— Brother Phil Enlow: Folks, we going to, every one of us, be in situations that we’re gonna have that knowledge. You can’t just pull out a book, what am I supposed to do? This is something that becomes ingrained in us, when we recognize the battles of our lives are not our battles. They’re God’s battles.
And if we’ll humble ourselves in His hand and trust Him, God’s gonna put you through the lion and the bear situations, so that when Goliath comes, you’ll be able to look back and say, I know God. I know Him because of what I have been through.
He taught me how to trust Him. He taught me what was really going on. I had a vision of circumstances that’s different from everybody else who might have reacted in that situation. I’ve learned from God Himself, by humbling myself.
We talked a little bit the other night about Peter, and how he came to be the powerful apostle that he was, man full of zeal, full of natural strength, always quick. But there was a lesson that Peter needed to learn.
Now think about the time in which he learned this. Was it not an hour of darkness? Yeah, it was an hour of darkness. And Peter professed the right thing, but he didn’t know that his own strength was not enough! And so he said, I will never desert you! I will never deny you! And Jesus said, yes you will. Satan has desired to test you and basically he had permission to do it. But wasn’t it an awesome thing…when you think about what was going on. What was Satan’s desire?
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Destroy Him. Destroy Peter. Destroy His influence. Take away his confidence. Cause him to just walk away defeated. What was God’s objective in allowing all of this? God wanted a man who would be in a position to strengthen his brothers. He said, when you’re converted, strengthen your brothers.
Why could Peter strengthen his brothers? Why wasn’t all the rest of them who didn’t do this? Why wasn’t it their job? He had been through something that caused him to know something about God that they had never experienced: God’s love and His mercy and His acceptance, recognition!
God was the one who knew what Peter was made of! Peter didn’t know it. But God brought him through something deep, and as a result of that, and his humbling himself, and learning God’s grace is enough, God forgives. He doesn’t throw me out because I’ve trusted myself.
And I know, I know now I can’t trust myself. And so now he’s able to write, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (NIV). He’s able to write all the words of encouragement that he gave to his brothers and to all the saints to whom he wrote.
What did it take for Peter to be able to do that? What did it take for Peter to be able to stand in an hour of darkness, when he faced death? He knew his God. How did he know Him? He had been there and done that and God had tested him at every point in his life. And he’d seen, not his own strength, but God’s faithfulness—God’s faithfulness! How many of us know these things, in our heads? But how many of us have areas of our lives where there’s need right now?
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Yeah. Yeah. Well, God knows about that. He’s not mad at us. He loves us. He knows. He’s patient. Thank God, He’s patient. He’s got a lot to be patient with in me. But I’ll tell you, He is so faithful.
And of course, we know, we’ve heard so many times of the purpose of God in the wilderness. I led you this way to teach you, and all of that. But here’s a point that…as soon as I sat down last week, this thought came to me and I didn’t get up to give it out again. But, we have this idea, if you’re in school…school to us is kind of a duty. You might enjoy it or you might not. But either way, it’s something that you kind of have to conform to a schedule and whatever the regimen is to be in school.
So we think as school as one thing and life as another. I get out of school and now I’m free to be me. I’m free to do fun things. I’m free to do what I want to do instead of what they tell me to do.
Here’s the thought that I had: in terms of the Kingdom of God, school is ‘always’ in session. The Kingdom of God is not classroom learning. It is learning to know God in life, over and over again. But here’s the thing. You know, where we might look at school as a boring duty, what did Jesus say about it? “Come to me…take my yoke…learn from me…and you will find…” What? “…Rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I’ll tell you, God wants us to know that this walking with Him and learning from Him is not meant to be drudgery. It’s not a burden. It’s not a duty. It’s not works. It’s not law and obedience, in that sense. It’s simply the privilege of walking with Him.
What was it that enabled Noah to stand in his day? Did he suddenly wake up one day and say, oh, wait a minute, I better, I better, you know, listen to God. It says that Noah…what did he do before this? He walked with God!
What does that mean? He walked with Him! The ordinary stuff that he had to do every single day, he was conscious of God and looked to God for the needs that he discovered in his circumstances, but also in himself. He walked with God. He got to know Him. And so when it came time for the flood, God had somebody that He could talk to. “…Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (KJV).
I’ll tell you, God is gonna have a people…He has a people. But right now is the time for God’s people to be ready, because being ready is not waiting for the hour of difficulty and struggle and strife and challenge. Being ready is learning from Him right now.
I pray that God will help me, and you, because darkness is coming. Darkness is coming on the earth. And as I say, this principle, the principle I’m talking about today would apply regardless of the circumstances. But is not darkness coming? Did not God talk about an hour that was coming that would be like none other in the history of the world?
Now you think about how God allows the Devil to do certain things in certain times. What about what Jesus said when He was arrested? “But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” (NIV). God had ordained that He would step back and allow the Devil to do whatever he wanted and he inflicted upon Jesus the most ignominious, painful, humiliating death that they could imagine. And the Devil thought he’d won.
But all the Devil did was fulfill the very purpose of God that enables us to be here today! Thank God! Because when He died, He took my sins with Him. He took me with Him! When He came forth He brought forth a brand new me! Thank God! So we see that even when God allows darkness to happen, it’s for a great, eternal purpose. And I’ll tell you, the darkness that will end this age will be for eternal glory. It’s going to absolutely be the instrument of God finishing His purpose.
I want to be ready for that hour. I don’t know when, and what, and all the details of that, but I know it’s coming, don’t you? Do we not see the spirit of the age…they talk about globalism. It’s not about nations anymore. The elites are pulling as hard as they can to build a global society.
Who do you think is behind that? Doesn’t this sound a whole lot like the Tower of Babel? Let’s unite mankind lest we be scattered across the earth…let’s build a tower, reach up to heaven. We’re gonna have our own religion. We’re gonna have our own society. We’re gonna solve humanity’s future. We don’t need all that Christian stuff. That’s the spirit of the age. Darkness is coming. It is being engineered and God is allowing it. We are in that age.
But here’s the thing, that I really didn’t get to last week. And I just want to kind of touch on it. Because it’s not just that there’s an hour of darkness, it’s not just that there’s a people who know their God, but it’s the people who become people of action. Where others are compromised, where others immediately fall away…or they run and hide because they’re afraid, I’ll tell you, there’s gonna be a people who know their God.
And what it means is they’re gonna see what’s really going on. They’re gonna understand. They’re not gonna say, God, where are You, I don’t get this. They’re going to say, I know exactly why we’re here. I know that God is the one who has foretold what is happening and I’m not dismayed by it. I know that God is gonna bring His people through. Jesus said, I’ll be with you to the end of the age. And He didn’t lie!
And He said there’s gonna be a day when He’s gonna come in triumph, and destroy this world. And I’ll tell you, that’s gonna happen. So even though we’ve got to go through this time, when it looks like the Devil will have won…and he seemingly is exterminating Christians, right and left, it will be an hour in which Christ will triumph. He will rule and reign.
Did we not sing that this morning? Is He not ruling even when those are the circumstances? Yes, God will finish His purpose in the earth! But He’s gonna have a people who will be able to act at that time.
Now what does that mean? What is ‘doing’? “…The people who do know their God shall be strong, and do…” (KJV). What is it? Well one…certainly one of it, one of those things is just standing when others fall. Didn’t Jesus warn about a time when iniquity would abound and, “…the love of most will grow cold, but he stands firm to the end will be saved.” (NIV).
I’ll tell you, there’s gonna come a time when we’re gonna find out who really knows the Lord and who doesn’t. It’s hard to tell in America today. Man, there’s so many people that profess, oh yeah, I love Jesus. And I’ll tell you what, I pray that…I believe there’s a good number that do.
But I’ll tell you what, what’s going on in the world today…there is a darkness that is already descended in many countries. But I believe with all my heart, there are far more real Christians outside of the United States than there are here. There are large, strong movements of the Gospel, calling people out of the highways and hedges of the other parts of the world. There are real harvests going on in the midst of deep darkness and persecution.
Do you think America is gonna escape? I’ll tell you, we have a sleeping church, quote-unquote in America. But we’re gonna find out. But when do you get ready for that? Now! That’s what this is about. You don’t wait ‘til something happens. The people who knew their God, they knew Him when it was nice—when the weather nice and the circumstances were good. They were faithful then. That’s what it takes.
But I’ll tell you, this spirit, this ability to endure to the end doesn’t come from you and your strength. It comes from Him. It comes from Christ in us, the hope of glory! We learn that we can’t do it and we learn to rely upon Him. We learn about His faithfulness in every circumstance. We learn it now. And so when the challenge comes, we’re equipped. Not because of who we are, but because of who He is and His faithfulness.
But I was thinking about this, when Christ comes, what’s He’s gonna come for? A bride…a confused, divided, weak compromised people? Or is He gonna come for a bride who has made herself ready as He says in Revelation 19. There is a process by which that’s going to happen.
How many times have we read Ephesians 4? See, I’m not even opening my Bible. You all know these scriptures. But Ephesians 4, and the process by which he describes how it happens. And so many times the emphasis is on the apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists, I guess was the other one. And all these great ministries…they’re gonna get us ready.
I’ll tell you, what is their job? Why does God give gifts like that? It’s to get you ready. It’s not to do all the work, it’s to get the saints ready to participate in the work. Now participation doesn’t necessarily mean standing up here. But it does mean finding your place in the Kingdom of God, and living and walking with God even if it’s like Sophie, the washer woman.
You know God and you’re living for Him right where you’re at. That’s what God is wanting. But God wants every member of the Body of Christ to become a channel of life to the rest! How do we reach the fulness of the measure of Christ? It says, every part participates, every part is active, every part is doing its part.
I’ll tell you, do you think that just maybe God will use the darkness to purge and purify His people, and finish the job that He has set out to do? That’s part of it. How does He equip us for that? Will information do it? No, God is gonna to have to build real changes in our lives and it’s while you’re doing the ordinary stuff that you don’t even think about right now as having any relevance to this. That’s where God is gonna teach you and me the lessons that will enable us to rise to the occasion and be His people in an hour of darkness. That’s where God’s going with this.
I’ll tell you…I want to get that, because God has promised that He is going to have a church without spot, without wrinkle, without blemish, or any such thing. Only God can do that. But I want to see past what happens in this world. I want to see that God is going to use this. I want to be somebody who can rise up and say, I refuse to be dismayed by what the Devil is being allowed to do. I know God is in charge. I know that He is gonna help His people in this hour.
And one of the other things that we mention from time to time, is what about the simple fact of being light in the darkness. When there comes a time of great darkness…we’re seeing it in other parts of the world right now, many times, that’s the key to a harvest! God will use the darkness to wake up some people to say, hey, wait a minute, my life here is miserable! I see where the world is going! Everything I’ve lived for is worthless! Oh, God! And suddenly you have a heart that’s prepared.
Where are they going to find out about Him? From compromised people who just give in to the world and go with the flow? Or with people who simply know and love God. Not people who point their finger and say, what’s the matter with you, straighten up and fly right. But people who say, I know where you’re at. God has brought me out! He’s given me a reason to live! He’s given me life! He forgave my sins! I’m not better than you, but I lift up a Savior who is!
There’s going to be people who absolutely will be able to stand in such an hour and God’s going to use you. He’s gonna use the ordinary people. It’s not going to be the great evangelist who stands before thousands. It’s going to be the ordinary people who just live their life and have something different. It will shine like a light the darker it gets.
But only Christ can give us that power. Only He can change us! Only He can form those qualities in our lives, and only as we humble ourselves to His hand in ordinary stuff. May God help us!
And one thing that we’re gonna see a lot of, I’m persuaded, before it’s over, we’re going to see a need for dying grace. You think about the apostles, every single one of them, except John, died a martyr’s death. I’ll tell you, it takes something to able to stand there when they’re saying, bow or we’re gonna put you to death…and say, Jesus is Lord. I gladly lay down my life for Him. He gave His life for me. I lay it down.
You think about the three Hebrew children. You think about Daniel and the place they were put, and how they had such a confidence toward God, they said, I don’t care what the circumstances are, God is God! If I die, I die! If I live, I live! It doesn’t matter!
Paul could say that, no matter whether I live or die, I’m the Lord’s. But I’ll tell you, those prophets, apostles rather, who wrote such stirring words, words of encouragement, and instruction to God’s people, there came a time when they had to put up or shut up. They had a time when they were standing before the rulers of that day.
Paul had a time when he stood before Nero and made his final testimony of faith in Christ, and his head was taken off with the sword. I’ll tell you, you don’t just come into that casually, as a casual, Sunday-morning Christian. God has to work those qualities in our lives and He is doing it right now. He may be preparing somebody right here to lay down your life as a testimony to a dying world that Jesus is Lord.
How do you get to that point, where you have that kind of strength? Man, we’ve got to start learning now. We’ve got to say, God’s teaching me every single day. I’m in school and I want to learn.
I’ll tell you, what did Jesus say to one of the churches? I think it was Sardis. I didn’t look this one up, but if you look at the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, one of them was in a particular place of persecution where the authorities were trying to exterminate them and what was the instruction? Go hide in the cave? That might be the case in some instances. But God said this, faithful…Jesus said, His words, “…be…faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (KJV).
Man, it takes something more than human strength to be able to say that. God has to work that in a human being, to have that kind of confidence that God is in charge. He’s worth serving no matter what happens down here, because it’ll happen. Satan is going to be allowed to take over and when he does, do you think he’s gonna be happy with us?
Do you think the holocaust was something? I don’t want to just be sensational about this. But I’ll tell you, there’s darkness coming, but God is faithfully working in you and me, every day, right now, to get us ready. And I want to be one of those that listens to His voice, that learns.
Jesus gave us a principle about the Kingdom of God. He said this: he that’s faithful in little, will be faithful in much. Now, do you begin to see the relevance of ordinary life? How easy is it for us to let little things slip and slide…I don’t have to be really totally honest about this. I can let that slide. I don’t have to do a serious job of this. It’s not important.
Everything is important in the economy of God. If God has put something in front of us to do, what does He say? Do it with your might. Demonstrate a heart that says, God, You have put me here and I’m trusting in You, and I’m going to do what’s right come what may.
I’ll tell you, there’s a God who sees a heart that will be faithful in the little things. Who do you think He’s gonna give the responsibility to when it matters? If you’re one of those that thinks you can just slip and slide by and not pay a lot of attention right now and be careless, and you’re gonna be fine with the real test comes, you’re deceived.
I’ll tell you, God is faithfully working, isn’t He? And I don’t want this to sound like it’s a scary kind of thing. God doesn’t mean it to be that. But the reality is, we’re living for God in world that hates Him. The god of this world would love nothing more than to exterminate you and me from this planet and take over.
I don’t know what all God is going to allow him to do, but I’ll tell you what, everything God allows the Devil to do will wind up for glory for us, for everyone that puts their trust in Him and is willing to learn.
But I guess it all comes back to the simple things. God, help us to be faithful in little. God, help us to live with a God-consciousness that says, God, where You have put me is where I need to be. Help me to learn to love You. Help me to learn how to trust You, to know You in a practical way.
You’re going to bring me face to face with needs about myself that I’d rather not know about, rather not face. But You’re doing it so that I will be able to bring those to You, and I’m gonna learn something about You as You meet my need that I didn’t know any other way. I knew it by theory, but now I know it, I’ve been there. I’m gonna have a knowledge of You that’s gonna carry me in darker and darker times.
God is preparing His people right now. Jesus’ word continually about the end of the age, is what? Be ready. He doesn’t say, wait ‘til stuff happens and ‘get’ ready. He says, ‘be’ ready. This is the hour when God is working.
So, if your life seems ordinary, boring, you wish it were different, what did the Lord say? “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God….” We need to start seeing our lives through God’s eyes and learning how to rest in Him and cooperate with Him, because God is going to have a people. I want to be one of those people, don’t you? It’s not in me to be that. But God is faithful, isn’t He? He’s gonna get us ready. So, Praise God!