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GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 6: Christian Qualifying Tests]

God ran two qualifying tests upon 32,000 prospective warriors. The vast majority failed. What are God’s qualifying tests regarding the New Covenant?

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There are Christians in the world who believe being a Christian is no big deal. The vast majority of Christians have never done much to differentiate themselves from the world. They are Christians only in the cultural sense. Their parents were likely Christians of a particular denomination and they merely became adherents of the same only because it was the group their parents and family belonged to. They were simply raised that way. It is often the case that these denominational connections go back several generations.

Some denominations are more authoritarian than others and thus engage in greater enforcement through the application of greater religious control, indoctrination, intimidation, and even fear. These methods have always worked extremely well and are in part why the most populous Christian denominations have such great numbers. And it also helps, of course, to have been around a very long time.

The major Christian denominations have been around for centuries. One would like to think their great numbers must be due to their acceptance of the Gospel and its propagation. Their success, however, is not necessarily because they have historically stood for the original teachings of the Lord Jesus but because they have stressed certain teachings to the exclusion of others, watered down His teachings, and even appropriated different “gospels” to suit their cause. One should think, regarding this, that their cause should have been serving the Lord Jesus and honoring His Gospel:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! [Galatians 1:6-9]

When one particular denomination gained the upper hand many centuries ago it did so largely through executive fiat and forced conversions. It became illegal to belong to any other Christian denomination than the one they set forth as the “legitimate” one. In other words, only one denomination was ruled the official one and all others were forced to disband or they would be persecuted until they did. This meant that not only the then existing few Christian offshoots that gained a following but also contained gross error were declared illegal, it also meant real Christianity was declared illegal. Why? Because the real Christianity of the early to middle first century created by the Lord Jesus and embraced by the first Christians had come to look so different from what became the mainline syncretic denomination of three centuries later that both could not possibly exist together in harmony. There were far too many differences. It was also impossible to achieve their goals using the Lord’s methods.

Hence, the real was rejected and a form of the unreal was embraced. Whereas the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples to take the real Gospel into the entire world and allow each person the freedom to arrive at a personal decision one way or the other, the predominant Christian denomination went into the world as a conquering religious juggernaut with a decided imperialist character often in direct competition against the Lord. 

The great Protestant Reformation, peopled by those who protested against the gross illegalities, false doctrines, rampant authoritarianism, and rejection of the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus and the early church by “official” Christianity, made great strides toward reform and correction. A great part of their success was due to the relatively new Gutenberg Printing Press, invented circa 1450, that made it possible to get the written Word of God into the hands of individual believers. The Word of God had been completely unavailable to Christians for a great many centuries and these believers had no choice but to trust the extremely few ecclesiastics in power that had access to it. Rather than make the Word available they had done the opposite. They closed it off to all and used the lack of the Word of God as a control mechanism. They made sure it was never translated into the native tongues of all those “conquered” by forced conversions. The written Word of God was retained only in the official language of the denomination. In order to have access to it, one would have to be a member in perfect standing, have the proper education, and participate in every initiatory and maintenance rite demanded. This, of course, eliminated 99% of the population. An ignorant, illiterate, and fearful population was absolutely perfect for controlling and dictating to and the masters of such were able to maintain “Christian” religious control for a very long time.

Sadly, the new Protestant denominations eventually also engaged in some of the same corrupt practices of the former to varying degrees. They also discovered it was impossible to control people according to the Lord’s teachings and if they would have any success in the world they must make allowances for authoritarian control also. Those Christian denominations which have existed for so long have thus done an excellent job of growing and maintaining their organizations. This, of course, does not mean they are right according to the Lord’s standard. It only means they have excelled in gaining religious market share, kind of like the successful ministers on Christian TV.

CORRUPTION IS PROGRESSIVE

The Lord’s standard is perfect. His standard perfectly agrees with His teachings and the early historical record. The application of His standard allows for Truth and spiritual purity, and keeps incorrectness and corruption at bay. But as in everything else, if not subjected to ongoing correcting and cleansing, corruption only grows and metastasizes over time. The reason why is otherwise easy to understand but cannot be grasped when one is deceived or under the heavy thumb of religious potentates. If corruption is never properly addressed or allowed to be opposed, and if righteous opposition forces are continually overcome, then corruption will not only remain but flourish. It will increase. It will eventually reach a point of full corruption and darkness. And because the hubris and arrogance of the leaders within it grows as well, corrupt organizations become, in their own estimation, bulletproof and beyond censure. They feel they are so superior and powerful they can never be defeated.

They then begin to lower their guard. They fail to understand that initially buying into corruption for whatever reason allows for corruption to spread unchecked throughout the entire organization. The corruption extends to a corruption in decision making. The organizational unifying adhesive begins to fail. Then communications start to break down. Fissures appear. Light shines into the fissures. Light exposes the corruption. And just as sunshine is the best disinfectant, Light begins its cleansing action. A few insiders previously under the entrancement of the outwardly legitimate organization start seeing the oozing gunk leaching out in fissures everywhere and reach a point of great awakening. The blinders come off. They see the masquerade for what it is. They wake up to the ruse and become animated toward correction. They cease being part of the problem and become part of the solution. This is why most of the great Christian reformers were previously members of corrupt Christian denominations.

This is the world we live in. Despite its fallen nature it is still a world of both darkness and light and not darkness alone. Though darkness may thrive for a time, the light will eventually expose it. Great people, those who act as did the Lord, understand that the Truth of the real Gospel must go forth and are willing to take on the spiritual fight and do the will of God. These people are always grossly outnumbered in the beginning. Many of them pay dearly. They will lose their good reputations. They may lose their earthly goods. They may even pay the ultimate price. This is what happens when the corrupt majority turns against them. Sound familiar? But the only other choice is to let darkness prevail.

That the majority of the world is wimpy in this regard and refuses to fight the enemy does not mean the enemy cannot be successfully fought. The Lord Jesus proved this. The Early Church proved it. Untold millions were saved from sin and the dominance of evil. They kicked demonic backsides and took their names. This was and remains the Lord’s approach. But for those Christian organizations that refuse the Lord’s full program and have no desire or ability to fight the enemy, but instead have a lust for control, power, worldly wealth, and prestige, they simply join up with the enemy. And the enemy accommodates them.   

Remember, it is the Gideon Paradigm. The Lord always proved the majority is wrong. The majority is always fearful. The majority will always oppose Him. The majority chooses the broad way that leads to destruction. Thus, if one is not willing to face off against the majority then one simply cannot be His disciple. And if one looks the other way and refuses to bring the necessary reforms and corrections to oneself and one’s own Christian denomination and would rather exist as a nameless nobody within a fearful, compliant, corrupt majority, then one can call himself a Christian all he wants to. As long as he stays within his member denomination as part of the non-reform corrupt majority and maintains the support of the majority as his proof of right standing with God, he may prolong the charade but will never fool the Lord.

Reasonable people would agree that it would be far better to actually get right with God in the here and now according to God’s requirements than face Him at the Judgment unprepared, even though one may have been falsely granted full commendation and approval by his member denomination. It should be obvious that trusting the Lord and His teachings regarding one’s soul is better that trusting one’s Christian guru. Christian denominations cannot dictate right standing with God and cannot confer righteousness by one’s mere good standing within them. Nevertheless, the majority of Christians would rather have right standing within their Christian social circles and overall culture than have right standing with God. And in case there is any confusion on this matter, actual spiritual righteousness is a gift. It cannot be falsely appropriated or earned. It was bought with a price. It was obtained by a great Sacrifice. The only way one will ever receive actual righteousness is by submitting 100% to the Lord Jesus. Substitutes will never qualify.         

CHRISTIAN QUALIFYING TESTS

Rather than spell this out I will direct your attention to Acts Chapters 2. I stated in Part 5 of this series that of the many thousands who heard His teachings and followed Him during His ministry, He only chose 120 for the Upper Room. These 120 individuals had to be qualified for the honor. That only 120 did qualify suggests costly requirements. It further suggests that many desired to be disciples and tried to be disciples but were unwilling to be the disciples the Lord needed them to be. When one considers the absolute miracle of Pentecost one must also consider the absolute miracle that the 120 not only obeyed the Lord Jesus in full but got along with one another perfectly. They demonstrated the love of God. They were each willing to become brand new solid and strong empty vessels to be filled with the Lord’s Holy Spirit.

Based on Luke’s historical record, the 120 Upper Roomers passed the following universal tests:

1. 100% faithfulness and obedience toward the Lord Jesus, their recognition of His atoning death as the complete and only payment for all sin, their acceptance of His full teaching and discipleship curriculum, and their absolute belief in His resurrection from the dead.

2. 100% repentance of personal sin and a full turning away from sin and their former life to their new life in the Lord.

3. 100% immersion in water invoking the Name of Jesus the Messiah, their only Master and Savior.

We know these were the initial tests in part because it is exactly what Peter preached by the anointing of the Holy Spirit right after he and the 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit. Whoever would thus become a member of the Body of Christ must do as they did and meet the standard the Lord put forth. This standard was consistent throughout the early historical record in the Book of Acts and New Covenant Scriptures and all the early believers held it in common and were also filled with the Holy Spirit in the same manner.

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.” [Acts 2:38] [1]

© 2021 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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

WORSHIP JESUS

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THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE MAJORITY TURNS ITS BACK ON THE LORD JESUS

Those who refuse to be led by the Lord, who always has our best interests at heart, will instead be led by people who only have their best interests at heart.

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The current Judas in the headlights is a collection of spineless establishment Republican leaders, otherwise thought of as good guys by many Americans, in high positions of controlling political power. They refuse to stand up for what’s right because they will likely be exposed for participating in a clandestine money and power grab associated with the stolen election, or they are deathly afraid of political attacks from the minions of the opposing party. Rather than stand and fight for what’s right they would rather hide out and wish the whole thing would go away. These shirkers were at first amused that a few patriots would actually attempt bringing light to darkness, then became somewhat incensed that these few patriots had no intention of halting their course. As the light began shining brighter and more people came on board, they then began growing fearful.

Funny how that happened. There were a great many ordinary Americans who were eyewitnesses to the fraud but were too fearful to come forward. They were well aware of the nefarious character of the people they were dealing with. A few brave souls came forward anyway and have paid a great price. As is always the case, once the few courageous ones step forward, despite the threats, and tell their story, it emboldens others to come forward as well. These few bold ones have now transformed what would have otherwise been a story never told, fully suppressed by mainstream media outlets and major social media platforms, into a nationwide news event exposing the fraud and shining a light on the fraudsters (including the media). If this evil effort is not defeated by being fully subjected to the Constitutional law of the land and proper justice there will never be another honest election in America. This means the will of We the People will be gone forever and with it individual freedom and liberty. It means the end of America as we know it.

KNOWING THE WORD OF GOD IS VITAL TO AVOIDING PERSONAL DECEPTION

The great thing about such current happenings, and what makes our day much different from so many previous occurrences of great evil, is that there are enough individual truth-tellers with the means to “shout it from the housetops” that they cannot all be suppressed, even by an extremely powerful MSM sold out to lies and misinformation constantly repeating false narratives. If one does not think this is true, that the media is a vast colluding propaganda outlet, here is a simple test to prove it: Turn off your TV. Quit watching any and all news channels whether broadcast or cable. They pretty much all repeat ad nauseam the same talking points now anyway so you won’t be missing anything. In this way they won’t be able to keep you misinformed and deceived. It might be a hard bridge to cross and it might be difficult to believe at first that what I’m saying here is true, but you’ll figure it out eventually.

Then replace the time spent there with time in the Word. The same dynamic takes place when you make Bible reading your main reading activity. It may be hard to accept but most people who call themselves Christians have never read the Bible. Those Christians in this category are at an extreme disadvantage. Not only are they unaware of God’s Word, they have filled the place in their hearts that should be occupied by it with knowledge that largely originates from non-spiritual sources, and much of it is not even based on fact. Of course, this remains unknown to the holder and believer in the knowledge because they have no higher reference point to confirm it.

This is what the Word of God does. One must understand that the Word of God as contained in the Bible is actually the WORD of GOD. Because it is the Word of God it takes precedence over all other knowledge. This is especially true in the New Covenant Scriptures. The New Testament contains the actual teachings of the Lord Jesus, His full curriculum. How can one be a Christian and not have a great hunger for His Word? All real Christians read and study His Word when they first become real Christians. They want to know all the teachings of their Lord and Master. Their desire is to study His Word and know it, and this goes for all believers not simply the few who desire some form of called-out ministry. Of course, all real Christians are ministers of the Gospel called into His service. Most never attain to any position of prominence or respect and remain obscure, but this means nothing whatsoever to the reality of their walk. It only means that some are put in the spotlight by God for His purposes, such as the original apostles, for example, or that many others put themselves in the spotlight for their own purposes.

We have seen how this works in the natural world throughout history. Strong men insist on their way, desire great wealth and power, and don’t care what they must do to attain it. They will commit any sin to get there. They simply don’t care. The majority always has to put up with such narcissistic morons. Most people would rather just live their lives in peace and walk in freedom, but for the majority this has never happened. They are always subjected in some way to an evil ruling class, even within many forms of organized Christianity. Again, many people are not aware of this but if the few evil people controlling things against the will of God at any time in history, who gained power because the majority allowed it, would have somehow vanished, the rest of humanity could have suddenly walked in much greater freedom and possessed a veritable abundance compared to their usual meager rations allowed by the ruling class. Such an event would have shined a light on all the great wealth that had been stolen from the people of the world and how much more there would be for everyone otherwise. Is not the same dynamic applicable in our times?

AMERICA FADED FROM FREEDOM TO FEAR

I posted an article on November 21 about the arrival of the Pilgrims on the 400th anniversary of the great event. I mentioned them in another article I posted on Thanksgiving. They had taken a long hard road to gain religious and political freedom. They escaped the evil hand of wicked political and religious authority. Once they arrived here they were far enough away that the evil hand couldn’t reach them. They created a great foundation of future freedom. A century and a half later the greatest generation of Americans paid an even greater price for future freedom in the Revolutionary War. Of course, since then, the same evil controllers who were at one time too far away and too unable to take over have since taken over. This has happened in a step-by-step process. They run the country now. America has long since been captured. It never had to happen and would not have happened if Americans had stayed true to God as they once did. Our great forebears were not perfect but were certainly much better than us. They would not have put up with a fraction of what Americans now routinely weakly accept.

The majority has succumbed to fear. This also apparently includes the majority of Christians. Once one falls into fear one can be coerced into doing things previously unthinkable. They become easily controllable. If the majority knew the Word of God and walked with God it would never have surrendered. God is very clear on this subject. Throughout His Word He is forever telling us to steer clear of fear. God tells us that fear is a killer and a thief. He also tells us that faith in Him is a life-giver, that being filled with His Spirit fills one with courage, and that evil is always forced to surrender and flee in His presence. The Word of God states that God dwells in the presence of His praises and that He is only a prayer away. Whatever the problem may be He has an answer for it. But one thing is certainly clear: He will never allow great evil to have the upper hand if His followers support Him. He will protect and bless His children. But we know from the example of ancient Israel that when the majority succumbs to evil the nation eventually falls.

So now we know why all of this has happened. We know how very powerful evil people have essentially taken over the country. Some of the lower minions in positions of power are being exposed for engaging in evil deeds as so many others have of late but nothing is ever done about it. They are all getting away with it. Man’s justice does not apply to them. It is because they are connected to the powerful evil people running things who protect them. Such are the benefits of belonging to the right clubs. Nevertheless, these people have sold out. They have sold their souls. They made the decision to live for this world. Evil has risen to the top in America and now controls pretty much everything. And it all happened because lazy Christians allowed it. It happened because Christians allowed themselves to be led by spiritual morons who are actually not spiritual at all. It happened because most Christians surrendered to the enemy rather than fully submit to the Lord Jesus.

“BRETHREN, WHAT SHALL WE DO?”

American Christians in general must first take off their dark glasses of deception. They must cease insisting on their weak traditional ways which no longer work. They must understand that they can no longer avoid the fight, that the fight is upon them, that this should be obvious, and would be obvious if they were right with God. The level of evil is off the scale. We are on the verge of losing everything. The people wielding this well-planned evil laugh at Christians every day and have absolutely no respect for us. And it is little wonder. The battle before us is such that we must be stronger spiritually than ever before. There is a growing Remnant standing with God who give it their all but more MUST join in. More MUST wake up. What are they waiting for? Are they simply afraid?

With John the Immerser the corrective began with a powerful call to national repentance. It was the same with the Lord when He began His ministry. It was the same on the Day of Pentecost when the first thing Peter said was “Repent!” Christians on the fence must turn from their sins and unfruitful ways and turn to the Lord. They must rededicate their lives to the Lord Jesus. Removing sin from one’s life alone is a huge benefit but is only a starting point. The cleansed residence must then be filled with the Holy Spirit. If one is not sure what this means study the Book of Acts intently. Ask the Lord for the fullness of the same experience they had. Next, one must begin reading the New Testament and not stop until completing it. The Lord’s teachings shed great light upon our souls, strengthen us, make our path clear and clean, and expose the enemy. Rather than giving in to worry and fear, nominal Christians will instead gain strength and purpose and join the spiritual fight. Going 100% for God makes all the difference.

Doors will open. Favor will happen. Blessings will ensue to a greater degree. One will gain spiritual maturity. One will be equipped for spiritual battle. Whenever enough Christians do this the enemy flees in terror. The entire dynamic is turned completely around. Rather than the enemy taking authority over the Lord’s people, the Lord’s people, through His great power and presence, take authority over the enemy. The Lord showed us how this is done. We MUST follow His example.

It is the only way to victory.

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 22)

Today’s Lesson is about New Covenant water baptism. There is only one legitimate form and formula. The apostle Peter proclaimed this in no uncertain terms, and Early Church history confirms it.

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INTRODUCTION   
Ch 1:  LESSON 1    LESSON 2    LESSON 3    LESSON 4    LESSON 5    LESSON 6    LESSON 7
Ch 2:  LESSON 8   LESSON 9   LESSON 10   LESSON 11   LESSON 12   LESSON 13   LESSON 14   LESSON 15
Ch 2:  LESSON 16  LESSON 17  LESSON 18  LESSON 19  LESSON 20  LESSON 21

LESSON 22

Acts 2:38-39

38 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. 39 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.”

WATER BAPTISM

The Lord Jesus made water baptism an extremely important and vital component of His teachings and ministry. It has never been optional. Also, His original method has never been subjected to change by Him. Nevertheless, to this present point in Christian history, we have had about as many water baptism forms and formulas as we have had pretty much everything else that has divided Christianity. And there is no excuse for it. The Book of Acts makes it very clear that there was only one original New Covenant water baptism and it was intended to stay if effect throughout the Church Age.

The word baptism comes from a word that means to immerse totally or overwhelm. All ancient Jewish ritual immersion methods were just that—total immersion. John the Immerser obviously followed this practice. His was a baptism of repentance. His calling was to prepare the nation for the coming King and his kingdom. But he also prophesied the complete destruction of the nation. He knew only a believing Remnant would accept and obey the Messiah and properly repent. These would prove it by bringing forth the fruit or evidence of repentance in their lives. John only used one form of water baptism.

THREE NATIONAL BAPTISMS

There were only three national water baptisms of the nation of Israel throughout its history. Each involved the authority of a prominent spiritual personage representing (1) the Law, (2) the Prophets, and (3) Truth and Grace. The first two were mandatory, as is the third.

The very first baptism was at the Exodus. It is associated with the Red Sea. It took place upon the birth of a new nation just released from Egyptian bondage. It was a baptism unto Moses upon his authority:

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. [1Corinthians 10:1-4]

The second national water baptism was for repentance. It is associated with the Jordan River. It was also for the purpose of manifesting the Lord Jesus to Israel and separating those who recognized and accepted their Messiah from those who did not, and to prepare each group for their ultimate fate. It was a baptism unto John upon his authority:

Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’” Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. [Matthew 3:1-6]

The third national water baptism, in conjunction with repentance, was for the total remission of sin and as preparation for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit as the 120 did in the Upper Room. It is associated with Living Water. It was an opportunity to get spiritually clean, appeal to God for a good conscience, release the hounding burden of one’s sinful and rebellious actions against the Lord Jesus, and gain a personal, reconciled relationship with Him. Whoever may have a casual attitude toward water baptism has likely never fully considered the great cost of purchasing our salvation. Greater love has no one else. He gave His life on our behalf. He did it through His own shed blood.  

The third baptism was unto the Lord Jesus, upon His authority, using His Name:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” [Mark 16:15-16]

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.” [Luke 24:45-47]

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. [Acts 2:38] [1]

New Covenant water baptism is a perfect illustration of the virgin Bride taking the Name of the Bridegroom.   

© 2020 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.

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 21)

Peter commanded the people that they must fulfill two conditions to get right with God and receive the promise of the Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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INTRODUCTION   
Ch 1:  LESSON 1    LESSON 2    LESSON 3    LESSON 4    LESSON 5    LESSON 6    LESSON 7
Ch 2:  LESSON 8   LESSON 9   LESSON 10   LESSON 11   LESSON 12   LESSON 13   LESSON 14   LESSON 15
Ch 2:  LESSON 16  LESSON 17  LESSON 18  LESSON 19  LESSON 20

LESSON 21

Acts 2:37-38

37 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?” 38 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.”[1]

It began with faith. They believed. This is exactly how it started with Abraham. It took the Upper Roomers less time to develop this faith fully, this complete trust and confidence in the Lord.

For Abraham, he was one man alone and God was an invisible Spirit. In time he began to listen closer—he would pursue—he was spiritually hungry. He had experienced the futility of his family religion and graven idols, and sought spiritual reality the only way he knew how. Yet, it was evident that God spoke first. Abraham felt His voice within. In time his hearing improved. He deciphered what he felt. He began to understand God’s greetings and responded in kind. Once communication was established the relationship grew and Abraham’s confidence in his new spiritual Father and Friend developed and matured.

For the disciples, God was manifested directly to them in human form. They were blessed to spend time with Him daily. One would think their relationship with Him would develop faster, and it did, but it was certainly not any easier. They had to learn how to shift to spiritual learning and no longer resort to instantaneous default understanding, that which merely came naturally. It would take much effort. It is why His students were disciples. They were not only receiving head knowledge from their new Teacher but an entirely new curriculum involving every aspect of their lives. It was 24-hour-a-day learning with a universal application.

In the early going, once true faith comes forth, one sees oneself in God’s eyes and is quickly struck by the presence of previously unrecognized or unacknowledged personal corruption. The presence of sin is initially shocking. One perceives how damaging it is to a relationship with the Lord and is embarrassed to be in His presence. There is an urge to run, to get away quickly. It is why we collapse in a heap at His feet. We do all in our power to get clean. This is real repentance. It is a wholesale turning away 180 degrees from a former lifestyle that fits in perfectly in a fallen world. It’s a no-brainer for sinners to have good relationships with sinners. But such is impossible with God. It is difficult to wrench oneself away and a person must make the choice to either live for God or live for this world. The 120 chose correctly.

REPENT…

Soon, in the crowd of thousands gathered to hear Peter’s powerfully anointed message, a great many others would also choose correctly. They too were on the verge of collapse, having been powerfully convicted of their personal sins and rebellious actions toward their Messiah. Some of them had been hearing God’s voice just as Abraham did in the beginning. It came as a perceived thought, as a feeling, and as something quite real but intangible. They couldn’t figure it out but it seemed as though someone was trying to contact them. Many neglected the voice. Others, intrigued, listened more closely.

As John Wesley spoke his now famous words relating to his early conversion experience, the Israelites who paid attention to the loving voice “felt their hearts strangely warmed.”

He was calling them to new life.     

© 2020 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.

REAL SPIRITUAL WARFARE: HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE AN EFFECTIVE CHRISTIAN

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        When a real believer obeys the Lord in presenting the real Gospel, the enemy strikes back and open spiritual warfare ensues.

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          Most Christians prefer non-spiritual warfare Christianity. Most Christians don’t even know what spiritual warfare is. Many have never even heard of the term. It is thus obvious that they are not at war.

        How is it that a great Man preaching love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and joy was treated as a despicable criminal? It is because the people treating Him this way are despicable criminals. Whoever hates and rejects the Lord Jesus tells the whole world they are the world’s biggest and vilest creature and is the farthest from God (one could not be any farther). Whoever loves the Lord Jesus and strives to honor Him is the one who is closest to God.

         Paul was sent on a mission. He was sent to preach the Gospel and rescue souls. What most people miss is that he was sent as a spiritual soldier into spiritual war. The Lord told him he would suffer for this. In watching one of the many D-Day memorials recently there was a clip I am sure many of you have seen. It shows General Eisenhower, the supreme commander of all allied forces, greeting paratroopers right before their mission. The video said that 40,000 paratroopers would parachute into northern France behind enemy lines. It also said that Eisenhower expected 80% casualties. In other words it was effectively a suicide mission. Yet here were all these soldiers geared up for battle in good spirits. They obviously had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Though many volunteered for the armed services, most were drafted and obeyed their government in good faith when forced into the service. The men on this particular mission would soon be decimated. I don’t know what the final figures were. Perhaps some of you reading this do. But it was a disaster.

         Also, about 2,000 men died in the initial D-Day invasion. Most were killed right away, as soon as they began. Their crafts were blown away on the open sea. Many were strafed by machine gun fire as soon as they lowered the ramps of their boats. They had little chance. They were lambs led to the slaughter. It is said that both of these groups had to be sacrificed for the greater good so the successive waves could succeed. But again, I don’t think most of these men had any idea what they were in for.

         This is what happens when you attack an enemy. The enemy will attack back. At that point you either quit or attack back again. The last man standing wins. It cost the lives of tens of thousands very early in this opening battle to bring eventual success. But it was the first group that suffered the highest casualties. Whoever is on the front lines gets hit the hardest.

         This is why right-thinking people understand what the Lord Jesus really did and why He should be highly honored and respected more than any man. He put His life on the line for all the others who came after. It is the same for His original apostles who were the first wave sent into an evil world with the Gospel. These men would be hit the hardest, and they were. The Lord prepared them perfectly. They learned it all from Him. They saw how He handled everything thrown His way. They experienced evil striking out at Him every day. They knew they must learn from Him and grow, and develop spiritually and be strong. They knew that when their time came they would have to be ready and attack with full force, and also have much and keep much in their reserve tanks for ongoing battle. Otherwise they would fail.

UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

         After doing exactly what the Lord told them to do at Philippi, they were beaten bloody and thrown into a filthy prison. But instead of feeling bad about what happened they praised the Lord Jesus. This set the stage for even greater miracles:

      “Hey Silas, can you imagine how much we accomplished today? The devil threw everything he had at us!”

         “He certainly did, Paul.”

         “The Lord knew exactly where to send us and what to say. The enemy had a fit. Now we know the people in league with the devil who have sold out to the enemy, and who the people are we need to rescue. We know what is holding them back, what is constraining them. We know this is a little hell hole of the devil but with many people who want to be free.”

         “And will be free! And are being set free!”

         “Yes! Let’s sing to the Lord and praise Him!”

         The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

         But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. [Acts 16:22-34][1]

         It was only after all of the above was accomplished that Paul and Silas were released and free to go in peace. It cost them with blood and suffering but they accomplished what the Lord sent them there to do. They showed themselves to be good and effective servants of the Lord by successfully attacking and defeating a powerful spiritual enemy and opening up doors of salvation.

         They won the spiritual battle.

         © 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.

GOD REFUTES THE TRINITY DOCTRINE

         Whatever one believes about the nature of God, one must know that the traditional Christian doctrine explaining Him never emerged until a full three centuries after the ministry of the Lord Jesus.

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         For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place;’ I, the LORD, speak righteousness, declaring things that are upright.

         “Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; they have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD?

         “And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.” [Isaiah 45:18-24] [1] 

THE MISSING TRINITY DOCTRINE

         The Lord never spoke of any Trinity Doctrine. There is no mention of a Trinity Doctrine throughout the entirety of Old Testament Scripture or even within the many OT apocryphal works. There is no mention of a Trinity Doctrine in the New Testament either, or in any NT apocryphal works, such as the Book of Enoch, for example, which was quoted by New Covenant writers and which appears at least a tad New Agey. There is no mention of a Trinity Doctrine within the vast library of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date to the first century BC and first century AD. The many Jewish sects of that time period, including the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Scribes, Essenes, and Zealots never mentioned a Trinity Doctrine. There is not even any mention of a Trinity Doctrine within the Jewish oral law in general—the Mishna, Talmud, etc. Monotheistic Muslims and Jews think the entire idea of God being composed of three persons is preposterous.

        But let’s put all that aside for now. Let’s say that when some second century AD Christian philosophers, theorists, and other interpreters began straying from the pure New Covenant writings and the powerful witness of the original believers and began attributing Roman, Greek, and Egyptian triad formulas to the Christian God that they were on the right track. Let’s say they thought they were acting in good faith in order to gain greater cerebral and intellectual understanding of the Christian God and that they attempted to make the New Covenant writings less confusing and more rational.

         Let’s also say that as the third century progressed and this idea was latched onto by a greater number of “church fathers” that they were really onto something deep and profound, and that they began finalizing a previously unknown great revelation, a revelation that was even unknown to such OT stalwarts as Adam, Abel, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David. And which also, incredibly, somehow remained unknown to all the powerfully anointed-by-the-Spirit-of-God OT prophets put together, including Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and especially Isaiah, as quoted above. This proposed, seemingly previous great unknown revelation had also escaped the notice of the Lord’s close associate and forerunner, the powerfully anointed John the Immerser, who never mentioned it or even alluded to it.

         And let’s say these early “church fathers” of the second through fourth centuries AD were incredibly brilliant spiritually, so brilliant and receptive that they discovered and formulated something brand new (but was somehow there all along), though no one else had ever had the understanding or the “eyes to see” to see it. Such spiritually blind people who never saw it also included all the apostles, who were never aware of a Trinity Doctrine and never taught it. These included even the apostles Peter and Paul, the latter of whom wrote most of the New Covenant epistles by the inspiration of God and learned the Gospel through direct communication with God all alone out in the desert. He must have somehow missed that particular class. And let’s say when the final rendition of what we know at present as the classic Trinity Doctrine was authorized and finalized at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381 that they had come up with something that the Lord Jesus Himself either did not know about or never taught if He did know about it.

      It appears as though their great brilliance and spiritual knowledge had even superseded His. Wow. No wonder they also officially removed His Name from water baptism.

         © 2018 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.

Acts of the Apostles [2:44-47]

         And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

         Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.

         And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. [1]

         [SEE COMMENTS]


[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.

Acts of the Apostles [2:40-43]

         And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

         So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

         They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

         Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. [1]


[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.

Acts of the Apostles [2:36-39]

         “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.” [1]


[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.

Angry Little Preacher and the Ghost Lady: Christian Conference Redux

         There was once a big Christian conference in a major city several years ago. It was headlined by a big name Christian evangelist from another country. Many local preachers were invited, as were their church members.

         The city convention center was rented out—the place used mainly for NBA basketball games—and was nearly filled. The conference had been publicized for months.

         As one who attended my share of rock concerts in my long ago youth in such large venues, it was interesting to see all the different people from all over the city come in. As an usher, it was my job to assist in finding seating for the attendees, but also to direct people to the VIP section.

         The organizers of the event made sure that all the VIPs, in this case church pastors and official ministers, were ushered toward the front section, which was marked off and guarded. I was posted in the far back entrance on the main floor. Pastors came in with special credentials and I directed them to another usher far down the aisle, pointing them in the right direction. If I recall, the VIPs wore certain badges to identify themselves.

         There was kind of an upbeat atmosphere but muted. In the old days one walked into a concert in such large auditoriums and saw people having a great time and looking forward to the show. The inevitable frisbees were flyin’ around, caught by someone in the crowd and flung again, several staying aloft at once.

         But not at our conference. No frisbees. No beach balls, even. There was one thing, though. It was kind of weird, but then again for those who were used to it not so much. Again, I was at the head of one of the two or so main aisles in the back down which every minister had to walk to reach his seats in the front section below the stage. My friend and fellow usher was about halfway down the aisle before me.

         The next thing I know a young lady of maybe twenty years of age suddenly felt like dancing. In the aisle. Close to where my partner was. She was doing one of those worship dances with large graceful movements, her eyes turned skyward in kind of a blank look, as if she was hearing music no one else could.

         Okay. No problem. That’s why we’re here. Glad someone’s getting in the Spirit. It reminded me of something, though…

         I remember many years before in a church I was attending there was a lady who did these kind of spur of the moment worship dances. Except hers were really weird. And they usually occurred at odd times. This was in one of those kinds of churches where such behavior was okay, and maybe even encouraged. The idea was to let people be free to worship the Lord as they felt led. The associated challenge with this approach is that you would get the occasional weird “leading.”

         For example, we had a tastefully trimmed out walk-in baptistery at the far front behind the pulpit. It was located there so everyone could see the baptismal candidate emerge on the left from behind a wall and walk down the stairs of the filled tank into the water. The preacher would meet the candidate there, sometimes in waders, and do the baptizing. It was cool. Then the freshly immersed believer would rise majestically out of the water all smiles and happy. It was a celebration! People would applaud and praise God, and then the newly baptized would climb the stairs of the tank on the opposite end and exit.

         Well, our particular worship dancer would sometimes find her way to the baptistery entrance in the back, unseen by all, and then suddenly emerge from behind the same wall through a narrow outlet and out onto the platform! She was thin with long limbs and would always be holding her arms outward and upward, eyes almost closed for the most part, and glide around.

         During a service.

         Sometimes during the preaching.

         You hoped you didn’t bring a visitor on such nights.

         She was ghostly and pale and wore long loose-fitting light-toned dresses. It was quite the sight. Some people were muffling laughter. Elbows were poking others in the pews good-naturedly to let them know the ghost lady was doing her thing. Most congregants acted like nothing out of the ordinary was going on which made it even funnier. For the most part everything just kept going as usual—listening to the preacher, watching the ghost lady, trying hard to be respectful, and allowing her to worship the Lord in her own unique way. Good times…

         Well, back to our conference—our young lady was dancing in the main aisle completely oblivious to oncoming traffic. People going down the aisle would have to stand there and wait for a moment, looking for an opening to get past her. Finally my partner asked very nicely if it would be okay if she did not block the aisle and perhaps dance in her seat.

         The next thing I know some older gentlemen sitting in the back row close by came unglued and walked quickly down the aisle, his head and shoulders thrown back, aimed directly at my friend. He began to excoriate my fellow usher who was quite taken aback at the treatment. My partner tried to explain but to no avail. The gentleman came walking back to his seat red in the face and quite steamed. “That young lady wasn’t doing anything wrong and should be allowed to dance!” We looked at one another. Everybody saw the whole thing. He sat down madder than hell.

         I decided to go over to him both to stick up for my fellow usher and also attempt to diffuse the situation. I was very cool. I kind of half knelt down to make eye contact and tried to explain that she was blocking the aisle. Then he started yelling at me. “That little girl is a member of my church and I don’t appreciate this!”

         It was then I realized that this little man was a preacher. Somehow or another, his credentials were messed up and someone told him he was not allowed to sit in the clergy section down front. This all happened before I took my post. He was mad enough to fight because he felt slighted. I told him I would try to fix it. He said he no longer wanted to sit up there. His behavior was familiar to me at the time since I was the father of young kids.

         Again, I tried to reason with him and diffuse the situation. I stayed calm. Then he said something or another and I lost it. He remained sitting and we were face to face and I let him have it with both barrels, speaking as low as I could. His wife sitting next to him was the most embarrassed woman in the whole state, and was probably used to his antics. But the guy would not let up. I returned fire. I stood my ground and manned my post. Then he looked at me and yelled, “I’ve been preaching for thirty years and I don’t need you preaching to me!”

         If he had gotten up out of his seat I could not have guaranteed that I would not have knocked him into next week. That little banty rooster preacher was a serious piece of work and was obviously used to having his way.

         Maybe the preacher’s antics and our little discussion became a sideshow among the crowds in the upper sections. Maybe the whole thing played out like a ghost lady episode.

         As these things go I was later questioned that night about what happened. Nothing ever came of it. The mad little preacher stayed in back the whole evening glued to his seat and later tried to make amends and laugh it off, though he refused to admit any guilt. He even mentioned something about us almost getting in a fight. As it was, the corrective of the Lord was strongly applied as it probably had never been before and if the preacher had chosen for it to be applied further it would have been.

         Moral of the story? Not sure. But maybe if we didn’t have a first class section for bonafide clergyites and Pharisees, such people would not get their panties in a wad in the first place whenever they felt slighted. Their attitudes are the polar opposite of what the Lord Jesus taught. Imagine the people back in the angry little preacher’s church who revered this guy as a man of God!

         The idea of spiritual VIPs is about as far from the example of the Lord Jesus as possible. He was always being disrespected and treated bad and He accepted it. It was part of the territory. He never demanded His own way or threw fits when slighted. Unlike many modern day preachers who demand honor at all times, the Founder of real Christianity took on the persona of a servant. He would have never been invited to a conference like this anyway, much less have been offered any credentials, but if He got in I’m pretty sure He’d have to sit in the back. With a perfect attitude, though, and most likely invisible. 

         I later thought that maybe the little hothead preacher who had been a minister for thirty years was given a chance by God to show real Christianity by taking the mistake in stride and sitting in his back seat with a smile. And what if all the preachers given official credentials had tossed them aside and purposely sat in the back or somewhere unnoticed? Would not that have been a great testimony to the Lord Jesus, to have that entire front VIP section empty?

         But no. Too much pride. Too much sorry religious pride.

         And there’s your main malfunction, all you Rev. Pretenders: You refuse the Lord His place and take it for yourself. This is like trading a million nuclear power plants for a flashlight battery. It’s no wonder you never see a move of God!

         For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? [James 2:2-4]

         “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” [Luke 20:46-47]

         For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Galatians 3:26-28]

            Clergy and Laity distinctions have no place in the Lord’s community. Period. We must all get with the Lord’s program. Proper humility is the order of the day. Repentance is called for. Religious pride must be destroyed. We must walk not in the strength of sinful flesh but in the power of the Lord’s Holy Spirit.

         If there is one central determining factor in explaining why much of Christianity in America is long since DOA it is because the Lord Jesus has been demoted or kicked out and replaced by impotent imposters.

         I’m not sure what the actual purpose of that conference was, except to see how many Christians from different churches we could gather under one roof in geographic unity. Nothing much happened. There was no great outpouring. The foreign evangelist, greatly used of God overseas, had little effect. But, you know, maybe it was a good networking opportunity.

         For those interested in the real deal, though, who want the Lord Jesus to be exalted to His rightful place of honor and authority, who long for an outpouring of God’s Spirit and even a national Great Awakening, there is a clue from the ministry of John the Immerser. The forerunner of the Great One quoted Isaiah the prophet while preaching to the many seeking repentance and right standing with God. Isaiah tells us exactly what must happen should we choose to be one big happy family:

         A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

         “Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley;

         “Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” [Isaiah 40:3-5] [1]

         Now there’s a Christian conference worth attending!

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

The Day of Atonement

         He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. [John 1:11][1]

         Many Christians have some semblance of an idea that Jesus was rejected by His people. But what most do not know is just how wicked and pervasive the rejection was.

         And He is still being rejected today.

         He is rejected by the majority of those who confess to be adherents of Christianity. He is rejected by most churches. He is rejected by most preachers. He is most often never welcomed in our so-called places of worship. Christians in general don’t want Him, don’t like Him, and most will never allow Him to be in control and be the Leader we all need.

         I have written about this extensively but for the most part it always seems to fall on deaf ears. I have never been officially disfellowshipped from a church but I have been silenced and slandered and libeled and gossiped about. Many wished I would leave before the Lord released me. Though I have met thousands of wonderful believers with big smiles and great attitudes, I have also seen many dirty looks from so many so-called loving Christians and preachers I have halfway come to expect it. Some can think what they want, but others will identify with this. I have years of personal experience in this area and can relate, though on a smaller scale of course, to what the Lord went through.

         The worst persecution comes from those you thought were friends.

         But official churches do not care. The people within most churches have accepted a watered-down version of the original and have retained the right to hate and reject, and there is no doubt they would hate and reject the Lord if He ever showed up. We have glorified preachers and Christian personalities. We have allowed them the high place, the television studio chair, the radio broadcaster’s booth, and have lifted them up over and beyond the Lord. They claim His Lordship but don’t really know Him. If they did they would spend most of the time on their faces instead of soaking up the control, authority, and glory. These are pretenders who have not only accepted a weak version of the original but teach it as gospel. The time will come when the Lord will clean house but that time is not yet.

         There are so many false doctrines being taught within official Christian circles it is laughable. There are many, though, who feel more and want more, and get inspired to act, but quickly withdraw once it becomes evident it will cause a problem in the local body. You can bet there will be scads of preachers and church officials getting creamed at the judgment for being so control-oriented and hateful toward God’s apostles and prophets and teachers, and all those who were earnestly doing the will of God but suffering for it.

         Even this paper will go over the heads of some who read it. They cannot imagine that their lovely church could be guilty of rejecting the Lord Jesus, though the very clear evidence is all around them.

         On this annual Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, how many churches and preachers and denominational leaders and church-going Christians even consider honoring that which is clearly put forth in the Word of God? Most have never even heard of it. Most would never bring it up, maybe because it is “too Jewish,” and “We’re not under the Law,” or some other garbage. Yet having dead services is fine. Rejecting the infilling of the Holy Spirit is perfectly okay. Wanting nothing to do with anything resembling the Book of Acts is perfectly acceptable.

         Such have rejected the Lord. Such are embarrassed by “speaking in tongues.” Such refuse to take on the Name Above Every Name in water baptism. Such will not really love his brother unless he looks like them, acts like them, and believes like them. These people talk about love but violate every commandment concerning love. If they really did love it would show. If they really loved the Lord it would show, instead of insisting on dead, boring, lifeless churches where a miracle could not find its way in edgewise, even though there might be a great eloquent preacher or wonderful “worship” music.

         Whoever takes the time to study real revivals and spiritual awakenings knows the usual order of things is wholly unlike the way the Lord wants it to be. But what can He do?

         Most have kicked Him out.

         Most don’t want Him.

         Most have instead invented a worldly, religious substitute.

         But the Lord will not be stopped. Just as He has always done, He will use the nobodies and those the official Christians think are idiots. Since He is not welcome in most church buildings, He will use living rooms and garages and shacks and barns and open fields and anywhere else He might find before the official Christians find out about it and shut them down or run them out of town.

         I could quote Scripture forever but it won’t do any good. But, speaking of which, here’s a good one:

         For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. [1 Corinthians 1:26-29]

         We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening. But it will bypass most churches. Most preachers don’t get it and won’t get it. As He did in the beginning, the Lord will use the humble and the nobodies. There are many who have been in the process of being prepared for what is coming forth, and will come forth suddenly. These are the ones who had formerly been rejected, just as the Lord Jesus was rejected. And like Him, they do not fit within official church circles. And because of this, the Lord will generally work outside official church circles and most so-called Christians will end up missing out on the greatest spiritual movement this nation has ever seen.

         And you know what else? They will even fight it, like rabid wolves, just as they have been doing all along. But this time there will be far too many real Christians, and they will be connected in fellowship, and they will not be so easy to pick on and pick off as before. And the Lord will be with them and among them because they have never rejected Him like so many others have, but have embraced Him, and suffered with Him.

         Since real repentance always accompanies great spiritual movements, there is always the hope that opposing churches and preachers repent as well, overcome their spiritual pride, and get right with God.

         On this Day of Atonement, consider the price that was paid to buy your salvation. Consider the One who was rejected but completed His mission anyway. And think about where you want to stand in the coming Great Awakening—within it or against it.

         And start doing something about it now.

         © 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.

Water Baptism in the Name of Jesus

         There’s power in the Name of Jesus.

         But apparently not in baptism.

         The vast majority of Christians worldwide for the last two-thousand years have absolutely refused to invoke the Name Above Every Name [1] in water baptism.

         By this, at the very onset of their Christian walk, they have failed to honor the Lord Jesus though simultaneously claiming a very close walk with Him.

         Most are simply unaware. Many have been taught an alternative method and have accepted it, though it violates Scripture. Some simply do not care.

         What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.

         “Baptism doesn’t matter. So back off.”

         “Baptism is very important, of course, but the first Christians obviously got it wrong.”

         “Baptism in the Name of Jesus is heresy.”

         “Oh that. Yeah, there’s some weird people out there doing some weird stuff, especially those guys. The verse at the end of Matthew is very clear on the right way to baptize.”

         Despite the fact that every single reputable Biblical encyclopedia, dictionary, ancient source, and denominational historical record states flatly and clearly that the original water immersion method taught and administered by the apostles included invoking the pure and holy Name of Jesus, about 95% of all Christians continue to refuse to use the Lord’s Name in baptism. And most conduct baptism in a man-made non-Scriptural manner.

         This disses the Lord.

         If a Christian believes in and honors the Holy Trinity, (a non-Biblical term), his or her water baptism will certainly reflect it. He or she will honor these three distinct Persons by invoking their Biblical titles. He or she will honor the first Person of the heavenly Godhead—the Father. He or she will honor the second Person of the heavenly Godhead—the Son. And he or she will honor the third Person of the heavenly Godhead—the Holy Spirit.

         There’s only one little problem.

         This is something the first followers of Jesus never did.

         And the reason why is simple: They recognized Jesus the Messiah as YHWH Himself. And they honored the one God of the Hebrews and showed their allegiance to Him by invoking His Name, the Name Above Every Name, in water baptism. They were taught by the apostles themselves, who set the precedent, and who were themselves taught directly by the Lord Jesus.

         The record in the Book of Acts and throughout the epistles is clear—there is absolutely no Scriptural historical evidence whatsoever for title baptism. It never occurred. It was a much later development.

         Now, why does one suppose this happened? Why was it officially changed, though the Word of God continues to loudly declare it openly and exclusively? Who could possibly be responsible for removing the powerful and holy Name of the Lord Jesus from baptism?

         Regarding the Word of God, which Christians claim to honor, here is the overwhelming evidence that demands a verdict: 

         And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” [Mark 16:15-18]

         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.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. [Acts 2:38-41]

         But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. [Acts 8:12-17]

         So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; [Acts 9:17-18]

         “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’” [Acts 22:12-16]    

         While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. [Acts 10:44-48]

         It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men. [Acts 19:1-7]

         Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. [Romans 6:3-4]   

         Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. [1 Corinthians 6:11]

         There is a reason such verses of Scripture bring strong reactions. If one studies the Book of Acts, one discovers that the enemies of the Lord hated His Name, and they hated His followers’ use of His Name. They knew there was great power in the Name of Jesus, and they knew it greatly superseded their power.

         Demons were cast out by the Name of Jesus, not mere titles.

         Miraculous healings took place by the Name of Jesus, not mere titles.

         People were being made free from the wicked power of sin by the Name of Jesus, not mere titles.

         Concerning the command of the Lord regarding water baptism, why have most Christians agreed with the enemy?

         “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]

         This is why Peter said what he did at the conclusion of the first prototypical message of the Church Age. Immersion in water in the name of Jesus signified the giving of oneself to Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior. It signified an extremely undignified and all-embracing act—dying completely to self—performed in the open and recorded in public for all to see. It signified the burial of the repentant (dead) person and total surrender to the Lord Jesus.

         Instead of dissing the Lord in baptism, it was the highest possible form of praise.

         Real Christians are constantly on the move toward greater spiritual growth and maturity, the gaining of more revelatory knowledge, and a closer walk with the Lord. We learn new things all the time. Life with the Lord Jesus is a spiritual adventure. It is productive and fruit-bearing, though there are times of severe struggle and trial.

         However, resistance against new revelation is often on the surface, ready to emerge. In light of that:

         Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. [2 Timothy 2:15]

         Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. [Acts 17:10-11]

         Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Colossians 3:17] [2]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Philippians 2:9

[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.