— Brother Phil Enlow: Someone who is so great that He could breathe out galaxies was willing to come and show me what it means to be a son of God. You think of the humbling. This is not acting humble. This is genuinely coming to a place of rest in who I am and realizing there is a God. He does fill eternity, but He’s just not some sort of vague entity. He has a purpose. There is a divine purpose that was formed in His heart before everything else happened.
God knew the course this world would take when He created it, when His Son created it. He is spoken of as crucified for us before the foundation of the world. I mean, you see this, the outworking of something that was in the heart of God. God has a purpose!
And our problem is we’ve got our purposes, and they are at cross purposes with each other and with His. But here is Jesus…though He was all that He was, yet He was willing in the heart and the purpose of God to come down and simply be what it took to fulfill the heart and the purpose of God. And that was to make Himself nothing.
Oh, how we struggle with such simple things. And how the Lord would bring us to a place of rest and submission. When you think of trust…I think there’s a scripture…I haven’t looked up some of these, but there’s a scripture in Hebrews 2 that talks about Jesus having a trust in His Father.
I’m standing alongside my brothers, and my trust is in Him. Isn’t there a scripture along that line, showing that in so many ways He is not just up here, but He’s down here as a Brother? Now He’s the greatest Brother we’ll ever have, but nonetheless, He’s taken His place by our side in order to lift us up to what He wants.
But, think about the trust, the sense of, I’m willing to put My life in Your hands, to put everything, all of My purposes aside. Lord, it’s…I didn’t come to this world to do My own will. I came to do the will, He said, of My Father.
Isn’t that what the Lord wants to produce in our lives, where the ultimate value in our lives is to be found in being His child and being the object of His love, and having an actual place in a divine purpose for somebody that great…where He knows about us, He thinks about us, He plans for us?
Yeah, I know getting to where we’re going can lead us into some dark and difficult places. Look where it led Him. And the reality is His motive for doing that was not so I can be somebody. It was so that we could be somebody. You see how what Paul is telling the people there and exhorting them was literally demonstrated by our Savior.
If you want to know what it means to have divine life, my God, it’s not sitting around singing happy songs, and expecting God to pat us on the back for it. It’s not just having a happy service so we can go out and everybody feels good about themselves, and then they go off and live their lives. God is really…God is looking to produce a transformation in us that can only come as we will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and let Him do the lifting up.
But when He lifts us up, it won’t be an ego trip. It won’t be this sense of, okay, finally, I get to be who I really wanted to be in the first place. I hate the way it happened, but I’m here. Okay.
No. That will be gone! If we submit ourselves under His mighty hand, God’s gonna burn that stuff out. It won’t be about us anymore. It will be about Him. We’re gonna stand before Him one day, if He gives us any crowns, we’re gonna say, whoa, here’s where the crown belongs. I’m gonna cast it at His feet. He’s the one who did it all. He’s the one who earned it all for us. To Him be the glory forever and ever!
( congregational amens ).
This One who was willing to come to earth as He did, made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. I mean, what were the values that He taught His followers? Do you want to be the greatest among your brothers? How do you do that? Be a servant. A servant is the greatest one in His economy. It’s exactly the inversion of human values.
And He didn’t come to be served but to serve. You think about the demonstration at the last supper, when He took off His outer garments, wrapped Himself with a towel. That was the garb of a servant. That was how they went around and did their thing. And He went around and washed their feet. You think of the humility that was demonstrated in that.
But it was more than humility. It was a care for somebody else. It wasn’t just, hey, I want to show you how humble I am. This is somebody who was so focused on them, and out of that experience He said I’m showing you how I want you to be toward one another. I want you to be about helping one another.
You’re gonna be down here in this world. There are gonna be a lot of ways in which this world is going to affect you and your walk in it. And I want you to be all about helping one another through, lifting one another up, helping one another with each burden, with each one’s burdens. What an amazing demonstration we see in our Lord. Praise God!
( congregational amens ).
Praise God! I got a little of my voice back. Praise the Lord! And so, all of this…and He goes through His whole life and comes down to the end, “…being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death.” (NIV).
Now, in the first place, this is a, this is the Spirit of One who, again, is not here to do His own will. There’s this obedience, this trust, this relationship with His heavenly Father, where…I know His heart.
See, we struggle with trust. Just be honest. We struggle with the very principle of trust. But think about this One who trusted His Father. Did He have a basis for trusting His Father? Yeah, He was there in the beginning. He was party to the plans that the Father had from the foundation of the world. He knew what His Father was like.
He could see what was going on in this ugly world. He was interacting with it through Israel. He saw it. He saw them rebel. He saw the constantly human nature rising up and corrupting everything! But He also knew His Father’s heart. And so, there was a 100 percent trust that enabled Him to obey.
Don’t we have a hymn that says something like that? “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.” Kind of simple, isn’t it? But do we not see that demonstrated in our Savior? This was not an acting job. He came into the place of danger.
He had every opportunity, if you will, to exalt Himself in some way that was outside of God’s purpose. What was one of the devil’s temptations? Yeah, carry You up on to the high place of the temple. You say You’re the Son of God, throw Yourself down! Let’s let everybody see who You are. That wasn’t God’s way. That wasn’t God’s purpose, God’s heart.
And I’ll guarantee there were so many times during His life…I mean, we know He was tempted in every way such as we are. Isn’t that what the scripture says? Don’t you know there were voices trying to talk to Him and pull Him and push Him in every direction, but the simple path of obedience to His heavenly Father and trust.
But I’ll tell you, He relied completely on the grace of God. See, that’s another way He’s our example. He didn’t come here with His own strength. He emptied Himself. He became a man. He became as dependent upon the Father as we are.
But yet, for Him, that was not a resignation to something unwelcome, as we might think of it. This was, I see, I get it, I know the path of life. I get what’s wrong with this world. I know I cannot give vent to this body and the nature and so forth that I see around me, that I feel. God is gonna give Me the strength to get through.
God is gonna give us the strength to get through, if we will, because I don’t have it. I need God. If Jesus needed His Father, if He needed the grace of God to do what He did, do we not?
( congregational amens ).
Yeah! That’s God’s plan. But isn’t that part of humbling ourselves and taking that place that is only rightfully ours…one of rest and dependence and humility and faith and all these things that we don’t have to put on? We’re not trying to put on a religious cloak here and act a certain way. We’re saying, God, put this in here. Change the way I look at life and the world and myself.
But He didn’t just humble Himself in the events of His life. He humbled Himself to death. Now, think about what that represents. Now, I know He died because of my sin. He took to Himself the guilt of everything that I have ever done, every evil thought, every evil deed, and yours. And He took the guilt of that and received the punishment that was due to me.
But it represented something much deeper than just that. He just didn’t die ‘for’ sin. He died ‘to’ it. It represented the ultimate rejection of corrupted human nature, that virus, that spiritual virus, if you will, that has infected the human race beyond cure. There is only one remedy for sin, and that’s to kill it. He died to it.
He was completely willing to give up His life, because He knew there was something beyond. He had the promise of His heavenly Father. Oh, praise God! Do we have a ground to stand upon when we think about God’s purpose for us to follow in His steps?
( congregational response ).
You see the steps that He took to get to where He is now? That’s the path for us, too. Now I don’t have to die for the forgiveness of my sins, but God has called me to die to sin! That’s central to salvation!
But there was a way of looking at life and a way of looking at the world that He saw…He saw it for what it was, no illusions. This is a sin-blinded, cursed world. I reject it utterly. I am willing to lay this body down in death.
I started to say, do we have a ground for hope in that? What about Hebrews chapter 6? I’ll just refer to some of these. I’m not gonna turn to every scripture, but…we’re told, by the writer there, that we have two things that God wants us to find rest and hope in.
And those two things are unchangeable. That means you and I can’t change it. That means the Devil cannot change it, and that means God won’t! What are those two things?
One of them is the unchangeableness of His purpose! Now, that goes all the way back to the beginning. I guess for you, the beginning is down there, isn’t it? I keep forgetting which way you’re looking. We’re a left to right culture here.
So, all the way back there in the beginning, He had this purpose! This is not something where I’m going to try it, see how it works, and then, we’ll make it up as we go along. This was an immutable, unchangeable purpose! That’s part of the rock that He wants us to be able to step upon and find hope and comfort!
And all that Jesus did in coming into the world was an expression of the outworking of that purpose that He said was not going to change! Folks, you want something that you can put your hope and faith in, that will never change? God says, look to My purpose, submit to it, become a part of it, become an expression of My purpose not yours. You want hope that’s gonna go beyond the struggles and strivings of this life that’s gonna end? Yeah, you look to My purpose.
But He said there were two things that were unchangeable. What was the other one? His Word, His promise! He’s got this purpose. Now, He comes to a place of expressing that purpose and, by the way, God cannot lie. That kind of helps, doesn’t it? You’re talking about somebody who, not just doesn’t, He cannot! It’s not in His nature to lie!
So, He has an unchangeable purpose, and then, He expresses that in a promise. Folks, we have got a hope that goes beyond everything you know in this world, and it all was carried out through the life, and demonstrated in the life of His Son. Man, what a hope that we have today! Praise God!
( congregational amens ).
Praise the Lord! I hope that’s where your hope lies! God will make that real to you if you’ll let Him possess your heart, because that’s what it’s about. Jesus was completely obedient and humble, and had given everything into His Father’s hands, and think who He was, and think who you are.
Good grief, do we struggle and strive to be something in ourselves, and how vain and how empty it is. Here’s the Lord of Heaven, like I say, who spoke galaxies into existence, willing to come down here and live the way He lived among us, and demonstrate His life and His nature. My God!
But as I was thinking about some of this, what does this mean in our lives, becoming obedient to death? Is that not what the Lord does in our lives when He allows the challenges and the difficulties of life to arise in us? What does that tend to do to you when stuff happens? What does it bring out? Does it bring out your glorious divine nature?
( laughter ).
Not typically. God uses it to bring out the reality of stuff that’s buried in here, that needs to be changed!
( congregational amens ).
So, what do we do? Do we choose to cling this? That’s what…that’s me! You’re getting down too deep…or do we cover it all up and pretend it isn’t there? Or do we say, oh, Lord, give me grace to let this go and to die to it…to humble myself to die.
See, for us, it’s a very progressive kind of thing that goes until our toes turn up. For Him, it was an incredibly compact event that took place over hours. I can’t imagine. Only the grace of God and the perfect Lamb of God could go through such a thing for me. Praise God that He did!
( congregational amens ).
But oh, do we not see in Him, not only a demonstration of what it means to be His child, what He’s looking for from us, this faith, this trust, this surrender, this embracing of a new way of thinking, this humbling ourselves to die. Where is it leading?
Oh my! All we have to do is look at Him and see where this led. Because after, “He humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Wow! Do you know what the name Jesus even means? It means God saves! It’s not just Savior, it’s God saves! In other words, this is…His Son was the very expression of God’s heart! This was His whole purpose in the beginning, was to have a people who would choose life, who would know what life and death was about and sin and all these things, but would choose to let Him remake them into people who could live with Him forever, be totally free from all of that.
Do you see the path that God has laid out for us? Do you see the demonstration of that path? Who do you think you are? Oh, do we jockey for position in life. Do we not, by nature, seek for our place and our…and chafe if somebody looks at us cross-eyed. We want people to notice if we do something. All these issues that just flow out of human nature without us even thinking about it…folks, do we need to be changed?
Do we just sit back and say well, thank You, Jesus, You’ve forgiven my sins, and now I get to go to heaven…and not understand what it’s about. But He means for us to learn to do exactly what He did, and say, Father, I’m in Your hands. I can’t fix what’s wrong with me. I need You to come into my heart. I need You to come into my life. I give You it in its brokenness.
I’m not gonna try to come and deserve this, because I don’t, nothing I could do. It’s just as I am. I come, and I give myself to You, Lord, and I’m looking to You to reproduce Your nature in me. Help me to humble myself and to put my trust, because I know there are gonna be times, I know there are gonna be times when it’s not gonna look good, it’s not gonna feel good. It didn’t for Jesus, did it? But there was this sense of looking to His Father.
Think of how He learned obedience. How did He learn obedience? By the things He suffered! Yeah, the things He went through taught Him what obedience was, because obedience has to happen in the context where something is pulling you the other way. Otherwise, you’re just going with the flow.
See, here He was with the things that would pull Him the wrong way and yet, here’s God’s will, and I choose that. Not only do I choose it, I recognize I don’t have the strength I need to do that. And so, in every sense, I am submitted to Him, I’m willing to take my place in that great plan that He had in His heart before the foundation of the world.
( laughing ).
Get the direction right again. Folks, do you want to be in your place? Do you want to find your place? I’ll tell you, we’re gonna discover that it’s an awesome thing. We don’t have to worry about who we are, what people think about us. I don’t know how else to express it, but I just sense…I mean, isn’t there something deeper in this than we’ve typically tended to read?
Is this not relevant to the day and the time and the season that we’re talking about? This is why He came. I thank God for the angels and the shepherds and the wise men and all of that, but what did it mean? He didn’t come to give us a behavior example, on a superficial level. It’s not the ‘what would Jesus do?’ kind of thing. He didn’t come to bring peace on earth. He came to bring judgement to this earth, but to rescue a people out of it, purely by grace through divine power.
Thank God! I want to walk in the steps that He laid down, and find grace in His sight to humble myself. I know there’s a lot of work He’s got to do. The more I learn, the more I say, oh God, You’re the only One that could be up to this. I see the depth more and more of what I am, but I know Your promise. I know Your purpose. That’s where my hope lies. And if they put a gun to my head and said, will you deny Jesus, may God give me the grace to say, He is Lord. Thank God!
If they do that, all they’re doing is threatening us with heaven. You know, how can we lose if put our hope in the One that’s eternal. I’ll tell you, every other philosophy is just about lifting up human nature and trying to make it something it isn’t. This is the one Savior who’s come into the world and tells us the unvarnished truth, and loves us in a self-sacrificial way to lift us up. I want to be like Him, don’t you? Praise God! To Him be the honor and the glory!
( congregational amens ).
Praise the Lord!