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Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 4:20’


War Against the Soul

The War Against the Soul

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”
1 Peter 2:9

The aged and seasoned Peter beseeches the people of God to abstain from the fleshly lusts of this world which have long embattled the souls of the pilgrims of faith. Throughout the varied history of God’s people, the tendency has been to compromise with their enemies rather than eradicate them. The enemies and vices with whom one generation makes covenants/compromises, rule over them in succeeding generations. The things that one generation allows become the excesses of the next; the purity and the life of Christ ebbs away with each passing generation.

We are called to abstain from these things for they war against our very soul. These lusts and desires wither and shrink the vision of our Beloved. They taint the thought life, the inner sanctum of our being, and blind the soul from the light and glory of God Himself. It is an all-out assault on the minds and souls of God’s people. There is but one answer: the Lordship of Christ within the life of every believer. Victory! His Lordship coupled with our obedience insulates us in His Holy Presence. Joseph fled temptation and in the end became the Zaphnath–paaneah of the known world. If Christ’s Spirit does not rule within, our outward life will not stand in this day. His Kingdom starts within the thoughts, desires and intentions of every heart.

The Kingdom of God is not a message; it is a life. It is not a teaching, a word or a concept; it is the rule of God within the heart of man. It is a state of being; a heart fully submissive to the intonations of His Holy Spirit. His will is our will. His thoughts are our thoughts and He is seen and heard within the lives of His own.

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

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”
Romans 14:17

It takes power and an authority beyond the scope of human nature to bring this kingdom into the heart and soul of man. Just as in the days of Israel, our enemies are stronger and more powerful than we are. The secret of victory is in our humility of learning the ways of His warfare. His Spirit teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight.

“He teacheth my hands to war;
so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms”
1 Samuel 22:35

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

The war of the soul takes place in the unseen realm of our thoughts, far away from the sight of all but God. It is here that the battle rages. It is here that the unseen foes are defeated by the power of His Spirit working within our lives.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (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”.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The authority of His Kingdom is known first and foremost in the secret places of the heart.

“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it”
Matthew 8:9

True authority in God’s Kingdom will be revealed through those who are under His authority. Many may claim authority because of knowledge, associations, and strength of personality; but God sees into the secret places and sets His love upon those who love Him.

“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men
by Jesus Christ according to my gospel”
Romans 2:16

It is a day to avail ourselves of His grace to find the strength to fight the fight of faith and having done all to stand victorious in this evil day! To Him be the Glory and the Power and the Praise!

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand”
Ephesians 6:13

Brian Troxel

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The Mystery of God

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,
even the hidden wisdom, which God
ordained before the world unto our glory”
1 Corinthians 2:7

True ministrations of the Holy Spirit present the Mystery of God in a hidden wisdom that is indiscernible to the natural man. This is not a mystery that is to remain unknown but a mystery that cannot be understood with the intellect; a mystery only entered into by a pure heart and a child-like faith. This mystery can only be explored by the lamp of obedience, the result of Love beating within the heart of every pilgrim. It draws men with such beauty and promise that, upon seeing it, they go and sell all they have in order to hold that “pearl of great price”. The religious and curious love to sit and discuss aspects of it, they enjoy expounding upon its merits and possibilities, and are content with it remaining an ethereal concept. To those who have tasted and caught glimpses of its Glory nothing can alleviate the cry to enter into its depth and fullness. Men through all ages have touched the hem of this life, this wonder, and have been so captivated by its beauty they gladly lay everything down for its reality. It is with this motivation that men speak to one another, encourage one another and stir up one another to a greater passion for the living Christ. It is to such a heart that this mystery unfolds His Majesty and Worthiness.

Hidden to be Revealed

The scriptures declare that God conceals Himself in wisdom. Love compels Him to make Himself known but that knowing is wrapped up and hidden from the wise and prudent of this world and revealed to babes in heart.

“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because thou hast hid these things
from the wise and prudent,
and hast revealed them unto babes”
Matthew 11:25

The hidden things of God are only hidden with the desire to make them known. God created the material world and all that is in it to make Himself known. This is the only means by which men move from darkness and religion into fellowship and friendship with God. Relationship is impossible where one of the parties involved remains hidden and obscure. The good news of the Gospel is that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” The Gospel, the reaching out of God’s heart to man, was God’s initiative, prerogative and design. Our sin, rebellion and sheer ignorance made Him foreign and unknowable in our lost condition. The ability to see, hear and know Him requires change on our part. It requires a “new birth” in order for us to “see” His Kingdom.

“Except a man be born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God”
John 3:3

While many in Christendom are satisfied with the mere seeing of the Kingdom there are those whose hearts have been touched by the baptism into His Spirit; those who instinctively feel the call to not only the see the Kingdom but to enter into it.

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
John 3:5

Exception to Entrance
Into The Kingdom of God

This seeking of the Kingdom and the desire to touch the invisible, to know the things of God which are beyond knowing (Ephesians 3:19), and the participating in the Mystery of God can only be known by a childlike heart. The word “except” in the scriptures above  eliminates the ability to see and enter the Kingdom of God by any other way. “Except” is an exclusionary term especially when God is the one speaking. Jesus added to the list of exclusionary scriptures by saying…

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

This “exception” declares that this must be the experiential reality of those who would enter this Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the Mystery. It is the mystery of righteousness and the mystery of faith that can only be revealed to those who meet the criteria which God has set forth. It does not require much effort to look over the landscape of the religious world and realize that the wonder and mystery of God is a foreign concept. We have allowed teachings, doctrines and dogmas of men to replace the wonder and glory of His Spirit. We have been caught up in “words” about God instead of the Word of God. We somehow have equated “knowledge” with the means of entering; that somehow the gathering of more knowledge about God will qualify us to enter His Kingdom. This was the mindset of the Pharisees in Jesus day; they knew much and saw little. Jesus spoke to them concerning their “knowledge” of the scriptures…

“Search the scriptures;
for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me”
John 5:39

They handled, spoke and condemned the very manifestation of the Kingdom to their own shame and damnation. Pharisee in the original language means “called out ones”. They were the religious “elect” of their day. They excelled in their knowledge of the scriptures and they excelled all others in their blindness. If the Kingdom came by words and knowledge there would surely have been a people who entered in long ago. However, the Lord tells us the Kingdom is not in word but in the power of His Spirit.

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

Entrance into Kingdom by
Obedience and Character

The entrance into the Kingdom is not by what we know but by what we become through the operation of His Spirit within our hearts. The simplicity required by God is produced by our being “converted”; the depth and power of that conversion brings about a childlike faith and heart. Men with much instruction can become hardened, rigid and lose the ability to flow in the things of the Spirit. The Word becomes too familiar and too well read through the glasses of their own doctrinal concepts and natural reasoning. The Word loses its wonder, its glory and its mystery. The Bible, the pages of which are filled with over four thousand years of God speaking, becomes a one-dimensional plane of religious phrases instead of the pulsating, living and vibrant voice of God. Men cease to hear the voice of God and of the prophetic men who penned such a marvellous work.

“For they that dwell at Jerusalem,
and their rulers, because they knew him not,
nor yet the voices of the prophets
which are read every sabbath day,
they have fulfilled them in condemning him”
Acts 13:27

There are many who read and hear the scriptures every Sunday/Sabbath/Meeting that never hear the voices of the prophets who languish in the throes of a religious wilderness. They hear only good things without the power of God to become expressions of Him in authenticity and truth. There is a form and appearance of being righteous but the inward reality is absent. These are those of whom Jesus spoke “because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not; neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). It is a hearing that will never produce acts and works of faith. “Faith cometh by hearing” and that hearing is the result of a pure and right heart. It is the “pure in heart” who shall see God; those who know that the real issues of life are the heart’s condition, obedience to His Word and the overall desire to see God glorified (not themselves).

Understanding the mystery of God is on the grounds of faith and obedience. This entrance into the Kingdom of God has the following conditions:

1. A true willingness to do the will of God. “If any man will do his will, he shall know…”

2. Growth and development of His Life within us. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: 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”. 2 Peter 1:5-11

Spiritual blindness occurs when men stop adding the virtue and wonder of God to their faith. There is a slumber and a religious stupor of knowing a thing without becoming. Knowing without doing is the pathway to deception and sorrow.

“But be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”
James 1:22

Rest of article continued on next post.

Brian Troxel

http://www.aword.info

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