TV Transcripts

“Something Worth Dying For” Part One
Broadcast #1561
September 4, 2022

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1561 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: You know it was about a year ago, roughly, we had a service on “What is Happening?” And my mind has kept going for quite some time now to that general area of truth, because we’re not living for Christ in a vacuum here, we’re living in a real-world situation. And I believe God wants us to understand that situation, perhaps better than we do.

One thing that we have, in a sense, working against us, is the relative freedom that we have in this country. Now that’s disappearing, faster than, I think, a lot of us realize. But that’s not my subject. It’s not a political commentary or anything like that, but the reality is that we need to understand what it means to be a Christian, not just an American Christian, because it’s so easy for our focus to be in the wrong place.

And somehow my mind has repeatedly been drawn back to the book of…the books, and I’m not gonna turn right there right now…but to the books of Thessalonians, because Paul was dealing with a situation that was not at all uncommon, in that day, namely, that when they went out, they didn’t go out into a friendly world, did they? They went out into a world that was absolutely under the dominion of demons, who operated under Satan’s power. They worshipped idols, and the devil had no interest in Jesus and the message of Jesus coming in and rescuing anybody.

You know, Jesus said, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail…” (KJV). In other words, Satan is gonna be trying to close, enclose His people, and Jesus said, that ain’t gonna work. I’m gonna reach in there and get Mine. And so, the ministry of the Gospel is really a divine invasion. We’ve said that many times. But it is Christ reaching into Satan’s strongholds and rescuing people for His eternal kingdom, His eternal purpose. And I’ll tell you, when the people went out to minister, they understood that.

You know, when Paul went to the city of Thessalonica, and founded the church, I believe it was his second missionary journey. I know it wasn’t his first because he was traveling with Silas. And you remember how…what happened in Philippi, which was the city right before that? You remember how the crowds got stirred up and they were thrown into prison, and they were beaten.

And we sing the song about at midnight, how the Lord sent an earthquake, rescued them, and used it to minister the Gospel, to strengthen the believers there? Well, I mean, persecution for Christ was simply something they expected. It was not…oh my God, this is unusual, this is terrible. This was just the way it was.

And so, they didn’t think twice about…oh my God, something’s wrong here. They said, this is right. We’re doing God’s work, and this is what we can expect. That’s not a mentality you and I have, is it? I believe the Lord is emphasizing these things for a reason, because we are getting closer and closer to the end, and we are seeing things unfold that are unfolding with increasing rapidity every single day.

You know, one of these days, I’ve had in mind to read some recent headlines and they’re actually a couple of months old now. I collected them a while back. And they’re headlines that would have been unthinkable when I was growing up, and some of you who are of that generation. They just show how deeply Satan is growing his power in the world.

And don’t think he’s gonna continue to be a friend, or that he’s ever been a friend…but don’t think that society is gonna be a friend of those who serve Jesus. When the Word of the Gospel comes, it is absolutely an attack against Satan’s dominion, and he will fight with everything he has.

I thank God for the freedom we have had, but in a sense, it’s hurt us in some ways. And I believe the Lord wants to strengthen and purify His people, and He’s gonna do it. I thank God for His faithfulness.

So anyway, they finally let Paul and Silas out of prison, and they met with the believers, and then they left, at the end of Acts chapter 16. Let’s just quickly go there to when the church was founded. “When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia…” (NIV). Yeah, that’s right. “…They came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.”

Now Jews had been sent through…I mean, they’d been scattered through the Roman Empire. And so, almost every place you went that was of any size, there was a Jewish synagogue. And, you remember, the Gospel was first to the Jews, wasn’t it? God was gonna reach out to His people first and give them the hope and the message that the prophets had prophesied was coming. And so, this is what Paul did first. He didn’t go to Gentiles. He went to the Jews because God was still reaching out…still is, by the way.

“As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah, he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. But….”

See this is what happens whenever the Gospel goes out. “But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.” And so forth…they go looking for Paul and Silas. They can’t find him. They persecute somebody else. And so, basically, Paul and Silas were there at least three Sabbaths…we’ll say generously they were there in this city for about…for a few weeks, perhaps.

Can you imagine going and starting a church in that kind of environment, and having it succeed? Think about what the message was? Think about what the message is that’s going out in so many places today. Prosperity gospel! Serve Jesus and life will be better for you here on earth. You’re gonna prosper. Everything is gonna be great. You’ll have plenty of money.

It didn’t sound like the message Paul preached. That was not the context. And if you go to his letters, which I think I’m gonna go ahead and do right now. Let’s go over to 1st Thessalonians. I’ve had so many ways in my mind of going over this, and there’s more than I want to try to get into today.

So, I’m just gonna try to, I think, go through the book of Thessalonians, because there is a theme there, that I believe is important. There is a theme that recurs, and it has to do with the coming of Christ, because if you are serving God, and the Gospel has come to you, and there is a conviction about who Jesus is and you are literally putting your…you’re staking everything on who Jesus is, and now they’re coming and killing you, man, you’re gonna have some…you’re gonna have to have something.

You’re gonna have to have something that’s very, very real, but also there are going to be certain questions that the devil’s gonna plant in your mind. How is this gonna come out? Where is the Lord headed with all of this? I mean, you know, look at what it’s gotten for us. You remember how Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 15, and he was talking about the truth of the resurrection, and he made this point. He says, if all we’ve got to hope for, just to paraphrase him, if all we’ve got to hope for is in this life…

( congregational response ).

…Yeah, we’re of all men most miserable. That doesn’t make any sense. There’s got to be something more that we’re living for than what we have here. Okay? That’s at the heart of the Gospel.

And I believe we, above all, need to understand that going forward. There’s a reason why the Lord puts this on our hearts. We’re gonna need something more than we have had…I don’t want to phrase it in a scary way. But we’re gonna need a deeper understanding of what it means to serve Jesus, than perhaps we have had, because simply of the environment in which we live.

We can look across the world now and see places where it is…it’s a death sentence to place faith in Christ—it’s a death sentence. North Korea…their tradition has been, if one person is discovered serving God, they don’t just persecute that one person. They get their entire extended family and place them in prison and work them to death. That’s happening this morning…it’s night there, but anyway, that’s happening today in that particular region of the world. And other regions of the world, it’s that way. Folks, it costs something to serve the Lord.

You know, Jesus, when He was sending out His disciples, He didn’t basically say, I’m sending you out into a friendly world. The Jews have all…I mean, the Israelites have all been waiting for this message! Thank God, there were some that were! It’s just like the Gospel going out into the Gentile world. Not everybody’s gonna hear it. The majority will not hear it, but the Gospel sword is cutting…absolutely is dividing society in ways that we don’t even…we don’t see, because it’s sort of murky and free and all that, and we can kind of live our lives without fear of persecution.

But, folks, this is an anomaly. This is not the way it has been throughout history. When Jesus sent His disciples out, He said…everybody’s gonna hate you. The world is gonna hate you. Everybody…you’re gonna be persecuted, you’re gonna be brought before authorities. Don’t worry, I’ll be with you when you answer their questions.

Do you think that I’ve come to give peace? You know, we sing, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” But you’ve got to understand what that is. Peace on earth…yeah, to people, to follow Him. We can have a peace in our hearts. Thank God! But did He come to bring peace on earth? No, He came to bring a sword. He came to divide families. He came to divide father from son, daughter from mother.

Now I thank God where you’ve got families that serve the Lord, but you get the point. Jesus did not come to absolutely bring ‘everybody’ under His…no, He came to give a message that was an uncompromising…you need to lay down your life, you need to serve Me, and you need to put…you need to move away from what this world is living for.

And when you do, the people that don’t receive the message, the people that reject this message, they are going to go radically in another direction, and you’re gonna be in trouble in this world. You’re gonna have a lot to face.

And that was the case with these folks. And you think about what it takes to go in with a message of who Jesus is and what it means to serve Him, and oh, by the way, when you do, you’re gonna be persecuted. They’re gonna kill some of you.

And it’s a matter of a few weeks…man, you’ve got to have some supernatural power going on there. You’re gonna have to have something that will absolutely reach down into the depths of men’s hearts to give them that kind of conviction.

Folks, do we have that? I believe it’s there and I believe the Lord is nurturing it in a deeper way. But I feel my need of being more ready. So, I’m just gonna kind of skim through so that we can get an overview of what Paul’s message was to these people.

In verse 2 of 1st Thessalonians chapter 1, “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Wow! How many churches could you say…could you describe that way in America? And here’s a church that was founded in a matter of weeks, in the middle of terrible opposition. People had already died for their faith when he wrote this. It’s gotten quiet. Praise the Lord! I hope the Lord’s in this. But I believe, it’s His burden, it’s part of it.

“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you…” Now how did he know that? “…Because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.”

Folks, if the Gospel does not come with that, what does it come with? All you’re doing is convincing people of ideas. Human words have no power. We need God to invade…now He will use human beings, but we need God to impregnate those words with His power and His Spirit, so that they reach all the way down into the depths of a person’s being, and give them the kind of faith that enabled these people to stand up against the threat of death.

Folks, that’s what we need, in a deeper way. We need an understanding of what it means to serve the Lord, because that’s the world into which we are sailing. We’ve said it many times. And I don’t know if we realize. If you’re paying attention at all to the news, you know that the seeds of the kind of control that the devil is seeking to establish…they’re happening now.

There are plans being laid and unfolding just as fast as people can do them. There are mechanisms that are happening in our society right now that will absolutely begin to, like a coiled serpent, begin to tighten the coils, and tighten the coils, and tighten the coils. It wouldn’t take much for you and me to be on the outside looking in, at best.

Now I believe God is gonna be with us. I believe He’s called us, like we’ve said so much lately…He’s called us to this particular time, and He’s got a reason for our being here, and He’ll be with us to the end. Thank God. “He is faithful to the end.” And we sang that this morning. All right?

And he talks about, “You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

Does that sound like a modern revival campaign? You welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering. What a testimony. Okay? And so, they became an example and everybody’s talking about…do you see these people? Let’s be encouraged by the way that God has enabled them to stand.

Wouldn’t you like to be people like that, that the Lord could point to and say, now that’s what I’m looking for. We need Him. I need Him. I don’t have any of this in me. But He’s got everything that we need. Praise God! All right?

And so, the Word is…in 9, “…They themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

Okay? One theme that…the theme that I see throughout this book, and it’s a very appropriate one…. If you’re talking to people who, basically they’re serving Christ and as a result of that, they’ve got nothing in this world, but trouble, wouldn’t you, if you were in that position, want to know how is this gonna turn out? Where are we going with this? Give us some foundation, a solid foundation for having a hope that can motivate us, enable us to go forward with joy and expectation, because right now, it don’t look too good.

You know, Grandma just died the other day, and somebody else was a young person, and they killed them! Where is this going? What’s the Lord’s plan for this? How is this all working out? This is an awesome message of a kingdom that’s coming, but right now it doesn’t look like that.

And so, Paul deals with this repeatedly. He keeps coming back to this theme of how this is all gonna come out. And I’ll tell you, one of the things I see…and I’m not gonna fight about theology particularly, but I’m gonna share my convictions. Because I believe with all my heart, one of the things that the devil has done, particularly, in this country, is absolutely confuse the expectations of what’s coming.

I mean, in most places, many places, you’ve got these long charts where they’ve got it all figured out as to what’s gonna happen and when and how long it’s gonna go on. And, for them history goes on at least for more than another 1,000 years, on this planet. And that’s their expectation.

Boy, Paul didn’t know anything about that. There is a simplicity that unfolds as he’s talking about this. And he’s talking about to wait for His Son from heaven! Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. There’s both wrath and rescue happening, all at the same time, as you’ll see it unfold.

And Paul refers to the fact that we’ve previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, toward the beginning of the next chapter. “…But with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.”

God, give us that kind of courage. It’s wonderful to be able to come here with the freedom that we have. But what about when we don’t have that freedom? What about when they start taking it away from us in various ways? Are we gonna have the courage to say, wait a minute, I’m serving Jesus, I don’t care what comes?

Because, you think about these believers…we think of the…we have a saying, ‘something worth living for.’ In fact, we sing a song, don’t we, the ensemble? God’s given me something worth living for. And I thought about that. I thought about several possible titles. But I’ll tell you, what this is about is something worth dying for.

Is Jesus worth dying for? You think about how He achieved victory over the devil. How did He do it? He died, didn’t He. He gave up the only thing, the only avenue by which the devil had any access to Him, His earthly life. He gave it up, but He gave it up in the expectation of the promise of God. And as a result, He came out of that grave victorious over sin, death and the grave, and the devil, all of it! He has the keys! He has the power to set free forever all those who put their faith in Him.

But for these people, it meant death, literally, in many cases. And suffering for those who didn’t die. It was no easy thing to serve God. Folks, what does it mean for us to serve Him? Is He worth dying for? If they came and put a gun to your head right now, and said, deny Jesus, we’ll give you a million dollars and we’ll set you up on easy street, or else…if you’ll just deny Him.

Folks, what was Paul’s testimony? He said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is…” What? “…Gain.” See, Paul had already given up his life. You know, when we come to Christ, we’re basically surrendering our life.

Isn’t that what baptism is about, by the way? What are you doing when you’re being baptized? You’re surrendering, but you’re dying! You’re saying, I’m willingly going into a grave, symbolized by the water. And when I come out, there is a new life. That life is what I’m receiving. That’s what matters. That’s what…from this point on, my life is absolutely pointed at the Kingdom of God, and symbolized by the coming of Christ. I mean, that’s the day that I’m looking for. And so, Paul continually lifts up this day that’s coming. All right?

I wish in some ways I’d written down some of these Scriptures, but I want to just kind of go through this. And, he talks about how he worked among them. I don’t want to read it all, but how he labored among them.

And he says, in verse 11 of chapter 2, “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

Thank God, for what God has given to us! But now, here…now listen to this also. “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”

You see, there’s something that actually has to accomplish something. Words are just ideas. But there is a power that God wants to impose…put into our lives. I forget the word I’m trying to use. But God wants to literally minister divine power that has life-changing power into a human heart that will open their heart to His Word. Praise God! That’s what I need! Because I haven’t got the power to do what He has in mind, but He does.

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