TV Transcripts

“Pursue, Fight, and Take Hold” Conclusion
Broadcast #1618
October 8, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1618 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: How many of us could say that going through every day, that all of our feelings, our thoughts, our actions, our reactions to things that happen, things that people say, things that people do, oh, it flows right straight out of the heart of God. We never say a cross word. Never have an evil, a bad thought. Never get angry. Never. You suppose we might need just a little bit more than we got? You think the Lord has more for us than where we’re at right now?

Well, here’s Timothy obviously well on into his ministry, and what is it that Paul’s encouraging him to do, to seek? Pursue righteousness. Now, it’s interesting that word pursue. I looked a couple of these up just to see what the original word was. I don’t even remember. I couldn’t tell you what it is literally. But it’s an interesting word in this respect. It’s used in two very different senses.

One of the uses is persecute. When Paul was Saul, the Jew, going around trying to arrest Christians and get ahold of them, there was a pursuit there, but it was a persecution, and literally it meant to pursue somebody to... This is what my life is about. This is a conviction that motivates me to action.

But now here is Paul using the same word to say there’s something else you need to be pursuing. It needs to have that same conviction that drives us to action, is what he’s saying. Pursue this. It’s the same word, I believe, that he uses in Philippians 3, the scripture we use so many times. I press forward. This is what I’m after. I pursue this one thing, I press.

And again, you have this sense that there’s opposition. But God give us the grace to constantly, instead of just settling, instead of saying, Where I’m at is okay, to recognize that God is at work to change us and He’s changing us so He can use us.

How can we be what God has called us to be in this hour if we just sleepwalk through it, and we accept where we’re at right now, and we don’t mind getting angry. We don’t mind getting upset. We don’t mind blowing off steam and thinking about this and all engrossed in that and just somehow disconnected from Him, when God is wanting us to say, Wait a minute, I need him. This is not what he has for me.

We’re told in in Galatians, Don’t walk in the flesh, and he gives us a whole list of characteristics that come out of this old nature. But rather — and many of these things that he’s telling Timothy to seek right here, come right straight off of that list — love, joy, peace, self-control, all of these things, these qualities that only come from Him. Folks, I need that, don’t you, this morning?

And I had this sense as I was reading this the other day that God is well aware of our need. Aren’t you glad He’s patient with us? Oh, thank God. Does He have reason to be? He does with me. You’re supposed to say, yes! God is so patient.

But here’s God looking down on me and saying, Yeah, he thinks he’s doing good. He’s not robbing any banks. He’s not doing any gross thing. And he’s mostly has a good spirit about things. But I see a need. I see areas where fleshly reactions, old nature thoughts and motivations keep cropping up. I gotta do something.

Well, guess how he works. He’s gonna put you in a situation where that comes to the front. How many times have you been in a situation where maybe you have a tendency to blow off steam in certain circumstances? Well, guess what? Don’t be surprised if God keeps putting you in that circumstance. And God does it. And yes, an enemy may be involved in that, but God does it.

Why would he do something like that? You think maybe He wants us to react like Timothy was called to react? Say, Wait a minute, this isn’t the Lord. I got a need here. And God has used this circumstance to make me aware of a need maybe I didn’t even really think about it, I wasn’t that aware of it. But God wants to do something in me. After all, He wants me to become like Jesus.

How many of you’re there? Yeah, we got a ways to go. We got things that God has for…. Does God have everything for us? Oh, we love to sing about it and then assert it, but when it comes to literally living in the reality of what He has given to us, that’s where the rubber meets the road, as we say. And God has a way of putting us in circumstances where we’re gonna sink or swim.

We’re gonna just give in to something and kind of be where we’ve stayed, the bondage is just gonna go right on, and we’re just gonna, Help me, give into self-pity and resentment and blaming somebody else, all the human reactions that we all have at one time or another, instead of saying, Oh God, you have allowed me to see this need in me, but I know you have an answer. I know there’s a throne where I can go. I know I didn’t earn the right to go there and you promised me that you would receive me with mercy.

Well, that’s what I need, Lord. I’m in a place where I need mercy. I can’t come and say, I deserve to come here. But Lord, you promised the mercy, but you promised the grace. I need the river of life to flow into me. I need divine strength that I do not possess or I’m just gonna keep on being what I’m being.

How many of us have settled? How many of us have just settled for where we’re at, really? In more ways than I want to admit. How many of you think that’s what the Lord wants? How many of you think that’s what Paul wanted for Timothy? Okay, Timothy, you’ve made it, you’re successful now, you can go around and preach to people and encourage them and just go with the flow.

Folks, the Christian life in one sense is a flow, but it’s a flow against opposition. And in fact, it’s swimming against the tide. ‘Cause this tide here is gonna fight you every step of the way. The only way we can do it is divine life and divine strength. I need to lay hold of the eternal life.

And that’s the picture you get here. Paul says to pursue and he gives a list of all these wonderful virtues that you and I lack naturally but we need so much. Pursue that. That’s what your life needs to be about. Remember when I was pursuing Christians ‘cause I thought I was serving God and arresting them, having them killed?

But now I’m pursuing something else, I’m pressing forward, I see that there is something that I do not have and I’m gonna have to go against opposition in order to get that because I need it. It’s not enough just to say it’s there. Hallelujah, it’s there. I need it. I need it. So, pursue that and then fight.

Again, there’s that sense of opposition, pursue and fight. But then he says, Take hold. How much of what Christ died for is something that we possess? that we have literally said, That’s mine? How many of you think that God wants us to seek him about things and literally expect him to answer, and expect him to give the grace? Can we not go to him on the basis of his promises and say, Lord, you said.

I think of times in the scriptures, again, look these up, but it seems like in... I know Jehoshaphat. When they were faced with that terrible army that was coming against him, when they went to God, one of the things they said was, Lord, you said. Lord, you promised, and this is why we’re coming to you. You see what’s coming against us, but you promised. Well, God gave them a victory without even having to fight, in that instance.

And you think about after the day, well, shortly after the day of Pentecost, when the young church was, when Peter and John were arrested and beaten, and then they prayed. Boy, they didn’t go on the defensive, did they? They said, Lord, you’ve allowed everything. Everything that’s happened has happened according to your will.

They were going right back to the promises of the Old Testament of what God said He was gonna do. Lord, you are in charge, we’re looking to you. But it’s not enough that just we sit here and, oh God, don’t let them hurt us. They said, Lord, stretch forth your hand. Stretch forth your hand. And God came down and gave them power that they didn’t have before.

Lord, help us, help me. I confess my weakness and my need this morning. Anybody else? [Congregants] Yes, amen. I believe that there’s a God who will hear and answer prayer if we’ll look to Him and pray and say, God, we need you.

We’re living in an age that will absolutely put Christians to sleep. Isn’t that what Paul warned about in 1 Thessalonians? He’s talking about the coming of the Lord and what it means for us. The catching away and what it means for the world the outpouring of wrath. But it talks about us not going to sleep. We don’t sleep like they do. We need to be alive and awake and saying, Lord, again, you’ve got us here now for a reason, but we need you.

We don’t need to just fight a defensive battle. We don’t need to just go to sleep and say, We’ve got it, we’ve got it. We need to be saying, God, there’s always something. That’s what Paul said, isn’t it, in Philippians? I haven’t arrived. There’s always something more that I need to lay hold of.

And God was constantly putting battles in his way so that he could say, God, I need this. I see the need right here. I feel this enemy that wants to oppress me and you’ve allowed him to oppress me. And here I am, I wanna serve you. Oh God, I’m calling upon your name. 2 Corinthians, 10 is it? 12? Somewhere in there, that testimony that he gave of how God showed him something, God put him in a place where all he could do was cry out to God.

And there was a case where he had to do some waiting, wasn’t it? That’s what Billy said. He didn’t get his answer the first time he prayed. He prayed three different seasons, I would say, and really called out to God. And finally the Lord opened his eyes and said, “My strength has made perfect in weakness.”

And he was in utter agreement. Thank you, Lord, that I’m weak. Thank you that I’m needy. How many of you can really be glad about that? I mean, we can say that, but how many of you are just glad that you can’t do anything without the Lord? But it’s the truth. [Congregant] Amen.

But yet what we can do with him? I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Whatever the Lord puts in front of you and me, He wants us to fight through whatever would oppose us taking hold of what He has given us. Does that make sense?

God’s gonna put you in the middle of battles that you didn’t ask for, but he’s not doing it to discourage you. He’s not doing it to see you be defeated. He wants us to respond on the basis of this word. That’s what the wilderness was about, to teach people that man didn’t live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of His mouth. God has a way of lifting these words off of the pages of this book and applying them to our lives in critical areas in times of need.

How many of you know that? How many have experienced that? God knows how to speak if we have ears to listen. God give us those ears but help us to understand what the Christian life is about. There’s going to be a fighting and it’s not just offensive fighting.

God is gonna set things before us. Now if some of them are virtues that we lack and we need, then we’re gonna have to go to God and say, God, I can’t handle this situation. I get mad every time this happens. And I need You to come in and fill me and give me the kind of patience and love and forgiveness and whatever’s needed, I need You to be in me what I need.

Sometimes it’s going to be doing something because God has not called us just to live for ourselves, but to be channels of His life to one another. We are so full of trying to survive spiritually, we can’t even do that half the time. May God give us the grace to learn how to take everything to Him and say, God, I need you today. I need you every hour. I need you, Father, as much as your Son needed you to do what He did.

And of the Son it says he learned obedience. How did He learn that? By the things that He suffered. And as a result of that, He became the author of eternal salvation. Praise God for what He was willing to do for you and for me.

But this is the life to which we’ve been called. It’s one where we’re going to have to fight and take ground from the enemy, the devil does not want to give up. Our flesh doesn’t want to give it up. The power of sin to rule over us is a real power. And if we just float along and go with the flow, it’s gonna continue to have a stronghold in our lives more than we wanna admit.

But here is God calling us and saying, I’ve given you everything, but you’re gonna have to fight for it. You’re gonna have to come to times when everything is opposed to you possessing what I have given you. And you’re gonna have to stand up to that and say, I believe in Him more than I believe in the strength of this sin. I believe in His provision. I believe in His power. I believe in the cross. I believe in what happened there. And I’m gonna stand there and put my trust and my hope in what God has said and what He has provided for me, it’s mine and I will have it.

There’s a holy boldness that God wants for his people, not based upon a selfish spirit, but upon saying, I will not give in to this sin nature that wants to have had dominion over me. Jesus has made provision at the cross that I can have Him and have life more abundantly. And I’m gonna take this circumstance right now that I’m facing, this issue.

Maybe nobody even knows about it, but it’s the way I feel about something, the response that I have. I need grace. I need to be changed. I need a measure of that life of God to come in right here and give me the strength that I do not possess to take dominion over this thing and say, I will not be how you want me to be, devil, I am His. I’m gonna glorify God in this body and in this spirit, which are his. Praise God!

I don’t know, this is kind of meandered around this morning and I just trust the Lord with it. But how many of you need him? How many of you need more? Does this make any sense this morning?

[Congregants] Yes. Amen.

God has everything you need. Wherever you are at, wherever I’m at, He’s got it. Is there anything that’s lacking? Is His power not enough? So, where’s the problem? Where’s the lack? Are we really taking hold? See, that’s what Paul said, I press forward. And he talked about pressing to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.

Is Christ taking hold of you? Yeah, He had something in mind, didn’t He? In doing that, He said, I’ve taken hold of you, now there’s something out there I want you to take hold. This is how your life is gonna grow. This is how you’re gonna become like me. You’re gonna have to put forth some effort here. You’re gonna have to exercise some real faith in me, not in you and your weakness. Your faith in my power to deliver is gonna have to become greater than your faith in all that’s wrong and all that’s lacking.

And then, if we’re asleep, God wake us up. God help us to realize the hour in which we live. And I confess my need. I believe I’m not the only one. Maybe that’s why the Lord has let me wander around this and think about it and wish somebody else would get up and preach, to be truthful with you. But how many of you think this is what we need?

How many of you think he’s telling us this to make us feel bad and condemn us and hold us down? No, it’s because He has paid an incredible price to open up a stream where He can share His life with us. That life is the only thing that can empower us to be any different than anybody else in this world.

But it doesn’t all come in at once. I need to drink that in just like the people of the world are drinking in the spirit that’s in the world, or that we eat food to sustain our flesh. I need His Spirit, I need to spend time with him, I need to believe him, I need to exercise His word, I need to worship. All the things that the scripture tells us to do. Ask, seek, and knock, all those things, coming to Him.

But coming with an expectant heart instead of saying, Oh, well, forgive me, I messed up again. God wants to take us beyond messing up again and give us the strength to be victorious. And the more He’s able to work in us, the more He’s going to be able to work through us. And He’ll be able to give us things to do, and it will be Him doing it through us and not us.

You don’t need me, you need Him. And we don’t need each other in a natural sense, we need the Christ that lives in one another. And He is absolutely working to bring us to that place. But there’s no way around this. We’re gonna have to set ourselves to seek after something. That seeking after, that motivation, that basic thing that motivates us as to what we do and why we do it, is gonna drive us to have to fight through a lot of opposition.

But we’re fighting to only hold of something. This is not a matter of having to fight the bank teller to get your money. That part doesn’t work like that. But there is opposition that will try to keep you from going into the bank. And God wants us to say, Wait a minute, I believe him more than I believe all of this opposition. It is mine and I will have it.

And you think of somebody like Caleb who had that kind of a spirit, that when the time came, he says, Give me my mountain. And he went into a particularly difficult area as an 85-year-old man and chased the giants out because God was with him. He didn’t do this presumptuously, he did it because God had promised. And he went in based upon that promise, actively trusting in God. God gave him the victory and later on, he had stuff that he could share with other people.

Do you see the picture of what God is wanting for us right now. If we’re asleep, help us to wake up, Lord. If we’re just yielding to something that has been there all of our lives, God help us to do something about it, to say, Lord, you didn’t save me just to leave me like I am. You saved me so that you could fill me and change me.

And yours is the only resource, Lord. Give me the strength to fight when I don’t even feel like fighting, I’m too tired. Lord, you’re gonna have to strengthen me so I can even do this.

I mentioned it sounding exhausting. Well, it is if we’re thinking, I’ve got to somehow do it in my own strength. But Lord, we can come to you and say, You told us those who wait on you will do, what? Renew their strength. And all the things that flow from that.

Well, I’ll just put this out there and let the Lord do what do with it what He will. But I just pray that God will burn these truths, that the motivation in life is to obtain the virtues, the things that come from His life living in us and expressing itself through us. We realize there’s a battle to do that. We’re gonna have to fight actively. And if we don’t, if we coast instead of climbing, we’re gonna be sliding back and not even realize it many times.

And we’re gonna realize that what God has laid up for us does in fact belong to us. Oh the devil will give you 1,001 reasons why, Oh, this just isn’t for you. This is for the special ones. You’re just too bad. Look at your track record.

Praise God, every one of us has got a bad track record, if you want to go by that. Every one of us has needs. That’s why Jesus went to the cross. That’s why He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him, freely — freely — give us all things? I need some of those all things today, don’t you?

But I believe God is faithful and God is encouraging us to whatever the issue is in your life, whatever battle He puts you in right now, you have every right to go to God about it. Say, Lord, here’s the situation. I feel this way. I can’t handle this. My nature wants to drive me in this direction. I need more of You right now, Lord. Pour your life into me so that I can be the person You want me to be. There’s no other way, Lord.

And God’s gonna put the battles there, not because He wants to bring us to defeat, because He wants to share His victory with us. Praise God! To God be the glory!

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