The Power of Life and Death: Conclusion
January 27, 2019
Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1373 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text
— Brother Phil Enlow:
God’s Word abides forever! This world will pass away but the Word of the Lord stands forever! See, God has given us something that is a great deal firmer than what we plant our feet upon in this world. And I believe He longs for us to experience that. All that He’s laid up, for all that Christ suffered for that we sang about this morning. Do we really believe that it is ours? And how much of it are we really enjoying?
I wish I could come…I wish I could say there’s an experience and if we’ll just come down here, God will suddenly catapult us to this level where…oh, my God, we’ll just be floating above life and we’ll just be able to speak the word and the seas will part and the mountains will move! But I know that it’s a journey, isn’t it?
( congregational amens ).
It’s a journey where we start we’re at and we say, God, teach me the ways of faith. Teach me how to take what You have said here and to translate it, not just in here, as a conviction, but as a word that I am willing to speak, I’m willing to confess what You have said. I’ll confess it in prayer. I’ll confess it in testimony. And Lord, You can teach me and steer me through all of this and help me to grow and to learn.
Help me to keep it within the boundaries of Your purpose and Your will…not migrate off into left field where I’m trying to use You to fix me, fix life the way I want it. But Lord, I want to be a part, I want to be a participant. I want to take hold of the life that You have given to me. Like Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” (KJV). Praise God!
Do you believe that this is real? Do you believe that God longs to take us to a place where we can do that? You know, most of us are stuck with needs and situations of our own. It’s not like we can go help somebody else almost. I mean, we can speak a good kind word…and that’s fine. But I think a lot of the time we are so struggling with our own needs and our own lives, and actually trying to believe God for them! And here God is wanting us to become so grounded in His Word and confident in Him, that even when we feel a need, we can be like David…I feel the need, Lord, but You’re my God and I’m trusting in you.
And there’s that confession that takes us through, that actually opens up the channel where God’s life can begin to flow in and fix that. Because there is no other solution. If God does not come and fix what’s wrong with us, we can belly ache and complain about it all we want, and struggle and strive, it ain’t gonna change.
But salvation is of the Lord and His Word is either true or it isn’t. If it isn’t true, if all the things that we’ve heard about throughout history, if they aren’t all true, then why are we here? We can assert our beliefs in the doctrines of the faith and the sufficiency of the scriptures, but there is more to it. God wants us to enter into something that will change lives.
You know, there may be people here and you’ve kind of reached a general conviction…yeah, there’s a God, Jesus died for my sins and I need Him and I believe all of that. Maybe you need to come to the point where you’re willing to stand up if necessary, and say, Jesus is my Lord, I put my hope and my trust in Him. Do you think that God will recognize that? I’ll guarantee He would.
( congregational amens ).
But it doesn’t stop there. All that He has for us is obtained through the same principles, not as a formula, you understand what I’m saying. But there has got to be a point where we marry up real convictions that God has spoken into our hearts and we bring them out through our lips and say, here I stand. Devil, this is where I stand! Man, there’s a devil who, if you take up the sword of the Spirit…see, that’s a pretty central thing, isn’t it? How did they overcome him, by the way?
( congregational response )
The blood of the Lamb is what gives me a standing before God. I have a righteousness I didn’t earn. My sins were blotted out because of the blood that was shed there, and my hope is in that, not in me. So I have a right to stand before the Devil, as righteous as God is, because of what He did! But you notice, it doesn’t stop there, does it? It’s by what?
( congregational response ).
The word of their testimony…there is coming forth a confession. And I’ll tell you, the Devil recognizes when someone who has a conviction in the heart and is willing to stand up in the Devil’s face and say, Devil, it is written.
It kind of worked pretty good with Jesus, didn’t it? In the wilderness, that was His answer every time. It was the ability to stand up and use…to confess the Word to the Devil! See, we need to start by confessing it to ourselves…that I believe what God says. We can confess it to the Lord. We can confess it to one another and to use our tongues to edify one another, use our tongues to encourage one another, use our tongues as a vehicle to administer faith one to another!
But I’ll tell you, we could stand up to the Devil himself and look him in the eye and say, God said! I’m not standing before you because I’m anything! I am an object of amazing grace…end of story! That’s the only reason I have the right to stand here is because of amazing grace! But stand I will. I am not gonna look at me under a microscope and find every reason in the book where I can’t have confidence before God.
You look in the Scriptures and you will see how the confessions of Paul as he wrote to believers…I mean, he would write to believers and people that had all kinds of problems, all kinds of needs that he would have to address. But he would say, you are God’s chosen people. You were sanctified. You were the ones He’s called through the hope of the Gospel. You have an eternal hope laid up for you in heaven!
I mean, this is the confession of the realty of the Word of God and where the Gospel is going. It’s not looking at the situation and saying, boy, you bunch of screw-ups. You see, he’s focusing on what God has said, and what God has the ability to bring about! And so, there’s always this exercise of the Word of God.
And I know…obviously he penned those things. But when he was there, he spoke them. He would address…I’m gonna use one example here that we’ve often used and that’s in Colossians 3. He’s been lifting them up and trying to turn them away from some things that would tend to side track them. But anyway, he’s talking about…well, right after he says, “…Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore…” verse 12, “…as God’s chosen people….”
Now, Paul is looking at these human beings that are just like us, that had problems that were…there was a challenge to their faith that was trying to side-track them. He said, you are God’s chosen people. You are holy! You are dearly loved! Now how many of us find it a little difficult sometimes to put ourselves in that category? We can assert this in a very vague general way, but to say…I am one of God’s chosen people, I am holy, I’ve been set apart for Him. I am dearly loved! It’s gotten quiet in here. Yeah. Is this an issue? Yeah, I got one yes. The rest of you are stunned.
( laughter ).
Well, of course it’s an issue! We allow the Devil to paint us into a corner of personal condemnation, of something, that somehow there’s something about me that disqualifies me from being able to use this kind of language. Paul used this kind of language on the Corinthians! And look at what was wrong with them! But he saw the power of the Gospel to address every need, to meet that need, and to bring them all the way through to a place of glory on the other side! I believe in that gospel, don’t you?
( congregational amens ).
I believe in the word of God! My faith is not in me! My faith is in His power to save me. And He’s got a job, but He is up to that job. He is able to save completely those who come to God by Him because He ever lives to make intercession for us. Praise God!
We believe these things and sometimes in here up to a point, and here, up to a point. But oh, I just sense the need in myself to be a lot more positive with what I say. That kind of completes a cycle. Those words have power, if they are ultimately powered by God’s word.
See what happens? God plants His Word in the heart. But that Word isn’t meant to stay in my heart. That word is meant to become the confession and the stand of my lips. And I’ll tell you, it comes into being just as God spoke and it happened. Do you see the pattern it’s following there?
Okay. “…Holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” So obviously, he’s not basing what he’s saying upon their performance at the moment.
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Now listen to this, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” So now you’ve got the engine, now you’ve got the power, now you’ve got the source of it all. God has spoken a word. That word has entered into our hearts. It’s done something down here. It’s breathed life, it’s breathed conviction in here! So, what?
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” So, what he’s talking about here, the picture he’s painting, is this word coming out! Do you realize the power that we have? It’s life and death!
( congregational response ).
How much of the time do we speak death to ourselves and to those around us? I’m feeling bad, I’m getting old, I’m…you know. Guilty! Things are bad. Things don’t look good. I’ve got this ache and that pain, and this other thing.
Oh, praise God! I’ll tell you what, those things may be so in the natural, but they don’t determine my destiny. They don’t determine my relationship with God. He loves me. He’s with me. He’s worthy of my praise. He’s worthy of my trust in the middle, as we said earlier, in the middle to the storm.
It’s not that we are looking for a free ride in this world, it’s that we are walking and living by faith! But faith that is not really spoken, that does not govern this tongue, is missing a pretty important ingredient, isn’t it? Because Solomon said, the power of life and death is in the tongue. And it’s kind of gonna be one or the other. And a lot of times we’re speaking more death than we are life. And I just sense the Lord wanted to change my outlook and my attitude.
I look at some of these people like Angus Buchan, and others. And there’s just a joy, there’s an exuberance about the goodness of God, and there’s a positive confession. God is faithful! God will work! God will change lives! Why is that missing in so many places? Why is it missing to the degree that it is in me?
I believe God wants to teach us. I believe He’s more than willing to teach us. This isn’t just for special people. This isn’t just for the special handful. This is the center of God’s purpose!
I’m gonna go to a couple of Scriptures in the Old Testament that were looking forward, and I’m just gonna kind of skate over them because I don’t want to get bogged down and miss what’s…mess up or muddy the water. But I’m gonna look, just briefly, at one thing that was brought out in Isaiah 51. The prophecy in a time of great darkness spiritually in Israel…there was always that small remnant that looked to God. And the Lord was encouraging them. And I’m just gonna kind of summarize.
He says, look to Abraham. God is absolutely still for you. He’s going to take care of business. “Listen to me, my people.” Pay attention! You who have My word in your heart, don’t worry, salvation is coming. I’m on the job. Things are not always going to be as they are. You look around. You see the world that you’re looking at. Everything you see is gonna go up in smoke. But I’m the one who has created all things! I’m in charge and my purpose is going to happen! Verse 11, “The ransomed of the Lord will return,” and so forth.
There’s just this sense of triumph, and don’t react to men, don’t react to what you see in the world. And do we? Certainly not much source of comfort out there. We see our nation circling the drain, maybe starting down. I don’t know where we’re at. But it isn’t good! But my hope is not here! I serve a God who will be here and His people will be here when this is all gone! And God wants us to know, He wants us to be a people who have a confidence in Him that is practical! That’s able to stand up against the darkness that is over-running our world.
But listen to this amazing verse down in 16. “I have put my words in your mouth…” It’s interesting, isn’t it, to put it that way? “I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand.” Now this is where you’ll have translations that will vary and several of them really follow it, I think, a little closer where it says, I’ve done this in order to, I’ve done this to set the heavens in place, to lay the foundations of the earth and, “…say to Zion, You are my people.”
What he’s saying there is, God wants us to be participants in His purpose. A lot of times we’re sitting there struggling with our own little problems, in our own little mind, our own little world, and God wants us to get to such a place of faith and rest and victory that He can turn this around and use us to speak life, use us to speak His words! So we are participates in something that He is doing that’s eternal. Where do we get this from? God puts His words, not just in the heart, but in the mouth.
Look at a Scripture over in Chapter 59. Now we often begin with 60. “Arise, shine, for your light has come…” But look at what happens before that. It talks about the Redeemer coming to Zion. “As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD. My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever.”
See, this is amazing. When you just kind of wrap your mind around this a little bit. God wants, obviously, people of conviction. But if we really have conviction, God wants that to be coming out of our mouths a lot more than it does. So that we’re not saying, yeah, I believe this, but…so that we can pray for one another with a whole lot more positive faith. We can pray, not feeling like, we’re under the circumstances. Under the circumstances, I’m hanging in there!
But we’re not supposed to be ‘under the circumstances,’ we serve a God who is above all circumstances! And even though we may have to endure circumstances at times, we can still have His joy! We can still have a positive outlook and a positive confession, that will help to carry us through all of that and be a testimony to somebody else.
What are we ministers of? There is power of death and life in the tongue. I believe God’s word, but…things are bad, feeling bad, I’m depressed, I’m…you know. Those kinds of things will absolutely attack every single one of us if we will let them.
But what do we believe more? Do we believe Him? I’ll tell you, there’s a power in that Word that He has given to us. It has the same power to create as it had in the initial creation where, “God said, let there be light, and there was light.” And He said, let there be stars, and there were stars. Let there be a world, and there was a world. He didn’t have to do anything else but speak. There was a power that flowed out of His words.
That’s the Word that He speaks to us. And I’ll tell you, every heart that will embrace what He has said, and confess what He has said, it’s going to change us, it’s going to change others. Because I’ll tell you what, there’s another scripture in Isaiah 55 that talks about the Word that goes out of His mouth. What does it say?
( congregational response ).
It will not return empty, void, “…but will accomplish…the purpose for which I sent it.” I know I’m not the only one. I know there’s a reason the Lord has laid this on my heart. I don’t want us to slide into what was described earlier as a form, where we learn how to say all the right things and agree with our minds as to what we believe and all of that, and how we do things.
I want us to have the real thing. I want Him to be the head and the Lord in practice, not just a figurehead that we sometime refer to up there. I want Him to dwell here. I want Him to change hearts and to change lives, starting with mine. And I want my tongue to participate in that more than it does. Instead of being negative and being down and focusing and talking about all the bad stuff, to be able to say, Lord, yes there’s a lot of bad stuff, but You’re on the throne and I praise You. I believe You. I believe Your Word in the face of everything that I’m experiencing.
I’ll tell you, the Devil is gonna challenge every one of you here, starting with me. But we have the right to stand up and look him in the eye…like that song, “He Has Forgiven Me.” We have the right to look the Devil in the eye and with that same kind of confidence, say, this is what God says.
( tapping ).
You say this, but along with Jesus, ‘but the Word of God says…’ And this is where I stand. I’ll tell you, you want the Devil to run? You stand on the blood, you stand on that, and you stand…the last part of that verse in Revelation 12 is, “…they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
( congregational amens ).
For my life is Yours, whether I live or die in this world, I’m Yours, Lord. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” And I’m willing, not just to quietly confess it, or believe it in my heart, I’m confessing, Jesus is Lord! He is who He says He is! He’s doing what He says He’s gonna do and my hope is Him 100 percent!
Man, I’ll tell you, there’s nothing the Devil can do about that! Because there is a foundation that lasts forever. So, praise God! I just lay this out there and just pray that the Lord will take it for every one of us.
I’ve sensed, just thinking about this, there’s something it’s done to my own spirit to kind of rise up and say, wait a minute! I’m just sitting here letting the Devil beat on my mind and dwelling on circumstances and coasting along and being sort of…you know, just going through the motions, when I need to be rising up and say, praise God, He’s on the throne! “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (ESV). And all the confessions that we know from the Word! But God wants to take us step by step through His word and bring it into reality in our lives. Do you believe that He’s willing to that?
( congregational response ).
Are you willing to confess that He’s willing to do that? Praise God! Praise the Lord!
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