TV Transcripts

“Faith vs. Facts,” Conclusion
Broadcast #1429
February 23, 2020

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1429 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I wonder how much you and I, more than we dare realize, are prisoners of this “realistic” thinking, where we live in a prison house of earthly ‘facts’ so-called, when God wants to take us beyond those facts and show His power in us. Do you think maybe, just maybe that’s where He’s going with a whole lot of things that’re happening in our lives?

How many of you just love…I know you’d all love to have an easy way and just, praise God, I’d jump on the bandwagon and it’s gonna take me to heaven and everything is gonna be great and grand and we’re gonna sing and shout all the way there. I’ll tell you, we can sing and shout but it’s gonna have to be through tears, sometimes. It’s gonna have to be through pain, sometimes. It’s gonna have to be through difficulties of many kinds!

It’s not “realistic.” God has put us in a world where every fact that the Devil can bring forth is rallied against what He has said and what He has promised, and we’re gonna have to make that choice! And only God’s power at work in a heart can enable us to do that! That’s why we’ve got to open up and say, God, help me!

( congregational response ).

And in those times when you have no answer, in those times when it hurts, when there’s sadness, when there’s sickness, when there’s all these things that rise up against faith and you’re wondering, does God really care? That’s when faith grows! That’s when God wants to enables us. He’s promised to give us the grace, the divine help that we need in every kind of…every time we face that type of circumstance. God wants us to reach out and lay hold of Him.

You know, that was the service Wednesday night, wasn’t it…how that God has given us everything. Some of you weren’t here. But anyway, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. So, what’s lacking? Why don’t we have it?

See, we need to lay hold of His promises, and God will take us through life experiences in which the virtues that He longs to form in our character will be called for. We’re gonna need them. When every ounce of your natural being wants to hate somebody, and God says love them, I need help.

But has God provided that help? So, what’s my place? It’s to reach out by faith and say, God, I feel this, but You promised. Well, I’ll tell you what, there are a whole lot of people that blame God, effectively, for their troubles. I was born this way. If God wanted me to live this way, He wouldn’t have allowed me to feel this. Oh, yeah? You don’t have a clue what’s going on in this world. God has fixed it to where we live in a world where we are gonna have to go against this, and it’s gonna take divine power to do it. But we have a God who is faithful!

( congregational amens ).

So, here’s Abraham, and of course, you remember. Well, let’s see…let’s talk about what he…in verse 13, back to Hebrews 11, “All these people were still living by faith when they died.” (NIV). And so, the faith, the things that they had a hope of, many of them extended beyond their natural life, and still they reached their deathbed, and they didn’t say well, God promised this, and I don’t see it, so, therefore, poo on that!

There was a conviction. They were able to breathe their last breath and say, God, I know You’re faithful. This is worth dying for. This is more real to me than all of Satan’s facts. Is He that real to you? That’s what God wants to build in every single one of us. Okay?

So, “They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.” Now here’s a part of it. “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.”

That’s a real issue, folks. Where is our affection? There are a lot of people in the world who feel needs that life brings, and they would like their circumstances to be improved, and they see in God a means to that end. They want to come and believe in God and trust God and ask God and all this, and God’s gonna come, and He’s gonna do this, and thus and so in my life. That’s what I’m looking for.

What’s the motive in that? That’s trying to use God as a servant to fix me up, to make my life what I want it to be in this world, My God, that’s not what the Kingdom of God is about. The Kingdom of God is about rescuing Satan’s prisoners and changing us from the heart level out and getting us ready to leave this life behind and embrace one that is to come.

And the reality is that there’s a God who can make that so real that you would be willing to lay down your life. Man, we need that. I don’t want any of these precious young people down here to have second-hand faith. I want you to have your own encounter with God.

( congregational amens ).

He will come and speak to you and make Himself real to you if you will open your heart when He comes! And you can have something that’s real. Boy, I wish you could see more in us. I guarantee we’ve all got room to grow, don’t we? But this God is real, and He wants to be real in this hour that we face. We face the darkest hour the world has ever seen. I don’t know how that will play out, but I know that there’s a God who has put something in us that will prevail over all of that if we will trust Him. Okay?

So, people who say…okay…if they had been thinking about these things, there would have been opportunity to return. “Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” How many believe that God has genuinely set before us a hope that is eternal, that there is a kingdom that’s real?

( congregational amens ).

The world will look at you and call you a fool, and tell you that this is just pie in the sky, feel-good, imaginary religion, that you’re just trying to do this as a coping mechanism because life is hard. Well, there may be people like that, but I’ll tell you, there is a God who’s real. That God was real to Abraham.

( congregational amens ).

And he looked past everything that there was wrong with this world, and he said, this is not my home. God’s purpose for me goes way beyond my individual life, and I’m gonna die in faith.

I tell you what, the faith that took him through was the faith that enabled him when God said, sacrifice your son. You think about the reality of the facts that that man had to face. Can you just feel the fight and the questioning within him? But God, this is the son You promised. Lord, I know he was supernaturally given to me. God, this is Your son. How can you ask me to do this? But his confidence in the Person of God went beyond his questions. Think about that.

Every one of us will face things in life about which we will have many questions. But I’ll tell you, we need to have such a knowledge of who this God is and what He has done and how much He loves, how much He has demonstrated that love and the promises that He has. His promises are more real to us than anything we can see and touch and feel, because they’re that real.

And so, we see how God allowed Abraham to come to the point where his arm was raised then God stopped him and said, I see that you’re not gonna withhold anything. I don’t know whether I could face that test or not. But you think about the facts that he was having to deal with. The scripture here says that he, “…reasoned that God could raise the dead.” Well, that was one way to look at it. That isn’t how it happened.

You know, God has His own way of fixing things and bringing circumstances to bear on our lives and changing them. Wouldn’t it be nice if we would just learn to rest in that? Oh, how we struggle, and we strive, and we question. Oh, God, if You really loved me this wouldn’t be this way. God…when are You going to answer my prayer, Lord?

Why don’t we just say, God, I’m gonna take one stance, one stand before You, and I’m just gonna simply believe You. And I am well aware that the Devil is going to raise up every kind of fact he can that will oppose that conviction, but God…I can’t do this in myself. Lord, by faith, I ask for the grace to fuel this faith and enable me to rise up and enable me to have that conviction and to stand in the middle of this.

Of course, you have the example of Moses, “…when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

That’s a pretty good picture of what faith is, isn’t it? Do you see, even among such a rag tag bunch of people that doesn’t impress anybody in the world…I don’t care. I want to have something that’s real. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement, but I want something that’s real.

I don’t care whether we impress anybody. God will reach people. God will work with hearts, and He will draw people that…where He opens the heart. My God, we don’t need a program that’ll bring people in here and appeal to their flesh. We need God to change hearts and lives.

( congregational amens ).

But here was a man, somehow, God enabled him to have enough faith to make a rather radical choice. How many of us would have said God, I praise You? My people are in trouble, and You allowed me to grow up in the palace! Think of all the good things that I can do for them because of my position. But that isn’t how it worked.

Oh, we would love to stay in what we think of as a safe, comfortable, nice, circumstantially profitable place, and simply extend help to those poor people “down there.” He stepped over, and he said, I’m one of you. I recognize that this Egyptian empire that’s so real…. He didn’t pretend it wasn’t real.

This empire that is so powerful and so real at this point in history that they enslaved my people, I see where this is going. They’re not serving God. They don’t have any kind of a future. My future is gonna be here with these people, because I know the promises God gave to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and I’m with them.

You know, even then, you remember what happened when God was ready to use Moses? He came to a place where he had to deal with some facts, and they were facts in his mind. I can’t speak. I’ve spent 40 years in the wilderness tending sheep. You got the wrong guy. They’re not gonna believe me. Oh, God…on and on and on. Finally, basically, he said here am I, send Aaron.

( laughter ).

But you know, God took the weakness that he had when he surrendered it to God, and God made him the mightiest prophet of the Old Testament.

God doesn’t need your resources. God doesn’t need your facts about who you are and who you aren’t in this world. God is not looking at us as a natural people with all of our particulars in life. God is simply wanting a people who will come to Him and say, God, You are my God. Lead me in a plain path.

Lord, we’re facing another year. I don’t want to come to the end of this year and be where I’m at right now. I don’t know what Your path has for me. I don’t know how much we will see Your power and glory. I mean, we’d love to see that, but this may not be the time for some of that. This may be a time when God is gonna be digging in our hearts and getting us ready.

I’ll tell you, there are times when God pours out His Spirit, and there’s a people that just are so superficial and so immature, they can’t handle it. I want to see God work, don’t you? We have seen Him in the history of this church. We have seen Him do mighty things. And that’s not the sort of thing that we see from week to week right now, is it?

But I’ll tell you…we need to have a heart that says, God, bring us to a place of maturity where You can do everything that we see that’s a characteristic of Your church in the Word. We can see the gifts of the Spirit. We can see miracles, when that’s appropriate. And we won’t go to seed on it, and we won’t become a bunch of sign-seekers that glory in that. We’ll always keep You in the center.

Folks, how many of you are praying that way? We should! We need to cry out and say, God, we are not satisfied just to sit here and be keepers of the tradition! We are not called to simply occupy ‘til He comes, in that sense, or like Jen Hartman put it so many years ago, hang on ‘til I get there.

There’s more to it than that. God has things that He wants to unfold in our lives. The things you’re going through right now and the things I’m going through right now, where so many facts raise themselves up and say, look at you, you’re weak. Look at this circumstance, you’re defeated. Look at your life. You’ve been this was all your life! All these things rise up, and they’re facts! They’re real! But God says I’m bigger than your facts.

( congregational amens ).

If you’ll just reach out to Me and trust Me, I can take you out of that. I can lead you forward, and it won’t always be with exhilaration. It will be sometimes with pain and tears and perseverance, but that’s what the nature of the Kingdom of God is about in this world. That’s what the writer here is talking about. That’s where he’s going with this. This is to God’s people to help them understand what real Kingdom faith is about. Praise God!

You think about the…oh, Lord, you could just go through the whole Bible and talk about facts. How about when the Israelites were standing on the shore of the Red Sea…I mean, the near shore? Those were some pretty serious facts. The mightiest army in the world was poised to destroy them. They have an impenetrable body of water in front of them. They have no arms to possibly be able to do anything.

They’re trapped by their circumstances — except that they weren’t! There was a God who had power over that sea, and they were enabled to walk through that thing on dry land, and not only that, that very sea closed over and destroyed the army that was chasing them.

Folks, I want to serve that God. He may not do something that dramatic, but that’s the same God that’s here today. These are not history lessons. These are meant to cause us to reach out and say, You are my God, today! You can do everything that You said You would do in the scriptures, but Lord, help us to walk with You when we don’t see the fire flying. Help us to trust You. Help us to look to You every single day.

Oh, can you imagine what was going on in the minds of some of the folks when they went up against Jericho? Never mind that they had just walked across the Jordan River at the flood stage, and God had opened that. I mean, that was pretty cool. But now, all of a sudden, they’re gonna defeat a city, and God gives them a battle plan of marching around it and singing. Seriously?

And you know, you get to the point where the seventh day, they march around it seven times. This is getting ridiculous. That wall is a fact. We can’t sing it down. Only, when they trusted God, God intervened, and God took care of the fact. And that fact wasn’t a fact anymore, was it? Praise God!

Over and over again, you see this same theme. Gideon, Barak, Samson, David. I’d say he faced some pretty good facts, didn’t he?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. Goliath was at least twice as big as he was. I mean, they had genuine giants in those days, and he was on up there, probably higher I could jump these days, and touch the top of his head. But anyway, that was real. He had a sword that David could barely pick up. And David had no experience with armaments. And the whole army was afraid. I mean, on and on and on, there was nothing that he could look to in his natural environment that would give him any kind confidence or hope.

So, where did his hope come from? It came from his relationship to God that he had seen in lesser things. He had seen God at work in his life. And so, he didn’t even sneak out there and say, I’m hoping this will work out. He ran. He got five stones and only needed one of them. Why? Because God’s power trumped every earthly fact!

I don’t care what the facts are in our lives. We have a God whose power trumps those facts. I mean, you think about so many of these things that are accounts that we know about, and some of them are referred to here as, shut the mouths of lions. Of course, he’s talking about Daniel, isn’t he?

You know, you don’t go into a den of hungry lions and have the door locked behind you and expect to come out in one piece. Everybody knows that. The whole history of the human race would tell you that. Be realistic, Daniel. Hide yourself. Don’t be a fool. You can still pray in secret. He went and opened his window and prayed exactly like he always had. And I’ll tell you, there’s a God who took him through that and shut the mouths of the lions until he threw his enemies in there, and then they had a feast, didn’t they?

Can you imagine being one of the three Hebrew children? What were the facts? You’re standing there under the power of a king who is the greatest emperor on the planet at the time. His army is there. There ain’t nowhere to run. He is demanding that you fall down at his image and worship that image, and you know that’s not right! How many people would have pretended? God wants a people who are so steadfast that nothing will cause us to compromise with the facts of this world. Kind of quiet, isn’t it? But it’s the truth, isn’t it?

( congregational response ).

And I’ll tell you, we have a God who will fight our battles. And of course, we know how that one turned out. Not only did they survive, the Lord was in there with them!

But here’s the other, the flip side of that. Down in the middle of verse 35, “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated.” Praise God!

But yet, they are listed among the heroes of faith just as much as the ones who saw a supernatural deliverance. See, it’s not about how things work out. How many of us fall into that trap? Oh, I’ll believe You. And then, I’ll believe You, and it’s a little bit less and little be less, and the next thing you know, we’re just, oh well.

God wants a people like He said to the church at Smyrna in Revelation, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” There are people that God is going to do something amazing. There’re gonna be supernatural deliverances like you have never seen, if that’s God’s purpose for that situation. But God may well call some of us to literally give up this earthly life and be killed. Does what you have…will what you have take you through that?

If you have the Lord, you have what you need. He is what we need. When we choose to believe God instead of the facts, quote unquote, God is going to minister the faith that we need, and faith is going to become stronger. We are gonna become the kind of people that God wants us to be. There is no other way to get that.

You can’t come down to the altar and get filled with faith. We’re gonna have to get it in the field of battle. And I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who has never failed His people. He’s never failed for one that has looked to Him from their heart, and He won’t fail you! I don’t care who you are! I don’t care what your history is, don’t care what your circumstances are! This God is greater than all of that!

( congregational amens ).

He, “…calls things that are not as though they were.” Oh, I thank God that we’ve got Somebody who transcends facts. He’s not limited by you and your weakness and you circumstance and your failure and your track record and all these things. We have a right to go to a God who can take us beyond all of that.

So, lets cry out to Him and say, God, build the kind of faith in me that I need to please You and to walk with You. Help us to walk in this and not simply use it as a history lesson, a theology lesson. Bring the words off of these pages, and make them real here, now in our midst. Praise God!


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