Blog Archives

RESISTING THE AWAKENING: Finding Fault Leads to Closed Minds and Hard Hearts

         Christians say they want a Great Awakening but most don’t want to change. That’s why the Lord almost always has to go outside to find the right people to drive it.

.

         The status quo likes things the way things are in general and their status quo status is proved by their willingness to go only so far toward necessary change, and it is not very far.

         This is why we rarely get anywhere and why those on the edge of truth who are trying to bring it forth always get slammed by those holding back. But the Lord Jesus will not be denied. He is bringing this, and will bring it, and if He has to He will leave all nominal and unwilling Christians behind.

HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF

         He has done this countless times before. He will never allow the intransigence of His own supposed people to hold Him back. There are many, many more people who want Him and love Him with ALL their hearts and are willing to do anything He says, even though most of these do not qualify as “Christians” by those who set themselves up as judges. These relative outcasts have paid a great price to be in that place of closeness to the Lord and have suffered greatly for it. For many, their lives have been destroyed in the process of staying on the path but they don’t care about the price that must be paid.

         They want God. They want reality. They are tired of playing games and believing promises that never come true. They are tired of people never keeping their promises or coming through for the Lord. They see clearly that all of these so-called spiritual heavyweights in control and all their sycophant often clueless congregants have actually sold out and really don’t want any change unless it brings further personal benefit to themselves.

         Beware any religious leader who looks good and sounds good but never has any real desire to get out of Egypt or makes peace with living in the Sinai.        

PRESS ON!        

         WE WERE MADE TO BE IN THE PROMISED LAND, just as it was way back then, except now it is obviously not geographical but spiritual, and if God needs to leave an entire generation behind, believe me, HE WILL DO IT.

         But for all real Christians it is time to go forward. It is time to let go of all the idols and false doctrines and compromise and things that keep Christians from embracing the full will of God. The Lord is trying to do something absolutely great and spiritually unprecedented in America, and the majority of Christians continue to reject it. This is a terrible turn of events but it is the foreseen reaction to this great move of God by those who study Awakenings and revivals. There is always a very strong and evil reaction to such great moves in the early going by those who claim to be holding the fort but are actually only clutching onto their own personal benefits and standing. They have given in to both personal pride and spiritual pride and would rather sit on their tuffets in comfort back home than engage the enemy on the field of battle.

         I will close with this very profound food for thought:

         “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.”

         Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” [Matthew 21:28-32] [1]

         © 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.

Advertisements

Purification by Fire: SEPARATING THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF (4)

         “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:12]

         The grain kernel of wheat is composed of two parts: The inner part that we eat and the inedible outer hull. The inedible part must be separated from the edible part. There are two ways to remove the outer hull: Threshing and Winnowing.

THRESHING

         Threshing was used on grains in which the hull was attached tightly to the grain kernel. In the days of our Lord, such covered grains were either soaked in water, or were lightly milled or even pounded upon to loosen the hull in order to remove it. The latter processes often damaged the edible grain.

WINNOWING

         However, when dealing with grains in which the hull was relatively loose and light, little or no threshing was required. A winnowing fork was used instead to cast the grain into the air allowing the wind to separate the inedible hulls from the edible grain kernels. The light, papery hulls would float or fly away in the wind while the edible grain fell to the ground to be collected. These light separated inedible hulls are called chaff, a word derived from Middle English.

         In both of these methods the unfit for consumption outer hull had to be removed from the grain kernel. Once removed the hull residue (chaff) was burned.

         Keep in mind what the Lord Jesus had to go through as the new seed of all creation. He was baptized by John as our example though it was personally unnecessary. And though He had no hard outer hull He underwent the extreme process of hull removal on our behalf.

         Both John the Immerser and the Lord Jesus used the rich imagery of hull removal in their preaching as illustrative of the process of salvation. The otherwise soft, warm, and loving human heart, characterized perfectly by the happy innocent hearts of young children, becomes hardened by a life of sin and rebellion against God. In time a hard outer shell forms over the human heart and creates an entirely different human nature from the original.

HEART CIRCUMCISION

         This requires what the Lord refers to as heart circumcision:

         “So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” [Deuteronomy 10:16]

         “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” [Jeremiah 4:4]

         Since human will and free choice must be involved in the process of salvation, the outer hulls of our hearts can only be removed by voluntarily submitting to the process of spiritual threshing or winnowing. For those with very hard hulls the process will be more difficult. For those with lighter papery hulls removal will be less difficult. But in either case, since all have sinned regardless of degree, ALL hearts MUST be circumcised or salvation is not possible. EVERYONE MUST undergo a new birth.

         We can see by the very clear illustration of heart circumcision (circle cut) that salvation and new birth (being born again) is actually a reverting back or returning to one’s original created condition. Though real Christians will still have to battle their old nature in this world after undergoing a new birth and receiving real salvation, the new nature takes over and regains authority over the old sin nature.

         So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! [2Corinthians 5:17 NRSV]

         He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. [John 1:11-13]

         “You must be born again.” [John 3:7]

         Submitting to heart circumcision is not an easy choice but obviously the best choice anyone could ever possibly make. If we have a hard outer shell on our heart, it is not so fun to subject ourselves to light milling or necessary pounding to remove it. It is also not so fun to be thrown up in the air with a winnowing fork so our old nature can become dust in the wind.

         Keep in mind that John the Immerser was sent to soak the nation of Israel in water to loosen its national hull and thereby gain a softening of its national heart prior to the Lord’s ministry. The goal was threefold: (1) Making the national heart receptive to the Lord (2) Gaining national repentance—a wholesale turning away from sin and rebellion against God—and (3) Undergoing a national heart circumcision.

         The nation of Israel would thus be divided based on its response to John’s ministry and later the Lord’s. The first camp would include all those who honored John’s and the Lord’s ministry and complied. The second camp would be composed of all those who did not.

         The Lord referred to the first camp as being composed of sheep, wheat, and good trees with good fruit—“the blessed of My Father.”

         He referred to the second camp as made up of goats, chaff, tares, and bad trees with bad fruit—“accursed ones.”

         For all those who refuse the great opportunity of salvation and being included in those returning to the Lord’s original sinless creation, however, something must be done with them.

         If it was grain kernels with very hard and stuck fast outer hulls that refused the proper treatment toward removal, such grain would be no good for anything and would certainly not be edible. But even if it was grain with light papery hulls, if winnowing was refused it also would remain inedible.

         The only thing to be done with such bad grain that still contained an otherwise edible kernel was throw it in the pile of the inedible chaff that was removed from the good grain.

         This is what John meant when he said the following:

         “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:12]

         In order for the Lord to continue the process of new creation, the following verses illustrate more examples of allegorical entities which must be eliminated through the ultimate means of purification—Fire:

         “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Matthew 3:10]

         “The tares are gathered up and burned with fire.” [Matthew 13:40]

         “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire.” [Matthew 13:41-42]

         “The angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire.” [Matthew 13:49-50]

         “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones (goats), into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…” [Matthew 25:41]

         “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” [John 15:5-6] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]

         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.

Religious Slavery (Part 3)

         In Part 2 of this series I raised the prospect of spiritual deafness and blindness arising from an obstinate attitude toward new revelation. As I wrote in Real Christianity,

.

         As strange as it may seem, what we have to show for two millennia of church history is an overwhelming preponderance of completely unique and separate Christian cultures. Stranger still, most of these are simultaneously and mysteriously united under the umbrella of a single proviso. Though not in fellowship with the other and though each claims to be under the Lord’s dominion, they are actually joined as one in their opposition to His complete rule. In reality, their actions give them the demeanor of the legendary roving bands of the ancient world, seeking pastures for their flocks, fighting those who threaten their turf, ever wondering and searching for greater power and influence, but all the while refusing to be fully obedient to the Lord. Stiff-necked, stubborn, arrogant, clutching their religious robes about them, they set their feet in the concrete of human frailty and fear, unable to trust the God of all creation whose truth could set them free.           

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

.

         As I’ve stated before on many occasions, if you want to get the Lord Jesus angry at you, be religiously stiff-necked. Act as if you know everything. Act as if the truth you possess is all the truth there is. Reject the truth the Lord is trying to reveal because it simply does not fit in with your current belief-system. Obey your religious and denominational leaders first, and consider the Lord further down the list. Act as if your church or denomination is already doctrinally and culturally exactly the way God wants it, or is certainly better than all others. Claim to have God’s truth though completely lacking God’s real love and power.

         But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. [2 Timothy 3:1-7]

         Keep in mind that a big part of the Lord’s curriculum is correcting us when we are wrong. He does this by teaching us the truth, even it means showing us the error of our ways. The religiously stiff-necked will always reject such teaching, however. Why? Because it involves conviction. Unreal Christians hate conviction. They don’t want to be convicted. Conviction hurts. It puts one off-balance. It reveals that one is wrong. And it thus demands correction from the one who is wrong.

         The Lord Jesus always attempts to do this at first with much grace and love, but that does not deaden the impact. In fact, it sometimes makes it worse. A heart that is circumcised, however, will be able to handle the pain. A tender heart can accept proper rebuke, though tears may well up in one’s eyes and fall, and though one may feel so vulnerable he or she feels there is no cure for such brokenness.

         But this is part of washing one’s heart with the Blood of Jesus. It is the process of conforming such a heart to His heart. He created a loving, tender-hearted family. There is only one way to do this. The early believers had this love and were like the Lord. Their love and joy was palpable and honest and forthright. They understood well, however, that the making of a good heart involved pain.

         Why otherwise do we think the Lord used circumcision as an exact description of what must take place to one’s heart? Imagine His people long, long ago when they first got word that God required physical circumcision as a vital prerequisite of being right with Him and in fellowship with Him.

         And if you think heart circumcision is somehow an easy road and not that big of a deal, believe me, your heart has never been circumcised. Imagine the fact that Abraham was so in love with God and that he so honored God he circumcised himself! That’s pretty high up there on the commitment scale.

         Most Christians do not have that kind of commitment. But most Christians are certainly committed to other things that bypass heart circumcision and will be extremely obstinate about it when presented with something that challenges their beliefs.

         What did the Lord do when challenged about His beliefs? He simply proved who He was by not only demonstrating great love, forgiveness, and mercy toward all, but also demonstrated that He had spiritual power for good that no one else had. His credentials proved themselves.

         The apostle Paul also did this. He agreed with his detractors that he was not much to behold and could not talk so well. Like the Lord Jesus, he was the opposite of what we may call a charismatic figure. He attracted no one to himself by his looks or speaking ability. If one tried to fit him for an expensive tailored suit he would still look pretty bad and probably even more so (“Hey Paul, that suit’s wearin’ you, man.”).

         But Paul had a clean heart, a circumcised heart. He had love flowing out of him for others. And for his ultimate credentials, he had the power of God, something the fakers don’t have:

         And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. [1 Corinthians 2:1-5]

         Most Christian pastors/priests/reverends are not like this. This means their hearts have never been circumcised. It means they are not filled with the Spirit of God. It means they are the Christian equivalent of the stiff-necked people God was so incensed against in the Old Testament writings. And this anger of God presented itself yet again in its fullest expression ever when the God of the Old Testament became one of us:

         “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. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” [Matthew 23:13-15]

         “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:23-28]

         “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

         Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” [Matthew 23:33-39] [1]

         We all know what happened forty years after these pronouncements were made. What was left of the country God founded ceased to exist forever. The same thing will happen to any person, any church congregation, or even any country that formerly believed the truth and followed the Lord Jesus if they stray into rebellious territory.

         But one must always remember that BEFORE the final judgment of Jerusalem/Judea in 66-70 AD, great Life and Light invaded that place. A Great Awakening happened in that place. A tremendous spiritual outpouring took place in that place.

         In the exact formerly free location where idiot stiff-necked religionists had gained control and demanded the people conform to religious slavery and a false, dead code, the Life-giving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Messiah blasted upon the scene and hundreds of thousands and perhaps more of Abraham’s descendants received that Life, long before any Gentiles ever did, and it was enough to turn Jerusalem and Judea on its ear.

         But that first Great Awakening never stopped the stiff-necked from fighting it or disbelieving it, no matter how obvious was the manifestation of God’s love and power. Why?

         Their religion told them it was wrong.

         As a terrible historical example and what should be a very frightening possibility for us all, those people went down with the phony evil ship they created unrepentant and hard-hearted to the end.

         This is the exact destiny of Unreal Christianity.

         So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. [Galatians 4:31]

         © 2014 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.

Religious Slavery (Part 1)

Religious Slavery (Part 2)

WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING.