Religious Slavery (Part 3)

         In Part 2 of this series I raised the prospect of spiritual deafness and blindness arising from an obstinate attitude toward new revelation. As I wrote in Real Christianity,

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         As strange as it may seem, what we have to show for two millennia of church history is an overwhelming preponderance of completely unique and separate Christian cultures. Stranger still, most of these are simultaneously and mysteriously united under the umbrella of a single proviso. Though not in fellowship with the other and though each claims to be under the Lord’s dominion, they are actually joined as one in their opposition to His complete rule. In reality, their actions give them the demeanor of the legendary roving bands of the ancient world, seeking pastures for their flocks, fighting those who threaten their turf, ever wondering and searching for greater power and influence, but all the while refusing to be fully obedient to the Lord. Stiff-necked, stubborn, arrogant, clutching their religious robes about them, they set their feet in the concrete of human frailty and fear, unable to trust the God of all creation whose truth could set them free.           

         [Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.]

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         As I’ve stated before on many occasions, if you want to get the Lord Jesus angry at you, be religiously stiff-necked. Act as if you know everything. Act as if the truth you possess is all the truth there is. Reject the truth the Lord is trying to reveal because it simply does not fit in with your current belief-system. Obey your religious and denominational leaders first, and consider the Lord further down the list. Act as if your church or denomination is already doctrinally and culturally exactly the way God wants it, or is certainly better than all others. Claim to have God’s truth though completely lacking God’s real love and power.

         But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. [2 Timothy 3:1-7]

         Keep in mind that a big part of the Lord’s curriculum is correcting us when we are wrong. He does this by teaching us the truth, even it means showing us the error of our ways. The religiously stiff-necked will always reject such teaching, however. Why? Because it involves conviction. Unreal Christians hate conviction. They don’t want to be convicted. Conviction hurts. It puts one off-balance. It reveals that one is wrong. And it thus demands correction from the one who is wrong.

         The Lord Jesus always attempts to do this at first with much grace and love, but that does not deaden the impact. In fact, it sometimes makes it worse. A heart that is circumcised, however, will be able to handle the pain. A tender heart can accept proper rebuke, though tears may well up in one’s eyes and fall, and though one may feel so vulnerable he or she feels there is no cure for such brokenness.

         But this is part of washing one’s heart with the Blood of Jesus. It is the process of conforming such a heart to His heart. He created a loving, tender-hearted family. There is only one way to do this. The early believers had this love and were like the Lord. Their love and joy was palpable and honest and forthright. They understood well, however, that the making of a good heart involved pain.

         Why otherwise do we think the Lord used circumcision as an exact description of what must take place to one’s heart? Imagine His people long, long ago when they first got word that God required physical circumcision as a vital prerequisite of being right with Him and in fellowship with Him.

         And if you think heart circumcision is somehow an easy road and not that big of a deal, believe me, your heart has never been circumcised. Imagine the fact that Abraham was so in love with God and that he so honored God he circumcised himself! That’s pretty high up there on the commitment scale.

         Most Christians do not have that kind of commitment. But most Christians are certainly committed to other things that bypass heart circumcision and will be extremely obstinate about it when presented with something that challenges their beliefs.

         What did the Lord do when challenged about His beliefs? He simply proved who He was by not only demonstrating great love, forgiveness, and mercy toward all, but also demonstrated that He had spiritual power for good that no one else had. His credentials proved themselves.

         The apostle Paul also did this. He agreed with his detractors that he was not much to behold and could not talk so well. Like the Lord Jesus, he was the opposite of what we may call a charismatic figure. He attracted no one to himself by his looks or speaking ability. If one tried to fit him for an expensive tailored suit he would still look pretty bad and probably even more so (“Hey Paul, that suit’s wearin’ you, man.”).

         But Paul had a clean heart, a circumcised heart. He had love flowing out of him for others. And for his ultimate credentials, he had the power of God, something the fakers don’t have:

         And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. [1 Corinthians 2:1-5]

         Most Christian pastors/priests/reverends are not like this. This means their hearts have never been circumcised. It means they are not filled with the Spirit of God. It means they are the Christian equivalent of the stiff-necked people God was so incensed against in the Old Testament writings. And this anger of God presented itself yet again in its fullest expression ever when the God of the Old Testament became one of us:

         “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” [Matthew 23:13-15]

         “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:23-28]

         “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

         Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” [Matthew 23:33-39] [1]

         We all know what happened forty years after these pronouncements were made. What was left of the country God founded ceased to exist forever. The same thing will happen to any person, any church congregation, or even any country that formerly believed the truth and followed the Lord Jesus if they stray into rebellious territory.

         But one must always remember that BEFORE the final judgment of Jerusalem/Judea in 66-70 AD, great Life and Light invaded that place. A Great Awakening happened in that place. A tremendous spiritual outpouring took place in that place.

         In the exact formerly free location where idiot stiff-necked religionists had gained control and demanded the people conform to religious slavery and a false, dead code, the Life-giving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Messiah blasted upon the scene and hundreds of thousands and perhaps more of Abraham’s descendants received that Life, long before any Gentiles ever did, and it was enough to turn Jerusalem and Judea on its ear.

         But that first Great Awakening never stopped the stiff-necked from fighting it or disbelieving it, no matter how obvious was the manifestation of God’s love and power. Why?

         Their religion told them it was wrong.

         As a terrible historical example and what should be a very frightening possibility for us all, those people went down with the phony evil ship they created unrepentant and hard-hearted to the end.

         This is the exact destiny of Unreal Christianity.

         So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. [Galatians 4:31]

         © 2014 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.

Religious Slavery (Part 1)

Religious Slavery (Part 2)

WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING.

Posted on November 8, 2014, in Current Events and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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