The Great Call – Part Three

The Great Call

Part Three

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

The Great Call of God to each of His Own is to remain in the power of HIS Love. It is a life-long call. It is a call that causes us to forsake anything that weakens His influence and power over our hearts. We, of our own volition, order our steps, make decisions, and choose our friends to facilitate His Kingdom within our lives. Everything is subservient to this one thing. The Book of Jude is a short, but fiery admonition to the growing pollution of a pervading influence of the world within the Church. There was an increasing tolerance of sin resulting in apathy and lethargy. The love of many was becoming cold*. We read his passionate exhortation to contend for THE FAITH; to fight the ethos of moral decay by which His people flagrantly used the concept of the grace of God to continue in sin, rather than understanding grace as the power of God to deliver them from their sin.

“I had necessity to write to you, exhorting [you] to fight for the faith once delivered to the holy ones…”
Jude 1:3

WHY?

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Jude 1:4

What is the great sin? It is a gospel which “perverts the grace of our God” to tolerate sin, sympathize with sin, thereby denying Him of His lordship in our lives. This perversion brings the grace of God into the realm of the senses. Where human sympathy subverts God’s Word, it twists and perverts His purpose into a demonic understanding as first evident in the Garden of Eden. The serpent beguiled Eve with this reasoning: “you shall not die”. In other words, do not fear God. Surely, He will not judge you for this act. We see this same “human” sympathy at work in Peter when he wanted to prevent Jesus from fulfilling Calvary’s call. Jesus rebuked him:

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”!
Matthew 16:22-23

One thing is certain. There can be no true fellowship with those who esteem sin lightly. To walk in the Light of Christ is to hate sin and love righteousness. They who walk in this light know the power of true fellowship (1 John 1:6-7). Jude continues:

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”
Jude 1:5

The people in Jude’s day knew this truth. The Apostolic ministrations made known the vital truth that we must “continue” in His Love. We must fight the fight of faith to remain under the power of His Grace that we are not “shipwrecked” as Paul spoke of those who started out well but failed to “continue” in the faith.

“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck
1 Timothy 1:19

And again in Jude:

“Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”
Jude 1:11-13

People who live without a healthy “fear of the Lord” are those who have fallen to this perverted grace. The fear of the Lord is simply an attitude of heart that knows its utter need and dependence to abide in Him to live godly in this world. There is an understanding that allowing sinful thoughts to invade our hearts will lessen the influence of His Spirit and leave us vulnerable and captive to sin’s destructive ways.

“continue ye in MY love”

Our only hope of remaining true in this hour is to abide in Christ. If I lightly esteem His salvation, I will walk in this deadly world without His keeping power. Inevitably I will succumb to a worldly life while still confessing His Name. I will walk “sensually”, meaning subject to the senses and reasoning of this world, sympathizing with sin, feeling little or no remorse for my sinful inclinations. The deadliest aspect of sin is that it numbs us to its own devastating power. Only in Christ do we value exhortation, rebuke, and admonition. The natural man avoids these things, for the natural man cannot receive spiritual ministrations (1 Corinthians 2:14). The “fruit” of the perverted gospel of grace is people who only want to hear “smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10), pleasant things, with no desire for the two-edged sword of the living word of God (Hebrews 4:12).

Jude ends his fiery ministration with a plea to all who would hear:

“Keep yourselves in the love of God”
Jude 1:20-21

Keep yourselves under the influence of His grace. Keep yourselves in the fervency of His love. Fellowship with those who have not succumbed to the ethos of a gospel that alleviates His people from their responsibility to walk with God and abide in Him. Keep yourselves from living without fruit or purpose. The comfort of this human-centered gospel message is designed to assuage the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

“Having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof: from such turn away
2 Timothy 3:5

In the Book of Revelation Jesus says to His Church at Ephesus:

“But I have this against you,
that you have abandoned the love you had at first”
Revelation 2:4

What was God’s remedy?

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
repent, and do the works you did at first…”
Revelation 2:5

In God’s eyes, to live outside of this “pre-eminent love” (Greek), is a fallen state which requires repentance and a returning to what they did when they first started. The KJV uses the phrase “first love” in verse 4 and in verse 5 it uses the phrase “first works”. It takes the “first love” in order to DO the “first works”. It is impossible to hold the love of God in our hearts and be without the works of God. Utterly impossible. The branch which abides in the Vine “bears much fruit”.

May the magnificent words of Jesus resound within our hearts:

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

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

* Note: Jesus spoke concerning the “beginning of sorrows” that during this time there would be people with cold hearts because iniquity would be rampant. He is not speaking of the world for they have not been given the love of which Jesus spoke.

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

For iniquity to abound requires a gospel in which iniquity, sin, and loose living are tolerated.

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