experiencing, too. But you know we all need to do that for ourselves and for one another, and support one another, and pray, and love, and be patient, and just simply become. Allow God to shape us. We are the clay. And let’s be the clay. Let’s quit fussing and fighting and struggling and wondering. God has given us enough in this Word that we can understand what’s going on.

What He wants from us is a heart of trust that looks to Him in every circumstance, all the circumstances of life and says, Lord, I trust You, I love You, I’m gonna serve You no matter what. But You are gonna have to do in me, because I’m over my head here, Lord. But you brought me here, and I know that You didn’t bring me here to drown me. I know that You’re here to bring me through and I praise You. Bless the Lord! Can you praise the Lord this morning? Is He worthy?

( congregational praise ).

Yes!