ONE BREAD ONE BODY

ONE BREAD ONE BODY

“For WE,
though many,
ARE one bread and one body;
FOR we all partake of that one bread”
I CORINTHIANS 10:17

Love is mentioned 156 times in the New Testament while the word WE is mentioned 630 times; the majority of these are concerning the body of Christ. The WE is the expression of the Love. The commonality of the communal heart was a ONENESS in the peoples’ lives revealing the ONE BODY and the ONE CHURCH. The thing that made the unity was the partaking of that ONE bread which was broken for them. The closer one is in relationship to the HEAD the more one is cognizant of the ONE body. This explains the fragmentation and sectarianism that has robbed the body of its power and reality.

Love is the fruit of relationship with the head. Love surpasses knowledge, rejoices with the truth, stands for truth and knows that the only hope for anyone to be truly free, truly righteous and truly like the Son is by the ministration of truth. Where truth is neglected love will be a dismal expression of all that God is for “God IS Love”. I cannot know what love is except in the true knowing of God. Truth is my only hope for knowing what LOVE really is.

Love is the selfless and pure expression of the God who so loved the world that HE gave His only Son. That same Love that gave is the same God who in total holiness and impartiality is the judge of all men. All the heavens and they that dwell there are awestruck with the Holiness, the Righteousness and the Omnipotence of His Majesty. The most holy Angels who have never known sin or rebellion shield themselves from His glorious penetrating light; such a contrast with the apathy and religion of today. Where there is no unity in the midst of God’s people there will be little or no glory.

In every case of unity in both the Old and New Testaments there was God’s glory to such an extent that men were bowed and the heavens were opened. The unity PRECEDES the moving of God. On the day of Pentecost they were in ONE ACCORD prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We read in the Old Testament that when the singers and dancers were of ONE Voice the Glory of God fell. Jesus said…

“And he spake also a parable unto them;
“No one tears a piece from a new garment
and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new,
and the piece from the new will not match the old.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins.
If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled,
and the skins will be destroyed
LUKE 5:35-38

The New Wine will not be poured out into old wine skins. They are old, inflexible, and weak. They have become rigid and have a form of righteousness that cannot be changed. God is not in the renovating business; HE TRANSFORMS anyone who dares walk in truth and in the light. His Love does not compromise with sin and religion. He cleansed the temple in His Day and He has not changed! Men were satisfied with their paltry offerings and even the disciples (prior to Pentecost) were found marveling at the temple buildings in their day. Jesus says that there will not be left one stone of that old order. For the new was ready to break forth upon the grounds of the pure sacrifice of the LAMB OF GOD. Now it is a temple not made with hands; a living temple made up of living stones mortared together by the simplicity of the LOVE of God. Men no longer build their own edifices but are themselves built together INTO this glorious temple.

“In whom ye also are builded together
for an habitation of God through the Spirit”
EPHESIANS 2:22

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men,
but chosen by God and precious, you also,
as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house,
a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
I PETER 2:5

The ONE BREAD is to bring forth the ONE BODY in truth and reality. Not a oneness based on the effort of men or the compromise of the truth! This ONENESS is the REVELATION OF THE TRUTH not the ignoring of it. TRUE LOVE IS THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT which IS CALLED THE “SPIRIT OF TRUTH”. When men love programs, teachings, the esteem of men and self promotion more than they love truth they reap the fruit of their own ways. This in itself is the great judgement of God. When men are content with such things nothing changes. Agnosticism is in full expression and men declare that God moves at times and not at others as if it were some mysterious thing. Truth is seen as being relative; there is no concern for wrong teachings and soulish ways. We are not to say anything, do anything, that might offend others. God has a name for such a generation… ICHABOD!

“And she named the child Ichabod,
saying, The glory is departed from Israel”
I SAMUEL 4:21

It is time to read the scriptures for what they say and to see through the “status quo” of today. It is a day to return to the simplicity of truth and the power of His Spirit that can only be found where the New Wine skin is made up of those that love one another fervently out of a pure heart. We can no longer meet in the ways of the world. The true church is not an earthly organization but a spiritual organism living in the breath of the Holy Spirit, where men no longer walk in titles and positions but live and walk in the pure expression of His love. It is a place where our meeting together is no longer orchestrated by the programs of men but has become the place where the Spirit of Liberty is free to EXPRESS THE LIVING CHRIST. A place where His Glory comes in such power that the ways of Ananias and Sapphira are judged and God is glorified. A place where HIS Glory so permeates our gatherings unto Him that no earthly agenda can survive and men speak as the oracles of God.

We need to stop reading the scriptures as if they were for another day; to stop viewing the Holy Word as if it were a historical document.

Daniel in captivity UNDERSTOOD by the reading of the scriptures that they would be in exile for 70 years and began to pray and repent; GOD ANSWERED! It is as men read the scriptures and hear HIS voice that repentance and change comes. He did not simply say “Well, God is going to do it”… HE knew God enough to know that HE MUST RESPOND to God’s Word personally to experience the LIFE OF IT. FAITH IS SIMPLY THE ABILITY TO RESPOND TO GOD.

The scriptures are read everyday across our land but the famine of the word is not in the reading of it but in the HEARING of it. For FAITH comes by hearing not reading. So Jesus warns us to take heed “HOW WE HEAR” and “WHAT WE HEAR”.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD,
that I will send a famine in the land,
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of HEARING the words of the LORD”
AMOS 8:11

That day is upon us, but the promise of God to His Church is …

“He who has an ear, let him HEAR what the Spirit says”

The unity of the true Body of Christ is only known by the simplicity of WALKING IN THE LIGHT…

“But if we WALK in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another”
I JOHN 1:7

Ω

“The unity of Christendom is not a luxury, but a necessity.
The World will go limping until
Christ’s prayer that all may be one is answered.
We must have unity, not at all costs, but at all risks.
A unified Church is the only offering we dare present
to the coming Christ,
for in it alone will He find room to dwell”
CH. Brent

Brian Troxel

Captivated by Beauty

“Captivated by Beauty”

“After this many of his disciples
turned back and no longer walked with him.
So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life”
JOHN 6:66 – 68

The “seeing” of Him is the essential element of TRUE discipleship. Discipleship on any other basis is simply religious fervor that leads to legalism and fanaticism. On the other hand, men who have not seen the unparalleled beauty of the Son pursue nothing. They are quite satisfied with the knowledge of being a child of God without any real desire for a deeper relationship with Him than what they have now (Philippians 3:7-14).

We see here in Peter’s response to Jesus that they could not go away for they had discovered in Him the words and the source of eternal life; their hearts had been captivated by a beauty beyond compare. In one of the parables of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God Jesus said…

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it”
MATTHEW 13:45 – 46

The ardency of the pursuit of Christ is the revelation of what one has seen. The fruit of seeing is a life of following and seeking. The true beauty of Christ ruins us for the trappings of religious contentment that knows not the cry for a knowing of Him. It is in the FINDING OF HIM that the merchant goes and sells all that he has to purchase this great treasure.

Men who have not truly found Him do not pursue Him; there is no compulsion within to know this ONE PEARL of great price. It is only in KNOWING HIM that we are privileged to see the surpassing beauty of His Glory. To such an end have the promises of God been given…

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled”
MATTHEW 5:6

“Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth;
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”
MATTHEW 7:8

Let us take note of the tremendous assurance of His promises; Ask… IT WILL BE GIVEN, Seek…YOU WILL FIND, Knock… IT WILL BE OPENED! The real beauty of these promises is “for EVERYONE that…”! How can we sit idle or find comfort in simply knowing Him from afar? How can we linger with such promises given?

We live in a day of such apathy and ungodly contentment; where men and women hold the “knowledge” of God in a lukewarm and casual manner. We speak of salvation as a one -time event that having now been born again the work of God is complete and I can live my life with very little ongoing growth or development. We are content with remaining servants without any desire to grow from servants to friends with God.

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants;
for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth:
but I have called you friends;
for all things that I have heard of my Father
I have made known* unto you”
JOHN 15:14 – 15

Friendship with God requires obedience and hearing. It requires one who is coming to know the heart and the ways of God. It is a RELATIONSHIP that is ever growing and it necessitates change on my part. It requires a seeking and a desire to know HIM who is the ONE GREAT LOVE of the FATHER.

Where else can we go, to whom else can we turn? Nowhere but to Him who is the source of all life, hope and glory!

*γνωρίζω gnōrizō; to make known; it is used here as an aorist verb. See John 17:26 where Jesus in speaking to His Father said “…I have declared unto them thy name, and will (continue to) declare it”

To learn is to grow and to to grow is to live.

Brian Troxel

GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN

“Give me this mountain”

“…yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me:
as my strength was then, even so is my strength now,
for war, both to go out, and to come in.
Now therefore give me this mountain…”
JOSHUA 14: 11 – 12

Faith is not only a substance and the real evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) it is also a spiritual reality and a precious fruit (Galatians 5:22 – 23). Faith is not determined by age or the weaknesses that are common to man. We see here the testimony of Joshua who, at the age of eighty-five, is undaunted by the promises of God. The mountain he asked for was inhabited by the giant Arba and the Anakims which were the giants of the land of whom Goliath was a descendent. His eyes were fixed upon the promises of God, not himself.

Because that living faith burned within his heart it had NOT diminished with the passing of time; he was able to declare…

“Now therefore give me this mountain…”

The eternal purposes of God do not rest upon our physical strength or abilities; they are carried along by the operation of His faith within the recesses of our hearts. Joshua still had to invade that land and fight the giants but his strength was the product of a living faith and not the other way around. So must we in our day continue to “contend for the faith”. Faith that is living and true, that is present tense and at this moment “strengthened for war…to go out and to come in”. Wherever there is true faith there is a continual war in the spirit both to hold onto what is ours in Christ and to see total victory over the strongholds within.

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing
that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”
II CORINTHIANS 10:4

And again…

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy,
according to the prophecies which went before on thee,
that thou by them mightest war a good warfare”
I TIMOTHY 1:18

Many of Joshua’s fellow Israelites did not live to enter the Promised Land because of the issue of faith; so it is in our day (I Corinthians 10:6 – 12 and Hebrews 4:6). May the Lord stir our hearts to hold faith, walk in faith and live a life that pleases HIM. May we be found strong to finish the race for HIS Glory.

“Finally, my brethren,
be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might”
EPHESIANS 6:10

Brian Troxel

An Open Heaven? Purity of Heart

An Open Heaven?

PART THREE

PURITY OF HEART

“Truly, truly, I say to you,
you will see the heavens opened”
JOHN 1:51

An open heaven is progressive in its nature and outworking; the experience of it in our lives is directly related to the condition of our hearts.

Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God
MATTHEW 5:8

The ability to see and understand the ways of God is an issue of the heart not the mind. The heart is the lens through which we “see” God. Its purity of motive and intent is an essential requirement to the knowing and understanding of HIS WAYS. In the religious world today there is very little concern over WHY a thing is done. The actions of Ananias and Sapphira go unchallenged today because in large part we do not concern ourselves with motives and intentions. As a result we see very little in terms of depth of understanding or truth. Holiness has no real meaning in our day because of the “teachings and concepts” of a worldly gospel. When will we realize that the judgment on Ananias and Sapphira is a New Testament reality? God HAS NOT CHANGED. Where truth becomes a mere religious teaching God hides Himself; the greatest judgment a people can ever experience. But those who desire to see HIM will pursue a pure heart.

“…for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed”
1 SAMUEL 2:3

All our actions are weighed in the balances of His Holiness. When things are done to please people, to garner the praises of men, or to seem spiritual, the thing done has little value in the eyes of HIM that burns with the PURE flame of heaven (Revelation 1:14). A pure heart is when we live our lives to please HIM and honor HIM in all that we do.

“For the word of God is living and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,
and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner
of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are naked and open
to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account”
HEBREWS 4:12 – 13

The recognition of our need for purity of heart is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the HOLY SPIRIT; not just the Spirit of God but the HOLY SPIRIT of God. It is in a living relationship with HIM that we realize that Holiness is not simply a nice religious word but that it is the ESSENTIAL requirement of any heart to grow in the knowing of our God.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord”
HEBREWS 12:14

Ω

“This desire for heart purity
is a creation of the Holy Spirit at work in the heart”
Duncan Campbell

Brian Troxel

FOR THE TIME WILL COME

“For the time will come…”

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,
having itching ears”
IITim: 4:3

(Greek Exegesis)

“…shall heap to themselves teachers…”

Shall they heap to themselves teachers (ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύ σουσιν διδασκάλους) A vigorous and graphic statement. Ἑπισωρεύειν to heap up, N.T. Comp. σεσωρευμένα laden, 3:6. The word is ironical; shall invite teachers en masse. In periods of unsettled faith, skepticism, and mere curious speculation in matters of religion, teachers of all kinds swarm like the flies in Egypt. The demand creates the supply. The hearers invite and shape their own preachers. If the people desire a calf to worship, a ministerial calf-maker is readily found. “The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools” (Bacon, Ess. 17).

Having itching ears (κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν) Or, being tickled in their hearing. Κνήθειν to tickle, N.T. lxx. Κνηθόμενοι itching. Hesychius explains, “hearing for mere gratification.” Clement of Alexandria describes certain teachers as “scratching and tickling, in no human way, the ears of those who eagerly desire to be scratched” (Strom. v.). Seneca says: “Some come to hear, not to learn, just as we go to the theater, for pleasure, to delight our ears with the speaking or the voice or the plays” (Vincent’s Word Studies)

The word narcosis is the result or state of temporary being that arises from this pursuit of mere gratification. As it speaks in the scriptures of a famine of the “hearing” of the Word of God, and because of this “…they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” Amos 8:11 – 12. There is a lust for knowledge that is not for the purpose of becoming but simply for the pursuit of accumulating more knowledge. It is a day of great obscurity as the wheat and the tares grow together until the day of harvest when the sheep are separated from the goats. This separation is not based on the accumulation of knowledge but is determined by the nature of the individual (IIPet. 1:4). It is through the process of obedience and the pursuit of His person that what we hear becomes what we are. When teaching no longer creates a cry within the hearts of its recipients to become, it is simply another means of entertainment for a people who “heap to themselves teachers”.

I felt impressed to send out this short article that I wrote in 2007 and though it is not meant as something easy to read it is simply a Greek word study on 2Timothy 4:3.

B. Troxel
March 18, 2007

An Open Heaven – Obedience –

An Open Heaven?

PART TWO

OBEDIENCE

“Truly, truly, I say to you,
you will see the heavens opened”
JOHN 1:51

An open heaven is a progressive life of revelation and change; it is dependent upon our response to His leading in order for us to grow and develop in the purpose that HE has for us. An Open Heaven is the result of a life of Obedience to Him. Without obeying Him we are sure to live a life of stagnation and impotence. This is no destination worthy of the God who has called us with an eternal and infinite call. His purposes for us are also eternal.

“That in the ages to come
he might show the exceeding riches of his grace
in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”
EPHESIANS 2:7

An ever opening heaven should be the normal Christian experience of every child of God. The things of heaven should be becoming more real and precious to us while the things of earth will, in direct proportion, become dim and distant as we behold the wonder and glory of our God. This life of the ever opening heaven is only realized through the life of obedience. In truth faith and obedience are inseparable. Sadly in our day faith has little to do with obedience for we have separated the two to such an extent that what one believes has little or no consequence to what one does.

OBEDIENCE

Whether it is in the Old or New Testament, the accounts of glory discovered by men and women, who on the basis of obedience were afforded the unique revelations of the Most High God, are there for our learning and admonition. Had not Jeremiah gone to the Potter’s House he would not have received the message of God for Israel. Had not the man with the withered hand responded to Jesus (in the midst of great unbelief) he would not have been healed. Had not the disciples got into the boat they would not have seen the Christ walking on the water in the midst of the storm. Had not the widow begun to pour oil out into the empty vessels her poverty would have continued and her sons would have been taken. Had not the priests stepped into the river that was flooding there would have been no way for the children of Israel to enter into the promised land. Had not Phillip gone to Gaza he would have missed the appointment with the Eunuch. Stagnation sets into the lives of God’s people when obedience is replaced by religious concepts and teachings. The open heaven becomes closed when men no longer expect nor receive the afforded grace of the WAY of GOD. The ever increasing dynamic of HIS life in us is energized by the glimpses of His Glory as we obey Him in the secret places of our hearts. Fresh revelations of Him in our daily lives keep the warmth of His presence alive to continue to follow Him wherever He leads.

The necessity of the Open Heaven is the means by which we become that heavenly people. It is the essential aroma of those who follow the Lamb in the reality of their lives. There is an unmistakable hope that beats within the hearts of those who endure by the seeing of Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27). The Open Heaven causes men and women to believe and know that they are to participate in His return. They are not just waiting without purpose but that they are a PART OF HIS RETURN; through the life of Obedience they are hastening His appearing.

“…when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared”
1PETER 3:20

God’s judgment on the earth waited for Noah to finish the Ark!

“Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there”
GENESIS 19:22

God’s judgment on Sodom waited on Lot to leave the city!

Jesus said HIS return would be as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. Can we not see and understand the implications of our life in Him?

Peter enjoins us to ever be…

“…looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God”
2Peter 3:12

The Holy Spirit here is telling us to “HASTEN” the day of His return.

“…and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled”
2CORINTHIANS 10:6

The Open Heaven is necessary for us to see that through the power of His Faith in us we are HIS BODY and HIS LIGHT in the earth. We are bone of His bone and as such we are to KNOW HIS WILL and walk in it.

Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
See then that you walk circumspectly,
not as fools but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be unwise,
but understand what the will of the Lord is
EPHESIANS 5:14 – 17

Ω

“The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters
is not intellect, but obedience.”
Oswald Chambers

Brian Troxel

An Open Heaven Part One

An Open Heaven?

PART ONE

FAITH

“Truly, truly, I say to you,
you will see the heavens opened*
JOHN 1:51

How wonderful is the spontaneous response of Jesus to Nathanael’s heartfelt declaration “Rabbi, You are the Son of God!” An “open heaven” is really the ability of an individual to see and understand the things of God; to see past the appearance of a thing and to see the substance and reality of that which is real, eternal and true. The open heaven is not available based on our intellect, cleverness or schooling. It is open to all on the basis of Faith, Obedience and Purity of heart.

FAITH

“By faith we understand…”
HEBREWS 11:3

Without the faculty of FAITH the word remains sealed and uninviting. It holds facts and doctrinal statements that we may use to form a religious guideline by which we navigate this world with an understanding of its precepts. While there is great benefit to be garnered by these we are merely sailing upon the surface of the waters of life that he has for us. We can study the scriptures and put together sermons based upon a topical analysis of them with some profit to the hearers. There remains however that hidden dynamic pulsating with the breath and life of the Son. It is the precious function of FAITH to enable us to see THE SON in the reading of the WORD. While some see facts, concepts and precepts others see and hear the Living God and because of this they are pilgrims and sojourners in a strange land. They feel the futility of man’s ways and efforts and the absolute necessity of why Christ was crucified. They know that without the branch abiding in the vine they will wither and die. They are no longer content to dwell and gather in temples made with hands for they have heard and seen a LIVING TEMPLE “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. The Word is no longer a historical document, no longer an ethereal book that tells us of things to come after we die. For those who by FAITH survey its sacred pages it is THE TRUTH that is LIVING and RELEVANT TODAY. As it states in the Book of Hebrews “TODAY if you will HEAR HIS VOICE…” Those who are content with the status quo, the division and sectarianism and the powerlessness of the religion of today, have not touched the heart and cry of the SON. Those who are not broken over the carnality, strife, emulations, and the spiritual poverty of the North American Church have not felt the heart of the Son; that same Son who wept over Jerusalem and the fate that awaited her. They could not see HIM of whom the scriptures spoke for they had not the faith of Abraham. Jesus said that “Abraham SAW HIS DAY and was glad”. Faith ever sees and beholds the Living Christ. An OPEN HEAVEN is the fruit and the recompense of the wonder of HIS FAITH living and breathing within our hearts.

Ω

“The Bible without the Holy Spirit
is a sundial by moonlight
DL Moody

*Spoken of the heavens, to open the heavens or to have the heavens opened or divided so that celestial things become manifest (Matt. 3:16; Luke 3:21; John 1:51; Acts 7:56; 10:11; Rev. 19:11) SPIROS ZODHIATES (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Brian Troxel

REMEMBERANCE DAY

Remembrance Day

This has indeed been a weekend of remembrance for me. Perhaps not for the same reasons that most people take time to remember today, but a time to reflect nonetheless. It was three years ago today that my father-in-law, a veteran, passed away…the first of our parents to go. Little did I know that it would also be November, one year later, that I would lose my mom. The pain of losing her has eased slightly only because I keep reminding myself that she is so much happier where she is and would not come back if given the choice! I still miss her every day and cannot help but wish she could have met our darling granddaughter, her namesake, who is now 17 months old and filled with such wonder at everything around her. I think Mom would have enjoyed seeing me as a grandmother as much as I enjoy watching our son as a father. It is truly a joy! It may be that I am more keenly feeling Mom’s absence because I just returned from the funeral of yet another of her lifetime friends. There have been so many in the last couple of years that I cannot help but picture all of them greeting and welcoming the newcomer to heaven. I am not sure how theologically sound this is but it is where my mind goes when I hear that another mother-figure has gone on. I probably avoided funerals in the past. I was so touched by those who made the effort to attend Mom’s, and surprised by some that did not, that I find I have a different perspective; I actually want to go and be part of the ceremony of saying goodbye. So it was that my sister and I drove 4 hours each way to attend the funeral of Mom’s friend a couple of days ago. Sitting in the church, sun streaming in the windows, piano playing, I watched as people were seated and wondered how they fit in with her story. The family processional came in, her husband in front. I tried to picture what he would have looked like as a young man and she as his young bride; how much happier that day must have been! There was a solo by an old black man who perched on a stool beside the pianist. He sang “Home Coming Day” a song I have never heard before about sunrises and sunsets. The even older man sitting in the pew in front of me wiped tears from his eyes and I wondered at his age if he thinks about how many sunrises are left in his life. Later, as a congregation, we sang “Now the Day is Over” a very monotone and almost depressing hymn that I remember learning on the piano as a child. Hymns often touch me in such a deep place that I am moved to tears without warning perhaps because they were such a part of my childhood. The last one we sang together was “Never Alone”. I literally do not remember hearing this for decades. There were no hymnals with the words to follow along, but the chorus came flooding back:

“No never alone, no never alone,
He promised never to leave me,
Never to leave me alone.”

I was not the only one who remembered the chorus only. The old man sitting in front of me belted it out in a VERY loud voice each time it came around. There was something so touching about this. I felt like he was singing from a personal knowledge of this promise in his life. It was a reminder to me that His promises are real and that these were far more than just long forgotten lyrics of a song. I am sure the family had carefully chosen each song to be sung that day. Most likely these were songs that were particularly meaningful to their loved one. This was a woman who by all accounts, and from my own memories, truly loved and cared for children. She raised four of their own but also “babysat” (before there was such a thing as daycare) countless children through the years. Some of them would grow up, marry and have their own kids, and bring them back to “Auntie” to look after. Many of these kids, now in their twenties and thirties, were ushers at the funeral. Some of them spoke very movingly of the effect she had in their lives and how she showed them the love of a stable home. One mother told of having to find a sitter for her three week old baby because she was called back to work and had no choice. She was greeted at the door where her baby was scooped into loving arms and her mind put at ease. I guess this is the part of funerals that I find so intriguing. I may have known her as “my mom’s friend” but she was so much more to so many others. We met people who had known here for more than fifty years and some who had only know her a few years and they all had the same things to say about their friendship. I left feeling privileged to have known her and to meet others who knew her in so many different capacities. I guess that’s the point. I would not have known all these things about her life had I not attended her memorial service and I would have been the poorer for it. So when someone asks what I did this long weekend… I’ll tell them I went to a great funeral.

L Troxel

Children or Sons? Part Two

Children or Sons?

PART TWO

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I gave up childish ways”
1CORINTHIANS 13:11

What a man speaks, thinks and reasons reveals what he is. The true revelation of what one has become is by what one does. By virtue of being born anew we all start our journey in Him as children. What a privilege it is to taste of the free unmerited Grace of God! Peter encourages the young ones in Christ…

“As newborn babes,
desire the sincere milk of the word,
that ye may grow thereby”
1 PETER 2:2

It is in drinking the sincere milk of the Word that we grow. That desire for His Word is the hallmark of one who has the Spirit of God living and dwelling within; a desire to know and understand this God who by Grace has called us unto Himself. That very milk of the Word is to produce growth and change where we go from being fed and nurtured into the place of BECOMING bread and substance for others. We begin to put away the childish things and begin to care more for our Father’s will than our own. We aspire to see HIS HOUSE become a place where HE is honored and glorified. We learn to care less about what others think of us and more about living life to honor Him.

This process of growing and becoming is only known through the life of Discipleship; the reality of knowing His Life is found through the medium of identification. The true giving up of childish things can only be realized by the process of BECOMING a man (…when I became a man, I put away childish things…). The idea of becoming is a concept that few understand for we have equated salvation as an ACT rather than a journey. Salvation is a LIFE not an event. The cry of Paul’s heart was…

“Not that I have already attained,
or am already perfected; but I press on,
that I may lay hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;
but one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore let us, as many as are mature,
have this mind”
PHILLIPIANS 3:12 – 15

The only way for one to know such a cry is through the process of becoming a man in His image. We may fill our lives with teachings and intellectual understanding but to know of this heart one must be a partaker of HIS LIFE. This pursuit is not a desire of the natural man; it is the CRY of the Spirit of God to go from a child into the maturity of Christ.

We live in a time of complacency and compromise; childishness and immaturity are commonly accepted. Little is expected of one another and as a result little is changed. May God press us into greater heights and depths in the knowing of HIM. May His Grace so abound in us that we know in reality the joy of counting our lives expendable for the sake of knowing and pleasing Him!

“…THAT WE SHOULD NO LONGER BE CHILDREN,
tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
but, SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE,
MAY GROW UP in all things INTO Him who is the head even Christ
from whom the whole body,
joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
according to the effective working by which every part does its share,
causes growth of the body
for the edifying of itself in love”
EPHESIANS 4:14 – 16

Ω

“The spheres God brings us into are not meant to teach us something
but to make us something”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

Brian Troxel

CHILDREN OR SONS? Part One

Children or Sons?

PART ONE

“Beloved, now are we the sons (Greek children) of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as he is pure”
1JOHN 3:2 – 3

This powerful, liberating truth of God speaks to all those who by FAITH have been born anew into the family of God; “…we are God’s children NOW”! This is not determined by the feelings or circumstances of life; this is the certainty of God. We are now children of His whereby we cry “Abba, Father”. To most of Christendom this is as far and as deep as things go. The beginning has become the end and we have manufactured a doctrinal thesis to keep this as the status quo. We see here in First John that there is to be a living hope that beats within our hearts of us growing into the full undimmed expression of HIM in our lives…that when HE appears we SHALL BE LIKE HIM! This is manifested by the maturation of a growing purity within the hearts of those who know of this living hope.

Doctrinal hopes have no power to convey this quest for life. It is simply a teaching that we believe which lays no claim to our personal lives. It is a religious concept that robs the WORD of its power and authority (Mark 7:13). There is little or no cost associated with such a “belief” and the adherents of such go through life with very little change. Children of God, loved of HIM, yet bereft of experiencing the glory and privilege of growing and developing into the sons of God. In the New Testament the Greek words used to differentiate between these two (for children and sons) are distinct*. As a child develops added responsibilities are given and with these responsibilities the added privileges of life. We do not give a three year old the car keys. God measures out to His own the pounds and the talents according to their “ability” and we see the withholding of truth to those who are unexercised in the development of true spiritual discernment.

“For every one that useth milk
is unskilful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,
even those who by reason of use
have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”
HEBREWS 5:13 – 14

And again:

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual,
but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat:
for hitherto ye were not able to bear it,
neither yet now are ye able”
1CORINTHIANS 3:1

Strong meat belongs to those who have grown from a child toward that full-aged development by the exercising of their senses to discern “good and evil”. Discernment is developed by growing into a pure heart so that we can see clearly and objectively (1Corinthians 2:15). “Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:18). It is only by us becoming pure in heart that we shall see God and have the ability to discern between good and evil.

“And everyone that has THIS hope in him purifies himself as he is pure”

The revelation of our hope is revealed in a growing purity. That hope is the bridge between what we are now and what we will be when HE appears. All we need to do is to look at the parables of Jesus. They all speak of faith as a living, growing dynamic that is filled with HIS very life. The parable of the sower clearly states that the fruitfulness of a life is completely dependent upon the soil of the heart into which the precious seed falls. The seed that fell on the stony ground is the SAME seed that fell into the soil that brought forth the hundred fold harvest. The only difference is the soil; not the seed.

*NOTE
Huios (son) at times refers to a legal heir and thus, by implication, an adult. It seems to underscore the character or maturity of the individual. Teknon (child or children) is a more general designation for offspring and contemplates the individual as one who is parented, one who has been born to another. For example, Jesus is never designated as teknon or teknon Theou (gen. of Theos (G2316), God), Son of God, but always ho huios, the Son, the Son of God or the Son of Man

Also:

“The difference between believers as “children of God” and as “sons of God” is brought out in Rom. 8:14-21. The Spirit bears witness with their spirit that they are “children of God,” and, as such, they are His heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. This stresses the fact of their spiritual birth (vv. 16, 17). On the other hand, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,” i.e., “these and no other.” Their conduct gives evidence of the dignity of their relationship and their likeness to His character.” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testaments Words, by W.E. Vine)

Brian Troxel