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Posts Tagged ‘The Kingdom of God’

What is Righteousness?

“Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
and my record is on high.
My friends scorn me…”
Job 16:19-20

Throughout all ages those who preach righteousness have done so at great cost. The pursuit of righteousness and truth brings alienation and separates the wheat from the chaff. While many would live at ease, satisfied with doctrinal declarations and teachings, the true seeker of righteousness will know separation and loneliness. Loneliness is not only a result of righteousness it may also be the path into righteousness for it brings the heart to a new and deeper dependency upon God Himself. The cost is trivial compared to the reward of growing in Him. While many accuse of legalism the true seeker of righteousness (His righteousness) knows full well his inherent inability to walk in this righteousness apart from the Life of Christ within. His Life becomes the only hope of a life of purity and authenticity. The covering of the “leaves” of religion will never bring true peace.

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”
Romans 14:17

Without righteousness there can be no abiding peace. When one is at home in God there is Peace. Where there is Peace there is a deep and settled Joy in the Holy Spirit. It is the Joy of God Himself beholding and approving our life in Him. These things cannot be apprehended by teaching and religious declarations; they must be wrought in our lives by the working of His Spirit within us.

“Anything the church doesn’t want to do it calls legalism”
A.W. Tozer

The pursuit of righteousness will separate even good friends. God’s end in His own is righteousness not popularity. In truth the separation from friends and companions is part of the way into this righteousness; it affords opportunities to grow in forgiveness and long suffering. It is the means to bring us into the very heart of Christ Himself as Job discovered in the trial with his friends.

“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job,
when he prayed for his friends”
Job 42:10

The individual seeking true righteousness will discover sooner or later not only the bitterness of their own heart but an inherent ability to pray for those who withdraw themselves and even speak evil of them. That is the righteousness of Christ. Righteousness is treating others rightly regardless of how they treat us. God spoke to my own heart the other day this powerful truth:

“It is impossible to hold true righteousness
without knowing the Love of God”.

Love must cause us to treat others rightly. Righteousness is the fruit of love. Love is the very righteousness of God expressed in the deeds it produces within an individual’s life. Without Love there can be no righteousness, no real peace and no joy in the Holy Spirit.

“Little children, let no man deceive you:
he that doeth righteousness is righteous…
In this the children of God are manifest,
and the children of the devil:
whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,
neither he that loveth not his brother
1 John 3:7,10

Doing right is not optional for the true child of God.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Heart of a Priest

Part 11

Continued

WISDOM

“The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season
to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning,
he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”
Isaiah 50:4

Those priests of God who are walking in the way of truth begin to be “awakened” to hear His heart within their own. In the mystery of relationship with Him there is a divine enablement to “speak a word in season” to those who are faint and weary. Through the medium of knowing and experiencing Him in our own walk we touch His ways and His heart to the end we may be wise in the ministration of His grace to others. Whether it be encouragement, hope, a kind word or even a word of admonishment it is all with the earnest desire to see our brothers and sisters rise up and finish the race set before us.

The ear of the “learned” is to come to a place of being tuned in to His voice and heart. It is not something which can be learned through books, counselling strategies, Christian seminars and other means of education. The true understanding of such things can only be found in a life “yoked” with Christ in God. He (Jesus) is the sum of all wisdom, love and true knowledge and it is in Him we learn to live and move and become the very extension of all that He is. This heart is really only available to the true disciple who has discovered the wonder and joy of following Him and the necessity of carrying his own cross. This way is fraught with the discovery of one’s self. It is a way of repentance, transformation, and glory. In the Old Testament the priesthood was mainly obtained by birth but in this New Covenant we are made priests by the ministration of His Life within us through obedience and relationship.

“And hath MADE us kings and priests
unto God and his Father;
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever”
Revelation 1:6

It is His purpose to make us kings and priests unto Him who alone is the “Great High Priest” of better things to come.

“But Christ being come
an high priest of good things to come,
by a greater and more perfect tabernacle,
not made with hands…”
Hebrews 9:11

It is in our learning of Him and His ways that we discover, grow and develop the “tongue of the learned” because our “ears have been awakened morning by morning” to His living word.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Walking in the Spirit – The Call –

PART ONE

THE CALL

“Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”
Galatians 5:16

The depth of our walk in the Spirit of God is revealed in the freedom we have from fulfilling the lusts and desires of the flesh. This scripture is not a teaching it is really a simple statement of truth. The natural man hates the truth for the truth leaves no room for compromise. The natural man, that carnal self with all of its deception and lies, cannot be saved. Its nature is corrupt to the core and God’s answer is not to be found in anything but crucifixion.

“For the mind of the flesh is death,
but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace;
because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards God;
for it is not subject to the law of God,
for neither can it be
Romans 8:6-7

When Jesus spoke of an individual becoming a disciple He conditioned it with an “if” which speaks of a voluntary choice made by His own. It is not an arbitrary statement; it is the essential and indispensable requirement to come to the place of thinking rightly towards God. Salvation is not a teaching or a formula whereby someone says the right things; it is the very transformation of an individual’s thinking. Without this ongoing process men and women are mere adherents to a teaching rather than living branches partaking of His Life.

“And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God
Romans 12:2

Why does the mind need to be renewed by the process of His transforming life within our hearts? To the end we may “prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God”! Those who bypass this process will go through life never fully being able to know God’s will for their lives. The cross is the essential instrument in this work of transformation. Those who circumvent the way of discipleship have no ability to discern between good and evil. They may be able to understand things on a doctrinal level but when it comes to the deceptive works of spiritual darkness they will be ill equipped to know that which is of God from that which is borne of the flesh and the dark work of fallen spirits.

God has not left us without the knowledge of the depth and surety of our walk in Him.

“Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”
Galatians 5:16

Paul goes on in this same chapter to explain unto the Church at Galatia what the works of the flesh look like:

“Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed,
which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies,
angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders,
drunkennesses, wild parties, and things like these;
of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before,
that the ones practicing such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:19-21

Do we have jealously? Envy? Uncleanness? Divisions? Lust? These are the works of the flesh. If we are walking in the Spirit of God we are freed from such things. The workings of the cross and the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus are making us free. Let us not deceive ourselves with the horror of the modern day “gospel” for His word tells us if we do these things we will “not inherit the Kingdom of God”. Let us not assume that because we know something we possess it, or because we started out well we are no longer under obligation to carry the cross and remain lifelong disciples of our Lord and Saviour. It is to this end we live to follow Him alone who can make us free from the plague of the self-life. It is in the crucifixion of self that we are made free. We must realize that truth is not a teaching or a scripture on the page of a book; truth is His Life living and ruling in me.

“And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free”
John 8:32

What is the measure of truth at work within an individual? It is the degree to which we are made free to walk and live in His Spirit. The journey into truth begins with the revelation of our desperate need for Him. Truth reveals man’s inherent need for change and it is in the discovery of this that men and women turn their hearts to the One alone who is able to do this. Those who cling to teachings and doctrines will perish in the powerlessness of religion. Truth is a person and His Name is Jesus. In Him we are made free, in Him we become new creations of His Glory and Majesty and in Him we enter into the Kingdom of God.

“Little children, let no man deceive you:
he that doeth righteousness is righteous,
even as He is righteous”
1 John 3:7

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Let Us Draw Near

PART 2

See Part 1

“Therefore, let us draw near
with confidence to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy,
and we may find grace for timely help”
Hebrews 4:16 (LITV)

The Kingdom we seek is unlike any other for its throne, though majestic, imperial and Holy, is called the throne of Grace. It is here that weary pilgrims approach and receive mercy to finish the race that is set before each of us. It is here we can find grace to rise up against all the things which would wear us out, tear us down, and seek to destroy our confidence in the One who has promised to keep us in His care.

Failure, weakness and discouragement are only a few of the things every child of God will face many times in their pursuit of His Kingdom and Righteousness. It is in these times we are given the opportunity to draw near to the One in whom there is strength, mercy and grace. There we are made partakers of these precious ministrations of Him and have opportunities to become more like Him. He gives grace to us that we may in turn become more gracious to others. In receiving His mercy, we are to become more merciful to others. As we become strengthened we are able to minister strength into the lives of those around us.

The depth and substance of our walk with God is revealed in the ability to strengthen and encourage others. Wisdom is the ability to minister truth into another’s life. It is a divine enablement to touch the heart of another by being sensitive to the whispers of God’s Holy Spirit. Only He who knows the human heart knows the intricacies of its workings, the hidden circumstances and the inner cry. It is incumbent upon us to walk carefully in such circumstances. As we draw near to Him for our own situations we learn to draw near to Him on behalf of others. True priests discover that the real call in life is to come into such Love that the things of others become more important than our own.

It is a learned way of life; one that involves the discovery of our own failures and weaknesses whereby we are enabled by grace to see and touch the same in another’s life. This throne of Grace becomes something much more than a personal truth; it becomes the very means by which we bring others into the sphere and wonder of its power.

True ministry, heartfelt and powerful, will only flow from those who know that the Throne of God is to be the revelation of a Grace which imparts His strength and enablement into the lives of those around us. The Grace of God is never a sentiment. It is His power to cause men and women to rise up and overcome the things which stand in their way. Grace will never allow a life to be comfortable in defeat or compromise. Because of this truth, when we go to His Throne of Grace, we will not find sympathy but help and strength in our time of need.

They who have truly come to such a throne cannot be barren in the ministration of His power to others to overcome the circumstances of life. All of God’s divine attributes can only be had in the sharing of them. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”: It is in forgiving others that we receive forgiveness, and so it is with Grace…

“And of his fullness have all we received,
and grace for grace”
John 1:16

We receive grace for the grace we walk in. To those who are faithful more will be given. Those who seek their own will never excel at knowing God. Those who desire to appear spiritual will know barrenness and the emptiness within the recesses of their hearts. Those who give shall receive. Those who pray and agonize for others will find the added blessing of grace welling up as a perpetual spring within their hearts. How good and wise our God is; how gracious are His dealings and His ways. In seeking the good of others we find our own needs fulfilled. Those who desire preeminence will find the East Wind blowing upon all they seek to do for the way of selfishness leads to poverty and bitterness.

“Israel is an empty vine,
he brings forth fruit unto himself”
Hosea 10:1

The whole purpose of God in Christ is to bring forth a people who have discovered the law of His Life “Give and it shall be given unto you”; for it is the outward revelation of the inward law of Christ “Love one another as I have loved you”. He has loved us consistently and faithfully despite our wandering and the error of our ways. The surest test of our relationship with Him is revealed by our love for one another. They who have discovered the Throne of Grace are known by the love expressed in and through their lives.

“We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren.
He that loves not his brother abides in death”
1 John 3:14

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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The Mystery of God

Part Two

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,
even the hidden wisdom, which God
ordained before the world unto our glory”
1 Corinthians 2:7

Salvation and the Entrance into the Kingdom
Is a Journey and a Life,
Not an Event

The subtlety of religion is to start out well but not finish well; to begin in the good and perfect way but become relaxed and satisfied or consumed with the concerns and affairs of this life. We need to read often the parable of the sower and the various soils into which the life of Christ was sown. Paul, speaking of himself, declares…

“But I keep under my body,
and bring it into subjection:
lest that by any means,
when I have preached to others,
I myself should be a castaway”
1 Corinthians 9:27

We are reminded throughout the New Testament that salvation is the on-going work of the Spirit of God in our lives. Paul speaking to the Church of God at Phillipi says,

“Wherefore, my beloved,
as ye have always obeyed,
not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of his good pleasure…”
Philippians 2:12

The working out of our salvation is the result of God working in. A life that has become inactive and lukewarm ceases to work out His working in. It becomes slothful and complacent and in the end unfaithful and impotent. It is to such that God speaks judgment and sorrow as to the unfaithful servant who was given the one talent…

“His lord answered and said unto him,
Thou wicked and slothful servant…
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness:
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
Matthew 25:24-30

The Fear of the Lord
The Secret of True and Vital Prayer

The entrance into the Kingdom of God requires much diligence and above all a healthy fear of the Lord. His Spirit calls and beckons every man to the fear and awe of Him.

“For that they hated knowledge,
and did not choose the fear of the LORD”
Proverbs 1:29

The religious man cloaks himself in religious phrases, religious activities, prayer meetings, out reaches, church activities and other such “works” all the while ignoring the inward working of faith which would bring him to obedience and the way of the Lord. The prayer of the Pharisee…

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself,
God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess”
Luke 18:11

Notice that this man “prayed thus with himself “! His prayers never left his lips; God was not listening. Prayer without obedience, prayer without the brokenness of heart that comes from knowing to Whom we speak, and the infusion of faith whereby we touch the substance and reality of His heart, are merely the echoes of a vain and impotent religion.

Here Jesus is praying to the Father:

“Who in the days of his flesh,
when he had offered up prayers and supplications
with strong crying and tears unto him
that was able to save him from death,
and was heard in that he feared;
Though he were a Son,
yet learned he obedience…”
Hebrews 5:7-8

The very prayers of Jesus were offered in the fear of the Lord and in a life of obedience! Such things are too deep for me but these are the truths of the life of the Son. If they are true in Him, then it must become the reality within my own life. For He who became my sin did so that I may become His righteousness and a living participant within the great mystery of God.

THE PURSUIT OF THE MARK

This life of becoming is the sum and substance of the Kingdom of God. The writer of the  Book of Hebrews declares emphatically…

“Let us therefore fear,
lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest,
any of you should seem to come short of it”
Hebrews 4:1

This is the attitude of heart of those who would enter into the fullness of God. It is a heart which is so in love with Him that to fall short of His purposes, to displease Him, to miss Him in the full purpose and desire for our life is an unthinkable tragedy. Not because of judgement but because of love and the great desire to please and honour Him. This is the heart with which Paul wrote to the Philippians…

“Not as though I had already attained,
either were already perfect: but I follow after,
if that I may apprehend that
for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded
and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded,
God shall reveal even this unto you”
Philippians 3:12-15

Any one in Christ who is not pursuing this one thing the Spirit declares that “God shall reveal even this unto you”. To be otherwise minded is to miss the mark in our walk with God. It is to this end we are called and in the seeing of this we are overwhelmed with the enormity of His Call and the greatness of our need for Him and one another. We recognize the need to meet with one another, to participate in the working out of that mystery through the means of fellowship and the ministration of truth. Men who are satisfied with meetings and Bible studies in which the fire and the presence of God is missing reveal a lack of truth and honesty. The ministration of encouragement and exhortation is for those who desire truth within the inward man; a desire for transparency and authenticity over a mere appearance of righteousness.

Paul’s Specific Purpose
“TO MAKE MEN SEE”
The Building Up of the One Body in Christ

Paul in describing the purpose for which the grace of God was given to him declares…

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints,
is THIS grace given,
that I should preach among the Gentiles
the unsearchable riches of Christ;
And to make all men see
what is the fellowship of the mystery,
which from the beginning of the world
hath been hid in God,
who created all things by Jesus Christ”
Ephesians 3:8-9

The cry of Paul’s heart was to make all men see what is their participation (Greek word for fellowship) in the mystery! Men without a sense of the mystery have no desire to fellowship in this manner. They see no purpose in meeting and functioning with others in the power and wonder of His Holy Spirit. This mystery is the Christ in me, interacting with the Christ in you, each member functioning within the call and the expression given by God whereby we grow into the very fullness and stature of the risen Christ! How can we settle for a gathering of His people if this functioning and ministration of His life between members of the Body is not a reality? Paul goes on in his epistle to say…

“But speaking the truth in love,
may grow up into him in all things,
which is the head, even Christ:
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 4:15-16

This coming together in the power of His Life begins with “speaking the Truth in Love”. The fullness and increase of this corporate expression will be “according to” (in proportion to) the effectual working (functioning) of every part (member). We can preach, teach, pray and strategize all we want; this living reality will only come by the functioning of every part. Any ministry, whether an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor or Teacher that does not have this beating within his heart is failing the call of God. The true heart of Christ within a man desires to see the Body of Christ arise in His fullness. Men who seek to hold the pre-eminent place within a gathering of God’s people have missed the mind and heart of Jesus. We are called to present unto Christ a chaste virgin, a spotless bride, a people who are fully attentive unto Him. How dare the ministries of God seek the attention and love of His sheep! “He must increase; I must decrease” was the heart of John the Baptist; so should it be with all who minister Him. We must function in such a way as to so present the living Christ to men that their obedience and affections are fully centered upon Jesus not a man.

TRUE MINISTRY
The Means By Which The Body of Christ Is Realized

A picture of true ministry is revealed by an incident recorded in John’s Gospel…

“Again the next day after John stood,
and two of his disciples;
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith,
Behold the Lamb of God!
And the two disciples heard him speak,
and they followed Jesus”
John 1:35-37

Do men really want this? Do the ministers of God and the multitudes of church organizations across the land really desire this one thing; for men to rise up and follow Jesus? Our part is to declare “Behold the Lamb of God” and to do it in such a way that men actually rise up to follow Him. We are here to make Him known. Those to whom we minister should hear us speak and then rise up and follow Jesus! How simple and pure ministry is to be! The sad part is that men, their organizations, and their own desire of recognition corrupt this simple truth and lead men to follow them and to “support” their ministry rather than the development of others in their own ministrations.

The other issue in our day is that men want to follow others and support other people; for growing into their own functioning ministry is fraught with personal accountability, obedience and faith. It is much easier to simply sit in a pew and absolve themselves of this responsibility. In gatherings where there are no ministrations of life, the power and presence of God is lacking and men remain undeveloped and immature.

The mystery of God will never be known and realized without this ministry one to another. Paul, as great and powerful as his ministry was, declared “That we with all saints might know…” He understood that his knowing of the depths, the power and fullness of God would only be realized with all saints. Those who have seen and touched the hem of His Glory know that His fullness can only be revealed in a Body, not an individual. It will take the full functioning of every member to embrace and contain the glory of the new wine. There is no room for elite little groups any more than there is for mega churches to think they can contain this Mystery. Peter and his fellow believers were meeting together and there began a religious segregation of the Jews withdrawing from the Gentiles to form a little clique. A young newcomer rebuked Peter for straying from the truth. Peter was faced with repenting and acknowledging his error or citing his position as “chief apostle” to ignore the rebuke. Peter, to his credit, repented at the rebuke of Paul. The fivefold ministry (Ephesians 4:13) is to bring the people of God unto “the unity of the faith” not to separate His people unto themselves! The fivefold ministry will remain in the church until this is accomplished.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets;
and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the (their) work of the ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith,
and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”
Ephesians 4:11-13

Any ministry that has not this one goal in mind has missed the purpose and the call of God. Any ministration that is content with the status quo of a divided church, drawn unto men and organizations and the kingdom building of those who seek honour for themselves, will be subject to the judgments of God. All things are unto the Son, and it is He alone who is to have the pre-eminence in our midst. The scriptures declare prophetically “unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” and it is the responsibility of all the people of God to see this come to pass!

Our understanding of the Mystery of God is revealed by what we do not by what we say. Jesus said those who “speak of themselves or from themselves, seek their own glory” but those who labour by the Spirit of Christ glorify and honour Him. It is the day of the Revelation of Christ; an hour when men will declare by their actions whether they are His or mere hirelings who seek out their own glory. This house will be finished.

This Mystery of God will be accomplished!

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel,
when he shall begin to sound,
the mystery of God should be finished,
as he hath declared to his servants the prophets”
Revelation 10:7

Brian Troxel

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