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HOW UNREAL CHRISTIANITY SET ITSELF UP FOR SPIRITUAL RUIN

This year’s Lockdown revealed the lowdown on the state of Christianity in America. The hidden truth long since discovered by real Christians was exposed to everyone paying attention.

Church leaders all over the country were notified this past March that they must shut down their churches. They said it would likely be for only a short time. Rather than ask the right questions or even attempt to take a stand, the majority weakly complied without a fight. Once the brief interval of closure passed they were told in no uncertain terms that conditions had changed. The church lockdown would be permanent until further notice. And just like that American Christianity changed forever.

There will be no recovering from this. The enemy that hates Christianity was allowed to dictate the terms. There were certainly a few who fought the order and they were made to pay. They were made examples of and shown what will happen to those who don’t toe the mark. Some of those who invoked their Constitutional rights did everything right in obeying the dictates of the order but were attacked anyway. Local governments and police were quickly on the scene to enforce “the law,” which was actually a violation of the law. Fines were issued, force was used, ministers were abused. And all the other Christians and church leaders looked on in shock that some actually refused to comply. The majority, ensconced in their homes, watching church online, were embarrassed. Don’t these people know we must always obey?

REAL CHRISTIANITY WAS FOUNDED ON SPIRITUAL REVOLT

Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. [Acts 4:13-22]

Some people study history. Some people study church history. Some people make themselves aware through much hard work and prayer of not only New Testament truth but the background of the times that birthed it. This is a vital component of understanding real Christianity. Knowing at least the general timeline of the Old and New Testaments is absolutely necessary for knowing what is expected of a follower of the Lord Jesus.

As I stated in my prior post, the Lord arrived among His people during a time of national darkness. It is very important to understand this in context. Though the land was shrouded in a mysterious and sinister dark gray undulating spiritual cloud, brooding and foreboding, as before the onset of a great storm than never seemed to fully arrive, the nation was also captured by life-sucking religious entities intent on dominance and submission. The people were the host.

Then, suddenly, it was Genesis 1:3 all over again:

‘The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a Light dawned.’ From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:16-17][1]

The people had been told by those in charge what to believe, how to conduct themselves, and what they must do to support the official organization. Individuals did not matter whatsoever. There was no love here. Whoever might resist such encroachments were targeted with abuse. The majority knew their social standing and ability to earn a living demanded compliance to the dictates of the order. Some managed to make it on their own. Most were far too fearful of the prospect.

If there had been a prophet the truth would have been shouted from the housetops and every high hill. The Hebrew prophets were sent directly by God with a powerful spiritual anointing sufficient to overcome the dominance of the religious and secular hierarchies when they strayed (which was often). Their voices were always heard. But the establishment hated prophets. The prophets revealed the rebellion of the controllers and the disgusting personal lifestyle sins hidden behind the walls of false piety. Why do you think the fakers had to dress up in such outlandish costumes and affect such fake religious attitudes? They had to hide what they really were. They had to fake the people out to gain and remain in power.

But there hadn’t been a real prophet in the land for centuries. There were likely individuals here and there that had some semblance of diffused spiritual light but such was obviously not enough to stave off the rise of evil disguised as holy. Some could see the pretenders for what they were but had no power to fight or stop them. This is what always happens when the strong, powerful correcting voice of God is not around to speak spiritual truth and light, and counteract the perpetrators of evil.

When there were prophets the evil ones did their best to oppose and defame them, and often resorted to murder. They saw the latter means as the only reliable solution. Many prophets were killed. As their voice was eliminated it allowed for evil to rise exponentially.

If the nation prayed earnestly for deliverance and brought forth the fruits of real repentance God would respond.

He would send another prophet, as pure salt and light, not necessarily to defy the idiots who had wrested control but to save the nation. If the nation didn’t care there was nothing God could do other than be there for the remaining faithful Remnant. The people composing the Remnant had the double whammy of standing for God in a Godless society but also being under constant attack by the despots in charge.

Understanding this dynamic should cause one to get the big idea regarding our present circumstances. In the not too distant past, if the government sent out a directive to shut down all the churches, Christians would have fought back with holy fervor. Such a directive would never work. Other directives did, however. There are many ways the sly ones can force compliance to their will, the central tenet of which involves compromising and diluting the strength of Christianity, if not causing its outright destruction. Sadly, Christians in general were too dumb to understand the ulterior motives utilized to neutralize them.

As the great compromise advanced, the day arrived when church leaders made a deal with the devil, so to speak, and aligned themselves with governmental monetary dictates, such as the 501c3. This worked out great for both parties, except for the simple fact that free speech in the pulpit was erased. Ministers could no longer speak out against the government (you know, like a prophet), or speak the will of the congregation regarding candidates for government office.[2] The congregants weakly complied with the plan also because if they didn’t, their social and monetary status would likely suffer. Couldn’t have that.

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING

Somebody would have stood up and said something. Oh yes, they did. And they were eventually showed the door. If Mr. Big Bucks in the front pews did this it would be different, of course. He had money. Preachers have always traditionally listened to money and would generally back off. If you don’t see this happening outwardly it’s because both are already in it together. No, the one who would stand up and oppose the non-New Testament garbage being spouted would most often be a man of no means, exactly like the Old Testament prophets. He stood no real chance of being effective toward actual reform without the support of the people and would be silenced or removed. Therefore, even when God sent a corrective it was most often rejected. Sound familiar?

Some went out and started new churches. They had no choice. They knew too much. They would likely only be accepted elsewhere if they kept their mouths shut. Why this strange attitude toward New Covenant truth? Why were the big boy controllers so afraid of the real teachings of the Lord? Because it exposed them as frauds.

THE HIGH COST OF DISCIPLESHIP

I remember, a long time ago, a certain church leader, who appeared to be a good guy and sincere, was talking about how easy it was to live for God. There is no doubt this man had mastered some of the requisites for discipleship. He was Spirit-filled and had a good attitude. He had a good record. But he was also on the payroll. Guess what percentage of solid real disciples are on a ministry payroll? We have this strange tradition in Christianity that only very few believers are qualified to gain monetary compensation for their Christian service. 99% of Christians are thus on their own. It’s a good thing some are with the Lord while on their own. They are forced even among believers to seek a secular means for making a living. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that if it came down to the apostle Paul getting paid or pretty much anyone else in church, including the majority of preachers, I would go with the apostle Paul. Why? Because most preachers could not perform like the apostle Paul in a million years. They are not there to “follow Paul as he follows Christ.” They don’t even pretend to be like Paul.

But guess what? There were a great many believers in Paul’s day, a large percentage, who were doing the same spiritual things Paul was doing. They were certainly not the evangelistic teaching apostolic dynamo Paul was, but if that’s the criteria for getting paid then most preachers and church leaders in America must go off the payroll immediately. That was not the criteria, of course. The Lord always took care of His people and still does. Yet, I submit that if the majority of Christians, the very ones who make Christianity work and supply the lion’s share of money and effort, are deemed officially unworthy of compensation then so are the majority of Christian ministers. There are enough ministers who do the same work sans donations or paychecks and work like anyone else and should be commended for it. And there are certainly ministers who do the will of God and should be supported financially. But the Lord in general only obligates Himself to support those who do His will and not those with mere titles who pretend to be something they are not.

Regarding the first century AD, there was simply not that much money to go around back then among believers. It never meant the Lord did not provide for His own but that a higher level of discipleship was necessary. They had relatively hard lives. Real Christianity was illegal. Rome could be brutal. Unbelieving gentiles thought Christians were at least strange if not lawless cultists. The unbelieving Jews were constant threats for open attack. Who do you think killed the Lord Jesus? And instigated the death of James the apostle? And Stephen? And almost Peter? Who was trying to kill Paul every day of his Christian life? Each of these men were Israelites who were deemed “strayed” and “heretics” by the Sanhedrin. The greatest persecution ever faced by the Early Church was by the unbelieving anti-Christian Israelites who saw Christianity as a vile heresy.

Despite this and all the rejection, the believing Israelites held on, continued honoring and working for the Lord Jesus, were later joined by great numbers of believing gentiles, and both together eventually prevailed against great odds. However, there was no way it would have been possible without the game-changing indwelling Holy Spirit of God. The devil got in his licks but could not stop the juggernaut.

OPENING THE GATES FOR DEMONIC INVASION

But what about the persecutors? What happened to those opposing the Lord? —The same thing that is happening to Unreal Christianity at this very moment. This overall entity has traditionally rejected real believers who do their best to know and comply with the Lord’s teachings, even if they clash with church doctrine, until many churches have none left. Without them there is no spiritual salt and light. Without the presence of the Lord it becomes easy for the devil to invade the premises. Their lack of spiritual strength makes it impossible to make a stand for God. In the effort to keep themselves in control and honor a different gospel, they have set themselves up for ruin by having no one left to come to their rescue.

The only choice remaining is to accept the terms of surrender.

© 2020 by R.J. 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.

[2] President Trump promised to change this but the ministers involved probably decided against it because it might wreck their funding.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 5)

         But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:15-20]

         Two thousand years ago, it was unbelieving Jews in places of high religious authority who were in opposition to the use of the Lord’s Name by believing Jews, such as Peter, John, and the entire Jerusalem community of faithful ones.

         Today, it is unbelieving Christians in places of high religious authority who restrict the Lord and His believing children from using the Name above every name in ministry. And there is no area of Christian practice in which this is more blatant than water baptism, the first and foremost use of the Lord’s powerful Name in the infant community of saints. In every single instance or inference of water baptism throughout the entire Book of Acts and post-gospel epistles, the Name of Jesus was administered. This continued for three hundred years until Roman laws were put in place to eliminate its use.

         What do Roman laws have to do with Christian practice, you may ask? Everything, since the Roman Empire co-opted Christianity and created their own hybrid for the sake of religious control by A.D. 325. Seventeen centuries later, almost every single Christian denomination and autonomous body continue to obey the Roman law that eliminated the Name of Jesus from baptism.

         Christians now openly joke about it, wondering what the big deal is and why such even matters. They do not care that they routinely disobey the Lord’s commands and the very clear historical record. Some simply do not know any better because they have been deceived. Any halfway decent theologian knows, however. Biblical encyclopedias and dictionaries clearly state the truth for any who may be inclined to search for truth in the matter.

         Therefore, the question is not if such is really true, but why do the majority of Christians continue to thumb their collective nose at God and refuse to use His Name in baptism? Without His Name there is no power, no authority, no witness, no representation of His death and burial, and no washing away of sin.

         Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Colossians 3:17]

         Does anyone think the Lord Jesus cares about this issue? He is God, of course, and it is His Name. In the preceding verse, the apostle Paul taught that we were to do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Peter and John understood this directive, originally issued by the Lord, and were certainly aware of the power in His Name when they used it in the healing of the famous lame man at the temple gate:

         Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [Acts 3:1-8]

         This miracle, likely witnessed by hundreds, would not have been possible without the Lord’s name. Generations had known of this man. Tens of thousands and perhaps more had seen him at the Beautiful Gate over several decades. Word spread rapidly, so rapidly that the authorities were greatly alarmed.

         Later, Peter stated to those assembled in the aftermath,

         “On the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” [Acts 3:16]

         Once the religious authorities had heard about the great miracle, they showed up post haste:

         As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:1-4]

         Put them in jail? For a miracle? No. The offense was using the Lord’s Name. This one instance is enough to reveal to all real believers that a real profession of faith and determination to use the Lord’s Name will cost. And it will cost everything. It is the sword that sows division as intimated by the Lord.

         “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” [Matthew 10:32-36]   

         There is never any middle ground here. One will either be 100% on the Lord’s side or one will be against Him. A real disciple cannot help but apply the Name of Jesus and would never shrink from using it, regardless of any cost to one’s person or reputation.

         On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”

         Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.

         And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:5-12] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 5 of 10]


[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.