— Brother Phil Enlow: At every point, where I have a need, what’s the answer? Well, I asked the wrong question, didn’t I? ‘Who’ is the answer? should be the right question. God is going to constantly, frequently, at the proper time, in the proper way, He’s gonna bring me face to face with me.
You know, my real problem is not everybody around me. My real problem is me. It’s how I react to everything else, that God is mostly concerned with. But I’ll tell you, God is going to bring you and me face to face with our need, just as He did when we realized, I’m lost, I’m in a state of rebellion, my sins are piled up to heaven and I’m gonna have to answer for them one day, and I have a need.
I have a need when I get up in the morning to get through a day without walking in self-will and rebellion and all kinds of things, giving vent to the wrong thing that’s still in my body. It’s still part of this earthly life. Thank God, the day will come when that will be gone. Praise God!
But what God wants us to know and what God wants you to know, if you’re somebody who’s setting out in this life, what do you have to look forward to? You have Somebody who has everything that you could ever possibly need to get all the way home, who’s not just out there telling you what to do and shouting down encouragement, but who actually lives on the inside.
That’s what Christian faith, real, Biblical Christian faith is about. It’s a Person who comes to live on the inside, and He has everything you could ever need. Thank God!
I could just sit down right now, that’s an awesome thought. But thank God! That’s the message Paul is trying to get across. So, I’m faced with a need. What do I do? Like I was…several times this morning, I’ve had to stop and say, wait a minute, you better practice what you preach, because I felt especially weak, I felt especially scatter-brained, couldn’t even remember half the songs.
Just, you know…but you have to come to a place and say, well, Lord, you have got me where I’m at. I have the needs that I have, but what is the answer to this place that I’m in right now? It’s to reach up to you. And it’s to say, Lord, I have a need, but You have promised that You are the answer to that need! Come into and be what I need in this circumstance, that I cannot handle in myself. That’s the description of the Christian life, right there.
If your idea of the Christian life is committing yourself and your resources to serving this Jesus in the sky and keeping the rules, you are in for a rough ride! And it ain’t going anywhere either. You’re gonna be on a hamster wheel your whole life if you live like that.
But listen to…to what he says and how he describes this. I mentioned the fruit tree. In this case, we are the tree, “…continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him…” (NIV). And so, now you have the imagery that we all understand of a fruit tree. If you want a good crop of fruit, what do you do?
( congregation inaudible ).
You prune it, yeah. But I mean, where do you plant it? You plant in good, fertile soil, because, why? That’s where the plant gets…that the tree gets all of its nutrients. It draws up the water. It draws up the nutrients from that soil. If the nutrients aren’t there, the tree is going to suffer. It’s not gonna produce what you want it to produce.
And so, I’ll tell you, if you’re going to plant your life in any resource that this world has, it ain’t there, folks. But in all of this mess that we’re living in, God has given us the perfect soil. Every nutrient that you could ever want is there.
And so, as we navigate this life and we look to Him and He leads us on the path that’s marked out for us, like it says in Hebrews 12, we’re gonna confront those needs and what do we do? Oh, I’ve got to try harder. I’ve got to do this. I’m so bad, I can’t do this.
Listen to all the stupid lies and wisdom the enemy’s gonna put in your head and you say, God has promised! God has planted me in One who has every resource that I could ever possibly need. What He wants out of me at this point, is to dig my roots deep. Begin to reach down, reach up, but reach down…you understand the imagery he’s giving us right here.
Maybe right now our roots aren’t as deep as they need to be. You know, when you start out life as a baby, you have everything in you, in one sense, that you’ll ever have. Right? But you need something…well you need several things. You need nutrients. You need care, obviously. And you need exercise, and time. And you can take this little bundle of whatever, and it might turn out to be a mighty warrior, an astronaut, a football player…you know, somebody that’s…we look at their resources…where did they get all this? It was in there.
Do you know, when God plants us in Christ, everything we will ever be is in there? You see what Paul’s talking about? He wants us to grow up. He wants us to learn how to tap into the resource that He has given to us, so that we can grow up in Him to be all that…all that He has purposed. Thank God!
In Christ, I’m sure I mentioned this before, but the first time I ever heard Brother Thomas preach was in January 14th, or something like that, of 1968, 1969. He preached on this scripture…of course it was King James translation. We are complete in him! And he went over and over the fact that there’s so much doctrine out there, that oh, Jesus is good but now you need the Holy Ghost, or you need this or you need that, or you need something else. No, we need to go back to Jesus! Everything is in Him!
( congregational amens ).
In Him, “…all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form….” Now, if the Spirit of God that is in Him, that power, that life, all that God is, is in Him and He’s in us…we live like paupers, when we have within us, if we know Him, we have all the riches that we ever need. We need to learn what we have and believe in it and receive it and exercise it. I’ll tell you, God’s gonna grow us up if we start doing that. I hope I’m listening to this. Boy, this is fresh stuff, this is raw stuff, but it’s reality.
( congregational amens ).
It’s reality and God wants us to get to the point where we just don’t get bogged down with what we aren’t…bogged down with all the needs and all the shortcomings, and all that’s wrong, and we lift up our eyes, we see that, not as a problem I got to fix…but as something that will redirect our attention to the source that He has already given to us, the Person of Jesus Christ!
Boy, did he spend a whole lot to time in chapter 1, telling us about Him and how great He is? Who is this? Well, He’s just the Creator. He’s just the One who could speak and stars happened, galaxies. Not only that, He’s the one right now who upholds it. I had to remind myself of that this morning. I said, Lord, if you’re upholding the whole universe, I guess you can handle me…my little problems.
Just think about who this is! Oh God, we get so lost in the clutter of this world and of the weariness, and our mind is everywhere in the world except on the Person of Jesus. God wants Him to be so lifted up that we’ll always look and realize it’s, “Looking unto Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith.” (KJV). Praise God!
“…All the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ…” nothing lacking, “…who is the head over every power and authority.” (NIV). It’s not just that He’s so great, He’s…everything that could possibly rise up against me, to stop what God has purposed, it’s got to answer to Jesus.
Do you think anything is greater than He is, can overrule and say, Jesus, You can’t do that? Oh no! We’ve got Somebody we can look to. I don’t care what happens in the world. I don’t care, in one sense, what they do to us. There’s nothing they can do to defeat what God has set in motion! Man, I want to be part of that, don’t you? I’m thankful for all that He’s done to bring me into that, and everyone here that is.
And so, He talks about the various needs. We need forgiveness of sins coming into the Kingdom. We need a different life because we don’t have one that’s capable of living that kind of a life. We need Him. And we need power against all this that’s coming at us from the outside. And every part of that, He has answered.
But what did He do about my sinful nature? God…”When you were dead in your sins…” verse 13, “… and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all of our sins, having canceled the written code….” Talking about the Law that God used to show us that we had a need, you can’t be saved by that. But He uses it to show us what sinners we are so that we’ll turn to Him. That’s what he’s talking about.
So now that’s gone. We don’t have to try to measure up and try to earn our way. “…That was against us and stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Okay? I jumped over something that I meant to go back to in verse 12. What is the significance? We’re having a baptism service today. This comes into it. What happens? “…Having been buried with him in baptism…” There is a union with Jesus Christ that is real.
( congregational response ).
You know, I remember seeing this years ago, that there is a certain amount of similarity to marriage, to a wedding. Now, I’m not talking about what it has become and how corrupt that it’s become. I’m talking about the way God sees it, the way God instituted it.
It’s one thing for a young man and a young woman to be drawn to one another and to reach a place of conviction, we call it love, where they know, they sense the oneness that has come. There is a commitment and a spirit in each of one, and they’re engaged at one point. But even at that point, there’s still something that is not done, right? You still have a wedding. And it is a time of clear-cut, ‘no turning back’ commitment before God and men. There is a status that has changed. Everything changed, two have become one.
And I’ll tell you, there’s an authority, now obviously that God’s involved, but there’s a civil authority that recognizes what’s happening on that day, and puts its stamp and there’s a record of it in the courthouse. It becomes official.
Folks, I see in baptism where this is God’s equivalent to that in a sense. There is a point in time where our commitment to Him, our giving over of our life, we become united with Him. When He left this world by way of the cross, He willingly gave up His earthly life. He demonstrated for us the true value of earthly life…it’s nothing. You can’t keep it. It’s borrowed. You’re gonna give it up anyway. He gave it up willingly. He died to Adam, to everything it represented, because He had the promise of another life that could not be corrupted, that was forever.
That is the same promise that becomes ours, when we are truly married to Him. There is something that happens. There is a supernatural transaction that God institutes, and it’s real. Why does He relate this to baptism? “…Having been buried with him in baptism….” ‘By baptism’ is another sense of that word, that preposition ‘in.’ “…Raised with him through your faith in the power of God.”
How does all this happen? Is this something that I have to somehow come up with? No. I am presenting myself to Him. I have no power. I can’t give myself eternal life. I am believing Him, that when I do what is right in His eyes, I give myself to Him, He’s going to respond. There is a transaction that happens when a human heart truly repents and believes.
Isn’t that what…it’s obvious on the Day of Pentecost they believed, because they gave the invitation. They said, what are we supposed to do? They obviously believed the message. What did Peter say? “Repent and be baptized….” There’s an expression of faith and a willingness to turn away from sin and say, this is not what my life is about! I want that other life. I want Jesus to come in and change me and make me His.
And what happens? Your sins will be forgiven, “And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” There is a real transaction that happens. You know, I thought about this verse in Ephesians 1, several times this week, and it came up in conversation with my wife the other day. Interestingly, we were both thinking about the same thing.
But Paul is writing here to the Ephesian believers, and he talks about the great things that God has done. I’m not gonna read all of that. But I’ll go ahead and read from verse 11 for a minute, moment. “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will….” Sounds like He’s in charge doesn’t it? “…In order that we…” What’s His purpose now? “…In order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ….” There’s a hope, there’s a confidence, there’s an expectation that God can birth in the human heart when we open our hearts to His Word.
“…Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (KJV). God speaks, a human heart receives that, and something is birthed in here that enables us to come to Him. “…The first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel…” the Good News, “…of your salvation.” (NIV).
So you see, there’s the time element coming into it. He did everything He did. The Gospel goes out. When am I included in that? When I hear and believe. When that transaction happens in my heart, then God includes me in something that’s already happened. The Devil can’t touch that! Praise God!
But now listen to what God’s part of this is. “Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession--to the praise of His glory.”
Whoa! Think about that. What’s he saying there? The seal. When God imparts His Spirit, like he’s talking about here, He’s calling that a seal. Is that not God saying, this one is mine. Do you want to be marked?
( congregational response ).
Whose seal do you want to have? There are a lot of people who are gonna have the wrong one. But I’ll tell you, God wants to do something that is just as real as real marriage, that changes your identity, changes your status. When God grants to you His Spirit to come and to reside in your heart, there’s something that goes beyond, saying, yeah, I believe in Him, I’m going along with it.
There are so many that ‘go along with,’ but they’re still on the throne. There’s gonna have to come a time of surrender, and faith, and believing the promise of God. And I’ll tell you, when a human heart does that, do you think God is gonna be reluctant? That’s the one thing He wants, He longs to do…to say, you’re Mine, you’re Mine!
That was the thing that burdened the heart of the one who wrote the book of Hebrews. It was that there were people who were in danger of stopping short of that. They just didn’t ever quite enter in. They were always…something in here, there was a reserve, there was a holding back, holding onto one’s own heart and one’s own way. And people can go along and taste the powers of the world to come, taste a lot of things.
But I’ll tell you, there’s something that’s real that God wants to do for every single human being that hears the promise of His Word. God is going to give you His Spirit if your heart is genuinely presented to Him in faith. You don’t have to be a theologian, you could be…I mean, didn’t the Lord say, unless you become like a child, you’ll never enter? It’s all the smart people that think God’s got to explain it to them before they’ll believe…or show them a sign.
There’s gonna have to come a point where we just simply, we hear the Word of God and we know in here that it’s real and we surrender to it. And we present ourselves to Him and God will give you His Spirit.
And I want to say that about today. For those who genuinely are coming to Him and looking to Him, you expect that God’s gonna give you the seal of His Spirit. And when you come out of the water, you praise Him and you thank Him. You thank Him for His promise.
Isn’t that how we come? We believe His Word and we thank Him for it! I mean, isn’t that an expression of faith? We don’t just beg, oh God, please, oh God, please, oh God, please. There has to come a time when we say, thank You, Lord. I’m coming to You because of Your Word and Your promise. Oh, there’s nothing that pleases God more than simply believing what He says. I want to be more like that myself, don’t you?
You see, the simplicity of what Paul is teaching here. And I want to come back to this. I don’t think it’s necessary to say a whole lot of things. I mean, there are a lot of things you could probably pad this with and I don’t want to do that. But everything--everything that you and I need, to be all that God has called us to be and purposed that we be…in the first place, He’s provided it. I don’t have to come up with it.
In fact, the problems that I have are when I try to come up with it, or try to deal with stuff on a natural level, instead of just coming to Him and saying, thank You, Lord. Open my eyes. This present need, if it’s coming to Him for salvation, if it’s just living out your life and confronting needs in your life as you go along, the answer is exactly the same. It’s receiving Jesus.
You receive Him as Savior. I need to receive Him as Savior, in one sense, every single day! It’s not that I haven’t been sealed, but I need some measure of Him right now to be able to handle what He’s put on my plate.
( congregational amens ).
That’s what every single day becomes about. And I learn more about Him. I get more and more free from doing things my way and thinking my thoughts. He is everything that I need! Didn’t the Lord say He, “…is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”? (KJV).
Sanctification is being set apart for Him. That’s what the Lord does when He gives you the Spirit. He says, this one’s mine, you’re set apart! You’re not just part of this world! You’re Mine! You’re on a different track. You’re gonna have a different destiny and I’m gonna take you there, and I’ve given you everything that you need in Christ! All you need to do is to look to Him and surrender and believe My promise! And receive it--receive it!
Oh, we complicate it. I complicate it. But God wants to bring us back to a simplicity. Everything we need is in Him. And we have the privilege of coming to Him. That’s what God is going to…is bringing forth, is a people that He resides in, that are sealed by His Spirit, joined together in their hearts. Christ lives, not just in the individuals but in the assembly.
This is what will…this is the One who will carry us through everything that comes. He has already conquered every enemy we will ever face, including the one we see in the mirror. He has already won the victory at the cross. We simply receive what He paid such a dear price for! Thank God! We have everything we need this morning!