The Gospel of Freedom

The Gospel of Freedom

“For ye know what commandments
we gave you by the Lord Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 4:2

Freedom of self is but a path to bondage and depravity. The Gospel of God offers an entirely new and radical freedom; freedom from self. To hold the words of God in the intellect only, without allowing them to bring us under His Lordship, is the bane of religion. The full salvation of God lies in Him becoming our life in order for us to reveal His.

The “gospel” of today often ignores the fact that God has given us “commandments”. It tends to focus on our freedom rather than His. We receive forgiveness to deal with our guilt, yet our essential self remains unchanged. This is not the full salvation for wherever “self” remains so too does the rebellion, the disobedience and the carnal tendencies which contaminate and refute His Lordship in our lives.

“For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God”
Romans 8:6-8

Paul writing to the Church at Thessalonica declared that he had given them commandments concerning their walk and growth in the Lord. If commandments are spoken of today many are offended; they label it “legalism” and cover their ears from the truth. We must stop and ask ourselves where these commandments came from. They came “by the Lord Jesus”.

“For ye know what commandments
we gave you by the Lord Jesus
1 Thessalonians 4:2

What is the spirit and purpose in which they are given to us?

“For this is the will of God,
even your sanctification…”
1 Thessalonians 4:3

A gospel which presents only the truth of justification without the need of becoming vessels which are sanctified, is not able to impart the power and the wonder of His Salvation. Jesus came to save us from our sins, not to offer a salvation to enable us to remain in our sins.

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

Paul prefaced this powerful truth by declaring emphatically:

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

If we in truth hold to this powerful word, we must conclude that IF we are under grace sin shall NOT have dominion over us. It is the grace of God that breaks the chains of sin. Grace is not a sentiment; it is the power of God to free us from the dominion of sin. Freedom from sin is a revelation of the measure that our lives are lived under His grace! Grace frees us from the penalty of the Law because it causes us to live above the dictates of the law by the power of the Law of His life in us (read Romans 8:3-4*). That is the true freedom of a life in Christ. The commandments are spiritual and because of that we must walk in the Spirit to fulfill them. Only a spiritual man can fulfill a spiritual law.

The carnal man bristles at the very mention of the word “commandments” for it strikes at the heart of rebellion. One may speak the words of the redeemed yet live and walk under the dominion of the carnal mind. God’s word speaks to all who walk in the flesh.

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

We may quote scriptures and be involved with a church or some Christian sect, but if we walk in the flesh we “cannot please God”! Those who are truly spiritual fulfill the Law of God for they are partakers of the ONE who came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it!

“Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill”
Matthew 5:17

Thanks be unto God who has brought a true and powerful salvation to all who by faith enter into a Grace which makes us free from the Law of Sin and Death.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed”
John 8:36

The Gospel of Christ is not in Word only; it is revealed in the power to break the dominion of sin and free us from the works of the flesh. The deliverance of God is seen here in our past, in our present, and in a living hope for our deliverance in the future.

“…who delivered (past) us out of so great a death, and does deliver (present); on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us (future)  italics mine
2 Corinthians 1:10

Ω

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
Romans 8:2

Brian Troxel

The Basis of our Salvation

Nothing but the Blood

“…when I see the blood,
I will pass over you”
Exodus 12:13

A great misconception in much of the Gospel today is that the forgiveness of our sins is based upon compassion rather than the sacrifice of our Savior. His justice demanded that our sins be paid for. God’s love dictated that His Only Begotten Son offer Himself upon the Cross to pay the penalty for our rebellion, sin and shame. If we fail in understanding the nature of our God, we will fail to understand the nature and wonder of our salvation. This failure leads to lukewarm living and carelessness in the hearts of many.

“For God so loved the world
that He gave His Only Begotten Son…”

It was because of Love that God sent His Son to die in our stead. Forgiveness was based on the Blood of Jesus, not on the sentimentality of love. The Love of God never violates His righteousness. His Love is pure and holy and those who dwell in Love, walk in righteousness. It is humanistic reasoning that presents a salvation based upon anything less than the Sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. This infusion of humanism into the mixture of the Truth of God robs us of the conviction of sin; of the horror that it actually is. We get the idea that God simply “winks” at our sin because He is Love. It is because of this deadly supposition that many in Christ live at ease with sin and are robbed of touching the power and glory of God in their lives.

Whenever sin is regarded lightly, the knowledge of God is superficial. God hides Himself from such. It is in His Holy Presence that the true nature of sin becomes known and our repentance is real.

The Holy Love of God
required Sacrifice to procure our Forgiveness.

As we begin to know in truth that our salvation is only because of His Sacrifice we are able to respond to Him sacrificially. Anything less desensitizes us to the incredible cost of our redemption and produces lukewarm hearts, tepid prayers and impotent living.

“But to whom little is forgiven,
the same loves little.”
Luke 7:47

When we estimate our salvation based on a sentiment rather than the sacrifice of God’s Son, the corresponding heart response is artificial, lacking the fire and intensity of all that He is worthy of.

“It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied”.
Oswald Chambers

Σ

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
By Robert Lowry

Brian Troxel

Simplicity of Life – Part One

The Simplicity of Life

Part One

“Let your garments be always white.
Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)

The great gift afforded us of the garments of salvation require our attention to keep them white and clean. We walk in a world filled with contamination, temptation and sin at every turn. Uncleanness in conversation, things which would corrupt our thought life and offenses from which bitterness and unforgiveness may arise all threaten to stain our garments. Our exposure to all of these things in their varied forms require His grace and power to cleanse us from “all unrighteousness”; otherwise the residue can poison our minds and spirits. There is an aggregate effect upon us. John encourages us to deal faithfully with the sins and offenses in our life.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’
1 John 1:9

His dealings with sin in our life are not only to forgive but His power is released to also cleanse us from any residue. Many who deal lightly with sin never go deep enough in their transactions with God to the point of knowing and experiencing the cleansing which should accompany the regenerating work of grace. Bitterness, anger, sins of the flesh, anything which impairs our newness of Life in Him, needs to be fully worked out until we are clean and pure again in His sight.

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
Hebrews 12:15

Bitterness that is not dealt with will always spring up defiling not only ourselves but others. Its rancor and poison cannot be kept from the tongue unto the spreading of malicious gossip often accompanied with unwholesome deeds that bring damnation and judgment upon many. May we be instructed in the way of the Lord by the simplicity of His words:

“Let your garments be always white”

(to be continued)

Brian Troxel

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 Stewardship of Christ

The Stewardship of Christ

“For if I preach the Good News, I have nothing to boast about; for necessity is laid on me; but woe is to me, if I don’t preach the Good News. For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the Good News, I may present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News”
1 Corinthians 9:16-18

It is crucial in this hour for us to be a voice that is a clear and consistent expression of His heart, His purposes, and most importantly, His Person. How we as the clay of humanity express Him with the clarity that He deserves is a heart-wrenching experience; yet it is the privilege of all who bear His Name.

“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak…”
Colossians 4:3-4

May we hold one another up in the burden of His Spirit that He would make “ministers a flame of fire” (Hebrews 1:7) to present Him to His Church first, and then to the world. The passion within to make Him known is the evidence of His call to be stewards of His grace to all who would hear.

Brian Troxel

The True Strength

Strength Out of Weakness!

“…for when I am weak, then am I strong”
2 Corinthians 12:10

“To trust in the strength of God in our weakness; to say, “I am weak; so let me be. God is strong”; to seek from Him who is our life, as the natural, simple cure of all that is amiss with us, power to do and be and live, even when we are weary–this is the victory that overcomes the world…

“I am weak,” says the true soul, “but not so weak that I would not be strong, not so sleepy that I would not see the sun rise, not so lame but that I would walk! Thanks be to Him who perfects strength in weakness and gives to His beloved of His very life even while they sleep!”
– George MacDonald

To God Alone Be the Glory!

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – Exhortation & Harmony

Exhortation & Harmony

A Study on the ministry of exhortation and the unity of God’s people.

PODCAST – Prevailing Faith

Prevailing Faith

the promises of revelation 2
are to those WHO OVERCOME

 

True Life

True Life

The Life of Becoming

“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

Knowledge is good. Understanding the work of Christ on the cross is the foundational truth whereby we have the assurance of our standing in Him. Upon this cornerstone the Father was able to send unto us the power and wonder of the Holy Spirit that we might receive Christ within and live lives that actually reveal Him. It is through the glorification of Jesus, His death, and His resurrection, that the Holy Spirit has been sent into our hearts.

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
John 7:38-39

The plan and the purpose of the Holy Spirit being given is to produce His likeness in us. To whatever degree truth is actual on an individual level will determine the depth of our journey into the Unity of the Spirit*. We have far too much apathy in the knowledge of what Christ did FOR US* when in reality the pressing issue (for each of us) is what has He accomplished IN and THROUGH US. They who have the true knowledge of what He did for us reveal its wonder by our abandonment to His Will (Romans 12:1). Jesus died for the sins of the whole world but how few are radically affected by His great sacrifice. Faith is the defining agency between a mere knowing of a thing and the incomprehensible changing power of His resurrection life.

“Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth”
1 Corinthians 8:1

The giving forth of the Spirit of Christ is to culminate in a life (true life) with an authentic expression of He who is The Life. It is a life of doing because it proceeds from a life of being. Paul in the spirit of true humility could declare this incredible statement:

“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

For those with ears to hear and eyes to see, the purpose of God in Christ is the very power to renovate our pride of knowing into the humility and brokenness over our true spiritual condition. The pride of man is shattered by the truth of Christ! It is not what we know that has value in the economy of God; it is what we become by the work of His Spirit within us. Faith is the conduit through which this transformation is conducted.

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

The measure of Christ’s work within us is proportional to our submission to Him. Light is simply the flow of power through a flimsy element. The element has no ability to produce light in itself. It matters little if the element can give a great discourse on the composition of power, how it is made and where it comes from; if there is no actual flow there will be no light. So it is with us. The knowledge of God must culminate in the flow of His power through us in order for His purposes to be accomplished. Paul was not content in what he knew. He did not glory in the revelations given; his heart was inflamed with the necessity of “apprehending” that full power of Christ within.

“Not that I have already obtained,
or am already made perfect; but I press on,
that I may take hold of that for which also
I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:12

May God, by His Spirit, impact our lives afresh with the depth and the heights to which He has called us. The glory of this call cannot but produce within us a depth of humility which frees us from the pride of knowledge and bring us into a living hope that sustains us in the seeing of our great need for Him.

There is but one unmistakable proof of this living hope being active and alive within us:

“…but we know that, when He shall appear,
we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in Him
purifieth himself, even as He is pure
1 John 3:2-3

The Hope of Christ within will always produce a growing purity of heart. The great and (H)impossible call and purpose of God remains:

“As He is,
so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

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*Note: The Unity of the Spirit is the fruit of our being in Him. My submission to Him and His Spirit reigning in you results in us being unified in Him. Fellowship in Him will always be proportional to the depth in which we walk in His Light. Where there is no true fellowship with another, Light is the issue. The validity of our walk is revealed in the wonder and joy of our sharing in Him one with another.

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

*Note: Eternity will not be long enough to explore and comprehend the mystery of His sacrifice and the Love which motivated the grand and unfathomable gift of Himself. The measure of His grace is purposed to produce burning, living and radical lives which have been affected by the wonder of His unspeakable gift. 

“Who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee”
Titus 2:14-15

Brian Troxel

 

Samson and the Downtrodden

The Sign of Samson

“And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.”
Judges 16:21

The Life of Samson
is a SIGN to the Downtrodden

Round and round the unseen track trod this prisoner bound in brass. Round and round, his broken soul weighed down with the pain of having failed his God. The once proud and arrogant Samson, with God-given strength, who feared little and did as he pleased, was now reduced to an object of worldly sport and the jeering of his enemies. Round and round the defeated one walked, his hopeless and pitiful existence spent in this daily, endless grind. Ridiculed by his foes, and apparently abandoned by his God, his end seemed near.

Many children of God have lost hope and thus assume that these are their last days with no seeming purpose. Others cling to promises which seem farther away today than they did the day before. The evening shadows fall heavily upon their souls. The light which burned bright in former days gives way to obscurity and growing doubt. Round and round the monotony of the daily path slowly drains their joy and passion for God. Just like Samson lives are beaten down with defeat, broken dreams, and shattered hopes in the midst of failures and circumstances too great to overcome. The way seems barred, the doors shut. Such would be the case – except for GOD!

The once powerful Samson was reduced to slavery and ridicule because of his foolish love of Delilah (representing the world and its ways). He fell under her seduction and gave up the secret of his strength. Bound and fettered by her beguiling ways, his eyes were put out (his spiritual vision) and he became the slave and merchandise of the Harlot. Time passed in worldliness and selfish pursuits until at last the realization begin to dawn upon him as to the dire place to which he had fallen. The careless life he lived, the reckless abandon to his selfish ways and pursuits, brought him to a place of utter bondage and hopelessness.

“But the hair of his head
began to grow again after it had been shaved”
Judges 16:22

May God remind us that His promises hold true and His mercies never cease. The enemy, your enemy, does not know the hidden ways of the Lord. The Devil sees not the secret council of the wisdom and the purposes of God. God will surely “renew their strength” and in due time “they will mount up with wings as eagles”. It is time to lift up your eyes which have been blinded by your enemy; a day to lift up the hands which hang down and to once again sing the song of the Lord with joy. It is of the Lord’s mercies to work in our Day; to cause His servants to arise and, as Samson, strike a greater blow in our weakness than we ever did in the days of our strength.

“Therefore also now, saith the Lord,
turn ye even to me with all your heart,
and with fasting, and with weeping,
and with mourning…”
Joel 2:12

“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 35:3-10

Ω

“…let the weak say, I am strong”
Joel 3:10

Brian Troxel