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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.