Consider Our Heritage

Consider Our Heritage

“They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,
were tempted, were slain with the sword:
they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:)
Hebrews 11:37-38

How we need to contemplate our heritage and the bravery and purity of those who have gone on before us. By faith they forsook the ways of this present world because they were in pursuit of a City whose “builder and maker is God”. It is the nature of faith to produce within the lives of His Own a pilgrim walk; a life of separation and detachment from the toxic offerings of a world opposed to all that is godly and righteous.

We need only study the lives of those who through faith obtained a “good report” from God to consider our ways and find grace to walk in the “paths of righteousness”. These precious saints paid a price for their faith. Their lives were such a light and revelation of their faithfulness to God that it caused those around them to take note of the dynamic faith, which was living, vital and real in their lives.

“…who through faith overcame kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the mouths of the sword, acquired power from weakness, became strong in war; made armies of foreigners to yield. Women received their dead by resurrection; but others were beaten to death, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
Hebrews 11:33-35

They had their eyes upon a “better resurrection”. By faith they were convinced that the life lived here on earth was a determining factor in the eternal realities of God. It is a false gospel which declares that regardless of how we live our lives here, our resurrection is unaffected. It is a degrading concept of a Holy and Righteous God!

Surely it is a day for us to consider our ways; to contemplate the beauty and quality of the lives of those who have gone before us. May we see and feel their testimony passed on to us that by the same power of a living faith we would walk worthy of Him who has “called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

“Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”
Hebrews 12:1-2

Ω

“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God,
in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses…”
2 Corinthians 6:4

Brian Troxel

The Declaration of Faith – “Not So”

The Declaration of Faith

Not So!

“And it came to pass,
that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child;
and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.”
Luke 1:59

Convention and tradition are the nemesis of every generation. Without the impetus of the fresh inspiration of God men would cling to the forms and methods of previous generations. We see Elizabeth’s strong reaction to the assumption of their friends:

“Not so;
but he shall be called John.”
Luke 1:60

To which they replied:

“And they said unto her,
There is none of thy kindred
that is called by this name.”
Luke 1:61

The “coming one” brings change to everything that would bear His Name. Even the forerunner must of necessity break with tradition. Christ alone is the new order and by the power of His life men undergo revolutionary transformations. No man can touch Him and remain the same. Tradition and stagnation are the very tombstones of a generation out of touch with the scope and atmosphere of His life.

Those who bear His nature within are aware of the lethargy of our current condition. The status quo is the means by which the “business” of Christian interaction is carried out today; the sheer lack of the wonder and majesty of His being should compel us to a heartfelt seeking of Him.

The verdict on our generation could be summed up in one simple, succinct statement.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

The Church today is not in need of new methods or programs. She is not in need of more technology or stratagems. Her ONE NEED is to be IN Christ. It is in Him that the dynamic of His life is known. It is in Him that the selfish ambitions of men are crucified.

“Not so”

This is the declaration of one who carries within her own womb the touch and call of God to higher things. “Not So” is the cry from one who knows and feels deep within heaven’s fresh and invigorating breath. “Not So” has graced the lips of all those who sought nothing on earth and have become pilgrims of the same faith which inspired their father Abraham. For he sought out a city whose builder and maker is God. He was a sojourner even in the land of promise because his heart had been captured by heavenly realities; he could not and would not settle for the buildings and cities of men. Long he tarried in the plains of Mamre (Vision) not having the slightest inclination to join his nephew in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. His vision was clear and his heart resolute in the pursuit of this “one thing”.

How little our generation perceives that revelation follows sacrifice. Abraham, in the offering up of his own son of promise, “sees” the true offering of God and declares “Jehovah Jireh”! “God will provide”! Such a name had never been known in the earth nor had there been such an obedient heart. The two are inseparable.

“Not So” is the declaration of all who bear within their hearts the effervescence of the living Christ. While men still work and sweat to raise up edifices and organizations in the name of God, the verdict of God stands.

“Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool:
what house will ye build me? saith the Lord?”
Acts 7:49

The man who uttered such things was stoned to death by the malice and hatred of the religious people of that day. Living truth is ever an antagonism to the religious. Past and future truth may be acknowledged; present truth is what is hated and maligned.

Man is the dwelling place of God. The early church owned no real-estate, did not request any special status with the current government, it sought no earthly accreditation and expected none.

“For as it is in heaven”
so was she in the earth.

“And I saw no temple therein:
for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb
are the temple of it”
Revelation 21:22

“NOT SO”
Declared the Pilgrims of Faith

“These all died by way of faith, not having received the promises, but seeing them from afar, and being persuaded, and having embraced and confessed that they are aliens and tenants. For those saying such things make clear that they seek a fatherland. And truly if they remembered that from which they came out, they had time to return. But NOW they stretch forth to a better, that is, a heavenly land. Therefore, God is not ashamed of them, for Him to be called their God; for He prepared a city for them”
Hebrews 11:13-16

“For here we do not have a lasting city,
but we are seeking the city which is to come.…”
Hebrews 13:14

Brian Troxel

The Bride – Part One

His Bride

Part One

“Behold, thou art fair…behold, thou art fair”
Song of Songs 4:1

The Bride of Christ is beautiful. Her beauty is not one of a positional truth; she is beautiful because, like Esther, she has submitted herself to the dealings and processing of His Spirit*. She is not of the spirit of Vashti** who refused the invitation to come at her Lord’s command (Esther 1:12; Matthew 22:2-14). She is humble and beautiful inside and out. In her submission to the Holy Spirit she has been adorned with the graces and the wonders of her Christ. She has found in Him the ability to become heavenly with no stain of earth upon her (Ephesians 5:27). She wears the garments of righteousness in Christ and through the operation of His Spirit, she has made herself ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! (Revelation 19:17) The trials and testings have brought her to a purity in Him. The Word has had its way within her heart and her nature has been exchanged; the first Adam for the second Adam. Nature is the determining factor of this relationship as Holy is joined to holy. Not only is union with Christ the basis of true fellowship with one another, but of necessity His Bride must be of the same nature as He. How little we understand the significance of nature being the holy ground upon which the Bridegroom and the Bride must meet. It is in the here and now of our life that these things take place. It is in the curious work of God in the “lowest parts of the earth”, substance yet unseen, that the members of this body are being wrought by God.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”
Psalm 139:14-17

David is speaking prophetically of the Body of Christ, each member being wonderfully and skillfully wrought by the Master Craftsman. Though incomplete they are written into the Book of Life and even now continue to be formed in secret. God calls the things which are not and brings them into the substance and reality of Life. How great is His love and the sum of His thoughts towards us!

“Behold”! The Bridegroom beckons us to look upon His Bride and marvel at His work in her. “Behold” (Song of songs 4:1)! He speaks to the principalities and powers even to the ages to come of His manifold wisdom in the Church!

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:7

“…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”
Ephesians 3:10

The religious of this world understand little of the Call of God unto His Own. They do not comprehend “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” to which we have been called. The ability to see these things is through the operation of Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, our lives rooted and grounded in the very love of God!

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge”
Ephesians 3:16-18

The divine enablement to comprehend these things necessitates a “strengthening by His Spirit in our inner man”, a true “dwelling of Christ in our hearts by faith”, and being “rooted and grounded in the Love of Christ”. The verity of these things will result in His saints apprehending the clarion call of God unto His Own! These things are hidden from the wise, the prudent and the religious and revealed unto those with child-like faith.

For what purpose is the seeing and comprehending of these things?

“that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God”
Ephesians 3:19

Paul in his ecstatic declaration of these things ends with the final Amen.

“Now unto him that is able to DO exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”
Ephesians 3:20

The true Bride of Christ will not stagger at these promises. Like Mary of old she does not dispute or stumble at the seeming impossibility of these things but simply responds “be it unto me, according to thy word”. The religious and unbelieving will twist and dilute these truths but those who know Him know that He is able!

The intent of God is that we be filled with all the fullness of God! His Bride holds within her the heartbeat of a living faith which presses her unto the fulfillment. She responds through the medium of obedience. Faith and obedience are synonymous. The revelation of the one (faith) is revealed in the other (obedience).

It is the humble in heart in whom the promises are found for humility is the nature from which obedience springs. The proud, the lofty and the self-righteousness cannot and will not submit to walk in obedience to Christ. One must have His nature to obey His call. God’s great judgement at the end of days will be to separate the sheep from the goats, the true from the false.

“…as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”
Matthew 25:22-34

Moving in the gifts of the Spirit, knowing much about Christ, sitting in meetings where His Word is spoken will not be sufficient in the Day of His judgment. The nature of the individual will be the deciding factor.

“Then shall ye begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity
Luke 13:26-27

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
Matthew 7:22-23

Being born again implies a new nature; the divine nature through which we are empowered to escape the filth and lust of this world (2 Peter 1:4). Though that nature is available to all who are born again, the partaking of it requires faith and obedience. It is through obedience that our souls are purified. It is the pure in heart who shall “see God”.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth through the Spirit…”
1 Peter 1:22

Obedience is the desire of the Bride’s heart. She knows that in obeying Him she not only pleases Him but her obedience is the means to becoming pure. The love of God becomes our motivation and our joy and in the seeing of Him everything else becomes dim.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come,
and his wife hath made herself ready”
Revelation 19:17

It is easy to talk about these things but we must come to the place of obedience to Him to make the call and the election of God a sure thing (2 Peter 1:10). The day of exalting in what we know must give way to trembling at the seeing of Him. All men are humbled upon seeing Him. Such was the testimony of John:

“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead”
Revelation 1:17

There is no room for exaltation of anyone but Him!

The Bride, His Fair One are those whom His eye is ever upon. She is carefully and meticulously being groomed for greatness and royalty. She has His eye because He has her heart! It is the humility of her heart that draws His attention and His gaze.

“…but to this one will I look,
even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and trembleth at my word”
Isaiah 66:2

The Bride of Christ is His; she will not take on the name of another. She will not join that which is a mixture of flesh and spirit. She follows the Lamb wherever He goes. She seeks no following for she is captivated with Him and intent on following Him. She does not seek the praises of men but lives for His approval. She does not fit into the systems of this world for she is not of this world. The temples, buildings and organizations of men cannot lure her away from the pursuit of Him. Rather than agendas she seeks the Life. Rather than methods and strategies she discovers the Way of God within. Her eyes are set upon a City whose builder and maker is God. She is a pilgrim in this world because she is only at home in His. Even so Lord “be it unto us according to Thy Word”.

“For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen”

Notes:
* The beautiful narrative of Esther is prophetic of the rise of the Bride of Christ where her story is an exposé on the journey of the Bride in our day. We see her being selected as one of many fair ones of which only one was to be chosen as the new Queen due to Vashti’s disobedience. The Eunuch Hegai’s purpose was to submit each of these to the process of purifying, teaching and preparing them to be fit to be queen. The bitter experiences are represented by the myrrh; the pleasant odors of the other spices plus “other things” were for their purifying. It was the grace and beauty with which Esther carried herself that caught the attention of Hegai. She was shown special favor by him so that she would be most prepared in her presentation unto the King. “Many are called but few are chosen” is a sobering truth in this day when the lives of those who seek to be faithful are scorned and mocked as legalistic and old fashioned. Nevertheless, the Bride will stand at the last day arrayed in the fine linen of Christ’s righteousness and the heavens will rejoice!
**The Story of Vashti is a portrayal of deep truths which have been fulfilled multiple times throughout the history of God and man. We see it in the refusal of one generation to enter the land of promise and God raises up the next one to go in with greater grace; we see it in the continual refusal of Israel to walk with God and He turned to the Gentiles; we see it in the parable of the Wedding Feast where the called of God did not respond to His call and they were left to themselves while the servants of the Lord were sent to the highways and the byways to bring people in. The pride and arrogance of one generation is the doorway for another. God will always fulfill His purposes but “they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief”. (Hebrews 4:6) God will raise up another. It is with this in mind that we are instructed to seek humility and walk obediently before Him.

Brian Troxel