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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.

Slow Motion Explosion: Part 3

         Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” [Luke 12:15]

         Consider that.

         Even if a person has an abundance, his real life has nothing to do with his possessions. This also means that any amount of possessions one may possess does not define one’s life.

         The life the Lord Jesus is referring to is something beyond mere possessions. If a real believer has only the clothes on his or her back, he or she has life.

         Consider having the bare minimum to sustain oneself. It is obvious that we need shelter, food, and clothing. But have you ever noticed all these things are only for the physical body? Our soul and spirit have no need of such things. The more we pare down our possessions, the more we realize we did not actually need all that much. And the more we have, the more we have to pay for what we have, and the more we have to earn money to pay for what we have, and the more time we must spend working to earn money to pay for what we have, and the more our possessions and the pursuit of more possessions subtract from our spiritual life.

         Do Christians in general spend the majority of their time doing secular work of some kind or another to earn money to pay for possessions that they don’t actually need and thereby neglect the needs of their spiritual responsibilities?

         And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’” But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” [Luke 12:16-21]

         Boy Howdy, that’s a bad scene, man…

         And it appears to be the scene of many Christians in first-world countries.

         Just what are true riches? Can we glean from the teachings, lifestyle, and example of the Lord Jesus what it means to be “rich toward God?”

         We know He worked very hard. We also know He didn’t have much stuff. He kept telling people to sell their possessions and give to the poor, which means He must have already done the same, if He ever had much to begin with.

         What did He do with His money?

         Here’s something to consider: For the most part, modern missionaries have to pay their own way. They must plan their trips to foreign countries and raise their own funding, unless they have some cushy ministry job that rarely makes a difference. The best ministers are indigenous. They know the language and customs. They need little funding.

         The Bible states that all real believers are called to some form of ministry, but ninety-nine percent of all real believers support themselves. Only the very, very few derive their living from ministry work, and must consider themselves extremely blessed. Some ministers are very, very wealthy. Others have zip.

         What did Jesus have?

         He had no retirement. Our God required a borrowed tomb at His death, and it was only “borrowed” because He would only need it for about three days. He required support from others in His ministry, as is perfectly illustrated in the following:

         Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means. [Luke 8:1-3]

         It is obvious that these women supported the Lord and His ministry because He saved them from gross evil and demonic attack. They would have ended up in hell without Him. They were forgiven much and they loved much as a result. They knew His ministry worked. They knew He had the goods to set people free because they had been set free.

         They were rich toward God.

         Regardless of how much pain and disillusionment it may cost, the facts are very clear that the greater percentage of Christian ministries and ministers do not have the goods to set people free. Therefore, those who support them are not rich toward God. They are a bad investment. The money going to them should go to real ministers of the gospel and real ministries.

         What does a real minister on the cutting edge of real ministry with the power and authority of God look like? What is his lifestyle? What does he possess? What is his passion?

         But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

         For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

         Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. [2 Corinthians 4:7-18] [1]

         The apostle Paul and all the real believers of the first century were rich toward God.

         They gave it all.

         As a result, the early church grew closer together in true community and love. That which the Lord began building then has continued to be built throughout the twenty centuries since. It is an invisible kingdom growing toward a completion point that only those within it perceive. It is all around us every day.

         The devil’s kingdom is going in the opposite direction because it is inhabited and supported by people who are not rich toward God.

         It’s fixin’ to blow up real good.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 3 of 3]


[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.