The Quest and the Cost

The Quest and the Cost

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20

Jesus did not come to annihilate the soul of man; He came to save it. The crucified life is one that chooses to reveal His resurrection in a fragile clay vessel that His power might be seen. Many speak of the cross in a future tense, but such is not the language of the New Covenant.

“I die daily…”
1 Corinthians 15:31

The folly of words that speak of future things while ignoring the call of Christ “Today” is the bane of religion. We are called to live His Life NOW, to walk daily in the wonder of this flesh and bone existence. Those who speak of things in some distant future while they allow the sands of time and the opportunities of today to slip through their fingers live in the danger and peril of a religious faith.

“…but if ye through the Spirit
do mortify the deeds of the body,
ye shall live
Romans 8:13

The way of the cross is not a doctrine, a teaching, or a concept; it is the doorway into His life, present tense. Jesus did not come to share a new teaching; He came that WE may have life and have that life abundantly!

The life that you and I NOW live
is the revelation of our
daily participation in the Cross of Christ.

“Consecrate yourselves (today),
for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
Joshua 3:5

Our depth of consecration today will determine God’s work in and through us tomorrow.

The Daily Offering

“Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord
Numbers 29:6

The Old Covenant speaks of New Testament truths in Christ. We are called to participate in the “daily burnt offering”. The offering is one of ourselves, daily, unto Him alone who is worthy. Do we not hear the voice of His Spirit calling out to us in the “now” of our life?

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship
Romans 12:1

This is not some future truth or call; it is the heart and desire of all true disciples. It is the way of life, His Life, in us. The religious adherent talks about the cross in abstract and rhetorical words of philosophical wisdom. The disciple embraces it with the full knowledge that the Life of Christ cannot be apprehended by any other means.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win* (see note below) Christ”
Philippians 3:8

Paul counted the cost in His pursuit for the full apprehension of Christ. His life was spent in the “loss of all things” to the end that he would “win” Christ. Few understand this pursuit to “win” *(see note below) Christ. It is in large part an unknown quest, a mystery which few have looked into. It is however the mystery of the call of Christ unto each of us.

“That I may win Christ”

Paul’s pursuit was to “win” or “gain” the fullness of the majesty and wonder of Christ. He was “reaching” unto something beyond the perspectives of man’s concepts and teachings. He was stretching, reaching, pressing unto the fullness. There existed in him a passion for the “One Thing”. In light of this “prize” he could not and would not rest in his current knowledge of Him. Oh, may we see afresh the vast horizons of glory reserved for those who feel the fire and call of God in Christ Jesus!

If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily,
and follow me”
Luke 9:23

*Note: κερδαίνω
“Metaphorically used of persons meaning to gain or win someone, i.e., as a friend or patron, referring to Christ (Php 3:8); a brother (Mat 18:15). To gain over to one’s side, meaning to win over to Christ and thus bring to salvation (1Co 9:19-22, where it is equivalent to sṓzō [G4982], to save or to deliver in 1Co 9:22; see 1Co 7:16, where sṓzō is used; 1Pe 3:1).”
“The Complete Word Study New Testament” (Word Study Series) Dr. Spiros Zodhiates

Brian Troxel

Grace and Humility

Grace and Humility

“…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud,
and giveth grace to the humble”
1 Peter 5:5

Humility is the allurement for Grace. As bees are drawn to fragrant flowers, humility invites the grace of God. How wise and good is our God; His ways and His mercies are past finding out. As we develop in Him, we begin to comprehend the interaction of His graces in our lives.

His mercies enable a life of surrender unto Him.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God,

which is your spiritual worship”
Romans 12:1

Just as the mercies of God bring us into the submission of our hearts, so humility leads us into a life of obedience.

“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death…”
Philippians 3:8

It is through the workings of Grace that obedience becomes our joy and purpose in life. The Apostolic ministry has one purpose: to bring all men to the obedience of Faith unto God.

“through whom we have received grace and apostleship
to bring about the obedience of (the) faith…”
Romans 1:5

The evidence of mercy received is a surrendered life. A life of humility is expressed in obedience and the ministrations of His Spirit to others.

The inner workings of God’s grace must always find expression in our external walk. A life unlived and unfulfilled is the result of not allowing His graces to work in our lives.

“You shall serve the LORD your God,
and He will bless your bread and your water…
I will fulfill the number of your days
Exodus 23:26

Is not this the cry of every redeemed human heart; that the number of our days be filled full of Him?

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee,
if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God”
Deuteronomy 28:2

God’s heart is for us to be overtaken by His Blessings.

Brian Troxel

Spiritual Warfare – Obtaining God’s Promises

SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Obtaining God’s Promises

“This charge* I commit unto thee, son Timothy,
according to the prophecies which went before on thee,
that thou by them mightest war a good warfare…”
1 Timothy 1:18

The word translated “charge” in the above scripture is actually a command in the Greek (see note below). The promises of God are given to His own that, by receiving them, they may war rightly to see them come to pass. The promises of God require warfare to be real and vital in the lives of His own.

“And if a man also strive for masteries,
yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully
2 Timothy 2:5

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul uses the Olympic athlete as an example to observe and be instructed thereby. Paul follows this statement declaring:

“Consider what I say;
and the Lord give thee understanding in all things”
2 Timothy 2:7

There is a striving and a contending for the crown of the call of God upon us. Few of God’s people comprehend the strenuous effort required in “laying hold” of the prize of our call in Christ. The apathy and the complacency of many is a source of suffering for those who know God. The sum of all the energies of Paul were expended in his pursuit of laying hold of God.

“Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run like that, not aimlessly. I fight like that, not beating the air, but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected”. (“Unapproved, unworthy, spurious, worthless. In a passive sense meaning disapproved”)
1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Paul says he fights like that! He is fully involved (spirit, soul and body) in the fight of faith. He has one resolve in the entirety of his being. He is fully persuaded in his press to obtain the Crown OF Life to which he has been called. His life bears evidence of the faith and fire of God burning within! There is no value in glibly quoting the scriptures if we lack the evidence of faith in our daily life. How it must weary God that there be contentment in the quoting of scriptures without the corresponding evidence; but rather families out of order, poorly handled finances, lives lived in pursuit of other things, and an inability to impart the power of faith into the lives of those around them. Paul, in the passion of the Spirit of God, cries out:

“So run, that ye may obtain”!
1 Corinthians 9:24

The Christian life is not about just believing, it is about obtaining!

“Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible”
1 Cor. 9:25

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”. 1 Thess. 5:9

“Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Thess. 2:14 (what a staggering call)

“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus…”
2 Timothy 2:10

“For by it the elders obtained a good report”
Hebrews 11:2

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions…”
Hebrews 11:33

The list is too long and too precious to be listed without prayerful consideration of each one as a powerful truth. I am stirred this morning as I consider the grace and mercy of God, and the ethos of a generation who know little of the cost nor the power associated with the call of God. There is a generation who find contentment in words rather than a life of godliness.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ
Philippians 3:8

How few understand the cry of Paul’s heart, “that I may win Christ”. To those who do not pursue the person of Christ, this statement will be an enigma and a mystery. There will be an inability to see the pure truth contained within its wonder. The secret of the Lord is with them who fear Him, and it is to such that He reveals His Covenant (Psalm 25:14). The power of this Word ignites a hunger within and a thirst which cannot be quenched. Oh, the folly of words without fire, purpose without passion, and a powerless Christian gospel which does not birth a singular pursuit of Him! Life lived outside the grip of the fire of His love is meaningless and vain. He is the One Object of our faith; He is the Pearl of Great Price; He is the Fire which burns within.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”
Psalm 42:1-3

Those who bear His Fire
Shine forth His Light;
For the Light without
Is evidence of the Fire within.

Σ

“But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”
Jeremiah 20:9

*NOTE:
parangelia (G3852), “a proclamation, a command or commandment,” is strictly used of commands received from a superior and transmitted to others. It is rendered “charge” in Act 16:24; 1Th 4:2, RV (where the word is in the plural); 1Ti 1:5 (RV) and 1Ti 1:18. In Act 5:28 the lit. meaning is “Did we not charge you with a charge? Vines New Testament Dictionary

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Seeing God

Thought for Today

Seeing God

“Pursue… holiness,
without which no one will see the Lord””
Hebrews 12:14

Holiness is never an end in itself; rather it is the seeing of God. Knowing God is the chief purpose of all life. Holiness is simply the condition of heart whereby the individual is able to see Him. Nature determines relationship, not teaching.

The things of God are never a resting place in themselves, for those who desire the Pearl of Great Price. Justification is a precious truth yet not the goal of a true heart. It is but the doorway into the knowing of Him as He is. Functioning in the gifts of the Spirit is not an end but simply an embellishment of the graces and mercies of our God. Salvation by grace is the gateway not the end of the pure in heart. Heaven is never the goal of the true child of God; HE is. Christ Himself, the Pearl, is the end and purpose of all creation. There is no relationship with the Father apart from being hid in Christ. It is in Christ alone the heart is at peace and filled with the wonder and Glory of God. There is no other call or purpose.

The pursuit of personal holiness is the means and the lens by which the individual believer may behold, touch and know Him. If the lens is dirty, clouded over with the filth, the stain and the impurities of this world our seeing of Him is partial, obscured and even tainted by our own condition. Purity of heart is the result of holy living.

“Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God”
Matthew 5:8

It is the horror of religion that makes holiness the end rather than the means. Self-righteousness is the bane and folly of the short sighted; the selfish desire of a wicked heart. The Pharisee in Jesus’ day was the corruption of the selfish pursuit of ungodly men. Pharisee in the original language means “called out ones”. They may at one time have been people whose sole purpose was right and true but with the passage of time (as is often the case) their eyes grew dim and the pursuit for the knowing of God became a selfish pretext to flaunt themselves.

The pure in heart pursue holiness in order to behold Him. It is in seeing the Pearl of Great Price that the pure in heart sell all that they have to acquire this one thing. True holiness is simply forsaking all other things in order to know this One Thing.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss
for the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”
Philippians 3:8

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Alexander MacLaren

Quote for Today

“Given a man full of faith, you will have a man tenacious in purpose, absorbed in one grand object, simple in his motives, in whom selfishness has been driven out by the power of a mightier love, and indolence stirred into unwearied energy”
– Alexander MacLaren

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ”
– Philippians 3:8

Quote for Today – Henry Drummond

The One Pursuit of Life

“More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
– Philippians 3:8

Ω

“To become like Christ is the only thing in the world worth caring for, the thing before which every ambition of man is folly, and all lower achievement vain. Those only who make this quest the supreme desire and passion of their lives can even begin to hope to reach it.”
– Henry Drummond