Goodness and Admonition

Goodness and Admonition

“I myself am also persuaded about you, my brothers,
that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge,
able also to admonish others”
Romans 15:14

Admonition is the natural expression of those who are full of goodness and knowledge. It is rooted in a genuine love for the people of God; a caring for one another that transcends the fear of man and the desire to be popular. A sensitivity to the Spirit is required to walk circumspectly in order to know the effective ministration of this necessary gift of God. The ability to admonish others (and to receive admonition as well) will be dependent upon the measure of the goodness of God within a life.

“…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory;
whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching
every man in all wisdom,
that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus
Colossians 1:27-28

Admonition is the proclamation of Christ; it is the ministration of a heart that seeks to present every life perfect, (mature and full-grown) in Christ. Wherever this grace is lacking it is because motives are wrong. It is by having God’s end in view for His Church, and for each individual, that we discover the ability to naturally express this grace.

The lack of this vital ministration is the cause of our condition. Where there is no love, there is no correction. Where there is no correction, there is no growth, development, discipline or harmony within the Body of Christ. A child without discipline becomes wayward and lost. On the other hand, a child who knows only harsh discipline grows up without confidence, discouraged, or filled with anger. Admonition is the fruit of love and goodness; it flows from hearts who walk and live in the “fear of the Lord” and the love of the Father. For this reason, true eldership is revealed in the state and condition of their own home. If a man lacks the quality of true admonition in his own home, he is not qualified to minister these things to God’s House (1 Timothy 3:5).

“And fathers, do not provoke your children,
but nurture them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord”
Ephesians 6:4

Admonition is the natural expression of the love of the Father. For children to grow up strong, confident, and upright in God, this grace is a necessary and fundamental expression both in the home and in the Church of Jesus Christ.

“For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth;
even as a father the son in whom he delighteth”
Proverbs 3:12

Brian Troxel

A Word in Season – Thomas Aquinas

Quote for Today

“Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ our Lord”
– Thomas Aquinas

Kingdom of God Series – Part Four

Kingdom of God Series

Part Four

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted,
and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”
Matthew 18:3

The simplicity of this walk is what makes it so profound. In our submission to Him the scriptures concerning Him become true in us. There is a natural fulfilling of them as His life unfolds within. To pray, exhort, admonish and encourage another life is an outflow of His love. Concern for His Father’s house is a result of the Law of His Life. If there is no concern for the lives of others, for our brothers’ and sisters’ walks, we are outside the grip of His Life within. Paul wrote of Timothy:

“For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s”
Philippians 2:20-21

Wherever and whenever Christ is reigning within, we will be freed from the seeking of our own things and will be servants to the things which are His! Living for self is eclipsed by a concern for the things which are Christ’s. We become stewards of God; we are no longer living for self by the power of self. Our life is now centered upon the care and the concern of His Church.

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
1 Corinthians 4:1-2

The call to stewardship requires faithfulness to Him whereby our growth and development brings us to the place of ministry.

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me,
for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry”
1 Timothy 1:12

This ministration has nothing to do with Bible schools, denominational accreditation or seeking the approval of men. It is a ministry that arises from the call of God unto a life of obedience and faithfulness to Him.

“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man,
but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father,
who raised him from the dead;)
Galatians 1:1

To be continued

Brian Troxel

The Kingdom of God Series – Part Three

The Kingdom of God Series

Part Three

Friendship With Christ

“Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
John 15:14

Obedience is love in action.

Obedience is the path to power. When obedience is growing within a heart there will be a corresponding increase of the dynamic life of Christ within; it reveals our submission to Him. His Lordship within the life of an individual is expressed through the medium of obedience. In the religious world a “spiritual” life and appearing “pious” can mask the true condition of a heart. Prayer, “false humility” (Colossians 2:23), and a thorough knowledge of the scriptures may all be but superficial expressions of a proud and unsubmissive heart.

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations… “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh…”
Colossians 2:20-23

The Kingdom of God is known by the power He has over the unruly desires of our hearts. It is not a life of “appearances”; it is a life of freedom from the First Adam by our submission to the Living Christ. His Kingdom reigning within liberates us from the horror of outward appearance (hypocrisy) and brings us into the simplicity of His nature. Romans, Chapter 7 is an accurate description of a life of “trying” to be spiritual without the power and unction of Christ within.

“And I have no clear knowledge of what I am doing, for that which I have a mind to do, I do not, but what I have hate for, that I do. But, if I do that which I have no mind to do, I am in agreement with the law that the law is good. So it is no longer I who do it, but the sin living in me.”
Romans 7:15-17

The Kingdom of God is known by a life of freedom to His Will, His Thoughts and His Nature. This Kingdom cannot be held within the flimsy grasp of teachings and concepts. Though these things may be scripturally accurate and may hold a “form” of the life that God is after, it still requires the life and power of Christ to walk and live them. He is the Word. He is the Word made flesh Who came and dwelt among us. Yet, even with Him in their midst the disciples exhibited very little change over the course of three and a half years. Why? A Christ with us (Emanuel) will not save us from within!

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
John 16:7

The Emanuel had to go away for the power of our salvation is not in a Christ without but the living Christ within! The Lamb of God came to earth as Emanuel in order to pay the price for our salvation, but it is in His going away and coming back to His Own as the Christ within that He is now becoming our salvation. It is as He lives and reigns within our hearts that we can live in the “liberty wherein Christ has made us free”. Paul declares the wonder of this marvelous truth:

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach…”
Colossians 1:27

It is the Christ within who is our hope and surety of Glory. An outward conformity, achieved through the power of self, is religion at its worst; it is the womb of hypocrisy and scandal. The Kingdom of God is not in Word, it is in power; power to live and move within the spectrum of His life. Obedience is simply the fruit of Him living in us.

To be continued…

Brian Troxel

The Kingdom of God Series – Personal Note

The Kingdom of God Series

Personal Footnote to Part Two

Obedience
The Fruit of Faith and Grace

I remember the first time I tried to read Andrew Murray’s book, “The School of Obedience”, many years ago. I read a few pages and threw the book against the wall. I just knew I could never walk in such obedience. Knowing my heart and self-will I felt utterly hopeless to attain to such a life. My problem was I did not understand that the obedience of which the scriptures speak is the fruit of faith empowered by grace. As the truth of this began to dawn upon me, I started to expect my life to grow in this wonder. Life became more of an adventure and I found God’s grace to be more than a sentiment but a real power to enable me to walk in new places. Grace became a constant need as my own resources were insufficient; my stubbornness often required wrestling and prayer to overcome. Fear of failure was a tool in the enemy’s hand that I needed to overcome in order to step into things into which God was leading me. Obedience is not a small thing in our lives, and it is essential for our growth. It is how we grow in our trust in Him and in our ability to be free from the fear of man. One act of obedience is better than fifty sermons. Learning of Him in these moments causes our faith to become real.

A key lesson to be learned in our growth in obedience is that the river never parts until we step into it. God has designed faith to rest upon Him so that we are not governed by what we see. I have had several experiences where the power of God is not made known to me until I have stepped into the thing before me. There is always that moment of hesitation (especially at first) before the step is made. God is faithful and the discovery of His faithfulness can only truly be realized by our obedience. Obedience is not some legalistic thing. It is our small part, insignificant in comparison to the release of God’s power as a result. Obedience brings us to the place of understanding His ways in our personal life and causes us to grow in our confidence in Him.

To be continued…

Brian Troxel

Kingdom of God Series – Part Two

The Kingdom of God

Part Two

What the Kingdom of God Is Not

Contrary to much of what we hear, the Kingdom of God is not in word.

“For the kingdom of God
is not in word, but in power”
1 Corinthians 4:20

May God help us to see that the Kingdom of God does not lie in teachings, doctrines and messages; it has very little to do with such. It is a Kingdom of Power, Substance and Reality. There is nothing ethereal, unsubstantive, or virtual about its existence. Those who consider it to be an intellectual message or concept are deceived and do not understand the truth of it. The Kingdom of God is known by the power it wields over its subjects. It is revealed within the lives of those who are growing and developing in the life and wonder of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Obedience is the dominant expression of a heart in pursuit of its reality. The Kingdom of God speaks of the Lordship and Reign of Christ; wherever He reigns is where His Kingdom is coming to be.

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
Luke 6:46

How can we speak of the Kingdom of God without this fundamental truth? Obedience is the underlying principle of His Kingdom. In our day of an antinomian gospel we speak of a “kingdom” in which we simply confess He is Lord and then live our lives as we see fit and expect to have access to His Kingdom promises! It is a staggering and bewildering concept.

“Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and may enter in through the gates into the city”
Revelation 22:14

It is not enough to know His commandments; the entering into this magnificent City is based solely on the doing of His commandments. His Word is clear and unmistakable. Let these words ring within the sanctum of our own hearts; meditate and hold all our actions to this one great rule of the Kingdom:

“Blessed are they that DO His commandments…”

“To be continued…”

Brian Troxel

A Word in Season – The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

Introduction

Seeing the Kingdom

“Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly,
I say to you, if one is not generated from above,
he is not able to see the kingdom of God”
John 3:3

The divine enablement to see the Kingdom of God is a consequence of regeneration in the human heart by the Holy Spirit. The depth of the work of God determines the “seeing” and perspective one has of the Kingdom of God. The Jews in their day expected the coming Messiah to lead them to victory over their Roman bondage. Their expectations were wrong as were their hearts. Within Christendom there are vast differences of what the Kingdom of God implies and what its implications are in personal lives. For most it is a concept that has relatively little influence upon their daily lives; it is some vague heavenly location where all who name the Name of Jesus go when they die. To others it may be an actual political kingdom to be set up on earth in some future dispensation. The teachings and concepts of the Kingdom of God vary according to the discordant voices echoing through the landscape of the Church.

Jesus in His earthly ministration of truth spoke more about the Kingdom of God than He did of any other topic. The Parables centered mainly upon this one pervading subject yet how little it is apprehended in our day.

The initial introduction into the Kingdom of God requires a transformative work of God within the human heart. It takes Grace; without a change in the nature of an individual’s life it is impossible to even be aware of its existence. This paradigm alone should shake us at the core of our hearts concerning its nature and its jurisdiction within our lives. Transformation is necessary to perceive it.

“God’s Kingdom doesn’t come with observation;
neither will they say, ‘Look, here!’ or, ‘Look, there!’
for behold, God’s Kingdom is within you.”
Luke 17:20

To be continued…

Brian Troxel

Transition – Part Two – The Way of Provision

TRANSITION 

Part Two
(See Transition – Part One
The Way of Truth
)

The Way of Provision

“Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, Prepare provisions for you. For within three days you are crossing this Jordan to go in to possess the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you, to possess it
JOSHUA 1:11

Though the manna still fell every day, Israel was now preparing for war. The trials of the wilderness were giving way to the reality of battle. The manna had been God’s provision, but the time had come for God’s people to be weaned from the manna and to begin to prepare their own provisions. They would soon have to live off the land they were about to enter. The manna was for a season only; it ceased when they had eaten of fruit of the land!

“The manna ceased on the next day, after they had eaten of the produce of the land. The children of Israel didn’t have manna any more; but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year
JOSHUA 5:12

It is sad to see some of God’s people still waiting to be fed when they should be preparing their own provisions to be ready for warfare and to be able to feed others. They are content to sit passively while someone else feeds and waters them rather than reading God’s word for themselves; provisions that would make them strong and vital in the army of the Lord.

Transition is normal and necessary for a heathy life in God. Too many of us settle into a life that has become stagnant and stunted in growth. To enter in into new places in God will require a change in our provisions. New resources will be required to enter into the new things that we are called to.

The Hidden Manna

We read in John that Jesus came to Jacob’s well, “wearied with the journey”, and sent the disciples into the city to buy food. While Jesus sat at the well a woman came for water and Jesus began to minister unto her. When the disciples returned with food, He said he was no longer hungry. In the doing of His Father’s Will He Himself was fed!

“In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 
But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 
Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work”
JOHN 4:30-33

The disciples had not yet learned of this provision, but they would in the days ahead.

In the Tabernacle there were three distinct offerings or provisions of bread. In the Outer Court (which was their present experience) was the gathering of the Manna that was wonderfully provided by God. In the Holy Place the priests had access to the Table of Showbread (Heb. Bread of the Presence or more literally Bread of the Face). In the Holy of Holies there was the “hidden Manna” that was found within the Ark of the Covenant, overshadowed by the very Shekinah Glory of God. In Revelation the “hidden Manna” is given to those who have overcome. This “hidden manna” is the bread of those who have engaged in the life of battle and victory. It is a provision for those who have “overcome” the enemies of their own hearts and the compromise and issues of the church of their day.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.
REVELATION 2:17

Each of these distinct phases of provision are to be an experiential reality in our lives. To remain content with being fed and watered by others is to miss out on the vitality and wonder of our own relationship with God. It is essential that we go on in the deeper things of God for there are always new provisions. May God stir us afresh to grow into eating the “strong meat” that He desires to give us (Hebrews 5:14). Let us leave the “milk of the Word” as it can no longer sustain us in the normal progression of a healthy life in God. A child must be weaned from breast milk in order to grow and so must we! Growth is the EVIDENCE of LIFE.

“Whom will he teach knowledge? To whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts
Isaiah 28:9

Brian Troxel

Warfare the Sign of Life

Warfare: The Sign of Life

“I have fought the good fight…”
2 Timothy 4:7

The surest sign of the life of God within His own is the unconquerable will to fight the fight of faith. Life is always the antagonist of death. Faith is the adversary of sin. Victory over sin and iniquity is the result of warfare; warfare of the life of Christ Himself. When a heart ceases to fight it ceases to live.

“Fight the good fight of the faith…”
1 Timothy 6:12

We live in a day where “faith” is presented as a legal declaration of victory (regardless of the life lived) rather than the means by which we attain the victory. Paul was ever encouraging the people of God to remain active in the battle, to be diligent in their walk and to grow in the victory of the faith. The writer of the beauty and the power of all the truths in the Book of Romans also wrote this to Timothy… “fight the good fight of faith”! Compromise and concession are the harbingers of spiritual defeat and death. Life by its very nature opposes death and the scriptures declare that the “wages of sin is death”. The life of Christ within withstands evil in all of its deceptive and destructive forms.

The fight of faith is not won in a moment, nor is the crown easily earned, but we have been given the great gift of faith, the blood of Christ and the grace of God to stand in this evil day! It requires a walk of learning, growth and development in the school of His Spirit.

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight…”
Psalm 144:1

Faint not at the battles which assail you; do not lose heart in the intensity of the conflict for we have this promise from God:

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you,
and keep you from evil”
2 Thessalonians 3:3

Ω

“The Christian life, then, is a battle,
so sharp and full of danger
that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss”
Huldrych Zwingli

Brian Troxel

The Strait Gate and The Narrow Way

THE STRAIT GATE & THE NARROW WAY

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
MATTHEW 7:14

Without context, the focus of most Christians becomes the gate. The message presented in many places today is one of being “born again” with little thought of entering the Kingdom of God. Religion likes things simple and easy and the English language plays into this concept very well. However, in the Greek language, there is a whole different thought to what Jesus is saying to us.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrowing (compressing) is the way,
which is leading unto the life, and few there be that are finding it.”
Literal Greek Translation

The Greek tense used here is the Participle mood, best translated here with an “ing” suffixed to the basic verb form. This communicates to us a progressive walk and an on-going sense of growth and development. The narrowing or compressing of the way is the daily experience of all who would find the resurrection Life of Jesus. The leading speaks of following Him with the discovery that death to the outward man is the path to experiencing His life within. Discipleship is the life of the narrowing way, and few there are who choose this path.

Seeing vs. Entering

We hear much of the scripture:

“Except a man be born again,
he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”
JOHN 3:4

However, Jesus goes on in his discourse to Nicodemus:

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot ENTER INTO the kingdom of God”
JOHN 3:5

While many of God’s children are content with seeing the Kingdom, there is a cry within the heart of God that some enter into the Kingdom. There is a pursuit  and a cost involved with this entrance. The narrowing and confinement of the path must be walked in the reality of our hearts. We discover that this way is neither popular nor easy. It is the way of the Cross. It is found in the following of Him, not in the structured ways of men. It leads us into the wilderness where we discover that He came not only to forgive us but to save us from our sins and self-will. Of necessity we must be born not only of water (the cleansing aspect of His life) but also of the Spirit (the empowering aspect of His life) where we find enablement to overcome the issues that bind us. This birthing of the Spirit is also accompanied by the fire of His life to purge the dross and the impurities from our hearts. It is a purifying that no amount of washing will ever accomplish.

The strait gate is the introduction to the Narrow Way. The Gate is not an end in itself as many suppose. It is merely the beginning ever leading us farther on the Narrowing Way wherein we discover the “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of our God.

“We want to reach the kingdom of God,
but we don’t want to travel by way of death.
And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’
Do not hesitate, man, to go this way,
when this is the way that God came to you.”
AUGUSTINE

It is the broad and easy road which leads to destruction. A crossless walk is the way of the broad and easy way, its end is judgment and misery.

“…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction,
and many are the ones entering in through it”
Matthew 7:13

Ω

“If you here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the early Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.”
William Law

Brian Troxel