Belief and Faith

Belief and Faith

“We having the same spirit of faith…”
2 Corinthians 4:13

In the original Greek, there is very little difference between these two words; belief means “to have faith”, a living faith that draws from God. But very often today the Gospel has been reduced to what a person believes. Salvation is presented as words rather than power. Belief has become a doctrinal concept where the power of God is no longer taken into consideration. We hear “just believe,” as in assenting to a phrase and a concept; it matters little whether or not the “belief” is accompanied by change. Somehow words will ensure our relationship with God is good regardless of any transformation or not. It becomes no different than the offerings of any other religion where you pray multiple times a day the same repetitive prayer, or follow certain rules and procedures, or travel to some special location at least once in your life, or any number of empty mantras.

Belief (in our day) is what a person understands and mentally ascents to; faith is the power to walk in those beliefs. Faith is the dynamic of God in us demonstrating His Life. Belief is simply the framework of an individual’s concept of God.

“You believe that God is One. You do well;
even the demons believe and shudder.”
James 2:19

James follows this statement with:

But are you willing to know, O vain man,
that faith apart from works is dead?”
James 2:20

The penetrating question of the Spirit of God is: “Are you willing to know, oh vain man…”? Many in this hour are not willing to know the truth. They hide behind what they believe to justify a dead and impotent faith. The demons believe and tremble, but it is not possible for them, nor for those whose faith is dead, to do the works of God. It takes the inspiration of Faith to know the victory of Christ and the power to walk righteously. Belief allows one to be deceived as to the verity of the condition of their faith. The powers of darkness rejoice in those with no ability to touch the power of a living faith.

The Apostolic ministrations often exhorted the people of God to examine themselves whether they be “IN THE FAITH”.

“Examine yourselves,
whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…”
2 Corinthians 13:5

Paul is not asking what we believe; he is pointedly asking, “are you IN the faith”. Is the faith of God moving you, pressing you, and causing you to walk in obedience? The writer of Hebrews wanted to present to the people of God what faith IS. A simple reading of Hebrews chapter 11 defined faith by what people did, not by what they believed.

It is the error of false teaching that a large part of the church today reduces faith to a statement. People and organizations often seek to define and validate themselves by these statements of faith rather than understanding that what they DO is their statement of faith. A faith that produces nothing is worth nothing. A faith that is not costly to walk in, which does not bring repentance and growth in our personal lives, is the bane of religion.

It is not what we believe, it is how we conduct ourselves. Faith produces a life that will cause others to glorify our Heavenly Father. Jesus says to the multitude:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

Notice the connection Jesus makes between light and works. His Light shines forth from His Works in and through us. Those who carry Him in their lives cannot be bereft of works.

The great deception of our day is that if I believe right, I am therefore right with God. The true ministration of the Sword of the Spirit will bring to us the burning question, “are you willing to know”?

“But are you willing to know, O vain man,
that faith apart from works is dead?”
James 2:20

It is imperative that we desire the truth of God for ourselves. Our works, our daily walk, and our internal thought life are the revelation of our faith. John pleads with the people of God to not be deceived.

“Little children, let no one lead you astray;
he who is doing righteousness is righteous,
even as He is righteous…”
1 John 3:7

God is very clear concerning righteousness; he who is DOING righteousness is righteous. Doing righteousness is revealed in our walking in forgiveness, casting down vain imaginations, freeing ourselves from jealously, envy and lust. Giving of our time, our resources and the secret prayer life where we find grace to bless those who despise us, exclude us from their company, and walk free from the temptations of all this world has to offer.

“But are you willing to know, O vain man,
that faith apart from works is dead?”

May we allow the penetrating work of the Holy Spirit to keep us in the living relationship by the power of a faith where the love of God produces the works of God in our lives.

Note: There are many scriptures that use the word “belief” in reference to salvation; for example:

“For with the heart man believeth
unto righteousness…”
Romans 10;10

The phrase “unto righteousness” is key. It is not by a powerless belief that salvation is secured; it is a belief that brings the heart unto righteousness. How we have misinterpreted these verses as if a mental assent is all that is required. Religion rests in words, God’s power is revealed in transformed lives.

My life as a hopeless addict. associated with gangs and living on the streets, needed far more than words, something beyond confessions and teachings. His coming to me personally, imparting to my miserable existence the breath and wonder of His own LIFE transformed me in that instant, and by his grace continues to change me. I will forever be indebted to the One who found me and saved me. That is the Gospel!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth INTO (the true Greek meaning) Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”
John 3:16

The end result of believing INTO Him is “everlasting LIFE”!

amazing grace!

Brian Troxel

The Threefold Cord of Life

The Threefold Cord of Life

The Threefold Cord

Paul presents to us the threefold cord of the evident expression of lives who are living in Christ.

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith,
and labour of love, and patience of hope
in our Lord Jesus Christ”
1 Thessalonians 1:3

Authenticity in a believer is substantiated by the life it produces. Paul is remembering the evident character of the believers in Thessalonica. He is gripped by the substance of their walk and life in Christ! The Apostle is bound by the Spirit of God in him to the authentic expression of Christ in them. Life ever calls out to life, deep calls out to deep as we are inextricably joined to the verity of His life in another. This is the power of the true Body of Christ. The call to relationship, fellowship, and active love is the binding agent of all who live and walk in Him. If the Spirit of Christ is ruling within, our hearts will be drawn to true relationships with others in Christ. When carnality rules, people are content with exclusive*, powerless and shallow relationships in their lives. In contrast, the threefold cords of love to be found in the true Body of Christ are set forth here with clarity and precision.

ONE:
Work of Faith

Faith, in order to be living, active and pertinent in the lives of His own, will always be expressive of the person, the glory, and the substance of the Living Christ. If there are no works of faith it is because the faith of the individual is dead; it is a faith in word only. It is a faith in a doctrine or a teaching which has no life or power. It is stagnant and sterile. One cannot be vitally connected to the Living Christ and live a non-effectual life in this dark world. The Greek word used here for “work” is where we get the English word “energy”. There is vitality and power associated with a true and living faith within the lives of His own. The Work of Faith is simply the doing that springs forth or originates from the power of His Faith in our lives (Galatians 2:20). The nature of faith is expressed in the works it produces. (James 2:26)

TWO:
Labour of Love

The Greek word used here for “labour” is literally translated “to strike. Beating, wailing, grief with beating the breast, equal to kopetós (G2870), lamentation, wailing”. It is a burden that can only be known by the love of God beating within our hearts over the condition of others. It is the very Love of God producing prayers, intercessions, and words of encouragement and admonition. It is a labour to see the Kingdom of God arise in the earth and especially in the household of faith. Those who do not have the love of God beating within their hearts will not know this travail of Spirit over the condition of God’s people in this Day. The true ministry of God carries the burdens and the labors of the Spirit to see God’s people walk in truth.

“My little children,
of whom I travail in birth again
until Christ be formed in you”
Galatians 4:19

THREE:
Patience of Hope

The word “patience” is much better translated as “endurance”. Endurance speaks of faithfulness, consistency, and self-sacrifice. It communicates a life that is committed to the goal or purpose of God regardless of the obstacles and the apathy of others; it holds true to the mark set before it. The beauty of this grace is born out of a complete abandonment to the promises of God. It is a life that does not falter for it holds the character of God as its surety of recompense. It disciplines the heart to the works of faith and the labour of Love. It is the anchor from which the other graces of faith and love remain constant. The word declares that hope is the “anchor of the soul” to which the wandering tendencies of the human heart are holding firm to the end.

This threefold cord is the true revelation of the living Christ ruling and reigning within the lives of His own. Those who dwell in the Spirit of Christ know experientially the vitality of this wonder.

“…a threefold cord is not easily broken”
Ecclesiastes 4:3

*Note: Exclusive relationships are closed, secular, and carnal. The Threefold Cord of the Life of Christ will not be bound by isolated living, uninvolved lives with others (outside their own circle), and content with esoteric teachings which produces no works of Faith nor labor of the love of God for others.

Brian Troxel

The Great Call – Part Two

The Great Call

Part Two

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
John 15:9

In reading this powerful discourse to His disciples we must pause to note the depth, the power, and the decisiveness of the words Jesus uses. There was nothing common or mundane about His speech. Every word was filled with the majesty and weight of truth. Having declared His incomprehensible love for them, He now addresses the need for them to stay in that love.

“continue ye in MY love”

The Greek translated “continue” means to dwell, abide, and remain in that love. The Love of God is more than a sentiment; it is an atmosphere, a power, and an all-pervading influence by which He rules and subdues our whole being. Those who know Him love because He is love. This love is of an entirely different nature than anything this world has to offer. It is not a love that we can fabricate. It is beyond the scope of human origin. It emanates from God and the pure delight and privilege of His children are to simply abide in its sphere.

The Love of God can only be realized by relationship. In making known to His disciples the wonder of this love Jesus clearly communicated their need to continue, to abide, and to dwell within the source of its inspiration. The secret to the Christian life is to remain within its warmth and power.

There are many who view His Love as a teaching or a doctrine. This reduces His love to a thing. But this concept negates the intent of God to rule by that love in their hearts and instead enables them to justify their cold indifference to walk in His Ways. His Love is not a thing to be taken for granted but an influence by which our lives are to be governed.

The whole discourse of John 15 can be summed up in ONE pervading truth: ABIDE. He is the source of Life and Love, and the Christian Life is simply one of partaking and drawing from Him. There is a joy that fills our hearts as we grow into the realization that we are free from trying to work up this life. It is not in us, nor of us that the verity of this influence is to be found. May we hear with the simplicity of child-like faith, “Abide in Me”.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit”
John 15:5

In my own journey, it has taken a long time to realize that many of the New Covenant scriptures are statements, not suggestions or doctrinal teachings. This has been revolutionary in understanding my life in Him. “He that abideth in me…bringeth forth much fruit”. A simple declaration of a fact. A healthy fruit tree bears fruit consistent with its nature. Lives which bear His fruit testify of Him. Lives that are barren and unfruitful are not abiding in the Vine regardless of their confession.

“continue ye in MY love”

See: The Great Call – Part One
See: The Great Call – Part Three

(continued in Part Three)

Brian Troxel

Be Enlarged!

Be Enlarged!

“…be YE also enlarged”
2 Corinthians 6:13 (NET)

The heartbeat of every true ministration of Christ should reverberate with this One desire. We are not here to enlarge “our” church or “our” congregation; nor are we to seek selfish gain or the approval of men. Our only desire must be to see the influence, the impact, and the fire of God filling His people with the overwhelming Love of God.

Be Enlarged

Paul was not satisfied with the status quo of his relationship with Christ. His life was one of pressing, seeking, and pursuing a greater depth of “knowing” His Lord. Those who truly “taste and see” the vastness of God’s Being cannot be complacent in their walk with Him.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
Matthew 13:45-46

Too many have contented themselves with a belief, comfortable in knowing their sins are forgiven, all the while moving through life isolated and insulated from the battlefield of faith. Their hearts remain untouched and unmoved by the immensity of God’s beauty and the Love He holds for all creation. It is the one who in truth had “found” the ONE Pearl of Great Price who sold all to acquire its beauty. His “works” were to forsake all for Christ. His heart had no room for other things.

Love without passion, love without fervor, and love without sacrifice are impossible. Those who have seen the Christ cannot help but speak of Him and live in the joy and the desire to make Him known!

Peter and John, when threatened by the religious leaders of their day, declared with unflinching words:

“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Acts 4:19-20

The unction and power of Christ within His own selflessly desires to see the people of God enlarged. Paul’s plea to the Church at Corinth was for their enlargement; that their faith would go beyond lukewarm living and apathetic confessions of faith. The Spirit of God is looking for firebrands, motivated by the pure love of God, who feel the same indebtedness to the ONE who first loved them.

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also”
Romans 1:14-15

The question becomes – what is in us? What is the fuel that ignites and burns within our hearts? True ministers of Christ have no interest in propagating themselves, their church, their ministry; they live to make Christ known. They plead with, they admonish, and they exhort the people of God toward the same heart as the merchant who in finding the Great Pearl sold everything to acquire its beauty. His desire is to so move in us that we become the full possession of Christ and He becomes our own.

“I am my beloved’s,
and my beloved is mine”
Song of songs 6:3

May we feel the fire of His heart for HIS people:

“…be YE also enlarged”

See: Spiritual Development

Brian Troxel

Faith in God

Faith in God

Faith hears God
Faith sees God
Faith trusts God
Faith Obeys God

Therefore Faith Glorifies God

“But without faith,
it is impossible to please him…”
Hebrews 11:6

“God is looking for those with whom He can do the impossible — what a pity that we plan only the things that we can do by ourselves.”
— AW Tozer

See: Trusting God in the Now

Brian Troxel

The Living

The Living

“For we which live
are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake…”
2 Corinthians 4:10

There are scriptures that are particularly impregnated with power and the sharpness of the “sword of the Spirit”. They are cutting, filled with the wonder of God’s thoughts concerning the life we live and the choices we make. The early church had a different set of values than we do now. Paul’s definition of those who are alive in Christ is drastically different than the general message we hear today in the church in our land.

“For we who are living” – those who are alive in Christ are “always” delivered unto death. His Will is being worked out in their lives through the choices made and the obedience expressed. Paul concludes this scripture with the promise of LIFE to those who walk in true discipleship:

“…that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our dying flesh”
2 Corinthians 4:10 (LSV)

In other words, those who are the “living” demonstrate by their walk a corresponding revelation of the LIFE of JESUS! Much of what we define today as being “alive” in Jesus would fall short in God’s estimation.

God’s Word to the Church at Sardis:

“These things says He who is having the Seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I have known your works, and that you have the name that you live, and you are dead…”
Revelation 3:1

The early church considered those who were “alive” to be those whose faith was pressing them into a life of identification, causing them to know the truth and cost of discipleship. The Cross of Christ can never be carried doctrinally. We will never touch the pulse of His Life in our daily lives by glibly quoting scriptures. By its very nature, His Life in us must render an effect upon the lives of others.

“..that the life also of Jesus
might be made manifest in our mortal flesh”
2 Corinthians 4:11 (KJV)

Our life is not to be evaluated by our confession; it is to be measured by the impact of Him on others through our frail and fragile earthen vessel. If He does not have His Way IN us, He will not have the means to impact the world THROUGH us.

Are we alive? Is the life of Jesus touching our families, our workplace, our brothers, and sisters in Christ? Do others see and feel Him radiating from our unpretentious life?

Paul prayed earnestly for Philemon:

“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual* by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”
Philemon 1:7 (* cause an effect)

Let this stir our hearts; “…that the communication of THY faith may become effectual”. In other words, may our faith influence others. A faith that is in word only, though true, will not impact the lives of those around us. An ineffectual life is a disobedient life. Faith, to be faith, must communicate JESUS. To whatever measure He is residing, to whatever degree His death is being worked in us through obedience, is the depth to which the power of His Life will be known. It is impossible to know the power of the Cross except through the medium of OBEDIENCE.

The Call in Christ to Discipleship

“For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
2 Corinthians 4:10 (KJV)

See: Mediatative Moment

___________

Smooth words, elaborate teachings, overt signs, and wonders,
will never replace the power of a crucified life.

Brian Troxel

Pure Religion

Pure Religion

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world”
James 1:27

The verity of our faith in God reveals itself in the doings of His love and His Life through us. The  Greek word translated to visit means “to look upon in order to help or to benefit”. The truth of Christ within flows out into the world around us effortlessly. Love strains not, it does not work up works, its life is easily demonstrated for within itself is the nature to give of itself. Christ is the fountain from which His works flow.

The Father revealed His Love in giving His Son, the Son revealed the love by the giving of Himself and so will the fountain of Him within us give by the same law of love. Faith without works, love without giving, and light without fellowship are the impossibilities of those who hold in truth the Life of the Son within.

Pure Religion is known by the expression of Christ in us and through us.

Life Shines
Love Gives

__________

Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven”

Matthew 5:16

BT

 

 

ONE BREAD – ONE BODY

ONE BREAD – ONE BODY

“For WE, though many, ARE one bread and one body;
FOR we all partake of that one bread
I CORINTHIANS 10:17

Love is the fruit of a relationship with Christ. Love surpasses knowledge, rejoices with the truth, stands for truth, and knows that the only hope for anyone to be truly free, truly righteous, and truly like the Son is by the ministration of truth. Where truth is neglected the corresponding result will be a “love” which will lack the holiness and power of His Presence. I cannot know what love is except in the true knowledge of God. Truth is my only hope for knowing what LOVE really is.

Love is the selfless and pure expression of the God who so loved the world that HE gave His only Son. That same Love that gave The Only Begotten Son is the same God who in total holiness and impartiality is the judge of all men. All the heavens and they that dwell there are awestruck with the Holiness, the Righteousness, and the Omnipotence of His Majesty. The holy angels who have never known sin or rebellion shield themselves from His glorious penetrating light; such a contrast with the apathy and religion of today. Where there is no unity in the midst of God’s people there will be little or no glory.

In every case of unity in both the Old and New Testaments, there was God’s glory to such an extent that men were bowed and the heavens were opened. The unity PRECEDES the moving of God. On the day of Pentecost, they were in ONE ACCORD prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We read in the Old Testament that when the singers and dancers were of ONE Voice the Glory of God fell (2 Chronicles 5:13). May we hear afresh His Word to us.

“And he spake also a parable unto them; “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed…”
LUKE 5:35-38

The New Wine will not be poured out into old wineskins. They are old, inflexible, and weak. They have become rigid and have a form of righteousness that cannot be changed. God is not in the renovating business; HE TRANSFORMS anyone who dares walk in truth and in the light. His Love does not compromise with sin and religion. He cleansed the temple in His Day and He has not changed!

In His day men and women were satisfied with their paltry offerings, the money changers, and “business” of religion. Even the disciples (prior to Pentecost) were found marveling at the temple buildings in their day. Yet Jesus declared that there will not be left one stone of that old order. For the new was ready to break forth upon the grounds of the pure sacrifice of the LAMB OF GOD. Now it is a temple not made with hands; a living temple made up of living stones mortared together by the simplicity of the LOVE of God. Men no longer build their own edifices but are themselves built together INTO this glorious temple.

 In Him, you also are being built together
into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

EPHESIANS 2:22

The Living Temple

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
I Peter 2:5

The ONE BREAD is to bring forth the ONE BODY in truth and reality. Not a oneness based on the effort of men or the compromise of the truth! This ONENESS is the revelation of the truth not the ignoring of it. True love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is called the “Spirit of Truth”. When men love programs, teachings, the esteem of men, and self-promotion more than they love truth they reap the fruit of their own ways. This in itself is the great judgment of God. When men are content with such things nothing changes. Agnosticism*, apathy, and unbelief have rendered truth to a form and a concept instead of the living demonstration of Christ. Truth is seen as being relative; there is no concern for wrong teachings and soulish ways. We are not to say anything, do anything, that might offend others. God has a name for such a generation… ICHABOD!

“And she named the child Ichabod,
saying, The glory is departed from Israel”
I SAMUEL 4:21

It is time to read the scriptures for what they say and to see through the “status quo” of today. It is a day to return to the simplicity of truth and the power of His Spirit that can only be found where the New Wineskin is made up of those that love one another fervently out of a pure heart. We can no longer meet in the ways of the world. The true church is not an earthly organization but a spiritual organism living in the breath of the Holy Spirit, where men no longer walk in titles and positions but live and walk in the pure expression of His love. It is a place where our meeting together is no longer orchestrated by the programs of men but has become the place where the Spirit of Liberty is free to EXPRESS THE LIVING CHRIST. A place where His Glory comes in such power that the ways of Ananias and Sapphira are judged and God is glorified. A place where HIS Glory so permeates our gatherings unto Him that no earthly agenda can survive and men speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11).

Daniel and the Word

Daniel in captivity UNDERSTOOD by the reading of the scriptures that they would be in exile for 70 years and began to pray and repent; GOD ANSWERED! It is as His people read the scriptures and hear HIS voice that repentance and change come. Daniel did not simply say “Well, God is going to do it”… HE knew God enough to know that HE MUST RESPOND to God’s Word personally to experience the LIFE OF IT. Faith is simply the ability to respond to God’s Word.

The scriptures are read every day across our land but the famine of the word is not in the reading of it but in the HEARING of it. For FAITH comes by hearing not reading. So Jesus warns us to take heed “HOW WE HEAR” and “WHAT WE HEAR”.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of HEARING the words of the LORD
AMOS 8:11

That day is upon us, but the promise of God to His Church is …

“He who has an ear,
let him HEAR what the Spirit says”

The unity of the true Body of Christ is only known by the simplicity of WALKING IN THE LIGHT…

“But if we WALK in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another”
I JOHN 1:7

*NOTE: “Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, the divine, or the supernatural is not known or knowable with any certainty” (Wikipedia) Can we not feel the spirit of this malaise permeating the hearts of many. Many believe in a god, many declare their “faith” in God but few reveal His reality in their lives. There is a fireless faith, a lukewarm attitude to His Word. The faithless teachings of men declare concepts and ideas instead of the fire to OBEY His Word. We hear many who say ‘be content’ with a God who remains hidden in the heavens rather than a God who breathes the power and the dynamic of Christ into His Own. How long will we tolerate the false, the carnal, and the pedantic atmosphere of unbelief? What many call “belief” in this day is unbelief, what many call faith is a trust in an idea of God rather than in the person and the truth of Christ.

Many mock the scripture… “Faith without works is dead…”. Yet it is certain that we will stand before Him at the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of what we have DONE with the measureless wonder of Christ Jesus our LORD! (Read the parables of the Talents and the Pounds)

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For WE must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others
2 Corinthians 5:9-11

The measure of our believing His Word is found in our hearts and lives warning His people of their accountability. Read afresh the Word of the Lord.

Let us all take heed to our ways.

“Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Or do you not yourselves perceive that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are disapproved”
2 Corinthians 13:5

Disunity is the result of sin,
unity is the fruit of walking in His Light.

<§>

“The unity of Christendom is not a luxury, but a necessity. The World will go limping until Christ’s prayer that all may be one is answered. We must have unity, not at all costs, but at all risks. A unified Church is the only offering we dare present to the coming Christ, for in it alone will He find room to dwell”
CHB

Updated article from April 2014 – “One Bread, One Body”

Brian Troxel

Value and Need

Value and Need

“Let not your heart be troubled…”
John 14:1

“The hearts of the disciples were troubled because they feared the consequences of His leaving them. It is evident that they knew what it was to have the Saviour, and that is, I suppose, more than can be said of most now present. It was more than could be said of the disciples at one period of their lives; and more than can be said of those who are still in their natural state, for Scripture tells us that such are “without Christ”. Now, do you know what it is to be without Him? If not, you cannot know what it is to have Him. He will not be found with any that do not value Him. He is infinitely precious in Himself and infinitely precious in the eyes of the Father. Herein is love in its richest expression – that the Father gave His Son, who was the love of His love and the heart of His kindness. The Son is the heart of the Father’s love – if you get that, you have everything. He remains among a people as long as they think Him to be precious”
– Jonathan Ranken Anderson

“Unto you, therefore,
which believe He is precious…”
1 Peter 2:7

The true testimony that our “belief” is born of a living faith is revealed in how precious HE is to us in our day-to-day life. Our estimation of His worth will be measured by our need and dependency upon Him in the outflow of everyday living. While many profess a “belief” in Him, His worth is known in the proportion of our need to live in a manner that pleases our Heavenly Father.

To those who live out of the resources of self have little need of Him. They may speak of Him, use His name for their endeavors, and yet be unaware of their desperate need of Him. It is the need that determines His value.

“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach”
Isaiah 4:1

See: Fruitfulness

Ω

“..for without Me, ye can do nothing”
John 15:5

Brian Troxel

What is a Pharisee?

What is a Pharisee?

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sat on Moses’ seat. All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don’t do their works; for they say, and don’t do.”
Matthew 23:1-3 (WEB)

There is much contained in the Words of Jesus. His words are full of truth and that truth pierces to the core of a man’s heart. In this discourse, it is striking to note the audience to whom He spoke.

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples

The word that follows is important to all who call themselves by His Name. His warnings are given to everyone in general “and to His disciples”. It is a word to us, to all generations who desire to walk rightly before Him. There will always be those who ascend to prominent religious positions, speaking good things. Jesus declares what things people should hearken to and DO.

“All things therefore whatever
they tell you to observe, observe and do”

True disciples are to recognize God’s word even if it is spoken by some who may live hypocritically or carelessly. God’s Word is true regardless of its source. The emphasis in this warning from the Lord is found in a very short word… DO. A disciple is one in whom the word of the Lord influences their living. It is not the mental aspect; it is not merely the enlightenment of the mind while leaving one’s conduct unaffected. Doing is the revelation of true discipleship. Many hear, many teach. It is the focus of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the realm of becoming through obedience.

“…but don’t do their works;
for they say and don’t do.”

Jesus considered their lack of works as their works. Their works were to talk of the things of the Lord without doing. Their non-doing became their works; much like not deciding inadvertently becomes a decision. True faith is the agency through which the works of God are born. The essential nature of faith is to reveal the Life and the Works of its Author. James declares:

“But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
James 1:25

The subtlety of Pharisee-ism is a fearful and easy thing into which any disciple can fall. We can become comfortable in our beliefs rather than in our relationship with Him. Disciples follow Him. They participate in the doing of His Will on the earth. They are involved in the works of Christ for He is their Head, and they are His hands, feet, and heart in this world. Because they are of His Body, they move with Him.

May we be warned in our own walk. Let us heed the exhortations of Him to flee the Pharisaical ways of speaking without doing, of teaching without being a demonstration in our own lives. The truth of our words is to be evidenced in our homes, in our workplaces, and in our fellowship with those who are His.

“…but don’t do their works;
for they say and don’t do”

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“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance, a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.”
Luke 10:30-33

Ω

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12

See: Words and Deeds A.W. Tozer

Brian Troxel