— Brother Phil Enlow: There are changes that are impossible any other way that come when He speaks. Oh, I can talk about this and I sit back and I think about needs in my life, things that are just there. And I wonder, Lord, why are You taking me round and round and round and round that particular mountain? And it’s like the Lord is saying, I have the answer but you’re going to have to come to Me. How do we please God, according Hebrews 11:6?
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Yeah. “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is…” the He exists, but also, “…that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (KJV). And we all say, amen!
But what do we do when it comes down to us? Will He reward me if I seek Him? Do you really believe that? Do you really believe God loves you? We sing about all these wonderful things. Have we ever really embraced the reality that it’s personal, and been able to reach out to Him?
And how does God respond when we do seek Him? How does He respond? He speaks. Now I’ve used this example many times and it had to do with John Bunyan coming to faith. There was something in John Bunyan…this was several centuries ago, of course. He’s the author of “Pilgrim’s Progress.” There was something in him that impelled him to seek after God. Now, I wonder what that could be?
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Well yeah, there was prayer. But I wonder…do you think God might have had a little bit to do with that?
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Yeah. God was in the process of drawing him. The only reason he had that inclination was that God was at work! Folks, I want to tell you, I don’t care where you’re at, if there’s anything in you that has a desire toward God…don’t you get it? That’s God! If God left you to yourself, there is nobody who would seek after God! That’s what Paul said. Everybody sins, no one seeks Him! If God left you to yourself you wouldn’t have another thought about God! You’d just live your life and perish with the world.
But I’ll tell you, if there’s that desire…there’s a God who loves you enough to reach down to your heart and begin to draw you to reach out to Him! Do it with confidence! God loves you and cares about you! He knows about your needs. You’re not some special case that He doesn’t care about.
But John Bunyan had a horrendous battle that had everything to do with the ability that he had later to write the books that he did, and to minister the way that he did. He would go for days at a time with the devil screaming in his ear…every possible argument against him having any confidence or any hope of reaching out toward God!
Look what you did…whatever it is. How many of you know what I’m talking about? You go for periods of time and nothing’s going on but the devil screaming in your ear. And he’s sitting there and saying, resisting it, no, no, no.
What was it that changed that circumstance at every point? Somewhere in that process God spoke. He didn’t go digging through the scriptures and say, I wonder if I can find a proof text. There was a point in time when God suddenly dropped…sometimes it wasn’t more than three or four words. But I’ll tell you, three or four words that come from God…in the moment that come out of the mouth of God!
See? See what I’m talking about? There’s an immediacy…there’s something that’s happening right now! God’s involved! There is a reality of God speaking to my heart. And as soon as that happens, something changed and the devil just had to run! As soon as he latched onto that and said, yes! I agree with that! I believe that! I lay hold of that!
And then it seemed like some other issue…he would get through that crisis and then another one would come and the same process would unfold until eventually he came to a place of just resting, understanding the Gospel and resting.
But do you see what’s going on there? Do you see how embedded habits, embedded ways of thinking in the mind, how the devil draws upon that…and how our nature just kind of by default operates in harmony with those lies? Do you see what God’s up against?
I’ll tell you, the only answer for the things that hold us and the chains that hold us is having God speak to us! How many of you know that God speaks to His children? I’ll tell you one thing that happened this week. I won’t give you any of the details because it applies to every one of us in one way or another. But I was having a battle. Any of you ever have battles?
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Yeah. And all of a sudden, out of the blue, this thought came, and I knew…it was so evident that it was the Lord. “…Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Now, I know that, doctrinally. I mean, for heaven’s sake it’s right there in Romans 6. Everybody knows that. But right then it came in a different sense. It was not just some vague statement…this was…this became a promise!
How many of you know that when God speaks there is an implied…if it’s not a specific thing, it’s an implied promise? See, this is what I purposed for you. Sin is not gonna have dominion over you. I haven’t put you in a place where I dump laws upon you that require you to do something that I know you can’t do. What a futile thing that would be. But what I have done is imparted to you power that you do not possess.
But I want you to learn to rely upon that power so that you can become the person that you are not, and I have the power to create in you that which has never existed in your heart and your life. There is some deep stuff here.
And I’ll tell you what my first prayer is…Lord, help me to get this…because it is so easy to sit back and just sink back into the habits of how we are and how we’ve thought. And I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God Who is able to change.
You know, one of the scriptures we ended with last week was from 2nd Peter, chapter 1. Do you remember that one? How God has given us great and precious promises? Why? To what end? Why has He given us all these promises? So, “…that by these…” by these, “…ye might be partakers of the divine nature.”
You see where we need to take something? In other words, when God speaks in those times of battle, there is an opportunity to lay hold of something of power that you and I do not possess! And to say, yes Lord, I believe Your promise! I rely upon it. And I’ll tell you what, how does faith come?
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And how…yeah, faith comes by hearing. How does hearing…what kind of hearing is he talking about? The Word of God. This is when God actually speaks. Does God speak to you? Does God ever speak to you? Now, one way He does it, is when He anoints the Word.
And I know every person here, who is a believer, you know there have been times in your life where you have been at a point in your journey…I can’t tell you the number of times when I started to walk out of the church and somebody has said, boy, you’ve been following me around this week. How did you know this? Well I don’t, but I know Somebody who does. He’s been following me around! He knows ‘my’ need. That’s usually where all this comes from. It’s not just about you.
Praise God, where was I? I can’t even think of what I was about to say. Well, praise God! Anyway, I’m so thankful that God…oh yeah, well, anyway, I’m so thankful that God knows exactly what we need. It is how God speaks to us. God can speak and He can take a word, He can take a phrase.
How many of you have had this happen? There’s this long message—it might be an hour long, but one phrase just jumps out at you and snags your mind, and you say, wow! I’ve heard that all my life but it suddenly it just gets…it meets the present need!
But how many times have we walked out of the church and let that just sort of leak away and we go on as we are. Why do you think God did that? Do you think He did that so that we would just go on as we are? Or do you think there just might be the possibility that He spoke something that if we would lay hold of, if we would take our stand upon it, and persist upon taking our stand upon what God has said to us, do you think it would make a change?
Not just on the surface, but I mean, it would get down into the depths of our minds, that part of us that just runs us, when we’re not even thinking about it. That is what God is changing. How many of you need to be changed down in here? Yeah. Every one of us acts and reacts the way we do. And yet, you see where He’s going.
I referred to this earlier…building a family of people who live for each other, who love one another…to have all these incredible virtues. They’re not in here, folks, not in me. But I serve a God who is able to speak, who is able to create that which has never existed in me, and He does it by speaking.
But you know, I know many of you know what I’m talking about. This isn’t just from the pulpit, because we don’t live under the Old Testament where the average person has no access, no direct access to God. They’ve got to go to a priest or a prophet or somebody to find out what God wants.
Everybody knows Him personally under the New Covenant. “…They will all know me, from the least…to the greatest.” (NIV). There’s not a person here who cannot go to God and seek Him and look to Him with an expectant heart that will not…at some point God will talk to your heart.
And it won’t just be here, it’ll be out when the battle is raging. It might be a song. It might be a thousand and one things. God knows where you and I are at. It may just be two words. But if they’re two words that come from the mouth of God, they have the power to change everything. They have the power to drive devils away and loose chains! And change us into the image of His son.
But this has to do with what we talked about last week, but how it happens. It happens when God speaks…and we learn to live by what He says. And just like Abraham…Abraham had to go through that year with every possible, natural source of reasoning, all of his human experience said, it ain’t gonna happen. This is impossible. But in the face of that, he believed God!
Do you see where God’s going with all of this and what He’s looking for from us? We make choices, don’t we? We can go right on in a false self-confidence, and just bop along, and we sort of hear His voice, and we blow it off…I’m good, I’m good to go.
But I’ll tell you, God has a way with His children, of bringing us down to a place of need, to where there ain’t no running. There ain’t no dodging it or ducking it. I thank God when He hems me up in a corner and shows me what I am and how much I need Him, because then I’m in a place where I can just stretch forth my hands and say, oh God.
I’m not like Peter when he was young, you girded yourself and you went where you wanted to go. I’m…I just stretch forth my hand, Lord, you’re going to have to gird me. I mean, how many times did Brother Thomas use those…did he use those special examples when he came to a crisis point in his life and God spoke? Sometimes he took a scripture that was just out of context. But it was meaningful because it came from the heart of God.
God wants to speak and to communicate with every person here. You are not some sort of red-headed stepchild—the proverbial red-headed stepchild. I’ll tell you, every one of us that God has imparted any kind of desire for Him, you latch onto that, because it is your…eternity hangs in the balance.
If you don’t know Him…oh my God, reach out! Reach out until He speaks to you in such a way that you know that you’re His. Because I’ll tell you, His Spirit will bear witness with yours that you are His child.
But if you’re His child, understand the process. Understand what it takes for us to change. I need God to speak to me. It’s real simple. But oh, how we just sort of blow by it and don’t get it. We just live out the habits of thinking and doing! And we wonder, why does God make this happen again and again and again, and all I do is feel like a failure? And I either justify it or I’m discouraged because I’ll never change, nothing’s ever changed.
And there’s God waiting to speak creative power into us, to minister faith. When His Spirit comes with that word, there’s faith that’s ministered. If we will lay hold of that, and take God’s side in the debate, and say, yes, Lord, I believe! Sin shall not have dominion over me! That’s Your promise to me. I lean upon that! It’s not in my power but it is in yours! And I’m gonna stand upon that and believe it.
Whatever promise is relevant to your situation that God uses…I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. I mean, the book is just full of promises.
How many of you remember, years ago the Lord gave me that message, “Commands and Promises”? Because if you understand the desperation of our need and how impossible it is for any one of us to be the kind of person God wants…when He tells us to do something, does that not imply that ‘I will be with you to do it’?
I know you can’t do this…now, I want to instruct you, this is the kind of person I want you to be. But don’t ever forget for one second that in order to be that, you are going to have to draw energy and strength from Me because you are under grace and not under Law. That means, instead of demanding something you can’t do, I’m giving you the power to do something you could never do in yourself.
That’s what grace is. That’s the power and the influence of God. God is creating something brand new and He’s creating it in us and He’s creating it day-by-day.
But boy, God wants to get down to the issues of our lives, that make us the person we have always been and change up here, I guess, is the head, is the mind. But God wants to change, not just the surface of what we agree to and think about, but the deep parts that are actually what we are, without even meaning to be or thinking about it. Do you believe God can change that stuff?
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I mean, think on the natural level, how do you change a habit? You have to replace it with another habit, and that takes an effort, that takes a conscious effort. Well, I’ll tell you, it takes an effort of laying hold of the promises of God and standing upon them until that change happens and it will.
You see what Paul was doing? I’m reaching forth…I’m taking hold of something. I’m taking hold of the voice of God that speaks to me. He knows where I’m at, and He understands that for this process to work, it means I’m gonna have to be living a life where I’m letting go.
When God shows me my nature, and shows me what’s wrong with me, I have the privilege of letting that go. There’s a dying that happens, but it isn’t just all about all that bad stuff and all that stuff that I have to let go, it’s what I gain by reaching forth and laying hold of that which is eternal.
I guess the substance of this is listening for God’s voice, believing for it, trusting God that He is going to bring you to the very place that you need for chains that have held you for all your life to be brought to the surface, brought into the light, but then we reach up and say, oh God, I need You.
And then we listen for His voice. You don’t have to try to conjure something up. Just say, oh God, I’m looking to You. When He speaks, you’ll know it. When He speaks, there will be creative power that will be released into your life, if you will lay hold of that and stop listening to this other. And God can take that power and change this that’s in here. The renewing of your mind—making it new.
How else is this gonna happen? I mean, this is not the study of theology. It’s good to study the Book. It’s good to be familiar with it. It’s good to have a knowledge of what it says, but until God breathes live into it, it’s just words on a page.
But we serve a God who is gonna walk with you and walk with me through the details of our lives, and He is going to be showing us our need, but He’s gonna be speaking to it…life-changing power. If we will lay hold of it, we’re gonna find some chains that start to drop. I’ll guarantee, you’re gonna find things that have held you all your life and God’s gonna set you free. Do you believe it?
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I know we know enough to affirm that, but under our breath, are we saying, there ain’t no way? Well, let’s start saying, God’s way, God’s voice. I’ll tell you, Somebody who can create this universe by speaking, don’t you think He can make changes in here if we will listen and embrace what He says? I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who can create what He wants to create in our lives if we will believe Him when He speaks. That’s what it comes down to.
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So are we gonna just give in, ‘cause this is as good as it gets. This is all…this is as far as I’m gonna go. This is what I am…God knows. He’s put away my sins, that’s good enough. Or are we gonna say, Lord, I’m willing for You to change me. I’m presenting You with my life and I’m willing not to go on being conformed to this, but I need You to transform me.
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I get that I can’t do it, but I can certainly ‘be’ transformed. I can be willing to let You do the changing. But how does He do that? He does it by speaking. And when we ingest that and believe it and rely upon it, we’re gonna see God making changes in our lives. And we’re gonna see Him bringing us to the place where the rest of this chapter means a whole lot more than it does right now.
So I praise God, don’t you? God is faithful. God has provided everything we need. And I’ll tell you, the one thing that we cannot live without, “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word…” (KJV). That does what? That proceeds out of His mouth…that immediacy of God speaking right in the moment to the need of that moment. He is faithful. And I want to be more faithful, don’t you? Praise God?