A Word in Season – The End of the Matter

The End of the Matter

“…but the end of the commandment is love
out of a pure heart and a good conscience,
and faith not pretended,
from which having missed the mark,
some turned aside to empty talking”
1 Timothy 1:5-6

God’s end is revealed in His beginning, just as the harvest is the manifold expression of the seed sown. The same love that motivated Christ’s incarnation is the same love abiding in those who have loved and received Him. When men and women lose sight of the “end of the commandment”, the words, the works and the life are empty and vain.

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

The Gifts of God without love: empty and hollow. Deep understanding into mysteries of God: useless. Knowledge without love is meaningless and without value. It is the agape of God which infuses all things with the weight and wonder of Himself; for there can be no growth or development of Love apart from a pure heart. There can be no true impartation of life where the conscience is conflicted by wrong and ulterior motives and unrepented sins. There can be no true and lasting work of God when faith is presented in pretense. The work of God can only be within the lives of those who live in authenticity. These three graces must be the foundation of our growth into the love of God:

Purity of Heart
A Good and Clean Conscience
Faith Unfeigned

A Gospel which does not include the ministration of truth and admonition will inevitably produce lives devoid of the fire, intensity and the power of the Love of God. The reason God is declared a “consuming fire” is because HE IS LOVE. We cannot hold the love of God within our hearts and be void of passion, works and an energized faith. Love is what breathes life into faith and faith by its very nature must produce His works in and through our lives.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything,
nor uncircumcision, but faith working (energized) through love
Galatians 5:6

The legalism of our day rests in declarations of the tenets of faith. It fails to grasp that the END or PURPOSE of God in Christ is to takes us beyond the fact of being justified by faith, into the power of God manifested through lives who have been sanctified. Sanctification brings us into a life of abandonment and surrender unto God as a “living sacrifice”. When such legalism becomes the foundation there will be no pursuit of a “pure heart” or a “clean conscience”. A true and unfeigned faith flows from those who seek only His approval. The horror of this “gospel” of legal declarations is that His people see no need for an ongoing, deep and powerful work of God within their hearts. There is a rest and a complacency in an unfinished work of God. The two and a half tribes of Israel found rest in a land outside the purposed and promised land of God; many today are settling for something far less than the full purpose and intention of God.

When there is a deviation from God’s end, in the estimation of God Himself, the expressions of ministry become vain and empty chatter.

“…from which having missed the mark,
some turned aside to empty talking”

Paul the Apostle, who declared the truth of justification by faith, summed up his life as one who was pressing, pursuing and desiring the apprehension of the mark of God.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…”
Philippians 3:13-15

Paul was not resting upon the knowledge of being justified by faith. He was in full pursuit of “apprehending” (laying hold) the mark and purpose for which God had laid hold of him!

A dead faith rests in the acknowledgement of a teaching, while
a living faith pursues the apprehension and reality of God Himself.

Brian Troxel

The Kingdom of God Series – A Key to the Kingdom

The Kingdom of God

Chapter Seven
(See Chapter Seven Part Two)

Keys to the Kingdom of God
Matthew 16:19

The Parable of the Sower

Individual Ministry and Fruit

In our consideration of the Kingdom of God we must begin with the Parable of the Sower as it is one of the keys to understanding all of the other parables of which Jesus spoke.

“And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable?
and how then will ye know all parables?”
Mark 4:13

There is a key hidden within this parable which gives us understanding and wisdom to begin to comprehend the wonder, the mystery and understanding to all the other parables. It is here buried within this one parable the introduction to us of our entering INTO the Kingdom of God.

Through the ages theologians, seekers of truth and teachers of God’s word have wrestled with the mystery of the Kingdom of God concerning God’s Sovereignty and the responsibility of man; the parable of the sower introduces us to the very core of this subject. God’s answers are given in such a way that it never fully satisfies the carnal curiosity of man. For there is very little to be gained in the intellectual knowing of a truth whereby we are better suited for this Kingdom, for it is in our hearts participating in Him whereby we are made partakers of His Kingdom.

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

Though each of us possessed all understanding of the mysteries of His Kingdom and possessed all knowledge we would be none the better. We could have perfect doctrine and be able to speak of such things without flaw we would be considered in the eyes of God as nothing. We must once again reiterate… “the Kingdom of God is not in word… it is in power”. Power to love, power to walk, and power to be the living extension of His Light into this dark and sinful world. Light is nothing less than His Life being resident within us. His life ruling and reigning over the hearts and lives of His Own.

“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men
John 1:4

It is His LIFE in us which is the light of men. While it is very important to have right teaching and a proper understanding of His ways those things in themselves will never bring us (within the core of our being) to the power to reveal and display His majesty. It is His Life in us which is becoming unto us, The Way, the (verity) Truth and the Life whereby we are made partakers of His Kingdom.

Jesus in His presentation to us of the Kingdom of God begins with this fundamental truth…

“The sower sows the Word…”
Mark 4:14 (LITV)

(To be continued…)

Love Contrasted – Faith

Love and Faith Contrasted

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

All the wonders and expressions of faith in God’s House, needful and precious as they are, if held and operated apart from the Love of God are empty. We have all seen great expressions of the gifts of God, be they healings, prophecies or ministrations of knowledge, fall through pride, greed, vanity and other sins. We ourselves may have been used of God to touch another life yet felt the transient value of the moment. God never intended that we find fulfillment in the “works of faith” as vital and necessary as they are. True fulfillment is found in our abiding in the power of His Love. The expressions of faith are given to bring God’s people to His End; they are not the end in themselves. Love is the enduring quality of God Himself. It is the eternal aspect of His Life; whether there be “prophecies, tongues, or knowledge” they shall cease (1 Corinthians 13:8) but it is the love of God which will abide forever. May we never confuse an expression of God as the approval of God within an individual’s life. The end of such thinking is filled with deception and ruin.

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail*; whether there be tongues, they shall cease*; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away*.”
1 Corinthians 13:8 (*Please see note below)

Jesus sent 70 of His disciples out with power to heal and cast out demons and they returned with great joy at the deeds accomplished. To which Jesus replied:

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”
Luke 10:19-20

The content of one’s life is far more important than the expression of it. Moses, Jannes and Jambres all brought forth the same spiritual manifestation yet Jannes and Jambres were of a perverse and evil heart (Exodus 7:10-11). The expression itself is not the validation of a life before God. Rather it is the character, the motivation and the truth (authenticity) of God. Love is the only thing that bears weight in the scales of heaven.

John the Baptist performed no miracles. He was not finely dressed nor eloquent in speech yet Jesus declared of him “For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” Our entrance into the Kingdom of God is not based on the spiritual manifestations in our lives; it is based on what we become within the character and dominion of His love.

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3

Peter instructs us to add to our faith “virtue… to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance endurance, to endurance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness LOVE.” He goes on to say… “for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” What solidifies our entrance into His Kingdom? The ongoing development of our faith into the fruit of the Spirit culminating in His Love.

Love is the fulfillment of God. It is the divine signature of God upon a life. It is the full purpose of God’s Glory in man.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love.”

We would be negligent and foolish to diminish the expressions of faith and the precious gifts of the Spirit of God. They are given to bring the Body of Christ to the maturity, the unity and the divine enablement to arise in purity and holiness. It is a sad testimony that many of God’s people do not see the need for every individual to receive the giftings of the Holy Spirit. Paul in his letter to the Church of God at Corinth implored them to:

“But covet earnestly the best gifts:
and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way…”
1 Corinthians 12:31

We are to covet and desire the gifts of the Spirit but also to walk in the more excellent way… the Way of Love. Love is more than an attribute. It is the Way of God and the Path of God in which we are to walk that we may please and honor Him in our lives.

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

*Notes on 1 Corinthians 13:8

“but whether there be prophecies they shall fail” The Greek word translated “fail” here means to fade away or become of little use. For in the shining forth of the fullness of Christ there will be no need to “prophecy in part” (partially) 1 Corinthians 13:9-10. Prophecy is necessary and Paul sets forth the gift of Prophecy as a gift to greatly desire, yet we are to judge it and hold it in its proper place within the purposes of God.
“whether there be tongues, they shall cease” The Greek word translated “cease” here means to “stop or make an end”. When? When the fullness of Christ comes. These various gifts of the Spirit will remain in the earth until the perfect comes. Paul himself declared that he “spoke in tongues more than they all”. Surely if he knew and valued the necessity of this gift who are we to arrogantly decide that we are beyond such things. It is important to also note that not all who “received” the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues but that God has given these gifts “severally” to all. The Gifts of the Spirit are not optional; they are given because Christ has risen! (Ephesians 4:8)
“whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” The Greek word translated “shall vanish away” is the same Greek word translated “fail” concerning prophecy. Why will knowledge cease? Because we shall SEE HIM as He is. There will be no need to teach others about Him for in the seeing of Him knowledge will be eclipsed by the reality of all that He is. Paul in his prayer for the Church at Ephesus prayed that they would “know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) Love surpasses knowledge! Love will bring the heart to a knowing of God which is beyond teaching, knowledge and words; Love will bring us into the “Fullness of God” Himself. Why be content with anything else? The purpose of the New Covenant is to bring this to pass! The great prophecy concerning the New Covenant that God would bring is:

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord…”
Jeremiah 31:33-34

Woe to any minister who shares with any motivation other than to see the people of God grow to surpass their own ministry. The True ministrations of God bring His people to the equality of brotherhood. It is religion that holds people to an inferior walk or place in God. Children must grow up and “leave their father and mother” to become mature men and women in God. Only when we truly love and respect our brothers and sisters, and see them as God does, will there be true unity in the Body of Christ.

Brian Troxel