The Bride – Part One

His Bride

Part One

“Behold, thou art fair…behold, thou art fair”
Song of Songs 4:1

The Bride of Christ is beautiful. Her beauty is not one of a positional truth; she is beautiful because, like Esther, she has submitted herself to the dealings and processing of His Spirit*. She is not of the spirit of Vashti** who refused the invitation to come at her Lord’s command (Esther 1:12; Matthew 22:2-14). She is humble and beautiful inside and out. In her submission to the Holy Spirit she has been adorned with the graces and the wonders of her Christ. She has found in Him the ability to become heavenly with no stain of earth upon her (Ephesians 5:27). She wears the garments of righteousness in Christ and through the operation of His Spirit, she has made herself ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! (Revelation 19:17) The trials and testings have brought her to a purity in Him. The Word has had its way within her heart and her nature has been exchanged; the first Adam for the second Adam. Nature is the determining factor of this relationship as Holy is joined to holy. Not only is union with Christ the basis of true fellowship with one another, but of necessity His Bride must be of the same nature as He. How little we understand the significance of nature being the holy ground upon which the Bridegroom and the Bride must meet. It is in the here and now of our life that these things take place. It is in the curious work of God in the “lowest parts of the earth”, substance yet unseen, that the members of this body are being wrought by God.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”
Psalm 139:14-17

David is speaking prophetically of the Body of Christ, each member being wonderfully and skillfully wrought by the Master Craftsman. Though incomplete they are written into the Book of Life and even now continue to be formed in secret. God calls the things which are not and brings them into the substance and reality of Life. How great is His love and the sum of His thoughts towards us!

“Behold”! The Bridegroom beckons us to look upon His Bride and marvel at His work in her. “Behold” (Song of songs 4:1)! He speaks to the principalities and powers even to the ages to come of His manifold wisdom in the Church!

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:7

“…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”
Ephesians 3:10

The religious of this world understand little of the Call of God unto His Own. They do not comprehend “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” to which we have been called. The ability to see these things is through the operation of Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, our lives rooted and grounded in the very love of God!

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge”
Ephesians 3:16-18

The divine enablement to comprehend these things necessitates a “strengthening by His Spirit in our inner man”, a true “dwelling of Christ in our hearts by faith”, and being “rooted and grounded in the Love of Christ”. The verity of these things will result in His saints apprehending the clarion call of God unto His Own! These things are hidden from the wise, the prudent and the religious and revealed unto those with child-like faith.

For what purpose is the seeing and comprehending of these things?

“that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God”
Ephesians 3:19

Paul in his ecstatic declaration of these things ends with the final Amen.

“Now unto him that is able to DO exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”
Ephesians 3:20

The true Bride of Christ will not stagger at these promises. Like Mary of old she does not dispute or stumble at the seeming impossibility of these things but simply responds “be it unto me, according to thy word”. The religious and unbelieving will twist and dilute these truths but those who know Him know that He is able!

The intent of God is that we be filled with all the fullness of God! His Bride holds within her the heartbeat of a living faith which presses her unto the fulfillment. She responds through the medium of obedience. Faith and obedience are synonymous. The revelation of the one (faith) is revealed in the other (obedience).

It is the humble in heart in whom the promises are found for humility is the nature from which obedience springs. The proud, the lofty and the self-righteousness cannot and will not submit to walk in obedience to Christ. One must have His nature to obey His call. God’s great judgement at the end of days will be to separate the sheep from the goats, the true from the false.

“…as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”
Matthew 25:22-34

Moving in the gifts of the Spirit, knowing much about Christ, sitting in meetings where His Word is spoken will not be sufficient in the Day of His judgment. The nature of the individual will be the deciding factor.

“Then shall ye begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity
Luke 13:26-27

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
Matthew 7:22-23

Being born again implies a new nature; the divine nature through which we are empowered to escape the filth and lust of this world (2 Peter 1:4). Though that nature is available to all who are born again, the partaking of it requires faith and obedience. It is through obedience that our souls are purified. It is the pure in heart who shall “see God”.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth through the Spirit…”
1 Peter 1:22

Obedience is the desire of the Bride’s heart. She knows that in obeying Him she not only pleases Him but her obedience is the means to becoming pure. The love of God becomes our motivation and our joy and in the seeing of Him everything else becomes dim.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come,
and his wife hath made herself ready”
Revelation 19:17

It is easy to talk about these things but we must come to the place of obedience to Him to make the call and the election of God a sure thing (2 Peter 1:10). The day of exalting in what we know must give way to trembling at the seeing of Him. All men are humbled upon seeing Him. Such was the testimony of John:

“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead”
Revelation 1:17

There is no room for exaltation of anyone but Him!

The Bride, His Fair One are those whom His eye is ever upon. She is carefully and meticulously being groomed for greatness and royalty. She has His eye because He has her heart! It is the humility of her heart that draws His attention and His gaze.

“…but to this one will I look,
even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and trembleth at my word”
Isaiah 66:2

The Bride of Christ is His; she will not take on the name of another. She will not join that which is a mixture of flesh and spirit. She follows the Lamb wherever He goes. She seeks no following for she is captivated with Him and intent on following Him. She does not seek the praises of men but lives for His approval. She does not fit into the systems of this world for she is not of this world. The temples, buildings and organizations of men cannot lure her away from the pursuit of Him. Rather than agendas she seeks the Life. Rather than methods and strategies she discovers the Way of God within. Her eyes are set upon a City whose builder and maker is God. She is a pilgrim in this world because she is only at home in His. Even so Lord “be it unto us according to Thy Word”.

“For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen”

Notes:
* The beautiful narrative of Esther is prophetic of the rise of the Bride of Christ where her story is an exposé on the journey of the Bride in our day. We see her being selected as one of many fair ones of which only one was to be chosen as the new Queen due to Vashti’s disobedience. The Eunuch Hegai’s purpose was to submit each of these to the process of purifying, teaching and preparing them to be fit to be queen. The bitter experiences are represented by the myrrh; the pleasant odors of the other spices plus “other things” were for their purifying. It was the grace and beauty with which Esther carried herself that caught the attention of Hegai. She was shown special favor by him so that she would be most prepared in her presentation unto the King. “Many are called but few are chosen” is a sobering truth in this day when the lives of those who seek to be faithful are scorned and mocked as legalistic and old fashioned. Nevertheless, the Bride will stand at the last day arrayed in the fine linen of Christ’s righteousness and the heavens will rejoice!
**The Story of Vashti is a portrayal of deep truths which have been fulfilled multiple times throughout the history of God and man. We see it in the refusal of one generation to enter the land of promise and God raises up the next one to go in with greater grace; we see it in the continual refusal of Israel to walk with God and He turned to the Gentiles; we see it in the parable of the Wedding Feast where the called of God did not respond to His call and they were left to themselves while the servants of the Lord were sent to the highways and the byways to bring people in. The pride and arrogance of one generation is the doorway for another. God will always fulfill His purposes but “they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief”. (Hebrews 4:6) God will raise up another. It is with this in mind that we are instructed to seek humility and walk obediently before Him.

Brian Troxel

THE MYSTERY OF GOD

The Mystery of God

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,
even the hidden wisdom, which God
ordained before the world unto our glory”
1 Corinthians 2:7

True ministrations of the Holy Spirit present the Mystery of God in a hidden wisdom that is indiscernible to the natural man. This is not a mystery that is to remain unknown but a mystery that cannot be understood with the intellect; a mystery only entered into by a pure heart and a child-like faith. This mystery can only be explored by the lamp of obedience, the result of Love beating within the heart of every pilgrim. It draws men with such beauty and promise that, upon seeing it, they go and sell all they have in order to hold that “pearl of great price”. The religious and curious love to sit and discuss aspects of it, they enjoy expounding upon its merits and possibilities, and are content with it remaining an ethereal concept. To those who have tasted and caught glimpses of its Glory nothing can alleviate the cry to enter into its depth and fullness. Men through all ages have touched the hem of this life, this wonder, and have been so captivated by its beauty they gladly lay everything down for its reality. It is with this motivation that men speak to one another, encourage one another and stir up one another to a greater passion for the living Christ. It is to such a heart that this mystery unfolds His Majesty and Worthiness.

Hidden to be Revealed

The scriptures declare that God conceals Himself in wisdom. Love compels Him to make Himself known but that knowing is wrapped up and hidden from the wise and prudent of this world and revealed to babes in heart.

“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because thou hast hid these things
from the wise and prudent,
and hast revealed them unto babes”
Matthew 11:25

The hidden things of God are only hidden with the desire to make them known. God created the material world and all that is in it to make Himself known. This is the only means by which men move from darkness and religion into fellowship and friendship with God. Relationship is impossible where one of the parties involved remains hidden and obscure. The good news of the Gospel is that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” The Gospel, the reaching out of God’s heart to man, was God’s initiative, prerogative and design. Our sin, rebellion and sheer ignorance made Him foreign and unknowable in our lost condition. The ability to see, hear and know Him requires change on our part. It requires a “new birth” in order for us to “see” His Kingdom.

“Except a man be born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God”
John 3:3

While many in Christendom are satisfied with the mere seeing of the Kingdom there are those whose hearts have been touched by the baptism into His Spirit; those who instinctively feel the call to not only the see the Kingdom but to enter into it.

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
John 3:5

Exception to Entrance
Into The Kingdom of God

This seeking of the Kingdom and the desire to touch the invisible, to know the things of God which are beyond knowing (Ephesians 3:19), and the participating in the Mystery of God can only be known by a childlike heart. The word “except” in the scriptures above  eliminates the ability to see and enter the Kingdom of God by any other way. “Except” is an exclusionary term especially when God is the one speaking. Jesus added to the list of exclusionary scriptures by saying…

“Except ye be converted,
and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”
Matthew 18:3

This “exception” declares that this must be the experiential reality of those who would enter this Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the Mystery. It is the mystery of righteousness and the mystery of faith that can only be revealed to those who meet the criteria which God has set forth. It does not require much effort to look over the landscape of the religious world and realize that the wonder and mystery of God is a foreign concept. We have allowed teachings, doctrines and dogmas of men to replace the wonder and glory of His Spirit. We have been caught up in “words” about God instead of the Word of God. We somehow have equated “knowledge” with the means of entering; that somehow the gathering of more knowledge about God will qualify us to enter His Kingdom. This was the mindset of the Pharisees in Jesus day; they knew much and saw little. Jesus spoke to them concerning their “knowledge” of the scriptures…

“Search the scriptures;
for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me”
John 5:39

They handled, spoke and condemned the very manifestation of the Kingdom to their own shame and damnation. Pharisee in the original language means “called out ones”. They were the religious “elect” of their day. They excelled in their knowledge of the scriptures and they excelled all others in their blindness. If the Kingdom came by words and knowledge there would surely have been a people who entered in long ago. However, the Lord tells us the Kingdom is not in word but in the power of His Spirit.

“For the kingdom of God is not in word,
but in power”
1 Corinthians 4:20

Entrance into Kingdom by
Obedience and Character

The entrance into the Kingdom is not by what we know but by what we become through the operation of His Spirit within our hearts. The simplicity required by God is produced by our being “converted”; the depth and power of that conversion brings about a childlike faith and heart. Men with much instruction can become hardened, rigid and lose the ability to flow in the things of the Spirit. The Word becomes too familiar and too well read through the glasses of their own doctrinal concepts and natural reasoning. The Word loses its wonder, its glory and its mystery. The Bible, the pages of which are filled with over four thousand years of God speaking, becomes a one-dimensional plane of religious phrases instead of the pulsating, living and vibrant voice of God. Men cease to hear the voice of God and of the prophetic men who penned such a marvellous work.

“For they that dwell at Jerusalem,
and their rulers, because they knew him not,
nor yet the voices of the prophets
which are read every sabbath day,
they have fulfilled them in condemning him”
Acts 13:27

There are many who read and hear the scriptures every Sunday/Sabbath/Meeting that never hear the voices of the prophets who languish in the throes of a religious wilderness. They hear only good things without the power of God to become expressions of Him in authenticity and truth. There is a form and appearance of being righteous but the inward reality is absent. These are those of whom Jesus spoke “because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not; neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). It is a hearing that will never produce acts and works of faith. “Faith cometh by hearing” and that hearing is the result of a pure and right heart. It is the “pure in heart” who shall see God; those who know that the real issues of life are the heart’s condition, obedience to His Word and the overall desire to see God glorified (not themselves).

Understanding the mystery of God is on the grounds of faith and obedience. This entrance into the Kingdom of God has the following conditions:

1. A true willingness to do the will of God. “If any man will do his will, he shall know…”

2. Growth and development of His Life within us. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”. 2 Peter 1:5-11

Spiritual blindness occurs when men stop adding the virtue and wonder of God to their faith. There is a slumber and a religious stupor of knowing a thing without becoming. Knowing without doing is the pathway to deception and sorrow.

“But be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”
James 1:22

Rest of article continued on next post.

Brian Troxel

www.aword.info