Do You Believe Now?

Do You Believe Now?

“Do you believe now?”
John 16:31

Do you believe now?

Oh, the penetrating questions of Jesus. “Do you believe now?” Our Lord is ever bringing us to the truth. There is something about the heart of man that evades the “present” tense of God; it is far easier to put truth off to a future age or dispensation. There can be a soothing and narcotic effect in occupying ourselves with future concepts and ideas. It is an escape, a diversion from present reality. Jesus is the “I AM” and it is the purpose of truth to make us true in the present. The reality is we only have enough breath for the moment and our present condition is our condition. It is here and now that Jesus brings us to the fundamental truth of our state.

“Do you believe now?”. Do you love Him now, His Body (His people)? Are His purposes your purposes for now? Years ago, I sat with a dying friend who had spoken often of his “destiny”; that one of these days God was going to speak a living word and he would be quickened to step into it. But it never happened. If truth is always kept in the future, we run out of the precious commodity of time.

Past, Future, and Present Truth

Martha and Mary were loved deeply by our Lord. Lazarus was dying and they sent for Jesus in desperation and trust. Upon hearing their urgent request Jesus tarried two more days. He knew all that was transpiring and plainly told the disciples that Lazarus was “now” dead. When Jesus arrived, He was met with the faith of the past.

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord,
if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”
John 11:21

A very powerful statement. Jesus in His pre-resurrection state, as a man incarnate, was restricted to the “present truth” of His physical existence. Yet even in this situation, He tarried in the wisdom of God. He is ever-pressing us to “believe now” and to conduct ourselves accordingly.

As the narrative unfolds Jesus meets these statements with the living truth: “Your brother will rise again”. Immediately comes the heartfelt response, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day”. In this interaction with two souls that Jesus loved greatly, we see that He is pressing them into the “now”, into the situation at hand. He has a deep desire to bring us in all things to the present truth, the reality of the now. May we who have ears to hear recognize the pressing of His Spirit to free us from our past and our unsubstantiated future concepts. It is an intense and difficult thing to allow Him to penetrate our religious notions with the present reality. But it is necessary and vital to bring us to the acknowledgment of our true condition. Those who hold to future things, while denying the present reality of themselves, circumvent the development needed to become all that He has purposed.

Paul declared in Philippians that he had not yet fully apprehended the call of God. He did not rest in some future thing but cried out with great urgency of spirit, “I press toward the mark”. There was no room for concepts and beliefs to deter him from the apprehension of Christ. His life was abandoned to Christ. He did not isolate himself from the ministry of God to the Body of Christ; he did not segregate himself from interaction with others. He was in fact a vessel poured out because of the love of Christ in his heart. It is the synthetic who hide from others, who deceive themselves to be ones set apart (as the Scribes and the Pharisees* of old). His Love propels His Own to identify with the lost, the hurting, and the bound. It is in the touching of others that we discover the truth of ourselves. The truth of our nakedness is revealed in our touching the nakedness of others. It is in our discovery of our needs on their behalf that we find His provision! How good and how right are His ways with us!

Religion as a mere belief relieves people from having to face the current fitness and verity of themselves. The true in heart desire to know and to face the truth of the moment. Multiple times the disciples asked Jesus why their prayers did not meet the situation at hand. Deep within they desired truth, the truth, of their powerlessness. They did not mask their condition with a future hope. Jesus responded to them with the thing they needed to hear: “because of your unbelief”. These moments are necessary for our growth and development in Him. If we brush past these moments, we are none the better and we continue our way without facing the facts. The true in heart receive the truth as it is and the door opens for greater faith, a living faith that releases His wonder in the situation. The discovery of our poverty is the door into His riches!

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

The disciple of Christ must discover in present situations their present condition. Therein lies the challenge and the adventure into the discovery of Him within our own experience. The seeker of truth does not seek to comfort themselves in past or future things for the Christ they pursue IS COME to lead them, and more importantly, bring them to the Truth in all character and wisdom. Jesus in His wisdom presented to Martha and Mary the crowning revelation of the mystery of Himself.

I AM the resurrection…”
John 11:25

He is not the “I Was” or the “I Will Be”; He is always the I AM.

“And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could not we cast him out?”
Mark 9:28

A few years ago, in my private time with Him, the words came to me, “To grow in truth one must be true with oneself”. Our journey into truth must begin and remain open to receive its piercings and exposure of our condition.

“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?
who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
Psalm 15:1

To which the answer of God is:

“He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness,
and speaketh the truth in his heart
Psalm 15:2

When the truth is reduced to a confession, its wonder fades, its sword no longer pierces the heart. The result is faith without works, teachings instead of substance, and a limited vision of His power and glory.

“ Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth UNTO unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently
1 Peter 1:22

The true in heart measure their obedience and walk with God by the fervency of love for His people (not only the ones in their immediate circle). This love reveals itself in deeds produced by a faith made alive through love (Galatians 5:6).

“My little children, let us not love in word,
neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18

Can we hear Him calling us to the depths of Himself? Can we hear Him drawing us out of the ethereal, the forms of truth, and the comfort of mere confessions, into the vast wonder of His substance? Truth is the womb of repentance. Repentance brings us out of the shadows of obscurity into the penetrating gaze of Him alone before whom we must all give an account. Let not another day pass without a true turning unto Him who can cause us to become true witnesses of His Testimony within!

In the seeing of Him, we are afforded a seeing of ourselves (Isaiah 6:1-5). This great work of His Spirit will unveil all that Grace means. It causes us to glory afresh in His redemption of “our mortal bodies” by that SAME Spirit that raised Christ from the Dead. His resurrection will become more than a scriptural fact; it will be the living truth of Him at work within us. Love can only flourish between those who have seen themselves in the light of Him through the lamp of obedience. It is only through obedience that our “souls are purified UNTO the pure and fervent love of our brothers”. Love is the signature of God in a life. Love is being the face of Jesus to one another, where all our actions are governed by a pure desire to see His people WALK in the present truth of Christ.

“I have no greater joy than this, to hear about my children walking in truth. Beloved, you do a faithful work in whatever you accomplish for those who are brothers and strangers…”
3 John 1:4-5

God is not interested in truth coming from our lips only. The words which proceed from our lips are to be verified by our walk and our deeds.

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12

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* Note: Pharisees (Original meaning) “separated ones”; “called out ones”.

Brian Troxel

True Blessedness

True Blessedness

“Blessed and holy
is the one having part in the first resurrection.
The second death has no authority over these”
Revelation 20:6

Blessedness and holiness are requirements to partake of the first resurrection. Holiness is the reign of Christ within His own. Death reigns because of sin; the hope of all creation is in the power and wonder of the Life of Christ within His people (Romans 8:19-23). His Life alone is the cure for fallen creation. The cry of the heart of God is eternal:

“Come unto Me…”

This call is more than a religious platitude; it is an invitation to draw from Him the very life to dwell within the dominion of a love that eradicates the lusts, envy and strife of this world. It is as we come to Him and abide in Him that we have hope in the “first resurrection”.

The Progressive life of growth in Christ — The Beatitudes of Matthew 5.

“Blessed and holy…”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…” Matthew 5:3
“Blessed are they that mourn…” Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are the meek…” Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…”                      Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are the merciful…” Matthew 5:7
“Blessed are the pure in heart…” Matthew 5:8
“Blessed are the peacemakers…” Matthew 5:9
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake…”                      Matthew 5:10
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you…” Matthew 5:11

“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

Holy

“…but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy; for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:15-16

Blessedness and holiness are the miracle of Christ alone. His government, His dominion and His Life ruling within our hearts is the Kingdom of God. It is as we respond to this Call of God in Christ that we begin to perceive the progressive growth into this blessedness: poverty of spirit, a mourning of spirit, and a meekness of heart acknowledging our absolute need of Him. There is a growing hunger and thirsting for His righteousness to be wrought in our lives. His Life in us enables us to be more merciful, purer in the motives of our heart, even though we may be persecuted and reviled. Persecution and rejection come to those who walk and live in Christ. Obedience is the mark of His rule within our hearts. The culmination of this blessedness through obedience is access to the “tree of life” and an entrance into the glorious city of God.

“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

Brian Troxel

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