Effectual Prayers – Forgiveness

Effectual Prayers – Forgiveness

” And when ye stand praying,
forgive…”
Mark 11:25

Christ is the sum of all knowledge and perfection and in His piercing Light all things are made bare. It is this Light by which all men will be judged. There is nothing hid from the Magnificent One whose “eyes are as a flame of fire”. It was by these eyes that the deception of Ananias and Sapphira’s seemingly innocent lie was seen and dealt with in the severity of God’s righteousness (1). It is a deception repeated to varying degrees in His house today. How little we as the church of today consider our ways. The God who never changes, has not changed. His estimations of our actions, our professions and our dealings with one another are not lost in His sight. The unforgiving remain weighed down in their own sins (2). The unmerciful receive not the depths and power of His mercy (3). The unholy are blinded by the shades of their own spiritual condition (4). These are the weights and measures by which God deals with His Own. The Light of Christ is only made effective by the corresponding deeds of truth within the individual.

“But he that doeth truth
cometh to the light…”
John 3:21

The significance of this statement bears eternal repercussions. Its decree brings to every man the responsibility for his own growth and development in the call and the purposes of God. Within the confines of our hearts (if sensitive to the Spirit) we intuitively know that to hold unforgiveness will cloud and darken the wonder of prayer.

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses
Mark 11:25

Forgiveness is the fruit of a heart involved in the “doing of truth”. It flows from a heart which seeks to grow and live in Christ. Dead and powerless prayers arise from those who fear not nor understand His ways. To hold animosity, offense and the wrongs of others within is to negate the forgiveness of Christ unto our own hearts. Man uses religion to cover his refusal to walk in the truth of Christ by making forgiveness a word rather than a deed (5). This limits their Christian experience to lifeless confessions, powerless prayers and a growing detachment from the life and light of Christ.

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth
John 9:31

Truth is measured to us correspondingly to our walk in truth. The more we yield to its way, the more we are afforded of its great reward especially within the depth of our communion with Him (6).

“He that doeth truth”

Let us not settle for the “broad gate” which leads to a desensitized heart. Let us not linger in the shallows of confessions and creeds. Let us come with “open face” and behold the Light and Glory of the One who deals with us in truth.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”
2 Corinthians 3:18

An “open face” means we are open and sensitive to the leadings of the Spirit of God. In every response to Him we grow in His Light and His Person. Those who desire the truth of Him know within the need to DO the truth of Him in order to be changed.

May we comprehend that the change we need will only come as we walk in the current truth we have. The seeing of Him and the corresponding transformation of our own personal lives comes by our involvement in the doing of His Truth.

Psalm 15
1 Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.
5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.
______________

References
1. Acts 5:1-10
2. Matthew 6:14-15; (among many others)
3. Matthew 5:7
4. Hebrews 12:14
5. Matthew 18:35
6. Matthew 25:21,23

Brian Troxel

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

Letters to the Church – Part Five

Letters to the Church – Part Five

“And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that He might know how much every man had gained by trading.”
Luke 19:15

The magnitude of God’s grace and the abundance of His gifts are evident throughout the New Testament promises. The depth of His unmerited mercy can only be fully appreciated through the medium of walking out those gifts in faithfulness. We see this throughout the Gospels. The Parables of the pounds, the talents, the sower and others, show the variety and the wonder of His gifts AND their corresponding accountability. To each of the recipients of the Pounds in the above Parable the reward of Christ was determined by their “trading” of the thing given. The individual who received one pound without their diligence to the precious gift given were never able to fully appreciate the gift or the giver’s worth. It remained unchanged, undeveloped and unappreciated. For such the Day of the Lord holds no rejoicing. How did Jesus respond to the one who held His precious things lightly?

“Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant…
and he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound,
and give it to him that hath ten pounds…”
Luke 19:22-24

The great gifts of God require our full attention. They become far more developed and valuable as we are faithful to them. In this Parable (unlike the Parable of the Talents) every individual was given the same initial amount; through their faithfulness and investment the one pound became ten, and to another became five. Yet for the slothful one, the one talent remained one. In the Parable of the Sower the one seed sown in a variety of the soils, produced very different outcomes. The fruitfulness of the seed was determined by the soil, not the seed! The same Pound given produced different results in the lives of each of these individuals. The great eternal question to each of us? What have we done with the precious gifts allotted to us?

We read in the great chapter of Faith in Hebrews 11, the faith of our forefather’s lives and the testimony they have left for us that we might walk in like manner.

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward
Hebrews 11:24-26

The reason Moses forsook Egypt and chose to suffer affliction and reproach was because he had “respect” for the eternal rewards of Christ! He accounted the reproach of Christ to be of more value than Pharaoh’s riches! Men and women who fail to develop the great gifts of God hold a disrespect for His Gifts of Mercy and Grace. The verity of Moses having “respect unto the reward” is a New Testament truth declared in the Book of Hebrews; it is a truth of infinite value for the people of God in this day! We live in a Day when the Gospel preached minimizes or denies the reward and the Judgment Seat of Christ unto His Own! (2 Corinthians 5:10) We have a gospel today which speaks of a salvation regardless of how we live our lives where the faithful and the unfaithful all just go to heaven without any eternal consequences relating to the life they lived. Without the solemn truth of the “fear of the Lord” men and women, who are truly God’s children, see no reason to develop the gifts of Christ in their own lives. Much of the “ministry” in God’s house is satisfied  with a people who are undeveloped in their “own” gifts and ministries in God. This false gospel is convenient for the leaders as they maintain their authority with little or no local accountability. It is also convenient for the people as they feel free of their responsibility to God in His purposes for their lives.

“…the priests rule by their own authority;
and my people love to have it so”
Jeremiah 5:31

The result is a poor and impoverished church which lacks power, vitality and the raising up of the Body of Christ through the development of their own ministrations. This arrangement will not alter the accountability of each individual unto God for themselves. His Word is clear and our Day of giving an account of how we lived our lives unto Him remains true and unchangeable.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”
2 Corinthians 5:10-11

(I do not write these things to be contentious, but because I am compelled to be faithful unto His Word to all who read these things. We want our day of standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ to be a day of joy and great rewards, not of loss and sorrow.)

A gospel which denies our accountability is not only a deceptive lie but a robbery of God’s glory and investment!

“Will a man rob God?”
Yet ye have robbed me
But ye say, ‘Wherein have we robbed thee?’
In tithes and offerings”
Malachi 3:8

The tithes and offerings of the New Testament is for us to give back to God the increase of His gifts to us. If one with a gift of healing, a word of knowledge, a ministry in the Word, or a thousand other ministrations He has lavished on the Body of Christ does not invest that in others, we not only rob ourselves of the reward of Christ but we also rob His Body which is to be built up “by the functioning of every part”! (Ephesians 4:16) If every part is not functioning, the Body of Christ will suffer loss!

Paul in his understanding of this vital truth exhorted and encouraged the people of God to walk and fulfill the ministry that God had given unto them.

“And say to Archippus,
Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord,
that thou fulfil it
Colossians 4:17

Neglect not the gift that is in thee…”
1 Timothy 4:14

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance
that thou stir up the gift of God…”
2 Timothy 1:6

We must reject a gospel which presents ministry as something for a privileged few and began to read His Word in the truth and solemnity of its simple declarations.

“But to each one is given
the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all”
1 Corinthians 12:7

Read the context of this scripture and do not let any teaching, doctrine or cunning words of men deter you from the truth and grace which has been given to “each one” of us!

When we stand before Him, may we each hear:

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

Brian Troxel

A Strong Exhortation – The Day of Reckoning

A Strong Exhortation 

Faith and Works

“His lord said unto him,
Well done, 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
(From the Parable of the Talents)

When the time came for the master to reckon with his servants, he did not say “well believed”; He spoke the words “well done”. True servants of God are not idle, nor slack concerning the gracious bestowal of talents. They invest their lives into God’s investment in them. They are faithful in the things entrusted to them. In this passage the one who was slack concerning God’s investment was reproved and cast into outer darkness. The talents were given to HIS SERVANTS and as such the Lord expected a work and a labour into that which was given. These were His people upon whom such privileges were bestowed. They were not given on the basis of individual merit, but according to each one’s ability. Men and women who declare they are not able to walk in such things declare God to be unjust in His estimation of their ability.

“His lord answered and said unto him,
thou wicked and slothful servant…”
Matthew 25:26

Whose Lord? The servant’s Lord. Let us make no mistake as to the meaning of this Parable. It is a false and foolish gospel that has robbed God of His rightful place as Lord in our lives. Let us turn from this deceit and embrace the responsibility and the great reward that awaits those who are found faithful to our Lord and Saviour.

In this Parable Jesus declares:

“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh,
and reckoneth with them”
Matthew 25:19

Rest assured His coming is nigh unto us. Can we not hear with the ears of faith?

“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh
shall find so doing
Luke 12:43

Again, the word does not say blessed is that servant that he shall find “so believing”! His Day is upon us and we are to be faithful in so doing and admonishing others to the same.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins…”
Hebrews 10:24-26

Do we not hear the exhortation to stir one another unto “love and good WORKS”? Can we not feel the day approaching? It is a slothful people who do not exhort one another unto “love and good works”. Read the context of the above scripture; it is willful sin not to be doing this as we assemble together.

The lethargy and false comfort preached in our day blinds His Own to their responsibility to the talents given.

The Day of the Lord is a day of reckoning for His people.

(Please read 2 Corinthians 5:9-11)

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

Ω

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the Lord’s work,
because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”
1 Corinthians 15:58

Brian Troxel