Monthly Archives: October 2019

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD

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       A Christian can determine how much love and respect he has for the Lord Jesus by whether or not he actually believes this statement and is willing to apply it.

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         And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26]

          Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” [Mark 10:27]

         But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” [Luke 18:27]

I KNOW GOD LOVES ME ‘CAUSE I’M RICH

       Many Jews of the Lord’s time believed prosperity was a sign of God’s approval. The Sadducees were certainly well off. The Pharisees were lovers of money. Accordingly, those without such prosperity, though otherwise hard workers and sincere commandment keepers, were undoubtedly looked upon by more than a few as essentially forsaken or rejected of God. They were seen, even among themselves, as somehow falling short due to some unknown inexpressible inherent weakness. They likely believed that God knew something about them or their character that excluded them from His greater blessings.

         This is why the Lord’s disciples were shocked at His teaching regarding the rich:

         And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” [Matthew 19:23-25]   

THE RICH YOUNG RULER

         There is a man referred to in Scripture as “the rich young ruler.” But don’t go searching for this particular collection of terms because you will not find it. It does not exist. The phrase appears nowhere in the New Testament. It is actually a descriptive compilation using separate single words from three different passages in three different gospel accounts which were later conformed into a whole, likely by preachers and Bible expositors.

         In the gospel of Matthew, this individual is referred to directly as “someone” and “the young man.” He is referred to by implication as “a rich man.” In the Matthew narrative it says he was one who owned much property. In Mark he is called “a man” and by implication “wealthy” and “a rich man.” Mark also says he was one who owned much property. In Luke the man is referred to as a “ruler” and by implication “wealthy” and “a rich man.” He is also said in the narrative to be extremely rich.

         So here we see an overall synopsis of a nameless historical character who unknowingly in his time provided a teaching example for all time. He became the subject of an object lesson that is still used today to present an eternal truth relative to everyone: Will we trade what we consider riches for a walk with the Lord? Will we take the chance? Will we risk everything? Those who do have satisfied themselves, at least to some degree, that all things truly are possible with God. In other words,

         They know that whatever they must surrender of this world to make the transformation to spiritual life simply does not matter and they would do it anyway regardless of what their new future may be.

         They know what the Lord has done in bringing them into the light and adopting them as His children, and that their life has changed dramatically for the better.

       They know as well that the Lord will provide spiritual riches far more valuable than whatever they surrendered.

         They also know He will bless them with compensation of a material or monetary nature necessary for sustaining one’s life in this world.

        (As an illustration, I will quote George Bailey from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, when he finds out that Clarence the angel has no money: “Ah, well, it comes in pretty handy down here, bub!”)

         The English word “ruler” is from the Greek word archon. Generally, this is one who has rule over others in either the religious or civil realms. The members of the Sanhedrin or synagogue officials were referred to as archons, as were civil magistrates and judges. Beyond these there were also men of wealth and influence known by this term. Scripture is not definitive on what kind of ruler the young man was but it appears clear that he had inherited great wealth from his father who must have been a significant individual. Hence, the young archon felt responsible not only for what he possessed and his own reputation but that of his father as well, who had undoubtedly worked very hard to attain his possessions and place in life.

         Yet we also know that this “rich young ruler” had spiritual things on his mind. Something had been nagging at him. From his demeanor there was no doubt he respected his father but he also had little or no input into the creation of the wealth he now possessed. He was grateful but he wanted something more. He knew there must be more. He had heard about this new prophet called Jesus and made it a point to address Him when he discovered the Lord was near.

         In the narrative we find that the man was raised well in that he knew the Law of Moses and kept it from his youth. Why could he not be satisfied? He was rich, a man of honor, from a good family, and respected the commandments of God. Why would he ever ask the following question: “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18). Had he not already fulfilled what the Law required? There is something missing here, and it is indicative of a person who is dutiful and respectful of God, his family tradition, and his culture, but is otherwise empty on the inside. His spirit is crying out for more, for spiritual sustenance, and his heart for something beyond the wealth of material and social benefits.

         When I was a young man my friends and I, though not Christians at the time or familiar with Scripture, would discuss such topics as wealth and social structure. We were raised on the lower end of middle class. We were not against wealth necessarily but could certainly see the adverse effect it had on people. In general, people with money appeared arrogant. They saw themselves as better than others. I was on a spiritual quest then and was searching for truth. Consequently, I was not as concerned with giving myself over to the acquisition of wealth and position. We worked. We earned money. But it wasn’t an obsession. I knew there had to be more. We talked about the concept of either owning stuff or stuff owning us.

         The Lord understood right away what the problem was. This is what that young man so long ago was going through. In his heart of hearts he wanted to follow the Lord. But with all of his wealth, obligations, and upper class authority over others he knew he could not. The simple solution then, was for him to just get rid of all his stuff, surrender his social status, and quit living for this temporary world. These things were holding him back! They were keeping him from going where he wanted to go and being what he wanted to be.

         “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” [Luke 18:22]

         Think about that. Would you rather have the world’s temporary treasure or treasure in heaven? If you lived back then and were given a direct invitation from THE LORD JESUS to come and follow Him and hang out with them and do all the fun stuff they were doing, would you do it? Could anything possibly be better?

          But the wealthy young archon could not. He couldn’t do it. And this is the test.

EXCUSES AD INFINITUM

         “He would have to give up everything!” And I answer that by saying that everyone who comes to the Lord has to give up everything. And whatever one must surrender is relative to one’s station in life. There is always a great cost because one must give his or her entire heart.

         “But what about making up for all one has surrendered or lost!” Well, I say, the Lord makes provision for that. He said as much in the same passages:

         “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” [Matthew 19:29]

         Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Mark 10:29-30]

          And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Luke 18:29-30] [1]

          If the young man had actually done it, if he had chucked it all in and threw in his lot with the Lord, the Lord would certainly have taken care of him. The cries of his heart would have been answered. Whatever he needed concerning the good things of this world the Lord would have given him. He would be rid of the monetary, family, and social obligations keeping him from a higher call. He would have activated his faith, trust, and confidence in the Lord. This in turn would have opened up a door to an entirely new life previously thought to be something that did not or could not ever exist. He would have entered into the glorious kingdom of heaven on earth. His heart would have been filled to overflowing with pure joy. Most importantly, he would have had a King who loved him.

           And he would have seen that all things are indeed possible with God.

           © 2019 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 MORE FALSE AUTHORITY THERE IS, THE LESS SPIRITUAL LIBERTY THERE IS

       

        All Christian authority is possessed only by the Lord Jesus. He permits the use of His authority only by those who completely submit to Him. His authority within others is never disconnected from Him.

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           And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” [Matthew 28:18]    

          Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” [Luke 24:44-49]

        It is not possible to be real witnesses of the Lord in the way He intended without receiving His power. This is why, forty days after the Resurrection and right before His ascension to heaven, He told the relatively few disciples He still had that they must receive His power first and be His witnesses second. To receive His power they were instructed to go back to the Upper Room, the same place where they had the Last Supper on the night of His arrest. They were to prepare themselves and wait in expectation for the promised outpouring of His Spirit.

HIGHER POWER

         So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free?’”

         Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

         “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:31-36] [1]

          (Notice how the Lord said there were slaves of sin in “the house.”)

        Many Christians have no understanding of the spiritual liberty made possible by the death and resurrection of the Lord. If He had not undergone that process He would not have had the means to release us from the power of sin and make us “free indeed” (instead of pretend free). In spiritual terms, repentance is representative of death. Without the death of the old there can be no birth of the new. We must hate sin and turn away from it. We must do our part to kill it. We must “lose” our life in order to find it.

        His resurrection had to precede our resurrections. But before we experience bodily resurrection we must experience a spiritual resurrection. We must be born again in order to gain spiritual liberty. But one does not become free from the power of sin by osmosis. One’s spiritual resurrection is an event! One knows when it happens! Thus, those Christians indifferent to spiritual liberty and the Lord’s spiritual power have yet to experience these events and are likely unaware of their existence. He knows we all need His authority and power to overcome the power of the evil one. Without it we are defenseless and unaware. He would never send His witnesses into the world (from then until now) without properly training and equipping them. Most important in this regard, of course, is receiving His Holy Spirit.

BYPASSING THE SPIRIT

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

         Various substitutions for the Lord’s correct spiritual model have been made by Christian religious authorities throughout the Church Age. It began in the early centuries with a drift toward philosophical thought and authoritarianism. This was a wrongheaded attempt by religious dullards to establish the Lord’s authority within unregenerate wannabe potentates.

         The result was nothing more than political authority dressed up in a ridiculous religious costume.

          Rather than having authority spread out and shared among several equal elders within Christian gatherings the way the Lord taught and the early Community demonstrated, the faux Christians developed a pyramid scheme with one guy at the top, whether it was local bodies with a single overseer in which all authority was vested, or hierarchical structures with a false “bishop” over large geographical areas.

       The alternate models perhaps reached their fullness during the 16th through 18th centuries at the time of the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment. What transpired was a high degree of ecclesiastical intellectualism and the strict authority thereof which continued to serve as a replacement for the Lord’s spiritual Kingdom. The clergy class had been well formed by this time, as Protestants learned well by the longtime example within Catholicism. Individual spiritual liberty, for the most part, did not exist within these structures. Due to their high level of spiritual pride and worldliness, the clergyites deemed the process of repentance and spiritual birth distasteful. 

          Even the laity, the voiceless and largely Biblically ignorant masses (by design) refused to forsake the false models constructed by those who transformed Christianity into a deceptive Nicolaitan power grab and money siphon over unsuspecting followers.

          The followers are just as guilty as the false authority that rules over them and obstructs their freedom.

            © 2019 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.

UNREAL CHRISTIANITY MAKES THE TRUTH IRRELEVANT

        “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:9]

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       “Your tradition” is any Christian belief or teaching that is not found within the teachings of the Lord Jesus. Some of these should be obvious. The reason they are not is because the Christians espousing and believing such are either Biblically illiterate or have been indoctrinated with a false teaching.

         Those who put the Lord Jesus first and are true disciples actually read and study His teachings. They become very familiar with them. They do their best to follow them and obey the Lord. If a Christian refuses to do this or is too lazy to do it, he or she is not a real Christian or at least will not be one for long. If such people remain churchgoers or insist on their particular brand they will end up being deceived the same way the followers of the Pharisees were deceived.

         It was the Pharisees and scribes that the Lord was addressing in the preceding Scripture. These people were evil. They showed it by their actions. They absolutely hated the Lord and everything He stood for. They hounded Him constantly and did everything they could to destroy His reputation. They lied about Him always.

         Unreal Christianity does exactly the same thing. Its members create a Jesus they feel comfortable with, one that suits them, according to their own limited understanding. This Jesus is not the real Jesus. It is only a figment of their imagination. The proponents of Unreal Christianity refuse to honor His pure teachings because they could never carry out their real reason for existence otherwise. They do not want to follow and serve the Lord Jesus; they want to be followed and served.

         That’s why they created a mass laity underclass and keep it subverted to their will. They gain their monetary and social support from this class. They do it through indoctrinating (brainwashing) their followers away from the Lord’s truth and toward their own impure teachings. They use fear, especially the fear of social exclusion. Because they are dealing with spiritually lazy people it is not so difficult to keep them dumbed-down. Some of their followers may be well-versed in their own denominational teachings but that only furthers their Biblical illiteracy.

         Why? Because the substitution of impure teachings makes them oblivious of the Lord’s real teachings. Or they are taught that the Lord’s real teachings are actually heresy and steer their followers away from them. There are millions of Christians who have thus been taught to hate the real teachings of the Lord.

         Regarding any particular issue, one cannot believe truth and untruth at the same time. Regarding a collection of beliefs, the percentage of false teachings and interpretations one holds is directly proportional to the lack of truth they hold. If one fills one’s brain with untruth there will be little left for truth. Another corollary is thus: The more one accepts that which is not true but only appears that way, the less one has a desire for truth. When people are no longer hungry for truth they will not seek it. Whatever then is left in their head is what they believe and what they believe is false though they think it’s true.

         It’s called deception. The Pharisees were masters at deceiving people. So are the Christian Pharisees. They have a different motivation. They put money and social standing above the Lord. They are also excellent liars.

         “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 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. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.” [John 8:43-45][1]   

THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT AGENDA          

         Though their followers would be shocked if they could shake themselves from their zombie status and see their leaders and churches for what they actually are, this rarely happens. Not only that, they don’t want it to happen. They often run from the truth. They cover their ears. The truth is far too upsetting. They would have to acknowledge their deception and admit their wrongheadedness. They would have to realign their lives. Such an occurrence is far too much for them to accept. Their pride can’t handle it. They would rather maintain their fake lives, stay socially connected, and keep the money coming in. Thus, actually following the Lord is out of the question. Following Him in some convoluted false manner is preferable. They are not actually following Him or obeying Him but convince themselves that they are. Where’s the proof? How can they deny Him and also obey Him?

         The early followers of the Lord Jesus teach us how it is done. What they believed is what we are supposed to believe. What they did is what we are supposed to do.

         However, the beliefs and practices of the Lord’s early Community are different from those of pretty much every Christian denomination. It is why one rarely or never sees the results the early Christians had within these compromised organizations. Their rejection of truth makes the truth irrelevant.

            As we say in Texas, most are mere drugstore cowboys. They are all hat and no cattle.

           © 2019 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.

REVEALING THE FATHER’S NAME

          “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” [John 5:43-44]

IF HE CALLS HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN AND ENDS UP IN HELL IT’S HIS OWN FAULT

IF HE CALLS HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN AND ENDS UP IN HELL IT’S HIS OWN FAULT

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          He didn’t read the fine print.

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            The New Testament is the fine print. It includes anything and everything one must know in order to secure one’s heavenly eternity. It includes primarily the unabridged original teachings of the Lord Jesus. It also includes the first Christian history book explaining in full detail exactly what it means to be a real Christian by seeing Real Christianity in action. The New Testament includes as well several preserved letters of correspondence and teaching explaining in great detail the actual teachings of original first century Christianity, most of which were written by Paul the apostle, who was also the best teacher of the early Christian Community.

         The early believers paid close attention to the Lord’s teachings. In their mature state they followed them to the nth degree. But this did not make them legalistic like the later dogmatic DAs of Unreal Christianity who, like the Pharisees, loved legalism and forced indoctrination. They majored on the letter (though they didn’t follow it) but disdained and rejected the Spirit. Paul said this:

         Our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [2Corinthians 3:5-6]

         Those who major on the letter refused to be filled with the Spirit as per the Lord’s command. They will not walk in the Spirit, teach the Spirit, or be empowered by the Spirit. Consequently they walk around like religious zombies in new suits while deluding the world into following the dead faux forms of Christianity which the world is deceived into believing are the real thing. They also work very hard at attempting to make the real thing appear illegitimate.

         Some people, however, can see right through religious camouflage. Apparently, most people cannot. Thus, most Christians in the world do not follow the Lord Jesus; they follow their own pastors, ministers, reverends, denominational hierarchies, and etc. The more of a following the substitutes get the more powerful they become and the more easy it becomes to spout their false Christian teachings.

SO WE ARE WHAT WE ARE WHY?

         There are a few people, and only a few, who manage to discover the roots of their particular denomination. If they remain loyal to their denomination that’s as far as they go. If one is a Protestant, that is, a religious descendant of those who fiercely protested against the Roman Catholics, his roots go back about five hundred years at the most. If one is Catholic, his roots go back to Constantine in the early fourth century. That’s about seventeen hundred years ago. Of course, the Lord Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago. Wouldn’t it be smart to just keep going back until arriving at the source?

          “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” [John 5:43-44] [1]

         Of course, the vast majority of Protestants and Catholics have absolutely no idea of their actual denominational roots, nor do they care to put any effort into discovering them. Denominational lifers are what they are for various reasons, none of which has anything to do with actually following the Lord Jesus. Why? Because when one actually begins following the Lord Jesus one will intently read all of His teachings and then begin studying His teachings in-depth. When one does this he will find discrepancies between the Lord’s teachings and those of his church or denomination. He will then seek answers for why this is so. His innocent queries will inevitably lead to the leadership. The leadership will then downplay such questions and attempt to further circle the wagons around the straying sheep in an effort to get him back into the denominational corral. This often works. Those who succumb are doomed to being longtime members of a mere religious club who care more for social inclusiveness rather than the Lord’s truth.

         Though they start out great following the early truth trail they get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse.

        They then become denominational Christians in which their own denominational teachings always trump the pure teachings of the Lord. Whenever questions arise they never ask “What did Jesus teach?” Instead, they ask, “What does my church teach?” Or “What does the Pope teach? Or Martin Luther, or John Calvin, or John Wesley, or Fatboy, or Smiley. Or “What does my own pastor teach?”

          Of course, all of these people are mere men but judging by their fawners they are worshipped as deities. They are never questioned. Questioning one’s pastor is the new unforgiveable sin. It only works in that tiny location, however. When you walk away and shake the dust off your feet you get to be “saved again” and discover the Lord still loves you. You also rediscover cool things like eyesight and liberty and sunshine and places where seldom is heard a discouraging word.

         For a New Testament illustration regarding what happens to people who actually question the leadership or particular church doctrines, there is that which happened to the Lord and pretty much all of His early followers: If one was a member of a local synagogue and everyone there did everything they were told to do by the leadership and believed everything they were supposed to believe, then all parties, especially the leadership, were all smiles. It was a quasi-contented and quiet place though there was likely a massive cloud of fear just under the surface. All the good guys—the no power or influence members who desired truth and love—were scared spitless to speak or act or move in any such way which may be rendered religiously incorrect because they knew their entire lives were built on being members in good standing. And that meant following the controllers 100%. There was no independence of thought or seeking of truth. There was certainly no liberty in the Spirit. There was only a sad and spineless kowtowing to “the leadership.”

       When one stepped out of line, those beautiful contented costumed clergy boys were suddenly transformed into stark raving mad lunatics who wanted to abuse, maim, and kill. They always had rocks very handy at their disposal.

         Does this sound familiar? Because it also accurately describes roughly 90% of Christian “churches.” It used to be that they would disfellowship a person in a nano second but seeing the error of their ways and that it too easily revealed themselves as the Christian Pharisees they were, they reverted to the tried and true Silently Disparage, Gossip About, Reject From Fellowship and Communication, and Treat Indifferently Method. This works just as well and allows the good members thereof to practice world class Holier-Than-Thou smugness. You know, just like the Lord did.

SOMETIMES, TRUTH IS SO INCONVENIENT

         The reason so many of these kinds of Christians are so apathetic toward the Lord’s teachings is because it doesn’t matter anyway. They are all told what to believe. They can only legally believe what they are told. If they divert from that they bump up against the edges of their party boundaries. Many therefore refuse even an attempt to seek further Biblical truth because they may inconveniently discover greatly discomforting facts which depreciate the investment in their chosen religious culture. This could in turn cause a weakening of one’s personal foundation and social standing. What then?

            In the words of Luke Skywalker, “NO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O…!”                       

            © 2019 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.

 

In the Beginning, Real Christians Didn’t “Go To Church” to “Have Church.” Real Christians ARE the Church.

         The following post is in answer to an excellent comment from one of my long time faithful readers found in the comment section here. I have always appreciated her support and insight. We have never met but have established a good rapport over the last several years. From my perspective, we are a good example of how two Christians might not believe everything the same but want to stay in fellowship anyway. This is what all believers should strive for.

 

         Thank you. Your comment brought many thoughts and memories to me as well. In my extensive church career I have been a member of the very big and very small. I have spent time in mega churches. I have spent time in many small house groups, some which were official “churches” and some not. I presided over my own group for several years. I learned early on that we will never be able to make disciples as the Lord commanded unless we change the focus to much smaller groups so each person has an excellent opportunity to develop. In my case it didn’t matter what size church I attended because I learned most of what I know through my own individual study and walk with the Lord, but I appreciate having a well-rounded perspective.

         No preacher should be “rich and famous.” Those who love the spotlight and insist on taking control are not demonstrating the humility of the Lord. They are not in it for the right reasons. Maybe some of them started out well but backslid into the usual false paradigm. The more the big shots claim their head honcho status the more the rest of the congregation must be relegated to irrelevance. They are not allowed to develop. The Lord ends up losing scads of potential ministers because the one guy claims it all for himself.

         In smaller groups this would not happen. People have a much greater opportunity to contribute and develop. Seeing the ridiculous seas of silent humanity in the vast majority of “churches” sitting back and doing nothing except honoring ad nauseam the lone dude in the pulpit or spotlight in no way represents real New Testament Christianity. The Lord and the early Church never did it that way. Each group of believers was relatively small and had several mature ministers who brought different gifts and abilities. Those were true communities of people in which everyone was contributing in a substantial way. They were no mere spectators, which now make up the vast majority of church-goers.

         People walk in the light they have. It appears that your parents struggled to keep it all together at times serving the Lord over many decades and greatly succeeded. They never looked back. How blessed they were! We play the hand we are dealt. We do the best we can. We work with the tools we have. We try to get better. This agrees with the New Testament example.

         But the fake preachers want none of this. They want power and control and money and prestige. They want exactly the same things the false prophets of old wanted and what the Pharisees demanded in the first century. That false set-up strives mightily against the Spirit of the Lord Jesus and exists as the greatest opposing force to doing things His way.

       “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?” [Jeremiah 5:30-31]   

         Instead of these mega churches and large congregations we would be much better off with as many small groups as possible spread all over the countryside and urban areas to reach people where they are and allow every single believer to have a voice and a significant place in real ministry. This is actually happening and has been happening for decades but the big boys have also been very successful in keeping the movement from taking off. They fear their bottom line. They don’t want to lose their money, prestige, jobs, and market share.

         In reality, if most of these various congregations and mega churches, along with the few very influential rich and famous who run them, disappeared tomorrow, it would make little difference in the country. Most of them serve no real spiritual purpose. America has become a sin-filled empty spiritual shell compared to what it once was on their watch. And they don’t care.

         Real Christians must continue to fight for and stand up for the Lord Jesus. We must submit to Him, serve Him, and serve one another. We must preach the real Gospel. When we do, the very clear evidence of His presence and direction become obvious. The reason real revivals and spiritual awakenings are rare is because stubborn religious flesh wins most of the time. Real Christians are fought against and their efforts curtailed. Worldliness ensues. Unreal Christians subvert themselves to the sinful and rebellious culture. And they submit to the wrong people. Then the devil works through the vast presentation of religious and personal pride. He has a field day. These fake Christians leave the Lord Jesus in the lurch, that is, in a vulnerable and unsupported position.

         Whoever has enough money to build cathedrals and mega churches has far too much money. Such vast sums should instead be spent on people, and it is people who comprise the real Church. There are millions of the Lord’s real ministers who struggle every day due to a lack of funds and their ministries are more difficult as a result. But there are always available funds (billions) to build what are essentially extremely expensive and comfortable barns to house those who refuse the Lord’s full counsel. Most of the early cathedrals no longer exist or are mere ruins.

         History repeats itself.

        “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” [Luke 6:46-49][1]

         © 2019 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 GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

        Desperation for money and spiritual faith don’t go together. People who do their Christianity for money are desperate. If they build their lives and ministries that way they only build away from God.

 

       And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. [Hebrews 11:6]

         One of you, my readers, had a recent post in which you quoted a famous preacher. I can’t remember the exact words. He had been a minister for decades and said something recently to the effect that he had really messed up a lot of people. I thought his sentiment, or apology, was in one sense a tad refreshing. Of course I also thought that it was about time he finally admitted what so many had always known. This guy was a first class idiot. The devil played him like a banjo. I used to wonder how such an obvious shyster managed to fool so many people.

          I don’t name names here. It’s not the way I work. If you know who I’m talking about and care to comment, don’t use his name. It could be that he might actually be repenting. It may be possible that he has headed down redemption road. But it could also be, and likely is, that he’s still the shyster he always was.

         And there are a lot just like him. The celebrity Christian world has gotten really dark recently. There was steady progress toward that goal. They may still look bright the way the devil looks bright with his fake lighting. They may be more rich and powerful than ever. They may command respect and have lesser “ministers” cowed and afraid to say a word. But the Lord knows the truth. He knows what they are. They took the wrong road long ago.

         Were they desperate? Well, if a man needs to make a buck and he’s really down on his luck he forces himself to do absolutely anything he can to survive. If he’s a good man he does honest work the right way. But there are men in this world who refuse to work like a man and instead seek an easy way out. “Ministry” has always been one of those easy ways. Once a man gets past that first plea for cash and gets a little offering money and sees how easy it was to do, his conscience doesn’t bother him as much. He then figures if a little money is okay why not more?

         I remember stories of this guy raking in so much cash he was paying ten thousand dollars for one night in a hotel. They could buy anything. While the people in congregations all across the country were trying their best to live right before God and were struggling to buy another used tire for their old car or more baling wire to hold it together and doing their best to feed their kids right, these fake idiot ministers had no money problems whatsoever. It would be different if they earned it. And it’s not wrong to give or receive help. But all these guys do is take up collections. There’s nothing hard about that.

         The Lord’s example means nothing to them. They don’t care. They reach a point early on when they can never go back. They are too dependent on the easy money. They had become masters at getting it. There was a guy in the gospels that did something similar but not as a preacher. He was just your common every day little runt rip off artist. And he found redemption:

         He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” [Luke 19:1-10]

         Based on this story I would say there’s probably somewhere in the vicinity of several trillion dollars that needs to be restored to Christians who were ripped off by fake ministers. It would great if every one of these high-living low-life idiots would make restitution just as little Zaccheus did. But that idea is a pipe dream. There may be one or two here or there but most of the whole lot will keep being what they always were.

          And now they have a lot more power. They have also made good friends with the world and the line between both has gotten so blurred it no longer exists. Nothing will convince them to give it up. They believe their success is due to God’s blessing. Their big brotherhood gives them solid protection. And though they know all about the gross sin among them they strive to keep it hidden so the others won’t suffer.

        That’s in part why you never see one of these guys rat out another. They know if they do they will likely lose their place at the trough.

         The Lord will have to separate these goats out from His sheep.

MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN

          When you do it right you have to struggle. I’m old enough to remember the tales of old-timers when I was new to the Spirit-filled life back in the 1970s. I heard about how, in their early days, they often barely had enough to eat. These were good Christian people and real ministers. I was told they had to depend on prayer and “pray things in” just to survive. Think about that.

         I also remember a young evangelist who preached at our church. He had a wife and small children. They would travel the country in their car. He was dependent on offerings. These people received very little. I remember how thin he was but also how much the Spirit of the Lord had shone forth in his face. He was so sincere. He told the following story as I remember it:

         “We spent what little money we had from our last offering. I had what I thought was just enough gas to take us a few hundred miles to our next destination. We were traveling at night. It turned out that gas starting running low and we still had many miles to go. We decided to pray. We had a small console in the front seat. We asked the Lord if he would please bless us with the money we needed so we wouldn’t be stranded. I kept driving on in the dark and at last found an open gas station still a ways from our destination. My wife and I prayed again because we had no money for gas. Being satisfied that the Lord honored our request we lifted up the console and there before us was a five dollar bill…”  

         I remember another story from that time. I had a friend who was married with two small children and money was tight. His wife knew how to pray. She had to go buy a few groceries one day but had very little money. She asked the Lord for help. While walking to the store she heard a little rustling behind her and saw what looked like a small bit of rolled-up paper. She continued walking and it kept following her! I remember her laughing when telling the story. She finally stopped to pick it up and it was two or three dollar bills. She was able to buy some milk for her kids.

         The point with these stories is that the people involved had more desperation for the Lord instead of for mere money, and because their priorities were right they had greater faith. They knew when they prayed that the Lord would provide. They had no doubt. He didn’t dump gold bars on them but gave them what they needed at the time.

         “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:5-6] [1]

         Those who are monetarily successful in the ministry without using or needing faith and prayer are likely never receiving anything from the Lord. They are nothing more than carnal people using carnal means and are duded up to appear outwardly spiritual. When the time comes that they desperately need personal faith and prayer they’ll be up you know what creek without a paddle.

         But the Lord’s real sons and daughters will ALWAYS be provided for by Him. And I say Amen to that.

            © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued] 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

       The Lord Jesus taught that His followers would do what He did. Since this is obviously not the case among the majority of Christians it proves such Christians are not for real. Something is off.

 

         The evidence of His presence is always obvious. When He shows up, believe me, you will know it. When the evidence is lacking His active presence is lacking. The Lord is omnipresent, of course, but that does not mean He has the authority to work. Human beings have free wills and most often reject Him. Thus, restrictions upon Him in Christian circles must be removed. Because one never sees any evidence of His miraculous work in most Christian gatherings it means not only that restrictions upon His work exist in such places but also that they were often put there on purpose and by design.

         Why would so-called Christians do this?

        Again, it is an authority issue. Let me give you a simple example. There are a great many free websites in the world. One can go to such sites and gain free information. Much of this information is excellent. People work very hard at bringing forth the information they present and then give it out for free. This is essentially what the Lord Jesus did with His teachings and what He taught His disciples to do:

         “Freely you received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8]

         “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:31-32] [1]

         But then there are those websites who keep much of their information behind a pay wall. There is nothing wrong with this. It is their right to do it.

         What model do most Christian churches and ministries use? One should notice that the offering always precedes the preaching. One may also notice that celebrity preachers sell tickets. Christian music artists have almost always done the same. Regular church singers never do this. It is because they are most likely not talented enough to charge for their efforts. Can anyone imagine the Lord Jesus insisting on an offering before He would teach? As it was, whatever money His ministry was blessed with by people giving freely likely never went to Him. He had pared down His life to such an extent that He needed very little to live on.

         I bring this up because there is a clear connection between churches and ministries who install a pay wall and exhibit a decided lack of evidence of the Lord’s presence and authority. These two most often go together. If the Lord was there and was allowed to work, miracles would happen. But someone else is in charge and that someone is charging for the services. They refuse to “have church” for free. They refuse to preach for free. They are professionals and they demand payment.

         Now, I believe in giving. I have given very large untold amounts in my time. I have given more money away to churches and ministries than most Christians have by far. I know this because statistics prove the majority of Christians give little or nothing. [2] But I also learned long ago to give it to the Lord. Though I was giving through the medium of a church or ministry, I was actually giving to the Lord Jesus through them, and I did my best to only give where He directed. The Lord also taught me long ago to never pay tithes. The tithe is not a tax. I have given tithes. I give the tithe to the Lord Jesus. If you pay tithes you will likely not receive the promised blessing or increase whatsoever.

         So again, we have this phenomenon in which the Lord Jesus taught for free and gave everything for free. HE EVEN GAVE HIS VERY OWN PERFECT LIFE FOR FREE. This was the greatest life ever lived in which He never, ever sinned. And He gave it away? His salvation is thus absolutely free. Whoever attempts to charge a person for salvation will have to answer to God.

         Since the Lord never charged anyone for anything He ever did in His ministry, where do the majority of “ministers” get off in charging for their “services?” The Lord even did miracles for free. He healed so many hurting sick people for free. They never had to pay a dime. He raised the dead for free. Fake ministers have no power to do miracles. But they charge money for what they offer. They operate behind a pay wall. Most people should see the connection between preachers who only work for pay and who never operate in the Spirit in which there is no evidence of the Lord’s presence. Non-Christians see the connection. It’s much easier to see the fakers from the outside.

        There is an old song by Charlie Daniels, [3] before he began living as a Christian, in which he expresses this idea perfectly. Here is the particular verse:

           Jesus walked on the water and I know that it’s true

           But sometimes I think that preacher man’d like do a little walkin’ too [4]

           © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Church Giving Statistics, 2019 Edition

[3] Charlie Daniel’s Testimony

[4] Written by: CHARLES EDWARD DANIELS Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

       There can be no unity without division. All evil must be separated from the good. This is one’s life in a nutshell, to go one way or the other by the time he exits into eternity.

.

         The Lord called them disciples. They were those who would follow Him successfully. Their first task was to lay down their lives and allow the inherent sin and evil within to be purged out.

         It was not at all easy nor was it supposed to be. His standard is the highest. He said all sin and evil must go. To assist in achieving such a monumental task He required His followers to take up an unseen personal cross—a crude and roughhewn, raw and rasping deadweight to serve as an ongoing execution stake.

         And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” [Luke 9:23]  

ALL REAL CHRISTIANS ARE DISCIPLES

         It stems from the word discipline. This invokes extremely hard work. The spiritually lazy need not apply. Discipline does not refer to mere busyness but to the wrenching chore of somehow being conformed to His image and living the life He lived. One’s humanity will always fight the process and most of the time human nature wins. This is why most of what we presently call Christianity is composed of losers and fakers who refuse to do it right and settle instead into a faux form they can handle without getting right with God. They would rather be comfortable within society and create a religion and deity to suit themselves. I guess they figure they will be clever enough to convince the Lord of their artificial righteousness at the Judgment. This is not a good plan.

         Since everyone who comes to the Lord is a sinner, the first order of business is plowing up the sin field and sowing it with salt. This process must go down deep to the very roots. All vestiges of sin and evil must be removed and eliminated. This process—initial repentance—allows for breaking up hard fallow ground and creating deep, pure nutrient-laden soil within which the Gospel seed can be successfully planted. Repentance is thus likened to the process of decomposition and death. The richest soil is that in which the greater decomposition takes place. Think of a healthy compost heap.

THE LEVEL OF REPENTANCE RELATES DIRECTLY TO REAL SALVATION

        “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” [Mark 4:3-8]   

         With no repentance the seed is stolen by the devil. With little or shallow repentance, whatever may spring up is weak and dies quickly. It must be noted that the level of initial repentance one engages in is directly related to surviving eventual persecution. If one attempts an easy way he will later fall away. He is too wimpy to survive the inevitable spiritual attacks that will surely come. If he had been harder on himself he would have been stronger:

         “In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.” [Mark 4:16-17]

DIVISION FIRST, THEN UNITY

       “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” [Luke 12:51-53]

           So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. [John 7:43]   

         Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. [John 9:16]

         A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?” [John 10:19-21]  

BRINGING FORTH SPIRITUAL FRUIT

         No unregenerate human being has the required spiritual seed to bring forth spiritual fruit. It must come from the Lord. This is why one must be born again of the Spirit and not simply the flesh. Some unregenerate humans may be very nice and friendly people willing to help and do good things but they are worthless spiritually. The good things they may do are never eternal. Thus, the Lord put a premium on spiritual things, the same kind of things He was associated with and brought forth during His ministry.

          Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” [John 14:8-12][1]

          © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)