The Family of God

The Family of God

Family of God

“The beginning of love for the brethren
is learning to listen to them”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Listening to our brothers and sisters in Christ comes from the mutual respect and recognition borne of His Spirit. Whenever and wherever we see the evidential testimony of Christ within another life we are bound by the wonder of His Life to them.

“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Matthew 12:50

It is not by confessions that we are bound to one another; it is His life moving, enabling, and willing to will in us to “DO of His good pleasure”. Brotherhood/sisterhood is the result of His Life not of some verbal religious confession.

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

It is also much deeper than signs and wonders and words of confession:

“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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”
Matthew 7:22-23

There are many who believe differently, who see things differently but within their lives, there is an unmistakable sense they are His; not on the basis of confession but by the evidence of His Life being in them.

Jesus prefaced this powerful discerning truth by declaring:

“Wherefore by their fruits,
ye shall know them…”
Matthew 7:20

How wide and how narrow is the Body of Christ! The attributes of His Spirit are the evidence of His Life. Doing His Will is the summation of the Life of Christ. He came to DO the Will of the Father and to whatever measure His heart is ruling in our own, will be the evidence of His Life within. There is a wideness and a mercy which wells up within all who have been baptized by that One Spirit into the One Body for one another.

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many”
1 Corinthians 12:13-14

It is my prayer that we all would drink in of this ONE truth… we are One because of His Spirit inhabiting, moving, and breaking down the walls of the division made by the teachings of men. There are many with whom we may converse concerning Christ but that is not fellowship, that is not what comprises the family of God. The Body of Christ is where each member is joined BY and IN His Spirit fusing us into a “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5) where we flow together in the unifying Spirit of His growing Lordship. It is only living stones that are capable of being a part of this spiritual house.

“They profess to know God,
but they deny him by their works”
Titus 1:16

Brian Troxel

 

 

The Fire of Pentecost

The Fire of Pentecost

Pentecost and Fire

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…”
Acts 2:2-4

The Church of Jesus Christ began with the roar of a mighty wind and flaming tongues of fire and we can rest assured it will end in greater glory than when it began.

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning…”
Ecclesiastes7:8

While men contemplate a defeated, beleaguered, and divided church leaving this earth with a whimper, God’s Word declares something contrary.

“God always saves
the Best wine for the last”

In a mere fifty days, the fearful disciples became blazing Apostles, the fear of man was eviscerated in the power of God and the salvation of God went forth in the life-changing dynamic of the living God. The same hope holds in our day while many are content with things as they are; God is preparing a deep and holy move of His Spirit. A fresh and vital pouring forth of Himself which is preceded by the spirit of burning and repentance; for “the depth of revival is determined by the depth of repentance”, so may God pour out upon us the “spirit of grace and supplications” that we may touch the Holy of God and thereby be worthy* to be filled with His Holy Fire. It requires the moving of the spirit of Grace to produce the spirit of supplication and repentance. Grace for grace, faith for faith, and glory for glory unto those who have been faithful in this hour of great testing.

It is a day to lift up our eyes unto the hills for the King of Glory is coming and His reward is with Him to render unto every man the fruit of their ways.

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me,
to give every man according as his work shall be…”
Revelation 22:12

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 “…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”
Ephesians 5:27

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“I owe everything to the gift of Pentecost. For fifty days the facts of the Gospel were complete, but no conversions were recorded. Pentecost registered three thousand souls. It is by fire that a holy passion is kindled in the soul whereby we live the life of God. The soul’s safety is in its heat. Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, make for a Church without power
– Samuel Chadwick

* NOTE: Man in himself is never worthy of Him nor the power of the indwelling Spirit but by the power of the Blood of Christ, we are to be holy recipients of His Holy Spirit. We are exhorted to “walk worthy of God” who has called us to walk in heavenly places.

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory”
1 Thessalonians 2:12

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus”
Revelation 22:20

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – Serving God

Serving God

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
(2Tim 3:16-17)

Brian Troxel

Spiritual Union

Spiritual Union

If we love one another, God dwelleth in us,
and his love is perfected in us.”
1 John 4:12

God measures our life in Him by the Love we have for one another. Love is the bond, the ligaments as it were, of the Body of Christ. Love is never content with shallow religious affiliations. It seeks out, pursues, and ever desires full knowledge of another. Within its own heart is the flame of relationship and union in Christ. Its reach into another heart is for the purpose of apprehending oneness; the same oneness for which Christ prayed unto the Father. This union of hearts is the very essence and heartbeat of His Spirit within His own. It is a cry which can only be fulfilled in the purity and wonder of His Holiness becoming in truth our holiness. Many fear such depths of fellowship for in the intimacy of holy bonds there is no room for the hypocrisy and pretense of an insincere heart. Holiness in Christ is the fearful abode in which only the authentic can live and be at home. The depth of our abiding in Him corresponds with the depth of our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The measure of our own partaking of His resurrection life is revealed in the love we have for His people. Only the deceived can find rest in a life lived outside of the love of God.

“We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren.”
1 John 3:14

Authenticity is the fruit of a life lived in God. The Life of Christ is the sole bonding agent which fuses one member to another. Obedience is the means to this purity by which our relationship with our brothers and sisters becomes filled with the wonder of God Himself. An impure heart is filled with mixed motives, carnal and self-seeking desires which by their very nature prevent the true union of His Spirit and Life with Him and one another.

Having purified your souls in the obedience of the truth through the Spirit to unpretended brotherly love, love one another fervently out of a pure heart…”
1 Peter 1:22

See: UNITY

Brian Troxel

While Men Slept

While Men Slept

While Men Slept

“The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way…”
Matthew 13:25

While men slept – the enemy came! What a summation of the history of God’s Kingdom. This parable begins with Jesus declaring: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field”. He is giving us a clear narrative regarding the history of His Church in the earth. The enemy knows he cannot thwart the purposes of God by persecution only; he is well aware of the keeping grace of the Almighty God. Persecution is his last resort. By cunning and guile the enemy has been able to paralyze, divide and dim the glorious Gospel by simply sowing false doctrines, false teachers and hypocrites. He uses the rampant egos of men, driven by pride and a lust for recognition, that have built their own kingdoms in the name of God.

While men sleep – the enemy comes and destroys families, insidiously, and slowly from within. While men sleep – the fervent love between brethren is lost. Party spirits rise up, each calling people to themselves, with little or no concern for those outside of their “church” or “fellowship”. While men sleep – false brethren come in living unholy lives, walking in compromise with sin and the world, yet using the profession of faith to ease their conscience. While men sleep – they pride themselves in the knowledge of a saving grace yet lack the fire of a love which compels them into ministering beyond their own little circle of friends. While men sleep – the world grows dark and the church is seen as just another belief system because she has lost the vitality, the power and above all the presence of God. While men sleep – their hearts grow cold and the Word of the Lord takes on a doctrinal persona; no longer living, sharp or active. The slumber renders His people ineffective, empty shells capable of quoting scripture but devoid of the life and the wonder of Jesus Christ.

While men sleep is the narrative of Christ concerning His Church. Yet there are times when men and women can no longer tolerate the deadness and stagnation of their lives and begin to seek in earnest, He who alone is Holy. This is always prefaced by deep soul searching unto broken and repentant hearts. The God who knows well the tendency of men to sleep, warns us throughout His Word. Jesus gave us this Parable that we may read and be instructed to be diligent in this hour. The Apostolic ministry of the New Testament era constantly warned, reproved and exhorted the people of God unto diligence to LIVE the Life of Christ, not just to believe the words of Christ.

Even in his day Paul felt the need to warn the people of God against slumber and the resulting spiritual decay:

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not;
for some have not the knowledge of God:
I speak this to your shame”
1 Corinthians 15:34

And again…

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest,
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
See then that ye walk circumspectly,
not as fools, but as wise…”
Ephesians 5:14-15

“While men slept” is a prophetic warning of Christ to His people in our day.

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh,
shall he find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18:8

The thick fog of slumber that has fallen upon us has resulted in lethargy, compromise, the worldly systems of men infiltrating the church, lack of morals, and doctrines of men which rob God’s Word of its authority. Grace has been presented as a sentiment rather than the power of God. We have made Him in our image; one who winks at sin and the worldly ways in His House.

In this Day of Harvest the wheat and the tares will be dealt with and men will know that God is Holy. It is time awake, to deal with the issues of our hearts. Repentance is the greatest gift God can bestow upon a life. It is the spring from which His glory arises, the womb from which His Power is born. It is the very hope for our generation “upon whom the ends of the earth have come”.

“Wherefore HE saith, Awake thou that sleepest,
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”!

This Word was given to His Church and is more valid today than ever. May we hear the Word of the Lord!

See: Look To Yourselves (2 John 1:8)

Brian Troxel

Eldership

Eldership

Eldership begins in the home. It begins in earnest with the birth of  children  and the opportunity they present for us to learn the wisdom of our Heavenly Father. The challenge for us is to instill in them a desire to discover the great mystery of Christ for themselves. We cannot unravel the mystery for them but we can minister to them their need to find God for themselves.

If we are unable to present the glories and the wonders of God to our own children, how will we ever be equipped to present Him to the household of faith? Pat answers will not produce the intrigue of the adventure of walking with God. Often Jesus would answer a question with a question.  It was hunger and quest He sought to instill rather than mere answers. Hunger of heart will take one further in God than  information with no spirit of awe or wonder.

Home is the canvas upon which we can learn to paint. An artist works in shades, splashes and hues, each one reflecting a thought, a wisp of truth.  Over time an image appears and each brush of  color is hidden within the wonder of the whole. Eldership is but a reflection of the wisdom of our Heavenly Father; the work of His grace and longsuffering to present such a one to the Body of Christ.

“For by it (faith)
the elders obtained a good report”
Hebrews 11:2

“There are no artists more divine than those who know how to fashion a child’s soul within themselves. Such artists know how to draw forth the greatest divine radiance into their souls”
– St. John Chrysostom

Obviously having children is not a prerequisite for being an elder in God's House. For those who do, let God's wisdom in His dealings with you be an example of how you are to deal with your children.

Brian Troxel

The Testimony of the Church

The Testimony of the Church

“And do not fear those who kill the body
but cannot kill the soul.
Rather fear him who can
destroy* both soul and body in hell”
Matthew 10:28 (ESV)

“I think, my friends, that it depends altogether upon that of which one is afraid. The words of our text (Mt. 10:28), with the solemn inculcation of fear, are also a ringing denunciation of fear: the “Fear Him” is balanced by “Fear not.” The fear of God is here made a way of overcoming the fear of man. And the heroic centuries of Christian history have provided abundant testimony to its efficaciousness”
- John Gresham Machen

The history of the Church has been one of men and women bearing testimony to God by living His truth. True pilgrims were often “misfits”; even though their testimony was a shining light of God’s grace and favor in their generation. They did not dwell in the concepts of men concerning the scriptures. They lived their lives in the unfolding truth of God and as a result their testimony was the spirit of prophesy. There was a sense of being captured or, as Paul would say, “bound in spirit” to the will and purposes of God; a knowing that they had been apprehended to apprehend the thing to which they had been called.

To feel deep within our being that CALL, inarticulate in the language of men, which is more real, more powerful and more essential than any existence the world has to offer is true life. Its passion is to leave a clear witness of the Christ here in the earth. Bound up within this call is to know the joy of finishing our course with a testimony that clearly expresses His heart and being. The CALL to an effective communication of His Faith to the world around us and to leave a legacy of faith in our own children which will impart His Life to their generation is to be our birthright.

The CALL of Christ is unto Himself; it does not leave options or choices to those who respond to it. Disciples are ultimately freed from their own agendas and pursuits. They are captured by the wonder of His beauty to follow Him alone. They cannot rest in anything less than a full and dynamic expression of Christ. There is a sense of the eternal that draws them to things unseen. There is an endurance borne of “seeing Him” who is invisible.

“By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king,
for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible”
Hebrews 11:27

The Testimony of the Church has ever been one of faith, intensity of spirit and heart which desires to honor Him.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”
Hebrew 12:1-2

May our testimony be somewhat worthy
of all who have gone before us!

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*Note: apollumi (G622), a strengthened form of ollumi, signifies “to destroy utterly”; in middle voice, “to perish.” The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of wellbeing. This is clear from its use, as, e.g., of the marring of wine skins, Luk 5:37; of lost sheep, i.e., lost to the shepherd, metaphorical of spiritual destitution, Luk 15:4, Luk 15:6, etc.; the lost son, Luk 15:24; of the perishing of food, Joh 6:27; of gold, 1Pe 1:7. So of persons, Mat 2:13, “destroy”; Mat 8:25, “perish”; Mat 22:7; Mat 27:20; of the loss of well-being in the case of the unsaved hereafter, Mat 10:28; Luk 13:3, Luk 13:5; Joh 3:16 (Joh 3:15 in some mss.); Joh 10:28; Joh 17:12; Rom 2:12; 1Co 15:18; 2Co 2:15, “are perishing”; 2Co 4:3; 2Th 2:10; Jas 4:12; 2Pe 3:9. “Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words”

Brian Troxel

 

 

Faithfulness and the Open Door

Faithfulness and The Open Door

I know thy works:
behold, I have set before thee an open door,
and no man can shut it…”
Revelation 3:8

Faithfulness to the present truth we know will always culminate in greater things in God. The Church at Philadelphia, even in their weakness and poverty, were faithful to do the works of God and were given an open door. Doing the will of God inevitably leads us into greater avenues of service unto Him. Those who are faithful in the little things will always receive more.

The stagnation of a faith without works perpetuates its own lethargy and barrenness. Within the true disciple lies an eagerness to do that which is before them without hesitation or delay. We must always bear in our hearts the verdict of God upon a “faith” which is void of works.

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled;” and yet you didn’t give them the things the body needs, what good is it? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?”
James 2:14-20

The “Open Door” is set before those who are faithful to yield themselves to the promptings of God within and respond accordingly. There are those who feel hemmed in by circumstances when in fact they may have not been faithful to the things at hand. Joseph, bound within Pharaoh’s prison, remained faithful to the gifts which God had given him, and, in the end, he was given great authority!

“For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has”
Matthew 13:12

The path to enlarged places in God is found within our faithfulness to Him in the little things; hidden things, often only known to God. In the end they will bring us to the open door of His grace.

Just a couple of examples are David who, while tending the sheep of his father, overcame the lion and the bear. Rebekah at the well, in her willingness and faithfulness to serve, was brought into the lineage of Christ!! (read Genesis 24:12-27) May we see the importance God places on those who reveal their heart by the work of their hands. He sees and measures out greater faith in proportion to their faithfulness in everyday life.

Let us seek His “open door” through faithfulness in our commonplace lives. Let our determination to honour Him “in all things” be an entrance into the greater things of Him. May we find joy each day in ever looking for ways to glorify Him, even in the secret thoughts of our hearts.

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

Obedience will open doors that no amount of praying alone can.

“The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times? Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has.
Matthew 24:45-47

May His exhortations permeate our hearts, and may we seek to be faithful to Him in all things.

Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
Matthew 25:23

The one who was unfaithful lost what he had been given and the eternal consequences were even greater.

“But his lord answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter. You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. Take away therefore the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away. Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
Matthew 25:26-30

Faithfulness determines eternal destinies.

“…they that are with Him
are called, and chosen, and faithful
Revelation 17:14

Brian Troxel

Love One Another

Love One Another

I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ”
 Philippians 1:8

Love is the signature of God ruling within His own. The bonds between the people of God were evident within the language of the New Covenant. There was a living mortar which bound the living stones to one another. One can sense the threads of each life woven together to impart to us the richness of the tapestry of the One Church. It is in stark contrast to our day in which we have increased in the knowledge of the things of God yet lack the essence of what that knowledge is to convey. The estimation of God concerning the progress and development of a heart is in the measure of Love it holds and expresses to others.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing
1 Corinthians 13:2

Knowledge, gifts of the Spirit, prayer, religious works and even faith itself (necessary as they all are), if not mingled with the power and wonder of the pure love of God, leaves us empty and bereft of God Himself.

“He that loveth not
knoweth not God…”
1 John 4:8

Love is the highest expression of truth. It is the verity of truth within a life. Love is what fuels the faith of God unto the works of God.

“For in Christ Jesus,
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength,
but faith working through love”
Galatians 5:6
(Greek: empowered through)

One cannot hold the love of God and be static, stagnant or isolated. Love, by its very nature, gives of itself and does not seek its own. It is the source and sum of His Joy. It does not regard the sectarian ways of men and is not preferential in its dispensation; it lives only to please the ONE from whom it flows.

“This is my commandment,
That ye love one another,
as I have loved you
John 15:12

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – Exhortation & Harmony

Exhortation & Harmony

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