TV Transcripts

“Examine Yourself” Part One
Broadcast #1635
February 4, 2024

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1635 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: This is one of those times when I feel my need of the Lord in a very special way. I’ve had a lot of thoughts and I’m just trying to trust the Lord to organize them and I’ve also had the enemy oppose in a very powerful way, in a lot of ways. I’m glad he was defeated at the cross, aren’t you?

[Congregation] Amen.

Thank God. And I don’t know exactly. I’m gonna go ahead and start and just kind of lead into where I want to head. But you know, at the deacon and elders meeting the other night, we were speaking for a little bit about the condition of the world. And we see the fulfillment of where we know the Lord has shown us, things are headed, that the enemy is loosed and being allowed to appeal to everybody that has an open heart to him. And that’s most of the world. They’re drinking in his lies. And we see it on every hand.

And one of the manifestations of that is what we see in what is called the Christian church. And there’s so much in the world, and this is not about us or in any of that sort of thing, it’s just in a general sense. I don’t think the apostles, if they were suddenly to arrive on earth today, would even recognize most of what is called Christianity. There is such a spirit of deception in it, and it reflects all of Satan’s efforts to hinder and to block and to keep people from the reality of what God did through Jesus Christ.

And I believe that God has promised, Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail.” So we know that the promises of God are true. And yet, in the midst of that, we know that we need to proclaim God’s Word without compromise, without worrying about pleasing people. We need to be willing to stand up.

That’s what’s happening in churches. You’ve got churches everywhere. Sometimes there are people who have a sense of knowing what the Lord wants, but they’re afraid. Pastors are afraid to preach because they’re gonna lose their people, they’re gonna lose their budget, they’re gonna lose their salary. The system just is geared to pleasing people and wanting to build a crowd and build numbers.

And God help us, to have no other aim except to say, Jesus, You do Your work and use this poor, weak, unworthy vessel and these poor weak, unworthy vessels. Just come and dwell in our midst and call Your people together. Share the Word of God, build it into people’s hearts and lives. And then when the harvest is fully ripe, then come and reap. And that’s what’s happening. And I wanna be a part of that.

I was thinking back to the beginning of what God did. God made Himself known in an incredible way through the ministry of Jesus, didn’t He? Three, three and a half years, whatever it was. And there was a tremendous, powerful revelation of God and His presence. And yet the interesting thing is that how many people were there that recognized the miracles, gloried in them, followed Jesus for a time, who wound up not following Him, walking away in unbelief. It’s a picture of the real condition, the real need, in the hearts of men, that people could see all of that and walk away.

I’ll tell you, Satan has a strong hold in people’s hearts and it takes supernatural power to break that. And it takes a willingness on the part of those who hear the Word of God to receive it, not as some little sweet message that makes my life here better, gives me a hope of heaven someday. But for all that it is, an uncompromising call to leave the world, to lay down our lives and to give them to Him.

And people over and over wouldn’t hear that. They would follow Him because He fed the 5000, they saw the tremendous miracles that He performed. And wow, we need this guy. He can fix our problems. Let’s make him a king. You read in, what is it, John 6, you have that account? And then others who were following Him because they saw the signs and wonders and oh, what can we do so that we can work the works of God? All kinds of motivations that came, not from a heart that truly wanted God on His terms, but one that wanted to somehow use God and use His power to enhance self. That was what was really going on there.

And so when Jesus put the terms of the gospel in ways that were hard to understand, eating His flesh and drinking His blood, by which He meant believing on Him, a heart level faith in what He did and what His body meant when He sacrificed it on the cross, that was what was behind it. But He put it in terms that would cause natural people, who were looking to gratify natural desires, it caused them to reject that and to say, this is a hard saying, who can hear it? And they left Him and walked no more with Him.

And of course, He turned to the disciples, He wasn’t anxious about it. He said, will you also go away? I’ve heard it said that there were only 12 left. Well, that’s not true. We know from Acts that there were more than that. But still that was His focus, was the 12 that He talked with. And Peter said, “No, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” There was something that was real in the heart. We need it.

[Congregant] Yes.

Folks, this is an hour, if you don’t have the real deal, you don’t have what you need.

[Congregant] Yes.

I mean, it’s always been that way.

[Congregant] Yes, yes.

But that’s the condition right now in the world. We see the world, I mean, if you don’t have the real deal in your heart, this world, the spirit that’s in this world will overtake you. It’s that simple. We need the real thing. Thank God He’s more than willing to give it. He’s more than willing to become that reality to us.

So we see the victory that was won. We see how the devil thought he’d won by crucifying the Lord and then absolutely engineered his own ultimate defeat. And oh, the forces of hell that screamed in terror when He rose from the dead as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Praise God! The ruler over death and hell itself and the grave and sin, all of that had lost its power because of what He did.

And He came forth with a mandate from the Father to spread that good news to all the kingdoms of the world, to all of the world and to gather up people for His name. And of course we know that this confirmation, if you will, of the covenant that God had promised through His Son, the new covenant, the everlasting covenant, the only one that’s in force, in spite of what some people think. This is what’s all about.

But God absolutely continued to confirm the covenant. If you will look, you will see that there was a period, probably again, three and a half years, I’m estimating, in which God powerfully confirmed the covenant, starting on the day of Pentecost, as Peter stood up in the temple and proclaimed the Word of God with such authority and power that the number grew to 3000 people in a day.

You talk about Jesus coming, you think Peter had the power to do that? No, no man has the power to do anything in the kingdom of God. We absolutely have no power. It’s either Jesus in us or we’re just playing church. And I pray that God will, in spite of all that’s wrong and all that’s lacking in us, will absolutely work to proclaim words that have the power to change destinies. ‘Cause if we don’t have that again, what do we do have?

And so Peter, with an uncompromising voice, said, “Repent, be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost.” And so that life, the purpose of the gospel is not to simply impart better ways of living. It’s to impart a new life. And there were people who drank that in, who were born into a kingdom that can never pass away.

And it didn’t stop there, did it? They continued to meet together, to fellowship together, they met one another’s needs in a practical sense and God’s presence was just powerfully among them.

And you remember how Peter preached again in the temple courtyards after the man was healed. And again, there was such power that the number continued to grow. And they threatened Him. They knew they couldn’t say, they couldn’t really speak against Him because there was a miracle that everybody knew about, but don’t you dare talk about this man. Don’t you dare preach about Jesus anymore.

And what was their response? To go back and say, oh my God, we better change our tactics here. We better tuck it in here. No, they went back and said, oh God, you’ve purposed all of this. Give us courage. Give us boldness, stretch forth Your hand. I mean, it was a call for God to go into action. It was not a defensive posture they took; it was an offensive. We’re here for the kingdom of God and that’s all that matters. And we’re gonna strike out and we’re gonna defy Satan’s efforts to intimidate us, God, but we need You. We don’t have what it takes. This is not a committee deal. This is a deal where either You’re gonna come and help us or we’re not gonna have what we need.

And God came, didn’t He? The Lord came in power and they were filled with the Holy Spirit again. That wasn’t a one-time thing, was it? That’s something we need all the time, may God help us. But anyway, you saw this tremendous power and nothing could stop it and the church continued to grow as the Lord added.

Well, now you know, last couple of services in particular, we’ve sort of looked at some of these things from the devil’s point of view. What do you think he was doing? I mean, obviously, the demons were looking on and wringing their hands, we gotta do something. But there came a day when the Lord said, all right, the demonstration has happened, now let the Word go forth. And you began to see things like persecution.

But one thing was really notable, right at the beginning, because up to this point, there was not a single person that the devil had been able to plant among the people of God. He hadn’t been able to deceive any of them. There was perfect unity. Praise God! Boy, it’s awesome when that happens, isn’t it?

But then there came a time when all of a sudden, Satan was able to get to a couple, man and a woman. And they were helping one another by giving property, selling property, bringing the proceeds for the needs of the people. And the problem was not that they sold property and only gave part of it. The problem was that they lied about it, isn’t it? The devil put it in their hearts to lie and to put self ahead of what they had professed to do before God. They were lying to God and presenting themselves as one of us.

And what happened? God struck them dead. That’s how powerful God’s presence was. How would you like it to be that today, if we would come in here and be a hypocrite? You remember how Brother Thomas used to talk about a boy in Sunday school and the teacher asked, why isn’t it like that today? And he finally spoke up and said, because there wouldn’t be anybody left. Well, I pray that God will give us a heart that’s not like that.

But you see what the enemy was beginning to do. From his point of view, he said, I’ve got to get in there. I have got to do something to compromise the message, something to get hold of people’s lives ‘cause I remember how Jesus said when He went to the cross, the devil’s coming, but he doesn’t have any hold on me. But see, I’ve been working on a whole lot of people and I got strong holds. And so the way I can get in there and compromise all of this, I can begin to put people in there.

Now, I can’t keep everybody from being interested, but oh, when they are, I can get ‘em in there and I can plant people in there that really have never given their hearts to the Lord. I can begin to put people in there and then I can use them and they will compromise the testimony of the church. People will look on and say, well, if that’s what it means to be a Christian, I don’t want it.

And oh, I’ll tell you something else we can do. We can raise up ministries, we can raise up, we can look for gifted speakers, charismatic leaders who can step up and preach what they call the gospel, only it’s not gonna be the actual message. ‘Cause we’ll do the anointing and we’ll make it seem like this is wonderful, we are honoring Jesus in all that we’re doing.

And so you see, as the New Testament unfolds, it’s not all sweetness and light. It’s not all, in the sense that it’s not all, here’s how everything’s going so great. And here’s how you grow and we’re all this sunshine, you see the efforts of the enemy to compromise the gospel in so many ways. He didn’t just oppose it through persecution, he opposed it through infiltration and compromise.

And so, so much in the New Testament is written by apostles who had gone out and preached the Word and had gathered people together. But it quickly became evident. The question was raised. How many of them are really believers? How many? What do you think would be the answer to that if you looked at the American church, particularly. It wouldn’t be good, would it? Now God’s got His people, they aren’t saved because of religious systems, they’re saved, I think, in spite. But God has reached a people.

This is not about us and who we are and who we think we are, this is about Jesus. If we’ve got anything it’s Him. There’s no glory to us at all. God is so merciful to call people like us, isn’t he? Wow! If we’re honest and we look in the mirror and we think about all this and what God has done for us, we have nothing we can do except bow down and worship Him. He alone deserves the glory.

But what you see, is an outflow of what Jesus warned about when Jesus talked about the coming age and what the world was gonna be like and what the church was gonna be like in the world. He didn’t just picture what we saw right after the day of Pentecost, did He? He pictured a world where there would be all kinds of things happen.

He warned about deception, didn’t He? He warned that there would be false prophets and false Christs. He warned that there would be deception signs, lying signs and wonders, things that would be so powerful that they would deceive the very elect if it were possible.

Now, what do you think about anybody that stops short of that? Man, it’s what we see happening. It’s swallowing up our world. And I believe with all my heart that God wants to get His people ready. But I believe there’s also this sense that if you don’t know the Lord, if there’s anybody here that, or that hears this and that’s not a certainty that you know the Lord, where do you think that leaves you?

Think about Jesus and some of the things that He said. You remember how in Matthew 7 He talks about the two gates and the two ways? He says, “Don’t enter the wide gate.” The wide gate is one, number one, it leads to destruction. And even though there are plenty of people who walk on that particular way, it doesn’t lead to a good place. It’s a wide gate. It’s where you can take all kinds of things in with you.

And when you see a lot of other people going a certain way, spiritually speaking, religiously speaking, it’s awfully good or easy to say, well, I’m just like them. I’m in agreement with them. Everything’s gonna be all right.

And you see Jesus also talk about a narrow gate and a narrow way. In other words, it’s not something that’s just easy to go into. You gotta lay everything down to get through that gate, nothing else will fit, but us, just laying down our lives and saying, I’m willing to walk with You. This is not a popular way. The devil’s gonna create a popular version of so-called Christianity and seduce and deceive multitudes of people. Not going to, he has.

But you go into the end of that passage and you talk about what Jesus, the truth that Jesus brought out, said, why do you call me Lord? I better go over and read that. Let’s go over to Matthew 7. So many scriptures come to my mind, and I’m just, I don’t know how in the world to get to all of the different things. But I don’t wanna say one word that the Lord isn’t in either.

Matthew 7. Because He comes down after talking about the wide gate and the narrow gate, and then the false prophets. But down in verse 21, He says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Now, you would think if somebody walked with, took on a church life, a religious life, they started to call Jesus Lord. They say, I believe in Him. I’ve prayed the magic prayer. That would be good, wouldn’t it? But, oh, what a compromised gospel has been put out there that never touches the need of the heart.

And so Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” There has got to be a fruit of a divine work in the heart. ‘Cause you and I can’t do His will in our own strength, can we? That’s the whole point of salvation. So we’re talking about today how God needs to work in us and we need to let Him. We’re the branches and He’s the vine. He’s got the life. The only thing that can produce fruit is Him in us.

So here we are. Here are people who think they’re doing right, who think they can do all these things. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name drive out demons and in Your name perform many miracles’.” Wow. I don’t know whether they did or just thought they did. But you’ve got all kinds of people who spend their lives in churches, they will make a profession of being followers of Jesus and not only in the view of others, but in their own minds, they are believers expecting to go to heaven when they die.

And here’s Jesus saying, “No”. Just let that settle in. Is that what it takes? “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evil doers.’” What an amazing thing for Jesus to say.

Oh, how we invest so much in appearance. But you see, God doesn’t look on the outward appearance, that’s what man does. God looks at the heart. And He’s looking for a people that He can call into that narrow way. Oh my God, what a horrible thing it is to imagine that somebody could say, I’m a Christian, I go to such and such a church. I went forward, I accepted Jesus, you know, the usual formula. And yet nothing really changed, nothing down here, it’s all an outward profession.

And somehow, because of the deception of Satan, they are able to live out their lives, die, expect to go to heaven and find out only then that they’re not. What a tragedy. Jesus was asked on one occasion, are there few that be saved? Only a few people gonna be saved? Said, “Enter into the narrow gate. Many will try and not be able.”

Think about that. People who actually want to come to the Lord. There’s some part of them that wants to come, and yet they’re not really able to come God’s way. This is a serious matter.

And think about probably the worst, the most thought-provoking, heartrending example of all that we’ve used many times over the years. And it comes from the title of the ministry, the “Midnight Cry.” When Jesus used the custom, I think we mentioned this recently, but Jesus used the custom of these friends of the bridegroom, the maidens. Anyway, there were women that were literally to go out and meet the bridegroom, conduct him into the beginning of the whole ceremony.

And it was something that happened at night and so they needed light. And Jesus said five of them were wise and five were foolish. Well, what was the difference? They all had lamps. Everyone was there for the right purpose. Everyone even had a lamp. From the outside, everything looked valid, looked genuine. But when the time came, the foolish ones, they hadn’t taken any oil and there they were, unable to fulfill the purpose. They had everything on the outside, but they didn’t have what it took for that light to shine.

My God, what an amazing, and of course the worst thing about that was, it was too late at that point. That’s the sobering thing about this truth. You’ve got so many people that the devil has somehow been able to deceive in one way or another through false doctrine, you name it, or something in their lives that hasn’t ever been surrendered. The devil has been able to keep people in such darkness and such deception that they only find out when it’s too late.

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