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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual apathy’

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 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 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 His words. It calls Him Lord but affords its adherents the means to escape actual obedience to Him by the soothing of the conscience with the very words of scripture. 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 the following of 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. We hear many say that God does not answer prayer. The wonder of His presence is lacking and in most places not even expected. We have become accustomed to the forms of religion without His presence and power. It is not because He has forsaken us; it is that we have ceased as a people to “follow Him”. He 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 in that 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 return to our primary love.

“”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 judgement 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 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
http://www.aword.info

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Heart of a Priest

Holy Zeal
Part 9

“And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest,
has turned My wrath away from the sons of Israel
while he was zealous for My sake among them
Numbers 25:15

True priests of the Lord are zealous for God’s glory. They have a burning passion within for His ways, His Holiness and His Glory. They do not sit idly by while men in their insolence disregard His glory and bring dishonor to Him in His house. Those without zeal will not react to the situations before them. They may cringe a bit, they may be saddened or even give themselves to prayer, but the true priests of God act out of a heart that is “zealous for His sake” among the lukewarm people of God.

This rising up of Phinehas happened in the midst of a great judgement from God. Israel’s backsliding had brought the worldly ways of men to the very people of God!

“And Israel lived in Shittim.
And the people began to fornicate
with the daughters of Moab”
Numbers 25:1 (LITV)

While Moses and the true priests of the Lord were weeping before the Tabernacle a brazen act of adultery was happening right in their midst. Zimri* (Song of the Lord) brought into his tent a Midianite woman Cozbi* (false, deceptive, a lie); the pollution of the Song of the Lord by the joining of it to the deceptive things of the world. It is against this backdrop that Phinehas rose up from the place of weeping and took a spear and slew both the Israelite and the Midianite in His zeal for the Lord. God’s response to this act:

“Wherefore say, Behold,
I give unto him (Phineas) my covenant of peace:
And he shall have it, and his seed after him,
even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood;
because he was zealous for his God,
and made an atonement for the children of Israel”
Numbers 25:12-13

Do we not see the Song of the Lord in our day mingled with the flesh and horror of the world? Do we not see apathy in the midst of a carnal church which has been polluted with the ways and the wisdom of this ungodly world? Are there not those who will rise up in such an hour for His Glory to be restored to His Church? Where are the prophets, where are those who sigh and cry over the abominations committed in the very Name of God? The church is filled with those who break fellowship with one another, who allow His own to speak evil and perverse things and none lay it to heart. It is a day of blasphemy and disgrace for the things we allow in our midst. The true priests of the Lord will not be silent in this day. It is a day to rise up, to speak and to do concerning the mixture and pollution we see all around us. We see men who take unto themselves the money of the widows and the sincere to build up empires unto themselves and none lay it to heart! It is a day to respond to the horror of men’s ways; a day to become involved in the purifying of His house. Men and women allow God’s people to withdraw from others; they do not take seriously the ministration of the blood which binds us together with the cords of His love. No one wants to get involved. Every man attends to his own interests alone and in so doing becomes a participant in the tearing down of His house. This is happening because within the lives of many there is no zeal for God; they are content with the status quo. They hide themselves in the religious garment of prayer and do nothing. Prayers which do not lead to obedience and zeal for the Lord are the prayers of religious and vain hearts. True prayer brings us to the threshold of His Glory and in that awesome presence men rise up with the fortitude and love of God beating in their hearts to stand for Him in this day. Men who see and feel nothing do nothing.

This new priesthood is one which contends for God’s purposes in the earth. They stand like beacons in the midst of the apathy and spiritual harlotry of today. They are grieved over the functioning of the carnal church which operates on the same premise as any worldly corporation. They cannot help but speak out to all who would hear “repent and turn from this wickedness”. God will give us a new heart to serve Him in the fervency of His Love for one another.

The call of God is going forth in this hour to those who have a zeal for His Glory in the earth; who become involved in the new wineskin into which God will pour the New Wine. He will give a new heart to serve in the fervency of His Love to one another. Those who respond with the fervor of His Spirit have the heart of a priest unto Him.

“Blessed and holy is the one
having part in the first resurrection.
The second death has no authority over these,
but they will be priests of God and of Christ,
and will reign with Him…”
Revelation 20:6

*NOTE: Hebrew Meaning of Zimri and Cozbi
Zimri:
Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names defines the verb that means to sing or make music, and reads “Song Of The Lord” BTN defines Zimri – “my praise” or “my music” in Hebrew.

Cozbi: כזב
The root-verb כזב (kazab) means to lie (Numbers 23:19, Isaiah 57:11), or to disappoint or fail (Habakkuk 2:3, Isaiah 58:11). Figuratively, this verb is used to describe a brook or stream that has dried up: Job 6:15, Jeremiah 15:18, also see Isaiah 58:11 (and the opposite of a lying river is a river whose water is sure — Isaiah 33:16;
Its derivations are:

The masculine noun כזב (kazab), meaning a lie, falsehood or deception (Judges 16:10, Amos 2:4, Isaiah 28:15).
The adjective אכזב (‘akzab), meaning deceptive or disappointing (Jeremiah 15:18 and Micah 1:14 only).
The Bible considers lies the ultimate opposite of whatever God is, stands for and wishes to bring about. Since God is Truth (Deuteronomy 32:4, John 14:6), Satan is called the father of lies (John 8:44), and an idol a teacher of lies (Habakkuk 2:18).
Abiram Publications

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Drowsiness

“…drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags”
Proverbs 23:21

Drowsiness is simply the final interval prior to the fullness of slumber. It is a place of great danger for the Christian. It is very easy to become so alive to this world, its needs, desires and demands that it robs from us from our real need: to stay vitally aware of our life before God. We are exhorted in the scriptures to be vigilant to keep our garments white in this day of great apathy.

“Blessed is he that watcheth,
and keepeth his garments”
Revelation 15:16

In this day of drowsiness and slumber it is essential that we find ourselves in a living fellowship with others who seek out and desire to stir up in one another the fires and ministrations of the Holy Spirit. So few in this day want the ministrations of exhortation and admonition; men do not desire such. They want to hear only good things. Those who have received the “love of the Truth” want the truth. They recognize their own need for the searchlight of God to penetrate the blindness of their hearts. His Word is living and is sharper than any two edged sword. The fact is not all men desire or want accountability. When they are struggling with sin they would rather go to someone who is defeated than to one who has overcome. They want sympathy not victory. This type of “fellowship” will always lead to drowsiness and spiritual death. God has spoken to us of His provision…

“And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
Hebrews 10:24-25

This is God’s answer to meet the drowsiness of this hour; exhortation and strong encouragement “unto love and good works”. We see so little in terms of exhortation, true love and the doing of good works which honor and glorify our God!

It is obvious the spirit of slumber has taken hold of the people of God in our day. They have become comfortable and sleepy due to the lack of exhortation and the strong admonition of the Word of God. The Word to us from Hebrews chapter ten is a command (so renders the parsing of the original Greek) not a suggestion. We read these things as if they did not apply to us. We read with a faithless sigh of apathy rather than as a promise from God and His way to keep our hearts on fire and awake, ready for His appearing. The fellowship of the Spirit is always full of these things and those who desire “truth in the inward parts” seek out this grace with others.

To yield to the drowsiness of this hour will end in our spiritual garments becoming rags rather than robes of righteousness. God speaking to His Own in the Book of Revelation says…

“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain,
that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works
perfect before God.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard,
and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch,
I will come on thee as a thief,
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis
which have not defiled their garments;
and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,
but I will confess his name before my Father,
and before his angels”
Revelation 3:2-5

Let us turn from the slothful ways of this hour and seek out those who would “walk in white” in the reality of His Spirit. Men reveal their hearts by what they do, not by what they say. It is time for us to seek and search out those who hear the call of God to “strengthen the things that remain”.

“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to sleep:
So shall thy poverty come…”
Proverbs 6:10

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Then and Now

“Then, indeed, the churches
throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, had peace,
having been built up and having gone on in the fear of the Lord.
And they were increased in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”
ACTS 9:31 (LITV)

The prospering and growth of the early Church was characterized by peace, being built up (edified) and a going on in the fear of the Lord; because of that they were increased in the comfort (<παράκλησις> a calling near) of the Holy Spirit. The stark difference between then and now of the Body of Christ is revealed in the contrast between the ways of men and the WAY of the Holy Spirit.

• 1. There was peace. The striving of men to build their own kingdom, ministry and influence was not prevalent. The environment of the Early Church was the unity of Spirit being revealed in oneness of heart and Spirit. The ministration of life through each individual was always for the building up of the Ekklesia, not one’s self.
• 2. The building up of the Body was the purpose of each member. In the atmosphere of the functioning of the individual members there was a ministration of the heart of the Son to see each member grow in God.
• 3. The reason that the above characteristics were true and real is because they “were going on in the fear of the Lord”. The true fear of the Lord creates an indelible and powerful ministration of a Holy Accountability unto the King of kings! It destroys apathy, disobedience, faithless inactivity and self seeking. It causes men to OBEY Him from the very depths of their being. It judges the false and pretentious works of men’s religion (Ananias and Sapphira). These judgments are those that make known the righteousness of God and reveal the truth of His Holiness.
• 4. The fruit of such an environment was an increase and multiplication of the Church through the calling near of the Holy Spirit drawing men and women to a greater relationship with their God.

The enormity of the contrast between then and now should convict us of the need for heartfelt repentance, a changing of our ways, and a fresh seeking of our God. (Ephesians 4:14)

The “Fear of the Lord” was the atmosphere of the Early Church. It was the air they breathed and the governing power of every man’s life. This begs the question…how long can we continue in the apathy and religion of our day? How can we continue in this contradiction of the knowledge that our God is a consuming fire while listening to endless sermons that never mention our sin or need for accountability to a Holy God? Where are the cries of “SEND THE FIRE, SEND THE FIRE”?

SEND THE FIRE
Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood-bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
-William Booth –

Brian Troxel

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THE QUESTION

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us”
EPHESIANS 3:20

The “exceeding” and “abundantly” doing of God is in proportion to the power that is at work in us. Men want God’s working dynamic in external things without the working of God within our hearts and minds. We want the life without the death. We want the freedom of the Holy Spirit without the necessary disciplining work of Grace. God is far more interested in the internal state of our hearts than the empty religious works of men’s hands or even the overt acts of miracles and wonders. Have we not seen enough in these days of the multitudes flocking to see “acts” of power only to witness man’s failure in righteousness bringing dishonor and reproach to God’s name?

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty;
and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city”
PROVERBS 16:32

The power of God which works IN us is to produce a life that testifies of Him. It is in our WALK that we reveal the power of Him who has and is saving us from our very selves. This is the real import of His Salvation. His name is Jesus, for HE came to save us FROM our sins (Matthew 1:21). Salvation is the work of God to free us and deliver us FROM OUR sins; from wrong thinking, wrong doing and wrong being. Salvation is the work of God to save us FROM this wrongness INTO HIS actual righteousness. This is all the work of HIS Spirit “according to” or in proportion to “the power that works IN US”! The power that works in us will be proportional to the yielding of our lives TO HIM.

“Therefore, brothers,
I call on you through the compassions of God
to present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this age,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
ROMANS 12:1-2

The transforming work of God is DEPENDENT upon the offering and presenting of ourselves unto HIM as living sacrifices. The great work of being renewed in our thinking will always be proportional to this offering of one’s self. Men who fail to develop are those who have failed to submit themselves to the continual, transforming work of God. To go only so far and allow stagnation, spiritual laziness, and age to dampen our pursuit of Him is the great tragedy of life. Without going on in the full purposes of God, there is a numbing and slumber that will surely overtake all who succumb to the weariness of the age. The greatest trial HIS people will ever face is the apathy and carelessness from without becoming the apathy and carelessness within.

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth,
and he hath settled on his lees,
and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel…
therefore his taste remained in him,
and his scent is not changed”
JEREMIAH 48:11

Men become comfortable and settled in their present “vessel” (mode of fellowship and understanding). They fail to so pursue God and be pliable and surrendered unto Him that they remain in an old thing that may be comfortable but is in fact stagnant and dead. We see Moses…

“Esteeming the reproach of Christ
greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:
for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
By faith he forsook Egypt…”
HEBREWS 11:26-27

By FAITH Moses was poured from one “vessel” into another for HIS heart was fixed upon the reward of Christ! The “power” that is at work IN us is revealed through the life we live. Words and sermons mean little; FAITH is revealed by what we do. Men who remain unchanged after years of being a “Christian” have “settled on their lees” and have become comfortable and restricted the “power” that would work in them to produce vessels “FIT and PREPARED for the MASTER’S USE” (2 Timothy 2:21).

The great and penetrating question of this hour for all of us…

“What is the power that is at WORK in US”?

 Brian Troxel

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