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

Grace for Others

Grace for Others

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 14:10-13 (Wuest Translation)

Paul prefaced this plea to the Body of Christ with:

Who are you who judge another’s servant? To his own lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand. One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks. He who doesn’t eat, to the Lord he doesn’t eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself
Romans 14:5-6

(May the very Spirit of Christ be the arbitrator of our hearts).

My previous post (Thought for Today -Christmas) was in response to attending a school Christmas concert of one of my grandchildren. I sat there as each individual class got up to sing some silly song about Santa, reindeer or snow. I found it heart-breaking that there is a generation arising who knows and hears little of the precious Name of Jesus. After 6 or 7 classes, one got up and sang a beautiful song about my Saviour, His birth and resurrection; I found myself thanking God that there was one teacher who was making an effort to make known His Name. I discovered afterwards that she had written the song herself. To me she was a great light shining in the darkness and it made me want to be the same. It encouraged me that there was one who had a heart to make known His Name and do it in such a way that her whole class was being taught the message of His birth, death and resurrection. The ministration of the Gospel went forth in a very simple and yet profound way. She was not afraid of this contentious day; she used it for the Glory of God.

My own experience growing up was in a godless family with a violent father; at one point I was living on the streets at the age of 13. However, I remember back in one of my grade school days, while participating in a Christmas concert, I was singing a certain carol and there was such a joy that welled up in my heart! To this day I know it was God’s grace touching a very lost and lonely life.

My God is above all things; what Satan means for evil, God uses for good. While to some this day is “unhallowed”, to others it is “hallowed”; to me it is neither. I hope, just as this teacher did, only to make HIS NAME known in a world that is perishing for the lack of His Light.

Paul rejoiced whenever and wherever the name of Jesus Christ was made known.

“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice”
Philippians 1:15-18

Whether one esteems a day or not, let the LOVE of Christ show through as we are entreated in the Word of God. To me every day is the same; but regarding those who honour the day as unto the Lord and those who do not honour the day, I will not speak evil of them. This is not the spirit of compromise; it is the grace of God lending respect and honour to the faith of God in His people.

Everyone one of us will surely stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ for our words, our thoughts and our actions.

I was totally taken by surprise over the reactions and the flood of comments concerning such a trivial subject. Would to God we would be as zealous over our real issues of life! Issues such as the nature of our thought lives, our lack of charity, and our real need to overcome every vestige of sin and rebellion in our hearts; to the END that we would be immersed in the Love of God.

Be that as it may, to those who have been offended, I heartily apologize as it is not my purpose to stir up controversy or strife.

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called 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”
Ephesians 4:1-6

“Glory in the highest places to God,
and upon earth peace among men of good will
Luke 2:14
(Wuest and the literal Greek rendering)

Σ

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”
(2 Corinthians 4:6)

May HE Shine through each of you in the coming year!

Blessings
Brian Troxel

PODCAST – The Sea of Glass

The Sea of Glass and the Tabernacle of the Testimony

We read again of the “sea of glass” in Revelation 15:2

And I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had come off victorious from the beast and from his image and from the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God.”

In this case the “sea” is no longer described as a “crystal,” but as “a sea of glass mixed with fire.” Where John had seen the sea in front of the throne, here we see the overcomers “standing upon the sea of glass.”

The Path to Ministry – Purity of Service

The Path to True Ministry

Part Five

Purity of Service

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

In the life of a true disciple everything is to be unto Him. It is our faithfulness to this One alone, that frees us from selfish pursuits in the name of God. Religion is simply taking the Name of the Lord our God in vain; we seek to promote ourselves under the pretense of serving God.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain*
Exodus 20:7

*NOTE: shaw' (H7723), "deceit; deception; malice; falsity; vanity; emptiness." The 53 occurrences of shaw' are primarily in poetry. The basic meaning of this word is "deceit" or "deception," "malice," and "falsehood." This meaning emerges when shaw' is used in a legal context: "Put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness" (Exo 23:1). Used in cultic contexts, the word bears these same overtones but may be rendered variously. For example, in Psa 31:6 the word may be rendered "vain" (KJV, "lying"), in the sense of "deceitful" (cf. Eze 12:24). Eliphaz described the ungodly as those who trust in "emptiness" or "deception," though they gain nothing but emptiness as a reward for that trust (Job 15:31). Vines Dictionary of Old Testament Words.

“A masculine noun meaning emptiness, vanity, evil, ruin, uselessness, deception, worthless, without result, fraud, deceit. The primary meaning of the word is deceit, lie, or falsehood. God used the word to indicate that He punished Judah in vain. The word is used by the psalmist to state that all activities such as laboring, guarding, rising early, staying up late, and toiling for food were useless without God's assistance (Psa 127:1-2) …”
The Complete Word Study Old Testament (Word Study Series) Hardcover – June 1, 1994 by Baker D.R.E., Dr. Warren Patrick (Author), Dr. Spiros Zodhiates (Editor)

The unsaved cannot take His Name in falsehood or deception; they cannot take a name which has not been given to them! This commandment was written to His people. Sadly, throughout history, we read of many who have taken His glorious name unto themselves for their own gain and purpose. False teachings, prophesies, wrong and immoral deeds, and the perversion of His Word to draw people unto themselves, were and are committed in the name of God. Those guilty of such things will not escape His judgements or wrath.

“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them”
Acts 20:30

The only hope of freedom from the contagion of this horror is by the workings of the Cross in our lives. It is only by the “spirit of burning” and the crucifying of that “carnal man” that we will know purity of heart in our service unto Him. There is no valid expression of the risen Christ who has not known of His judgments, His fire and His Mercy. Authenticity is the fruit of a life who has walked with Him in truth.

“Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel”
1 Corinthians 9:9

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Path to True Ministry – Relationship and Prayer

The Path to True Ministry

Part Four

Relationship and prayer

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

In the midst of much speaking, praying and Christian activity we see little in terms of the release and the power of Christ. While much of these endeavours are born out of a desire to make Christ known, the issue is not desire but the source of the power. Let these words penetrate our hearts afresh…

“As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself…neither can you, unless you remain in me”.
John 15:7

Relationship and Prayer

The heart and power of the New Covenant is founded on one fundamental truth: relationship. It is not in our abilities, money, strength of personality or associations with others whereby this power is known.

Endless prayer meetings and strategies in themselves will not make this power to be released. It is in our being in Him alone wherein we will find the enablement to make Him known. Too often the religious have exalted prayer over obedience and relationship. It can become the panacea for all of our ills when in reality it is only effective in proportion to our relationship with Him.

“If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you”
John 15:7

Religion always excludes the relationship aspect of our place in Christ. In Israel’s darkest days the priests were still praying, offering sacrifices and observing all of the rituals, while they neglected to walk in obedience from their hearts. We want answered prayers; God looks for obedience and relationship. We want His benefits apart from His person, His life apart from the Cross, His blessings apart from obedience; it will never be.

We hear much today concerning prayer and rightfully so; yet how little attention we pay to God’s Word concerning this. We often hear a partial quotation of the scripture from 2 Chronicles 7:14; “If my people will pray then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”. When in reality the full quote is as follows…

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; THEN will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”
2 Chronicles 7:14

Religion can have the appearance of sincerity and earnest appeal unto God, but it often ignores the need to take heed to our ways so that we may be properly related to Him from our hearts.

The remedy to the crisis of this hour is simple and available to all who desire Him out of a pure heart.

“If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you
John 15:7

Σ

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

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Path to True Ministry – Part Three

The Path to True Ministry

Part Three

ENABLEMENT

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

The Cross is the Path to the Empowerment of Christ

The days of apostasy in God’s house are always preceded by a people walking and ministering His truth through the power of self. Whenever man is exalted the fire of God recedes and the resulting horror is a people left to themselves. God’s enablement falls upon those upon those who remain faithful to Him. His Life, His Power and His sharp two-edged sword proceeds from those who have known (in some measure) the devastating work of the Cross to the natural abilities and resources of their own selves. The cross is reserved for those who follow Him within the context of everyday life.

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”
1 Corinthians 1:18

Where there is no obedience there can be no Cross.
Where there is no working of the cross
there will be no true power of the Christ of the Cross

The Cross of Christ is NOT the testings and the trials of everyday life for the world knows of these same things. The Cross of Christ is that which comes to those who DO His Will. It is in the doing of His Will where His Own know and identify with Him and the resulting opposition and hatred which comes their way. It is in speaking, standing and walking out of His Will where the graces of Him are formed and the natural tendencies of self are crucified. How foolish is the notion that we can experience the workings of the Cross of Christ apart from obedience unto Christ? Paul was enabled because his life was one of faithful obedience and submission unto the will of God.

The “enablement” of the favour and ministration of Christ Himself is the only source of power in His Church. The energies of self will always leave an individual powerless, fruitless and impotent in the ministrations of Christ. Fruit is the revelation of the power of our relationship with Him…

“Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, He takes away.
Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit

John 15:2

Fruit is the undeniable result of a branch which abides and lives out of the resources of the living vine;

Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me
John 15:4

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Path to Ministry – Part Two

The Path to True Ministry

Part Two

ENABLEMENT

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

Thankfulness is the touchstone of a true disciple. There is an overwhelming sense of indebtedness to the mercy of God in Christ (Romans 8:11-12). Thankfulness frees the soul from jealously and envy of others. In the recognition of our own unworthiness of any favour from God, we begin our journey into discipleship with a right motive. Many make the mistake of thinking they deserve or are qualified for such a high and glorious call. It is from such that schisms and strife arise in the Body of Christ. Motive is critical to the receiving of His enablement.

In receiving His enablement, we are empowered to make HIM known in the earth. True discipleship can only be as deep as the purity of our motives in following Him. Whenever and wherever people seek the approval of others they will know little of this empowering grace. Freedom from self and the opinions of others is the stamp of a true disciple. Disciples follow Him; they do not seek positions or places of recognition. They do not seek advantage for themselves, but only seek to please Him who has called them unto a life of separation.

In our day the word “ministry” has come to mean something that has very little to do with God’s original thought or meaning. It is a word fraught with the horror of misrepresentation of all God intended. The reasoning is that by sending individuals to an institution we can prepare men and women for the highest purpose in life. One who has the ability to compile scriptures, and present them with cleverness and personal charisma, is considered to have the “goods” for ministry. We suppose by mere instruction and following the methods of men we can produce divine and unique expressions of the living Christ! How far we have fallen from our reliance upon the creative power of Christ Himself. May the Lord free us from our dependency upon our own resources and bring us back to the “Divine Enablement” of Christ alone.

“What is a man, a minister, a sacrament, a city, a nation, without the Spirit of God? What makes matters so far wrong in a land, but that there is so little of the Spirit with ministers and people? There is no life where the quickening Spirit comes not: O sirs, we will have dead preaching. dead hearing, dead communicating, lifeless work this day if the purchased Spirit does not come! When He comes life comes with Him”
– Ralph Erskine

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

Words from THE Church in Iran

Words from THE Church in Iran

“Disciples forsake the world and cling to Jesus ’till he comes. Converts don’t,” the leader said. “Disciples aren’t engaged in a culture war. Converts are. Disciples cherish, obey, and share the word of God. Converts don’t. Disciples choose Jesus over anything and everything else. Converts don’t. Converts run when the fire comes. Disciples don’t.”

This is the cry of His people coming out of Iran. God is moving, empowering and raising up a living testimony in Iran and to the whole world! Please go to this link: The Church in Iran

Pray for our brothers and sisters!

Thought for Today – Hedged In

Thought for Today

Hedged In

“Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?”
Job 3:23

The confinements of God serve His end to those who understand His ways. Liberty in the Spirit often comes to those who feel hedged in in the flesh. The light of God is given in times of darkness. The constrictions of circumstances bring enlargement, patience and strength to those who see beyond the walls of this life. There is a hidden ministry, veiled from the prisoner, during the silent and painful work of a pearl being formed. The graces of God must be fashioned in the life of His own in the dark and lonely experiences of life.

“And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison,
a place where the king’s prisoners were bound:
and he was there in the prison”
Genesis 39:20

There are dark places within the soul of man which require dark times to bring and fill them with the light of God! Joseph could not comprehend the end God had determined for him. He had a dream of authority in the family of God, but he had never even considered the greater sphere in which he would rule and reign! God’s end is always larger than what we can see. What was the secret hidden in Joseph’s captivity?

“But the Lord was with Joseph…”
Genesis 39:21

There is treasure locked within the dark times of our lives. There are purposes to be mined in the deep places of confinement and loneliness. The promise of greater things is bound up within our faithfulness to serve God in these prisons. Joseph’s faithfulness to God was the key to his release. His faithfulness to the gift of interpreting dreams became the very means of unlocking his prison door.

Let not the dark places crush your vision. Let not despondency rob you of your service unto the King of kings. Remain faithful in every circumstance to serve and honor God; for we shall surely reap in proportion to our sowing. We will stand in the Day of harvest, bringing our sheaves to lay at the feet of the One alone who is worthy.

“I have remembered thy name,
O Lord, in the night,
and have kept thy law”
Psalm 119:55

Σ

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness,
and hidden riches of secret places,
that thou mayest know that I, the Lord,
which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel”
Isaiah 45:3

Brian Troxel