— Brother Phil Enlow: I’ll tell you, by nature, we’re nothing like Jesus. But he came down to show us what Kingdom nature is like. He walked among us, not through any strength of His own, but through the power of His Father that lived and expressed His life through Him. May God give us the grace to let that happen in our midst.
How many people are in places of spiritual bondage, and it has to do with our relationships one with another? Because we’re just not like Him. We expect Him to forgive us, we expect people to be tolerant of us…after all, we’re not perfect. But let somebody else do something, say something, look at us cross-eyed…and it just, there’s something that rises up in us, that reacts to that in a way that is very much like the world—it is the world. It’s human nature.
And God is looking for a people who are able to see beyond what’s wrong. My God, we’re all sinners! My God, the best of us come short! We don’t need condemnation, we don’t so many things that are dished out, that we dish out to one another, in one way or another. We don’t need all these things. We need the heart of the Father toward us, who reaches out so willingly to show us mercy.
What is mercy? Is mercy some sort of favor that we earn? No, it’s entirely underserved! It’s a favor that is completely undeserved! And here’s a Father who just longs to reach down and say, I know where you’re at. Come to me as you are. There’s a foundation for mercy, because Jesus died in your place. There’s a place where you can come and find peace.
But what did Jesus say on more than one occasion? I think it’s mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount, but other occasions too, about somebody who won’t forgive. You know, Steve referred to this the other night, about the man who owed a huge debt to this guy he worked for, and was about to be thrown into prison for it. And he got down on his knees and he begged, ‘oh forgive me,’ and the man forgave him.
And so, he went to a fellow servant who owed him lunch money, basically. And the guy couldn’t pay and he threw him in prison…had him thrown in prison…that was part of their culture, I guess, in that day. And what did Jesus say here? It’s so plain. If you won’t forgive….
There’s a load of debt…of guilt that people carry that they don’t have to carry. And a lot of times it’s because you haven’t forgiven somebody. Somebody did something, maybe it was years ago, maybe you’re carrying something buried in your system, and you’ve never let it go. And the Lord is longing to fill your heart with His peace, and there you are struggling, trying to feel forgiven, but you won’t forgive somebody who basically owes you lunch money, compared to what you owe Him.
These are pretty central principles of the Kingdom, aren’t they? These are things that affect every one of us, because we just default to human nature and human reactions so much of the time. And the Lord wants us to see that’s not how His Kingdom works.
I’ll tell you, we need more of God’s presence. I thank God for the degree that He comes in our midst, but there’s so much more that He longs to flow, but the flow is all blocked up, because we’re not walking in some of these simple things. I’ll tell you, if somebody has done something, and somebody may have genuinely done something, but if your reaction is one of anger, bitterness, the unforgiveness, you’re the sinner! You’re the one that God needs to deal with about that!
Don’t you go looking at them and say, well if they’ll get straight I will, then I’ll be good. What did Jesus say when they crucified Him? What did He pray on the cross? Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing. Now who was the one who was free? Did that free Him, you think?
Oh, how many of us so easily just lay hold of something and say, they deserve it, it’s only right that I feel this way, and I’m justified because of what they did. But you’re the one in bondage! And Satan has wrapped chains around your heart, and you won’t be merciful to somebody else, but you expect God to be merciful to you.
Do you see why this is not something you’re gonna get out of your human nature? Human nature is the problem, not the solution. I need Jesus! I need Kingdom nature! I need to first of all have it, but I need to walk in it! I need to say, oh God, fill me with You right now, in this. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
You see, there are so many things that have been related to what we’re talking about today. What we’re talking about today, in Kingdom nature, is totally impossible for human nature! It takes a miracle! It takes God birthing a brand-new life, but now we need to learn to walk in that and live in that. And as we do, we’re gonna experience the same thing that Jesus did, the peace that He had, the rest, the certainty.
God wants to bring us into a larger place. Are you willing? Are we willing to search our hearts and say, God, help me? But don’t let the Devil take any of this and turn it into condemnation, turn it into ‘oh poor me, I can just never measure up.’
Well, that’s the point. But if you can come to a place where you feel your need and you want Him to change you, this Kingdom is for you. It’s not for the other kind of people. It’s for you, this morning, right now. There is a Lord who wants to come in and fill you with His peace and His rest. Do you want it? It’s there! Is there anything He hasn’t provided? Everything has been provided.
You know, I think about Peter. I can’t remember if I mentioned this specifically, but, when Peter asked the Lord how many times should I forgive my brother when he comes and repents…up to seven times? And, of course, the Lord said, up to seventy times seven.
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What did he say? What was Peter’s response to that? Lord, increase our faith.
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Isn’t that revealing, about how we look at things? Peter was looking at this from a human point of view, okay I know I’m supposed to forgive but I’m getting tired of this.
Do we want the Lord to get tired of forgiving us? Do you see His heart revealed in all of this? He wants to reproduce that heart in every one of us. Oh, there’s a rest that comes with all of that. This is not about exhilaration and all the things that religion tries to generate. This is a place of…this is a walk with the Lord, where we can have His rest and His peace on the inside. We can be free from the things that human nature drives us to crave, and fight for, and all that stuff. That’s what we need to be delivered from and He’s able to do it! And willing to do it, if we’re willing.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (NIV). Obviously, he’s not talking about seeing an image. God is not some old man sitting in a chair somewhere. He’s a Spirit that fills eternity. He’s called the Invisible God. There’s no way you’ll ever see Him.
But what do we see? We see His image. Jesus Christ is the image of the Invisible God, He is the perfect representation of what this immense, unfathomable God is. You want to see what He’s like, you look at Jesus. That’s the expression.
But isn’t that the life that He longs to express in us? But now we’re talking about living in a world in which bad stuff happens. And many times, we’re called to experience things that we don’t get, we don’t understand. Why is this way, why isn’t it that way, what’s wrong?
And, how many times when we say that, or feel that, are we looking from a human point of view? If God really loved me, everything would be wonderful. I would have plenty of money in the bank! I’d have perfect health…you know, a thousand and one natural considerations.
And many times, it needs to be just the opposite, because God is setting us free from the craving for those very things! God knows what He is doing! God may allow one person to accumulate a lot of money and use it for His glory, somebody else may be poor. People have all kinds of circumstances, but the ability to see God in that, is a supernatural thing.
And it’s a supernatural thing for those who are willing say, oh God, my life is not mine to direct. It’s not be lived for selfish considerations. My life here is Yours to direct as You will, to lead me down the path of Your choosing, whether it follows earthly values or not. I want my life to follow heavenly values and You’re the only one that can make that possible. But You’re the only one that can give me the ability to see that You really are in charge, and You really still love me even when bad stuff happens.
How did Moses, for example, endure all that he went through? We’re told specifically in Hebrews 11…how did he put up with all that…all the stuff, the rejection…getting kicked out of Egypt, chased away for his life, living the way he did? “He endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (KJV).
Isn’t that an interesting way to put that? Seeing Him who is invisible. That doesn’t sound right, does it? But there is a seeing, with the heart, that says, God, I know You love me. I know You’re in charge. I know that no matter what the pathway may lead through, I know that in the end, I know how this comes out, because You’re in charge. And I’m gonna find my rest in that.
Oh, I’ll tell you, we have so much unrest because, again, the fleshly nature strives for something that is earthly based. We want our security. We want our pleasure. We want what we want here!
And how many people try to use God to get that? Instead of saying, God, my life is…You’ve called me into a kingdom that is not of this world. It’s not based upon its values, it’s gonna live when this world is done away with. This is a kingdom that’s eternal. But it is powered by Your life. You didn’t call me because I was somebody special, from an earthly standpoint. You called me because of my need, because You love me, because it’s Your nature to love.
But oh, I’ll tell you, are you in a place right now where you resent your situation? You’re mad about it…a thousand and one human reactions to things instead of saying, God, I rest my case in Your hands. I’m gonna see past all my circumstances and I’m gonna see You, loving me and supporting me, and walking with me through whatever You choose. You are God and I am not, and You love me. I’ll tell you, that’s what real faith does. This is real faith.
“Blessed are the peacemakers…” (NIV). Now you’re coming down to human relations again, aren’t you? Oh, how easy it is for us to add fuel to the fire of problems that separate people. It’s been real quiet this morning. Is this stuff true?
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Does it affect us?
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Yeah. But where we value self in trying to exert self and trying to protect self and advance self, Jesus and His Father value peace, and harmony between people and promoting that…and being an instrument where, instead of trying to create strife and advance it, we try to bring people together, we’re trying to solve and resolve. God, give us that kind of a heart.
Gossip comes into this, doesn’t it? There are so many things that the enemy provokes human nature to do, that run exactly counter to what Jesus said. And yet, here’s a blessing. Oh, this is a blessed thing to be a peacemaker—someone whose heart is always wanting to bring together, to remove barriers, to bring about unity. Doesn’t God prize unity? Isn’t that where He commands the blessing?
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Yeah. Do you see where some of these things come into play right here? God longs for His Spirit to flow in a greater way in our midst. The problem is not with Him. The issues are with us. May God give us the hunger to live by Kingdom nature. It’s freely available to everyone who will humble themselves and say, yes, I’m a candidate. I want to be part of Your Kingdom. I want to be like You, Lord. We sing about it. Do we mean it? Do we understand what that means? Jesus is kind of just giving you a birds-eye view of some of these issues.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Does that matter? Does that matter to you? Do these blessings that He pronounces matter to you? And of course, He goes on…you could go on and on in this. That’s the main thing. But I’ll tell you, it comes down to our relationship to the world and there are two main things that He talks about here that are very relevant to us.
This one not so much yet, but it will be, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
We haven’t gotten quite to this point yet, but it’s coming. May God give us a heart, instead of one that’s out there fighting. There’s so much anger, there’s so much fighting in our society. God, give us a heart that sees past that.
Yes, the Devil is doing everything he can to destroy everything…every value that America has ever held, particularly when it comes to God! That’s the spirit that is doing everything it can to take over. This world, human nature, hates God. And if we are His children and we’re living by Him…I mean, we could be the most wonderful, peaceable people in the world, and they will hate you! And they will persecute you! And God says, you’re blessed!
And I’ll drop this thing in, where Peter warns, he talks about…persecution and things happening. He says, but when you’re persecuted let it not be because you, you know, you did bad stuff basically, you’re a murderer or you’re something. If you do something wrong and somebody says something against you or the law comes down on you, you don’t say, I’m being persecuted for Jesus. That’s not what he’s talking about.
But this is somebody whose heart is driven by the Spirit…by Kingdom nature, by the Spirit of God. And because of that, the Devil makes you his target, that’s where the blessing comes. Those are the ones who are blessed.
And I don’t want to spend a lot of time, but just to mention what he follows up with, because this…this is a critical part of Kingdom life in this world. How do we influence this world? What do they see when they see us? What do our young people see in the older ones? Do they see Kingdom life? Or do they just see a kind of ‘church-y religion’? What does the world see when they see us?
Do you see the issues that come to play here? How we can’t just be external practitioners of a religion, we need Jesus to live in us in a practical way, because He compares us to salt. He compares us to light. God wants to set His people in a place where they can be a light to this world. Does this world need some light?
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Yeah, it does. It’s not gonna just come out of the ether waves, it’s gonna come through His people. God’s gonna create situations where they see us and they see something in us that they don’t see in the world. And it won’t be us acting out the part that we’re supposed to play, it’ll be real life like it was in Jesus.
There were those who saw who He was, they recognized there was something in Him that they couldn’t get out of their religion. And I’ll tell you, when the Lord inhabited His church on the Day of Pentecost, and then the message began to go out and people began to come in…I’ll tell you, God…do you think the people saw something in those people that was not like the world? That’s what He’s looking for from you and from me.
And I don’t want to stop with, oh poor me, I’m not like that, or I just can’t be that way. Well, that’s the point. But God’s promise to people who will just come to Him as they are, and say, Lord, I do not have what it takes to participate in this Kingdom but You do and You’ve promised, and so, I open my heart and say, come, help me to be the kind of person You want me to be.
Help me in my relationships with others. Help me to let go of every bit of baggage that I have held onto that is weighing me down, and keeping me from being able to serve you with freedom. Lord, just come and dwell in me, and bring me to that place that Jesus promised, where I would learn from Him. His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and we will find, what? Rest for our souls. Anybody here a candidate for some rest in your soul?
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Yeah. It’s there! That’s His heart for you. He doesn’t look down and despise you because you’re needy. That’s why Jesus came. What He can’t put up with is human pride that says, I’m gonna fix it, I’ve got to be…and there are a thousand and one ways that we react with human pride. Let it go! Trust Him! Just let Him have your heart and lay your life.
Look at the positive promises that follow every one of these blessings! Blessed are they, for they ‘will be’…over and over again you have God’s heart revealed in this. We can be that people, if we want it, because His promise stands today. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He is as real today as He has ever been. And He longs to change us into His image.
And I believe He’s doing it, don’t you? I want to be positive about it. I don’t want to just paint such a picture and say, oh my God, I could never be that. Well no, if you’re looking within, trying to find the resources, you never will. Neither will I. But He has everything that we need to be His people.
That’s the message of the Gospel. That’s the hope of the Gospel. It isn’t better rules to live by. It isn’t, you better do this, or I’ll get you or I’ll punish you. It’s, I love you with an everlasting love. And I have provided My Son to demonstrate that love. And all that you need, comes not from your resources but from the life that I want to give you, if you’d just open your heart and surrender. That’s the hope of the Gospel. To Him be the glory!