HAPPY SIXTH BIRTHDAY, REAL CHRISTIANITY
As of today, Real Christianity has completed a full six years and begins year number seven. My thanks and sincere appreciation goes out to all of you for your gracious and faithful support.
It means a lot. I remember well when I was a rookie Christian brimming over with the Spirit of the Lord and wanting to give everything I had. I was in the process of devouring the Word of God. I could not get enough. I was breezing through the Bible and was forever continually amazed. I distinctly recall the day when I read 1Corinthians 14:1 for the first time:
“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
The apostle Paul made it very clear in this passage that there was something very special about the prophetic gift. I knew next to nothing at the time but was learning fast. I really did not understand the full impact of the request I was about to make, but my brother Paul appeared to be talking directly to me. I took his advice personally. I figured that if the prophetic gift had the word “especially” attached to it then I had better seek it. It seemed that Paul was saying it was needed the most. I had some understanding of the gifts at that time since I read 1Corinthians 12 before I got to 14, and I had also seen the gifts in action.
But again, when I saw 14:1 I went directly to the Lord in prayer and told Him that if the prophetic gift was what He wanted me to have and it was needed the most then I wanted it. I was seeing the bigger picture. I wanted to be of greater service.
“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” [1Corinthians 14:2-3]
After about a year I was preaching in a pulpit. I did most of my preaching outside the church building, however. Yet, in my estimation at the time, I wasn’t really preaching out there, and it was not preaching in the conventional sense. Instead, it was what I may term anointed witnessing. And Boy Howdy, I was witnessing to everyone. It was not at all unlikely for me to go 45 minutes at a time. I had so much to give and the Lord just kept on anointing me to keep going. Those poor people! I know many appreciated it but I also found out early on that many did not. I started getting called “Reverend” and “Little Jesus” and other names I forget but you get the gist. I caught some flack but not all that much. Most of the flak came from a few.
What I discovered was that the majority of the people were very open and respectful. The ones who caused me the greatest grief were those in closer proximity, if you get my drift. It seems the people who are connected relationally understand without really knowing why that the relational connection put an ongoing pressure on them to consider the truth, whereas people I didn’t know could simply walk away and would likely never see me again. It is easier to be polite that way. The Lord summed it up as thus:
“A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” [Mark 6:4]
Most Christians never make the connection that one’s “own household” is often one’s own church. This is in part why church as we know it doesn’t work past a certain point. Whoever wants to get in deep with the Lord and go all out like every real disciple should finds out that after about two years or so he or she will come to a previously unseen spiritual fork in the road. One will either continue to move on with the Lord and stay strong and continue developing or one will succumb to church life.
Since you just read something considered by some to be quite pejorative, a caveat is called for: Some Christians outside of the preaching profession are meant to serve long term in local churches. Therefore, I am not saying that one cannot find their ministry and exercise their calling within a local, traditional body. The problem is that most can’t. And the problem there is that there are only a few places where one can. So even if one wants to serve there is most often no place in which to serve except on a very limited basis.
But the Lord did not call us to limited service. He demands our entire heart, our entire life, and our entire everything. If a Christian holds back he or she is limiting God and can never become a fully developed and mature disciple.
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]
This is why He used a different method from what most Christians are used to. He had to create a venue in which every single one of His children could minister in exactly the way He called them to minister. This is also why He created diverse spiritual giftings. Again, in reading 1Corinthians 12 and 14 we see many of these giftings and also several different places of service. However, there is no room whatsoever for the vast majority of these giftings and places of service in traditional local assemblies.
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.” [Luke 5:37-38]
And there it is. That’s the key. The key word is FRESH. An old wineskin might be good for something but it is never good for new wine.
In my six years here on WordPress I have met a great many people doing exactly what we were all called to do—that being whatever the Lord has placed on our hearts. It is limited to putting digital words on a screen but is unlimited regarding what those words are. The Lord sees it all and will judge it accordingly. We should all be seeking His approval but that can only come through faithful obedience. The great thing about venues such as this is one can preach or teach or write or witness to their heart’s content without any limitations save for those coming from the Lord.
The greater impact is that internet communities are formed. Friends are made. Brothers and sisters come together. Truth is disseminated. There is no one telling you that you must comply with some traditional outlook or force you to believe a certain way if it conflicts with what God says. If we make mistakes the Lord is forgiving. Children make mistakes. Do we hold it against a child for not knowing any better? Neither does the Lord. He loves us no matter what we do. But if we are fully dedicated we will learn. We will grow in wisdom. We will come upon truths we never saw before. The Lord can open our eyes.
My hope for each one of you is to continue growing ever-closer to the Lord Jesus and being even more effective for Him and one another. We know what happens when we achieve it: We help each other to change for the better—we all minister to one another. This is the essence of true koinonia. The Great Awakening is being driven by all those who are fully committed, insist on appropriating the full spiritual liberty the Lord died to give us, strive to fulfill their callings, and never look back.
“What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets…” [1Corinthians 14:26-32] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on May 10, 2017, in Current Events and tagged Discipleship, Happy Birthday, Koinonia, Lord Jesus, Ministry Within Community, Prophets, Spiritual Freedom, Spiritual Maturity, The Gift of the Holy Spirit, Where The Spirit of the Lord is There is Liberty. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.
Congratulations! I REALLY enjoyed this post, couldn’t help hearing you speak from your heart. Couldn’t help knowing the love you have for Jesus. I’m not sure if I am where you are yet, I also have experienced the gift of prophecy a few times and know that God is not limited at all by our deficiencies. I wandered away for a few years and it’s only the last two years or so that I have earnestly returned. I got focused on self, forgot who was Lord. Stupid. His presence and guidance has returned and Jesus knows that I love Him. My biggest fear is that I blew it and yet He reminds me that I never walked away from Him, never lost faith in who He was and is, I just allowed the waves around me, my own selfish needs, to overshadow His influence in my life. So I focus, like the Apostle Paul, on what lies ahead and forget the past as best I can. I spend a fair amount of time in the scriptures now, that never fails to draw me closer to Him and I am so grateful for that. My prayers have changed also and I take advantage of praying in tongues more frequently. And then there’s my blog and meeting brothers like you. Thank you for your faithfulness, for your witness. Blessings!
Thank you Bruce. Excellent comment and commentary of the life of every disciple. We all know He deserves the very, very best and we all try very hard to give Him that. But alas, the last time I checked we are all human.
Not to make excuses, but this world can present some serious opposition. I have found that an awareness of the enemy against us, opposing us, accusing us, trying to cause us to be ineffective, works well to stay on the attack against him. We must be on the offensive but are sometimes relegated by circumstances to get stuck in defensive mode.
Rather than man the crenellated battlements at the fort we must rush the field! The devil hates a head-on attack and can’t handle it. Christians who figure out that a powerful united front is death to the enemy are more willing to do what must be done to unite our forces and ATTACK. This makes living the Christian life far better and obviously more victorious.
I hope I have spelled out here that individual giftings and ministries are key for the individual to be the best he or she can be. Uniting together is then the next challenge. Achieving these two always brings great victory. United we stand. Divided we fall. (Or as I wrote in my book, divided we stall.)
The key to the enemy’s victory is attempting to keep us as individuals from ever becoming the powerful disciples the Lord has called us to be, and the greater part of that is keeping us from finding out who we are in the Lord. Breaking up the Body of Christ into disunity and a million denominations also helps.
Be blessed in all your work and life!
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We keep “pressing on”. The path ahead is a spiritual adventure for sure, especially in our country. Holy Spirit zeal to honor our Lord and to help harvest the “remnant” in this place. Mutual prayers to keep in step with Messiah’s Spirit! Thank you for your faithful example.
Thank you Gary, and for your faithful example. We will all get this done. The Lord gave us a picture one time of a morning sheepfold all crammed into close quarters for the night wanting to get out into the dewy field and into freedom. Once the shepherd opened the enclosure out they streamed. This is a picture of what must happen. Too many Christians have grown used to the protective safe space that certainly has its place in times of danger, and resist breaking out.
TO THE FIELDS WE GO. Be blessed, Brother.
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Many congratulations RJ and so interesting to learn more about you personally. Apologies for schedule delaying my comment – but now know it’s in His holy hands because am about to blog similarly to your reply to Gary and love to quote it as it’s now in public domain – and thus add to the declaration! Amen to yours to Bruce too.
Thank you Richard. Always appreciated!
The Lord commanded the early believers to make disciples. A real disciple is a 100% proposition. Real disciples of the Lord Jesus are dedicated to the Lord Jesus. He is their Master, and no one else. His real disciples only hear His voice. They will not respond to the voice of another. In reviewing the nature of Unreal Christianity in all its many forms through the centuries we discover many different forms of sheep. This is due to many different shepherds who differ from the real and only Good Shepherd. All of these defer to the voice of their respective “shepherds” instead of the voice of the Lord and we know this because their groups are all unique. They do not look like the original. These groups most often stay enclosed in faux enclosures perpetually due to a lack of spiritual freedom and power. They never rush the field because they have no desire to, are taught not to, have no reason to, and are not equipped to. But those who hear the Lord’s voice will permit Him to close them up at night for protection and trust Him when He releases them in the morning. They will follow Him anywhere.
Many blessings to you and yours!
[I saw that you are familiar with the book Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus. This is an excellent resource. See Section 3 in the Appendix for an excellent explanation of Matthew 11:12]
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Congratulations! I really enjoyed this post. I myself could not fully express my calling in the local church. Blogging helps me express my spiritual voice with a profound freedom.
Thank you, Sharon. One of the central reasons so many Christians have to minister outside the local church is because there is no place to attend to the fullness of their callings within it, which means the structure and format there does not line up or agree with that which the Lord Jesus created at the beginning. We have to go outside to find out how to create the structures and formats necessary so the local church can be all it is supposed to be.
In doing this we not only find the answers though it takes much seeking of the Lord, hard work, searching, and prayer, but we also discover the great resistance against proper change and reform. Eventually, local church bodies either get right with God or they get dead and compromised. The Book of Acts shows very clearly what can happen in either direction, and the New Covenant writers give us strong warnings against creating alternative fellowships that do not agree with the teachings of the Lord.
Be blessed in all your work!
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Hi RJ – The Lord reminded me recently that He must be worshiped in Spirit and in truth, and then He told me that there is no truth in the “churches” (the truth is compromised) and that the Spirit has departed from them. The word He gave me came with a warning for His people to exit such compromised churches at this time because they are about to go “dark”. I was on Divine assignment in my local church (revealing scriptural truths to the pastor that were not put into practice in the church) until a few weeks ago when He led me out. I can attest that I stopped feeling the Spirit’s presence in that sanctuary. Upon exiting, I was then promptly rejected by my church “family”. Now the Lord is leading my family to move cross-country for a new assignment He has not entirely revealed to me yet.
I keep you in my prayers. – Stephanie
Thank you, Stephanie. I appreciate it.
“Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” [Proverbs 11:14]
The research cited in this post agrees with much other research up to this point, some of it going back decades. There has been warning after warning. An untold number of strong and very bright believers have been shown the door, so to speak. Many others suffer in silence. I was just reading today that it took about a century for the so-called educated ecclesiastical class to come around to agreeing with Copernicus when he stated unequivocally that the earth orbits around the sun instead of vice versa. Truth is powerfully fought against when vested interests are involved.
Whatever the case, we must always do what the Lord Jesus says when He says to do it. Obedience is in our realm. Timing is in His.
Blessings to you
Some years ago, without knowing it I taught a passage in Isaiah to my women’s Bible study class that disagreed completely with what the pastor had taught recently at a funeral I did not attend. When he got word (way before anyone said anything to me!) he immediately dismissed me from the position I loved and valued for many years.
Well, you can take my class away, but you can’t shut me up 🙂 That’s when I started blogging my way through the scriptures, and the response, while slow, has been most amazing to me. As you say, a whole bunch of cyber-friends and contacts I never would have made if God hadn’t nudged me out of my comfort zone.
“Well, you can take my class away, but you can’t shut me up.” Great attitude! So many sincere believers have had similar experiences. Why is it that instead of working as intended the jerk filter often works in reverse?
Immaturity, pride, lack of experience. And, I suspect, not having a true call to be a pastor.
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