Royal Priesthood: Part One
February 17, 2019
Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1376 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text
— Brother Phil Enlow:
You know, it seems like there are some themes that the Lord has really been emphasizing lately, and boy, they sure came out in the men’s meeting this morning. You know, my mind has been all over the place as to what the Lord was interested in this morning but I — my mind kind of settled last evening on a scripture in 1st Peter, and I trust the Lord can make it fresh.
But also, there’s an emphasis there that — there’s a little emphasis that I saw in it that’s a little bit different than I’ve ever quite seen in the passage before. Peter is writing, as so many in the New Testament were, to young believers and who needed to understand what the Gospel, what salvation was all about, because, as we’ve said many times, it’s not simply coming to Jesus and getting your sins forgiven and waiting around and going to heaven one day.
There’s — really, that’s the beginning, isn’t it, is when we really come to Him? When He draws the heart and that transaction is finalized, I mean, we’re His, that’s it, there’s no going back! That’s the beginning of salvation! That’s not the culmination of it. God begins to work in every one of us, every one of His children. And so, we need to learn, since we’re still in this sin cursed world, how to live here, and how to live as His children rather than children of the world. And so, that’s what the whole deal is about.
And so, Peter is instructing them, he’s encouraging them, of course. I’m aiming for chapter 2, in particular, but he talks about how God has worked and how that’s the reason people come to Him in the first place. God begins the work, by His Spirit. He works in a heart and draws and convicts.
And the fact that God has done everything, the fact that God is the chooser, we’re ultimately not the chooser. He is the One who has worked in us and what He’s given us is a solid hope that goes beyond anything you can see or experience in this world.
It’s real, it’s waiting. And even though we have to go through a lot of things down here that are difficult, they’re only working toward His ultimate goal. They’re not working against it.
And so, we have every reason, in the midst of whatever course, whatever place in life we find ourselves, there’s always a source of joy if we’ll look to Him and we’ll trust in Him. We’re never in the place where there is no possibility of rejoicing and being thankful.
And that’s what God longs to share with us, because He’s not wanting to make His children miserable. He’s wanting to set us free from the things that would make us miserable, if we only understood. So, there’s this call, and I don’t want to get bogged down in chapter 1. At the same time, I don’t know how long this will be so, we’ll just see what the Lord has.
But anyway, He says this — let’s say, down in verse 22 of chapter 1. We’ll pick it up there. “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (NIV). And so, it’s interesting how Jesus spoke about the fact that those who had heard His word, those who had truly received His word in their hearts, they were pure, weren’t they? They were clean. Didn’t He say that in John 15? Now you are clean. And so, the cleansing only begins the process.
Now we learn to live by Him, knowing that without Him we can do nothing. That’s the message of John 15. But that’s also where He’s going to get to here. But now, having been purified, having this confrontation, if you will, this encounter, is a better word, with God, there is something that He wants to — He wants to live His life through us, doesn’t He?
And that begins with what He says here. This is the one law that supersedes everything else. If you get this right, everything else falls into place. Because God is love and how could we be His children and not experience that, not be vessels that would then find — where that would find expression in our lives? “ … By obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers ….” Obviously, not a love that’s feigned or pretended, just something that’s on the outside, but something that really penetrates to the depth of our being.
I’ll tell you, I believe God is doing that work in our hearts to where we can come in here and look around and instead of finding conflict and reasons to have negative feelings about this one or that one, we can we can say, God, I’m so thankful for You bringing me here and for the love that we share! And Lord, regardless what we may be going through at any given time, Lord I thank you and I can experience your love, right now, for every single one and pray for their welfare. That’s what God is reproducing.
My God, if we have that, we’ve got everything! Praise the Lord! And so, this is all founded though upon something. This is not something that you and I can manufacture out of human nature. Human nature is the exact opposite. “For …. “ See, that’s a because kind of word, isn’t it? “For you have been born again ….”
And so, he goes right back to the heart of what begins salvation. It is a birth. It is the beginning of another life, because we were born with a life, as we said so much recently, and particularly, that hates God. It’s opposed to every aspect of His nature. There’s nothing good. Paul, the self-righteous Jew, had to come to the place — God brought him to the place where he could honestly say that, in me — and he’s talking about his flesh, his old nature — in me dwells — how many good things?
( congregational response ).
None! That takes divine revelation. That takes a humbling. That takes a confrontation with light that we allow to shine into that darkness and we embrace it and say, God, the need is incredible. It’s way beyond anything that I could ever meet. I could never make myself into somebody that could ever live with you in that holy place. It takes divine miracle—a divine miracle.
But it takes a birth. And he says, “ … born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field ….” I don’t care what you see in this world that looks impressive, at any given moment, it’s just as temporal as grass and flowers.
“ … But the word of the Lord stands forever.” Thank God! And he uses the analogy here of a seed, doesn’t he? Now a seed is something that has an outward part that goes into the ground and dies, but there’s an inward part, there’s a life in every seed, that’s viable. And every seed brings forth after its own kind, whatever life it has. Now if it’s a life of a plant, it can reproduce but we know that doesn’t last. It’s, as we said, it’s temporal.
But there is a seed that needs to be planted in the heart of anyone who would ever come to know God. It’s got to be planted deep in the heart. You remember how Jesus talked about the sower going forth to sow and how he sowed his seed, and some fell on ground that was so hard it just sat there and the birds came and took it away.
Who are the birds? He’s talking about demons, He’s talking about devils. Where there’s no penetration, they can come in there and just get rid of it and you don’t even think about it anymore. It doesn’t make any headway in your life.
But there are others that seem, on the surface, to embrace it but they don’t really, really embrace it with a separation, with a total commitment to it. They’re trying to mix the benefits of that with whatever they perceive to be benefits of this world. The cares of this world choke the Word, in one case. Or, there is a hardness down deep where, on the surface, yeah, I’d love it, I’d love to go to heaven. I want peace and joy and all that stuff. But there’s no breaking up of the inner man, the real depths of the heart is still hard and resistant to anything that God would do.
Folks, if we’re gonna make any headway with God, if anybody is really gonna come to God and be born of that Spirit, you’re gonna have to just let go. We’re gonna have to let go of this life and recognize it for what it is and embrace the new one that He has given us. Thank God!
The blood of Jesus is what cleanses us from the guilt of our sins. That’s what opens the door for salvation. Salvation doesn’t begin until that happens. Just the forgiveness of sins is not salvation. I don’t know if you know that. That’s the beginning of it. It makes it possible for God, then, to change us into His image, into the image of His Son so that we can live with Him forever. So, praise God! This Word, this life has to take root in our hearts, doesn’t it?
And he said, “And this is the word that was preached to you.” So, now you’ve got a new situation, don’t you? Someone has been genuinely born of God and there is this new life. And the way he describes it here, it’s like a baby life. It’s the beginning of life.
And so, now you’ve got a conflict. You remember how Paul describes the flesh and the spirit in Galatians chapter 5, is it, I believe? Where he says these two are “ … contrary the one to the other.” (KJV). Contrary means they’re against. There’s a war going on between which way am I going to go? Am I gonna follow what my flesh and my old nature want me to do and how it wants me to think, or am I going to go God’s way?
And the battle is not just simply me in here and God’s Word out there. That would be like law. You can’t ever save anybody with laws. All that does is show us what’s wrong with us. But now you’ve got something on the inside that wants to go another way, because God put it there. Man, if you and I were left to ourselves, there is not one thing in us that would ever want anything to do with God! We would want our way and we would die —
( congregational amens ).
— Living out that corrupted life! That’s how serious the situation is. And people just don’t really get this, they don’t understand. It’s interesting, the broadcast right now, for last week and this morning, I guess, or today, this week, is from a message last year and I had forgotten about a lot of the details and I just had to get it ready for the — the transcript ready for the website.
And the title of it is, “Taming the Beast.” You remember that one? And every one of us has this ‘beast nature’ in us and it’s real! And if we just sort of bop through life and don’t recognize what’s going on and what’s really so easily in control, we’re just gonna go the wrong way and we’re gonna have a hard time.
It’s interesting — I don’t even think in that message I mentioned some scriptures that really go along with that. What does the scripture talk about — or how does the scripture describe people who hear the truth and reject it and fight against it and die in that condition? “ … Natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed.” (KJV).
That’s the fate that awaits the human race, apart from God, because that’s all people are is natural, brute beasts. They have a beast nature that wants what it wants, lives for self and hates God. There’s no other way to put it, if we’re gonna be honest. You can’t sugarcoat this. This is what I need to be saved from and I’ll tell you, I think a lot of us are discovering the depth of that, in a greater way than we ever have.
And God is doing it because He loves us and because He longs to share the beauties of His life! Because what He longs to share with us is the love, the joy, the peace and all of those fruits that come when His Spirit is in control.
( congregational amens ).
Praise God! It’s for us. It’s given to us but we need to — there are things — well, that’s what we said last week. There’s something we need to lay hold of, isn’t there? And there’s something we need to stand in. But that kind of lays the foundation for some very simple things that he’s talking about here, because, as I say — well, let’s just read the next couple of verses.
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (NIV). Now, he’s not talking to unbelievers here. You see the problem? Just coming to Christ doesn’t eliminate all of that. There has to be an ongoing work of the Spirit in which we cooperate in order to gain freedom from these kinds of things.
And notice how wonderfully this dovetails into what he’s just said. Love the brothers sincerely. Have a genuine love. This is the very opposite. These are the kinds of things that come out of the old nature. Now again, you go back to Galatians 5 and you will see a longer list of expressions that are characteristic of that nature. It’s not an exhaustive list, by any means, but you get the picture of where he’s going with this.
These particular things have to do with our relationships one with another. Because if we come together, if we were to come together, and even in our relationships with people outside — see, that’s not an excuse that hey, they’re bad people we can do bad things or have bad attitudes.
“ … Rid yourselves of all malice — “ But they did something terrible, and I’m angry! I’m mad at them! I have this malicious — I hope something — almost like you wouldn’t say it but you hope something bad happens. I mean, there’s a malicious, negative spirit towards somebody.
Deceit. Oh, how endemic that is to human nature, that we just want to — we want to have our way and sometimes we know that it’s not going to be well looked upon by others and so we’re gonna find a way, deceitfully, to have our way. Oh, God! That just comes out of the old nature, doesn’t it?
Hypocrisy is pretending that we’re one thing when we’re really another on the inside.
Envy is looking upon somebody else and you perceive them as having some advantage that you wish you had. It might be possessions or position or you name it. It might look better than you do. Better looking. You know, whatever it is.
Slander. Oh, how people struggle with using their tongues. And slander is actually saying something that isn’t true. But you get the picture of what he’s warning about.
But the thing is, again, if you simply instruct people as to what to do and don’t give them the power to do it, all you’ve done is put them in a worse state than they were to begin with. ‘Cause now they’re living in light that they can’t live up to. God, what a horrible position that is!
So, what he says here really begins to unfold what he’s after. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” So, now you see what’s going on. You need to grow up. When a little baby is born, it doesn’t do much more than holler at one end and have no responsibility at the other — and drink milk, I guess.
But you see, there is something in the nature of even the smallest infant that knows, I need milk, I need nourishment, I need something. There’s an inborn desire there. And that’s really all we expect, at the beginning. But there is a nourishment that you and I need at every stage of our lives.
He’s focused here on the newer, on the younger ones — but we need something that comes that will actually nourish that new life, actually help it and strengthen it! And so much of what we take in, doesn’t.
But there is — if God’s really done something in your heart, there’s going to be a desire. Now, you can stifle it. You can do all kinds of things that cause you not to do what he says to do here. But I’ll tell you, if you recognize at all, if there’s anything in your heart that says, I want God, I need God, Lord, I recognize these needs in me, I know they’re not right, I’ve got to have something that can make this new life stronger. And what it is — the underlying thing in this spiritual milk is really the Word of God!
( congregational amens ).
Now, the King James actually uses the word, ‘the milk of the word.’ And it’s kind of — it’s there, it’s part of the thought that they render differently in some of these other translations. But that’s what it is. God gives us a source of something and there are two aspects to what God gives us, aren’t there?
What God does not give — or God does not merely give us information. Now, you’ve got a lot of folks out there in religion, who are very good at conveying the information. Our doctrine is pure. This is what we’re supposed to do. These are God’s rules — is what it comes down to, for living. Rules to live by. These are the doctrines we believe.
And you can get every bit of that just right, and miss completely what he’s talking about here, because the other aspect of this nourishment that we need is we need, actually, an infusion of the very life of God! Because if we don’t have the life that comes with the Word, then we don’t have what it takes to live up to it! What good does it do?
And so, on the one hand, you and I need something that runs counter, that corrects, that shines a brilliant light upon the impulses of our nature and the world in which we live, ‘cause if we simply go by the wisdom that comes from the world, the impulses that arise from our nature, we are gonna go the wrong way every single time! And to us, it will seem to be true.
So, what’s the answer to that? We’re gonna have to actually have a source of wisdom that shows us our own situation, and our own life, and the truth of the world around us in God’s eyes. How does God see this situation?
And I want to encourage someone who may be a young believer. You know, you can look at that and say, oh, my God, this is overwhelming! How can — it’s not meant to be overwhelming. Oh, I praise God that we can occupy the place that Paul mentioned, where he said I forget what’s behind, I just reach forth to what’s before. Basically, it’s, I’m taking this a day at a time.
What God is looking for is simply a people who will walk with Him, in the course of their normal, everyday life. Now, I’m assuming that your normal, everyday life does not involve doing something — going a way that you know is wrong. But I mean, there are jobs, there are schools, there are responsibilities, there are households, there are all of these natural, normal things that are part of living in the world.
But in the context of those things, you and I run into problems and issues every single day, that involve problems that come from the outside and responses that come from the inside. And we have a Heavenly Father who knows how to manage our situations so that He can accomplish what He has set out to do.
And I’m thankful that we have a God who is not worried. He’s not a bit worried about His ability to pull this off. As we’ve said many times, He knows what He’s gotten into. He’s not making this up as He goes along. He’s absolutely planned this from the foundation of the world and He understands the process.
He’s not looking for a kindergartener to be able to handle quantum physics. He’s able to deal with a newborn baby in Christ and help them and nurture them and encourage them and help them to be able to learn how to — when they mess up to come and trust in the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse from all sin. That’s what He said. That’s a promise that we have!
( congregational amens ).
That we’re not always gonna do things right. Many times we learn when we mess up, more often than the other way, a lot of times, sadly. But I’ll tell you, God has made provision for every one of us to simply put one foot in front of another.
And He longs to walk with us, to help us with everyday items, everyday things. It’s not just coming in here and hearing lectures. This is a God who wants to walk with you and me and give us the ability, as we walk, as we open our hearts and reach out to Him, He will give us the ability to begin to see things that are in our everyday life, through His eyes.
You know, we said recently, it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we react to it, that’s the issue. Stuff is going to happen, in case you didn’t know it! There’s no place in God’s kingdom — well, in this world, I should say, where you’re not gonna have stuff happen. And God’s gonna see that it happens because He is the only one who knows the depth of our need.
And it was expressed this morning how many times in our lives, somebody who’d known the Lord for a long time, you reach a point in your life when something comes to light and the Lord shines His light on it and it’s been there all along but you didn’t know it! And you thought everything was great. You thought you had reached a spiritual — a level of spirituality and you were just in cruise control, spiritually, and all of a sudden, God said, all right, it’s time. We’ve got to get off this little freeway here and get back in the bushes and let’s find out what the real deal is.
I’ll tell you, God’s not gonna give up on His children! He’s gonna do what it takes to bring us to that place where we can be free from this. That’s the problem. The very thing to which we cling with such fierceness, is the very thing from which you and I need to be delivered!
( congregational amens ).
And when we are, there’s going to be peace that passes understanding. Praise God! That’s what salvation is all about.
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