New Covenant truth is too real for many Christians. It is far too powerful and demands too much. They can’t handle it. They must torque it down enough so their flesh will not be offended.
It brings on serious bouts of conviction and knee jerk reactions to defend:
(1) One’s pride
(2) One’s chosen non-New Covenant-supported alternative views, and
(3) One’s belief that no one should be subjected to the discomfiting notion that God requires more than we are willing to give.
FAITH COMES FROM HEARING
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? [John 6:60 KJV]
Translated into English, here is the same verse:
Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” [John 6:60 NASB]
And the answer to that, my friend, is the one with spiritual ears. Such ears are apparently in short supply these days. Or maybe they always have been. Or maybe it takes effort on our part to locate such ears or manifest them. Perhaps such ears have something to do with being tuned in to the right channel? And isn’t it interesting that the Lord did not seem overly concerned with making sure everyone within earshot was properly equipped with such ears to gain His frequency?
“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” [Luke 13:24]
Here we see it again. As in the ears scenario, there is also the “who can enter” scenario. The Lord makes a clear ratio proportion statement here between the enterers and non-enterers apparently related directly to the ears and no ears people and that the former (enterers with ears) are fewer than the latter (non-enterers with no ears). In other words, there will be many more goats than sheep. That is why he answered in verse 24 the question asked by someone in verse 23 the way He did. That person heard something in the spirit which made it sound as if only a relatively small number would make entering the narrow door a priority:
“Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” [Luke 13:23]
Was this true? (Affirmative). And are spiritual ears a component of the admission ticket? (Sure sounds like it). And for at least partial confirmation, we have the following declarative statement (which explains a lot):
“Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” [Acts 14:22]
MAKING THE TEAM
I played a lot of men’s softball in my time. I coached several teams. I named one of my church teams the Walk-Ons. For those of you not clear on this sports term, a Walk-On was a player who was never expected to make a team but “walked on” the field. It usually relates to college teams who fill their rosters with prized recruits who are given athletic scholarships but also allow tryouts for other students. Walk-Ons used to be a little more common.
In my case our church had an “A” team but the coach allowed ringers. I didn’t like that. They also didn’t have the best attitude. So I put together a team of actual loyal church-goers. We all chipped in for the league fee. We were designated the “B” team but we beat the “A” team in the only practice game we played together. Right before the season started, one really good player left the “A” team to play on my team, in part because he appreciated that we did things the right way. Even so, we were still only the second team, largely unknown and unsupported. Nevertheless, though just a bunch of Walk-Ons, we gave it our all.
THE LORD’S TEAM
Only the best will make the cut. Getting to heaven is not a popularity contest. It doesn’t matter how great a Christian thinks he is, how much he has accomplished for the Lord, and to whatever degree he managed to cross the religious T’s and dot the churchy I’s. No one is saved by their accomplishments. No one makes heaven based on their record within a Christian culture, no matter how many accolades are thrust upon one or memorials, monuments, or statues built to honor one’s posterity.
The only way to make heaven is by the Blood of the Lamb. Period. It was a perfect sacrifice. It was enough to save every single person who ever lived. Nothing anyone can do will ever add to it and it is impossible to take anything from it. The New Covenant is thus written in Blood. And it is a Covenant. It is a Blood Covenant. It is an agreement made between two parties in which each party gives 100%. That means everything. It starts with giving one’s entire heart. It continues with giving one’s entire life. Anything one does for the Lord is a gift to Him. It can never, ever come close to His gift for us, but He doesn’t look at it that way. What must happen to make the Covenant complete, lawful, and in effect is not that we match His gift, because it can never be done, but that we give all. Giving all is our best gift. He gave His all and we give our all. This activates the Covenant. Anything less will not work. Those who make the cut are those who gave all.
MILLIONS OF SEEDS BUT ONLY FEW GERMINATE
Most seeds never result in mature, healthy plants. God designed nature to have an overabundance of seeds to increase the chances of life. Watch what happens here:
“The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Luke 8:5-8]
In this parable, three out of four seeds never come to fruition. Have you ever wondered why the sower threw his seed beside a road, upon rocky soil, or among thorn bushes? What kind of sower does that? A sower with bad aim? A sower who doesn’t much care where the seed goes? This does not appear to be a very good sower. He pretty much throws the seed everywhere.
So here we have a parable within a parable. I must leave it to the reader to figure out the full implications put forth here because that’s what the Lord said to do (“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”) Nevertheless, I would think that those who heard these words back then were probably thinking the same thing, in that no experienced planter would be so careless. An experienced planter would only plant seeds in well cultivated good soil.
His disciples immediately asked the Lord what this parable meant. They didn’t understand. He then explained it to them. He also said, however, that only His disciples would be granted the meaning. No one else would get it. Whoever was not the Lord’s disciple would hear the parable but not understand the meaning of it, likely because they didn’t care about it anyway. They didn’t care and could not understand because they were not disciples. A disciple of the Lord is characterized as one who gives all. It doesn’t mean His disciples are necessarily the best specimens of humanity but only that they are fully committed.
Regarding why the sower appeared to have such bad aim is because he had to go where the people were. The people had four different types of hearts and only one was the type that produced spiritual fruit. Was only one qualified to make heaven? When I was a rookie Christian years ago I surmised that the Lord taught us we had a one in four chance of getting saved or 25%. This means 75% would not make the cut. He said as much in the following:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14]
The word “few” sounds like even less than 25%. The point, however, is that only a decided minority will make heaven. Like the superfluous seeds of nature which never come to full fruition, neither will the majority of humans. However, there is yet another aspect to the Parable of the Sower. The Lord is only referring to people who receive a Gospel witness. Out of all who do, only one in four actually do what is necessary to have good ground and become fruitful Christians. The other 75% HEAR the Word but never produce. Notice the following score card:
“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. [Luke 8:11]
ONE (NO PLANT / NO FRUIT / NO SALVATION):
Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. [Luke 8:12]
TWO (WEAK PLANT / NO FRUIT / NO SALVATION):
Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. [Luke 8:13]
THREE (WEAK PLANT / NO MATURE FRUIT / POSSIBLE SALVATION?):
The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. [Luke 8:14]
FOUR (STRONG PLANT / MATURE FRUIT / FULL SALVATION):
Regarding number three, is it possible to never produce a harvest and still be saved?
CHRISTIAN MYTH MAKING
We can see that some Christians, maybe many, may not agree with the gist of this parable. It appears as though the Lord is making it much too hard to be a good Christian. The truth is that the naysayers likely think the Lord’s standard is too difficult because their brand of Christianity is so easy. This is true for Christianity in general. It doesn’t ask much. It makes few demands. It certainly does not call for strong perseverance to produce a harvest or indicate that such a harvest is proof of real discipleship. Somewhere along the way, since the time of the original Christians, someone decided to lighten the discipleship load. After a while, being a disciple was no longer required. Keep in mind the Lord never taught this and certainly did not agree with the new slackers, but slacker Christianity eventually became the dominant form. Rather than be a disciple of the Lord giving one’s entire heart and life, many Christians were taught to just show up and go through religious motions and give the new clergyites honor and funding and all would be well. They were lied to, of course, but still complied. They agreed with a false teaching.
Thus, easy believe-ism is not at all a new thing. It’s been around a long time. This does not lessen its diabolical nature. It is one more ploy of the devil to capture souls. Those Christians who buy into such a fraudulent covenant do not deserve heaven, essentially because they do a grave disservice to the Lord’s pure sacrifice. They hear the Word, at least in part, but rarely or never act on it according to the Lord’s directives. Spiritually speaking, they keep their hearts to themselves.
And because their preferred narrative states that as many as all four types of the people listed are saved, for various reasons, and that the work of salvation and persevering discipleship are mere outdated or non-essential notions, they not only create a god to suit themselves but a gospel as well.
It is the twisted gospel of the mythmakers.
© 2020 by R.J. 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.
They’re all dead and in the grave. Their mortal remains are all that remain in this three dimensional world. But they still live on. They have gone to the other side.
To those human beings who have no belief in a spiritual world, they truly are the intelligent animals they claim to be. Though intelligent might be a stretch. It is not so intelligent to have what is otherwise the obvious evidence of God’s presence and creation all around us and still not see.
Have they been taught out of the truth? I suspect this is true. I remember, as a tyke, the wonder of it all. I believe with all my heart that all very young children are very close to God. They don’t question His presence. They don’t question spiritual reality because they don’t question goodness and life and laughter and joy. Even babies laugh out loud. I get tickled when they get so tickled they can’t stop laughing.
One wonders what happens to most humans as they get older. It can be argued that maybe their environment is bad or their parents are not so good or whatever. But this is all a crock. There have been so many born of a low estate with strong challenges that later left that estate simply because they willed themselves to and refused to be brought down by circumstance. I know my own family was neither rich nor poor. We had a good house and ate well. My parents were responsible. They loved us.
Speaking of eating well in otherwise humble conditions I heard of one man who came from a very poor family but said they always had plenty of food. He said he knew this was true because when he was a hungry kid he often asked for seconds and his Dad said he already had plenty.
It used to be that families made do with a whole lot less. You do the best you can. The Lord looks upon our lives and will help if we have any faith but I believe He protects us anyway. But it is our own wills and bad choices that get us in trouble. At the end of the day we are solely responsible and will have to face the Lord alone. I think it is wise to practice this. I think it is a smart thing to do to picture ourselves before the Lord at the judgment:
“What do you have to say for yourself?” And we would say “You died in my place Sir. Without You I have no chance. I have tried to do my best. I committed many sins but repented a lot also. It took a long time but You finally convinced me that I am worthy of eternal life but only because You say so, and I believe You, and I know You love me, and I love You, and you paid my way to make it possible…”
And then I think, wait, hold on, shouldn’t one’s judgment before the Lord be a time of great joy? I mean, if we have been living by faith and trust in Him and are really trying hard to be a good Christian and have achieved something or another for Him, shouldn’t we believe that He will give us great news? I am not talking about presumption or spiritual arrogance and pride but just looking at it the way a child would. Would a young happy innocent child expect anything less than spending forever with his or her heavenly Father? This is why I think many Christians have made it all too complicated.
Those who have gone before would tell us this. They had found that the secret to living for the Lord and eventually getting to heaven was along these lines:
First of all, take the Lord at His Word. If He says the default destination of every soul is hell and that’s where you’re going without Him and all He can do for you then that’s where you’re going unless you do something about it. If He says there is another Way, a road that starts with a small gate and involves a narrow road pushed in on both sides by pressure that is sometimes not at all so comfortable, and that if one chooses this road and stays on it no matter what then one will eventually get to the destination which naturally occurs at the end of that road. We know this about every other road. No one travels without destinations in mind. The Lord’s Way has a destination.
Secondly, we have to know why we are here. The first church I belonged to after my born-again experience majored on teaching witnessing. We were always being told to go out and witness to others. So I did. A lot. With many. I was so anointed and had so much to say and everything was so brand new. I wanted everyone to know what I knew and how great the Lord was. A few years later in a new church I learned about something that was relatively new back then, or at least new to me. It was a “spiritual gifts” test based on Romans Chapter 12. Through this test I found out that I had a teaching gift. Teaching always came up first and prophesying second. This made perfect sense because I had an insatiable hunger for the Word of God and loved telling others everything I learned. Long before this I had already bought a brand new leather bound Thompson Chain Reference Bible and one of those big Strong’s concordances. I was always doing word studies and etc.
Knowing who I was and why I was here made it a lot easier to live for God. I know this will sound goofy to some who have no qualms about making fun of spiritual things, but I had discovered my mission in life. I have tried my best to honor my calling and stay on point in my mission, but as all real Christians know, we are simultaneously fighting a spiritual war and sometimes the enemy gets in some good licks and slows us down. Sometimes we mess up on our own. Sometimes we get knocked right down on our butts and it takes a while to get back up and get going again. But if we do what we had always done we will get back up. We will go on. It is due in part to a strong sense of duty and responsibility but it’s also because the work we are called to is something we enjoy and which actually charges our spiritual batteries. We also want to go stomp the devil the way he stomped us. We must never let the big idiot have the final say or the last lick. One must get up to fight again and give that piece of garbage yet another black eye and bloody lip.
Those who went before us know this also. Those solid and powerful believers did damage to the idiot’s disgusting little kingdom and rescued souls by the thousands. They knew what could be done and they did it. Their examples give us great inspiration because we see that they were just human as we are human, and the Lord was able to work through them, often in a mighty way, which gives us confidence that He can do the same with us. What a great thing it must be to complete one’s course and come to the end of the narrow road with the Lord Jesus Himself there to greet us! How cool is that?
So I encourage you all to continue on and know that if they could do it we can do it. It might seem highly unbelievable that flesh and blood human beings can somehow be transformed from this three dimensional world into an unseen spiritual world when for all practical reasons it looks like we just die and go to the grave and that’s it. But real Christianity, that which is based exclusively on the teachings of the Lord Jesus, says the grave we see is not the end of us but merely the end of a flesh and blood temple housing an eternal spirit until a future resurrection, and that we will live on forever in great joy and peace with the Lord. If we believe this and stay on the road, what He says will happen will happen. We will get there. But we must have a purpose. We must have a reason to live this life that brings honor to Him.
Those that went before us figured out early on who they were and what their purpose was and then they got after it and stayed after it. Attending to their callings made their life’s work possible, and it made life go by relatively fast. The more they paid attention to their walk the easier it was to stay on the road.
Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” [Luke 2:46-49] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The Lord Jesus died for individuals. By this He attributed infinite worth to each person. You are the crown of creation.
All individuals are thus qualified to accept His grace. His grace is undeserved favor. He is willing to grant to every individual complete, absolute, total undeserved favor. One cannot work for it. One cannot earn it. One cannot purchase it. It is a gift, an extreme gift of the greatest kind.
It did not come cheap. It cost the Lord Jesus EVERYTHING. He gave all He had and everything He is. He gave His entire heart. He put heaven on the line to come here and rescue us. But again, He did not do this as though He were rescuing a group. He is not in love with a group. He is in love with individuals. That He loves all individuals the same does not lessen His absolute love for all.
GOD IS LOVE
The only person who could possess and express such love is the Creator Himself. There have been many arguments on this subject by people who claim that a loving, benevolent God would never allow for the existence of so much hate and evil as exists on this planet and that if He was all that loving He would at least put an end to it. However, those who bring this argument rarely or never identify the real cause of the hate and evil they claim God is responsible for. He is only responsible for giving human beings the ability and freedom to make their own choices. Some choose to manifest such hate and evil.
He obviously does not desire such nor does He sanction it. He certainly allows it, though, but only because individual freedom is impossible otherwise. People must be allowed to choose whether they will engage in love or hate. They must be granted the ability to do good or evil. Otherwise they have no freedom. This would portend that God has no respect for them. In contrast, some religious “leaders” will certainly exhibit great disrespect for individuals in that they will do their utmost to curtail their freedom so as to get the results they desire and in so doing create religious automatons with bound minds and bound hearts. They might as well put everyone in jail especially those who might do something wrong even before they do it. These people are irresponsible.
THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY
The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, is certainly responsible for his Creation. It is why He has created something much better than anything mankind has devised and it is actually something He created in the very beginning that mankind deviated from. Thus, the culprit is not God and never has been God. The culprit is mankind. Mankind is the entity responsible for the creation of hate and evil. And mankind is not a faceless mass but is composed of individuals. Each individual is consequently responsible for his or her own sin.
Some individuals feel remorse. Some individuals have a conscience in good working order and know when they do wrong and also want to remedy it. They wish it had never happened. They wish they had never performed the sinful deed whatever it may be and whatever weight it may carry. The Lord has made a provision for this. We call it repentance. We call it making a confession of the sin. It must be confessed. It must be acknowledged. It must be seen as sin. If so, it can be absolved. If we confess our sins to the Lord with the proper motive and a contrite heart and seek to do our best to end such an activity He will not only remove it from the record but do His part to help us overcome. This takes active participation. The inception of this participation is strictly between the Lord and the individual.
The long history of the world’s various governments, in general terms, obviously denotes no such respect or love for individual rights but only the privilege of those few who compose the upper class. It is the same in both the secular and religious realms. The vast majority has always existed far below the small minority which wrested power. In the Lord’s Kingdom, however, there are no classes. There is only the Lord and everybody else. All are equal before Him. He shows no partiality. In His Kingdom the individual is afforded the most respect and each individual qualifies.
As some, though very few, governments progressed, the people associated therewith understood that governments which govern best are those which govern least. This gave rise to individual liberty and individual rights which such newly formed governments were created to protect. This form of government, however, demands individual responsibility and maturity which also demands the necessary level of sacrifice for others, starting at the family level, and such must always be absolutely non-coercive. This form is closest to that of the Lord’s Kingdom in that people must be free to grow and develop.
As for those tyrants, haters of mankind and supporters thereof who reject this truth, of which hell will largely be populated, their eternal judgment will be based on their lack of love for the Lord Jesus and for individuals. Conversely, the people who will eventually make heaven their eternal home are those who possess and demonstrate the same love for the Lord and for others that He demonstrated for each of us. We are not saved by this since salvation is by His grace alone, but this love is a byproduct of salvation. For those who insist that human beings are not capable of such love they have a failed argument. It is only an excuse on their part since they do not possess such love. Because they do not have it or care to express it if they did, they do not see how anyone else can. We have examples of this love in the multitude of individuals loving other individuals and often to the ultimate degree.
Every day somewhere in the world there are people sacrificing their lives in some way for another. Some of them sacrifice in the greatest way. This is the greatest love. The Lord sees their sacrifice and records it. Those who love in such a way are not doing it for the record, to be noticed, or for some fake religious reason. They are doing it because they have love in their hearts for others even though they may not personally know them. How many risk their lives for another person in need that they had only just met?
We often see this in disasters and accidents. For example, we saw a lot of this activity in the hurricane-spawned floods last year in the Houston, Texas area. Everyone was helping everyone it seemed. There was a massive amount of volunteer activity. Many contributed monetarily. Some gave great amounts of money that went toward not only saving lives in the moment but helping people get back on their feet after their lives had essentially been destroyed. Many people lost everything. But many people were also helped to make a new start.
THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION
That’s what happens when we give our lives to the Lord Jesus. He saves us from the destructive and alienating power of personal sin. His salvation requires a new birth. We make a brand new start! We become reconciled to Him. Old things pass away. We accept and receive His great love for us as seemingly mere individuals lost in a sea of humanity. But He knows our names. He knows our hearts. He knows each of us individually. Because of this, we are not to be characterized as “mere.” He died for you. He died for each of us. But He also rose again. This means that each of us, as individuals, can also rise again. That was the entire point of His life and resurrection.
We can demonstrate this in the here and now. Like so many of the flood victims who were loved and assisted toward a brand new life after losing everything, so can each of us begin anew knowing we have a heavenly Father who loves us with the greatest love. His love is eternally self-renewing in that it overcomes everything that runs down or has run down. Since He is the Creator, He can overcome the natural tendency of deviation, dissolution, decay, and destruction from and of His perfect original creation of which each individual person is the greatest part.
The Lord Jesus saves us one at a time. It is the only way He can eliminate hate and evil. We must cooperate with Him to eliminate any hate, evil, and sin in our own hearts. It starts with each of us. We are individuals. And each one of us means more to the Lord than His own life.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new!” [Revelation 21:3-5] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The Lord obviously knew when He created free-will human beings that some would rebel. Some would choose a life of sin and never depart from it. This is why there must be judgment.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” [John 16:7-11]
REJECTERS OF MESSIAH
There is a certain class of people who routinely take the Name of the Lord in vain. They use the Name of Jesus like a cuss word. They have no conviction about it whatsoever. They actually take honor in doing this. And pretty much everyone gives them a pass.
I happened to be watching television a few weeks ago when a quite egregious example of this appeared. I was not watching the show in particular but saw it while flipping through channels. A former talk show host has a show about cars. In this particular episode he had a former well-known national newscaster with him. The former newscaster was driving. All of the sudden out of nowhere he started laughing about something and then let loose with the Lord’s Name in the most incredibly disrespectful manner. The former talk show host said nothing to correct the former newscaster and even chuckled. Though we see this all the time I was truly shocked. I wondered how people could do this with absolutely no conviction whatsoever.
We also know that the Lord’s Name is fair game for utter disrespect on public television as well. No one may ever say anything even remotely disrespectful about Mohammed or Buddha or the Pope or any other religious figure. If they did they would be immediately censored for a gross violation of the PC code and made to pay. But whoever wants to trash the Name of Jesus can do it all day long with no repercussions. There is no PC police when it comes to Him. The world hates Him. It is the same in movies. When restrictions were lifted on movie content about fifty years ago all manner of vile garbage began coming forth and one thing in particular was the outright trashing of the Lord’s Name. In fact this is where it got its start in its large-scale infecting of the American populace, most of which was Christian. Things have now changed in that regard. The devil has done a great job.
Now, one must ask oneself: “What kind of people use the Lord’s Name as a cuss word and do it with no conviction whatsoever and even do it as a badge of honor, as if they are speaking of a hated enemy?” While reading an article on a news site a few years ago I was alerted to an uncensored clip available for anyone to see in which a female comedian is talking about the crucifixion and she asks herself something to the effect “Would I do that? Yes! I would crucify Him all over again!” She wasn’t smiling. But the entire audience breaks out in laughter. There is a lot of this. Those particular people make jokes about the crucifixion, They dis the Lord Jesus every chance they get and are often very bold about it. There is no doubt a level of great hatred involved. They may think they are special but when the time comes they will find themselves before the very Person they constantly trash. He will be their eternal Judge. What chance do you think they will have?
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD
For those of you who have been reading my latest posts you understand that there was no way the Lord could send the Holy Spirit unless He went away first. Part of going away was becoming the effectual sinless Sacrifice Lamb who would pay for all the sin of the world. Once that process was started He would have to die in order to take care of a few matters that no one before Him had ever been able to do, because everyone else dies as a person who has sinned. The wages of sin is death. But He had no sin. This means death could not hold Him. Even though He died physically He did not stay dead. He had to go through this process to become glorified. Once he completed this He was able to then bless whosoever will with His indwelling Holy Spirit.
“What is this statement that He said, ‘You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come?’”
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. [John 7:36-39]
From this we know there is a certain mandatory type of believing that will result in being filled with the Holy Spirit. For Christians who are not filled with the Holy Spirit, it is likely because there is a problem with their “believing.” Regarding all those who outwardly reject the Lord Jesus, they have no chance whatsoever to be filled with the Holy Spirit and certainly remain in great need of salvation. As long as they reject the Lord they remain in their sins. Unless they change they will die in their sins. When they come before the Lord in judgment they will be condemned because of their unrepentant sin and rebellion.
THE CONVICTING POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
As we read earlier, the Spirit of God is sent in part to convict us of sin. God is holy. He will not dwell with sinners. He has no personal relationship with sinners. If there is to be a relationship the sinner must acknowledge his or her sin and deal with it. They only way to be rid of it is to come before the Lord in repentance with a contrite heart and want to be delivered and set free. There must be great sorrow for committed sins and a powerful desire to stop. Once one is set free from past sin the indwelling Holy Spirit is made available for a person to have power over sin and no longer be subjected to its power. But this entire process starts by coming to faith in the Lord Jesus.
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 4:8-12]
The Lord Jesus is holy and pure. Though He is the Creator of the universe and much more importantly, each one of us, He became a Man and lived among us. He never sinned. He kept the Law perfectly. We have a million proofs that He is exactly who He says He is. There is salvation in no other. There is no other way. He is the only Way.
It is only through Him that our sin can be dealt with. Through His great love and mercy, He has already paid the price. All we must do is acknowledge what He has done on our behalf, come to Him and live for Him. Receiving His Holy Spirit makes living for Him possible. It makes overcoming the power of sin possible. It makes loving everybody possible. Whoever consciously rejects Him or refuses to grant Him the highest honor, however, for any reason, has no chance. He has made it very easy to choose life. The fate of each person is thus completely in their own hands.
As you follow the latest news regarding the slow revealing of great sin and corruption, keep in mind that all that sin and corruption was always there but hidden. We may be temporarily unaware of it and most people may be completely blissfully ignorant of it and never know any better. But those who cannot help but notice the effects of corruption and begin doing research to discover its cause also eventually discover much more. This has now been happening on an ever-increasing scale for years. Much is now known. But wheels must turn. And they are turning.
Part of Great Awakenings is the exposing of sin.
We are each given the opportunity to freely confess our sins before the Lord before we are brought up on charges. In His great mercy He always allows us to tell on ourselves and repent, and thus be done with it. For many others, they refuse to repent and will eventually be exposed. Their sin will be exposed. There is no need for anyone’s sin to be exposed otherwise. It is only those who love sin, continue to sin, and refuse repentance whose sin must eventually be revealed.
There has been great corruption. The revealing of this corruption has started but we have a ways to go. As one case in point, many people associated with Hollywood were always quick to judge others who were trying to live right. Many of those who were trashed were Christians. They were made fun of. Then the big scandal hit and many of those same people were getting slammed. What goes around comes around. The same thing is happening in the government. Massive corruption will eventually be revealed. Those who got away with so much will get away with it no longer. The Lord is shining a light on everything. The perpetrators have no place to hide. Those who will be judged the most severely are those who have judged others so severely and ruined their lives. There will especially be great judgment on those who did their best to destroy morality and the rule of law, who sinned to their heart’s content and greatly violated the law and got away with it. Their actions have done great damage to the country.
This is also true of so-called Christian leaders who have led their flocks away from the Lord Jesus and refused His leadership and Holy Spirit which would otherwise convict them toward holiness. Bold Christians are rising up and coming forth to do His will regarding this. They honor their Lord.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” [Matthew 10:24-27] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
There is absolute power and authority in His Name. And He has given real Christians the use of His Name to activate His authority!
“And 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]
If you are looking for a miracle the first thing you need to do is believe in the Lord Jesus. You must know that He loves you. You must also know that He is the one who brought the whole thing up to begin with, in that miracles are His idea. We learned this from Him. We didn’t make it up.
Why then do we sometimes think He would rather not be involved in the very process He created? We never need to convince Him. It has always been His idea. He performed miracles. He taught His disciples how to perform miracles. They taught others how to perform miracles. Miracles have never ceased and continue today.
Well, actually, let me rephrase that. Miracles always cease or become impossible when there is no faith involved. There must be faith. Faith is very powerful. A person must possess it. It may exist within a person in latent form. If so it must be activated.
If a person believes miracles are no longer possible or that they ceased to exist at some point then for that person there can be no miracles, simply because that person believes in the opposite of what the Lord told us to believe.
This is a very interesting point of doctrine because one cannot be saved without faith. Salvation requires faith. Why would one believe the Lord for the greatest miracle—salvation and eternal life—but not for anything else? The Lord taught no distinction in faith, in that one may have one kind of faith for salvation but not for anything else. Faith is faith. It is all-embracing. It can be used for anything the Lord used it for.
But remember, what we are talking about here is faith in Him. Is He shooting straight with us? Is He telling us the truth? Can we really trust Him? Is He for real? Can I really trust my life with Him? When He says He has paid for my sins and can wash them all away, and that He can deliver me from sin and its effects, is He really telling me the truth? Can I really trust Him? If He can take my sin away and actually bless me with eternal life and save my soul, and keep me from eternal destruction, is He telling the truth? Can He really do all that?
It appears that most Christians believe He can. The only way they can believe that is if they have a measure of faith in Him. It is impossible otherwise. Since we have faith for salvation, all we must do from that point is simply believe in other miraculous works beyond salvation.
A MEASURE OF FAITH AND FIRST THINGS FIRST
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. [Romans 12:1-3] 
Regarding the use of our faith, there are conditions. Before one can use their faith for anything else, they must first use it for salvation. They must first believe that the Lord can save them from sin. Whether or not one possesses a latent measure of faith or not, faith must arise at some point or salvation is impossible. I don’t know about you, but I thought I was a good guy before my salvation experience, until I heard the Word of God from an anointed minister of the Gospel. I got convicted. I found out I was a sinner.
Of course, I knew that. But because there had never been any solution to it, I, like most people, simply learned to live with it. It may be our conscience telling us we did wrong. Whatever. All honest people of a sound mind know they do wrong. The Word of God calls it sin. The worst sin is sin against the Lord. But when people go about their daily lives sinning on occasion they just continue on. They don’t know what else to do. They try to do right but do not always succeed. Some just give up. Their sin can become a heavy burden. They try to deal with it.
But again, when we are told by the Lord through one His ministers we have sinned, and when our conscience bears witness to that fact, the first reaction is to fix it, and for the first time it looks like there may actually be a solution that really works. That’s why a real minister will not only tell people about their sin, he will also tell them how to be rid of it.
ACTIVATING YOUR FAITH
Somewhere in that process a person believes what the Word of God says and believes he can be set free. That is faith. Whether the faith was always there or not does not matter, because it is there at that moment. A person believes at that moment. He activates his faith.
He is then told he must repent, which means to turn away from sin and quit sinning. Once a person does this properly, according to the Biblical model, the Lord Jesus is then able to forgive and wash away all prior sins committed by that person. The Lord also gives a person power over sin so he can stop sinning. More on that later.
Water baptism is part of this process and that is why it is always closely connected in Scripture with initial faith and repentance. Water baptism is also conducted unto the Lord Jesus and His Name must be invoked as it was all throughout Scripture. Again, there is great absolute power in the Name of Jesus. Many people get delivered at baptism. All former connections to bad spirits and whatever else are severed. A person becomes totally delivered and set free and actually feels a release! Something very profound happens! It can be a very emotional experience and should be.
Salvation is the best thing that can ever happen to anyone. Imagine being taken from certain death on the road to hell to new life on the road to heaven! This is what the Lord made possible through everything He did for us, including giving His very life on the cross. It is why His Name is above every name and carries absolute authority.
Therefore, one’s faith in the Lord Jesus manifested powerfully for salvation can also be used for other things. Keep that in mind as you seek the Lord’s help for your present need, no matter how great it may be. Be blessed!
“All things are possible to him who believes.” [Mark 9:23]
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
“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 4:12]
Both of these men had sterling Hebrew credentials. The first, Moshe, was chosen by God as a prophet, deliverer of his people, and lawgiver. Without Moses there would be no Hebrew nation.
The second man, Peter, was chosen by the Lord Jesus as the man to whom He gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Peter’s name in Hebrew is Kefa, and his given Jewish name before the Lord changed it was Shim’on Bar-Yochanan. Peter used the kingdom keys on the first Day of Pentecost showing the way to salvation and as the central leader and spokesman of the early Jerusalem Church.
Regarding Hebrew credentials, no one has more sterling credentials than the Lord Jesus Himself: A member of the Tribe of Judah, He is a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David.
THE NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME
The New Covenant writers made it very clear that there is no salvation without Messiah Jesus (YeHoshua HaMashiach), as His very name means “YHWH-Salvation.” The apostle Paul (Sha’ul), a “Hebrew of Hebrews” in his own words, cites absolutely no distinction between Jews and Gentiles in his teachings regarding those in need of salvation:
For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” [Romans 10:11-13]
The entire Community of the Lord for the first seven to ten years of its existence after Pentecost was composed entirely of Jews. There were no Gentiles until the inclusion of an Italian named Cornelius, whose salvation came through the ministry of Peter, the historical account of which is listed in Acts Chapter 10.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF JEWISH NATIONAL TITLES
The first man called a Hebrew in Scripture was Abram (Genesis 14:13). In general terms, the descendants of the Patriarchs were known as Hebrews until the Conquest of Canaan under Joshua, after which they were known as Israelites. The nation was divided into two kingdoms after Solomon’s death, and the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were dispersed into permanent exile in 721BC and were slowly assimilated by other nations.
The only remaining tribes of the original Israelite nation were Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, and these constituted the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The people of this Kingdom went into exile in Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity at the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in 586BC. They were allowed to return to the land of Judah a half century later. Since the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah and because the three tribes composing it had somewhat maintained their distinct Israelite identity, the relatively small remainder of the original Hebrews/Israelites became known as Jews from that time forward.
MOSES PROPHESIES OF THE COMING KING
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.’” [Deuteronomy 18:15-19]
This prophecy and commandment delivered by Moses was referenced by Peter during the first days of the early Church when he spoke to a gathered crowd of Jews in Jerusalem right after the miraculous healing of the lame man:
“Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’” [Acts 3:22-23]
If someone polled Christians on whether or not they believed that the content of this Scriptural passage was true, many would say no. Of course, many would have never heard of it to begin with so it would appear foreign on two counts: On the first because a probable majority of Christians have never read the Book of Acts, and the second because they have been conditioned to believe that Jews can be saved without Jesus.
But the Lord Jesus made it a point to anoint Peter to preach this word early on in the Church’s history and make a clear authoritative reference to Moses so all the Jews there would hear the truth.
THE BOLDNESS OF PETER AND THE SALVATION OF JEWS IN ACTION:
“And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” [Acts 3:24-26]
Many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:4] 
After the awesome display of the Lord’s miraculous healing of the lame man, the bold preaching of Peter, the massive salvation of thousands of Abraham’s descendants, and the powerful display of God’s love, the Jewish religious leaders showed up and threw Peter and John in jail.
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
I can never forget the testimony of a man who was a very good friend. Long ago, someone took the time to witness to Him, casting personal risk aside.
He was probably in his mid-to-late thirties and about a decade and a half older than me. He had a loving wife and a bunch of kids. I had never known him before he was born again but he had been a rough character, a man no one would mess with. He was a solid family man and he worked hard. He was a construction worker, a foreman, and lived in the country some distance away. He had a hard row to hoe to pack up a large family with several little kids and head off to church four times a week, but he was always there. His smile lit up the whole place. He was a great example of how the Lord could melt even the most powerful heart.
When Charlie met the Lord Jesus, he finally met his match, and then some. Charlie found out that the Lord was a lot stronger than he was, that He was a bigger and better Man, and that He was the greatest man’s Man who ever lived. Charlie surrendered to his Maker.
I don’t know who witnessed to him but that family’s salvation was one of the great boons to our group. I have worked in construction for many years. I worked in the oil industry a long time as well. I have met hundreds of strong men. There is a culture in these blue collar fields that one had better respect. I am ever thankful to my Dad for teaching me early on how to thrive in the world of real men who do their job, who won’t be denied, and who know there is a job to be done, that must be done, and will get done.
But among all these guys I have still never met a man who was as physically strong as Charlie. My Dad always taught me when I was a kid to give a strong handshake, and I did. But this man had the strongest handshake I ever felt, and that was decades ago. I know he had to torque it down when he shook hands with other men because, if he wanted to, he could mash your hand to a pulp. I am serious. He could break your hand. The best defense is to squeeze the other guy’s hand harder than he is squeezing yours, or just as hard. But it wouldn’t work with him. He was strong as an ox. Two oxes. There were times when I had him in a good grip and looked him in the eye and told him to go a little more and he would smile and clamped down just about an extra ounce and I knew my hand would be withered in a heartbeat and quickly told him to back off. This has never happened with anyone else. Ever.
So now I think I know what happened to that guy with the withered hand in the Bible. He met Charlie before Charlie got saved.
It’s hard to explain to people who have never been filled with the Holy Spirit about the transformation that takes place. Charlie was undoubtedly a very rough character but after he was filled with the Lord’s Spirit his face glowed like an angel. He was God’s middle linebacker, still tough as nails and solid as a rock but with a loving, tender heart. He was always smiling and trying to hold back from laughing in that shy way he had. He could not contain all the joy the Lord filled him with though he tried. Every service he was back there in the back row. He did that because he had so many young kids, about half a dozen, and did not want to disrupt the service. He and his lovely wife, also filled gloriously with the Holy Ghost, were all lined up back there. The kids always stayed in line but were still kids and were also smiling all the time. They made it work. It is not natural to make little kids do that but they managed it very well. They were such happy people. I think Charlie knew even more than I did that he had been hell bound and got rescued. He would be forever grateful and showed it always.
He told me that before the Lord rescued him he drank a half bottle of hard liquor every day. He smoked two or three packs of cigarettes every day. And he worked very hard every day. This man was tough as nails. Then somebody witnessed to him. Some real Christian answered the call and witnessed to Charlie. Charlie could have done some serious damage.
We all know how some will go off half-cocked when they get witnessed to. There is sometimes a lot of hate and one must have enough love to overcome it. Only the Lord has that kind of love but He must work through people to show it. This is a hard, tough world, and many people are filled with a lot of pain. They’ve been treated bad and they’re angry. And they don’t like it when told it is somehow their fault. They need our help and understanding.
When the Lord reached out from heaven through a brave witness, instead of getting angry, Charlie listened. Maybe he knew he was a mess and really wanted to change but wasn’t going to be forced into becoming some fake girly man and succumb to religion. The Lord knew that. So he sent Charlie a real witness to witness about the real thing. The Lord was not going to force Charlie to surrender his manhood but just the opposite. He wanted him to be the real man he wanted to be but with a godly heart.
The Lord filled Him with His Spirit. He delivered him from his cigarette habit. He took away his desire for alcohol. Charlie stopped cussing and fighting and began smiling and loving. He could still break you in two, though, and you had to be careful—you had to watch out for exuberant hugs. He became a solid witness for His Lord and Savior and though he didn’t talk much he was the very picture of Christian strength.
I want to close with a funny incident that will give you a tad more insight into the joy we all felt in Charlie’s presence. Before I go on, there was one thing I touched on previously about Charlie but didn’t tell the whole story.
Charlie was so full of spiritual joy he continued smiling and doing these little laughs even after we all settled into our seats and church got going. It was just part of his good nature that the Lord accentuated with His own. This was an active Spirit-filled congregation of lively people so it was not always possible to contain one’s self. Charlie would often continue expressing his happiness and gratitude throughout the service. He was way in the back but everyone always knew it was just Charlie being Charlie. Some of us may say “Amen!” but he would do a chuckle. It added greatly to a joyful atmosphere.
One night, a traveling minister came to the church. He was a big guy in a black suit with a commanding presence. He was also blind. He’s up there preaching and we’re down there in the pews, being properly respectful if not more so, and not quite sure what was transpiring before us. It was pretty hushed.
Well, the preacher must have said something Charlie really liked. Showing his unbound appreciation, Charlie did one of his customary good-natured manly chuckles that just happened to project quite well. The preaching stopped. The combination of church quiet and back bench acoustics made the preacher think he was being laughed at! It was one of the funniest things I had ever seen in church and I could write a book on the subject. The blind preacher rebuked Charlie from the pulpit! He hollered, “You may think this is funny! But I’m preaching up here!”
We all started stifling laughter at the initial shock and some of us turned around and looked back at poor Charlie who obviously meant no harm and was real embarrassed. He was red as a beet and had a weird grin on his face coming down from a joy high and was not quite sure what to do. But just like his Lord, Charlie took it like a man. And he understood.
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The world is filled with hungry people searching for life and truth. They know there must be something more than this temporary surface existence. We must reach out to them.
CAN I GET A WITNESS?
I remember well my early experience as a rookie Christian. The church building was relatively new but somewhat sparse. There were many empty pews. It needed filling up. The preacher was always preaching about witnessing. I certainly complied. I was always witnessing—at work, on the street, wherever I was, whatever I was doing—I was always witnessing.
Why? Because people were going to hell. They needed to be saved. I had dodged hell and so must they. The Lord turned me on to His incredible life and love and I wanted the whole world to have what I had. Before being shown the path of salvation, I didn’t know I was on the wrong road. I was a sinner but didn’t know it before I met the Lord.
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 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 2:1-4] 
THE FIRST WITNESS
I rejected them the first time they came. These were close friends. A young married couple. I was a tad younger. I had known them a few years. We hung out together. I hadn’t seen them in a while. The news was they got religion and I could not understand how they could be so dumb. They used to be so cool. What the heck happened to them? If they had joined a cult it would have been different. Weird but different. But they joined a church! What a joke! The great respect I had for them was no more.
They came over to tell me all about it. They said I needed to do what they had done. I was very friendly and open. I listened to their story. But they were brand new Christians and were not so good at what they were trying to do. They certainly had the heart and desire but they came on pretty strong. I was too mature for that. I knew too much. I could see through them. I was nice to them and tried hard to understand. We had a relatively good discussion at first. I told them I was happy for them but I could not go in that direction. I wanted no part of their church stuff. I didn’t want what they were selling. They persisted. I told them if they didn’t stop they needed to leave. I stayed strong. I never lost my cool. They got bummed out and left. They had done their best. I knew they cared. But they failed in their mission and were sad. That was that.
THE SECOND WITNESS
Then one day, after three months of no contact with them, I received a second witness. They never gave up. Instead, they went into prayer with other unknown people who shared their concern. This is a very important point because the Lord often has to do things in the Spirit that we are not aware of to have ultimate success. We usually never know about all the in-between things that must happen in spiritual warfare and prayer battles. In this case, He had to prepare me for another opportunity which would in all probability be the last. There might not ever be another chance in my life like this one. It was imperative that I receive this Word. Sometimes, people build up a hardness of heart that can never be overcome.
To remedy that, the Lord had managed to break me down over that time. I went from being strong and confident to somewhat insecure. I had no idea what was happening but the Lord had been preparing me for a second witness. He was plowing a field and I was the field. He knew I had been searching for Him for roughly four years but I didn’t know that. I was searching for TRUTH. That’s what I was after. I had determined right out of high school that I would find out what was really going on behind the scenes in this world. I had been doing an exhaustive search of various belief systems the world over. I knew there was something more and was determined to find it. I would never stop. By that time in my young life I had already rejected organized Christianity because the version I knew (and knew very well) offered nothing on a deep spiritual level.
Keep in mind, however, that though I was completely fed up with “Christianity,” I never ever rejected the Lord Jesus. I always thought He was the coolest Guy. How could anyone in their right mind be against Him?
For the second witness only she came over. She had given her life to the Lord before her husband and was instrumental in getting him saved. Both had strong born again experiences but her gifting made her more persistent. Both had matured spiritually and she did a better job this time. There was less pressure and more joy.
At one point when we were talking she suddenly said, “Wow! I feel the presence of God in this room!” I didn’t know what she was talking about but I felt it too. This was not the same kind of witness as before. She didn’t come alone after all.
Thanks to the Lord Jesus who never gave up, and to the loving witness He sent who never gave up either who went out of her way to find me and tell me all about the Lord and spiritual reality, the scales on my eyes fell off. It was the Lord’s presence on that occasion that made the difference. I suddenly realized it all made sense. This was it! I had been searching for truth for so long and had found it. The truth was Him. I surrendered to the Lord that night. It was easy and the best decision I ever made.
NOW COMES THE HARD PART
I also had to submit to the Lord’s next directive. This is the way it works. The Man gave His life for us. We give our lives to Him. And that makes Him the One in charge. We must do what He says. We must trust Him.
He wanted me to go somewhere. When I found out where, it was the last place I ever thought I would find truth. He wanted me to attend their dreaded church. Oh no! It would be like going to the blasted dentist. But worse. I had been forced to go to church about a million times growing up and had learned to want no part of it. There was nothing there anyway. All that had long since become way back in my rear view mirror. This church thing was going to be a hard sell. It took more convincing and more “preparing.” Long story short, the Lord won the argument. I was in no position to fight Him. I went.
I found out churches are different! This one was nothing like the one I grew up in. The people were lively and happy. I was very well received. There was an excitement in the air. This was a place with the presence of the Lord. Later on I heard the Word of God from a very good preacher. I had never seen or heard preaching like this. The Word of God came alive. I was almost instantly convicted. The Lord planted the Gospel seed in my plowed up heart. I gave Him my life, hook, line, and sinker, and never looked back. A few weeks later I was filled with His Spirit!
After my born again experience I set my mind on telling everyone I knew about the Lord Jesus—the One who saved me, the One who went to the cross in my place. I wanted everyone to have the salvation I had. Sin no longer had any power over me. I was set free. I wanted everyone else to be set free also. Combining my strong spiritual hunger with a powerful born again experience set me loose as a witnessing juggernaut.
In time I found out that people in general didn’t share the same passion I had. I often had the same experience of the two who first witnessed to me when I rejected them. It can be discouraging. It is hard to understand why a person does not want all the Lord has for them and had to die to make it available. I learned that many people are simply not so spiritually hungry. They are happy with life as it is. They would rather stay on the surface. I had to learn to follow the leading of the Lord more closely.
Witnessing is therefore not so easy but is obviously vital. There is no other way to be saved. We are commanded to tell the Gospel story. People must know the truth—the TRUTH. We must turn people on to the Lord. Whatever He has put on your heart and called you to do, be encouraged. There is an inexhaustible supply of every spiritual means available that can be applied. It truly is the case that all things are possible with God.
Many people were doing their share of witnessing in that relatively small congregation I was blessed to be a part of long ago. We had success to a degree but it never resulted in the level of success we wanted until much further down the road. Many would visit. Few would stay. But some of those who did stay were solid and strong. In time, several years later, the floodgates opened.
In my next post I will introduce you to one of the people there in those early days. His name was Charlie. He was a bad dude brought into the love of the Lord because someone made a bold move and the serious risk to witness to him.
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [Philippians 2:12-13]
Grace is free. Salvation will cost you everything.
There remains much confusion among Christians about what exactly happened when the Lord Jesus went to the cross.
Most Christians have never gone to the cross, would never go to the cross, do not see the need for going to the cross, and sadly, will never relate to the experience.
There is this ill-begotten attitude that the Lord did it all to the point that they must do nothing. There is this completely false idea that a Christian can simply skate through life absolutely, completely, wholeheartedly, and fully assured that he is saved regardless of anything he may do or not do, as if salvation is simply a matter of a one-time mental assent or clueless “Yeah, put me down for that,” while they go about their already unrepentant lives thoroughly grounded in this world.
Some denominations and Christian faux gospels are worse offenders than others. Some denominations do not even pretend to follow the Lord’s teachings on the matter but make salvation contingent upon belonging to the proper club—their club—and strictly adhering to their own church teachings which clash with the Lord’s, and compete with the Lord’s, and end up sending people to hell for believing what is false and doing things that have zero spiritual value.
One would think, that among all Christian things they may want to get right, it would be salvation.
But the majority of “Christians” insist on dissing the Lord, refuse to follow His example and teachings, and would never crucify their own flesh and/or leave their fake groups and denounce their false gospels even if their eternal salvation depended on it.
And it does.
The Lord thought this entire attitude was beyond curious. One would one rather save face than get saved? Why do so many Christians desire remaining cold, unenlightened, and uncrucified rather than obey the Lord’s commands?
How can the resultant suffering and rejection real Christians face in this world compare to losing one’s soul for all eternity?
Makes no sense.
But then again, it does, if one has accepted a false prophet or a false teaching, and such things abound.
There are obviously many more false gospels today than there were in the early days of that first Christian community, though false gospels began from the beginning.
Paul did not pull any punches regarding these evil teachings and made his thoughts quite clear:
I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. [2Corinthians 11:1-4]
Could it be that bearing a false gospel or a false prophet or the false beliefs of a false denomination is easier than bearing one’s cross? And could it be that it always boils down to this same issue—the offense of the cross?
In Galatians 5:11 Paul refers to this “offence of the cross” (KJV), though it is translated differently in different versions. The following are a few examples:
1) Shame of the cross (Bible is Basic English)
2) Scandal of the cross (Darby Bible)
3) Stumbling block of the cross (New American Standard Bible)
4) Obstacle of the cross (New Jerusalem Bible)
It is obvious that there is something revolting about the cross, especially when an individual Christian must apply it to himself. It follows that Christians will do anything and everything to avoid the cross, which makes them easy fodder for false gospels.
Why do we think it was okay for the Lord to get crucified but not at all okay for us to do likewise?
Why do we think our own personal crucifixion is somehow not necessary though the Lord’s was?
Why do we think we can simply reject all those things the Lord taught about crucifying our flesh, and taking up our cross, and denying ourselves for His sake and the gospel?
Is it not the height of selfishness and pride that the majority of “Christians” applaud the Lord’s trip to Calvary but would never go there themselves?
And then believe they don’t need to?
Why can’t such unreal Christians see that such teaching arose from the devil himself?
Yes, of course, grace is free. It cost the Lord Jesus everything, but for us it’s all free. We can do nothing to add to it by anything we could ever do.
What a crock.
Have any of the proponents of this stuff ever heard of the concept of application? How about being yoked together with the Lord? How about the disciples not being above their Master, and partaking of the same offense, shame, scandal, stumbling block, and obstacle the Lord did on our behalf? Should not all real Christians do the same on His behalf?
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:31-38] 
The fact of the matter is that the real disciples of that time suffered the same things the Lord suffered. They were in fact called to share in His sufferings. They were called to stand up for and preach the ONE AND ONLY REAL GOSPEL. They knew it would cost them but did it anyway. Rather than shun it like so many Christians choose to do, they embraced the cross.
And though grace is certainly free, it cost them everything.
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
If a real Christian has anything at all, he or she has a backbone, and will never back down.
Why would a person surrender their very life in exchange for a belief? Why is a belief more important than one’s life? The law of self-preservation dictates that above all things we must protect and defend our greatest possession—our life—against any attack or threat of attack. Yet, real Christians have historically chosen to choose death rather than choose to discard something they believe in.
There must be something more to Christian belief.
If a parent is given a choice to lay down his life or substitute the life of his child, what should be the proper choice? Is it somehow more moral or socially acceptable to choose one over the other? The answer exists in the simple fact that many parents (I would hope every parent), would choose to die and allow their child to live because it is both the obviously correct choice and they would not be able to live with themselves if they chose otherwise. Even though they could protect their life, their life afterwards would no longer be worth living.
And this is the crux of the distinction: One’s life can be devalued and even greatly devalued by making such incorrect choices. Why? Because healthy, sane people have a conscience, and one’s conscience will put forth a prompt reminder than one has chosen incorrectly.
Otherwise, human beings could do whatever sinister thing they may wish and never be bothered by the choice they made. In the natural world, for example, animals make choices that often have bad consequences according to the moral beliefs of humans, but the animals that make the choices don’t seem to be bothered by them. If a wild animal, for example, attacks and injures a child, the wild animal probably has no moral conscience regarding the act, does not get depressed by the act, and will likely repeat the act. This can possibly be attributed to instinct or hunger, but the animal’s choice nevertheless causes an injury to a helpless child, and this cannot be construed as a good thing. So we often deem animals as innocent, in that they don’t know any better, but human animals are a different story.
Therefore, for those who have a conscience in good working order, it will override mere self-preservation, especially when it comes to one’s offspring. Using the natural world as an example once again, even wild animals will protect their offspring with their lives. Many an animal mother will protect her young using whatever extreme measures she deems necessary, and becomes decidedly ferocious in those instances.
But what is in the conscience of a real Christian that causes him to give up his life rather than surrender his beliefs? It is not so much about giving up his beliefs as it is turning his back on his best friend. The Lord Jesus claimed,
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]
The word “friends” in this usage indicates the most dearly beloved in one’s life. But the absolute most dearly beloved of all people in the life of a real Christian is His Lord and Savior—the One who purchased his life—and the One who first gave His own life to save the ones He considered His most beloved. This is why a real Christian could never surrender his beliefs, because it also means betraying the One who loves him the most.
What good is life without the One who made life possible? For example, the person who betrayed the Lord to those religious authorities who intended to murder Him had been deceived into thinking he was doing the right thing. He did not know his act of betrayal would result in the Lord’s death. In fact, Satan had possessed this man and essentially blinded him and animated him to act against his conscience. And even though we know Judas was a thief, he still had a conscience in good working order, because after his diabolical act, after the devil went out from him, after clear thinking returned, and after he saw what he caused, he immediately killed himself. There was no way he could live with the knowledge on his conscience of what he had done. His life was no longer worth living. It had become greatly cheapened by his terrible choice. Self-preservation went out the window and the only salve for his horror was the opposite.
This knowledge should cause a person to immediately reflect on the great love of the Lord, in that though our conscience does the same thing to us when we sin, and though we deserve all that Judas got in the end,
THE LORD FORGIVES US AND SILENCES OUR CONSCIENCE—OUR CONSCIENCE IS APPEASED BECAUSE A SACRIFICE HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE.
We don’t have to run out and find a tree and a rope, because the Lord had already appropriated a cross!
The Lord Jesus allowed to have happen to Himself what Judas did to himself, and what we should each receive for ourselves. Our conscience convicts us as guilty, but through an act of legitimate repentance on our part, we display a contrite heart and express sorrow for our sin. We hate what we did and never want to do it again. And through this act of knowing we did wrong and being remorseful for it, and because God will not despise a broken and contrite heart,  our sin can be washed away by the miraculous cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. [Hebrews 7:25]
The Lamb of God, through His incredible love and forgiveness, actually acts as a defense attorney on our behalf!
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. [Romans 8:31-34] 
This is why so many persecuted Christians the world over always choose to die rather than surrender their beliefs. They know they are loved by God, and they love Him—with all of their heart. He proved His love by giving His life. They prove their love by doing the same.
And it is not as if they are purposely trying to prove their love, as if they had an agenda to display to the world. No, it is simply because Jesus first showed His greatest love for them while they were yet sinners, and He pursued them, and gave His heart to them, and won their hearts, and they loved Him in return with the greatest love and gave their hearts to Him also, and could not possibly do otherwise.
Real Christians would never recant in a million years. They would never turn away from their faith because they would never turn away from their Lord. His life is infinitely more important than their own and they always choose to lay down their own life for His.
The greatest love is funny that way.
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Psalm 51:17
 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.
In light of so many distressing events taking place in the world at present, it is good to pause on such a day as this and take stock of our many blessings. Sinister forces always at work continually attempt to steal our joy and strength, limit or destroy our faith, and drag us down to a place of apathy and even despair.
But the devil can stick it all in his left ear.
I went to get my truck inspected yesterday at a little shop. I walked into the waiting area and a customer looked up at me from whatever magazine he was reading.
“How’s it going?” I said.
I continued, “Isn’t it great to live in America even though things are so messed up? This is still a great country and a great place to live.”
“Yep,” he said. “I gotta agree with you on that.”
“And we’re gonna get through all this,” I replied. “We’re taking our country back and somehow or another things will be good again.”
And he agreed.
I have discovered that many people agree with this. I also know many Americans are not at all happy with the status quo. Many are angry and getting angrier with each passing day. And watch what happens as taxes on our hard-earned wealth continue to rise exponentially to support an agenda that the vast majority of Americans do not agree with.
Meanwhile, our beloved lying, censoring media continue to push this un-American agenda with fake happy faces glued on their mugs. At some point people start to understand that the more television they watch the dumber they get. Coincidence?
In the first century A.D. an obscure Man arrived on the scene with His own agenda. It was an agenda of truth and love. The powers that be eventually hated this Man in part because He threatened their false agenda, much of it based on a false religious paradigm. What we face in this country is similar. Shine a light and watch the cockroaches run for their lives.
The showdown is coming. It always does. You can’t keep taking freedom away from a freedom-loving people and expect them to go along with it forever.
The devil tries to convince real Christians that God doesn’t care and that all is lost.
Well, the devil can go butt a stump.
Real Christians have God on their side. They are on God’s side. And they don’t have to be perfect. Fake Christians think they must convince everyone they have sterling reputations and ultra-holy lives, but the fact of the matter is that without the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made on our behalf every single one of us winds up in hell, and that includes all the lame brained Christian Pharisees.
AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? [1 Peter 4:18]
Self-righteous people have always been the bane of any society, whether they are religious or not. Prideful human beings only care about themselves and their reputations and could not care less about everyone else or their country. Christian Pharisees take control of churches and denominations and put themselves in high authority the same way a miniscule class of elites runs the political and financial sectors of this country. Unless they get their act together with God they can all go jump in the lake. It will give them good practice.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. [Revelation 20:15 – 21:1]
236 years ago some folks in this part of the world got together and said enough. They threw off their oppressors and gained both religious and political freedom. It’s what free people do, and those who are the most free are also those who really have but one ultimate thing to be thankful for on this national day of Thanksgiving:
Our King died in our place.
And because of that greatest of all selfless acts, whosoever will can have true spiritual freedom that will last from now throughout all eternity.
Love your neighbor. Help your neighbor. Bless your neighbor. Give to your neighbor. But more so, bless the Lord Jesus in all you do. Love Him with all your heart. Help Him in His work. Give Him your heart. Thank Him for the life He has bestowed and His many blessings in your life. He is worthy of all.
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! [2 Corinthians 9:10-15] 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.