TV Transcripts

“Ready for a Dark Hour” Conclusion
Broadcast #1638
February 25, 2024

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1638 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: There are things happening in our lives right now that we would prefer that they not happen. They bring things to light that we would rather deny, not face. And here’s God’s heart looking down at us saying, I have called, I have chosen these people. They’re mine. I’ve called them to live in earth’s darkest hour. And I have things that I want to accomplish.

There are people that grow up in here that need to see more from us. They need to see more of Jesus and a little less of us, and we don’t even know it. We’re clueless so much of the time. And God has to allow circumstances in our lives to bring us to a place where it’s Him living in us and not us.

Oh, how many times do we have things come up and we feel, and we find human nature kicking in by default? And what’s our reaction to it? Resistance. Resistance, denial. I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna pretend this isn’t there. I’m gonna push it down and hope nobody notices. And God wants to break the chains. He wants to set us free.

He is allowing things that show us our need, so we can come to Him and say, Thank You. Thank You Lord, for loving me enough to show me the truth about myself. The thing that I’m afraid to face. The thing that I’m afraid to admit. It’s gotten quiet. It’s a lot to think about, isn’t it?

Are there circumstances in your life right now that you’re having to face and all of it, and you don’t feel able to face? Do you think maybe, just maybe the Lord is deliberately allowing us to be in those things where we don’t have control and we aren’t enough, we don’t have the answers to what we need?

I see God’s mercy to do that, because are we able? Does anybody here have what it takes based upon the life of Adam in you to stand in this hour and accomplish anything for the kingdom of God? Not one of us has it. We are everyone in the same position. We need one thing from God, and that’s what He offers in Jesus Christ, and that’s mercy.

Look what He goes on to say about all these people that He’s called. He said, “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus.” It’s because of God. If He’s called you, it’s because God started the ball rolling. Can we not bow before Him and worship Him and say, God, touch my heart. Do whatever it takes so that I can be Yours and not mine. Lord, help me!

“It’s because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God. That is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption,” everything. It’s just one of those many Scriptures that talks about everything that we need is there. It’s in Him.

It’s been mentioned this morning about holiness and defining some of the things that that means, but oh, what a process it is. Holiness essentially is being separated from what we were to God. Cleaned up to where we’re useful to Him. How can we carry on with dirt, spiritual dirt in our lives and then put on a smile and sing the songs and clap and raise our hands and just go on. And can God use that? God wants to express His life and power in us.

He doesn’t do it because we are good, we are capable, we’re strong, we’re any of those things. He is looking for a people who can just stretch forth their hands and say, Oh God, do whatever it takes in me to break the strongholds, to change my default setting, so that when I boot up in the morning, it’s You living in me and not just me. Okay, what am I gonna do today? And just going on in our own strength and for our own purposes. God help us. God help us to understand things that are happening.

And you know, one of the things, one of the thoughts that came to me is this. I have no doubt that in each of our lives there are things that will rise up under just the right circumstances. And it’s, you know, I preached a message one time, “That Thing,” and it’s just, had such a depth of hold, that the only thing we seem to know to do with it is to push it down. Try harder, deny it, pretend it’s not there, instead of bringing it out into the light.

It’s like, God in heaven can’t even fix this one. Now, we would never, we know not to say that, but isn’t that what we are really saying by our actions all too often? God in heaven can’t even fix this one. I don’t deserve it. I don’t, you know, 1,001 lies the enemy is quick to inject.

And here’s God looking to shine a light on a need, not so that we will be discouraged, not so that we will throw up our hands and give up, but so that we will bring that to Him, so that He can set us free and cut those chains. Bring them into the light and say, It is what it is. I just surrender into Your hands, Lord, do what You have to do to fix me and to change my heart. Oh my God.

Is this something that you think I’m exempt from? Oh my God. See, that’s the point. See, if God is gonna use a people, it will be people that know what it’s like, that have got real things in their hearts. I don’t care what your background is.

You know, the thought I had was, It’s so easy. The devil loves to, when something rises up and you sense a need and a bondage maybe in your life, or a characteristic of your personality, and it just keeps getting in the way, it keeps, and God tries to shine the light on it. And how easy is it for the devil to say, Well, what about them? I’m jealous, if I had, they have it so easy. If they’d been through the things that I have in my life. Then on and on, and you know, you fill in the blanks.

I’ll tell you, I don’t care what your background is, what your life, earthly life has been about, these issues are about every single one of us. And as we said so many times, everyone is unique. We each have our own call and our own place. And God has allowed the things that have happened in our lives to shape us for the ends to which He has called us.

But oh, that God help us to learn how to get out of His way, when He shines the light, not to draw back, but to recognize, this holiness, this ability to be God’s vessel in this hour comes entirely from divine work. It’s of God that we’re in Christ, but He’s the one that’s made to us all that we need. I need Him.

And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t realize I need Him more than I thought I did. I thought I had gotten this far. And oh my God, there’s this thing, it rises up and it wants to take control. And this is, I just, I react this way, I think this way, I plan this way, I do this way, whatever it is, it just covers the gamut of human nature. May God give us a practical victory. And what do we do? You know, when these things happen, that’s a critical thing.

So anyway, Paul talks about this, and he’s talking to the believers. And then he says, “Therefore, as it is written, let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” Now, I’ve got this underlined, I had not ever really underlined this next statement before or the beginning of verse two. “And so it was with me, brothers.”

Do you catch that? This isn’t just about the ones to whom Paul was writing. This is Paul saying, Yeah, I’m in the same boat. I’ve got the same need. God didn’t call me because I was special. He called me to take a part, to take away all the things that made me special to people and to get me down to the point where it could be Him and me. Not through my strength, not through any goodness of, of my own. He’s brought me to a place where I could be usable to you.

And I don’t care who you are, how low, how high, as far as earthly measurements are concerned. Paul is basically saying, We occupy the same place. We have the same need, to let go and let God have His way, and be willing to let Him touch the things in our lives that get in his way, that are part, as I say, of our default setting.

Okay, “Brothers and sisters, when I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you, except Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness, with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” Why? “So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

Not everybody’s called to preach, to teach, but every believer is called to live out the life of Christ. Wouldn’t it be something, if your words, you could literally speak words. I don’t mean, Yea, I say unto you, I mean just ordinary words, and they’d be God speaking through you to somebody, without you even trying.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if God could bring us to that place where we could speak life to people? It’s not just, Be encouraged, you know, on a human level, but I’m talking about that we could be in such tune with God that we could speak words in a matter-of-fact tone, and they make an eternal difference.

But you know, the Lord, in order for that to happen, God’s gotta do some pruning, doesn’t He? He has got to get rid of things that hinder. And I’ll just mention in passing the Scriptures that we use so many times, because it has to do with Paul and how God dealt with Paul. And how he begins in 2 Thessalonians talking about what God had allowed him to go through, where he despaired of life, remember? It was so difficult, so tremendous, so tremendous.

Anyway, what he was going through, that he thought he was going to die. He was willing to do it, but I mean, he really thought it was over. But then he reveals something that we need to get. Number one, he didn’t just look at this as, you know, like, God’s judgment against me, or the devil’s winning or anything. He said, There’s a purpose in this. God’s allowed this. You understand?

The thinking that you see manifested in this. God’s allowed this. He’s allowed it for a reason. If He wants me to die, praise God, that’s even better. But, if I’m still to live here, He is teaching me something in this circumstance that I need to get. What was the lesson? Not to rely on my own strength, but on His.

Now, do you see what the Lord was saying there? Paul, I’ve called you and you don’t even understand the degree to which you are still relying on your own natural ability here. And I have got to get your attention. I can’t just pull you into a classroom and explain it to you. See, we hear this a lot, but this is not the kind of thing you can just learn and hear and then you got it. This is the kind of thing where God is going to have to take us through life experiences that reveal what’s lacking in us, what’s needful in us, but also that reveals His loving purpose in it, so that we can see beyond the thing.

We don’t have to sink into a pool of self-pity, or anger, or all the human emotions. We can say, God, thank You. You saw something in me that I wasn’t aware of. I love You. I thank You for it.

And isn’t that what we pointed out so many times in chapter 12, when there was a danger of pride and the Lord allowed something, allowed an attack of the enemy. And Paul went to the Lord about it, but I see in his spirit a desire to do God’s work. That was the heart of it. God, You’ve called me, I want to please You. I want to do what’s right. And in that context, God revealed the purpose for which He had done it. That it wasn’t just some random thing, God saw a need.

Is there any need in your life that God might consider? It doesn’t have to do with people that just get up here. It has to do with every single believer. Is there anything that God knows about in your life and He’s allowing something to happen right now? What does He want? Wouldn’t that be a good example to say, Oh God, help me, help me to understand what I need to know? Paul was essentially asking for wisdom and God gave it to him. God, at the proper time, God gave him an understanding.

Now, here’s where human nature kicks in. You know, we love to, if something bad happens, something we prefer not happen, Well, praise the Lord. And of course the words are okay, but the spirit behind it is anything but.

But what was Paul’s reaction? Did he say, Okay, I get it, Lord, I don’t like it, but I’ll go along with You on this one. There was a rejoicing. Do you see what God had imparted to him was this desire to serve God, this desire. He’d worked in him over a long period of time to take away all the religion that he depended upon. He came to regard it as scripture says in Philippians 3, As garbage, so that he could win Christ. Wanted to be like Him, wanted to be used of Him. God put that in his heart.

God worked that in his heart. He had to go through hell and high water to get there, but God brought him through. But it wasn’t just a, Okay, I’ll go along with You on this Lord, there was a rejoicing. Can we push through the circumstances that God allows in our lives, seek to understand His reasons and His purposes, be willing to see the faults and needs that we have, that He wants to change, set us free from?

Can we do that and lay it on the line and say, God, the one thing that controls everything is I want to do what’s right. I wanna please You. I wanna be useful to You. I want You to be able to live in me. And Lord, in the light of that, I’m just gonna say, ‘Wow, this is awesome!’ God is so merciful. God is so faithful to show me my need, praise God!

Because doing His will, it doesn’t depend on my strength anyway, so He set me free. All He wants me to be able to do is to yield myself to Him and have that partnership like Jesus did, so it’s actually Him in me. And I’m opening my mouth, I’m stretching forth my hands, whatever is appropriate. But it’s not just me, God’s power is there.

Do you want, do we want God’s power in our life or do we just want the form? Do we want just enough to get into heaven? That’s a real question. Been asked this morning. Is that really readiness? Is that somebody who really has handed their life over to the Lord, or they just want a ticket to heaven?

God has called every one of us. May God bring us to that place where we can do what Paul said, I glory in my weakness. I boast about it. Praise God, I’m weak. Think about the effect on people to whom he preached. They felt weak. They were aware of needs in their lives, and here’s one who stands up before them. He doesn’t say, I made it, and you can too. Come up here, we’re all, this high place that I live in.

It wasn’t that. It was, I’m one with you, and God has gone out of His way to remind me that I have nothing. I can do nothing in my own strength, and I’m so glad. I just pour out thanksgiving from my heart. God has shown me the past, so I can fulfill the vision and the thing that I value most is serving You, being useful to You and helping other people to come to that place.

Again, it was posed this morning. Do we want just enough, or do we want to actually be able to be used to help somebody else? This is what’s involved. It’s not just for the handful of leaders, visible people. This is for every believer.

You think maybe Dorcas who lived in, was it Joppa, someplace? Anyway, the one that Peter went to visit, and he was there and she had died and she had had such an impact on that community just by being kind and taking care of people’s needs and just giving in a Christlike spirit, being a vessel that the Lord lived in. And the whole village gathered around when she died, weeping. She had had an impact on their lives.

And the Lord sent Peter in there to raise her from the dead. And the testimony, the power of that testimony was such that everybody in that area just came to the Lord. There was a tremendous move of God’s Spirit.

I don’t know what God has planned. Is it gonna be the ones and twos? Is it gonna be something big and visible? I don’t know. But I want to be part of what He is part of. And if that’s gonna happen, He’s gonna have to be able to shine the light where it needs to be shined and I can’t duck it and deny it.

And not only that, I need to be so geared into what God wants that I can say, Thank You, Lord. This was in Your, this was in the way and I didn’t even know it. Thank you for shining the light. Thank You. Even if it was difficult to go through, it’s what I needed, Lord and I love you.

Because what is it? What is this life worth? Is there anything in this world, your life here that’s worth more than walking with Him and having Him live in you? That’s what it’s gonna be like for all of eternity is the Lord living in us, and we’ll be free from all of these things that happen down here. Thank God, those of us who are older, certainly looking forward to that.

But I praise God today. Do we value weakness? Do we value our inabilities? God wants to bring us to that place where human ability is not the question, not the issue. It’s, am I available to Him and is my default setting getting in the way? Does He have the right to shine the light and to put me in circumstances that show me that?

And then when He does, what am I doing about it? How am I responding? Am I willing to lay down my will and not just to grudgingly say, yes, but to say joyfully, Yes Lord, this is what matters to me. This is what I value above all things. And here, You’ve helped me in this. This has been a help so that, because I want Your power to go out and touch people. And if I’m getting in the way, that’s getting in the way of Your power and it’s not working.

God set His people free. Give us a heart that says, Lord, do whatever it takes. I’m Yours and You’ve called me to live in this hour. Help me. And then be glad when He does, because the way He does it a lot of times isn’t pleasant to our flesh. It never is. Death has to work in us, so life can work in others. Isn’t that what Paul said?

But I’ll tell you, it depends. Are you focused on the death and what you gotta give up? Or are you focused on the results and the life? See, when we learn from Jesus, what do we learn? Learn from me, My yoke is easy, My burden is light. And you will find rest for your souls.

So much of our striving is all about preserving self and taking care of it and trying to find our way instead of just letting go and letting Him have His way. To God be the glory. Praise God!

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