The Road to Our Destiny: Part One
January 6, 2019
Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1370 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text
— Brother Phil Enlow:
It’s not unusual for me to have thoughts with respect to a service and then sort of say to the Lord, well, Lord, this is just something we hear all the time, and it just seems like it’s a broken record. And…but you know, we need to have what the Lord wants, regardless of whether it’s something we’ve heard before or not. The Lord has a way of making His truth relevant to where we’re at in our lives and that’s what matters.
This is not a lecture a series, this is a means by which…one of the means by which God speaks to His people, and it’s meant to meet every one of us where we’re at, not just some vague something, somewhere, sometime, somehow.
But I’d like to read a familiar scripture as a starting point in James at the beginning of chapter 1, and it’s one we’ve heard many, many times. But I don’t know, I felt like the Lord helped me to focus on it in a slightly different way and it’s beginning in verse 2 where the Lord says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV).
So, the Lord is not only giving us an exhortation as to how to face life, but He’s showing us a process and he’s showing us the end result of that process, and not only that, the necessity of the process. So you’ve got something that moves from the difficulties of life to something that’s pretty awesome at the end where the Lord says…talks about us being complete…mature and complete, not lacking anything. How many of you would love to be that?
( congregational response ).
How many of you would love to find some little secret door and secret shortcut where you can get there? But it doesn’t work that way, does it? But you see where God is going with this? And you know, I was thinking about this and I was trying to relate it to life. I said, but Lord, nobody’s perfect. I mean, I don’t understand how this works. Where does this fit in? Nobody’s perfect.
Not only that, you have some people that actually don’t spend very long on this world as a Christian. You have people…we hear testimonies from the Middle East particularly, but other places where someone will meet the Lord and give their lives to Jesus and as soon as it becomes known, they get killed. I mean there are people that literally just live a matter of a very short time and then they’re not here. So, where does this scripture fit in?
And, one thing, one truth that I believe has helped me over the years is something where the Lord kind of focused my attention on a familiar scripture at the beginning of Philippians where he says, knowing this, that He which has begun a good work in you will continue to perform it. But he doesn’t stop there, does he? How long is that?
( congregational response ).
“…Until the day of Jesus Christ.” Well, see that’s something that is yet future for us. And Paul was writing there to believers who have been dead so far as the world is concerned for almost 2,000 years, and yet he speaks of a work that continues until the day of Jesus Christ. I believe with all my heart that there is a day that is on God’s calendar that is coming as sure as anything can be sure. And it’s absolute in this case because it’s God behind it.
There is a day when everything that God has been doing to prepare a people for a brand new creation will reach a climax and will reach it together. It’s not like some are gonna reach it and then others will come along behind. But there is a day when Jesus Christ will come when those who are alive and remain will be, as the Scripture says, caught up together with Him in the clouds to meet Him in the air and those who have gone on before will be there with us and together we will receive, instantly, new bodies that are like the body of Jesus Christ that He has now, one that is not subject to anything that this world knows, but is eternal, has eternal life in it.
And you know, the Scripture speaks of a day when…speaks of the manifestation of the sons of God. And you know, there’s a doctrine out there among some that actually tries to apply this to an elite group of believers in this world who are somehow going to go beyond the rest of us and they’re gonna press into this immortal state, where they’re gonna actually go through…as the manifested sons of God, they’re gonna go through the world, drive the Devil out, fix this world up and turn it into the Kingdom of God.
That’s not what that’s talking about. God is not offering hope to straighten this world out. He’s calling a people ‘out’ of the world for another one. And when He gets done with this, this one’s gonna end with fire and then judgment. But there is a day when God is going to be unveiling what He’s been about, what He’s been doing. And every single saint whether they’re someone who’s famous, whether they’re someone who’s just unknown to the world, but just has served the Lord faithfully and they’ve known Him, God is going to complete a work.
And that tells me that there is something that’s going on with people who have gone on. I mean, we know that people die and they’re certainly not perfect in that sense. But I believe God has work for His people to do on the other side. I believe they’re learning. I believe that by whatever means God has appointed, they too are being brought to that place of full grown maturity that is in the ultimate sense what God is going to show the world.
I think I’ve used this illustration before, but it’s like the artist who wants to paint the masterpiece, but he doesn’t want anybody to see it until it’s done. And the truth is, we have a divine painter who is turning every single one of us into a masterpiece. It has nothing to do with our virtue or anything good about us. It’s all about what He is able to do, and His power to save, His power to transform. So that’s what it’s about.
But you know, I still come back to this and say, okay Lord, I get that. There’s gonna come a day when we will be perfect and entire and lack nothing. But I believe there’s another sense that God has in this. And that is that God has a purpose for every single one of His children. We are not simply, like coming out of the divine cookie cutter. You know, ka-chink, ka-chink, ka-chink…we’re all little Christians, little Christian robots or whatever, all exactly the same.
Every one of us is different, we’re unique. God has a real purpose for every single one of us to fulfill! And I believe that the first sense that He is concerned about here is that we will reach that place where we are mature enough, we are ready enough to fill that role and for God to use us in the world!
And we can certainly see examples of this throughout the Scriptures and throughout history, as well. But I mean, consider Abraham. God had a purpose for him, didn’t He? And here was this man who was a heathen, idol worshiper, living in what is today Iraq, and suddenly God makes Himself known somehow to this man and does it in such a way that there is a genuine, supernatural faith that’s imparted to his heart!
Whatever it is, there’s a conviction formed in Abram, as he was known at the time, that enabled him to leave behind his country, ultimately to separate himself from family and to go to a land where he was a stranger, he had no natural boundaries, no natural connection to that land. You know, the world was peopled by tribes. You’ve still got a lot of that in most parts of the world, where these tribes have migrated away from the center after the Tower of Babel and they went to all different parts of the world and they settled, and that’s their territory, that’s where they’re familiar.
But here was God calling a man out and in the process He makes Himself known over many occasions, on many occasions and says, I’m gonna make of you a great nation. I’m going to…in fact, nations are gonna come from you and you’re gonna be a blessing to all the world…your seed will bless the entire world. And so, Abram just believed God! It wasn’t anything that he had to do that was all that unique. He just simply worshiped God. He believed Him. But did God just kind of…was it a one-step kind of thing or did it happen right then? No, he had years and years and years and years going by with nothing seemingly happening, just simply waiting. How many of you love to wait?
( congregational response ).
Oh man, you love it! Your favorite thing to do is to have a promise and something that’s really captured your heart but you’ve got to wait for it. Don’t you see where, just by that alone, Abram’s faith was tried? And he went along and God put him through all kinds of tests and ultimately brought him to a place where the promise was naturally impossible. And so, once again there was a challenge to Abraham’s faith, as he was at that time known, came to be known. It was direct challenge.
And can’t you imagine what was going on in his head. Do you think he was that different from us? That the enemy didn’t come and just constantly try to bombard him and attack him, and every circumstance is against it, time is against it? You’re a fool to follow this God who has given you a few special visions here and there. You’re just probably hallucinating. And whatever it is, there was a continual challenge to Abraham’s faith for 25 years.
Finally the promised son came and, of course, we know Abraham had tried to fulfill God’s promise on his own and he had to come to a place where he was willing to turn away from Ishmael, whom he loved, and realized that was not the promised son. This was the heir, the one that God had given supernaturally.
But that wasn’t enough! Then he comes to a time when the Lord says, take your son and offer him as a sacrifice! And so, he obeys the Lord and gets to the point where his knife is raised and the Lord stops him. But what I see in this is God doing exactly what James is talking about here. There is such a persistence, such a…even though there were wobbles in his faith, the bottom line was always, “Abraham believe God….”
( congregational amens ).
You know, I was thinking about this. You know, Abraham is called in the Scriptures the Father of Faith. You know, a stream never rises higher than its source, does it? And so, God was doing something very special because Abraham had a particular call, God put him through certain life experiences that challenged his faith in such a way that it developed that quality of perseverance….
It’s not enough just to say, yes, I believe You, but to believe You in the face of contrary winds. And circumstances developed that, that brought him to such a place of maturity that God could say, there’s the Father of Faith. And you know, to this day, he has a descent, he has a people that are descended from him, and I’m not talking about the physical descent. I’m talking about the spiritual descent.
It includes some, thank God, who are Jewish and who have the physical tie…thank God for every single one of them that have come and will ever come! But I’ll tell you, the descent that God is concerned about is everyone who has the faith of Abraham. It’s a spiritual family that he has begotten in the world.
But I see this in the light of what James is saying. God is saying, I’ve got a purpose. I want him to occupy a place in history that is unique. And so, in order to get him from Iraq over into the Promised Land and to form his character, I’ve got to form something in Him that will stand the test, no matter what the Devil throws at him, he is going to stand fast and he is going to be, for all time, somebody that I can point to and say, that’s what faith looks like. And so, God brought him to a place of completeness in the sense that he was now ready to fulfill the purpose that God had called him to. You see kind of how the principle is working.
So what is it that gets somebody from saying, I believe, to the point where they’re mature? Your faith’s gonna have to be challenged. We don’t grow, we don’t get strong…the qualities that God wants to build in every one of us don’t happen unless faith has to fight back and stand in the face of whatever, and it’s going to be tried. We know all this, but I don’t know…I sense this in a special way. And I believe it’s gonna come home in a way that will absolutely impact everyone here in one way or another.
But you follow the line of faith down and come down to Jacob. Now Jacob was a rascal! He had faith of a sort. He saw the value of the birthright to the point where he cheated his brother out of it, but God had a bit of work to do in Jacob. And here’s Jacob…you come down to the end of the story, you go to the end and you find a man named Israel, the namesake of God’s people under the Old Covenant, and God has birthed in him, has brought him to a place of faith and of rest, and a place where he could actually, when he went to Egypt, he was called in before Pharaoh and actually Pharaoh wanted Israel’s blessing upon him. Israel prayed for the Pharaoh of Egypt and God blessed him. And while he lived and while Joseph lived, they were honored guests of the nation.
But anyway, how did God get this ‘schemer’ to that point? Man, he had to go through some stuff, didn’t he? He had to run from his brother after he cheated him out of his inheritance. And then he went all the way back to Iraq…the Chaldeans, I guess they were at the time, and found his relatives…fell in love with one of his cousins which wasn’t such a big deal, biologically, at that time. You could get away with that. Now, it would be a problem. But anyway, he falls in love with this girl and makes a deal for her. I’m gonna serve you, serve her father for seven years and then I’ll get her. And he finds out, he gets cheated.
( laughter ).
He wakes up in the morning and it’s not the one he bargained for. And so, he goes ahead and works seven more years and there’s a whole bunch more years for flocks and herds and somehow God is working in his heart. Do you think that was just happenstance, that there was no reason for the time element and the persistence and having to keep pushing against resistance? You know it’s not that way.
And of course, you go through the heroes of faith, Joseph is the poster child. I mean, here is a man now, a young man, who absolutely had a promise of God. He was a…and do you not think that what God did in Israel…in Jacob and Israel, had its part to play in Joseph? Do you think Joseph would have been what he was unless God had first done what He did in Israel? No. You see the hand of God bringing this whole thing along.
And so, here’s Joseph and he is absolutely just innocent. He has this wonderful dream, these couple of dreams that showed his family in symbolic terms bowing down to him. And of course, they loved that.
( laughter ).
And we don’t have to rehearse the whole story, but you remember how one thing led to another and his brothers were so angry at him and wanting to get rid of him, they…first of all they wanted to kill him! Then they decided, why should we get nothing out of it, here’s some slave traders coming by, sell him and send him to Egypt. And we’ll send his coat back to his father and say an animal must have gotten him. And so, then they forgot all about him and there’s Joseph going down in Egypt.
Well what would you and I tend to do if we were in that circumstance? How many of us would keep our integrity? How many of us live for the Lord where we’re around people who don’t know us? That’s something to think about. It’s one thing to kind of keep up the front…it’s sad if that’s all it is, but I mean, to live among people that know you and you know how you’re supposed to be. But what if you’re off in some other place and nobody knows you there? How are you there?
But here’s Joseph. He’s a slave. He has no freedom whatsoever, but there’s something in him that rises up against what has happened, in spite of the fact that his own brothers were the ones that did this, bitterness did not take root in his heart! I have no doubt the Devil tried everything he could think about to make him bitter. But somehow there was a…the faith trumped every obstacle that came and he continued to keep his integrity, to look to God, to trust in God, and God blessed him and blessed the house to the point where everything was put in his hands.
And so, the Devil says, the only way I’m gonna get to this guy, I’m gonna have to get to him through his wife. She tried to seduce him and he wouldn’t have it and she cried rape, and the next thing you know he’s in prison. And he’s innocent. I’ll tell you, that’s a test of faith. But you see, if you look down to the end of the story and you see where God’s going with this, which we can do in the Scriptures, we know where God was going. God had a purpose for this young man to be second ruler in the mightiest empire of his day.
You don’t just take somebody through a short little seminar course and suddenly say, okay, here’s the throne, go for it. There was a lot of character building, of preparing, that had to happen in this young man’s life. And there was no other way other than the way he went to be able to stand fast against every challenge to his faith.
Because don’t you think when he got on that throne, there were gonna be challenges? Man, the Devil would be gunning for him. He needed to be mature. He needed to have the qualities that were built in, that were not gonna give up, not gonna turn aside from what God had given him to do. So God is building this thing and we would never…I mean, none of us would ever choose this way. But God is wise and He knows.
And so, that wasn’t God’s purpose for his brothers, but it was God’s purpose for Joseph. And so Joseph had to go through all the things that he went through. And we know how he held his integrity in the prison to the point where they turned…the prison guard turned, basically, the operation of the internal prison over to him.
And, even when he tried to engineer his own release, God said, no, it’s not time. I’m gonna turn off that guy’s memory so he’ll forget Joseph. Joseph said, remember me when you get back, and he didn’t. But you know, God had the perfect time and God was able to take him from the lowest prison to the second place in the kingdom in one day.
I’ll tell you, folks, we’ve got a God who has things in hand, has a reason, has a purpose, and this applies to every single one of us. Praise God!
And you follow through and you see Moses…we see David as certainly a poster child for this. David was already spending time with the Lord, and that’s certainly part of it. It isn’t all just trials. It’s learning how to draw from the Lord, learning how to fellowship with Him, learning how to get the strength ‘to’ stand in those trials ‘from’ Him. I’m not trying to suggest that this is human strength that we respond with.
But here was a young man…and God’s purpose for that young man was to sit on a throne of the whole nation, and unite them in the worship of Him. And God began to teach him some things, some lessons of faith when he was out there, the lion and the bear, so that he would know how to rely upon God and stand in the face of this opposition that was coming.
But I’ll tell you, you think about it, he was still a pretty young man when he knew what his destiny was. God had spoken to him. God was beginning to prepare his heart for what was coming. And suddenly the prophet showed up…went through all of his brothers and the Lord said, no, it’s not any of those. Do you have one more? Yeah, the youngest one, he’s out there watching the sheep. Bring him in. And the Lord says that’s the one and God anoints him and he goes back and starts tending the sheep again. But there was a destiny, there was a purpose for which God had raised up this young man.
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