Monthly Archives: May 2015

Dysfunctional Churches (and Non-Functional “Pastors”)

        It makes no sense. Unless one is really into religion.

        America remains saturated with dysfunctional churches and non-functioning “pastors,” and 90% of everyone in the pew is completely oblivious to the problem.

         The few “Christians” who actually read the Bible, and study it, and do it with an open mind, know that there is a huge ginormous incredible one-end-of-the-Universe-to-the-other disconnect between what the Word of God actually says and what most churches believe and practice.

         If one cannot see the devil in this then one is deceived.

         Why did the Lord Jesus receive such a hard time from religious people, especially religious leaders? And why do most Christians think the opposite would happen if He visited their own particular church? They really think He would find most of what transpires on refrigerator row perfectly fine and dandy and would respond with several “Good job’s” and handshakes all around. I’m not saying this would not or could not happen. I’m only saying the odds of it happening are astronomical.

         For the few Christians who study the Word, they know there was a weird dynamic always playing out in the Old Testament. The Lord would hear the cries and moans and incessant caterwauling of His people because they screwed up yet again, just like they did a million times before, and He would answer their prayers and send them relief in the form of prophets who at great personal risk and possessing an extremely uncomfortable lifestyle would tell the people exactly what they needed to do to fix things.

         The people would listen, change their sorry tune, get right with God, and lo and behold good things would start happening! Then they would begin descending into chaos again and the cycle would have to start all over. Oh, and they would, of course, usually kill the prophets. You know, par for the course.

         But how do the majority of American churches, ministries, “pastors,” “Christian” television personalities, and any other standard ministry set-up respond to even the slightest corrective voice sent by God as a blessing to fix things?

         They show him or her the door. They disfellowship in a heartbeat not because someone is lost in sin and disobedience but because THEY are lost in sin and disobedience. Anyone who is not on board with their unbiblical stuff is seen as an enemy.

         What happens as a result is that these “leaders” go that much further off the deep end precisely because they have successfully eliminated the corrective voice of God.

         Just in case someone doesn’t know the following, I must state it here for all of us to hopefully get the big idea: GOD WORKS THROUGH PEOPLE.

         And you know what else? THE PEOPLE GOD WORKS THROUGH ARE HUMBLE, SELF-EFFACING, AND NON-SPOTLIGHT-ORIENTED.

         Just like their Master.

         Even though most “Christians” think the Lord Jesus would love their spiritual enterprises if He ever visited, the reality is that most want no part of the Lord Jesus and would never allow Him full authority in their churches, and usually allow Him no authority.

         How do we know this? Again, because American “Christians” are largely Biblically illiterate. Why? Because they hire some guy to do all that stuff for them so they can assuage their conscience by going through an hour or two of rote and ritual on Sunday mornings. The problem here is that, since they have little or no spiritual experience or actual Biblical knowledge, they can never serve as a check against whoever they allow in the pulpit. How do they know the dude is right?

         (Other than that he explicitly obeys their denominational beliefs and does everything the same exact way the Episcobapterians and Universal churchites did it a million years ago because religious spirits must be appeased.)

         This is why the vast majority of churches would NEVER allow the Lord Jesus absolute full authority if He ever visited.

         News flash: The Lord Jesus is still here in the form of His Holy Spirit but has already long since been proven unwanted by most churches simply because what most “Christians” do looks nothing whatsoever like what He and His disciples did.

         And whenever someone brings this up he or she gets the cold shoulder, the gossip, the bad looks, and the silent treatment.

         Of course, most “Christians” think all that is deserved because the people in question are idiots and are deserving of disfellowship.

         They believe this because they simply cannot make the connection to the disfellowship the Lord Jesus suffered, and He suffered disfellowship more than any man in history, and still suffers disfellowship to this day.

         The same with His original disciples. And the early community of believers. And the underground church in China that is currently blowing the doors off to the tune of millions and millions even though they still suffer great persecution. Those people won’t stop until they fix the whole country! All this while America continues going downhill fast because higher-ups have made a deal with the devil and the majority looks the other way.

         Quick question: Have you ever noticed that Great Awakenings and great persecution always go together, and that if there is no persecution it is an obvious sign of dead Christianity?

         And have you noticed how it follows then that the one’s being persecuted in churches are being persecuted simply because they are pointing out this deadness and lack of familiarity with the Lord’s ministry and teachings?

         Hmmm…

         Kind of exactly like the Old Testament prophets.

         Well, the Lord Jesus was and remains the greatest of all prophets and He got the same thing they got and to a much greater degree.

         When’s the last time you saw an American “pastor” dragged out of His church and executed? No? Okay then, how about something less? No? Of course, real shepherds are victims of persecution but such guys are few and far between and you probably don’t hear much about them.

         Maybe because they are obscure and non-flashy and don’t particularly care for religious titles and clergyesque appearances and spiritual circlespeak.

         You know, kind of like the Lord?

         Most “pastors” call the cops and use lawyers to protect themselves and depend on their bodyguards and private surveillance personnel, and are willing to sue at the drop of a hat to protect their image and enterprise and as a result ARE ALSO PROTECTED FROM GOD.

         God cannot get to them in any loving and understanding way because these people bar the door against anyone or anything they see as potential enemies.

         As a result of their self-imposed and bought-with-good-money security shield they cut themselves off from God’s corrective voice and by their own doing build their own giant and slippery slide into the heart of hell. They have it great in the here and now but unless they repent will suffer in the long term.

         Worse than that, however, is all the people they will take with them. But their followers have no excuse because none of them speak any corrective to the gross dysfunction, partly because they know what happened to those who did.

         This is why the majority of American Christianity is hopelessly dysfunctional.

         It refuses correction.

         This is the opposite of repentance.

         IT IS NOTHING MORE THAN PURE UNADULTERATED SPIRITUAL PRIDE.

         Real Christians, however, know all about repentance. They’ve hit the deck more than a million lousy boxers. THEY KNOW THAT HUMILITY IS A DOOR INTO GREAT SPIRITUAL SUCCESS. They have taken the cue from their Master who taught them how bewitching religious pride is, the worst of all forms of pride, and they know they are merely a hop, skip, and jump from ending up deceived and requisitely hell bound.

         If one wants sin to take root and grow like muck in a swamp as ancient Israel did so many times, all one must do is murder God’s humble unpretentious messengers (murder comes in many forms). In this way, dysfunction as usual proceeds accordingly and those in power enjoying all the perks stay in power and also stay in power over their people as they continue to deceive them and take their money.

         One last thing: All of the Lord’s spiritual giants spent much, much time all alone with God, usually in a desert, and learned everything they knew directly from Him.

         Everyone is responsible for their own walk with God and whoever puts anyone between himself and the Lord Jesus will be deceived and suffer spiritually for it. Honor the message of those God has sent but never, ever honor them above the Lord or even yourself. Otherwise, you can never become a real spiritual giant but will forever remain under their thumb.

         We all must mature but we will never mature by submitting to middlemen and imposters.

         What follows is some scriptural food for thought on the subject, spoken by a former religion addict who formerly thought murdering those unlike himself was infinitely greater than loving them but got knocked on his butt by a loving God determined to correct the man’s extreme dysfunction.

         Once receiving correction, the man received great revelation, and became a spiritual giant. Think about it.

         For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

         For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.

         But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me;

         But I went away to Arabia… [Galatians 1:11-17] [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.

The Day of Pentecost

         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 1:13-14]

         Every Christian must have a personal Upper Room experience. Pentecost is for every believer. The entirety of the Lord’s ministry in its full extension leads directly to it.

         Many voices continue to insist that this experience is no longer available or exists, or that it ended in the first century. This defies a very clear historical record since that time.

         It is only the enemy and all who follow him who claim the experience of Pentecost and the actual infilling of the Holy Spirit as clearly illustrated in the Book of Acts is something Christians must shun and refuse to partake of, which gives him the advantage.

         The enemy does not want anyone filled with the Spirit of the Lord, because he knows such an experience creates a very powerful disciple who can wreak havoc upon his kingdom. He has thus successfully convinced the vast majority of Christians and Christian leaders throughout history to join him in opposition to the Upper Room experience, so that the vast majority of Christians will be denied the possibility, and therefore keep them spiritually weak and non-equipped to engage in spiritual war against him.

         One can only wonder how it is possible that a “Christian” leader can counsel his own flock with the counsel of the enemy. If your spiritual experience has yet to look like the experience of Acts, I strongly suggest you seek the Lord Jesus with all your heart. If you really want this Spirit-infilling, do as our forbears were taught to do. Find your own Upper Room, fast and pray, and ask the Lord Jesus for the exact experience of the early believers. The Lord needs strong, powerful disciples to storm the gates of hell and He has made a way for that to happen.

         Today is Sivan 7, the actual Day of Pentecost. It is exactly 50 days from the anniversay of the Lord’s resurrection. Almost 2000 years ago the following is the account of what happened then. May it happen in these days for us all.

         We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening.

         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] [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.

Suppression: The Forces of Hell at Work (2)

         For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

         For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. [Romans 1:18-20] [1]

 

         “Did you know that people who violate the Golden Rule go to hell?”

         “You mean if they violate it willingly and habitually.”

         “Yes. In the sense that violating it is part of the code they live by, in that keeping the Golden Rule disallows the possibility of their success in this world by their estimation, and hence keeping such a “mythical” rule is senseless.”

         “But that’s the argument of a selfish person.”

         “Yes it is, but they don’t acknowledge that, because they see what others call selfishness as one’s required pathway to survival and success.”

         “Meaning that looking out for number one is a self-preservation requirement that all intelligent people recognize as a must and as perfectly honorable.”

         “Right again, except, again, they are blind to their own selfishness and have written their own rules to benefit themselves, and then codified it as something all right-thinking people should accept.”

         “Which is why the Lord Jesus has always had a hard time in first convincing His disciples-to-be to see things the right way, and that selfishness is anathema to brotherly love.”

         “Right. Meaning that selfishness and violating the Golden Rule is exactly why Cain killed Abel. Abel was a keeper of the Golden Rule.”

         “What does any of this have to do with suppression?”

         “The work of the Lord Jesus was suppressed. But guess by whom?”

         “By the Pharisees and other religious leaders, primarily.”

         “And why?”

         “Because they were threatened by Him.”

         “But the Lord had no evil intent toward them whatsoever and never violated the Golden Rule regarding them.”

         “They were threatened by Him because he exposed their evil hearts.”

         “And yet the people in general had always seen those religious leaders as God-sponsored and upright, and for the most part believed in their false religious garbage.”

         “And that was because the religious leaders had cornered the market on religion and religious expression, and had created harsh punishments for those who rebelled against them.”

         “So people were intimidated.”

         “Of course. It’s the way of this fallen sinful world. People set off in life to climb the pyramid of success and invariably come upon junctures in which they must violate their conscience in order to proceed. They compromise. Then they no longer listen to their conscience once success arrives. They build their future on a foundation of moral compromise and violation of God’s commands, and as long as the money keeps rolling in they keep doing what they feel they must in order to maintain their success and achieve greater success.”

         “But why don’t they ever think about what comes after this life is over?”

         “In too deep. Too late to change. And, of course, they have convinced themselves to believe their own lies. They also find that it is very helpful to hang around people like themselves to keep any possible conviction of their conscience far, far away.”

         “But isn’t conviction actually their friend, in that it leads to repentance?”

         “One would think so. But once violaters of the Golden Rule taste success and get away with it they no longer perceive the possibility that pay day is coming. Some actually come to believe a reward is coming.”

         “The Pharisees?”

         “All fake religious leaders. It is why all the false religions of mankind, including the many false forms of Christianity, always end up with the two goals shared by the great evil elites in league with the devil—power and money.”

         “So if false religious leaders, including all the ones who appear benign and harmless, and perfectly acceptable, perceive their religious enterprises as threatened, they will fight back against those they perceive as enemies.”

         “Yes. They will indeed fight back. And they will demonize all who do not believe as they do. And they will suppress their work. Why else did the Pharisees try to kill the Lord Jesus in the very beginning of His ministry? Why did Roman Catholics over many, many centuries murder perhaps millions of those who they called heretics? Why did so many Protestants kill so many non-Catholic dissenters, engaging in the exact dynamic as the Catholic inquisitors? These were obvious gross violations of the Golden Rule, God’s command.”

         “And why don’t the Catholics and Protestants of the present condemn those of their own religions who did this in the past?”

         “Because to do that would be admitting guilt. And regardless of fake overtures that appear as apologetic, they can never condemn the past guilty ones properly and correctly without condemning themselves.”

         “So they suppress.”

         “Yes. They suppress. They treat real Christians with indifference. They hate with a smile. THIS is what you are going to have to see and fight through. Once religious leaders are compromised by money and power, they will fight the very Lord Jesus they claim to serve and suppress the work of His people at all times in order to protect themselves and their faux religious enterprises. In this they have compromised themselves with a false gospel and violate the Golden Rule for the sake of power and money in this world.”

         “And condemn themselves to hell.”

         “Yes. Though they are blind to it. They have discovered it is very easy to suppress and hopefully eliminate the Lord and His people if they merely violate the Lord’s commandments in the process. They justify their sin as a means of protecting themselves and all they have gained.”

         “When they should be hitting the deck in repentance.”

         “But people don’t repent when enraged by hate. And they don’t repent for sins they don’t think they have…”

         © 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.

Suppression: The Forces of Hell at Work (1)

         “I  don’t know. I just can’t figure it out.”

         “Figure what out?”

         “All the effort…”

         “What are you talking about?”

         “I’m talking about all of the effort we put forth. All the work…”

         He paused, as if trying to find the energy to go on with a line of thought he had traced out so many times before, that always ended in the same place, a place where nothing made much sense at all.

         “We work so hard and it seems we rarely get much done. I’m working twice as hard, three times… But it’s like pulling teeth. There is so much resistance, apparently. There is always such a backlash. It is so hard to figure. Why is there such a fight against our work? The level of vitriol just doesn’t fit.”

         His older friend said nothing. He turned from looking at him and stared at the ground, knowing the usual words of counsel would have little effect. After many seconds of silence, a thick silence filled with the proverbial Why’s and Woe’s of his friend and the desire to receive and provide a fitting answer, a word came.

         “Suppression.”

         “Suppression?”

         “Your work is being suppressed.”

         The younger man wondered at the idea. Why would anyone want to suppress his work? It wasn’t sinister, or…

         “The devil doesn’t like what you’re doing.”

         “I know that. That’s no secret. It’s all…”

         “You don’t quite understand. The devil has these people…”

         The older man was not really all that much older, only about five years, and had taken on the role of older brother to the younger man. He was much wiser and much more knowledgeable of spiritual things, though. He was perhaps thirty years older in that sense and it gave him the aura of being almost a father figure.

         “The devil has these people. They are bound to serve him. There are bound to stop you.”

         He wondered if he had said too much but quickly discounted that notion, knowing his younger friend had reached a point when he needed a clear answer and strong counsel regarding the fight at hand.

         “Evil was here first. It had already staked a claim. We’re contesting that claim. They don’t like that. They see us as attacking them, that we have no right to do what we’re doing. They hate losing…”

         “Seems to me they’re winning. They’ve got the whole blasted planet.”

         The last words trailed off as the weariness in the young man began to bleed through.

         “Why doesn’t God help us more? Why does the fight have to be so strong? I just don’t get it.”

         “You don’t get it because you see yourself as playing by the normal rules, that life is fair or should be, and that goodness should win out rather easily, and that evil just can’t be that evil.”

         He paused again. Both men stared ahead at something that wasn’t there, the younger man settling into a rare disillusionment, the older waiting for his words to sink in. He stared at the ground, strong, a slightly contorted look on his face, very slight, but showing the gravity of the moment. Many men never get past this moment. They give up though they continue on, no longer believing that the victory they seek will ever really happen to the degree they hope for. They are all in when young and fresh and excited about the future but become slowly bedraggled in their spirit for want of achievement that just won’t come.

         “You have to fight through it. You knew it would be hard, but you didn’t realize how hard. And even after trying harder it still didn’t work to your satisfaction. You know that in other pursuits you would have achieved so much more by this time and it bothers you that the work you are attempting appears next to impossible. Especially after you feel you have given it everything you have.”

         “Suppression?” The young man thought long and hard and said it again. “Suppression?” My work is being suppressed?”

         “Uh, YEAH.”

         “Wait. I know that. But not to this degree. I am… I’m just one man. Why is the devil so concerned about what I am doing? I’m nobody special.”

         “Well, actually you are, and it actually isn’t about you or your desires. You have signed up with the King of kings and the devil hates the King of kings with a passion no human being knows, and is also deathly afraid of Him, and knows his vast evil kingdom is always hanging on a mere thread regardless of outward appearances.”

         Continuing, he said, “Every young buck who wants to change the world and set the world on fire with the Gospel reaches this point where you are presently at, and realizes, shockingly, that it is going to be a lot harder than he ever imagined. It will even come down to fighting for survival. You don’t know what I have suffered to get to where I am, and I spent years trying to figure out why it all had to be so hard, and why it seemed as though God called me to do a job and then disappeared.”

         “Yeah…” The younger man’s words trailed off…

         [To Be Continued.]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

The Prophetic Word—The Gift of Prophecy

         In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul clearly places special emphasis regarding spiritual gifts on the gift of prophecy.

         It is as if he thinks it is most important. On the face of it, this makes little sense. All of the gifts are obviously important and necessary.

         Perhaps this is one of those teachings of Paul that some so-called Christians like to put in a separate category. You know, the ones they have a problem with because they’re either unwilling to understand or too rebellious to accept.

         Let’s review the verse in question:

         Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. [1 Corinthians 14:1]

         Paul certainly has the priorities right. Love must always come first or the ministry process will not work. This has everything to do with putting the Lord first in all things, but also because the Lord is Love, and love never fails.

         The second thing he tells the Corinthians is to desire earnestly spiritual gifts. These are actually spirituals, or “spiritual things,” since the word “gifts” does not appear in the original Greek. The Greek word is pneumatikos and is defined as that which is spiritual, or pertaining to the spirit. These pneumatikos are referenced in the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians:

         Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

         Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

         And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

         There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

(1) For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,

(2) and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

(3)  to another faith by the same Spirit,

(4) and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

(5) and to another the effecting of miracles,

(6) and to another prophecy,

(7) and to another the distinguishing of spirits,

(8) to another various kinds of tongues,

(9) and to another the interpretation of tongues.

         But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. [1Corinthians 12:1-11]

        The nine spirituals listed above are directly connected to the Spirit immersion of Acts Chapter 2. In fact, they are the result, or effect of the Spirit of God working through believers.

         In 1 Corinthians 12:6, the Greek word energema is translated in the NASV as “effects,” and in other versions as “operations, working, or activities,” and is explained as spiritual things energized by God for His purposes.

         Many people have discounted this direct association primarily as a way to discount the Acts 2 experience since they personally oppose it. But this is grossly incorrect. I say this so people will no longer be deceived by false teaching. Pneumatikos are given by the Lord Jesus to His people for service in the kingdom. One of these is prophecy, and without prophesying, the Prophetic Word would be absent.

         The third directive Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 14:1 is to pursue especially the gift of prophesy. I use the term “prophesying” because spiritual energema have to do with function. If they are not being used, they effectively do not exist.

         There is the potential for spiritual pride within individuals who believe they possess gifts and are thus worthy of greater honor, and consequently appropriating titles for themselves based on what they think is a resident gift.

         However, the gift shows itself by our use of it, or its functionality, not because it is added as a title to a man-made spiritual resume. It is much more correct to state that a person functions in the gift of prophesying rather than that he is a prophet. Yet, it does not mean that a believer cannot be characterized as such if it is obvious that he functions on a regular basis in that particular place of service. This point is more important than one might think due to the desire of so many false prophets within Christianity who are more concerned with their standing among men than before God. They like the high places and open doors that come with titles. They also very much like the money than can be derived from their position.

         Real prophets, however, like real apostles, know that serving God according to their calling means that they will be treated the opposite of the false prophets. Paul states several times the perils of true apostolic ministry. It appears oftentimes that the Lord has thrown them into an evil world without much concern for their welfare. The apostles and prophets of the first century suffered greatly in their walk with God though they were very close to Him, leading us to surmise that the “initial” ministries are subject to often greater persecution, just as pioneers have it the hardest compared to later generations. False prophets, particularly those of the present, cannot relate to this and reject the entire idea. The apostles and prophets of the first century often did not know where their next meal was coming from, and that is the way God wanted it.

         For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

         To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. [1Corinthians 4:9-13]

         Does this look like any ministers you know? (They would never allow Paul in most pulpits in America and certainly not on Christian television.)

         We must never forget as real disciples that the Lord has chosen for us a walk of faith and obedience. This is characterized as “Go here, do this.” What about the next step, one may wonder? The Lord almost always reveals the next step after a person has completed the prior step. Therefore, being a “prophet” cannot possibly be a static, entitled position associated with high standing among the Christian elite and with popularity among people in general, but one of obedience to God (not man) and functionality.

         Again, since there are nine energema, or effects of the Spirit, why would Paul single out prophesying as seemingly the most important?

         We must look at the context. He was referring to what was taking place in meetings of believers in first century Corinth. He was simply trying to explain that in open meetings it is better to speak in an understandable way, so that proper communication takes place.

         Speaking in tongues is all fine, good, necessary, and scriptural in individual prayer or prayer meetings, or in an open meeting if an interpreter is present (Paul himself wrote in verse eighteen, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.”) Otherwise, it is largely a waste of time for the group as a whole in community meetings when people need to hear from God.

         Prophesying, on the other hand, is a Word from God spoken in the language of all, or pretty much all, and subsequently edifies the entire group. Thus, the Prophetic Word is that which is spoken by the inspiration of God and by the power of his Spirit to benefit another, and oftentimes many others.

         Moreover, groups of real believers usually contain more than one person who functions in the gift of prophecy, or should, and should thus take turns, though in polite order (see 14:29-32).

         The reason for all of this is to allow the Lord to speak to His people. If it is attempted through a way contrary to this model, or if another method is formulated which is actually in opposition to it, it generally means that the Lord Jesus is no longer in charge and has been subverted by false believers who have circumvented His authority. And if the group allows this, they are also guilty partakers.

         It should not be difficult, then, for an objective observer to note that traditional Christian church practice, regardless of denomination, is usually much different from that of first-century believers.

         This is why, for those who violate Scripture, the Prophetic Word has ceased.

         Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. [1 Corinthians 14:39] [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.

Happy Fourth Birthday, Real Christianity!

         The great blessing of this blog is communicating with so many awesome people hard at work for the Lord Jesus! Very encouraging! Thanks to all of you for reading.

         Real Christianity is now four years old. I have posted 280 articles.

         You can locate every article prior to this year through the above Article Archives tab, organized both by category and calendar year.

         There is also the Reader Favorites tab right next to it listing links to the 30 most popular articles.

         All 2015 posts are in the Latest Articles—Feed Your Spirit column to the left (scroll down).

         On the top left is the About the Book tab which gives a brief description of the book I wrote that this blog is named after, as well as many comments.

         Speaking of which, there have been many excellent comments made by you guys through the years, including as of late, which are greatly appreciated. Actual real Christianity involves real community and all of us must communicate what the Lord has put on our hearts. The one rule I have is obey the Golden Rule.

         In my recent posts we have discussed the presence of spiritual strongholds and spiritual blindness. Loyalty is a great quality but loyalty to the wrong thing will cut one off from greater truth. One way or the other, for the real Christian and dedicated disciple, the Lord Jesus will eventually strip away everything from one’s knowledge base that is not true. THAT is a painful process. But much more painful is the loss of brothers and sisters who refuse the process.

         This dynamic is certainly Biblical. God sent prophets to correct Israel and Israel responded most often by killing them. Yikes. That’s a fine how do you do. We see it in the New Covenant also in the life of Paul, who suffered greatly at the hands of detractors. We apparently must be reminded continuously that all the original apostles except John died violent deaths at the hands of spiritual enemies, and this, of course, happened to the Founder as well. It is apparent they always put truth above togetherness, which is not at all the same thing as New Covenant fellowship, or koinonia.

         Perhaps that is why most Christians settle into denominations and/or denominational beliefs and forego the journey into greater truth and a closer walk with the Lord. Perhaps most Christians would rather surround themselves with a congregation of “like-minded” believers. The spiritual frontier is tough, and rejecting the spiritual frontier for a comfortable parlor back east is more socially acceptable. Rejecting an ever greater understanding of the Lord’s real curriculum—the real Word of God—that is not added to and subtracted from by religionists with an opposing agenda is much more comfortable.

         And then there is the absolute unwillingness to do the equivalent of what the rich young ruler was supposed to do. The Lord told him to sell everything he had and give the money to the poor and the man refused. So do Christians refuse the fact that they or their leaders, dead or alive, are wrong in some way. They would rather support a false belief and the mere humans who inspired them than scrap it all and learn directly from the Lord Jesus. Why is there this all-consuming need to stay grabbed on to a deteriorating life raft in a stormy sea while continuously rejecting the Lord’s seaworthy ship?

         It has been said that the price of freedom is death. Not only will the TRUTH make one free, it will also cause spiritual attacks, some quite severe. It caused the Lord’s death, but praise God He didn’t stay dead, and because He rose again we can all rise again, both in the here and now and forever.

         The TRUTH will cause backbiting, slander, gossip, and rejection. It will bring about a strong reaction from evil, unregenerate flesh. The flesh hates the TRUTH and is convicted easily. Most people would rather rage against the TRUTH, fight it, and go to hell than surrender to the Lord.

         There are a few well-intentioned Christians who think the receivers of these evil things are somehow responsible or have a screw loose, as they take a purely non-spiritual approach to perceived remedies. Their arrogance is solid, often off the scale, and they are sold out to any number of false diagnoses and relative witch doctor remedies.

         “Tell me, Jesus. How does it make it you feel when people hate you? Ahem, ahem… Does it bother you that people think you’re fake? Ahem, ahem…”

         But the Lord Jesus stated very clearly that whatever His enemies do to Him they will do to His disciples. It is therefore not the fault of the disciple to be the recipient of evil. It goes with the territory.

         It is enlightening to know that the Lord Jesus was and is rejected more than any man. During His time among us He was:

  • Accused of being an illegitimate child
  • Accused of being a glutton
  • Accused of being a drunk
  • Accused of being crazy, including by His own mother and siblings
  • Severely second-guessed by none other than John the Immerser
  • Accused of being demon-possessed
  • Accused of being a false prophet
  • Accused of being a false teacher
  • Accused of being a false messiah
  • Rejected by everyone, including His own disciples and close apostles
  • Rejected by the entire religious establishment
  • Rejected by His nation
  • Rejected by the world
  • Killed illegally by demon-possessed religionists whose father was the devil and who did everything in their power to rid the world of Him, including lying, cheating, character-assassination, and threatening Pilate to the point that the otherwise very strong man and Roman leader was reduced to a wimpy sissy completely under their demonic thumb. Their power trumped Roman power. Think about that.

         We could go on. The point here is that the devil threw everything he had at the Lord and not only did none of it work and never stopped Him, the Lord actually worked that much harder and fought all the more so that we could all be set free from the evil around us.

         He was thinking of you and me.

         Regardless of everything against Him, HE WON THE VICTORY.

         He never quit, would never quit, and walked right through all the sordid slinging flying garbage and innuendo that came His way to the great disillusionment of His many detractors. They wanted Him STOPPED but could not get the job done and it frustrated and scared them to no end.

         Therefore, one of the clear marks of a real Christian must be the same. One must have the same experiences. And one must overcome them all.

         We are fighting a spiritual war. If you want the Lord to be proud of you, you must fight. You must go forward. You must attack the enemy. You must overcome. You must do the job He put you here to do. And we will overcome if we do things His way, even in the face of the most vile and disgusting attacks, often at the hands of “friends.”

         The Lord found out who His friends were. They were the ones who repented. They were the ones who returned. They were among the relative few who showed up for Pentecost. They were the ones who put their lives on the line.

         We are getting closer to a time of Christian persecution in America like this country has never seen. We are also getting closer to the greatest Great Awakening this country has ever seen.

         You must remember, though, how things will go. At first, many people will appreciate it. Then, with the advance of greater truth, the resulting conviction, and the lack of desire to repent and accept the TRUTH, they will begin to get miffed. Then, they will do an about face and turn on you like a rabid dog. This process is perfectly captured in the following account:

         And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

         And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’”

         And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.

         “But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

         And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:22-29]

         They loved Him and spoke well of Him but moments later tried to kill Him. Go figure. They failed to kill Him then and failed in every other attempt also. They only succeeded in finally murdering Him because He allowed it FOR THE SAKE OF OUR SALVATION.

         “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.” [Luke 6:26] [1]

         At some point, a Christian will have to make this connection and figure it out. Until then, such a one is subjected to deception by false prophets (alive or dead).

         Whatever the case, I am most thankful for all of you. We have much to do. May the Lord Jesus bless you abundantly.

         Onward.

.

         If you’re interested in gaining some perspective regarding the last four years, I’ve included links to each prior anniversary, as follows. Thanks.

         Happy First Birthday, Real Christianity (5/10/12)

         Happy Second Birthday, Real Christianity (5/10/13)

         Real Christianity: Three and Free (5/10/14)

         © 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.

Dancing With the Devil

         Why did the Lord Jesus continually warn us about being deceived? Why did He continually command His disciples that if they would be His disciples they must stay very, very close to Him? Why did He command His followers to obey Him, and Him only, and no one else?

         The obvious answer, though only obvious to a few, is that the devil is a lying deceiver and hater of the first caliber, and that the only antidote to his lies is Truth, and Truth only comes from the Man who called Himself the Truth.

         In other words, without the Truth, you’re on your own.

         And since the devil has no need to fight those not against him (the majority of the world), he concentrates his attacks on Christians.

         Why is this the case? Simply because the devil won’t waste his time with peripheral people and issues that do not directly affect his central modus operandito stop his one and only mortal enemy by attempting to corrupt and hoodwink those who claim to be His followers.

         As the Lord Jesus Himself was tempted by the devil, and in a very major way, every Christian will also be tempted by the devil.

         But not all Christians will pass the test.

         It should be obvious when researching general Christian history that most Christians fail the test. They fail the test the same way Adam and Eve failed the test. They end up serving the devil whether they know it or not. The Lord said you will know them by their fruits. This is why unreal Christians are included among the deceived.

         The devil is essentially a keystone predator. He has no natural enemy that can touch him or do him any harm whatsoever, except for one. The devil runs roughshod over this world doing whatever he wants to do, destroying, stealing, and murdering. He was here before we were. He knows the landscape. The apostle Paul called him “the god of this world:”

         And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2Corinthians 4:3-4]

         Consider that statement—the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.

         Why? How? And how does he have this power?

         It must somehow be according to the will and plan of God.

         But consider how far-reaching that power is, that the devil has the ability to blind the minds of EVERYONE who does not believe, including unbelieving “Christians.”

         What constitutes an unbeliever?

         An unbeliever, from the New Covenant perspective and writings, is anyone who does not honor, trust, and obey the Lord Jesus as one’s sole Master, Rabbi, Shepherd, and Savior. And if one wants a pure description and illustration of real New Covenant believers in action, one must read the Book of Acts.

         It is there where one will discover the evidence that constitutes a real believer, the dividing line between believer and unbeliever, and deduce the presence of unbelievers who masquerade as believers, whose minds have been blinded by the god of this world.

         Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [Galatians 6:7-8] [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.

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!)

GREAT AWAKENING ALERT        

         In light of my most recent post, What Was In The Village? (link), many excellent comments were made in answering that question. For those who haven’t read it I encourage you to do so, and suggest you read the comments as well.

         In the following two articles listed below, I further identify what was in the village of Bethsaida in the Lord’s time when He had to lead a blind man outside of town in order to heal him. There was something located in Bethsaida that made it not possible for the healing to take place there.

         Many of us can identify with this phenomenon. The hindrance is much closer than many of us realize. The following articles reveal this. I strongly suggest we read these articles both for the knowledge therein, but also to get free and set others free.

         There is much the Lord Jesus wants to do and can do, but many think He has blown them off or won’t answer their prayers. In reality, Strongholds are present in places where we have grown comfortable and must be destroyed in order to first eliminate the deception regarding the Lord’s intentions (or perceived non-intentions), and secondly, eliminate the actual hindrance that keeps the Lord from working.

         Once a particular Stronghold is identified, we can do battle against it, but it’s difficult to fight against an unseen enemy or one we do not even know exists.

         In others words, if we want the miracles we seek, we’ll have to take the Lord by the hand, let Him lead us out of Bethsaida (in our blind condition), and go with Him to a spiritual location where He has full authority…

LINKS:

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 1

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 2

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

What Was In The Village?

         And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?”

         And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.”

         Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.

         And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” [Mark 8:22-26] [1]

 

NOTICE THE FOLLOWING:

1) There was a blind man in Bethsaida

2) He was brought to the Lord Jesus

3) The Lord took the blind man by the hand and brought him out of the village…

 

         What was in the village?

 

4) Outside the village, the Lord spit on the blind man’s eyes

5) The Lord then laid His hands on the blind man

6) He asked the blind man if he could see anything

 

         What was in the village?

 

7) The blind man LOOKED UP and said he SAW men like trees walking around

8) The Lord laid His hands on the man’s eyes and his sight was RESTORED

9) The Lord told the man who was blind to go straight home and DO NOT ENTER THE VILLAGE

 

         What was in the village?

 

         © 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.