Blog Archives

Raising the Dead (UnTase Me, Bro!)

         Historically, how have Christian believers broken out of their spiritual lethargy? What methods has God used to shake His people from their slumber? What does He normally do to raise the dead and inject new life?

         We have a concept known as “revival” that church people often refer to. Such revivals take many forms, from a week or two effort in a local church with a visiting evangelist to an all out spiritual awakening. Most such revivals do not amount to much, just as most church services in general do not amount to much.

         American Christianity has become so watered-down any uptick at all is considered a big change of pace and bordering on going too far. The goal has become comfort and community standing in most circles. Churches and ministries insist on continuing in their sell-out 501C3 IRS and state charter status. They insist on maintaining a fake standing of respectability among sinners that has absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. Ministries of all kinds continue to insist that no physical building or meeting place means no viable or effective ministry.

         How did all this happen? And why does it continue to happen? How in the world did the life-changing and society-transforming Gospel of our Lord Jesus become entrenched in so many traditional and standardized mores and forms that actually do next to nothing in bringing real light to hungry sinners? Why do so many believers and ministers defend their incorrect applications and fight against the Lord Jesus Himself whenever He attempts a corrective?

         During the great awakenings of the past, many hundreds of thousands broke out of their spiritual lethargy and routine traditions and turned back to God. The original Great Awakening that broke out in late 1734 was the first example in America of how a blessed people could become arrogant and stuck fast in fleshly sin and consequently needed strong national correction.

         After the Pilgrim Separatists arrived on these shores in 1620, the next generations of the greats who established this nation saw the spiritual strength of American Christianity fall precipitously by the late 1600’s. God then again brought in new life in part from the European continent beginning in the early 1700’s to help right the course. This led to big changes.

         There were knock-down drag-out fights concerning the “old way” and “new way” of new life. It was as if the Lord Himself was riding in on a horse leading the battle.

         But what did the old-time traditionalists do? They fought Him! This always happens. God brings in new life, believers grow fleshly, dead, and religious, and then God must bring in new life yet again.

         And every time He does it the ministers he does it through who bring such powerful conviction are fought against as if they are introducing heresy.

         You know what real prophets want to say to such religious idiots? They want to say,

         “Okay, Fine! Go to hell, then! Keep your stupid little two-bit dead religion!”

         The problem is not that such dead Christian forms exist but that no one wants to believe their own church or ministry is one of those dead Christian forms. Therefore, the bad guys are always seen as the other guys or those weirdos on the other side of town.

         But here’s a test: Do you see the ministry of Jesus in your church? Do you see the Acts of the Apostles in your church? Do you see miracles and power and unconditional love and great life in your church? Are you in trouble with the governing authorities who are by and large indifferent toward God, or have you cozied up with them and sold God down the river?

         What do we want, our dead religion that society has no problem with or the life-changing and extremely powerful real Gospel that threatens the devil and makes unrepentant sinners want to kill us?

         (Oh. Sorry. Probably too strong. Sure, what I just said is all over the pages of Scripture but its way over the top to try to apply such a thing to our modern times…)

         But this is what the real Gospel has done throughout history. It is what it has done in the Great Awakenings of this nation. It caused division. It caused strong emotions. It caused betrayal among Christians.

         Ignorance among Christians is always a problem. Christians must mature a little before they go spouting off a bunch of stuff about their beliefs and methods which are usually not really all that Scriptural.

         But the greatest wrong is institutional traditional Christian thinking and doctrine that actually opposes the teachings of Jesus or refuses to fully acknowledge His entire curriculum and the plain historical record within the Gospels and Book of Acts.

         The devil started a war when he invaded Christian circles many centuries ago and established his own various forms of Christianity. Real Christians must be willing to answer that war with a war of their own against his deception, falsehoods, faux Christian beliefs, and those he has deceived.

         Many Christians are held captive by false gospels. Love and truth can set them free but the expression of such love and the teaching of such truth involves a high personal cost. Judging by the ministry of Jesus, the apostles, and early saints, one had to wade into some really bad religious biker bars to set captives free. Most established and “credible” Christian ministers do not do this, deciding instead to defend their own denominational standards and outright false doctrines, but real Christians have been doing it for 2000 years and continue today.

         The problem is that Christians get fat and sassy and ever willing to fight to protect their flesh. The devil then gains a hold within that flesh. Christians who serve money (most) are easy pickings by the forces of evil because Satan knows such people have been compromised. Such backslid “believers” will only go so far but will stop when their income is threatened (or their next meal). Combining sinful human flesh and the devil creates a world created by that union that opposes the kingdom of God. And most people who call themselves Christians are much more comfortable in this FakeWorld than they are in God’s kingdom.

         Our Lord Jesus is very hard on sinful human nature. That’s why He commands us to crucify it, kill it, destroy it, and eliminate it. Fat and sassy feel-good preachers with an opposing attitude and agenda instead coddle it and embrace it and support it. They are very uncomfortable with strong Gospel truth. They would rather make friends than preach repentance. They would rather support and applaud the temple money changers than do the following:

         Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS?’ But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. [Mark 11:15-18]

         Is this the God you serve?

         Is your church due for such a cleaning?

         The Lord never established what we know as churches. The apostles never did either. The early Christians never had church buildings or 501C3’s or salaried ministers or any of the things we claim we could not do without. What would happen if the Lord began establishing the same kinds of formats He did in the beginning?

         Well, guess what? He is. The new formats will soon outnumber the old formats. It is happening right now. The Lord is raising up millions of no-name believers who do not care about prestige or community standing or church buildings or salaries or any of the things most ministers and church-goers claim they cannot do without.

         Study the Lord’s lifestyle and ministry. Study the lifestyles and ministries of the apostles and first-century believers. Read behind the lines. Open your eyes. The astounding spiritual effect they had on the wicked world of that time had everything to do with the way they lived their lives. Whenever we try a “better” way that is not so hard on our flesh it always causes the opposite result. Will we sleep or will we live? Will we get fired up for the Lord or stay physically comfortable but spiritually dead?

         Why did the Lord do things the way He did and teach His disciples likewise if it wasn’t vitally necessary for the work at hand?

         I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 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. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. [2 Timothy 4:1-5] [1]

         © 2012 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 Cleansing Blood of God (Part 2)

         It was through the sacrificial death of the spotless Lamb that God’s cleansing blood was shed to atone for all the sins of humanity. The author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to establish the fact that the blood of sacrificial animals could never atone for sin, but that these things were mere types of the only real blood sacrifice offered once by Messiah.

         But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

         For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. [Hebrews 9:11-16]

         For the Jews who did not believe that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, their “salvation” could only come through the perfect keeping of the Mosaic Code, an actual impossibility. The Torah is perfect, of course, but impossible to keep properly without faith and the introduction of God’s Spirit. Besides, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the requisite animal sacrifices have not been administered since, going on 2,000 years. How then can one be cleansed without the Lamb of God? Within forty years of the Blood Covenant, those who rejected the Sacrifice Lamb lost everything as a result. Everything. Those who believed and signed on gained everything (See Mark 10:29-30). 

         Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. [Hebrews 10:19-22]

         The apostle Peter had been instructed of all this by the Lord Jesus, and it is why he delivered a message on the Day of Pentecost featuring these very ideas:

1. Faith in God

2. Repentance (Death)

3. Water Baptism (Burial)

4. The infilling of the Holy Spirit (Resurrection)

         “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” [Acts 2:36-39]

         The Jews hearing this message knew exactly what Peter was saying. God had been manifest in flesh. He had dwelt among them. YHWH showed up on the scene as per all the many prophecies of their ancient scrolls, and in their ignorance they killed Him. Why do so many Christians continue to do the same by not recognizing who the Lord Jesus really is? He is not merely a “second” Person of a Roman Triad, but our great God and Savior who willingly shed His blood for our salvation. He has fulfilled perfectly His half of the New Covenant, and awaits all those who would fulfill their half by accepting and honoring Him for who He really is, by submitting to heart circumcision, and by obeying Him unto life.

         “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” [Revelation 22:12-16] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 2]


[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.

RELATED POSTS:

Real Circumcision: Hearts Sewn Up With Blue (Part 1)

Real Circumcision: Hearts Sewn Up With Blue (Part 2)

The Cleansing Blood of God (Part 1)

Jesus

The NAME Above Every Name

         Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. [Acts 20:28]   

         In his message at Miletus, while on his fateful way to Jerusalem, the apostle Paul clearly states that the Lord Jesus is YHWH, the God of the Old Testament. It is a hard concept to grasp. The apostle John also explained this very well in his Gospel. Being monotheistic Jews, as were (1) All the apostles, (2) All the 120 gathered on Pentecost, and (3) The entire community of saints for about the first seven to ten years of its existence, both Paul and John clearly revealed the fact that God became a Man.

         There was absolutely no thought or concept among Jews that God was a multiplicity of divine persons, and the very idea was heresy. This was one of the main reasons why so many Jews had such a hard time believing in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah. As the world’s only monotheists, they knew there was only one God. Therefore, they knew the apostles were claiming their one God YHWH had become one of them—a very hard concept to grasp, though the Old Testament Scriptures were filled with such prophetic fact, most notably perhaps, in the scroll of Isaiah:

         For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6]  

         A great, great number of Jews did believe that Jesus was the One mentioned above, however, because their hearts were right, and because they were not looking upon their God through the philosophical prism of Greco-Roman mindbenders.

         Acts 20:28 clearly states that it is God’s very blood that He used to purchase His community. God takes possession of each and every real believer through His blood. This is why the New Covenant is the ultimate blood covenant. Not only does God’s pure and perfect blood cleanse us from all sin, it is essentially the currency He uses to rightfully and legally obtain us.

         Paul referred to the Lord Jesus as YHWH many times, as seen in the following verses. Though he states a clear distinction between Father and Son, he distinguishes neither from the God of the Old Testament Himself. This is not simply a matter of semantics, and our Lord Jesus is not merely a mythical, theological “eternal Son.”

         He is God:

         For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. [Romans 9:3-5]

         He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s [1] good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. [Colossians 1:15-20]

         Regarding theological concepts of the Person of God, Paul knew well that intellectuals and purveyors of cold rationality would attempt to form a god of their own understanding rendered through pure mental reasoning and head knowledge, and bypassing the heart:     

         See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. [Colossians 2:8-12]

         Speaking of water baptism, there was no such thing as “title” baptism (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in the original community of saints throughout the entire Book of Acts and New Testament epistles. All baptism was by full immersion in the Name above all names—the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul reflected this fact in the passage above after claiming that YHWH came to earth and dwelt among us in human form, that our Lord Jesus is the supreme head over all authority and rule, that all real believers undergo the circumcision of Christ, and that all Scriptural water baptism is done in His Name. He also said God resurrected His own dead human body, which is exactly what the Lord Jesus said He would do:

         “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [John 2:19] [2]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 2]


[1] Italicized words in the NASV95 New Testament are not in the original Greek text. Hence the word “Father” does not appear at this place in this passage.

[2] 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.