Letters to the Church – The Call

Letters to the Church – The Call

“And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”
Matthew 10:38

It is important for us to reacquaint ourselves often with the words of Jesus during his earthly walk. Let those words reverberate within our hearts and pierce through the rhetoric. There is something so uncompromising about His Call. May we meditate upon these words of His and allow them the full and undivided attention of our hearts. The solemnity of His Call to us is not to a mere forgiveness of sins (as overwhelming and precious as that is). His Call is to Himself. Our redemption is for His glory and the following of Him. His whole design is to bring forth a people who are no longer their own, but rather “As He is, so ARE WE in this world” (1 John 4:17).

Look at the depth of His conversations with those who heard His Call:

“He said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.”
Luk 9:59

Jesus responds:

“But Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce God’s Kingdom.”
Luke 9:60

Again:

“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house”
Luke 9:61

Jesus responds:

“And Jesus said unto him, no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”
Luke 9:62

There is power in the Call of Christ that defies logic. There is a stark contrast between then and now; between the perception of Jesus in our day and the Jesus presented to us in the Gospels. The Call of Christ is to the “whole” of us, not just a portion. Our response is not to be a casual one where we fit His Call into our daily life as if it were a part-time occupation. The Call is to Him; to sacrifice and to a determined relinquishment of all that we are.

Paul reiterates this in his plea to the Church at Rome.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”
Romans 12:1

There is a pleading in the ministration of the Call of God that this becomes an experiential truth. The things we allow in ourselves, and in the lives of those who claim to know Him, reveal our ignorance of His claim upon us. Sin no longer disturbs the majority. We look lightly upon the issues of others because we look lightly upon the issues within our own hearts. Lethargy is contagious; as contagious as any pandemic with eternal implications far beyond the loss of life here on earth.

Paul left no doubt with the Church at Colosse as to the purpose of the true ministry of God.

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus
Colossians 1:28

What did this intensity of heart look like?

“Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”
Colossians 1:29

The mighty working of Christ within is revealed in a life of labour without; it is the exposé of His claim upon us. There is no place for the lethargy and indifference men and women display to the Call of God.

We Are Not Our Own

We may declare such things, we may present our claims of following God, but the reality of the life we live may reveal something different. The works of a life reveal the faith of the life. In Revelation God declared unto every location of the Church in that day, “I KNOW THY Works”. God is ever beholding our works for by them He knows our faith.

The validity of our love for Him and the power of Him working within us is readily expressed in our interaction with our brothers and sisters. Paul sums up his expression of the workings of Christ within: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom…”. If mere confessions of faith were sufficient (as is commonly taught today), why did Paul express warnings, admonitions, and exhortations to the people of God? To the church at Ephesus, one of the crown jewels of the early church, Paul declared:

“Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears
Acts 20:31

The deception and lethargy of a confession-based gospel has produced the slumbering church of our day! It produces a blindness to the magnificence, grandeur, and enormity of His Holiness. We have reduced Him to professions which require nothing more than a mental assent which consequently requires nothing, costs nothing, and correspondingly produces nothing. A confession without sacrifice leaves people without resources to face what lies ahead. Ministries must heed the Call of God to build up His Church and to prepare His people for the storm which is about to engulf our land. He is coming first of all to judge His church to the intent that in righteousness He may then be free to judge the world.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
1 Peter 4:17-18

The time IS COME upon us! Let those who have ears to hear tremble and seek Him afresh that we may be found “doing” when our Master returns. Take no comfort in confessions and doctrines which do not produce the Fear of the Lord, that do not bring forth a growing holiness and purity of heart. Forsake the delusion of heart which enjoys hearing the word, discussing the word, while yet refusing to obey the word.

A New Ministration of Mercy

It is a day to seek a new ministration of His Mercy; a mercy which produces sacrificial living and bringing forth of a new worship which is costly, pure and holy.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…”
Romans 12:1

The true mercy of God enables men and women to give themselves wholly unto God, not to comfort them in their sins and rebellion.

May we as His redeemed rise up to respond wholly to the Call of God in Christ!

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power
2 Thessalonians 1:11

Brian Troxel

The Ministry of Reconciliation

Healing and Reconciliation

“And all things are of God…
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”
2 Corinthians 5:18

What is torn can be mended.
What is separated can be blended.
That which is broken can find repair,
And joy can fill the life in despair.
Brian Troxel

To seek reconciliation with others is the revelation of a heart which has and is being reconciled to Christ.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”
Matthew 5:23-24

_____________

“Behold, I make all things new”
Revelation 21:5

Brian Troxel

Leadership

Leadership and the New Wine Skin

Part Two

“Peter saith unto him,
Thou shalt never wash my feet.”
John 13:8

Peter’s deep reverence for Jesus had elements of worldly esteem. His carnal conception of what leadership was to be, was offended by this act of humility. Washing the disciple’s feet contradicted Peter’s idea of how Jesus should be; he deemed it denigrating. The humility of Jesus is an affront to all who desire pre-eminence in religious circles. True leadership of the New Emerging Wine Skin will be by those who understand this powerful truth within the depths of their being.

Leadership in the Spirit is simply a life consumed with following Him. It arises from those who follow the Lamb. Their vision, their purposes and their desires are not to lead others but to follow Christ. The true sheep follow those who bear the nature and the likeness of Christ. They have no earthly agendas, no grandiose concepts of personal greatness; their glory is to serve and honour Christ.

Paul could say freely and simply:

“Then whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God. Be without offense both to Jews and Greeks, and to the assembly of God. Even as I also please all in all things, not seeking my own advantage, but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ
1 Corinthians 10:31-33; 11:1* (see note below)

Paul’s leadership was founded in the cause of Christ; he did nothing for his “own advantage”. It was a leadership poured out in the edification and admonishment of others for their growth and apprehension of Christ, free from personal gain and agendas. The heart and soul of this new leadership being raised up will not build up anything unto itself. It will not seek its own nor use others for its advantage! It will be free from the pomp and the pride of anything other than the Lordship and Majesty of Christ. It will not walk in the pretense of a false humility. It will not be presumptuous or jealous of others. Rather it will welcome and foster, at every opportunity, authentic expressions of Christ and extend to others an invitation to sit and partake of the fellowship of the Spirit. It will not cut itself off from others nor walk in the spirit of Diotrephes who “loved to have the pre-eminence”. (Such corruption will subject them to the Judgment of God). Those who view any gathering of the people of God “my church”, “my people” or “my fellowship” will find themselves excluded from the New Wine Skin. There must be stamped upon our hearts the living truth:

“Unto Him shall the glory be”

Paul in his epistle to the Philippians declared that many of that day sought their own things and not the things of Christ. Those who refuse to humble themselves in this hour, who refuse to open their hearts to the ministrations of others, will reap sorrow and judgement.

This new leadership will have written upon their very hearts a pure desire to see the Unity of the Spirit become the reality here on earth until we come to the glory and power of the Unity of the Faith! (Ephesians 4:3,13) Any ministration which does not seek this One thing will be cut off from the commonwealth of His Life and Glory! Only the Life of Christ can produce such pure and holy lives.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good. In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another…”
Romans 12:9-10

The new and emerging leadership must exemplify this heart. They are to be “ensamples” to, not lords over God’s heritage.

“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also”
2 Corinthians 6:3-13 (ESV)

The verity of all ministry is to One End:

“that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”
Colossians 1:28

“of which I was made a servant, according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you, to fulfill the word of God,”
Colossians 1:25

What does this life look like?

“for which I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily”
Colossians 1:29

__________________________________________

“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:5

*Note: The statement “Be imitators (followers KJV) of me, even as I also am of Christ” has grievously been isolated from the context of the truth of what Paul was presenting in 2 Corinthians, chapter 10, by the placing of a chapter division; some have erroneously interpreted this scripture to their own ends.

Brian Troxel

The Mystery of Holiness

The Mystery of Holiness

Part One

“…that we should be holy and without blame
before him in love”
Ephesians 1:4

Our religious concept of holiness has many faces. It can appear austere, ascetic, harsh or given to cliques and elite tendencies. Nothing could be further from the mind and heart of God. The truth is, our growth into His Holiness must be garmented in the wonder of His Love. True holiness is founded upon the immensity of the Love of God. Its disdain for things of the world, its repulsion of isolationism and elitism, its burning desire to see the Body of Christ arise from the ashes of division, are the pure expressions of a life growing in the Love of Christ.

Worldliness spawns chaos and division. Racism, the desire for dominance, the need for men to draw others to themselves (or the need to be a follower of others), all stem from the same contaminated stream; the desire for self-gratification and a sense of belonging. These stains are rife in the Body of Christ; rivalry, competition, jealously and envy are the result of lives untouched by holiness. These things do not exist in heavenly places. They are obliterated in His Presence.

Those who have touched even the hem of the garments of His presence should be grieved by the slander, the separations, the envying and the striving for pre-eminence in the midst of God’s people. The pretense of holiness is a sign of ones lost in their own importance. There can be no true growth in holiness apart from its author, Love.

“…that we should be holy and without blame
before him in love”
Ephesians 1:4

The Holiness of God prompted the Father to send His Only Begotten Son into this world through the impulse of Love. Rather than looking down upon His creation, He desires to raise us out of its corruption and restore its beauty through the offering of Jesus. False ideas of what constitutes holiness are but another facade of the self-perpetuating and self-glorifying lust of men. Holiness is a life where all things are in order; the lust of self, the chaos and contradictions of our own hearts, are brought under the jurisdiction of the Spirit of God. The reign of harmony and peace are the fruits of holiness. As our own unruly self becomes subject to the Love of God, we begin to see order in our own hearts and in God’s house (not by law, but by grace). Order is the revelation of holiness. It takes little discernment to gaze over the landscape of what men call “Christendom” and see the energies and pursuits of self revealed in all of its disorder. When we declare “my church”, “my fellowship”, “my teacher” (1 Cor. 1:11-13) we have departed from the love and holiness of God. Order is the result of all things being in Him.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and don’t lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace”
James 3:14-18

Humility is a life free from the pursuits of self. It is bold and at times audacious in its presentation of Christ. It will not yield to the religious of the day, not because it is self-important, but because it is free from the agendas of others. Peace is the atmosphere of humility. There is a liberty and ease within made possible by the cross of Christ.

“A vain man through pride causeth debate* (division),
And with the counselled is wisdom”
Proverbs 13:10 (YLT)

The selfish man profits from division. It is in the chaos of division and strife that he can find a place of pre-eminence.

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition are,
there is confusion and every evil deed”
James 3:16

It is insecurity that compels men to follow others, to feel the need to be part of earthly organizations and religious cliques. They who are secure in Christ know there is but ONE Body, ONE Faith and ONE God and Father of us all. His Salvation is our freedom from the fallen self and the need to be recognized by others. His Unity can only be realized in the living truth of His Holiness dwelling in our hearts by Love!

Σ

“…and the leaves of the tree
were for the healing of the nations”
Revelation 22:2

*NOTE: The word translated “debate” in the YLT or “contention” in the KJV is defined as follows:

מַצָּה - maṣṣāh: “A feminine noun depicting strife, contention. It refers to wrangling, quarreling, and contention” The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament; Warren Baker

Thayer’s Lexicon points out this Hebrew word is from the Hebrew Root נָצָה - nâtsâh (naw-tsaw')
A primitive root; properly to go forth (1 John 2:19), that is, (by implication) to be expelled, and (consequently) desolate; causatively to lay waste. (scripture reference added by me)

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – The Book of God Part 3

The Book of God
(Revelation 5:1-2)

“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne
a book written within and on the backside,
sealed with seven seals”
Revelation 5:1

He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’  (Rev 3:5-6)

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.  (John 15:5-6)

 

 

The Marks of True Servants – Part Three

The Marks of a True Servant

Paul’s Departure
(from Ephesus)

Part Three

“Therefore watch,
remembering that for a period of three years
I didn’t cease to admonish everyone
night and day with tears
Acts 20:31

The true servant of God knows the great battle between flesh and spirit. He is well aware of the weakness of the flesh to grow weary and to compromise. Paul is reminding the Elders of the Church at Ephesus of his own diligence to warn and admonish the believers when he lived among them. His life was an example to them that they must ever be alert and awake to the state of God’s people. We see no letup with Paul; his admonitions were accompanied night and day with tears; for he was filled with the love of God.

This gracious and all-pervading ministration which flowed from Paul was the true expression of one filled with the unction of the Holy Spirit! There was no room for the false comfort of the gospel of today. The fire burned, the admonition flowed.

In the Epistle to the Church at Rome Paul beseeches them to offer themselves unto God as a “living sacrifice”; he left no room for a nominal Christian experience. Beating within him was the insatiable desire to fully apprehend that for which God had so graciously apprehended him. His life burned with purpose and intent. The Christian life was a journey, not a one-time experience. It was a journey filled with temptation and great battles and storms. Yet in a corresponding measure it was also one of growth and glory. Admonition flows from a life which has seen and touched heavenly things.

The individual who has tasted of heavenly things will be in a relentless pursuit of the glory and honour of the One in whom they “live, move and have their being”.

Let us take note of this heart which beat within Paul. May there be a divine SELAH to allow the heart of Jesus to fill our own. Let the apathy of all that is around us be consumed by the passion and the ministration of the Holy Spirit.

“I didn’t cease to admonish everyone
night and day with tears”

SELAH

May we consider the “marks” of the true servant of God and feel anew that fire burning within our own being. Let “this mind be in you” as Paul admonished the Church of God at Philippi. May we know the same intensity and the same care and concern for God’s people that filled the early Church. Let us repent of the status quo and turn again unto the One who can ignite the human heart.

The heart of a true servant of God seeks to bring every life into the Kingdom and dominion of God. It will risk the disapproval of others in order to be pleasing unto God.

Admonition will be a mark of one who serves God in truth.

Brian Troxel

The Gospel of God

The Law of the Spirit

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
Psalm 1:2

In physics, a law describes the behavior and the observable function of a particular phenomenon.

“Laws are descriptions — often mathematical descriptions — of natural phenomenon; for example, Newton’s Law of Gravity or Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment. These laws simply describe the observation. Not how or why they work” Coppinger

Newton’s Law of Gravity describes the behavior of gravity. Gravity does not exist because of the law; the law simply describes the inherent operation of gravity. So it is in the Law of the Spirit. The Law of Righteousness is a Law which describes how a righteous life lives. It cannot make one righteous it is simply given to describe the behaviour of a righteous life.

“For the law made nothing perfect”
Hebrews 7:19

It is not in our trying to keep the Law that we are spiritual. It is because we are becoming spiritual that the Law of Life (His Life) is fulfilled. Whenever we break the Law it is because we are lacking the LIFE OF THE ONE who alone can keep it. Paul, referring to the Law as given by Moses, declared the following truth:

” For we know that the law is spiritual…”
Romans 7:14

The issue is that we are carnal; it is an absurdity to attempt to keep a spiritual law when by nature we are not. The only hope for any individual is by virtue of the Spirit of Christ invading our lives. By His power we receive a new nature, a spiritual nature which naturally fulfills the Law of God. Only a spiritual nature can fulfill a spiritual law.

“For we know that the law is spiritual:
but I am carnal, sold under sin…”
Romans 7:14

Here is the great contradiction in the life of every individual. The natural man cannot fulfill a spiritual law. There is no amount of striving, no matter how earnest the effort, that will ever enable one nature to fulfill the law of another. In the Law of Gravity, if an object has mass, it is subject to its inherent law of attraction. In spiritual things where there is a residue of the natural man, he will find himself subject to the Law of Sin and Death. It cannot be otherwise. What is this Law of Sin and Death?

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do”
Romans 7:5

There is only ONE WAY to be free from the Law of Sin and Death; it is in our discovery of the power of Christ to liberate us from walking in the flesh! This freedom requires a new nature. This nature must be freed from the pull and the horror of the Law of Sin, a law which holds all things carnal in its deadly grip. The freedom of the Law of Life is the provision of God. It is in our abiding in Him that we are freed from the chains of sin.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”
Galatians 5:16

The simplicity of the provision of God is clear. The agonizing struggle for all who are seeking freedom from this Law of Sin and Death is described clearly in Romans 7.

“For what good I desire, I do not do. But the evil I do not desire, this I do. But if I do what I do not desire, it is no longer I working it out, but the sin dwelling in me. I find then the law, when I desire to do the right, that evil is present with me. For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man; but I see another law in my members having warred against the law of my mind, and taking me captive by the law of sin being in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Romans 7:19-24

Paul called this agonizing dilemma a war. It is a war to those desiring to fulfill the Law of God but who constantly find the Law of Sin holding dominion over their actions. The truth is our attempts to fight this war with our carnal nature is like trying to empty the ocean with a bucket; as futile as it is absurd. To try to overcome the flesh by the power of flesh is like a man jumping up from the earth in order to over-come the Law of Gravity. That momentary state of freedom is quickly erased by his inevitable return to the ground. Let this truth stand as God’s verdict upon the carnal mind (the natural man) and especially to those who ascribe to the futility of religion.

“…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Romans 8:7-8

The Law of God decrees (as evidenced in all creation) that the carnal man is subject to the Law of Carnality. Its nature determines its behavior. Those who live in the Spirit of God live their life according to the nature of His Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-25).

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
Matthew 7:16

The logic of God is clear; the fruit of a thing reveals the nature of it. A thistle cannot bear figs. James states that fresh water and saltwater cannot flow from the same fountain. It is here that religion attempts to circumvent the simplicity and truth of God’s Law of Being. What individuals do reveal the nature by which they live. In Matthew 7 Jesus is describing to His disciples the basic law of true spiritual discernment: “you will know them by their fruits”. In the sphere of religion, the clarity of God’s truth becomes murky (by men’s design) when the validity of a person’s standing in God is judged on confession rather than behavior! This deception of Satan infiltrates and spawns its deadly contagion among those who are not discerning.

In Galatians Paul sets forth the “works” of the flesh.

Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:19-21

Wherever these traits are expressed it is the result of living and walking out of the nature of the carnal man. Let no one deceive you in this. Confession, good works, prophecy, speaking in tongues, prayer, teachings, fastings, and a thousand other things cannot circumvent the truth. Those who DO these things are under the dominion of a life subject to the carnal mind. What men do reveal the nature in which they walk!

The Law of God frees us from our religious deception. This Law is fixed, and its declaration is eternal. We are to judge ourselves by its ministration that we may know the validity of our walk before Him. If I have lust in my heart, I know my need for His Life. If I become bitter, it is because I am living in the flesh. There is no excuse for bitterness because the Spirit of God frees me from its stain and sorrow. If I hate my brother, I most definitely know such a thing is not of God. If I continue in its dark influence, I disqualify myself from God’s Kingdom. If I hold envy or jealousy, I clearly reveal the nature of my walk. To envy another is to be angry with God for what He has graciously given me. The list is endless! The value of the Law is that it reveals to me my desperate need of His Life to free me from the works and the dominion of Sin and the Flesh.

“But we know that the law is good,
if a man use it lawfully”
1 Timothy 1:8

Again, Paul states in Romans 7 that the Law is good and it is to be used to this end.

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”
Romans 7:7

Can we not see the Law is a ministration for good? By its ministration the nature of Sin is revealed, and I can see the necessity of my need to live and abide in Christ! How deceptive is a gospel that teaches us to abolish the law by the declaration of a doctrine that we are forgiven and absolved of our wrong doings; as if we are no longer to measure our life by the Law of God! Many have embraced a gospel which frees them to live out their carnal nature with no concerns about their standing in God! This is the LIE which was first spoken by the Serpent in the Garden. God told Adam and Eve, “if you eat of this tree you will die”. The Serpent told Eve go ahead and eat of the tree for “you shall not die”. What was the end of the evil deed of Adam and Eve? What is the end of a life which walks in the “works of the flesh”?

“…of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:21

Why such a harsh decree? Did not God pay the penalty for Sin; not only ours but the sins of the whole world? The decree of God is not against the acts listed in Galatians 5:19-22; God’s judgment is upon the Nature from which those evil expressions spring. The Kingdom of God is spiritual and those who would enter its dominion must do so on the grounds of the Law of Life in Christ Jesus. To what end?

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
who walk not after (according to) the flesh
but after (according to) the Spirit”
Romans 8:4
(Read the whole context of this scripture)

The Law is good, and it is for our instruction. Let us not be deceived into believing that a religious confession trumps a carnal life. The conviction of God is the path to discovering the Law of Life which alone can free us from our sins. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

“For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace”
Romans 6:14

Grace is not an excuse to ignore our sinful ways. The validity of Grace is revealed in my personal freedom from sin’s power. The gospel of today states we are freed from the law therefore we need not concern ourselves with the Law’s decree. Let us read the above scripture again through the eyes of faith – “Sin shall NOT have dominion over you”. Why? Because if you walk “under (the influence of) grace”, its power will set us free. Paul goes on to contend with those who would use the “teaching” of grace to excuse sin…

“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law,
but under grace? God forbid
Romans 6:15

And again.

“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ,
we ourselves also are found sinners,
is therefore Christ the minister of sin?
God forbid
Galatians 2:17

Those who teach a grace which makes provision for sin have no understanding of the purposes of God in Christ. To hold to a doctrine of justification and still hold to sin is the false gospel of today. Christ is not the minister of sin nor are those who have been justified in Him doomed to a life of sin and powerlessness. Let the Word of God deal with the false teachings of our day. Let His truth penetrate our hearts with His promises and power!

The purpose of living truth is to bring each of us into the holy freedom of God; it is not to find loopholes in the Law. It is to bring us to such a place that we are no longer subject to its decrees because we are living in such a way that we do not violate its righteousness. If I drive at or under the speed limit, I am not subject to the speed limit sign and therefore the penalty of the law holds no terror for me. The falsity of a gospel which states that I can sin, and since I have confessed Christ the wages of sin no longer apply to me, is appalling and deceptive. One who subjects himself to pornography knows within the defiling wages of sin. The one who holds hatred in his heart knows by experience the truth of the wages of sin. Peace is not found in the way of the sinner. Communion with God is not possible in the life of one who lives out of the carnal nature.

“So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God
Romans 8:8

The above scripture is not a teaching; it is the statement of God. It is God’s verdict upon humanity. Praise be to God there is an answer to such a decree!

“Marvel not that I said unto thee,
Ye must be born again”
John 3:7

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”
John 3:6

The necessity of being “born anew” is the beginning of our deliverance. Our growth in the life of salvation is revealed in the ever- diminishing dominion of sin in our lives. In our growth in grace we find the power of His Salvation manifest in our lives by the demonstration of the fruit of His Spirit! This is the evidence of our deliverance from the works of the flesh and our “translation” from the kingdom of darkness into the glorious Kingdom of Light. The Apostle John, in his later epistles, wrote as a warning to all:

“Little children, let no man deceive you:
he that doeth righteousness is righteous…”
1 John 3:7

A faith that does not carry the life, the power and the works of God is a dead faith. A faith which is in word only has no value in the working out of God’s salvation.

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

The nature of Christ within must be accompanied by a revelation of Him without.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed
from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall LIVE by faith”
Romans 1:17

To be a living Faith, it must grow from one degree unto another degree of faith (faith unto the faith). It is to produce greater expressions of God’s righteousness! “The just shall (truly) live by faith”. Jesus declared I AM come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Notice the tense here; not “I will come” but that “I AM come”. It is the folly of religion to point to a day in the future when in reality HE IS COME! There are greater things to come and will be for all eternity. But faith is for me to know and grow within the wonder of His “present truth”.

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:
Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh is of God”
1 John 4:2

The confession of a dead faith will talk about future things while denying the power of Christ which IS COME, present tense. That is the spirit of the anti-Christ (1 John 4:3). Those who do not take responsibility for walking righteously now, soothe their conscience with a future idea, absolving themselves from a present-day walk. It is a subtle lie of the devil himself and those who live in this “faith” sow to themselves great sorrow on an eternal scale. It is a sign of the Day in which we are living that there are many who subscribe to the lie of this faith.

Paul continues his discourse in the Book of Romans by following up Romans 1:17 with:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who hold the truth in unrighteousness…”
Romans 1:18

What is the wrath of God to be revealed against? “All unrighteousness” even upon those who “hold the truth” for they hold it in “unrighteousness”. Any faith which is not causing men and women to grow in their ability to live righteously is the result of holding the truth of God in unrighteousness. Let all who have ears to hear; faith without the works of God is dead! The Greek word used for “works” in this scripture is best defined by the English word “energy”. Faith which does not produce the “energy” of God within the life of an individual, unto the demonstration of its author, is dead and carries no eternal value.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also
James 2:26

Let us hear the truth of what James is declaring by the Holy Spirit. A body without the spirit is but a carcass; so are those whose faith is without works. May we all reconsider the degree and the power of His Life within us today! God is calling, ever beckoning us to “come unto Him” that we may have (present tense) the wonder of His life within our hearts.

“If any man thirst,
let him come unto me, and drink”
John 7:37

To what end?

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
John 7:38

Christ HAS COME but more importantly, HE IS COME! Even greater, HE IS COMING!

“Who delivered us from so great a death,
and doth deliver:
in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us
2 Corinthians 1:10

Delivered (past tense)
Doth deliver (present tense)
Will yet deliver (future tense)

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I NOW live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave himself for me”
Galatians 2:20

Lastly, Paul in the Book of Galatians states that the life he “NOW” lived, he lived by the faith of the Son of God. May we take note of the life he lived and its power it had on the world about him! It is time for us to begin to consider what we allow as acceptable. May the power of God’s word move us afresh to pursue in Him greater vistas of grace and glory in our salvation. May His Word move within our hearts to produce a new apprehension of what HE has called us to and for us to begin to see the full provisions which are ours in Christ Jesus!

“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, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end”
Ephesians 3:20-21

Brian Troxel

Preach the Word – Longsuffering

Preach the Word – Longsuffering

Part Two

Preach the word;
be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering…”
2 Timothy 4:2

For the preaching of The Word to be effective, it must spring from the source which is the love of God Himself. Care and concern for the status of God’s people is the motive. It does not rise from self-righteousness but from a deep knowing that God is righteous. There is a suffering borne by those who behold apathy and complacency; a pain carried within the hearts of those who feel the call of God to deeper and higher things, who sense a responsibility to cry out in the darkness. The call to speak is greater than the vessel. The need to present God far outweighs the desire for acceptance and friendship. Longsuffering is the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. It is not an attribute of the flesh, but its hold upon a heart produces a suffering long with the condition of God’s House.

Sin is the reason for the suffering of humanity in its lost condition. Love is the reason for suffering in the godly. Christ suffered most, leaving us an example of what righteousness will bring to one who is growing in the wonder of His light and love.

“For consider Him that endured
such contradiction of sinners against himself…”
Hebrews 12:3

Let us consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners, who suffered long in the midst of a perverse and lost generation. The greatest contradiction was from His own people who, in their blindness, and religious ambition, condemned Him to death, even the death of the Cross. Those who follow on to know Him must experience in some small way the same rejection.

“Love suffers long, Love endures all things”, and, to whatever measure we are held in its sway, there will be a corresponding expression of its virtues. By contrast, apathy cares little, speaks smooth words, is pragmatic and remains uninvolved with the conflicts between light and darkness. It hides itself in religious garments of false separation and indifference just as the priest and the Levite who passed by the man who lay beaten in the streets. It was the despised Samaritan, who involved himself in the plight of this one, of whom the blessed Saviour tells us to “go and DO likewise”.

The true love of God necessitates involvement and personal risk. The religion of men produces insulated living and empty words which lack the one essential thing: Love. The preaching of The Word must be fueled by the fire of the Love of God to make Him known in this world.

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”
Ephesians 3:8

The Grace of God received is revealed in the “necessity” to preach among those to whom the vessel is sent “the unsearchable riches of Christ”. There is no desire to draw men and women unto themselves. They have no church, organization or earthly agendas; they live to make Him known! Grace received can have no other heart!

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
1 Corinthians 9:17

There is no room for self-promotion or boasting; it is a burden of “necessity” to preach the Gospel. There is an unction and a fire which burns within those who hold a glimmer of His beauty and wonder. This is not a weak gospel that robs His people of the purity and the power of this love. This is not a casual gospel with a gentle presentation designed to make the wayward comfortable and anesthetized to their own sin. For what is often presented as the “love of God” is in fact a “gospel’ of a god who has been made in their own image and to their own liking.

Where are those who feel the pangs of “necessity” to make Him known in this day? May God pour out upon us a grace that produces lives compelled by the Love of God to make Him known. May He save us from slumber, indifference and ungodly apathy, speaking of “deep” things yet revealing our shallowness through unremarkable living; lives with little or no effect upon the world around us. Let us not claim to have a faith in word but which denies the power of God even within the confines of our own homes. It is time for a new generation to arise who will “Preach the Word” and bring strong exhortations of God to contend with the bondages of a lost generation.

May those who bear His fire in their hearts declare His Word unto the earth and unto the heavens!

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”
2 Timothy 4:2

Brian Troxel

Letters to the Church – Part Six

Letters to the Church – Part Six

“For I know with an absolute knowledge and stand persuaded in the Lord Jesus that not even one thing is unhallowed in itself except it be to the one who reasons it out to be unhallowed. To that one it is unhallowed. For, if because of food your brother is made to grieve, no longer are you conducting yourself according to love. Stop ruining by your food that one on behalf of whom Christ died. Therefore, stop allowing your good to be spoken of in a reproachful and evil manner; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the sphere of the Holy Spirit; for the one who in this serves the Christ is well pleasing to God, and because having met the specifications is approved by men”
Romans 14:14-18 (Wuest Translation)

Paul prefaced this plea to the Body of Christ with:

“For, on the one hand, there is he who judges a day above another day. On the other hand, there is he who subjects every day to a scrutiny. Let each one in his own mind be fully assured. The one who has formed a judgment regarding the day, with reference to the Lord he judges it. And the one who eats, with reference to the Lord he eats, for he gives thanks to God. And the one who does not eat, with reference to the Lord does not eat, and he gives thanks to God…”
Romans 14:5-6 (Wuest Translation)

“But as for you, why are you judging your brother? Or, as for you also, why are you treating your brother with contempt? For we all shall stand before the judgment seat of God. For it stands written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Therefore, then, each one of us shall give an account concerning himself to God. Therefore, no longer let us be judging one another. But be judging this rather, not to place a stumbling block before your brother, or a snare in which he may be entrapped”
Romans 14:10-11 (Wuest Translation)

There is within the economy and glory of Christ the liberty and respect for each member to hold within their hearts their own faith concerning food, drink, and days. The secret to this liberty is that they are “serving Christ” in their persuasions.

Paul in Colossians stated:

“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

Let not him who regards a day judge him who regards not a day; let not him who regards not a day judge him who esteems a day over another.

The living fabric of Christ’s Body is more than meat, drink or reference to some day or season. His LIFE is the very sinew and connection of each and every part. The ignorance of who and what the wonder of Christ is becomes apparent when the mundane issues of life become of more importance than the unity of His Spirit in our midst!

Paul goes on to say in his letter to the Colossians that they who judge others in respect to the elemental and menial things are

“…not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God’s growth. If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, “Don’t handle, nor taste, nor touch” (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men?”
Colossians 2:19-22

We violate the very life of Christ who supplies the rich ministrations through which we are knitted together. Those who emphasise the mundane over the Holy will give an answer to Him in the Day of Judgment.

Paul finishes his discourse of these things by stating that the observance of these things will in NO WAY bring victory for a believer over their flesh. There are no spiritual victories to be gained by the foolishness of fleshly ordinances. Our victory comes only by living and abiding within the sphere of Christ Himself.

May God free us from the horror and stain of the Pharisee spirit in the observance of trivial matters while failing to comprehend that “the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5).

“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Seven Ones – Perfection)
Ephesians 4:2-6

Those who would destroy the bonds of peace and sever the very ligaments of Christ over the rudimentary elements in respect to days, food and drink, know not the heart of He who is the Head of all things.

One cannot read the beauty of Ephesians Chapter 4 and Colossians Chapter 2, with any illumination of the Spirit of God, and not feel the very essence of Christ Himself beckoning us to preserve the Unity of His Spirit and the wonder of the Body of Christ.

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind”
Philippians 2:1-2

Fellowship is the natural outflow between those who are in Christ. Where there is no deep and powerful flow of Christ there is darkness and separation from the Life and Wonder of Christ. Beware of something added (or taken away) from the Life Giving essence of Christ alone. Light (not knowledge) is the basis of true fellowship.

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

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