The Great Call – Part Four

The Great Call

Part Four

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

Jesus continues in John 15 by presenting the disciples with the way for them to enter the Great Call and to remain in His empowering love and grace.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love”
John 15:10

There can be no misinterpretation of the enormity of His call. Discipleship is not a comfortable teaching. It is not a popular invitation, nor an aspiration for those who seek a life of ease and respectability. It is a call of full surrender to the Will and purposes of God, a life of subservience to His Ways. A true disciple obeys His commandments to abide in the power of His Love. Love is the only motive able to transform a selfish, egotistical, and lost soul through the workings of the Cross. In dying to self, we discover the pure wonder of a Love so encompassing, so vast and so freeing that the cost is considered nothing in comparison to the “weight of glory” we will know.

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

There is something radical, even unnerving in His Call. Accepting the offer of Christ is not a trendy and popular decision. It is a Call to selfless living and selfless giving. Obedience is not optional to the disciple. But the Love we hold, or more correctly which holds us to His Way, culminates in pure joy. The context of John 15 leaves little doubt as to His Call or His purpose. Let us see through the eyes of the Spirit the power of all Jesus is implying.

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

John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

In verse 9 Jesus presents to us the all-encompassing love of God; a Love of heavenly origin. It is a Love that knows our condition, that feels the agony and the lostness of humanity. It was a Love that sent Jesus into this world to walk as a man, to feel the oppression of mankind’s sorrow, to experience the corrupt and self-serving religious and political systems of the day. He spoke the truths of love in the parables of everyday life. The common man, the addicted, the afflicted, and the wounded were His focus. He exposed the religious elite who walked in the pride and arrogancy of hypocrisy. The Parable of the Good Samaritan revealed the beauty of a selfless life, caring for others more than ourselves. He called out to the poor and the needy to come and find the solace of heaven. He took notice of the offerings of the poor widow and saw the value of her mite; He was unimpressed with the rich who flaunted their offering. He was God in the flesh. His compassion, His uncompromising and unflinching walk was a source of anger and hate for the religious but a source of inspiration for the common man. He was the breath of heaven clothed in human form. He was and is the image of God’s purpose for all humanity.

Mat 20:25 “But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.”

Mat 20:26 “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,”

Mat 20:27 “and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,”

Mat 20:28 “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The nature of man apart from Christ is one of self-seeking, self-pleasing, and self-gratification. This focus on ourselves is the source of our own misery. Ask the addicted, the abused, and consider the countless stories of human sorrow which we have all known. It is to this crisis of human nature that the Cross is presented. In its deep work, we find rest, freedom, and the Divine enablement to love as He loved. We are free to forgive injustices and the tyranny of the human condition; to offer to all who would hear the wonder of freedom found in the Love of God!

Feel the depth of the Great Call of God in Christ:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29

The Call goes forth to all who would hear and respond. The “yoke” of Christ is His invitation to enter a rest for our weary souls. The “yoke” of Christ is His Cross whereby we are freed from the poison of self to know His Joy in our hearts. This life of joy cannot be known by sitting in a pew, believing in a teaching, or adherence to a doctrine. It can only be known through the intimacy of a relationship, walking in the yoke of His grace and love.

Jesus spoke of His true intention for us being captured by His Love to a growing obedience:

“…that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be full”
John 15:11

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

Brian Troxel

God’s Promises

God’s Promises

The way to become wise is to honor the LORD;
He gives sound judgment to all who obey His commands.”

Psalm 111:10 (GNB)

In the New Testament, we are reminded of the benefits of obeying His commandments to the intent that we may grow in the true understanding of Him. (For the sake of brevity, I will list just a few related scriptures in the writings of John).

Take time to read these scriptures (below) slowly and reverently. There is a deep connection between His promises and our keeping and walking in His commandments. I am not a legalist, I am a realist. I believe His Word and seek to walk accordingly. It is my prayer that reading the Word of God would ignite within each of us that spark of desire to discover the path of righteousness.  It is the path to seeing Him and knowing Him in ever-increasing glory.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love…” (John 15:10)

“And hereby we do know that we know Him if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2:3)

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him…” (1 John 2:5)

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22)

“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him…” (1 John 3:24)

“By this, we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” (1 John 5:2)

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” (1 John 5:3)

“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.” (2 John 1:6)

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12)

Blessed are they that DO his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

May we, by His Spirit, read afresh the promises considering that they are bound to our obedience unto Him. Let us read these scriptures and savor them as the true meat and drink of His life. May we find a new “fear of the Lord” that cultivates new obedience unto Him.  As we grow in true understanding it causes us to “depart” from every form of evil. Without this departing, we openly declare our blindness and need for repentance. The validity of these truths in our own walk will impact our families and bring them into His fold that they may shine as lights in a darkened generation.

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:
but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:4 KJV

(Excerpt from a book in progress)

See: Obedience and the Tree of Life

Brian Troxel

 

Thought for Today – Abiding in His Love

Thought for Today

Abiding in His Love

“If ye keep my commandments,
ye shall abide in my love”
John 15:10

The secret to life is simple. The stratagems and methods of men to bring about the salvation of Christ are as impotent as man himself. The power of the Love of Christ is only realized through the medium of walking in the way of His commandments. It is a life where (in Him) we are lifted out of the strife and sin of this world and made alive by the indwelling wonder of Him. There is no apt description of how such a thing can be, for it is something which cannot be taught, it can only be entered into within the context of our daily lives. The mystery of life unfolds as we step into the wonder of His ways.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation”
Psalm 27:1

All of our needs, our hopes and our daily power to live are hid in Christ Himself. There is salvation in none other. It is in the “today” of our life wherein we are given the opportunity and the privilege to draw from Him grace and glory to run the race set before us.

“Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith”
Hebrews 12:1

Brian Troxel

SERVING JESUS

SERVING JESUS

“If any man serve me, let him follow me;
and where I am, there shall also my servant be:
if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”
John 12:26

The central theme to which Jesus kept directing His disciples was a relationship to Him. The great deception of religion is that men and women serve an organization, a doctrine, a teacher, or even worse themselves. Here Jesus points to the essential cornerstone of true service unto Him: “let him follow me”. It is in following Him that we become separated unto Him. The “cross” of the individual believer is simply defined by a life of following Him. While many are willing to do strenuous religious observances, fasting, long prayer meetings, conferences, and seemingly good works the issue remains one of following Him. The cross of Christ was in doing the will of the Father. In this place of true servitude, the Son glorified the Father. It is in our being “yoked” with Him that our lives will in truth glorify the Son. Knowledge of the scriptures must give way to a relationship with the Son. Knowledge alone of the Son will never make a person free nor bring about the true experiential knowing of Him within the human heart.

Throughout the scriptures, we see that many stopped following Him because of the cost of the Way. The Scribes and Pharisees had no problem with long prayers, religious observances, and the rites and rituals of the religious system but they failed to follow Him. In following Him they would have come to the crossroad of serving self or serving God. It is here that the truth of one’s heart is revealed. In this day of the Great Apostasy, the hearts of many are growing cold and unresponsive to Him and His Word. The forms of truth are retained but the active daily following of Him is replaced by the love of this world, by the busyness of religious programs, and in living a life of self-interest; this culminates in a life that no longer follows Him. Freedom from self with all of its wretched ways and miserable ends can only be found in the following of Him. To truly follow Him requires a forsaking of self.

Religion is the “opiate of the masses”; it offers the appearance of a thing without the substance of the thing. It offers the sayings of Jesus without the required obedience to walk in His words. It calls Him Lord but affords its adherents the means to extricate ourselves from actual obedience to Him. Early in Jesus’ life, Satan came with great power and temptation by quoting the scriptures so that Jesus might seek to “save” His life supernaturally for all to see (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus refuted such temptation as He was not here to fulfill His will. His purpose was to fulfill the will of the Father.

There can be no true serving of Jesus without a life of actively following Him. It is evident that we are in the time of the great falling away. It is a very subtle and deadly affair of the heart when men and women cling to the words of Jesus without following Him. The subtlety of such a life is called deception and it is the way of spiritual decay and death. We remain static while He moves on in the will and the glory of the Father.

When the wonder of His presence is lacking and in most places not even expected we must confess our dire need. We have become accustomed to the forms of religion without the presence and power of God. It is not because He has forsaken us; it is that we have ceased as a people to “follow Him”.

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

They who serve Him know of His Presence, for where HE IS so are they. They live by His presence and they are led by His Presence for He is their life. While men linger in former things the Christ is majestically moving His own into new places of life and vitality.

The Manifesto of Christ to His servants…

“where I am, there shall also my servant be”

SELAH

Jesus declares to the Church at Ephesus:

“But I have against you
that you left your first love…”
Revelation 2:4

The verse preceding this one states “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience…” The works continued but the love faded. The forsaking of their “first love” (pre-eminent love) was so critical to their place in God that His judgement upon such a people was the removal of His presence from their midst. The reason for the cooling of the heart of His people is the result of iniquity abounding.

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

The Greek word translated iniquity here does not fully imply gross sin. It speaks of lawlessness and self-will, instead of obeying the commandments of Jesus we subtly set them aside declaring that we are now under grace. It is through the horror of this deceptive teaching that we are seeing the fervent love of many growing cold and indifferent. It is we who have forsaken the good and right way. The church has embraced teachers who bring in damnable heresies that turn His people from following Him to the serving of self and other things. We call Him Lord yet we set aside His commandments to obey the traditions and teachings of men. WE HAVE MADE THE WORD OF GOD OF NON-EFFECT! It is our own doing and God’s remedy is repentance and the returning to our primary love of Him.

“This people honors Me with the lips, but their heart is far away from Me; and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Isa. 29:13 8)

“For forsaking the commandment of God,
you hold the tradition of men”
Mark 7:7-8

God has a simple answer for this generation and this time. It is the simplicity of obeying His commandments and following Him.

“If ye keep my commandments,
ye shall abide in my love”
John 15:10

The teaching of a grace that absolves His people from obedience to the commands of Jesus is a lie and deception of the devil himself! If we do not repent we will stand in the judgment of God as they who once knew the truth and turned away. This is the picture presented to us in the Parable of the Sower where the soil which grew the weeds of the cares of self and this life and choked out the precious seed. This truth is presented throughout the New Testament to those who started out well yet grew cold and indifferent to Him in the end.

“For if by a full knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, they have escaped the defilements of the world, and again being entangled they have been overcome by these, then their last things have become worse than the first. For it was better for them not to have fully known the way of righteousness, than fully knowing to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them”
2 Peter 2:20-21 (LITV)

Let us find Grace in this day to finish the race which is set before us. Let us not grow weary in our following of Him for we shall surely reap if we faint not.

Brian Troxel