The spirit of Diotrephes

Have This Mind in You

Excerpt from Coming Book
“Have This Mind in You”

The spirit of Diotrephes

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not…”
3 John 1:9

Self-promotion is the curse and the damnation of the Church of Jesus Christ. The wickedness of a self-seeking, self-promoting serpent nature is alive and very prominent in the Body of Christ today. Men pretend to be walking in the Spirit of God yet by their works reveal the factious ways of the world (the Greek word relates such works to the political factions of the world). The result is division and strife. We see these secular and isolated groups throughout the history of the Church inflicting great pain and sorrow on the people of God while bringing damnation and eternal judgments upon themselves.

“Because of this, if I come, I will recall his works which he does, ranting against us with evil words. And not being satisfied with these, neither does he receive the brothers; and those intending it he prevents, and thrusts them out from the assembly”
3 John 1:10

John goes on to say:

“Beloved, do not imitate the bad, but the good. The one doing good is of God; but the one doing bad has not seen God”
3 John 1:11

It is what people DO that reveals the spirit in which they walk, not their profession!

“They profess that they know God, but by their deeds they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work”
Titus 1:16

In order for this infection to stop God’s people need to grow in discernment. It is not what men say but what they do that reveals the spirit in which they walk. We see much of the spirit of Diotrephes across our land. The cry for people to join an organization or sect, follow a teacher or a movement, is heard far more prominently than the true Call of God to “Come unto Christ”. The waning influence of the Church is partially a result of the horror of calling people to something other than Jesus.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
will draw all men unto me”
John 12:32

The Gospel today is one of setting forth the ambitions of men to “grow” our churches, our fellowships, our teachers (or teachings) in competition with the other “churches” who also promote themselves in the same spirit of rivalry. Somehow, we convince ourselves (in spite of our carnality) that we are representing the Spirit of Christ and the work of His Salvation in the earth.

“Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all say the same thing, and there be no divisions among you, but you be united in the same mind and in the same judgment”
1 Corinthians 1:10

This Word from Paul is aimed forcefully at those in the Church at Corinth because of their carnality:

“For concerning you, my brothers, it was shown to me by those of Chloe that there are strifes among you. But I say this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ”. (Or in our day – Pentecostal, Baptist, Alliance plus thousands of other names or no names – the little sects that meet in closed cliques which mingle not with others nor reach out with the love of God to the world around them are all an affront to heart and mind of Christ.)
1 Corinthians 1:11-12

“Have this mind among yourselves,
which is yours in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:5 (ESV)

The very nature of this mind being formed in us through the ministration of His Word and our abiding in Him is the very essence of our unity. Any heart which “feels” not the call of God in Christ to this is one which is out of touch with Him. The holy bonds of His Spirit are the actual bonds of those who are His. There is a spiritual joining, a joint-communication of the life and power of the Christ which flows between those who live in Him. The Day of the  wheat and tares are being revealed in our day, they who cling to a joining which is carnal and based on something other than Christ Himself will become more evident as we see the bones of Ezekiel’s Vision comes to pass (Ezekiel 37)… The phrase “bone to His bone” is the verity of the New Wine Skin. Only those whose lives are becoming His can partake of this glorious thing. It is the power of His Life which joins us to one another and it is here where the depth of God’s wisdom will reveal the unfathomable truth of His Word… “members one of another”. This is a truth which the natural mind cannot comprehend, its power, its wonder is so Divine in its origin that only those who feel the draw and the call of God to this Holy place can be affected within the core of their being. Few there be in our Day who feel the pulse and the power of all God is preparing in this Day.

“That they all may be one; AS thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”
John 17:21

May God re-establish the truth within us, that we are here for His Glory, we are here to fulfill HIS purposes for us and they who are growing in their relationship with Him know that we are here to please and honor Him who is worthy of all that we are. Having the “mind of Christ” formed within us necessitates a fervency to live out His nature with our brothers and sisters. A nature which speaks truth, lives truth and walks in the desire to please Him.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created
Revelation 4:11

As Christ came to Glorify the Father may we so allow our hearts to be transformed to “order our steps aright” to glorify His Glorious Name by how we live.

“…to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
Psalm 50:23

To the heart of those who direct their steps in the Way of Christ there is a unveiling of Himself concerning the wonders and glories of His Salvation.

These truths are hid from the wise, the proud, the seekers of pre-eminence and those who are satisfied with something less than the fulness of Christ Himself.

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight”
Matthew 10:21

It requires the “mind of Christ” to see Him unveiled in His Word and it takes the heart of Christ feel the bonds of His Spirit.

The spirit of Diotrephes is alive and present in the community where I live, and the place where you live. Its dark and sinister work is deeply felt within the Body of Christ world-wide by the schisms and discord sown by its proud and haughty ways. It covers itself with garments of falsehood and hypocrisy. It pretends to follow Christ and usually appeals to its adherents on the basis of being deeper, more spiritual and may even express itself concerned for others while yet by its works reveals the true nature of its spirit by its isolation and spiritual stagnation. The spirit of such refuse others from the Body of Christ liberty to minister to "its own", it receives only from those who hold to its ideology and secretly must acknowledge its leaders to gain access.  It is an malignant evil which will be judged severely in the Day of the Lord.  It is by their works the spirit of such are revealed. It is important that God's people read and meditate carefully upon this writing of Third John for in it is the dark spirit of such revealed. Honesty of heart and pureness of motive will be the safeguard of all those who desire to see the One Body of Christ.

Brian Troxel

Psalm 19:13

Psalm 19:13

“Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I will be upright. I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression”
Psalm 19:13

Within many of the sacred stanzas of the Psalms, are prayers breathed. These prayers arise from difficult situations, treachery, the threat of enemies within and without, deep repentance, and thankfulness unto God for salvation and deliverance.

It is very apparent that Psalm 19 was composed by David in his later years. It is a Psalm that reflects the heart of a man who, in his pursuit of God, has recognized his need for the God of light to continually search and keep him pure and right.

Presumptuous Sins

Presumptuous sins are ever the blight of the human condition. They can arise from our position in the world, our accomplishments, our associations with others, our knowledge, and a multitude of other things. David knew well his propensity for such things. As the King of Israel, he had taken advantage of his position to cause the death of Uriah and enable adultery with Bathsheba. He had numbered the people of Israel to inflate his pride as to the extent of his kingdom.

Pride is an insidious stain upon the human race and nowhere is it more hidden and deceitful than in the realms of religion. In this Psalm David reveals the sinister nature of presumption and asks his God to prevent him from being overtaken by its dark and deceptive power. There is knowledge borne of very painful experiences, the outcome of unspeakable sins. It is to that end David cries out to God to preserve him from this evil.

Presumption is the result of spiritual blindness;
a knowledge of God without the benefits of seeing God.

We have all witnessed this blinding pride at work in the Church around us; in prayer meetings, in outreach ministries, in building programs, and in associations with great teachers, prophets and leaders. There is pride in the accumulation of knowledge and understanding, and even pride in confessions of spiritual poverty! I know from my own experiences its horror and deception. It can begin with a thought, a good deed, a gracious ministration of His Spirit into the life of another. Instead of being humbled that the God of all glory has chosen to use us as a means of reaching another life, we begin to think of ourselves as special; the concept of “more special” than others is a sure path to Pharisee-ism and spiritual death. How good and faithful is our God to provide us with multiple opportunities to see, turn and repent from this web of deceit.

The hope and cure for this pervading malaise is to spend time in His Holy presence, as David did, in continual prayer that God watch over the affairs of our hearts. In touching Him we are instantly aware of His unspeakable glory. In this wonder pride is eviscerated by the fire of His presence. Grace and mercy are only fully appreciated in the atmosphere of His greatness. The ability to remain free of this presumption is found in our total reliance upon His mercy to keep us and our acknowledgement of our vulnerability. In the measure to which we know ourselves is a corresponding openness to receive admonition from Him and others. Presumption left unchecked becomes pride which leads to a life of callousness and spiritual blindness.

“But the person who does wrong in the pride of his heart, if he is one of you or of another nation by birth, is acting without respect for the Lord, and will be cut off from his people. Because he had no respect for the word of the Lord…”
Numbers 15:30-31 (BBE)

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts…”
Psalm 139:23

Brian Troxel

Spiritual Discernment – Ananias and Sapphira

Spiritual Discernment

Ananias and Sapphira
(Acts 5:1-11)

They pretended to give all yet held back something for themselves. It was the pretense that brought the judgment of the Lord upon them. Had they held back a portion and stated so, their offering would have been accepted. It was the deceit of portraying that they had given all which was judged so severely. How we need to endeavor that our hearts be free of this great sin. This is a common sin of our day and is often overlooked for now. However, when we stand before our King such things will be brought to light for nothing will be hid in that day.

“For the Son of Man will come
in His Father’s glory with His angels,
and then He will repay each one
according to what he has done”
Matthew 16:27

Excerpt from the Spiritual Discernment and False Prophets Part One Writing

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Humble Service to God

Thought for Today

Humble Service to God

“Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar,
that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon”
Exodus 26:20

Religion has a way of elevating those who minister. In the fabrication of lofty concepts of ministry we unwittingly provide the means of pride and thereby the downfall of many. True service unto the Lord is in humility; those who are His will not allow the altar upon which they serve to be elevated. The true servants of God do not serve organizations, ministries and people; they live unto Him alone.

“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind”
Acts 20:19

Whenever pride enters the hearts of those who serve at His altar the ministration is doomed to fail and the nakedness and shame of one’s life will be sure to follow. It is the horror of religion that men and women seek the elevated place and in turn people give undue honor unto those who do so.

Those who truly serve the Lord touch His glory. It is in this touching of His glory that they know the authentic humility of the Spirit of God. Pride cannot exist where His Glory dwells.

“Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him”
Deuteronomy 6:13

Brian Troxel

IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

“And if ye salute your brethren only,
what do ye more than others?
do not even the publicans so?”
MATTHEW 5:47

The Greek word for “salute” would best be translated here to embrace or literally as Thayer’s Greek Thesaurus translates this word, “to draw to one’s self”. It is translated “embraced” in Hebrews 11:13. In the verse preceding this one Jesus states that if we love {agapao Grk.} only those that love us, how do we differ from the publicans? May the weight of these things impact us as we look around and see this love displayed to varying degrees throughout the church today. Does this not vividly describe the condition of the sectarian ways to which we have fallen? We see churches and various groups holding on to the close confines of those that “fellowship” with them and the common definition of the church or body today has mistakenly come to mean the ones that we meet with.

To add weight and importance to the above verse Jesus follows with…

“Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
MATTHEW 5:48

In other words our Father in Heaven is nothing like this. His Love knows no bounds; He does not show impartiality nor is He a respecter of persons. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust and His Son died for the sins of the world. We speak of “our” church, “our” pastor and “our” ministry as if we owned something or that because of our goodness these things have become ours. In Corinthians Paul states…

“For who makes you differ from another?
And what do you have that you did not receive?
Now if you did indeed receive it,
why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
1CORINTHIANS 4:7

If we seek only to meet with those of like mind we remove from us the wonder of His mosaic and the richness of the variations of His Wisdom. When we exclude or diminish another for differing from us we reveal the love of this world. We wonder why the world has not seen the Glory of our God in our midst while we live divided and walk in a love that loves only those that love us.

Peter, one of the Chief Apostles, started to segregate himself from the “gentiles” in his midst and was strongly rebuked by Paul and rightly so. The carnal man seeks to distinguish himself from others thus elevating one’s self. The need for recognition and distinction is at the core of that fallen nature. Jesus HAS broken down the middle partition between Jew and Gentile, between “Baptists” and “Pentecostals” and whatever other walls may be added through the “names” of teachings and doctrines. The gathering of the people is to be unto Him and Him alone.

Sadly the Proverb speaks to our day with such clarity…

“Only by pride cometh contention”
PROVERBS 13:10

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“Division has done more to hide Christ from the view of men
than all the infidelity that has ever been spoken”
G. MacDonald

Brian Troxel

HE IS ABLE PART FOUR – SPIRITUAL PRIDE

HE IS ABLE!

PART FOUR

SPIRITUAL PRIDE

“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee:
nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.?”
I Corinthians 12:21

Here we see Paul confronting the other enemy of the Body of Christ, spiritual pride. There are those who feel superior to other people of God so much so that they lose their ability to see the value of others in the Body of Christ. They have come to such a place that they actually do not see their need of the other members. Pride will always bring blindness and isolation. “…I have no need of you…” What an abominable thought, to come to such a “high place” that there is no recognition of the rich supply that is ministered through the wonder of relationship with one another.

“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted
by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love”
Ephesians 4:16

There is a powerful supply that is ministered by the joints, that is relationships. The Greek word used here for joint means: “a joint by which other members of the body are connected together”. This supply can only flow THROUGH the members by means of the joints. This expression of the singular is only made possible by the supply of every joint. For individuals or groups to become proud and isolated is to cut themselves off from this supply. Stagnation, decay and death are always the result of spiritual pride. It is by these joints and the functioning of every member that the Body edifies itself in the Love of God.

“But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed”
Ezekiel 47:11

Here we read in Ezekiel of a River that flowed from the threshold of the House of God, and everywhere this River flowed it brought healing and restoration to all that it touched. In the marshes and the miry places that were cut off from the flow of the river there was no healing or restoration. The life is in the River, and to partake of that life we must be part of its flow. The Hebrew word used for marshes here can be translated cistern or pool. This speaks of a separation that excludes the river; a teaching or “vision” that is not capable of embracing others. It is only running water that purifies itself. Ponds or lakes where there is no flow in or out quickly become stagnant and dead. So it is with us. The Dead Sea has inflow but no outflow. It is in the desire to save our “corporate life” that we shall surely lose it. Flow is essential to life and in the Wisdom of God we receive by giving.

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
John 7:38

The validity of our faith is not expressed in doctrine, teachings and programs. It is revealed by the flow of living water. How that living water is expressed in each individual is as unique as God is infinite! How glorious and rich HIS House should be. The Psalmist cries out “How beautiful is your dwelling place, oh Lord of HOSTS…” We ARE HIS Dwelling Place, we ARE HIS Temple and may there be a new priesthood that has one cry upon their hearts; to make HIS Dwelling HERE resemble HIS Dwelling place in Heaven. “Thy will be done, ON EARTH AS it is in Heaven”. John hears the Voice of God and he says it is as the sound of many waters! Hallelujah! How glorious are HIS ways, how deep is HIS mercy towards us, that in the flowing forth of HIS river through each redeemed life we are able to “comprehend with ALL saints” what is the infinite splendour of our GOD!

How tragic it is for men to declare because “I am the eye… I have no need of thee”. Even the eye can become blind with its own importance.

In the New Covenant the word “heresy” meant something quite different than it means today. In the Greek it was anything that created a faction or sect. Whether the ministry was good or false, if it, or the adherents of a particular ministry, sought to create a special group or faction it was HERESY! May the Lord humble us from our own self importance and keep us ever in the place of living and abiding in HIM. We have Churches on every street corner that cannot help but propagate division and fragmentation. We have small groups scattered throughout the land as well, each with a great potential to become an extension of another isolated cell. For without a true vision of the Body of Christ we can easily become another form of heresy.

In the Book of Acts we see the ministry moving amongst the people of God from house to house, with no thought of raising up a particular “group” but ministering to the whole Body. This eliminates any self seeking agenda of HAVING disciples and brings forth the true heart of ministry in MAKING disciples unto our Lord Jesus Christ. To make disciples is to see HIS people come to the place of obedience, unto HIM who is the HEAD, that “in all things, HE might have the preeminence”!

May the Spirit of Grace fall upon us afresh in this hour that we might rise up in a new humility and pure motive to see that it is unto HIM that our gathering together is realized. May all the foolish pride and exclusions be destroyed in the recognition of HIS great MERCY that has been afforded each of us. May the “I have no need…” be eclipsed by the full recognition of our absolute need of each other that we find ourselves not cut off from HIS FLOW, HIS LIFE and HIS LORDSHIP.

“Only by pride cometh contention”
Proverbs 13:10

Ω

“Pride is the ground in which all the other sins grow,
and the parent from which all the other sins come”
William Barclay (1907–1978)

Brian Troxel