— Brother Phil Enlow: He is out to destroy everyone. He is angry! He knows he has lost the war! And he is determined to take down everyone he can. Thank God, he cannot countermand what Jesus has set in motion! God is gonna reach a people!. He knows who they are! He knows how to reach them! We need to be in harmony with Him, and let Him do the work, because He is the only One who’s able to do this. But, He will never fail.
“All that the Father gives me…” Jesus said, “will come to me.” (NIV). And what about them? None of them are gonna be cast away. Do you see the perfect union with the Father and the Son there? Everybody He gives is gonna come, and nobody will be turned away. Thank God!
So, you’ve got a wisdom here that causes people to live, trying desperately to satisfy itches that are in here, and it doesn’t work. “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice.” Now, he’s talking to Christians. Folks, these things affect us.
If there’s anyone here who has any lack of peace in your heart, where does that come from? Ah, it comes from our old nature wanting something—wanting something that’s self-driven. It come from this so-called wisdom. It comes from the world. This is how it should be. Go get it. It comes from the heart of the Devil himself, but it affects us—it affects us.
We live our lives singing about peace, but we don’t have the peace that God wants us to have. I realize it’s not something you can snap your finger and say, oh, now I’ve got it, I’ve got it. This has got to come as a learning experience.
You know, I think somebody had quoted Dave this morning. I thought it was a wonderful way to put it, about how…we can live with the stuff we know as though this is all what we’ve learned in the past, but it’s not what we’ve learned. It’s what we’re learning. It’s not about past stuff. It’s about present action. We are meant to be learners. We are meant to be people who learn the wisdom that is from above, which he’s gonna talk about in a second.
There is a wisdom that comes from God, that is meant, not just to tell us about what glorious things are gonna happen one day, but how we can cope with a world that hates God, where it’s a world of people who don’t know what peace is about. They make a treaty, and oh, we’ve got peace. Oh, yeah. You break it down to the individual level, you’ve got broken lives, and messes, and people who are snared by every form of sin imaginable. Okay?
So, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice.” That’s the root of every evil thing in the world. It’s simply, my desires. There was somebody else who talked about being in a situation where there was a conflict with somebody, or feelings about somebody.
This is something we’ve said many times, and we, every one of us, fall into it over and over again. The problem is them! If they wouldn’t do that, or say that, or act that way, I’d be fine. Why do you think God caused them to act that way, or allowed them to act way? It’s not about how they’re acting. It’s about how you’re reacting! And you’re reacting because you’re following the dictates of your old nature instead of Christ. We’ve said it over and over again, and we do it over and over again. But you know, the Lord’s teaching us, isn’t He?
( congregational amens ).
He loves us enough to keep reminding us and showing us where it’s at, because He is the Prince of peace.
( congregational amens ).
That’s what He longs to give us. Thank God! All right, so you’ve got the Devil’s wisdom. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all…pure; then peace-loving….” Okay, it’s first of all pure. But it’s, “…then peace-loving, considerate….”
What does considerate mean? Who are you thinking about when you’re considerate? Me? No, we’re thinking about somebody else. That’s what He’s after. “…Considerate, submissive….” Oh, we love that one. That’s human nature, right? Oh, I just love to be submissive. No, we want to be in charge. We want what we want, and that’s right, and everybody needs to get out of our way and let us have it. That’s the source of all that’s wrong with humanity. That’s why there’s no peace to the wicked. God doesn’t want us acting like them, but we do more than we should.
Okay, “…submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Boy, those are amazing qualities, aren’t they? And the thing is, not one of us was born with those qualities. If we’re gonna have them, we’re gonna have to get them from Somebody.
And when he talks about wisdom, we’ll see this as we go, and of course, we’ve talked about it many times…he’s not talking about us having better information so we can act different. It takes more than just knowing what’s right to do. I mean, you can read this and say, oh, good, now, that’s what I’m supposed to do. Well, good luck, because you don’t have a nature that will support that, and that’s gonna constantly get in the way!
That’s what Paul discovered in Romans 7 when he tried to serve God by obeying the law, and he discovered his batting average was zero. Even when he did it outwardly, it wasn’t here, like it was supposed to be. My God, we need a miracle, don’t we?
All right, so what happens when you’ve got that kind of wisdom in operation? It says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace…raise a harvest of righteousness.” My God, you see what God is trying to do? He’s trying to plant His life down here and raise a harvest. This is the context in which we have to serve God. We’re gonna need supernatural help. We’re gonna need God. We’re gonna something we can’t get from this world. We can’t get it from ourselves. It only comes from Christ. That’s the hope of the Gospel. Thank God!
What now, now he goes on. Really, there’s a chapter break here, but it wasn’t there in the original. This goes right straight into chapter 4, verse 1. So he goes back to the question, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” Why? Why don’t you have perfect unity with everybody around you? I mean, you know, we understand that’s not a good thing, but it happens, constantly.
You put two people in a room, sooner or later, you’re gonna have a fight. Why? “Don’t they come from your desires….” No, they come from him! They some from the other guy! He’s not doing right! He’s not measuring up to my standard! He’s not like I think he should be, or she.
No, “…they come from your desires that battle within you?” That’s the problem. It’s a heart issue, isn’t it? “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want…you do not have, because you do not ask God.”
See, this is where it gets into our relationship with Him. See, you’ve got people, first of all, we don’t [have] things because we don’t ask Him. But now, we’ve got another problem, because we’re still here in this carnal state where we’re following too much the old nature.
“When you ask, you do not receive…” Why? “…Because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” So, you see what the problem is throughout this? It’s human nature in control. We’re meant to be yielded to Him, to learn how to live by a different life.
This is why religion can’t help you. This is why perfect theology can’t help you. Perfect creeds can’t help you. We have got to have a new heart, and a new life, and only Jesus can give us that.
But I tell you, even when He does, that does not automatically guarantee that in every instance we are going to follow that life, we’re gonna live out that life. This is what the problem is. We’re still in the middle, and James is dealing with Christian believers, and yet, he says there’s fights. You get in a fight. You’re having a problem. Why? It’s because you’re following your desires. Wake up! This is what it’s about.
“You adulterous people….” An adulterer is somebody who’s married, but they’re messing around with somebody else. “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” You’ve got two opposing kingdoms. The kingdoms of this world are God’s enemies! If we live according to the dictates and the ideas of the world, we’re absolutely fighting against God. We’re fighting against ourselves, really. But God wants to set His people free. Praise God!
“Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace.” Now, let’s just take a step back and say, now who does He give the grace to, or for you grammarians, to whom does He give the grace?
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” You know, sometimes, the proud are the ones that think they can do it. They’re bopping along in a situation. I can handle this. I’ll wait ‘til I get to the big stuff, and then I’ll, oh God, I need You. We need Him all the time, about everything.
The wonderful thing is, He is available all the time about everything. He’s interested all the time in everything, and He’s willing, but we’re too proud. If we could think differently, and ask Him for the grace to think differently…I mean, you’ve got to start where you’re at, don’t you? If I’m proud, I need grace to stop being proud. I need to recognize, I need You, Lord, in this area.
Wherever I’m at, Lord, I don’t have what it takes. I don’t have the desire to do the right thing in this particular area. I heard some amens, but I think everybody here could have said it. Yeah, there you go. So, what do we do?
Oh God, I need You. Lord, You’ve promised, You’ve promised, and I’m coming to You. I’m believing Your promise in the face of all that says it can’t ever be. Lord, I need peace in my heart. I need something that only You can give.
You know, there are so many scriptures you could use. Lord, we preached three different Sundays…straight Sundays on peace one time, didn’t we, from Isaiah 26? Peace, peace. But one scripture that I think is critical to this…let me go ahead and turn to it. I think it’s in John 14, right at the end.
And remember this is where Jesus was…it was the night before His crucifixion. He was talking to His disciples, gave them a lot of information. Okay, it was not at the end. It was verse 27, talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit. You’re gonna be taught. But in 27, He says, “Peace…” It’s what we’re talking about today, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”
Isn’t that interesting? It’s not like I’m gonna give you a box of something and it’s called peace. This is My peace. Where did Jesus get His peace? From the Father. Okay, is it just sort of a warm, gooey feeling? What did that mean in practice? Think about…what does that actually meant for Him to have a state of peace, given everything that happened to Him?
He trusted. That’s a key. That’s what Isaiah said, “…because he trusted in thee.” (KJV). You have peace, peace. It was an absolute unity of His heart and His will.
Now, we know He had battles. He cried, “…with strong crying and tears…” didn’t He? And the Lord saved Him out of that. But the salvation is not what we think about, because He wasn’t rescued from the cross. He had to go through that, but what He did have was a heart that was yielded and willing and able, by God’s power, to go through something that was impossible for a human being to do.
( congregational amens ).
That’s what salvation is about. Doesn’t John 14:27 give us a clue about what salvation is all about? In effect, Jesus is saying I’m giving Me to you. I get it. You don’t have what it take to have what God wants you to have in this world! But I have come to a place where, now, God has invested in me a life, and I have the power to share that life with you, and that peace that has carried me through my earthly life, it’s Mine, I have it, and I’m sharing it with you!
That means He’s sharing it with you, and you, and you, and me, today. This is not just something that happened the night before He was crucified. This is all through. It’s called time and time again, the Gospel of peace, the Good News!
Thank God, the foundation is that we can have peace with God, and have our sins dealt with and washed away as if they had never happened, but then there’s a practical side, that God wants us to be able to walk through our lives and actually have a peace…that we’re not constantly knocked off kilter by all the stuff that happens as though, why did it happen to me?
Well, get your mind off of yourself, and just put yourself in God’s hands and say, thank You, Lord. Your grace is enough. I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who can give peace in your situation and mine, today, if we will let Him.
That’s the problem. Do we want to cling to our way so much, and our rightness in a situation, so much that we’re just not willing to let go? Boy, that came up today several times, about how much we need to come to the place where we can let stuff go.
There’s a wonderful scripture…it might be a good one to finish with that we certainly all know very well, and that’s in Philippians chapter 3. Well, I’ve been all around it here. There we go. I’m sorry, it’s Philippians, chapter 4.
Now, it’s interesting that right before he gets to the scripture that we always think of, in verse 2, Paul’s writing to believers in the city of Philippi. He says, “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.” (NIV). So, is this a problem? Is this a natural…I mean, is this the kind of thing that you deal with when human beings are together, even in the Lord? Are there not conflicts? Is that what God wants? Is there an answer? Is there a solution to this problem?
He pleads with them. “Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow…” to whom he’s writing, “…help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
Now, the scripture that we’re all so familiar with…because if you have got…your human nature is too much in charge, is that not the source of fear and anxiety, among other things? Yeah. You’re always…there’s always something that’s got you going and got you worried, and you’re worried about this. You’re worried about something else. There’s a burden. I can’t fix this. What’s going on? There’s all this unrest.
Oh, my God, God doesn’t want us to have to live that way, and He knows…like Peter said, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (KJV). But here, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything…” (NIV). Okay, so how do I do that? Good luck. Stop being anxious, everybody! That doesn’t work, does it? Better have a way to do that.
“…But in everything….” Everything. That comes to all the little stuff, all the little things that we run into in our lives. It gets right down to the nitty gritty of where you and I live, in everything, about anything. “…But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving….”
How many of you pray and petition with complaining? See, there’s no trust in that, is there? It’s like, God, You’ve got it in for me, and I don’t like it, and I’m gonna pout. No, we come to Him…Lord, You’ve allowed a need in my life. I feel it. I’m in a difficult place, but I know You love me. I know that in all things You’re working together for my good, and You have a purpose in all of this. So, in my request, I’m thanking You, Lord. I’m thanking you for the circumstance, but I’m thanking You because You have the answer and the grace. Okay?
“…Prayer and petition, with thanksgiving….” That’s a pretty good prescription, isn’t it? “…Present your requests to God.” And how many of you think when we do it, we just over and over, and over and over…and I know there’s a persevering in prayer. I understand that part. But how many of you think that when we come to the Lord, we give Him our burdens, and then we take them back go to sleep…and try to go to sleep with them?
How many of you have done that? Yeah. That doesn’t work too good, does it? See, there does have to come a place in our prayer where we say, all right, Lord, I have handed this off to You. It’s in Your hands, and I’m just leaving it in Your hands. The old hymn, “Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” Some of you remember that.
All right, “Do not be anxious…by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And…” What? “…The peace of God…” The peace of God. Do you think God’s worried? Do you think God is in conflict? Oh, my God, I’ve got so many people to imagine. Look, there’s Carl. Look what he did again. I’ve got to worry about him. And Dorsey, I don’t know.
( laughter ).
And Ron. Oh, I’m just so overwhelmed. No! God’s got a perfect rest. He’s perfectly in control. There’s nothing the Devil can do to undermine His plan. He wants us to share how He feels about everything, the reality of it, not just how He feels, the reality of it. He wants us to rest in that.
“And the peace of God, which transcends….” It goes beyond all understanding. You can’t explain this to somebody. Why do you have such peace? Because God’s got this, and I’m trusting in Him. I mean, even the words, that still doesn’t convey the reality of something that goes beyond simply explaining it to the mind. It’s something that possesses the heart. That’s what He’s after, because that’s what he says. It, “…transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
All right, and he says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble…” It gets into to what we think about, what we allow our minds to dwell on. That’s where a lot of our trouble comes from. “…Whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And…” What? “…The God of peace will be with you.”
Thank God. If I’m living, and I don’t have peace, it’s not His fault. It’s because I am dwelling in a low realm. I’m operating by human wisdom, by human nature. If I’m gonna get out of that, I’m gonna have to start lifting my eyes and looking to Him, and believing His promises, and giving my burdens to Him, and His promise is that we can have peace.
This is peace that’s on earth. We’ll have peace there, if you know Him. But He wants you to have it now. And I’ll tell you, you get into…just life in general, but this season is supposed to be peace on earth…a lot more stress usually. But God can give us peace, even in Christmas. God can give us peace, if we’ll just open our hearts to Him. He is the Prince of Peace, and behind Him is the God of Peace. That’s what it’s about, and He is faithful. Praise God!