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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #996

A Call to True Holiness
Part One

November 6, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 996 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! Aren’t you glad that God can cleanse and forgiv­e and deliver because there’s not a one of us here that doesn’t need that and need it this morning? We need all that Jesus did on the cross. That is the only thing that stands between us and disaster. But thank God it stands there. Praise God!

Well, I have wrestled greatly over some thoughts I’ve had and it’s been for quite some time, I guess, that I’ve had thoughts going through my mind and just sort of thinking about them, and bringing them out every now and then, thinking about them. But I’d like to turn, if you will, to 2nd Corinthians, chapter 6.

There’s a burden I believe the Lord has, but I also am very conscious that every truth that there is needs to be expressed, not just with authority but with grace. Because every truth that God gives us, even when it crosses us and confronts us and deals with the things that are wrong in us, it’s never done to destroy or to condemn, it’s always done to help and to lead to the victory of the cross.

I appreciate the testimony of Douglas this morning. I think there’s many of us that could identify with what he said and just give God the praise. And there’s others that are still fighting battles. And, I believe God wants to lead us into a greater place in Him.

You know, it was mentioned at the beginning of the service the promise of God being with us when we gather together. And I thank God that’s true. And yet I sense that there’s a desire on the Lord’s part to be here in a greater way than He has. And the question is, why isn’t that so? I believe God is seeking to do something in us, to enlarge our vision, and to do a greater work in us that He might be more manifest among and through us.

I believe you could certainly see that in the scriptures…the power and the presence of God at certain times. And other times there were just times of just muddling along. But I sense God seeking to do a work in me…I don’t think I’m the only one. I think we’re in a place where we need God to really begin to do something specific about areas in our lives that are holding back many of the blessings that He would so freely give us. And it’s not as though He’s waiting on us to muster up our strength to do it. He freely offers everything that we stand in need of. But anyway, I’m jumping ahead of myself here. And I’m just gonna trust the Lord, because I’ve had more thoughts than you could possibly fit in a message.

But anyway, in 2nd Corinthians chapter 6, Paul says in verse 14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?” (NIV). Which is another variance of…it’s the Devil anyway basically. “What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?

“For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

Now I don’t know if I’m the only one that ever feels this way, but a lot of times when I read something like that, there’s something in me that kind of draws back and shrinks, and it’s almost like it’s a negative subject. And I suppose partly it’s self, partly it’s what we’re made out of and the reaction that we have to a holy God and His desire that we be holy. But I think part of it is a reaction to what religion has done with some of this, because we know that God is seeking a people that He can live in. That’s what the temple part is about. We are literally a house for God—a holy God to live in.

Now think about who we’re talking about here. You think again about Isaiah’s vision…the man who surely thought he was pretty good and by human standards was, and yet when he saw the holiness of God, he just collapsed with a sense of utter futility. I can’t possibly fit in here. And you see throughout the scriptures, the cry of God to have a people that have been purified from sin, that are separate from what drives the world, from what the world lives for, in order that He can so inhabit and that they can be full of His power and full of His life.

And I sense God seeking to teach me in a fresh way that far from being a thing to be afraid of, to shrink back from, this is the thing to be reached out after and embraced as a wonderful glorious thing where we can enjoy the freedom and the presence of God in ways that we have never experienced before, where joy can be full. Did not David say, in Your presence is…

( congregational response ).

How much?

( congregational response ).

Fullness of joy! “…At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (KJV). God’s not against pleasure. What He is against is the kind of…what the world calls pleasure, which is basically serving selfish lust. That’s all it is. I mean, we feel these desires and so we want to gratify them, and it’s all about me, my little world. And all we’re doing is embracing the very thing that will destroy us.

But I’ll tell you, God is seeking to purify a people in this hour who will walk with Him and it’s wonderful, and thank God for the truth of the forgiveness of God because that’s the starting point. If we can’t get rid of our sins, we’re not even gonna have a relationship with a holy God. And since we can’t do anything about it, we are gonna have to trust in what He did.

( congregational amens ).

And a lot of people are stuck right there. You can’t wrap your mind around, and it takes the revelation of God to do it, but you can’t get your mind wrapped around the fact that God put your sins on Jesus, and you can be free by putting your faith in Him.

( congregational amens ).

You can be as free from the guilt of your sin as if you’d never committed one. But that’s the starting point of the Gospel. I’ll tell you, we need first of all a people who have gotten to that point, who understand the forgiveness and the cleansing from all sin that there is, through Jesus Christ.

But I’ll tell you, God is looking to do more than simply erase the record of our sins and let us sort of muddle through life defeated, utterly ruled over by things that are not pleasing to God. You look around the American church, particularly today, and I realize there are churches full of lost, religious people. But you look at what is purported to be Christianity today, and I defy you to find any real difference between the church and the world.

Now think about that. You measure things like divorce rates, for example. Well, they’re identical. In fact, in some cases I’ve heard some statistics where it’s worse in the churches. And there’s no difference anymore. God has called His people to be light in the world and to be salt. Now salt is something that lends a flavor and a quality to something, but if it’s not…if it doesn’t do that, what good is it, Jesus said, except you throw it out?

But I’ll tell you, God is looking for a people who will stand out, not as some ‘holier-than-thou’ bunch, but with the same grace that caused Jesus, the most holy man who ever lived to walk among men, to have a grace toward sinners, but yet to be so different that He was never, ever, ever contaminated by the sin that He walked in the midst. He didn’t sit there and go like this all the time, and frown constantly at everybody’s sin, but I’ll tell you, there was a power in Him that absolutely was untainted by that! And that’s what I see God wanting to reproduce in me and in us.

And I just…I don’t know, there’s a part of me that shrinks and has that fear reaction because I think of what undoubtedly goes back to my past. You know, I grew up with people who emphasized sanctification and holiness, and my God, what that has become in so many circles! It’s just an empty, dead, religious form that brings people into bondage. God is wanting to set us free.

( congregational amens ).

And I believe there is a truth and I believe there is a work that He’s able to do in our hearts that can bring us into the reality of our being His temple. Are we a people that He can live in? Think about your individual life and our life corporately. To what degree can the Holy God live in us and make Himself known to people around us, so that when they see us, they know that there’s something different? And it’s not the stench of self-righteousness that they’re sensing. It’s the living, wonderful, loving, drawing power…mercy of a loving God who would reach out and embrace the lost and the hurting and the hopeless. Isn’t that what God is looking for?

I find myself wondering many times how much more God would do if we absolutely…if God could give us this kind of a vision and a sense. Man, we live in a world that has just affected us. You remember the warning that Jesus gave in Matthew 24, when He said, because iniquity will abound — there’ll be a lot of it, that will be the general prevailing condition — because of that condition, the love of many, or most, it says in the NIV, will grow cold. Folks, this world, and what it stands for, and its values absolutely affects us. There are things that we laugh about and just accept as normal and natural, and just doesn’t affect us anymore that a generation ago, we would have…

( gasping ).

You think about stuff that’s on television and you think about the world our young people are growing up in where all kinds of sexual stuff is just like the air you breathe. It’s just the way it is. This world drinks up sin like water. And I’ll tell you, it is a calculated effort on the part of Satan. He uses the entertainment industry, uses everything that’s out there to foist upon us a godless world view, a way of looking at human life that has devalued us to just animals who are accidents of history. Why should we not give vent to things that we enjoy or desire that arise within us? Why should we not do that? And so there is a calculated attempt to break down all moral order and moral restraint. Folks, it affects us.

( congregational amens ).

What’s the stuff that we think about, the things that we just tolerate, the areas of our lives that we know about that we’ve just sort of given up? This is not amen, shouting kind of stuff, is it? But I’ll tell you, God is looking for more from us. He says, “Therefore come out from them and be separate…Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father…” (NIV).

What promises there are of a God that simply wants to share the glory of what He is in our midst. I’ll tell you, I want to see the day when people come into our midst and they know they’re in the presence of God. I believe that we experience that in a measure right now. I thank God for what we do experience. God is merciful, God is gracious to us. But I’ll tell you, there is a presence of God that will absolutely convict sinners just walking into His presence. And it will convict. It won’t condemn. It will convict and draw. It will produce repentance.

But I’ll tell you, we’ve got a lot of repenting to do, folks. We can’t preach the Gospel and expect sinners to repent if we’re not repenting. I don’t know, I’ve just had this sense for a long time that God is looking to do something in us. I’m gonna go to something that I see as one of the contributing factors to some of this, and I believe it’s a misunderstanding of grace. I see this in a lot of ways and lot of places in the religious world. And I’ve made the point recently that I believe a lot of folks confuse mercy with grace.

And to many people, grace…well, you think about it this way. You look back at the Old Testament and you see how strong God’s anger and wrath is against sin, how many people were just destroyed, Sodom and Gomorrah just had fire poured out upon them. They went into the land and they would kill every resident of certain cities. They would stone people. There was all kinds of real wrathful judgment against sin that God poured out. And you will actually hear liberal theologians talk about that being a different God from the One in the New Testament. Now He’s a friendlier version. Sin is not…He doesn’t have quite the same attitude toward sin. Do you think God has changed?

( congregational response ).

Do you think the God who hated sin is now very tolerant of it? Is that what grace means? But I really believe with all my heart that in many minds, grace has become this. When you say, grace is greater than sin, that means, well, no matter how much I sin God’s grace is always gonna be there, it’s always gonna be higher. Is that what that’s talking about?

Now I’ll tell you, God is merciful to His children who are weak. Thank God! This is not intended to muddy that at all or to make you think, oh, I’ve got to be perfect or God’s willingness to forgive me is gonna run out at some point. No! But I’ll tell you, there is an understanding of grace in a lot of religion today that basically conveys the idea that God no longer is…that God is very tolerant of our sins—it’s not really a big deal like it used to be. It almost gives people a license to kind of live the way they want to live and not really put forth much of an effort…after all I’m not saved by what I do, I’m saved by grace, so therefore…He knows I can’t do it anyway. So what’s the big deal. I’m just gonna…and His grace will get me to heaven anyway.

That is a total misunderstanding of what the Gospel is about. God is just as interested in, as He says here…well, in other places, purifying a people to Himself, who are zealous of good works. How many times does Paul tell the believers to be holy, for I am holy, and warn against sin, and warn against all these things, and just preach that we need to be a holy people? My God, does that mean something? Is that part of the picture? Do you think possibly that might just have something to do with where we’re at and be relevant to us? Or are we just gonna slide through and say, oh well, I guess God, you know?

I think we need to get that idea out of our heads that connects grace with permissiveness, or grace with ‘I don’t really care as much anymore, I kind of understand where you’re at, so I’m gonna be tolerant of your sin.’ I’ll tell you, God’s mercy is what gives us His forgiveness. But grace is that power that He extends to us to draw us out of sin. It’s that thing that gave Douglas the victory that he testified to this morning and many of us can testify. It’s when we come to a point where we realize we are helpless in the face of this or that or whatever it is, and all we can do is cry out and say, God, if Your grace does not lift me and give me a greater power than this thing to control me, then I’m gonna fall. I’m gonna continue to be ruled over.

When it says grace is greater than your sin, you look in the context of Romans chapter 5 and you will see that what it’s talking about is a world of men who are ruled by the power of sin and death. You’re born into this world, you have no power against that. Now you might not go out and be a drug addict or a drunk, but you might as well. So far as being right with God is concerned, it’s all the same. A sinner is a sinner is a sinner. You have no power to escape that in yourself. We have only one answer and that answer is Jesus.

( congregational response ).

He is the only one who has the power to erase the sins that we have committed against a holy God, but it is only His power, which comes in the form of grace, that is able to enter into our lives and impart to us a power that is greater than that power that otherwise would control us. Folks, if you’re sitting here today and you’re…the idea of trying to serve God just looms up above you or before you as something that’s utterly impossible, well guess what? In yourself, you’re exactly right.

But you might not realize that you’re nearer to the Kingdom of God than a lot of folks sitting in church pews today if you think that. Because what God wants you to know is that He has the answer. Jesus coming in, imparting His own life and His own nature can begin to work in us and give us the power to walk in what He’s talking about here today.

What a horrible thing it would be if God were to tell us to be a holy people knowing that we had no power to that. You think about…I’m thinking about religiously how this has affected churches over the decades…over the centuries, I suppose. Because you will have one group that will just emphasize grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace…it’s not by works, you know. And don’t you dare talk about perfection…I quoted the Baptist minister one time that Don and I heard in person say of his own people in this case. He said, “I would to God that we Baptists were as afraid of sin as we are of perfection.”

Well, if you’ve heard some of the preaching, you know what they’re talking about…not just them. But there is a way of looking at the scriptures that is only focused on, God is willing to forgive your sins. That’s what grace is about. Well ,praise God, that’s part of it! Praise God that’s true! But that’s half of the truth.

So what happens after a while, you get a bunch of religious people who all they talk about is grace, grace, grace, and you let a generation or two go by, and you’ve got a bunch of people who believe in grace and that have no evidence of it. There’s no change in their life. They are indistinguishable from the world. The fellow down the street cheats on their taxes, so do they. Their neighbor is a liar, so are they, when it’s convenient. Whatever sins there are…wherever they go on their computer, they go to the same places as their neighbor down the street. There’s no evidence that God has done any real work in the heart. Oh, but they’re saved by grace! They believed. I’ll tell you, there’s supposed to be some evidence. That’s an example of faith without works is dead.

So what’s happened at certain times in history, you have had that kind of a condition kind of envelop the church which is a dead orthodoxy. They believe with their minds certain things, but have no change in their hearts. Then someone will come along and say, wait a minute, we’re supposed to be holy. And so they start preaching holiness, holiness, holiness. And actually I believe in many cases, you go back to the beginnings of some of these movements, you’ll find people that really knew what they were talking about. They experienced a genuine, sanctifying work of God’s Spirit that did change their lives.

But what happened? They handed it off to the next generation and pretty soon it became a bunch of legalism, self effort, do’s and don’ts, hypocrisy, all those things begin to come into the picture, so you’ve got people throwing brickbats at each other…no, it’s grace…no, it’s holiness. It’s both—it’s both!

God wants us to understand that the only pathway to true holiness, not this phony kind, but I mean, where people are really set free from the power of sin, comes by the grace of God. Grace is not just His willingness to forgive my sins, grace is the strength I need to say no to what would otherwise rule me.

Folks, we’ve got some repenting to do. We’ve got some heart searching to do. We need to be able to pray like David, search me, oh God…but don’t touch that area. No, we can’t do that, can we? We’re gonna have to say, oh God, give me the grace to face the needs that there are in me, not to look down the row and see all the things that’s wrong with everybody else. But Lord, just to come into your presence and say, oh God, search my heart. Help me to have a sensitivity to things that displease You.