The Great Call – Part Three

The Great Call

Part Three

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
John 15:9

The Great Call of God to each of His Own is to remain in the power of HIS Love. It is a life-long call. It is a call that causes us to forsake anything that weakens His influence and power over our hearts. We, of our own volition, order our steps, make decisions, and choose our friends to facilitate His Kingdom within our lives. Everything is subservient to this one thing. The Book of Jude is a short, but fiery admonition to the growing pollution of a pervading influence of the world within the Church. There was an increasing tolerance of sin resulting in apathy and lethargy. The love of many was becoming cold*. We read his passionate exhortation to contend for THE FAITH; to fight the ethos of moral decay by which His people flagrantly used the concept of the grace of God to continue in sin, rather than understanding grace as the power of God to deliver them from their sin.

“I had necessity to write to you, exhorting [you] to fight for the faith once delivered to the holy ones…”
Jude 1:3

WHY?

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Jude 1:4

What is the great sin? It is a gospel which “perverts the grace of our God” to tolerate sin, sympathize with sin, thereby denying Him of His lordship in our lives. This perversion brings the grace of God into the realm of the senses. Where human sympathy subverts God’s Word, it twists and perverts His purpose into a demonic understanding as first evident in the Garden of Eden. The serpent beguiled Eve with this reasoning: “you shall not die”. In other words, do not fear God. Surely, He will not judge you for this act. We see this same “human” sympathy at work in Peter when he wanted to prevent Jesus from fulfilling Calvary’s call. Jesus rebuked him:

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”!
Matthew 16:22-23

One thing is certain. There can be no true fellowship with those who esteem sin lightly. To walk in the Light of Christ is to hate sin and love righteousness. They who walk in this light know the power of true fellowship (1 John 1:6-7). Jude continues:

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”
Jude 1:5

The people in Jude’s day knew this truth. The Apostolic ministrations made known the vital truth that we must “continue” in His Love. We must fight the fight of faith to remain under the power of His Grace that we are not “shipwrecked” as Paul spoke of those who started out well but failed to “continue” in the faith.

“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck
1 Timothy 1:19

And again in Jude:

“Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”
Jude 1:11-13

People who live without a healthy “fear of the Lord” are those who have fallen to this perverted grace. The fear of the Lord is simply an attitude of heart that knows its utter need and dependence to abide in Him to live godly in this world. There is an understanding that allowing sinful thoughts to invade our hearts will lessen the influence of His Spirit and leave us vulnerable and captive to sin’s destructive ways.

“continue ye in MY love”

Our only hope of remaining true in this hour is to abide in Christ. If I lightly esteem His salvation, I will walk in this deadly world without His keeping power. Inevitably I will succumb to a worldly life while still confessing His Name. I will walk “sensually”, meaning subject to the senses and reasoning of this world, sympathizing with sin, feeling little or no remorse for my sinful inclinations. The deadliest aspect of sin is that it numbs us to its own devastating power. Only in Christ do we value exhortation, rebuke, and admonition. The natural man avoids these things, for the natural man cannot receive spiritual ministrations (1 Corinthians 2:14). The “fruit” of the perverted gospel of grace is people who only want to hear “smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10), pleasant things, with no desire for the two-edged sword of the living word of God (Hebrews 4:12).

Jude ends his fiery ministration with a plea to all who would hear:

“Keep yourselves in the love of God”
Jude 1:20-21

Keep yourselves under the influence of His grace. Keep yourselves in the fervency of His love. Fellowship with those who have not succumbed to the ethos of a gospel that alleviates His people from their responsibility to walk with God and abide in Him. Keep yourselves from living without fruit or purpose. The comfort of this human-centered gospel message is designed to assuage the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

“Having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof: from such turn away
2 Timothy 3:5

In the Book of Revelation Jesus says to His Church at Ephesus:

“But I have this against you,
that you have abandoned the love you had at first”
Revelation 2:4

What was God’s remedy?

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
repent, and do the works you did at first…”
Revelation 2:5

In God’s eyes, to live outside of this “pre-eminent love” (Greek), is a fallen state which requires repentance and a returning to what they did when they first started. The KJV uses the phrase “first love” in verse 4 and in verse 5 it uses the phrase “first works”. It takes the “first love” in order to DO the “first works”. It is impossible to hold the love of God in our hearts and be without the works of God. Utterly impossible. The branch which abides in the Vine “bears much fruit”.

May the magnificent words of Jesus resound within our hearts:

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
John 15:9

See: The Great Call
See: The Great Call – Part Two
See: The Great Call – Part Four

* Note: Jesus spoke concerning the “beginning of sorrows” that during this time there would be people with cold hearts because iniquity would be rampant. He is not speaking of the world for they have not been given the love of which Jesus spoke.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

For iniquity to abound requires a gospel in which iniquity, sin, and loose living are tolerated.

Brian Troxel

Praying Effectively

Praying Effectively

“For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”
Romans 15:3

Praying effectively for others requires a deep work of the Holy Spirit. There is an objectivity required to get past our own thoughts and desires for others in order to be in agreement with God’s purposes. It is critical that we grow into prayers which are born of the Holy Spirit. When our prayers are affected by our feelings, rather than by the clear direction of His Spirit, we ask amiss.

Effective prayers require an abiding in Him and Him and His words abiding in us, whereby we become free from the stain of selfish intents. The purer the heart the more powerful the prayer will be.

“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

These lessons are not learned quickly. It requires the sharpness of the Word of God to delineate between soul and spirit to reveal the intents of the heart.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12

If we regard lightly the Word of God, we will know little of this necessary ministration of God. Obedience to His Word liberates us from our soulish propensities. Praying amiss happens when our prayers are offered to God based on selfish motives and opinions. Such prayers will not find their way to God’s Throne.

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
James 4:3

Effective prayers are those which have an effect. True prayer will cause changes in our own heart and, in holding others up before Him, we become aware of God’s heart and desire for them. A child-like attitude of heart is what opens our understanding to see them in His Light. In this approach we receive spiritual insight to pray accurately and from a right heart. God sees all and knows all; His desire is to bring us to a place of participation with Him in the life of another. Knowing the truth of someone’s situation will help us to walk wisely in our dealings with them. Our response should reflect the insight gained in our private time with Him. True and effective prayer can bring us to the place of becoming a means of our prayers being answered.

Freedom from self is the path to effective prayers.

See: Effectual Prayers – Wisdom

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“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Brian Troxel

Loving the Truth

Loving the Truth

“And I beseech you, brethren,
suffer the word of exhortation”
Hebrews 13:22

Truth is simply the manifestation of the Life of Christ. His unrelenting quest within each of us is for purity and perfection. He does not spare His Own from His piercing gaze as He searches our hearts with the divine flame of His Love. His Word is living and sharp. Its cutting seeks to free us from that self that cannot and will not submit to God.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”
Romans 8:7

Our hearts are revealed in our openness to receive exhortation. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews pleads with us to “suffer the word of exhortation” to the end we may walk a life that is pleasing to God. Truth must expose within us all that is not of Him. Being the perfect manifestation of all that is true, He has great love and determination to change us from “glory to glory”. While many readily receive His forgiveness, the real test is in our receiving that Living Truth which pierces even to the dividing of our “soul and spirit”.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

Those who bear His Word must know that work within themselves. Only In becoming free from self, with all its devious and corrupting ways, will we be able to communicate to others that same word of exhortation. A word of exhortation can only be received by those who because of their love of truth suffer its liberating ministration of life.

May we all hear the “beseeching” of the Spirit of God to embrace His Word. To love truth is to receive His corrections and the pruning of His two-edged sword.

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights”
Proverbs 3:11-12

“For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives”
Hebrews 12:6

The true in heart desire correction. They know within their own being the necessity to receive His reproofs and exhortations. The passion to become true outweighs the tendency to hide from His probing gaze. Many love the promises of God but few are willing to endure the correction necessary for His promises to come to fulfillment in them.

“If you endure discipline,
God bears Himself to you as to sons”
Hebrews 12:7

It is in the crucible of correction that the true in heart reveal their sonship and love for their heavenly Father.

“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it”
Psalm 141:5

See: Psalm 23 Chapter 14

Brian Troxel

A Word in Season – Charles Spurgeon

Quote for Today

“Avoid a sugared Gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek that Gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the Gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his Gospel soak into your soul.”
– Charles Spurgeon

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12)

Are We Taught of God? – Excerpt from coming Book

Taught of God

“But as touching brotherly love
ye need not that I write unto you:
for ye yourselves are taught of God
to love one another”
1 Thessalonians 4:9

The culmination of God’s work within an individual is Love; His Love ruling and reigning in the life of His own. While those with “itchy ears” (desirous of hearing something pleasant Literal Greek Definition) clamor to hear teachers who will entertain the intellect and arouse their curiosity, those who are taught of God are brought into the arena of His Love for one another.

“For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers,
having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth,
and shall be turned unto fables”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (LITV)

The Gospel of God speaks of righteousness and grace. It presents to us a bruised and broken Son of God, delivered to wicked men to be crucified on our behalf, that we should no more be slaves of sin but would become servants of righteousness. The gospel of pleasant things is “another gospel” prevalent in preaching of today. The verse preceding the above one is Paul’s instruction to Timothy of what his preaching should be.

“Preach the word; be instant in season,
out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort
with all longsuffering and doctrine”
2 Timothy 4:2

We are to preach the Word, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting one another in the fervor and passion of the Holy Spirit. In our day those who live and preach such things are ostracized and ridiculed for being “legalistic”. In reality the Word declares just the opposite.

“Having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof:
from such turn away
2 Timothy 2:5

It is those who live in the realm of appearances and hold to a form of righteousness from whom the Apostle exhorts Timothy to turn away. We have perverted the Gospel to such an extent that the “professors” of religion are accepted while those who seek to preach righteousness are turned away even by many who call themselves by His Holy Name. People desire to hear only “pleasant things”; things that soothe the soul and anesthetize the conscience from that word that would pierce asunder “soul and spirit” and make manifest the ulterior motives of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Those who are taught of God know of His Love which corrects, chastens and reproves that they may grow in the righteousness of God in Christ. Those who love religion and appearance are comfortable with a form of goodness and have no desire to come to the truth.

To be taught of God is to desire His word of reproof, exhortation and rebuke from all who walk in the light of God. Truth is the only means by which we can know in the depths of our hearts what God’s Love is. The Holy Spirit is never called the Spirit of Love; it is called the Spirit of Truth. It is in the ministration of truth, that piercing revelation of all who Jesus is, that we have any concept of the Holy Love of God. God’s love does not overlook sin; it atones for it!

Love is the end of God within His people. Those who know God love His people and have His heart, His call and His desire for them beating within their own hearts. It is from such that His ministrations of truth proceed. Those who speak only “pleasant things” are those who desire only pleasant things. Those who compromise with sin in their own hearts will easily overlook the sins of others. Those who shun those who speak truth are those who also shun truth in their own hearts; for by their works men reveal their true condition. It is a day of the unveiling of all things. The Revelation of Christ is also the day of the revelation of all hearts. In the shining forth of Him all things hidden will be exposed and “the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day”.

To Love someone is to care
To care for someone is to speak truth
To speak truth is to reveal Jesus
To reveal Jesus is to Honour the Father
To Honour the Father is to Love the Son

Whether or not we are taught of God is revealed by the depth of His Love which flows from our hearts to others. The validity of an individual being taught of God is revealed in the Love they walk in. If we only love those who love us we know not God.

“And if you love those who love you, what thanks is there to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks is there to you? For even the sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks is there to you? For the sinners lend to sinners so that they may receive the same. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be much; and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the unthankful and evil ones”
Luke 6:32-35

Ω

“He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love”
1 John 4:8

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

A TRUE HEART

A TRUE HEART

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
Part One

“Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes,
saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.
But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee,
he shall go in thither: encourage him:
for he shall cause Israel to inherit it”
Deuteronomy 1:37-38

We see and hear much of leadership in the context of the Christian faith these days. We see many who are striving to build up their church, their organization and their ministry; all the while the Body of Christ remains divided and secularized. God’s true leaders seek not their own. They seek God’s glory which is the welfare and spiritual condition of His People. Moses paid a terrible price in being denied access to the promised land because of Israel’s hard heart and unbelief. In the midst of such disappointment God charges Moses to encourage, teach and mentor Joshua to finish what God had begun with Moses. A selfish and self-serving man could not endure this sacrificial task. It would be one thing to appear to fulfill a commission like this but another thing altogether to do it with a whole and pure heart. Only men who are concerned with God’s glory and purposes can walk in such high places. A pure and holy heart is the means by which these things can be real and alive within the Body of Christ.

Let nothing be done
through selfish ambition or conceit,
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem
others better than himself”
Philippians 2:3

Can we grasp the power and intent of the heart of God in this scripture? Let us meditate on the little phrase “Let nothing be done” out of the spirit of factions and self promotion. How quickly the Body of Christ would arise out of the ashes of human striving for pre-eminence and control into a glorious expression of all that HE has purposed in Christ!. May God convict us to desire that pure heart and the joy found in seeing our brothers excel in the gifts and the callings of God in their lives. If the very Son of God took upon Himself the “form” of a servant shall not we, who declare it is He alone we serve, do likewise?

It is time to search our hearts, to consider the hidden motives by which we “serve” God. Though our works may appear good in the sight of men it is the ONE with the “eyes of fire” who sees the true motives and intents of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).

“Let us search and try our ways
and turn again unto the Lord”
Lamentations 3:40

It is only then that we will discover the “Pearl of great price”; HIS heart living in us.

“…let us have grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear”
Hebrews 12:28

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info