TV Transcripts

“Building on the Foundation” Part One
Broadcast #1535
March 6, 2022

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1535 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: It seems like that the things that I have on my heart…on one level they seem rather repetitive, and yet, I feel, very strongly, that the Lord wants to layer truth in such a way that it becomes real and not just theology that we know. How many of you understand that we need to have, not just theology and not correct knowledge of the Bible, but we need to have it translated into our lives.

( congregational response ).

And I think that’s something we all struggle with more than we might care to admit even to ourselves. I was thinking of…something came back to me. You remember…many of you remember when Brother Thomas returned here in ‘76, and there was a need, wasn’t there? The church had sunk into a lot of legalism. And, there was a lot of bondage.

And do you remember what Brother Thomas told us that the Lord told him? He said, I want you to spend one solid year preaching nothing but foundational truth, because if we try to build on anything other than the one foundation that God has laid, which is Jesus Christ, then we’re gonna build something other than what He wants, and it won’t stand up. And so, thank God, he did that.

And, you know, we spoke last week, about Paul’s worldview, which is another way of saying the framework within which he laid that foundation, because he saw the world, not through the eyes of a Pharisee, but through the eyes of one that had been redeemed by that blood that we sang about this morning. He understood there’s a God who has set eternity in our hearts, whose plan is for it to have a people and a family and He’s made full provision for that.

And so, you notice this pattern, like we said last week that…in every, nearly every one of his letters, in one way or another in every one, he lays the foundation before he ever gets to Christian living and how we’re supposed live and what we’re supposed to do and not do.

You notice before he ever gets to that, he spends chapters, the way it’s been arranged for us, just laying out the basis upon which any of that can possibly happen. I mean, I know that we know, as we’ve said many times, there ain’t no way we can live a real, genuine, from-the-heart Christian life unless we get the foundation.

And…but you know, there does come a time when the foundation is there, but you don’t say, whoopee, I’ve got a great foundation, onto the next project. The foundation is there for a reason, and God wants us to build on that foundation. And that’s when it gets down to you and me in our everyday lives actually taking advantage of what God has done, entering into what He has provided and laying hold of it so that it becomes ours in a practical way. We’re not just sitting here affirming truth and thinking that’s all that it takes.

And so, we find Paul, in Colossians 3, I guess, is as good a place as any to go…. But Paul has, as we’ve pointed out so many times, spent the time letting us know who Jesus is, and the fact that our hope is entirely based, not upon anything other than Christ living in us. If we have any other source of what we do, then it’s futile, it misses the point completely. The only hope I have of standing there in glory one day is Christ literally living in my heart.

Is He in your heart? Has that really happened in your life? I pray that if it hasn’t, God will so convict you, that you will fall on your face and realize how desperately, how greatly…desperately is the wrong word…how deeply He loves you and what He has done for you, that it’s not just this generalized love, He loves you, as an individual, with all of your faults, all the virtues you think you have, but don’t. Everything about you, the stuff that you don’t want anybody to know about, He knows, and He loves you. And He has made a way for you to know Him and to have a new heart and a new life.

That’s the whole foundation of everything. And every possible obstacle that would keep us from the purpose of God, Jesus dealt with. He dealt with the guilt of my sins so I could even have a relationship with God, and what an amazing thing it is that I can come to Him and not only is my legal guilt taken care of, but I don’t even…I can come to a place where I don’t even feel the guilt of things that I just felt before I brought them to Him. It’s real!

( congregational response ).

When God meets the heart that reaches out to Him, from the heart, God is able to wash your sins away as if they had never happened, give us a fresh start. Oh man, what an incredible Gospel!

But the Gospel doesn’t stop there, does it? See that’s the foundation. That only gets us into the game, as it were. That gets us to home plate, to use a baseball analogy. Now we’re in the game. Now, it’s up to…now, God wants us to actually produce something.

And so, he has laid that foundation, and Paul summarizes in the beginning of chapter 3 in these words. “Since, then…” (NIV). Now see, since then, looks back, doesn’t it, to everything he’s been saying? “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

Now the foundation that God has to establish in our hearts…and I understand that there are varying degrees with which we truly get this. I mean, we get it intellectually, but I mean, really get it in our hearts. The reality of what He has done with us has to become real to you, personally.

Paul was able to look at his own life and everything that he has done…he had been responsible for the death of Christians who were followers of Jesus. That’s how zealous he was in fighting against Christ. And in spite of that, God reached out, Christ reached out in love to him and gave him a brand-new heart and a brand-new life. Man, there’s no obstacle in your past that God can’t overcome, that the cross did not overcome.

But the reality is, if I’m going to live, He had to do something about me. And we talked last week about how God does something in the beginning of a race, as it were. In Adam, how did we get to be sinners? We were born into a family of sinners. We may not have been there personally making the decision, but our ancestor, from whom we inherited everything, was. And so, we were in Adam sinning. We were the ones who partook of that tree and made the decision to rebel.

But the same principle applies to what Jesus did. And I’ll tell you, God did something amazing when Jesus came out of that tomb. There was a victory for all eternity and there was a people that God placed in Him. Everyone born of that life partakes of every characteristic of that life, and one of them is that we died with Him on that cross.

The problem is, we don’t see that. We don’t live as if that’s really so. But I pray, I feel this need in me…I mean, this is one of the things that makes me hesitant to preach some of these things, but they’re real and God wants us to get them. We can’t just sit there forever and glory in the foundation. God wants us to do some building. It needs to be translated into real life, and that’s what God is saying and doing.

But here again is the re-iteration of that foundation. Folks, if we don’t, to some degree, if God does not make this real that I died…I died already. This thing that wants to rise up and control me, I died to that. It does not have the right to own me anymore.

See, there’s this way of seeing ourselves and seeing what God has done for us that forms a foundation. If you’re doubting that, if you’re struggling and…I don’t know if it’s really me, I don’t know if it’s really true…you know, there are a thousand and one ways, and our emotions get involved. But folks, God wants to plant that reality, that foundation in every heart, in the heart of every one of His children.

I get that it’s a process. There’s no experience you can have where you suddenly, you’re catapulted all the way into Canaan land. Of course, in Canaan land, there are giants, aren’t there? There are giants.

But anyway, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ….” He treats that as a historical fact. And God wants you and you and you and me, this morning, to reckon on the reality of what God has done for us. That is the foundation of everything that he’s about to say. Since that’s a fact, you’ve been raised with Christ, “…set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Hallelujah! Glorious theology! But God wants that translated into everyday, practical life, dealing with very real issues. Bear in mind, Paul is not writing to the heathen. He’s writing to Christians, writing to us here this morning. All right?

First of all, he deals with a category of things, characteristics of the earthly old nature to which we died in Christ. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.”

Okay? I’m gonna stop right there for the moment. But it looks to me like Paul is dealing with two categories of characteristics of the old nature. And it’s awfully easy for us to look at these and say, well, he’s talking about somebody else. He’s talking about all those people out there.

The truth of the matter is, every single person in here has these qualities, if you want to call them that, these characteristics of the old nature and they operate in us! So, this is not written to the heathen. This is written to Christians. And notice that even though God has done this wonderful thing for us in Christ, there is a part that we play!

Notice…I mean, you can go back and read…I’m not gonna take the time this morning to read Romans 6. I don’t know, I say I won’t…we’ll see. But Romans 6, Paul deals with this same truth and he really spells it out. And he leaves…he shows us that while this is true, we have a responsibility to make choices, don’t we? And in a practical sense, you can be a child of God and yield yourself to something that doesn’t produce good fruit, right?

( congregational response ).

That’s where you get the Scripture that talks about, “…the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” We can yield ourselves to something, and if we do, do we not become slaves? You’ve got a world full of people that think slavery is a horrible thing and they are slaves and do not know it. We have a nature that, if we don’t…if we don’t rule over it, it will rule over us, in one way or another.

And, I’ll tell you, these desires are real. God has implanted, has given us physical desires…some of them are pleasurable, some of them are need, but they are real and God gave them every one with a wonderful purpose. If there were not…if sex were not a good thing God created, none of us would be here. But it has a reason, it has a purpose.

And Satan loves to take control of people’s lives in varying ways. Some of it is outward activity, that is way outside the will and the purpose of God. Oh, I’ll tell you, we need divine help. We need divine life, to be able to say, no, you cannot rule over me, Christ is in here. This is not my strength, it’s not anything of me, but Jesus lives!

How many of you think…we’re called to live the life of Christ, right? How many of you think these characteristics are characteristics of Him? See, if any of these things that he’s talking about…and he’s gonna be enumerating others…if they exist in our lives, they ain’t coming from Him. They’re coming out of the old nature.

And to the degree that they are given expression, to the extent that we make excuses for them, we yield ourselves to them, we just say, that’s the way it is, that’s just as good as it gets, I believe in Jesus, that’s good enough, we’re not doing much building, are we? God wants to take us further. He wants to take me further, I know. I’ll guarantee He wants to take me further than I have been and I want that, I desire it. I just…I praise Him. I praise Him that He’s put up with me all these years.

But oh, what a Savior we have! None of this is put out there as some kind of a, you’ve got to measure up in your own strength. None of it is that, but if we…if the Gospel is not honest with a real need, what good is it? We can’t pretend we’re not really sinners. Our sins are forgiven, so we’re good. And yet, we live enslaved by more things than we dare to realize. We certainly don’t want to admit it to one another. But the truth is, we don’t admit it to ourselves.

And I know it’s a challenge for young people growing up, especially in this world today which glories in, you were born that way, just give vent to it. To find out how to handle their bodies, they begin to feel attraction to the opposite sex, they begin to feel all kinds of things, and what’s right and what’s wrong? And oh, it feels good, so I’m gonna play with this and play with that…and you older ones, we’ve been there, right? We understand.

But oh, I’ll tell you, God has a…God has a salvation that can deal with these things, if we’re willing. We can find the way that God intended all these things to be used. There is a nature that will rise up and take you down paths, you’ll wonder how you got where you got…if you listen to it, if you yield to it, if you give vent to it.

But there is no place for sexual immorality. That covers a wide range of activity here. This is the actual act of using sex in a way that God never intended. And I’ll tell you, it leads to a bad, bad place. We need the grace of God, to say, Lord, you made me this way, and when I feel it, I need to bring it to you, and I need to let it find its rightful place. I need you to give me the power to keep it where it needs to be. And I’ll tell you, there’s a God who will hear that prayer.

But we have a choice, don’t we? We’ve got a lot of choices here, and there are a lot of people that have made shipwreck of their lives by just following their natural desires for a wide variety of physical reasons, psychological reasons. We are complex creatures, folks. You know, you have this expression, ‘people who seek love in all the wrong places.’ And I don’t want to say that in a joking way. It’s…those are real issues. Those are deep, deep needs in a lot of people’s hearts.

But oh, I’ll tell you where love begins. It begins with Him, where your worth, your value begins with Jesus Christ who shed His blood to open heaven’s door for you! You want to know what being loved is about? Open your heart to Him! Let it begin there! That will spoil every false form of it. God wants to set His people free!

( congregational amens ).

But notice, he doesn’t just stop with the act. He talks about, “…impurity, lust, evil desires…” There are so many things that happen where, it’s not like it’s an open thing or even involves somebody else. But what happens on the inside? What happens in our minds, in our hearts? What do we think about? What do we do when nobody’s looking? What do we…what kinds of thoughts do we let happen in here?

It’s a sober thing to think about, folks. This is stuff that affects us, right here, this morning. And don’t you look at me and lie to me, because you know what I’m talking about. We need God to give us, not just refraining from open acts of…but from the inside. Jesus said, ‘whoever looks at a woman and lusts after her in his heart has already committed adultery.’

You know, we act like if we’re doing something in secret and nobody else knows about it, that, well, it’s okay. Oh, I’ll tell you, we are standing on a perfectly lit stage and heaven can see everything that happens. Oh, we need grace. We need God’s help and God’s mercy. We need to be honest with ourselves about those needs.

Where do you go on the internet? There may not be anybody here that hasn’t gone the wrong place at one time or another. We just need mercy and we need grace. But we need to recognize these are real, real issues.

And God…I’ll tell you what, God allows temptation. Did He not send His Son into the desert to be tempted by the devil? And He was tempted in every way just as we are. And it was by divine strength that He was able to say, no. God didn’t send me down here to use this vessel that He has given me in ways that dishonor Him, and by His strength I say, no. God lives in me and that’s how it’s gonna be. God wants to bring us to real victory in these areas. And I believe He can.

You know, there are so many different levels of strongholds. But didn’t Paul say that God had given him a ministry, and it wasn’t just employing the world’s wisdom but there was divine power in it to do, what? To pull down strongholds and every thought that rises up against obedience to Christ. I’m paraphrasing a little bit…but from 2nd Corinthians 10. I’ll tell you, we need divine power, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

How many of you need divine power?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. I do. I’ll put up every hand I can find. Yeah, I don’t have any strength. I’m no better than you in this area. There are areas where every one of us thinks things, that we need help. We need the Lord to give us victory, because you know, you might say, well, I’ve never ‘done the thing.’ But how many times has your mind gone in that direction? And you’ve allowed it and you’ve just played with it.

I’ll tell you, the devil has so many ways of pulling on our hearts and our lives. And so many of the things are not simply responding to physical needs or physical desires, some of them are an attempt to deal with real psychological issues. It’s another thing we’ve talked about before. But I mean, you could have real deep-seated needs buried down in here that you don’t even want to admit, or maybe you can’t even remember why.

But yet, there are certain things that happen in your life and you’re gonna respond to them by eating the proverbial box of chocolates. Isn’t that dealing with…trying to use a physical thing to deal with another issue? I mean, there are so many ways you could…spend all day, I guess, if somebody were to catalogue every kind of thing. But the reality is, God did not give us these bodies to serve them and their desires.

Paul is dealing with this over in 1st Corinthians or 2nd Corinthians one. I forget which chapter. I think it’s 1st Corinthians 6, if I’m not mistaken. But he warns about immorality and he talks about the bodies that He’s given to us. And he says, “…ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (KJV).

That is, they belong to Him. God gave Jesus His earthly body, for what purpose? So, He could just follow His desires and be enslaved by them? No! So that He could glorify God and carry out God’s purpose. This is what God wants to build in us. He’s laid the foundation, now, there’s some building that needs to happen.

And in order for that building…in order for the positive qualities of Christ’s life to come out, some of these other things have to be overcome. It’s like the Israelites, they couldn’t really occupy the land and enjoy the fruit of it without kind of dealing with the giants.

Well, you and I got giants to deal with. And they are very real. And I believe with all my heart God wants us to realize and be honest with our own needs. And when we read a Scripture like this, not just think, oh, that applies to everybody else. Folks, if you’re human, it applies to you. And I don’t suspect there are any Martians here this morning.

( laughter ).

We need…we need grace, don’t we? And that’s what God offers. These instructions are not to discourage. But I’ll tell you, they are to warn us that our growing in Him, the response to the wonderful, incredible foundation that we have in Christ and what He’s done for us, is that we need to begin to make choices that are consistent with what He has done. And when we do, He’ll help us.

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