TV Transcripts

“You, God, and the Devil” Part One
Broadcast #1570
November 6, 2022

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1570 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I’m just gonna go ahead and read most of a chapter just as a setup. And it’s a familiar one in 1st Peter chapter 5.

And, I’m blessed, and I was gonna say amazed, but there’s no reason to be amazed with the Lord, in this sense. The songs that we sang are just so in harmony with what I believe the Lord wants to say.

And once again, I think…was it Matt the other night that said, it seems like we’re saying the same things over and over again, yet from a slightly different point of view, and it’s kinds of…the Lord’s just kind of filling in the gaps. Sometimes I believe the Lord wants us to really continually focus on an area of truth until we get it in a deeper way, because we don’t get it just hearing it once or twice. I don’t, at least. So, let me just read this.

“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. 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.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And 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. Amen.” (NIV).

I’ll stop right there. Now, I just…I read the first part, because it’s hard to disconnect the context that Peter writes. He goes from one thing into another, into another, into another, and there is a connection. But my focus was not on the elders part, but still that’s real truth, isn’t it? Because God calls us to be shepherds, not to be bosses, but to be elder brothers who watch…watch and serve the others.

And then, of course, he says, “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders.” And then, I was gonna make this snarky comment. We all know that the height of human knowledge and intellectual achievement comes when people are in their upper teens, right?

( laughter ).

And…if people are really smart, they spend the rest of their lives realizing and learning that they didn’t know what they thought they did, and their elders were not as clueless as they thought. And that tends to really come home when they have kids that are just like them.

( laughter ).

But truthfully, we need to recognize that we don’t know it all, and part of serving the Lord is being willing to listen and being willing to learn and humble ourselves. But it’s interesting that he says, after this comment to the younger ones, he says, all of you. So now he’s addressing, not just…he’s addressing the elders too. He’s addressing everybody.

And there is a characteristic of our relationship one with another that God is looking for. And it’s not strife, it’s not pride, it is humility. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

And what we’ve read up to this point…the passage up to this point kind of sets up where I was intending to really focus this morning. Nothing new, but I hope the Lord will connect some dots. And, I thought one possible title would be “You, God and the Devil,” Because if you look at the next little…next three paragraphs, the way it is in the NIV, basically those are the characters that are involved.

And there is a way, there is a relationship that…how God seeks us to function as Christians, and how it really works, because if you were just to isolate the passage on the devil and disconnect it from what goes before, you would miss something very critical. But yet, if you were to disconnect that from the passage that follows you would also be weeding out stuff that’s really, seriously important.

So the foundation of what Peter is seeking to lead his believers, his readers to understand about serving God and living in this world, is really focused upon, what is our place, what is our responsibility in this equation where you have the three characters, if you will? And basically, verses 6 and 7 lay it out.

He says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” There’s a lot in that, and I don’t want to take the time to unpack it all, but…I’ll bet you, the natural reaction to anybody hearing something like that and knowing what it’s like in the world, would be to say, that sounds pretty negative.

Does anybody get that…the sense of humbling yourselves under somebody’s mighty hand? In this world, that’s not a good thing. That means that somebody is imposing their will upon others for selfish purposes, and the person who is under that, loses their freedom, they’re not able to do what they want, they’re servants to somebody else’s agenda, and it’s not about them, it’s not about their interests, it’s about the interest of the one who does this dominating…has his heavy hand upon you.

But I’ll tell you, the sense that I believe God wants us to get from this is exactly the opposite. It was interesting to me when I thought about this passage. Why doesn’t it just say, humble yourself under God’s hand? There’s a reason why that word ‘mighty’ is in there. Frankly, I need somebody with a mighty hand, because I am pretty powerless in this world. And if I’m gonna go into this section where I’m gonna have to deal with the devil and the reality of him, there’s got to be some power somewhere that I don’t possess.

Now, isn’t it interesting the parallels between this passage and many things that Paul wrote. “Finally…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” And he talks about our warfare not being against flesh and blood, but principalities and…powers. See, there is some real power at work in the world.

And God has power, the devil has power…we’re pretty weak. We’re in a position of great weakness. I need something that I simply do not have. If I’m gonna be able to move forward in this passage, and enter into what God has planned for me, I need something.

And, you know, that humbling…there’s a lot in that, but certainly it is the opposite, as he says right above that…it’s the opposite of human pride where we feel like, number one, I want to do what I want to do. That’s human will and pride that says, I have my own ideas. I’d like to get God to help me, but I’m the one who’s basically…I’ve got to chart my own course. But here is God seeking to bring us to a place of submission.

And it’s not one where, He comes down with that mighty hand and forces something to happen, is it? He says, humble yourselves. God is not looking for people that He can just dominate and force into His mold, and take away…steal all our joy and steal all our freedom. He is looking to lift us out of a dark, weak place and bring us into a place that is amazing.

And you know, I thought many times about the scriptures in the Old Testament that talk about God bringing out His people with a strong arm and a mighty hand. Was that mighty arm and strong hand meant to intimidate them into submission? No! It was a strong arm against their enemies, anything that would hinder…there was a strong arm that was for them, not against them. Not to force some kind of submission, but God is seeking a willing submission of our hearts and our lives.

I’ll tell you, there’s no way to enjoy the relationship that God desires, until we come to that place willingly. And I understand it’s a process of learning how to be humble in His sight. Think about the man who wrote this, and what he went through while Jesus was being arrested and then crucified.

There was a point in time when the Son of God, the One that he knew was the Son of God, warned him that he was going to deny Him. He said, no. That sounds real humble to me, doesn’t it? No, you’ve got somebody who’s pretty self-confident, and very mistaken.

And then, Jesus warned him again, you better pray, because temptation is coming. I don’t remember the exact words, but you know what I’m talking about. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” And Peter just kind of…yeah, I’ve got this.

Oh God, do we need to get rid of that ‘I’ve got this,’ because we don’t got this! When it come to this equation of us and God and the devil, we need Him! And we need to come that place of just completely surrendering and realizing that we don’t have what it takes. That’s the starting point for that relationship. Praise God! I want to come to that place.

And I’m gonna throw something out at you that might be disturbing, but I believe it’s absolutely the truth. There’s a reason why…if you step back into the previous paragraph, he says, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Now we’re not just dealing with this private relationship…or, okay, God I’m humble. This has to be reflected in our relationships one with another. There is no such thing as having, as being in a place where, I’m good with God, things are great, but now that person, I just can’t get along…I can’t stand them. There’s a conflict between me and them. I’m resentful, I’m holding this against them. We just don’t get along, and I’m…you know, you get what I’m getting at.

If you are upset with any other human being and it lodges in your spirit and you’re…you just go on and you’re upset, you’re upset with God. It absolutely breaches the very foundation of what Peter is talking about.

Man, God…I need grace. I need help, because…well, think of what John said. If we don’t love our brother, whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen? I pray that God will help us to make this equation, and to realize how interconnected this is. There’s no way to have a right, free…the relationship God seeks with Him, and not be right with one another, not do our part.

Now if somebody else has a wrong spirit, that doesn’t mean you have to. You know, we’ve said this many times, no one has the power to “make you mad.” Being mad, and embracing any kind of a negative spirit toward someone else, that’s a choice you’re making…to yield to human nature, to yield to the voice of the serpent. But oh, how many people there are that just vainly imagine they’re just fine with God…but, out here it’s a different story.

I mean, the Pharisees are Exhibit A. They were confident of their relationship with God. I’m good with God, but I despise these people. I hate Jesus! He’s threatening our position! But I’m good with God. No, there’s no way that can be. Folks, if we’re gonna have a…if we’re gonna really have a relationship with God, we need to see that played out in our relationships with one another.

I know that those who serve the Lord any length of time, you know this. You know what I’m telling you is the truth. But boy, we need help, don’t we? And part of it is humbling ourselves to the reality of this truth and saying, oh God, this is true, and I need help.

Again, that picture of the grandmother in that last Kendrick movie…coming to a place where she realized she needed to…she needed to forgive the father of her granddaughter. And just crying out, oh God…You’re gonna have to help me. That’s a good place to be.

And I’ll tell you, when you talk about the mighty hand of God that’s there, what’s that about? Why does He have a mighty hand? Is it to crush us when we don’t do right? I think a lot of us sort of think that. Man, if I mess up, oh that mighty hand is gonna come down. No, this is a mighty hand, not to suppress, not to beat, this is mighty hand to lift up, to reach out with words of encouragement, with words of instruction. God, help us to be willing listeners!

( congregational response ).

Because again, this is not God saying, I’m gonna humble you whether you want it or not. He says, you humble yourselves. God is looking for people who will respond to Him and to His purposes.

And what is His purpose in this statement? “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand…” Why? See, where’s God going with this? Is He just using us for His own selfish purposes? Or is it ultimately to bring us to a higher and better place?

Now, how many of you think that higher, better place is a prideful lifting up? They did good for a while…now, I gonna really…no. Once God sets us free from pridefulness, from all the things that would cause us to react in the wrong way, I’ll tell you, we can be lifted up to a better place. It’s a place of freedom from all of that.

Man, don’t you want that peace that’s on the inside? There’s a peace that comes from that. Praise God! I’m sure it’s always the case when I see something in the Scriptures, that I’m the one that needs it. But always, the Lord tells me, reminds me that I’m not the only one, that God’s people need this. We need to understand this dynamic of how we relate to God and where the devil fits into all this, and what’s really going on.

But God wants every one of you to willingly recognize that this is not a God who’s a monster in sky. This is not a God who’s a tyrant, who just wants to take away all your joy and crush your dreams and…just use you for His selfish purposes. This is a God who sees your need, a need you may not even see properly. But He, with sacrificial love, has reached down, and reached out to you. And His purpose in extending that might, that power, is to help you and to lift you up.

Think about what Paul prayed, in Ephesians chapter 1. He asked for knowledge and wisdom to be given to the folks. But one of the things he wanted them to know was the “…incomparably great power…” of God. And one very key phrase in there, he says, ‘for you.’ Let that sink in. The power that God has demonstrated through what He did at the cross, what He did at the empty tomb, what He did to set His Son on a throne, is exactly the power that is available to every single Christian today!

( congregational amens ).

It’s for you! When He sends His mighty hand, it’s the mighty hand to give you strength, not to crush you, not to punish you when you don’t measure up. This is a hand of love that’s always going to be reaching out, to give you what you don’t have, because if we don’t get this, how are we gonna go out and face the devil? Peter found out the hard way, it don’t work, if we do it in our own strength.

But oh, what a blessed place God calls us to occupy. It’s just a place of peace that comes from surrender. And built into humbling ourselves before Him, is a sense of trust. You know, God calls upon us to believe in what He has done for us, to understand what the cross was about. It’s a place where One died for us so that we could be reconciled, so that we could have a relationship with Him. Praise God!

It’s like my dad said to somebody very early in his ministry, he was still a young man, before I discovered America, I guess. But he said, you know, you can trust somebody who died for you. Praise God!

I know every one of us is in need of learning this, in a practical way. Certainly, there’s this place of really coming to the Lord and realizing what He’s done for us, hearing His voice calling us out of our sins to give our lives to Him; that’s an event! There is a passing from death to life! But then, every single day He calls upon us to make that choice! Praise God!

I need to make that choice right now. You need to make that choice right now. Lord, I need you and I’m looking to you. Please help me right where I am. Praise God! Praise God. What a place to which He’s called us. It’s not a matter of, here’s a program, read my book, do what it says, and everything’ll be good. I need the Person. He’s real. He’s alive and He is intimately interested in me, and He calls for a spirit of trust and humility before Him.

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