Path to Ministry – Servanthood

The Path to Ministry

Servanthood

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:
therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”
Deuteronomy 30:19

The way of God is ever before us. His call, His purposes and His desire are presented unto us throughout the scriptures. Our life in Him is bound up in the choices we make. By our choices, this life in Him is either discovered or lost.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Romans 6:16

Mankind was created for obedience; it is the pathway to freedom. The above scripture reveals that one’s choice (yielding) determines whose servant they will be.

Whom or what we serve is the revelation of whose servant
we truly are regardless of what we profess!

The wisdom of God is clear and simple. All our professions, declarations and outward shows of religious activity are weighed in the balances of true obedience. Obedience is the fulcrum by which our true relationship with God is revealed. If I yield myself to sin, I am the servant of sin, regardless of my profession. Truth is truth and it is in “becoming” alive unto Him whereby we are made free from the power of sin over our lives. The true wonder of our “becoming” servants of God is the result of His victory being wrought out in the reality of our daily lives.

Servanthood to God is the highest call. A true servant of God serves Him, chooses Him and obeys Him from their heart. The individual who truly serves and obeys God, lives and walks in the Victory of Christ Himself. Without this victory we do not come to know the power and the glory of being a “servant of God”.

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
called to be an apostle…”
Romans 1:1

The depth and power of Paul’s apostolic expression was in corresponding measure to His servanthood to Christ. Whenever Paul defined his relationship to Christ, he always expressed it as servanthood not as apostleship. His apostolic expression was the result of his servanthood – not the other way around.

“I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

Paul’s appointment to service was a result of his faithfulness to God. We must discover that the way into the true ministry to which God has called us will only be known by our faithfulness in serving and obeying Him.

We live in a day in which many of God’s people do not know their call or purpose in God. This dilemma can only be solved through the medium of obedience. Without obedience to God alone the riddle of the call of God to each of His own will remain unsolved and unfulfilled. It is in the yielding of ourselves unto obedience that we become servants of righteousness. If we yield ourselves unto sin, we become servants of sin. Jesus declared emphatically:

“No man can serve two masters…”
Matthew 6:24

Ministry today is often presented as serving people, a church, or an organization. In reality the true ministry of God serves Him, speaks His words and works His works.

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?
Or am I striving to please men?
For if I were still pleasing men,
I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ
Galatians 1:10

An individual who seeks the esteem or favor of others cannot be at the same time a servant of God! Compromise is the womb of spiritual death. True humility frees an individual from the opinions of others and is the fragrance of a life in submission to God alone. There is much compromise within “Christendom” today. There is an impotency within the lives of those who seek the approval of men rather than God. Truth has been rendered powerless for it is often presented through the lives of those who do not know the workings of the Cross of Christ. It is the Cross which frees us from ourselves and bring us into singular devotion unto Christ.

“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man,
but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father…)”
Galatians 1:1

Any ministry which validates itself by something other than doing and being a servant of Christ, will never know the power of a true servant of God.

Jesus prefaced His word, “No man can serve two masters”, with the need for a singular heart.

“The light of the body is the eye:
if therefore thine eye be single,
thy whole body shall be full of light”
Matthew 6:22

The Light and Life of Christ fills the heart which is single in its purpose to serve God alone.

Paul summed up his life in very simple terms:

“separated unto the Gospel of God”
Romans 1:1

Σ

“Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth”
Colossians 3:2

Brian Troxel

The Path to Ministry – Correction and Growth

The Path to Ministry

Part Six

Correction and Growth

“My son, don’t take lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives”
Hebrews 12:5

Every child of God will know and experience His dealings; it is the surest sign of Him setting His Love upon us. King David knew much of God’s blessings and judgments. He was inspired to declare in Psalm 23:4 “Thy Rod and Thy Staff, they comfort me”. The true in heart find as much comfort in God’s Rod of correction as they do in the Staff of His provision and protection. All God’s children know of His correction, but many do not benefit from it. It is here where disciples are distinguished from adherents. Correction has no benefit to those who ignore God’s dealings. Those who seek to know the wonder of Him appointing them to His service, will consider these things as vital to their development.

“All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby”
Hebrews 12:11

The peaceful fruit of righteousness is the result of being exercised by His corrections! Why would we ignore or take lightly His dealings with us? His corrections are given to make us partakers of His Life.

“Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?”
Hebrews 12:9

We want life, His Life, in us. His Life grows in those who are in subjection to His corrections. A stubborn and rebellious child will not bear the likeness, the wonder and the power of God in any depth. It does not negate the power of a gift of the Spirit*, but it will leave the one in whom the gift operates with a sense of emptiness and may bring them to eventual ruin.

The Path into the life of ministry and service is filled with the dealings of a loving and wise Father. In His corrections we also discover a growing into and a knowing of His Holiness.

“For they indeed (our fathers in the flesh), for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness
Hebrews 12:10

Holiness is more than a gift; it is the very essence of God Himself. The only path to growing in His holiness is in our partaking of Him. God cannot give us holiness; we become holy through the medium of living and abiding in Him. He is the Holy One and it can only be real in us via relationship.

What is the fruit and benefit of His Holiness in us?

“Eagerly pursue peace and holiness with all,
without which no one will see the Lord”
Hebrews 12:14

The depth of an individual’s ministration will be in corresponding measure to their seeing of God.

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you,
that ye also may have fellowship with us”
1 John 1:3

Σ

A wise son desires
the correction of the Father.

*Note: There is a great difference between the power expressed in a gift versus the authority and power revealed in those who live, abide and walk in submission to the King of kings. This will be covered later in this writing.

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Path to Ministry – Purity of Service

The Path to True Ministry

Part Five

Purity of Service

“I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

In the life of a true disciple everything is to be unto Him. It is our faithfulness to this One alone, that frees us from selfish pursuits in the name of God. Religion is simply taking the Name of the Lord our God in vain; we seek to promote ourselves under the pretense of serving God.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain*
Exodus 20:7

*NOTE: shaw' (H7723), "deceit; deception; malice; falsity; vanity; emptiness." The 53 occurrences of shaw' are primarily in poetry. The basic meaning of this word is "deceit" or "deception," "malice," and "falsehood." This meaning emerges when shaw' is used in a legal context: "Put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness" (Exo 23:1). Used in cultic contexts, the word bears these same overtones but may be rendered variously. For example, in Psa 31:6 the word may be rendered "vain" (KJV, "lying"), in the sense of "deceitful" (cf. Eze 12:24). Eliphaz described the ungodly as those who trust in "emptiness" or "deception," though they gain nothing but emptiness as a reward for that trust (Job 15:31). Vines Dictionary of Old Testament Words.

“A masculine noun meaning emptiness, vanity, evil, ruin, uselessness, deception, worthless, without result, fraud, deceit. The primary meaning of the word is deceit, lie, or falsehood. God used the word to indicate that He punished Judah in vain. The word is used by the psalmist to state that all activities such as laboring, guarding, rising early, staying up late, and toiling for food were useless without God's assistance (Psa 127:1-2) …”
The Complete Word Study Old Testament (Word Study Series) Hardcover – June 1, 1994 by Baker D.R.E., Dr. Warren Patrick (Author), Dr. Spiros Zodhiates (Editor)

The unsaved cannot take His Name in falsehood or deception; they cannot take a name which has not been given to them! This commandment was written to His people. Sadly, throughout history, we read of many who have taken His glorious name unto themselves for their own gain and purpose. False teachings, prophesies, wrong and immoral deeds, and the perversion of His Word to draw people unto themselves, were and are committed in the name of God. Those guilty of such things will not escape His judgements or wrath.

“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them”
Acts 20:30

The only hope of freedom from the contagion of this horror is by the workings of the Cross in our lives. It is only by the “spirit of burning” and the crucifying of that “carnal man” that we will know purity of heart in our service unto Him. There is no valid expression of the risen Christ who has not known of His judgments, His fire and His Mercy. Authenticity is the fruit of a life who has walked with Him in truth.

“Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel”
1 Corinthians 9:9

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Path to True Ministry – Part Three

The Path to True Ministry

Part Three

ENABLEMENT

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

The Cross is the Path to the Empowerment of Christ

The days of apostasy in God’s house are always preceded by a people walking and ministering His truth through the power of self. Whenever man is exalted the fire of God recedes and the resulting horror is a people left to themselves. God’s enablement falls upon those upon those who remain faithful to Him. His Life, His Power and His sharp two-edged sword proceeds from those who have known (in some measure) the devastating work of the Cross to the natural abilities and resources of their own selves. The cross is reserved for those who follow Him within the context of everyday life.

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”
1 Corinthians 1:18

Where there is no obedience there can be no Cross.
Where there is no working of the cross
there will be no true power of the Christ of the Cross

The Cross of Christ is NOT the testings and the trials of everyday life for the world knows of these same things. The Cross of Christ is that which comes to those who DO His Will. It is in the doing of His Will where His Own know and identify with Him and the resulting opposition and hatred which comes their way. It is in speaking, standing and walking out of His Will where the graces of Him are formed and the natural tendencies of self are crucified. How foolish is the notion that we can experience the workings of the Cross of Christ apart from obedience unto Christ? Paul was enabled because his life was one of faithful obedience and submission unto the will of God.

The “enablement” of the favour and ministration of Christ Himself is the only source of power in His Church. The energies of self will always leave an individual powerless, fruitless and impotent in the ministrations of Christ. Fruit is the revelation of the power of our relationship with Him…

“Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, He takes away.
Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit

John 15:2

Fruit is the undeniable result of a branch which abides and lives out of the resources of the living vine;

Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me
John 15:4

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Path to Ministry – Part Two

The Path to True Ministry

Part Two

ENABLEMENT

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

Thankfulness is the touchstone of a true disciple. There is an overwhelming sense of indebtedness to the mercy of God in Christ (Romans 8:11-12). Thankfulness frees the soul from jealously and envy of others. In the recognition of our own unworthiness of any favour from God, we begin our journey into discipleship with a right motive. Many make the mistake of thinking they deserve or are qualified for such a high and glorious call. It is from such that schisms and strife arise in the Body of Christ. Motive is critical to the receiving of His enablement.

In receiving His enablement, we are empowered to make HIM known in the earth. True discipleship can only be as deep as the purity of our motives in following Him. Whenever and wherever people seek the approval of others they will know little of this empowering grace. Freedom from self and the opinions of others is the stamp of a true disciple. Disciples follow Him; they do not seek positions or places of recognition. They do not seek advantage for themselves, but only seek to please Him who has called them unto a life of separation.

In our day the word “ministry” has come to mean something that has very little to do with God’s original thought or meaning. It is a word fraught with the horror of misrepresentation of all God intended. The reasoning is that by sending individuals to an institution we can prepare men and women for the highest purpose in life. One who has the ability to compile scriptures, and present them with cleverness and personal charisma, is considered to have the “goods” for ministry. We suppose by mere instruction and following the methods of men we can produce divine and unique expressions of the living Christ! How far we have fallen from our reliance upon the creative power of Christ Himself. May the Lord free us from our dependency upon our own resources and bring us back to the “Divine Enablement” of Christ alone.

“What is a man, a minister, a sacrament, a city, a nation, without the Spirit of God? What makes matters so far wrong in a land, but that there is so little of the Spirit with ministers and people? There is no life where the quickening Spirit comes not: O sirs, we will have dead preaching. dead hearing, dead communicating, lifeless work this day if the purchased Spirit does not come! When He comes life comes with Him”
– Ralph Erskine

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Path to True Ministry – Thankfulness

The Path to True Ministry

Part One

THANKFULNESS

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

In this verse Paul the Apostle shares his heart with a young Timothy as to the foundation and truth of all genuine ministry. The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are expressions of a fatherly and love-laden soul. There is no hint in these epistles of Paul seeking to use these two precious ones to extend his own influence or to perpetuate his own ministry. Rather he seeks to bring them to the pinnacle of life: a walk of devotion with a singular reliance upon the life and approval of Christ alone. True and pure ministry, as presented in the New Covenant, is the fruit of our walk and obedience unto Jesus Christ. Paul does not refer to the giftings of the Holy Spirit, the variety of personalities, personal or intellectual abilities, or associations with other ministries, organizations or teachings. Paul’s presentation to Timothy concerning ministry is first and foremost infused with thankfulness. “I thank Him”! Why was this? Paul knew of his utter dependence on divine enablement to walk such a life! True recipients of grace are ever thankful and humbled by His great mercy. May God open our eyes to see that without the enablement of the Living Christ there can be no true ministration of the power of His Life. Without it men and women are reduced to powerless words, religious phrases, and vain expressions.

Jesus declared:

“He that speaketh of (or from)
himself seeketh his own glory…”
John 7:18

Thankfulness is the fruit of a life which knows its own unworthiness. Those who minister out of self, walk in a proud or haughty spirit (even though it may be clothed in a false humility), and carry a sense of entitlement. They “expect” to be treated differently. They consider themselves superior and reveal this in how they conduct themselves with others. The chief mark of a life called of God is humility. Humility is the foundation of all true authority. It is the revelation of one walking under God’s authority and it can only be expressed through the medium of obedience. In God only the humble can obey. (Titus 1:16)

Ω

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

Let us read carefully and meditate upon the above scripture. By the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit allow His thoughts to invade and bring to us His Light to bear upon such words of Divine power.

Thought for Today – Discovering the Call

Thought for Today

Discovering the Call

“Neglect not the gift that is in thee”
1 Timothy 4:14

Literally the meaning of righteousness would best be translated “right-wise-ness”. It is in each of us becoming in word, thought and deed all that He has purposed us to be in Christ. The gift of God to each of us lies hidden in the mystery of our own ambiguity. It will remain hidden if it is treated with neglect and indifference. The man with the one talent buried his gift within the earth of his own being. It is a sad testimony of a life that passes through time in the fog of unreality and uncertainty. His neglect had eternal implications (Matthew 25:30).

The wise of heart understand that the talent given is to be tended to with a holy diligence and singleness of heart knowing we shall one day give an account unto Him. The will of God is that His deposit increases within our hearts.

“Wherefore be ye not unwise,
but understanding what the will of the Lord is”
Ephesians 5:17

It is the unwise who know not the will and the call of God. It is in our obedience that the way becomes clear and the “mystery” of His will is solved within the riddle of our own life. He is desirous to bring clarity to our lives as we walk in the wonder of His way.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out
into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance,
obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went”
Hebrews 11:8

The mystery of His will is never solved personally apart from obedience. Abraham’s call was revealed through his obedience. He did not know where he was going, but he knew the ONE who was leading. It was in his obedience that he discovered his inheritance! It is the same for us; in obeying His call we see the unfolding of our place in Him.

“And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry
which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.”
Colossians 4:17

Brian Troxel