APATHY & the BODY OF CHRIST

APATHY & THE BODY OF CHRIST

“If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD,
and lie unto his neighbour…”

LEVITITICUS 6:2

To deal deceitfully with a brother, neighbour or acquaintance is a trespass against the Lord. How we need to bring the fear of the Lord into all of our dealings and interactions with one another. He is ever present, to watch over the idle words, hasty words, and angry words of our conversations. How we treat one another is in TRUTH how we treat our God. In our relationships with one another we have tremendous power to bless or to curse, to encourage or condemn, to exhort or to remain aloof and not get involved. Our relationships may involve sins of OMISSION and sins of COMISSION.

Sins of OMISSION are the sins of neglect and apathy. The man travelling on the road was beaten by thieves and left lying in helplessness and pain. The sins of omissions were of those who passed by with no concern, “not wanting to get involved”. Apathy and neglect is the mother of the sins of omission. Where men no longer contend for truth, they see their brothers and sisters walk in error and carnality and say nothing. They are prayerless, disconnected and live independently from those around them. This is the great sin of OMISSION!

“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death,
he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.”

I JOHN 5:16

People that love one another, care for one another. It sounds very basic yet as we look around and see the condition of the Body of Christ today we are overwhelmed with the carnality, envy, strife, anger, suspicion, jealously and apathy around us. People who break fellowship with others over their estimation of a man, a ministry, a teaching or a particular “brand” of fellowship HAVE NOT SEEN NOR KNOWN THE HEART OF GOD. Jesus in HIS teachings brought forth a very clear and precise illustration of the sins of OMISSION and how these things relate to HIM directly.

“Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison,
and did not minister to You?’
Then He will answer them, saying,
‘Assuredly, I say to you,
inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these,
you did not do it to Me”

MATTHEW 25:44 – 45

We live in the DAY of which it was spoken that because iniquity shall abound the love of MANY shall grow cold. The sin of omission is the clearest expression of a heart that has grown cold and has slowly drifted away from RELATIONSIP with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The teachings and doctrines remain but the faith and love has long since died and the subtlety of this “death” is most terrifying. It is a state that will most assuredly reap great judgment in this day of recompense and visitation.

This is the DAY of involvement and love. It is a day to contend for THE FAITH, (not a faith, or a “brand” of teaching) but to contend for THE TRUTH that alone can make us true. May God deliver us from our apathy, neglect and cold hearts that lead to independent living, disconnected relationships and false securities. The most frightening thing about apathy is the corresponding blindness that it brings. We see the Levite passing by the man beaten on the road on his way to his “fellowship” or “service” with no understanding of the implications of a life so lived. Stir us afresh Lord; let us rise up in the power of your love to be unto your people your heart and your light in this perilous DAY!

Brian Troxel

CHANGE – THE EVIDENCE OF LIFE

CHANGE

THE EVIDENCE OF LIFE

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy,
we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,
not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully;
but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves
to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

IICorinthians 3:18 – 4:2

Changed. Better yet, transformed is the actual Greek Word here. It is the same word used to describe the Lord’s transfiguration on the mount. The thing that sets apart the truth of the Christian Faith is not its teaching, not its appeal to rid a man of guilt or shame; it is the radical change that is seen in the lives of those who have touched Him. This is not to be a lone isolated event, but a life of change, a life of continual change; a Call to continually come up higher, to go deeper, to broaden the scope of our being in every direction in the “seeing” of HIM. Change is the evidence of a life that is seeing HIM. Where there is no actual change occurring it is because there is no actual “beholding” of HIM. The journey of transformation is not a conforming to things external rather it is a change within the center of a man’s being; a radical, consistent, and progressive walk of change being expressed in the growth of a man’s vision. It is the putting away of the self life, the power of the impulse of the Spirit of God within a man to express the life and the truth he has seen regardless of the consequences. The places of weakness and impotency are transformed into the strength and fruitfulness of the Risen Christ where the “worm” is transformed into a threshing instrument having sharp teeth (Isaiah 41:14-15). This is true Vision. This is a Vision that cannot be written on paper in some sort of methodology. This is a POWER; no, this is THE POWER. This is the secret of the strength working in people who “behold” Him. When men speak of vision it is usually described in terms of some future unfolding event or concept. There is some validity to these things, but without “seeing” HIM now and the change that is wrought everything else is merely an ideal with no relevance to the real expression of HIS LIFE in us.

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry,
as we have received mercy, we faint not…”

II Corinthians 4:1

This is the very next verse that follows and there are no chapter divisions in the original. Paul states here emphatically that the “beholding of the Glory of the Lord” WAS his ministry! Why do we see so few real, powerful, and unique ministrations of life within the Body of Christ? It is indicative of the tremendous lack of “beholding” Him. We substitute teachings, the esteem of men and organizations, and religious activity for the simplicity and power of beholding Him. In the last few years I have been saddened by “fellowship” that is centered in the recognition of some teacher, prophet, or apostle or even some church or organization. This is not fellowship but a revelation of an absence of personal relationship to the head, even Christ Jesus our Lord. The flow of ministry from an individual is proportional to the seeing of Him. The only purpose of true ministry is to so minister the things of the living Christ to one another that we see the people of God come into their own faith and become a unique and powerful expression of HIM in this world.

“The glory of God is a living man;
and the life of man consists in beholding God”

OSMUND 1099

Brian Troxel

AN EMPTY VINE

AN EMPTY VINE

“Israel is an empty vine,
he brings forth fruit unto himself”

Numbers 13:30

An empty life is simply a life lived unto itself. A man filled with his own agendas is not really capable of relationship for everything is viewed from the standpoint of personal advantage and gain; everything becomes subservient to the betterment of self. The life is no longer lived from the standpoint of God’s heart, God’s interests and bearing fruit unto God. It is a subtle death; it is the slow process of decay as priorities slowly change from God to one’s self. His giftings slowly become “ours”, His ministrations of life become “our” ministry, and all of our interactions with others are to one end… the magnifying and enlarging of self. The emptiness of such a life lived is a desolation beyond comprehension. It is filled with blindness, revealed by a heart that is no longer touched with the trials of others, for it is disconnected from those around it. It is expressed in independent living, narrowness of vision and incapacity to pray, strengthen or serve others.

“For thou hast said in thine heart,
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation,
in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the most High”

ISAIAH 14:13 – 14

Self seeking and self serving is the very gateway to hell and death for it is the very antithesis of the heart of Jesus…

“But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name which is above every name”

PHILLIPIANS 2:7 – 9

It is in being free from the tyranny of self that we find life. It is in our “choosing” to pick up our cross and follow the ONE who is the Prince of Peace, the Author of our Faith, the Source of all Life and the Giver of all good things that we discover in HIM we live, move and have our being. The Life of bearing fruit is a life lived in the wonder and glory of HIM, who GAVE HIS LIFE for us, that we may give our life for others.

“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit”

JOHN 15:8

Brian Troxel

FOR HE CARETH…

FOR HE CARETH…

“Casting all your cares on him,
For he careth for you”

I PETER 5:7

The KEY to the power of this verse is that we are able to cast all our cares upon HIM for by faith we KNOW that HE cares for us. It is one thing to have the knowledge of the scriptures. It is an entirely different thing to draw from them the power of God to bring them into our daily lives.

The “cares” spoken of here refer to anything that produces anxiety or concern in our lives. The scope of the “cares” that we are to cast upon HIM is ALL of them. In this world we become so accustomed to living with and carrying the multitude of cares and concerns that we become unaware of the implications and the tremendous drain they exert upon us. To “Cast our cares upon HIM” is a discipline that we are to learn. “Cast” is a verb that implies an effort on our part; a life that is developed by conscious effort within the life of the individual believer. This is a life that can only be cultivated in the secret chambers of prayer and communion with the ONE who cares for us. It is in touching HIS heart on a daily basis that the power of HIS love is communicated to us and we find ourselves being carried and borne upon the wings of HIS love.

How we need to see that carrying and holding on to the “cares” of this life actually choke out the life of the Son within us, making us unfruitful and barren in the things of our God. This is warfare and a battle in which we must be schooled so that HIS overcoming life may be developed within us. In the Parable of the Sower we read of the precious seed that fell in different hearts and the interpretation of it in those that were filled with the “cares, riches and pleasures of this life”….

“Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard,
go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of this life,
and bring no fruit to maturity”

LUKE 8:14

Jesus said “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit…” For us to ALLOW the cares of this world to choke the life of the Son within is the very thing that will keep us from living that life that glorifies our Heavenly Father. We permit these things to be so in our lives if we do not discover the secret of “CASTING ALL OUR CARES UPON HIM”. It is our own unbelief that HE ACTUALLY cares for us that keeps us from knowing, living and celebrating the glory of such a truth. It is the reliance upon our own resources that keeps us from living in such a temper of heart and peace of mind.

HE CARES FOR US, HE IS OUR BURDEN BEARER, AND HE IS OUR SUFFICIENCY IN THIS LIFE. May we even today, at this very moment, draw near to HIM with all of our concerns, cares and worries and find in HIM the truth that HE CARES FOR YOU. Then let us consciously and determinedly cast those cares upon HIM. May HE show us in the course of our daily lives this grace of God that carries us through into the place of bearing fruit and glorifying our Father!

“Casting all your cares on him,
For he careth for you”

Brian Troxel

FOR HE WORKETH

“FOR HE WORKETH”

“For it is God that worketh…”

Philippians 2:13

This is the Good News. Our “…working out” is always preceded by His “working in”. To live under the “Law” of the New Testament without the inspiration of His Life is far more discouraging and impossible than to try and live up to the “Law” given in the Old Testament! It is a covenant of Grace and Faith so that the end of it might be sure unto all that believe (obey). The inspiration of His Life within in us should be a place of wonder and adventure…for it will always take us from strength to strength, faith to faith, and glory to glory. It is a journey not a destination. For if God is infinite so must our relationship be one that is eternal and ever unfolding in greater depths and heights. Our lives here are simply a revelation of that in terms of growth and development. Have we reached a plateau where we feel “comfortable” in our walk? Have we become stagnated by a vision that has not produced change and growth? Have our circles of fellowship grown small and our concept of the “Body” become diminutive and inert? The Good News is “For it is God that worketh…” If He is at work, there is a gnawing within our hearts for something greater and deeper. It is the cry for us to “Come Higher” to see things as they actually are not as we “perceive” them. It is a call to “work out” because He is working in our hearts. The testimony of the faith of David versus the “life” of Saul is a revelation of what we are walking in today….

“So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place”
I Samuel 26:25

Are we on our way (journey) or do we simply find ourselves returning to our “place”? Have we moved on in His in workings in our life? The life of faith is characterized by stepping into new places; it is a dying to the former things and stretching forth unto new places of unknown and unexplored areas of His Life. The waters that stand between Egypt and the Wilderness and the Wilderness and the Promised Land must be crossed. They are not to be discussed and debated; but crossed. Desire must give way to “doing”. Knowledge must give way to “becoming”. It is one thing to hear sermons on sacrifice and another to “become” a living sacrifice. Knowledge in itself is not substance. Rather it is to cause us to rise up and walk in that which we see; to become that which we have heard.

Brian Troxel

AS A MAN IS…

AS A MAN IS…

“…for as the man is, so is his strength”
Judges 8:21

The true strength of a man is the character of his heart and the verity of his faith. What a man is in relation to his God is what determines his strength. Teachings, doctrines and associations with great men of God cannot in themselves create a man of God. Obedience, discipline and interactions with God can alone transform us from what we are by nature to what we are to be by grace. We read in Hebrews 11 of what faith is and how it looks in the lives of ordinary people.

“By faith Abel offered, by faith Noah prepared an ark,
by faith Abraham obeyed,
by faith Sarah received strength,
by faith Moses forsook Egypt…”

Hebrews 11

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen”

Hebrews 11:1

Faith is substance; THE substance of things hoped for. It is not a philosophical thing or a mental idea; it is in itself THE SUBSTANCE of the thing hoped for. It is vital and true. It will take lost individuals and transform them within a moment into a new creation, filled and empowered to leave their old life behind. It will cause them to discover that all things are new in Christ Jesus. How is it that we tarry in its growth and development? How is it we succumb to normal living, normal thinking and a normal life of mediocrity?

Faith is the evidence of things not seen. Faith that is real and alive must produce a LIFE within the individual that is the EVIDENCE of the unseen Christ. It can be no other way. In our day faith has become a thing rather than a power! May the Lord stir us afresh in this hour to seek HIS FACE to rediscover His nearness, His Love and His strength?

“Faith means being grasped by a power that is greater than we are,
a power that shakes us and turns us, and transforms and heals us.
Surrender to this power is faith”

Paul Johannes Oskar Tillich (1886–1965)

Brian Troxel

REJOICE

REJOICE

“Finally, my brethren,

rejoice in the Lord”

PHILLIPIANS 3:1

To rejoice in the Lord, in all circumstances, is the result of a deep and hidden life in Christ Jesus. This world and everything in it is antagonistic to this spontaneous life in HIM. Pressures, concerns, deadlines, relationships, and a multitude of other things are ever at work to keep us from the simplicity of a life that rejoices in our Saviour. Paul goes on to say…

“To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous,
but for you it is safe”

PHILLIPIANS 3:1

The exhortation to “rejoice in the Lord” is not some idle religious phrase. It is given to us as a SAFEGUARD to protect our hearts and minds against the stratagems of the enemy. It is one of the tempers of heart to keep us impervious to the desire of the enemy to hurt or wound. It keeps our eyes fixed upon the ONE who is ever saving us from the contamination of this world.

To rejoice in HIM is for OUR SAFTEY! It is for our good and strength. Do we not read that the “JOY OF THE LORD, IS OUR STRENGTH”? To learn to walk in this truth releases HIS power in our lives; it is a medicine to our souls. It is vibrant and strong and will bring us to the place where in all things we are so fixed upon HIM that there is a flow of constant worship going out of our hearts unto HIM that loves us. These things are not entered into easily or quickly; it is a school and a discipline that is LEARNED by walking with HIM.

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire:
and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image,
and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass,
having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God,
and the song of the Lamb”
REVELATION 15:2

To be able to sing these songs in the midst of tremendous opposition is the privilege of the overcomer. It is the result of victory that these songs are sung. It is the mark of a life that has been crucified with Christ in the actual realities of one’s heart. Though we are still in the process of HIS shaping and dealings to bring us to this high and wonderful place let us not grow weary in the WAY that lies before us. Let us even now, no matter how faint our voices may be, discover the power and strength of rejoicing in HIM! HE will not fail us in this day. HE will never leave us nor forsake us for HIS NAME IS FAITHFUL AND TRUE. HE is our hope and our strength and in HIM alone will we trust.

“Finally, my brethren,
rejoice in the Lord”

PHILLIPIANS 3:1

Brian Troxel

THE DAYS ARE COME

THE DAYS ARE COME

“The days of visitation are come,
the days of recompense are come”

HOSEA 9:7

His return is directly related to judgment and recompense. To the faithful His return is one of rewards and glory; to the disobedient and slothful a day of reckoning and recompense. To those who know Him not it is the day of great judgment. His coming has many aspects; the refiner’s fire, the owner of the vineyard, the King of the pounds and talents, the Chief Shepherd and many other expressions that indicate far more about His return than just taking His people to a city with streets of gold. The propagation of flippant teachings regarding His return will have to be answered for.

It is a KING that is returning to bring justice, equity and righteousness to this world that has rejected Him and His Salvation. It is the DAY of the LORD; a day in which His ministers in the earth will give an account for what was taught and how they conducted their lives. He is coming and it is time for us to turn our hearts to Him that we would be purified in the burning Fire of His presence even from the things we cannot see! I am responsible even for the things I am not aware of for He will search us out and reveal our hidden places if we ask Him to do so.

David cried out in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart…” The Hebrew Verb used here is only used in reference to God (never to man) for it is a word that means to bring something forth out of nothing. We need the creative power of the Son at work in our hearts to bring forth a clean heart. A Religion that short circuits the desperate cry of the human heart with nice teachings, smooth words, dissertations of future events, and programs that keep His people from the power of the cry of an honest heart, will suffer great sorrow in the days ahead. The Church of Laodicea was a church that thought they were “rich and had need of nothing” and they knew not that they were “poor, wretched, blind, miserable and naked”. God is never angry with a people because of their condition, for that is why He came! His anger is because in spite of their need they said “I am rich…” Wrong teaching produces wrong living. If there is no change, there is no growth. If we are not growing from faith unto faith, strength unto strength and glory unto glory then we need to consider our ways.

It is a Day to sound the ALARM; to cry out against the infiltration of sin and destruction in the church. It is a DAY to raise the standard of His righteousness and HIS PROVISION for men to be FREE. If there is no provision for Sin, no provision for those bound up in the wages of Sin, then it is time to close the doors and stop the show. It is utter folly to preach against SIN if there is no provision for it. A POWERLESS GOSPEL BRINGS FORTH POWERLESS LIVING.

“And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty
and your faith is also empty”

I CORINTHIANS 15:14

A RISEN CHRIST is the only provision that we have for victory over SIN. Empty preaching comes from hearts that know not HIS power or HIS resurrection. Today we can have victory over the temptations of this world BECAUSE HE LIVES and because HE LIVES WE CAN LIVE ALSO.

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness
in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world”

I JOHN 4:17

Brian Troxel

FOR THE BED IS SHORTER…

FOR THE BED IS SHORTER…

“For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it:
and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.”

Isaiah 28:20

It is the nature of man to seek rest in something less than God’s true provision. These other things may provide some semblance of rest. They might offer some sense of relief by covering our true need, but it is only religion. We seek rest in teachings, doctrine, submission to someone or something, even in the scriptures themselves, but God has designed these things to provide only a partial rest. True rest is found only in Him. Man lays hold of concepts to hide in; that everything is put off to some day in the future; some great work of God that is yet to be. This actually produces poverty of mind and soul. It obscures the relevance of today and leaves its adherents bereft of any sense of rest in the today of life. We seek rest in the fact that that we are in “submission” to an organization, perhaps some apostle, some teaching or religious order while Jesus cries out in the simplicity of truth,

“Come unto me… and I will give you rest…
take my yoke upon you and learn of me
and ye shall FIND rest unto your souls”.

Matthew 11:28 – 29

Our need is to begin to look objectively at the fruit of our ways. The journey into truth must start by us becoming truthful to ourselves. This is the day of which the scriptures declare that the “effect” of every vision is at hand. What is the effect of our personal vision? Is it producing a greater, more intimate walk with Jesus; a greater apprehension of His Life and Power in us? Has it created a deeper experiential truth of Him in our daily lives? What is the fruit of the things that we hold to? Do we pass each day in the “rest” of an adherence to a belief while we sit in faithless inactivity and squander the precious time that we have by saying “some day….”? Or do we, as Jesus beckons us in the scripture above, “Come unto Him…” every day? Do we rise up each morning with the earnest desire that today we actively “take up His yoke” and seek that life of walking and doing in the great adventure of life with Him. For that is the true place of learning. It is the only place where we will “FIND” rest unto our souls. The FIND here speaks of something that is the result of searching. The “COME unto Him” speaks of rising up from where we are and going to Him. These things speak of movement and change. They speak of relationship and submission to His will on a daily basis. There is no full or true rest in anything outside of JESUS. The wisdom of God has designed this life so that the bed of men’s concepts will always be “shorter” than the need of man.

True rest comes when a man can stretch himself out in full and never worry about the “edge” of his resting place. This is a place of wonder and peace for we have found that our resting place is larger than our being. We are free from worry and anxious care for we have found our rest in Christ himself. This is a rest of great activity! It is a rest of being so one in Him that we naturally do and live as a pure expression of the Father’s Heart. Jesus is the Sabbath of God yet as He walked among men, the scriptures testify that He went about “doing good”. Oh the glory of such a life where, without taking thought, we naturally live and move and have our being in God’s SON!

Brian Troxel

DOING GOOD

DOING GOOD

“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

The power and evidence of the operation of the Holy Ghost in the life of Jesus was that he went about doing good. There are many who contend that the evidence of the Holy Ghost in a person’s life is speaking in tongues. While this may be it has been lost that the purpose of the Holy Ghost coming to his people from God’s perspective is to make us witnesses (Acts 1:8) through out the world unto him. We get caught up with so many things and lose sight of the reason why we are here. We are called unto love and good works. It is vital that we have the love of God burning in our hearts in such intensity that the result is a life that goes about doing good to those around us. The Holy Ghost operating in our lives is not only the power to deliver those that are oppressed, but to be filled with such love as to make that faith reach out to the lost. It is to such things that we have been called. We know that we are not saved by works but it is equally true that by doing good works we reveal that salvation that has been freely given to us. The servant is not above the master. If his life was lived in the context of this world by doing good are not we called to the same? A good fountain will give forth good water and a liberal soul will be expressed in generosity. These are the principles of fruit in his creation. Let us go out into this world with the lamp of the Lord burning brightly through the good works of those who have been empowered by His Spirit to walk as he walked.

Brian Troxel