Letters to the Church – The Call

Letters to the Church – The Call

“And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”
Matthew 10:38

It is important for us to reacquaint ourselves often with the words of Jesus during his earthly walk. Let those words reverberate within our hearts and pierce through the rhetoric. There is something so uncompromising about His Call. May we meditate upon these words of His and allow them the full and undivided attention of our hearts. The solemnity of His Call to us is not to a mere forgiveness of sins (as overwhelming and precious as that is). His Call is to Himself. Our redemption is for His glory and the following of Him. His whole design is to bring forth a people who are no longer their own, but rather “As He is, so ARE WE in this world” (1 John 4:17).

Look at the depth of His conversations with those who heard His Call:

“He said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.”
Luk 9:59

Jesus responds:

“But Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce God’s Kingdom.”
Luke 9:60

Again:

“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house”
Luke 9:61

Jesus responds:

“And Jesus said unto him, no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”
Luke 9:62

There is power in the Call of Christ that defies logic. There is a stark contrast between then and now; between the perception of Jesus in our day and the Jesus presented to us in the Gospels. The Call of Christ is to the “whole” of us, not just a portion. Our response is not to be a casual one where we fit His Call into our daily life as if it were a part-time occupation. The Call is to Him; to sacrifice and to a determined relinquishment of all that we are.

Paul reiterates this in his plea to the Church at Rome.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”
Romans 12:1

There is a pleading in the ministration of the Call of God that this becomes an experiential truth. The things we allow in ourselves, and in the lives of those who claim to know Him, reveal our ignorance of His claim upon us. Sin no longer disturbs the majority. We look lightly upon the issues of others because we look lightly upon the issues within our own hearts. Lethargy is contagious; as contagious as any pandemic with eternal implications far beyond the loss of life here on earth.

Paul left no doubt with the Church at Colosse as to the purpose of the true ministry of God.

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus
Colossians 1:28

What did this intensity of heart look like?

“Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”
Colossians 1:29

The mighty working of Christ within is revealed in a life of labour without; it is the exposé of His claim upon us. There is no place for the lethargy and indifference men and women display to the Call of God.

We Are Not Our Own

We may declare such things, we may present our claims of following God, but the reality of the life we live may reveal something different. The works of a life reveal the faith of the life. In Revelation God declared unto every location of the Church in that day, “I KNOW THY Works”. God is ever beholding our works for by them He knows our faith.

The validity of our love for Him and the power of Him working within us is readily expressed in our interaction with our brothers and sisters. Paul sums up his expression of the workings of Christ within: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom…”. If mere confessions of faith were sufficient (as is commonly taught today), why did Paul express warnings, admonitions, and exhortations to the people of God? To the church at Ephesus, one of the crown jewels of the early church, Paul declared:

“Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears
Acts 20:31

The deception and lethargy of a confession-based gospel has produced the slumbering church of our day! It produces a blindness to the magnificence, grandeur, and enormity of His Holiness. We have reduced Him to professions which require nothing more than a mental assent which consequently requires nothing, costs nothing, and correspondingly produces nothing. A confession without sacrifice leaves people without resources to face what lies ahead. Ministries must heed the Call of God to build up His Church and to prepare His people for the storm which is about to engulf our land. He is coming first of all to judge His church to the intent that in righteousness He may then be free to judge the world.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
1 Peter 4:17-18

The time IS COME upon us! Let those who have ears to hear tremble and seek Him afresh that we may be found “doing” when our Master returns. Take no comfort in confessions and doctrines which do not produce the Fear of the Lord, that do not bring forth a growing holiness and purity of heart. Forsake the delusion of heart which enjoys hearing the word, discussing the word, while yet refusing to obey the word.

A New Ministration of Mercy

It is a day to seek a new ministration of His Mercy; a mercy which produces sacrificial living and bringing forth of a new worship which is costly, pure and holy.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…”
Romans 12:1

The true mercy of God enables men and women to give themselves wholly unto God, not to comfort them in their sins and rebellion.

May we as His redeemed rise up to respond wholly to the Call of God in Christ!

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power
2 Thessalonians 1:11

Brian Troxel

Leadership

Leadership and the New Wine Skin

Part Two

“Peter saith unto him,
Thou shalt never wash my feet.”
John 13:8

Peter’s deep reverence for Jesus had elements of worldly esteem. His carnal conception of what leadership was to be, was offended by this act of humility. Washing the disciple’s feet contradicted Peter’s idea of how Jesus should be; he deemed it denigrating. The humility of Jesus is an affront to all who desire pre-eminence in religious circles. True leadership of the New Emerging Wine Skin will be by those who understand this powerful truth within the depths of their being.

Leadership in the Spirit is simply a life consumed with following Him. It arises from those who follow the Lamb. Their vision, their purposes and their desires are not to lead others but to follow Christ. The true sheep follow those who bear the nature and the likeness of Christ. They have no earthly agendas, no grandiose concepts of personal greatness; their glory is to serve and honour Christ.

Paul could say freely and simply:

“Then whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God. Be without offense both to Jews and Greeks, and to the assembly of God. Even as I also please all in all things, not seeking my own advantage, but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ
1 Corinthians 10:31-33; 11:1* (see note below)

Paul’s leadership was founded in the cause of Christ; he did nothing for his “own advantage”. It was a leadership poured out in the edification and admonishment of others for their growth and apprehension of Christ, free from personal gain and agendas. The heart and soul of this new leadership being raised up will not build up anything unto itself. It will not seek its own nor use others for its advantage! It will be free from the pomp and the pride of anything other than the Lordship and Majesty of Christ. It will not walk in the pretense of a false humility. It will not be presumptuous or jealous of others. Rather it will welcome and foster, at every opportunity, authentic expressions of Christ and extend to others an invitation to sit and partake of the fellowship of the Spirit. It will not cut itself off from others nor walk in the spirit of Diotrephes who “loved to have the pre-eminence”. (Such corruption will subject them to the Judgment of God). Those who view any gathering of the people of God “my church”, “my people” or “my fellowship” will find themselves excluded from the New Wine Skin. There must be stamped upon our hearts the living truth:

“Unto Him shall the glory be”

Paul in his epistle to the Philippians declared that many of that day sought their own things and not the things of Christ. Those who refuse to humble themselves in this hour, who refuse to open their hearts to the ministrations of others, will reap sorrow and judgement.

This new leadership will have written upon their very hearts a pure desire to see the Unity of the Spirit become the reality here on earth until we come to the glory and power of the Unity of the Faith! (Ephesians 4:3,13) Any ministration which does not seek this One thing will be cut off from the commonwealth of His Life and Glory! Only the Life of Christ can produce such pure and holy lives.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good. In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another…”
Romans 12:9-10

The new and emerging leadership must exemplify this heart. They are to be “ensamples” to, not lords over God’s heritage.

“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also”
2 Corinthians 6:3-13 (ESV)

The verity of all ministry is to One End:

“that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”
Colossians 1:28

“of which I was made a servant, according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you, to fulfill the word of God,”
Colossians 1:25

What does this life look like?

“for which I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily”
Colossians 1:29

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“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:5

*Note: The statement “Be imitators (followers KJV) of me, even as I also am of Christ” has grievously been isolated from the context of the truth of what Paul was presenting in 2 Corinthians, chapter 10, by the placing of a chapter division; some have erroneously interpreted this scripture to their own ends.

Brian Troxel