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LOVING THE LORD JESUS FULFILLS THE LAW (REJECTING HIM VIOLATES IT)

       The Lord Jesus taught something quite radical in the perception of His contemporaries: He had apparently reduced the entire Law of Moses and the Prophets down to only two commandments.

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THE PROBLEM

        This obviously drove the strict religionists, those who couldn’t see spiritually past the end of their nose, right up a wall. They were invested up to their eyeballs in their voluminous religious knowledge. By this teaching He not only seemingly bypassed the entirety of Holy Writ, or at least put the vast law checklist in dubious perspective; He also completely subverted, in their eyes, the capacious and multifaceted oral law, of which only a distinct few were aware. To their chagrin, and with this instruction, He broke down the walls of the sheepfold and made the basis of spiritual knowledge and truth available for everyone.  

         But there is something else He did then that most of the Jewish teachers and many strict Trinitarian Christians miss. He once again equated Himself with God.        

         “And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.” [Luke 10:25-28]

         Did you catch that? The Lord Jesus told the lawyer the same thing He told Moses:

       “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.” [Leviticus 18:5]   

         Let’s look at another passage:

         But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:34-40]

THE REACTION

         Of course, the Lord never eliminated any part of the Law but He did fulfill it. He continued to honor all the commandments. He opened the eyes of many and brought the Law and Prophets into proper perspective by assigning priorities. For those, however, who were unwilling or unable to be led to quiet waters and lie down in green pastures, they insisted on their own imposed status quo and it blinded them to further truth.

         Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET?”’ If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question. [Matthew 22:41-46]

         Judging by the extreme reaction of those great Pharisee teachers, something really strange took place on that occasion. One can almost see the popping and sparking of cerebral synapses and smoke coming out of their ears. They were at a complete loss and had no idea how to answer. Their vast repertoire of knowledge had nothing from which to draw. Their data base was empty of information on the topic. They had no idea, according to their own perception and understanding, how the Messiah could be both David’s Lord and his Son. They were absolutely flummoxed.

THE SOLUTION

          If one sees the Lord Jesus as God, then one will see that He must be loved with all one’s heart, soul, strength, and mind. If one sees the Lord Jesus as merely a secondary personage who is somehow less than God, then one must love Him as he loves himself. Whatever the case, one must at least apply the Golden Rule to the Lord Jesus OR BE IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW. And if one understands that the Lord Jesus truly is God, then one must love Him with all one’s heart, soul, strength, and mind OR BE IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW.

         From this there is the inescapable conclusion that our lives are arranged and bear spiritual fruit in direct relation to how we treat the Lord Jesus and whether or not we love Him exactly as He loves us. He already demonstrated His love for us by giving His perfect life as a sacrifice to pay for our sins, which we could never do, and by this He purchased our salvation. He said doing this was the greatest love. Therefore, He has already fulfilled the Golden Rule for every single human being who has ever lived or ever will live.

         But He did more than that. Though He did not need to, according to a strict interpretation of the Law, He actually applied not only the Golden Rule to us but the greatest commandment as well, in that He gave everything He had on our behalf—He loves us with all His heart, soul, strength, and mind.

         The Scriptures say God is Love. The Scriptures also say Jesus is God. Thus, the Scriptures say that Jesus is Love and He obviously demonstrated that love way back then but has also demonstrated it ever since then and still demonstrates it right now. He loves you.

         Even so, because the circumstances of this fallen world and the reality of this life are what they are, we are sometimes subjected to not so good things beyond our control. But there is no detrimental circumstance that has any bearing on His love for us. His love is greater than any such circumstance. Sometimes through faith we can overcome an adverse circumstance. But the first thing we do by faith is accept the possibility of real relationship with Him and move toward it. We take Him at His Word. We establish trust with Him. To complete the relationship-with-God transaction we love the Lord Jesus as He loves us. Whatever He did for us we must be willing to do for Him.

         Follow His example—Love and obey Him with all your heart just as He loved and obeyed “the Father.” That is the answer, my friends.

         Love never fails. [1Corinthians 13:8] [1]   

         © 2018 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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LOVE

         If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

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         If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

       Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

          Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

         For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. [1Corinthians 13:1-13] [1]

         © 2018 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.

CHRISTIAN ZIONISM’S ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

       Christian Zionists must believe the Gospel does not apply to everyone, are embarrassed by it, and would rather not mention it in certain circles.

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         They must think unsaved Jews are saved by osmosis through their “chosen people” status and connection claim to the ancient patriarchs, even though John the Immerser called out their forebears on this false claim two thousand years ago:

         “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Matthew 3:8-10]   

         John warned them that the nation was about to go up in flames but some paid him no heed. The destruction of what was left of the nation from its glories of a millennium past was still forty years off. Nevertheless, the axe was already laid at the root of the trees and about to strike. This forty year period was the exact time frame we see throughout the book of Judges when the Lord was continually bringing judgment upon His wayward people who refused His leadership and preferred the rebellion of sin.

THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH

         John was the first Hebrew prophet in over four hundred years. For over four centuries there was no prophetic voice in the land of Judea. In one sense then, the people thereof and especially the religious leaders thereof cannot be blamed for being completely clueless of the prophetic word. By that time they had built up their own version of the way things ought to be without the help, guidance, or direction of God, and indeed did so in actual rebellion against Him. The things of God and the ways of God became absolutely foreign to them in that interim.

         As a result, when John the Immerser suddenly burst forth upon the scene he looked nothing like what they were familiar with. He appeared strange and different, and his incredibly powerful voice and manner was unlike anything they had ever heard or seen. They had no frame of reference. To that point, they had been like know-it-all ignorant teenagers devoid of real living experiences from which to base their rebellious beliefs, and instinctively felt that total rejection was in order, which is what the majority did. Most of the Jewish religious leaders rejected John outright and no doubt had a behind-the-scenes hand in his death. Even though they were great recognized religious leaders, their status meant nothing in spiritual terms. He demanded that they must repent:

          But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance…” [Matthew 3:7-8]

         Why do Christian Zionists seemingly never tell unsaved Jews to repent? Why do Christian Zionists often accept unsaved Jews exactly as they are? Why do they even esteem them highly and insist they are “God’s chosen people” when the New Covenant Scriptures say no such thing? Why do they believe unsaved Jews need not convert to Messiah? Is this how they show the love of God?

MESSIAH JESUS: THE BÊTE NOIRE OF ORTHODOX JUDAISM

         All Christians are commanded by the Lord to know the Gospel and teach the Gospel, and there is nothing in the Gospel that says one can be saved from sin through righteous works or making ancestral claims. Such beliefs are actually revolting in the eyes of a holy God and show a complete contempt for the great price the Lord made on our behalf. If people can be saved without the Lord’s great suffering and death on the cross then why did He have to die? Is there a double standard at work here? Can some be saved without His sacrifice? Whoever makes their personal salvation contingent not on the Blood of the Lamb but on righteous works will eventually have a very rude awakening.

         Until that day, however, many unbelievers double down on their hatred and rejection of the Lord, blaming Him for exposing them for what they are. The combination of their great conviction of sin juxtaposing with their own high-minded and prideful perception of themselves causes a maelstrom of contrary stubbornness and results in an inability to change. It is the act of a person clutching on to his claim to fame and faux right standing, and refusing to surrender to someone whom he insists is inferior and an imposter. The inevitable outcome is that one sees himself as better and greater than the Lord Jesus, which can only result in self-worship.

PAUL TELLS IT LIKE IT IS

         Christian Zionists are seemingly clueless regarding the teachings of the apostle Paul on this subject, who paid a great price to tell his countrymen the truth. Everywhere he went in the beginning years of his ministry he attempted to reach them first. Some Jews were overjoyed to hear him lay out all the prophetic scriptures before them and prove his case that the Lord Jesus is without doubt the Messiah they had all been waiting for. They accepted this truth with open arms. They repented of their sins, just like those three thousand Jews back on that great day of Pentecost. They were baptized in the name of Messiah Jesus and were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were still Jews. Paul was still a Jew.

         But those Jews who rejected Paul’s teachings, as their associates had rejected John the Immerser and the Lord Himself, were Paul’s greatest enemies. They put out a contract on him early on. Their only answer was murder. There were no greater persecutors than unsaved Jews. But unlike many Christian Zionists, John, the Lord, Paul, and so many others continually showed the great love of God by always trying to reach them. Jesus died for them. What more could He give? Paul was willing to lose his soul for them:

         I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel… [Romans 9:1-6]

HEY JUDE

         Thus, many Christian Zionists have failed in showing the love of God by refusing to preach repentance for unsaved Jews, some of whom would readily accept salvation as they always have. The only reason for this must be a different agenda than the one true Gospel of the Lord. It is this different agenda, like so many others, that has “crept in unnoticed” and become surreptitiously established:

         For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. [Jude 1:4-5]

         Jude wrote the above not too long before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. He goes on to remind his readers of what was soon coming by speaking of other fiery judgments of the past and refers to similar equivalents to that which has occurred in Christian Zionism. He then exhorts his readers to follow the real Gospel and not be deceived by those with an alternative agenda:

         …They speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. [Jude 1:12-13;16-21] 

THE TENDER MERCY OF OUR GOD

         Eternal life cannot be earned. None of us is worthy through our own efforts. Until we are born again we remain unregenerate spiritually, regardless of any high standing or great achievements. It is only the grace of the Lord that saves us activated by our faith. Without the shed blood of our Savior there is no salvation. Our salvation then, whether we are Jew or Gentile, is solely an act of undeserved mercy from a compassionate God driven by His great love for all. There is no substitute. There is no other Way.

         It’s time that Christian Zionists return to the heart of the Gospel and make a greater effort at evangelizing the unsaved Jews they claim to care so much about.

         For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. [Hebrews 2:2-4] [1]

         © 2018 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.

CHRISTIANS SLANDERING CHRISTIANS: WHAT PART OF “DO NOT JUDGE” DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND?

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       “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” [Luke 6:37]

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        When the Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees He didn’t name names. He didn’t slander individuals. But this has never stopped “Christians” from engaging in the practice. It began almost two thousand years ago and has never ceased. It continues today in a gross violation of the Lord’s Golden Rule.

         “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” [Matthew 7:1-5]

THE SLANDER BRIGADE

        Christian history is filled with Christians attacking and slandering other Christians. In fact, some Christians have created “ministries” that do nothing more than malign other Christians and Christian groups. They have decided that they are worthy of doing this. For some bizarre reason, they consider themselves all-knowing experts and thus perfectly able to bring railing accusations against any Christian or Christian group that does not see or practice Christianity they way they do. This is the height of religious arrogance in that the practitioners thereof must assume they have all light and knowledge, and are therefore qualified to thumbs up or thumbs down any believer or group of believers of their choosing.

          Even though the Lord Jesus, on at least one recorded occasion, referred to a particular group of unbelieving Jews and Pharisees as “of your father the devil,” he was not engaging in personal condemnation. He LOVED these people and would have been overjoyed if they had repented. He was merely stating fact in defense of His own teachings after they attacked Him, in exactly the same way the Christian maligners attack those they think are heretics. He did this in a manner which exposed the accusing enemy who was intent on slandering His reputation, and who was hidden very well behind religious clothing and enjoyed a level of popular support.

           To sort this out, first consider the verse in question:

         “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8:43-44]

          Now look at these verses:

         “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” [John 3:17]   

         “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” [John 12:47-48]

SELF-SERVING HERETIC HUNTERS

         It is one thing to search for truth, find it, and attempt to share it. It is quite another thing to condemn Christians who appear deficient of it. Now pay attention to this:

         THE REJECTION OF THE LORD’S TRUTH CAUSES SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS.

         Each of us is walking in the light we have. Some of us are always trying to gain more light. Therefore, if one doesn’t yet have eyes to see everything he is supposed to see, he is never going to see until he gets eyes to see. They must want to see. No one can force them to see. Thus, our focus should be on helping each other “see.” If one does not yet “see” or doesn’t want to see we are commanded to love anyway. The best way the fault-finding heretic hunters can get right with the Lord is to go spend some time with the people they condemn and serve them. Proving one’s love is better than winning an argument.

         I recently saw a website in which a minister who was condemned by a heretic-hunter group actually responded to the article condemning him in a loving way. There was no eye-for-an-eye garbage or the ubiquitous condemnation return fire. This person was not condemning them though they were condemning him. I thought it very refreshing and it obviously let me know who was the better disciple. Regarding who believed what or who was teaching what didn’t matter in that instance. What mattered was obedience to the command of the Lord to love one another.

IT’S “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR” NOT “CONDEMN YOUR NEIGHBOR”

         In the final analysis consider the fact that if someone actually does have all light and knows the teachings of the Lord by heart and fulfills them every second of every day, then that person would know who is right and who is wrong. But that person would also know there is a higher order of behavior toward one another and would never judge or condemn someone who knew less.

       Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… [1Corinthians 13:4-8] [1]

        By their very behavior the slanderous heretic hunters are condemning themselves by violating the Lord’s Word. Without repentance for their wrongheaded actions His Word will judge them at the last day.

         © 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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NEED A MIRACLE?

         The Lord Jesus is available. He has never stopped being available. All things are possible with God.

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THE FAUX BROS

         The faux brethren are preaching a different Gospel. It brings no honor to the Lord. But it does bring them a living, and that is what they desire the most.

         “Christianity” is very different behind the scenes. Once a Christian performer leaves the stage he or she can be seen for what they really are. I remember very well the early days when idealism gave way to reality. While the reality of the Lord was always the same the Lord showed me how the faux brethren change when away from the spotlight. I wondered then, just how a Christian performer is supposed to represent himself in public. There is obviously no way he can maintain the same persona and attitude as the one presented onstage.

        Again, these were the very early days of my new Christian experience. Everything was brand new, holy, and pure. I had no reason to doubt anything presented as spiritual reality. The preaching I became associated with was powerful and convicting. It was obviously inspired and anointed.

         But I began to realize that I never saw that kind of preaching outside a church venue, unless it was a larger church venue transported to a rented auditorium or something similar. Why did I never see that kind of incredible preaching out on the street in a non-official setting?

THOSE BRUTAL ROMANS

         This is how the early believers did it. They had no church buildings. There were in fact no church buildings for almost three centuries and yet those powerful early believers turned the Roman Empire on its ear. One must keep in mind that the Romans were brutal. That is probably the best one word description of their entire culture. They perfected crucifixion, for example. Gladiators fought to the death as entertainment. Massive crowds came to the many entertainment venues to see human beings suffer and die. Once the early believers became more numerous and were seen as a threat, they too were sentenced to die in entertainment venues, often ripped apart by wild beasts. Imagine being one of those early stalwarts of the faith.

         Despite all the persecution and barbaric brutality, the early believers actually brought the Roman Empire to its knees. They did it with love. They did it by making themselves vulnerable. They were never two-faced. What you saw was what you got whether they were behind closed doors, in small settings, or out in the public on the street. They learned all of this from the Lord Jesus. It is exactly the way He was and the way He did things. He was always the same and He is still the same.

STAGE PERFORMERS

         Official Christianity, however, has been transformed into a stage production. Preaching has become an art form. Yet, such is not close to being new. The Lord called the Pharisees and those like them hypocrites. Though the word has a different connotation now, hypocrites were stage performers. They were actors. The Lord called the Pharisees actors. They were merely acting out a part. Their outward performance was never how they really were. Off the stage and out of their religious costumes, they were the opposite. They were as fake as the day is long.

         It should be obvious that without church buildings and professional preachers most Christians would have no clue what to do. Yet again, the early Church never “went to church.” They had no “church” to go to. Today, most Christians go to church in order to have church. Back then, real Christians were the Church. They couldn’t hide once they were out of the spotlight because they didn’t want to hide and the “spotlight” was a 24 hour a day proposition.

REAL CHRISTIANS

         There are still Christians that are like this. They are always the same. They can do the will of God wherever they are. However, they are not professionals. They can’t be fake. It is simply not in them. Because of this they usually don’t have an easy time collecting donations. People are so used to having only one out a thousand presenting themselves as worthy “official” ministers that they are conditioned to support them, even though the great bulk of Christian work—99%—is being done by non-supported nobodies who must work closely with the Lord to gain a necessary living doing whatever they must. These are the real Christians. There are a few real Christians on stage and before cameras but are very, very few. You will know they are real because they do not perform. What they are in public is the same as what they would be in your living room or on the street.

         It is largely why most of the early Great Awakening is not visible—it is not happening in official venues in churches, on stage, or on television. The controllers of those venues do not want a Great Awakening. They oppose it. It is too threatening to their cushy status quo. Almost all of it is happening out there among the nobodies, the forgotten Christians, the rejected Christians—the ones who never have and never will make the grade to be prime-time players. They are all lousy actors. They can’t make a living that way. But they are real— just like the Lord.

OUR LOVING FATHER

         And the Lord Jesus is with them. He is always available. He takes care of them all because they have each presented themselves to Him as a living sacrifice to be used in whatever way He wants. These are true disciples. The one thing they have in common is their pure love and desire to help. Part of that involves believing the Lord for a miracle when a miracle is called for. They KNOW the Lord will always take care of them and one another and they have experienced the Lord’s miracles to that end. The Lord does miracles for them out of love and concern, however. He never does it as part of some twisted religious stage show. He blesses us in this way because He loves us and cares about us and because He can. He wants to meet our needs and if we let Him and obey Him and trust Him He can and He always will.

         And sometimes He blesses us with a miracle not because there is a dire need but simply because He just wants to bless our socks off. He’s in love with us. He sometimes just can’t help Himself.

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

WHERE IS THE LOVE? Identifying Christian Pharisees

         “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]

         How does one identify a real Christian Pharisee? Like their spiritual forebears of the first century, a Christian Pharisee is initially known primarily by one thing. And this one thing is both an indicator of such a person’s heart, as it is at the core of his or her being, but is also on the immediate surface, and often boils forward to said surface in a rapid flash which defies any possibility of impulse control.

         The first indicator of a real Christian Pharisee is therefore no secret whatsoever in that it reveals itself without restraint in all its unchecked fleshly power as it rises quickly for the kill in response to any perceived sleight or lack of absolute respect demanded by such a one for otherwise arbitrary reasons.

         Here it is: CHRISTIAN PHARISEES ARE EXTREMELY AND VERY EASILY OFFENDED AND ARE WILLING TO FIGHT ANYONE ANYTIME ANYWHERE AT THE DROP OF A HAT TO PROTECT AND HONOR THEMSELVES AND THE BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS THEY HAVE BOUGHT INTO AND SOLD OUT TO WITH NO REGARD WHATSOEVER FOR THE GOLDEN RULE OR HONORING THE LORD JESUS.

         They refuse to engage in any rational dialogue in the sense of arriving at greater truth because they believe they already possess all truth. They refuse and deflect any form of possible persecution by always beating the other person to said persecution and thus becoming the epitome of the persecutor. Their method is one of insistence that they are right, have always been right, and will always be right, and insist that anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe can just as soon go straight to hell.

         They believe with all their hearts that they have captured and possess the very top of the pyramid, that they are superior to all, and that all others must comply with their religion or belief system and every part of it, both in dogma and practice, or be remanded to a state of total rejection.

         They then project this attitude upon the “god” of their choosing and insist that “god”, their god, is absolutely on their side and only on their side and is also against the same people they are against. They will go to any lengths to destroy anyone who even slightly touches their massive sacred cows and golden calves as if simple murder is nowhere close to being good enough and doesn’t do proper justice to the immense offense perpetrated upon them.

         This very thing happened to the real God, the only God, the God of all Creation, when He showed up here as one of us, as a human being, to save us and set us free. Of course, they couldn’t touch Him until He willingly laid down His life on our behalf. Once He made Himself vulnerable, however, His enemies wasted no time in inflicting upon Him the very worst they could offer and if they had the opportunity they would have tortured Him and murdered Him many times over.

         It’s right there in your Gospels. It’s all over the New Testament. It’s infused throughout Christian history. It is why the real saints of the Lord always took it on the chin while doing the real work of the Lord and teaching the real Gospel. The incredible and completely unjustified persecution against them identified them as real disciples who acted out of love and for the truth, and it also perfectly identified the haters who would always rather gossip, slander, libel, and defame, and even murder, maim, destroy, and generally go stark raving nuts in defense of their evil hearts and ungodly agendas.

         “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? [Matthew 23:33] [1]

LOVE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW

         Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

         Love never fails… [1Corinthians 13:4-8]

         Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

         Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. [Romans 13:8-10]

         © 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.

Love is the Fulfillment of the Law

         We are taught while growing up that there are certain borders we must never cross. There are boundaries established by the authority figures in our lives that are designed to protect us, but often do much more.

         They stifle us. They destroy our dreams. They force us to conform to a very low common denominator in which everyone looks the same, acts the same, and lives in fear of the inevitable consequences of breaking the code.

         It’s called culture. And the worst cultures are religious cultures.

         There was a time in the American culture when almost everyone bowed to the dictates of a so-called religious moral code that superseded much of what our hearts were designed to experience.

         Rather than being loved-based, it was fear-based. And the sad thing about it all was that it played right into the devil’s hands. Though there was undoubtedly limited success against sin in the code, there was also success against life. Proverbial babies were constantly being thrown out with the bathwater.

         Have you ever wondered why the God of all creation made it so easy to sin? It did not matter how oppressive a culture might be, or how strict the mores of that culture might bind a person up into a little shell of being becoming too fearful to take a chance on venturing forth. If a person wanted to sin, a person could always find a way.

         But while all the authority figures were displaying their very heavy hand at stopping any potential moral failure or embarrassing cultural code-breaking by the young deviants among us, where was God? Why didn’t God surround everyone with angels with big sticks ready to whack us all into kingdom come when we stepped out of line? Where was God when and if we decided to test the boundaries of our cultural arrangement?

         Why does God seem to take the attitude that we can do whatever we want but He will get us in the end? Why does it seem as though God doesn’t seem to care all that much about our little lives but is taking big notes that He will use against us at our final trial?

         And how in the world have Christians in general bought into this picture of God even though God’s great act of love blares out at us day after day and hour after hour through any one of thousands of reminders, most notably a simple cross?

         God became one of us!

         We must throw our false religious garbage and idiotic moral codes right out the window if they do not address this simple fact.

         God became one of us, and He lived among us, and He knows how hard it is, and He knows how lonely people are, and He cries inside all the day long about how broken people have become and how our hearts are often destroyed by the very nature of this fallen world and the evil among us.

         And He wonders how His wonderful perfect creation could all go so wrong…

         But there was no other way.

         There was no other way to create people just like Him unless He also blessed them with the freedom to choose their own path.

         And that’s what this world is all about. It’s the simple answer to the philosophical problem from evil. Human choice creates bad stuff and sometimes some really, really bad stuff. And free will is why God does not stop us from making bad choices. Oh, He will try to convince us otherwise. He will try to reason with us. He attempts to tell us about the eventual fallout when what appears to be a good decision will turn into a complete disaster later on. He really does try to guide us and stop us from doing stupid things. That’s essentially what the Law of Moses is all about.

         But at the end of the day He will not deny our free will. He will allow us to choose incorrectly. He will let us have the final say.

         What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be!

         For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. [Galatians 3:17-21]

         But righteousness is not based on law. Tell this to all the moral cultural crusaders throughout history, especially in America, who tried to force compliance toward morality. Tell this to all the dimwitted quasi-Christians who refuse the fullness of a walk with God because it violates their religion and false Christian doctrines and stupid lame-brained attitude that continually attempts to force God to be like them, instead of surrendering their lives completely to be like Him.

         Many people think America took a nose dive in the 1960’s but refuse to consider the actions of the previous generations that were the real cause of the cultural breakdown. The 1960’s in America was actually the time of a great Spirit outpouring and spiritual awakening in that Christians in all denominations and people everywhere were being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues and engaging in miraculous works. But most churches were against it all, and fought it, and opposed the Lord Jesus because He didn’t do it their way! And many fake Christians continue to oppose God and insist on their lifeless religion, negative attitudes, and dead churches to this very day.

         How much of this is based not on the unconditional love of God, his unmerited grace, and one’s total dependence on Him, but on a giant misapplication of Scripture? Sound familiar? Though the Law of Moses seems to be filled primarily with Thou Shalt Not’s and that the heavenly author is a negative NO! God always preoccupied with stifling the free wills of His creation, the truth is actually the opposite.

         A parent tries to tell a child, “Please don’t do this because if you do it will hurt you,” but then must watch as the child does it anyway and feels just as much pain as the child does if not more when the bad results come forth. Yet parents know the child will eventually have the final say.

         Is it any different with God? He knows we will mess up. He knows we will mess up repeatedly. But He has the ability, the strength, and the means to clean up our messes. And this ability, strength, and means stems from His great and powerful love for us. He is able to cleanse our hearts with His precious blood spilled on our behalf, no matter how much we may be stained with sin. And He has the power to raise us to new life!

         So why does God seem to be aloof and uncaring even though the direct opposite is true?

         Because living right is not about force or religious compliance.

         It is about love.

         And no one can make a law that forces a person to love someone.

         And God will never attempt to force anyone to love Him.

         It is not about living a perfect life but finding a perfect love.

         God loves us just the way we are. He does not condemn us for the sins we have committed. His great desire is to guide us as the Good Shepherd He is into the green pastures of abundant life where His grace and perfect sacrifice cleanses us and allows us to be free. Things are the way they are on this planet because it is the only possible means of allowing free-willed beings to love God as much as He loves them.

         God is love, and—

         Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. [Romans 13:10][1]  

           © 2012 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.