The Kingdom of God – Chapter Eight – Part One

The Kingdom of God

Chapter Eight

Part One

Poor in spirit

“He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man”
Proverbs 21:17

“He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand”
Proverbs 10:4

“Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”
Matthew 5:3

We can see from a small sampling of the scriptures that there is a wide variety of poverty spoken of in the scriptures. There is the blessedness of a poverty which is of the Spirit of God whereby men and women are able to glorify God and there are other forms of poverty which are the result of faithlessness and worldly seeking. The church in our day is filled with an assortment of all of these and how sad that with many it is the result of apathy and lethargy. It is a crisis of great proportion. We are forewarned by the Word of God of such a day in which we live. It speaks of iniquity (lawlessness) abounding causing the love of many to grow cold and indifferent to the things of God. It speaks of a generation who have become wise in their own eyes and have become proud of heart, dull of hearing and spiritually blinded to the tempest which is about to break over the whole earth.

“And because lawlessness will be increased,
the love of many will grow cold”
Matthew 24:12

The scripture preceding the above tells us the predominate cause of this growing lawlessness.

“Many false prophets will appear
and deceive many people”
Matthew 24:11

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction”
2 Peter 2:1-2

Jesus and later Peter are not speaking of the world here, they are speaking of His Church which will allow damnable heresies and false prophets who speak for hire and gain, false teachers who will teach pleasant things to draw the people unto themselves and their organizations, and the preaching of a false gospel which renders sin acceptable and provides a sympathetic ear to those who love and pursue its pleasures.

The world without the light of Christ shining from His own grows darker and darker even unto the point of debauchery and degradation. If the church ceases to be a light hell and death will rule over all. There is a poverty of spiritual things which has nothing to do with the Spirit of God. This ethos will produce a gospel in word but utterly lacking the vitality, life and the glory of God. It is a poverty brought about by loose living, worldly seeking and ambitious men and women who seek their own (in the name of God) and not the things of God.

“Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be maligned. In covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old doesn’t linger, and their destruction will not slumber. For if God didn’t spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Hell, and committed them to pits of darkness to be reserved for judgment”
2 Peter 2:2-4

In the verses preceding these it is clear Peter is seeking to warn God’s people of these things. Declaring to us that God did not spare the angels when they sinned and how (in the verses which follow) brings this same truth of judgment into the earth where we live. There is within such a generation a lack of the fear of the Lord and His return is spoken of with scoffing and indifference. God’s answer to such a generation? Unanswered prayers, religious meetings without the fire and wonder of God, and a gospel which is in word only without power and authority. This is a poverty brought about by the judgment and counsel of God Himself.

God’s Judgments are the Sign of His Love

Yet God’s pronouncement of such things are sent to us in hope; a hope which seeks to stir within His people a seeking of His face through repentance and brokenness of heart. God’s judgments to His Own are ever redemptive in design and merciful in intent. It is here where the true in heart find a poverty of spirit which brings His greatest blessings and becomes the matrix from which His riches flow!

God’s warning to us is often and exceedingly clear as to what will transpire in these last days in His own people…

“But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, not lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God: holding a form of godliness, but having denied its power. from such turn away
2 Timothy 3:1-4

Let us consider these different forms of poverty of which the scriptures speak that we may be instructed to stand in this evil day and discover the beauty and blessedness of the true poverty of spirit by which the Kingdom of God becomes ours.

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

Voices of the Day – Let Us Consider Our Ways

Voices of the Day

The Moral Dilemma of the Day

Most recently, it was discovered that a comatose patient at a nursing facility in Phoenix, Arizona, gave birth, despite having been in a vegetative state for 14 years. The staff at the 24-hour care facility said they were unaware of her pregnancy until late December 2018, when she went into labor. She delivered a healthy boy…. After hearing about this horrific act, I felt filled with disgust and could not make sense of it. I buried myself in books by the great moral philosophers and spiritual leaders — Socrates, David Hume, C.S. Lewis, Pastor A.R. Bernard, Adam Smith and, of course, the Holy Bible — to try to understand, and hopefully make sense of, our broken moral and spiritual code. Make no mistake, “the system” is more than just flawed; it is broken on many levels. No one can deny that increasing levels of moral relativism have resulted in tragic outcomes that we never thought possible.”
– Armstrong Williams – (read article)

The above article was written by a secular man in response to a current news story. I was struck by the passion and clarity with which he wrote in calling out the depraved society in which we live; a passion that is seldom seen even within the people of God. It begs the question; why is there not a united voice from within God’s people decrying the wickedness in our land resulting in intercession unto our God? How is it that we have become so desensitized to the horror surrounding us in North America? How is it we hear little, speak little and spend little time concerning these things? It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit moving and reigning within the lives of His own where sin and disobedience is addressed…

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me…
John 16:7-9

We, the Church as a whole, are becoming as desensitized to sin as the world in which we live. The spiritual decay is almost complete. A gospel which does not speak to sin in its own ranks will have no force or power to stem the rising tide of debauchery without.

Can we not feel the growing tide of dissipation, depravity and wantonness filling our land? Is there no comprehension of the day we are in and the implications of what our children are being subjected to every day? Can we not see the stain of the world pervading the Church of Jesus Christ? The invasion of sin robs God’s people of the fervency of heart and the fire of God.

“Because of the increase of wickedness,
the love of most will grow cold”
Matthew 24:12

When pornography, divorce, strife with one another, greed and power mongering is rampant within how can the Church of Jesus Christ be a light to those without? It is a Day to “consider our ways” to repent of the flippancy of a “seeker friendly” gospel, to repent from men’s desires to build magnificent buildings and ministries, and increase their appetites for worldly wealth all the while neglecting the condition of God’s House. The day of seeking to fill the pews rather than the hearts of God’s people with Godly living is bringing the Judgment of God to our land first and foremost upon His Own Church!

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
1 Peter 4:17

“And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience,
when your obedience is fulfilled
2 Corinthians 10:6

It is hypocrisy to speak to the sin without while we hold to the same within our own hearts. God’s answer to this dilemma is simple…

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:
be zealous therefore, and repent”
Revelation 3:19

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 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 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 His words. It calls Him Lord but affords its adherents the means to escape actual obedience to Him by the soothing of the conscience with the very words of scripture. 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 the following of 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. We hear many say that God does not answer prayer. The wonder of His presence is lacking and in most places not even expected. We have become accustomed to the forms of religion without His presence and power. It is not because He has forsaken us; it is that we have ceased as a people to “follow Him”. He 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 in that 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 return to our primary love.

“”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 judgement 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 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
www.aword.info

His Word (The Word of Fire) Part One

His Word

Part One

The Word of Fire

“Is not my word like as a fire?
saith the Lord;
and like a hammer that breaketh
the rock in pieces?”
Jeremiah 23:29

God’s Word is not only an expression of Himself it is also an extension of Himself. He is His Word and His Word is Himself (John 1:1). We read in both the Old and New Testaments that our God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29). They who bear His Living Word within their hearts know in a corresponding measure to their walk the truth of this. For His Word is the very expression of His Nature, His Thoughts and His Ways. Words without fire are words without unction. Men cannot touch His Presence and remain unaffected, apathetic and unconcerned about His inheritance in the earth. His presence is fire and glory. His zeal for His House (Psalm 119:139, John 2:17) in the earth is a consuming fire within the hearts of those who have His Word.

His Word is a fire which consumes, purifies and impels those who bear it to speak with intensity to all who would hear. This fire cannot be quenched, compromised or contaminated by the tepid atmosphere of religious men who would desire something less than God Himself. This Word is antagonistic to the comfortable, to those who would seek a complacent and more popular approach to God; yet to those who desire to walk and live within the fiery presence of a Holy God it is the necessity of life itself.

It is the work of God to bring His people to such expressions…

“But his word was in mine heart
as a burning fire
shut up in my bones”
Jeremiah 20:9

Men without fire have not yet touched His Presence. It is ever the work of the Holy Spirit to bring men to such places (Exodus 3:2) where the Fire of God burns like the Holy Lamp did in the days of the Tabernacle/Temple of God in the Old Testament. The Word of God declares “ye are the temple of the living God” and as such there ought to be the fire of His Presence burning within our hearts.

The Priesthood of Eli

Eli was a priest who through neglect became blind in His service to God and as a result the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle! This lamp of fire had been preserved and watched over by the priests of God for over 450 years! His sons had become immoral and loose in their walk before God. This was a day of no accountability. Men did as they pleased and the ministry was silent concerning God’s Righteousness. The outward observance of God’s law continued but the fire went out and men did not lay these things to heart.

There is also in our day a ministry in the earth which has neither fire nor unction; a ministry which has resulted in the fire of God going out in His house. There is a religious environment in which men hold the Word in the form of teachings and doctrines rather than in their hearts by the living fire of His presence. These are they who hold His Word in unrighteousness, who seek to fill their churches and fellowships with kind and comfortable words but have no actual concern for the condition of His people or their walk in righteousness. The Word speaks of the fruit of such a ministry:

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

The reason the fire goes out is because of iniquity and sin. The Love of God beating within a man’s heart will cause him to forsake sin. A Gospel which does not have the very fire of God within it is not God’s Living Word. In contrast to this unholy ministry we read of another.

The Stranger and the Words of Fire

Two disciples walking down the road to Emmaus in deep despair and perplexity were joined by a “stranger”* who spoke sternly to them concerning their plight and their lack of faith. Their eyes where blinded to the One who spoke with them as they journeyed. Would our hearts receive such words from a stranger?

“O fools, and slow of heart to believe
all that the prophets have spoken…”
Luke 24:25

After realizing the stranger was in fact the risen Lord who had spoken to them these hard words the disciples remarked to one another:

“And they said one to another,
Did not our heart burn within us,
while he talked with us by the way,
and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
Luke 24:32

Empty words proceed from hearts lacking fire. The words of the religious are different than the Words of Jesus and they who serve at His Altar will speak His Words and seek His Glory and not their own.

“And it came to pass,
when Jesus had ended these sayings,
the people were astonished at his doctrine:
For he taught them as one having authority,
and not as the scribes”
Matthew 7:28-29

Burning Words flow from burning hearts!

Even so Lord draw us to the fire of your presence and cause that fire to burn, purify and consume all that is unholy and carnal in us. Make us to be “ministers of flaming fire”. Men who will not abide in such words now will perish in the fire of His return.

“If a man abide not in me,
he is cast forth as a branch,
and is withered; and men gather them,
and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned”
John 15:6

* Men reveal by their response the true condition of their hearts. Here a stranger came and spoke hard words, yet these two downtrodden disciples resisted not the admonition for they were men who desired truth and loved it. Men who refuse the fire and the hammer of God’s Word are not abiding in His Spirit. They have not the love of truth burning within their heart. They appear religious and will seek to build and do religious things but in their inner heart truth is not desired nor pursued. It is the day of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and in the revealing of Him men’s works will be made manifest even as by fire.

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest:
for the day shall declare it,
because it shall be revealed by fire;
and the fire shall try every man’s work
of what sort it is”
1 Corinthians 3:13

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info