TV Transcripts

“Who Are We?” Part One
Broadcast #1506
August 15, 2021

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1506 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: The only scripture that’s really come to my attention in the last few days…I keep coming back to it. It’s one that we hear a lot, but I’m not sure we can ever hear it too much. And it’s the whole first section of Ephesians, because it has to do with who we are and who God is and His plan, and the fact that He’s in charge and we fit into it. So, it very much flows with Brother Steve’s encouragement that we can go to Him and actually be who He wants us to be.

And I went ahead and brought my NLT this morning. The NLT is more of a paraphrase that’s an attempt to take a thought that people would have understood in that day and restate it in modern English, where the NIV is kind of half and half between being literal and being conversational. But anyway, I’m gonna go ahead and just read some of this and ask the Lord to help me to comment on what He wants.

But what a picture this paints, of who we are. Because you think about, again, the situation in our country, where this country is at, and living through a time like this, it’s awfully easy to feel powerless, to react to the things that are going on, both out there and with us personally, and just feel like, who am I? What can I do? And again, like Steve said, to let it beat you down.

But I believe with all my heart, God wants us to understand the big picture and how we fit in it and how He feels about us and who we are, so that we can be what He wants us to be in this hour. Don’t you? Praise God!

So anyway, I’ll just go ahead and read this and ask the Lord to help me to comment where it makes a difference. “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.” (NLT).

Now, he says, holy people. You’ve got to put that is scriptural context. He’s not talking about a certain class within the church. These are the holy ones. Every member of the body of Christ, everyone He calls is set apart. And we’ll see exactly where that fits in as he goes.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” You know, I’ll call your attention to something we’ve noted in the past. What is the verb tense that he uses there? This is the past tense. So what God has called us to do is to step into something He has already done. When Jesus was on the cross and coming to the point of death, He said, “It is…”

( congregational response ).

“…Finished.” There was something that He accomplished there that God…it’s like there’s the full banquet table is there. It’s all loaded. What He’s calling us to do is to come and to partake of something that is a completed, certain work. Thank God!

Oh, Praise God, it isn’t left up to us to sort of make up the difference and somehow climb up there by our own efforts. God has done something and there is something that is unfolding in the history of the world around us, and we have our particular place in it, and God wants us to understand that in a greater and greater measure so that we can participate in faith and not be driven down by the things we see and experience. But He has blessed us.

Now, he goes back and he says, “Even before he made the world, God loved us….” Can you comprehend that? The fact that He even knew who you were…the fact that though you may feel like you’re nobody in the grand scheme of things in this world, and there’s nobody here that’s…the world would regard as important. We’re just kind of common, ordinary people…you know, landscapers and all kinds of other things. But, God knew you, and not only knew you, He loved you!

Now, there’s a reason God inspired Paul to write these words. God wants these words not to simply enhance our theology and our general knowledge of God and the things of God. God wants us to be able to live this way. God wants this to be our…you know, there’s a word they use, the worldview…how we see the world and our place in it.

God wants us to see everything about our lives in relation to Him, through the prism of truth, because the devil will constantly lie to every one of us, and he does to the extent he can get away with it. But God wants us to have such a knowledge of the truth, that we become strong, we realize who we really are. Because we are not nobodies, in the grand scheme of things, we are God’s children. He has called us and set us apart. That’s what he’s gonna be getting into here.

I’m jumping ahead. I’m gonna get excited here, in a minute. So, “Even before he made the world, God loved us…” And He did more than that! “…And chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

Now, you know, as I was thinking about this and reading this, it jumped out at me that God didn’t just say, all right, I choose you, and then put a period at the end of that sentence. Of course, Paul didn’t know much about periods, did he? He tended to run on and on and on.

But, God didn’t just choose us, He chose us ‘to be’ something. There is an outworking. There is a goal. There is something that will happen because He chose. It’s not just that, okay, you’re Mine, but I have chosen you to ‘be’ something.

Does anybody here have the power to be what he has talked about here? I don’t! I’m exactly lined up with what Steve said. I have nothing in myself that I can possibly bring to the table, when it comes to these things. I am dependent upon everything coming from Him.

But that is what salvation is about! It’s never about what I am able to do in myself. It is all about His plan and His purpose. So, thank God! So, if you look in the mirror and you have just come through a hard time, don’t lose sight of the reality of what God has chosen you, ultimately, to be.

Do you think God is able to finish what He’s started? We say that so many times. We quote that verse…of course, we know it’s so. And that’s some of what He’s going to be unfolding here. So, “God decided in advance to adopt…” In advance! Again, you see this…God, who’s able to see, everything is present to God. I can’t wrap my brain around that, but that’s the truth of the matter.

God is not bound by the procession of events in time. It’s not like He’s hanging on and hoping He can work it all out because it hasn’t happened yet. As far as God is concerned, it has happened. Praise God!

Don’t you want to step into something that’s certain and sure? I do! That’s what He wants us to get, because it makes a difference on Monday morning and Friday evening and every other hour of every other day, the middle of the night when you wake up and the devil’s trying to beat on you. God wants this to dominate our understanding so that it makes a practical difference in our lives.

It’s not just some theology that we get and we understand and we say, yeah, that’s true. But is it really true in our experience? That’s what God is seeking to do. That’s why I see the need to go over this, because God wants to make this live!

And if this understanding is not the dominating set of ideas, if you will, if this is not the worldview in which you and I operate practically, then we need this. We need to be going to God. We need to be saying, oh God, help me, because I haven’t got what it takes and I want to be part of Your plan!

So anyway, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do…” He didn’t wait around and say, well let me see if they really want Me. It says, “This is what he wanted to do…” This was God’s…you talk about choices? God made a choice before the world ever happened, and He made choices concerning you and me. Wow! Praise God! Praise God!

All right? “This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Praise God! You think God’s reluctant when it comes to you? He says, boy, I’ll let them in, but I sure am…you know, I’m almost sorry I called them in. No! This is something that God gets great pleasure out of.

The ability to take a broken, helpless, hopeless sinner, and make them a part of His family, a family that will live with Him forever, there’s nothing that gives Him greater joy! I don’t care what your background is, what’s wrong with you. There is a God who loves you, and if He has called you, don’t worry, He has all that it takes to make you what He wants you to be for all eternity, and to take care of the things that are wrong with you and the things that are wrong with me. And there’s plenty. But He’s a great God.

All right? “So…” And ‘so’ is a word of conclusion, in the light of what we just said. “So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” Praise God!

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Again, how does He feel about you and how does He feel about me? Are we not prone to think, He must be disgusted with me, look at how bad I am?

But do we understand the heart of God? Even when we are at our worst, His heart is toward you and it’s toward me to reach down in love and kindness and mercy. That is always plan A with God. Praise God! All right? “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”

Now here’s something that jumped out at me in a way I hadn’t really stopped and paid attention before. “He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Now think about what he’s saying there. You know, we have this…we have this way of looking at ourselves and we’re aware of how we feel and how we think and how other people react to us and we’re prone to say, they just don’t get me. They don’t really understand. Oh, if they only understood it would be different.

We’re talking about Somebody who has not only set out to save us completely, but Who has a perfect, perfect understanding of everything that makes you tick and everything that makes me tick. If there is any need in you, He has complete understanding of it. He knows exactly what He’s doing.

Do you think God wants us to have a confidence toward Him? I mean, think about it. God, not only knows all about you and what’s wrong with you and what your needs are, He knows what to do to fix it! God knows what it takes! He can see all the way down to the end product of what He is doing in your life and in mine. He deals with you with a perfect, perfect wisdom and understanding.

Do you think maybe, just maybe He wants a little more trust from us that He knows what He’s doing? We are so prone to see our lives as a bunch of random, unwelcome events, much of the time. We are so geared to our life in this world that we would like to be in control, a little bit. Our ‘happiness’, quote, unquote, is so geared to wanting to feel like my life is in my control, it’s predictable. Nothing happens that’s outside of how I can control it. Oh, the unexpected just doesn’t happen. I’m so…that’s how we think.

But God is not gonna leave you or me the way we are. He is much too loving to do that because we are more broken, more prisoners of our own old ways of thinking than we have any idea about. But God…God’s kindness, His love, His wisdom, His understanding, enables Him to work with you as an individual in ways that may be totally different from somebody else.

Don’t you look down the row and say, oh, poor me! Such and such happened and look at them. They’re doing fine. God is so understanding and wise. He knows how and when to do what with every one of us! What He seeks for us is to understand that, so that we can cooperate and say, yes, Lord! I may not like what’s happening in the natural but I believe in Your love! I trust You with my heart and with my life. I am Yours. Do what You want to do on Your schedule. I’m Yours, Lord!

If we…don’t you think if we really understood His love and His compassion and His power, we could do that? It’s not easy, is it? That’s what He’s dealing with. That’s the hold that this world and this old nature has upon every single one of us, in one way or another. But God knows how to deal with it.

And I’m…and the more I go along, the more I want to say, God, do what You got to do. Do what You have to do, because I…I understand, I trust You because I know You love me, and I know how this is gonna turn out. Lord, I don’t know how to fix what’s wrong with me and You do. I don’t like feeling weak.

I don’t like feeling that I can’t handle stuff. I don’t like seeing and being conscious of a need in my heart. But Lord, I have to so I can bring it to You and trust You, because You said when I’m weak, I’m strong. There’s a different kind of strength that I need than something that I can muster up. I just need Him.

But oh, how gracious and how merciful and how faithful He is to bring me through all of the things He has to do in my life to make me what he wants me to be! How wonderful it is when we get to that place when He comes and we realize…it dawns on us what He’s doing and we just rest in His arms. He is worthy. All right?

“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ—a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.” He mentioned earlier that God did this because it pleased Him. And so God instituted a plan to carry out what pleased Him.

But we also know that he calls it a mystery…there’s a mystery to it, and the mystery was until Jesus accomplished what He did on the cross, God hid it. It was hidden from the eyes of men. It’s in the pages of the Old Testament, but even the scholars of their day had no clue what it was, and Jesus had to open the eyes of His followers to understand what the Old Testament was about.

He certainly did with Paul. He took Paul’s great knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures and opened his eyes to see…oh, my God, that’s what it was talking about! Lord, You’ve got a plan that You’re unfolding and all of this was just a preparation for it, and now it’s here! And now we can go and proclaim it to the world. Praise God!

And so, “God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ—a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan…” Okay? So you want to know what it is? “At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” Praise God!

There’s gonna come a day when you will not see what’s going on in this world anymore. God’s gonna deal with it. Sadly, there’s a world of men who are making choices to reject Him. And there will come an end to all of that rebellion.

But God is bringing us…His purpose involves us living here and making choices. Steve mentioned that. Every one of us makes choices every day. And God wants us to know and understand our part in this so that we can make those choices.

But I’ll tell you, He also wants us to be able to see the big picture and see His plan, enough of it to know, hey, I know how it ends. I’ve read the last chapter, like Brother Jimmy used to say so many times. I’ve read the last chapter and it turns out great for those who follow Jesus. Praise God!

Are we living every day, though, with that knowledge? Or do we get buried in the moment, and lost in our own weakness and our need? God wants us to be able at every moment to lift up our heads and say, I know how this ends. Jesus Christ is on a throne. He reigns. Praise God! And it’s gonna be at the right time. God knows when to pull the trigger.

And you know, Peter wrestled with this. I’m sure he did. In his letter he talks about the fact that it looks, at times, as though, why isn’t He coming? Why doesn’t He just put an end to all of this? Do you know what his answer was? Because He’s patient!

In another place Peter said He’s, “… not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (KJV). There’s a heart that is looking until that last one says, yes, or says, no. History will unfold. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a long time now. We need to live with a readiness in our hearts. But I’ll tell you what, God is patient.

But He knows when that time comes. He knew when it was time for Sodom and Gomorrah, didn’t He? He knew when it was time to tell Noah to get into that ark, because it was time. But that same God knows exactly when to say, Son, go get your bride. It’s over. Bring everyone before You and let’s settle every issue that has ever arisen in history. Let’s bring it all to a perfect conclusion, because You are in charge.

There’s a brand-new creation. You’re gonna walk and talk with Me and with all Your brothers and sisters. Man, I want to be one of them, don’t you?

( congregational response ).

Oh, it’s by His mercy and grace! Thank God!

All right? “…Everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance…” (NLT). Now he’s gonna add something else. “…He chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.”

If you think your life is out of control and random, you better think again. Yeah, we want to be able to manage it, but we’re gonna have to turn loose and say, God, I am not in control but You are. The things that look random and out of control to me are never out of Your control! Not for one second, do You stop loving me, do you stop working on behalf of my ultimate good.

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