Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Great Awakening (and Ruined Reputations)

         I have noticed, since I removed my former cheery greeting at top left—“Thank You for Visiting. Your Reputation is Ruined,” with the current greeting, “We’re in the Early Stages of a National Great Awakening”—that it may be possible for ruined reputations to be further ruined.

         Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Your thoughts are welcome.

         Yet, I remember that day in early September of the year 2010, going on five years ago, when I received afresh that particular revelation. I had just begun writing a paper on the subject. I saw it very clearly. I asked friends what they thought, if they saw any evidence of such an event in the making. I asked friends in ministry. No one saw anything.

         But I know what I heard once again, after first hearing it many years before. I wrote about it in Real Christianity, and I recalled so many who had been talking of such for many years and even decades. I was reminded of how the religious people of the Lord’s day missed His arrival completely, and that even His own disciples in the early going had no clue who He was. Even after His death many of them remained clueless for a while. They had to be rigorously shaken out of their slumber and unbelief.

         You might want to pay attention to this because the Great Awakening will not come forth through the medium of unreal Christianity. Indeed such will fight it and will fight whoever is for the Lord Jesus and thus against them.

         This current Great Awakening is being driven by TRUTH.

         The Pharisees of the first century, that is, the organized official front of the most accepted faction of Jewish belief at the time, not only did not see and did not believe, they insisted repeatedly that the Lord was a charlatan and a false prophet. They hated the fact that so many of the people had succumbed to following the crazy man. They also had rejected John the Immerser. In fact, the organized official front of Jewish religious belief at that time rejected anyone and everyone but themselves, and they maintained their power through force and fear.

         The Lord Jesus never did this. Never. He also never went out of His way to collect converts through spurious means or attempted to build anything material in which to house them (though He was formerly a carpenter). John the Immerser never did this either. Nor did the Lord’s disciples.

         Why?

         It should be obvious.

         I remember a popular book of about fifty years ago entitled Black Like Me. It was about a white man, a writer, who wanted to find a way to go undercover to see how black people were actually treated by some white people. He decided to burr his hair and dye his skin very dark and pass himself off as a black man. It worked. He went out on the streets as a black man and what he discovered shocked him. Used to being treated well, he was suddenly treated very badly.

         This is how it was with the Lord. His “people” praise Him from afar but when they actually meet Him and see what He is really all about He gets treated very badly. As I’ve said often on this site, “Christians” are notorious for this, as were the Pharisees as a group notorious for hating everything about Him. Their problem was that their concept of God did not come close to matching up with the real God, the One who actually showed up among them. They continued to honor the concept—the false image—rather than the real Person.

         It is exactly the same with Truth. The Lord Jesus cut right to the heart of the matter concerning truth when He stated very simply but powerfully, “I AM the Truth.”

         And He is, of course. And they murdered Him for it, of course.

         His reality destroyed His enemies’ false conception of truth.

         His teaching destroyed their false teachings and takeoffs on the Torah.

         He came to make everything right and set them straight, but the elites rejected Him. They paid no attention to the real truth. They did not want the truth. They hated the truth. They repeatedly found fault with Him and His teachings. They had been overcome and brainwashed by false doctrine.

         Therefore, it is not difficult to understand why they hated Him so—He was destroying not only their false concepts, interpretations, doctrines, dogmas, and organization, but in the end, began threatening their money.        

         And if there are two things that unreal Christians care about more than anything else, it is (1a) their money, and (1b) their religious reputations, both of which allow for their false organizations, impure teachings, and power to deceive.

         Real Christians may do whatever they want, but according to unreal Christians, they must never reveal truth that destroys untruth accepted, worshipped, and honored as truth, and they must never do anything in any way, shape, or form that may appear as an attack on their religious wealth.

         Hence, reputation and money are MUST HAVES for the unreal brethren if they are to exist in this world (and they are quite arrogant about it), whereas we have the early historical record that real Christians with NO reputation and NO money turned the world on its left ear and managed to convert the brutal Roman Empire.

         And currently, there is such a surfeit of wealth and false doctrine one can hardly breathe without offending an unreal Christian. It again brings to mind what the Lord said about rank sinners getting in the door long before the few religious elites who might manage it. Most will not. Ever. They will go to hell offended with their reputations and money intact.

         He said the following to the chief priests and elders of the people who questioned His authority while He was teaching in the temple:

         “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” [Matthew 21:31-32]

         This is why the Lord had to up the ante. This is why He took it upon Himself to visit this place directly after having sent so many messengers before Him. They were all killed and rejected. Yes, that’s right. That’s what happened to them. The Lord Jesus said exactly that.

         But would the current inhabitants of the nation whose members claimed to be His followers for so many centuries who killed all the prior messengers also kill Him?

         People who have no love for the truth have no love for the Lord Jesus, because He is the Truth. But until they actually meet Him and discover who He really is, they will think they love Him. They will think they are serving Him. They really believe they have it right. And because of that they must protect their reputation, their religion, and the money they derive from both, because without these they have nothing at all.

         And this is obviously very true. It is why the Lord Jesus demands that we give up all in order to follow Him. We must give up false renditions of His teachings. We must surrender false concepts of His Person. And we must jettison our money and reputations if they keep us from Him.

         He is not out to make us poor. Rather, He is out to rid us of anything and everything that keeps us dependent upon such things and from a close Fatherly relationship with Him, and to that end He was willing to give His life and did. He called this the greatest love. All who are not willing to do the same will automatically accept a substitute and counterfeit whether they want to or not.

         His early disciples learned this and accepted it. They were at once absolutely and completely rejected by everyone else and it would have been a cold lonely life if the Lord had not also commanded them to love one another and be a family. He commanded them to be a loving community doing whatever they could for one another, but to mostly support one another and accept one another and love one another.

         If there is one thing that defines an unreal Christian it is an institutional pronounced lack of this love.

         The more one buys into the ultra-organized, clergy-dominated, religious reputation-insisted upon, wealth-oriented, surface-oriented, control-oriented, and dumbing-down of followers-oriented method of the Christian Pharisees, the more likely one will never know the real truth and consequently be in bondage to lies and deception without ever knowing it.

         Now, with reference to my former greeting on this site, I knew the second I joined up with the Lord Jesus many years ago that my worldly reputation was shot forever, not that I necessarily even had one then, and I had many people, Christian and non-Christian (but mostly Christian) reminding me of it all the time. Should I restore my former greeting?

         Regarding the Great Awakening, we must open our eyes and break out of any restrictive and blinding religious drudgery and routine we may be bogged down in. Some of those I talked to four and a half years ago have since come to agree with me, and claim they are indeed seeing signs. Maybe the signs are subtle. Maybe some are looking for the wrong signs. Maybe some are doing nothing to help bring it forth.

         Remember, those who claimed to know God best before He came here two-thousand years ago were the ones who knew Him the least and not at all. They rejected Him outright. Let’s make sure we don’t fall for someone’s false agenda or false narrative, all of which have to do with the maintaining of power and wealth. But I caution all, if you decide to follow the real Jesus—God with us—the unreal among us will let you know post haste that you’re an idiot, even if all you ever do to incur their wrath is decide to never join their club or to leave their club.

         But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. [Galatians 2:4]

         Oh, and two more things—rather than being packed together like proverbial sardines, real Christians might get used to the social distance incurred upon them because heaven is vast and wide with huge open spaces where no premium is placed upon space restrictions—and real Christians might also get used to the Lord Jesus being in control, in which the first thing He does is grant the freedom to worship and serve Him the right way, the way He placed upon our hearts, which results in a lot of fun and expression, and the freedom to develop into mature disciples never otherwise granted.

         Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. [2Corinthians 3:17] [1]

         This is why there is a national Great Awakening in the works. It is His doing not ours. Yet, it is not something He is merely dictating. He is responding to the sincere heartfelt prayers of millions of His people over many decades who desire the truth and spiritual reality. He is pleased that so many have moved on from unfruitful methods, having grown tired from doing things the “right” way but seeing no results, and are determined to live and practice their faith as the originals did—those who turned the blasted world upside down.

         He also responded two-thousand years ago, and at that time it was also to the remnant—and the remnant had it tough in the early going just like He did, and just like real Christians do now—but they prevailed and eventually spread the real Gospel all over the planet.

         This is our current calling as well. We live in a time of anticipation and hope in which so many have given everything and suffered all things to light the way to this point in history.

         Let us hope future generations see us as we see those real and faithful ones who helped bring forth the Great Awakenings of the past.

         © 2015 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.

♫ Kenneth, James, and Joel ♫

(Sung to the Tune of “Abraham, Martin, and John” © Dick Holler)

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(Sing Along With Above Karaoke)

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♫ Kenneth, James, and Joel ♫

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(0:21)

Has anybody here seen my old friend Kenneth?

Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He’s fooled a lot of people

But it seems the fooled, they move on

You know, I just looked around and he’s gone.

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(0:54)

Anybody here seen my old friend James?

Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He’s fooled a lot of people

But it seems the fooled, they move on

I just looked around and he’s gone.

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(1:36)

Anybody here seen my old friend Joel?

Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He’s fooled a lot of people

But it seems the fooled, they move on

I just looked around and he’s gone.

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(2:03)

Didn’t you wonder about the things that they stood for?

Didn’t they try to make a fool of you and me?

And we’ll never be free

Following them, if we follow them you see…

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(2:29)

Anybody here seen my old friend Francis?

Can you tell me where he’s gone?

I thought I saw him walking up over Vatican Hill

With Kenneth, James, and Joel

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© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Reality of God’s Relational Love: Thus Speaks the Heart (2)

         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.” [Acts 2:38] [1]

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         (1) Real repentance is a type of sacrifice. It is also an apology to God. It is the means for gaining the remission of ones sins. The blood of Jesus is applied at repentance.

         It is doing a 180 degree turn-around and walking away from sin and rebellion, and toward the Lord Jesus. Through the expressing of genuine sorrow for one’s sins and especially for one’s sinning against God and one’s distance from God through one’s own willful actions, it allows the Lord to completely cleanse the heart. It allows the Lord Jesus to circumcise the heart and wash away all sin from the heart with His redeeming blood. This is the beginning of the new birth. It is wholly transformational and a complete change in soul status. Repentance is death to the old.

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         (2) New Covenant water immersion is indicative of an outer form of giving one’s self completely to the Lord Jesus and puts Him in charge of the heart. It furthers the remission of sins in the sense that it acknowledges the work achieved by the Lord on the cross, without which the forgiveness of sins would be impossible. The apostle Peter put it this way: …Baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)… [1Peter 3:21 KJV]

         In the original community of the Lord Jesus this was demonstrated outwardly in public for all to see through water immersion in His Name—the Name of Jesusthe Name above every name. Water baptism is both a burial of the old and then an outward demonstration of resurrection and new life rising and coming forth. By invoking the Lord’s Name, the candidate is demonstrating one’s allegiance to the Lord Jesus and no other. A person states one’s desire to become a disciple of the Lord Jesus and follow Him just as the original disciples did, and become a member of His community the same way they did. If one refuses this immersion and the invoking of the Name of Jesus, how can his or her heart be right toward Him?

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         (3) Once the candidate for inclusion in the Lord’s community has properly repented and has undergone full water immersion to illustrate an outward representation of an inward spiritual change and identify the Lord Jesus as one’s Master and Teacher—once the heart is cleansed and redeemed by His blood and is circumcised—the Lord is enabled to fill the cleansed heart with His Holy Spirit.

         This gift of the Holy Spirit was promised by Peter at Pentecost and is available to all who obey the Lord accordingly. He said it was for every succeeding generation until the Lord’s eventual return for His community. The infilling of the Holy Spirit enables miraculous works and signs. The New Covenant writings are clear that without the evidential miraculous works and signs, there is no actual infilling of God’s Spirit.

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         (4) By cleansing and circumcising the heart through the candidate’s surrender to His authority and power, the Lord Jesus tames the person’s tongue and one’s speech becomes cleansed (see James 3:8).

         This means that all speech flowing from the cleansed heart is as seed from a holy spiritual place rather than the prior sinful place. It is the difference demonstrated by Abel and Cain, in that since Abel was righteous he always made the proper sacrifice. All that came forth from him was spiritually good since he had a good heart toward God.

         And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.

         Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” [Genesis 4:2-7]

         Cain could do nothing right spiritually and everything he tried was wrong because his heart was wrong toward God. He had no power with God. God had no regard for his offering. Cain was essentially spiritually worthless. He could never bring forth a proper sacrifice until his heart was right and he never made that choice. Because of this, he substituted dead religion and a mere form of godliness due to his refusal to obey God. This is the highest form of rebellion. Abel is a type of the real Christian. Cain is a type of the unreal Christian.

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         (5) The outward sign of receiving the Holy Spirit into a cleansed, circumcised heart is a yielded tongue—the last member of the body to surrender to the Lord Jesus and the first to demonstrate His indwelling presence.

         As a result, a person’s speech becomes a vehicle for God’s glory and ministry. One’s speech is a person’s most powerful asset and ability in the three-dimensional world. The Lord said we would be judged by every word we say. Unclean speech proves an unclean heart and also proves that the Lord Jesus is not in control. Cleansed speech proves a clean heart, but it must be emphasized that speech without bad words does not necessarily prove a clean heart or indicate the infilling of the Holy Spirit, but speech that is both clean and contains the power of God.

         The early believers were speaking forth miraculous things, such as speaking languages they had never learned, prophesying through the power of God, being used in healing by speaking the Name of Jesus, and praising Him supernaturally. Their words had a powerful effect and affected great change.

         Because they were filled with the Holy Spirit and the power of the Lord Jesus, they had God’s authority over all things spiritual. This is why they were able to take authority over the devil and demonic influence through the power of the Name of Jesus and work miracles. This power was granted to every member of the Lord’s community, not just the apostles. It remains available for anyone today who properly follows and obeys the Lord’s order and method of discipleship.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[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.

The Reality of God’s Relational Love: Thus Speaks the Heart (1)

         God’s love is relational.

         If one is filled with the Spirit of God one expresses godly love toward others.

         Why? Because as I relayed in the former series, On the Threshold of Heaven, God is love. This means God is loving. All the time. Toward everyone. It is His nature. It is impossible for God to be unloving because God cannot be what He is not.

         This fact should not be so hard to ascertain.

         God is love.

         Some people, however, are impossible to love because they never give love, not to anyone, and certainly not to God. So it’s not the Lord’s fault if people don’t love Him back. It’s like talking to a wall.

         The results of this lack of love among so many is readily apparent. We see the results everywhere. Everyone on the planet, regardless of political affiliation, culture, belief system, religion, or perspective, knows that the human race in general is capable of engaging in some pretty bad stuff, stuff that is not loving and has nothing to do with love.

         There are people who greatly appreciate this planet. They do not like what has happened to the planet. They are against all the pollution and chemical poisoning and destruction of species and habitats, and argue very strongly that we as a race are slowly destroying our only home and better get our act together.

         I agree with them 100%.

         I support them 100%.

         And I believe God is without doubt on their side of the argument. He doesn’t appreciate His planet getting trashed either.

         Imagine if someone were to pollute their own house or backyard—the yard their innocent unknowing children play in. Imagine if a person poisoned their domicile and never cleaned it. Imagine if someone never took a shower…

         Pretty bad, I know. Some people are like this. But the clear fact is that humanity as a race is exactly like this. It’s what we do. All one must do is look around. According to the apostle Paul, the planet is groaning under the weight and pollution of humanity:

         For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. [Romans 8:19-22]

         We know the planet is filled with pollution. We know there are people living on gigantic mountainous trash dumps in places. There are whole societies that either do not have the knowledge or resources to live better, or simply don’t care, and they live in filth. And because of that their bad consequences are off the scale. We must help them.

         I saw a show the other day about the tuberculosis epidemic of a century ago. People who lived in polluted cities all crammed together and getting their lungs full of bad bacteria were dying in droves. Some people thought their health might be better served if they got out of the dirty city and into the open countryside with fresh air. Some got better. Amazing! What a coincidence.

         It used to be said that cleanliness is next to godliness. Many people take great care in their appearance and grooming. It takes work to keep one’s place cleaned up, organized, and in good repair. Life is much, much better when one lives in a healthy environment.

         But regarding the planet, we as a race are creating so much garbage, industrial waste, and extremely dangerous and disease-causing byproducts with no place to put all this junk that it must result in something eventually too evil to imagine.

         Even though we have made great strides in the last fifty years from a time when America was especially extremely polluted by a bunch of unthinking nitwits who only cared about their own greed, the planet itself is presently being polluted by so many other industrial nations with no plans to keep it clean that the earth is quickly becoming the equivalent of a massive trash pile.

         I could go on. People have bought into the lies of the hiders and distorters and refuse to face facts or do anything about it.

         But what about human bodies? Why are diseases and sicknesses going through the roof? Why are so many people ill and dependent on pharmaceutical drugs to stay “healthy” and alive? People do very well to groom themselves outwardly but many inwardly are pretty messed up.

         We must get healthy without AND within, and not merely put forth the outer appearance of health. Some people think it’s better to look good than to feel good. That’s why we have massive landfills that grow like their own hill country and are eventually covered up with a layer of soil and grass to appear somewhat good, but we know what’s underneath.

         Maybe it’s the best we can do.

         But have you ever noticed how nature in and of itself recycles everything? Natural waste is transformed into more pure nature. Take humanity off the planet and it’s a perfect ecosystem lasting for billions of years.

         No major mammal, or fish, or bacteria, or any other organism can mess it up.

         NATURE IS SELF-CLEANING.

         It should be obvious though, that humanity is not. Humanity in general pollutes. Many of us try very hard to keep things clean. Many succeed. But until everyone gets on board pollution will continue.

         Was there pollution during the Lord’s time? Undoubtedly. Yet, the Hebrews had been taught by God in their early history to be clean, and the Lord codified within the Law of Moses exactly what that meant.

         He gave them laws regarding personal cleanliness, hygiene, and sanitation. He was very specific. It’s in your Bible. The majority of Christians have always traditionally rejected these laws to their own peril. His purpose toward cleanliness was designed to keep individuals clean and also so the community as a whole could be clean. Because of this, the ancient Hebrews were perhaps the cleanest people on the planet—as long as they obeyed the laws.

OUR HEARTS

         When the Lord Jesus came, He certainly touched on these things, but the one thing He was most concerned about cleaning up was the human heart.

         In our day, many people are having increasing problems with their physical heart. Because of bad diets and self-pollution (eating chemicals, smoking, ingesting drugs, etc), hearts are being stressed in a major way. Arteries get clogged up. The heart is a blood pump and must work at peak efficiency and all parts must work correctly. People should know to take care of their hearts instead of taking them for granted.

         But much more important are our spiritual hearts. All of the pollution within a human being eventually ends up there. That’s where it is deposited. The spiritual heart is the final location for all the bad stuff. It has nowhere else to go.

         The uncleansed heart is exactly the same as a parcel of land with a little landfill on it packed with garbage. All expressions coming forth from a person come through this polluted place to one degree or another and influence anyone in the vicinity.

         How?

         Through SPEECH.

         Through our VOICES.

         It is through the mechanism of our SPEAKING that brings forth whatever may be resident in our hearts. Our words reveal whatever is hidden there:

         “…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

         “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.

         “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

         “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” [Matthew 12:34-37] [1]

         Based on this, it is imperative that our speech be cleansed.

         But our speech can never be cleansed until our hearts are cleansed.

         And it is only when our hearts become cleansed that God is able to tame the tongue…

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[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.

[Please bless others with these messages according to whatever the Lord may place upon your heart. Thanks.]

On the Threshold of Heaven (5)

      The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.

      To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

      Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

      So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

      He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

      And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

      Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

      When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. [Acts 1:1-14] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (4)

         What is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

         What is the proof?

         Some people believe that being Spirit-filled is an apparent non-event in that they have no clear recollection of when it happened in their lives though they claim the experience.

         Some are taught that they are filled with the Spirit “by faith,” again, that there is no actual evidence, or that they are automatically filled somehow when “they become a Christian.”

         This is what I refer to as being Spirit-filled by osmosis, in that one is somehow filled through effortless, unconscious assimilation in which no actual choice was ever made, there is no recall of when the event happened, and the process cannot be classified as experiential.

         That’s kind of cool when you think about it, but it’s not New Covenant. It is not New Covenant whatsoever.

         The following is New Covenant:

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4]

         I remember hearing a statement by a very famous evangelist’s wife who made the claim that she had always been saved from the time of her earliest memories. Apparently, she never had the born again experience the Lord said is an absolute requirement for entering the kingdom:

         Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

         Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

         Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:3-7]

         Let’s do the math:

(1a) Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

(1b) Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

         In this passage, the Lord Jesus is making a very clear and what should be an obvious reference to two distinct births. This is why Nicodemus, somewhat confused, answered in the weird way he did. He clearly heard the Lord say that there must be a second birth, one that follows the natural birth from one’s mother. But the Lord said it in the context of entering the kingdom.

         Now, this begs the question:

         Is it possible to “be saved” without entering the kingdom of God?

         If the answer is no, then anyone who is not born again is not saved.

         If the answer is yes, then one can be saved without entering the kingdom.

         There is a problem with the latter possibility, however. Have you noticed all of the references in the Lord’s teachings and parables concerning the spiritual concept of either being inside or outside the kingdom? Or being sheep and not goats, or wheat and not tares?

         Here are some examples:

ONE:

         “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]

         From this, it is clear that the scribes and Pharisees were outside of the kingdom: NOT BORN AGAIN.

TWO:

         “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33]

         In this passage, the Lord equates being righteous with being in the kingdom, which signifies righteousness outside the kingdom as not being possible. If one must seek the kingdom then one must be outside the kingdom while seeking it. If one must seek righteousness it must be that one is unrighteous before one gains it. If one is outside the kingdom and is unrighteous, then one is NOT BORN AGAIN.

THREE:

         “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” [Matthew 7:21]

         Here we have the requirement of doing the will of the Father in order to enter the kingdom, meaning that those who fail to accomplish the will of God must be outside the kingdom (regardless of the apparent appearance of their miraculous works), and are thus NOT BORN AGAIN.

FOUR:

         “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 8:11-12]

         Here is a very clear indication of either being in or out with no in between. In this case, the natural “sons of the kingdom,” that is, such natural descendants of Abraham, are not only not in the kingdom and will never be in the kingdom, but they will be cast into outer darkness and are obviously NOT BORN AGAIN.

         From the record in the Book of Acts, being Spirit-filled was an experience, an event. It was never some sort of mystical wishy-washy don’t-know-when-or-how-it-happened occasion. Such a thing was not possible.

         Remember, we are talking about the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD entering and filling a person for the very first time. And the Lord said it was like a birth. And everyone pretty much knows when a baby is being born, especially, I would think, the mother and the baby. There is no way such an experience can happen without the recipient’s knowledge or even those in the vicinity of said recipient.

         The event of the original Day of Pentecost kept happening again in Acts at subsequent times with different people. By studying each and every recorded historical event when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, it should not be that hard to come to a conclusion regarding consistent evidence.

         Here is the key to that evidence:

         Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

         So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

         For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.

         But no one can tame the tongue… [James 3:3-8] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (3)

         Everybody loves love. God is love.

         But God sure gets a bad rap for some reason.

         I think it’s because of all the fakers and pretenders and judgmental protectors of silliness who are much more interested in unlovingly invoking their version of proper doctrine, religious protocol, and denominational differences than in simply loving one another the way the Lord told us to.

         And as far as I can tell, there is no discrimination regarding who is qualified by God as a love recipient.

         The Lord Jesus is truly a lover. He is a lover of us all. He loves people. He loves being around and with people. He greatly enjoys our presence.

         How do I know all this? And what gives me the right to make such pronouncements? I think it’s because the written Word says these very things. I think it’s also because an in-depth study of the Lord’s actual teachings prove it.

         It can very easily be argued as well that the first community of the Lord was composed of people who knew how to love and did love. They loved one another just as the Lord commanded them to.

         Now, why would the Lord Jesus have to make such a commandment? Why must one be commanded to love? That sounds oxymoronic.

         But I think it may be because some people, in general terms, have a tendency to not love, or to not be consistent in loving, and to find ample reasons why they should not love, and to turn not-loving into an unstated practice of its own and buy into that practice.

         It could be because people learn at an early age to be defensive and protective of self, since so many people practice not-loving.

         This is most likely the reason why the Lord had to command us to love. The command is a necessary stimulus to overcome the affected proclivity to not love.

         “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]

         Loving one another in the community of the Lord is proof of discipleship.

         It follows that a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit is also filled with love since God is the Holy Spirit and God is love. It also follows that unloving Christians are unreal Christians and do not have the Holy Spirit.

         Read the following very carefully and take notice of all the references to these things. I have included deduced statements but there are others. See how many you can find:

GOD WAS IN THE EARLY BELIEVERS

         You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

KNOWING GOD ALLOWS ONE TO KNOW TRUTH FROM ERROR

         They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

THOSE WHO ARE BORN OF GOD LOVE GOD AND PRACTICE LOVING OTHERS

         Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

         In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

THOSE WHO ARE BORN AGAIN HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD

         No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

         We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

PERFECT LOVE RESULTS IN SALVATION

         By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

         There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE GOD AND HATE ONE ANOTHER

         If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. [1John 4:4-21] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (2)

         What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? First of all, one must distinguish between the Old and New Covenants.

         We picture Old Covenant prophets becoming suddenly anointed of God. We see them grow strong and bold, and begin making powerful pronouncements regarding the will and desires of the Lord. Indeed, those men were God’s spokesmen. They were the Lord’s chosen, anointed, and discipled vessels who paid a tremendous price—a very high personal cost to engage in their calling.

         It was often them against the world, and just as often one man against the nation of Israel. It is a sad thing but an obvious historical fact that the prophets were usually hated, rejected, and thought to be complete morons and idiots who refused to just go along to get along. They made people feel uncomfortable.

         And that is exactly how the Lord wanted it.

         It was God who was speaking through them, and God often had a lot to say about the evil practices and very sinful nature adopted by His chosen people. He refused to let them go without letting them know how wrong they were. And because His people could not get back at Him personally they took it out on His prophets.

         We often relate John the Immerser, the one the Lord Jesus referred to as the greatest man ever born of a woman, to the New Covenant. But John was actually the last Old Covenant prophet. Further, he bridged the gap between covenants in a sense, being the Lord’s forerunner and preparer of the people’s hearts:

         As they were leaving, Yeshua began speaking about Yochanan to the crowds: “What did you go out to the desert to see? Reeds swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? Someone who was well dressed? Well-dressed people live in kings’ palaces.

         “Nu, so why did you go out? To see a prophet! Yes! And I tell you he’s much more than a prophet. This is the one about whom the Tanakh says, ‘See, I am sending out my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’

         “Yes! I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!” [Matthew 11:7-11] [1]

         Imagine that. Some may think that because they are a Christian they are somehow greater than John the Immerser, though such a thing obviously does not compute. John moved an entire nation!

         Therefore, there must be something more that nominal Christians do not partake of, since there is often absolutely no evidence of anything spiritually powerful in their lives that would indicate they are residents of the Lord’s Kingdom.

         Most Christians do well to occupy a place in a pew, and are made to do it by usually not well-meaning reverends who would rather have firm control and regimented order for their congregants than liberty and maturity in the Spirit, and the free-flowing ministry of the Lord Jesus in charge. And church-goers are forced to think this is the right thing to do.

         But most Christians have little or no power with God and look like nothing even close to John the Immerser. And it is never kosher to simply make a weak mental assent to a supposed but unexplainable “fact”—(“I, a Christian, am greater than John the Immerser”)—without some serious evidence to prove it.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Jewish New Testament. Copyright © 1989 by David H. Stern.

On the Threshold of Heaven (1)

         Currently, in such tough times for so many believers, we must all know that our Lord Jesus is still in charge.

         For those who are filled with His Spirit, there is a goodness and brightness in their being, though unacknowledged by many.

         The presence of the Lord within them which they experience at present is what the apostle Paul called the earnest of their inheritance.

         It is the witness, the pledge, the sign, the guarantee, and even what may be termed the first installment or down payment of His Holy Spirit.

         Just as our Lord was the First Fruits, so is His Holy Spirit within real Christians on this planet the first fruits for them of what is to come.

         The exact experience of Pentecost is currently available to all, and many millions all across this world have and are experiencing His presence, and it gives them strength and joy and hope until the full arrival of the purchased possession.

         For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. [Romans 8:22-23] [1]

         © 2015 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.

RISING AGAIN…

         The world was dark and cold. Defeat had become a matter of lifestyle, of accepting a great wrong against one’s hopes and dreams with no way to overcome the pain.

         And it was certainly pain, the kind of deep pain stored in the depths of one’s heart that it seems can never be excised no matter how hard one may try.

         There were “leaders” who had come along who claimed they had answers but their efforts never went anywhere, even though a few had gained relatively large followings. Yet, no matter what particular hope had come down the road and into the hearts of the defeated, though briefly, the light shined for merely a moment and was gone.

         It was as if the whole world was against each person, and that each person had no way to strike back effectively. The great pain carried by most was the pain of a defeat so strong and overwhelming that they must simply surrender to it and find a way to make life work.

         It is one of the most difficult things to deal with and make sense of, and in all probability the most difficult. People were created to overcome, to stand tall, to fight and win, to work hard and get things done, to put their heart into alleviating a problem, and to let nothing stand in the way of their freedom and success.

         Yet, the nation was broken. It had long ago been taken over by a brutal regime that had little or no compassion, and certainly no concern for the individuals who lives were essentially destroyed and enslaved. People kept working hard—they had to—but they were only working to stay alive. Survival was the big dream, or actually, it was the attempt to stay mentally tough against so much misfortune and no hope for the future. This “survival” was the manner in which one was forced to attempt a win, the way a starving man may grab at crumbs in hopes that he may find a piece of bread, and then, just maybe, something more.

         But it was the seeking of something more substantial that caused the greatest depression among people. If they could only just give up and accept a less than good life, a less than average life, or even a mere subsistence level life, then maybe that pain would go away. Maybe if they just gave up on dreams that kept stirring their hearts but never, ever came close to reality, then, and only then, could they maybe smile a weak smile and somehow be content with their lot.

         It was not to be, of course. No one can live like that for very long without finding alternatives to bleak reality that somehow make reality possible to stomach. It had all been going on for so many years and decades. People could actually no longer remember any actual good times but they still had the misty sagas that old people told on occasion, when long ago, their people lived in victory and strength.

         In a way, such stories, real or imagined, kept a spark alive but only a few really thought it could ever grow into anything more than that. So many people had tried for so long to overcome it all…

         Their houses had been broken into and ransacked. They were forced to vacate not only their homes and fields that they had worked so hard at building, but whole towns. Communities were destroyed. Industry was destroyed. The means to build it all back was completely removed. These evil despicable hell-bound demons in human form had decided that total destruction was the answer, and in their zeal to eliminate those good people they falsely characterized as evil, they had become evil incarnate.

         Their sweeping victories, however, gave them the aura of somehow being on the winning side, and that their grossly evil behavior was somehow justified even by God Himself. It was as if God had turned from His righteousness and honor, and sided with the devil, and that any unfortunate ones who fought the invaders would be crushed by God because the good people were characterized as being the devil.

         Why would God do this? Why would He side with evil? Why wouldn’t He help these poor destroyed people? Was their sin so great and the obvious sins of these invaders so unacknowledged that the entire cosmos had gotten turned upside down?

        As their lives, hopes, and dreams were destroyed, they remembered their Scriptures, the sayings of their holy book. They remembered the words that seemed to fit so clearly—

         Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight! [Isaiah 5:20-21]

         The confidence level of the invaders had grown exponentially the more they destroyed the land and its people. As the proverbial sharks smelling blood and swimming swiftly to the kill and engaging in a free-for-all bloodbath, so did these so called liberators fall into the most heinous of crimes. Looking past their own sins and thinking themselves as holy with justified and God-breathed righteous anger, and even as agents of proper judgment, they raped and pillaged and burned and murdered, and they exulted in it, they enjoyed it, it was a tremendous opportunity to release their evil passions like hardened, reprobate, insane criminals escaped from the worst penitentiaries.

         How could agents of supposed good engage in such incredibly sinful acts? And why do monuments built for their leaders exist to this day—statues and bronzes beholding their evil glory?

         As the majority of those in the Lord’s day who judged Him falsely of evil and agreed with His death sentence and torture, so do so many still to this day claim the side of righteousness while engaging in or fully supporting the most evil of deeds. They refuse to acknowledge the gross violations of the Lord’s teachings. It is a justification of the worst forms of hate and all that stems from it.

         It must be understood that the thundering hooves supporting these invasions never stop. They continue on in subjugating others, and others still, and overcome the innocent, and rob them, and destroy them, and justify it all.

         But the day will come when their juggernaut will come face to face with a higher power, the very power they had previously claimed was on their side, and they will at last meet their match, and so much more.

         In their current state, the subdued cannot imagine anything to change it, for evil has gained such a stronghold over them, and they are so small and outnumbered, and apparently defeated. But they remember what always follows, what comes next, what the prophets said about the righteous and faithful people, and it is then that the tiny spark in their deepest heart glows brighter:

         Evil is always stopped. It is only a matter of time. The temporary never survives against the eternal. Dishonesty, lies, deceptive agendas, fake historical accounts, and false narratives never defeat Truth in the long term. And the evil ones who ride high in their day and get away with so much will all eventually pay the price. Their time will come to an end. Their earthly kingdoms, like all previous earthly kingdoms and empires, and all their sordid gains will fail and come to nothing, and can never be translated into eternity.

         The real kingdom, though—the eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus, inhabited by those who love Him and obey Him and are called by His Name—it will continue now and throughout eternity. And regardless of the pain and the many losses the Lord’s people have suffered upon this planet, their fate is good and bright—they will live forever in their eternal home.

         And one more thing: Those places and regions of the earth where the devil has historically wreaked the worst havoc are often the same places from which the Lord later brings forth the greatest Great Awakenings…

         “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” [Matthew 4:16] [1]

         © 2015 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.