Monthly Archives: May 2012

Baby’s Room

           I don’t normally write about what I am about to write about.

         I usually write about the proper application of Scripture and what the New Testament actually says as opposed to two millennia of man-made additions.

        But you can’t read that kind of thing all the time. One needs some lighter fare to lighten the load.

         I have noticed that many of you write about your own personal stories. In fact, this is probably what blogging was originally intended to be—keeping a daily web log on the events of one’s life.

         In that light, I have decided to tell a personal story to bring glory to God. It happened almost a quarter century ago:

 

         We were attending a local fellowship in a town I once lived in. One day, a good friend and spiritual brother in our church approached me with a need. This young man was somewhat new to the church and was a member of my church-based home group, a collection of about ten or twelve people, mostly couples. My family usually held weekly meetings in the small house we were renting, though we sometimes met in the homes of others. It was a good group, and we all got along great and had fun. I did a little teaching, we shared a meal, and we took prayer requests. It was mainly about being with like-minded believers and enjoying each other’s support. You might say most of us were not made of money, though we worked hard. I did carpentry work. Steve was a roofer. Another Steve and his wife did whatever they could including taking care of a large paper route.

         Ricky and his wife were young professionals and an older man in the group sold hospital equipment and did quite well. I remember his wife didn’t want to have meetings in her home because she didn’t feel like her home was good enough, even though it was better that what the rest of us had. In particular, she didn’t think her furniture was up to par. Yet, the couches we all sat on at my house had been given to us. We had recently moved to town and were in the process of starting over. A kind couple in the church had wondered if we wanted a little bit better furniture and we were thankful to trade in our older set.

         It was Ricky who had called me one day with his request. Knowing he was a member of the group and that we were all trying to live for God the right way, I listened intently and took to heart the story he told.

         It seems a young unmarried woman had just had a baby. The baby was born with a terrible skin condition that had no cure. He was covered with sores. The young lady lived with her mother and at least another older relative in a mobile home. The baby would need a special bed usually reserved for burn patients. The good news is that the very expensive bed had already been donated. The problem was the mobile home floor would never support it.

         Would I be willing to build a room addition for the little guy?

         Lots of thoughts ran through my head. I’m struggling for money. We were both working hard. I only had one vehicle. And yet, I felt like I had no choice but to meet Ricky at the baby’s house and at least take a look.

         The material would be donated. All they needed was my labor. Someone else would build a cinder block perimeter wall about two feet high to build the floor on and meet the floor of the trailer. I would take it from there.

         I decided to do it.

         Over the next few weeks I concentrated on building a room addition for a little baby boy who came into this world in really bad shape in an effort to relieve a portion of his suffering. He was really a cute little guy, quick to smile, and despite his painful condition seemed very willing to live. He was much loved and cared for by his young mother who had a very sweet disposition.

         To solve the car problem, we arranged to borrow the grandmother’s little car so my wife at the time could use it for work, while the grandmother carpooled.

         After the cinder block wall/footings were constructed, I began building the floor. It was very important that the floor be strong enough for the bed and was the main reason for the new room. Though I can’t remember, I probably went a little overboard and used 2x12s at least 16 inches on center. I decked it, built the walls, and completed the roof. I installed two or three windows to make it bright and cheery, included a sizeable exterior door, and trimmed it all out.

         At completion, the floor was level with the mobile home floor and provided a seamless transition to the new room. The big new bed was delivered and installed on one end of the addition. I will never forget that room, all painted with light flooding in from spacious windows (as opposed to the rest of the house which was quite dark). It was a big room.

         When the little guy was put in his new bed I knew it had all been worth it, though it caused quite a strain on our lives and finances. I received no pay other than the joy of seeing that little baby with all his open sores smiling broadly as he lay in his new bed, giving him whatever relief it could muster.

         I quickly lost touch with them. They lived pretty far away. I have even forgotten the baby’s name, but will never forget him or that time. I don’t remember sharing too much about what the Lord had accomplished for the little one with our home group, but no one else in the church knew what we were doing. It was a big sacrifice, but I knew the Lord was in it and would take care of us. It is interesting that some people in that church looked down on us regarding our financial condition at the time, and seemed to think we were not working hard enough to rectify it.

         But Ricky was very happy. God worked through that young man to bring a miracle to pass and it was a privilege to be part of it.

         We continued struggling financially in a down market for over another year or two. But then the Lord blessed us with an opportunity to gain our own miracle house, a pretty big house on acreage that just kind of dropped out of the sky.

         I have always believed these two events were connected.

         God is faithful.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

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Sivan 7: The Day Of Pentecost

The View of Jerusalem from Mount Zion 1849

        

The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church:

THE UPPER ROOM

         Why did Jesus create His community of called-out ones in the humble upper room? For starters, He had to have a place off the beaten path, so to speak. It would have to be owned by a disciple or a disciple’s family who was sympathetic to the cause. It could not be a public place, such as the temple complex, but private, to allow for complete unity of spirit and purpose. It had to be a place big enough for 120 people to pray and seek God for about ten days without interruption. In short, it had to be a house. In reality, it was a house.

         Though we cannot yet be positively certain, particular statements in Scripture lead one to the strong conclusion that it was located on Mount Zion, Jerusalem’s highest southwestern hill, and that it was probably the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark.[1] If placed on Mount Zion, this house would be located roughly a half mile due southwest of the Temple Mount, approximately five hundred feet south of the present Zion gate. At the time of the Qahal’s creation, however, this house was within Jerusalem proper since the southern wall of the city was located further to the south. Therefore, though Jesus was betrayed, died, was entombed, and rose again outside the city walls, He created the Church inside the city. Not only that, He created the Church in a house.

         Why did He create the Church in the city that condemned Him to death? If it had to be within Jerusalem, why didn’t He create the Qahal in a place of high honor, such as the temple? Was it because He was rejected by the ruling hierarchy? Was it because there was no place of high honor for the Lord of all Creation? Or was it because Jesus simply created His community in the most appropriate of all dwelling places, a place which had been foretold in Scripture?

         You will bring them and plant them

                 in the mountain of Your inheritance,

         The place, O LORD,

                 which You have made for Your dwelling,

         The sanctuary, O LORD,

                 which Your hands have established.

         The LORD shall reign

                 forever and ever. [2]

THE HOUSE OF GOD

         From the untold millions which had descended from Abraham by the first century A.D., only the upper-roomers were present when this scripture was fulfilled. Each and every one of these original 120 were Jews. On the birthday of the Lord’s Qahal, Jesus established a sanctuary, a dwelling place on His own mountain—Mount Zion. On this mountain, the 120 were planted, both in the Lord and by the Lord, and functioned as the ovum fertilized by the Holy Spirit which would eventually develop into a body—the body of Christ. Before the sun went down that first day, the original 120 grew by twenty-five times to three thousand—all Jews, all descendants of Abraham, all devout and God-fearing, from every country under heaven to which they had been dispersed. Even though Luke, the author of the book of Acts, doesn’t say so specifically, can there be any doubt that each tribe of Israel was represented in the initial outpouring?

         This was the mysterious destiny of the house of Israel—to one day become the actual dwelling place of YHWH!

         When Abraham was first called forth and told he would be the progenitor of many people, God had His own future residence in mind. Later, He revealed this truth to Moses, who led God’s people to the land of promise. The house of God would only be a home for the obedient, however, since they would be sharing quarters with God Himself. The structure of the tabernacle of Moses reveals to us The Nature of the Church. The tabernacle was a tent, mobile, following after the Lord as He moved onward into the future. It was filled with His presence. It was where the ark of the covenant was kept. The priests would minister in its midst. Sacrifice was called for. Repentance, baptism, and the infilling of His Spirit were all typed into its construction. It was pliable and moveable, built for eternal purposes.

         The tabernacle and all the rites associated with it continued to the time of David. It was then that God revealed to yet another generation the purpose of the tent, and the great revelation of its underlying meaning. After building his own house, David desired to build a house for God. But the Lord would not. God’s plans had not changed, nor would they ever. His eternal purpose was wrapped up in the illustration of the mobile tent. In the future, His dwelling place would be similar—it would be within humanity. [3]


[1] Acts 12:12

[2] Exodus 15:17–18

[3] Pages 281-284 Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

The War On Truth (HIS NAME IS JESUS)

Robert Powell as Jesus of Nazareth

Robert Powell as Jesus of Nazareth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         The War on Truth is the War on the Lord Jesus.

         It is the ongoing attempt to relegate Him to a far lower stature than that which He actually possesses, and than that which He has rightfully won. It is a slanderous attempt to deceive the world about His true identity, to conceal and not reveal His exalted status as Supreme Being, the Alpha and Omega, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the very God of the Universe.

         Not content to merely fool the world of unrepentant sinners, the War on Truth is an ongoing and sinister effort to hoodwink believers into believing a lie.

         For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. [2 Thessalonians 2:7-12]

         Most Christians believe God and Jesus are two different people.

         How does one suppose this came about? Are Christians somehow above Satan’s deception?

         But much more, are Christians somehow above God’s deluding influence upon them?

         Selah. . .

         The outer identity of the Lord Jesus has been reformed and refashioned. His perceived persona has been transformed into a graven image by the devil as a way to lead people off the trail, and onto a deluded road to nowhere. This has been done through a partnership with Pharisaical pretenders and theological eggheads—those who can only see with their heads and never their hearts, and who insist on rationalizing spiritual truth and relegating it to formulas and philosophical nonsense. It is the taking of knowledge about God and attempting to cram it into tiny brains and make revealed truth scientific and formulaic.

         “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” [Isaiah 42:8]

         The word LORD in the above verse is actually YHWH.

         And the final and highest compound Name of God is YHWH-Salvation, or the Name Above Every Name, or Yehoshua, or JESUS.       

         It is nothing more than the specious casuistry of the Pharisees in the guise of theological higher learning to take the Lord’s Name in vain and make it secondary, which can only be pure slander.

         “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” [Exodus 20:7]   

         This slandering of the name of God is taught by those who wouldn’t know God if He was standing right next to them, and by those who never allow themselves a Book of Acts Spirit-filled experience if their lives depended on it.

         These are religious intellectuals in love with themselves, their religious authority, and their contrary spiritual views which do not lift up the Lord Jesus (THE TRUTH), but exalt instead their heady and rationalistic perspective at the expense of the glory, majesty, and honor of the One who came to set the captives free.

         And as I mentioned in my preceding article, these teachers would never allow the exaltation of the Name Above Every Name in water baptism in a million years.

         And they call themselves followers of Jesus?

         And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:6-9]

         What always drove the scribes and Pharisees crazy? What was the one thing that always caused them to become enraged? It was nothing more than being proven wrong by the Man Himself, and consequently losing their exalted religious status and control. Has anyone wondered why the Lord was always acting the servant? Why He is so humble? And why the Pharisees never were? Does any of this look familiar?

         “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.

         In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf…” [John 16:24-26]

         These disciples of the Lord had not yet perceived who Jesus really was, and could not comprehend the concept of YHWH becoming a Man, and thus, the Lord was relegated to speaking in “figurative language.” But such language was merely a method He had to use until the full truth of His identity could be absorbed. This would not happen in its entirety until the infilling of His Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

         Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

         Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

         Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” [John 14:6-9]

         How more evident can the tactic of hell be? The pinhead in pinstripes knows he must deceive people concerning the Lord because it is the only chance he has. He must lie. He must fool. He must dupe. He must cheat.

         Humanity must fight back.

         Christians must especially fight back.

         Real Christians are fighting back.

         “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

         Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. . . [Matthew 10:32-34] [1]   

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Water Baptism in the Name of Jesus (Not!)

         There’s power in the Name of Jesus.

         But apparently not in baptism.

         The vast majority of Christians worldwide for the last two-thousand years have absolutely refused to invoke the Name Above Every Name [1] in water baptism.

         By this, at the very onset of their Christian walk, they have failed to honor the Lord Jesus though simultaneously claiming a very close walk with Him.

         Most are simply unaware. Many have been taught an alternative method and have accepted it, though it violates Scripture. Some simply do not care.

         What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.

         “Baptism doesn’t matter. So back off.”

         “Baptism is very important, of course, but the first Christians obviously got it wrong.”

         “Baptism in the Name of Jesus is heresy.”

         “Oh that. Yeah, there’s some weird people out there doing some weird stuff, especially those guys. The verse at the end of Matthew is very clear on the right way to baptize.”

         Despite the fact that every single reputable Biblical encyclopedia, dictionary, ancient source, and denominational historical record states flatly and clearly that the original water immersion method taught and administered by the apostles included invoking the pure and holy Name of Jesus, about 95% of all Christians continue to refuse to use the Lord’s Name in baptism. And most conduct baptism in a man-made non-Scriptural manner.

         This disses the Lord.

         If a Christian believes in and honors the Holy Trinity, (a non-Biblical term), his or her water baptism will certainly reflect it. He or she will honor these three distinct Persons by invoking their Biblical titles. He or she will honor the first Person of the heavenly Godhead—the Father. He or she will honor the second Person of the heavenly Godhead—the Son. And he or she will honor the third Person of the heavenly Godhead—the Holy Spirit.

         There’s only one little problem.

         This is something the first followers of Jesus never did.

         And the reason why is simple: They recognized Jesus the Messiah as YHWH Himself. And they honored the one God of the Hebrews and showed their allegiance to Him by invoking His Name, the Name Above Every Name, in water baptism. They were taught by the apostles themselves, who set the precedent, and who were themselves taught directly by the Lord Jesus.

         The record in the Book of Acts and throughout the epistles is clear—there is absolutely no Scriptural historical evidence whatsoever for title baptism. It never occurred. It was a much later development.

         Now, why does one suppose this happened? Why was it officially changed, though the Word of God continues to loudly declare it openly and exclusively? Who could possibly be responsible for removing the powerful and holy Name of the Lord Jesus from baptism?

         Regarding the Word of God, which Christians claim to honor, here is the overwhelming evidence that demands a verdict: 

         And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” [Mark 16:15-18]

         Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. [Acts 2:38-41]

         But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. [Acts 8:12-17]

         So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; [Acts 9:17-18]

         “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’” [Acts 22:12-16]    

         While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. [Acts 10:44-48]

         It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men. [Acts 19:1-7]

         Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. [Romans 6:3-4]   

         Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. [1 Corinthians 6:11]

         There is a reason such verses of Scripture bring strong reactions. If one studies the Book of Acts, one discovers that the enemies of the Lord hated His Name, and they hated His followers’ use of His Name. They knew there was great power in the Name of Jesus, and they knew it greatly superseded their power.

         Demons were cast out by the Name of Jesus, not mere titles.

         Miraculous healings took place by the Name of Jesus, not mere titles.

         People were being made free from the wicked power of sin by the Name of Jesus, not mere titles.

         Concerning the command of the Lord regarding water baptism, why have most Christians agreed with the enemy?

         “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]

         This is why Peter said what he did at the conclusion of the first prototypical message of the Church Age. Immersion in water in the name of Jesus signified the giving of oneself to Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior. It signified an extremely undignified and all-embracing act—dying completely to self—performed in the open and recorded in public for all to see. It signified the burial of the repentant (dead) person and total surrender to the Lord Jesus.

         Instead of dissing the Lord in baptism, it was the highest possible form of praise.

         Real Christians are constantly on the move toward greater spiritual growth and maturity, the gaining of more revelatory knowledge, and a closer walk with the Lord. We learn new things all the time. Life with the Lord Jesus is a spiritual adventure. It is productive and fruit-bearing, though there are times of severe struggle and trial.

         However, resistance against new revelation is often on the surface, ready to emerge. In light of that:

         Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. [2 Timothy 2:15]

         Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. [Acts 17:10-11]

         Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Colossians 3:17] [2]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Philippians 2:9

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Image of Deception—Legacy of the Unreal

         The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church:

         There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. [Ephesians 4:4-6] [1] 

         Each of the principle foundation elements of the first Qahal were counterfeited by the Church of the Reversed. Specifically, Jesus became characterized as someone much less than God. He lost His place of total, absolute dominion. He was no longer honored as King of Kings, except possibly in name only, and there was no spiritual kingdom. Repentance became ritualized, and was replaced by the paying of homage to the new Christian Pharisees and the institution they controlled. Unreal Christian adherents no longer repented to the Lord, did a 180 degree turn toward righteousness, or changed their way of thinking to reflect their new spiritual nature (since no real change had taken place).

         The correct water baptism method employed by the first church was corrupted entirely. Candidates were no longer even required to be immersed, for example. Like counterfeit repentance, water baptism evolved into a ritual practice which had much more to do with honoring one’s particular “Christian” culture and traditions rather than honoring the Lord.

         In fact, to illustrate the true nature of the woolly wolves, the “name which is above every name”[2] was no longer invoked in baptism, but banned from the process entirely, and the doctrinal truth of the Spirit of Jesus living within believers continued only in a religious, conceptual sense, and was otherwise thoroughly denounced and disestablished. All four doctrinal points taught by the apostles on the first day of the Church morphed into ritualized practices with no spiritual meaning, and the truths from which they morphed were eventually declared heretical. The new Christian melting pot also contained the adulterated forms of fellowship, bread-breaking, and prayer which were presented as legitimate, though hidden behind each was the salivating, snarling visage of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

         In the final analysis, we discover that the unreal church possessed little more than the fossilized remains of the practices which turned the world upside down in the first century. As a result, the Lord had little authority over its powerless and non-relational members, and church life became a routine practice with little or no life-changing purpose or ability to minister beyond mere human capabilities. But as in many locations in the world today, the Lord’s persecuted church continued to function just as it had in the beginning. Like the remnant of Israel spoken of by Paul in the book of Romans,[3] Jesus has always maintained a remnant of true believers within the earth. His Qahal has never ceased to exist.

         Though only a small minority compared to the vast collection of Christian adherents in the world, its members continue to honor their Messiah as did the upper-roomers. However, since the Lord’s community has never been concerned with geopolitics, the forced subjugation of people groups, or the writing of very subjective chronicles, it has faded from historical view. Even if this knowledge cannot be satisfactorily documented for the skeptics among us, the fact of the matter is that the characteristics of the first Christian community, the prototype, remain extremely different from most of the churches and church organizations throughout history and modern times, both in practice and doctrine. Christians continue to be tied to structures promoting dual class division and institutional formats which have little to do with real Christianity. Christians have largely rejected the work of their most distant ancestors, and have lost due respect for the truths they taught, and the One who taught them.

         Will we continue to be so blind and arrogant that we place the blame for this fact on them, rather than ourselves? They are the ones who built the foundation. They are the ones who paid in blood to set the example which all successive generations were to follow. If their very immature spiritual juniors of the present continue in this vein of quiet mockery and religious complacency, the Unreal Church of the Conformed will grow even larger with greater determination against truth. In fact, the bloody persecution of real Christians will expand from the present hell-holes of this world and will soon go international. Every nation will take part. The greatest enemy of the present day community of called-out ones, however, are not modern Herods and Neros, but modern religionists intent on protecting their turf.

         And who are these chief persecutors? Who are the new Christian Pharisees? In what form do they exist today? Who are the ones influenced by the same spirit that gave Saul of Tarsus his commission to fight the Church? Such deceived ones are much closer to all of us than we think. Through their resolute and unwavering stand for their chosen form of Christianity, they have allowed themselves to become the very image of the unreal.

         Our greatest enemy wears virgin wool.

         © 2001 by RJ Dawson. Pages 64-66 Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Philippians 2:9

[3] Romans 9:27

You Can Trust Your Heart With God

         If God is anything at all, He is faithful. He won’t let us down. He’ll always be there. Betrayal is the farthest thing from His mind. And though we might not be able to figure out why, He really does love us all, and it hurts Him to have those He has created reject Him.

         And we think, how in the world can God be all-powerful and strong and yet so easily hurt by mere human beings? Maybe it’s because He’s not the big bad unfeeling ogre some people think He is. He really can be touched by our pain and feelings of helplessness.

         But He also knows that freedom comes with a price and He can’t be there every five seconds to protect us from every little happenstance. There is no growth in that. God puts a very high price on maturity and maturity demands pain. There is simply no other way.

         Now, He does watch over us, and He often protects us, but His goal for us is to grow and be like Him. He is not in the business of having perpetual children who never grow up. Why in the world would He want that? WE don’t want that. So the way things are make life tough.

         But He wants us to be up to the challenge. He has chosen that we enter this world in a completely helpless state. He has chosen the way of growth. Any intelligent person would eventually discover that if he or she was in God’s shoes it would be done in the same way.

         But whatever happens, because God is loving and kind, it never means that anything lousy is permanent, or else He would not have made a way for miracles. He would not allow the possibility of a sunrise chasing away the darkness of night. And he has made His Holy Spirit available to help and comfort us.

         Christianity 101 is this: Our Lord Jesus is God, and God is Love, and Love is good.

         There is no doubt that the circumstances of this life can be bad, but God is not bad. And when God is summoned in faith He shows up, and He chases away darkness and a lack of hope. He blesses us with strength and will often help us open a door, so we might go in where the life is.

         I have found that when we are serious about God, God will be serious about us. There is a clear connection between giving ourselves completely to God and God giving Himself completely to us. He is a lover, and He believes in love. And He knows love is a 100% commitment and never anything less. Therefore, if someone wants to mess around on God and give Him anything less than what He has already given to us, that someone better not expect anything from God.

         If you have never been hurt in love you have never lived, so why would we expect to treat God in such a way? If it isn’t fun for us, why would it be fun for Him?

         We are truly made in the image of God, and if anyone loses track of this, our Lord Jesus is the perfect image of God in human form to always remind us. Jesus is God. Did He not provide the greatest expression of love in paying our way out of sin?

         “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13] [1] 

         If that’s not love, there is no love. The greatest love is giving oneself for another. One will find that when he does for God what God has done for him, he will know God.

         Such giving creates a pure heart. Selfishness, however, creates a cold and evil heart. This pretty much explains everything, doesn’t it?

         Our Lord is 100% Love, 100% faithful, and a 100% giver, and these are the kind of people He relates to.

         One will never go wrong in giving his or her entire heart to the Lord Jesus.

         In fact, one could never do anything more right.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Happy First Birthday, Real Christianity

         It’s been one year since I started this site.

         And what a year it has been. I somehow came up with 110 posts, almost all of them 2 to 3 page articles. You can access the full list through the Article Archives Tab in the header if interested in hopes that a title might stand out to meet a need.

         I began with Fight the Good Fight of Faith on May 10 of last year. Thanks to my friend Jo Rae who made the first comment and often shared my posts on FaceBook. You can access her site here.

         A few of you have added this site to your blog roll and I greatly appreciate it.

         Thanks to everyone who has contributed, especially Don and Susan who have been here since early on, Don in May and Susan last July, and have supplied me with consistent support in the form of faithfully reading and commenting. I wondered if this deal was ever going anywhere since hits were so low for so long, but these two have been especially encouraging. You can go to Don’s site here, and find Susan’s site, Manoah’s Wifehere.

         My friend Tom has been a great friend and support. He is a wonderful teacher and story teller. I encourage everyone to check out his site, Tom Graves Bookbites.

         I want to thank my friend Ann who said my book was Francis Chan’s Crazy Love on steroids!         

         Thanks to Patricia and Anthony for all their support.

         Please forgive me for not being able to mention everyone. I try my best to connect with all your sites. Some of you probably wish I didn’t connect and comment so much! Many thanks also to all my friends and new acquaintances who have subscribed. Please note the “Likes” and comments and check out all the cool people associated with this blog. There are some incredible people out there doing great things.

         You can also check out the long list on the lower right hand column filled with comments and their authors, and gain access to their sites (keep scrolling down), along with the most popular posts.

         Thanks also to my email subscribers, some of whom are long time friends.

         Regarding traffic, things have picked up, starting primarily with the post on April 13, The Miraculous Red Sea Crossing. I prayed a special prayer on that day of blessing and the Lord answered it.

         As a minister of the Gospel, my desire is to get the word out regarding that which the Lord puts on my heart. I am largely self-taught, but that obviously includes all the Lord has taught me and what I have learned through many decades of Christian experience. Those who know me know I have a wealth of knowledge and, like so many of us, can hold my own with degreed seminarians, college graduates, and seasoned ministers of the Gospel. The nature of this ministry is such that I get few opportunities to write or speak, though the message the Lord has given me is vital and very necessary. I must use alternative means to earn a living, but my real work has always been ministry.

         I recently added an excerpt from my book on the ABOUT THE BOOK/AUTHOR tab. Read it when you get the chance. I was told and felt in my heart that Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church was ahead of its time when I wrote it. If you are interested in a book written in the 1990s that is more topical than most Christian books written today, I encourage you to purchase a copy. If anyone out there wants to add a review, please let me know.

         Thanks to everyone associated with this blog who have purchased books. Believe it or not, all of them are still my friends (I think). Special thanks to my good friends Terry and Linda, and Forrest and Katy, for buying several of my books and distributing them to their friends.

         I appreciate all of you—readers, subscribers, those who click the little “Like” button to express appreciation for a particlar post, all who have made comments, the many of you who have reblogged this site, and those who shared it on other sites.  

         Most of all, I want to officially thank the Man upstairs who has supplied all the ability, anointing, and inspiration. I hope above all things that this effort has brought glory and honor to my Lord Jesus, our great conquering King and Hero, loving Savior, and Everlasting Father. He’s the greatest.

 

         The immediate and not too distant future will continue to usher in the early stages of our national Great Awakening currently taking place. Let’s all do our part and remain faithful, upbeat, and optimistic. Regardless of the challenges before you, I leave you with these words:

         “For truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” [Matthew 17:20]

         Later,

         RJ

        

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Raising the Dead (UnTase Me, Bro!)

         Historically, how have Christian believers broken out of their spiritual lethargy? What methods has God used to shake His people from their slumber? What does He normally do to raise the dead and inject new life?

         We have a concept known as “revival” that church people often refer to. Such revivals take many forms, from a week or two effort in a local church with a visiting evangelist to an all out spiritual awakening. Most such revivals do not amount to much, just as most church services in general do not amount to much.

         American Christianity has become so watered-down any uptick at all is considered a big change of pace and bordering on going too far. The goal has become comfort and community standing in most circles. Churches and ministries insist on continuing in their sell-out 501C3 IRS and state charter status. They insist on maintaining a fake standing of respectability among sinners that has absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. Ministries of all kinds continue to insist that no physical building or meeting place means no viable or effective ministry.

         How did all this happen? And why does it continue to happen? How in the world did the life-changing and society-transforming Gospel of our Lord Jesus become entrenched in so many traditional and standardized mores and forms that actually do next to nothing in bringing real light to hungry sinners? Why do so many believers and ministers defend their incorrect applications and fight against the Lord Jesus Himself whenever He attempts a corrective?

         During the great awakenings of the past, many hundreds of thousands broke out of their spiritual lethargy and routine traditions and turned back to God. The original Great Awakening that broke out in late 1734 was the first example in America of how a blessed people could become arrogant and stuck fast in fleshly sin and consequently needed strong national correction.

         After the Pilgrim Separatists arrived on these shores in 1620, the next generations of the greats who established this nation saw the spiritual strength of American Christianity fall precipitously by the late 1600’s. God then again brought in new life in part from the European continent beginning in the early 1700’s to help right the course. This led to big changes.

         There were knock-down drag-out fights concerning the “old way” and “new way” of new life. It was as if the Lord Himself was riding in on a horse leading the battle.

         But what did the old-time traditionalists do? They fought Him! This always happens. God brings in new life, believers grow fleshly, dead, and religious, and then God must bring in new life yet again.

         And every time He does it the ministers he does it through who bring such powerful conviction are fought against as if they are introducing heresy.

         You know what real prophets want to say to such religious idiots? They want to say,

         “Okay, Fine! Go to hell, then! Keep your stupid little two-bit dead religion!”

         The problem is not that such dead Christian forms exist but that no one wants to believe their own church or ministry is one of those dead Christian forms. Therefore, the bad guys are always seen as the other guys or those weirdos on the other side of town.

         But here’s a test: Do you see the ministry of Jesus in your church? Do you see the Acts of the Apostles in your church? Do you see miracles and power and unconditional love and great life in your church? Are you in trouble with the governing authorities who are by and large indifferent toward God, or have you cozied up with them and sold God down the river?

         What do we want, our dead religion that society has no problem with or the life-changing and extremely powerful real Gospel that threatens the devil and makes unrepentant sinners want to kill us?

         (Oh. Sorry. Probably too strong. Sure, what I just said is all over the pages of Scripture but its way over the top to try to apply such a thing to our modern times…)

         But this is what the real Gospel has done throughout history. It is what it has done in the Great Awakenings of this nation. It caused division. It caused strong emotions. It caused betrayal among Christians.

         Ignorance among Christians is always a problem. Christians must mature a little before they go spouting off a bunch of stuff about their beliefs and methods which are usually not really all that Scriptural.

         But the greatest wrong is institutional traditional Christian thinking and doctrine that actually opposes the teachings of Jesus or refuses to fully acknowledge His entire curriculum and the plain historical record within the Gospels and Book of Acts.

         The devil started a war when he invaded Christian circles many centuries ago and established his own various forms of Christianity. Real Christians must be willing to answer that war with a war of their own against his deception, falsehoods, faux Christian beliefs, and those he has deceived.

         Many Christians are held captive by false gospels. Love and truth can set them free but the expression of such love and the teaching of such truth involves a high personal cost. Judging by the ministry of Jesus, the apostles, and early saints, one had to wade into some really bad religious biker bars to set captives free. Most established and “credible” Christian ministers do not do this, deciding instead to defend their own denominational standards and outright false doctrines, but real Christians have been doing it for 2000 years and continue today.

         The problem is that Christians get fat and sassy and ever willing to fight to protect their flesh. The devil then gains a hold within that flesh. Christians who serve money (most) are easy pickings by the forces of evil because Satan knows such people have been compromised. Such backslid “believers” will only go so far but will stop when their income is threatened (or their next meal). Combining sinful human flesh and the devil creates a world created by that union that opposes the kingdom of God. And most people who call themselves Christians are much more comfortable in this FakeWorld than they are in God’s kingdom.

         Our Lord Jesus is very hard on sinful human nature. That’s why He commands us to crucify it, kill it, destroy it, and eliminate it. Fat and sassy feel-good preachers with an opposing attitude and agenda instead coddle it and embrace it and support it. They are very uncomfortable with strong Gospel truth. They would rather make friends than preach repentance. They would rather support and applaud the temple money changers than do the following:

         Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS?’ But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. [Mark 11:15-18]

         Is this the God you serve?

         Is your church due for such a cleaning?

         The Lord never established what we know as churches. The apostles never did either. The early Christians never had church buildings or 501C3’s or salaried ministers or any of the things we claim we could not do without. What would happen if the Lord began establishing the same kinds of formats He did in the beginning?

         Well, guess what? He is. The new formats will soon outnumber the old formats. It is happening right now. The Lord is raising up millions of no-name believers who do not care about prestige or community standing or church buildings or salaries or any of the things most ministers and church-goers claim they cannot do without.

         Study the Lord’s lifestyle and ministry. Study the lifestyles and ministries of the apostles and first-century believers. Read behind the lines. Open your eyes. The astounding spiritual effect they had on the wicked world of that time had everything to do with the way they lived their lives. Whenever we try a “better” way that is not so hard on our flesh it always causes the opposite result. Will we sleep or will we live? Will we get fired up for the Lord or stay physically comfortable but spiritually dead?

         Why did the Lord do things the way He did and teach His disciples likewise if it wasn’t vitally necessary for the work at hand?

         I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. [2 Timothy 4:1-5] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Achieving the Objective in the Face of Adversity

           Followers of Jesus are often attacked in ways that cannot be anticipated. Veteran believers have been attacked so many times and in so many ways one would think they could learn to prepare for such whizzing cannonballs from out of left field and howitzers from the darkness of deep space. We all know it happens, it will happen, and there is nothing to do about it happening.

         Persecution is simply a fact of the real Christian’s life, and it takes many forms. Many are subtle and arrive from various, seemingly unconnected sources. The worst forms come through people you know. Possibly the worst form of all is associated with betrayal at the hands of a friend.

         All such persecution took place against the Lord Jesus, the One who pioneered what we call Christianity—the One who first stepped forth to face the full brunt of the devil’s attack. He told His hand-picked men that it would happen to them also, that it went with the territory, and that there was essentially no way to fulfill God’s will and attend to our callings without taking shots, some very severe, from rabid spiritual enemies.

         Judging by what happened to the Lord, the apostles, and the early saints, the devil is a dirty fighter.

         “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

         Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

         A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

         Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Matthew 10:16-28]

         All people experience fear, and at times the fear meter spikes. The Word of God says that people have fatal heart attacks due only to fear. It is a powerful emotion brought on by tough circumstances, sometimes dire, and is often the result of spiritual retaliation. Those people who never surrender their lives to God will potentially fear everything and everyone but God, and as a result have no answers for fears arising from very real circumstances.

         But the Lord teaches us to fear Him. He clearly illustrates the fact that God has the ability and authority to destroy an unrepentant sinful person, both body and soul, by tossing him or her headlong into the fires of hell.

         It is Scriptural passages such as this that cause nominal believers to question the Word of God and wonder if they will continue on in their trek toward total faith in God. They think that maybe such a passage was added later by a scribe or was translated incorrectly. Or maybe the verses were written down verbatim per the Lord’s teachings. And maybe, just maybe, one should cease and desist from his or her sorry, disrespectful, and rebellious ways, and FEAR GOD

         Considering the fact that non-believers have no answers for their fear beyond mental therapy and drugs, and that real Christians experience peace, courage, and strength by trusting in and obeying the Lord in the midst of terrifying circumstances, it would follow that such directives are absolutely true.

         The cool thing about surrendering to God, despite the devils lies to the contrary, is that one is putting oneself under the authority of a loving and merciful Creator.

         “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” [John 6:37-40]

         Yet, even though we may be in the will of God and be loved as a child of God and be watched over by God and be in the hands of God, spiritual attack and persecution are still in play and will happen as a matter of course. In fact, the more one lives for God, the closer one gets to God, and the more one successfully attacks the enemies of God, the more attack and persecution one will experience.

         Therefore, the idea of a peaceful, calm, and steady Christian experience devoid of any form of retaliatory murder, bloodshed, dirty fighting, vile and untrue accusations, filthy gossip, and persecution is simply and unequivocally not Biblical. It is manmade. It is devoid of life. And it is fake.

         Real Christianity is only for the valiant and courageous who are willing to put everything on the line and face the devil head on. Such followers of the Lord are either fearless or will never allow fear to stop them from achieving the objective. Winners are those who endure to the end, who finish a specific trek or mission, and who see things through regardless of impossible obstacles, wicked betrayals, and all forms of attack. They are those who complete the course.

         None of it is possible without the Lord but that does not make it easy. Just because the Lord Jesus is with His sons and daughters in the fight and on task does not mean such battles and spiritual construction projects are a breeze.

         But it does mean one thing. It means that as long as one continues to respect and honor the Lord Jesus and maintains his or her faith, courage, and obedience toward Him it will get done.

         The job will be completed.

         The objective will be achieved.

         “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.

         Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

         Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you?

         Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:5-9] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.