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DEFEATING THE RULER OF THIS WORLD: Christian Heroes and Villains

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

WARNING    

         The apostle John said the entire world lies in wickedness and is under the power and authority of the devil. Because I would think that “professing Christians” are not anti-John, I would think that “professing Christians” would agree with him.

         But most do not. This falls under the heading the Lord referenced when He said that some people honor Him with their lips but actually refuse to obey Him. Unless one is under a deceptive trance, most likely a trance of the religious variety, one must agree that one of the main problems the Lord has is convincing “professing Christians” to actually obey Him.

REJECTING TRUTH IS A SIN!

         On the other hand, if a “professing Christian” is otherwise under a deceptive trance, he simply cannot obey Him because he does not have “eyes to see” or “ears to hear.” And this is obviously why most of that which is perceived as “Christianity” is not the real thing. It simply can’t be the real thing, (1) Because it looks nothing like the Lord’s original, and (2) Because no one within it actually obeys Him.

         This is what churches should look like:

         “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]

         Therefore, the problem is not that the Lord cannot get His own people to obey Him, it is that most of those who refer to themselves as Christians are not really Christians. How can they be if they do not obey the Lord? They are certainly not doing the works that He did.

         “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]

         Of course, the Lord said they can’t obey, or actually do not obey by their own choice, because they only act on what they know, which means they simply cannot “see.” How can anyone act on what they do not see?

THE BIGGER PROBLEM

         So it appears that the bigger problem, the problem for unreal Christians that is bigger than their rebellion, disobedience, living in sin, or insisting on believing things the Lord never taught, is the problem of perception—they are spiritually blind.

         Now, this is not said to cause offense, but is a simple statement of fact.

         One wonders how Christians can read the Gospel accounts and not see that the Lord continually made statements about the spiritual blindness of His own people. These statements have obviously not had the intended impact upon Christians in general. Most Christians must think that yes, the great majority of the Hebrew people, from the late Patriarchal Age until the first century AD, could certainly be spiritually blind, deaf, deceived, and compromised by sin, but certainly not us.

         The facts, of course, are not that the Lord said His own people were especially more prone to rebellion against Him and thus to spiritual blindness than others, but that ALL people the world over are prone to rebellion against Him and thus to spiritual blindness.

         In other words, it’s not a Jewish problem, it’s a human problem.

THE RULER OF THIS WORLD

         This takes us back to the very powerful statement that John made about who really runs this world and how the power of this evil entity has essentially blinded the entire world to the Truth:

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

         From the very clear perspective of the early first-century Community of the Lord Jesus, they saw themselves as us against the world, especially since this perspective was confirmed by none other than John. The early Christians—the real Christians—knew that there were only two master kingdoms on the planet: The righteous Kingdom of the Lord Jesus and the evil kingdom of the devil, the god of this world.

         The apostle Paul confirmed this truth—the fact that the devil runs the entire world and everyone other than real Christians support the devil, most completely unaware—and Paul completely agreed with John’s statement by writing the following:

         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]

         The Lord Jesus also referred to the devil as the ruler of this world. The devil was ruling the world at the time of the Lord’s temptation. But the Lord, when speaking of His coming crucifixion, said this:

         “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” [John 12:31]

         What He meant by this is that the devil would be defeated at the cross and all the devil’s garbage would, at the crucifixion, begin to be cleaned out of the world. Therefore the real Gospel has two main objectives while this cleaning out process proceeds:

         (1) The salvation of souls—rescuing people from the devil’s kingdom, his control, and the power of sin—and transferring them to the Lord’s Kingdom.

         (2) Taking authority back from the devil for the Lord Jesus, the only real King, through the power of His Name.

         Paul said the Gospel is veiled to those who are perishing because the devil has blinded their minds. Now think about that. How is it possible that one cannot see the BRIGHTEST LIGHT in the entire Universe? It can only be due to spiritual blindness of the worst kind.

A VERY THICK GARMENT

         The word “veiled” in the above passage is from the Greek word kalupto. This word appears 8 times in the entire New Testament. It appears 4 times in the Gospels. It is translated as (1) cover, (2) covers, (3) covered, (4) concealed, and (5) veiled.

         Based on these definitions, the veil or covering that causes the blindness must be very, very thick, as the ultimate blackout curtain. The real Gospel (there’s only one) is hidden to everyone not in the Kingdom due to a very thick covering. What is this covering?

         And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

         Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”

         Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” [John 9:39-41] [1]

         In this passage the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus also perfectly agree with the two passages written by John and Paul, especially, of course, since He’s the one who taught John and Paul. The Lord also paints a picture of only two kinds of people in the world:

         First of all, before seeing “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,” EVERYONE is blind. EVERYONE. But the Lord said He came so that some will be healed of their spiritual blindness, “that those who do not see may see.” These are people who will readily accept the Good News and will repent of their sins, since it is their sin which causes their spiritual blindness.

         The other kind of people in the world comprises those who will never be healed of their spiritual blindness simply because they refuse to admit they have any sin. They reject the only cure. They insist they are righteous without the real Gospel. Their “no Gospel” righteousness, in the eyes of God, however, is characterized by the following:

         For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. [Isaiah 64:6]

         If you want to gain more insight regarding this spiritual phenomenon, you can read the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John, from which I quoted earlier. It is a perfect allegory created by the Lord in the three dimensional world with an actual blind man who was made to see. The Lord Jesus was teaching a lesson, and for those who can see, He taught it perfectly. He showed how we can be healed of our spiritual blindness by having our sin removed.

         Our sin is exactly as a filthy garment that covers our spiritual eyes.

         Now perhaps you can see how the devil has blinded the entire world, and how there is only one cure for this blindness. In the same way he tempted the Lord in the effort to get Him to sin, without success of course, he tempts us.

         He knows that if he can get us to sin he can make us spiritually blind.

         This is why we must always do our best to obey the Lord’s actual teachings. They are designed to rescue us from the sin that blinds us, give us eyes to see and ears to hear, bring us to full spiritual health, and empower us to defeat the enemy through His indwelling Holy Spirit and the power of His Name.

FAKEWORLD

         Anything and everything outside the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus on this planet is nothing but a façade, an illusion, and a powerful deception. The devil is a liar, and everything He says and creates is a lie. It is not real. Other than those in the Lord’s Kingdom, the devil is fooling EVERYONE.

         This is why the Lord said that those who refuse to repent of their sin and stop sinning can never be healed of their blindness. This is especially true of those who have been deceived by some form of religion. As long as they stay under the power of their religion they will always be made to believe a lie. They will always respond to the illusion. They will always obey the devil, even though they are unaware of it.

         Therefore, in the final analysis regarding the purpose of this article, the majority of “professing Christians” are also blind simply because they refuse the real Gospel and they believe in something that masquerades as the real Gospel. The fake gospel, in all its many forms, does not have “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” Whenever it is applied to the blind man of John 9, the blind man stays blind. He might have the same willingness to honor God, but because he chooses a powerless unreal gospel, he stays blind and he stays in his sin. Many churches are filled with such people.

         This is the main problem, of course, with all the devil’s fake gospel forms—they actually do nothing at all about sin. People who choose fake gospels may think they are delivered from the power of sin but they keep denying the proof that repeatedly shows up in their lives that they have not been delivered, in that they have little or no resistance to sin: They keep sinning. Uncontrollably.

         As a result, they have created a false form of righteousness which includes sin. They insist they are righteous, though the fruits of repentance do not exist in their lives. Their spiritual blindness makes it impossible for them to obey the Lord.

         And instead of defeating the ruler of this world, they have joined him.

         © 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.

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THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND

         Every year I always look forward to a particular anniversary—The Crossing of the Jordan River. The spiritual implications of this date are off the charts. Every real Christian should be paying absolutely close attention to this time, both in one’s personal walk with the Lord Jesus, but also to that which He is doing for His community in general. This has everything to do with the Great Awakening.

         I believe the implications of the Jordan River Crossing are especially pronounced this year. Please pray and seek the Lord so you can be in tune with what He has planned.

         The anniversary of the Crossing of the Jordan River is Nisan 10 on the Hebrew calendar, which occurs this Monday, April 18, 2016.      

.

         “Okay Joshua. Listen up. It’s time to take the Promised Land.”

         “Cool. Hey look! There it is!”

         “Yep.”

         “But…”

         “What’s the problem?”

         “Uh, Sir? Look at all those people!”

         The land was filled with dirty rotten Canaanites. They were everywhere. These were the most vile people on the planet. The Lord had often said that judgment must wait until the fullness of sin arrived. It certainly looked like that now. The Canaanites were all engaging in the filthiest, dirtiest, most evil practices ever known to mankind. What can be fairly certain is that when the Lord uses His own people to bring judgment against evil people, the evil people in question have without doubt reached the place of ultimate sinfulness.

         “Those people look really, really evil, Lord. And powerful. Are you sure about this?”

         “Sure about what?”

         “About going in there!”

         “What are you talking about? It’s your land. Go in there and take it. I promised it to you didn’t I? And I always keep my Word.”

         “Well thanks for the promise and the land but I didn’t know it was going to be crawling with those guys! Those are some bad people, Lord!”

         “Hold the phone, little man. Weren’t you and Caleb saying forty years ago you wanted to take the land way back then? And those other wimps said, ‘Oh no! We look like little grasshoppers next to those giants! We’ll get creamed!’ But you said, ‘Back off you pansies! We can do this!’ So what’s the problem now?”

         “I don’t know, Lord. It just looks like there’s millions more and they’re all over the place and this is gonna be a lot tougher than I thought…”

         “Well why in the world do you think I’ve been telling you to be strong all this time? I’ve been telling you this over and over. Look Joshua, you’re the strongest and most courageous leader I’ve got. Don’t chicken out now.”

         “Um, I’m not being chicken but just thinking it’s going to be a lot harder than I thought…”

         “So does that change things? What else are you going to do? You want to go back to Egypt like all those dead Judases wanted to do?”

         “No Sir!”

         “You want to rot out there in the Sinai? That place is spritually dead and is good for pretty much nothing except making you guys strong and yearn for your real land. You can’t go back there.”

         “No Sir.”

         “So what’s the problem? Are you going to let a few million depraved sin-filled evil little Canaanite squatters keep your land? Are you going to just let them rip you off? Well? What do you say, boy? Those demon-possessed jerks are sitting on YOUR land eating crops from YOUR fields living in houses made on YOUR property from YOUR building materials. Are you just going to let that go on? What else are you going to do? Where else can you go? There IS no other place.”

         THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND. THIS LAND IS MY LAND. FROM CALIFORNIA TO THE NEW YORK ISLAND. FROM THE REDWOOD FORESTS TO THE GULF STREAM WATERS. THIS LAND WAS MADE FOR YOU AND ME. [1]

         “Then how did all those all those evil people get there?”

         “Because they’re lying cheating sinning arrogant evil hell-bound squatters beyond redemption and all those compromising Unreal Christians made a deal with the devil and instead of stopping them joined up with them. All those pretenders and rip-off artists and squatters on YOUR land think everything belongs to them. They don’t deserve it, they don’t take care of it, they are not responsible, they have no integrity, they are rebellious against Me, and they corrupt everything they touch. They have ripped off my children to get everything they have and they will never stop until they ARE stopped. Now, DO YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR PROMISED LAND?

         “Yes Sir!”

         “Then take it. NOW.”

         Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.

         “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.

         “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

         “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

         “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:1-9] [2]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] © Copyright 1956 (renewed), 1958 (renewed), 1970 and 1972 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. & TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)

[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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 8)

         God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

         Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

         And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. [Acts 19:11-17]

         Here we have a case where the password to the Kingdom of God became known to non-believers. They attempted to use it the way Paul did but with much different results.

         Imagine an evil spirit so powerful it could work through one man to beat the hell out of seven religious pretenders. These clowns were not merely defeated. They were abused, humiliated, and literally ripped-off.

         What happened?

         Though the Name of Jesus is the password to the kingdom of God, its proper use is restricted to those who have made a wholesale commitment to the owner of the Name. Unless one’s heart is fully circumcised unto the Lord, the password will not work, though it may appear otherwise in some circumstances. If one’s faith is weak, the password will not work. If one’s motive is wrong, the password will not work. If one has unrepentant sin, the password will not work. If there’s any flesh involved, the password will not work.

         The seven sons of Sceva had apparently had some success in exorcising demons. There are certain Christian sects that have historically practiced exorcism and continue practicing it today.

         But the Lord Jesus never practiced exorcism. He quite simply but most powerfully used His authority and commanded evil spirits to obey Him. No need for silly formulas and little wooden crosses. The Lord merely said, “Get out!” and they scrammed. His disciples had been given the use of His powerful Name and also ran off any number of demons through the same authority. Demons were often scared enough to stay away from those filled with the Spirit of God. They knew they’d get their backsides kicked. They certainly knew who the Lord Jesus was, that He was a Warrior on the warpath shining a great Light into their dark little hovels.

         You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. [James 2:19]

         The proponents of Unreal Christianity have not been granted the authority of the Name since they have never fully committed to the Lord Jesus. This is obvious by the way they dishonor and disrespect Him. (“Oh, those things don’t happen anymore!” “We don’t believe in that stuff!” You’re a fruitcake and those things are of the devil!” “It makes me feel so uncomfortable…”) Dead churches are dead because they lack the power of God. They have no access to it. They claim to have authority to use the Name but one never sees much demonstration of the Lord’s Spirit in such places.

         Other people counterfeit it. The devil is using them and they don’t even know it.

         But one thing is sure: There is great power and authority in the Name of Jesus but one must be qualified to use it or nothing good will happen.

         Ask the sons of Sceva. They never, ever made that mistake again. The evil spirit punted their rears halfway across Ephesus.

         Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing. [Acts 19:18-20]

         This is the real gospel in action.

         But why did the Lord direct Paul to go to Ephesus in the first place? Once again, it had to do with the power of His Name. It seems there were certain followers of John the Immerser there who had never heard of Pentecost. Note what happens after Paul discovers the way they were baptized:

         It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

         And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

         And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?”

         And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

         Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

         When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men. [Acts 19:1-7] [1]

         Why did Paul connect the infilling of the Holy Spirit with water baptism? Was it for the simple reason that the password to the kingdom of God is directly associated with water baptism? Was it because water baptism in the Name of Jesus is a major part of the heart-circumcision process toward total submission to the Messiah and gaining proper authority to use His Name?

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 8 of 10]


[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 Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 6)

         Unreal Christianity is infused with sacred cows. After two thousand years of extra-Biblical heretical teachings and “Christian” denominational offshoots, Unreal Christianity contains a veritable zoo of protected cattle wandering down city streets masquerading as truth. As possible reincarnated ancestors, none dare touch such cows without stirring up a hornet’s nest of retribution and murder.

         And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

         And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:24-29]

         Goodness gracious. Talk about your sacred cows. The Lord saw things a tad differently than these rabid detractors. They had built up a very false idea of their own religious culture over time and were willing to do any harm to anyone who dared challenge them and their bogus posing.

         Even if that someone was God Himself.

         What an amazing thing it is to see a Man telling the truth but being perceived by evil idiots as using pejorative language and depreciatory story-telling that obfuscates their fanciful fakery. The next thing you know, Unreal Christianity will be enlisting the courts to classify as hate speech any truth-telling that supports the Word of God and reveals their false doctrines for what they are:

         “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…” [1 Timothy 4:1-2]

         Without doubt, there is often a bubbling cauldron of red-hot anger just under the surface of pretty, smiling, Christian countenances under the influence of untruth due to years of false teaching and prejudice against the Lord they claim to know. Real Christians, however, are in love with the Lord Jesus first, and though unclear on one Biblical fact or another will go anywhere He leads them, even if it be into unfamiliar Biblical territory. But nowhere, it seems, after the Lord’s ascension, is more religious trouble stirred up than when the Name above every name is boldly spoken or put forth:

         It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” She continued doing this for many days.

         But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!”

         And it came out at that very moment. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities, and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”

         The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. [Acts 16:16-24]

         Whoa, dude. Seems pretty harsh—until one realizes that Paul was attacking their pocketbook. These jerks were pimping out a demon-possessed slave girl for their own profit through fortune-telling without any hint of a bothered conscious, and had been doing it for quite some time. They had built up a considerable religious business and saw it all going south after Paul lowered the boom. Does this sound familiar? The concept of religious profit-taking? A shining light on a master attraction instead of the Lord? The slander of those who reveal the truth of the matter?

         Whether it be unbelieving Jews or pagan Romans, the Lord Jesus and His powerful Name so shake up the pinhead in pinstripes that he will go to any length to protect his turf. Thank goodness none of this stuff happens within Christian ministries…

         “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. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” [Matthew 7:21-23] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 6 of 10]


[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.