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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #976

Living in the Light of the Cross
Part One

June 19, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 976 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: Just as a jumping off point, I want to read something briefly from Luke chapter 1, toward the end. This was a prophecy that where the Spirit of God came upon a man named Zechariah, who was the father of the one who became John the Baptist. We know that John the Baptist was a forerunner of the ministry of Jesus. He was sent to bring the people to repentance and prepare them for the ministry of Jesus. I’ll just read, well I’ll read the first part of what he prophesied.

Beginning in verse 68 he said, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.” (NIV). That’s a nice way to put it, isn’t it? God is…I mean, it speaks of something as already accomplished. This is something that is so certain, as we’ve said about many other such references, that in God’s mind it was as sure as done. And this was the announcement that the time was come for what God had promised in all the Old Testament prophets.

He said, “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

Now what a glorious picture of what the Lord has done for us through the everlasting covenant. We know there was a temporary covenant that was instituted. It was designed to teach, to prepare, to give a kind of a very carnal picture of something that was eternal, and real, and permanent. I know a lot of the Israelites of that day, their concept of God’s promises was a very carnal one. That means that God was going to get rid of the Romans and make us great among the nations of the earth, and we’re gonna be somebody and…you know, a very carnal, very earthly thing.

But it wasn’t that, was it? It was far greater than that. It was far greater than just the earthly people of Israel. When Jesus was speaking, I think it was in John 10 as I recall, where He was speaking to the Pharisees and some who were listening to His words but didn’t believe Him. And Jesus made the statement, He said, “You do not believe because you are not my sheep.” And again I’ll point out, He doesn’t say you aren’t my sheep because you don’t believe. It’s the other way around. There was a spiritual condition that caused them not to believe, but it was because of what they were. They were not His sheep, therefore they didn’t believe.

But He also said…He spoke about His being…and He speaks in another place about His being sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. God knew all along throughout history that He had a people within the nation of Israel that were His people—that were His sheep. That’s the ones to whom He was sent. But Jesus said something wonderful there. He said “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold…” (KJV). He said, “…Them also I must bring…” And there shall be…what? How many folds? One…and one shepherd.

You got a lot of folks today that preach two folds and two shepherds, but there’s only one, and it has nothing to do with your earthly heritage, whether you’re a Jew or not a Jew. It’s everybody that’s in Christ is a child of Abraham and heirs to the promise and the covenant that He gave us.

But the reason my mind went back to this scripture was this. It says in verse 73, that God’s covenant was going to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And I have all ideas from both my personal experience and observation that that’s not always something we enjoy. We don’t always enjoy the fruit of what God has provided for us in His great covenant. There’s a lot of Christians who serve God with a very fearful spirit. They walk on eggs. I’m gonna mess up. I have messed up. I’m….you know, there’s a state of uncertainty, there’s a state of condemnation, there’s a state of living under a cloud.

And you know what some of the things the Lord has emphasized in the last two or three weeks especially could easily be twisted by the enemy to mean something they don’t mean. You know, we can’t walk with a Holy God without being…without sharing His attitude toward sin. We know Jesus said and He warned, He said, because iniquity will abound, the love of most, it says in the NIV, will grow cold. So we know that there is an effect even upon the people of God from the world around us that causes us to lose, many times, our sensitivity to sin. And the Lord, I believe, was calling us to a fresh look at our own lives and a sense of repentance, a sense of a desire to live, to walk in the light.

But if that’s all the truth that is preached, if that’s the only thing that’s emphasized, we don’t have the whole picture, because God has not given us a place where we have to draw back and be afraid all the time about our own weaknesses and our own needs. That’s not the Gospel. How many people think that God wants to call us into the light and then make us feel like we’re dirt all the time that we’re there? That’s not the Gospel. And so, there has to be the truth of our walking with an honesty before God has to be balanced with the rest of the message of the Gospel.

I think that…we certainly can’t, as I say, ever rightly relate to God without coming to a knowledge of our sinfulness, can we? We can’t come and just say, oh well, yeah, I’ve made a few mistakes and I believe in Jesus and just be a superficial thing. There has to be a consciousness, a genuine consciousness of what we are in the eyes of a Holy God, such as…how many times have we brought up the example of Isaiah and what he experienced in Chapter 6?

I think I mentioned…was it Wednesday night or sometime recently. How interesting it is that in chapters 1 through 5, how many of his messages of this prophet of God were, woe to you, woe to you, woe to you. You know, pointing the figure at the sins of the people of Israel and talking about all of that, but when he got in the presence of the Lord in chapter 6, it wasn’t woe is you anymore, it was woe is me. He suddenly saw himself not as a prophet, somebody holy, somebody righteous pointing his finger down at all the nasty sinners around him, he saw himself as among the sinners measured by that standard not by an earthly one.

And I’ll tell you, if you and I, if any person ever comes to God, you’re gonna have to come to a place where God makes you conscious of what you are in His eyes. But oh what a fearful thing that is to us human beings. What did Jesus say? I meant to look this up and I didn’t, but it’s in John chapter 3, about the reaction of people to light. We know John was sent to bear witness to the light, but the light was Jesus, the light was in Jesus, and the life that was in Him was a light to men. Everywhere He went, men became conscious of God, became conscious of the difference between their own life, their own spirit, and what they sensed in Jesus, and it made them conscious of something that caused a reaction.

We’re beginning with the verse 16 so well known. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (NIV). Boy, that ought to be shouting ground right there.

( congregational amens ).

Even though we are what we are, naturally speaking, God did not send His Son on a mission of condemnation. Now surely that applies to God’s people, but even to the people of the world that was not what He was sent to do. So it says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict…” Here’s the standard. Here’s how you can tell. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world….”

Now you can step back into the prophecy of Isaiah in chapter 60, and remember that the prophecy was that darkness will be upon the earth, gross darkness the people. This was the condition. Surely it’s true today, too. But this was the condition of the world into which Jesus was sent. It was a world of darkness. Men did what it was their nature to do without any real concept of God or that it was wrong or right or anything. It was just total darkness, but Jesus came in and light came into the world and now men became responsible for the light that God had given them.

If you’re in darkness and you can’t see, that’s one thing. If the light is turned on and you can see, and you say no, that’s a totally different thing. That’s what was happening here. “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light.” This is the problem. They “…loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil…” Does what? “…Hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

I mean, you think of human nature. We are proud. We are very attached to our self image, which is a fantasy, which is something we prop up sometimes by pushing other people down. I think I have mentioned this before and I have never witnessed this…some of you fishermen may know, or people who go to the beach a lot. I have heard that if you put one crab in a bucket, he will promptly escape. If you put two crabs in a bucket, neither one of them will escape. And the reason is real simple…as soon as one starts to escape the other one reaches out and pulls him down.

( laughter ).

Well what a picture that is of human nature and how ruthlessly we are attached to our own goodness and our own sense of goodness. If you go out and ask most people, do you think you’re a good person? Most of them will say…they might qualify a little, but they’ll say, yeah, basically I’m a good person. Yeah, by whose standard? That’s the problem.

We all want to have our own standard, but man, when you’ve got real divine light, you’ve got a whole different deal. This is not comparing yourself with somebody that is esteemed for their so-called righteousness among men, this is the real deal. This is God’s own being and presence, and there’s no way any of us can begin to stand up and call ourselves righteous in the light of who and what He is. But oh the condemnation is that men actually when faced with a choice, most men choose to continue and to love their darkness, to cling to it, and not to come to the light.

But you know, I came back to this thought…here we are, and I believe God is calling us to a higher walk in Him. He’s not satisfied with you and me living careless lives, having careless attitudes about things that are displeasing to Him, just living lives that are almost sometimes indistinguishable from the people around us. Do I dare to put it that way? Am I telling the truth?

( congregational amens ).

There’s a lot of folks here this morning that would come in here with a smile and your nice clothes, and you’re a good Christian. You worship the Lord here, but what are you out there is the deal? How do we live and what are the attitudes, the ideas, where do we get our ideas from? Are we like those in Romans chapter 12, where the world has squeezed us into its mold? Or are we like those that are being transformed by the renewing of our minds?

But as I said, this is though a very needed truth for God’s people to learn how to walk in the light, as John said in 1st John. It’s also something that the enemy can very easily twist in our thinking so that it becomes a sort of an uncertain, sort of almost something that we don’t really want, that we know that we’re supposed to.

And the focus gets put on repentance, repentance, repentance, as though…it almost can become kind of a work, where your focus is so on, I’m a sinner, I need to repent, that you almost get to putting a magnifying glass on your repentance and say well, have I repented enough? Have I…you know, I know I’m supposed…this is what I’m supposed to do to get rid of all this burden, this sense of unworthiness that I’m carrying. It’s almost like, am I holding my mouth right? It becomes a technical thing. You know, I heard about somebody else that when they repented, they were on the floor, they were weeping and wailing…maybe I haven’t really repented, because I haven’t been weeping and wailing. You could think of 1001 things that cause us to focus on what we’re supposed to do, as it were, about our sin in order to feel a sense of welcome in the presence of God. And so, coming into the light is not a welcome thing at all. It’s a thing that causes us to…

( groaning ).

I’m not so…that doesn’t attract me very much. That doesn’t sound like a very good thing. I’m gonna live now with this incredible consciousness of my sin all the time! That’s nuts. How can I live in such a way? Oh God, what a horrible prospect that sounds like, if the devil succeeds in turning it around in our thinking. Oh, I don’t want to really live that way. I’ll make a motion, a move here…but there’s always that sense that, this is not a very good place for me to be. I don’t want to live with this idea that I’m just a sinner and I can’t do anything right, when it’s measured by God’s standard.

Anybody ever feel that way? Anybody ever sense that kind of an uncertainty and not quite…I know you wouldn’t want to sit here and say, yeah, yeah. This is not that kind of a thing. But I don’t think I’m alone in having felt some of those things and having the devil twist it around. But yet the prophecy was that we could serve Him without fear. The light that God has given to us was never intended to leave us in a state of frustration and condemnation and unworthiness, and just living with that, carrying that terrible, terrible burden! I mean it’s like we’re carrying the burden of our own sins! Is that what the Gospel is about? No, it isn’t! Praise God! That’s not the whole story!

( congregational amens ).

Yes, we’re gonna have to live in the light of the cross with respect to our own need, and our own guilt…what we are, we can never come to God and bury what we are and pretend it doesn’t exist. How many of you have ever had a wound that got infected and somehow, one way or another, it got sort of healed over on the surface? How many did that ever work out real good for? No. At some point, if you’re ever gonna get over that, that thing has to be uncovered, ugly as it is, exposed to the light, exposed to the air, exposed to medication, whatever is appropriate and given time to heal. The light is the friend of that wound, not because it just needs to come out and so we can gape at it forever, and say, oh isn’t that ugly, but so that it can be healed.

There is a power in what God has done, not just to bring things into the light and expose them, but to do away with them. Thank God! We have a God who has done something about our sins. This is a doctrine we pretty much know, don’t we? Intellectually we know it. But how many find that they’re not always connecting with this simple truth in a personal way, to the point where it sets you free from what you suddenly became conscious of.

Think about it. There’s all kinds of ideas in the world. You’ve got one major religion that thinks that the Judgment Day is gonna be…you know, there’s gonna be some scales and your good works are gonna be put on one side, and your bad works on the other, and if the good outweighs the bad, then you get to go into heaven, otherwise you get to go into hell. They’re not alone in that idea. But oh I’ll tell you, God has a plan not just to balance things, but to do away with sin.

How many of you remember the movie, “Home Alone 2 Lost in New York”? A kind of a funny movie of a little boy whose rather chaotic family decides to take a Christmas vacation in Miami, and there’s a mix-up in the airport, and he winds up in New York by himself. Of course, the same stupid crooks who were in the first “Home Alone” were there.

( laughter ).

And it was him outwitting them. But how many of you remember the homeless pigeon lady. Yeah. And he’s confiding in her that he’s done a lot of bad stuff. Do you remember what she said? Did you know that a good deed erases a bad deed? You know, when we’re out and about and we listen even to a movie that’s otherwise enjoyable, you need to be able to pick up things like that and recognize the spirit of the world and the philosophies of the world. Is that true? Is it true that you can do something good that’ll erase what you did that was bad? No.

( congregational response ).

Of course not! That’s not God’s plan. I’ll tell you what, my hope is not in anything that I could ever think about doing. What kind of a just judge would simply overlook sin? Okay, you go into the courtroom and you’ve committed five murders. But you’ve actually engaged in six very self-sacrificial acts of charity. Okay. Now will a just judge look at that and say, well okay, you’ve done more good than bad, so I’m gonna let you go? No, that’s not justice, is it? I’ll tell you, in the beginning God declared that the penalty for sin was…

( congregational response ).

Death! That’s the law, that’s it. And we know that God is the highest standard of justice that there is. So when you think about it, God’s got a problem. There is a big major part of Him that loves us in spite of our sins, and His great desire is to show us mercy! But yet He is a just God who cannot excuse sin. He can’t simply say, oh I’m gonna overlook that, I’m not gonna pay any attention to it. You can just come on in. Can’t do that, can He?

Look at Romans chapter 3. Paul is laying out chapter, by chapter, by chapter the truths of the Gospel, and here he’s talking about the fact that all men are equally in need of salvation whether they be Jew or Gentile. I mean, “There is none righteous, no, not one,” he says in verse 10. (KJV). And no one does good, in verse 12. I mean, if God’s telling the truth, you know we need to recognize that this is true of us as well as anybody else.

But anyway, we come down to verse 21, it says, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.” (NIV). So he’s saying the Old Testament prophets told us this was coming. God is going to provide a righteousness, a way that you and I can be right—right with a holy God. It’s gonna come from Him and it will not be based upon the law…that is, you’ve got to keep the law and then I will declare you righteous. It had nothing to do with that. This is a different deal here. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

So now you’ve got something going on here that goes well beyond the consciousness of sin. He just finished saying right before this, God sent the law so that we’d be conscious of our sin—we’d know we were sinners. But now he’s moving beyond that, to a place where righteousness happens, and he says it doesn’t come any other way except my eyes have got to be turned from my sin to Christ. I’ve got to see Him. I’ve got to have my eyes opened to what He is about, and what He accomplished.

And then he says something. “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” And so there’s something about what happened at the cross that enables God to be a just God and still have mercy on sinners. That’s the miracle of what God has done for you and for me.

“God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement…” I’ve heard it expressed that ‘atonement’ you could break that up and say ‘at-one-ment.’ In other words, that’s what reconciles us to God using the language that Paul uses in 1st Corinthians chapter 4 or 5…5 I think it is. He talks about his ministry of reconciling men to God.

That’s what this is about. This is an unholy people being reconciled to a holy God. There is the gap—the sin that separates is somehow dealt with in a way…that there’s no more gap. There’s a complete freedom that God desires us to enjoy. Does that sound like serving Him without fear? That sounds exactly like that, doesn’t it? Praise God!

So “God presented him…” Christ, “…as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice….” So part of the message of the cross, is God is demonstrating that He is indeed a just God, that sins are not simply overlooked. They are dealt with in a fully legal manner. “He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time…” Why? “…So as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

You know the answer to our being able to live in the light and enjoy it, is not just to sit there and look at our sins and live in a state of perpetual consciousness of how short we come, but it is to live in the light of what Jesus did. It’s to see in what He did, that you and I have been declared righteous, that we have the right to look Him full in the face and know that we are accepted, we are as pure as Jesus Himself.

( congregational praise ).

That part of the living in the light of the cross, too. Yes, it shows us our need but it shows us God’s answer! Praise God! Praise God!