— Brother Phil Enlow: Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (NIV). There’s nobody who has greater authority, except the Father Himself. It says that later on.
So, here is the One who has been raised to that position. He has authority over every devil that bothers you and me. He has authority over every government, everything is being allowed to unfold as it will. He is not gonna sit there and dictate to lost men and fallen men what they do. He’s gonna allow them to make the choices that they’re making. But I’ll tell you, we serve a God who is in charge.
Didn’t Nebuchadnezzar find that out? Yeah. He thought he was Mr. Big Shot, until he found out that there’s a God in heaven who reigns, who rules, “…in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.” (KJV). No one can…basically, no one can tell Him what to do. He has the plan and He knows what He’s gonna do.
But now that authority has been turned over to Jesus Christ. Remember He said, I’ll build my church? And the gates of hell will not prevail. You see this warfare that has been going on ever since, where God has been, where Christ has been extending His authority.
That’s why we need Him! That’s why anything we do in the way of building a church is worthless if He’s not the builder of it. Every bit of life and power and authority over all the things that afflict us, everything that would oppose us, it comes straight through Jesus Christ, the very life, the river of God!
“There’s a River”. Didn’t we sing that? Yeah. There’s a river that is flowing from heaven! It has life in it! It has power in it! It has everything that you and I need today. Do you need anything? I do. Yeah. It’s available.
But God wants us to come and operate in that place where Jesus Christ is Lord in actual practice, every single day of our lives, and when we come together. But anyway, this is what this life is about. Then the end will come when He hands over the Kingdom to God. Now, the last enemy is what?
( congregational response ).
Okay, so when is that? According to scriptures, when is death conquered? Look over to the end of the chapter. It says, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep…” (NIV). We will not all die, that is. “…But we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” Which trumpet?
( congregational response ).
Last one. No more trumpets after that, nothing after that. The last trumpet. “For the trumpet will sound…” nothing secret about this either, by the way, “…the dead will be raised imperishable.” That is, without the possibility of dying…nothing wrong with these bodies, with the bodies that we’ll have then.
They will absolutely not be subject to any decay or death. “…And we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal….” That is…mortal means, what? Subject to death, right? Okay, that which is subject to death will clothe itself with something that is not subject to death. That’s what’s gonna happen there.
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in victory.” So when is death defeated? That’s the last enemy, isn’t it? No more enemies after that. That happens when He comes, doesn’t it?
Do you see, yet another witness in scripture that we’re coming to singular day when Christ is gonna come and everything will end. That will be the final capstone of His victory, when every one of His own has been called out. What else is there to do? Every single one will be raised…we’ll either go from here or we’ll come from there, and we’ll meet together in the air. And I’ll tell you, we’re gonna ever be with the Lord, as it says in other places. Thank God! That’s where we’re going.
So, do you see the picture? On the one hand, we have the sentence passed at the cross. It was a sentence against every enemy that opposes us, that would stop us from inheriting everything God has provided. Then we have an age, in which first of all, the Devil has been bound…not completely…you know, a lot of people think when the Devil is bound or when he’s thrown in that pit, he’s gone. Everything is peaceable and wonderful.
No! It is a specific restriction upon Satan against what he tries, what he does when he’s loosed. What does he do when he’s loosed? Look at Revelation 20 sometime. I’m not gonna go there right now. When he’s loosed, he gathers the people of the world together against Christians and against the Lord. He hasn’t been able to do that.
But I’ll tell you, we’re seeing, as I say, we’re in the era now. We’re in the time period now where that’s gonna happen. When God…when it’s ready.
But we’re in that interim here, where Christ is reigning. A lot of people think of the reign of Christ and think, oh, He’s gonna come down and He’s going to set up a government in Jerusalem and this world is gonna be wonderful. Christ ascended to a throne and the evidence that He was there was the Day of Pentecost when He poured out His Spirit and 3,000 people came to faith in Jesus Christ. And they became one people, in heart and soul and mind.
You want to know some evidence that Jesus Christ is on the throne? There it was, right in front of them. And it continued from there as His authority began to reach out in the Gospel and the Word began to be sown in hearts out across the globe. And it’s happened ever since.
You know, I appreciate what Tim was saying about the believers of India, I’ll just drop this in here, and how we need to pray for our enemies. Jim, you were there on this particular visit. It was our first visit. We met…it wasn’t that, it was the second one. Anyway, I have met people who were in the Camp of Rebels. They were the ones that were out doing all the bad stuff and they were the terrorists…they were the ones against Christians, they were the ones who were dangerous. I have met some of them who were saved and wound up in the ministry.
I’ll tell you, that’s one of my prayers, too. When I pray for them in India, I say, God, don’t just stop and protect them. God, let the Gospel advance. Let your authority penetrate into those hearts of darkness and save some of those very people who are railing against You right now. I’ve heard many, many testimonies of people who were either in India there, or in other parts of the Islamic world, where there were people who were terrorists who became preachers.
God knows how to reach His people. The gates of hell will not prevail to stop Him from saving one that He has determined to save. Thank God! So, absolutely, let’s pray. Let’s ask God…let’s just not pray this defensive, oh God, protect us. Let’s pray, God, let the Kingdom advance!
The Devil is not in charge. It feels like it sometimes, but we need to operate with a mindset, with an understanding that Jesus Christ reigns right now! It doesn’t mean, as we’re singing the song, that everything’s gonna be wonderful according to human standards, where nothing bad is ever gonna happen. But I’ll tell you, we serve a God for whom, “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (KJV).
God has a purpose that is a whole lot bigger than you and me having a comfortable, earthbound life here. Thank God, He can help us, and He can get us through, and His grace will carry us through. But there is a reign of Christ! Oh God, may He reign in our hearts!
( congregational amens ).
May that reign not just be some vague, theological thing we believe, but may it extend right down into the minutia of our lives, every single day. Lord Jesus, reign. Oh God, help me to operate and live my life under Your leadership. Lord, help me experience what Your reign is about.
Now what does he say here? Let’s go back to the earlier part…or the middle part of the chapter there. All right, “For he must reign…” verse 25. (NIV). “For He must reign…” How long is this reign gonna last? “…Until he has put all his enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
We talked about that part. But what about this under His feet? You know, we used to hear Brother Thomas make a point, and I appreciate it. Christ’s feet…I mean, there’s a symbolism there where…a conqueror would conquer somebody and they would be under his feet as though he could step on them.
But I’ll tell you, there’s something more in this. We talked last week about how those who are united to Christ become more than just, in some vague way, associated with Him. We are ‘joined’ to Him. We are members of Christ. When God uses the term Christ, He does not use it only of Jesus Christ, He uses it of Christ, plus every member of the Body of Christ.
( congregational response ).
So when you talk about the feet, you’re talking about Christ. You’re talking about people who are joined to Him. Now, some of you might feel like, if you’re in Christ at all, you are the underside of His little toenail, or maybe the bottom of His feet. But I’ll tell you, in the purpose of God, God has not forgotten you and will not!
If you are His, I don’t care how weak and despised and lowly you may think you are in your own mind…and if you think that, stop listening to the voice that tells you that. But you are special to Him and He will not leave you behind! The job is not done until Satan is under your feet! He must reign until all His enemies are under His feet. If you’re part of His feet, that’s the destiny.
Folks, if we don’t think in those terms, we’re gonna go down under the circumstance, under the passing circumstances of life. We’re gonna live in a state of despair and wondering, can I possibly make it, how is this gonna happen? Like everything is in doubt. But we need to operate from a position of strength.
Every once in a while, we have sung over the years, “Come on Over to the Winning Side.” Yeah. Christ’s side is the side that has already won! As I said, the Supreme Court of the universe has passed sentence. So the battles that are being fought are being fought with the authority of heaven behind them and with the power of heaven behind them.
And what God is doing in our individual lives is learning how…it is teaching us. Not only that fact, so we’ll sit there and feel good about ourselves, but teaching us how to enter into and participate in what He is doing in our lives.
How many of you need to participate more and experience more of that? That’s what God is doing. But oh, I thank God for this over-riding picture of a Savior who accomplished everything at the cross! My sins oppose me! He blotted them out! He took my guilt. My old nature opposes me. I have enemies within. That’s why Satan has access to me to the extent that I listen to that and cooperate with that. I’ve got an enemy! I’ve got enemies right in here!
But we have somebody who took me to the cross. And He took you to the cross. And we were judged…sentenced. Do you know sentence was passed against everyone here? Every single one of us, sentence was passed at the cross. You are worthy of death. But there was One who went there in your place and in mine, died the death that you and I deserved to die.
But I’ll tell you, when we become united with Him, we are united with Him in that death. We are basically embracing the sentence of heaven against ourselves, against our old nature. And we are opening up ourselves to receive the life that came out of that tomb. That’s what the cross and the victory of Christ is all about. Thank God!
But those are some of the enemies that I deal with. How about you? I deal with this. But from what position do I deal with it? Is this, oh God, I’ve got to do this. Somehow, some way, I’ve got to obey Your laws, keep Your commandments. Does that work ever for anybody?
You know, an old illustration of that, that I guess has been used many times over the years, and I ran into it just reading something last night: the laws of God that tell us how we’re supposed to be, what kind of people we’re supposed to be. That’s like a mirror.
Now, I can look in the mirror and see how dirty my face is. But how many of you have ever had that mirror cleanse you? See, that’s not the purpose of a mirror. The mirror is to tell me my need.
That’s what the Law of God is all about. It shows me my need, it does not deal with my need. Only Christ in the new life that is stronger than that can deal with my need. And that’s what the Gospel is about.
It’s not just about showing me my need and saying, okay, come on, straighten up and fly right. It’s about saying, you are in hopeless situation. You need My life. You need Christ to come in and possess your heart and your life and give you that new heart and life. And in the strength of that you can begin to participate in the victory that was won there at the cross.
I’ll tell you, when Christ…Christ is reigning right now. Every time you and I will look to Him when we’re in a place of need, and instead of just yielding to the way we’ve always thought and the way we’ve always done, we’re looking and saying, oh God, help me! Lord…I give this to You, I cannot handle this. Lord, I need You to come. I need You to live in me in this and give me strength that I just simply don’t have.
But Lord, I’m not just begging, I’m expecting. I’m expecting because this is what the Gospel is about. This is exactly the thing You tell me to do…is to stand in the victory that You have already won and begin to trust in You, and take authority over these things that want rule over you.
Is not Christ reigning when that happens? I mean, He doesn’t need to reign for himself, He’s there. What is His reign about if it’s not about us? And those who have gone on and are there with Him in glory, in His presence, the victory is over for them too. There are no more enemies there. All the enemies are here. This is where the battle needs to be fought, everyday in our lives.
But, oh God, do we need to operate from a position of strength and victory. Or do we operate from a position of…I don’t know how all this is going to work out, this is hopeless.
And functionally, that’s where a lot of us get sometimes, don’t we? And Lord…I just sense, when I was thinking about all of this, the Lord wants us to know what He’s done, and what He’s doing, and the certainty of the outcome! If we get that, if that becomes the dominating worldview, if you will…that’s a fancy word about how people see the world and see themselves in it. But if that becomes our lens through which we look at life, then I’ll tell you, we can operate from a position of victory, and face our enemies, and say, wait a minute.
This is not…we can face the enemies exactly the way that David faced Goliath. He didn’t see that as something personal. He said, you’re not fighting me, you’re fighting God! You’re the one who’s in trouble.
And I’ll tell you, there are devils that will scream in your ear and in mine. But all they have got to work with is lies, and fear, intimidation…trying to blow themselves up and make themselves appear as though they have the upper hand, when the reality is, the smallest child who trusts in Christ has power over the biggest devil!
Say that again. The smallest child who trusts in Jesus has power over the strongest devil. Lucifer himself cannot stand against a child in whom Jesus lives and reigns! My God, we need to understand that and operate as though that’s really true, because it is true!
Is this…well, like the old saying, am I preaching to you out of Sears and Roebuck Catalog…of course, it doesn’t exist anymore. But, some of you older ones remember that. But am I just preaching…is this just fairy tale stuff? Or is this what the Word of God teaches? Is this real? Did it really happen? Do we have reason be have confidence that it happened? Yes! Jesus Christ rose from the dead!
( congregational response ).
He ascended to heaven and all the evidence that He’s there happened on the Day of Pentecost. Folks, this is the world we live in. We are heading down toward the climax of the ages and the promise is that every enemy will be under His feet when that day happens. So you and I should have confidence in Christ this day, to stand and to look to Him, to look to God and to have confidence that He has won the victory and that’s gonna happen for us.
“For he has put everything under His feet.” I’m back in 1st Corinthians 15. Now when it says, He has put everything under His feet, you have two pronouns there, don’t you? Who are they? Who is He talking about? The Father has put everything under the feet of the Son. So you have a hierarchy of authority here. The Father is supreme, the Son is under Him. He, the Father, has put everything under His feet!
“Now when it says that everything has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.” So obviously, Christ is over everything else, except the Father. He doesn’t rule over the Father. The Father is supreme.
Now this is interesting. “When He has done this…” When He has finished the job and He’s handed over the Kingdom…He’s done all…everything is done! All the enemies are gone, all the people of God are completely transformed and ready to live in a brand-new universe! “When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”
That’s incredible! You see the order there, don’t you? But think of a world in which we’ll be walking around, and there’s Jesus! He’s our elder brother, He’s there. He’s walking with us. Now, He’ll always have the preeminence. He’ll always be honored for who He is.
But I mean, He’s not gonna be just off in heaven somewhere. He’s gonna be right there with us. We’re gonna walk with Him and fellowship with Him and all of us together will be worshipping the Heavenly Father, for all that He’s done. And all the kindness, all the things that God has in His heart toward us, that flow out of His heart of love, there’ll be no end to any of that. What a picture this is of where we’re headed. Folks, is this worth everything?
( congregational response ).
Is there anything in this world worth clinging to? No, let it go. This is what life is about. We serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who sits upon a throne. And I’ll tell you, it’s not gonna be long before that’s gonna be evident to everyone.
Don’t you look at the darkness of the world and say, oh, it’s hopeless. Oh, I’m too bad, I’m this, I’m that. We need to have our eyes on Jesus, “…the author and finisher of our faith.” (KJV). And I just praise Him today, for all that He has promised and all that He is doing and all that He will do! Praise God!