Blog Archives

THE EFFECTUAL WORKING OF MIRACLES

           I once had a pastor who didn’t care for doing any counseling. He stated this from the pulpit. He didn’t like sitting down with people from his church and going over the usual problems. He once stated that the devil “can only get you in so many ways,” meaning, of course, that the devil had a limited repertoire of mayhem-causing temptations. In this regard, we often hear preachers list the same relatively few things we, as Christians, must deal with, and they, as pastors, must attend to with counsel, and they say this because it’s pretty much all they ever hear. The short tabulation usually involves the following:

(1) Money problems

(2) Relationship problems

(3) Health problems

         I don’t fault that former pastor. I am pretty sure one of the reasons he cared little for counseling is because many people do not respond to it in a positive way. There are often solutions to the above three legitimate and often overwhelming difficulties put forth in Scripture that are rarely applied and this can frustrate a counselor, in that they give good advice designed to assist but the advice is not taken. It is not respected. Counselors know that much of the time people only want to talk. They need someone to talk to. That’s what they really want. They don’t necessarily want to do the work to eliminate the problem.

         The Lord is the greatest of counselors. Isaiah called Him a Wonderful Counselor. But even the Lord probably gets somewhat tired of hearing prayers when He knows we will not apply the solutions. So, in that light, I am going to dedicate the rest of this post to those of you who want to do whatever it takes to fix whatever the problem is.

A MIRACLE WAITING TO HAPPEN

         I stated at the end of my last post the very words of the Lord Jesus when He said that with God, all things are possible. This is obviously a true statement. The truth of the matter, however, is that there is a whole lot of stuff between the problem and His relatively straightforward solution. It should not be this way. I think we often make it far too complicated, which messes up the process.

         For example, in the case of Scriptural miracles, our eyes may glaze over as soon as someone brings them up, because we have heard them countless times and they do not appear applicable whatsoever to what we may be dealing with at the moment. But at that time the solution was clear-cut:

        There was Peter and John seeing a lame man who had been there for decades. Thousands and thousands had seen this man there over his lifetime. He always asked for money. Some would give him money. Most probably ignored him. He had a great problem and had it since birth and people were tired of seeing him. What could they do about it anyway?

          Well, in the case of Peter and John, they had just been gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit. They were charged up with the power and authority of the Lord. With their new status came a ton of spiritual boldness. So the next time they saw that man Peter had a completely different attitude. He suddenly had a solution to the lame man’s problem. He didn’t simply look at the man as usual and think, “Sorry. I feel bad for you but have no answer. Later.” Instead, this is the way it went down:

         Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.

         But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

         But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!”

         And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [Acts 3:1-8]

HOW IT WAS DONE

First of all, Peter would be the first to say he was nobody special and that the Lord did the work. In fact, he did say that. But let us not forget that Peter experienced Pentecost. He was one of the 120 gloriously filled with the Spirit of the Lord. So that is the main condition here. But the infilling was not limited to the apostles or the 120. It was limited to no one. It is still not limited to anyone, provided one fulfills the conditions of Acts 2.

Second, Peter demanded the man look at him. He demanded the man’s full attention. 

Third, Peter used the powerful Name of Jesus, the Name above every name, and the Name with full authority over all things, including an otherwise impossible-to-cure medical condition. 

Fourth, Peter reached down, physically grabbed the man’s hand, and pulled the man up! Peter was fully confident in everything he did because he had plenty of faith and confidence in the Lord, His Name, and His spiritual power.

         But what about the lame man? He also had conditions to fulfill. He had to respond to counseling correctly. He had to obey Peter’s counseling or the miracle would never have happened.

First, when Peter demanded his full attention the lame man looked directly at him and shut everything else out.

Second, the lame man did not object to the use of the Lord’s Name.

Third, when Peter took hold of his hand and began pulling him up, the lame man never fought against him, but allowed Peter to do all he did with no opposition of any kind.

         From this we know that miracles are always the result of a collaborative effort.

         The Lord does His part, which He is always faithful to do, and the recipient does his or her part. This is why a person acting properly on faith and correctly obeying the Lord’s counseling completes the circuit.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE

         The Lord put the healing of the lame man miracle right there in the very beginning so anyone and everyone all through the centuries could look back at it and see that all things truly ARE possible with the Lord. It was also a great miracle at the time for the members of the early Church to look back on to build their faith and act on their faith. They saw that the Lord’s miracles could be worked through them and not only by the Lord exclusively, as in the gospels, or through a chosen few, such as the apostles. This is extremely important. As a result, greater numbers of people had their prayers answered and more life-changing miracles were performed by the Lord working through countless Spirit-filled believers the world over. This expanding dynamic continued as well by involving onlookers as witnesses, which further spread the news of the miracles and produced faith in the Lord, salvation, and more disciples.

         And all the people saw him walking and praising God; and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. [Acts 3:9-10] [1] 

          © 2017 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.

Advertisements

SALVATION OF JEWS WITHOUT JESUS? NOT ACCORDING TO MOSES AND PETER

Blog Pic 524.        

         “And 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]

.

         Both of these men had sterling Hebrew credentials. The first, Moshe, was chosen by God as a prophet, deliverer of his people, and  lawgiver. Without Moses there would be no Hebrew nation.

         The second man, Peter, was chosen by the Lord Jesus as the man to whom He gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Peter’s name in Hebrew is Kefa, and his given Jewish name before the Lord changed it was Shim’on Bar-Yochanan. Peter used the kingdom keys on the first Day of Pentecost showing the way to salvation and as the central leader and spokesman of the early Jerusalem Church.

       Regarding Hebrew credentials, no one has more sterling credentials than the Lord Jesus Himself: A member of the Tribe of Judah, He is a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David.

THE NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME

         The New Covenant writers made it very clear that there is no salvation without Messiah Jesus (YeHoshua HaMashiach), as His very name means “YHWH-Salvation.” The apostle Paul (Sha’ul), a “Hebrew of Hebrews” in his own words, cites absolutely no distinction between Jews and Gentiles in his teachings regarding those in need of salvation:

       For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” [Romans 10:11-13]

         The entire Community of the Lord for the first seven to ten years of its existence after Pentecost was composed entirely of Jews. There were no Gentiles until the inclusion of an Italian named Cornelius, whose salvation came through the ministry of Peter, the historical account of which is listed in Acts Chapter 10.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF JEWISH NATIONAL TITLES

         The first man called a Hebrew in Scripture was Abram (Genesis 14:13). In general terms, the descendants of the Patriarchs were known as Hebrews until the Conquest of Canaan under Joshua, after which they were known as Israelites. The nation was divided into two kingdoms after Solomon’s death, and the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were dispersed into permanent exile in 721BC and were slowly assimilated by other nations.

         The only remaining tribes of the original Israelite nation were Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, and these constituted the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The people of this Kingdom went into exile in Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity at the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in 586BC. They were allowed to return to the land of Judah a half century later. Since the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah and because the three tribes composing it had somewhat maintained their distinct Israelite identity, the relatively small remainder of the original Hebrews/Israelites became known as Jews from that time forward.

MOSES PROPHESIES OF THE COMING KING

         “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.’” [Deuteronomy 18:15-19]   

         This prophecy and commandment delivered by Moses was referenced by Peter during the first days of the early Church when he spoke to a gathered crowd of Jews in Jerusalem right after the miraculous healing of the lame man:

         “Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’” [Acts 3:22-23]

          If someone polled Christians on whether or not they believed that the content of this Scriptural passage was true, many would say no. Of course, many would have never heard of it to begin with so it would appear foreign on two counts: On the first because a probable majority of Christians have never read the Book of Acts, and the second because they have been conditioned to believe that Jews can be saved without Jesus.

         But the Lord Jesus made it a point to anoint Peter to preach this word early on in the Church’s history and make a clear authoritative reference to Moses so all the Jews there would hear the truth.

THE BOLDNESS OF PETER AND THE SALVATION OF JEWS IN ACTION:

        “And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” [Acts 3:24-26]

         Many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:4] [1]

         After the awesome display of the Lord’s miraculous healing of the lame man, the bold preaching of Peter, the massive salvation of thousands of Abraham’s descendants, and the powerful display of God’s love, the Jewish religious leaders showed up and threw Peter and John in jail.

         © 2017 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.

NO ONE KNOWS WHAT GOES ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Blog Pic 401    

        There are a great many tacit taboos in traditional Christianity. One of them concerns knowing what happens behind the outer stage presentation and the unknown agenda of the few in charge.

.

         “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” [Luke 8:17-18] [1]   

         I heard a sermon many years ago relaying a story that took place many years before then. The elder preacher, very well respected with an excellent reputation, was well aware of the incident, having lived at that time.

BANG THE DRUM QUICKLY

        It seems one of those small-church revivals had started up. They were going every night and much spiritual excitement was in the air. Those kinds of things would traditionally carry on for about two weeks, maybe three, and served as a method to get stuck-in-a-ditch church people back on track with God.

         The preacher said someone there had a big bass drum. When things got to swinging every night that feller would bang on that drum incessantly. This somehow greatly helped inspire the people to get all excited and keep things happening. They were doing all the many things church people did in those kinds of revivals, which were different things from those in regular services. And the big drum would keep banging away in the background.

         As I listened to the older man’s sermon I wondered where he was heading with the story. This was a veteran preacher who knew very well what he was doing and I was a young man quite intrigued with a story from way back, picturing a small church congregation intent on following the pastor’s lead and honoring the apparent fact that the man of God heard from God and the revival was heaven-sent.

         He said night after night the revival kept going, the people kept coming, the Spirit kept blessing, and the big bass drum kept booming. Then one night the drum broke…

         I learned a giant lesson. The preacher was not bashing the church or Christianity or any such thing. He was only giving people a small peak into what actually goes on behind the scenes. At that time I was still thoroughly wet behind the ears in that I trusted all leadership and never suspected anyone of doing anything untoward. I was so blessed to have had the incredible born again experience I had and everything in life was brand new and fresh. There was no way I would question anything about the process the Lord used to bless me so abundantly.

         But that sermon brought me back to earth in a sense. It let me know there was more going on that I didn’t know about. It let me know all was not what it seemed… [To Be Continued]

         © 2017 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 VITAL PREREQUISITES OF CHRISTIANITY 101

.

         When I was in college many moons ago I learned about prerequisite courses. I could not take a specific class, for example, if I did not take another class first.

.

IN THE BEGINNING

         The prerequisite courses were generally introductory 101s and oftentimes a repetition of basic high school courses. Much of the first two years of college contains classes like this. On the surface it appears to be a good idea in order to fill in any education gaps using a college level standardized form and facilitate a greater understanding of the foundational stuff required for the higher learning of junior and senior years.

         On the other hand it is an opportunity to force students to extend their university years and bring more income into the institution. One might reject that notion, but colleges and universities exist to make money. Even public colleges supported by government subsidies are in it for a buck. Someone is making money somewhere, and a lot of it, or such institutions would largely not exist. If anyone thinks otherwise, one needs to check their naiveté filter.

         Idealism runs high in the college level age group and can easily be taken advantage of. Parents face tremendous societal pressure to enroll their children in so-called institutions of higher learning even though many know such places are highly compromised with alternative education agendas and often deliver much less than advertised and much more that is never advertised.

         This brings me to two points:

(1) Christians are generally uninformed and unaware of the real teachings of the Lord Jesus and the actual New Covenant writings.

(2) Christians face tremendous societal pressure to become members of “churches.”

         These two are symbiotically connected. It brings me to two further points which explain the preceding points:

(1) Many “churches” generally keep people uninformed and unaware of the real teachings of the Lord Jesus and the actual New Covenant writings through alternative education agendas.

(2) Most “churches” strongly pressure people to attend all services and buy into everything being taught in order to be a member in good standing.

CIRCULAR REASONING

         This process creates a low-denominational heavy traffic roundabout difficult to disengage from and pretty much explains perfectly why so many Christians continue to: (1) Work very hard doing what they’re told by religious authorities, because they want to do the right thing, and (2) No matter how hard they work at attending “church” and go through all the prescribed motions, they get out on the other side one day in the distant future still generally uninformed and unaware of the real teachings of the Lord Jesus and the actual New Covenant writings. What did they actually achieve?

         It is the same reason why so many hundreds of thousands of college graduates are educated in specific areas but generally brain dead regarding subjects they should be extremely proficient at, and why their overall knowledge base is severely lacking on even the most rudimentary levels. When such young, bright idealistic though naïve students finish an extensive college academic program only to be dumb and dumber in much of the knowledge that matters most but highly skilled in subjective social indoctrination that is most often anti-Christian, anti-freedom and liberty, and pro-status quo in nature, it portends that a deceptive alternative agenda is in the works.

THE “BUSY CYCLE” ENFORCED BY SOCIETAL PRESSURE

         Why do millions of people continue to support such an academic system?

         Why do millions of Christians continue to support such systematic “churches?”

         The answer to both questions are the same: Societal Pressure.

         The only way to gain the necessary knowledge to exit the busy cycle is to leave the traffic circle. Why? Because the busy cycle keeps people from gaining the necessary information to escape it. Therefore, people have been conned to support the very thing that is keeping them from gaining the answer to get off the merry-go-round.

THE LORD’S PREFERRED DISCIPLES

         This is why the Lord Jesus did not choose religious academics to begin His movement. He chose no clergymen or priests or reverends or rabbis or scribes or tenured professors or administrators or sold-out money-loving status quo addicts or the socially ascendant. Really. He never chose any of those kinds of people. He obviously knew such people were agenda-driven, that their agendas would clash with His purpose, that they possessed highly inflated self worth, that they would insist on attempting to build their own kingdoms within His, based on their limited and subjective knowledge, and that they would fight Him at some point or every point along the way. What He prefers are raw recruits willing to leave all and start over with total trust in Him as their only Shepherd and Teacher.

         His discipleship course requires that everyone start at the beginning. He demands that His prerequisites be honored. He commands a born again experience.

         The apostle Paul said this:

         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. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” [1Corinthians 1:26-31]

         Thus, the Lord—a hard working manly Carpenter with a powerful though gracious bearing—preferred choosing regular down-to-earth people like Himself. He chose fishermen and blue collar workers. He chose those with searching, honest hearts who never fully engaged in what they deemed compromised programs. He also chose those often despised by society such as tax collectors. He even associated with great sinners. Any of these would have been the kiss of death for any “acceptable” ministry, and it proves that His ministry was the opposite of those who always respond to societal pressure and keep the wheel to nowhere turning.

         He usually went outside the usual and found His disciples down by the seaside and along the roads in the small out-of-the-way places and among the societal rejects and so-called misfits. He never judged by the outer appearance but looked on a person’s heart.

DEFINING A NEW COVENANT CONGREGATION

         As far as “church” is concerned, real disciples could congregate anywhere, with a building or not with a building, under a tree or in a boat, or even by the thousands on a gently sloping hillside. Finding a place to meet was never a problem.

         Also, regarding how many people must be gathered to constitute an actual “church,” the Lord made this most profound statement:

         “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” [Matthew 18:20]   

         This means that an authentic, genuine Christian meeting can be held virtually anywhere on the planet with as few as two people, and if the two are gathered together in His name He will support it. Not only that, He will attend it!

         I know this may be a very hard concept to grasp due to so much anti-New Covenant Christian indoctrination, but real Christianity is actually quite simple and open in its approach and allows for a tremendous amount of learning and knowledge in both the natural and spiritual fields.

DISCIPLESHIP PREREQUISITES

        There are certainly vital prerequisites, however, though these prerequisites commanded by the Lord Jesus have been rejected for one illegitimate reason or another, usually pride, by many Christians. They are designed to assist us in defeating the oppressive power of sin, break the spell of societal pressure, provide an exit from a fruitless, circular religious lifestyle, gain the powerful anointing and strength needed for our work, and open a giant secret spiritual entrance door into His kingdom:

         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 2:38-39] [1] 

         © 2017 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.

SPIRITUAL FREEDOM and the Losing Legacy of Traditional Christianity

         Having squandered its influence within society, traditional Christianity no longer has much effect on the culture.

.

         This is what happens when the great strength and power of Real Christianity is removed and virtually relegated to the sidelines. The Truth has been systematically retracted and replaced with false notions borne by dead religionists without a clue. The process then continues to replicate itself, having made the reality of that which the Lord Jesus brought forth in the beginning the object of ridicule and thus rejection.

         And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:6-9]

THIS IS WHY GREAT AWAKENINGS MUST HAPPEN

         The traditional religionists gain full control. They remove everything that has to do with real life. They set up systems in place which corral and control the people, turning them into mere automatons doing their bidding. Why does one rarely notice that the advantages of such a setup always rise to the top for the benefit of those in control?

         The Lord Jesus, as part of His real curriculum, demanded that His disciples be servants. This does not mean that we are only supposed to serve Him which we obviously must, but that we have a general sense of being a servant to all. Being a servant, then, must demand that we think of others and their condition of life. This must mostly be the case among the members of the Community. It does not mean that those outside the Community must not also be loved, but that those within the Community have already complied with the commands of the Lord and submitted to Him. These real members have given themselves to the Lord to be used as He decides. The benefits thereof must obviously then go to them, as this is what the Lord taught. How can He bless a person with salvation, for example, unless that person complies with the necessary commands toward salvation? In other words, there is no salvation without repentance.

         Whoever then has complied with everything the Lord has commanded to be a member of His Community is thus in a place and position in which the Lord can bless with the full benefits of His Kingdom.

HOW IS THE FOLLOWING SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN?

         Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Mark 10:29-30] [1]

         Christians have been conditioned by pretenders to expect next to nothing from the Lord. They read their Bibles. They study the Gospel. They do in-depth research into the New Covenant epistles of Paul and the others. And they discover there are great benefits that go along with being a member of the Lord’s real Community. And they wonder where their benefits are and why such are often so hard to come by. These people, however, have never been in it for the benefits. That’s not why they signed up. They joined because they met the Lord and accepted His great love and returned that great love. They want to be with Him. They want to serve Him. They also want to be within a Community in which we all love one another and watch out for one another.

         This cannot happen in fake communities. Such groups simply do not have the goods. They do not possess the ability to gain the benefits. Why? Because they are not real. That’s why I call it Unreal Christianity. They are not connected to the Lord. They are not connected to the Lord’s great life and power. There is no spiritually regenerative power as that which was released in the very beginning.

         In short, the fake places have no Pentecost events. This is because they reject Pentecost events. The people there are not Spirit-filled and don’t want to be. They have created and set up faux communities in which the Lord is not present and thus has no power or control to significantly change things for the better. The controllers of these institutions prefer their man-made set-ups because the benefits go to them. They know they have little power to significantly help the members thereof as the Lord Jesus did in the beginning, but they refuse to change to allow the Lord control.

THE TAIL WAGGING THE DOG

         This is also why the culture has greater influence on these places than vice versa. The original Church from its very creation had greater power than any other entity on the planet. EVERY SINGLE MEMBER WAS GIVEN THIS GREAT POWER. It was never meant only for some ridiculous higher class. The Lord meant it for everybody. When one reads the historical record within the Book of Acts he sees the powerful coming forth of a people released from all shackles, from the shackles of sin and also from those of cultural arrangements that had always previously kept them down and out. Just as the Lord said, these people were now FREE:

         So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

         The word translated as free means to be released from the dominion of sin, to be set at liberty, and even to be released from liability. This is real freedom! Once a person gains this freedom it means all things are possible. When people gain this freedom they get really happy really fast! That’s what happened at Pentecost. An incredible release took place. People were set free from virtual prisons. Joy broke out all over. They gave themselves to their new Lord and Master and were no longer under the sway of masquerading imposters who promise everything and deliver nothing.

         Dead religious tradition had made a deal with the devil and kept them bound. The Lord Jesus set them free.

         © 2017 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.

DEAD PEOPLE WALKING

         The angel returned with his report and presented it to the Lord: The churches are dead. They act like they have it all together but are spiritually dead. They are congregations of pretenders…

.

         The Lord Jesus did all He could do in the first century to bring the false religious leaders to repentance. He failed. It was, of course, not His failure. It was theirs. They refused. It did not matter how well He revealed their many errors. They were dead set on maintaining their dead religious ways.

         There is a clear record in the Gospels of all their many failures and wrong actions. He tells them plainly that though they believed themselves to be right with God they did not know God.

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE

         It is no different today. Pick out any church on any street in America and the odds are huge that the leadership there will be out of fellowship with the Lord Jesus and are actually in opposition to Him. They look great. They have a great level of control and almost everyone there does what they are told. They are dead churches because the people are dead, the leadership is dead. There is a completely different standard of spirituality. Their standard is something otherworldly. It does not line up with Scripture. It is infused with false doctrines and teachings and this is borne out by its complete lack of spiritual effectiveness.

         The Lord tries to get their attention but they refuse. They are smug. They are arrogant. They go about in their quiet manner looking and acting exactly like the world because that’s what they are—they are a picture of the unregenerate sinful world wrapped up in dead religious grave clothes. They are all prepared for a funeral.

         “For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:27-28] [1]

REFUSING THE PROPER COMPARISON   

         The Lord failed to convince the Pharisees and Sadducees to repent. He has so far failed to get this particular church to repent. A church like this is representative of many churches in America. Each one proves everyday that the Lord Jesus is not in charge. Their ministry looks nothing like His. They are dead. And they force everyone who becomes part of the congregation to be dead like them.

         As long as no one makes the proper comparison to the clear New Testament record of what a group of believers is supposed to look like no one is ever the wiser. All of these people want a church in which they can continue to be sinners and remain distant from the Lord and never be made to get right with Him.

         They absolutely hate being convicted. They refuse to surrender to the Lord and thus force themselves to surrender to the church status quo.

         They are filled with sin and corruption but no one there knows it because they refuse the Lord’s light and correction that would expose them for what they are. They want compromised Christianity, a place where they can be as worldly as the day is long so they can maintain their love of this world and their focus on worldly success.

         At best they want a halfway house. They want to be in that strangely mythical place, somewhere between heaven and hell. They loathe the full expression of the Kingdom of Heaven.

         The Lord’s truth does not interest them. They reject Him. They are not for real.  

         © 2017 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 SIGNS OF THE TIMES

         But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. [Galatians 4:4-5]

         The Lord Jesus arrived at exactly the right time. One would think it was actually not a very good time at all, especially in light of what eventually happened to Him. He came to His people when what was left of the nation of Israel had brought forth the very worst generation in its history. That says a lot, since the ancient Hebrews had manifested some really bad generations over the centuries.

THE SADDUCEES

         He came at a time when the religious kingpins had gained complete control and had corrupted the entire spiritual establishment. The sect of the Sadducees, the high upper class of well-to-do Establishment power brokers, were in bed with the Romans and had control of the Temple. But remember that the Lord God never wanted a Temple in the first place, and that the Temple in Jerusalem in the first century was empty: There was no Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.

         The Ark had disappeared to history 600 hundred years before and is still missing to this day. Without the Ark of the Covenant, what exactly was going on at the Temple in the first century? This is a perfect type of the majority of churches in America that refuse the presence of God but continue to go through the motions anyway.

         Consider the following:

         But in the same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’ [2Samuel 7:4-7]

         “David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: ‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord, ‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE? WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’ You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.” [Acts 7:46-51]

         As soon as Stephen said this his fate was sealed. Those religious authorities not only murdered him seconds later, they acted exactly like the pack of wolves they were just before:

         Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. [Acts 7:54]

         Did Stephen hit a big old giant religious nerve or what?

THE PHARISEES

         The sect of the Pharisees had control of the synagogues, which meant they controlled all religious thought and actions, supervised all behavior, and demanded that everyone follow their strict but incorrect interpretation of the Law and Prophets. They had gained the seat of Moses but the Lord told His own disciples to not do what they do. There are many powerful rebukeathons directed by the Lord against the Scribes and Pharisees throughout the Gospels. There are also many parables revealing their illicit behavior and inherent wrongness. The Pharisees were always against the Lord, always trying to trip Him up, always attempting to disparage Him in the eyes of the people, and also always trying to kill Him.

         Was the Lord Jesus constantly hitting a big old giant religious nerve or what?

         In light of the fact that the Holy of Holies was empty, the people were struggling under a curse, and the religious Establishment looked great on the outside but were evil within, shouldn’t more people have noticed the real Ark of the Covenant? Shouldn’t they have perceived the real Temple?

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

THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES

         So why did the Lord Jesus arrive at such a time? The religious authorities who had been engaged in so much wanton destruction for so long, whose forebears had killed all the prophets, had gained complete control.

         Evil had been elevated to the very top of the pyramid.

         “Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away. [Matthew 16:3-4]

         Sound familiar? Let’s return to the topic verse:

         But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. [Galatians 4:4-5]

         The Lord Jesus arrived when He did to redeem His people who were under the Torah. For greater clarification, Paul also said this:

         For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— [Galatians 3:11-13] [1]

         The Lord came to set His people free at a time when they needed it most. He would become the Sacrifice Lamb. He had to be born under the Law and that particular generation was more “under the Law” than any prior generation.

         The word “redeem” in these two passages from Galatians is from the Greek exagorazo, which means: (1) to redeem (1a) by payment of a price to recover from the power of another, to ransom, buy off (1b) metaph. of Christ freeing the elect from the dominion of the Mosaic Law at the price of his vicarious death (2) to buy up, to buy up for one’s self, for one’s use (2a) to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own.

         Paul said that Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Torah. That’s a powerful statement. Quite pejorative. The curse of the Torah? This explains how the Pharisees gained control of the people. It explains why that generation was the worst. It explains why He came as a bright Light into a land of great darkness. It explains why they hated Him.

THE ESSENES

         This Jewish sect had fully recognized the evil of the Sadducees and Pharisees, how they had gained control of the Temple and the synagogues, and essentially the entire religious Establishment. And they told them all to go stick it in their collective ear by leaving all and going to the wilderness. They would not put up with all the religious chicanery and shenanigans. Their problem was not that they left but that they had no power as witnesses to stay on the scene and do anything about it. They knew they were defeated and could never change the status quo. But they did a great service to the Lord by shaking the dust off their feet and refusing to be a part of the evil.

         This is also why John the Immerser conducted his ministry out in the wilderness, away from all the religious and political intrigue. He proved in part that his ministry was from God because much of the nation went all the way out there to see him. It was a powerful movement within what was left of the nation of Israel and set in motion the Lord’s own movement. What these two movements portend is that REPENTANCE must always come before GRACE. American Christians must properly repent before the Great Awakening can come forth. A big part of this repentance is renouncing everything wrong within “Christianity” instead of supporting it or merely walking away from it.

BLINDED BY DECEPTION

         Though the spirit of repentance is rising, there is still very little repentance in America for incorrect, non-New Testament church practices and church formats, the teaching of false doctrines, the clergy-laity division, or the refusal to be filled with the Lord’s Spirit allowing Him full control. This is due in part to ignorance, willful ignorance, deception, and outright rebellion, but at its heart is a curse. In Galatians, Paul quoted the following OT verse:

         “‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” [Deuteronomy 27:26]

         The point here is that Moses taught that the entire Torah must be honored. Anything less not only rendered it ineffective, it brought on a curse.

         James reiterated this teaching of Moses in the following:

         For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. [James 2:10]

         The Lord Jesus made it clear that we are either with Him or against Him. There is no middle ground. It should therefore be obvious that we are not allowed by Him to choose whatever part of His teachings we like and reject the others. But Christianity in general has been guilty of this for centuries and certainly remains guilty at present.

         It was the same in the first century. Though the people were under a curse, they continued to support the status quo. They continued going through religious motions that had no real effect on their spiritual lives. They were beat down, and they were scared. They wanted real change for the better but could not make it happen.

         Until John.

         Until the Lord Jesus.

         And until Pentecost.

         After that the flood gates opened.

         For such a time as this.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

LIVING IN THE MIRACLE REALM: Miracles Are Real (1)

         Miraculous works were not only a sign proving the legitimacy and authority of the Lord Jesus and His ministry, they were vital to carrying it out. His overall ministry has never ceased but continued with His original disciples and continues at present. In order to achieve what the Lord has called us to achieve we must use every ministry tool and weapon that He used. We must live in the Miracle Realm.

.

THE MIRACLE REALM

         All of us wonder sometimes why our prayers are not answered. We wonder why we feel so out of touch spiritually and why the Lord seems to be a million miles away. While such things happen from time to time for dedicated disciples, for most Christians, they happen all the time.

         This is one reason: The majority of Christians in the world have never entered the Miracle Realm.

         Let me explain.

         The Lord Jesus said His real disciples would do the same things He did. Before we go further, please focus on His words in the following passage:

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

         Now, consider that. The Lord spoke these words very sincerely. He left no doubt as to their meaning. The words apply to every real believer from that time until the present. He said that every REAL believer will do the same works that He did during His ministry and would also do even greater works.

         Now consider the following phenomena:

         The Lord Jesus could actually SEE otherwise invisible demons.

         The Lord was also well-acquainted with angels, as were the members of His early Community. You remember that Peter was busted out of jail by a walking talking angel the night before he was to be executed. Joseph, the Lord’s human father, had one dream after another featuring an actual angel appearing to him in dreams and giving him specific commands.

         The Lord Jesus Himself appeared to Paul on more than one occasion.

         All of these things happened as a matter of course in early Christian history. For most Christians since and for most Christians at present these kinds of things NEVER happen. Most Christian leaders are so out of touch spiritually they have joined the devil in claiming such things no longer happen, can’t happen, and haven’t happened since the first century. And because of this, most Christians have been taught to NOT believe.

         In other words, if it doesn’t happen to me or at my church then it simply can’t be real.

         This is what I term Surface-Oriented Christianity. It’s not spiritually real. It has no power. Whatever the denomination, it is as unreal as the day is long. I am not judging the hearts of individuals, but merely agreeing with the actual teachings and ministry of the Lord Jesus and standing on His Words instead of the words of any other.

         Let me explain something even further. As a follower of the Lord, I have been around a long time. I am very familiar with Catholic churches, Protestant churches of almost every form, Non-denominational churches, and many Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. I am very familiar with mega churches and many forms of small home groups. I could go on. I have been to roughly a million Christian services and meetings and conferences of pretty much any and every form.

         But very rarely, relatively speaking, have I seen or experienced the works the Lord did during His ministry.

         BUT I HAVE SEEN THEM. THEY DO EXIST.

         It is just that, again, relatively speaking regarding all Christian experience and considering all denominations, the Lord’s miraculous works are very rare. Everyone knows this. Some Christians even think they don’t happen at all and never could.

         There are reasons for this. I can tell you exactly what those reasons are, but I also know that most Christians are simply not interested. For the few who are interested and really want to break through and be used of God in a mighty way, stayed tuned…

         In the meantime I suggest the following articles:

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 1)

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 2)

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 3)

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

“CHURCHIANITY? WE HAVE A PROBLEM” Supporting Old Wineskins Means Rejecting New Wine

         You don’t find it in traditional “church.” You don’t find it in pretty much any form of ultra-organized Christianity, that is, that which is organized by man.

         If people are the central planners, central organizers, central leaders, and central motivators, then the Lord Jesus is not.

         And that’s the PROBLEM. It’s why you never see real, lasting revival in such places.

         It’s why those in some places, in the effort to at least appear spiritual, have given themselves over to pure emotionalism because they simply do not have the real thing. They’ve substituted mere human virtue, emotional good feeling, and shallow spirituality, and have made these the priority. They want everyone to be comfortable, which means they also, by forced option, want people to be comfortable in their sin. No one in these places wants to say anything against their “church” because they cherish it as their support group, strengthening gym, and bless-me club. How then can it ever improve spiritually?

         No one wants to say anything or even feel anything against the leaders thereof because it makes them feel uncomfortable. If there was some sort of legitimate process toward solutions, like in the early church, people would have a viable outlet, but as it is, the most anyone can ever do is keep to themselves anything that doesn’t agree with the status quo.

         NO ONE WHO HAS SOLD OUT TO ANY OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS WANTS TO BE THOUGHT OF AS A DEVIANT OR SOCIAL PARIAH, AND THUS THEY ALL FOCUS ON FITTING IN RATHER THAN SPEAKING OUT FOR THE LORD, WHEN SPEAKING OUT IS CALLED FOR. THE SILENCE INFLICTED UPON THEM INDICATES THAT THOSE IN CHARGE ARE PERFECTLY FINE WITH THE SET UP.

         Of course, it takes the real anointing of the Holy Spirit to speak out. To stand up. To see what the problem is. To bring into the light what the problem is. And to actually give real solutions to fix the problem.

         But very few in these places really want to fix the problem regardless of what they say or do because it will involve what I just wrote of above, and no one wants to be that guy.

         Well, here’s a news flash: Over the last thirty years or so the Lord Jesus has been pouring out His Spirit and His anointing and His Truth and many, many individuals have been strengthened and anointed and encouraged to OBEY the Lord Jesus in order to do His will, and not the will of others who have decided to take His place.

         These anointed individuals are loving and kind and wonderful people, yet each and every one of them eventually found walls and closed doors and closed minds and hard attitudes and were forced out.

         THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED TO THE LORD JESUS.

         But why? —Because He did the same thing that all these other anointed real believers have been doing. He refused to go along with the false religion the religious controllers of His time were pushing. He was sent to preach the one real Gospel. He would teach nothing else.

         Of course, all the people who could no longer stay in a place in which the Lord Jesus was not in full control were either silenced or forced to leave, and it caused the light in such places to dim and many lights have eventually gone out completely. The same thing happened when the Lord left the synagogues.

         When He walked in He was a BRIGHT LIGHT that exposed all corruption and everything false. When He walked out the place returned to its state of darkness. THE LIGHT WAS REJECTED. DARKNESS WAS ACCEPTED. They felt more comfortable in darkness. They didn’t appreciate the Lord exposing them for what they really were. They hated feeling convicted and rather than repent and get rid of their sin they got rid of Him.

         And it was all in the effort to maintain a compromised or dead status quo and keep the people in charge who were in charge, exactly as it is today.

         The believers who have traditionally been forced out did not want to be “in charge.” They wanted the Lord Jesus to be in charge! And they all knew that if He was in charge the same things that happened in His historical ministry would happen there. But the powers that be almost always nix this because they simply do not understand the truth nor do they want it. Most really believe in what they are doing and think their places are just fine and even great exactly as they are. Many are deceived.

         Here’s another news flash: The compromising of American churches didn’t just happen because the members grew cold, it happened due to a secret organized agenda that most members know nothing about. The general members didn’t cause it, but they have agreed with it.

NEW WINE AND NEW WINESKINS

         But what goes on in the vast majority of these places, again, looks nothing like the Book of Acts. Even though there are a few people who remain “loyal” to their establishments while also seeking a great outpouring from the Lord, they don’t understand that they keep trying to force the Lord’s NEW WINE into old wineskins!

         When push comes to shove they refuse to allow for the Lord’s NEW WINESKINS and continue to honor, support, and remain loyal to the OLD. Such old wineskins can never allow for the very thing they seek, but again, getting rid of the same old same old is anathema to these people. They have therefore chosen the old wine over the NEW WINE.

         “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’” [Luke 5:37-39]

         How do we know someone else is standing in the Lord’s place? How do we know that someone else is in charge? How do we know that someone else is deciding on policy, on what will be taught, on what doctrines will be allowed, what people must believe, and on which “ministers” can speak?

         Simple: Next to nothing in these places actually looks like the ministry of the Lord Jesus or that which happened in the early church. Some give forth the appearance. Most do not. And the members thereof have grown satisfied in dry deserts and dusty creek beds and empty lakes and waterless oceans. There’s no water in their swimming pools and yet everyone is acting like there is. That’s weird. But not so much if everyone there is doing it.

         So there’s your PROBLEM. It was the same problem the Old Testament prophets faced. It was the same problem John the Immerser faced. It was the same problem the Lord Jesus faced. And it was the same problem the original apostles of the Lord faced. You either joined ‘em or you fought ‘em. Most fought ‘em.

         IT’S WHY THEY WERE ALL MARTYRS.

         Today, church members in general don’t want to be martyrs. They don’t want to be anything close to a martyr. They are satisfied that the Lord Jesus is not in charge, that His Holy Spirit is not welcome, that they have no powerful outpourings, and that they are bound by teachings and doctrines that are not His.

         But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1Timothy 4:1-2] [1]

THERE IS A SOLUTION

         It doesn’t have to be this way. But anyone who knows and has done the research and has studied revivals in detail KNOWS why they happen and why they end. They happen because enough people greatly desire as top priority the Lord’s Truth, the Lord’s control, and the Lord’s spiritual outpouring, exactly as that which happened in Acts 2. These saints of God make great demands upon themselves to achieve this end. They have to fight through so many other Christians thinking they are idiots and malcontents. They must have great courage and must persevere against great odds. THIS is how revivals happen. And when enough of these people are successful and are able to fight off all enemies, most especially religious enemies, GREAT AWAKENINGS happen. Amen!

         But revivals end when the human religious controllers manage to fight back and take control once again. When they wrest control back from the Lord, the same old spiritual deadness ensues. They destroy the NEW WINESKINS and rebuild the old.

REVIVAL ANYONE?

         Here is the Lord’s guarantee for all of who really want the best: The 120 people in the Upper Room were all in one accord. Each and everyone knew the Lord Jesus must be in charge, must be honored 100%, and must be allowed to do whatever He wanted to do. They were all surrendered to Him and His Truth and His entire curriculum. They LOVED Him with all their hearts. And though tens of thousands followed the Lord in His ministry, only 120 were willing to go all the way to the Lord’s fullness and toward complete obedience.

         As a result it was the 120 who were blessed with Pentecost!

         If any group of people, or church congregation, or members of a ministry do exactly as the 120 did, the guarantee is that the same outpouring will happen for them.

         All of this means it is our choice. The Lord forces no one. That’s in part why most churches are dead and compromised and filled with false doctrines. These places are the antithesis of spiritual health. Though they may look great on the outside, to the eye, and though that is exactly what many of them strive for, all it does is serve as a deceptive shiny wrapper on the far less than optimum spirituality within.    

         So again, any group anywhere can change their tune and get right with God, but this will never happen until they finally acknowledge that they have a problem.

SUCCESS!

         Some churches and groups have done this! They have proven it. Some are proving it right now. But we are still in the early stages.

         Always keep in mind that the real Christians of the early community of the Lord actually defeated the Roman Empire in its evil battle against them. If that doesn’t prove the Lord’s power and ability, what does? Rome was the greatest empire the world had ever known until the present empire being built up all around us. The same kind of war is beginning to come forth.

         However, our early forebears fought a spiritual war against demonic entities. They fought the devil but loved the people.

         And the kind of love they showed, and it’s best characteristic, and its greatest example was illustrated perfectly by the Lord’s suffering and death on the cross.

         “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]

         This is our challenge.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

EXPOSING THE POSERS: Why Prophets and Truth-Bearers are Subject to Such Intense Hate and Hostility

         One of the great things about the Lord Jesus, found in no other, is His ability to simultaneously reveal truth and expose deception. He shines an incredibly BRIGHT, quasar-pulsing LIGHT on the false construct of fallen, sinful mankind upon this planet—in New Testament terms, the world—and destroys the con, the fraud, the sham, and the ruse.

         This is why the forces of darkness hate Him so much. They can’t hide. They successfully conceal themselves and their underground, off-the-radar, highly deceptive machinations from everybody else, but not from Him.

         This is especially true for religious fraudsters, and most especially true for unreal Christians and fake Christian “leaders,” probably the most self-deceived people on the planet. They act like they know it all but regarding the Lord’s real curriculum and compared to the Acts model, most don’t know squat. Their religious pride and smugness is off the charts.

         The Lord’s demand for honesty is also why the Lord Jesus will never allow His own children—real Christians—to construct false images about themselves or be mere posers, as are so many unreal Christians, who must do such to pass themselves off as authentic.

         Such faux bros are not authentic but only pretend to be. It is why they do not like close inspection. They are very easily offended by the Lord’s pure light and are greatly convicted by the pure Word of God. They much prefer hobnobbing with other shallow-minded, largely Biblically illiterate (by choice), and appearance-oriented folk due to the obvious comfort factor. Most churches are composed of such pretenders and posers—those who prefer to hide—and is why such places always run off the bright lights who innocently expose their silly shenanigans.

THE PLAGUE OF PHARISEES

         Of course, the first-century Pharisees were the masters of the false image medium, and their present-day descendants have maintained this mastery, successfully taking full advantage of modern media. The original Pharisees, however, were not Biblically illiterate, but the very opposite. Neither were they shallow-minded. It is curious then, that they missed the mark so badly. And that’s how the Word of God defines sin, as “missing the mark.”

         The Pharisees misfired so badly they not only missed the broad side of every barn known to mankind, but entire galaxies. And yet they considered themselves, among themselves (there was little or no dissenting opinion within their own group regarding their superiority and high standing), as brilliant and as close to God as is humanly possible. (Sound familiar?) And yet the Lord characterized the Jewish non-believers, including the Pharisees mentioned in John 8:13, as thus:

         “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8:44]

         Keep in mind that this narrative in John 8 is a purely intra-Jewish dispute—everyone in the chapter was a Jew—which includes the author of the fourth Gospel, traditionally named as John. The Lord Jesus is obviously Jewish, especially since He is from the tribe of Judah. Jews are listed in the chapter as believers in the Lord and also as non-believers by implication. The point, though, is that the Lord was drawing a very distinct contrast between the real and the unreal, and was exposing the false-image fakers for what they really were.

“GRAVEN IMAGES”

         This construction of false outer images to deceive an unsuspecting public is one of the principle components of the Lord’s commandment against graven images, which proves the non-believing Jews and Pharisees listed in John 8 were actually grossly violating the Torah, though they did not know it and refused to believe it. They were deceived and even self-deceived by their false interpretation of the Word and their departure from the truth:

         “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” [Exodus 20:4]

         “You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.” [Leviticus 26:1]

         “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female…” [Deuteronomy 4:15-16] [1]

THE WIZARD OF OZ PHENOMENON           

         The Lord’s children must be real, and that is not easy. Unreal Christians, conversely, must build false images of themselves as a way to pass religious inspection. Unreal Christian leaders also do it to take control and command authority over others, and as a way to enrich themselves.

         As I have written in Real Christianity, the most fully formed graven image (or idol) is a LIVING HUMAN BEING.

         The man-made, exalted “Christian” clergy class invented itself for this very reason. The members thereof hide behind a curtain of false piety and holiness, and demand undeserved honor and respect, which never matches their actual deeds. The great majority of their clueless followers give them exactly what they want, which means the few who see them as they actually are and attempt to expose them end up receiving what the evil perpetrators should receive. This is in part why the Lord Jesus was crucified. The evil religionist followers, inspired, deceived, and led by evil religious leaders, turned their wrath upon the innocent party to protect the very guilty false-image party.

         The same thing happens to real Christian innocent parties at present in so many false Christian venues, as attested to by so many real Christians who have been made to pay for the sins of others.

         It has been said, of course, that the devil goes to church. In reality, the devil owns many churches. They are his enterprises and not the Lord’s. In these places he has complete control and does not appreciate the Lord’s shining lights and truth-bearers bringing their witness.

DISCIPLESHIP DEFINES DISTINCTION

         How do we know the difference between the real and the unreal? This is what real discipleship is about. The closer we get to the Lord Jesus, the more mature we become in Him. The more knowledgeable we are about His written Word, the more we will get to know and understand the Living Word. The more our relationship with Him matures, the more we will be able to see what He sees, and the more He will reveal to us.

         Putting the Lord Jesus first sorts things out, removes deception, exposes false reality, and sets us free.

PREPARING FOR PERSECUTION

         Of course, the enemy doesn’t like being exposed, so any attempt to reveal his false environment for what it is will not be appreciated and will be met with strong hate and extreme prejudice.

         This is why innocent and good-hearted real Christians, the only real spiritual children of the Lord, are viciously slammed beyond all reason and out of all proportion. The attacks come from an unseen evil enemy whose only recourse is to engage in wanton character assassination, slander, libel, and even murder.

         It is why the Lord was so savagely and hatefully beaten, tortured, and killed, though He never sinned or did anything wrong. It is why Stephen only lasted a few seconds after one of the greatest, anointed, honest, and exposing speeches in Christian history (See Acts 6-7). The enemy was so enraged by the truth pouring forth from Stephen that they even gnashed their teeth at him!

         Therefore, if one wonders why the people who are externally friendly, loving, and supportive are suddenly transformed into hating, rejecting, and slandering crazies—something that would otherwise make no sense whatsoever—it most likely reveals the fact that one has exposed a nerve, an ultra-sensitive nerve, and are innocently and often unknowingly exposing a false image—a human front—perhaps created over many years, and also quite possibly a very evil religious spirit.

         Such deceiving poser proponents cannot allow anyone to know what they really are, as their entire life is built upon a false foundation. Once exposed, their house of cards will come crashing down very quickly. They will have no leg to stand on. They will explode in a heap. This is why they must attack so viciously against such harmless innocent witnesses. It is also why they must surround and align themselves with birds of a feather—fellow posers—believers in the lie—those who are blind to truth and real morality. The crowd, the congregation, the family, the group—these allow them to hide and access strength they don’t have individually.

         Once their attack commences, and once they successfully survive (temporarily) by throwing the honorable party under the bus (or a pile of rocks) and seemingly get away with a huge injustice, the Lord instructed us to leave them alone.

         THEY ARE BLIND LEADERS GUIDING THE BLIND AND BOTH WILL EVENTUALLY FALL INTO A VERY DEEP PIT. IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.

         Perhaps from within said pit they will at last see the truth and find salvation.

         But as long as they are playing the faker game on the surface they will most likely never repent and find real salvation, since they have already appropriated for themselves a false salvation through a false gospel or counterfeit belief system of their own rendering.

         The devil is a liar.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

Catholics Speaking in Tongues! The Spirit-Filled Movement of the 1960s

         In light of the fact that the Pope was recently in the news again and let everyone know what it means to be a real Christian, there is a powerful anniversary for Roman Catholics that he should have paid attention to that gives one a much better indication.

         The Catholic Charismatic movement is now 49 years old. It was in early 1967 when the Spirit-filled movement reached Catholics in a major way.

         The movement had started among denominational Christianity around 1960. All of the sudden, Christians of many Protestant denominations began getting baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, exactly as it happened in the Book of Acts.

THEY SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES

         Many were skeptical of the movement but the movement continued unabated. If you want to read a good introductory book of that early time, I suggest They Speak with Other Tongues by John Sherrill. John Sherrill also wrote The Cross and the Switchblade with David Wilkerson.

         Sherrill was indeed one of the skeptics. Early on, he thought the entire phenomenon of speaking with other tongues to be a farce. But as he yielded to the Lord Jesus and continued seeking, he found actual proof that he was wrong.

         Just as the Pope is wrong. He made a false judgment and got called out on it. By the way, there has never been a tongue-talking Roman Catholic Pope that we know of, including the current one. Yet there are perhaps millions of tongue-talking Spirit-filled Catholic Charismatics the world over. I don’t have the space here to go very deep on the subject, but if you are interested, and you should be, there are many books and publications on the topic.

         Here is one from 1969: Catholic Pentecostals

         The simple fact is that the Lord began pouring out His Spirit on traditional Protestants of almost every denomination in the early 1960s and then began doing the same with Catholics. Priests and nuns were getting Spirit-filled. They were all speaking in tongues. Imagine that.

PENTECOSTAL PIONEERS

         It’s hard for me to imagine in one sense because I was raised Catholic. I never saw anything in my circle. It must have been very well hidden. In the defense of those early Pentecostal Catholics, I am sure they had a very fine line to walk.

         I left Catholicism while still in high school. Then, about five years later, by the Lord’s great grace, I was blessed with the same experience! Though I found the Lord in a Pentecostal church, I began meeting with Spirit-filled Christians of many traditions. There was a lot of cross-fellowship back then. We visited many Spirit-filled black churches. THAT was fun. Many black people in America had been Spirit-filled for decades and had a rich experience by that time, though many denominational white Christians were just then coming into the experience.

         Of course, Pentecostalism also had a rich tradition among predominantly white churches in America long prior to 1960. It didn’t take long with all the cultural shifts in America in the 1960s for whites and blacks to begin worshipping the Lord together, although the Azusa Street Revival in 1906 got that ball rolling.

         William Seymour, a black preacher from Texas went to Los Angeles and was promptly kicked out of an early meeting. He then began leading a small group of all colors and cultures that soon exploded into one of the greatest Awakenings in America history. This white and black Christian togetherness is another largely untold story at present, in that real Christianity has been most responsible for bridging racial and cultural divides.

         Roman Catholics would seem to never have any acceptance for speaking in tongues, but I also attended many Catholic Charismatic meetings in the 1970s. Some Spirit-filled Catholics left Catholicism but many others stayed. There were so many being Spirit-filled and speaking in tongues that Catholic leadership had quite a dilemma on their hands. They couldn’t do anything whatsoever to stop it so the hierarchy reverted to channeling it in what they thought was a relatively safe direction.

         Denominational Protestants did the same. Many Protestant denominational leaders and church pastors did everything in their power to stop the movement. This is all history and again, the record is very clear and available for anyone of you who may wish to inquire further.

         No, when the Pope said building protective walls is not Christian, even though the Vatican itself is surrounded by tall protective walls and has been for over a thousand years, he was wrong. He is also wrong to choose against Spirit-filled reality like the majority of Catholics have done, a spiritual dividing wall that the Lord Jesus never sanctioned. Regardless, and knowing the true pioneers will always be a minority, we should pay some honor to those original Spirit-filled, tongue-talking Catholics of 1967 who loved the Lord Jesus so much and wanted everything He had for them that they boldly defied staunch convention and joined the movement.

         We should also honor all those Protestants who took it on the chin in the early 60s and did the unthinkable. I know VERY WELL what it is like to be castigated for making the right choice. For those who know, there is no wrath quite like the wrath of stubborn Christians who insist on their dead orthodoxy and man-made beliefs. The Lord often called his own people hard-headed and stiff-necked. It’s all over the Old Testament Scriptures. And it has also been the case among the majority of Protestants and Catholics in this world.

         Therefore, it is great to have a historical record, and a very recent one at that, to prove the truth of the Book of Acts experience. It only doesn’t happen for those who don’t want it. Conversely, for all those who do want it, the experience is readily available. The Lord Jesus is ever faithful.

         The 1960s Spirit-filled outpouring has been forgotten somewhat, and many Christians have never even heard of it. This shows how bad things have become for many in that they are oblivious to recent spiritual history. Hopefully, the current Great Awakening will continue to shed more light on those times.

         I highly recommend to all Christians out there who have never had a real Book of Acts Spirit-filled experience to at least begin reading up on what took place in America in the 1960s. The research will enlighten you.

         Again, congratulations to all those Catholics who were Spirit-filled in 1967. Happy Anniversary! And may the Pope join you soon and gain greater understanding of what it means to be a real Christian.

         And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:4] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


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

THE GREAT AWAKENING: Please Pray

         Hello friends. I want to take a short break from my current series and tell you all that I greatly appreciate your support. Your ongoing comments and likes contribute to a small community here and it is always enjoyable to see us interact with one another for the sake of the Lord’s truth. You are all a great blessing to me.

         Regarding my latest series, Purification By Fire, I especially want to thank Richard Barker and my friends across the pond who contributed so much traffic. Thanks to you all.

         I have noticed that many more believers are getting on board with the Great Awakening. Five years ago this was not the case. The Lord spoke very clearly to me in September 2010 that America was in the early stages of a national Great Awakening. Not one person I talked to then, including ministers of the Gospel, saw it or believed it. Much has changed since.

         I took the Great Awakening revelation of September 2010 and by the Lord’s anointing turned it into a 340 page book, well-documented, researched, and extensively footnoted. Shortly after finishing that book I began this blog site, which is now approaching 350 articles.

         Many are now seeing what the Lord showed me then. There are even so-called official ministers talking about it. This is encouraging but it also exposes many of the fakers as merely latching on to something that came through the hard work and spiritual warfare of so many unrecognized real Christians.

         I have continued writing and teaching since, and doing much research, though, like most of you, must earn my own keep. I have not yet been able to publish the book but it is certainly a book that needs to get out there. I would appreciate your prayers toward that end.  

         In living for the Lord Jesus, we all have our own individual core Christian beliefs and experiences, many of which did not come easy. If there are any two things vitally true about real Christianity that we must all pay more attention to than appears to be called for, however, they are: (1) The ongoing search for greater truth and the exposing of deception, and (2) Spiritual warfare.

         Sadly, both of these are traditionally very low priorities in traditional Christianity and are often neglected and rejected entirely. Those who refuse to engage in such are very clearly unclear on the concept. They do not know that the enemy never fights fair and that he must resort to an ongoing agenda of deception, obfuscation, and confusion.

         The enemy attempts to transform the great and pure shining light of the Lord’s truth into something indecipherable, irrational, unknowable, and senseless. The enemy also attempts to convince Christians that spiritual warfare is a ridiculous and unnecessary concept totally unsuited to our modern enlightened worldview.

         But, my friends, the spiritual facts are actually quite clear: The devil is a liar. His job is to keep people from becoming real Christians and from progressing spiritually once they are. His job is to hide himself and make all those who reveal him and his lies to appear as nitwits. Now, for sure, there are certainly those “Christians” who fit the bill, and when push comes to shove the enemy will highlight such people to prove his point.

         For real Christians, however, especially strong veterans who know their enemy, the only chance the enemy has against them is to first do everything in his power to discredit them, and if that doesn’t work, to eliminate them. For historical reference read the Book of Acts. Look at what happened to the Lord Jesus and his original apostles. The first thing the enemy did was destroy their reputations through outright lies and slander. We know the rest. It showcases this truth and puts everything in proper perspective. The devil is a bad guy and can do damage, but “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1John 4:4).

         Therefore, the antidote to the enemy’s attempt to discredit and eliminate the good guys is to discredit and eliminate the bad guys. But when I say bad guys I mean the invisible bad guys. We do not fight against people. In fact, the whole point of real Christianity is to save people. The very Name of the Lord Jesus in the original Hebrew—YeHoshua—means YHWH-Salvation. Salvation means “to set free.” He came to set us free. Once we have been set free it is our job to set others free. We do this through the particular ministries the Lord has called each of us to do through the gifts, talents, and anointing He has blessed us with.

         Let us remember to fight the inclination against the compromising effects of the enemy’s warfare by taking the fight directly to him and being the offensive force the Lord created us to be. But we must remember that the enemy has gained ground by taking authority in places of protection. When Christians refuse to attack the enemy because they think he cannot possibly be in control in such places he gets a free pass. This is deception at its highest. In other words, unreal Christians have been taught and conditioned to obey and honor people in league with the devil who appear to be legitimate and in league with the Lord.

         You will know them by their fruits. Many are in pulpits and places of religious authority. Many of them are not overtly evil but merely powerless and worldly. Rather than submit to the Lord’s full curriculum they have bought into religious counterfeits. Many are deceived, oppose the Lord Jesus, and don’t even know it.

         So remember, we must all:

         (1) Continue in the ongoing search for truth and the exposing of deception, and

         (2) Engage in spiritual warfare.

         Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

         Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?”

         Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice…” [John 18:36-37] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

Overcoming Clergy Dominion: BREAKING FREE (5)

         The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church:

         Like the Wizard of Oz, the ruling class has established a powerful and sometimes fearsome image of itself. Its members have set themselves up as the sacred and the laity as the profane. The laity, if brave enough to seek personal needs, whether a heart, courage, or brains, often do so at the feet of the big boys, who have been enormously successful at promoting their big daddy image for centuries. Of course, the laity receives only religious tokens for the most part, if anything at all. The important thing is image. The great Christian controllers must believe that if the laity perceives them as merely human, and not ultrahuman, it would cause such disillusionment within Christendom that a complete breakdown would take place.

         But one man’s breakdown and loss of power is another man’s revolution and recovering of freedom. Ask George Washington. Ask Martin Luther. Ask the Lord Jesus Himself. It was the benefactors of the religious clergy spirit of His time who were so incensed by His radical teachings and so petrified over losing control because of His growing movement that they savagely murdered Him, revealing to all, for all time, their true motivation and character. [1]

         Make no mistake about it. When the Lord Jesus arrived on the scene he immediately engaged in spiritual war against powerful forces. The human appendages of such forces had discovered centuries before that great power over large populations could be gained in the realm of religion.

         Like the rest of the planet, the ancient nation of Israel also suffered from such demonic interlopers and we have the proof of this religious invasion in the historical accounts of the Old Testament scriptures. Israel had devolved from being the pure people of God to a nation of religious hybrids ruled over by bloodthirsty kings set on complete dominance and an overthrow of God’s rule.

         By the first century AD the political kings had long since morphed into religious “kings.” The aforementioned paganistic and syncretized religious practices of ancient Israel had by that time become largely congealed under the banner of Pharisaism which was dominated at the top by those whom the Lord referred to as children of the devil. They did not appreciate His terminology.

         “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” [Matthew 23:15]

         Though these evildoers did exactly as the evil Israelite kings before them in taking dominion over the populace for their own benefit, the subjugated people felt powerless to overcome. There are two reasons for this:

(1) The people had accepted their lot with a defeatist attitude and simply surrendered to the dominant controlling clique and its rewriting of the Mosaic Code, as the nation of Israel had formerly fallen under the sway of evil civil leaders.

(2) The people had become enchanted by the ultra-human power of religion and got absolutely lost in deception and darkness, unable to see and absolutely unequipped to fight back.

         Then, as now, there was only one cure:

         “THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.”

         From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:15-17] [2]

         For those who repented, they were able to overthrow the Wizard of Oz that had them trapped, deceived, and bound by joining up with the Lord Jesus. They received “personal needs, whether a heart, courage, or brains.” His pure LIGHT gave them eyes to see. His great LOVE gave them the support and encouragement they lacked. His POWERFUL Holy Spirit gave them strength to fight. His TRUTH set them free.

         For our study, this is the difference between Unreal and Real Christianity.

UNREAL CHRISTIANITY:

(1) The people have accepted their lot with a defeatist attitude and have simply surrendered to the dominant controlling clique and its rewriting of the Gospel, as the nation of Israel had formerly fallen under the sway of evil religious leaders.

(2) The people have become enchanted by the ultra-human power of religion and have gotten absolutely lost in deception and darkness, unable to see and absolutely unequipped to fight back.

REAL CHRISTIANITY:

         For those who repented, they have been able to overthrow the Wizard of Oz that had them trapped, deceived, and bound by joining up with the Lord Jesus. They have received “personal needs, whether a heart, courage, or brains.” His pure LIGHT has given them eyes to see. His great LOVE has given them the support and encouragement they lacked. His POWERFUL Holy Spirit has given them strength to fight. His TRUTH has set them free.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[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.

OUTING THE CLERGY SPIRIT (4)

         And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’

         “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” [Luke 22:25-26]

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE WOMAN?

         But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. [Judges 9:53]

 ENMITY BETWEEN SEEDS

         “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” [Genesis 3:15]

 THE WOMAN AND HER RIGHTFUL HUSBAND

         The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” [Genesis 2:22-23]

THE ATTACK OF THE DRAGON

         A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

         Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [Revelation 12:1-4]

THE RIGHTFUL HUSBAND AND THE INTERLOPER

         And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

         At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.

         And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

         But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. [Acts 5:11-18] [1]

         © 2016 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.

Is God Three People? JESUS IS UNIFYING HIS COMMUNITY (6)

         Dear Readers: Thank you for all your support this year. I believe the content in this current series is indispensible regarding the coming Great Awakening in America. We must all grow closer to the Lord Jesus. He must be exalted in this nation. His real identity must be known. Christian persecution will continue rising in America in 2016 and we must all be prepared. Please help make this current series reach as many believers as possible. Be blessed!

         “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…” [John 8:28 NAB]


         Merry Christmas! During this most wonderful time of the year I must extend to you all a prophetic note.

         We know the Lord Jesus taught that His community would be united before His return. In actual effect, it has always been united because whoever is united with the Lord is also united with His community by His Spirit. There still remains the process, however, of meeting one another as members. This coming together is happening right now in America, but it is being powerfully opposed.

         There are certainly forces against His community, but I must tell you that despite persecution from the world, the world is not the divider of the Lord’s community. When under attack, the Lord’s people rally together to each other’s defense and do whatever must be done to help each other.

         We see this playing out perfectly in the Lord’s original community in Jerusalem. They truly represented the spirit of Christmas by their incredible giving and love. Needs were met and everyone was blessed!

         Those who destroy community, on the other hand (and you know who they are), have a decided tendency to always shoot their wounded, slander them, and cast them out as worthless in defense of their unholy turf and false agendas. They act out of hate, not love.

         RATHER THAN CRUCIFY THEIR FLESH THEY CRUCIFY THE LORD AFRESH.

         No, the attempt to divide the Lord’s people has always arisen from within. Who is the opposer?

         Unreal Christianity is the responsible party. I could tell you so many stories to prove this, but most of you have your own stories and already know it. Many churches and ministries, due to certain failures, false doctrines, and hidden hateful attitudes are filled with far too many tares, goats, and wolves in sheep’s clothing. It even happened to the Lord, of course.

         Judas was one of the Lord’s own, and it is the JUDAS SPIRIT that is often responsible for breaking up everything the Lord God wants to be united.

         I will be writing more about this in future posts in order to help you identify what is causing all the problems, but there is one thing you must know before we proceed:

         Persecution from without unifies the Lord’s community and makes it strong. Persecution from within destroys it. There are some very evil and sinful people who are masquerading as Christians. They have their own selfish and rebellious agendas. They do these things largely because they pretend to know the Lord Jesus or think they know the Lord Jesus but do not.

         And because they do not know the Lord and have no knowledge of His true identity, they have no way of identifying real Christians and thus oppose them, exactly as Judas did.

         Be warned.

         “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.” [John 16:2-3] [1]

         © 2015 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.

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.

Leaving the Grateful Dead and Creating Great Wineskins: An Oil Field Story (2)

         And He was also telling them a parable:

         “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.

         “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined.

         “But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.

         “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’” [Luke 5:36-39]

.

         When the Lord Jesus prepares to bring real revival He must first create a real community.

         Since He only works with and through people, such people must be real disciples. They must be born again. They must be new. They must be filled with His Spirit. Without willing, obedient, and fully submitted participants—new wineskins—He cannot work, create, or pour out new wine. We know this from His Word.

         Creating the new necessitates leaving the old.

         And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” [Luke 9:59-60]

         Though it is obvious that the Lord Jesus is all-powerful and can do whatever He wants whenever He wants, it is also the case that He has given human beings a free will. People must choose. People must choose Him. Otherwise He cannot bring forth new life.

         Therefore, free will restricts God.

         Strangely enough, though, what most people don’t know is that free will also restricts free will.

         Let me explain.

The Lucas Gusher at Spindletop Hill, South of Beaumont, Texas. January 10, 1901SPIRITUAL DYNAMICS OF THE OIL FIELD

         I have worked many years in the oil fields of Texas. When I was a rookie learning operations and equipment I became aware that much of the stuff we were using was old and outdated. The old stuff was still in use for two reasons: It still functioned and to replace it would cost money.

         The oil field is different like that. Because of the nature of ongoing boom and bust cycles, those who make their living in the industry have long since developed a traditional corresponding attitude. Those smaller companies who are invested in old equipment that still functions continue to use it even though it is outdated and advanced technology has created upgrades. It is the effort to work on the cheap and maximize profits while the getting is good.

         During a boom when a lot of money is available, one would think the equipment would be upgraded. But I noticed that money was at such a premium even when it flowed that few wanted to use it to make upgrades as long as the old equipment still worked. People feared the inevitable bust and were afraid to spend, not sure if they would ever get their investment back. In other words—in a classic case of the counterintuitive—in times of plenty wallets often got even tighter.

         Why spend money on new stuff when the old stuff still worked? Why upgrade the method when the existing method has worked for decades? Why treat people well when you could save money by treating them like cattle? Instead of thinking about spending for the future, a much greater price is paid in great inconvenience, more effort, more repairs, and more headaches.

         Sound familiar?

        Of course, the larger companies had capital to spend. Some newer companies began with the latest technologies. Their initial investments were in the best equipment and rigs of the time if they could afford it and had relatively long-term contracts. But for smaller operators, it was always a matter of using the past in the present.

         I remember one day in my first year, when working on an old rig that had been cobbled together in the yard from parts going back decades, I asked a worker with much more experience what had occurred to me early on: “Why are we still doing things this way?” I’ll never forget his answer:

         “Because that’s the way they did it in the fifties.”

         It was then that I noticed a completely different phenomenon. Not only did the people who were invested in old, outdated equipment insist on using it until it was scrap beyond any possible repair, they also insisted on doing things “the old way.” There was great reluctance to adapt to anything new.

         From this I learned three things:

         (1) The old-timers who spent a lifetime working their way up from the bottom in much toil and misery and had gained a better position of employment with greater authority and salary only knew what they knew. They knew a lot, of course. They had a ton of experience. They knew how to run a rig. But they knew little that was new.

         They had a hard time learning and adapting to new technologies. Their entire beings, brains, and brawn was an incredible collection of everything done in the oil field from many decades past to their present.

         Though they had worked extremely hard and learned it all, they had become hardwired to history. It was all they knew.

         (2) The second thing I learned from this strange dynamic is that it was like pulling dinosaur teeth to get anyone on a rig site to clue me in on a few things so I could do my job better and easier. There were so many times early on that I had to go through my work in the dark, just barely aware of my surroundings and how everything worked. I was trained enough to do the job just barely—that’s the way training was done. A man learned the basics quickly and then broke out into the field. So I had to learn a lot on my own on rig sites.

         My employers were happy. They liked me. I was a great worker. I did my job. But they also would only invest so much. They invested in the minimum toward their employees. If you couldn’t hack it you were gone. I hacked it. I was forced by the culture to learn my job the way everyone else had always had to learn. Unless you knew somebody or were born into the oil field with a supportive family or friends, you were on your own. No one who knew anything was talking.

         Also, nobody wanted anyone else to know how little they did know. People acted like they knew more than they did. So, on top of not knowing and wanting to know, one could not reveal that they didn’t know or they would lose rig site credibility. Cred is very important in the oil field. But one had to earn it. Low level rig workers would clue me in to some stuff here and there, as long as things were worded right and all the protocol was respected. They had had the same problem and could relate. But the higher ups were generally clammed up.

         You know why? It wasn’t just to make the new guys squirm and feel like idiots, and for the joy that such actions brought them. It wasn’t just because men had to earn respect by working their butts off and figuring stuff out on their own. No one ever helped most of them when they were coming up and they were bound and determined to do likewise.

         (3) It was mainly because they didn’t want anyone taking their job. They learned as rookies that knowledge in the oil field was power, and the more one knew the better off they were regarding the constant competition from new workers. Whatever they learned they put into practice but they never shared the information.

         If you wanted to learn you would have to learn the hard way as they did. You would have to man your post the best you could though feeling like an idiot much of the time but never letting anybody know it. It’s how you climbed the ladder. You would have to be treated with supreme disrespect and indifference by condescending closed-lipped and close-minded rascals. You would have to be an idiot until you figured it out on your own.

         Once you did figure it out you gained respect. I reached a point where it suddenly all came together. All the puzzle pieces fit. I saw the big picture. I got the big idea. I went from working in the dark to walking fully into the light. I learned it all the hard way, and it was very hard. Once a man goes through that process, he can afford a little swagger. I arrived at a place where I demanded respect without saying a word and I got it.

         Whoever does not understand this is still in the dark.

         Regarding Unreal Christianity, it explains everything. It explains why Unreal Christianity is still in the Dark Ages. It explains why it rejects the New Wine of the Spirit and why it refuses the Lord’s real community.

        Rather than leave dead works and dead religion, the grateful dead thereof have invested everything they have in Old Wine, Old Wineskins, burying dead fathers, and spiritual darkness.

         “If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” [Matthew 6:23] [1]

         [To Be Continued.]

         © 2015 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 [2:40-43]

         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.

Acts of the Apostles [2:1-4]

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

         And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

         And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

         And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [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.

The Day of Pentecost

         When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. [Acts 1:13-14]

         Every Christian must have a personal Upper Room experience. Pentecost is for every believer. The entirety of the Lord’s ministry in its full extension leads directly to it.

         Many voices continue to insist that this experience is no longer available or exists, or that it ended in the first century. This defies a very clear historical record since that time.

         It is only the enemy and all who follow him who claim the experience of Pentecost and the actual infilling of the Holy Spirit as clearly illustrated in the Book of Acts is something Christians must shun and refuse to partake of, which gives him the advantage.

         The enemy does not want anyone filled with the Spirit of the Lord, because he knows such an experience creates a very powerful disciple who can wreak havoc upon his kingdom. He has thus successfully convinced the vast majority of Christians and Christian leaders throughout history to join him in opposition to the Upper Room experience, so that the vast majority of Christians will be denied the possibility, and therefore keep them spiritually weak and non-equipped to engage in spiritual war against him.

         One can only wonder how it is possible that a “Christian” leader can counsel his own flock with the counsel of the enemy. If your spiritual experience has yet to look like the experience of Acts, I strongly suggest you seek the Lord Jesus with all your heart. If you really want this Spirit-infilling, do as our forbears were taught to do. Find your own Upper Room, fast and pray, and ask the Lord Jesus for the exact experience of the early believers. The Lord needs strong, powerful disciples to storm the gates of hell and He has made a way for that to happen.

         Today is Sivan 7, the actual Day of Pentecost. It is exactly 50 days from the anniversay of the Lord’s resurrection. Almost 2000 years ago the following is the account of what happened then. May it happen in these days for us all.

         We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening.

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4] [1]

         © 2015 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 Prophetic Word—The Gift of Prophecy

         In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul clearly places special emphasis regarding spiritual gifts on the gift of prophecy.

         It is as if he thinks it is most important. On the face of it, this makes little sense. All of the gifts are obviously important and necessary.

         Perhaps this is one of those teachings of Paul that some so-called Christians like to put in a separate category. You know, the ones they have a problem with because they’re either unwilling to understand or too rebellious to accept.

         Let’s review the verse in question:

         Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. [1 Corinthians 14:1]

         Paul certainly has the priorities right. Love must always come first or the ministry process will not work. This has everything to do with putting the Lord first in all things, but also because the Lord is Love, and love never fails.

         The second thing he tells the Corinthians is to desire earnestly spiritual gifts. These are actually spirituals, or “spiritual things,” since the word “gifts” does not appear in the original Greek. The Greek word is pneumatikos and is defined as that which is spiritual, or pertaining to the spirit. These pneumatikos are referenced in the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians:

         Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

         Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

         And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

         There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

(1) For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,

(2) and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

(3)  to another faith by the same Spirit,

(4) and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

(5) and to another the effecting of miracles,

(6) and to another prophecy,

(7) and to another the distinguishing of spirits,

(8) to another various kinds of tongues,

(9) and to another the interpretation of tongues.

         But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. [1Corinthians 12:1-11]

        The nine spirituals listed above are directly connected to the Spirit immersion of Acts Chapter 2. In fact, they are the result, or effect of the Spirit of God working through believers.

         In 1 Corinthians 12:6, the Greek word energema is translated in the NASV as “effects,” and in other versions as “operations, working, or activities,” and is explained as spiritual things energized by God for His purposes.

         Many people have discounted this direct association primarily as a way to discount the Acts 2 experience since they personally oppose it. But this is grossly incorrect. I say this so people will no longer be deceived by false teaching. Pneumatikos are given by the Lord Jesus to His people for service in the kingdom. One of these is prophecy, and without prophesying, the Prophetic Word would be absent.

         The third directive Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 14:1 is to pursue especially the gift of prophesy. I use the term “prophesying” because spiritual energema have to do with function. If they are not being used, they effectively do not exist.

         There is the potential for spiritual pride within individuals who believe they possess gifts and are thus worthy of greater honor, and consequently appropriating titles for themselves based on what they think is a resident gift.

         However, the gift shows itself by our use of it, or its functionality, not because it is added as a title to a man-made spiritual resume. It is much more correct to state that a person functions in the gift of prophesying rather than that he is a prophet. Yet, it does not mean that a believer cannot be characterized as such if it is obvious that he functions on a regular basis in that particular place of service. This point is more important than one might think due to the desire of so many false prophets within Christianity who are more concerned with their standing among men than before God. They like the high places and open doors that come with titles. They also very much like the money than can be derived from their position.

         Real prophets, however, like real apostles, know that serving God according to their calling means that they will be treated the opposite of the false prophets. Paul states several times the perils of true apostolic ministry. It appears oftentimes that the Lord has thrown them into an evil world without much concern for their welfare. The apostles and prophets of the first century suffered greatly in their walk with God though they were very close to Him, leading us to surmise that the “initial” ministries are subject to often greater persecution, just as pioneers have it the hardest compared to later generations. False prophets, particularly those of the present, cannot relate to this and reject the entire idea. The apostles and prophets of the first century often did not know where their next meal was coming from, and that is the way God wanted it.

         For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

         To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. [1Corinthians 4:9-13]

         Does this look like any ministers you know? (They would never allow Paul in most pulpits in America and certainly not on Christian television.)

         We must never forget as real disciples that the Lord has chosen for us a walk of faith and obedience. This is characterized as “Go here, do this.” What about the next step, one may wonder? The Lord almost always reveals the next step after a person has completed the prior step. Therefore, being a “prophet” cannot possibly be a static, entitled position associated with high standing among the Christian elite and with popularity among people in general, but one of obedience to God (not man) and functionality.

         Again, since there are nine energema, or effects of the Spirit, why would Paul single out prophesying as seemingly the most important?

         We must look at the context. He was referring to what was taking place in meetings of believers in first century Corinth. He was simply trying to explain that in open meetings it is better to speak in an understandable way, so that proper communication takes place.

         Speaking in tongues is all fine, good, necessary, and scriptural in individual prayer or prayer meetings, or in an open meeting if an interpreter is present (Paul himself wrote in verse eighteen, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.”) Otherwise, it is largely a waste of time for the group as a whole in community meetings when people need to hear from God.

         Prophesying, on the other hand, is a Word from God spoken in the language of all, or pretty much all, and subsequently edifies the entire group. Thus, the Prophetic Word is that which is spoken by the inspiration of God and by the power of his Spirit to benefit another, and oftentimes many others.

         Moreover, groups of real believers usually contain more than one person who functions in the gift of prophecy, or should, and should thus take turns, though in polite order (see 14:29-32).

         The reason for all of this is to allow the Lord to speak to His people. If it is attempted through a way contrary to this model, or if another method is formulated which is actually in opposition to it, it generally means that the Lord Jesus is no longer in charge and has been subverted by false believers who have circumvented His authority. And if the group allows this, they are also guilty partakers.

         It should not be difficult, then, for an objective observer to note that traditional Christian church practice, regardless of denomination, is usually much different from that of first-century believers.

         This is why, for those who violate Scripture, the Prophetic Word has ceased.

         Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. [1 Corinthians 14:39] [1]

         © 2015 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.

Dancing With the Devil

         Why did the Lord Jesus continually warn us about being deceived? Why did He continually command His disciples that if they would be His disciples they must stay very, very close to Him? Why did He command His followers to obey Him, and Him only, and no one else?

         The obvious answer, though only obvious to a few, is that the devil is a lying deceiver and hater of the first caliber, and that the only antidote to his lies is Truth, and Truth only comes from the Man who called Himself the Truth.

         In other words, without the Truth, you’re on your own.

         And since the devil has no need to fight those not against him (the majority of the world), he concentrates his attacks on Christians.

         Why is this the case? Simply because the devil won’t waste his time with peripheral people and issues that do not directly affect his central modus operandito stop his one and only mortal enemy by attempting to corrupt and hoodwink those who claim to be His followers.

         As the Lord Jesus Himself was tempted by the devil, and in a very major way, every Christian will also be tempted by the devil.

         But not all Christians will pass the test.

         It should be obvious when researching general Christian history that most Christians fail the test. They fail the test the same way Adam and Eve failed the test. They end up serving the devil whether they know it or not. The Lord said you will know them by their fruits. This is why unreal Christians are included among the deceived.

         The devil is essentially a keystone predator. He has no natural enemy that can touch him or do him any harm whatsoever, except for one. The devil runs roughshod over this world doing whatever he wants to do, destroying, stealing, and murdering. He was here before we were. He knows the landscape. The apostle Paul called him “the god of this world:”

         And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2Corinthians 4:3-4]

         Consider that statement—the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.

         Why? How? And how does he have this power?

         It must somehow be according to the will and plan of God.

         But consider how far-reaching that power is, that the devil has the ability to blind the minds of EVERYONE who does not believe, including unbelieving “Christians.”

         What constitutes an unbeliever?

         An unbeliever, from the New Covenant perspective and writings, is anyone who does not honor, trust, and obey the Lord Jesus as one’s sole Master, Rabbi, Shepherd, and Savior. And if one wants a pure description and illustration of real New Covenant believers in action, one must read the Book of Acts.

         It is there where one will discover the evidence that constitutes a real believer, the dividing line between believer and unbeliever, and deduce the presence of unbelievers who masquerade as believers, whose minds have been blinded by the god of this world.

         Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [Galatians 6:7-8] [1]   

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

Unreal Christianity: Hamsters on a Spinning Wheel

         You’re in a cage. But you don’t know that. Your perspective is as limited as your spiritual geography. You have been taught over many years by fake smiling faces to get in your cage, stay in your cage, get dumb, stay dumb, don’t think, don’t express, stay within yourself, and be in prison…

         It’s called a clergy spirit. Clergyites must control. Without control, clergyites have no reason to exist, cannot exist, have nothing to do, and have no reason for being.

         But give them something to control and their brains suddenly start coming to life like an extravagant outdoor Christmas lighting display.

         What must they control?

         People. Always people.

         And the results of their obsession and control is obvious to everyone with the real Light of God outside the cage and off the wheel.

         “Hey Mommy, what are those people?

         “Well, Johnny. Those are unreal Christians.”

         “Why are they in that cage and going around on that wheel?”

         “Well, Johnny, it’s because they think they’re going somewhere.”

         “Where do they think they’re going?”

         “Nobody knows, Johnny. Nobody knows. And neither do they…”

DECEPTION OR DISEASE?

         The obsession of the clergy is not classified as a disease. The even greater obsession of obeying the clergy is not classified as a disease either. The reason is twofold:

         (1) All things behavioral found in the institutional religious camp are not classified among psychological problems and diseases because such are perceived as faith issues with deep-set and often generational stimuli at the core of one’s being which must be respected since change is rendered next to impossible.

         (2) The clergyites are an extension of political and statist controllers who know that control in general is a must in order for the ruling class to stay in power, and they perceive religious leaders as serving a very useful purpose and are therefore respected.

         This is why clergyites in general are always respected by society in general without even knowing why this is the case or why no one ever questions these people on their control techniques and apparatus. And if you think asking questions of hamsters in a cage on a spinning wheel will get you anywhere you would be wrong because it’s something they cannot explain either.

         Religious practices contrary to the teachings of the Lord Jesus are thus seen as “the right thing to do” without even knowing why one is doing it. One might think they have an answer early on regarding the hoped-for results or perceived results of their religious actions and protocol but such hoped-for results fade over time and are never actually actualized.

         In time religious people then become stuck in their rote behavioral patterns and get closed-mouthed and closed-minded about it and will even become quite belligerent with anyone who may question their strange acquiescence to controlling controllers and the process of cramming their otherwise brilliant minds into a space the size of a tiny med bottle and living by the spirituality-killing meds within the tiny bottle.

         Why does one not see that such behavior is the exact opposite of the behavior exhibited by those in the Upper Room on that first Day of Pentecost or by all of those real disciples throughout the early years of the Lord’s community?

         Why can’t they perceive that their stifling and incoherent behavior is the result of a different teaching mechanism (false gospel) and is nothing whatsoever like that which the Lord Jesus taught about and brought to this world?

         Why can’t they understand the simple concept that ultra-controlled behavior is the result of ultra-controlling controllers?

         Why has the other side of the action-reaction principle become invisible?

         Why can’t they see the other end of the harness to which they are attached?

         Why can’t they perceive the wizard behind the curtain?

         “I don’t know why I do what I do. I only know I do it. I must stay in the cage. I must stay on the wheel. I must go round and round…”

RELIGIOUS SLAVERY

         Regarding actual hamsters, we know why they run within a spinning wheel in a cage: They’re in jail.

         They have energy. They must move. They were created to be free with a large range and a purpose in life but all of that has been stolen from them. They exist purely at the whim of their owners who are somehow gratified by having such little pets over which they can watch, control, take care of, and be amused by. Now, if one could only harness the energy of the spinning wheel with the hamster in it and put it to some practical money-making use the circle would be complete.

         Does this ever happen with humans? Does it ever happen with religious humans? Are there people in this world who actually have the desire to make money off of other people? Are any of these types found in religious circles? Do some religious leaders see their “flock” as mere living wallets from which they extract their living and build their enterprises?

         When one removes all pretense, this desire to control and use people is boiled down to being nothing more than slavery. And those evil people who have believed in and practiced slavery throughout history had only one objective, and that was to use other human beings for their own purposes. Thus, it should otherwise be obvious that there is a thing called religious slavery.

         Just like breaking horses and hitching them up to wagons or throwing a saddle on them, people have their breaking points when they finally give up, give in, and surrender to some form of slavery so they can get along in this world. They would rather be free but see real freedom as a practical impossibility and eventually give up all hope of ever having any real life and freedom and become jaded and redneck with regard to the possibility.

         They may know somewhere way down deep in their heart that there is or was a way toward something better that their hearts used to believe in and strive for (spiritual freedom) but having failed repeatedly to find it and because they see all authority figures as exalted superiors who tell them no such way exists, they give up hope and become stoic lumps of humanity with closed minds and mere superficial outward expressions that mask their inner desires of something better.

         This is what fake man-made religions do to people, and all of these fake man-made religions are controlled by some form of clergyites, which makes religious controllers the guilty party though most see them as benevolent, innocent, highly advanced, and loving gurus doing the “right” thing.

THIS IS RELIGIOUS DECEPTION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER.

         It is the very thing and the most diabolical thing the Lord Jesus came to free us from and also that which He had the greatest fight against. It was the clergyites of His day that caused Him the greatest problems and who were always trying to kill Him. They both knew they could never exist together since the clergyites had stolen His place of authority for themselves and would never give it up. They were full of the devil—literally.

         Those evil people eventually succeeded in His murder, but only because He laid down His life for all. All their prior attempts had failed miserably.

         The Gospels are thus SHOUTING at us all to watch out for those guys who want to control one’s spirituality and stamp it with their own false garbage. Their objective is never to turn you on to the full revelation of the Lord Jesus and allow you to be completely free in Him but to make a brain dead religious slave of you and get your money in the process.

         “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:13]

         But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

         And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. {pernicious ways: or, lascivious ways, as some copies read}

         And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. [2 Peter 2:1-3 KJV]

LIGHT EXPOSING THE DARKNESS

         Until the Lord Jesus came to live among us 2000 years ago the devil had remained very successfully hidden.

         Then, THE DEVIL WAS SUDDENLY EXPOSED. The Lord Jesus tore down the curtain of illusion and revealed all the evil people submitted to the devil as well, and this is a major component of the real Gospel.

         When the real Gospel is preached, the Light of God shines in such an all-pervasive way that the devil and his people cannot hide, have no place left to hide, and all the little unseen spaces where the cockroaches usually hide are suddenly lit up like airport runways blinding them by the Light.

         Hence, the actual effect of the real Gospel chases the devil and his people to places they can no longer find to escape the Light. They are the ones who are then relegated to, and are supposed to be relegated to, a spinning wheel to nowhere in screaming fearful flight of a Light they cannot shun and an objective to hide that can never be achieved again.

         “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

         For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” [John 3:19-20]

         THIS LIGHT IS WITHIN THOSE WHO ARE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND WHO ARE CALLED, COMMISSIONED, AND EMPOWERED BY GOD TO SHINE THE LIGHT, TESTIFY OF THE LIGHT, PROMOTE SPIRITUAL FREEDOM, REVEAL ALL DARKNESS, AND EXPOSE THE DEVIL.

         In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

         The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

         There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

         There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

         He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

         He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

         But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. [John 1:4-13] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (5)

      The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.

      To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

      Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

      So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

      He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

      And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

      Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

      When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. [Acts 1:1-14] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (4)

         What is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

         What is the proof?

         Some people believe that being Spirit-filled is an apparent non-event in that they have no clear recollection of when it happened in their lives though they claim the experience.

         Some are taught that they are filled with the Spirit “by faith,” again, that there is no actual evidence, or that they are automatically filled somehow when “they become a Christian.”

         This is what I refer to as being Spirit-filled by osmosis, in that one is somehow filled through effortless, unconscious assimilation in which no actual choice was ever made, there is no recall of when the event happened, and the process cannot be classified as experiential.

         That’s kind of cool when you think about it, but it’s not New Covenant. It is not New Covenant whatsoever.

         The following is New Covenant:

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4]

         I remember hearing a statement by a very famous evangelist’s wife who made the claim that she had always been saved from the time of her earliest memories. Apparently, she never had the born again experience the Lord said is an absolute requirement for entering the kingdom:

         Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

         Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

         Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:3-7]

         Let’s do the math:

(1a) Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

(1b) Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

         In this passage, the Lord Jesus is making a very clear and what should be an obvious reference to two distinct births. This is why Nicodemus, somewhat confused, answered in the weird way he did. He clearly heard the Lord say that there must be a second birth, one that follows the natural birth from one’s mother. But the Lord said it in the context of entering the kingdom.

         Now, this begs the question:

         Is it possible to “be saved” without entering the kingdom of God?

         If the answer is no, then anyone who is not born again is not saved.

         If the answer is yes, then one can be saved without entering the kingdom.

         There is a problem with the latter possibility, however. Have you noticed all of the references in the Lord’s teachings and parables concerning the spiritual concept of either being inside or outside the kingdom? Or being sheep and not goats, or wheat and not tares?

         Here are some examples:

ONE:

         “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]

         From this, it is clear that the scribes and Pharisees were outside of the kingdom: NOT BORN AGAIN.

TWO:

         “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33]

         In this passage, the Lord equates being righteous with being in the kingdom, which signifies righteousness outside the kingdom as not being possible. If one must seek the kingdom then one must be outside the kingdom while seeking it. If one must seek righteousness it must be that one is unrighteous before one gains it. If one is outside the kingdom and is unrighteous, then one is NOT BORN AGAIN.

THREE:

         “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” [Matthew 7:21]

         Here we have the requirement of doing the will of the Father in order to enter the kingdom, meaning that those who fail to accomplish the will of God must be outside the kingdom (regardless of the apparent appearance of their miraculous works), and are thus NOT BORN AGAIN.

FOUR:

         “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 8:11-12]

         Here is a very clear indication of either being in or out with no in between. In this case, the natural “sons of the kingdom,” that is, such natural descendants of Abraham, are not only not in the kingdom and will never be in the kingdom, but they will be cast into outer darkness and are obviously NOT BORN AGAIN.

         From the record in the Book of Acts, being Spirit-filled was an experience, an event. It was never some sort of mystical wishy-washy don’t-know-when-or-how-it-happened occasion. Such a thing was not possible.

         Remember, we are talking about the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD entering and filling a person for the very first time. And the Lord said it was like a birth. And everyone pretty much knows when a baby is being born, especially, I would think, the mother and the baby. There is no way such an experience can happen without the recipient’s knowledge or even those in the vicinity of said recipient.

         The event of the original Day of Pentecost kept happening again in Acts at subsequent times with different people. By studying each and every recorded historical event when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, it should not be that hard to come to a conclusion regarding consistent evidence.

         Here is the key to that evidence:

         Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

         So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

         For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.

         But no one can tame the tongue… [James 3:3-8] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (3)

         Everybody loves love. God is love.

         But God sure gets a bad rap for some reason.

         I think it’s because of all the fakers and pretenders and judgmental protectors of silliness who are much more interested in unlovingly invoking their version of proper doctrine, religious protocol, and denominational differences than in simply loving one another the way the Lord told us to.

         And as far as I can tell, there is no discrimination regarding who is qualified by God as a love recipient.

         The Lord Jesus is truly a lover. He is a lover of us all. He loves people. He loves being around and with people. He greatly enjoys our presence.

         How do I know all this? And what gives me the right to make such pronouncements? I think it’s because the written Word says these very things. I think it’s also because an in-depth study of the Lord’s actual teachings prove it.

         It can very easily be argued as well that the first community of the Lord was composed of people who knew how to love and did love. They loved one another just as the Lord commanded them to.

         Now, why would the Lord Jesus have to make such a commandment? Why must one be commanded to love? That sounds oxymoronic.

         But I think it may be because some people, in general terms, have a tendency to not love, or to not be consistent in loving, and to find ample reasons why they should not love, and to turn not-loving into an unstated practice of its own and buy into that practice.

         It could be because people learn at an early age to be defensive and protective of self, since so many people practice not-loving.

         This is most likely the reason why the Lord had to command us to love. The command is a necessary stimulus to overcome the affected proclivity to not love.

         “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]

         Loving one another in the community of the Lord is proof of discipleship.

         It follows that a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit is also filled with love since God is the Holy Spirit and God is love. It also follows that unloving Christians are unreal Christians and do not have the Holy Spirit.

         Read the following very carefully and take notice of all the references to these things. I have included deduced statements but there are others. See how many you can find:

GOD WAS IN THE EARLY BELIEVERS

         You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

KNOWING GOD ALLOWS ONE TO KNOW TRUTH FROM ERROR

         They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

THOSE WHO ARE BORN OF GOD LOVE GOD AND PRACTICE LOVING OTHERS

         Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

         In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

THOSE WHO ARE BORN AGAIN HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD

         No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

         We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

PERFECT LOVE RESULTS IN SALVATION

         By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

         There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE GOD AND HATE ONE ANOTHER

         If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. [1John 4:4-21] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (2)

         What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? First of all, one must distinguish between the Old and New Covenants.

         We picture Old Covenant prophets becoming suddenly anointed of God. We see them grow strong and bold, and begin making powerful pronouncements regarding the will and desires of the Lord. Indeed, those men were God’s spokesmen. They were the Lord’s chosen, anointed, and discipled vessels who paid a tremendous price—a very high personal cost to engage in their calling.

         It was often them against the world, and just as often one man against the nation of Israel. It is a sad thing but an obvious historical fact that the prophets were usually hated, rejected, and thought to be complete morons and idiots who refused to just go along to get along. They made people feel uncomfortable.

         And that is exactly how the Lord wanted it.

         It was God who was speaking through them, and God often had a lot to say about the evil practices and very sinful nature adopted by His chosen people. He refused to let them go without letting them know how wrong they were. And because His people could not get back at Him personally they took it out on His prophets.

         We often relate John the Immerser, the one the Lord Jesus referred to as the greatest man ever born of a woman, to the New Covenant. But John was actually the last Old Covenant prophet. Further, he bridged the gap between covenants in a sense, being the Lord’s forerunner and preparer of the people’s hearts:

         As they were leaving, Yeshua began speaking about Yochanan to the crowds: “What did you go out to the desert to see? Reeds swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? Someone who was well dressed? Well-dressed people live in kings’ palaces.

         “Nu, so why did you go out? To see a prophet! Yes! And I tell you he’s much more than a prophet. This is the one about whom the Tanakh says, ‘See, I am sending out my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’

         “Yes! I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!” [Matthew 11:7-11] [1]

         Imagine that. Some may think that because they are a Christian they are somehow greater than John the Immerser, though such a thing obviously does not compute. John moved an entire nation!

         Therefore, there must be something more that nominal Christians do not partake of, since there is often absolutely no evidence of anything spiritually powerful in their lives that would indicate they are residents of the Lord’s Kingdom.

         Most Christians do well to occupy a place in a pew, and are made to do it by usually not well-meaning reverends who would rather have firm control and regimented order for their congregants than liberty and maturity in the Spirit, and the free-flowing ministry of the Lord Jesus in charge. And church-goers are forced to think this is the right thing to do.

         But most Christians have little or no power with God and look like nothing even close to John the Immerser. And it is never kosher to simply make a weak mental assent to a supposed but unexplainable “fact”—(“I, a Christian, am greater than John the Immerser”)—without some serious evidence to prove it.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Jewish New Testament. Copyright © 1989 by David H. Stern.

On the Threshold of Heaven (1)

         Currently, in such tough times for so many believers, we must all know that our Lord Jesus is still in charge.

         For those who are filled with His Spirit, there is a goodness and brightness in their being, though unacknowledged by many.

         The presence of the Lord within them which they experience at present is what the apostle Paul called the earnest of their inheritance.

         It is the witness, the pledge, the sign, the guarantee, and even what may be termed the first installment or down payment of His Holy Spirit.

         Just as our Lord was the First Fruits, so is His Holy Spirit within real Christians on this planet the first fruits for them of what is to come.

         The exact experience of Pentecost is currently available to all, and many millions all across this world have and are experiencing His presence, and it gives them strength and joy and hope until the full arrival of the purchased possession.

         For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. [Romans 8:22-23] [1]

         © 2015 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.

If We Love Him We Will Obey Him

        For those faithful readers who have read the articles on this blog for a while, you know I must write about what is wrong in order to attempt to illustrate what is right. What the Lord Jesus did during His ministry was right. What His hand-picked men did after Him was right.

       The original apostles ushered in real Christianity at the very beginning and spread it throughout the then-known world in faithful adherence to the Founder’s vision.

         Some may want to call original Christianity a movement, and it certainly is in a sense. Others may see it as simply one more religion begun by a Man who saw a great need for helping people with a better life.

         In reality, however, God had an overall plan from the beginning of Creation and part of that plan involved bringing forth truth and reality. Why? Because the enemy of our souls brought in lies, deception, temptation, and sin. And the very heart of the Lord’s teachings is to set us free from the effects of those evil lies, deception, and sin and bless us with His Truth, Life, and spiritual freedom.

         Therefore, it must be the goal of every real Christian to do exactly the same. In this regard, the Lord Jesus made the concept very clear when He stated:

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

         “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:12-18]

         In this passage, the Lord mentions the Father, the Son, and the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit. He then identifies Himself as the Holy Spirit. He also repeats the very message of YHWH in the Old Testament, as when God stated the following at the giving of the Ten Commandments:

         Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” [Exodus 20:1-7]

         A big part of the Lord’s teaching was properly identifying God and God’s real teachings. Why? Because the Pharisees, predominantly, had so muddied the waters with their own false teachings interspersed somewhat with God’s real teachings.

         But the one prevailing evidential component the Lord Jesus used to identify Himself as God and confirm that His teachings were correct as opposed to the false religion of the Pharisees or any other was His operative use of miracles both to help others and confirm that His Word was God’s Word.

         In other words, if the miracles, healings, release from demon possession, and other great spiritual works were not there, then neither was He or His real Word.

         Now, contrast everything you just read with a typical Sunday morning at your church and tell me both are the same. For most of you, you simply cannot do it. And this reveals that the majority of Christianity in this world, regardless of perceived good hearts and good intentions, is either incorrect or greatly lacking.

         And further, if you want to know the central reason for this, it is a matter of authority, in that someone or something else is in charge instead of the Lord Jesus. Again, He stated very clearly the following:

         “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. [John 14:15]

         (If you don’t love Me you will not.)

         “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” [John 14:11]

         (Even if you cannot perceive that Jesus is God, believe Him because of the miracles.)

         Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

         Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’”? [John 14:8-9]

         This statement, of course, takes us right back to the Exodus passage. The Lord Jesus would never and did never teach anything against the Father (God/YHWH) or anything in addition to the Father.

         “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. [Matthew 5:17]

         What He did was teach the same curriculum but as a human being among human beings as not only an instructor but as our example.

         This is why He said His real disciples would perform just as He did. Anyone who does not is either not a real disciple, a very young or immature disciple, or possibly unclear on the concept. But once “no miracles” Christianity was established and institutionalized it became conventional and real Christianity thus became unconventional, and thus ostracized and maligned, just as first-century Phariseeism maligned the Lord and His teachings.

         In other words, if Major League Baseball (the highest league on the planet) was easy, anyone could play it. The fact, however, is that it is very, very difficult and only a fraction of exceptional ballplayers ever get there or play well for an extended time at that level.

         Most of that which passes itself off as Christianity is mere T-Ball at best and thus has very little or no impact on this fallen world of sin, which is a terrible thing once one considers the extreme price the Founder paid and the price paid by all real believers throughout history who often gave their lives.

         2015 will be a pivotal year. The Great Awakening in America will advance. But already, many who would have otherwise participated cut themselves off due to their disobedience, lack of faith, lack of love, and preference for a different gospel. This had to happen for the purpose of clearing the ranks just as was done in the story of Gideon’s army which was reduced by removing 99%.

         Just as the Lord Jesus had tens of thousands of followers during His ministry but only managed to gather 120 for the Upper Room Experience at Pentecost, He does not necessarily need great numbers. He wants great numbers in the sense that He loves and wants everybody. But He can certainly make do with a small team of dedicated members willing to obey all of His commandments. His final team will be just that because He said only a comparative few would find the real Door and complete the real path.

         To be a real disciple of the Lord, one must be worthy and willing to accept the challenge. Our Lord paid the greatest price for this very reason. He needs our help. A fallen world is crying out for reality, truth, and salvation.

         “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” [Matthew 10:37-38] [1]

         As His disciples, let us all make a greater effort to exalt the Lord Jesus, put His real Truth on the map through our ministry to others and one another, and illustrate by our spiritual example a pure reflection of His example.

         Thank you for reading. Be blessed and Merry Christmas!

         © 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.

John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire,” Reviewed by Dennis Balcombe

         For those who want further education and insight into the powerful Worldwide Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement, especially in the Far East and China, the following review of John MacArthurs book Strange Fire is a must read for all believers.

         The review, or rather the strong critique, is written by Dennis Balcombe, a minister of 45 years in China, who recounts ample evidence of the miraculous work of the Spirit of the Lord used to counteract MacArthur’s perspective.

         I am certainly not defending Pentecostal/Charismatic excess, fake revivals, nor the shenanigans of some ministers in that field, but I stand with Balcombe in standing up for the obvious truth of the work of God in the world in these last days.

         And remember, though spiritual growth in North America has lagged behind, The Lord has used believers here to sponsor and kick off many of the movements elsewhere, and a national Great Awakening is now beginning to come forth on these shores as well.

        The review is comprehensive, well-written, and informative. Settle in and enjoy, and consider the price others have paid that we must also pay in order to receive the same powerful outpouring in America. © 2014 by RJ Dawson.

.

Link: John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, reviewed by Dennis Balcombe            

© Copyright The Pneuma Review 2014. All rights reserved.

Real Christianity: Three and Free

         Hello everyone. It has now been three years since I started this site on May 10, 2011. Thanks to you all for reading, commenting, and subscribing. I also give special thanks to those of you who have been with me from the beginning or thereabouts, and those who reblog my posts on your own sites. I’m not sure, but it could be that your reputation is ruined twice over.

         I knew from the beginning that the topics I would write about would not necessarily be popular, so I am thankful for the support this blog has received. Though it may appear sometimes that I just barge right in and begin offending right off the bat, I actually try my best to be as tactful as possible. I’m not necessarily trying to win an argument here, but I must reveal what has been revealed to me. I want you all to know that I do, or have done, a ton of research to support my articles. I work very hard at creating works that support what I know to be true, doing much editing, over and over again, to get each post in the form I feel it deserves (though the inevitable typos slip through anyway).

         I have no other agenda than to obey and honor the Lord and present New Covenant and historical truth. I am not trying to support any denomination or denominational beliefs. I don’t have a pastor looking over my shoulder. I attempt to go strictly by what the Lord Jesus reveals through His own teaching, and the teachings of those who were taught by Him directly so long ago.

         In that light, no one has it all, all of us are in need of more knowledge and revelation, and all of us probably have some level of teaching that the Lord’s teachings do not support. Therefore, we must not only continue to study to show ourselves approved, but be humble enough to know we don’t know everything, and that some of the stuff we know and think is true is actually incorrect.

         The latter presents itself at worst in the behavior of the Pharisees, who thought they had it all down perfect but were actually wrong on most accounts. They were more concerned with winning arguments and with their own religious pride and standing. As are many Christians, they were invested in their beliefs and most of them refused to consider alternatives. The Lord had grown exasperated with their religious redneckism.

         Their own Scriptures said they were generally stiffnecked, and it has been my experience over several decades that Christians insist on competing with that stiffnecked attitude. Many Christians refuse to hear anything that might make them feel uncomfortable regarding their chosen path. As a solution, for those humble and wise enough to accept it, I suggest we all present our doctrinal apologetics toward the Lord’s teachings, not the teachings of others.

         At best, we look to the Lord’s example of learning, knowing, possessing, and sharing truth. Usually, the only times He got really upset was with the Pharisees and their close-minded, we-know-everything attitude that drove them to kill rather than see the light. Seeing the light demands humility. We must all know at all times that deception surrounds us and is sometimes so powerful and thick we are astonished when we see the light in respect to former beliefs.

         As Christians, we are blessed to have the writings of the New Testament. We are blessed to have an actual history book of the early community of the Lord. We know what they believed, what they did, how they lived their lives, and what they taught. And we know they were given miraculous confirmation of all they taught, the same as it was with the Lord. We know they gave it everything they had and put their lives on the line.

.

         In early December of last year, I was blessed with more time and made a concerted effort to work very hard and create as many posts as possible based on what the Lord was downloading at that time. There was a lot on the back burner (many back burners), and I proceeded to write a lot partly in an effort to catch up. It started on December 9 with the first of a two-part article entitled Forced Religious Conformity: Human Graven Images. Within a month I made 7 posts.

         But something very interesting happened in early January of this year. I began receiving the nucleus of a long article that regarded a frontier crossing I was embarking on, and one I knew many of you were also.

         It began on January 14 when I posted the first of a three-part series called Entering The Miracle Realm.

         From that point on I had crossed a threshold into some kind of deeper spiritual zone. Sounds weird, I know, but the article reveals what was happening then. I remember one of you pointed out that something in my posts changed at that particular time (Thanks Susan). I know I was dealing with some serious challenges, one of which was a serious back injury that seemed to come out of nowhere. Such fun happenings were no doubt due, at least in part, to spiritual battle. I also got pretty sick a couple of times, and I rarely ever get sick. Things were going on in the spirit. Ground was being gained. I certainly paid the price for that but it’s all part of the process.

         Also, it was at that time that blog activity began picking up. Hits increased somewhat dramatically. Things had dipped quite a bit last November when I had so little time. I managed to get back on par in December. Then, January of this year set a new record. February set a new record. March set a new record. And April of this year stayed right up there.      

         From January 14 until April 29 I made another 31 posts. This does not include a couple of posts I made in February regarding my son’s motorcycle accident. I had asked for prayer and received a huge response from you all and remain very thankful. He has made a full recovery.

         From May 10 of last year until December 9, 2013 I had much less time to write and only managed 18 articles, so that adds up to about 56 posts or so for my third year (but 31 in a recently completed 3½ months!).

         Overall, I managed to go over 200 posts for the three years about a month back.

         I’m not sure what happened this month but the bottom has fallen out. It could be I am no longer receiving. Part of it involves having less time and being involved with many more practical matters.

         But I think the main thing is probably the latest article content. I know I have lost readers that used to like my stuff, no doubt because disagreements arose. As I said before, I try very hard to present the truth I have learned and be tactful about it. I want you all to know, though, that I am constantly reading, doing much research, fact-checking, and trying my best to hear the Lord. This often involves new truth, and that often brings offense. We must remember that the Pharisees (and Christian Pharisees since) gained the religious ascendancy during the Lord’s time and had swayed the people to their perspective. Of course, they never thought it was a mere perspective but absolute truth. We must be careful to not make this our problem. Religious pride is a killer.

         The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. [Psalm 51:17]

         I wrote my first book in part dealing with the fact that we have about four million Christian denominations, off-shoots, and even more doctrines that often contradict one another. I always reiterate the point that there is only one Lord Jesus and He teaches only one curriculum. This means the vast majority of Christian teaching is somehow suspect. We must get back to our roots. But in doing that many sacred cows are inevitably revealed for what they are and offense comes.

         It is never my intention to offend. I only want to reveal truth. But unlike many others, I will not go to war against my brothers. Like many of you, I know what it’s like to get treated like dirt by those who claim to be doing the Lord’s work. I will teach very strongly when the door opens but when it appears fellowship starts taking a hit, it often indicates a time to fall back on first priorities—loving one another regardless of differences. In that light, however, the Lord never compromised the truth. Paul spent much ministry time arguing about the real revelations of Scripture and truth, but did it in love. Both got into serious trouble as a result.

         Regardless of what we believe or how we see things, we must remain polite. We must remain brothers and sisters. We must be family. The Lord said the entire everything hangs on only two commandments, and we must always honor those two and obey them above all else:

         One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

         And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:35-40]

         Again, looking to His example, He often taught with great power and authority. At other times He used tact. We must be sensitive to the Lord and one another. The point is to reveal the truth that sets us free. Otherwise, all we are doing is teaching the commandments of men that keep us in bondage.

         “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees…” [Luke 12:1] [1]

         Keep up all the wonderful work you are doing and keep showing the love of God. Great things are happening! We remain in the early stages of a national Great Awakening. The Lord is in charge.

         Later.

         © 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.

.

PLEASE CONSIDER PURCHASING MY BOOK. THANKS.

Real Christians and the Faux Bros

         In my first book, the name of which graces the heading of this blog, I coined the term Unreal Christianity. I also coined the term Unreal Christian(s). When one coins a term one must also define it. The definition is actually uncomplicated and straightforward and is based on the definition of a Real Christian:

         “A Real Christian is one whom Jesus is the Lord of his life.”

         What about Unreal Christians?

         “An Unreal Christian is anyone else.”

         Based on this simple terminology, Real Christianity is defined as that which the Founder taught and practiced. Unreal Christianity is anything else.

         For a further definition, a Real Christian is one who has surrendered his heart and total life to the Lord Jesus, has pledged to honor Him as Lord and God, and has entered into a blood covenant with Him to obey all His commandments and teachings 100% with no reservation whatsoever forever. He has repented of past sins, the sacrifice of the Lord’s life has been applied, and a spiritual circumcision of the heart has been administered. He is born again and has become a new creation as per the Living Word of God.

         An Unreal Christian, in contrast, is one who has not accomplished the preceding, but has instead surrendered to a “Christian” culture, a church, a denomination, contrary gospels, counterfeit teachings, false doctrines and dogmas, and honors the leaders and or leader of such groups, living or dead, rather than the Lord Jesus.

         This is true regardless of group size, whether it be a massive worldwide body, a denomination, or a local cult. Indeed, cults are not restricted by size or societal acceptance. The terminology simply changes. They’re all cults.

         I read an article recently about the very bad behavior of Christians in restaurants following Sunday morning services. Apparently, the majority of waiters are of the very sure empirical reasoning that such Christians are the loudest, rudest, most obnoxious, patronizing, and belittling people on the planet. They call it the church rush. I was also told by a friend a few months back before I read the article that when he managed a restaurant, some of the worst people he ever had in his restaurant were members of a particular large local Christian group (you would probably know them if I named them). My friend did not know that I knew who he was talking about, but I never knew they exhibited such behavior.

         In following this clearly marked trail (super highway), there is a reason non-Christians think Christians are vain, arrogant idiots unable to think for themselves. Actually, there are millions of reasons. In fact, if one wanted to write a book on the subject he better be prepared to top War and Peace, The Encyclopedia Britannica, and the entire works of the Library of Congress. It would take a while.

         Must I be so honest? I learned it from my Boss! Unreal Christianity is worse than all other religions put together. The Lord saved His most powerful and heart-rending rebukes for the religious fakes who stood in His place and tried to pass themselves off as the real thing. He called them a bunch of lying snakes whose father was the devil. Real Christians must do no less.

         Which brings us to a related point: Why do religious people get their panties in a wad so easily? Why do religious people want to fight and kill at the drop of a hat? Why do religious people go to such great lengths to stand up for their false doctrines? There is only one reason: They are absolutely totally convinced they are right. But they identify themselves as wrong by their behavior.

         In other words, as the Lord’s top priority, He was not out to win intellectual arguments—He was out to save the world. But He would argue if He must, though, and did. He definitely had a very specific curriculum and He taught it perfectly, but the curriculum was not limited to the mind or the classroom. He lived the curriculum. He demonstrated His teachings. He showed everyone right out in the open that His methods worked. And He did it all as a Servant who loved.

         Unreal Christians don’t do this, largely because they cannot, but also because they won’t. They do not possess the love, the power, or the knowledge of the Lord’s real teachings. They are fakes.

         The Lord proved the Pharisees were fakes. He continually exposed them for what they were. In turn, their reasoned, loving, well thought-out response was to first disfellowship Him, then lie about Him at every turn, then make Him out to be pure evil, then try to kill Him. And this is what Unreal Christianity has always done, except in places like America where the laws do not permit them to kill and sabotage real believers as they did back in Europe or wherever else. But believe me, they possess enough religious hate and ultra-sensitivity that they would kill if it would not inconvenience their lives.

         So they major on the disfellowship part. And THAT, my friends, is why we have four million “Christian” denominations filled with hateful people protecting their turf willing to turn on anyone at any time when their little or giant establishments are threatened or merely perceived to be threatened.

         And if the Lord Jesus Himself showed up in their “places of worship” they would treat Him exactly the same, simply because their unreality is contrary to His reality.

         “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’

         “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’

         “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” [Matthew 25:41-46]

         As I have stated so often here, the same evidence that existed in the ministry of the Lord Jesus must exist in the ministries He has granted to His followers. Of course, such ministries are mere extensions of His ministry and there is only one. If the evidence is not there, though, don’t believe the teachings. He said the same thing. (Read the following very carefully):

         The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

         Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.

         “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

         “I and the Father are one.”

         The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.

         Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”

         The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

         Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

         “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

         Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp. [John 10:24-39] [1]

         The early community of the Lord had such works.

         Unreal Christianity does not.

         If you don’t see His works, an extension of His love, in your “place of worship” on Sunday morning, something is very wrong.

         It indicates the Lord Jesus is not in charge.

         It denotes an absence of His presence, authority, and power.

         And it points toward yet another establishment of Unreal Christianity—the haunt of the Faux Bros.

         “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.” [Joshua 24:15]

         © 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 Yoke’s On You

         The Lord Jesus promises us an easy yoke. Think about that. The existence of an easy yoke implies the existence of its opposite—a difficult yoke, which no one really wants but many already have.

.

         “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.

         “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29-30]

.

            Rather than the counterfeit taskmasters we are used to or the dry, empty instruction of lifeless hirelings that do nothing for our hungry souls, the Lord identifies Himself as a gentle and humble teacher with a guaranteed promise.

         He promises a light burden instead of heavy and hard to carry burdens and bleak servitude. He promises an easy yoke, signifying His teaching in the service of God instead of the scribal standard that never satisfies the soul. And He attempts to convince us to trust Him regarding His promises and our discipleship under His authority, that our hearts may be fulfilled and satisfied, and that we find the refreshing we seek.

          His intention is to remove us from the fruitless instruction of others (“learn from Me”) and bless us with the spiritual rest and refreshing we need and desire.

         He wants to take us back through the fog of countless incomplete and incorrect teachings and teachers to the beginning, to the foundation, to the well—to the answer. He quotes Jeremiah:

         Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.” [Jeremiah 6:16]     

         There is another word in the original languages closely associated with the one used for yoke in the above narrative, and is used with reference to a yoked pair. It relates to a rough wooden yoke built for two farm animals standing side by side with their heads yoked together at the neck to work in tandem.

          Could it be the Lord is also telling us to be yoked together with Him as in the above? If so, He has already placed Himself in one side of the yoke and is asking each of us to place ourselves in the other side. By this, He would also be saying He will never ask us to do what He is not doing.

         Consider the implications of this arrangement—whatever the Lord may propose to do will instantly involve us doing it as well. He refers to it as His yoke, not ours. Yet, even in that, once we are yoked together He cannot force us to go along. We must make the choice to work with Him BESIDE Him. And because it’s an easy yoke, He will always consider a pace we can handle.

         This is completely indicative of why Abraham was credited with righteousness. When he entered into covenant with the Lord, as pairing up with Him in a yoke, Abraham committed himself to work alongside the Lord and do whatever was required for the rest of his life. This is the commitment a real Christian makes.

         Are we following the Lord within this arrangement? Yes, certainly. Though He is not geographically in front, He still leads, that is, until we learn to work with Him. At that point following Him becomes natural and second nature.

         This is what the farm animals do. When a pair of animals is first teamed up they must learn to work together. It takes time and effort to synchronize themselves one with the other, and is much harder than it may appear. The two may fight and pull against each other in the beginning, and maybe even buck. And since the driver following behind wants strong and stout animals it is that much harder to get them on the same page.

         For each animal, the arrangement is unnatural. It is difficult enough to be strapped to a plow but to be yoked to another animal as well and be expected to work is next to impossible. The physical strictures are beyond uncomfortable. The entire arrangement demands revolt, which includes yet another brutal cruelty—the callous commands of the driver holding the reins.

         How can these two independent farm animals with minds and instincts of their own make such an unnatural set-up work? What if one lags? What if one is trying to set a stronger pace than the other can handle? What if one becomes obstinate like a stubborn mule and refuses to conform? Eventually one becomes the leader and the other follows along until the two arrive at a united and steady pace.

         This can take quite a while. The driver must drive the team but also have enough patience to make it work. A good team is hard to put together, but once successful, a lot more work can be accomplished with a yoked team than with two singles.

         Consider the pastoral scene before us two thousand years ago. The Lord Jesus was teaching disciples very familiar with the particulars of the illustration. These were rural and semi-rural men, most of whom made a living with their hands. They were in sight of the grainfields of Galilee and likely an existing team of yoked draft cattle working a field. The men would understand the spiritual significance of the Lord’s teaching by seeing the scene right before them.

         Imagine, then, those in another rabbi’s school, or one animal in a tandem yoke. The Lord says any other teacher is essentially a mere hireling who has certainly not entered into a committed discipleship covenant with the student, and that a single draft animal in a tandem yoke meant for two is meaningless. In a spiritual sense, a single unyoked worker can certainly appear to work, but without the Lord can actually get nothing done:

         “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” [John 15:4-5]

         Now, considering the implications in the above passage, note in the following verse how the Lord perfectly modeled both the vine and branches figure and the yoke illustration:

         Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” [John 5:19]

         This is a perfect picture of the Father and Son being yoked together. The Father and Son, however, are not separate in the sense that two farm animals are separate, yet the two separate farms animals yoked together actually become one in an effectual sense regarding the work they accomplish. They pull together with the same exact strength walking at the same exact pace. They learn to work together so perfectly they instantly anticipate the other’s moves and make adjustments. If one animal suffers a misstep or an injury the other compensates for it. The two become a team working as one.

         And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs [Mark 6:7]

         Interesting, huh?

         Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. [Luke 10:1]

         As a tandem team of farm animals, so were these disciples. They were learning to work together.

         The yoke teaching is thus:

         (1) The Father and Son are yoked perfectly together.

         (2) Each disciple individually must be yoked together with the Lord (Who is Father and Son).

         (3) One disciple must be paired with another.

         (4) Each pair must learn to work with each other pair.

         The Lord was so successful in making all this unity happen He was able to gather 120 devoted disciples together in the upper room for the Holy Spirit outpouring of Pentecost! That’s not sixty pairs, though, but a single unit composed of 120 individuals. Each one of these were yoked with the Lord which made the yoking together of all possible.

         It was the Lord Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, who provided the spiritual connective. This is also why the single fire which was manifested as the visible presence of God in the upper room separated into 120 parts, was distributed, and rested upon each disciple. This could not have happened if the 120 were not in spiritual unity.

         This unity was so perfectly formed that the 120 functioned as a single ovum given life by the Spirit of God from which the entire Body of Christ would miraculously grow over the next 20 centuries. How did this happen and why does it rarely happen in comparison with all “Christian” expressions?

         The key is in the apostle Peter’s address to the gathering crowd drawn together by the spectacle. Everyone in the upper room had already obeyed the directive later given by Peter or he would not have told the crowd to do something they had not already done.

         Peter explained the prophecy of Joel and He identified the Lord as the Messiah and told them of His death and resurrection. He then revealed the yoking process designed to bind the people of God together:

         “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.” [Acts 2:36-38]

         This is the secret. This is the answer. This is the easy yoke.

         “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!” [Acts 2:39-40]

         A great many in the crowd did exactly that, which then continued the process of cell division and growth. By the end of the day the 120 had been multiplied to become 25 times as large!

         So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. [Acts 2:41] [1]

         May your joy be full.

         © 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.

Please Take Time To Worship the Lord:

The Presence of the Devil (1)

All Seeing Eye         In Secret Societies, the people comprising the lowest levels have no idea what is really going on at the highest levels. A false narrative is put forth as truth, and it is done in such a way to indoctrinate initiates without the initiates knowing they have been indoctrinated.

         Part of the indoctrination process includes infusing the soul and mind of the initiate with the perceived fact that the society he has joined is the best, most prestigious, first in both importance and influence, and most profitable and advantageous for his life and career.

         And to prove this, the initiate will be given an open door into some such benefit he would probably not otherwise receive, such as employment, to go along with his initial benefit of belonging to a group, something everyone needs and desires.

         As the initiate travels upwards through the various degrees, he gains more knowledge and benefits. His life begins being built around and upon the precepts and initiatives of the order, and he begins becoming closer in alignment with the true purpose and intentions of the society, and those toward the upper levels who comprise it.

         As long as the process takes place through a properly paced and methodical fashion the member grows in his awareness, becomes somewhat distant to the members of the lower orders in the sense of only revealing the knowledge allowable and not revealing the higher knowledge he possesses, and continues in his gaining of higher knowledge and growing closer to those in and around his level.

         By ascending this ladder of knowledge, he grows closer to understanding the secret teachings that exist only for those at the top who give themselves wholly to the society, and the more his very life is built upon and within said teachings and the society itself. Though he started out committed, he reaches a point of visceral commitment to the society from which he could never exit without destroying his life and that of his family and future descendants.

         This is why those at the higher levels never leave. The benefits are incredible. They begin receiving the best jobs, the most money, begin moving in the highest circles, and attain a virtual heaven on earth with reference to wealth, material possessions, and political influence. They discover that there is a hierarchy of powerful people who rule the planet, and that they are becoming part of it.

         During the heyday of the mafia, it is said one could never leave after achieving a certain level, simply because he knew too much. The mafia was a society that clearly instructed its members that they were members for life, and to leave would be the equivalent of treason. As long as a member obeyed the dictates of the order, remained loyal, and did whatever was asked of him he would remain in excellent standing and would be the recipient of the full benefits. Part of being an excellent member was never being a “stool pigeon.” One must never reveal anything that was not to be revealed. The penalty for treason was death.

         Thus, those who make it to the highest levels of the most prestigious Secret Societies never reveal anything that would expose them for what they are. They never reveal their influence and machinations behind the scenes, their positions of power, their true means of wealth, or the mystical knowledge they possess that makes them what they are.

         Part of their secret is that they convince lower initiates there are no secrets. They convince them that there is absolutely nothing sinister or held back, that all is open to see for whoever might want to see it, that what you see is all there is, and that the very idea of a Secret Society is absolutely ridiculous.

         But once one climbs the ladder for a while and gets vested, he realizes he was lied to, but for his own benefit and that of the Society as a whole. The key to keeping secrets then, is having a vested interest to do so. By revealing secrets one loses his vesting, or his benefits. It is the equivalent of being bounced from a bar or being a stoolie. Everyone within the society disowns him. No one will help him or grant him a position or employment. He essentially gets kicked to the street. And some pay with their life.

         For any single man it is easier to get out, but the benefits of the society extend not only to the individual and his immediate family, they continue to extend to his descendants. Long term Secret Societies develop a gradualist approach that honors a family line, and as long as the individual descendants toe the mark and do all that is required, the benefits keep coming. This is actually very good for the society because it develops multi-generational loyalty and establishes solid family groups that act as both the foundation and glue that keeps it together and stable.

         But for one to think that only human beings are involved in such longstanding, high level, powerfully influential, and extremely wealthy Secret Societies is not only naïve, it reeks of pure bullheaded, stiff-necked, and close-minded ignorance.

         Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” [Matthew 4:8-9]

         And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” [Luke 4:5-7]

         The Lord Jesus calls the devil “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11). This is archon kosmos in the Greek. It refers to that which has been built on this planet by the devil and his invisible guys in concert with fallen humanity. This kosmos is not the planet, it is the fallen world of sinful man built upon this planet. It existed at the time of our Lord when He revealed it, exists now, and existed long before the Lord walked among us.

         It has managed to circumnavigate the globe. It has succeeded in establishing itself almost everywhere and has achieved its greatest level of unity and universality to date. It will eventually succeed in becoming a single worldwide entity in complete control of everything with complete knowledge of everything and everyone.

         Its absolute and total fullness is almost here.

         Yet, there is one, and only one other society on this planet that is not part of this kosmos, and will never be—the community of the Lord Jesus. Hence, there has always been and always will be persecution directed from the devil’s kingdom against the Lord’s kingdom. It is the battle of Light and darkness, and as far as the devil is concerned, one must either join up and worship him or be killed.

         Thus, the devil has built a universal Secret Society with himself ruling from atop a mystical pyramid. But one of the great secrets to his success in denying that he has done any such thing. And even more than this, he denies that he even exists. Its much easier to stay hidden when he indoctrinates people into believing he’s not even there to begin with.

         But the Word of God reveals him. The Lord Jesus exposed him:

         When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. [Colossians 2:15]

         As a result, the Lord Jesus has built a community composed of those who were formerly under the authority of the devil:

         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]

         Every member of the Lord’s community has been born into it (John 3:3-8). Every member enters through faith and repentance. Every member obeys Him, His teachings, and His commandments. Every member is saved by grace. Every member is wholly committed to Him in love and honor. All of this is required, or there can be no actual fellowship with God or one another.

         But there are deceivers and those who have been deceived. Some who are members of the first group think they are members of the Lord’s group. And one must notice that unreal Christianity in all its forms is built exactly like a Secret Society and is in fact the same thing, and exists as part of the devil’s kingdom.

         Unreal Christianity contains a hierarchy, a mystical pyramid structure, an initiate program, a spiritual ladder, ignorance of its true existence and purpose at the lower levels comprised of most of its members, and secret knowledge known only to those at the top. It is worldly, looks like the world, pays much more attention to head knowledge than possessing a true heart for God and knowledge of Him, and has much more in common with ancient religions than the community of the Lord Jesus. Its members refuse to be filled with the Spirit of God as per the Book of Acts historical model, and has invented a baptismal formula that refuses the Name Above Every Name.

         The Lord warned us to be aware of very strong deception, but most refuse to consider the fact of their own deception. The answer should be straightforward and simple, but because of the devil’s “Secret Gnosis” placed upon and mixed within false forms of Christianity, it is just as the Lord said:

         “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” [Luke 12:1-2]

         To close, John warns us:

         For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

         Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.

         Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

         If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. [2 John 1:6-10]

         And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments… [2 John 1:11] [1]

         © 2013 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.

Evil Planet and the Expanding Kingdom of God

         This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. [John 3:19-21]           

         We live in a perverse, rebellious, bizarre, and fallen world. It is a planet teeming with mutinous lovers of sin, like maggots on rotting meat.

         Why do I have such an opinion? It’s very simple: Look what it did to the Creator of the Universe.

         He showed up here in human form. But it wasn’t just “form.” He was an actual human being. And He remains an actual human being, though in a glorified state. And this world did everything it possibly could to destroy Him, and had actually thought at that time that it did destroy Him.

         He loved everybody. He forgave everybody. He went about doing good. He never did anything wrong. He never committed a single sin. He honored the Torah and kept every part of the Torah and never, ever violated a single commandment. He was as innocent as innocent could be, yet most people still hated Him.

         For not even His brothers were believing in Him. So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” [John 7:5-7]   

         After all the good He did and the love He expressed, the hateful people of this evil world savagely beat Him up, nailed Him to a rough wooden cross, and raised it up with Him attached like a trophy so all could see and behold its dirty, dirty deed.       

         “Look what we did to God, man! Who’s the boss?!

         Not only did the people of this rotten world kill Him, they wanted the whole world to see that they killed Him. If such rotten people that currently breathe air murdered Him they would instantly broadcast it on international television and plaster it all over the internet. They would want everyone to know what they did. Two thousand years ago the idiots were very, very proud of what they did and every generation since has been proud of what they did and supported what they did.

         How do I know?

         Isn’t it obvious?

         Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” [Matthew 4:8-9]   

         We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. [1 John 5:19]

         And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 Corinthians 4:3-4]   

         But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. [2 Timothy 3:13]

         As evil as the world was then, it has grown increasingly more evil since. The world is presently more evil than it has ever been. How many people actually know or care that more people were murdered in the last century, for example, than had ever been killed in a single century before?

         The numbers are staggering. War, disease, genocide, and the most sinister of all sins perpetrated by humans—the outright butchering of defenseless, innocent babies by the multi-millions—made the twentieth century the Century of Death with somewhere in the vicinity of 200 million casualties. Stalin killed 30 million. Mao killed 40 million. The United States of America has killed over 50 million… babies.

         But most do not care. Most do not know. Most do not recognize the gross sin in this place or even their own sin. If God wanted to He would be absolutely justified in destroying this entire planet in a onetime big bang for what the corrupt and rotten race of humans have brought into an otherwise pure universe.

         Instead, because He is a Person of love and peace, He came for a visit to help show us the way and get us back on track. Though some think He’s a big meanie for being forced to clean the place up once before, His purpose was to rid the planet of vermin before the vermin destroyed it all. We thanked Him for His love and peace and concern and hope and belief in us by killing Him in perhaps the worst way possible.

         Thank you very much, God. And don’t let the screen door hit you on your hinder parts when you leave. And if you ever come back you’ll get more of the same. You hear!? This is our world now!

         Thank the Lord that He didn’t listen to such vile idiots. He did leave, of course, but not because of their threats. And it was only for a short time. He said the Holy Spirit would never come unless He first departed. Why does it seem that the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus could not be here at the same time? It reminds me of one of those movies when one actor is playing dual parts and always has to leave the scene as one character in order to return as the second. The answer is alluded to by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians:

         But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. [1 Corinthians 15:35-37]

         Fascinating, huh?   

         “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” [John 16:7]

         So the Lord had to leave. But He promised to return. For all of those who have been taught that the Lord left this world 2,000 years ago, has been gone since, and will return to it one day in the future, you have been taught wrong. The Second Coming (not a Biblical term) is not necessarily a future event only. In Hellenistic Greek, the word parousia is the general term used to denote the event, but in common secular terms of that time, it often meant the arrival of a ruler at a place. In other words, when the Lord returns, it is to take charge.

         The first “Second Coming” took place ten days after the Lord ascended to heaven:

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4]

         It was the extraordinary return of the Lord Jesus in the form of His Holy Spirit.

         “…that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:17-18]

         And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. [Mark 16:20]

         My intention is not to split theological hairs here but shed some light on the fact that the Lord Jesus did not retire to “heaven” awaiting a day centuries in the future to return to earth. Besides that, “heaven” is usually a place defined by our own imaginations. And thirdly, how did the Lord return to His disciples, not leaving them “as orphans” without a Father or guardian, and work with them doing miracles while also retiring to heaven for two thousand plus years?   

         Of course, there will definitely be a Second Coming regarding the Lord Jesus returning to this planet in physical form also, and that is a future event. But until then, He not only resides “at the right hand of God,” but also right here with His people, as He has taken charge in the hearts of willing real believers, the exact same way He entered into the hearts of the 120 on the original Day of Pentecost.

         “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” [Revelation 3:20]

         But if nobody on this planet wanted Him He would not have returned even then.

         For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. [1 Peter 3:18-20]

         Only a mere 8 people on the entire planet wanted Him then, which gives perfect perspective to what this article is about, and reveals exactly what a sorry, rotten place this planet has become because of its evil human occupants.

         Only 120 wanted Him on the Day of Pentecost. Of all the tens of thousands who had heard Him teach and saw Him perform miracles, only 120 waited for His return in the upper room.

         This remains the same with the vast majority of Christian groups today, in that only a mere minor percentage wants anything to do with Pentecost or is willing to pay the price to “wait in the upper room.” Most Christians will fight against anything Pentecost or Book of Acts related until their dying day. They don’t want their perfect little Christian country clubs messed up with the actual presence of Jesus. They all put on a good show, but when push comes to shove most always shout, “Hell no!” They don’t want Him in charge. They want to be in charge.

         They have reputations to be concerned about and money to be made and social climbing to do and everyone knows you can’t have a good rep or make any money or climb the ranks in social circles if the people in your community think you’re a religious nut. It would be interesting to hear all the contorted explanations of those who denied the actual presence and authority of Jesus in their “churches” when they stand before Him at the judgment. All such people will have no chance at that point to fix what they did with their lives. It will be too late. But for anyone still breathing, there is still a chance to get it right.

         The following is a general list of dire warnings and prophetic statements (great preaching) spoken by the Lord Himself that all believers should keep in mind and apply when applicable:

         “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” [Revelation 2:4-5]

         “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” [Revelation 2:10]

         “But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.” [Revelation 2:14-16]

         “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” [Revelation 2:20-23]

         “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” [Revelation 3:1-3]

         “I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” [Revelation 3:11]

         “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” [Revelation 3:15-19]

         The above statements prove this world is an evil place. It is fallen in sin. It is a world of deception and illusion. Temptation and wickedness are all around, as is the specter of death. And all these things can invade the hearts of those in the Lord’s community.

         It is why the Lord constantly teaches His people to stay awake, to remain alert, to get strong and remain strong, to adhere to His teachings, to stay close to Him, to attend to our callings, to give no quarter to the enemy, to not allow any place for evil or sin or unforgiveness in our hearts, to repent and be cleansed if we fall, to be a powerful offensive force against the devil and his evil kingdom, to give it everything we have lest we grow weak and be deceived, and to always walk in the light and constantly believe in the “all things are possible with God” credo. Real Christians are behind enemy lines and are greatly outnumbered.

         But God’s kingdom is also here, as is the King of that kingdom. It exists wherever we allow and desire the Lord Jesus to be in charge. It starts in our hearts as individuals, and it grows as such individuals are knit together in true spiritual community.

         This community has stretched all over the planet in the last two thousand years and continues to expand. It is not dead, dull, boring, fake, and wimpy like counterfeit Christian communities, but, like the Lord, is ALIVE and VIBRANT and VERY POWERFUL, so powerful “the evil one” gets his butt kicked. It has the exact characteristics it did in the first century when it all began, and is still all about “RIGHTEOUSNESS and PEACE and JOY in the HOLY SPIRIT.” [Romans 14:17] [1]

         And as it is today, there was too much of the above for the taste of some, apparently, on that first Day of Pentecost:

         “They are full of new wine!” [Acts 2:13]

         On a Sunday morning?

         © 2013 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.

You’re Going To Hell!

         Back in the primitive past when Christians were grossly intolerant and actually believed in and followed the Word of God, preachers really said this. They actually told people in no uncertain terms that unless they repented and got right with God they were going straight to hell.

         And people got saved.

         And they dedicated their lives to God.

         And they were ever-thankful for the great price the Lord paid on their behalf.

         And they loved the preacher for preaching the truth.

         Speaking of which, there was once a man, about fifty years ago, who was a self-described drug addict-satan worshipper-bad dude biker, and the kind of guy who could kill a man relatively quickly without a weapon. He happened to hear a preacher once. The preacher shouted, with absolutely no fear, “You’re Going to Hell!!!”

         The hell-bound man repented and gave his life to God. Later, he also became a preacher. And one night, several years later, I happened to be in a small church building where this man was preaching a revival. The little place was packed and the Spirit of God was powerful. The title of his sermon was… ready?

         Known in Hell.

         He quoted from the Book of Acts, or actually, he shouted from the Book of Acts: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” [Acts 19:15 NKJV]

         The big idea was that the devil knows those responsible for wrecking his kingdom. He knows those who attack his gates and steal back souls for the Lord.

         In the Acts story, the evil spirit knew who the Lord Jesus was, and it knew who the apostle Paul was, and was deathly afraid of both. Real Christians are Known in Hell.

         But what about the fake believers?

         Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. [Acts 19:16 NKJV]

         After hearing this nice little Christian message—Known in Hell—I decided that right then and there would be a very good time to surrender to God. The next thing I knew I was up at the front with about a million other people. The kingdom had to add an extra wing that night. And another hell-bound man got turned around and headed in the right direction.

         Now, even though we humans don’t like such talk, for obvious reasons, the default destination for every human is hell.

         And without real repentance, a born-again experience, and surrendering one’s life to the Lord Jesus, the following applies:

         You’re going straight to hell. You will not pass Go. You will not collect $200.

         Because you have repeatedly trashed the commandments of God, because you have rejected the incredible offer of necessary salvation and undeserved grace, because you have dishonored, disobeyed, disbelieved, and disavowed discipleship, you will be eternally disconnected from God and disappear. You get the hot place. You will spend your first big vacation on the other side of earth at Fire Lake.

         In you will go. And you will never return…

         There are certain things that most people refuse to acknowledge. Hell is often at the top of the list. We don’t want to believe there is a hell. We don’t want to believe in the possibility we may end up there. Some think, “How could a loving God ever send anyone to such a place?”

         Here’s how: Because human beings are sinners, to one degree or another. The very fact that God is a loving God is why those who appreciate His offer of grace should not have to spend eternity with sinful, rotten idiots whose greatest sins are questioning the existence and motives of the very God who made them, rebelling against Him at every turn, thinking they know better and are better than Him, and who are so ridiculously lost in their own self-worth and deception they would rather have their pride and sin than eternal life.

         Jude knew about such people in his time:

         Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

         Why would Jude tell them to contend earnestly for the faith? What happened?

         For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

         Oh.

         Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

         I think that’s what we call a precedent.

         And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

         And there’s another precedent. And it gives us all a very good indication of how God feels about a certain lifestyle.

         Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

         But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

         Cain was evil. He offered an unacceptable sacrifice to God. He killed the godly seed. Balaam was a prophet for hire (Send me money and God will bless you!). And Korah and his rebels took a very fast shortcut to hell. These were in part religious people… Is Jude pointing toward unreal Christians? 

         These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.

         Uh oh.

         It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

         Wow…

         But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. [Jude 1:3-19]

         Bingo.

         But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. [1 Timothy 1:8-11]

         So the most stupid people of all are those who reject the laws and commandments of God? And live according to their own sinful nature? And refuse to come clean? And trade the lusts of this very short life for the loss of their souls for all eternity?

         Can they be described further?

         “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [Revelation 21:8]

         But what if a person is a liar by profession? What about those who support the murder of innocent babies? What about those who unreservedly and with full knowledge serve mammonas, the god of riches and avarice? Who sell their soul for wealth and power? Who cut out a little section of the planet for their own purposes through illicit means, not caring at all about who they rip off in order to pad their evil little nest?

         “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” [Matthew 23:33]

         And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? [1 Peter 4:18 KJV] [1]

         Um, could it be…

         © 2013 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.

Hope Island

           About a decade ago, there was an award-winning television show I really liked on the old PAX TV channel. It was called Hope Island and ran from 1999-2000.

           The critically-acclaimed series was about a young minister who was sent to the Pacific Northwest to fix up an old church and restore a ministry that had been neglected for 30 years. It featured a cast of distinct and unique characters who somehow came together under the young man’s leadership and how a wonderful sense of community was restored under the guidance of the Lord.

           I believe this is a dream that many believers have—to live within a loving and accepting community that allows each person to walk in the fullness of what God created them to be without any religious pretext or close-minded attitudes.

           We must continually remind ourselves, as if we needed reminding, that our churches are not very close at all to the original model created by the Lord, and also remind ourselves that we keep perpetuating a false model that does little compared to the prototype.

           In fact, we have become quite comfortable with much less than the best and resist any real change with a passion.

           But God still knows our hearts. And He knows we are really not so happy but possibly merely satisfied with an essentially dead routine that never changes. Christians are some of the worst people on the planet regarding change for the better, and are ever fearful of some such calamity or losing control.

           But the young minister discovered that the paradigm he was taught in ministry school simply did not work among the people of his new flock and that he must do things differently if he would reach them and allow the Lord to bless their lives.

           This is something that has always been on my heart, that we might do as the people of the show did in this regard, and begin doing things the Lord’s way.

           We forget that the Lord’s way is off the map. We read the Gospels but refuse to see that His way flew in the face of established, traditional religion. It is because His way is the right way as opposed to our structured and their structured dead religious ways.

           His way is the way of the heart.

           He was and remains all about reaching us on a heart level and setting us free from whatever bondage we happen to find ourselves within, especially religious bondage. He shows us that there is a way to have our hearts set free and fulfilled while also walking in holiness with Him. He wants us to be filled with His joy to overflowing and His faith to the nth degree.

           And it is not at all that difficult to achieve.

           The reason so many people liked that show and were saddened to see it cancelled was because it spoke to their hearts about what Christian community could and should be.

           Last night I happened to see if I could find it posted anywhere and actually discovered part of one show. And it blessed me. The young man had been given a great opportunity to leave Hope Island and secure a “better” ministry position at a big church with much greater perks and position. He had decided to take it since it was obviously “better” for his career.

           But then at the last minute he changed his mind. One particular individual was devastated by the news, telling him in so many words, “You come here and enter our lives and we all fall in love with you and then you leave us?” The people in the small locale needed someone to help bring them closer to God and one another, and he had done that, but did not realize how much of an impact he had made.

           He decided to stay.

           I must confess, after all these years, I maintain an idyllic dream of actually doing what this fictional young man had done. I long to be part of an eclectic ensemble of real people trying to be real Christians free of all the trappings of the usual Christian dead order and decorum, where people are often bored to tears and don’t know it, and whose hearts are rarely touched or fulfilled.

           How long must we persist in, “Just do what you’re told. That’s the way we do things here and we ain’t changin,’” and how long must we wait to decide on taking a chance at having real life with the Lord?

           Hope Island is a mere fictional account of what some people did to love one another under the Lord’s guidance. Yet it is closer to spiritual reality than that of most churches. Why do we long for such but rarely do anything about creating such a place?   

           The Lord Jesus wants to touch your heart today and every day. And I want to be a part of that. Are there any others out there who feel the same?

           And, as long as I’m dreaming and take literally the words of the Lord about all things being possible, is there any potential Christian community in the Pacific Northwest that might appreciate someone to help bring it to pass?

           Must Hope Island remain a mere myth?

           © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

The Great Pretenders

         At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.

         And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

         But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. [Acts 5:12-18]

         And this is how it always happens. The clergyites in control will always fight against the Spirit of God until they get off their high horses and get on their faces before Him.

         Why have we not seen revival? Why are most church services so dead they might as well be funerals? Most churches are so cold you could ice skate down the main aisle.

         The Sudducees in the above verses had their own version of “The First Church of the Refrigerator” and were so incensed on losing control to the Spirit of God they threw His guys in jail. Modern religionists in America don’t do this anymore. They just treat believers with supreme indifference, keep them out of their “private clubs,” and never allow them to come close to expressing their hearts and revealing truth. These are religious control freaks one and all, and the majority of churches in America remain under the control of such fleshly fruitcakes who fight revival and the manifestation of God’s Spirit.

         And that’s the main reason we as believers find ourselves in such a predicament. There always has to be certain people who are so in love with themselves and their power they will always stifle any possible move of God.

         When there are no Book of Acts manifestations you can be sure humanity is in control.

         I mentioned in a previous post that if a poll was conducted among church leaders to sign a pledge allowing the Lord Jesus to have absolute total control in their churches that very, very few would ever sign it.

         And the reason why is simple—they would lose control. Life would become a challenge. They would likely lose their perks, and most of all, they would lose their high horse reputations. God would fix it so no one would henceforth want to kiss their “hand” and bow down to them anymore. As it is, most believers worship their preachers and reverends and priests and church buildings and non-Biblical doctrines and all the other stuff the Pharisees and Sadducees were guilty of, instead of worshipping the Lord Jesus in Spirit and truth.

         Prayer is the answer—long, hard times of prayer—intense prayer, intercessory prayer, and prayer of no pretense that rightfully moves the heart of God.

         Repentance is the answer—solid, heart-rending, sobbing, snot-dripping repentance that proves one is seeing straight, knows one is nothing without God, and desires to do anything to have all of God and His direction.

         The Lord, however, is truly a Gentleman and will never force His way upon us. That’s why He waits for us to get down to spiritual business. There are so many saints of God with pure hearts who remain under the control of some fleshly, proud, I’m-better-than-you-and-deserve-my-place-in-the-spotlight pinhead who will fight the Lord all day long in the guise of serving Him. Until someone challenges these people they will always remain in control.

         This is what the Lord said about these future Christian pretenders:

         “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:13]

         “Woe to you lawyers![1] For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” [Luke 11:52]

         In other words, if your fearless leader refuses the full Spirit-filled kingdom of heaven and key of knowledge attained by the apostles and first century believers, then so too will you, who have bowed the knee not to God but to a fellow human being in the form of God. The apostles were very humble men and suffered greatly for their faith. But they were also great stalwarts in that they learned to live in hardship and carry the banner of the Lord courageously despite their loss of social standing, monetary gain, and religious position.

         Unlike the highly vaunted religious leaders they suffered the loss of all things but WALKED WITH GOD AND POSSESSED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. They shook the devil’s kingdom to the core instead of joining it like so many unreal Christians and Christian leaders do so today.

         Instead of living as the apostles did, however, we treat them like disconnected museum pieces to admire from afar but never think or desire to have what they had.

         There are actually millions of such real Christians on the planet today who have learned to live for God and will always live for God regardless of powerful persecution and indifference toward them. They will fight any God-directed battle for the spiritual freedom of humanity regardless of dire circumstances, and reject anything that compromises their walk.

         You will know the Lord Jesus is in charge when you see everyone in the vicinity taking a backseat and hitting the deck, especially the high and holy ones who previously thought it would all fall apart if they did not keep their grip on control. Anything not of God will be burned up, of course, and good riddance. But real leaders understand fully that they are nothing and that the Lord Jesus is everything, and every part of the spotlight belongs to Him and Him only.

         Let the Spirit of the Lord be in charge!

         Let Him do what He wants!

         Get the heck out of the way!

         Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God;

And not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;

Nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

         And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

         You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

         Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

         To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. [1 Peter 5:1-11] [2]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   


[1] Greek—Nomikos: Relating to law, learned in the law, experts in the Mosaic Law. Torah teachers. Those consumed with the letter of the Law but completely missing and neglecting the Spirit of the Law.

[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.

IRAN IN THE CROSSHAIRS! (Part 5)

         There are upwards of 100,000 Christian believers in the nation of Iran by conservative estimates. The number could be considerably higher. There is a solid Christian underground that meets primarily in private homes. Evangelistic activity is strong but very risky. Witnessing for Christ is illegal. 

         The state religion of Iran is Shia Islam. All other faiths are essentially against the law, though Christians are singled out for extreme prejudice and hostility. They  undergo discrimination in all areas, including housing, employment, and education.  The government engages in the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of Muslim converts to Christianity who sometimes pay the ultimate price for their faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus. Under the strict Islamist regime, forsaking Islam is a crime punishable by death. 

         As in many other hostile nations, Christians cannot meet openly and are forever subjected to suspicion and betrayal, even by family members. Since Iran is over 98% Muslim, almost all new Christian believers are former Muslims and are routinely hounded by those of their former religion. Secrecy is often a must for survival’s sake, yet house churches are often raided. Due to the strong faith of Iranian Christians in light of such strong persecution, the suffering and scattering of believers spreads the embers of Christian light to more Muslims hungry for truth. Iran is ripe for revival and there is in fact a strong awakening taking place in the country. Many of the people have access to Western media and it is only a matter of time until a strong Christian presence is established.

         This dynamic must be considered in light of the probable attack from Israel and Western forces that is currently in the making. Iran is a great restrictor of personal freedom, has a government-sponsored radical Muslim ideology, and makes no bones about its intentions. Iran is a powerful nation and has powerful allies who are pledged to varying degrees to supporting it against economic and military attack. These allies also share a general hatred of real Christianity though it be burgeoning in Communist China and India, as well as beginning to make an impact in other Muslim nations.

         Muslims are coming to Christ in very large numbers, though this fact is rarely revealed in the major media. It is an unprecedented movement throughout Islamic countries and among Muslim immigrant populations and the pioneers are paying the price. Yet the Lord teaches us to outlast the enemy through constant victorious faith regardless of harsh conditions, suffering, and an apparent lack of progress. We also know that persecution always results in greater numbers and deeper faith of believers. Islam is doing itself no favors by attempting to stomp out Christianity, as it is only making it grow.

         I remember being involved in the very early house church movement in America. I recall that the chief persecutors of the growing movement were not government authorities but established Christian churches, even those in the more “understanding” nondenominational sphere. Many churches co-opted the process by breaking their congregations down into home groups, but this is the opposite of true cell division. Some Christians went flat crazy against the movement much as radical Muslims do now. And it is for the same purpose maintaining strict religious control to protect the organization, even if the battle is against the Spirit of the Lord.

         Due to obvious circumstances in hostile environments, there is no other reasonable method for meeting to share the Gospel. The vastly expanding house church movement in America is indicative of God’s hand regarding our future. The community of the Lord was born in a house in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. The movement was illegal then also, both in Judea and throughout the Roman Empire. But the Gospel spread rapidly through small groups of dedicated believers and this very process is currently taking place in Iran.

         Christians should therefore be careful of getting sucked into anti-Iran and anti-Muslim war rhetoric and propaganda since Iranian Muslims are the seed bed of Christianity in that country.

         Though persecuted, our Iranian brothers and sisters are without doubt praying for their government leaders and those associated with fomenting the coming war, and are showing the love of God. They know war well in that the spiritual war has been raging in the region for decades. Iranian believers want to save fellow Iranians and their country for the Lord.

         Let us remember that “Iran in the Crosshairs” also means Iranian Christians in the crosshairs. Would God use His “chosen people” in Israel against His sons and daughters in Iran? Such things are always more complicated than they appear on the surface. The Word of God has the correct answer on how to approach the conflict and the various people groups involved. The Lord has Iran in His own crosshairs for His own purposes.

         Those who revoke and shoot down “Love Thy Neighbor” do so at their own expense.

         “All those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” [Matthew 26:52][1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 5 of 5]        


[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.

THANKS TO ALL FOR READING AND SPREADING THE WORD  

The Classic Church Building: A Non-Biblical Wineskin (Part 2)

         “No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” [Mark 2:22]   

         Throughout all of man’s history, the one constant form of physical structure which has accounted for 99% of all buildings on the planet is the simple family dwelling. Be it a hut, a tent, or something more extravagant, it is home. Houses, therefore, have forever been ubiquitous. Even in modern society houses greatly outnumber all other buildings. The farther one goes back in history, the more the percentage rises. Hence, the private home was then and remains now the best ministry tool of all time, and the early believers proved it.

         All throughout the Book of Acts is the record of private homes being used in ministry. They began by going “house to house.” The house of the upper room was most likely the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark. After his Damascus road experience, Paul was taken to the house of Judas where he met Ananias. Peter was staying at Simon the tanner’s house by the sea. Paul stayed at and ministered from Lydia’s house in Philippi. The home of Jason in Thessalonica was obviously used for ministry. Paul also lived at and ministered from the house of Titius Justus in Corinth.

         Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. [Romans 16:3-5]   

         Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. [Colossians 4:15]

         Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [Philemon 1:1-3] [1]

         Church buildings are not New Testament archetypical. They can be good. They can be useful. They are possibly great on a temporary basis. But they are very costly and high maintenance. They sometimes cause more problems than they solve. And the number one reason is because they are slow.

         I played softball with a guy once who had to be one of the slowest guys in the whole world. He was not overweight. He was physically healthy. But I could make it to second base before he ever got to first. Once, a dim coach actually put this gentleman in front of me in the batting order. In that game, he had somehow made it safely to first base. Then I came up. I got a hit that would normally easily get me to second base and maybe third. But when I rounded first base my buddy was only halfway to second. Doh! He barely made it there. I’m standing on first when I might have made it to third. And I was not the fastest guy on the team.

         American Christianity has slowed considerably. Despite all the latest technology it has grown sluggish, materialistic, and weighted down. It is no wonder it is failing so badly. The Community of the Lord Jesus was built to be fleet of foot, in shape, slim and trim, on the move, and filled with energy, but also strong in its own right. American Christianity has grown in size as has the population and as a result has long since given up sprints. The problem is doubly bad in that we don’t have the strength for weight-lifting competitions either. In general spiritual terms, though traditional American Christianity has church buildings everywhere, we’re simply not getting the job done, are routinely outclassed, and often overrun. People “go to church” forever and never get to know most of the people in the congregation.  

         On the other hand, there is a relatively new wineskin in this country on the rise. It has remained true to the gospel but has sloughed off old forms that slow and restrict. It is having a tremendous impact.

          House churches and small groups have exploded in the country over the last two decades. Its proponents are quick and mobile, and do whatever possible to reach the lost and disciple the up and coming. There is no way to stop their progress. They need little or no funding. They reach places traditional Christianity rarely reaches. They touch hearts. The organic nature of a small group allows the Lord to be in charge. One cannot hide in a small group. Everybody is somebody. Through much learning and many spiritual trials, home church practitioners have developed the same ministry forms of the early centuries of Christianity. They are motivated by love. They stand on unity. They live to serve.

         The Lord’s original model is presently being applied in more places in the world than ever before, and is impacting the lives of millions that would otherwise never be reached. Mobility is the key. Instead of one large physical building, there are scads of many smaller buildings. Some have no buildings. By this they much more easily follow the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, and cover a lot of ground. And they are having miraculous Lord Jesus-caliber results.

        Also, they understand that each real believer is a house—the real building—a mobile tent wherein lives the Spirit of the Lord. Collectively these comprise the worldwide Community of Called-Out Ones independent of the traditions of men. On those occasions when church buildings supplement the work of God and exist according to His will, it is good. Otherwise, we must follow the Lord’s example, trim down, get quick, and make the necessary transistion to the future. His work demands it. [Part 2 of 2] 

         © 2011 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 Classic Church Building: A Non-Biblical Wineskin (Part 1)

         The Community of the Lord was built for speed. It began in the upper room of a house. The early Church had no time to even consider the things we in the present deem wholly indispensible. They were out to save the world. The Community was expanding by leaps and bounds. Growth was rapid from the very beginning and never slowed for three centuries. It began on its very first day in Jerusalem with a harvest of three thousand souls.

         Imagine that. Many churches of today work for long decades to accumulate a few hundred loyal members. Many are presently trying to keep what they have and are failing miserably.

         It was twenty years ago when I began receiving from the Lord the notes and revelations that would eventually become my first book. But I knew by the 1970’s, within a very short time of studying the New Testament by Holy Spirit inspiration that modern Christianity did not match up at all with the prototype. And I wondered why.

         I quickly got the big idea. I eventually spent thirty years in institutional churches, including my youth, gaining much experience of all that is good about church buildings and that which is not so good. There is no question that the latter outweighs the former.

         First of all, church buildings are simply not Biblical. The Lord never built a building nor did He ever instruct His men to do so. He was never on board with the rich, connected Sadducees who controlled the Jerusalem Temple. Though He often preached in synagogues when welcome, He spent the majority of His ministry time out in the open, in the woods, along the Sea, and on the beaten paths. He was always moving. Always. The Lord Jesus was mobile. The tabernacle in the wilderness was mobile. It was a tent. It was set up, used, taken down, loaded up, transported to a new site, and set up again.

         The Lord taught His men to be mobile. He taught them to give up all their possessions, in part so that they would have nothing tying them down when it came time to move on. The apostle Paul was also constantly on the move. There were occasions when he stayed local to teach and establish a work and then he was off yet again. The traveling man was so mobile that the Lord blessed him with a perfect location to end his life on earth—on the side of a road outside Rome.

         The Lord had no place to lay His head. He occasionally stayed with others but He mostly slept under the stars. He was on a mission. He had work to do. He could not afford to be slowed down.

         It is as obvious as it can be that the early believers followed His example. They were as mobile as He was, and a perfect representation in spiritual terms of the tabernacle of Moses, which was a type of mobile ministry centered on human beings.

         Conversely, our ministries are most often centered on church buildings. We are often bound by church buildings. We can’t get them out of our heads. We cannot imagine life without them (“How can I go to church if there’s not a church?”). For the most part, Christians feel absolutely naked without the comfort, security, and anchor of a building.

         Yet, the majority of Christians throughout history never had buildings. The majority of real Christians on the planet today do not have buildings. But they have the Lord. They are dedicated. They are productive. And they are fast. They can break camp quickly and move to new locations, so to speak. Some of the travel real Christians do is in the Spirit. It is not always geographic. We live, we learn, we gain revelation and greater knowledge, we mature, and then we have to leave old forms, understandings, and perspectives and create new ones based on such. Core Biblical truths are thus granted greater freedom and opportunity to produce much fruit. Isn’t this our goal?

         Static forms always slow. They restrict. We end up trying to force our ministries within such structures. But are we really having an impact on society? How can we when we force others to come to us instead of us going to them?

         Here’s the real beauty of the Lord Jesus and his manner of ministry: He needs nothing material on a permanent basis. Because He is God, He can create anything He needs whenever He needs it, so why must He accumulate a bunch of stuff to schlep around? All it does it slow Him down and restrict ministry efforts. The bulk of His work is in the spiritual realm. If He wants or needs stuff He acquires it. But when it is has served its purpose He gives it away or sells it, and usually gives the money to the needy. Then He starts again. He will not be bound by anything. He is as free as free can be. He builds nothing that grows sluggish as long as He is in charge. [Part 1 of 2]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.      

The Apostles’ Foundation: The One Household of God

         It is impossible to serve the Lord without being a dedicated disciple. According to many, however, serving God is a relatively simple thing. Wimpy Christianity has largely become accepted practice in America, in which mere human virtue is put forth to carry the day. “Salvation” now often comes by works or simply by being a member of the correct denomination or church. Yet true Biblical salvation will cost everything. Grace is free, but the new birth demands total surrender and obedience to God.

         “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” [Luke 6:47-49]

         The majority of Christians build on the wrong foundation. Real disciples build on the right one.

         So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. [Ephesians 2:19-22]

         The above passage, penned by the apostle Paul, presents an excellent illustration of the Body of Christ, or House of the Lord. Notice that there is only one foundation? One household? One building? One dwelling place of God? The prophets led the way. John the Immerser was the last of the OT prophets. He prepared the new way of the Lord. The Lord brought a new covenant. The apostles took the teachings of the prophets as part of the new foundation, they themselves were the other part, and the Lord Jesus was the Cornerstone that made the whole thing work.

         The apostles’ teaching, as put forth in the Book of Acts, was acquired from the Lord during His ministry. There was only one community then. There were no denominations. Everyone in that early community was filled with the Spirit of God, as mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. All one must do to understand the apostles’ foundation is study their history. They were not working against one another. Each one of them was preaching the same message.

         It was not until later and throughout the Church Age that their foundational message was fractured, discarded, fought against, and emasculated—by “Christians.” Hence, we presently have Christianity in many different and often competing forms. Where then, is “The One Household of God?” Is every “Christian” on the planet a member of God’s household in some mysterious non-descript way?

         And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. [1 Peter 2:4-11] [1]

         The preceding passage in no way speaks of some form of wimpy Christianity or an easy way. Instead, it speaks of a single unified body made that way through the very strict discipleship of the Lord, that of the prophets and apostles, and that of every single chosen member.

         We have drifted. We have gone soft. That’s in part why there are so many idiots with false gospels in the world. The Book of Acts brings us back on course. The foundation of the apostles and prophets distinguishes the real household of faith from all imposters. The symbology is clear—there is only one Precious Cornerstone. He exists as both the chief Rock of the foundation and the prototypical example and blueprint from which the house is being built. As the Alpha and Omega—the First and the Last—the Beginning and the End, He both anchors and caps off The One Household of God.

         © 2011 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.