TV Transcripts

“From Test to Testimony” Part One
Broadcast #1609
August 6, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1609 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, praise God! It seems like the more we go the more we discover, number one, our weakness, number two, His supply. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We shouldn’t be dismayed by that. We need to be just thankful and looking to Him and knowing that He’s on the throne.

My mind keeps coming back to a passage that we’ve talked about many times and used many times, and that’s in Romans 5. And it seems like there are truths that we need to hear a lot. I don’t know that I’ll say anything particularly new today, but I feel like it’s something we need.

And even the songs that were sung and were requested, kind of reflects, I think, where a lot of us are at. And the Lord wants to encourage His people, and just help us to walk in trust and faith.

Paul begins this passage basically, with a summary of what he’s talked to up to this point, in which he has unfolded the facts of the gospel. He defined everybody’s need as being the same, without regard to whether they were Jews trying to follow the law or Gentiles that hadn’t heard. We all have the same need.

And if you go on in this chapter, you discover why. We were born into a family of sinners. That’s why we sin. We’re not sinners in God’s eyes because we commit sins. We commit sins because we’re sinners. So, God’s got a major job to rescue us from that condition.

But the starting point for that is that we have a record of sins that separate us from a holy God. We can’t have a relationship with Him and have all that guilt hanging around us. And you know, I keep having something come back to my mind, I guess, different aspects of it, and that is Pilgrim’s Progress. Many of you are familiar with the work by John Bunyan, which, while he was in prison for his faith, in England. He was in prison there, and God gave him this amazing picture of the gospel and of the Christian life.

And it begins with a man whose name is Christian, but he lives in a bad place, the City of Destruction. But he has this huge bundle on his back, a tremendous burden he’s carrying around, and he’s the only one that seems to be aware of it. Everybody else is just living their life, and he has the knowledge of this burden.

Where do you think that came from? You know, nobody comes to the Lord, until they know they have a need. And how do they know that? God has to intervene in the matters of the heart, till we realize, we’ve got a need. And not only that, it’s a need we don’t know what to do with. I mean, you see him getting sidetracked in despair. He’s sidetracked in legalism, where somebody says you keep the law, and all it does is make it worse and leads into a bad place. But ultimately, he came to a place where he entered through a gate, didn’t he?

And he went along, and the Lord began to teach him some things. But anyway, you know, we have to have a divine encounter. There has to be something more than hand-me-down religion folks. That’s my prayer, and I trust it’s the prayer of many, for our younger generations, our following generations. You have, if all you have is our way of doing church, you have nothing. You need an encounter with the Author of life Himself that’s personal, that goes right down to the depths of your being. You can conform all you want, but if it doesn’t touch this, you’re no better than the Pharisees were in Jesus’ day.

But this is what he’s laying out. And he says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith….” Now, justified means to be, it has to do with a legal standing. How in a world can a hopeless, helpless sinner come to a place of being righteous in the eyes of a perfectly pure and holy God? That’s the miracle. That’s the miracle of the gospel, folks, anything short of that and you have nothing.

There’s so much that purports to be the gospel in our world today, that’s little more than just a form, an easy believism, where you just say the say the magic words, and suddenly everything’s okay. Folks, there has got to be a life altering encounter with the living God that convicts us in our hearts.

But then it doesn’t stop with conviction. Thank God, it then lifts our vision to God’s answer, for an answer we could never engineer, we could never come up with. Praise God! That’s what Paul’s been lifting up.

Like I said, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Jew or a Gentile, the need is exactly the same. And God made a promise to Abraham that he was a righteous man, when he had done nothing except believe God. Folks, it comes down to that simplicity of a heart faith, that’s a belief in God, where our confidence, our life trust, the thing that we hope in, the thing that gives us meaning in our lives, it defines who we are and where we’re going. It’s a conviction in the heart.

And as we said many times, you can’t come up with this, you weren’t born with it. You can’t work it up. It’s a matter of simply opening our hearts when He speaks. Oh, how plain the Scripture is that when He speaks, we need to listen. Oh, we need to listen, because God is absolutely, I mean, who are we to sit there and say, God, I don’t care about You. I don’t wanna listen, I want my own way. That’s the condition the world is in. So much of it just refuse to hear His voice.

But I thank God that I’m in a company of people, I believe so many of you have heard His voice, and you’ve answered the call and said, “yes,” thank God. You know, it says, We’re justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, we who were, as he later describes in this passage, enemies of God, have suddenly come into a state of peace, and relationship. We have literally changed sides. It’s as radical as it gets.

I know I’m repeating many things, but I believe there’s a need, there’s a reason. I don’t know where all this will go. Folks, there has got to be a radical change from being a part of the kingdom of this world and living our own lives, and surrendering and handing over our lives to Jesus Christ.

Praise God! You know, my mind went back to that song, The Mercy Tree. How many of you remember the testimony of the young lady who was just living a life? I don’t remember all the details, but she was at a point where she was ready to take her life. Her life had had so little meaning. It was just so empty. And somehow the Lord engineered her hearing the gospel, and the message penetrated the depths of her heart. She heard, not just the voice of the preacher, but she heard the voice of the Savior.

Oh my, have you ever heard His voice? That’s the most important thing that could possibly happen to a human being, is to hear the voice of the Son of God. Isn’t that what Jesus said? The hour has come, now is, those who hear the voice of the Son of God will live. They that hear will live.

And again, I’m probably confusing this with different testimonies I’ve heard, but basically, the word that came to her, was she was ready to go home and take her life. She’d already made the plans. And the Lord said, If you’re gonna throw it away, how about giving it to Me? And she did. And you see the results, someone who’s just filled with the joy and the reality of the mercy tree that has opened a way into the holiest place. Thank God! Thank God!

I pray that everyone here has had that encounter with Jesus Christ. The very thing that transformed Paul’s life, from Saul the Jew, was not somebody explaining the gospel to him. It was so much deeper than that. He had a divine encounter with the God of this book. I mean, this book is wonderful, but it’s not those who read the book, it’s those who hear the voice of the Son of God.

And there was that personal encounter that passed every bit of his defenses and went to his heart. And his own testimony was that the same God who spoke and light happened, He created light, He created the worlds. That same God spoke in my heart to give the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The words are not exactly right, but you can look it up in 2 Corinthians 4.

What an awesome testimony, the essence of coming to faith in Him. Praise God! That’s the foundation of everything, isn’t it? ‘Cause there’s no living the Christian life, if you’re not a Christian. You haven’t really become, you haven’t entered into what He’s talking about here.

Anyway, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the only way. Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. So basically, here we were, lost sinners with no strength, no ability to erase our guilt, no ability to live for God even if we could have erased our guilt. There we are in that helpless state. And now we’ve come into a place that is described as grace.

And it’s almost like you could picture a wall or a room or a door. I know, when Bunyan wrote his tale, Christian entered into a gate and he came to a place where he needed to learn some things. You remember the house of the interpreter? And he was shown some spiritual truths that were pictured for him.

And one of those truths showed a castle. And it was obvious the castle was a desirable place to be, because there were enemies everywhere. But in there, there was a sense of somebody was in charge, there was victory. But in between where they were standing and the castle, there were a whole lot of dark figures with swords.

Anybody have an easy time coming to the Lord, or you run into some opposition? Yeah, I’ll tell you, the folks who enter the kingdom of God, you’re going to enter it through much tribulation. There’s going to be some opposition to you coming to the Lord, because your nature’s gonna cry out and demons will stand in your way, and they’ll pull on everything that they can think of to keep you.

And in the particular illustration that Christian was shown, he saw a man who went and signed it, signed up. He said, I want to go in there. And he picked up his sword and he began to fight. And it was a fight. He slashed this one and slashed that one, and he forced his way on through it. He went, and there he was, he went through the door.

You know, salvation may not be as dramatic as it was in the case of Paul, but there is a point in time when we pass from death to life. I’m trusting everybody here has passed from death to life. But if you haven’t, do you want to? Do you want to know Him? He longs to know you. But I’ll tell you there, every hungry heart, everyone that’ll cry out to Him, He will hear and answer your prayer.

If you’re wanting, we’ve said this in different ways many times now, if you’re wanting God to lay His cards on the table and say, this is what it means, and you know, do you go along with My plan? That’s not the picture. This is absolute surrender to the God who made you and the Savior who bought you with the price of His blood. Is that worth something? That’s worth everything, everything. Praise God!

So anyway, and I was picturing this place, into this grace. So here, you’ve got a place where this principle called grace reigns, if you will. I’m not here trying to make something happen in my own strength, but there is divine help. That’s one simple way to describe what grace is. It’s God at work injecting His life and His energy and His influence, all of those things together upon me, where I’ve stepped into something, where even though I don’t have what it takes.

Anybody here does? I don’t. Here we come into a place where we do not have what it takes, but all that we need is supplied. Praise God! Praise God! You think of what Peter wrote at the beginning of 2 Peter. I can’t remember the exact words. I’m gonna try to give you the essence of it. But he spoke of those exceeding great and precious promises, that by them we have access. I better look it up, ‘cause I’m not.

Oh, basically, the thought that He gives us, everything is provided, everything we need for life and godliness, that was the part that I was trying to get to. Do you know that though we have nothing to offer Him but ourselves, He has given us, how much? Everything we need for life and godliness has been given to us. Those are the promises that God longs for us to enter into.

That’s part of this place that we go through. We pass through a door, and now we’re in this place called grace. You know that little grammar lesson, we’ve had one before, but this, we’ve gained access into this grace. That’s that perfect tense in Greek. And the Greek perfect tense is really like the same in English, but essentially, it combines something that has happened in the past, there’s an event that’s happened in the past, but we’re still enjoying the fruit of that.

Now, basically, I could say, I see that you have come to church today. I see that you have come in through the door. Well, what am I saying? I’m saying, sometime prior to right now, you walked through that front door. But I’m not simply talking about a historical event. I’m talking about the fact that as a result of that you’re still here. So, it combines all of those things.

I’ll tell you, when we’ve come through that door, we are in a place where we have everything we need in Jesus Christ, and God wants us to know that, wants me to know that. But He wants all of us to know that and to be reminded of it every single day. Praise God! Praise God!

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access. So that means we’re still here, by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Ooh, that’s a good word, isn’t it? Praise God! We’re able not just to, okay, I’m here, I’m worthless, but I’m here. No, we can stand. Just like Paul said it when he’s talked about the weapons of our warfare and all of that, having done all, having used what God has given to us, we stand. Praise God!

All right. So, now what? And we boast. Now, this is not a boasting, prideful kind of thing, but this is a confidence. This is something where I can stand, and I can say with absolute certainty something. Devil, I don’t care what you say, this is true and I’m standing on it. This is my boast, this is my confession, if you will. It’s another good word for it. Okay?

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. And hope as we’ve said so many times, is not this wishful thinking kind of thing. This is an expectation that has to do with something, we haven’t got it yet, it’s in the future. But what is it that makes that future certain? It’s yes, it’s a certainty of God’s promise.

You read Hebrews 6 and you talk about, you see the anchor that holds the soul. What is it? Because God who cannot lie has promised. There’s something that hasn’t happened yet, but we know that it’s coming. So, we’re stepped into a place, and we’ve come into a place that we don’t deserve. We stand before a holy God as if we had never sinned.

It’s not just, oh, I mean, it’s not just this theoretical thing. This is a losing of that burden, because that was the picture. After Christian, you know, left the house of the interpreter and went a little ways further, he came to a little hill, didn’t he? What was on that hill? It was a cross, wasn’t it? And as he knelt there and he looked up at that cross, what happened to his burden? It fell off his shoulders and rolled off into a swamp. And he went along, and he wasn’t carrying the burden anymore.

I’ll tell you, that’s a pretty good picture of somebody who has genuinely transferred all of their faith into Jesus Christ and believed in what He did, that He bore our sins in His body on that tree. He didn’t go there for His own, He went because of mine. And I put all of my confidence in what God has promised that He’s done for me.

And I’ll tell you, that’s the glorious thing. Not just the, some sort of theoretical knowledge of the legalities of it, but the actual burden of my sin is gone. The sense of all that has separated me and kept me in a state of feeling like I’m worthless. It’s gone, I’m a child of the King. Praise God! Praise the Lord for the gospel and the hope of the gospel. That’s what Paul is lifting up here. That’s what makes him able to stand there, and I’m boasting, not because I’m anything, but because of God’s promise, the hope that He has set before me. Praise God!

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. All that lies beyond is just described as glory, which is a brightness beyond anything we can imagine. That’s just one way to describe what’s coming. Okay? But how many of you think that, how many of you know what the road is that takes to get there? Okay, that’s where Paul is going to begin to lead, go forward into the road that has been set before us.

Well, we sang a lot of songs about that this morning, one way or another. Praise God, the Lord’s trying to get my attention and say, Yeah, this is really what I want you to talk about, so. He knows my own weaknesses, but I thank, I praise God for His faithfulness. But here’s the thing, you know, we’ve just given a couple of examples.

You know, a couple weeks ago we talked about the truth of the fact that God is light and we’re called to walk in that light. And one of the results of that is it’s going to show up things in us. Some things that we were not really willing to call sin, but we need to come to a place where there’s an honesty. And if it doesn’t stand up to the light and it’s not like Him, it’s sin.

But then, He doesn’t leave us there, does He? He calls upon us to come and agree with God about it, hand it over, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses. It’s not just for mercy and forgiveness, it’s for cleansing, so that we can go along with Him, continue to walk in the light with a holy God and have no sense of guilt or worthlessness, because He has given us everything that we need. He’s cleansed us from that.

And how much the Lord wants us to come to that place where we’re not offering Him the cup of our lives and it’s dirty, they’re dirty. But rather, there’s that, you know, there’s a cleanness that He has cleansed and we’re offering Him something that’s clean and honest before Him. Well, that was one truth.

And then, last week we talked about God’s work in us and what He wants us to produce in us. But then the fact that, in order to make us like His Son who didn’t live for Himself, but sacrificially gave Himself or others, He’d got a lot of work on His hands. And that work isn’t just to make it possible for us to do it, it’s to work on our will, so we’re willing. Because everything that comes from Adam in our lives, resists this process. And so, He’s got to first work on our wills until they are broken down and become willing.

But then we become willing, now you get the other issue. Am I able? And, of course, then He supplies that, doesn’t He? Thank God! But you know, where I kind of got into this, is this. One of the things obviously, that we need in the Christian life is knowledge, isn’t it? And so, I believe many times the Lord is just giving us knowledge.

Isn’t that what Paul prayed? Over and over again, I pray that God will help you to grow in knowledge and wisdom and understanding. I mean, if we’re just ignorant of what God wants and how it happens and what the Christian life is about, obviously, that’s not gonna work very well. But just knowing about it is not enough. God wants a people who have this by experience, I believe.

Well, He puts it this way, when God’s worked in us and we’ve walked out our salvation, what happens? We become lights. We shine like the stars in the darkness. Now, do you suppose that is a light of somebody who’s learned? All of the proof texts can explain how it all works. You see, see the problem. We’ve gotta get from that knowledge to something that is, you know, that has some power, has some light to it. And let’s see if I can come up with what I thought about calling this, from test to testimony. God wants a people who have a testimony about all of these things.

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