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LORDING IT OVER THE PAWNS

     Christians have been taught by those who rule over them to never question religious authority. Thus, those in control equate themselves with infallibility and inerrancy.

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       And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 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 22:24-26]

      This is obviously not the case among the majority of churches and denominational hierarchies. These always feature top-down leadership in which the congregants have very little say. Everyone is expected to merely obey what comes down from on high and respect their leaders with a respect deserved only for the Lord.         

         We could fix this and all the damage it causes by simply:

(1) Allowing the Lord Jesus to have full control, and

(2) Adopting the leadership method He taught and advocated for

         We see His method very clearly in the New Covenant writings. One of the first things we notice was that there was never any “one man show.” There were always at least two men going out to minister together in evangelism and several men appointed as elders of groups. These were older men, hence “elders.” There was no central elder. The elders worked together.

         This correct method eventually devolved over time into the incorrect method of rule by one man and this ruler became known as a “pastor” although there is no New Covenant authority for such “leadership.” Churches then devolved into clergy-laity set-ups in which the laity had no voice and were merely dictated to and told what to believe.

         Whoever decided to invoke their God-given freedom to do individual research and study to become a better disciple was eventually falsely disparaged because his discovered truth always threatened those in charge.

         Consider the following words of Paul written to Timothy, and remember such universal New Covenant discipleship terms applied to all Christians such as “servant” and “workman:”

         Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” [2Timothy 2:15-19] [1]

      The Greek word translated as wickedness in this verse is defined as “injustice, unrighteousness, doing wrong, evildoers, iniquities, iniquity, injustice, unrighteous, unrighteousness, wickedness, wrong.” What could be more wicked than a Christian leader teaching anything opposed to the Lord’s teachings or refusing to teach the fullness of the Lord’s teachings?

         CHRISTIANS ACCEPT THE REALITY OF THE WORLD WITH WHICH THEY ARE PRESENTED

         At that time, the two guys mentioned by Paul had adopted a wrong belief and began telling others. It was up to Timothy, as advised by Paul, to avoid this type of “worldly and empty chatter” that leads to such “gangrene.” We know what gangrene is, and it is not pleasant. It begins with a small infection. The offhanded beliefs of the two men with no Scriptural backing were as an infection that invaded the community. The infection was teaching something as true that is not true.

         Hence we understand the great need, especially in these latter days, to stand strong for the original teachings of the Lord Jesus and oppose strongly all the false teachings adopted by so many “Christians” since, who like those two men, have infected overall Christianity with various gangrene-like spiritual diseases which have spread far and wide.

        It appears that in the majority of congregations, Hymenaeus and Philetus have taken over, and without much of a fight.

          You will know them by their fruits.

         © 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.

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STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!)

GREAT AWAKENING ALERT        

         In light of my most recent post, What Was In The Village? (link), many excellent comments were made in answering that question. For those who haven’t read it I encourage you to do so, and suggest you read the comments as well.

         In the following two articles listed below, I further identify what was in the village of Bethsaida in the Lord’s time when He had to lead a blind man outside of town in order to heal him. There was something located in Bethsaida that made it not possible for the healing to take place there.

         Many of us can identify with this phenomenon. The hindrance is much closer than many of us realize. The following articles reveal this. I strongly suggest we read these articles both for the knowledge therein, but also to get free and set others free.

         There is much the Lord Jesus wants to do and can do, but many think He has blown them off or won’t answer their prayers. In reality, Strongholds are present in places where we have grown comfortable and must be destroyed in order to first eliminate the deception regarding the Lord’s intentions (or perceived non-intentions), and secondly, eliminate the actual hindrance that keeps the Lord from working.

         Once a particular Stronghold is identified, we can do battle against it, but it’s difficult to fight against an unseen enemy or one we do not even know exists.

         In others words, if we want the miracles we seek, we’ll have to take the Lord by the hand, let Him lead us out of Bethsaida (in our blind condition), and go with Him to a spiritual location where He has full authority…

LINKS:

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 1

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 2

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

The Empire Strikes Back: Obstructing the Awakening

         “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]

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         I wrote the following on a friend’s blog recently:

         Repentance always precedes individual salvation.

         National repentance always precedes national Great Awakenings.

         Speaking the real Word of God reveals truth,

                  Which reveals sin,

                  Which causes one to see their sin,

                  Which brings on repentance.

         Real Christians must have the courage of their convictions and beliefs and speak forth because preaching, teaching, speaking forth, and writing about the truth begin the entire process.

         Otherwise, repentance never happens, people remain spiritually blind, unregenerate, believe lies, are deceived, and die in their sins.

         Regarding truth, who else is going to reveal the truth of God’s Word but real Christians?

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REPENTANCE ANYONE?

         Since the driving force of every personal salvation or Great Awakening is repentance, two of the main reasons hindering the current Great Awakening in America are:

(1) The very sad fact that mass numbers of Christians in America are guilty of pure idolatry in several forms but mainly because of the ridiculous worship of vain Christian “leaders” past and present rather than worship of the Lord Jesus, and

(2) A complete, utter, total, and stubborn refusal to repent of the many questionable and/or what should be obvious false teachings and beliefs of said “leaders,” as well as the acceptance of historical and current false narratives which serve to put many Christians in bondage, blind them to the truth, and weaken their resolve, which makes them anti-disciples and followers of frauds rather than the Lord.

         False doctrine within general Christianity has always been a plague from the very beginning, and we have the apostle Paul’s writings to attest to the fact that false doctrine existed then and would greatly increase:

         For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

         No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

         Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. [2Corinthians 11:13-15]

         I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. [Acts 20:29-30]

IGNORANCE IS BLISS

         Americans love their denominations and man-made doctrines which would otherwise be obvious as such but are instead hidden in plain sight. They are hidden because many Christians, on their own respective planets, have become convinced that what they have is the best that can possibly be though it consistently fails to pass the evidence of truth test, and have become satisfied with substitutes and counterfeits and thus weak toward further searching because:

         (1) Many Christians have been hoodwinked (brainwashed) into believing things that are not true for the sake of an ulterior agenda by false Christian “leaders,” and

         (2) Many Christians do not have the courage to stand up for and speak out on the actual truth of God’s Word for fear of being seen as a deviant among their religious culture and rejected by it, and

         (3) Many Christians are invested up to their eyeballs in a false narrative and most fail to acknowledge this or leave their organizations that push false doctrine even after they know or suspect it is false doctrine, because to leave or acknowledge the false doctrine or confront their false “leaders” would cause them to lose their entire investment in the enterprise which many people have spent a lifetime establishing.

         This is why those who are most invested are those who are least likely to repent and get right with God, which is exactly why the Lord said prostitutes and tax-collectors would get into His kingdom long before any clergyites or their followers.

OBSTRUCTION—CONVICTION

         Until the hindering and obstructing “Christians” in this country have the guts to admit they are wrong about so many false beliefs created by unspiritual false “leaders” whom they follow instead of the Lord Jesus and their resultant watering-down and making of no effect the Word of God, their stubborn lack of repentance will slow, hinder, and restrict the Great Awakening process until they finally surrender to the truth or quit on God (I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot…”).

         But since the Great Awakening has already begun, it is also the fact that a very powerful and strong conviction is presently in the works for the sins of “Christian” idolatry, laziness, lack of discipleship, worldliness, being sold out to the serving of mammon, a refusal to preach the truth, fearing for one’s social, cultural, family, or church standing, looking out for number one, and an overall dissing of the Lord Jesus, His teachings, and the full truth He longs to bring forth.

         My warning to all who claim to be Christians living in America at present is—JUDGMENT BEGINS WITH THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD.

         For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? [1Peter 4:17-18]

         We are past the point of the Lord being patient with fence-sitting clergy-following “Christians” to any further degree. He has great plans and is determined to make them happen. The pressure to conform to His truth is ramping up. It is time to choose sides. That which is hindering is being exposed.

         But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

         For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” [Ephesians 5:13-14]

         Repentance is the only answer and will serve as the only form of relief.

         And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

         “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

         “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

         “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

         “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” [Luke 18:9-14] [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.

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 2

        The fortifications of hell include the fortresses of false mindsets and lies that keep people in prison. Many are deceived by false ideas that become strongholds. These strongholds must be marched on, attacked, overwhelmed in battle, and destroyed to set people free. This can only be accomplished through spiritual means. The apostle Paul continued his narrative to the Corinthians as follows:

         We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. [2 Corinthians 10:5-6]

         We can plainly see that Paul is speaking of false ideas that make up a false mindset or even a false religion, and that such things must be destroyed. Speculations (“Imaginations” in the KJV) comes from the Greek word logismos. It means, “a reckoning or reasoning” actually hostile to faith in the Lord Jesus, as with the self-explanatory lofty thing. Part of the apostle’s mission is taking every thought captive, to imprison every false idea, to destroy every false argument, and to punish all disobedience.

         The point is to subject all thinking to Messiah. The mind of Christ is pure and correct. The minds of His disciples must be as well. His code is perfect. His teachings are complete and pure. However, because false ideas and lies masquerade as truth and people are brought under their power through deception, a war scenario fits perfectly. The Lord, for example, destroyed the devil’s arguments during His temptation in the wilderness by effectively using the Word of God. The devil was using the Word as well, but had deceptively corrupted it. He had amended it to include lies and a false application. He built strongholds into it.

         This is what corrupt ministers do as well. They adulterate the pure Word of God. They do not teach or live out the pure Word as the Lord Jesus and the apostles did. We have a written record of the Lord’s teachings and actions, as well as those of the apostles and first-century Church. It is not that difficult to make comparisons between then and now. When the Lord spoke the Word, lies were exposed and strongholds came down. The real Word of God is completely pure and very, very powerful:

         For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. [Hebrews 4:12]

         The mature believer is able to minister the Word of God properly in the tearing down of strongholds. The Word can penetrate not only thought processes but also intentions. The apostle Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit, as were all the original early believers. It was not possible to spread the Gospel as far as they did and as fast as they did without the ability to war in the spirit in this way. By the power of God, and with the Lord working with them, everything within and among the enemy’s camp was revealed.

         It is obvious that many people refused to relinquish their revealed falsehoods, however. Instead, being incensed, they would turn the spiritual battle into a purely physical event and beat or even murder the believers. By doing this, they reinforced their false belief systems and actually strengthened their road to hell.

         Yet, those who subjected all their thoughts and ideas to God were made aware of their deception and strongholds. By an act of their will, they allowed the Light of God to shine upon and within them and it exposed their darkness. Their darkness was consequently chased away and they were cleansed. Without the Light of God, they were unaware of the false concepts and ideas implanted in their minds.

         However, they allowed the Word of God to be spoken. They listened, they heard, they believed, and they embraced truth, confessing their salvation. This process can be summed up in the following verse:

         So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. [Romans 10:17]

         People who have not subjected themselves fully to the authority of the Lord Jesus have residing within themselves impure codes of living, false concepts, and lies masquerading as truth. These things are truly very strong fortresses. There are so many false belief systems in the world it is a wonder the planet is not even darker.

         The devil has formulated lies and darkness into what appears to the deceived as truth.

         It is only the Word of God that is able to cut to the heart of such false ideas. As warriors attacking a strong military fortress, real believers must continue to fight against all untruths, giving no quarter, and checking every section until all is secure. The deceived will be set free in no other way, and that, of course, includes all of us.

         “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:36] [1]  

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved [Part 2 of 2] 


[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.

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 1

        Truth can be very offensive. People formulate their perception of the world by the choices they make or those made for them.

         The New Testament talks about the concept of strongholds, and this concept is seldom more applicable than when it involves a person’s understanding of truth. Everyone has a code to live by, but of course, not every code is good. Of codes that do appear to be good, most are not pure. If an individual lives according to an impure code, the flaws within the code will eventually appear as flaws within his life.

         Unreal Christianity is loaded with such flaws. To quote from my book:

WHERE HAVE ALL THE TEACHERS GONE? (LONG TIME MISSING)

         Much church teaching is about things other than the pure Word of God. It involves specialized doctrine which is often in opposition to that of other churches and even Holy Writ, and is designed for gaining control and unity within a congregation. Such schooling will never result in the necessary graduation rates of spiritually mature believers required to fulfill our commission.

         The task of the New Testament teacher is to impart that which the written Word of God contains. He does not pick and choose. He shows no partiality toward certain scriptures. The Lord did not place him in the body to express denominational slants or biased doctrinal positions based on improper understandings or traditional outlooks. Since it is obvious that Christianity is still filled to the gills with doctrinal error and silly statutes, it is evident that real teachers are not wanted at the party. Anytime God sends a person to divide truth from error, he or she usually gets run off or becomes an MIA. Truth becomes the victim and error is protected, just as it happened with the Lord and Barabbas. [1]

         Some flaws are obvious. Most flaws are not. Anyone can be deceived or can deceive himself into living according to a flawed code, and thus not be aware of the inherent impurity. Yet, even if one becomes aware of a flaw within his personal or Christian code, it is often discounted or dismissed.

         This could be due to cultural influence or familial allegiance. It could even be due to personal stubbornness, since many people will hold fast to false concepts or wrongheaded ideas after such things are pointed out, usually because such a thing is perceived as an attack on their character or intelligence.

         Sometimes people might think or even know something within their code is wrong, but have no respect for the person or belief system that reveals it. Whatever the case might be, a mental or spiritual stronghold within an individual that is in opposition to truth is a detriment to said individual by limiting his freedom and clouding his understanding.

         What follows is the one New Testament passage that reveals this truth. Since so many believers have been taught from the King James Version or derivatives, and since it is from the KJV that the word stronghold was initially derived, I will list it first, followed by the same passage from the NASV, and from which all other passages in this article are taken:

         For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)…           [2 Corinthians 10:3-4 KJV]

         For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.     [2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NASV]

         In modern English, the words strong holds become fortresses. These are from the Greek word ochuroma, which appears only once in the NT and derives from a root that means, “To fortify, through the idea of holding safely.” It is defined in the physical as a castle, a stronghold, or a fortress—hence, a strong military fortification.

         However, in the sense that Paul uses, it is (1) anything on which one relies (1a) of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent.[2] In the Scriptural passage written by Paul, the teaching apostle uses the illustration of a powerful military fortification in referring to a false concept, idea, or false argument.

         The Lord Jesus used a similar method when He stated,

         “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” [Matthew 16:18] [3]

         Here we have, again, the illustration of gates, or bars, or a strong prison. It is the rock of revelation that the Lord Jesus is indeed the Messiah, and it is upon this rock that the Lord will build his community. In addition, the gates of Hades will not prevail against or overpower the Church. Death will not hold the Lord. He will die but will not stay dead and will break out of death, and subsequently lead all of those who recognize Him as Messiah out of death as well.

         In this case, hell, or actually Hades, is a real place. It is the place of the dead, apparently in the very heart of this planet. However, Hades is also among us in the here and now, in that spiritual death among living human beings is rampant.

         It is the community of the Lord Jesus, filled with and empowered by His very Spirit that moves against all strongholds and destroys them, especially the stronghold of death when an individual comes to salvation and freedom in the Lord.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 2]  


[1] Page 118 Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[2] UBS Greek Dictionary; Louw-Nida Lexicon

[3] 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 devil has formulated lies and darkness into what appears to the deceived as truth. It is only the pure Word of God that is able to cut to the heart of such false ideas. [Excerpt from Part 2]