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] 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 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.
Posted on May 9, 2012, in Real Christianity and tagged Acts of the Apostles, Cleansing the Temple, Lifestyles of Early Christians, Lord Jesus, Paul's Exhortation to Timothy, Pilgrim Separatists, Raising the Dead, Real Christianity, Revival, The Great Awakening. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.
Unfortunately, too many want that watered down pretense of a real gospel that makes them feel good instead of glorifying God. They want to make serving God into serving themselves instead, and those that teach the prosperity gospel give them what they want and the only thing they require is their money. God bless you RJ.
Thank you my friend. Your words are all too true. Blessings on you as well.
I sure am glad somebody lays it out true in understandable terms!!!
God leads me away from main line Christianity into a totally Word-based walk. Having a ministry to Muslims many times I have rejected to be called “Christian,” because they will never hear the next word I say, because they categorize me. Their Imams trained them not to listen to ANY Christians. I call myself a child of God and have made some inroads with friendships that way.
You confirmed to me, it really is God’s leading for my walk, since I feel as a woman, I need a covering, a male leader. However I have NO headship other than Jesus. Too many loose cannons out there in left field with their theology, so I try to be VERY careful not to step out of God’s will.
Thanks! He used you in my life!
Thank you my dear sister in the Lord! What a blessing of a comment.
The Lord said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” [Matthew 10:16]
It sometimes appears that the gift of being shrewd and using tact completely escapes mainline believers who have a tendency to use force or a heavy-handed attitude in their witnessing, when a simple word well placed makes a huge difference. You are leaving room for God to work through your approach.
Keep up the great work!
Powerful stuff, friend. Much to mull over… Thanks and God bless.
Thank you, sir. And thanks for signing up!
Thanks for writing. My wife, Marcy | “Marcy’s Walk”, sent me a link to this post. She said, “I think you and RJ are tracking along the same lines.” Seems so. Same Holy Spirit. Hmmmm.
I look forward to reading some more of your posts over vacation this coming week. Just wanted to say thanks for listening.
What’s your sense of the Father’s heart that we recognize our sonship? That “All those who are led by the Spirit of God are ‘the sons of God'” (Rom. 8.14)?
Thanks for writing, David, and good to meet you. I have enjoyed reading Marcy’s posts and appreciate her writing (http://marcyda.wordpress.com/). Thanks also for taking a look at some of my stuff. I hope it will be a blessing in some way.
Regarding your question, I am first reminded of the dire statement of the Lord to those who presumed they were His followers: “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” [Matthew 7:23]
These people certainly seemed to outside observers and themselves to be for real, but the Lord Jesus said they were actually engaging in lawless behavior (iniquity, wickedness). In Matthew 13:41 He relates these people to tares, or wild wheat, and in Matthew 23:28 to the scribes and Pharisees.
The key here is that regardless of whether ministry works themselves are good or bad, these people are not in relation to Him. They are acting of their own accord. They are not “sons of God,” one of Paul’s terms for real Christians, but faux believers, even though they are apparently performing miracles.
You bring up a difficult and uncomfortable verse for many “Christians” because it portends a close relationship with God, even to the point of knowing Him in Spirit and being led by His Spirit.
Though the Lord Jesus has called all of His children to some form of ministry which involves various works, our relationship with Him is obviously most important, and our ministry works can never be a substitute for grace. If one believes the fruit of his ministry is proof of his relationship with God, he could be in for a rude awakening: “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]