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

Quote for Today – Charles Spurgeon

Quote for Today

“I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, “The great question is not, ‘Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?’ but ‘Are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?'”
– Charles Spurgeon

Thought for Today – Repent Frequency

Thought for Today

Repentance and The Religion of our Day

 

The above graph  shows the frequency per million words that the word  “repent” is  used from 1540 AD to now.

“And saying, Repent ye:
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
(Matthew 3:2)

It is interesting to note that the high usage of this word occurred when the Bible was made available to the common people and during the subsequent awakenings of the Church. Contrast this with the powerless preaching of the Gospel in our day.

For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation,
which brings no regret.
But the sorrow of the world produces death”
2 Corinthians 7:10

A Gospel which does not lead to godly sorrow cannot produce repentance. This is necessary for change and the restorative work of God within a redeemed soul. Repentance is the conduit through which the power of God is released. It is by repentance unto salvation that the lost are brought into life and liberty.

“The Lord is not slow concerning his promise,
as some count slowness; but is patient with us,
not wishing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance
2 Peter 3:9

 The power and life of the church is known by the gospel it presents and the corresponding depth of the transforming work of God within His people.

God’s word to the Church in Asia, in six of the seven letters, was to repent of their ways, their teachings and their spiritual condition. This is the last written communication in the Holy Scriptures. It is to His people that the word “repent” goes forth. Let us not marginalize the need for repentance in sharing the purity of the Gospel with one another.

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:
be zealous therefore, and repent”
Revelation 3:19

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Gospel Purpose

Thought for Today

The Gospel Purpose

“To reveal his Son in me…”
Galatians 1:16

Lost within the gospel message of today lies the true purpose of God in Christ. The great work of the Spirit is always to exalt the Son. He is given without measure to so fill us with the heavenly power that in this earth (our bodies) Christ may be revealed in complete fulness. We are not here to sell Jesus we are to present Him within the everyday life we live.

The above scripture is prefaced with the phrase… “…called me by his grace”. A grace which does not bring us to the place of being a revelation of the Son is a grace wrongly received. Grace must always lead us to Christ like living.

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Victorious Living – HGC Moule

Victorious Living is Possible

“Nothing shall be impossible unto you”
– Matt 17:20

It is possible, for those who really are willing to reckon on the power of the Lord for keeping and victory, to lead a life in which His promises are taken as they stand and are found to be true.

It is possible to cast all our care upon Him daily and to enjoy deep peace in doing it.

It is possible to have the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts purified, in the deepest meaning of the word.

It is possible to see the will of God in everything, and to receive it, not with sighing, but with singing.

It is possible by taking complete refuge in Divine power to become strong through and through; and, where previously our greatest weakness lay, to find that things which formerly upset all our resolves to be patient, or pure, or humble, furnish today an opportunity—through Him who loved us, and works in us an agreement with His will and a blessed sense of His presence and His power—to make sin powerless over us.

These things are DIVINE POSSIBILITIES, and because they are His work, the true experience of them will always cause us to bow lower at His feet and to learn to thirst and long for more.

We cannot possibly be satisfied with anything less—each day, each hour, each moment, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit—than to WALK WITH GOD.
— H. C. G. Moule

The Way of Faith and the Altar

The Way of Faith and the Altar

“And Abram went up out of Egypt…
Unto the place of the altar”
Genesis 13:1-4

The faith of Abraham will always produce in one who is held by its grip a life of forsaking Egypt (the world) and coming to the place of the altar. It is at the altar where, by the mercies of God (Romans 12:1), we offer ourselves unto Him as a living sacrifice. True faith is given with the express purpose for a life to communicate the nature, works and heart of Christ. Faith is the divine enablement to live beyond our own resources and to draw from the wells of the living Christ. What is impossible for man becomes the natural outflow of a life in which the living faith of Christ resides.

In Hebrews chapter 11 we read of the lives of normal people just like us who “by faith” lived to see the extraordinary works of God through the fragility of their earthen vessels. It is “by faith” we can enter into the same resources, the same surety of God and the same assurance of faith whereby they made a difference in their generation.

The leading of God is ever out of Egypt and unto the altar, for the altar is the way of life to those who are in Christ Jesus. It is in the losing of our own self that we discover His. It is in looking past our own faltering resources that we discover the vastness of His. The “I can’t” of Romans 7 is swallowed up in the “Law of life in Christ Jesus” of Romans 8.

The Altar is the place of our transactions with God. It is here we exchange our strength for His. It is here that the doctrines of salvation become flesh, substance and reality in our lives. In the offering of all that we are to Him we become “partakers” of all that He IS. The measure of our offering will be in proportion to our partaking of Him.

“Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple
get their food from the temple,
and that those who serve at the altar
share in what is offered on the altar?”
1 Corinthians 9:13

“And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood,
upon the altar of the Lord thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices
shall be poured out upon the altar of the Lord thy God,
and thou shalt eat the flesh.”
Deuteronomy 12:27

The priests would eat of the Burnt Offerings they offered. This is the secret of His provision for each one of us. “Give and it shall be given unto you” is the measure of our receiving. It is in this freewill offering that we discover the glory and wonder of our God.

We are bidden by the “mercies” of God to offer ourselves as living sacrifices unto our God (Romans 12:1). While many may speak of God’s mercies as a sentiment, here we see the power of mercy at work in the human heart to offer ourselves without reserve to Him and Him alone.

Brian Troxel

The Declaration of Faith – “Not So”

The Declaration of Faith

Not So!

“And it came to pass,
that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child;
and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.”
Luke 1:59

Convention and tradition are the nemesis of every generation. Without the impetus of the fresh inspiration of God men would cling to the forms and methods of previous generations. We see Elizabeth’s strong reaction to the assumption of their friends:

“Not so;
but he shall be called John.”
Luke 1:60

To which they replied:

“And they said unto her,
There is none of thy kindred
that is called by this name.”
Luke 1:61

The “coming one” brings change to everything that would bear His Name. Even the forerunner must of necessity break with tradition. Christ alone is the new order and by the power of His life men undergo revolutionary transformations. No man can touch Him and remain the same. Tradition and stagnation are the very tombstones of a generation out of touch with the scope and atmosphere of His life.

Those who bear His nature within are aware of the lethargy of our current condition. The status quo is the means by which the “business” of Christian interaction is carried out today; the sheer lack of the wonder and majesty of His being should compel us to a heartfelt seeking of Him.

The verdict on our generation could be summed up in one simple, succinct statement.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

The Church today is not in need of new methods or programs. She is not in need of more technology or stratagems. Her ONE NEED is to be IN Christ. It is in Him that the dynamic of His life is known. It is in Him that the selfish ambitions of men are crucified.

“Not so”

This is the declaration of one who carries within her own womb the touch and call of God to higher things. “Not So” is the cry from one who knows and feels deep within heaven’s fresh and invigorating breath. “Not So” has graced the lips of all those who sought nothing on earth and have become pilgrims of the same faith which inspired their father Abraham. For he sought out a city whose builder and maker is God. He was a sojourner even in the land of promise because his heart had been captured by heavenly realities; he could not and would not settle for the buildings and cities of men. Long he tarried in the plains of Mamre (Vision) not having the slightest inclination to join his nephew in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. His vision was clear and his heart resolute in the pursuit of this “one thing”.

How little our generation perceives that revelation follows sacrifice. Abraham, in the offering up of his own son of promise, “sees” the true offering of God and declares “Jehovah Jireh”! “God will provide”! Such a name had never been known in the earth nor had there been such an obedient heart. The two are inseparable.

“Not So” is the declaration of all who bear within their hearts the effervescence of the living Christ. While men still work and sweat to raise up edifices and organizations in the name of God, the verdict of God stands.

“Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool:
what house will ye build me? saith the Lord?”
Acts 7:49

The man who uttered such things was stoned to death by the malice and hatred of the religious people of that day. Living truth is ever an antagonism to the religious. Past and future truth may be acknowledged; present truth is what is hated and maligned.

Man is the dwelling place of God. The early church owned no real-estate, did not request any special status with the current government, it sought no earthly accreditation and expected none.

“For as it is in heaven”
so was she in the earth.

“And I saw no temple therein:
for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb
are the temple of it”
Revelation 21:22

“NOT SO”
Declared the Pilgrims of Faith

“These all died by way of faith, not having received the promises, but seeing them from afar, and being persuaded, and having embraced and confessed that they are aliens and tenants. For those saying such things make clear that they seek a fatherland. And truly if they remembered that from which they came out, they had time to return. But NOW they stretch forth to a better, that is, a heavenly land. Therefore, God is not ashamed of them, for Him to be called their God; for He prepared a city for them”
Hebrews 11:13-16

“For here we do not have a lasting city,
but we are seeking the city which is to come.…”
Hebrews 13:14

Brian Troxel

Serving God – Part Two – Freedom

Serving God

Part Two

Freedom

“Let my people go, that they may serve me”
Exodus 8:1

Freedom is a requirement to truly serve the Lord. Israel was in bondage to Pharaoh; their captivity was cruel and their taskmasters strong. Outwardly Pharaoh represents the world and inwardly he represents the power of sin. It takes a power beyond ourselves to extricate us from our bondage. The greatness of God’s power as revealed in the Book of Exodus is a glimpse of the power required to free us from the nature and power of sin. It takes a freedom from Pharaoh to serve the Lord.

“Let my people go, that they may serve me”

Our ability to serve Him will be proportional to our freedom from ourselves, our agendas and desire for the praises of men. Humility is simply living a life free from the opinions of others. It is a single-hearted devotion to His purposes whereby we know the service which is filled with His praise and His joy.

“Serve the Lord with gladness”
Psalm 100:2

Gladness springs from the wells of the pure in heart. Purity of heart is a heart single in purpose and in love. It is a heart forged in the fires of His love where self is dead and God reigns. The hardness of Pharaoh’s heart is a good illustration of our own; only through His faithfulness and determination is our heart subdued.

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved,
let us have grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear
Hebrews 12:28

The service which pleases the Lord is based on Grace and this grace is revealed in those who serve Him with reverence and Godly fear. It is by grace we are made free in the singularity of our heart to speak His words and to do His works regardless of the consequences.

“If any man serve me, let him follow me;
and where I am, there shall also my servant be:
if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
John 12:26

There can be no true service unto the Lord except there be a freedom from the fear of man and the ways of man. In order to serve, one must be free to follow.

Serving God – Part One

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Idle Words

Thought for Today

Idle Words

“But I say unto you,
that every idle* word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof
in the day of judgment”
Matthew 12:36

The Greek word translated “idle” used here (see below) portrays the weight of God’s desire for His people. These words from the lips of Jesus speak of authenticity and the need for us to walk circumspectly in our daily lives; it is in these scriptures we are made aware of His constant watch over our words and thoughts. There are several words we need to consider in the light of our accountability:

1. Every idle word” – No word that passes our lips will be unaccounted for in the day of judgment.
2. “Every idle word” The Greek word used here refers to words spoken without a corresponding doing or a performing; religious words that are not backed up by the doing and being in the life of an individual. (See the Greek exposition of this word below; also James 2:12)
3. “Shall give account” Contrary to the modern day Gospel in our land there is a day coming in which every believer will give an account unto Him for how we lived out our lives here on earth. This account will be required of us for every word we have spoken and every deed we have done. How unaware we have become of our accountability. It reveals a lack of our sensitivity to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
4. “In the day of Judgment” May God press upon us a new awareness of our accountability to Him. Let us seek Him for a new sensitivity in our daily lives so we will walk an authentic walk. The day of Judgment for the true believer is not one of determining salvation. It is one in which we reap the eternal consequences of rewards and judgments for how we lived our lives. Even a cursory reading of scriptures show us this and are easily understood: the parable of the talents/pounds, the promises to the overcomers in the letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, and the parables of Jesus in the Gospels.

The day of Judgment for the true believer is not one of determining salvation; It is one in which we reap the eternal consequences of rewards and judgments for how we lived our lives.

The more we learn of Him, grow in Him and walk with Him the more we are impacted by His desire to make us genuine and true. Words are a reflection of the heart. It is as the heart becomes pure that the words become pure and are backed up by the life lived.

So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12

The “Law of Liberty” is the Law by which we will be judged. John speaks of the “Law of Life” while James refers to this “Law” as one of liberty. Through the transactions of Christ on our behalf we have been set free and because of this freedom to act and speak we will be held accountable at the end of our time here on earth. Law speaks of government and accountability. God’s word speaks of His Kingdom wherein righteousness, equity and holiness is the atmosphere of His presence. As we become compliant with the workings of Christ in our hearts we will partake in corresponding measure of His eternal rewards. (For those who seek to look into this vital truth please do a simple search on the word “reward” in the New Testament). We must realize that it matters on an eternal level how we live and conduct our lives.

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

*Notes:

1 The Greek Word translated “idle”  ἀργός  is a compound word comprised of “ergon” (ἔργον) translated as works and deeds and is used 176 times in the New Testament; “” (the letter alpha which is often used in the Greek as a negative). A simple transliteration would be “words without the corresponding works”. (Words without power, fire or purpose. Words which do not inspire change in the hearers).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: ἀργός
ἀργός, -όν, and in later writings from Aristotle, hist. anim. 10, 40 [vol. i., p. 627a, 15] on and consequently also in the N. T. with the feminine ἀργή, which among the early Greeks Epimenides alone is said to have used, Titus 1:12; cf. Lob. ad Phryn., p. 104f; id. Paralip., p. 455ff; Winer’s Grammar, 68 (67) [cf. 24; Buttmann, 25 (23)], (contracted from ἄεργος which Homer uses, from α privative and ἔργον without work, without labor, doing nothing), inactive, idle;
a. free from labor, at leisure (ἀργὸν εἶναι, Herodotus 5, 6): Matthew 20:3, 6 [Rec.]; 1 Timothy 5:13.
b. lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform, (Homer, Iliad 9, 320

Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words connects this word with James 2:20 “Faith without works is dead”

Strong’s Concordance:
ἀργός argós, ar-gos’; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G2041; inactive, i.e. unemployed; (by implication) lazy, useless; barren, idle, slow.

This Greek word is used in the following scriptures:

Mat 12:36
“But I say unto you, That every idle (G692) word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Mat 20:3
“And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle (G692) in the marketplace…”

Mat 20:6
“And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, (G692) and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? G692

1Ti 5:13
And withal they learn to be idle, (G692) wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, (G692) but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”

Tit 1:12
“One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow (G692) bellies.”

2Pe 1:8
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (G692) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Brian Troxel