The Simplicity of Life – Part Two

The Simplicity of Life

Part Two

“Let your garments be always white.
Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)

The free and precious gift of God in Christ is revealed in the garments of joy and salvation; unspeakable mercies of the One who died that we may live. Not only did He take upon Himself the shame, the filth and the degradation of all humanity, but he “became sin”. He who knew no sin “became sin” in order to condemn it thereby enabling us to become the very righteousness of God Himself. His intent was that by the deep operations of His Spirit upon willing hearts there would be a manifestation of His righteousness as He subdues our hearts unto Himself.

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…”
Romans 8:3

To what end was the pure manifestation of the Grace and Glory of God?

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Romans 8:4

God in Christ crucified the weakness of our sinful flesh in order to “fulfill the righteousness of the Law” in people who walk and live in His Spirit. The precious blood of the Lamb has made a new and living way whereby we have access to the Throne of Grace. In Him alone is the power to live and grow into His likeness!

How long will we linger in the throes of unbelief; thinking His righteousness is in word only with no actual power by which we may overcome all sin? How long will we declare that the disobedience of Adam has greater authority than the perfect obedience of our Living Christ! We are here to overcome by Grace. We are here to reveal His Power by our growth into His Righteousness, not by trying to live up to the dictates of the law in the power of our own flesh. Rather as we yield our lives to Him, we will naturally walk and live by the Law of His Life within.

Growth and development into this wonder requires the tenacity of a life ever learning how to Live within the sphere of His enabling grace so “that as He IS so ARE WE in this world”. (1 John 4:17) Let us take a holy Selah here and let the wonder and the power of this glorious Word of God enter our hearts with the enormity of its “breadth, and length, and depth, and height”. (Ephesians 3:18)

Such a walk is not entered into lightly nor is it known by the confessions of the heart or the aptitude of our minds. It is entered into by faith; a living faith, which will not let us rest, compromise or settle for religious platitudes or doctrinal statements. True faith will press a heart ever onward, ever upward and will not rest until our hearts are in full submission unto Him. True faith embraces and rejoices in Christ as our Saviour, in Christ our Justifier, but its passion is to know Him as our Lord and Master.

“Why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
Luke 6:46

How is it that we are content with a salvation compromised with sin and failure? How do we settle for forgiveness of our sin without growing in the power of His Life to be free from its power and dominion? Why is it we sympathize with sin rather than contend with it? It is no wonder the world mocks the sad state of much of the church today. It is time to turn again unto Him who is able to present us faultless before His unutterable glory!

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…”
Jude 1:24

Wherever the heartbeat of a living faith resides there is a quest for victory, a pursuit for the righteousness of Christ. This can only be known by those who live under His Lordship. Where He reigns, sin flees.

As we take our place as humble disciples in the school of Christ He will direct and teach us to live by His resources, free from our internal struggles and bitterness. It is in this school that we learn His way to keep our garments white even while we walk amidst the corruptions of this world. We learn through failure and repentance. We walk on, trusting and giving heed to the Living Word which cuts and heals, breaks and mends, until we live free in Christ.

Sadly, many would rather live a “declared righteousness” and see little need to keep their garments clean. They are content with compromise, sporadic and inconsistent living, and a faith lacking in the wonder of Him.

“Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy”
Revelation 3:4 (ESV)

God Himself laments that there were only a few who kept their garments white. It is to such that overcome God gives the promise of walking with Him in the whiteness of His Spirit. May we hear His call to keep our garments clean, looking “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”.

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame”
Revelation 16:15

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Arise and Shine

Thought for Today

Arise and Shine

“Arise, shine! For your light has come,
and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you.
For look! darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples,
but Yahweh will rise on you,
and his glory will appear over you”
Isaiah 60:1

God calls to us to shine though darkness is covering the earth. He sends His light to us in the face of Jesus Christ that we may “arise” in the growing night. It is in Christ that the arising glory of God empowers and strengthens His own to be beacons of Hope to the lost. Our light has come; His life in us is the light of men. His Life is our Light.

“In Him was life
And the Life is the Light of men”
John 1:4

The Life of Christ within is our salvation. Teaching is good and necessary for a season but the teaching must give way to the Life. Teaching must produce a hunger for Him to live and reign within our hearts. In hearing of His life, the true in heart launch their lives into the great ocean of all that He is. The teaching of His extraordinary grace must produce lives that are not content with the “hearing” of His goodness; but like Paul we cry out to know experimentally the “width and length and depth and height” of all that He is (Ephesians 3:18). There is an inward pursuit to “know Him” (Philippians 3:10) for it is in the true knowing of Him we are enabled to walk in the power and wonder of His salvation.

Our living Hope is not based on outward words; our hope is sure because of the Christ within. He is our hope, He is our salvation and He is the substance and surety of all that God has promised.

“To them God willed to make known
what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles:
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
Colossians 1:27

May we arise in this hour being fully persuaded of His promises. Come to Him with full intent to drink of the waters of His salvation from the living well of His own being.

“Ho, everyone who thirsts
Come to the waters…”
Isaiah 55:1

Ω

“Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness…”
Matthew 5:6

GOD IS LOVE Preface

GOD IS LOVE

OVERVIEW

DIMENSIONS OF HIS LOVE

“THE BREADTH AND LENGTH AND DEPTH AND HEIGHTH”

“GOD is Love” 1 JOHN 4:8, 16

Having felt impressed to write a single article on God’s love it is now apparent that this will be a series of short writings in an attempt to present a brief outline of this majestic subject. The enormity of such an undertaking, and the sense of total ineptness on my part, is coupled with a prayer that HE who chooses the weak things to confound the mighty, the base things to confound the wise, may be pleased to do so here.

I remember probably 30 years ago pondering the responsibilities that God has given to men and the great need we have to draw from HIM the resources to be found faithful in all of the different aspects of our lives. The man of God must be a good husband learning by Christ’s example to love his wife AS Christ loves the church. The man of God must be a good father who discovers through his experience with the Heavenly Father to raise his children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord. Failure in these prevents us from having the experience and understanding to be expressions of wisdom in the Church. The man of God must be a good employee/employer as we recognize our accountability unto Him. The man of God must also be a witness and an example to the world without where we walk in wisdom and righteousness. As I contemplated these things the scripture in Ephesians 3:18 came alive and I was struck with the fact that there are four dimensions of knowing Him and His Love that we are to discover and experience.

“May be able to comprehend with all saints
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge”
Ephesians 3:18

HEIGHT

The first dimension is the height of this LOVE. It is here that we must see that every aspect of God’s dealings with us is to enable us to discover that HE IS HOLY. Failure to understand this will dim and corrupt our ability to know His other dimensions; knowing HIS breadth, length and depth. Scripture is clear that “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord”. It is the responsibility of all those who minister to the people of God to set forth a clear presentation of the Living Christ. In so doing the hope would be that each life would see THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE and forsake everything in pursuit of the acquisition of it. Without the aspect of Holiness men will not see HIM as HE is.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
And the knowledge of the holy is understanding”
Proverbs 9:10

There is a much today in terms of instruction, and scriptural facts concerning the Christ, but it is not the “knowledge of the holy” which is the true understanding of God. Men who know not of “the HOLY” know not God as they ought for God IS HOLY.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,

with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit…”
ISAIAH 57:15

In our religious world today there are many forms of contriteness and humility but unless these qualities are the RESULT of seeing Him they will always fall short of being the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Watchman Nee remarked in the book “Release of the Spirit” that there are many types of brokenness but the only brokenness of any value is that which brings the release of the Spirit of God into the lives of others. So it is with every facet of the Fruit of the Spirit.

The absolute truth that God is Holy and that God is Love is the revelation of WHO and WHAT HE is in HIMSELF. These are not attributes. They are HIS intrinsic self (HIS NATURE) and as such all that HE does flows from the great substance of HIS BEING. We can no more remove the wonder of HIS Holiness from HIS Love than we can take the element of hydrogen from water and still expect to have water. The church of today has in fact removed that element from HIS expression and because of this it is left with a love that is soulish, tepid, shallow and devoid of the power and the pulse of the Holy Spirit. This will taint the expressions of love that are poured forth from the life of the individual believer. The most blatant result seen today is the lack of LOVE between the members of the Body of Christ. Those who have the fear of the Lord know that they are not free to pick and choose which brother they will interact with for the LOVE of GOD is without partiality. They have a holy sense of the connectedness of the Body of Christ and are able to extend that LOVE of GOD to other believers because they ARE His body. They know the flow of that LOVE for it is based upon HIS Nature not upon a brother’s worthiness or capacity. This is where the breadth and length of the expressions of God’s love is determined by the height of a man’s understanding. If there is no comprehension of the height the love becomes earthly and human in its expression. Without the height men become very comfortable with the status quo of the day, exhortation and reproof are seen as expressions that contradict this “love”, and we become apathetic and comfortable with our current condition.

In the letter to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation we see a God who pronounced judgment upon the Church at Ephesus for leaving their “pre-eminent love”. In the Church at Pergamos we see false teachings were being embraced because God’s Holiness was not presented in their lives. We could expound on the other issues found in each of these locations but the cure for all of them is a people who live in the fear of God. Men who fear God have no interest in the approval of men.

BREADTH

Concerning the breadth of God’s love we must come to see that HIS love in us will love not only every brother who is truly a part of the Body of Christ but also those who are contrary and opposed to all that God is. A love that truly loves its enemies prays for them even to the point of blessing them. The absolute breadth of such a love is truly beyond understanding. This love is beyond the manufacture of men, beyond human ability or desire, and it almost seems to contradict our very understanding of Justice and Truth. The breadth of such a love is revealed in the first martyr as we see Stephen being stoned and asking God to forgive them! It is one thing for us to forgive men for their deeds but it is another thing altogether to ask God to forgive them eternally! It is no wonder Paul prays for us to be “strengthened to lay hold” of such a love.

LENGTH

In our consideration of the length of this love we must grasp the enduring love of God who has gone to great lengths of patience and long-suffering with us in our walk with Him. This same love will produce in us a love that will continue to love in the face of indifference and rejection. This is the love that will enable us to suffer long with a brother who refuses to grow, develop, or overcome the obstacles of life. It is a love that, because of God’s Holiness, will not compromise with a brother’s walk but will ever seek to raise them up to the CALL of God to holiness and righteousness. In this dimension there is a suffering born of the knowledge of God’s provisions and HIS own priestly concern over the life of every one of HIS. This is a love that will go to every length within its sphere to see HIS people rise and walk with their Holy God!

DEPTH

When I began to contemplate the mystery of this fourfold knowing of HIM and HIS LOVE I was impacted by the realization that in earthly things my concepts were only three dimensional. Having enjoyed drafting and drawing buildings and such when I was younger it occurred to me that one of those words used in Ephesians 3:18 was beyond my capacity to know. In studying the Greek words used for all of these dimensions I came across the word that is translated depth. This Greek word is a mariner’s term used to describe the ocean and its depths. As sailors they understood they were merely moving upon its surface but that below that surface there was a whole other realm of life about which they knew nothing. Praise the LORD! It is the same Greek word that Jesus used when He invited the disciples …

“Launch out into the deep,
and let down your nets…”
Luke 5:4

Can we not hear HIM inviting us to leave the shallow waters of men’s concepts, traditions and teachings and launch ourselves into the depths of HIS BEING where light, glory and LIFE abound? Do we not instinctively sense depths within HIM that surpass knowledge and words, books and sermons, where the Apostle Paul himself declares that he saw and heard things which cannot be uttered? These are things which men cannot articulate for they are beyond the speech of men, beyond the reach of the human mind and are only shown to those who have made holiness of life and purity of heart their pursuit.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:

for the Spirit searcheth all things,
yea, the deep things of God”
1CORINTHIANS 2:9

My prayer is that together we will explore the unfathomable dimensions of His Love, for to love Him is to know Him and to know Him is to love Him.

Brian Troxel