TV Transcripts

“Specific Faith” Part One
Broadcast #1543
May 1, 2022

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1543 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, I’ve had some thoughts rummaging around in my brain, especially since Wednesday night. And I just pray the Lord will bring something out of this and make it live. I don’t know that I’m gonna say a lot of things that are totally different, very connected to what we’ve heard recently. But how many of you really believe the Lord wants to take us to higher ground?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. I mean we can get to a place where we’re simply coming and going through the motions, and doing what we know to do, and it’s following tradition, and we’re sincere and we look to the Lord, and we worship Him, but here we are, we’re kind of…almost staying in place. I believe the Lord wants to take us to higher ground.

You know, we were praying Wednesday night in the service and, in particular, for healing needs. And suddenly a phrase came to my mind, that I believe is in James chapter 5. I’m not gonna turn there but, “…pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (NIV). Now I suspect that when most of us read that, we think in terms of, well, somebody’s sick and what I’m supposed to do about that is pray. Now, I don’t know if God’s gonna do anything or not. That’s up to Him, but I’m supposed to mouth that to God somehow.

And that’s true enough, I guess. But somehow it struck me in a different way, that there was a sense in what God was saying that there is a definite result. There is very specific faith being exercised, and it’s not a question here of…well I don’t know whether God’s gonna do something here or not. I hope He is. There is a very direct correlation between the prayer of faith and God literally doing something.

How many of you believe that God wants to take us to a place where we can exercise specific faith? And it’s not something where you can just suddenly get an experience and jump into that. But I believe God wants to teach us and lead us beyond where we’ve been, so that more and more we can learn to pray very specifically and actually expect to see God work and do it, not because we thought it up, wanted it, and convinced God to do something. But rather, we stepped into something. We stepped into something that God was in.

And you know, I thought about this, in this regard. Think about Jesus. Now did Jesus go around and see needs and say, boy, I’d sure like to do something about that? Father, what do you think about this? Let’s just pray that You’ll heal people.

Was there this generalized kind of thing that we tend to live in, or did Jesus do things very specifically? I mean, why did He go through Samaria when most Jews went around Samaria? Why did He get in a boat and go across the lake for one guy, one maniac, full of devils, living in a heathen country? Why did He go into one place and heal one person, or why didn’t He heal this one and heal that one?

Why…there was so much that was specific in what Jesus did. And you wonder how did He know to do that? Why did He…when He heard about Lazarus, why did He stay where He was, instead of going? Now, our reaction would’ve been, oh my God, I’ve got to get there! Because that’s gonna somehow make a difference. Why did Jesus do what He did?

You know, His disciples and others around Him questioned that at times. There was this sense of…you know, this guy seems to be operating on a level we don’t know anything about. He just does things that are very specific. He will…well, I made jokes out of this, I think, years ago, about how people will dig around in the Scriptures and they will find something and say, oh my god, there it is. There’s the pattern. There’s the formula!

Well, if you try to do that with how to heal somebody who’s blind, one person will go to a passage where Jesus said, go, your faith has made you whole. So, all He did was speak. On another occasion, there were blind men that came to Him and expressed faith and He touched their eyes. On another occasion, there was a man where Jesus spit on the ground, made mud from His own spit, put it on the guy’s eyes and said, go wash. And he washed and he came seeing. Now, you’ve got the basis for three denominations right there!

You know, we are so geared to a world of sense and feeling. We’re so connected to this. And…part it’s our nature, I think. We want to feel like we’re in control, like we know what to do, we’ve got a certain amount of confidence that we’re doing the right thing, or we’re doing ‘it’ right…whatever. And so, boy, do we look for formulas. We want to know how to do stuff. And okay, now I know how to do it so I can just do it.

And I don’t see that in Jesus at all, do you? God just didn’t say, hey, go down there and do good stuff. He didn’t rely on His own thoughts to figure out ‘what I should do today.’ There was a relationship between His heavenly Father…with His heavenly Father that was absolutely unique in all of history, where…well, I mean, that’s where we’re gonna get into in a minute.

But somehow, Jesus knew what to do and how to do it and when to do and what to do and what not to do. And He never did…never did things the same way twice! Now, see that’s not how we operate. Like I say, every one of us wants to know the formula. We want to know the principle, so then we can…oh, now I’ve got it! Finally, I’ve got it. Now I can do stuff. Now I can get God to do what I want Him to do, which is kind of where we’re going with it a lot of the time.

But there is a whole different principle when it come to how the Kingdom of God works, that I believe we need to see in a different light, in a deeper way. And then, actually learn how…or allow God to teach us, I guess, is a better way to put that, allow God to teach us so that we can actually be part of that, instead of just muddling through, doing our best.

You know, doing what we think we know to do in planning…you understand what I’m saying? Operating more on a human level than we would like to admit. God wants a church that is literally the Body of Christ, where what we do is not us doing it at all, but it is Christ acting through His Body.

And I dare say, we’ve got a ways to go. Now, this is, again, one of these areas where I feel my need. And it’s like, who am I to be up here saying these things? I need this as much as anybody sitting out there. But the reality is, somebody’s got to say it. And so, I’m just gonna have to humble myself and say, Lord, these are truths that You want us to learn, and to learn how to walk in and grow into, so that we can be what you want us to be in the world.

This is a world that we know is getting crazier and crazier, and more and more controlled by the devil, and we’ve been told that it’s gonna be that way. We know that the Lord only works with people so long. He reveals Himself and He reaches out. But there comes a day when He says, all right, I’m gonna take my hands off and give you what you want. That’s the world we are more and more seeing operate around us.

And we need—we need a greater reality than we have if we’re gonna live in this and actually be a part of what God is doing. Do you believe God is doing stuff? I believe He is too. And I believe He wants us to share in that more than we do and be able to.

So anyway, let’s just read this particular passage in John chapter 5 as a starting point here. “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, Do you want to get well? Sir, the invalid replied, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Now, we’re not given any great explanation of what was going on here. It may well have been that God was just allowing this…allowing an angel to come down and stir the water every so often, and it was just His compassion on the people. We don’t really know, but obviously the people were there with some expectation that when the water was stirred, they could actually be healed. Don’t ask me to explain that beyond what the Scripture says.

But anyway, so here’s Jesus walking into this situation. “Then Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to have that kind of faith, to be able to just…to be so in tune with God that we could know that that was the thing that God wants to do, and I have faith to do it, and all I have to do is say the word and God will act. That was the place that He occupied, thank God!

Anyway, so, “The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” You wonder why the Lord maybe picked this…this happened more than once where Jesus healed somebody on the Sabbath, and they were upset with Him.

My God, do our traditions need to be crossed? Do our ways need to be corrected and crossed? Do we…many times, do we run in the idea of what we…we think we know what we’re supposed to do and how it’s supposed to be, and, you’re not doing it right, and you’re not…you know. My God, we need to be set free from so much, that’s just our way of thinking, or ways we’ve learned, and we’ve imbibed from our environment, religious and otherwise.

But anyway, here was a bunch of leaders that were supposedly spiritual leaders and, instead of rejoicing that this man had been healed — My God…God’s among us! Let’s find out what’s going on here! I want to get in touch with God — They were mad at him for carrying his mat! I mean, wow, look at the condition they were in.

Anyway, “But he replied, The man who made me well said to me, Pick up your mat and walk. So, they asked him, Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk? The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.”

How many modern healers would do that? Man, they put signs out and just try to make a huge deal out of it…and crusades and oh my God, come! I’ve got this power to heal! Jesus did one little thing…do you ever wonder why He only healed one man right there? I wonder how He knew to do that? Think about the specificity, how specific His faith was. I actually got that out….

Think about how specific that faith was for Jesus to step into that situation, zero in on one man, heal him on the spot, and then slip away so that the man didn’t even know who it was. Just…I don’t know, He’s gone. But you know, God had a larger purpose in that. And somehow, Jesus knew to seek the man out, after this.

Did God know what the Jews were plotting and how they felt about it? Oh yeah. But Jesus…but God wanted something to be confronted here in a very specific way. And so, anyway, “Later…” verse 14, “…Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

Now, I don’t want to make some broad generalization out of that. But evidently, there are situations where people get in a condition because of sin. We need the Lord, don’t we? We need Him to deliver us from sin regardless of what the specific consequences are. But anyway, there was a warning to the man.

So, “The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.” Sounds like a real grateful guy here. But, you know, God had a purpose. God was unfolding something.

You know, if God could take the crucifixion of Christ—the crucifixion of His Son, and so orchestrate it that it was not the people themselves who were really doing it, but it was God who had ordained everything that was to happen, to accomplish something that could not have happened any other way. Do we have a God who is control? Who knows what to do and when and how to do it? Do you see how Jesus was in such complete harmony with Him in this?

And so, anyway, “So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.” I mean, think of the spiritual condition, again, of people…here’s God, obviously done something very miraculous and they’re more worried about their traditions…and against this guy. He couldn’t be of God. This is terrible. We’ve got to do something about it. So, they began to persecute Him.

“In his defense Jesus said to them, My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” So, “For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus gave them this answer: Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself.”

That’s an amazing statement. So many think that Jesus was a divine creature…not creature, but a divine being who could just do anything on His own while He was here. That’s not what He said. Here He was…had literally come to a place of dependence.

Do you understand that He was as dependent upon God as we are? Let that sink in. Does this, what He said right here, sound familiar? Does it sound a lot like what He said in John 15? “…Without me ye can do nothing.” (KJV). Now obviously we can get up and brush our teeth and go to work and all those kinds of things. But He’s talking about thing that have spiritual significance. He’s talking about the overarching purpose of God that is unfolding! The world is totally blind to it!

But the question is, who on earth among the sons and daughters of men, who are literally a part of that, and what they do is an expression of that, so that there is eternal fruit, eternal result? Do we want eternal result in the things that we do? Or do we want to just come here, do what we know we’re supposed to do, and then die, and then go to heaven, and that’s kind of all there is to it?

I don’t know, that’s not the picture I get in the Scriptures. Is it what you see? It’s kind of a sobering truth, isn’t it? How many of you think the Lord’s emphasizing this to condemn us? Not at all. I believe there’s a heart that reaches out to anyone who reaches back. I believe He’s built a hunger into many who say, God, I know there’s more. I just don’t know what to do. I see where we’re at, and I see what the church was like in the Scriptures. How do you get there?

When I read something like James 5, and they’re talking so specifically about praying and being healed as a result out of that…I’ll tell you, God has a way of encouraging us in this line, that He can work through His people.

I know those of you who were here last week remember what happened with Kenny. I got to talk to him a couple days ago and the Lord’s helping him. But I don’t know how many people here realize how serious that was. It very easily could have been fatal. It was that serious.

And, you know, when he got to the hospital, he had a hard time convincing them to look for the right thing. He kind of had some idea of what was going on because of the blood clots. And finally, he convinced them to go and let’s have a CAT scan. And he said, the look on the nurse’s face when they saw what was going on was priceless. And it was like they realized, this guy shouldn’t be alive! That’s how close he came.

And the interesting thing to me was that, while he was lying back there, you remember we stopped and had a brief prayer. He woke up hearing us praying. Do you think the Lord, maybe had inspired that situation and inspired us to pray, and it wasn’t just us doing it? I believe God was acting.

I believe that God wants more of that…to where we can learn how to tune in to what God is actually wanting and doing, and then expressing real faith, not something we try to work up. It’s not a feeling we work up. There is real faith that comes that’s supernatural, that enables human beings to do supernatural things. And this isn’t just about performing miracles, but this is about being the Body of Christ and being His heart and hand extended as we so often say.

So, here’s Jesus saying, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself…” (NIV). That’s a statement of inability, in Himself. “…He can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” And so on, He goes on.

But think about…just meditate on that. Here is someone who had a relationship with God. God is acting. He’s doing stuff. In God’s purpose, He meant to do a great deal through His Son, who’d been sent for a particular purpose. So, what were the mechanics of that, if you will? You had someone who was so close to the Father in His willingness to do the Father’s will. He was totally surrendered to that. That was the only reason He was living. I didn’t come to do my will, I came to do His. He was so looking to Him and so believing Him, and the Father was expressing His love by showing the Son what He was doing.

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