Monthly Archives: April 2018
There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers. [Proverbs 6:16-19]
The Lord Jesus said the devil is the father of lies. Therefore whoever engages in lying is siding with the devil. Whoever sides with the devil has turned his back on the Lord. Lying is a great evil. It is a great sin. It is one of the greatest evils and one of the greatest sins.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” [John 8:34]
The word “commits” is from the Greek poiôn: (present active participle). It means “continuous habit or practice.” It denotes ongoing sin in any area with little or no repentance or desire to stop.
Lying is a great evil in part because it destroys trust. It destroys the possibility of trust. No one can trust a liar. No one can have true fellowship with a liar. Even liars know this. Whoever trusts a liar is an idiot.
One can never know when a liar is lying or if he or she is choosing to lie at any given time. Maybe this time they are telling the truth. Maybe they aren’t. How can one know unless they can verify each statement? Some liars only lie on occasion. They save their lies when they can best be used. Others lie almost constantly. The latter are easier to catch. They are bad liars. Good liars fool the best of us. Good liars are the best. World class liars are the very best. Maybe they never lie to their friends and family. Maybe they do. How would anyone know? The most evil liars are those who deceive great numbers of people. The greatest of these are those who deceive their own people.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” [Exodus 20:16]
“You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.” [Leviticus 19:11-12]
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD. [Proverbs 12:22]
Who were the greatest liars at the time of the Lord Jesus? Who was He referring to when He said the following?
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8:44]
1) Pharisees (John 8:13)
2) Probably Scribes (John 8:3)
3) Unbelieving Jews (John 8:22, 48, 52, 57)
(All who oppose the Lord Jesus are in the same boat. It’s a big boat.)
The Gospel of John Chapter 8 begins with scribes and Pharisees dragging a woman into the temple treasury where the Lord was teaching ready to stone her because she had been accused of adultery. The chapter ends with some of these same people picking up what are most likely the very same stones to stone the Lord. Why?
Because He is the greatest Prophet who ever lived. He saw right through them. They couldn’t hide. He revealed them as the liars and hypocrites they were. He exposed them as pretenders who claimed to be children of Abraham and of God but were actually children of the devil. He also exposed them as bald-faced liars who lied about everything all the live long day. Their entire lives were a lie. Nobody else apparently knew this or did anything about it if they did. But He obviously knew it. He knows who all the liars are. Many of us do not know this until the liars are caught in some lie and it becomes obvious.
ALL LIARS ARE MESSIAH REJECTERS
But if such liars have gained control and the people they have gained control over are also liars or do not care that their leaders are liars then the liars will get away with their lying. This is part of how the Messiah rejecters gained power. They joined up with the devil and rode his coattails. They lied and cheated and deceived their way to the top. No one ever successfully challenged them until the Lord did.
He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. [Psalm 101:7]
This does not mean they cannot gain positions of great power. It only means they will not dwell in the Lord’s house. It means they will have no place with the Lord. He won’t have anything to do with them. They will be completely out of fellowship and communication with Him. Some pretend to be with Him but they lie. They betray themselves by their lies. Their deceit extends even to lying about their deceit.
But not to worry, they say. I lied, they say, and no lightning bolt crashed down upon my head. This means there is actually no retribution for my lying, they say. Besides, they say, lying is often very necessary to get along in this world. It is also necessary to protect us from evil people. Really? It’s okay to lie and engage in deceit to protect us from liars and deceivers? That may be true for liars and deceivers (obviously) but it’s not true for the Lord. There are no liars in His kingdom and there will be no liars in heaven.
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [Revelation 21:8]
The rule of thumb here is thus: Whatever one does, it must be okay with the Lord and must be acceptable in His kingdom and in His eternal heaven. If one must sin “to do right” then one is only protecting something temporal and has very low priorities. It would be better to do right by God and be honest. If one is in a high position of power and is getting away with lying it is only because no one with sufficient authority and influence is calling him or her on it, or is but such advice is rejected. The latter is highly unlikely because those who make their living lying don’t want such people around. It’s why the great liars get off scot-free while whistleblowers exposing the lies are persecuted.
As a case in point, it is why the wicked Hebrew kings of old kept killing the Hebrew prophets and righteous ones who exposed their sin and depravity. The king most guilty of engaging in this practice was good old Solomon, the “wisest man who ever lived.” His brilliant propaganda reaches us still, three thousand years later. Few remember or know about his great sin in so many areas. All they know is that he was “wise.” So wise that he still deceives, like so many others who have learned to greatly deceive and are greatly deceiving the entire world right now…
THE ONLY SOLUTION
“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] 
© 2018 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.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2Corinthians 5:17]
For the early believers, salvation included an experience. It constituted a complete change—an actual spiritual circumcision of the heart. Their lives were entirely transformed and the transformation was undeniable. Each individual had become a new creation. It happened through a prescribed course of action. It did not happen by osmosis. They had to make a conscious decision to leave the old and become the new:
…That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. [Ephesians 4:22-24]
As the centuries passed, however, Christianity became ideological. It became philosophical. It became led by men who never had such an experience. Converts who had never fulfilled the New Covenant requirements of the new birth were accepted into the Christian fold. Indeed, many if not most of these conversions were coerced.
They created a counterfeit construct. Their agenda was diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Lord in this context, in that they rejected the call for spiritual transformation and instead created mass groupings of cultural Christians, or what may be termed Christians in Name Only. They manipulated their constituents, those unaware of the spurious nature of the dogmatic belief system thrust upon them, to follow it without question and instituted penalties for those who did not, and greater penalties for those who failed to honor their leaders properly.
Consequently, those subjected to the fable generators obeyed them without hesitation, even against their own conscience and ethical beliefs, thinking their superiors were wise above measure and in possession of a higher truth they could personally never master or fully understand. Their surrender was such that they feared the repercussions of not honoring their respective religious ideologies more than they feared not standing up for the Lord Jesus, as if His judgment of their eternal status was inferior to their present societal status within their chosen religious cultures.
As time passed, future generations of these people took cultural pride in their faux Christian constructs and the leaders thereof, not wishing to even consider the possibility of other alternatives, including the only correct one.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. [2Timothy 4:3-4]
MOCKING THE NEW BIRTH
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. [John 1:12-13]
The majority of those who call themselves Christians have never had a true born again experience. Though the experience is fully documented in the New Covenant writings, excuses ad infinitum have come forth over the years toward rejecting it and even mocking it. It is clear the people who do this are either unaware of Scripture or have been taught one of these excuses as a point of doctrine. It must be acknowledged that unregenerate flesh hates the idea of being spiritually crucified and it is therefore no wonder it will always fight for self preservation, even if said preservation destroys any chance of spiritual preservation.
Most Christians understand the concept of sin but have also accepted varying definitions of it. There is, of course, from a New Covenant perspective, only one definition. From the Greek word hamartia, it is defined as “missing the mark,” “to err,” and even “to be without a share.” That is, whoever is in sin or is in possession of unconfessed sin misses God’s requirements for inclusion within His Community. If someone wants to create another community, however, and call it Christian, and does not acknowledge this definition or fails to require the only cure for sin, then its members are off the hook and will receive no conviction from peers or even from their own conscience, though the latter will take some time.
Thus, justifying sin is in league with justifying the rejection of the new birth. Both of these protect resident sin and unregenerate flesh, and the acceptors of such a non-New Covenant belief system will receive no power over sin and one will thus be subjected to its ravages.
The Lord Jesus went through great personal expense to buy our freedom and we, by comparison, even through a full born again experience, pay nowhere near the same price, but any price we pay is a bargain. To be rid of sin is the goal. To be filled with His Spirit is the further goal. Yet both are also Christianity 101 and prerequisite to anything further. The apostles began this way. Mary, the Lord’s mother, began this way. The 120 began this way. Prior to Acts 2 they were essentially no different than they had ever been on a spiritual level. The new birth awaited. The circumcision of their hearts had yet to take place. Such could never happen without the Spirit of the Lord.
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.” [Acts 1:4-5] 
So they waited. They went to the Upper Room and prepared themselves. They paid the price. Some likely dropped out and never made it to the day of the great event. By giving it their all the 120 made themselves worthy. They never substituted mere religious ideology for spiritual reality. They wanted the real thing and nothing would stop them from their goal.
© 2018 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.
The light of the real Gospel exposes all darkness. It shines upon all who lurk in the shadows of sin. It reveals every hidden enemy of the Lord Jesus to those with eyes to see.
We live in a time of veiled opposition. Most people are completely unaware of the spiritual warfare raging all around them. There are times when this warfare flashes into the open. It happens whenever the real Gospel is properly presented by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is when sinners are exposed. Their sin becomes known to them. Many blessedly surrender unto salvation. When this happens on a large scale, Great Awakenings break forth. The kingdom of the Lord expands and advances.
Parallel to this, the unrepentant enemies of the Lord are also exposed, often by their own hateful and rapid reactionary response which they most often cannot manage. We call this triggering or getting triggered. It often takes place in people with low or no impulse control. A stimulus causes a reflex. Something sets them off.
That something is the truth of the Gospel. More so, it is the truth of the real identity of the Lord Jesus. When His real identity is veiled, obscured, watered-down, or removed, there is little reaction. His enemies are pacified. But when the real Gospel is brought forth and His real identity, authority, and presence are fully noted, His enemies suddenly become extremely upset and angry. They are instantly inflated with antagonism and rapidly rise up to fight. The more resentful they are the more reactionary they become. The more antichrist they are, the more they agitate.
It never changes. When the real Gospel is preached as it was in the beginning it happens. When the Lord Jesus is lifted up for who He really is it always occurs. His enemies cannot contain themselves. Their bitterness and hatred will not allow them to. They must fight back to defend their false paradigm and faulty construct to which they have dedicated their lives and in which they are fully invested.
THE EARLY CHURCH IN ACTS
The real time demonstration of this dynamic is entirely clear as plainly illustrated by the following compelling events from the Book of Acts, captured brilliantly by Luke. Many Christians are not aware of these passages and many others rebuff them as irrelevant and even inappropriate. Others are embarrassed and discomfited, as the Scriptural record does not fit their religious and cultural narratives.
Though listed here as highlighted sections in a chronological format, I encourage everyone to also read these passages in full context and thereby gain even greater insight into the genuine outworking of the original Gospel presentation, why it applies to the present, and how it exposes the antichrist spirit. We are blessed to have this historical documentation.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. [Romans 1:16]
THE HISTORICAL RECORD
But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. [Acts 9:22-25]
And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. [Acts 9:28-29]
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.” [Acts 10:38-39]
Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. [Acts 12:1-3]
When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. [Acts 13:5-8]
The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. [Acts 13:44-52]
In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there they continued to preach the gospel. [Acts 14:1-7]
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. [Acts 14:19-20]
But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. [Acts 17:5-9]
But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. [Acts 17:13-14]
And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Then he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. [Acts 18:4-7]
But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters.” And he drove them away from the judgment seat. And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things. [Acts 18:12-17]
After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia. When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece. And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. [Acts 20:1-3]
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. [Acts 20:17-21]
As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. [Acts 21:10-12]
Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them. When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. Then all the city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. [Acts 21:26-31]
But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them. Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” [Acts 22:30 – 23:3]
And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks. But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who formed this plot. They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.”
But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.” So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.” The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?” And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.” So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.” And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.” They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. [Acts 23:10-13]
After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders, with an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought charges to the governor against Paul. After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, “Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation, we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing. For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then we arrested him. We wanted to judge him according to our own Law. But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you. By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.” The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so. [Acts 24:1-9]
Festus then, having arrived in the province, three days later went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul, and they were urging him, requesting a concession against Paul, that he might have him brought to Jerusalem (at the same time, setting an ambush to kill him on the way). Festus then answered that Paul was being kept in custody at Caesarea and that he himself was about to leave shortly. [Acts 25:1-4]
After he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove, while Paul said in his own defense, “I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?” But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, “You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go.” [Acts 25:6-12]
So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” [Acts 26:19-23]
When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, “YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”’ Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.
And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. [Acts 28:23-31] 
© 2018 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.
What would happen in any of our hallowed church services if someone in the congregation stood up and started heckling the preacher in the name of “correcting” him?
Everywhere the Lord went during His ministry He enjoyed support and success, and the joy of knowing He was making a difference in the lives of those He loved.
Then the hecklers showed up. They couldn’t help themselves. They lived to confront Him, question Him, tell Him He was wrong about everything, complain about Him, call Him names, call His mother names, and generally be ongoing everlasting pests that dogged Him without end.
They were never satisfied. Every correct answer He gave was never good enough. For the most part He stayed calm and collected, knowing He was dealing with dimwits. They never cared so much about all the good He was doing or could do, but only that He wasn’t doing it their way. He wasn’t teaching their way. He wasn’t teaching what they taught (and thank goodness for that). He didn’t buy in to all their religious stuff. He wasn’t into getting rich off the ministry or turning it into a job. He didn’t care so much about making a name for Himself, so to speak, or standing up for His honor and His character. He knew He was only passing through and that most would reject Him. In that process, He strove to find the few who appreciated Him and were open to His ministry. He came to help but was often treated really bad by incessant detractors.
There were times when He had to be strong and tell ‘em off. His many rebukathons are never heard in most churches and ministries today. Many ministers wish these powerful and strong words of His that make many nominal believers (themselves included) so uncomfortable, had never been recorded. Such words don’t sound very loving. Though the Lord Jesus IS Love and no one could possibly be more loving, many Christians believe He didn’t sound so loving at all when He ripped the Pharisees and their associated ilk to the core of their being.
HIPPIES IN LEISURE SUITS
Some churches and ministry organizations have effectively eliminated all things discipleship. They don’t want to mention anything even closely resembling spiritual warfare, hardship, or suffering. Everything is all bright and peachy keen and rainbows and lollipops and many of these people look and act like hippies in leisure suits. These people love everyone who believes exactly as they do.
“Um, the Lord was crucified. It was a bloody, violent death. All of the original twelve, except apparently, John, died the violent bloody deaths of martyrs. Paul had his head cut off. So did James. So did John the Immerser. Anything like that ever happen around here?”
Such hate portends the presence of a very violent enemy who will stop at nothing. When given the chance this enemy will kill every real Christian he possibly can. Millions of real Christians have died such a death. They all stood tall. They are all great heroes. Though you rarely hear about it in churches and most ministries, not to mention, obviously the main stream media, real Christians are presently undergoing severe persecution all over the planet and have been for a long time, especially in places like China where they are having a major impact.
In America, we don’t see this. It is because American Christianity in general is not much of a threat. It is also because we have laws against it. It is because America is the one country in the world that has the highest level of religious freedom written into its founding Constitution. This does not mean there will not be persecution. This does not mean there is not persecution. It only means the persecution comes in a different form. The persecution still comes to the greatest extent that it can and the perpetrators thereof certainly wish they could do much more, as was done to the originals. But alas, the enemies of the Lord are restricted by freedom principles established by our founders and the great American patriots of that time. No other country ever had such great ones and that’s why no other country has our freedoms, especially the freedom to serve the Lord Jesus the way He has called us to do.
I have an internet friend. His name is Bill. He has a disease that leaves him bound in a wheelchair unable to move or even talk. But he has a blog. He has had it for years. He says what he wants to say. Even though his body almost doesn’t work at all he still manages to speak his heart and lift up the name of Jesus. He would probably wish I would shut up about Him but I appreciate him and see him as a very great man. He is a hero. He has effectively said, “Fine. My health is pretty much gone. But I’m still here. AND I AM GOING TO DO WHAT THE LORD HAS CALLED ME TO DO REGARDLESS.” The enemy will never stop him. Ever.
Many of us have suffered greatly and suffered great losses. But we go on. We see what happened to the Lord. We see what they did to all the early believers. We see how real Christians are persecuted all the live long day by those who insist on perpetrating suffering to uphold their own beliefs and traditions. Because we have laws in America, all these people can do for the most part is bring insults and attempt to destroy one’s name and character.
I have another internet friend. Her name is Kat. She is one of those stalwart ones who preach against abortion, including right out on the sidewalks in front of abortion mills. It is her life. The Lord called her to it. She knows many more have been called but most don’t go. It is too hard. They don’t want the hassle. She works extremely hard and is very dedicated. You probably don’t want to know about all the insults and threats she and her associates have suffered. It is pretty much ongoing. She has effectively said, “Abortion is a great evil. It must end. Babies must be saved. AND I AM GOING TO DO WHAT THE LORD HAS CALLED ME TO DO REGARDLESS.” The enemy will never stop her. Ever.
THE REAL GOSPEL
We know by the Lord’s example what we must do. As Christians we are all called to help Him save the lost. The mature are all specialists by gifting according to the Romans 12 model. Those of us who have been at it a long time have been slandered and reviled, and this never stops. Most people are never a problem. Even non-believers can be quite friendly and charming, and even supportive. There will always be some unbelievers, however, who are quick to strike out and show the hatred in their hearts. But most don’t do this. Those who do are miffed because their beliefs get challenged.
Well, that’s pretty much what the real Gospel does. It challenges beliefs. When the real Gospel comes to town all the little imps come out of their hovels and start throwing hissy fits. They get their panties in a wad. These are those who have bought into something contrary to the Gospel and do not appreciate being told they have been deceived. The real Gospel thus causes powerful reactions. For one person, it is Good News that sets him or her free and makes life abundant and joyous. For another, it is heresy, and strange and weird and off-putting and evil. One accepts it with open arms and another rejects it with a passion.
Regarding the Lord’s Gospel preaching method (since He created the Gospel), the following are two differing approaches depending on the audience:
THAT DOESN’T SOUND SO LOVING
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:23-28]
BUT DIDN’T YOU JUST SAY…?
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” [Luke 6:27-36]
CORRECT SPIRITUAL BEHAVIOR
From these passages we know there will be designated hecklers and that they must be loved. The Lord taught this. No other curriculum teaches this. Most people think it is impossible to bridge such a contrary gap. The chasm is too wide. You can’t get there from here. Paul wrote:
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. [Romans 12:9-14] 
On the one hand the Lord’s enemies were always coming after Him with a passion with a firm belief that their job was to heckle Him always to prove themselves right and Him wrong. Otherwise they knew they would lose. They had to defend their enterprise, their chosen belief system, and their hand-picked “facts.” On the other hand the Lord said to love them, something no one can really do except with His help. The fact that He loved them did not stop Him from telling them off. But a word of caution here: It is relatively easy to tell someone off. It is not so easy to turn the other cheek. What this means is that the more the designated hecklers come after those they insist are wrong, the more they will be subjected to the same treatment in some form or another from someone or something else. The Lord was strong enough to take it and thus was both strong enough and qualified to dish it out when necessary. (Plus, He was never wrong.)
The designated hecklers are not lovers because if they were lovers they would not be heckling. What the Lord did during His rebukathons was not heckling. It was telling the truth about their real motivation for the sake of illustrating correct spiritual behavior. But it cost Him. He knew it would cost Him. Loving them was what kept Him from feeling otherwise about them, and that is the lesson.
It is the triumph of love over hatred and good over evil.
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” [Revelation 12:9-10]
FROM THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA:
124 Accuser: <a-kuz’-er> This word, not found in the Old Testament, is the rendering of two Greek words:
(1) Greek: kategoros, that is, a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another (Acts 23:30, 35; 25:16, 18; Rev 12:10);
(2) Greek: diabolos, meaning adversary or enemy. This word is rendered “accuser” in the King James Version and “slanderer” in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version (2Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3).
According to the rabbinic teaching Satan, or the devil, was regarded as hostile to God and man, and that it was a part of his work to accuse the latter of disloyalty and sin before the tribunal of the former (see Job 1:6 ff; Zechariah 3:1 f; Revelation 12:10).
THE ADVERSARY AT WORK
We gather from the Book of Job that The Adversary (HaSatan) is in the business of doing everything possible to denigrate the people of God. As the early conversation goes, the Lord holds up Job to be a good example and a fine servant:
The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” [Job 1:8]
The Adversary was just getting started. He had plenty of fuel left. He rammed it into high gear and began telling the Lord it was only because He protects him so, and makes him virtually impervious to attack. He said:
“Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” [Job 1:9-11]
And this, thus, is the challenge. The Lord indeed protects His people but there are times when they must be tested. They are often tested, as per the Lord’s example, when something profound is about to happen. They must be found with no pride or arrogance. In essence, they must be tested and submitted to a process by which they can be purged of anything possibly within them that causes them to act like the enemy.
OVERCOMING THE FLESH
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Matthew 26:41]
In New Covenant terminology, there is much reference to “the flesh.” It is defined as that part of a person which is indicative of one’s lower nature, that of purely natural processes, in which one acts according to one’s pure sinful humanity rather than according to the Spirit. The process of discipleship is therefore an ongoing progression toward developing a spiritual nature rather than a carnal one. The carnal nature wants to always be first, number one, and act out of personal pride. It is the antithesis of spiritual humility.
As I mentioned in my last post, the Lord Jesus said we must be as children. Young children have yet to develop the carnal nature brought on by advancement in sin. They are often joyous, happy, trusting, and humble. In answer to those of His disciples who were arguing about which of them might be the greatest, the Lord put forth the following:
But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.” [Luke 9:47-48]
The Lord obviously has a different definition of greatness. One sees this greatness in Him, as He is the most humble Man who ever lived, very self-effacing and always willing to turn the other cheek. He allowed Himself to be persecuted in such a way that those close to Him did not understand. In saying at His ongoing trial right before His death that His kingdom was not of this world, it helps explain so many of His actions when it appeared He never took up for Himself the way most people do.
He knew who He was, of course, but also lived according to a higher standard that is contrary to living according to basic human nature, in which selfishness and pride must rule.
The Lord Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God without measure, as the Father in His fullness dwelt within Him. He is God in flesh. But He still had His flesh to deal with. He overcame His flesh on an ongoing basis and never, ever allowed it to have the upper hand. Because He disciplined His flesh in such a powerful manner, His flesh was always subservient to His Spirit. This took a lot of work, the kind most people know nothing about, which also includes many Christians. Overcoming the flesh is a must for the spiritual disciple of the Lord. It is the only way one’s spirit can rule. But long before that occurrence can ever happen, one’s spirit must be born. It is why all real believers undergo a born-again experience. Otherwise, the flesh, or lower human nature, remains in charge.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [Galatians 5:19-21]
Those who do practice such things must be under the Law. They have not taken authority over their lower nature and must therefore be ruled from without by a higher power. They must be told what they can and cannot do on a daily basis. Their conscience must always be at work to give them every opportunity of assistance toward knowing right and wrong, since they cannot control themselves. It is, of course, possible to overcome the dictates and desires of the flesh somewhat through personal (non-spiritual) discipleship of a kind, but this usually involves the mere strapping-on-of-the-plow for singular purposes which have no bearing on taking full control, since such is impossible. Those who appear to achieve it only give the impression of overcoming their lower nature but at best all they do is temporarily suppress it. There is only one way to defeat the flesh and bring it under subjection and that is by the Spirit of God.
WINNING THE BATTLE
Perhaps this is why there must be an accuser. As in the previously stated ISBE definition, the accuser is as “a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another.” This is what HaSatan did to Job. The Lord spoke of Job in glowing terms. He was quite proud of His child. But the devil had to do his part, in that he must make every attempt to prove to God that Job was indeed not so great at all. He felt strongly he could prosecute him successfully if given the chance.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” [Matthew 5:10-13]
When people join in with the devil to help him in his work, they engage in the insults as listed above. The flesh hates such insults, in that it will always strike back against attack and accusations if at all possible, unless greater damage may be done to it. What the Lord taught in this regard is absolutely completely contrary to the will of the flesh. He said disciples must rejoice when under persecution and undergoing slander? Yes. It is counterintuitive. It makes no sense to a carnal mind. But all this is illustrated in the life of Job. He was put to the test. His life was virtually destroyed. He lost everything. But he never lost his faith in God. He was being made fun of and accused even by his friends. His own wife told him to curse God. How many could hold up under such an onslaught? How many can withstand such ongoing adversarial tactics? How many can overcome the Accuser of the Brethren?
Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” [Mark 15:29-31]
But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” [Luke 23:33-35] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Engaging the enemy to advance one’s present cause will demand eventual future payment, and the latter will be much greater than the former.
Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. [John 11:47-53]
They knew they could never get the job done on their own. They were not powerful enough. They knew they must actually engage their avowed enemy in order to kill their greatest enemy. It was at the preceding meeting when a conspiracy of much greater comport was brought forth. They had conspired before on several occasions. They had gotten together in their secret, grungy little hideaways and poured over the possibilities of how they might do Him in but it always came to no avail. They failed on every previous occasion.
But when they at last decided on the most diabolical trick of all, to engage the Roman Empire in their sad little conspiracy, they were on the road to success. In common parlance this is called “selling one’s soul to the devil.” We know this is done. There is certainly a devil and he will certainly work to advance the cause of those who want the same things he wants, and it doesn’t matter if they like him or worship him or not. He knows the very act of their willing engagement is enough to please and satisfy him, and gives him that much more of an opportunity to advance his own cause.
The way this generally works is one decides to invoke a higher power to gain personal power and wealth, and the ability to satisfy one’s lusts to the nth degree. The devil is only too willing to comply. If one believes this process is not possible and is only a fanciful myth, one might want to know that even the Holy Scriptures state that the devil is the overall ruling power of this present world and that his power and authority is superseded only by the Lord Himself:
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 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 4:1-4]
One may wonder how the devil has such power that he can make people oblivious to the Gospel which would otherwise set them free. How does he blind them? It is actually very simple: They must be unbelieving. If one chooses not to believe he subjects himself to spiritual blindness. If one has no love for the truth the truth will consequently be hidden to him. The Lord protects His Truth and His Gospel and does not throw His pearls before swine. Because they do not believe, they cut themselves off from any advancement or blessing from the Lord.
This leaves them with only two choices. They can attempt to make it in this world only through their own power and strength which includes help from other unbelievers. Most, however, have no such access to higher human power or wealth and know that those who have it will probably never allow them in their exclusive clubs. Their lives, then, are destined to be humble.
The second choice is to invoke the only other higher power available. Many unbelievers want no part of this, though. They are wise enough in their own eyes that such a route will cost them later and their personal desires are such that they would rather do without or with very little and thus maintain their own pride and limited freedom. Historically, these people usually comprise the lower classes. They are not tied into those with wealth, the higher classes, and refuse, possibly from fear, any close association with the devil. Their understanding is limited but at least they are not sell-outs.
Regarding those who refuse to be denied, however, they simply do not care about any future payment. They have enough confidence in themselves that they feel they will find a way out of that when the time comes or simply continue to negotiate and make future deals. When the political/religious leaders of the Jews in the first century decided to make a deal with the Romans to get the Lord, it was not as if they were not already well aware of invoking high demonic powers. This had already been part of their modus operandi.
The Lord Jesus had already revealed their hearts and motives on this and rebuked them for it. He told them and the entire nation what they were. They were exposed.
They had no legal authority to kill Him but the Romans did. It was thus to the Romans they went but only in a very deceptive, conspiratorial way. They rigged things behind the scenes in such a way that they essentially grabbed Pontius Pilate by the, well, by the heart, we will say. He had no idea what was going on until the trap was sprung. When it was he suddenly saw his entire career and reputation going up in flames if he did not comply with their wishes. To say this was diabolical on their part is somewhat of an understatement, if that is possible, in that I think they must have greatly impressed the devil with their conniving.
They were thinking only about the present. If they did think at all about the future they never expected what would eventually happen. They effectively not only sealed their own fate, they sealed the fate of their nation. That the Lord died for the nation is true, but only for the believing remnant. When full payment was eventually called for, the unbelievers were forced to pay in full. They lost it all. And in a strange karmic-déjà vu twist of Biblical proportions, it was those very Romans who brought forth both justice and judgment. The conspirators destroyed themselves with their own scheming brilliance.
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” [Matthew 18:2-7] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.