TV Transcripts

“Stop Trying, Start Trusting” Part One
Broadcast #1393
June 16, 2019

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1393 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I believe with all my heart, the Lord is wanting us to understand more of what He did for us and enter into it. We sing the songs, but wouldn’t it be nice if we actually experienced the things that we sing about?

( congregational response ).

And I believe that’s what the Lord desires, with all of His heart. We are the ones who hold back in striving and unbelief and ignorance, and a whole lot of things, but God is wanting to take us to a stronger, deeper place in Him, where there’s a lot more rest.

And my first thought, when I was thinking about these scriptures, was to title this, “Beyond Forgiveness.” I am not sure that title will stick, but anyway, the thought is simply this, that so much of what the Gospel conveys, or what is called the Gospel, conveys to people is that salvation is basically about our forgiveness of sins, and based on the forgiveness of sins then we go to Heaven one day. And, what is really left out of the Gospel is what’s in between, and God’s provision for that.

And so, I’ll start with a scripture the Lord had quickened to me, in the previous week, and that’s in Romans chapter 6. And I’m just gonna plunge into this because I need so much of this myself and so that tends to make me fearful, but that’s exactly what the Lord doesn’t want, from any of us. He wants us to lean on Him and realize it’s not us to begin with. That’s our problem! We’re trying to live the Christian life. That doesn’t work! How many people know that doesn’t work?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! But the Lord has a different plan. My God, what a horrible Gospel it would be if God said, all right, I’m forgiving your sins, now you muddle through and your life is gonna be characterized by a hamster wheel of struggle and failure, struggle and failure and forgiveness, struggle, failure, forgiveness, struggle, failure, forgiveness. But isn’t that where a lot of us are?

( congregation inaudible ).

I believe God wants to…and of course, a hamster wheel’s in a cage, too, on top of that. So, the Lord has better for us. How many of you believe the Lord has better for us than that?

( congregational amens ).

And want to experience it? Well, the scripture the Lord had quickened to me is found in Romans 6, verse 14. “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (NIV). And so the question is not one simply of forgiveness of sins, but is sin our master? Does it call the shots? Are we still slaves to sin, in that when it says, jump, we say, how high? And so, that’s the question.

I mean, doesn’t that get outside of just forgiveness? This is beyond forgiveness. And what the Lord is dealing with, in this whole passage as Paul is unfolding the truths of the Gospel, is not just the question of forgiveness, but how do we actually live for the Lord? By what power do we do it? How does that happen? How is it that we can actually experience what he’s talking about here?

And so, I’ll just kind of skim through the last part of chapter 5, and it’s something we’ve pointed out many times in the past. How did you get to be a sinner?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! You were born into a family of sinners! That’s just their nature we inherit. So, how do we become children of God with Eternal life and victorious? How do we become that?

( congregational response ).

We’re born that way, into the family of God! It is a birth! It is not something that we achieve through some form of self-effort. And, no matter what we call it, I feel that self-effort is at the heart of most of what we call the Christian life. I don’t think you’re different from me. I think that we all suffer from this, in some form or other. But I have become superconscious of it in such a way that I believe the Lord is opening—beginning to open my eyes to things I’ve even preached before, but never really…it was always just out there somewhere.

You know, I grew up in a denomination that emphasized what they call the deeper life. And the founder of that was a man from the late 1800’s and he died in the early 1900’s. But there was a…there was a tremendous move, at that time, of people really entering into something beyond just forgiveness, who learned how to live a free and happy and joyful and victorious life. And so, I grew up with a lot of that emphasis, and trying to enter into it, however, is another story. And that’s where, I think, the breakdown comes.

But there was such a reality taught and experienced by the founder, and, I believe, by many others that I knew, growing up, that there was something more. There are people who actually got to a place where they didn’t struggle like I did! I mean, how many of you struggle to do what you know you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to be? Do you think that’s what God wants? No! It isn’t!

And, the verse that the Lord quickened to me is, “…sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law….” Now, it’s a point we’ve made many times. Well, what is the principle of law? God tells me what to do, what He requires of me, but, He doesn’t give me the power to do it. He expects me to somehow come up with that.

And you know, we think of the Law of Moses as the Ten Commandments and so many other things, and the reality is that if we try to live that way—if we try to live by living up to whatever standard there is in our minds, as this constitutes living for God, if we’re trying to do that and to measure up in some way, we’re under law! It may not be Moses’ Law, but it might be Bible Tabernacle law, whatever you conceive of that to be. It might be a sense of, this is what a Christian is supposed to be so I’ve got to strive to be that.

And that is exactly backwards to what God has given to us in Jesus Christ! The reality is simply this: if we try to do anything based upon requirement that we have to fulfill somehow, all that does is make sin stronger! How many of you know that? What’s the easiest way, many times, to get somebody to do something? Tell them not to!

( laughter ).

Yeah! Why is that? It’s because our nature is fundamentally rebellious! And you know, if there is no law, there’s no knowledge of God. What you have is people simply following their own inclinations. I mean, they do whatever comes naturally.

But then comes the Law and all of a sudden there’s a shining light that brings it out into the light and shines…shows it for what it is. And now, all of a sudden, we’ve got to deal with that. What is the human response? What’s the natural response?

( congregational response ).

Well, it’s not to try harder, it’s to say, I will not do that! I’m gonna do my own thing! There’s a rebellion against that that actually causes sin to get a deeper hold! You know, Paul even says that in 1st Corinthians 15. “…The strength of sin…” he says, “…is the law.” (KJV).

So, I’ll tell you, God’s gonna have to remove that as a basis for our relationship with God. It’s not me living up to a standard, whether it’s the Law of Moses or whether it’s some modern church religion standard. We’re gonna have to have something other than that if we’re gonna have what He has promised!

If we’re gonna be able to sing, He’s my life and He gives me perfect rest and all the wonderful things that we sing, man, it can’t be on the basis of our performance! My performance has never, ever, ever measured up!

So anyway, grace becomes the principle by which we live, and, of course, you follow through in chapter 5, it comes to the end and you have that wonderful scripture where it says, the law…verse 20, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase.” (NIV). In other words, God added the law to make sin…to really bring it out for what it was and make it stronger.

But he says, “But where sin…” abounded or, “…increased, grace increased all the more….” Now, a lot of folks simply take that on a superficial level. Their gospel is one of forgiveness of sins and going to Heaven, and so they think of that as the more I sin, the more grace covers it. God’s always willing to forgive.

Well, praise God, there’s a truth that is there, but there are so many different ways that people can miss what God is saying in this passage. One of them, Paul deals with in the beginning of chapter 6. He says, “What shall we say, then?” What are we gonna say to this? “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”

You know, a lot of people will look at the Christian life and they will say, God knows that I’m weak. God knows that I can’t live up to it and so what is the point of my striving and trying to be something that He knows I can’t? It’s all taken care of anyway, past, present, future, all of that’s just taken care of, so I can just basically live a sort of a so-so life.

You know, I’ll dial it back a little. I’ll stop murdering people and robbing banks, but I mean, basically, I’m gonna do what I want. And, when I feel a little bit of twinge of conscience I’ll just say, well, sorry, Lord, I ask You to forgive me. How many of you think that’s what God is looking for in the Christian life?

( congregational response ).

No! It’s not a license to sin! We have not been called to be saved ‘in’ our sins, but ‘from’ them! So, is there not a provision in what God has given us so that there can be a victory over it?

Now, some people will go in another direction. They’ll look at that and say, oh, my! There’s an experience we can have, where we enter into full sanctification and we don’t sin anymore! You know, Brother Thomas was exposed to that and he really reacted against it, understandably, because that’s not biblical. There’s no such thing as perfectionism in this life.

But there is a middle ground where God can lead us into places of rest and victory and that’s what he’s dealing with. So, he gives us, in the beginning, a foundation for this, beginning in chapter 6, I’m dealing with. It says, “By no means!” Paul’s answer to this. You don’t just give in to sin because, well, it’s all I can do, it’s the best I can do and He knows it. He’s taken care of it. That’s not the way to look at this at all. That’s not what God is after.

“By no means!” Why? “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” So, now he’s dealing with something that apparently the Christians to whom he was writing did not know. Perhaps all they knew was the Gospel of forgiveness of sins. Thank God for that! That’s a starting point. That brings us into a…that allows us to have a relationship with a Holy God if our sins are blotted out. But that only deals with half of the problem. That doesn’t help me…okay, now what do I do? Now, how do I go forward?

So, he says this, “…don’t you know….” So, there’s an ignorance here. And I believe with all my heart, there’s an ignorance in us, in this. We know it because the scripture says it but we don’t really lay hold of it. “…Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Now, what’s he saying there? He’s saying that there’s more to the Cross than simply the blotting out of sin. And that’s where…I think back to my life. So many times I’ve looked at this scripture and I’ve preached it, and I’m conscious today that words alone cannot convey this. God’s gonna have to open eyes, starting with mine.

But I believe He’s given me glimpses and senses of this, that God has given us a place of victory and it’s not based upon my living up to the Christian life. Every bit of it goes back to what He did, for me, in my place, on the Cross! If I died to sin, what am I doing dealing with it, arguing with it, fussing about it, trying to suppress it? Think about that. Did I really die, or didn’t I? You see?

“If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” So, what he’s talking about here is a union with us and Christ. So, we become a part of Him. Is the head righteous and the hand not? Is my right hand victorious or my left hand not? Do I have a different standing because I’m a different part of the Body, or are we truly one with Him, part of Him? Doesn’t the scripture teach that?

Do you see what God has done for us? He’s made us so much a part of Him that our destiny…I mean, if you are really united with Christ, if you have given Him your heart and your life and you’ve surrendered to Him, you’re part of Him! You may not know it. We may not know it. We may not understand all of the implications of that but we are a part of Him and His life is in us. I’ll tell you, we have a Devil that is lying to us!

Okay? Let’s see, where was I? “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” Think of the vine and the branches. Do they have a different life? No! It’s exactly the same life! Praise God!

And if I’m trying to…if I’m a branch and I’m trying to get life out of that vine, do I say, oh, pretty please, oh, please give me…I’m measuring up today, Lord, please give me some of that life so I…no. It’s just there! It flows! We open up. We thank God. We just praise Him. It’s something that’s ours!

That’s what the Lord is trying to get through this thick skull! There are things that are ours that we just don’t know. We live as if they weren’t true. I don’t care how many times we sing them, we live as if this were not true! You agree with me?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! How many of you believe the Lord wants to help us get this? How many of you believe the Lord will do it and will lead us if we’ll look to Him and say, oh God, open my eyes to see what You have done for me at the Cross! Oh, I’ve lived on a faulty foundation of lies. I haven’t understood what You did for me!

Okay? “For we know that our old self was crucified with him…” Folks, this is history—this is history. “…So that the body of sin might be done away with…” Now, what’s the end product of this? So, “…that we should no longer be slaves to sin….”

Do you know that’s the condition of the human family? People think that by doing what they want and what they feel the inclination to do, that they’re being free. What you don’t realize is you have a master. If that’s you, you have a master who is lying to you and telling you that this is what your life is meant to be about, and he will laugh all the way to the grave, and you will find out in the end that death will win and you will stand before God in the Judgment. You have a master. And there is no power in the human family to escape the control of that master.

But listen to what he’s saying here, because this is an area where we so easily miss what God is saying to us and how He wants us to overcome. Nowhere, in the scriptures, are we led to believe that the master we once served will suddenly become silent…that our nature—this old nature that lives in this flesh, will stop wanting what it wants!

How many of you tripped over this? Oh, there’s a place of victory, oh, there’s a place of victory, but this won’t stop shouting! This won’t stop getting in my face! Sin does not die. We die ‘to’ sin.

Now, what’s the difference? Think about…oh, let’s bring it into the modern age. This is not an age of slavery. Well, not too much. But think about a boss, and he gives you instructions as to how to carry out your duties. But suppose one day you die. Well, that boss can holler all he wants to and tell you what he wants…but you’re dead to that. You have left the realm where he rules. You’ve gone somewhere else.

That’s what Christ has done for us! And my problem and yours is that we still listen to those voices, and we still think they have the upper hand! I don’t have the strength. I can’t beat this. I’m this, I’m so weak…and we just live as if we were still slaves when Christ has set us free!

( congregational amens ).

And the Lord’s helping me to just begin to taste this, show me more of a direction, I guess, than anything. It’s that I don’t have to listen to that! Not only that, I don’t have to fight it!

See, here’s another area where we fall down. One of them is that if I were really in a place of victory, I wouldn’t feel these things, I wouldn’t hear this…these things wouldn’t rise up to try to take control. Hogwash! They will!

But the problem is, what do we do when they do that? When we’re trying to say, all right, I’m geared up again, I’m all excited, I’m gonna serve God…man, I’m gonna get it this time. Well, you just joined Paul in Romans 7 is what you did. What did he find out? It doesn’t work!

What we are doing without realizing it, is substituting a self-effort. And I can think of so many times when, in my life, when I heard the message of deeper life, or I would read about somebody…Hudson Taylor would be a prime example. But there were so many others that really seemed to enter into this place where there was this perfect rest, this joy, this peace, this victory, all the time, was with them. They suddenly…the light went on. They entered into this.

And I would read about it and say, oh, God, I want that, help me! But what was I doing but striving? I was anxious. I was striving. Oh, I’ve got to try to lay hold of…I’ve got to try!

You know, we talked a couple of weeks ago about Paul ‘reaching for.’ Reaching is one thing, how we reach is another, because we can reach for things that are of God and do it in our strength as though I have somehow got to produce this. I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to make myself over into this image. I see what I’m supposed to be. I’ve got to do it.

Oh, God! That’s exhausting. The Christian life, as we said last week, is impossible! And if you try to live it in your own strength, it’s gonna be a tough row to hoe! And you’re gonna wind up frustrated and defeated. But that is not God’s plan! That is not God’s plan!

Here’s another trap that we all fall into. It’s when we are focused on what’s wrong…what happens when you’re focused on what’s wrong? Oh, my God! Fear, anxiety, struggle, strife, oh, my God…this thing, it’s happened again! Here I am! Oh, God, I’ve got to beat this. I’ve got to push it down and get rid of it! Oh, I’ve got to get victory over this! Oh, God, why, why?

Do you see what’s going on? One of the things…of course, it’s still self-effort. We’re not taking hold of what He has done for us, but what is our focus? It’s on the problem, isn’t it? You go through this passage and many others and you will find that there is this glorious balance where we’re gonna encounter needs, but God does not just leave us, somehow, dealing with this so we can get to that. We have to immediately turn and say, but, Christ lives in me!

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