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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #972

A Call to Walk in the Light
Part One

May 22, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 972 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: I don’t know. I have a burden, and I have some things that have been on my heart in a very particular way the last few days. If this isn’t the Lord, it’s gonna go really flat. But I trust the Lord is in this and that He will bless. Turn if you will to 1st John chapter 1. I’ve had so many scriptures, I don’t even know where to begin. But anyway, I’ll just pick it up in verse five of 1st John chapter 1.

The Lord’s beloved disciple writes these words, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (NIV).

We were talking, some of us, the other night and Joel expressed something that was, I believe, right on the money…that we have a great need in our individual lives and in this place for a great deal more of the reality of God and His kingdom and His power. We certainly, if we look into the scriptures and compare with what we see as blessed as we are in many ways, it doesn’t really compare much, does it?

I wonder if there’s anybody here that actually thinks that God is reluctant to bless His people, that He is somehow standing up there with His arms folded looking sternly down at us with this great big divine check list and saying, okay, they’re all right here. Whoops! They messed up here. It’s like we’ve got to qualify or He’s gonna tick off His list. I’ll tell you, it’s not that way. We have a God who longs to be real, who longs to be who He is in our midst.

I think sometimes we almost emphasize certain things, and I think it’s possible to take it in a wrong way, almost as though God is a divine vending machine. And if only we will learn the correct buttons to push, and we will spiritually “hold our mouth right,” pray enough, do this, do the other, that somehow we can get the divine blessing…thump, thump, thump…to come out of the machine and we’ll go on about our business.

But God is not a divine vending machine. He is a Person, He is God. We don’t use Him, He longs to use us. We don’t relate to Him on our terms, we relate to Him on His, or we don’t relate at all. And I know that we have rightly emphasized the need to pray and to seek God, and to cry out to Him for revival and for reality in our lives. But ever since that conversation, I have just had an overwhelming sense that we’re missing one of the key, if not the key ingredient in all of this.

I’ll just refer to a scripture that you may be familiar with. You don’t have to turn, but you can look it up in Isaiah 59, the first couple of verses, where Jesus says through the prophet to the Israelites, My hand is not short that it cannot save, neither is My ear dull that it cannot hear. But, “Your sins have hidden His face from you.” And He says basically the same thing again. Basically, God was looking down at His people and saying look, I can do anything that’s needed, but there’s a problem on your end. There’s sin, and unless you repent, I’m gonna stand back.

And this is one of the key things that God’s people somehow often in their seeking after revival, and this, and that, and the other, somehow overlook that. It’s almost like, well, we’re okay. We just need to change our activities a little. Maybe we need to change our attitudes. Yeah, we need to really give a greater priority to prayer and to seeking God, but basically we’re okay.

I’m not so sure. If we were what we ought to be in God’s eyes, I believe God would be busting out of this place. We need to be honest. We need to look in the mirror and say God’s hand is not short. There are things in our lives that God wants to address that are holding back things that He would otherwise give us.

I remember many years ago hearing a message that Brother Thomas preached, and I guess he preached it a short time before I had become a part of the work. And best I remember the title was, “Cleansing Before Anointing.” And I don’t know if I’m mixing up two messages or not, but I do know that there was one message he preached in which he looked back to the experience of Joshua when they were about to enter into the land.

God had brought them, through Moses, to the brink of the land, but God wouldn’t allow Moses to go over. Why, by the way, did he not? He had sinned, hadn’t he? And he’d done it in a very public way. There had been a real act of dishonor to God. And so, now Joshua has got the reins. God has anointed him and commissioned him. He said, don’t you be afraid. You go forth. I’ll be with you.

But one of the main things He gave to the people to do…He told them. He said…in the King James it says, “Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
I think the NIV uses ‘consecrate.’ It’s the same thing. There has to be a separation in the people of God.

There’s another article coming out in the paper, the MCM. It’s actually gone to the printer, or at least it’s gone to a server for them to retrieve. That’s the world we live in these days. But anyway, I pointed out that in one of Paul’s letters he addressed his readers in this way…to the people at--the church at such and such a place. And he says two things, loved of God and called to be saints. Now I thank God for the love part. If it weren’t for that we’d be in a lot of trouble. But the call is not a wishy-washy, sentimental kind of thing. It is a call to be saints. And the word saint is related to sanctify and holy and all that really comes from the same root.

God has not just called us to believe in Jesus and live our lives and go to Heaven one day. He has called us out of the world and has separated us unto Himself. And I don’t know if we fully appreciate just how amazingly holy and pure this God is and what it is that He’s looking for from His people.

And I’m glad it’s not perfection. I’ll say this early on because I want us to hear what I’m saying and what I hope the Lord is saying with a balanced view of this. Because this isn’t something where the thunders of the law are coming down and by God we’ve got to live up to it. That’s not the spirit of what God is saying.

We heard the interview a while ago from Michael Catt, the preacher of the church where they’ve made all the movies there in Georgia. They’re working on another one by the way. But many of you will remember when he was talking about what God is seeking, he said this. God is looking for, not perfection, but direction. Huge difference! Because if God were looking for perfection we might as well turn the lights out and go home. Lock the door, sell it--sell the building. None of us has any hope of that. But the thing is, God is looking for hearts that are aligned with Him that He can work with, that walk in the light. He’s looking for that from me, and I’ve had to take some sober looks. And I want to have that kind of an attitude.

We ministered a while back about David’s testimony in Psalm 139 where he realized how great God was, how much he loved him, how much he thought about him, but boy, he came to the end and he said, search me, oh God. Search me. Try me. See if there’s any wicked way. I mean, there was an openness to God. There wasn’t any…this is my life. Don’t touch that. This was a pure, open relationship with God that says, God, I want to be one with your heart in everything.

And so the call of God to His people on the eve of battle was to “sanctify yourselves.” Set yourselves apart. Let’s put away…if you’re messing around with heathen Gods, put them away. If there’s anything wrong in your life, you know about it. You know it’s not pleasing to Me. Deal with it! Turn from it! Repent!

And so, the people did. There was also a renewing of the Covenant. They had not practiced circumcision which was a sign of the Covenant in those days, all the time they were in the wilderness. And so there was a renewal of the Covenant. The people stood before God and said, we are one with you Lord. You’re our God. We’re gonna listen to You. We’re gonna obey You. We’re gonna walk together.

Well, guess what? They kind of had a pretty good victory there in Jericho, didn’t they? Strange battle, but God fought it. God did it in such a way that they knew He was God. They hadn’t done it. All the heathen everywhere around knew that this was a God they had no chance to stand against.

Everything looked great but, you remember the story of how part of the instruction that was given to the people was so specific. Nobody could have mistaken what was being said. The Lord said, all the silver and gold, all that stuff, that is for the Lord’s treasury. The rest of it you destroy utterly. Don’t you mess with my instructions here, I’m paraphrasing, or you will bring destruction to yourself. You’ll bring destruction and trouble to Israel if you don’t listen. This was not messing around. This was a sober, clear word. Nobody could have mistaken this.

But you remember what happened. Achan had a different idea. He saw something that he coveted and just like, in Your face, God, I’m gonna do what I want to do. I don’t believe You. He took it. He hid it in His tent. And it’s evident I think from the entire scripture that his family was party to this. They had to be. And so what happened is, they go into the next battle, small little place called Ai. They figured there’s no big deal here. Don’t send everybody. Well, I forget the exact number. I think it was something like 18 people who died, and they ran from the folks from Ai. Defeat!

And Joshua got down on his face and he prayed. Well praying is a good thing, isn’t it? It’s a great thing. Only this time God said, get up. It’s not a time to pray. Israel has sinned. There’s a time to pray, and there’s a time to repent. And so they had to stop and seek God and deal with this thing, and you think about what this man did.

Now we know the end of the story was, they took him out and stoned him, his family. This was not a light thing. This was a man who chose to defy God in the face of clear instruction, in the face of a loving God who was fighting the battles of a people that didn’t deserve it.

I’ll tell you, we’ve got to have both sides of God. I’m so glad for His love and His mercy. I need it. But He’s a holy God, isn’t He? And He was teaching His people about His holiness and that sin is a serious thing. But you think about what happened. 18 widows, perhaps…18 fatherless households because a man said, I know better. I want this. I’m gonna defy God.

Folks, if we want God’s presence and His power in our midst we’re gonna have to take God seriously. We can’t just sort of add some spiritual activities in our lives and have His presence. You think of other occasions in the scripture like when David decided he was gonna bring the Ark back to Jerusalem…God had specifically over and over and over said, I have anointed the Levites. I’ve set them apart. No one else is to ever handle or touch the Ark. And even they…it’s very specific stuff. And he says specifically I’m trying to teach you the difference between what is holy and what is common. And so they come to this time, and they just have a big time, and a party, and dancing, and carrying on, and the Ark is on a cart and the oxen stumbled. Everybody remembers what happened. He put his arm out to steady the Ark. What happened?

( snapping fingers ).

He was killed on the spot. Everybody was shocked. And they went back and finally just sought God, and they realized, they understood what had gone on there. But you know, it’s not just the Old Testament. You think about what the church was like in the beginning, how pure and how powerful it was. All you have to do is look at the beginning of Acts and you see that the reality of God’s presence…it’s not that we’re seeking after signs, wonders, this or that or the other or anything particular. It’s God we need.

( congregational amens ).

Whatever He does, that’s His business. But you see Jesus telling the disciples, wait in Jerusalem. I’m gonna send power from on high. And, what a sight that would have been for them to be out on the hill and all of a sudden Jesus’ feet leave the ground. And they look, and they look, and they look, and all of a sudden He goes up and up and up, and then a cloud obscures Him and while they’re standing there, there’s an angel suddenly standing next to them. He says, what are you looking up in the sky for? This same Jesus is gonna come in the same way you saw Him leave.

And so they did what Jesus said. They waited. And at the Jewish feast of Pentecost we all know what happened. God sent His Spirit in great power upon them. It shook the place. I’m with Brother Thomas on this one. I believe it took place in the temple. I think it’s easy to demonstrate in the scriptures. This wasn’t some upper room, obscure thing. This was right there. It shook the temple. It shook God’s house. And everybody wondered, what in the world is going on? They saw tongues of fire came down on the people--on the Lord’s people.

Peter stands up and said, this is what Joel prophesied. In the last days I’m gonna send My spirit. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, and so forth. But the whole idea was that this is proof. What you’re seeing today, Israel, is proof that the One you crucified is now on a throne, and He’s proving it by sending His Spirit with power that you can’t deny. There’s something going on here you can’t explain.

But what a glorious thing at the end when they say what must we do? He says, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (KJV). For the what? “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.” Does that promise have some relevance to us here today?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, I’d say so. In other words, the presence of Christ in His church in living reality is the heritage of His people. It’s something that belongs to us. It’s not something that is sort of an optional extra. You pay a little premium and you get deluxe Christianity. This is meant to be normal Christianity.

I referred to the scripture last week, I think, where Jesus said in Matthew 24…he warned that, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” The reality is we live in a world that hates God. We live in a world system that is ruled by wicked spirits. And we’re told that our battle is not against flesh and blood, it’s against the powers of darkness that are in the air. I thank God we serve One who is their Master. We don’t have to be afraid, but we need to live with an awareness of where we’re at and what’s going on, what the deal is, because you and I don’t have power against that, but He does. Praise God!

But you know, the fact is that because we live in this world, we are in a place where it affects us. And all you have to do is look in history. All you have to do is look at our history and you know that things are not always the same. There are times when there is a great freedom, there is a great blessing of God, there is a great liberty and a life and a power and there’s other times where that’s not quite the same way. Why is that? Is that because God has changed? Is that because God just does…He pours out when He feels like it and the rest of the time He expects us to muddle through without any power? I don’t believe that.

As I say, I don’t think the particular expression of that…certainly there’s times when God does unique things. I understand that part. But I mean, the fact that His church is meant to have power is certainly reality.

 But I think I started to go to something that happened in the early church that most of you will be aware of. There was a perfect, unbroken unity when they were confronted with the challenge of the authorities beating the apostles and commanding them not to speak in Jesus’ name. They came together. There was a unity of spirit. There was a oneness. Everybody’s heart was on the same page. There wasn’t anybody trying to go this way, and go that way, and resentful of this one and all these kinds of discord that happen in human kind. There wasn’t any of that. There was a freedom. These weren’t perfect people but they were people whose hearts wanted to go the right direction. God can work with that. He’s not offended by your need at all. He’s not turned off by that. He can handle it. I thank God because He’s got a lot to handle.

But oh, something happened right after. You know, I started to talk about that incident. They prayed, didn’t they? They said, oh God, not…fix those bad men, save us from this, save us from that. No! Give us courage. Lord, you’ve called us to proclaim Your Word. We need courage right now. We’re sort of trembling. We’re naturally reacting a little bit to what we’re seeing. But oh God, we don’t want to give in to that. We want courage so that we can continue to obey You and do what You’ve called us to do.

And so, what happened in the wake of that prayer? There was an outpouring of God’s Spirit. The place shook. Can you imagine? This is not some fairy tale. This was a real experience. Can you imagine suddenly this building shaking and it not be an earthquake? That’s not what we’re trying to seek after here, but you get the point. There was something very real going on there. God’s power is real.

( congregational amens ).

But right after that, what happened? They were trying to deal with the economic needs of people, many of whom had been saved during the feast of Pentecost. Well, the feast of Pentecost was a time when Jews from many nations came. That’s why the miracle of speaking in other tongues was so particularly relevant. God was very witnessed to people that had come from many different nations that hey, something is going on here because we see ignorant fishermen from Galilee who speak our language, and we know they didn’t learn it--they don’t know it.

And so, as a result of this economic dislocation, you had people with real needs. They needed a place to live. Their business, their life was somewhere else, but the reality of what God had done was so great that they were there. And so they were moved with a sense that we’re one people here. We don’t have these private lives. What we have belongs to everybody. And so people would have extra property perhaps that they owned and because of the need they would take it and sell and bring the money, lay it at the apostle’s feet.

And so there was a couple named Ananias and Sapphira, and they came up with a plan. And their plan was to sell something but to keep back part of it. And the sin was not keeping back part of it. Peter even acknowledged it was yours to do with what you would. But the sin was that they came in there and they agreed together to pretend we’re giving it all. We’re doing just like everybody else. It was a blatant in your face hypocrisy. I’m claiming one thing when another thing is true. It was just right in the face of everything that God was doing at that time.

And what happened? One by one they fell down dead. Do you suppose if something like that happened today we might take God seriously? This is part of it. You can’t have God’s glorious wonderful love, and His grace, and all the awesome things about Him, and do away with His holiness. Sin is something He takes seriously.

We’ve read so many times, other indicators in the scriptures and I won’t go back over them. But John says, “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” (NIV). This is the God we’re called to walk with. And you follow through history and you will see times of great judgment, apostasy, people just going the way of the heathen, just living like the world, drifting away from God and God allowing judgments to come upon them. And then there would come a time when either a king would rise up and say, we need to get back to serving God, or the people would cry out for deliverance and God was merciful, wasn’t He? God heard their voice when they were turning from their wickedness, but it wasn’t just, oh God, things are bad, fix them! This was a genuine repentance that came from their hearts, and God responded to repentance.

How many of you remember during the convention that there was the message that Brother Bob from New Jersey began with an emphasis on the joy of the Lord. That was wonderful. And yet how interesting it was that kind of before it was over, it got to the restoration, the revival, if you will, under Nehemiah. So many centuries…for a long time at least, after the captivity of Babylon, the people had come back and there was this constant drift. They were marrying foreign wives. They were not paying their tithes, not supporting the priests and the systems. And they were…everything was kind of on a downward track.

And he stepped in, and together with Ezra they read the law. They called the people to a new restoration of the Covenant. And the people were weeping and oh, this is terrible. We haven’t walked with God. And he said, no! This is a time of joy! The joy of the Lord will be your strength! I’ll tell you, when God’s people will get their hearts lined up with Him with their repentance, it’s not a time to cry, and cry, and cry, and cry endlessly. It’s a time to rejoice because I’ll tell you, there’s joy in Heaven. There’s a straight pathway to divine life. You can pray all you want to, but if there’s something in your life and you know about it, your praying isn’t going to do a bit of good. There’s a time when God won’t hear your praying.