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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #990

Respecting the Image of God

September 25, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 990 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I want to say it again. The relationships that God has established, how we treat other people is how we are treating God.

( congregational response ).

Think about it. Kids, how you treat your siblings, your brothers and sisters, is how you’re treating God. How you respect your father and your mother…God says to honor them. He doesn’t say it because they’re perfect, doesn’t put conditions on that, He just says honor. There’s an attitude that comes from you regardless of their condition. God wants us to be what we ought to be, not contingent upon how other people treat us.

That’s how we do it. That’s how we tend to react. It’s how we measure things. How is somebody treating me? Are they doing right? Well, if they’re not doing right then I am justified in setting them at naught, railing on them, jumping all over them. No, you’re not. God’s looking for people who have His Spirit in them, and manifest His nature. He rains upon the unjust and the just. He doesn’t make that kind of a distinction.

I tell you what, you think about all the relationships in your life. How do you treat your husband? How do you treat your wife? Is there a respect? Do you see that person that you’re related to as somebody God made in His image? That’s a little different way to look at people—a big difference in how we look at people.

You think of the implications throughout society. What about prejudice? If all men are created in the image of God, what right do we have to disrespect anyone, be they sinner or no, be they somebody terrible in the eyes of society? I’ll tell you, there is a heart in God that reaches out. It doesn’t mean that we compromise with evil, but I’ll tell you, there is a respectfulness.

Jesus even backed down when He was on trial, when the high priest spoke to Him. Jesus said, I didn’t realize he was the high priest. He backed off and there was a respectfulness in Jesus at that critical time. You see this everywhere. He teaches us to honor civil authorities. He teaches even to pay our taxes. I know that everybody is filled with joy at the thought of that.

( laughter ).

But I tell you what, God sees the things that we do to one another as being done to Him. So does that give us a different measuring stick for our relationship with Him and our spirituality? I’m so glad He’s merciful. Aren’t you?

( congregational response ).

Because man, when I use that measuring stick, I’ve got a long ways to go. Oh, how quickly does negative stuff come out of here? How easy is it for things that are hurtful, how easy it is for me to react out of being…I’m so hurt. Like that justifies something wrong coming out of here. No it doesn’t. God has grace for that. God has strength if we will yield ourselves to Him and truly put our lives in His hands at that moment. I tell you, God can give us a wholly different spirit.

The devil means for that to get a hold of you. That’s partly how our tongue is set on fire by hell. He will create circumstances that provoke this nature of ours and it’s like holding a match to gasoline. How easily it fires up. How easily do we spew out the poison that he puts in there? I’ll tell you, God wants to infuse our tongue…our hearts first, and our tongues with life-giving spirit —His life-giving Spirit. I’ll tell you, we have a tremendous power to strengthen one another in this hour. How desperately do we need it!

( congregational amens ).

I don’t care what anybody’s done to you or what you think about them. They are created in the image of God, and God loves them and God wants you to have a right spirit, period. And if we everyone will be a committee of one to lay hold of this simple thing and let God change the way we see each other, it will absolutely transform your life, my life, this church and our effectiveness as a people.

( congregational amens ).

This isn’t some high blown, way out there revelation. But I’ll tell you what, this is absolutely fundamental to what I believe God desires to do in our midst. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.” (NIV). He doesn’t limit this, does He—He doesn’t limit this to the people in the church. You think, oh, I’ve got to love my brother, but the people out there…I have every right to get really…give them down the country. Look at how wicked they are. Look at…oh no, there’s a respectfulness. I tell you, if Michael the archangel showed the devil respect—showed the devil respect, wasn’t there a purpose in God recording that for us? I tell you what, that’s something to think about, isn’t it?

“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” Even nature says that doesn’t work. It’s not that way. “My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grape vine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

Now that’s some wisdom this morning that should generate some humility in us, cause us to back down and not think so highly of ourselves and recognize, hey, I need the Lord. He’s not telling me this to make me feel like dirt, but so that I will realize, hey, I need help. I need a Savior. I need grace. I need more of His Spirit so that I can be more like Him. That’s what it’s about.

“But if you harbor….” Now’s here’s somebody who takes something into their bosom, and it’s bitterness He’s talking about. If you harbor bitterness or bitter envy, you’ve sort of…it’s entered in. But now you’re just taking it in. You’re like a harbor and the ship’s come in and you’re just giving it a good nice port to settle in. You’re saying, welcome, come to my shores, I’ve got plenty of stores for you, I’ve got a good place for you to hang out here. That’s not a good thing, is it? Every one of us is gonna experience the barbs of the enemy. Every one of us is gonna experience his attacks in one way or another. But what we do with it is the question. Do we take it into our bosom and embrace it?

“…If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition….” So it’s not just bitterness. Here’s somebody that’s just…they’ve got a motive. God deliver us from our own self-centered motives, starting with me, but all of us. We’ve got more than we realize. We need to say, like David, Lord, search me. I do not trust my heart to know what the real deal is. I need You to show me, Lord. Help me, right here, right now, so that I don’t harbor something that is displeasing to You…it’s not what You want.

If you harbor these things, “…in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.” How easy to we say, no, I’m fine. The problem’s over there. We’ve got 1,000 ways to deflect the Lord’s light that would shine upon our hearts. Folks, we can’t control what other people do. But I’ll tell you, the power that God has given us to love each other, to draw, not from our own resources, to draw from His resources and allow that Life to flow out of us, that’s gonna do more good than anything else we could possibly do about any situation in our lives.

Think about what Paul says, I think it’s in Romans chapter 12, where he’s talking about how to treat somebody who’s an enemy who treats you badly. What do you do? How do you react to that? You show them kindness. Take an opportunity to do something good for them. Do good to them. Man, you’re gonna disarm somebody real quick and make them feel like fools, but in a good sense.

You come back and say, I’m justified in my attitude towards you. All you’re doing is just doing exactly what the devil wants. But to be His children, we show kindness. You see how God’s nature is…see what He’s after in all of us? That’s the kind of thing that you don’t want to be the one standing up here to say it, because you realize how much you’re in need. But it’s the truth, and we need to be able to speak the truth!

( congregational amens ).

I was gonna say, even if it comes at you, but ‘especially,’ I guess that’s the case, if you’re the one in need. “…Do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom...” and in this translation it puts quotes around the ‘wisdom’ “…Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.”

That’s the source of the kind of wisdom that would say, I’m justified in my attitudes. I’m justified in pursuing self. If it’s to be, it’s up to me. You know that’s the saying that you hear in society. It’s all about me and all about self, and I’m justified in being…no! There’s a wisdom there, but that wisdom did not come from God. That wisdom came from the enemy.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving….” I’ll tell you, when we’re quick to sound off on somebody, that’s not pursuing peace, is it? That’s just trying to vent all the anger and the rage, and whatever is going on in here. God, deliver us from that.

I’ll tell you, the water of Life can douse the fires that burn down here. That’s the only thing that can. You try to suppress it, you might act fine for a while, but if it’s down there, it’s going to come out. Elsewhere you find that likened to a root of bitterness, don’t you? It’s gonna come out. God wants to deliver us. That’s part of what God has purposed for us that Chip was reading about…His plans to prosper us, to give us hope and a future. Well, my hope and my future is not bound up in these kinds of negative things. It’s bound up in being set free from them.

( congregational amens ).

Man, what a good feeling it is not to harbor these things, not to be possessed by that rage, and anger, and upset and constantly out with people, but to have a spirit of love and compassion and understanding, even when somebody else is wrong, to have the Spirit of Christ toward them. God can work in that kind of an atmosphere. Praise God!

“…Peace-loving, considerate….” Considerate means you’re thinking about somebody else and their problems and their needs, not just yours. Do you consider where somebody’s at? Do you consider what they’ve been through, where they’ve come from? God does. God is aware of where you and I have been and what’s wrong with us. He’s aware of things, I think I said recently…He’s aware of things we’re not even aware of yet. And when we become aware of them…I believe there’re things in every one of our lives, that when we become aware of them, we’re gonna look at that thing and say, how could God have ever loved me when He knew about that all the time? But He does. He loves us. He receives us where we’re at, and He nurtures what He’s doing in us because He’s able to take that process all the way through to completion.

That’s the thing about our life being in His hands. You and I cannot manufacture what we’re talking about today. We can only surrender to Him and allow Him to manufacture. But the problem is so often, we cling to what is wrong, justify it in our own thinking, and just point the finger at somebody else. That’s the thing God is seeking more than any other thing to deliver us from. Praise God!

“Considerate, submissive….” Oh, we love that. That means not pursuing your will, not setting your will above everybody else…willing to be the one to step back. When we’re doing it, it’s not like, oh God, everybody’s gonna run over me. I’m gonna be a door mat. This is stepping back in the knowledge that I’m in His hands. He is in control. He is able to engineer situations. He’s able to work in ways that I cannot possibly work. I take my hands off.

You know we heard…some of us in prayer meeting the other night heard a short message by Jim Cymbala. It was wonderful, those of you who heard it. And the essence of his point was he drew from this experience of Moses, or concerning Moses when Moses was a baby. And his mother hid him in order to protect him from being slaughtered by Pharaoh who had decreed that all the babies be killed. And there came a time when his mother couldn’t hide him anymore and so she, as we all know, devised this basket, pitched it, fixed to where it would float, and turned it loose in the Nile.

Well, he made a very, very key point that the central moment of this entire story is that moment, that was the thing that changed history, was when she took her hands off. Suddenly that child, her child…think of a mother’s heart, has now turned her son loose in the Nile, snakes, crocodiles, who know what. Basically she just put him in God’s hand and said, all right God, it’s Your problem now. I can’t do this anymore.

That’s a pretty good lesson for every one of us. As soon as she did that, God went to work—God went to work. That’s the thing that’s hindering God so many times from doing the things that He wants to do in our lives. We will not let go. And that’s true of this area right here. Submissive…I ain’t submitting. Well, you’re gonna stay in the condition you’re in. You’re gonna stay in spiritual jail with that kind of a spirit.

“…Full of mercy…” Oh boy, doesn’t God love mercy? Yeah. We see that frequently in the scriptures. God is a lover of mercy. Now mercy is when someone does not deserve it, but you show them kindness anyway. Now is there anybody here who does not need mercy? Oh man, you get a real…any kind of, any degree of a picture of what you are really like, you will understand how desperately you are in need of mercy and how little you deserve any kind of favor from God.

( congregational response ).

But does not God seek to reproduce that quality in us? “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (KJV). Do you see how these themes, you see them everywhere…you start making the connections. “…Full of mercy and good fruit, impartial…” (NIV). That means we treat people alike. You don’t just treat the people you like, or your buddies you hang out with, or the important people, and you snub the little people. There are no little people in God’s eyes.

You see, this principle of God’s still seeing us as creatures in His image has so many implications. You back up one chapter and you’ll see how He instructs the believers not to treat the rich and the poor differently. God sees us impartially as His creatures. Folks, that has all the difference in the world. That poor person, you just walk right on by. That’s a person created in the image of God. That’s how God sees them. He wants to rewire, as I say, rewire our brains to where we see differently. The person that you would naturally despise, the ones you don’t want to be around, God is looking to produce in us His character of impartiality and love and mercy and care, all these things.

“Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” Praise God! There’s a simple truth here. Someone may have something to add to this. There’s all kinds of scriptures that you could go to. You could look at Ephesians 4, and all the instructions there about how we use our tongues to bless, and to strengthen, and to encourage, and you don’t use them to tear one another down.

You can read all those things, but get this one thing. We have been created in the image of God. You cannot disrespect somebody who’s been created in the image of God without disrespecting the One who made him or her. Think about every relationship in your life. Measure it by that standard and then cry out for the grace of God…not just to change the way we think, but the way we actually are. And it will transform your life, my life, and this church, and bring glory to God. Praise God!