TV Transcripts

“The Purpose of Hardship” Conclusion
Broadcast #1551
June 26, 2022

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1551 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Every bit of what He did was for us. Like I said, you cannot get any more opposite from human nature than what God is seeking to do in us. How easy is it for us to turn the Gospel, so-called, into something that really is self-centered? If I’m not seeking earthly blessing, I’m seeking self-satisfaction. I’m spiritual. I’ve arrived at this particular level in my life, and it’s good. I’m just blessed. I’m soaring like an eagle over life.

And here’s Paul going out with the same spirit that was in Jesus. And Paul’s motivation…I think it’s evident from all of his writings, Paul’s motivation was not so Paul could become something great. I mean, Paul didn’t go out and say, boy, if I do all of this and I write all of these great letters, think what they’re gonna…history is gonna remember me! I’m gonna be the Apostle Paul! Wow! They’ll be preaching…they’ll be talking about me for centuries to come. Isn’t that awesome?

How many of you think that even entered into his mind and heart? Somehow, he was brought into such a knowledge of what the Gospel is really about and what being like Him is about, that he got his purpose for being, not by what he could do for himself, but what he could for others. It’s not about me.

It’s about allowing God to put to death those things in me that are not like Him, but for what reason? I mean, why, when he talks about the hardships, we can ask the question, why? Why hardships? Is it, simply, so God can make something great out you, as an independent somebody? That is not the picture you get out of God or His nature. It’s not that at all. Jesus came, not for Himself, but for others.

You know, you could do…if human nature, to the extent that human nature got in on this equation, you could be like Paul and go out and be so…and understand I’m supposed to be sacrificial. This is supposed to be about others and not me. You could do all of that and resent it. Wouldn’t that be kind of natural? Yeah.

And then, if something bad happened, you’d look up and say, God, I’m serving You. What’s going on here? I don’t get this. I just sacrificially gave of myself to so many others, and what do I get out of it, but more trouble, and suffering and whatever? Something’s wrong. I don’t like this kingdom. I don’t like this.

Your human nature ever kick in with thoughts like that and feelings like that? Sure. It does for all of us at one time or another. But oh, isn’t that the time we need to do what the scripture says and humble ourselves under His mighty hand and say, wait a minute? God, You know what You’re doing. And all this is revealing is how little that I am like You.

Think about Jesus and what He went through. Do you think, in any of what He did…as I say, none of it was for Him. He didn’t have to do anything to be who He was. He was already the divine Son of God. Every devil knew who He was. But He came down here to suffer all that He suffered for us, to the point of laying down His life, and not just laying down His life, but with suffering.

Now, do you think that He ever came to a place where He said, okay, Father, I get it. I know where You’re going with this, and I’ll go along with You, but I sure don’t like it. See, that’s kind of how we would tend to react, sometimes.

But my Bible says that it was, “For the joy set before Him he endured the cross.” (NIV). There was something that was so real to Him that He saw past all that was wrong with this world, its self-centered culture, the things that motivate people down here. He saw past all of that. The only way we can have an eternal kingdom where there will truly be peace and love and joy and all those things, all that’s got to be done away. And the only way I can do it is to do this.

But I don’t do it with resentment. It’s not like…I mean, you think about those for whom He did this. He prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Have you and I always been grateful for what He did? The answer is no. No. There’ve been so many times when we’ve been uncomfortable with it, in one way or another.

And you think about the people of the world and the lack of gratitude, of having…being so blind to what He did for them, they could actually oppose Him and oppose us. Talk about blindness!

But how much of it afflicts us? And yet He, knowing what we were like, knowing how ungrateful we would be at times, He said, I’m doing this, and I’m doing it with joy, because I know how this turns out. I know the Father’s plan, and I am 100 percent with it. You know, God wants us to be 100 percent with the Father’s plan.

So, here was Paul, getting and understanding what Jesus was doing, and what motivated Him, and had given himself to God, and saying I’m willing to go out and spend…to spend and be spent, so that You can use me to spread this message of love and mercy to others. This is not about me. It’s not about what I will achieve for myself. It’s about what You can do through me.

How many of us live that way or think…even think that way? I believe the Lord’s helping us.

( congregational amens ).

I’m thankful for everything that I see Him doing and experience Him doing, but doesn’t God want to take us deeper? I mean, why in the world do we spend time wallowing under the devil’s oppression, feeling sorry for ourselves? Doesn’t that tell you that self is kind of at the center, right about then?

Wouldn’t the Lord be pleased if we would rise up and say, wait a minute. Not only am I a child of God, not only am I dealing with a defeated foe, not only do I have God’s promise and God’s provision to stand up against this and to resist it, and to stand fast like Paul says in Ephesians 6, but there’s a reason that I’m doing it that goes beyond what happens to me.

How many times have we read from 2nd Corinthians, chapter 4? That’s why I say I feel like I’m saying the same things over and over again, but I think we need it. I think I do. Paul talked about, to summarize what he said there, Paul talked about the amazing revelation that God gave him, what God had done for him.

But then he goes into a section where he talks about how he was persecuted. He was perplexed. He went through all kinds of difficulties, things that absolutely were an opposition that he had to go through. There were difficulties, the kinds of things he was talking about, the hardships that he was talking about to these people here.

He had to go through all of those things, and he didn’t say…I managed to get through, and here I am, God got me…it was none of that! This was someone who had such an understanding, such a vision of what God’s purpose, His loving heart and His purpose were, that he was able to say, I’m doing this, and I’m not doing it so I can be somebody! I’m doing it for you!

Death is working in me, but life is working in you, and that’s what it’s about! The entire purpose of my life is that God can so work in me that I become a channel of His life to somebody else.

That’s what the Kingdom of God is all about. I pray that God will get us to, bring us to a level of understanding where we get over the self-centeredness that afflicts us all, starting here. We quit complaining. We learn to lift up our heads.

I know we go through some of these things, and they’re real battles that we have to fight, and you can’t just sort of flip a switch sometimes. But oh, we need to see the heart of God in what He’s seeking to make out of us, and the blessedness of this.

You know, like I said, you could look at this and say, okay, I’m willing to even be sacrificial, oh God. It’s not really what I want, but I’ll do it anyway, because I know it’s what You want. So, okay, I’ll go along. Folks, God doesn’t want people to go along, God wants people who share His heart, who realize how His Kingdom works.

And so, here’s Paul saying God has put me in a position where I can actually have God so work in me that things of my old nature begin to lose their hold, and because they’re losing their hold, now He can work through me, and life can pour forth. Man, it’s worth everything for that to happen even if I have to get stoned for it to happen!

Whoa, that’s a measure of grace that most of us haven’t reached. But it’s there, and God wants to bring us to a place where our thinking changes. That is a ‘fur piece.’ For a lot of people, that’s a bridge too far. They’ll like a gospel that’s about them and making their life, especially if it makes their earthly life better and gives them a ticket to heaven. Whoa, that’s great! But this kind of thing where I lose my life, and the purpose of my life is not about me and what I can get and all the happiness I can achieve in this world. It’s so that God can use me as a channel to somebody else.

( congregational amens ).

That is a whole different ball game. How many of you believe God’s bringing us to that, and teaching us His ways? How many believe it’s worth it?

( congregational response ).

You know, I’ll just read some Scripture that I know we know, and kind of read through it. We used Peter recently, 1st Peter, but over in chapter…praise God. There are so many different places you could go, but let’s just look in chapter 4 and read some Scripture that kind of highlights this.

But I want us to see it freshly. You know, my prayer is that this won’t just be more information just regurgitated that we’ve heard before. But that God will actually impart something this morning that will give us the strength and the heart and will to do what He’s talking about.

( congregational amens ).

If it’s just words, we don’t need that! You can go read it. But we need God to speak! Here, now! And make this live in our hearts, give us a literal impartation of His Spirit! We need…you know, I remember Dave Wilkerson saying he didn’t want a visitation. He didn’t want a divine visitation. He wanted a divine habitation where God comes to live.

( congregational amens ).

That’s what we need. But beginning in verse 7, Peter writes, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply….” Above what? All, well, that’s kind of the most important thing, isn’t it? Why? “…Because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Man, if you’re looking for anybody to be perfect around you, quit looking. I mean, if somebody’s trapped in a sin, we know we’re supposed to help them with a humble spirit. But if you’re trying…if you’re just constantly aware of people’s faults around you and fussing about it, grow up!

( congregational response ).

That’s not God’s love. “…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....” Do what?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, so that I can be somebody. No, “…to serve others.” How many times have we pointed out that the body is composed of so many different elements? And not one of them is self-centered. Every part of the natural, healthy body is designed to perform a function that helps the whole body, and in turn, the rest of the body gives it what it needs.

Folks, that’s God’s economy, where we so live for other people, that we just become a part of something that is so much bigger than ourselves, and God builds it together. But He doesn’t forget about you. He just wants you to stop being so self-centered! Be like Him! Be like Jesus!

And I’ll tell you, when we…when that becomes the heart and center, the most important thing is, God, I want to be a channel of life to others. I want them to be better because I’m around them. Not because of who I am, but because You are in me reaching out. You’ve given me certain abilities and certain gifts, and my job is to use them, not so people will think better of me, but so that they will be strengthened. But in return, God is gonna be working in them, and they have gifts that I need. Everybody has what they need in God’s economy.

“…To serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace….” Stewards of God’s grace. That’s where you get what you have to offer anybody else. It’s got to be what He gives, “…in its various forms.”

And so, then he enumerates, “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.”

Now, do you see, in the context, the Scripture we often use? “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” You think Jesus was happy with the price He paid? The answer is yes.

( laughing ).

Yeah. The joy that was set before Him. There is gonna be an eternal…there is an eternal joy that fills His heart, that says it was worth everything that I went through down here, because of the result. And look at all the brothers and sisters that I have, that through Me, the Father has brought into fellowship with Him. He’s put away all of their sin. He’s given them a new life and a new heart.

And He’s preparing them so that we can walk together in a kingdom forever and ever as brothers and sisters unto our Heavenly Father. That’s worth everything!

But oh, our vision is so limited to what we’re experiencing in the moment down here! God, deliver us! And when the Devil whispers, and we’re tired, and we start yielding to that, God help us to wake up and realize why we’re here and what God’s seeking to accomplish, why these hardships exist.

“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” We’re rapidly coming to that place in our society. “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

And so forth, and he goes on. I don’t want to read every little thing here but, he has this passage where he talks to the elders, and this is something I’ve used many times. I’ve used it talking to pastors overseas, because you’ve got this idea among so many that the elders are way up here somewhere, and here’s all the rest of the people down here.

And that’s not the picture Peter paints. It’s brothers who have a God-given responsibility to watch out for others. They don’t do it by commanding people and having a kind of a dominion spirit over them. They’re shepherds! They do it because they’re willing, not because you have to talk them into it.

They’re not lording over everybody, look at me, I’m big, you have to listen to me. This is one who leads by example and says, I want you to be like Jesus. And I’m not gonna just tell you about it, I want to live it before you. God, help me. God, help every one of us.

( congregational amens ).

We’ve got so much to grow…so much room to grow. But anyway, there’s this sense of, not of lording it over but of submission to the heavenly Father to fill a place that is one of service, and willing to pay the price, willingness to pay the price to do that.

“In the same way…” verse 5, “…you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders.” But in the same way as what? Why would he use that phrase right there? He’s just talked about the elders. “In the same way….” In other words, being an elder is one of submission. Your needs are more important than mine. You see? And I’m having…I’m having to yield myself to the Father’s plan, and so with others.

And so, every member of the Body of Christ has a place, but it’s always one where we’re here not to get, but to give, and to do it with the ability that God gives. God, help us to understand some of this, understand why the difficulties come. Satan’s gonna oppose you, in every way. But anyway, All of you…submit one to one another.

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” And this is where you have that Scripture. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

And then he goes into being alert, aware of the devil, and all he’s gonna do. Stand fast against him. Understand that everybody else goes through the same thing. Don’t sit there and say, well, I’m so bad. This is because of…you know, we listen to so many reasonings of the devil. You know, that’s all he’s got to work with?

( congregational amens ).

All he can do is accuse, and try to repackage you, and try to redefine you according to his terms, so you’ll sit there and…poor me, I’m defeated, I’m no good. I am a child of the King, not because of any natural qualification. He has qualified me to be shared with the saints in light. He has qualified me! He has! To Him be the glory! Devil, you have no right.

Isn’t it interesting, though, that when you go to that scripture in Revelation 12 that we’re so familiar with, there are three things by which we defeat him? It’s the blood. That’s the only answer I’ve got for sin. It’s what He did.

But it’s the word of my testimony. It’s got to be such a conviction that it can come out my mouth as a conviction. The Devil has no answer for that.

But there’s a third element there. Do you remember what that one is? We don’t love our lives unto the death, “…so much as to shrink from death.” Depending on the translation. See, there are things in here that have to die, and that’s what God is accomplishing.

But again, the purpose of all of that is not self-centered so that I can, then, be somebody spiritually in the Kingdom of God. It’s so that all these things that are hindering me from God’s purpose in being a servant to you, will be eliminated.

But that’s just as much true for you. If you’re one of His, if you’ve been born into this Kingdom, God has called you to a life of laying down your life, so that His life can flow through you to others. The form in which that takes will vary with the call of God, but every bit of it has to come from the grace of God!

I feel like God wants to get us to a place of greater freedom and greater understanding of His purpose. We’re coming into a meeting. I feel like, in a way, this has been scattered, but I’m just trusting God to get what He wants across. Do you get the picture a little bit? Is this making any sense at all? Paise God!

Return to TV Transcripts