Thought for Today – Worship and Faith

Thought for Today

Obedience is the essence
of Worship

Abraham our father,
was not he declared righteous out of works,
having brought up Isaac his son upon the altar?”

James 2:21 (YLT)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”
Ephesians 2:8-10

By Faith alone was Abraham Justified
By obedience his Faith Perfected

“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

Ω

“It is one thing to believe in God;
it is quite another to believe God.”
R.C. Sproul

Brian Troxel

Grace and Humility

Grace and Humility

“…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud,
and giveth grace to the humble”
1 Peter 5:5

Humility is the allurement for Grace. As bees are drawn to fragrant flowers, humility invites the grace of God. How wise and good is our God; His ways and His mercies are past finding out. As we develop in Him, we begin to comprehend the interaction of His graces in our lives.

His mercies enable a life of surrender unto Him.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God,

which is your spiritual worship”
Romans 12:1

Just as the mercies of God bring us into the submission of our hearts, so humility leads us into a life of obedience.

“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death…”
Philippians 3:8

It is through the workings of Grace that obedience becomes our joy and purpose in life. The Apostolic ministry has one purpose: to bring all men to the obedience of Faith unto God.

“through whom we have received grace and apostleship
to bring about the obedience of (the) faith…”
Romans 1:5

The evidence of mercy received is a surrendered life. A life of humility is expressed in obedience and the ministrations of His Spirit to others.

The inner workings of God’s grace must always find expression in our external walk. A life unlived and unfulfilled is the result of not allowing His graces to work in our lives.

“You shall serve the LORD your God,
and He will bless your bread and your water…
I will fulfill the number of your days
Exodus 23:26

Is not this the cry of every redeemed human heart; that the number of our days be filled full of Him?

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee,
if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God”
Deuteronomy 28:2

God’s heart is for us to be overtaken by His Blessings.

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – The Eyes of God

PodcastThe Eyes of God

 

…and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.” (Rev 4:6)

Random Thoughts – Simplicity

Random Thoughts

A Call to Simplicity

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”
Philippians 2:8

Humility and obedience cannot be separated; obedience is the offspring of humility. Pride is the root of all disobedience. It is the barrier between knowing a truth and walking in the truth. It is the great impediment between knowing and doing, between a life of mere confession and one of becoming like Him. The proud rest in the tenets of faith as a crippled man leans upon a crutch. The humble cast aside the impotency and obstinacy of self to discover the joy of obedience.

The validity of an individual’s life in God is not in what they know; it is in what they do. Love is the great law which governs all of God’s works (John 3:16) and so it will be with those who love Him. Love by its very nature is the womb of God’s work through us. Those who love cannot be barren of the good works of God in Christ.

“For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works”
Ephesians 2:10

We are not saved by good works; we are saved unto good works.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
John 13:35

Brian Troxel

Letters to the Church – Words – Part Seven

Letters to the Church – Words

Part Seven

“For he that will love life, and see good days,
let him refrain his tongue from evil…”
1 Peter 3:10

The sacred scriptures speak much to us of the relationship between the words we speak and the quality of life we are afforded by the Grace of God. This exhortation from Peter is often overlooked. In the midst of the strife, contention and competition in religious circles, these words offer us a warning and a promise from God. Wisdom is the result of the fear of the Lord. In its sway we begin to weigh our words before we speak. We are saved from rash words filled with evil intent and the tendency to inflict upon others the poison of our own hearts. How often we need to be reminded of His omnipresence. He is present at every conversation weighing the words of our anger, foolishness and unsanctified thoughts.

“But I say to you, that every idle* word,
whatever men may speak,
they shall give an account of it in Judgment Day”
Matthew 12:36

There are no words spoken which will not be accounted for in the Judgment Day. All our words will be required of us in that Day. Jesus continues on in His discourse;

“For by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned”
Matthew 12:37

The fruit of one’s lips are the revelation of their heart. We see here God’s perspective on the words we speak and the deeds we do. How we need to touch the Holiness of God to see and understand the implications of foolish words and an unbridled tongue! The gossip, slander and the seemingly innocent words spoken to dishonour another brother, or to further inflame situations in the Body of Christ, carry heavy repercussions in this life and judgment in the next.

“Do any of you think you are religious?
If you do not control your tongue,
your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself”
James 1:26

The value of a person’s walk and their relationship with God is readily seen in the words spoken. Regardless of our profession of faith, the religion of one who speaks with an undisciplined tongue is vain and worthless.

“One who brings gossip betrays a confidence,
but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret”
Proverbs 11:13

In our daily lives we either justify our walk with God or we reveal the vanity of our religious ways.

“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
Psalm 90:12

Σ

*Note: The Greek Word translated “idle” ἀργός is a compound word comprised of “ergon” (ἔργον) translated as works and deeds and is used 176 times in the New Testament; “ἀ” (the letter alpha which is often used in the Greek as a negative). A simple transliteration would be “words without the corresponding works”. (Words without power, fire or purpose. Words which do not inspire change in the hearers).

Humility is the precious fruit of the Spirit which becomes ours by the seeing of Him. It is in touching the Presence of God where we are delivered from our boastful words and the discrepancy of saying one thing while walking in another.

Our works are to give the words we speak the
weight and verity of Christ living within us.

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12
(Please read the context of this scripture James 2:12-26)

“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO: and the God of peace shall be with you”
Philippians 4:9

Brian Troxel

The Life of Jesus – Part Two

The Life of Jesus – Part Two

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him”
Acts 10:38

Three People Defined

The testimony of Jesus when He walked in this world was that He “went about doing good”. Why? “For God was with Him”. The “good” which He did was the result of the Will of the Father not the prerogatives of men. Within the current landscape of the church there are:

1) those who hear and DO nothing,
2) those who DO without hearing,
3) true disciples who DO through hearing.

1. People who hear without doing.

The Parable of Jesus concerning the Good Samaritan depicted the priest and the Levite who did not involve themselves with a man beaten on the road (Luke 10:30-36). Their reason was in part, that they were “separated ones” (the literal meaning of Pharisee). Their inability to be moved by the love of God unto the works of God, shows the poverty and impotency of a life which holds the teachings of God apart from the love and person of God. Their religion is one of words and concepts. They may vigorously defend the tenets of faith yet be devoid of the works of faith.

“They profess that they know God;
but in works they deny him”
Titus 1:16

These are they who are quick to defend menial and irrelevant matters disputing about contentious issues i.e. related to meat, drink, days, seasons and teachings; yet lacking in the substance and the works of Christ Himself in their everyday life.

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days”
Colossians 2:16

“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth”
2 Timothy 2:23-25

2. They who DO without hearing.

These ones works are self-generated; they respond to every need without the wisdom and leading of God (Martha) and some even for the purpose to be seen of men and of the world. They seek to build up their reputation and walk in self-promotion. Works without faith is another form of a religion which denies the Lordship and reality of Christ.

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 6:2)

There is also within this category a far higher and more deceptive realm into which His people may fall. It is found within the ministrations of the gifts of the Spirit. People may be given a precious gifting of God but use it for the promotion of self, all in the Name of God! This is a most grievous and terrifying thing to behold.

“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?” To which Jesus responds… “I never knew you” Matthew 7:22-23

3. They who hear and do.

These find the life of wonder in being “yoked” with Christ wherein they are bound by the Love of God and the will of God in Christ. Their walk is characterized by the liberty of the Spirit to fulfill the desires of God alone. They seek no glory for themselves. They speak truth and do truth by the workings of the Cross. They bear His reproach as they do His will. The reproach of Christ was the result of the Son doing the will of the Father. Likewise, His disciples bear His reproach in their obedience to Christ. They truly know Him as Lord.

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21)

The Kingdom of God is for those who submit themselves to DO the Will of the Father in Christ Jesus our LORD.

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Life of Jesus – Part One

The Life of Jesus – Part One

“…for I DO always those things that please him”
John 8:29

Jesus came with one purpose and that was to fully live His Life in the Will of His Father. He fulfilled the scriptures, but the scriptures He fulfilled were the result of His doing the Will of the Father. His heart was pure and His Life simple. The complexity, compromise, evil and self-promoting ways of the religious of His day had no effect upon His walk. He stood like a beacon in the darkness of the utter depravity of the world around Him. His eyes were clear. His step remained strong and in the midst of the rage of the religious and political voices of the day, He stood true to the Father.

It is a natural tendency of men to take hold of God’s Word and twist its rich and full meaning into something carnal and self-serving. It has always been the history of men with God. That which is to be pure and holy quickly turns to something sensual (of the senses), perverted and earthly. It moves from pleasing God to pleasing men. It descends from denying self to serving self. In the bitter end the decree of Christ Himself falls with the weight of eternal judgment:

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it”
Matthew 16:25

Jesus did not come to save Himself; He came to save others. He did not come to have men speak well of Him, He came to speak and DO truth. He overcame the temptations of Satan (Matthew 4:11) to use His authority for self-serving purposes (changing the stones to bread). He overcame the temptation of using His power to impress the world around Him (throwing Himself off the Temple). He overcame the offering of Satan for domination. All three of these are temptations into which many of His people fall. Whenever His heart begins to take hold of a life there will be a growing attachment to the Will of God alone. The Cross of Christ can only be known through the agency of doing His Will. Without the workings of the Cross there can be no true life of pleasing the Father. The Life of Jesus was fully revealed in His doings. It is the religious who content themselves with believing. It is disciples who grow into “doing those things which please” the Father.

“…for I DO always those things that please him”

A life of pleasing the Father is found in the substance of DOING. It is not a mental exercise of believing; the true life of a disciple can only be expressed in the actual demonstration of faith.

“Jesus seeing their faith…”
Matthew 9:2
(Read the the whole context)

True faith is “seen” by Jesus in the works it produces.

In the Book of Revelation Jesus declared to each Church the pentetrating truth of His beholding our walk and our works …

“I know thy works…”
Rev. 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 3:1, 3:8, 3:15

The shining forth of the Life of Jesus in His earthly walk was one of “Doing” and that same wonder of His Life within us is to be revealed in like manner.

The Life of Jesus Series
(To be Continued)

Brian Troxel

Letters to the Church – Part Three

Letters to the Church

PART THREE

The Value of Every Member

“If the foot shall say,
Because I am not the hand,
I am not of the body;
is it therefore not of the body?”

I Corinthians 12:15

Value. Even in earthly things the value of something is based on what someone will pay for it, not its intrinsic worth. Something that may be of little value to one is priceless to another. In the Church at Corinth there was much dissimulation and controversy because there was much value put on specific expressions while others were minimized. Today we have a similar situation where multitudes of God’s redeemed people sit in ignorance of the wealth and the precious investment that is theirs in Christ Jesus. We all admire a gracious ministration of God in an individual, but the truth of the New Covenant is that Jesus paid the SAME PRICE for every man. He tasted the SAME DEATH for everyone that calls upon HIS NAME. The attitude expressed here “because I am not the hand”, therefore I am of less value is really an expression of unbelief rather than humility. Function does not determine value, rather the price paid! How we need to see things through the eyes of our Redeemer! We hear things such as; “I could never preach like that, pray like that” and that may be true. However, it is the “I” that is the problem, not the giver. For there to be unity, life and glory in the Body of Christ there is no room for I. This is His Body and HE PLACES the members in it as it pleases HIM not us; there is no such thing as something insignificant in God’s Eternal purposes. What HE has purchased is to become a priceless, unique and powerful expression of HIS LIFE. It is UNBELIEF that says “because I am not the hand, I am not of the body…” It is the recipient of the one talent which hid his portion in the ground that received such a stern judgement from the hand of the Lord.

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord,
we persuade men…”
II Corinthians 5:11

The FEAR OF THE LORD is the great leveler of men. Paul is stating here that the thing that propelled HIM from one city to the next in HIS declaration of the Gospel was the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord does not paralyze men it enables men to walk, live and be responsible to the investment of the Lord in our lives. It causes us to face our own unbelief and ARISE to walk in HIS PROVISION. It frees us from the fear of man, the fear of inadequacy and the fear of failure. It brings us to the awful recognition that it is to HIM that I must give an account, and that it is a terrible sin to hold the precious things of HIM in faithless inactivity and unbelief. This is the DAY for the people of God to ARISE and LIVE and WALK in the provisions of the SON in OUR FATHER’S HOUSE. All things are HIS, and HE is looking for a healthy return upon the investment that HE has given.

The validity of any ministry is revealed in the degree of life that the people of God exhibit within the sphere of its influence. Unique, powerful and varied expressions pulsate with a life that only lives to bring glory, honour and praise unto HIM from which all things do flow. The purpose of ministry is to bring others into their own ministry by ministering faith and responsibility into the life of each believer. For it is in each member feeling the “weight” of their obligation unto their Lord and Saviour that this body will arise in such glory and power that this world will know that this is indeed the Body of Christ.

“…but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another
I Corinthians 12:24 – 25

It is in the doing of these things that they become the everyday reality of our lives. We must tear down these strongholds for the desire of the Lord is to bring us to the same love one for another that there be no schism in the body of Christ.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Malachi 3:10 – 11

We hear much of tithing. How repulsive that it has become only a tithing of the unrighteousness mammon and not a tithing of the produce of the Lord within the hearts of the individual believer! How dare we believe that in giving more money the result will be “meat in HIS HOUSE”! Finances will not produce spiritual meat to supply the people of God with strength in the power of HIS MIGHT! The Church of Jesus Christ is a SPIRITUAL House not an earthly organization! A Spiritual house needs spiritual tools to build it, and it is in the functioning of each and every member that this house will arise and be fully completed!

This is the day for the people of God to walk in their gifts and callings and to know the responsibility and necessity of bringing their spiritual tithes into the storehouse, that there may be fullness and blessing in our midst.

Ω

“What difference does it make to you
what someone else becomes, or says, or does?
You do not need to answer for others,
only for yourself”

THOMAS À KEMPIS (C. 1380–1471)

“There is no man living that can do the work that God has got for me to do. No one can do it but myself. And if the work ain’t done we will have to answer for it when we stand before God’s bar”
D.L. Moody

Brian Troxel

The Two Aspects of Hearing God

The Two Aspects of Hearing

How Do We Hear?

In our day the Christian landscape is rife with erroneous teachings and heresies. Most of these are obvious to any child of God with even a limited concept of the foundational truths of Christ. However, Jesus addressed two aspects of hearing with His disciples; each were critical in the measuring of His truth to them. These are clearly set forth for us: take heed WHAT we hear and take heed HOW we hear. The first warning concerns the “hearing” of those who follow Him.

“Take heed WHAT you hear. With whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you, and more will be given to you who hear
Mark 4:24

Here Jesus is addressing the content of WHAT people hear. There is a divine measuring of truth proportional to what we are willing to hear. If we allocate God’s truth to be for another time and not for us today, we will be unable to hear anything further. The “measure” that we allow will determine what is measured to us. We must “take heed” to these critical warnings. Only then will the Body of Christ be a light and a wonder to the world around us!

God has always been concerned with HOW His people hear His Word. Many may read its content. Many may discuss its implications and even teach its meaning, but few hear with the ears of faith.

It is HOW one hears that determines how one walks.

Hearing is the foundation of an individual’s life in God. This intrinsic and essential faculty determines the whole concourse of our life. Where there is no hearing by the ear of faith there can be no growth in our relationship with Him. The crisis of every heart is reduced in God to this ONE THING. It is here that the eternal destinies of all people are concluded.

“Take heed therefore HOW ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have”
Luke 8:18

There is a deception which is of a far higher order than merely taking heed to WHAT we hear; it is in the realm of “HOW” we hear. Throughout the New Testament we are struck with the clear distinction God makes between those who hear and those who do not.

The Parable of the Builders

“Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock…”
Matthew 7:24

Jesus continued in this Parable to contrast the one who heard correctly from the foolish one who also heard correctly WHAT Jesus was saying but failed in HOW he heard.

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand”
Matthew 7:26

The strength of the House which each man built was not determined by WHAT they heard but in what they DID with what they heard. In other words: in HOW they heard! One man heard the Words of Jesus as the Word of the Lord who is to be obeyed; the other heard the Words of Jesus as a Teacher and viewed God’s Word as something to know rather than something to be obeyed! The “fruit” of these two contrasting lives is clearly set forth in the power of Christ’s Word to His disciples.

Jesus, in a few verses preceding this Parable, set forth what He was clearly meaning.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”
Matthew 7:21

The eternal question to each of us is, “HOW are we hearing?” Do we hear Jesus as LORD, or do we hear Him as our Teacher? One to be obeyed, or one who came to merely enlighten us with divine teachings? The manner of our walk reveals the evidence of HOW we hear!

“Take heed therefore HOW ye hear: for whosoever hath,
to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not,
from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have”
Luke 8:18

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

Brian Troxel

Path to Ministry – Servanthood

The Path to Ministry

Servanthood

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:
therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”
Deuteronomy 30:19

The way of God is ever before us. His call, His purposes and His desire are presented unto us throughout the scriptures. Our life in Him is bound up in the choices we make. By our choices, this life in Him is either discovered or lost.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Romans 6:16

Mankind was created for obedience; it is the pathway to freedom. The above scripture reveals that one’s choice (yielding) determines whose servant they will be.

Whom or what we serve is the revelation of whose servant
we truly are regardless of what we profess!

The wisdom of God is clear and simple. All our professions, declarations and outward shows of religious activity are weighed in the balances of true obedience. Obedience is the fulcrum by which our true relationship with God is revealed. If I yield myself to sin, I am the servant of sin, regardless of my profession. Truth is truth and it is in “becoming” alive unto Him whereby we are made free from the power of sin over our lives. The true wonder of our “becoming” servants of God is the result of His victory being wrought out in the reality of our daily lives.

Servanthood to God is the highest call. A true servant of God serves Him, chooses Him and obeys Him from their heart. The individual who truly serves and obeys God, lives and walks in the Victory of Christ Himself. Without this victory we do not come to know the power and the glory of being a “servant of God”.

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
called to be an apostle…”
Romans 1:1

The depth and power of Paul’s apostolic expression was in corresponding measure to His servanthood to Christ. Whenever Paul defined his relationship to Christ, he always expressed it as servanthood not as apostleship. His apostolic expression was the result of his servanthood – not the other way around.

“I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

Paul’s appointment to service was a result of his faithfulness to God. We must discover that the way into the true ministry to which God has called us will only be known by our faithfulness in serving and obeying Him.

We live in a day in which many of God’s people do not know their call or purpose in God. This dilemma can only be solved through the medium of obedience. Without obedience to God alone the riddle of the call of God to each of His own will remain unsolved and unfulfilled. It is in the yielding of ourselves unto obedience that we become servants of righteousness. If we yield ourselves unto sin, we become servants of sin. Jesus declared emphatically:

“No man can serve two masters…”
Matthew 6:24

Ministry today is often presented as serving people, a church, or an organization. In reality the true ministry of God serves Him, speaks His words and works His works.

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?
Or am I striving to please men?
For if I were still pleasing men,
I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ
Galatians 1:10

An individual who seeks the esteem or favor of others cannot be at the same time a servant of God! Compromise is the womb of spiritual death. True humility frees an individual from the opinions of others and is the fragrance of a life in submission to God alone. There is much compromise within “Christendom” today. There is an impotency within the lives of those who seek the approval of men rather than God. Truth has been rendered powerless for it is often presented through the lives of those who do not know the workings of the Cross of Christ. It is the Cross which frees us from ourselves and bring us into singular devotion unto Christ.

“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man,
but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father…)”
Galatians 1:1

Any ministry which validates itself by something other than doing and being a servant of Christ, will never know the power of a true servant of God.

Jesus prefaced His word, “No man can serve two masters”, with the need for a singular heart.

“The light of the body is the eye:
if therefore thine eye be single,
thy whole body shall be full of light”
Matthew 6:22

The Light and Life of Christ fills the heart which is single in its purpose to serve God alone.

Paul summed up his life in very simple terms:

“separated unto the Gospel of God”
Romans 1:1

Σ

“Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth”
Colossians 3:2

Brian Troxel