The Lesson of the Fig Tree – Part Two

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

Part Two

“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away”
Matthew 21:18-19

The lesson of the fig tree is one of great value to those who seek truth. Its message is for our growth and development.

Jesus came to the fig tree looking for figs. He came looking for fruit consistent with its capability. So it is with us. The righteousness of God prevents Him from an expectation that is beyond the ability of the tree to produce. The God who measures the talents to every child of His according to their ability, is the same God who holds each of us accountable to Him for that gift. This truth brings our accountability into perspective. It is also meant to be instructive to us as parents and ministers of God that we walk in His wisdom regarding the lives of our own children and of every believer. We are not to expect Paul to minister as Peter, nor Jude to speak as Apollos. Such expectations are the result of religious doctrines and confines. The Life of Christ within regards the individual gifts and capacities of others and looks for the corresponding fruit. When the fruit of an individual is consistent with the call and the gifts of God given, there should be a collective rejoicing unto the Giver of all good things. When the fruit of a life is missing or lacking the vitality of its call and capability, there is great need for the ministration of exhortation and admonition. Ministers who fail in this vital aspect of ministry will find themselves accountable to the Chief Shepherd of our souls.

Stewards and Shepherds

We are stewards of the grace of God and as such we are to shepherd His flock with a desire to see Him glorified in each and every child of His. It requires a pure heart to walk in such things knowing full well our own accountability unto Him. The fear of the Lord is the ground upon which His true ministers walk and function. John the Apostle declared that he had no greater joy than to “see his children walking in truth”; the truth of what has been given to them. The one who has been given prophetic insight, that is the thing to which God will hold them accountable (1-see below). The one who teaches must teach the truth of God to the end that every life will grow in the holiness and wisdom of God. (2-see below). Those who exhort must do so with purity and simplicity (3-see below) As to the Apostolic, there is to be a faithfulness to call God’s people to the obedience of faith (4-see below). The list is as endless as the diversity of God’s creation.

(1) “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Romans 12:6)
(2) “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)
(3) “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3)
(4) “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:5)

In the book of Romans, Paul exhorts God’s people to receive all of these diversities as the gifts and the wisdom of God. Those who refuse these expressions deny God’s wisdom and subject themselves to His judgment. Division is the result of man’s wisdom and pride.

“Only by pride cometh contention…”
Proverbs 13:10

The Lesson of the fig tree is that He comes to each of us looking for corresponding fruit. His expectation is consistent with His grace given. In the Parable of the Talents, the man with one talent was judged severely for his faithlessness to the gift given (Matthew 15:30). In the Parable of the Vine, the branch which bore no fruit was “cut off” (John 15:2,6). The lesson of the Fig Tree was meant for our admonition and learning to that same end.

The response of Jesus to the two individuals who were faithful to their respective talents was the same! Different talents yet the same reward for their faithfulness to God’s measure.

“His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
Matthew 25:21,23

The purpose of these diverse ministrations is:

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work…”
Colossians 1:10

Brian Troxel

Substantive Life

Substantive Life

“That I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance”
Proverbs 8:21

God’s purpose has always been to make those who love Him, evident tokens of Himself. In things pertaining to the spirit there is a transpiring within whereby the thing believed becomes the reality of the life lived. In Hebrews chapter eleven we read that “Faith is the… substance…”; those in whom faith is real become the very evidence of things hoped for. The reality of Christ within must, by His nature, produce within an obvious revelation of Him without. It is inconceivable to have the majestic Christ within without radical and continuous changes to our walk in this world. The power of His Word infused with the wonder of His Holy Spirit is to the end that we would bear His image in this world.

“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as He is, so are we in this world
1 John 4:17

The reason for a confidence in the Day of Judgment is because we have allowed His Life to produce in us a likeness of Him in this world! The substance of His life developed in us what we are to impart to those around us. Peter declared to the crippled man

“…but such as I have give I thee:
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”
Acts 3:6

Spiritual substance is the result of our yielding to the power of His Spirit; the forming in us of the Pearl of Great Price! He is the precious treasure. In Him we are no longer barren, poor or found wanting. As the power of the Living Christ makes us One with Him, His virtues become ours through a vital and substantive relationship with Him.

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”
1 Timothy 6:18-19

Those who are rich in Christ internally, will be rich in the good works of Christ externally. The power of the good works is directly related to the substance of Christ internally. We can only distribute the substance of Christ in proportion to the substance we have.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another…”
Colossians 3:16

The depth of our teaching and the power of our admonishing one another will be according to the depth and power of His Word which dwells within us.

Let us be encouraged in His heart and His purposes for us. He has made a covenant with us to cause us to inherit substance, His substance, that we may be light in this world.

“That I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance”
Proverbs 8:21

Σ

“…that as He is
so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

Brian Troxel

A Word in Season – Adam Clarke

Quote for Today

“If you go forward in the spirit of the original apostles and followers of Jesus Christ, trusting not in man but in the living God, he will enable you to pull down the strong holds of sin and Satan, and that work by which he is pleased will prosper in your hands”
– Adam Clarke

Quote for Today – CT Studd

Quote for Today

studd2-300x300

“Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill.
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what s done for Christ will last”
C.T. Studd

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be”
– Revelation 22:12

 

Quote for Today – R. Brownrig

Quote for Today

Fruitfulness

“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

John 15:8

“Trees have their seasons at certain times of the year when they bring forth fruit; but a Christian is for all seasons”
Ralph Brownrig

Truth and Travail – Part One excerpt from coming Book

Truth and Travail

“And Adam knew Eve his wife;
and she conceived…”
Genesis 4:1

Travail is the fruit of conception. While many may know the teachings and scriptures of God’s Word the travail of the mystery is lacking. Conception is the fruit of relationship; deep, intimate relationship. It is a sharing that goes beyond the casual relationship, beyond the confines of religious prayer meetings and Sunday services. It is an affair of the heart where intimacy and love is known between the Bride and the Bridegroom. While a man may have many friends and acquaintances, there is something far deeper and more profound in the relationship with his wife. From that intimacy we see conception, travail and the birth of something new. There is the wonder of a new creation, a separate being which is the expression of the love shared. This natural expression is simply the revelation of something deeper, purer and holy in God’s wisdom (Ephesians 5:31-32) concerning His purposes in the earth.

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary:
for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb,
and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS”
Luke 1:30-31

This purpose is for all who have received Him into their lives; the bringing forth of the Son in all of His Glory, humility, grace and wisdom. Just as a woman cannot conceive by her own will so it is in the Spirit. Conception is the fruit and wonder of relationship. It is not of the work of men but the result of intimacy with God in the Spirit. Those who do not know the stirring and moving of God deep within their hearts will never experience the conception and travail of His Spirit. While many are content with the forms and appearances of religion there is something deep at work within those who have conceived of the wonder of “another life” growing within the womb of their spirit.

Mary’s life was the means of the very incarnation of God. In the wisdom and glory of God, by means of the Holy Spirit, “…the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”. In like manner that same transaction between God and man has been occurring for centuries in those who yield to the purpose and Lordship of the Holy Spirit. The expression of every individual will be in proportion to the depth of relationship between them and their God. What each of us do with the sowers seed, the given talents and the “pounds” spoken of in the parables, determines the fruit of our lives. The interaction between every believer and God is not determined by what one knows but by how one loves and obeys Him.

It is on the basis and the very essence of His Life within us (conception) that we are being born again as His nature is imparted and augmented in the human heart. This is the interaction of God in man. It is not the result of someone uttering a prescribed prayer or statement; it is the result of receiving the very person of Christ Himself into the human heart.

“But as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name”
John 1:12

The power to become sons is on the basis of receiving Him. The human egg within a woman must receive the life of the man in order for conception to occur. This is the Holy Truth of His Life within us. May God open our eyes to the miracle and wonder of His birth within us. It is “not by might, nor by power but by His Spirit” that these things are true.

The validity of conception is revealed by the changes wrought within the life of a believer because of another life living within. Religious conformity will never accomplish the revolutionary power of change that only comes by the transforming life of the Son.

“And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”
Romans 12:2

Religion is about conforming to a teaching or a prescribed mode of behavior. Living truth is about transformation whereby we are changed from the fallen Adam into the “express image” of God Himself.

The power and truth of this is portrayed in the heavens concerning this day. The Bride of Christ is with child, crying out and travailing in birth, in pain, to bring forth this Holy expression in the earth (Romans 8:19-23). Those of His Bride know this travail. The religious cannot understand such things for it can only be known through the impelling force of being with child.

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered”
Revelation 12:1-2

(To be continued in Part Two)

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Loving His Word

Loving His Word

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night”
Psalm 1:2

Those who love God love His Word. The delight of a right heart is in the law of the Lord. Within His Word His Face is seen, His Ways are discovered and His Bread is offered. Those who find their “delight” in meditating upon the wonders of His Word grow in the stability of His Character and His Fruitfulness and are made partakers of “the law of life”. This Psalm continues with the blessings afforded those who so cherish His Word…

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”
Psalm 1:3

Therein lies the Mystery of Godliness. In the eating of His Word there is a quiet work of the Spirit of Grace that takes a man’s weakness and frailties to engraft them into the living vine. Out of this union we see His strength shining through the inherent weakness; we see beauty and favor where once was a barren field. Instead of impotence and failure we see God’s fruitfulness in every season. The meditated word manifests power to bring a man to obedience which is the pathway to authenticity and freedom in Christ.

The reading of His Word is one thing; like a man window shopping at the “goods” offered in the Word of God. But a heart that begins to savor and desire it is destined to walk within its wonder.

“The slothful man roasteth not
that which he took in hunting:
but the substance of a diligent man
is precious”
Proverbs 12:27

While many read the Word and may even find good things it remains uncooked, un-roasted and its effect upon a man is mere speculation and information. The diligent, however, meditate, roast and eat of His word whereby the substance of faith is produced.

The Word of God is living, vibrant and powerful. It is in our abiding in it that our lives are changed, prayers heard and His life revealed.

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you”
John 15:7

Ω

“When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight:
and as he drew near to behold it,
the voice of the Lord came unto him”
Acts 7:31

So should His Word be unto us.

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

ALWAYS ABOUNDING

ALWAYS ABOUNDING

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast,
unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour
is not in vain in The Lord”
1Corinthians 15:58

As God’s people we are to be ALWAYS abounding in the work OF The Lord. This is not to be confused with work FOR The Lord; rather it is work OF The Lord. While visiting some relatives this week I noticed this scripture on a plaque in their home. It was in another version and it really struck me with great conviction. “Always abounding”! This phrase can only be applied to Disciples. This is not a part time occupation, not a scarce and rare moment in the life of a true believer. It speaks of being occupied with His Work and a fulfilling of His desires in our daily life. The “always” is based upon a faith that knows “that your labour is not in vain”. It is a deep assurance that if we walk faithful to Him, “abounding” in His Work, we shall surely reap fruit unto His Glory. Men who believe little, do little. This walk and journey of life can only be according to the faith which is at work in our hearts. We reap according to our sowing, we grow according to our doing, and our faith is exercised by the doing of His will.

Those who are “always abounding in the work of The Lord” are “steadfast” and “unmovable” in The Lord. By the handling and working of the things of our Father we remain engaged in the power of His reality. There is a subtlety in just “knowing” things about God; without the “doing”, the things of the Spirit become distant, doctrinal and mysterious. They become ethereal and rare rather than the simple flow of Him in and through our lives. Many speak of the “will of The Lord” as a hidden thing that is hard to find. Let us be reminded that Paul is speaking to His brethren in Corinth; not a select few, but the whole church there. We must put away wrong thinking and seek this life of “always abounding in the Work of the Lord”.

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

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Out of Your Own Being

Out of Your Own Being

“And behold! The Word of Jehovah came to him saying,
This one shall not be inheriting. But he that shall come
forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir”
Genesis 15:4 (LITV)

These are days of greatly increased communication and connectivity with the transfer of information available to everyone. Men are inclined to be influenced by what others are doing in other parts of the world. Nowhere is this truer than in the world of religion. We see and hear much of what others are doing and we are tempted to be influenced by these things. The Word of God to us is “out of your own bowels” shall come forth the promise of God. We must understand these promises of God in the New Testament will only come to pass as we hear and see within the core of our own hearts what God would have us do. I receive a lot of information, by texts, emails and phone calls, of what others are doing elsewhere and how God is blessing this and that; I am sure some of these things are true and valid. However, the promise remains that out of my own being, out of my own relationship with God, shall flow rivers of living water and the flow will be the result of my obedience and attention to His Voice in my life.

“The one believing into Me, as the Scripture said,
Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water”
John 7:38 (LITV)

It is in us “believing INTO Him” that the promise of bearing fruit unto Him will become the reality of our lives. It is not to be known in any other way. We may run here and there chasing things externally, seeking to identify with some move, teacher, prophet or organization but to no avail. The bringing forth of the Son of promise from our own lives will only come to pass by a personal and vital union with the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. Some think that by association with others they are assured of a life of fruitfulness all the while neglecting “the still small voice” within their own hearts. Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice” and they will not follow another. True and valid ministry is to bring the people of God to the place of hearing HIS VOICE within their own hearts; to bring others to a realization of the fear of The Lord to such an extent they discover the glory and the solemn obligation of walking with God for themselves. This is the only means by which the true unity of the faith will become the reality of the Body of Christ.

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees,
when the kingdom of God should come,
he answered them and said,
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!
for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”
Luke 17:20-21

It is in His people being attentive to His voice and His Spirit in their own hearts that there shall in fact be an entering into the Kingdom of God. We are not to discount the other things but we must understand it is in our obedience to His leadings in our own hearts that we have hope of being truly joined and made one in the Body of Christ.

“If any man serve me,
let him follow me; and where I am,
there shall also my servant be”
John 12:2

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info