TV Transcripts

“The Evil Day” Part One
Broadcast #1585
February 19, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1585 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, praise the Lord! I’m just gonna try to share some thoughts that have come to me this week, and as so often is the case, they come from something you go through, something experiential. But if our faith is not related to things that happen in our lives, what is it? It’s just a bunch of theory, isn’t it?

And the Lord is so faithful to take us down the path that He’s designed for us, and to teach us along the way, if we’ll have ears to hear and a heart to listen. And I want to have that, don’t you? And, earlier in the week…you know, many times you come through a Sunday, particularly in my position, you put forth a lot of effort and you’re engaged in it and then it’s done and…

( exhaling ).

…You kind of sit back and coast a little bit. And, you know, the Devil has a way of taking advantage of that, if we’re not careful. There are times…you see cases in the scripture where an army would fight a battle, and then they’d win a great victory, they’d have a celebration, and all of a sudden, they’d be in a weak place and they’d get defeated.

Well, anyway, I just felt like I got in a place where I was feeling…and nobody else knew anything about this, to my knowledge at least. Just something very personal, very private, and I felt like a weakness was getting a hold of me and just...the Devil was oppressing, and I didn’t have any feelings, didn’t feel any strength and didn’t handle it as well as I should have. And, I felt like I knew the Lord was around, I knew He was faithful, because you know He is. There’s a certain faith that He implants, but still there are times you go through dry times of attack.

And, I know, any of you who have served the Lord any length of time, you know what I’m talking about. We go through all kinds of circumstances and sometimes they’re pleasant. You know, we sing the hymn, “God Leads Us Along.” Sometimes it’s through pleasant pastures, sometimes it’s through very dark places. But God knows how to lead us. He knows where He’s taking us. He knows what it takes to get there, doesn’t He?

And so, anyway, I kind of came through that, and just kind of pushed through. And then a phrase kept coming to me, and it’s from a very familiar passage in Ephesians 6. You know the passage about warfare. And the phrase was, “...the evil day.” (KJV). Now in the new NIV it’s, “…the day of evil.” (NIV). But, a lot of translations—several translations have it, “…the evil day…” and that makes a simpler title, doesn’t it?

But you know, I think, I have probably tended to see the evil day in more of a big picture kind of thing. It’s easy to do that. You think of the day in which we live and oh, there’s an evil day coming and God wants us to stand, and wants us to be ready to stand, and that’s true enough. But I began to see the evil day as something that could be anywhere from deeply personal, such as what I went through, to a bigger experience. I mean, it could happen at every level, basically.

‘Cause what you’re talking about is an incident, or something that happens, where the Lord allows Satan to attack, to work, allows him to have a certain amount of influence, and He desires that we handle it. And God knows that, He permits it, doesn’t He?

Now you know, we have the two…specific examples in scripture of how Satan had to get permission, didn’t he? We know God’s on the throne. We know He has known, from the beginning, everything that was gonna happen, and God has had a way of weaving together the moral choices of men and devils, men and angels, I guess they were, and bringing them together into a plan to bring a family together for eternity, things we’ve said many times. And God knows what’s happening.

But the Devil has no power against God’s power. If something happens that the Devil is allowed to do, it’s because God allowed it and God has a purpose. And the two specific examples we have in scripture are Job, certainly one of them, and we have the scene where the Devil actually is allowed to come before the Lord, and the Lord is the One who brings up Job.

It wasn’t like the Devil said, hey, there’s this guy, I’d like to get to him, let me at him. The Lord brought him up! Which means to me, the Lord had a purpose in that. He had somewhere where He was going. He allowed the Devil to do what he did, but God had a purpose to take Job to a better place.

That’s a good thing to remember, isn’t it? Whatever God allows in our lives is designed to ultimately bless and bring us to a better, stronger place, even when it involves failure. That’s a good thing to remember, isn’t it? Because we don’t tend to remember those things when we’re in the middle of them. But oh, I’ll tell you, we’ve got an awesome, faithful God.

Anyway, so the Devil says, oh yeah, you put a hedge around him. You won’t let me near him. So, the Lord says, go ahead and touch him, or touch everything around him. Leave him alone. And you know, we know how it unfolded. Ultimately, the Devil accused Job and said, basically, he’s only serving You because You blessed him, You protected him, and You let me at him physically and boy, he will curse You. And Job went through hell, didn’t he? And of course, he didn’t get any help from his supposed friends. They were giving out their standard theology that they’d learned in cemetery, I mean seminary.

( laughter ).

You know, their traditional knowledge of God, and they brought out all the stuff the textbook said and how it’s supposed to be. And they said there’s no way that you could be experiencing these things if God wasn’t judging you. If you hadn’t sinned, you’d be doing great. A very simplistic view of life.

My God, if something bad and difficult happens to you, does that mean you’ve sinned and God’s punishing you? See, that’s something we need to recognize, we need to learn. Yeah, God can allow us to go through things, but I’ll tell you, always when it comes to His people, His plan is redemptive. It’s to lift up. It’s to bring us to an ultimate end that He has foreseen and determined!

My God, what a faithful, merciful God we have! Thank God! I mean, how many times have we come through times when we have really not done very well, if we’re gonna be honest? And yet, we come out the other end and realize God hasn’t thrown us in the trash! What an awesome, amazing God this is that He could put up with somebody like us and love us anyway, and still want to bring us through!

Sometimes, the thing we need to experience is the failure itself! And you know, the other prime example we have…these things we’ve heard many times, but I just felt like there’s something fresh that the Lord wanted to say to me, certainly, if…you’re welcome to listen in, if you want. But anyway, obviously the other example is Peter…when Jesus said specifically, Satan has asked, “…that he may sift you as wheat.” (KJV).

I don’t have any doubt that Satan was aware of Peter’s zeal, Peter’s self-confidence. He saw weaknesses in Peter, and he felt like, boy, this is the leader. If I can take him down, man, I’m gonna do a whole lot of damage, and this whole kingdom thing is not going anywhere. And so, the Lord allowed that.

But even there, did He not say, “…I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Isn’t that an awesome thing to realize, that in our weakest moment we have somebody in heaven praying for…not against us? Praying for us! Man, do I need that! Oh, praise God! There’s someone who sees past the weaknesses and the difficulties of the moment, the battles of the moment, and is able to look past all of that and see that there’s a…and see a purpose in it.

Now the Devil’s purpose, obviously, was to tear down what Jesus was building and to tear down the leader among these disciples, not just to take Jesus into the grave, but let’s make sure this thing is gone. I’m gonna take Peter down.

And the Lord even warned Peter! You need to pray. You know, your, “…spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (NIV). You don’t know what you’re up against. How many of you have been in that place? You knew what you ought to do, but come time to do it, your nature just kind of cried out and wouldn’t let you.

Kind of what Paul experienced in Romans 7, when he thought that he could serve God by his own zeal and strength. And the Lord showed him that’s not what salvation is about. I’m so thankful that He can bring us to that place, but sometimes we have to learn the hard way. I suspect every person here has had to learn something the hard way. And cheer up, if you haven’t, you will!

But you know what God’s purpose was in this? First of all, it was to teach Peter the truth about himself, something we need to learn. If we don’t reckon on our own need, if we don’t understand our own need, do we really understand salvation? See, the knowledge of our need brings us to a place where we can truly understand and appreciate what the Lord has done for us and His willingness to help us in spite of the depth of that need! Praise God!

And so, Peter was allowed to go through something, but isn’t it interesting how Jesus framed this whole situation. The Devil…we knew what the Devil was trying to do. But Jesus said, “…when thou art converted…” (KJV). When you’re changed, when what I’ve brought you through produces the result that we want, “…strengthen your brothers.” (NIV).

Everything is redemptive! Everything that Peter became, as a minister, as an apostle of Jesus Christ, the leader of, certainly among the apostles, the one who stood up so boldly on the day of Pentecost just a few weeks later, the one who preached at the Temple, shortly after that, when they healed the lame man, and all the things that they went through.

And then the writer of the Gospel, the letters, 1st and 2nd Peter, the message that he puts forth is certainly not one of self-confidence, is it? He learned, didn’t he? He learned and he humbled himself to that truth.

Wasn’t he the one who wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up…” at the proper time? Well, the Lord did that, didn’t He? He knew that from experience.

You know, I see what the Lord is seeking to do in a fresh way, I guess. It’s nothing new. But, like I say, if our salvation and our understanding of truth, Bible truth, is simply head knowledge, we haven’t got much.

And you talk about the evil day coming, and it’s coming, in one form or another. Whether it’s on that small scale, like I experienced this week, or whether it’s something larger or larger, or whether it’s the whole world. And we’re gonna see that. God wants a people who are ready and prepared to stand.

And I pray that God will help every one of us to begin to see, in a deeper way, what the Lord is doing in a day-to-day way in our lives, that there really, actually, is a reason, there really is a purpose in the things we experience and go through.

And oh, how the Devil loves to interpret every negative thing in a way that is totally contrary to God’s purpose! I just pray for God’s grace to stop listening. He will accuse, he will do everything in his power to frame what happens to us in the most negative way possible, to discourage, to do everything he can to turn us aside…even accuse God. You’ve been trusting in Him and look how He’s treating you.

But oh, I’ll tell you what, God has a purpose. There’s something that is very real about our having to live in this world. It’s very significant, I guess, is a better word. If God’s purpose were simply to gather a people and say, do you want to serve me, do you want to give me your life, just hand it over to Him and boom, He takes you out of the world, and we sit in a place of bliss, and go to seminars every day and learn all about it.

But God is producing His family in the context of a world that is absolutely opposed to God in every possible way. I don’t care what things look like, this world, as we well know, is in rebellion against God. It is a prison planet. It has…and people have no power, in themselves, to escape this, even if they wanted to, which they don’t. This is the context in which God is building His family.

And it’s bad enough to have to live in a place where you’re among evil people, and an evil system. The problem is, it’s in here. We’re still living in bodies that are in harmony with the world and the Devil! And so, God’s plan is to give us a brand-new heart and a new life, but we’re gonna have to overcome and make choices to follow Him and not the old nature. And so, everything the Lord…every battle that the Lord brings us through is designed to begin to teach us to make the right choices.

You know, there’s a scripture…I’ll just refer to it, quote it as best I can. It’s in Psalm 45, but it’s quoted in Hebrews chapter 1, where the Son of God…ultimately the…what David wrote, I believe, had a reference to him, in one sense, but in a larger sense, it was about the Son of God. “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever.” Okay?

But what drew me to that scripture was, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has…” anointed you with the oil of gladness, something to that effect. Anyway, there is very much a connection between what God was…God was seeking someone who would absolutely have a choice. Did He not have a choice? Was He not, “…tempted in every way, just as we are…”? But He made the right choice in every instance. He yielded to His Father. He made the choice to hate what was wrong, to choose what was right.

That’s what God is seeking for every one of us. And so, we are gonna be put in situations where every part of us will be tested. That sounds scary, doesn’t it? Was Jesus not tested? Is He not called the, “…tested stone…”? And now He’s, “…become the cornerstone…” and we’re part of a building that’s built on Him. You see what God is doing? He’s building a family, and you and I are going to have battles.

Notice, in this passage in Ephesians 6, it doesn’t say, ‘if’ the evil day comes. It says, “…when the day of evil comes.” Folks, it’s coming. It may well come in the form that it came to me this week. Am I the only one? Yeah, I know I’m not! That’s why the Lord allowed me to experience this, because folks, we are going to have to learn to make choices.

If we’re gonna stand on a day when the Devil has been allowed to take over the world system, and seemingly succeed in building his world empire, and here some of us are still gonna be here having to stand, in that hour, we better have some experience under our belt. You don’t just go to seminar after seminar after seminar and suddenly you step out into the arena and you’re ready for that.

And of course, the examples we’ve seen and used so many times, David was a man after God’s own heart. He needed a lot of training, didn’t he? Because the Lord knew he was gonna have some serious conflicts in his life. There were a lot of enemies that needed to be defeated.

And you remember how he was sent by his dad to take food to his brothers, who were engaged in the conflict with the Philistines? And he gets there and he discovers this giant, named Goliath. Still had giants in the world in those days. And he was…they had a system, I guess, where, to avoid general bloodshed, they would issue a challenge. Let’s bring this war down to one on one and whoever wins, that decides the battle.

Well, they sent this giant out. And by every natural measurement, Israel was in a world of hurt. They didn’t have anybody to send out. And so, David shows up and looks at that and says, what’s the problem? Now, how could a young man like that say such a thing? You know, he’s pictured as a boy. I expect he was an older teenager, I’m guessing. But whatever it was, he was somebody whose life had revolved around keeping sheep out in the meadow.

Now, how is that a way to learn how to fight a battle such as the one he faced? Well, in the first place, God allowed two things, that he mentions specifically, to happen to him. And one of them was a bear. A bear got hungry. I wonder how the bear got hungry like that. I wonder what was behind that.

You know, the things that happen in this world, we see the physical, we see the natural, we see the government, we see bad people, we need to see where it’s really coming from. Our warfare is, “…not against flesh and blood…” the passage that we started with, didn’t actually read it, but you remember it.

But here’s David…somehow, he recognizes, number one, I’m responsible. Number two, I’ve spent a lot of my time out here worshipping God. I’m gonna do what needs to be done. And somehow, God gave him the faith to take on that bear and win! And the Lord says, that’s great! That’s what I’m looking for. I’m gonna train this guy. But he needs another lesson.

You think any of us ever need another lesson? Let the lesson sink in a little deeper and become a little more real? So the Lord allowed a lion. Okay, a bear is one thing, but a lion? Seriously? But he did the same thing. The Lord gave him the victory.

But you know, there was another factor that came into play that was at the heart of the battle that he fought on that day. And it was this. This challenge that has come is not against us. He’s challenged God! This is a bigger battle than just men fighting, nations fighting. This is against God, and so, this is the Lord’s battle.

And so, when he went into the battle…you know, Saul wanted…said, okay, I’ll let you go, but here’s my armor. You’re gonna have…Saul had a natural idea about how battles are fought and won. Folks, if you and I are relying on natural means to try to deal with life, the Lord’s gonna have to show us. That’s not where the battle’s at. Because what Satan desires to accomplish cannot be defeated with human wisdom, and human energy, and human anything.

And here’s the other thing that we need to recognize, and the Devil will do everything in his power to undermine this, is that when the Devil comes against you and me, his assault is not just against us, it’s against the Lord Himself! Because when there is a relationship, when we are truly born into that kingdom and His Spirit comes to live on the inside, there is a living connection that is formed! We are not just scattered people here and there that all have this private relationship. But there is a relationship where we become a part of Him! There is a living connection. What did Paul…what did the Lord say to Saul, when he was traveling to Damascus to persecute Christians? Why are you persecuting…

( congregational response ).

…Me? He didn’t say my followers. Why are you persecuting Me? The Lord saw what the real battle was about! Wouldn’t it be good if we did? That when something comes against us, even if it’s just a private attack and an oppression, a circumstance, whatever it is in our lives, and we discern, and we have enough discernment to say Satan is behind this. The Devil will do everything in his power to separate you in your mind from God. But this is an attack upon Jesus, with whom we have been connected.

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