— Brother Phil Enlow: This is life that cannot be corrupted, cannot die! My God, we live in such a low, unbelieving realm. We strive and we struggle every day. God wants to lift us out of that.
“…He cannot die again; death no longer mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all.” (NIV). There was an utter rejection of everything this world stood for, the very principle of sin. I am done with that!
I’ll tell you, we don’t need the victory over sin, we need…He didn’t just deal with sin, He dealt with us. He put me to death on the Cross with Him. That’s what it means to be united with Him! I can’t just sit there at a distance and say, thank You for what You did for me. You died for my sins. It’s me joining Him on the Cross, willingly laying down my life in the hope and the promise of what He has…the new life that He has given me. And on that ground, we live going forward. That’s what God is looking for. That’s what He’s talking about here.
All right so, “…he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.” But listen to what he says. “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin….” How many of you stop there? Okay, I’m dead to sin. I’m dead to sin. I’m dead. What are we doing? That’s just anxious striving, trying to talk ourselves, trying to psyche ourselves into something, instead of recognizing it’s a fact!
But listen to where he goes on. He doesn’t stop there, does He? He says, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God….” And what the Lord has begun to, just begun, I think, to see, to help me to see in a measure, is when I feel, when I hear one of the voices of my old masters — we’ve all got them — they begin to holler, anxiety, fear is certainly one of them — when they begin to rise up, I don’t have to suddenly, oh my God, there it is again, I’ve got to do something about it!
I say, I don’t have to listen to you. Lord, I praise You for what You’ve done! Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for the new life. I will not strive against these things that He has already defeated! Think about that.
How many of you remember Brother Thomas, in the context of salvation, rightly so, talking about the fact that we’ve got to come to a place where we stop trying, and we start trusting? I mean, if you’re trying to be saved, you might as well give it up. He has provided the entire package!
We have to but to come as we are and say, oh, God, I yield myself to You. I come bringing nothing but brokenness and need. But I come because that’s who it’s for. Lord, I just give myself to You, and I put my hope…let me ask you this. How did your sins get forgiven? I mean, I know the foundation of it is what He did. But how did you partake of that?
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Yeah, it comes down to a simple principle of faith. Ultimately, I have to come to a place where I realize He did that for me, and I have every right to lay hold of that and claim that, and on the foundation of that, God forgave my sins, and He took my guilt away.
But do you not see that by the same principle this is also something we have the right to? Somehow…again, I look back in my own experience. Somehow, I…it’s almost like I put these things in different categories. I think some of the teaching I heard probably affected that, probably caused that a little bit or contributed to it, where, okay, forgiveness of sins is a simple wonderful thing where I just stop trying to be righteous in God’s eyes, and I embrace the promise and the hope that He’s given to me. But deeper life, that’s a different thing. I’ve got to really…I’ve got to anxiously strive for that.
Do you see what’s going on here? God wants us to come to a place where we realize we are fighting battles that have already been won! That voice that wants to rise up and rule over you and take you down, and just keep you in bondage and wrap chains of darkness around you and keep you where you’re at, that battle was fought 2,000 years ago. If you died, why are we fighting these things? I mean this sounds crazy, but is that not what he’s talking about here?
Look at verse 11, “In the same way…” as He went, what He did, “…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God.” That sounds like faith to me. That sounds like believing in something that He did for me that is mine! I don’t have to qualify myself. I don’t have to raise myself up to some spiritual height.
It’s not just for the Hudson Taylors of the world. This is for every Christian. We have the right to stand in His victory and recognize that when those voices come — and they will — we have every right to look them in the eye and say, I’m dead to you. That’s history. I don’t have to listen to you.
But do we stop…and to do it…one of the things that I’ve found myself saying over and over again, and I’m sure I will say it over and over many times, because of just habits of listening, it’s that I am not gonna strive with you. I refuse to fuss and fight and strive about this. This battle has been won, because always before, that was my reaction. Oh, my God, I’ve got to do something.
And all of a sudden, the Lord is saying, no, you don’t. Jesus did it! Will you put your faith in that? Will you embrace the reality that I came into your heart and your life? I have given you new life! You can live that by faith in Me.
I know this is a lot to swallow. You’re gonna have to think about this one. My words alone cannot convey this. But I just…I had a taste, time after time the last few days. And it’s not a matter of trying to work up a feeling. But I’ve had the old voices just try to take hold and try to bring me down and just fill me with that anxiety which is one of my big ones. My mother was that way, and I’ve got a lot of her in me.
The Lord’s helping me to recognize some of those things, and to say, wait a minute. I will not stay on this hamster wheel one more minute. I will not fight a battle Jesus fought 2,000 years ago and won! I died with Him! I don’t have to listen to that master anymore!
See, there are battles, but they’re not battles of self-effort and striving, and trying to be this wonderful spiritual person! It’s letting go and recognizing that I will never achieve that. That’s why I have a Savior. It’s not in me to be any of that.
But you know, I’ve got Somebody in me who’s kind of good at living the Christian life. Praise God! I don’t have to worry about Him. I mean, He’s already fought that. How would it be if you were facing some big challenge, and all of a sudden, Jesus in all His glory is standing right next to you with His arm around you? Would you feel just a bit more confident?
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Yeah. But the reality is He’s not just there, He’s in every one of us. Everything that He is He shares with us. There is a victory. There is a joy. There is a peace that He longs to pour into us! And here we are trying so hard to be what we think He wants us to be, instead of letting Him just be Himself. I can’t help but go back to what Jesus said. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you…”
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Rest! How many of your Christian lives are marked by rest? You know, the founder of the group I was a part of wrote some tremendous hymns based on what he had learned. And I think one of the hymns was, “Himself.” I wish I could remember all the words, but one part of it, one small part of it has come back to me several times in the last day or two. And it was this. “Once ‘twas anxious striving. Now ‘tis perfect rest.”
How can I rest? Look at all that’s wrong with me. Yeah, but Jesus put me to death, and He is here. I don’t stop trying to be all upset and all worried about all these things that I’m not. I just embrace what He is in the face of that. I recognize that I died. I don’t have to obey that master anymore.
If we listen to him and yield to him, he will continue to hold sway over us. He says that later in this passage. “….To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey.” (KJV).
But you see the ugly game the devil’s playing with every one of God’s people. Oh, God, help us to realize what it means to have Jesus living on the inside. Think about—think about who He is. Has He changed? I mean, yes. He’s in a different place. He’s in glory. He went up there.
Why did He go up there, by the way? What does Ephesians 4 tell us about…He ascended on high. Why? So that He could fill everything. God has put…it’s a mystery. I can’t explain it. But I’ll tell you what, the same Jesus who walked the shores of Galilee is here. And every one of His children, He lives inside.
The same Jesus who had power over the waves, the winds and the waves, the same Jesus who raised people from the dead, who came back to life Himself, the same Jesus who had compassion on the weak and the weary, everyone who was struggling, He didn’t look down like the Pharisees did at the sinners! They felt a heart that reached out to them in love!
Do you not know that Jesus who is with you now feels that way toward you? What did David learn about the Lord? How precious are Your thoughts toward me? They’re more…they’re like the sand by the seashore. Oh, my. Do you not realize how deeply Jesus is thinking about you every single day and how that is marked by His love and His compassion and His desire to share Himself with us?
Do you think He gets glory out of our struggles and our unbelief? I’ll tell you, I’ve got a lot of unbelief to repent of. But I’m so glad. See, there’s where the blood comes in. Thank God. I don’t have to live under the condemnation of that. He knows where I’m at.
There’s no magic experience where I can suddenly catapult over to here and be right where some of these great saints were. But I’ll tell you what, God can take us forward if we will realize how we get there. It’s not by anxious striving. It’s by believing in what He has done for us.
Here’s a couple of simple illustrations. How do you get air out of a glass? Oh, we’ve got to get a pump. Oh, my God! We’ve got to seal it up and get a vacuum pump and make sure we get all of that air out of there so there’s room for water. I mean, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Yeah. You pour water in, the air goes. I don’t need to get the bad stuff out. I need more of Jesus in.
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I’ll tell you, if you’ve got devils this morning, you don’t need just to get rid of your devils. What did Jesus say about that? When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places seeking rest and he can’t find it. What does he say? All right, I’ll go back and look to my…and he comes back, and his house is empty…all cleaned up, religiously reformed, but nobody is living there. And so, he takes seven of his buddies and comes in, and it’s worse than it was before.
I’ll tell you, we need Jesus. We need our hearts and our lives opened to Him. Come to Him and just realize who it is that we’re surrendering to…the love that you’ve been looking for all your life, you’ll find it in Him, the peace, the joy. It’s not something we have conjure up or feel all the time. It isn’t about those things at all. But I’ll tell you, we can meet the challenges that come against our faith. We can meet them with the grace and the work that God has already done for us.
You know, I thought of another illustration like the glass. You know, where there are a lot of hard wood trees, more where I grew up, the leaves die in the fall, and a lot of them fall, and some of them blow down. But inevitably, there are some of them that hang around until spring. Now, suppose there’s a man who gets all excited and upset and says spring is coming. We’ve got to make room for these leaves. Oh, come on! Get the ladders out! Let’s pull all these old leaves off. Yeah, we laugh. It’s stupid. How do the leaves go?
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The new growth! Just automatically, there’re gone! That’s what I see the focus of the scriptures on. It’s not like, oh, God, I feel this need. I’ve got to somehow do something about it. Inevitably, if we approach it that way, it’s gonna be us striving. It is gonna be anxious striving, instead of just meeting that and say, you Devil, you were defeated at the Cross. I don’t have to listen to you.
And we turn, and we invite Him to fill us, and we thank Him, and we praise Him for what He has done. And instead of trying to not be this, we just lay hold of that and say, Lord, I thank You. Fill me with Your love, Your peace…all the qualities that You’re wanting to build in me.
The Christian life is not one of ‘not doing’ bad things. If that’s the focus to any degree in any of our lives, you are doomed to the same kind of failure, as we mentioned, that Paul experienced in Romans, chapter 7. You will be trying to do this on your own. It’s not God’s plan. Jesus comes in, and He changes us from the inside out.
And He changes us, not by principles and tricks and psychological tricks, but by His Presence. He is there! The living Christ lives within! He is really there, and we can really trust Him!
You don’t earn this privilege! Jesus earned it for us on the cross. If He has joined us to Him, we have the same rights to everything that Jesus has and is!
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Oh, may God help us to lay hold of what He has given to us. And I think the title that probably is more appropriate is “Stop Trying, Start Trusting.” That’s the thing that has come to me over and over and over again.
And I have found myself…I mean, there’s a barrage. Satan’s not gonna quit. Your old masters are not gonna quit. They may bear down harder. But my answer to that thing that wants to rise up and make me anxious and fearful is a whole lot different. I am not gonna strive about this. That is counter intuitive, isn’t it? I refuse to strive about this. Jesus took care of you 2,000 years ago.
But do I stop there? Do we stop there? No, we have every reason to turn and to praise Him and to rest in Him. It’s not trying to work up a feeling. A lot of times we won’t have them, because it’s by faith not by feeling, isn’t it? It’s not just to try to feel a certain thing.
You know, we sing about His arms around us, and that’s a reality, but we don’t have to ‘feel that’ to know that He’s there. Why? Because He promised He’d never leave us nor forsake us, didn’t He? Now, you go off and do your own thing, and He’s gonna have to deal with you about that. He’s not gonna be with you if you want to rob a bank, okay? It’s not Jesus coming and being our servant so we’ll have a successful life in this world.
But I’ll tell you, if we’re serving Him and we’re looking to Him, we have every right to look to Him for every single resource we need! And that’s everything! The sooner we learn that we are nothing and can do nothing, and deserve nothing…and that’s okay, because He is everything. It all comes from Him, and it comes back, flows back to Him.
Oh, I think His heart is so sad so many times when He watches us struggle. Oh, there they go again. They’re trying so hard to be a Christian, when I’ve paid it all. They don’t need different rules to live by. They need just Jesus living on the inside. Oh, that makes all the difference. But the Lord wants us to walk with a confidence in that fact, to stop trying!
What is it that holds you? What is it that continually drags you down and holds you back? Stop trying! You’ll never beat it that way. Start trusting in what God has said He’s done for you.
I’ll go back to this. How did you get your sins forgiven? Is this any different? We are looking to something that happened at the Cross. Thank God the blood was shed, and it covers my sins, and He receives that sacrifice as though I myself had paid for my sins. He becomes not just my sacrifice or my substitute but my representative. But He’s also my representative in laying down my life and being united to Him forever.
Folks, if you’re not there, that needs to be the cry of your heart. Oh, God, I want to be united with Him! I want to be part of what’s gonna last forever and not part of this world. The cross is our door of escape from everything that is coming upon this world.
But oh, what a…it sounds terrible to human beings. It sounds like such a horrible thing to die. But I’ll tell you, to the extent people have done this and let go and let God have His way, what’s been the result? Oh, misery and bondage and religious obligation! No! It’s victory! It’s freedom!
That’s what God wants every one of us to have today. Where you’ve been defeated, He wants you to have, to realize that’s a battle that’s been fought. It might rise up like Goliath, might curse your God and tell you what he’s gonna do. What did David do? He said, the battle is the Lord’s!
How many of you remember some of the circumstances where Brother Thomas and Sister Thomas…the Lord gave them the song, “The battle is the Lord’s and it’s already won.” They were in the middle of a spiritual battle against demons, multiple cases going on at the same time. They were weary, and the Lord gave them that song. “O the battle is the Lord’s and it’s already won. at the cross, at the cross it was done.” And all we have to do is strive and struggle and try…wait a minute. “All you have to do, is believe that it’s true, and the battle is won for you.”
And how many remember what happened when they got to the next place? The battle was over. They didn’t have to do anything. The Lord had already gone before them. Folks, God will help us to lay hold of this. We’re gonna have to change the way we think, the way we react, and it’s gonna have to come into alignment with what God has said.
Is this true, or isn’t it? Did I get this out of the old Sears and Roebuck catalog, or is this God’s truth? I believe it. I believe God wants us to possess it. And I am sick and tired of trying to be a deeper-life Christian, which I have done occasionally in my life. It doesn’t work. But He has given me everything I need to stop trying and start trusting. He did the work. It’s complete! Jesus said, it’s finished! It’s finished. Is it?
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And can we not lay hold of that? Is there something we need to do to qualify ourselves where we earn it, we deserve it? No. He invites the broken, the needy, the wounded, the helpless to come and find, in Him, everything that we stand in need of. I’ll tell you who’s gonna get the glory.
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Praise God for what He’s done. So, stop trying, and start trusting.