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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #987

God’s Love Made Complete
Part One

September 4, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 987 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise the Lord! One of two things is true. The enemy has certainly been oppressing me mightily this morning, so either I’m about to lay an egg, or he doesn’t want this.

( laughter ).

I know you’ll help me and the Lord will help me to know whether I’m moving in Him. I believe the Lord does allow things—many kinds of things to happen in our lives, corporately and individually. And if the sun always shone, we wouldn’t learn much, would we—wouldn’t grow?

You know, just way of background, we know the Lord made us in His own image, didn’t He. And I think if you look through the scriptures you see a pattern of God seeking to reproduce Himself in a family. And it isn’t just that He wants creatures who are smart enough to talk to Him, creative, all these kind of attributes like that, but there is a reproduction of His character, His likeness. And, we know that the fundamental character…if you want to characterize God in a single word, it’s love—it’s love.

( congregational amens ).

I’m so thankful for that. My God, if His main character was ‘righteousness,’ in the sense that we think of that, as some kind of inflexible standard by which everybody else is expected to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps and somehow measure up, well we would all be…that’s it. We might as well just quit. But God is seeking to reproduce His nature in a people. And if you want to break it down to what God is really after with respect to us, I think that’s a pretty good way to characterize it.

You know, Don used the scripture the other night about what does [God] require of us? And I think this would be very much in harmony with that. What is God looking for from us as a people? Has He got some kind of a religious standard and you live up to the religious standard, and I’ll accept…no! God is literally—literally seeking to reproduce His life and His character in us.

But anyway, the passage is talking here about God’s love and how He has demonstrated that love by sending His Son. And He sent His Son, not based upon our somehow climbing up to certain level and qualifying ourselves, and He says, okay now, you’ve done that much and now I’ll help you. He did it while we were yet sinners, didn’t He? He sent His Son when we were totally unqualified, totally His enemies. And this is the kind of a spirit that God has, and that’s the kind of a spirit God is seeking to reproduce.

But notice in verse 12 [1 John 4], it says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (NIV). Now he’s talking about God’s love toward us and how that love becomes complete.

Now think about it. I can’t remember where I’ve said this and where I haven’t. I think I may have used a little bit of this. But opening our hearts to God’s love is like we’re empty, and all of a sudden there’s a valve that we open and we allow God’s love to flow into our hearts. Well, that’s a wonderful thing. The first time you really understand God loves you and you open your heart to that, that’s an awesome thing. But now how is it that that love is made complete?

Now our own perception would be, well, I need to open a return valve and I need to express that love back to God and then that love will just flow round and round and around, and life will be wonderful and it’s just me and God…is that how God’s love is made complete?

( congregational response ).

No it isn’t. That’s not what God is seeking. I mean, yes, that’s true, that will certainly happen. But God’s love is flowing into us for a reason. What is it that makes that complete? Is it just loving Him back? No! It’s loving others. Because again, God is seeking to reproduce His nature of love, and love is a quality of being that is focused on the welfare—sacrificially focused on the welfare of others, isn’t it? And so, what God is seeking from us as a people is that we love one another.

Isn’t that the very essence of the Law? We read that in the words of Jesus and in the words of Paul. Love is the fulfilling of the Law. Jesus said, there’s only one commandment I’m giving you. It’s not hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of little regulations, it’s one commandment. Love one another.

And so that’s what this is. If we love one another, if this is the case, “…If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete….” This is the completion that God is looking for. And so, the work of God—what God is seeking is very much bound up in our relationships one to another, isn’t it? If our relationships one to another are deficient, then what God is seeking is deficient and I don’t care how you go out here and you just have this glorious, personal something, if this isn’t happening, then what God is looking for isn’t happening. And I just pray that God will teach me, and teach all of us in a greater and a deeper way just what it means to be His people, because I see that need in all of us.

You know, there’s a scripture that talks in 1st Corinthians chapter 11, and I’ll just refer to it. But Paul was dealing with conflicts in the church. Well, you’ve got two people, you have conflict. That’s human nature. Because the problem is, when we’re born in Adam’s family, we are born selfish. All of our thinking, all of our acting, all of our reacting is focused on us. What’s happening to me, what do I want, are my desires being met? And it goes on and on and on. It’s all about me. And so you put two “me’s” together like that and they’re gonna…it’s not gonna be long before there’s going to be a question, there’s going to be a problem. That’s just the way it is.

And so Paul was making note of some issues that there were in the Corinthian church, but he made a really astounding statement. He said, it’s ‘necessary’ that there be conflicts. And that sounds strange. He didn’t say, oh there shouldn’t ever be a conflict…should never ever be a problem! Oh, you’re the people of God, you should be so high and spiritual, nothing should ever go wrong! No!

He said, not only is this…well, I guess you could say it’s a good thing, but it’s necessary. In other words, in order for God’s work to go forward, in order for God to accomplish what He wants to do in His people, it’s actually necessary at times that there be issues, that there be questions, that there be…and so it’s not whether there are those things, it’s what do we do? How do we react? How do we handle them? God help us to recognize that God’s hand…you know, sometimes something will happen and there’ll be a conflict here, there’ll be a problem there, and we’ll say…

( gasping ).

It’s almost like God’s kingdom is being threatened here. It’s all gonna come crashing down. No it isn’t! I’ll tell you, God’s hand is with His people. And he says, it’s necessary that these things happen. Why? So that those He approves can be made manifest. See, God knows them that are His and there is a work that He is doing. And God has a way of so working in His people that it’s evident where His hand is.

And we just need to keep our eyes focused on Him and I’m really talking to me, because I’m very much like you. I was born into the same family you were, the family of Adam. I need saving! I need something I wasn’t born with. I need God to change me. And I’m so thankful for all that He has done. But you know, it isn’t over yet. We’re here in this big middle here where we’re not yet what we’re gonna be. So we have needs.

I’d just like to go to a scripture that I guess has been used several times lately, and just look at it again in Colossians chapter 3. There are so many passages…I would say virtually any letter that Paul wrote to the believers deals with body life. It deals with, “How do we live in relation one to another in the light of what God has done for us?” You see this pattern over again. Here’s what God’s done! Here’s the greatness of His salvation, now what do we do with it? How do we live? How do we apprehend that? How do we take hold of it? How do we lay hold of the hope that God has set before us?

And so, coming into chapter 3, we find Paul lifting up Jesus Christ as the center of everything. He’s the Creator. He is the One who gave His life. He is the One who took our sins upon Himself. He’s the One who did away with Law as the basis of our relationship with God. He took all of its requirements upon Himself and died for the offenses that you and I were guilty of. But He didn’t stay dead. He rose, didn’t He? He came forth triumphant over death itself and over the grave, over sin, over everything…and over the devil particularly. Thank God!

( congregational response ).

So if the devil is oppressing your mind today, just remind him that he was defeated at the cross, that he has no right to try to stand and accuse…in fact, doesn’t Paul say that? Who is he that accuses? See, justification…that is the declaration of righteousness comes from the highest court of the universe. It does not come to me because I deserve it. It does not come to me because I have measured up and I have done something to somehow qualify myself. It comes to me because I declare spiritual bankruptcy before a holy God. I’m willing by His grace to turn from the way that I have been going and put my faith in Him completely. And on that ground, and that ground alone, He declares me to be a righteous man.

And that’s the Gospel, folks. That’s for anyone who can see their own need, who’s convicted of their need and comes to a place where they’re willing to turn from their own way and say, God, I need saving. And I understand You’ve given me a Savior in Jesus Christ. I put my faith in Him from this moment forward. I trust You. I call upon You. Oh God, save me through Jesus.

I’ll tell you, you will stand…at that moment you are as righteous in God’s eyes as Jesus is. That’s a hard thing to wrap your mind around but it’s the truth. He was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. See, He’s righteous, we’re in Him, that righteousness applies to us as well. Oh, praise God!

See, we have a foundation for body life. We have a foundation for living for God in the world. It’s not, here’s the regulations I want you to go by. It’s here is what I have done, a full and a complete salvation in Jesus Christ. I have already…you have all this stuff that’s wrong with you, I already put that to death. I already took care of that. When Jesus died, you were there in Him. You died too. When He rose from the dead, you were in Him. You rose. There’s a new life that came forth.

I know that’s easy to listen to that and your eyes glaze over. It’s just hard to grasp. But I’ll tell you, that’s what the Word of God says. How did you and I become sinners? Well, yes we sinned, but we were born into a family that already had that in it. But how do we become righteous? Same way. We’re born into a family of those who are righteous. There’s a different kind of life that we receive. You receive the life of Adam. Guess what? You’re gonna act like Adam. You receive the life of Christ, there’s another life that’s gonna grow up.

See, that’s where it’s at. That’s the foundation of all that He says. In fact, I’ve got a subhead here in this particular translation that says, “Rules for holy living.” I don’t know if that’s a very good subhead or not. It’s not like, okay, here’s My laws. No, that’s not the basis of it. It says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ.…” You see how, before he goes to how we’re supposed to live, he goes right back to the foundation. Since that’s happened, because this has really, really, really happened, now you’ve got something you can base what I’m about to tell you on. It’s not based upon, here’s My rules, now it’s up to you to live up to them. It’s, I’ve done something that makes it possible.

( congregational amens ).

You have been raised! You’re not just still what you were in Adam. You have received a brand new life. It’s there. It’s in you. There is a resource, there is a reservoir, there’s a supply of divine grace and life by which this is possible. Thank God! Boy, if we get a hold of that, then some of these things become a lot less legalistic and a lot more…oh God, this is what You desire of me, and I can do this. I can be this way if I just will, if I’ll just trust in You and reach out to You. I can be this.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above.…” So it’s pretty evident to me there’s something that…there’s a part that we play in the process, because we see in the whole picture, we see a birth and we see a consummation. In fact, you’ll see it in this passage right here. But, as I said before, we’re in this middle. We’re in the time when we’ve been born, if you’ve really been born again, you’ve got new life in you, but you sure ain’t what you’re gonna be, nor am I. And so, in that condition is gonna be things that aren’t like they’re supposed to be—aren’t like they will be.

But God is saying, set your heart. Get your heart out of this world. Wake up. Don’t let the world suck you in and cause your desires to be fixed here. Remember what your calling is. Remember who you are. Remember what God is about. Remember that His purpose and His plan is to have a family that’s gonna live with Him. Man, that’s what I want to live for. Praise God! There are things here that are necessary. God will help us through this world, but that’s what our life is about. And to the extent that your life is in something else, you’re gonna have problems—you’re gonna have a lot of conflict, a lot of trouble.

“Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” That reminds us of His place of supreme authority. Man, when you and I feel powerless, let’s remember we’re serving One who is ‘on the throne.’ Not ‘a’ throne, ‘the’ throne. His name is above every other name. He was exalted above all principality and power, all these things are somewhere south of Him. He’s the One on top. He is the Ruler of Heaven itself.

“Set your minds on things above…” So your heart, your mind, what you think about, what’s really important to you in life, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Again He goes back to the foundation. “For you died…” This is not a fantasy. This is living in the reality of what God has done. This is treating it as if it’s really so!

You know, I think I’ve used this illustration in one way or another, but suppose you’re the heir of somebody who is really wealthy. And you go and you listen to the lawyer read the will, and you are the heir. I mean you’re the one. Suddenly you go from poverty to incredible wealth. You’ve got control of a great corporation, you’ve got bank accounts here, there and everywhere, you’ve got an estate.

But suppose you go out from that and you just keep living like you were living. See it isn’t any less yours, but you’re not enjoying it. You’re not living in the reality of the inheritance you just inherited. And the Board comes to you…of the corporation and says, all right, what do we want to do now? And you act like…what are you asking me about? I don’t have anything to do with that. Yes, you do. And the devil will absolutely talk you and me out of the reality of what God has done for us if we listen.

( congregational amens ).

How do I know that? Very easily. He does it to me. Every single day…he is constantly working on me to try to make me feel small, inferior, helpless, hopeless, condemned, focused on everything under the sun except the reality of what Jesus has done for us at the cross…and the resurrection. We are His children. I appreciate what Ron said in the beginning. It’s exactly right! We need to see ourselves as His children. Praise the Lord!

I see all of this in this passage and I keep jumping ahead here. That’s all right, you’ll have to excuse me if I get excited about some of this. I just need this this morning. So he goes right back and he says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died…” There’s the fact. And, it’s not just that you died. “…Your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” So something died, something is alive. Something came to an end at the cross, but something else began.

And God has already done this before you and I ever arrived here. This is not something that has to somehow work itself out and like Indiana Jones, making it up as we go along. This is, against all odds, this is something that has actually happened and established, and then Christ is there to make sure that it is enforced. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (KJV). The scripture says. Praise God!

All right, so, on the basis of that fact, Paul looks forward and he says, “When Christ, who is your life…” (NIV). You get the Person of Christ, who is our life. That’s the source of what makes Christian living possible…it’s Christ in us, the hope of glory, as he says back in chapter 1.

“When Christ, who is your life appears.…” There’s one day when we won’t just be talking about Him somewhere out there, we’ll see Him. Can you imagine what that’s gonna be like? We live and we walk by faith. And I realize that many of us…we may see Him by way of death. We may go and we may see Him there, and that’s gonna be awesome enough. But can you imagine some day when He actually appears in this world, what it’s gonna be like? Oh man! We’re gonna realize it’s over. Everything we put our hope and our trust in, it’s really so! It’s not like we didn’t believe it, but still, there’s something awesome about actually seeing Him—seeing Him come with all the holy angels as Jesus Himself described, and realizing and looking around and seeing the people of the world. Oh my God, how that’s gonna suddenly change everything!

But when He appears “…then you also will appear with him in glory.” I tell you, you think we’re gonna look the same as we do now? Do you think we’re gonna be just these sorry creatures we are, and we appear to be so often? No. We’re gonna be sons and daughters of the most high God, full of His life. Everything that is wrong with Adam’s race will be gone. We will love Him, not just on the outside through our…we won’t be actors, we will have from every portion of our being, there will be a reality that loves Him. We won’t have to say no to anything, or suppress anything then. It’ll be all over.

But that’s not where we’re at right now. See, God desires us to participate in the process of getting from birth to that manifestation one day. We have a part to play right now. What is that part? He tells us here. He says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.”

Now most of you have some knowledge of our legal system. Let’s suppose that there is a, let’s just pick a restraining order of some kind. And the court says, you’re not to go near that person or whatever it is. There’s some kind of a legal declaration that is made that this person does not have the legal right, and if they do, you’ve got recourse in the courts of law. So there is a legal basis for you to have a certain kind of relationship, or lack thereof with so-and-so.

But suppose that you just don’t pay any attention to that. And you just allow them to come around, or to do this or do that. That doesn’t change what happened legally, does it? But it does change what happens practically. And I think many times that’s what’s happened. We don’t enforce what Jesus won at the cross. We have the legal right. We have the ability, and I have to look in the mirror and say, man, I need this. There’s areas where I need help and I need to do this a whole lot more. I’m not gonna stand here and lift myself up as some great standard of perfection in this. I need to do this.

But I’ll tell you, you could look at the most illustrious saint on the planet and they have to, if they’re honest, tell you the same thing. Every one of us has areas of our lives where we need to learn how to take the victory of the cross and apply it to specific needs that we are experiencing right now. And that means putting it to death. That means saying no.

Jesus said, deny yourself, take up your cross. See the cross is to be applied to you and to me and to the impulses that we have that arise from this old Adamic nature. We have the legal right because Jesus paid it all, because He died and we died in Him. We have the right to say no! And God will back us up.

You see where Paul is not just giving us a bunch of rules to live by. He’s giving us a foundation and then saying, now you need to put this…you need to put what God has already done into practice in your life. You need to exercise it. You need to experience it. You need to take hold of the inheritance that I’ve given you. It’s real. If you just leave the money in the bank, it won’t do you a bit of good. But it’s there and you have the right to it. You are the heirs—you’re joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Praise God! Praise the Lord!

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…” And of course he specifies a number of very obvious things. “…Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self.…”

See he keeps going back to what’s happened, doesn’t he? Always back to that foundation. Since this has actually happened, you need to act like it’s really happened. You need to put it into practice. “…And have put on the new self, which is being renewed…” it says in this translation. That’s accurate. It’s the present tense in Greek. And the present tense describes something that is in the process of happening. It’s an ongoing thing. It’s not just a ‘okay now it’s happened.’ This is something that is happening. It’s taking place. It’s unfolding.

It “…is being renewed in knowledge in…” what? “…The image of its Creator.” You see how God just takes us right back to His image. We were created in His image. That image was ruined by sin, but God is still through His Son bringing forth a people who will be made into His image. Praise God! But do you get here what he’s saying? It doesn’t sound like this is something where all of a sudden…

( snapping fingers ).

…It’s gonna be…everything is gonna be just right. It sounds like we’re gonna be in a situation where there’s a whole lot of stuff that’s still wrong. I mean, why would he—why would Paul say all of these things to Christian believers if there weren’t a need?