BAPTISM OF OPTIMISM: REJOICE!
He was born to die. He always knew it. He planned it. But even at the very darkest hour He knew there was a call for unbounded optimism: He would soon open the Way to Life.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:1-2]
COUNT IT ALL JOY
Mature Christians of the real variety are very well acquainted with giving a message most will reject. As the Lord Jesus engaged in the greatest ministry of all time with a perfect message expertly delivered and a perfect teaching curriculum second to none, no one was more aware of the inherent difficulty of the task at hand than Him, in that His perfect message would be wasted on the majority.
It would seem, during His time, that all impartial hearers and personal witnesses of His love, compassion, mercy, mighty works, and incessant miracles would immediately join up with Him in a veritable heartbeat if for no other reason than that nothing they experienced could be denied. Denial of His extraordinary presence and perfection was impossible. His ministry was that clear. It was absolutely astounding.
And yet, as a stark testimony to the sheer impossibility of errant and immoral human beings besought with a sinful human nature—obstinate and unyielding at its core to any and all reform—recalcitrant and unruly—not only did the majority of His own people reject His message, they also rejected Him and drove His Name into the dirt.
His “own people” constituted not only His fellow Israelites in general but also the political leaders of His nation, the religious leaders of His nation, the foreign leaders in positions of authority in His nation, an untold number of His relatives, and even members of His own immediate family. One can only wonder at the great mental, moral, and emotional disconnect existing in the heart of the willfully lost and the message that could set them free. The Lord had effectively given everything He had, even acting as a supernatural electrician running miles of spiritual romex connected to the power plant of Heaven directly to their hearts and all they had to do was flip a switch. BUT NO.
And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” [Mark 3:2-22]
Rather than acknowledge the great Light that had arrived for their salvation and honoring Him and praising Him and being thankful for Him they instead said He had an illegitimate birth, that He was a drunk and a glutton, that He was crazy, and that He was demon possessed. If this does not reveal to an impartial observer the wickedness of humanity nothing ever will. These hell bound moral laggards, at that time the greatest DAs in the history of the world though perceived by the world as upstanding and trustworthy, were the epitome of deceived demon-influenced dunderheads which a sinful unseeing nation prostrated themselves before and trusted exclusively with no thought of thinking for themselves or even giving God a glance. The blind were truly leading the blind but only because the wimpy blind yielded to the authoritative blind because they were far too fearful to risk thinking for themselves.
And yet none of it took the Lord by surprise. No one was more aware of the utter depravity of humanity. He created humanity. He watched humanity fall. He saw humanity from the very beginning from the Garden up to His present and knew very well what He was dealing with. And He came to this earth anyway. He subjected Himself to the vast stupidity and hate anyway.
He knew most would reject Him. He knew most would find fault with Him. He knew most would count themselves better than Him. He knew most would trust their own inclinations or those of their betters. He knew most would not budge an inch from whatever their chosen belief system was. He knew the majority of the indoctrinated and brainwashed would willingly remain that way.
He knew, for most of the people He preached to, that facts would never matter. Nor would the truth matter. Most would not and could not appreciate the truth. For most there was simply no love for facts and truth if these in any way violated their chosen beliefs.
BLINDED BY SIN
And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains. [John 9:39-41]
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]
“Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” [Revelation 3:17-18]
How spiritually blind must one be to indignantly and continuously reject the very Light that would heal their blindness and allow them to see spiritual reality? How dark are the hearts that refuse the Light which would otherwise brighten their being and deliver them from the eternal night?
THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM
Yet there were others, a decided and relative few, who took a completely different tack. They were personally bold enough to go against the grain of the fallen world and deceitful sinful culture. These were spiritual pioneers who would rather seek Light and salvation even it meant inviting the wrath of the wayward and cause ongoing personal suffering. They possessed a gravitas that strengthened them against all onslaughts from evil, both human and demonic, and allowed the Lord to greatly supplement their strength with a spiritual power none could resist.
These composed the Remnant. He would rescue these. He knew they would comply. He knew they would surrender to Him and obey. Why? Because they had already been communicating with Him through prayer and supplication for years, long before He ever arrived as one of us. They had been asking for His help. They knew He could help. They wanted Him. They longed for Him. They would do anything for Him. They knew He was and had always been the answer.
Of course, due to their excellent attitude and desire for actual spiritual reality they did not fare too well with other members of society who were impossible to communicate with on a spiritual level. These had a different mindset. They had very little in common with the unrepentant. The Remnant, with reference to this world, knew something was off. They refused to make peace with sin or accept the sinful ways of the world, though they also knew it would make life more difficult.
They knew the way of the Lord Jesus was the highest way, the most pure and righteous way, and they would do their best to follow it. Thus, they rejected the social relativism of the sinful culture which always sought an extremely low common denominator. Such relativism is, of course, the administered agenda of the controllers since dumbed-down masses all on the same drivel-inspired page of monotony are much easier to control and use to do their bidding. And the exact dynamic is present in Unreal Christianity.
OUR GLORIOUS PRESENT
People are waking up. People are gaining their sight. By allowing evil the upper hand and freedom to show itself in all its wickedness, that which had previously been hidden behind dark shadows has emerged into the open. They think the coast is clear. They think they are free to sin to their heart’s content with no ramifications or accountability. They have revealed themselves for what they are. And people are noticing. Those who desire righteousness are raising up a standard, first, in their own lives and then against the wicked. Many are coming to an understanding of repentance, what it is and why it is necessary.
Real Christians have always known from the time of their born again experience that a spiritual Rubicon must be crossed and that one can never go back. They know that when a person makes a commitment to the Lord Jesus it is an irrevocable commitment. There is no looking back or turning back or desire to do so. They know they have crossed a line of separation. The terms of the New Covenant demand it. Those who have recently been awakened know they can never unsee what they have already seen. They know too much.
They know the only remaining direction is forward.
The world of fakery, much of it media-inspired, whether cultural or religious, must be left behind.
BAPTISM OF OPTIMISM
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. [Psalm 23:1-3]
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it, and I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones. [Psalm 52:8-9]
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. [Psalm 92:12-15]
He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like the green leaf. [Psalms 11:28]
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” [Jeremiah 17:7-8]
Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, for the tree has borne its fruit, the fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God; for He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, the early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. [Joel 2:21-24]
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [John 10:10b]
© 2022 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.
CIVIL WAR IN THE CHURCH REVISITED: ON THE DECEPTION OF APPEARANCES
Three years ago I wrote a truth-revealing post that struck deep with many readers. It referred to an ongoing pretense problem within official Christianity.
It is called The Real Civil War in the Church. There’s a link at the end. Here is a brief excerpt:
“Real Christianity is the only hope America has left and most American Christians don’t want real Christianity.”
THIS PRESENT DARKNESS
If you have control, if you have market share, if you have great amounts of money rolling in, and if you share great popularity, the odds of obeying the Lord are greatly lessened. In other words, who needs God when everything is going so well?
When such good fortune happens to non-believers they always fall for the notion that they are responsible: They worked hard. They used their brain. They proved themselves better than the competition. They’re good looking. They have great personalities. They dress well. All of these common bromidic conceptions are nothing more than false fronts to be deceived by.
This same dynamic happens to Christians. Spiritual pride is not a new thing. It obviously stems from personal pride which extends itself into a false persona with a Christian wrapping, proving that Christians can be just as self-deceived as anyone. Success is always measured in such circles in the same tired ways. Though a probable majority is self-deceived, it is not as if they didn’t have help. Christian leaders deceiving Christian followers has always worked extremely well for several reasons. One is that Christian followers always give way too much credit to their religious overlords and treat them as demigods or always above reproach. In other words, as non-human.
It doesn’t matter than we have the mile-long written Word of God pronouncing repeatedly the foibles, weaknesses, bad character, failures, and outright deliberate sin of such leaders. Moreover, their sin is perceived as not sin, or they were subjected to extenuating circumstances, or they were under too much stress due to the great job they’re doing, or their compassion caused them to fall to temptation, and saving the best excuse for last, the devil made them do it.
Real Christians have thus come to understand that Christian leaders are just as flawed as non-leaders, and they further understand that the Lord Jesus had to be sinless though subjected to the same temptations we all are, not only because He must present Himself for sacrifice as the spotless Lamb of God, but also because we all need a Leader to look to and follow who is never overcome by sin and failure. The rest of us humans do not qualify. This includes Christian leaders. This especially includes Christian leaders who believe themselves to be above it all. They prove by their actions, behavior, willingness to take control, and absolute unwillingness to subject themselves to God’s discipline and timing that they deem themselves worthy and better than the rest.
NEW COVENANT LEADERSHIP
This is actually an easy one but has become greatly complicated, again, by the wrong people in charge. Such people may have been given a spiritual mandate of sorts by the Lord but often have trouble accepting His limits. The key, and for good reason, is to always strive for the proper balance between the Lord’s overall absolute leadership in concert with His working through the challenging medium of humanity which always has a tendency to want more authority than God allows.
The way the enemy overcomes such limits is by attempting to convince certain people they are superior, greater, advanced, more worthy, etc. Christian followers must be convinced their leaders are much better than they, their followers, are or they won’t follow them. Both have become convinced of the superior-inferior fallacy and accepting of the false clergy-laity divide. There is no shortage of those who believe themselves qualified and reining them in is like herding cats.
Let’s say there is someone who photographs extremely well. Let’s say this person has a personal magnetism, a great personality, looks great in great clothes, and has enough confidence to almost make the devil jealous. But this person is not really into morality. You can plug this type in anywhere and use them as tools. Of course, some of the people who qualify as such, those with a conscience, know what they really are regardless of their many such blessings and will attempt the humble road and refuse to be used as props or manipulate others through their props. These account for only a few, however. The rest become politicians.
Sadly, however, many become church leaders. Before you jump my case on this please consider three men that God put forth before us long ago to prove this truth—the first three kings of Israel. They were King Saul, King David, and King Solomon. All three of these men had outward attributes far better than the rest. Saul was both tall and handsome, a living cliché. David was said to be a very good looking guy, was a stout warrior and leader of men, an excellent musician, and you get the idea. Some have described him as an All American Israelite. Solomon, one of David’s many sons, must have also shared David’s outward characteristics. His mother Bathsheba was obviously a babe and David was so smitten with her beauty he committed adultery and had her husband killed. That’s some powerful beauty right there. Solomon also shared this family characteristic as well but used it to the nth degree. He was so wise he had 900 wives. Right.
The rest of the story is that Saul turned into a massive jerk, David acted like a jerk on several occasions, and Solomon became one of the greatest jerks of all time. All three did enough to bust hell wide open and rot there forever. But one of these three escaped that fate by having a quality most leaders and many Christians leaders do not possess. He was able, though he needed help, to see what he really was. When his spiritual sight was best David called himself a worm. He realized, however, that the Lord had called him to a high position in the eyes of the people but also that he must humble himself so God, the real Leader, would always be seen as such. Saul started out this way. So did Solomon, in a sense. Saul ended up going nuts and lost everything. Solomon became the first antichrist. David also sinned but followed it up with great, soul-ripping repentance.
This is what truly great people do. They know what they are. They know they are gifted but also know they are mere humans subjected to sin and temptation, and the best way to overcome is to take every opportunity to destroy pride.
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts. [Zechariah 4:6]
I remember when I was a rookie Christian. A bunch of us went to a small church in great revival. It was so awesome. The Spirit of God was powerful in that place. At some point I saw a young woman there. She was not physically attractive. But she was so filled with the Spirit of God her face was shining. Her eyes were bright. She had such a big smile. Everything about her exuded spiritual beauty. She was not physically attractive and yet she was spiritually beautiful. On the flip side there are stunning women with ugly hearts.
We know from Isaiah Chapter 53 that the Lord Jesus was not a physically handsome Man during His time here. He had no physical charisma. He had none of the outward qualities I described previously in this article. He did not look like Saul or Solomon but there are clues that he shared some of David’s characteristics. But we all know the bottom line. He was filled with the Spirit of God without measure. God is beautiful. And loving. And compassionate. And kind. God is 100% good. When He chose His human tabernacle, He did not choose to be the best looking. He did the same with His mother Mary, of course. Mary was likely just like that young woman I spoke to briefly at that revival and never saw again. Mary was not a looker but was the most beautiful woman on the planet as God counts beauty.
This is what the infilling of the Spirit of God does to a person. They become spiritually attractive because the Spirit of God is. And they operate from, by, and within the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is their strength and song. They are completed by God. Because of this they know what they are without Him, which is pretty much nothing. They therefore do not give in to pride. They determine they will not operate through mere humanness. Of course, the Lord helps such people in this effort. He demands we submit to His discipleship. Such will eventually burn off the spiritually worthless garbage. This should prove to all that many Christians, and certainly many so-called Christian leaders, never submit to His discipleship.
Rather than having spiritual eyes to see spiritual reality, they only see themselves and how great they are.
Instead of How Great Thou Art.
© 2020 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.
Link to Cited Article: THE REAL CIVIL WAR IN THE CHURCH