— Brother Phil Enlow: But think about the life of Jesus. Again, how did He do what He did? Do you think there was this difference between, okay, Father, I know You’re there, thank God, overshadow Me. But I’m doing carpentry today, that’s just ordinary. I can handle this?
Do you see the problem? We think we can handle stuff. We think, based upon the stuff we know, that we can take that knowledge and translate it into godly living. And as long as we don’t steal and rob and do something really bad and really stupid, we’re okay. Is that what the Lord wants? No. Are we really, if we’re doing that, are we really living out the life of Christ? No, we’re not. We’re just living out a religious façade. And God wants every one of us that knows Him to be real.
And so, Jesus lived His entire life dependent upon His Father. We’re told in Hebrews, in one place, that He offered Himself by the eternal Spirit. You notice the agency. Notice how He did what He did. See, we’re talking about the ‘how.’ How did Jesus do what He did? He offered Himself, without spot…sinless…without spot to God, by the eternal Spirit.
But I don’t need that, I’m good. You see the problem. Jesus knew how it worked. He knew if He was gonna produce the kind of fruit that God was looking for, not just what looked good to men — He knew if He were gonna produce the kind of fruit that God was looking for, it was gonna have to be done supernaturally. He was gonna have to depend moment by moment upon His heavenly Father and look to Him, and He did.
And so, I mean, there were battles that He fought. There were all kinds of stuff He had to stand against. He had to cry out to God. Oh, God, if there’s any way, as we’ve said so many times, let this cup pass but, nonetheless, Your will.
So do you see from this passage that we’ve talked about, what the issues are? In the first place, if you’re just living by your natural life, and there’s all this strife and all these things going on on the inside, don’t lie about it. Don’t pretend everything’s okay. If you’re conscious of that at all, God’s trying to tell you something, and there’s something that He wants to change. This is not how I want you to live. I don’t want you to live this life of misery and anxiety.
Serving Christ is not meant to be an unbearable burden. His burden is light. How can it be light if I’ve got to measure up, if I’ve got to try? This is not a passage about trying. This is a passage about learning how to, not just know that He provided it all but how we access that? How does that become real in me? And there’s such a simplicity to it.
But you’ve got somebody that really is under the control of their old nature, and I’m lacking something…okay, God, here’s what I need. Is that what the Lord’s looking for? He’s looking for a heart that says, yeah, not only am I in need, but I’m on board with what You want. It’s not about my earthly desires. It’s about Your heart and Your purpose and Your desires. That’s what I want, Lord.
You see how easily the barrier comes. But if you come along to God, and say, God, I’ve been doing good lately. I thank You that I’m not like other men.
( laughing ).
And, you list off all the stuff you do. What’s God gonna do to you? He’s gonna resist you, isn’t He? He’s not interested in you coming to Him in pride.
So, coming and asking is at the heart of all of this, but Lord, are we so corrupted by our own ways and our own ideas that we get in the way? And, there’s God longing to give us all that He has provided, and we are blocking the way.
We are either not coming to Him out of ignorance in many cases…I think ignorance is a lot of it. We’re not conscious enough of how much it’s true that we can’t do anything without Him. We can’t be the kind of people He wants us to be unless we come to Him and have that moment-to-moment attitude.
It’s not like there are magic words. I think there’s something real in saying, oh God, help me, whenever we feel the need, but those aren’t magic words. If they come from a heart that says, oh God, I’m running into something right now and my attitude wants to be wrong. My motivation wants to be wrong.
Something is not right in here with respect to the situation I’m in…and I’m aware of it, Lord, and I see where I go wrong here. This gets me over and over again. I have a need here. Oh God, I come to You as one who cannot help himself. I’m not coming because I deserve to come. I’m coming because I’m in genuine need, Lord.
I don’t think there’s a person here who’s served the Lord any length of time that doesn’t know, can’t identify with what I said about coming to God when we’ve made a mess. What about the need that got us in that mess? You think maybe we need to have a greater sense, every moment?
It doesn’t have to be some issue that’s in our face. We can still have that attitude. Lord, I’m not here to do my thing. I can’t live this life, but I know that You love me. I know You’ve given everything so that I can have this other life. But Lord, I just present it to You this day and say, live in me.
Help me with the things that You know are coming. Help me to be the kind of person, to ‘be’ the kind of person You want me to be, not to do the right stuff, but to have it in here…to love, to seek unity, to seek harmony, to seek the welfare of others, to praise You, just to have a peace in here.
What a witness that is, when there’s a genuine rest. How can you have that? I’m gonna be proud? No, we’re gonna have to put all that aside. There are no grounds for that. There are no grounds for anyone of us to lift ourselves above the others and say, I’ve got it, I’ve got it. Look up at me. You look up at Jesus. He gave himself for everyone here. Praise God!
Think of the things that Paul sought. You know, Paul was a man who was in danger, many times. He enumerates some of the things that he’d gone through, the beatings, the imprisonments, the deprivation, all the stuff that he was called to go through to do the job that God had given him to do, and he did it with a will to serve and please God.
But when it came down to it, what was the thing that drove Paul to reach out to God? What was it that caused him to say, oh God, help me? Was it, oh God, get the beating off of me, get me out of jail, get me out of…was it that, or was it, Lord, I want to know You?
I want to know the power of Your resurrection, the fellowship of Your sufferings, conformable unto Your death. God, I see past, I see past just the knowledge. I see past the wisdom. I’ve got the understanding of what this is about and where it’s going. God, I’m in—I’m all in. That’s what my prayer is about. Oh God, I want to press through!
You think of David…even the Old Testament before a lot of this was laid out for us like it is in the New after Jesus came…David was in a lot of places of real problem, wasn’t he? He was running for his life for years and years. He always had people that were against him. Things looked pretty rough at times, and he’d cry out, oh, help me, Lord! My enemies are about to close in.
There’s nothing wrong with that! But yet, David found the heart to pray for other stuff. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (KJV). “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me…see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
You see, David was not simply looking for answers to his natural problems. He was looking for the heart things that he knew he needed, because he was a man after God’s own heart.
Are you? Am I? Do you see that God is looking for a response, from every one of us, a greater awareness of our need? What do we do with that? Do we hold back and say, oh, He wouldn’t do something for somebody like me? Look at me. That’s the very one He’s looking to do it for. If you’re in need, we have that throne of grace. That’s when we come is when we’re in need.
But oh, the missing piece so many times is simply, we don’t come to Him and say, oh God, help me. And of course, you have to throw this in, because it gets down to the understanding of how God answers our prayers sometimes.
Now, we all know, and we will all…anybody who’s been here any length of time will snicker at this. But how do you get patience? See, I told you. We know that patience comes from tribulation or trouble. It comes from, literally, having to go through something that calls for something we don’t have, that causes us to reach up and say, oh God, give me the strength right now to endure. I do not have it within me, but You have promised it to me. And so, I am looking to you, and God will form something in you through that that could not happen any other way.
But that’s true for every Christian virtue. They come from the experience of life in a broken world that causes us to have to cry out and say, oh God, I’m in need. Lord, I see the lack that I have right now. I see this part of me that wants to rise up and react in a certain way, and I know that’s not You! But Lord, I’m coming to You. Make me the kind of person who looks to You all the time. Strengthen that part of me that keeps getting in that weak place, so that I don’t make the mess to start with, and then help me not to get proud.
Oh, there’s so much that He’s got to work on. Do you have any idea what kind of people we’re gonna be over there and what He’s got to…all the stuff He’s got to do? Man, only God can do it. I’m glad. I freely give Him the job. I learned a long time ago.
And you know, Paul, didn’t he learn the hard way? He tried so hard in Romans 7 to serve God and discovered the problem. Ah ha! As long…as long as we’re in these bodies, there’s a law operating down here that keeps me, makes it impossible for me to please God. Who’s gonna set me free?
What was the answer? It was a new life. It was a new spirit. It was a new heart that only God can bring. I’ve got to have a power that doesn’t originate in me. And to use that power, I’ve got to operate…to do what He wants, it’s got to be in harmony with Him.
Do you think there’s a God who will answer that kind of heart that reaches out to Him? That’s what He says here. Come near to God, and He’ll come near to you. You stay away, and you just keep doing your own thing, and God will sit there and watch you until you get tired of it. And He’s doing it because He loves you and wants you to come. He’s looking for a response. We cannot be what He has designed us to be without responding.
I’m gonna say this to people that don’t know Him. Has God talked to your heart? Has He made these truths real? Has He pressed them upon your heart that you cannot succeed in this life? You’re gonna have to know Him! It’s not about this world. It’s about His purpose and His Kingdom.
What have you done about it? Are you waiting for God to just pick you up and dump you in the Kingdom? God is looking for you to call upon Him, to seek Him from your heart! He will answer! But it’s those who call upon Him.
See, the problem with Israel, so many over all the centuries, God said, I called, but you didn’t answer. God is looking for a heart that responds to His grace. Don’t worry. He’ll give you everything you need, but you’re gonna have to say, yes, I’m in—I’m all in.
You don’t have to wait. If you don’t know Him, you can call upon Him right now from the depths of your heart. You call upon Him to save you, He will! But it’s got to be from the heart, it’s got to be with your whole heart.
Do we have any reason to think that God will hear the cry of people like us? You think? That’s what it’s all about! I mean, look at scriptures that we know about. Luke 11 certainly comes to mind. This is where we have the so-called Lord’s Prayer, and I won’t read all of it.
But then, He has the parable of the three loaves, and this is the guy who’s got a man come to him in his journey, and he doesn’t have any food for him. He’s got a rich neighbor. He goes to him, and he begs him! He knocks on the door at midnight! It’s a bad time.
And the guy puts him off and puts him off, and he sits there, and he keeps right on knocking. I’m knocking. I’m in need. What is the Lord trying to tell us there? That the asking is not necessarily just a…all right, I asked Him, He didn’t answer. There’s a persistence. This is, God, this is my only hope. My hope is…I’m all in, Lord. I’m not looking anywhere else. I have a need. You are the only One that can give me that need. I’m gonna stay upon that until You answer.
There’s something that does to us. It’s not that God’s reluctant. It’s what He wants to form in us by the very act of that kind of faith, that kind of persistence. And so, that’s what He’s getting at here.
It says, eventually, “…because of the man’s boldness he will get up…” this neighbor, “…will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you: Ask…” (NIV). And, what about the paraphrase we’ve heard so many times? Ask, and keep on asking. Seek, and keep on seeking. Knock, and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened.
“For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
You have not because…you ask not. Don’t let the Devil talk you out of asking of God the things that He has promised to give us! That’s what it’s all about.
Listen to how Paul prayed. A familiar passage in Ephesians chapter 3, I believe it is, the one I’m thinking of. There are so many things you could bring into this, but that’s not necessary. But Paul has been expounding the what, the how and the why throughout this whole passage. He talks about God’s eternal purpose, and then he says, verse 14, “For this reason I kneel before the Father….”
So, Paul, at this point, Paul’s praying for them, because they don’t know enough to pray for themselves. But God wants you and me, every one of us, to get this so we can say, oh, that’s what I need to be praying. This is my need. This is the missing piece. I can’t just sit there and come to church and expect everything to happen and be like it’s supposed to be. God wants me actively engaged and saying, oh God, I need You every hour. I sense this need in my heart. It’s not just my circumstances, it’s my heart. Lord, I can’t get it right, but You promised. I need You, Lord. That’s what it’s about.
“…I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your…” Circumstances? “…In your inner being.” That’s the crux of the matter. That’s seeking first His Kingdom and righteousness. He’ll take care of the other stuff. All right?
“…In your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Is this just for a special few, or does God want every one of us to begin to tap into what He’s given to us?
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!”
You know, Romans 8 talks about His purpose and the fact that everything works together to help fulfill that purpose. His purpose is to make us like His Son, but what does He say there? “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (KJV).
You have not because you ask not. Where do you start? Well, you start at the same place Brother Thomas used to say…where you’re at, with what you have, and where you’re not, with what you don’t have. We don’t have to do all this in one day. It’s a lifestyle of recognizing our need of God, what His purpose is, how we participate in that.
God, I need You. There’s something going on in my heart right now. I know this is not from You. I can’t fix it, Lord. But I’m asking. But I’m not just asking as though, oh God, You’re not gonna listen to somebody like me. I’m not measuring up. You’re gonna answer because I’m in need, and I’m coming to the One who’s able to answer that need.
You think this is the missing piece for any of us? Yeah. God longs to share everything. The problem’s not on His side. But He knows how the whole thing works, knows what He’s trying to do, and He is looking for people who come to Him with all of their hearts. If we seek Him, search for Him, we’ll find Him, when? When we search for Him with all of our hearts.
You see what God’s after? God will take us through things and past things that have been issues all of our whole lives. He can heal. He can change. He can do whatever is needed! But we’re gonna have to come to Him with that attitude. Oh God, I’m humbling myself. This is not groveling. This is not acting humble. This is genuinely…God, this is where I’m at. I don’t have to pretend this. I am weak. It’s the truth. And I’m just coming to You on that ground, but I’m also coming because You have invited me to come, and I know that You’re just longing to step in, and answer my prayer.
And so, I’m gonna believe You. I’m gonna step out in faith and believe that You’re gonna help me right in my present situation. And if there’s a time element involved, so be it. I’m just gonna keep that same posture before You every moment, every issue, every day, all day, 24/7, so forth.
I’m all in, Lord…but I need You, and I’m not gonna sit here and expect things to magically happen, because I believe in what You’ve told me. This is how it works. This is the wisdom of God that he wants us to actively reach out and take what He given to us for His purposes and His glory. Let’s bring Him the glory that He deserves. Praise God!