TV Transcripts

“Tested Stones” Conclusion
Broadcast #1623
November 12, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1623 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: Do you know that there’s a hedge about every child of God? Do you know there’s not a demon in hell or on earth that can do anything to breach that unless God literally allows them to do it? And do you think maybe, just maybe, there’s a purpose, a loving, wise, purpose behind God doing something like that?

Well, wouldn’t it be good if we could, in the middle of that, say, Lord, I understand. I mean, you see, Paul understands this and expresses it. Time and time again, he will refer to something that happened and he referred in 2 Corinthians 1 that we’ve referred to many times where he was in a circumstance that was so desperate that he thought it was all over. He had given up. He did not expect to survive what was going on.

But the thing is, he didn’t just say, But God delivered me, praise God. God wanted him to see something, not just to say, Wow, isn’t God great? He delivered me. But to see something, to learn something that would help him to be a stronger, better stone.

You remember what the lesson was? It had to do with learning not to depend on ourselves, but upon God. There are so many things about ourselves we simply do not understand, and it doesn’t matter how many times the Lord explains it, the truth is, we don’t get it until we go through something where we find out. Now, the Lord brought job through it.

You remember the other example that we use so many times of Peter. Do you think when Peter was serving the Lord and putting all that zeal and energy into it, do you think he was sincere? Yeah, he was sincere. He had every intention, at one point, of laying down his life if necessary. But you see a lot of natural reaction, natural thinking and God understood all that.

You remember when Jesus first started telling him that I’m gonna be crucified, then I’m gonna be raised into the dead, and Peter rebuked him. I mean like, seriously, Peter, don’t you remember who you’re talking to here? And Peter said, No, it’ll never happen. We’ll never let something like that happen, oh, no. Peter just had natural thinking.

Do you think maybe some of us have just a little bit of that? Do you think our natural instinct might just be to do things in our own strength and with our own wisdom and our own sense of how things should work? Yeah. Do you think maybe we just have a few lessons, if we’re gonna be effective members of the body of Christ, actually having him in us, direct us, empower us to do the right thing? Oh, we get in his way, don’t we? And God knows enough about us to put us in circumstances where we have to learn that the hard way many times.

And so of course we all remember what happened with Peter (chuckles) and how the Lord told him. In fact, it wasn’t just Peter he addressed. It was all of them. You’re all gonna fall away. You’re all gonna be be scared tonight and run away. And he told Peter, when Peter said, No! I’ll never do that. I’ll lay down my life for you. And the Lord said, Peter, (chuckles) before the rooster crows twice, you’re gonna deny three times that you even know me. And of course Peter said, No way.

Now, was he sincere? Did he wanna do the right thing? Yeah, but there was some things Peter didn’t understand. He didn’t know what it takes to serve God. You can’t do it in your own strength. We might as well, we’re gonna have to learn that lesson. Some of us are harder to learn that than others, but learn it. God’s gonna put us in a place where we come to that place where we learn and we’re willing, ready to say, Lord, I get it. You said I couldn’t do anything without you. You’re right, I thought I could.

And so, Peter was put in that place. But aren’t you glad that what Jesus said? He said, I prayed for you that your faith fail not. We’ve always got somebody who prays for us, who knows. When he removes the hedge and gives Satan permission, which is what he said, Satan’s asked for permission to sift you. So obviously the Lord gave him the permission.

Why would he do that? Because it was something Peter desperately needed to learn. His zeal, all of that natural stuff that made him a kind of a ringleader among the disciples, that wasn’t gonna get it. That’s not what makes him an effective member of the Kingdom of God. He had to come to a place where he learned he could not depend upon any of that, any human quality. And the only way that Peter was gonna learn it was to fall flat on his face.

Jesus even said later on, Watch, pray. Why? So that you won’t enter into temptation. He went to sleep. I got this. But you notice another thing that the Lord said. When you’re changed, when you’re converted, when you get through this and God does what, He accomplishes in you what He set out to do, strengthen your brothers.

Do you get the sense of why we’re made living stones, why we’re made members of the body of Christ? Is it just so we can puff up our chest and say, Look at me, I’m somebody. No, it’s so that we will have the power to serve one another. It all plays into that.

So, here’s Peter. God pulls the veil, or the hedge, as it were, back and says, Devil, he’s yours up to a point. Obviously, the Lord knows how much to let him do. But God allowed Peter to fall flat on his face for a loving purpose. And when he was done, Peter learned some things, didn’t he? You read the book of Peter, books of Peter there, and you will see the sense of humbleness and the sense of, I mean, he’s the one who didn’t come to the elders and say, Hey, I’m an apostle, you gotta listen to me.

He said, I’m an elder like you. You don’t lift yourself up above the people and rule over them. You don’t seek yourself, all that self-seeking stuff. And by the way, while you’re at it, be sober, be vigilant. Your adversary, the devil’s walking around looking for people to eat for lunch. How could he say that? He’d been there, done that, had the T-shirt. God allowed him to go through something so that he could learn something about himself he could not have learned in any seminar any other way.

He couldn’t read a book and get this. He had to go through something that was heartrending and it broke something in him and then the Lord reached out. Tell my disciples, and Peter, I’m going ahead of you to, well, wherever they’re going, Galilee, I guess it was. And the Lord spoke to him specifically up there and said, Peter when you were young, I know what you’re like. When you were young, you went where you wanted to go. You dressed yourself, went where you wanted to go. When you’re old, (chuckles) you’ll stretch forth your hand, you’ll let someone else dress you and they’ll carry you where you don’t wanna go.

There are things that God will put us in where we’re situations, circumstances, ways He wants to use us that are not the ways we would naturally choose, but do we want to serve Him? That’s what Jesus did. That’s the reason we can be here this morning is because Jesus went through all of these kinds of things. He faced the devil. When the Lord took the hedge away, he faced him and he made the right choices to listen to the voice of his Father, not to listen to the reasonings of the devil, the appeal of his own nature, the circumstance. Anything that he could see or touch, one thing dominated. This is what God has said. This is what I’m gonna go by. God’s gonna bring every one of his children to that place where what God says trumps everything.

And the problem with me, the problem with you, is we think we’ve got it. We think we’ve arrived at a certain level sometimes. And Lord has to remind us and say, Wait a minute. Don’t you be thinking too much of yourself here. You’re not anybody just because of who you are and what you can bring to the table here. You’re who you are and it’s incredibly important, incredibly wonderful, but because of what I have made you, because you’ve handed your life over to me and I have changed you and I’m refitting you for my Kingdom, you’re a stone, but you’re not quite ready to go in the building yet like you think. I got some work to do.

Anybody here got some, Lord’s got some work to do? Yeah, well, I only got two hands, but I’m gonna raise ‘em both. But do you know God is faithful? And I don’t care what you’ve been through this week, maybe rejoicing in what the Lord said last Sunday, but I don’t care what you’ve been through this week, don’t you be dismayed, don’t you be discouraged. Don’t you say, Oh, well, I knew it was too good to be true, or it’s wonderful, but it’s not for me. I’m just, I’m too bad, I’m too this, I’m too that. God is the One Who will take you into those places to teach you not to trust in yourself, but to trust in Him.

You think about the scripture we’ve used so many times about Paul and how God used him in such powerful ways and I have all ideas that at this point, he’d come through a lot, hadn’t he? Now, I’ll back up here in a minute, or back up for a minute and remind you of what he went through in Romans 7 because Paul had been trained that the way to serve God was through the law. Well, now I know who Jesus is, so now I’m gonna give it everything I got.

Well, the Lord allowed him to do that, didn’t he? Why? He needed to learn that that’s not how it works. That’s not how the Kingdom works. Paul discovered that there was a problem down here. There was a principle in his life that wouldn’t let him keep the law. He just turned him into a failure every time he turned around. I know what I oughta do and I don’t do it. I know what I’m not supposed to do and I wind up doing it. What’s going on here?

Oh, there’s somebody down, there’s a principle down here that’s not gonna let me. What do I do about that? Who’s gonna rescue me? That’s why Paul could teach with such power and authority the things that he did, he went through it. You ever been through that where you suddenly were brought face to face with a reality that it’s not in you, it’s not in your power to serve God, and you’re just gonna have to let go and give Him, and trust in Him to come in on the inside, give you a new heart and new life? And then realize that as we learn to believe in Him, trust in Him, yield to that, we’re gonna find that there’s power at work in our lives that’s not us.

But, you know, you can go along with that lesson and then God can begin to use you and all of a sudden you’re experiencing good things and you see the Lord at work in your life. It’s awfully easy to lose the sense of that and suddenly begin to think, Ah, I’ve really made some progress here. I’m getting to be in a good place. God’s using me. And of course, the unspoken truth is, am I not wonderful?

And you remember what Paul went through that we’ve referred to so many times where he got to a place where God’s purpose for Paul had to do, involved a lot of revelation. I mean, he saw some incredible things. He was caught up to the third heaven. I don’t know what all he saw. He doesn’t go into the details, but he experienced some incredible things. The power that was demonstrated through his life, his preaching, the revelations, the power of those revelations of truth and of the Kingdom of God, purposes of God. How does a human being cope with that and not get proud?

Well, Paul, at one point, did not really understand that to the degree that God wanted him to. And so, Paul had a genuine desire to serve God, but didn’t realize what was at work here and so God said, well, I understand. Okay, open the hedge a little bit. Let a demon get in there and bother him for a while. And all of a sudden, here’s Paul struggling to do things and he’s having to cope with whatever this is. It doesn’t really tell you the details except that there was a demon behind it. And it was a trial, it was a problem he had to push through to do anything.

And he sought the Lord about it. He asked him, and over and over again, that tells me he didn’t understand. Doesn’t it you? Have you ever been there? God, I don’t understand, help me. And here’s Paul crying out for a period of time and he comes to the place where he understands ‘cause he didn’t understand going into this, oh, there’s a danger of getting proud here and God needs to do something.

When he was in the middle of this oppression by that spirit, he didn’t understand that, that came afterwards. That was God explaining, Now I want you to understand, Paul, you are in great danger of being proud and trusting in your own strength as though that was the key to your success. And then Paul, the light went on finally and he understood.

And so his reaction was exactly the opposite of what any natural human being would have. It was to absolutely say, Thank you, Lord. I’ve wanted to serve you and now I understand why You’re doing what You’re doing because it’s what people need is not my strength, it’s Yours. But if You’re gonna have Your strength flowing through me, I got to get out of the way and I was in danger of really getting in Your way, Lord.

And so You had to allow me to experience that so that I could just come to a place of surrender and say, ‘Lord, I understand how the Kingdom works now.’ And so I’m gonna say, when I feel this kind of weakness, I’m gonna say, Thank you, Lord. Thank you for reminding me. I’m still here in flesh. I’m still in a realm where the devil tries to talk to me and use my weaknesses against me.

But I’m in a place right now where I need for Your strength to teach me. I need Your wisdom to teach me. I need Your strength to flow through me, Lord. I need to understand that my success in the Kingdom of God is not gonna be based upon some self-effort, something that comes from me, it’s gonna be me getting out of the way, glory be, thankful for my weakness, saying, ‘Lord, I’m so glad that I’m weak. I’m glad for you’re reminding me that I’m weak.’

How many of you are glad when you go through some of these places because of what you discover? See, the devil loves to focus our attention on our shortcomings. What’s wrong with us? What’s lacking in us? When the Lord wants us to come to a place where we understand, first of all, He knew all about that. The problem is we weren’t quite there in terms of recognizing it, agreeing with Him about it, coming to a place of surrender where we can realize there’s an answer to every bit of that.

We don’t have to wallow under that defeat. It’s not sent to defeat us, it’s sent to set us free from its power. Because the more we’re clinging to anything that originates in us, the more we are in bondage to it. It gets obvious if you’re talking about something like alcohol or drugs. There’s a need of something that people medicate that with and we see that’s brought them in, there’s a desire that originates here that brings somebody, makes a slave of somebody, but the truth is, every single manifestation of human nature is exactly the same. It just comes out in different ways.

But we are made slaves if we are under the dominion of anything that originates, that was born in us naturally, and Jesus Christ came to set us free and He’s gonna do what it takes. Can you pray that? Lord do whatever it takes to set me free, even when it means I’m gonna have to fall in the mud.

Now, don’t go falling in the mud deliberately, but you know what I mean! If God has to put us in a place where suddenly He pulls that hedge back and demons come and they’re pulling on stuff and we say, I thought I had that licked. I thought that was all over. What’s going on here? I don’t understand. We need to be able to lift up our eyes and say, Lord, thank you. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy.

You know, Paul, you can read this sometime, I’m not gonna go over and read it all, but over in 1 Corinthians, the end of chapter nine, he talks about what it took for him to serve the Lord and how he had to keep his body under dominion. He had to rule over it. He meant not by human strength, but by the Lord because there were things here that had the power to hinder his ministry.

And then he goes into the beginning of chapter 10 and that’s when he talks about the warnings about don’t be like the Israelites in the wilderness. And all of that leads straight into the scripture we quote so many times. There’s no temptation, that’s the word there, that seized you. That’s not something you went out and looked for, it just happened. You were doing fine, all of a sudden, something happens and it’s there and you feel the pull of your own nature.

Nothing like that happens, but those things that are common to man. Don’t you ever fall into the trap of thinking that you’re being singled out and you’re different from everybody else. You’re exactly like everybody else. We all got the same human nature, it just comes out in different ways. But nothing has seized you, nothing has challenged that and tried to pull on your nature to bring you down but that which is common to man, but God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted or tested beyond what you can bear, but, another but, will with the temptation also make a way of escape so that you can bear it.

I mean, I don’t think we’ve used any scriptures we haven’t used many times today, but somehow I sense that when the Lord is encouraging us to seek our place in the body, to realize that He’s called us to move with supernatural ability. I’m not talking about signs and wonders, necessarily, but I’m just talking about divine ability to be members of the body of Christ to help one another. It could be just a word of encouragement, it could be prayer, it could be so many things that all matter. God has called us to that, but we are the ones that get in the way and God’s gonna do what it takes to help us and we need to realize what it takes for us to become that.

What did it take for Jesus to become able to do all that He did? He had to go through real temptation and real testing, didn’t he? He had to suffer things and learn how to obey the God in the face of something, not just in theory, but to actually go through it. Well, as a result, he became a tested stone.

I believe God wants you and me to become tested stones and He’s going to do what it takes to get us to the point where we are willing to let go and realize how the Kingdom works. It doesn’t work with your abilities and how wonderful you are. It works with people who just come to a place where they’re honest.

It’s a good thing when we discover bad things in us, to realize, to be honest about ‘em, say, That’s there, that’s what it is, whether it’s lust or pride or whatever it might be, to be willing to say, Lord, truth, Lord, truth. But Jesus died for that. I can come to you and be as clean as if I had never sinned. There’s a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins and sinners plunge beneath that blood, that flood, lose all their guilty stains.

Thank God there’s an answer to all of this. But the answer that God is looking for from you and me today is, don’t be discouraged when these things happen. Don’t be discouraged when suddenly you’re in a place of weakness and temptation and the devil’s talking to you, things that are coming up you thought were done, even. Just look up, realize why it’s happening.

Realize that there’s help and there’s strength that we don’t need to be afraid, we don’t need to be condemned, we don’t need to be anything except moving forward and looking to God and trusting Him and going by what He says, believing His promises in the face of that because if we’re gonna be anything in this hour other than just huddling in a cave somewhere, if we’re gonna be anything, we’re gonna go through adversity, we’re gonna face the enemy, and we’re gonna learn to rely on God and his promises and his provision and He’s gonna take a people through and he’s gonna use a people in this hour and he’s gonna get the glory.

We’re gonna stand there. If He gives you a crown, you’re gonna get there and say, Whoa, that crown belongs to him. He’s the only reason that I’m here. So, thank God for His faithfulness. So, let’s each of us be a tested stone and let God do whatever it takes to make us ready to be served, to be able to function in His Kingdom, to serve one another and to bring glory to Him alone. He’s the only one who’s worthy. To Him be glory forever and ever. Praise God. Praise the Lord!

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