Friendship with God

Friendship with God

“Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!”
Psalm 36:10

There is an endearing ministration to those who walk closely with the Lord; wonders and mercies through the bonds of relationship. As we draw near to Him, we touch unspeakable aspects of His glory that are beyond the thoughts of men. Life, His Life, cannot be assimilated by the natural mind for God is beyond comprehension. Who can truly understand the mystery of a beating heart, the unfolding of a flower, or the intricacies of a relationship between a husband and wife? These are things we can see, feel, and appreciate for their simple beauty, but to try and understand them intellectually is folly. The enablement to see the growing dynamic of God, His Life, and His Wisdom, requires faith and surrender to His work in us.

“In thy light
shall we see light”

It requires the Christ within to enable us to “see” the Father as He is.

“All things were yielded up to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and the one to whom the Son purposes to reveal Him.”
Matthew 11:27

Jesus is the lens through which we behold the Father. He alone can impart to us the substance and being of all God is. Our depth of abiding will determine our knowledge of Him as He is. Jesus spoke parables to the masses (God’s own people; John 1:11), but His own disciples he would take aside and expound to them precious truths through the intimacy of friendship.

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
John 15:15

What was the vital truth which precipitated this transition from unknowing servants to friendship with the Son?

“You are my friends
if you DO what I command you.”
John 15:14

Obedience is the highest expression of Love. The summation of the Life of the Son in the earth can be bound up in one culminating crescendo of love.

“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
Hebrews 10:7

The Holy-Spirit inspired scriptures go on to describe the effects of that Divine Will on our lives.

“By the which Will we are sanctified…”
Hebrews 10:10 (capitalization my own)

True sanctification will always be to the measure that His Will becomes our own. Those who are truly His, pursue one thing; full conformity and union with the purpose of the Son. “Lo, I come to do Thy will”.

“Then Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not mine in origin but belongs to the One who sent me. If anyone is desiring to be doing His will, he shall know experientially concerning the teaching…”
John 7:16-17 (Wuest)

True disciples do not initiate their own doctrine. They read His Word with the eyes and the heart of a little child; what the word declares they believe. They make no allowances for self which always seeks to justify its aberrations from its purity. They seek earnestly and fervently for faith and grace to see their lives conformed to its truth. They understand that the same Spirit through which the Word became flesh in the Son has been given to work that same devotion to the Will of the Father in us.

“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

Why is the ministration of the Spirit of God-given? To change us “into the same image”; the same likeness and demeanor which characterized the Son.

“Lo, I come to do Thy will”

The full revelation of Grace is expressed in our obedience to the Will of the Father.

“through whom we received grace and apostleship in order that there may be obedience to the Faith…”
Romans 1:5 (Wuest)

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

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