The light of the real Gospel exposes all darkness. It shines upon all who lurk in the shadows of sin. It reveals every hidden enemy of the Lord Jesus to those with eyes to see.
We live in a time of veiled opposition. Most people are completely unaware of the spiritual warfare raging all around them. There are times when this warfare flashes into the open. It happens whenever the real Gospel is properly presented by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is when sinners are exposed. Their sin becomes known to them. Many blessedly surrender unto salvation. When this happens on a large scale, Great Awakenings break forth. The kingdom of the Lord expands and advances.
Parallel to this, the unrepentant enemies of the Lord are also exposed, often by their own hateful and rapid reactionary response which they most often cannot manage. We call this triggering or getting triggered. It often takes place in people with low or no impulse control. A stimulus causes a reflex. Something sets them off.
That something is the truth of the Gospel. More so, it is the truth of the real identity of the Lord Jesus. When His real identity is veiled, obscured, watered-down, or removed, there is little reaction. His enemies are pacified. But when the real Gospel is brought forth and His real identity, authority, and presence are fully noted, His enemies suddenly become extremely upset and angry. They are instantly inflated with antagonism and rapidly rise up to fight. The more resentful they are the more reactionary they become. The more antichrist they are, the more they agitate.
It never changes. When the real Gospel is preached as it was in the beginning it happens. When the Lord Jesus is lifted up for who He really is it always occurs. His enemies cannot contain themselves. Their bitterness and hatred will not allow them to. They must fight back to defend their false paradigm and faulty construct to which they have dedicated their lives and in which they are fully invested.
THE EARLY CHURCH IN ACTS
The real time demonstration of this dynamic is entirely clear as plainly illustrated by the following compelling events from the Book of Acts, captured brilliantly by Luke. Many Christians are not aware of these passages and many others rebuff them as irrelevant and even inappropriate. Others are embarrassed and discomfited, as the Scriptural record does not fit their religious and cultural narratives.
Though listed here as highlighted sections in a chronological format, I encourage everyone to also read these passages in full context and thereby gain even greater insight into the genuine outworking of the original Gospel presentation, why it applies to the present, and how it exposes the antichrist spirit. We are blessed to have this historical documentation.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. [Romans 1:16]
THE HISTORICAL RECORD
But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. [Acts 9:22-25]
And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. [Acts 9:28-29]
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.” [Acts 10:38-39]
Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. [Acts 12:1-3]
When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. [Acts 13:5-8]
The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. [Acts 13:44-52]
In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there they continued to preach the gospel. [Acts 14:1-7]
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. [Acts 14:19-20]
But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. [Acts 17:5-9]
But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. [Acts 17:13-14]
And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Then he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. [Acts 18:4-7]
But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters.” And he drove them away from the judgment seat. And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things. [Acts 18:12-17]
After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia. When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece. And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. [Acts 20:1-3]
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. [Acts 20:17-21]
As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. [Acts 21:10-12]
Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them. When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. Then all the city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. [Acts 21:26-31]
But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them. Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” [Acts 22:30 – 23:3]
And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks. But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who formed this plot. They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.”
But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.” So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.” The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?” And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.” So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.” And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.” They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. [Acts 23:10-13]
After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders, with an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought charges to the governor against Paul. After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, “Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation, we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing. For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then we arrested him. We wanted to judge him according to our own Law. But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you. By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.” The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so. [Acts 24:1-9]
Festus then, having arrived in the province, three days later went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul, and they were urging him, requesting a concession against Paul, that he might have him brought to Jerusalem (at the same time, setting an ambush to kill him on the way). Festus then answered that Paul was being kept in custody at Caesarea and that he himself was about to leave shortly. [Acts 25:1-4]
After he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove, while Paul said in his own defense, “I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?” But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, “You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go.” [Acts 25:6-12]
So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” [Acts 26:19-23]
When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, “YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”’ Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.
And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. [Acts 28:23-31] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 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.
Belief can become so powerful that truth no longer matters. A person with such deep-rooted though inaccurate beliefs will likely never be convinced to change his mind, not even by provable facts.
Some people call it manipulation. But it’s much more than that. We all have memories of some off-putting relentless salesman who almost convinces us to do something we don’t want to do. Such people have an incredible ability to make us think we need something we don’t need, want something we don’t want, and that we better do as they say or will miss out on a great opportunity and then feel stupid.
I think this is part of the reason why people walking the streets in some major metropolis, let’s say, for example, New York City, since it has the best reputation for that, to never, ever make eye contact with anyone else, especially if someone is trying to get their attention. They’ve probably been hit up a million times on such streets and may even have been scammed a time or two. They have learned to keep moving, never say a word, and stay on their way or will end up late for wherever they’re going. They know they cannot trust themselves to not fall for some sales pitch or sob story or whatnot. And even if they believe they could stand their ground it would all be a waste of time and could probably even result in an argument which they obviously do not need. It is part of why many people, if not most, learn to keep their beliefs to themselves. Life is too short for such unnecessary philosophical interruptions.
DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH FACTS
No one wants their beliefs to be challenged. After a certain age, we decide on what we will believe and stick to it. We build up a superstructure around our chosen beliefs called life, and our lives thus become diffused throughout with a set of convictions and principles that seem to work for us. In reality, though, such beliefs usually have never been challenged fully or even fully thought out. It would be much better if we submitted our beliefs to truth in order to verify their veracity. But that’s a scary proposition.
It can be confusing. The world is filled with enough superfluous knowledge to keep one reading and learning for probably at least about a million years, give or take a few centuries. There are endless minutiae to be dealt with on a never-ending scale that can be so overwhelming it causes small flames and sparking in tender brains never meant to be subjected to such and may even cause a complete burnout or at least an all-day headache. These are not things most people desire.
Hence, society sends out semi-caustic and wearified refrains such as, “Don’t mess with my head, man. It’s taken me years to reach this place of oblivion and I’m tired.”
This is probably why those Krishna guys don’t bother people in airports anymore. It’s probably also why Christian witnessing is largely the work of new recruits. Seasoned followers of the Lord learn to be a tad more careful about who they witness to and how they witness as they gracefully age.
But let’s get back on track. When people only want information that supports their beliefs and want nothing to do with data that does not, they are doing the mental equivalent of painting themselves into a corner and then constructing a wall around it. A Big Beautiful Wall. They only want the stuff that confirms what they believe, or actually, what they have chosen to believe (but don’t tell them that. It’s too confusing). We all go through life doing the equivalent of tip-toeing through the proverbial tulips with a don’t bother me with facts attitude because I already have all the facts I need thank you very much now step aside please. And this protects our chosen belief system. And if we’re really good we store our little box of beliefs why up high and far in the back on a hidden cranial shelf where we haphazardly stuck the old duck decoys and other assorted junk we haven’t used in decades and arrange things in a way that no one will ever find them and the last thing we want is to be asked, “Where’s the box and what’s in it?”
This is the human problem. We somehow semi-surreptitiously acquire beliefs as if by unconscious ongoing osmosis from somewhere or someone without checking on their validity and then guard them like a junkyard dog. Could it be because we can’t explain them? That they cannot stand up to scrutiny? As if we got the answer from the back of a suspect math book and cannot work out the problem properly on a whiteboard in front of the prying eyes of the entire classroom?
Here’s a question: What Would Jesus Do?
I think it would be cool to get about fifty Christian men and women of the cloth who are each experts in their own denominations and just start asking questions such as, “Why in the heck do all of you profess to be Christians and yet each of you believes something so different from one another that you can’t get along for long and insist on eternal separation in your ubiquitous little boxes spread out all over the countryside? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”
And this is why I insist on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And for those philosophy students out there, I always make my final and only appeal to authority to the Lord Jesus and His teachings, found only in their purest form in the New Covenant Scriptures.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
And there it is. That’s what the Lord Jesus would do. He would teach us all His truth, because He is the Truth, if only we would let Him. I say enough with all these millions of different Christian classrooms with different math books and different answers teaching anything and everything but His pure teachings. The cure for hopeless and intractable Confirmation Bias is the Lord Jesus. We must subject all of our beliefs to Him. We must subject them to His light. Then we will see what kind of garbage fish are stuck in our nets and simply remove them and throw them back in the lake while keeping the good fish.
When we get to heaven we will all believe the fullness of the same truth. We will have all knowledge. There will not be any bad beliefs or false doctrines or misunderstandings or confusion. We will not be unsure of what we believe or have to guard our beliefs from inspection. We will be open books of truth and light shining from proverbial hills filled with facts and the knowledge of the Lord. We will know the truth. But wait. Didn’t He say we could have all this before heaven? At least with regard to His pure teachings? I’m pretty sure He did. And He related it to the means of gaining freedom.
So rather than insisting on refusing to subject our beliefs to the light of truth, perhaps we should simply vacate our respective mazes, end all the confusion, determine to gain ever more spiritual knowledge, clean out our mental closets, allow the light of the Lord to shine upon and within our hearts, minds, spirits, and bodies all the way to the DNA level, and begin the maturing process toward the wonderful and inevitable byproduct of breaking down the walls of separation and suspicion and achieve being on the same spiritual page with untold numbers of previously unknown spiritual brothers and sisters and thus experience the full joys of real fellowship. Amen?
While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” [Matthew 12:46-50] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Unreal Christianity is a deceptive reflection of the authoritative, controlling, mammon-serving world of sinful man in opposition to the Lord Jesus.
THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST
The facts are what they are. The real teachings of the Lord Jesus as recorded in the New Covenant writings expose a wicked system of human management by sinful leaders located in every society, country, and empire outside the Kingdom of God and that the devil rules over all. This wicked system had even invaded and taken control among the Lord’s own people.
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” [Matthew 4:8-9]
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2]
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]
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. [1Timothy 6:17]
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. [1John 4:2-3]
It is still somewhat amazing that many Christians can read the gospels and not see this. Why can they not see the clear fact that God Himself showed up as one of us in part to reveal and expose the devil and his evil machinations in ruling over and abusing humanity and that the devil still rules over and abuses unregenerate humanity to this day?
UNSALTY UNSEEING MAMMON-BASED CHRISTIANITY
“Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Luke 14:34-35]
And He also spoke a parable to them: A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” [Luke 6:39-40]
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” [Matthew 6:24] 
There was a time when the evil one was exposed and preached against in Christian circles but I challenge anyone to find this today. It is rare. Especially on TV. The vast majority of Christian enterprises refuse to mention him or speak of all the things the Lord did regarding him. It is readily apparent therefore, that what the Lord said regarding money and the pursuit of wealth must be in large part the reason why.
Money-first ministries in general never mention the truth in this regard. Could it be because just as the devil controls the world outside the Lord’s Kingdom he also controls most financial resources?
It is clear, then, that money-first Christian ministries do not dare bite the hand that feeds or do anything which might disrupt or jeopardize their money supply. They have also been conditioned over many years to arrange for and base success on the ability to gain and maintain monetary resources.
The bigger the ministry the more dependent it is on money. The more it is dependent on money the more likely it will be compromised. The more it is compromised the less likely it will ever preach and teach the truth as the Lord did. Such ministries are not Kingdom-oriented because they are not in the Kingdom. They have created their own kingdoms in which the Lord Jesus is not in charge—they are. And as such they deceive their people and hold them hostage against the truth.
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The apostle Paul was told his fate. After appearing before the man Nero left as a representative, Paul was told he lost his case. He knew what that meant. But he had already known anyway, because the Lord revealed it to him beforehand in the spirit. He was happy that his day had come to see the Lord…
But he was also greatly saddened because he wanted to keep working. He wanted to minister to others, and to continue revealing the light of the Gospel message and blessing whoever he might. He wanted to continue being used as a vessel for God’s glory regardless of the sacrifice and pain.
He was a scrapper!
And so are so many believers the world over who continue smiling as they face great discomfort, neglect, and rejection for knowing and loving their Creator and Savior. And this is their great victory—they can smile! They want to smile, and they cannot help but smile and express their joy, even though at times it may be in their spirit and not visible to others.
The great hero’s of the faith are those who soldier on regardless of the cost. Like Paul, they are determined to finish their course. Imagine what Paul was thinking as he laid his head down for the last time on this side of eternity. He must have thought about how blessed he was, how he gave it his all, and how he was so fortunate to love and be loved by so many people…
Then, in his final seconds, he probably thought about how blessed he was in that he was also given the awesome opportunity to present his body as a living sacrifice one final time to honor and glorify his King. He had been doing just that during his entire ministry, and he had the many scars to prove it.
The reality is that Paul would have never stopped living and working for God. He would have continued until his body simply quit functioning, even though he was most likely racked with pain every day due to all of his injuries and suffering. He knew at the end how short life really is and how much more he wanted to do, but also that his time of departure was not his decision.
Unless the Lord reveals it, no one knows his or her future. Some who thought they would live long did not. And some who thought their passing was eminent lived on for many more years. We’ll all be checking out at some point, either young or old. We know that. But let it be in God’s timing. And in the meantime, we will do our work for God with courage and dedication, with a heart of love and gratitude, continuing to be thankful for our many blessings.
Paul gave everything he had in life, and in the end gave everything he had in death, always in surrender and obedience. With nothing more to do or give, his very last thought was probably associated with the following:
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” [2 Timothy 4:6-8]
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” [Philippians 1:21]
There is no sense in arguing with a man with an experience. Paul not only walked with the Lord on a daily basis, the Lord actually made it a tad easier at times by circumventing the usual convention and showing up in 3D:
And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.
But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” [Acts 23:9-11] 
Paul understood the stark reality of life on this planet. He knew there was a God. He knew God by name. He knew this world was a temporary place. He knew there was a constant battle going on, and he knew the more he witnessed for the Lord the more the battle would break out around him and upon him. For “Christians” who experience no battle of this kind, it is obvious they are doing little or nothing for God.
Real Christians understand this is a fallen world and that the human inhabitants of this world are spiritually blind until a legitimate spiritual new birth takes place. When that happens the blind think the unblind are nuts, simply because the ones who see claim the reality of the spiritual world.
And they reveal truth.
And they expose the devil.
And as a result they experience a backlash from evil forces otherwise known as persecution.
For some, Christianity is only cultural. For others it is merely a ritualistic religion. But for Paul, it was life and death. It was warfare. Due to the nature of his calling and anointing, trouble seemed to follow him wherever he went. He was a wanted man. The devil hated him and repeatedly tried to take his life. But as it was with the Lord, the devil failed on each and every occasion. When the time came for Paul’s retirement, though, it was the Lord Jesus who made the decision. And it must be noted that real retirement for the real Christian is physical death.
Paul died the same way John the Immerser died. It was relatively quick and painless. And the next thing he knew he was at his retirement party in heaven welcomed with applause and hugs all around. They probably all sported miniature funny hats and had a big cake. And at one end of the group was the Lord, with a big smile.
Good job, Paul.
© 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.