— Brother Phil Enlow: When you have the Armies of Heaven riding forth with truth and the Word of God and you have every…you have the whole world system in arms against it, saying, we will not bow, then there’s nothing left but judgment. That explains what we’re seeing in the world.
I believe there’s still a harvest. I believe there are still people. I pray that God will help us to reach those that He would reach. But folks, this world is drinking up the darkness and the flood…that’s right, the flood out of the serpent’s mouth. That was Satan’s answer to the Gospel. He saw the church formed and realized what we had, and so he sent a flood out of his mouth. It was deception.
Look at Revelation 12 and the imagery there. There’s a flood of deception sent to take down the church, and the world just drank it right in, all that deception. Folks…this is a sober business. I mean, you look at some of the awful things that have happened in this world. You look at the holocaust. I mean, you see what’s in man. And you look at the heartlessness of a system that could march people into gas chambers, incinerate their bodies by the millions, and believe they were doing good, with no conscience about it. Where does that come from?
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Yeah. You’ve got the heart of Lucifer, and his hosts, joining with human spirits that are yielded to that. And like I said, there’s no door number three, it’s God or the devil.
Anyone…I mentioned this before, but my mind goes back often to an incident when I was a student. We had a group that would go out on Saturday evenings in Brooklyn, on the streets. At one point, we actually had street meetings. But usually, we would just go…later on we stopped those meetings and we would just literally go out in pairs and pass out tracts and witness to people, in that whole section of Brooklyn.
And one night, I remember encountering a man, and he was pretty cocky about his position, as I recall. And basically, what he told me was, no, I don’t serve God but I don’t serve the devil either. Right! Do you see the level of deception that’s going on there? How easy is it for anybody in this world, particularly if they don’t know the Lord…what is the most natural thing, if you feel a desire rise up in you, and you feel the need to…doesn’t it feel like that’s right to just express that, to follow that? Why would I have it if I’m not supposed to follow it?
But there’s more going on. Boy, don’t anybody be deceived and think that you’re some sort of free moral agent, that you can not serve God but you can not serve…you can be free from serving the devil. There is no in between.
We were, as I said, created to be temples of God. Right? Remember the scripture we’ve used so many times in 2nd Thessalonians 2, about the rebellion? There’s a rebellion coming at the end of the age, and what it comes down to, is the man of sin sitting in the temple of God. Now I’m not gonna take a strong, ‘I know all the answers’ position about whether he’s talking about an individual. But I know he’s talking about a condition!
( congregational amens ).
There’s no physical temple that you can call, hey, that’s the Temple of God and there’s a man gonna set up a government there. That’s not what it’s talking about. The temple of God is the human heart! But what happens when people confront the truth and refuse to love it? That’s what it says there. “…Because they refused to love the truth…God sends them a powerful delusion.” (NIV).
Do you see the spirit of deception? When people will not have God’s purpose and God’s way, God steps back. Do you think it’s just a vacuum and nothing’s gonna happen? No, there are devils who are hungry.
They are miserable until they can steal, kill and destroy! That’s all their nature is. They’re gonna rush in, they’re gonna affirm your values and your desires and all that’s a part of you, and you’re gonna feel like, man, now I’ve got it, now I’m on the right track.
I want to warn young people growing up. You’re living in a world that glorifies just following your heart, following your natural desires. There’s nothing more natural, in a sense, about that. But what you’re doing is, you might think that you’re just doing your own thing, it’s not so bad, it’s not so terrible.
You are absolutely inviting a devil to come in, join with you, and they’re doing it for their benefit. Sooner or later, one way or another, they’re gonna use you up! If you go down that road, you just keep going down that road, the consequence of that may not be immediate, that’s part of the deception. But you keep going down that road and sooner or later, at best, you’re gonna die.
But sooner or later, sin will take you down, and take you down a road, and the devil will finish using you, and they’ve probably already conditioned somebody else, maybe it’s your child. They’ve already gotten the child used to…this is how it is, this is how you think, this is what life is about. So, they’re done with you and they don’t care about you one bit. They’re not a bit sorry when you go into the grave! They’re saying, praise god, I’m done with that one…well, they don’t say Praise God. They say, I’m done with that.
( laughter ).
I’m finally done with that. They weren’t satisfying me much anymore, they were so old and so useless. Now I get to get somebody else, and I’m gonna satisfy that deep hunger in my nature. That, folks, is the world that we live in! Whatever imagery you use, whether it’s a roaring lion or a vulture or a serpent eating dirt, eating dust, it all comes to the same thing. And, folks, we need to recognize the world that we live in. And as I say, young people need to recognize what’s going on.
But I referred to the fact, that we were created to be God’s image. And the relationship that God seeks from every one of us, is to have a union to live in us, and for the lives that we live in this world to be an expression, not of human nature, but of His nature. But, folks, we have a part in that. If that all were automatic, why would Peter say, beware, be alert, watch out for the devil? Folks, we need to be alert and sober, and recognize what’s going on. It’s so easy just to go to sleep and become careless.
But I’ll tell you what, there’s so many different aspects of this that I’ve thought about. Think about what’s going on here. You have a devil, whose nature is to use, abuse, and destroy, has no conscience, no care for its victims. Just, I’m gonna use you and discard you when I’m done. No more care than a lion has for its prey. That’s door number one, if you will.
But door number two is a God. And the devil will try to portray Him as a great big crime boss in the sky who just wants to use and abuse us. And it is the absolute, utter opposite! He came to give life. Didn’t Jesus say, the devil comes, “…to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God longs, not to use and abuse us and destroy us, but to fill us with Himself, to share all of His amazing goodness with us!
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Praise God! There’s no end to His goodness and to His love! You and I cannot be what we were created to be apart from God living in us and there being a complete, willing union with Him!
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And we’re not stormtroopers, like we said recently. We’re not just clones. We’re every one individuals, but to be all that God made us to be and to allow Him to live in us. That’s what it’s about. That’s what everything is about.
And God has chosen to build His Kingdom, as I say, in the midst of world where we’re gonna have to say some, ‘no,’ to the devil. We’re gonna have to learn how to recognize and say, no, I will not go your way, I will not yield my body to be your lunch!
Maybe that will make it plain as a way you can remember it, because that’s what we do, every one of us. And it isn’t just the physical stuff that we think about, the sins of the flesh. When we get really angry, when we get jealous, we get envious, all these types of things that tend to rise out of our spirits, where do you think the impulse for that comes from?
You could say, yes, it comes from my nature. But who’s encouraging that? Who’s speaking into your mind to try to make you feel that…the fear, every form of the polar opposite of what God’s given us. We haven’t received, “…the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love…” and self-control. (KJV). But oh, there’s a devil out there who will tempt God’s people, who will do everything in his power to divide, to deceive, to just throw a little monkey wrench into the works.
And Peter is concerned, isn’t he? Rightly. There is a devil, like I say, he wants to eat you and me for lunch. I don’t know how much more I need to say. There may be somebody else that has something, that can add to this.
But I just feel like, there are these three aspects to all of this. We need to understand our world, don’t we? We need to understand that God is coming down to the little end of the horn, history is. And what men do with His truth determines destiny. And when you have a civilization that reaches the point where they have said, no, and God has said, all right, I will step back. There is nothing left but judgment.
Didn’t Jesus compare His coming to the flood? We’ve talked about this many times. But what was going on with the flood? What was the condition of the human race? There was no more capacity for God, no more interest! They had so said no to a point where there was no more capacity to say, okay, let me think about that. Just absolute no.
Those devils had come to that civilization and so ingrained themselves, so embedded themselves in the lives of those people, there was a union of people and devils, that was totally aligned against God. And God’s heart was full of pain, and I’m sorry I ever made them. I mean, there was an emotion. It wasn’t like, oh good, I get to smash them. This was a heart of pain to see what had happened and how they made that choice.
But judgment was coming, wasn’t it? And every single one of them who had rebelled against God in that civilization died. The same thing in Sodom and Gomorrah. They had reached a point where there was no way forward except judgment. And every single one that was not drawn out and rescued, died.
That’s the picture of what’s gonna happen when Jesus comes. They can tell you all these other things about being left behind, everybody left behind died. Folks, the judgment is coming. But oh, I thank God for what He’s called us to.
Do you see how this plays into the Body of Christ? Do you see what the church is? It’s not just people following a religion and saying, this is how you do stuff, and this is how you behave, and, you know, all that kind of stuff. This is a habitation. We are built together for what purpose? For God to live in us!
And listen to what Peter says. You look back into chapter 4 and you consider this part of the context. Let me see if I can find exactly where I’m looking. Oh, I’m in the wrong chapter that’s why I couldn’t find it. All right, “The end of all things…” verse 7, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind…” again, “…so that you may pray.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God…”and so forth. (NIV).
You’ve got this sense, there is a literal union between a human being and a God who lives on the inside, so that what comes out is not just flesh, it’s not just human. There is a divine quality to it. Just the opposite with somebody where the devil really comes in and takes over. You’re not just talking to a person, you’re talking to a devil. How many know what I’m talking about?
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Yeah, we’ve seen it. But you see it every day if you recognized it. This world is deceived. They think they’re doing their own thing, like that poor man in Brooklyn, who had no idea. But do you see the connection to the Body of Christ? It’s the polar opposite of the devil coming in for the purpose of using, abusing, and destroying.
Whereas, God comes in to enable us to fulfill His purpose and it’s the very opposite of selfishness and consuming and then going on to the next one. It’s so that I might serve. It’s so that I might share His love and His goodness with you, according to abilities that He’s given me. So, it’s not just me, it’s Him! It’s not I, but Christ who lives in me.
But that’s for every member of the Body of Christ. And I’ll tell you, we’re either gonna serve that purpose or we’re gonna serve the devil’s purpose. That’s what it’s coming down to. The Lord is bringing us to that place, and I thank God for it.
But do you see also, that Peter recognizes this is not just an automatic thing? Okay, I’m in, everything’s good. This brings us to a place where we make choices. And we’re in the process of being changed into His image. We’re not there yet. And there are still weaknesses in every one of us, where we’re tempted to give vent to something in our nature.
Where do you think the inspiration for that comes from? There’s a devil out there that’s hungry. He’s wanting to eat you for lunch, and me. And if we let him, he’ll get a hold, and he will hinder what God longs to do in the life of His child. I’ll tell you, if you and I have truly been born of His spirit, I mean…the seal has been applied, we’re His, thank God!
But there are a lot of Christian lives who are wasted, because of holds that the devil gets because of yielding through human nature to his power. Peter was talking to Christians when he said, watch out, there’s a devil as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. You see the imagery there, it’s pretty plain. But I thank God that we have One who lives in us who is greater than he that is in the world.
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I thank God that He has given us power over all the power of the enemy. Nothing shall anywise hurt you. We have the power to overcome through the blood of Jesus Christ and the name of Jesus Christ. We can pray for one another, we can…but do you see what Peter is interested in, what he’s concerned about…that we not just get lost in our lives and go to sleep and think everything is fine? We recognize what’s going on.
There is a cosmic battle raging around us, in an unseen world. There are devils who will try their best to take us down and hinder us. There is a Christ who would speak words of love and peace into our hearts. And we have the power to yield to Him and to have power over all of that. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” But they also “…did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
There are things in us to which we need to die, because otherwise, the devil will pull on that. We’ve used many times…we’ve referred to the scripture where Jesus said, “…the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me.” He had been tested and tried in every point to see if there was a point in which he would yield to fleshly desires, and agree with the devil. And He never did! Thank God, we have a Savior like that!
But oh, we need to recognize our place in this. We are not just pawns on a chess board. We are creatures with wills and choices. And God is longing for us to choose to look to Him and to reach out to Him and say, God, take my heart. Fill me. I want Your life and not mine! I want Your desires, Your will, everything about You and not me! Lord, change me. Set me free from the influence of this world. I see the direction it’s going. I want You!
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I want Your Kingdom! Praise God that He’s provided everything we need to be able to do what Peter says. And look again at the conclusion of all of this, “And the God of all grace….” Oh, thank God for grace. It’s that divine power that reaches down in our desperate need and helps us. “…The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever.”
None of this is meant to make people be afraid. We have power over all the power of the enemy. But it is to make us alert and aware. Don’t be surprised by what’s going on in the world. If somebody hears this, and you have not really ever surrendered to Jesus Christ, oh, I call on you to cry out to God!
( congregational amens ).
If you don’t, you have no idea what you’re up against. There are devils that will eat you and discard you and have no concern at all for it. They won’t pity you in the least. They’ll use, abuse, and destroy you. Jesus came that you might have life and have it to the full!
( congregational amens ).
Your happiness does not lie in following your earthly desires. It comes from knowing Him. And to God’s people, just take heed to the things…starting with me, take heed to the things that He says in this passage, because we have the victory, but we have a part to play, don’t we? So, thanks be unto God which gives us the victory. Praise God!