TV Transcripts

“Take My Yoke” Part One
Broadcast #1593
April 16, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1593 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, I confess, I got up this morning absolutely convinced I didn’t have anything. And, just quietly, thoughts that I had had just kept kind of trying to come in. And, I know one thing the Lord is trying to work on me about is not getting a thought and then building a sermon around it. That is, me as a…I have enough Bible knowledge to be able to say, yeah, I can say this and here’s how to organize it and all of that.

And, I’m not saying there aren’t times when the Lord wants to organize something, as a matter of teaching, but I feel like He’s more interested in sharing His heart, in spite of our weakness, and I’ve got gobs of that. But He is so faithful, as we’ve sung this morning. And many of the thoughts have just confirmed these little subtle thoughts that keep bubbling up here and there.

And you know, last week we spoke from Hebrews chapter 12, and it was all about the path the Lord’s laid out for us, and He calls upon us to have a spirit to run with endurance. It does say to keep our eyes on Jesus, for sure. But yet, it’s pictured with words like, endure hardness, words like discipline.

And a lot of the emphasis that I felt, at the time, had to do with our emotional response to all of that. How do we deal with it? Do we consciously resent and resist, and fuss and complain and all of those kinds of human reactions that we have when we don’t get our way?

And, you know, I feel like the Lord wants to balance that picture out, because while it’s absolutely true, and has been emphasized this morning already, we could almost look at that from a human point of view as a pretty negative thing, that God has called us to a life of misery and warfare and trouble and it’s all bad, and just hang on. It’s gonna be over some day, but just hang on for now. There’s no…almost like there’s no joy in it.

And really, it’s the opposite. It’s absolutely the opposite, because if you want to have a life of struggle, and unrest, and trouble, very easy, just follow your own heart. Follow your earthly inclinations. Just live for the values of this world and just struggle and strive and try to get what you can out of it. You will have nothing but unrest and struggle and strife. And, isn’t that the very thing that the Lord came to save us from?

And, you know, I kept thinking, and actually it was in my mind last week, and I never did quite get to all of it, but we don’t have any better example of what it means to live a godly life, in a broken world, than our Savior.

And, we know that so many scriptures that I can just basically refer to, I don’t even have to turn to most of them, but we know that it was the Father’s plan to send Him on a rescue mission because we had no hope apart from Him. There’s not a thing we could do to make ourselves right with God, fit for His kingdom. We need a miracle. We need God to come and do for us what we cannot do. And, that’s why He came.

And the very One that was…I believe He was, indeed there, in the fiery furnace, because we read in the scriptures that no one’s ever seen God. He’s an invisible Spirit who inhabits eternity. But, the One who has brought Him into focus, who is the exact representation of His being is our Lord Jesus. It’s the Father’s Son.

And so, the Father’s plan, from the foundation of the world, was to send Him into this broken world to live, as I say, not just to live a godly life, but for a purpose. There are so many truths relative to this, and as I say, I haven’t organized it so it will probably sound that way, but that’s okay.

But, one of the things that I believe is really relevant to us is the fact that His life was not simply a demonstration of a godly life in a broken world. There was an eternal purpose in His being here. There was something God intended to fulfill through His life and through the things that He did.

And, my mind has gone, in passing, to the life of Esther. And I’m not gonna go there, but you know the story about how the Jews were scattered through the Persian kingdom. And there was a plot against the Jews, but in the providence of God, a young Jewish woman…I guess the king didn’t realize who she was. But anyway, this young, beautiful, Jewish woman became the queen.

And so, when her uncle found out about this terrible plot, he went to her. Well, first of all, he was in mourning and she was trying to figure out what’s going on. Somebody check out with him why is he acting that way? And it all came out. But the key thought was simply this, who knows but what you are, “…come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (KJV).

Do you believe God does things haphazardly? Does He just generally…does He just put His people in a broken world just to kind of muddle through and it’s…no! We’re here for a reason. God had…just as God sent His Son into the world, in the fullness of time, that is exactly on God’s schedule, so He has called us to live, in this particular hour, in the world history.

And we have a reason for being here. You are not a clone. You are not a Storm Trooper. You know, to use Star Wars. What is it? Star Wars? Or…anyway, use that picture. But we are individual, we’ve said this so many times, we’re individual creations of an all-knowing God, who has known us from the foundation of the world, and has ordained that you and I live right now. And He has a reason for us being here.

And so, life is not about living out our lives as citizens of this world, for our own selfish purposes. It’s to seek out and find God’s purpose for our lives. There is no other path to meaning, no other purpose for our existence, except that. And you know, we know what Jesus said about those who would love their lives in this world. What’s the outcome of that?

( congregational response ).

They lose them! Yeah, there’s nothing but death and destruction ahead for those who simply live out their earthly lives to satisfy themselves. But oh, what God has set before us never ends. Thank God! Oh, what…and I’ll tell you, there’s a cost—there’s a cost.

And, as I say, the purpose was lived out, amazingly, in Jesus. And so, it’s interesting, if you start reading the record of His life, we have, basically, 30 years of His life where there’s almost nothing said. I mean, you have the events about His birth and how the Lord, supernaturally, bore witness. He connected what was happening, and this child and His purpose, with the words of the prophets, said this is the fulfillment. Here He is! He’s the One that I’ve sent into the world. So, there was that witness. And certainly His parents took it to heart and knew about it, especially His mother.

And then you have the record, I believe, personally, it was a year or two later when the wise men actually came. And they came and found the young child, not the baby, but the young child, and worshipped Him. And the Lord sent them home another way so Herod couldn’t find out about it.

And he decided the only way he could get rid of this threat was to kill all the babies, in that particular…or all the children under two years. That’s a clue, isn’t it? All the children, under two years of age, he was going to slaughter them to make sure he got the one he wanted.

And what happened? The Lord got the family out of there, sent them to Egypt for a while, until Herod was dead. And then sent them home and they went back to Nazareth. So, then you have silent years.

The next time you have a record of Jesus, He’s 12 years old. And they’re going down to the Temple to worship and you have this account where He spends His time…He goes in to the Temple and when His parents leave, He’s still there. You remember how that happened? And there He is sitting and discussing the Old Testament with the scholars and the scribes and the Pharisees and all that. And they’re amazed at His understanding. He’s asking questions. He’s answering questions. And His parents come back and He said don’t you know, “…that I must be about my Father’s business?” But what happened after that?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, He went home and was…obedient! That’s a negative word, isn’t it? But no, He was obedient, wasn’t He? And so, you don’t hear anything else about Him until He’s 30 years old! Ever wonder what went on? I mean, I know there are all kinds of myths and fairytales about magical things He supposedly did. But no! The reality was, He was just living an ordinary life. In fact, the only thing it says was He, “... grew in wisdom and stature…” and knowledge, “…favor with God and man.” (NIV). Things like that. So basically, He was living out a godly life but yet, it was not God’s time to reveal Him, was it?

Ever wonder about God’s timing with your life? Does it ever seem like you’re just living out an ordinary existence and there’s no real purpose to it? And, okay, when something spiritual comes along, I’ll get spiritual. But no, Jesus simply lived as an ordinary human being, and yet, there was…the favor with God and man tells me something about His character, not to mention the fact that it mentions He never sinned. That helps a lot.

But, here’s Jesus, just walking through life, gets up in the morning, eats breakfast, I guess, whatever their particular custom was, goes through the duties of the day. He had brothers and sisters. You imagine what that was like? I mean, His brothers didn’t believe in Him, even when He went around performing miracles! How do you think they were before that? I mean, here’s Jesus having to go through all the things young people go through. I imagine His brothers were mean to Him sometimes. And here He is, acting and reacting in a godly way.

Do you know how that Jesus was able to present Himself as a sinless offering before a Holy God? There’s a little word…I pointed it out before in Hebrews. It says by, “…the eternal Spirit…” by, “…the eternal Spirit offered himself…” as a holy sacrifice, sinless sacrifice…I forget the exact wording. But anyway, the idea is He had a resource that most people didn’t look to. He looked to God!

Even during those silent years, where all He did was build furniture, or whatever carpenters did in that day. Just going to work, doing His job, being a faithful person, somebody that people knew they could depend upon. And just…you want somebody who’s honest, He’ll do right by you? Go see Jesus. He’ll take care of you. That was His life.

Folks, there’s no such thing as ordinary. You think about Jesus, again, going back to His childhood. What was the thing that the Lord emphasized? He went back to His parents and was subject to them. He was obedient. It’s a pretty good lesson.

Do you see what the Lord was doing? Not only demonstrating a godly life, but building His character. He grew in knowledge and wisdom. Does that suggest anything? He wasn’t…I mean, there are people that say all kinds of crazy things. But, when He was a baby on His mother’s breast, do you think He knew everything?

No! He was in a world that was a whole different context in which He had ever…than He had ever known! All He had known was perfect harmony with His Father, in a place where there was no rebellion, no sin. He was absolutely one with His Father’s heart and purpose. Now He’s down here, living in a human body, and that human body doesn’t want to cooperate. Anybody know what I’m talking about?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah! Well, the scripture says…in fact, Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Now, it’s strong if you look at it in a different sense. But, it’s weak when it comes to being able to serve God. There’s no way we can serve God in the energy of flesh, as we’ve said so many times. But, here’s Jesus having to learn that, in a practical sense.

And so, the Father was bringing Him through different circumstances, being a child, having to live with brothers and sisters who probably were just about...just like yours. They fussed and they made fun of one another and they did mean things. And you know, He had to learn how to react to that in a godly way.

And it’s not a matter of being super spiritual. It’s a matter of just having a godly character to say, I don’t have to let that get into my spirit. I don’t have to participate in your sin, is what it boils down to. And so, here’s Jesus learning—learning in life.

Do you suppose that has some relevance to us today? Does your life just seem like…seem ordinary? I mean, I know that there are great missionaries who’ve gone to the ends of the earth and done all these wonderful things, but I’m not like that. I’m just…I just get up in the morning, go to work, clean the house, whatever, go to school. Do you think that’s unimportant to who you are? It’s not! Every single thing the Lord brings us through has a reason. It’s part of making you who God has designed you to be.

And so, He wants us to live a life where we have this sense that we’re not here just to participate in this world. Yes, we interact with it. And yes, God can put people in positions of great authority. Look what He did with Daniel, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, for that matter. They were high officials in the kingdom. God can put His people there. But they weren’t living for Babylon. They were living to serve God!

And Jesus was not living just to be the best furniture maker ever. He was doing what He did as a participant in human society, and interacting with people, no doubt learning many things, learning how to act and react. You know, there’s a scripture that we’ve referred to many times in the past, where, in Hebrews 5, you can read it sometime, where Jesus, learned, what?

( congregational response ).

“…Learned obedience…” That sounds strange! The Son of God had to learn how to obey? But you know, when you think about it, obedience is when we submit our wills to someone else, and instead of doing, following our own desires and inclinations, we subject them to someone else, because we understand that there’s a reason, there’s a purpose, that’s our place, that’s what’s right in God’s eyes to do and it forms our character.

And guess what? It does! It strengthens us. We had so many songs this morning about how God’s changing us, working in us. All right Lord, I hear You! I was trying to get out of it this morning. But anyway, I’m thankful He’s so faithful.

But here we are…here’s Jesus having to learn how to obey. What does that mean? Well, it means that He encountered so many situations, not just when He was ministering, when we see the detailed account of His ministry, after the baptism of John, but all these years He was learning how to obey God in the face of things that He was facing every single day.

And a lot of it was just, all right Lord, I’m here. I know I’m here for a reason. Let’s get on with it. You know, His nature…I wonder if He ever had that feeling that He had to obey God and He had to trust God and just lay that aside, and go against it, and say, Lord, I’m resting in Your purpose. I’m resting in Your time. Wouldn’t that be a good thing if we could learn to do that?

You know, that doesn’t sound like a life of drudgery, to me. Sounds like the Lord is wanting to bring us to a place of greater peace and rest. Oh, by the way, what about that scripture where Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you…” what?

( congregational response ).

“…Rest.” But then it goes beyond that, because we need to know how it is that He gives us rest. He gives it to us through the things that we deal with, but we learn to handle His way. You know, we talked last week about how we tend to react. We have a tendency where we could easily react in a negative way to something God allows, and we start blaming somebody who may have been the instrument of what God was trying to do in our lives, that hard thing He wanted us to overcome. And we react to that, emotionally.

Did Jesus do that? “He was despised and rejected by mankind.” He had to elude the authorities, at times, because it wasn’t God’s time. He had to come to the place where He was willing to submit Himself to all the abuse—the horrific abuse that He suffered. And He did it because that was the Father’s plan for Him, and because He did not value His earthly life above the will and the purpose of God.

We’re gonna need to learn how to trust Him, how to let go, how not to fuss and fight. Oh, my! We all do it. But may God help us to learn, just watching the life of our Savior, and how He was able to come to the cross and say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

And you know, He spoke about the fact that He was gonna be lifted up. He was going to the cross. He looked up, in the hearing of His disciples, and said, what am I gonna say about this? “Father, save me from this….” That’s what we’d like.

But there are times when God’s purpose is that we go through hard places. Yes, there is hardness. Yes, there are times in life when God is gonna have us in very hard places. Some of them will not just be short term. Some of them will go on for years! But I’ll tell you, there is something that is happening. There is a life that is being put to death. There is something else that’s coming forth.

But His prayer, His statement was, “…shall I say? Father, save me from this….” He said, no! This is why I came into the world. This is the reason I’m here. It’s not to preserve My life and to make something out of it in this world, it’s to lay it down. Because it’s worthless to You apart from just allowing…it’s a place where you could live and express Yourself, but apart from that, there’s nothing…there’s no answer for it but to put it to death. And so, this is the death that You’ve caused me to die—You called Me to die and so I’m willing to do it.

Does that mean it was easy? Does it mean the battles that Jesus fought were easy? You know the scripture where it talks about how He learned obedience, the scripture before that speaks about His coming to the Father, “…with strong crying and tears…” (KJV). There were protracted battles that He had to fight, because the strength of this nature is such that we need divine help.

You’re not strong enough to beat it, and I’m not either! I can’t just say, I’m gonna do this and I’m good. Just tell me what to do, God. I’m good. No, you’re not! That’s what Paul thought, in Romans 7. God, I love You! I want to serve You! Just tell me what…tell me Your laws and I’ll follow them.

And he discovered that there was something in him. There was a law in here that said, no. I don’t care what you…how hard you try, you’re gonna find yourself doing things that you said you wouldn’t. And you’re gonna find yourself not doing things you declared that you would! Peter found that out, didn’t he? Anybody here find that out? Yeah, we just don’t have what it takes.

But anyway, here’s Jesus. What was His answer to this? Was it just self-pity? Was it anything other than just turning His eyes to the one source? Remember, we said it was by the eternal Spirit. Ah! So He knew where to go, and He understood the only way I can get through this thing, the only way I can face this situation, I’m gonna have to go to my Father in prayer.

And it’s not gonna be a little quickie, push-button, proof-text kind of thing. I’m gonna have to cry out from the depths of my being. Oh, God! If You don’t help Me, I don’t have any help! And I’ll tell you, there’s a God who hears and answers the cry of a heart like that, that says, God, I want to serve You! I just don’t have what it takes!

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