— Brother Phil Enlow: We have the same promise. What happened to Jesus is the promise! It’s the hope that we have been given, every single one of us. “Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep…” (NIV). That is, we will not all die. There will be people who are here when Christ comes.
“But we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” Oh, wait a minute. We’ve got the last enemy, the last trumpet. This kind of sounds like the end to me, doesn’t it? Yeah, there isn’t anything happening after this other than judgement and eternity.
“…In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound…” There’s nothing secret about that, is it? “…The dead will be raised imperishable.” Wow. I need…I mean, that’s a miracle. Only God can do that. Only God can grant that kind of a life that cannot die, incapable of dying. “…Will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
How many here need to be changed? Oh, praise God! That’s the hope that we have in that day, and it’s coming. “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then…” at that time, “…the saying that is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
So, what we have now is a picture of Christ reigning. It’s not a visible reign to the world. It’s a case where He reveals Himself to willing hearts. He comes to make His home in those hearts. He goes to work in those hearts to change us, to prepare us for that time. And I’ll tell you, when the work is done that’s the day of Jesus Christ. That’s the time when He comes, and He gathers His people out of the world, and there’s nothing left but destruction. That’s the day. What a day that will be!
But you think about how sober and how serious it is. It’s an awesome for everyone that’s put their faith in Jesus Christ. It needs to overshadow every other consideration in our lives, because there is coming a day. Praise God!
But I’ll tell you, if there’s anybody who’s not serious, who hasn’t really ever surrendered the heart to Christ, you are in a place where you need—you need to hear the voice of the Son of God when He speaks to you, and not sidestep it and not say, but it’s my life.
You know, one of the things that Jesus said…now He didn’t quite go there in Luke 17. I’ll just refer back to it, because Jesus warned about this life that we’ve been given. How many times did He say this in His ministry? He that hangs on to his life, just put it in our language. He that hangs on to his life…what’s the prospect? What do you have to look forward to? These are the words of Jesus that will never pass away. You better reckon on this. You want to hang on to your life and your plans and your way and say it’s mine? You will lose it!
There’s no question about that. That’s reality. You may not see that. You may not feel it, but I’ll tell you, I pray that God will open hearts.
And you think about what it takes for God to rescue somebody from this evil world. Think about what Jesus said, “…I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (KJV). Think about what He’s saying there. We live in a world that is in prison—that is a prison basically. It’s a prison planet.
Every person born into this world is a slave and blind. All you know is the desires that arise from your heart, the ideas that you take in from your surroundings. There is a nature that is bent against God, and there is a world of evil spirits that control everything, that rule over this planet. Satan is called the god of this world. This is what we’re up against, folks.
But I’ll tell you, I serve One who defeated him completely at the cross, who has all authority in heaven and earth. But I’ll tell you, when it comes to saving somebody, it’s not just a matter of informing people of the facts, and they just take their own free will, supposedly, and just…okay, I’ll accept You.
Man, this is a confrontation between God’s power and Satan’s power over the will of somebody. And it’s not, okay, I like Your plan. I’m gonna agree to it. This is, I’m surrendering. This is, I recognize my condition. I recognize that there’s nothing that I can do to help myself. I recognize that I can’t deserve this. I can do nothing, Lord.
But, it’s not just the fact that I don’t deserve it, it’s that I don’t have the power! I have no power to change! I know many who remember Brother Thomas talking about going door to door and witnessing and talking to a man one day who, best I remember the story, he told Brother Thomas that as a teenager he had picked up a pamphlet that was written by some atheist. And somehow, it had clicked with him, and he had embraced what he was reading, the philosophy, and he said from that day forward, he had no desire for God, no ability. You just couldn’t touch him at all. It wasn’t even that he was antagonistic. He just was dead.
You think about what it took for God to save Saul. You think about this man that had supposedly, in his own mind, devoted his life serving God. And he was there when they were stoning Stephen, and watched Stephen kneel down and say, Father, into Your hands, I commend my spirit. “Do not hold this sin against them.” (NIV).
And, he’s watching this Godly man lay down his life, and he’s standing there holding the coats of those who are throwing the stones and agreeing with them! Do you think he was just a little bit blind? You think about what it takes to reach a man like that. God had to arrest him. God had to penetrate the darkness of the human heart.
Oh, God, we need to pray that every one who hears this Word, that God will confront the heart, will penetrate past the mind and it won’t just be just a religious thing I can add to my life, that God will make real who He is and what your life really is about and what’s at stake. Is He Lord? Are you a citizen of that kingdom, or are you a citizen of this one?
It’s pretty plain to me that when that day comes, it’s gonna be one or the other. You’re either gonna be all in with one or all in with the other. I want to be all in right now. That’s the only safe place. Jesus didn’t say wait until you see all of this and then get ready. He said, be ready.
But oh, I’ll tell you what, the only possible way that anybody can be saved is when grace is extended, when God is there confronting the heart. That very presence of God is not just the influence to say you ought to give your life to Me. It is the very power by which we do it. If God is not there, you have neither the inclination nor the power to come to God. That’s why He says, call on Me when I’m near. That’s when you need to call.
Oh, I’ll tell you, if God ever speaks to you, you cry out to Him, and you say, oh God, help me…oh, God. I’ll tell you, I just pray that God will burn His Words, the reality of what we’re talking about today. There is coming a day! And God wants it to be a great comfort to those who know Him, but it’s a great, powerful warning to those who don’t. I’ll tell you what.
Here’s another thing that I see that encourages me, because I know that in our journey, we face many facts that we confront in our own lives, whether they’re circumstances, whether they’re weaknesses, whether they’re discouragements.
How many of you reach times in your life, you who know the Lord, when all of a sudden, you come face to face with something that’s in here? And it’s dismaying. And you wonder, oh my God, what’s the answer to this? This is discouraging. Here I’ve served the Lord for so many years, and look at the terrible thing I’ve just found out about myself, and it’s…what am I gonna do? Oh, could God love me?
I’ll tell you what, the very evidence, the very fact that God’s people become concerned at such a time, the very fact that you’re dismayed and don’t want things to be that way is the evidence that God is at work! What did He say in Philippians 1:6 about God who started the work will do, what?
( congregational response ).
Continue it. How long? “…Until the day of Jesus Christ.” There is coming a day. You see, there’s a graduation day for every child of God. There’s a time when the work is gonna be done, and He will pull back the veil and say, this is what I’ve been doing.
I’ll tell you, if God is at work in your heart, we need to let this reality that we’re in the middle of a process, but we know how it comes out! We need to lift up our hearts and say, praise God! Lord, You have brought me to a place of need, but You have the answer to my need! And so, my hope is in You this moment. I refuse to be discouraged by what I see, but rather encouraged that You are doing exactly what You said You’re gonna do. You’re continuing a work.
You know, I thought of this many times. Paul wrote those words in the first century. An awful lot of God’s people have died, but this Word says, He continues His work until…that means, in some sense, that work is going on. It’s not that people are trying to overcome sin in themselves. There’s a freedom when people die and go to be with the Lord. But I’ll tell you, there’s still a work.
God’s people have to learn stuff. God’s people, many of them perhaps, are among us more than we might realize. They’re sent on missions to planet earth. But I’ll tell you, God’s at work in every single child of God. Many die in ignorance. Do you think that God just leaves them in a corner in heaven? Or do you think maybe there’s some teaching that’s going on? And God is preparing every single child of God to come to that place together.
You know, there’s an awesome scripture that I thought about over in Ephesians. Ephesians is back in this other direction. Okay. Ephesians chapter 1. You know, Paul begins, and I don’t even want to try to go through his sentence, because it’s an endless sentence. But basically, Paul is exulting in what God has done for us, the forgiveness of sins and all that He’s done for us in Christ!
And, in verse 9 he says, “And he made known to us the mystery of his will….” Now, a mystery is something that you can’t understand unless God makes it known. I don’t care how smart you are. You’ll never figure it out if God doesn’t show you.
Isn’t it a good place to just humble ourselves and say, God, I can’t know anything unless You show me? I’m not smart enough to figure out Your Book. Think about that. There are a lot of people think they are. I’m not. I can’t figure this out. God has to reveal it.
But there is a mystery…according to what? Based upon what? His good pleasure, not my virtue, not anything in me. “…His good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ…” Okay? “…To be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”
You think that’s talking about the day of Christ? You think that’s talking about that climax of the ages? Here, Jesus was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, given all authority in heaven and earth, He has been reigning, not to fix the world, but to call a people out of it, to prepare them for a kingdom which will, all of a sudden, be unveiled before an unbelieving world.
It’s all gonna happen in one basic event. Don’t ask me to explain all the details. But, I know what Jesus said. I’m going with what He said, aren’t you? Praise God!
Now, here’s one thing that some people might be aware of. How about John chapter 5? I’m gonna just drop one little thing in…just a reminder that this all happens at the same time. John chapter 5, verses 28 and 29. Jesus said, “Do not be amazed at this….” Now, He just talked about the fact that God had put all judgment in His hands.
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming…” Some translations say, ‘an hour is coming.’ “…When all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”
Does that sound like multiple judgments and multiple resurrections? This all happens at the same time, folks. The scriptures are consistent in how they present this day that we’re looking forward to. There is a day that’s coming. It’s real, and everybody in the grave is gonna be coming out. There will be a judgment, and there will be two destinies that will be manifest on that occasion.
What about 1st Thessalonians chapter 5? You know, we used that passage last week. And I’ll just refer briefly to it. 1st Thessalonians chapter 5, and Paul has been encouraging brothers about those who have died, that God’s gonna bring them with Him. We’re all gonna meet the Lord in the air. Does that sound the day of Jesus Christ? Sounds like it to me. It all happens together, doesn’t it?
“Now brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord…” Again, there’s that singular day. “…Will come like a thief in the night.” Unexpected. “While people are saying, peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, bothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.”
Do you see the singular event that’s going on here? See what the Lord’s getting us ready for? He is reigning ‘til all enemies are under His feet. And I’ll tell you, when He’s done, He’s gonna say, Father, I have done what You’ve asked. Here is the Kingdom. It’s complete. There are no more enemies. Oh, praise God! What a day that will be! You talk about something to sing about and rejoice in! That’s the day that’s coming.
And I’ll tell you, the same Word of God that is able to speak and galaxies fling out across the endless space, that same God can simply speak and dissolve it. He has the power to do anything He wants to do.
So, it raises the question. Look at the world. Why doesn’t He intervene? The Devil loves to raise that question in people’s minds. Oh, if there’s a God of love, why does He let such bad things happen? Why did He do it in Noah’s day? I’ll tell you, His focus is on calling His people out of this very kind of a world.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you.” Aren’t you glad He’s patient? I need a God whose patient with me, who knows how to work with me…all the stuff that He’s got to do in me, only God can do it.
The more I go, the more I say, oh, God. The stuff that needs to happen in my life, You are the only One who can do. I just call upon You to do it. I surrender. I believe You. I’ll tell you, there is no other path to life but surrender.
But, “He is patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” That’s the reason God is allowing things to be like they are. There are still people that are hearing the Word of God. They’re still people. I don’t know how much longer. I’ll tell you, when we come to the end, it’s gonna be like it was in Noah’s day. There will be nobody who will be crossing the line. Like it was in Sodom, nobody else will be crossing the line. God knows when that day is.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” Or “burned up” in other translations.
So, here is the conclusion of all of this for us. I’m about to lose my voice here. “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” Folks, if you’re living your life under any other kind of idea about where things are at and how they’re going, you better reckon on this one. There is coming a day, and what Jesus has said will happen. There is coming a day.
Now, whether it happens in my lifetime or not, there is still coming a day! Because folks, like we said earlier, suppose I die, suppose you live your life and die, is that the end? A lot of worldly people would like to think so. That’s how they justify being able to do what they want while they’re here. That’s the only opportunity I’ve got. Then I’m gonna be dead and gone. There’s no God.
Good luck with that, because everyone is gonna be raised from the dead to stand before the One who sits on that throne right now. I’ll tell you, we need to reckon on these truths. They need to be so burned into our consciousness, that they are the reason we live. They are the hope upon which we constantly are able to lift up our eyes and see, no matter where we are at in our life and in our walk.
“You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” Praise God!
This is the same Word that Jesus said will never pass away. “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.”
And so forth. I’ll tell you, we need to reckon on this and be careful. Jesus warned about being caught up in the world, about sleeping, about drifting and getting just enamored with the world and busy with that and losing touch with what God has called us to do, and what He’s called us to be. Folks, we need to have…this needs to be front and center in our thinking.
There is coming a day. What if it were today? If you’re not ready, there’s coming a day. And, I pray that God will penetrate the darkness of your heart and make this real to you.
But, if you are here today, and you know the Lord, regardless of where you’re at in your journey, regardless of the difficulty, regardless of the attacks of the enemy, there is coming a day, and it will be worth it all when we get to that.
We’re gonna get there, and we’re gonna be able to look back and understand. God, I get it. I know why You took me that way. I could never have let go of my own way and laid hold of Your way if You hadn’t brought me the way that You did. Oh, praise God! He who has begun this good work will preform it ‘til the day of Jesus Christ! That day is coming! That day that will shock the world, but cause Christians to throw up their hands in praise and be changed in the moment, in the twinkling of an eye and be with Him forever.
Are you ready for that day? Are you looking forward to that day? There is a day that’s coming. ‘There is coming a day,’ I guess is the line from the song. There is coming a day. Thank God for the reality of it. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words, Jesus said, will never pass away. Praise God! That’s my hope today. Is it yours? To God be the glory!