Hello everyone. Hope all is well. I completed Part 4 of this series and will likely be posting it on Monday morning, March 29. It is entitled Spiritual Resurrection. There are many Biblical facts within it that some may not be aware of so I hope it will be interesting to you and fill in some gaps in your understanding. I wrote it on Thursday and it turned out to be five pages but I think it reads well. Because it’s been several days since I posted Part 3 I am making this announcement to make you aware it is on the way and to prepare for it.
The Lord Jesus greatly desires reconciliation with everyone and has done all He can to make that happen. When we do our part it does happen. The following is the central passage in His Word revealing The Ministry of Reconciliation:
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [2Corinthians 5:18-20]
Thanks to all of you who have read all or parts of this series so far, and thanks for the many excellent comments that have added to our understanding of the subject matter. You are all appreciated. If anyone wants to read parts they may have missed I have added links and their titles below. Be blessed. See you on Monday.
3/29: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4) Coming Monday
God’s great desire is to be reconciled with everyone. He has already done everything He possibly can do on His part to achieve this and has made it as easy as possible for us.
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… [2Corinthians 5:18]
WHERE AM I?
Many people grow up perceiving the world at large as a great unknown and somewhat of a mystery. We don’t necessarily see our own immediate surroundings that way, however. From the beginning of awareness at a very tender age we are presented with a family structure we must live within. This structure, whatever it may be, wherever we may live, contains certain expectations we must adhere to even though much within our young lives is granted as a gift, though we do not initially recognize it as such. We are not aware of the great effort it took to bring us into this world or the extreme care and expense required immediately afterward. We have no knowledge or memory or those early months when we were completely helpless and dependent on 24 hour-a-day attention and devotion prior to our later conscious understanding. We simply have no conception of the meaning of love at that time.
When we do begin becoming aware of our surroundings and are able to make cognitive connections we only know of our limited direct environment and this is usually filled to overflowing. We become as thirsty sponges taking it all in. There is so much to know and learn. We must develop as little humans and it is a fulltime endeavor. We continue to major on receiving and expect that our needs will always be met. Some children, of course, are not so fortunate to be blessed with the level of stability and protective environment necessary for proper development in the first years of life, but development continues onward anyway. Time waits for no one. Growth proceeds ready or not.
Regardless of parental love for children, and most parents are very good in this regard, they can only do so much. Most parents are limited. They are limited regarding what they would like to do for their children compared to what they can do. They are not necessarily limited in love and may attempt to love all the more to make up for perceived deficiencies. It must be understood, though, that love comes in many forms and people express their love in different ways. Sometimes love is not appreciated because it is not acknowledged or understood. Sometimes parents go way out of their way to get their children the best life possible according to their conception of whatever that may be but it is not appreciated. And it is sometimes the case that children of poor parents remain well adjusted in life despite not having much at all growing up. There are several reasons for such outcomes and it can be complicated, but maybe the common denominator is whether or not one understands loving intentions.
And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” [Luke 18:15-17]
Children are close to God. They may not understand this but it is true. We know it is true because the great separator of people from God is personal sin. Young children have no sin. Regardless of their actions that sometimes do not reveal them as saintly, they are simply not accountable for their actions. For the most part they are innocent, open, and kindhearted. They also have greater perception of heavenly things. They are not weighed down by sin. Because of their lack of sin they remain in close contact with God even though there may not be any overt communication on their part. Yet, God does communicate with children, though on a level they can understand and through a means they can receive.
But the inevitable always happens. The children grow older and begin to sin willingly. At first their conscience may bother them terribly and they will respond with fear. In other words they know whatever sinful actions they engage in are wrong. They are able to know right from wrong. In much the same way God has created the means and ability for incredibly complex language skills that come forth almost automatically in a relatively very short period of time, so has He blessed each person with a working conscience. This functions as an automatic right/wrong indicator. It allows a young growing child to know what bad behavior is and to steer clear of it. Parental and societal rules certainly play a part in this and there is also a certain level of fear of both when rule-breaking is involved. Nonetheless, once a child even thinks about engaging in sin his or her conscience kicks in and red lights starts flashing. What else can this be but a built-in warning system placed there by the Creator?
Eventually, of course, the warning system will be bypassed. It only has the ability to warn but never stop one from acting on sinful desires. And though it will continue to work as designed it becomes less effective the more it is overridden. There is a long-term danger here, however. A person can neglect and reject the warnings of the conscience to the point that it actually will effectively stop working in the sense that it can be so tuned out its warnings do not register. This means a person will no longer have a working conscience. And this means he or she loses any and all conception of personal sin. Paul gives a good illustration of this in the following from his first letter to Timothy: …by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron…
Most people may never arrive at that place but learn to deal with their conscience differently. The red light warnings may simply be overridden by a competing set of rules which justify sin. You see, the human conscience is programmed according to God’s definition of sin and no other. This is the default position. Sin is what God says it is and the conscience will always warn on that basis. However, if one adopts a different set of moral rules (or decides on no rules whatsoever) that conflict with the default, one can eventually override the default in the same way one can destroy his or her conscience by repeatedly rejecting the warnings. This is in part why so many people are able to sin without remorse and remain for all intents and purposes contributing members of society. They teach themselves how not to be bothered by their sin by simply convincing themselves it is not sin. They allow their desires to define good and bad behavior. As Eve did, on that terrible day in the Garden, people choose to imbibe and fulfill the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life rather than resist such soul-shattering temptations. This is why and how everyone eventually falls out of contact with God. Their willing personal sin destroys the lines of communication with Him. The contact they had with God when they were small children, innocent and pure, becomes lost. When communication is lost, the relationship is lost.
LOST IN A LOST WORLD
When the majority is lost it appears on the surface to not be lost at all. This is because sinful people usually invoke the tenet of majority rule with regard to moral standards. This social majority rule ideology simply means that whatever the majority within a culture decides is morally right is what is right. The majority sets the standard. Such standards vary by majorities which can be relatively small or composed of millions. If the majority does not convict a person for some personal sin then that person makes peace with such sin. It is as if there is no law against it. He or she may know on some level it is wrong but because no one in his or her sphere of influence holds him or her accountable, one effectively gets away with it so to speak. If everyone one hangs around with thinks the same and engages in the same sinful practices then sin as sin disappears. It becomes nothing more than what everyone else partakes of and is commonplace. Rather than there being any bulwark against it there is instead the cultural acceptance of it. Of course, sin is still there, behind the scenes as it were, destroying and eating away at the good. It is surely progressive but often works relatively slowly and the damage being inflicted does not register. Such will certainly register eventually, however, and show up in a form that appears to have a different source.
Majority rule regarding moral standards rather than God’s law is why some cultures fall to the point of adopting particular sinful activity as a vital component of their culture. When the majority accepts it, engages in it, and even honors it, it becomes part of a traditional belief system. We can think of the worst and most heinous examples of such cultures, such as those which are cannibalistic or those which practice infanticide. World history reveals many such cultures dating from ancient times. Historical accounts in the Bible give us several examples as well. Such heinous sins also exist in the present within so-called higher cultures.
But not all of these are so egregious on the surface. There are some cultures within an outer culture that engage in truly disgusting and vile sinful practices but keep it fairly well hidden. These have an outer cloak of respectability. The general rule of thumb, therefore, is to watch out for those who love to dress up in overtly “respectful clothing.” Such people must forever put forth the effort to hide what they really are. They know people are surface oriented and are easily deceived by mere appearances. If one dresses right, looks right, and acts right, one will largely shield himself from further inspection. These people know the majority will essentially revere them as people they wish they could be and will try to live vicariously through them. It is why celebrity status works so well. It is why celebrities in any field not only capture the hearts of masses but also shield themselves from close inspection. They know that such easy to deceive people are obsessed with image and not reality, and that they perceive the image to be reality. Thus, for them, image is everything.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. [Matthew 23:27-28]
Did anyone other than the Lord know these outwardly righteous religious leaders were actually filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness? Had they fooled everyone else? Or did others know it as well but the Lord was the only one courageous enough to expose them? Why was everyone else so fearful? Have you ever noticed that regular people never came to the defense of the Pharisees?
Making peace with personal sin is not good and has an expiration date. Those who not only make peace with sin but insist they actually have no sin are another story altogether. If people ever figured out that such individuals are the opposite of what they claim to be and are just as sinful as anyone else, if not much more so, their entire lives would come crashing down. On the other hand, many people know they are sinners, wish they were not sinners, and have tried to stop sinning but to no avail. They do their best to cover it up and act like it isn’t there in order to get along in life and keep some semblance of respectability but remain blessed with a conscience in good working order. Still, without a cure what are they to do? We get an answer here:
He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” [Luke 18:9-14] 
© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]
 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 120 were gathered together in the Upper Room. The apostle Peter took his place as spokesman for the group. Keep in mind that this assembly was the entire Early Church, from the Greek Ekklesia, which is defined as “the community of the called-out ones.”
16 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’; and, ‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’
This was Luke’s first recorded post-Ascension message of the followers of the Lord Jesus. They had a safe place at Mary’s house. Though the Lord was no longer physically present in the environs of Jerusalem, His small group of disciples was still considered a dangerous heretical faction. From the limited perspective of the Jewish religious leaders, however, with the Lord finally out of the way, there remained a consensual relief not presently threatened by the existence of His small band. But this would soon change.
Regarding the traitor, the greatest villain known to history, he did have second thoughts. He was assisted in his dastardly deed, however, by the devil himself, along with the murderous and conniving chief priests, which assisted in pushing him over the edge.
And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. [Luke 22:3]
One wonders at the arguments Satan may have made that at last convinced Judas to act. It was more than the man’s love of money. In essence, though, he was simply deceived. His bad spirit, bad attitude, constant grumbling and complaining, and refusal to adhere to real discipleship, caused the man’s unregenerate flesh, his sinful human nature, to remain forever on display. This condition is common to all, and without self-imposed restrictions, wreaks havoc. It is why all real Christians must at the onset deal strongly with this spiritual enemy and defeat it if they hope to have any chance at serving the Lord.
When Judas saw the Lord condemned, and that he had been deceived by the priests and elders, he felt great remorse. He tried to return the money but they wouldn’t take it.
“I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. [Matthew 27:4-5]
According to tradition, the Field of Blood was located just beyond the southern edge of the old city of David on the other side of the Hinnom Valley.
This had otherwise been known as Gehenna, the allegorical destination of the wicked.
© 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.
Something was wrong in the church. Great spiritual effort was being made to no avail. A hindrance was blocking progress. What could it be? I began praying earnestly to find out.
We were young, in our early to late twenties. In the space of six months to a year the Lord brought forth a new membership group by ones and twos in an otherwise small traditional church. We provided a new strength and energy. The church had been struggling. The existing congregation had recently moved from its previous location and built a large, tasteful building. It had not gone as planned. There might have been a split. The church maintained a solid core of strong faithful believers but most were older and determined to maintain traditional practices. The Lord, however, was doing something new.
A NEW AWAKENING
A nationwide revival of sorts remained on the move. It began around 1960 and spread throughout all denominations. Prior to that time there had been a great divide between Pentecostals and Protestants. The Azusa Street Revival, which began in 1906, had brought Christians of many stripes together for a brief time but after only a few years a major divide had ensued. There were initially arguments among Pentecostals that resulted in splits that created what later became major Pentecostal denominations. Mainline Protestants were at first intrigued with the movement but in general had a hard time giving up or changing their long-held traditional practices. Nevertheless, there was a lot of healthy mixing and cross pollination. In time though, these two groups returned to being estranged from one another.
What took place in 1960 was possible in part because a relatively few Protestants in key positions of authority were somewhat secretly engaging in Pentecostal practices. Because they were discreet it caused no scandal. They perceived the otherwise questionable practices as perfectly natural and solidly New Testament based. These believers would be used by the Lord to assist in opening doors when the new movement began. By the mid 1960s even Catholic priests and nuns were receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. It was in a certain sense a non-threatening revival, somewhat the opposite of Azusa Street, which blew the doors off and created a powerful worldwide movement. The 60s awakening spread steadily throughout all denominations and even began the new phenomenon of non-denominational churches. The traditionalists could not stop it but likely had great success at times in slowing it down. Non-Biblical traditions die hard.
In the late 1960s a great many young people, especially it seems, on the west coast, began coming to the Lord. Some of these had no traditional underpinning and therefore had no understanding of how they should properly present themselves. In all the pictures of the Lord Jesus they had seen He wore long hair and a beard so the young men wore long hair and beards. Those who had dressed like hippies pretty much continued dressing like hippies after they became born again Christians. Their hearts were in the right place but their new attitude of spiritual freedom didn’t go over so well among buttoned-down conservative Christians. Even traditional Pentecostal churches had a major problem with this.
By the 1970s battle lines had formed. It was yet another new guard-old guard paradigm. We know from the Word of God that the prior generation always has a problem with whatever new thing God is doing and regularly opposes it. The new generation, thoroughly enmeshed in the Lord’s new purposes, continues on, as they should, in obedience regardless of the opposition and obstacles. And the old does all in its power to maintain and hang on.
MY NEW CHURCH
It was this very thing that I was born into. The Lord needed new blood and provided it. The latest members added much new energy and exuberance. It turned out to be a great mix. We thoroughly respected and honored our elders in the Lord, the older people who had supported the church for many years and kept it going. After the big move they had a problem. Most of the shiny new pews were empty every service and remained that way for the most part after the new influx. To rectify the problem the pastor was always preaching about the need for witnessing. This went over the heads of most of the older saints but us younger people took it seriously. We were determined to fill up the church.
We had a meeting in a couple’s apartment. It was decided that we would continue witnessing all the more but also go on an extended fast and devote much time to prayer. I had learned all about fasting when I joined this church. We were expected to fast one day every week and go on a two day fast every quarter. These were real fasts that allowed only water or coffee. I was great at this. I often fasted two or three days a week though not in succession. I discovered early on that 24 hours was doable but going beyond that very difficult. Some of the guys had decided to fast for a week or two, and one guy pretty much indefinitely. This is how serious we were. We had a great passion to see people saved!
I continued witnessing up a storm and bringing people to church. We were all on fire for God. This greatly assisted the older saints and gave them a charge. They appreciated how respectful we were and for all the new life! The big fast eventually came to an end. One man fasted an entire two weeks while never missing a day of work. We were praying all the time.
But not much changed. The church building remained as it was. We might have gained a new member or two. I couldn’t understand it. I began seeking the Lord earnestly in prayer. I kept asking what the problem was. I was still a relatively young Christian and had a lot to learn. I was naïve regarding church practice and churchgoers, believing everyone to be solid believers in step with the Lord. Remember, I had been wondering what was causing the problem in the church and why all of our efforts weren’t going anywhere. I had to know why.
While praying one night alone I finally got an answer. I was stunned. It was the kind of answer one never expects to receive. The Lord had spoken very clearly. He said, “It’s the pastor.” That was all He said. He never said what the problem was. I had no idea what it could be. I never asked. I really wasn’t interested.
I didn’t know what to do. I decided at last to reveal this shocking answer to my best friend and his wife, the ones responsible for witnessing to me which led to my salvation. I was very careful. I knew he greatly honored the pastor and held him in high esteem. I did my best to reveal the answer in as gentle but strong a way as possible. With the three of us gathered at their house one night, both of them expectantly waiting, I revealed what the Lord had told me. My friend almost immediately hit the roof. I couldn’t believe it. I was asked, or told, to leave. I had arrived there with them and ended up having to walk home. His wife, who never reacted as he had, came outside after me. She asked if I was okay. I will never forget her loving manner and her open tender eyes. But the relationship was broken. I don’t think I ever told anyone else. It wasn’t long after that incident that I had to move on. I moved away to start again. They stayed.
About a year later the news had reached me. I found out what the problem had been. I discovered why our heartfelt sincere work for the Lord had been unfruitful. While we were busy witnessing, fasting, and praying, our pastor had been having an affair with a church member.
© 2019 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.
 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 RESPONSIBLE PARTY
Isn’t America supposed to be a Christian nation? If so, whoever wants to blame the government, lobbyists, political parties, and the great money powers as the cause of our current state is barking up the wrong trees. These entities merely stepped into a void that was created when American Christians vacated their place of responsibility. I’ve been saying this for decades and have been getting slammed by Christians for decades for saying it. I have now noticed that others are saying it. It’s about time.
The facts are clear. There is only one responsible party for America’s decline: Christians and the ministers they choose. Which Christians are most guilty? The Lord said this:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” [Luke 12:48]
There is no doubt there is an evil elite in this world that possesses great power. Its members are in the process of finalizing the one-world globalist government of the Last Days as prophesied in Holy Writ. This structure is enveloped with a false and deceptive surface light but contains an inner core of pure darkness.
Real Christians are the only ones who can possibly possess the spiritual power to overcome this powerful darkness. There are very popular and powerful ministers in this country with GIANT platforms but they almost never use them for the right reasons, such as revealing the devil and defining sin. Could it be they never would have achieved their great success had they used their platforms properly?
THIS COULD WORK!
Here’s a suggestion:
Make a list of the top 50 influential Christian leaders in America—those who are extremely influential, wealthy, and well-connected—including mega pastors, Christian television personalities, and ministers of any denomination. Suggest strongly that they start DEFINING SIN specifically and speaking out very powerfully against sin, including the very worst sins such as abortion. Suggest they do this every single time they speak in public ministry, at churches, at conferences, on television, on radio, on the internet, and out in public. Suggest they begin using their tremendous wealth, influence, advantage, and giant platforms to teach other Christians to do the same.
I guarantee you things would start turning around. It wouldn’t take long. Though there would be a tremendous backlash from the forces of evil in the beginning and some of these people would get powerfully slammed, people in this country would start getting convicted. They would start repenting of their sin. They would start receiving what their souls have been crying out for:
(1) Discovering what sin is
(2) Discovering the sins they are guilty of and have on their account
(3) Discovering the great power sin has over them
(4) Discovering the way to be released from the power of sin and be free
The real Gospel would then start doing the work it was designed to do. Light would shine. Darkness would flee. America would change. The Great Awakening would begin coming forth in great mighty waves. This is exactly what happened when the Lord Jesus came. A Great Powerful Awakening took place in the land of darkness and the shadow of death! But what also happened?
He got crucified.
So now you know why the suggested Big 50 will never take our suggestion, even though a few of them have already been unjustifiably maligned by anti-Christian enemies. The simple fact is that there is not a Stephen among them. They are nothing more than members of a Christian elite with their own personal agendas. The American Great Awakening, therefore, is dependent on the kind of people Paul defined in the following passage.
It is dependent upon YOU.
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. [1Corinthians 1:26-29] 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS POWERFUL SERIES:
Keep yourself free from sin. [1Timothy 5:22]
JULY 4, 1776
It’s been 240 years since the Declaration of Independence was written. America declared to the entire world on the above date that it had grown to adult status and would be moving on into full independence.
It was a forced departure. The distant government had come down way too hard on individual liberties and had not appreciated what the colonists had achieved. It instead treated them as mere chattel, took them for granted, and insisted on rule simply for the sake of rule. It was dictating from afar with little or no respect for the people.
Their strong arm had the opposite effect. The American colonists thus made the right decision to secede and rid themselves of an overreaching, bureaucratic, close-minded, and entrenched power concerned only for its own interests.
Therefore, the United States of America was founded on the principles of freedom, God-given individual rights, and personal liberty at any and all costs. The only possible way to facilitate these was for Americans to say goodbye to their arrogant overlords and be willing to fight.
And now, 240 years later, on a much lesser scale but in the same spirit, the British people have said the same things to the European Union. Why? Because the leadership of the European Union has become extremely top heavy, unresponsive, dictatorial, and unappreciative of the British. As I said before, the EU needs the UK much more than the UK needs the EU. Let’s hope the United Kingdom maintains its backbone, doesn’t cave, and makes the absolute best of the current British Exit.
WHAT HAPPENED TO US?
And now, with the express agreement of the American people by voting into office those who are doing the very opposite of that which our Founders fought and died for, America has become much like the EU. America has caved in long ago to a leadership structure that is far worse than what the leadership of England was prior to the Revolution.
Has the American government at present become what it was designed by the Founders to be? Not at all, but it is not the government’s fault. The government itself is largely benign. There’s a lot of great people working in government. The Word of God says government in general is actually good and necessary. Americans should never be anti-government. But limited government is best. Limited government is the government of a free, strong, and independent people. The desire for limited government was exactly what the American Revolution was all about.
The Constitution as written by the Founders certainly advocated for extremely limited government and the promotion of great individual freedom. As the government has grown in scope and power, however, individual freedom has greatly shrunk. This is a basic mathematical corollary. When one increases the other decreases. It’s impossible to have big government and great liberty at the same time. It works the same with light and darkness.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
On July 4, 1776 there existed a pronounced desire for individual freedom, a spirit of independence, the strength and courage to seek it, unlimited hope, a belief in the future, and tremendous opportunity. Today, there is comparatively less of all of the above. Liberty is fading.
This fade to darkness is due only to the following: A turning away from the Lord Jesus, a growing acceptance of and redefinition of sin, and a huge lessening of human morality and righteous resolve.
How did this happen? Does the escalation of America’s moral failing dovetail with the nanny state and mammoth government? Are the two related? Are they connected? There is no way the Founders envisioned our current arrangement. Individual freedom is presently not only crashing but burning.
Here’s how government growth happened in part: It responded to those lobbying the most. These are the ones who gain the most influence. This is what created the blatant dual standard of justice that has become so obvious as of late. Individual Americans have never managed to create a large enough voting bloc to lobby for their own interests and are therefore left out of the inner circle of great influence. It is in part why the great Middle Class of America that once was is no more.
Much of this has happened due to a basic Divide and Conquer strategy that has worked perfectly. Such a strategy not only promotes division, it also promotes hate.
Also, Americans put far too much trust in political parties. Political parties always have their own personal agendas and until this year, only promote their own. And even though the original framers of the government structure built it in such a way to eliminate or at least limit the inevitable greed and corruption they were all too familiar with that was used against them, the limitations have failed.
Though built with strong checks and balances to severely limit corruption, those checks and balances have largely been overcome and eliminated by corruption. It is not necessarily the case that the founding documents have changed in letter to violate the founding principles; it is that the founding principles are largely ignored. The Bill of Rights is routinely violated every day and the violations are increasing with no apparent solution in sight. Without great change, individual rights will continue being outlawed one by one. The more disruptions that take place in society, the less freedom there will be and the more individual rights will be violated, except for the rights of those in the protected class. Darkness has thus descended upon the land. The remedy?
“Let there be light.” [Genesis 1:3] 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued…]
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS POWERFUL SERIES:
YOU NEVER HEAR THIS STUFF ON CHRISTIAN TELEVISION:
Did you know that the Biblical New Testament—that which contains the entire teaching curriculum of the Lord Jesus, His record of miraculous works, the history of His salvation-producing death, and the truth of His glorious resurrection—has been vociferously attacked by very powerful Americans who want to destroy it and have plans to do that very thing?
Did you know that millions of Christians support these very people and are so clueless they don’t even know their own enemies?
Did you know a very high ranking individual of another faith wrote a book twelve years ago essentially demanding a total ban on the New Testament and that he did this because he claimed the New Covenant writings are anti-Semitic?
Did you know there are many large organizations of Christians partnering with anti-Christians in which the Christians refuse to witness to the unbelievers as if the Gospel did not apply to them?
If you didn’t know any of this you had better start waking up because the time will come in America when the New Testament will not only be slammed as hate speech, laws will be passed against it, and a total ban will be proposed. Mark my words. The time is approaching faster than you may think. And the worst part? Many so-called Christians and influential Christian leaders will actually support it.
Sin is growing out of fashion as a concept. It is trending out of acceptance as a principle. It is no longer perceived among mainstream Christians in America as a tenet of acceptable belief.
None of this is new in world history. Most of the world has traditionally resided in spiritual darkness from time immemorial. There is no question about that. Spiritual darkness even invaded the so-called Holy Land well over two thousand years ago and remains there still. When the Lord Jesus appeared on the scene His arrival was characterized as LIGHT shining on the darkness. What darkness? The majority of the Hebrew people dwelling there at that time did not think their nation was in darkness. And yet the honored and incredibly accurate Old Testament Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote this:
“THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” [Matthew 4:15-16] 
Many of you know these verses well. But how well have you noticed the clear reference to darkness? This wasn’t just any darkness. Remember, this was Galilee, the former land of the northern tribes of Israel. But even at the time of the prophecy he called it the land of Gentiles. I would argue, though, and argue very correctly that even before the time of the Assyrian Captivity when the northern tribes were marched off and removed from the land, the land was in darkness. In fact, the land was so dark during the time of the Israelite kings it actually grew less dark after the Hebrews left. If this seems like a strange notion, I suggest you study the idolatrous history of the Northern Kingdom and its wicked kings.
STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND
The Assyrian Captivity began right around the time Isaiah began his ministry in about 740 B.C. The final deportations took place after the fall of Samaria and final defeat of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. Imagine then that Isaiah was prophesying about the coming Messiah 700 years before the Light appeared. And he prophesied of a time when the land would not only be dark but would be referred to as “the land of the shadow of death.” That’s pretty serious. That was a very dark land.
Could America be characterized this way? Well, one must consider that in the 43 and a half years since a reprobate Supreme Court legalized wholesale in-womb baby killing in what used to be the land of the free, upwards of 60 MILLION babies have been murdered. And this great infanticide has never been stopped no matter what solution has been proposed and attempted. Billions of dollars and millions of man hours have gone into the fight to stop it and nothing has worked yet. The Supreme Court could have overturned the outrageous decision at any time. It could overturn it now. But it won’t. Could it be dwelling in a place of darkness? Is not America of the last 43 plus years the land of the shadow of death? And do we therefore need a bright new LIGHT to shine forth and expose this terrible darkness and end all this wanton murder and destruction?
I vote in the affirmative. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the mega dollar preachers with mega church followers and giant worldwide television and social media presences to do anything about it. Don’t wait for the billion-plus member Roman Catholic Church to do anything about it. There is a majority of Catholics on the Supreme Court and they refuse to do anything about it! And don’t wait for your mainline gigantic Protestant/Evangelical church bodies to do anything either because they won’t. They have billions of dollars to work with but they waste most of it every day on not only doing nothing to alleviate the darkness and death, but actually promote it and spread it around. How?—At the voting booth. Why do Christians keep voting these people into office?
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued…]
 Old Testament Scriptures are listed in All Caps in the NASV95. 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.
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS POWERFUL SERIES:
Many Christians erroneously believe the Old Testament has been eliminated by the New Testament but the Lord Jesus NEVER said this. In fact, He said the following:
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-19] 
In this passage, the Lord Jesus grants full approval of the entire Torah, accepts it in every respect without question, and allows for no elimination of any single law. He is saying that the Law of Moses is perfect and complete, just as the apostle Paul later taught in his writings, and He endorses the Law wholeheartedly. The Lord Jesus put His entire ministry and mission on the line by doing this, tying Himself entirely and absolutely to the Torah and its existence at least until heaven and earth passes away.
Therefore, the notion that the Old Testament or the Law of Moses is no longer viable or in play could not be more wrong: Every definition of sin regarding personal human behavior is still 100% in effect. So if people say, “Well, since Jesus never said anything about this sin or that sin, it must be okay to practice such,” the correct response is that He actually did since He endorsed the Law and the Prophets. If the Law of Moses said something was a sin, it is still a sin to this day and the Lord Jesus agrees.
Also, if the Torah said a particular action or behavior was a gross sin, or a complete violation of God’s intent, or an abomination, then it was and remains an abomination. You can tell which sins were the worst by the penalties attached to them. The worst sins had the sentence of death as the penalty, signifying the outright heinousness of the behavior and ultimately the total contempt for the Lord and His Law.
Therefore, even though the Gospels do not address every single specific sin or the worst sins that required the death penalty, the Lord endorsed the written Torah, which does.
THE ORAL LAW
Of course, the original written Torah was added to in a sense and amended with the addition of the unwritten oral law, which began about the time of the Babylonian Captivity and grew in content until the first century A.D. This oral law did not change the written Law (the Torah—the Law of Moses) which remained intact, but it had changed and corrupted the original intent of the written Law. The Lord Jesus addressed this corrupting influence on many occasions, rebuking those Torah-teachers who advocated for its use in altering the original.
(Many Christians are guilty of the same practice, having altered the original teachings of the Lord Jesus to suit their own taste and limited understanding, and in some cases changing His intent and meaning entirely.)
Since the New Testament thus defines sin by the Lord’s support of the Law and the Prophets, there is actually no distinction between the two in defining sin. Sin is still what it has always been and it still incurs a penalty. Many people do not understand they are paying a penalty for sin in some form or another at present based on some past or present sin, which they do not recognize as sin. They do not consciously make the cause and effect connection between the two.
But God is not mocked. What we plant is what we will harvest. The ultimate penalty for unconfessed sin comes after physical death. It is not the Lord’s fault if people choose to die in their sins having rejected the only cure and the only cleansing agent—the Blood of Jesus.
The worst sins require the death penalty. The Lord Jesus paid that death penalty in full on our behalf. He fulfilled the requirements of the Law regarding sin and whoever applies the penalty He paid toward their own sins will have their long list of violations against God and man expunged, and their official record of sin will be erased as if it never existed.
This is the Lord’s grace. This is His mercy. This is His love.
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued…]
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS POWERFUL SERIES:
Medical doctors are trained to diagnose the cause of a physical problem and administer the proper care toward returning a patient to good health. Defining the problem is often not so difficult though some cases can be tricky. With the help of support staff and any number of devices, however, they most often come to the correct conclusion regarding the cause.
It is usually the case that the illness or injury is caused by the patient, directly or indirectly, either by a bad diet, bad decisions, negative lifestyle choices, or reckless and irresponsible behavior. We know there are always correct choices available that greatly limit the odds of poor health. Patients rarely make this connection, however, and refer to fate or predisposition (“it runs in the family,” for example). Also, illnesses and disease often do not manifest until years down the road. The cause and effect is thus not perceived. People often get sick based on wrong choices in the past.
The human body, though, is amazingly resilient and responsive to the proper treatment. For example, rather than pollute the body by eating garbage thinly disguised as food or drinking tap water loaded with chlorine and other chemicals, one can begin drinking purified water and eating real food packed with the necessary nutrients that not only supply energy but greatly build up the immune system to successfully win the fight against sickness and disease and allow for optimum health.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. [1Corinthins 9:24]
SIN IS RUNNING RAMPANT
Sin is a powerful disease, far worse than any other. It has reached epidemic proportions in America. Rather than attack its spread and seek the only cure, however, the deadly disease has instead been embraced. Many strains of the disease have been reclassified wrongly as benign. In an unbelievably counterintuitive manner, sin in general has moved far beyond the toleration stage and is presently entering the stage of popular acceptance. Since the only cure has been rejected by the most influential and powerful among us, sin is seen as inevitable and many who previously resisted have weakly given up the fight and surrendered to both its causes and effects.
In a wrongheaded effort to be socially acceptable (liked), and to not appear as old fashioned preachers of the pure Word of God, the majority of Christian ministers in America no longer preach about sin. They don’t feel comfortable doing so and are easily embarrassed by unbelievers who question their motives. They know what the hot button issues are and would rather not take a chance on sacrificing themselves or their ministries. So they make it nice and keep it low key. They smile a lot. They dance all around the obvious. They do not want to offend. They attempt an impossible “classy” method of ministry that totally fails against the ugliness of evil. They reject striving for the spiritual success of others, derived only from properly applying the real Gospel, for other forms of personal success.
This has never been the Lord’s way. He addressed sin directly. He loves us enough to tell us the truth. He always makes a perfect diagnosis and follows it up with a perfect cure. His entire mission is to bring salvation from sin.
How can He do this unless He teaches that sin must be rejected? Therefore, any so-called minister who refuses to properly address sin and define it so people can discover what’s causing the problem and receive the cure is a phony.
There are presently millions of Christians in America who believe wholeheartedly that what used to be clearly defined as blatant sin is no longer sin at all. They have shifted their priorities. They have fully joined the world. It is obvious that their major influence is no longer the Lord or His Word. Many others have adopted causes and created organizations with unbelievers that are completely removed from the scope of New Covenant ministry. These Christians, many of whom are very influential Christian leaders, have essentially rewritten the Word of God. They have joined the enemy. They have no excuse.
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” [John 15:22] 
IS MURDER A SIN?
Most Christians still believe murder is a sin, for example, unless it involves killing defenseless babies. Then, for many, it is okay. War deaths of any definition are considered by most Christians to be justifiable, though most are ignorant of actual causes and motives of wars. But like every other sin being accepted these days as not sin at all, there will probably come a time soon when even murder will not be characterized as sin, though this is largely already the case.
In fact, government leaders the world over have justified murder in all forms as acceptable under their own guidelines. Many have long since appropriated the necessary cold heart and indifferent attitude toward killing. To easily prove this, it has been generally estimated by many statisticians and authors that in the last century, from the year 1900 to the year 2000, approximately 200 million people were murdered through the direct efforts of the leaders of legitimate, recognized governments. For perspective, 200 million is about two-thirds of the entire population of the United States. Based on these statistics, it appears as though the perpetrators of these killings do not believe murder is a sin.
YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME
You see, the problem people have with accepting the reality of sin is that they must also accept a higher law and a higher authority to pronounce, define, and render penalties with reference to law violations. People in general do not like such restrictions on their chosen behaviors, because it demands responsibility. It demands accountability for one’s illicit actions. And as this world grows darker, the lovers of darkness desire ever-greater control, not only for the allowing of their own sinful behavior but that of society in general. Part of that control involves rewriting the rule book on:
(1) Good and Evil
(2) Right and Wrong
(3) Acceptable Behavior and Aberrant Behavior
(4) What will be Allowed or Opposed
Because they have rejected the Lord Jesus they must also reject His Word. They end up in the only remaining logical place of such rebellion: They must overturn His entire curriculum, turn everything upside down and backwards, and thus redefine good as evil and evil as good.
The one thing they oppose the most is real Christianity. The one Person they oppose the most is the Lord Jesus. So anyone who actually joins up with the Lord wholeheartedly according to His directive and methods, and believes and teaches the real Gospel, will also be the subject of their wrath. This is already happening, of course, right here in what used to be free America, as anti-Christian hate is presently rising precipitously.
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Continued…]
“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:12]
The grain kernel of wheat is composed of two parts: The inner part that we eat and the inedible outer hull. The inedible part must be separated from the edible part. There are two ways to remove the outer hull: Threshing and Winnowing.
Threshing was used on grains in which the hull was attached tightly to the grain kernel. In the days of our Lord, such covered grains were either soaked in water, or were lightly milled or even pounded upon to loosen the hull in order to remove it. The latter processes often damaged the edible grain.
However, when dealing with grains in which the hull was relatively loose and light, little or no threshing was required. A winnowing fork was used instead to cast the grain into the air allowing the wind to separate the inedible hulls from the edible grain kernels. The light, papery hulls would float or fly away in the wind while the edible grain fell to the ground to be collected. These light separated inedible hulls are called chaff, a word derived from Middle English.
In both of these methods the unfit for consumption outer hull had to be removed from the grain kernel. Once removed the hull residue (chaff) was burned.
Keep in mind what the Lord Jesus had to go through as the new seed of all creation. He was baptized by John as our example though it was personally unnecessary. And though He had no hard outer hull He underwent the extreme process of hull removal on our behalf.
Both John the Immerser and the Lord Jesus used the rich imagery of hull removal in their preaching as illustrative of the process of salvation. The otherwise soft, warm, and loving human heart, characterized perfectly by the happy innocent hearts of young children, becomes hardened by a life of sin and rebellion against God. In time a hard outer shell forms over the human heart and creates an entirely different human nature from the original.
This requires what the Lord refers to as heart circumcision:
“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” [Deuteronomy 10:16]
“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” [Jeremiah 4:4]
Since human will and free choice must be involved in the process of salvation, the outer hulls of our hearts can only be removed by voluntarily submitting to the process of spiritual threshing or winnowing. For those with very hard hulls the process will be more difficult. For those with lighter papery hulls removal will be less difficult. But in either case, since all have sinned regardless of degree, ALL hearts MUST be circumcised or salvation is not possible. EVERYONE MUST undergo a new birth.
We can see by the very clear illustration of heart circumcision (circle cut) that salvation and new birth (being born again) is actually a reverting back or returning to one’s original created condition. Though real Christians will still have to battle their old nature in this world after undergoing a new birth and receiving real salvation, the new nature takes over and regains authority over the old sin nature.
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! [2Corinthians 5:17 NRSV]
He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. [John 1:11-13]
“You must be born again.” [John 3:7]
Submitting to heart circumcision is not an easy choice but obviously the best choice anyone could ever possibly make. If we have a hard outer shell on our heart, it is not so fun to subject ourselves to light milling or necessary pounding to remove it. It is also not so fun to be thrown up in the air with a winnowing fork so our old nature can become dust in the wind.
Keep in mind that John the Immerser was sent to soak the nation of Israel in water to loosen its national hull and thereby gain a softening of its national heart prior to the Lord’s ministry. The goal was threefold: (1) Making the national heart receptive to the Lord (2) Gaining national repentance—a wholesale turning away from sin and rebellion against God—and (3) Undergoing a national heart circumcision.
The nation of Israel would thus be divided based on its response to John’s ministry and later the Lord’s. The first camp would include all those who honored John’s and the Lord’s ministry and complied. The second camp would be composed of all those who did not.
The Lord referred to the first camp as being composed of sheep, wheat, and good trees with good fruit—“the blessed of My Father.”
He referred to the second camp as made up of goats, chaff, tares, and bad trees with bad fruit—“accursed ones.”
For all those who refuse the great opportunity of salvation and being included in those returning to the Lord’s original sinless creation, however, something must be done with them.
If it was grain kernels with very hard and stuck fast outer hulls that refused the proper treatment toward removal, such grain would be no good for anything and would certainly not be edible. But even if it was grain with light papery hulls, if winnowing was refused it also would remain inedible.
The only thing to be done with such bad grain that still contained an otherwise edible kernel was throw it in the pile of the inedible chaff that was removed from the good grain.
This is what John meant when he said the following:
“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:12]
In order for the Lord to continue the process of new creation, the following verses illustrate more examples of allegorical entities which must be eliminated through the ultimate means of purification—Fire:
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Matthew 3:10]
“The tares are gathered up and burned with fire.” [Matthew 13:40]
“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire.” [Matthew 13:41-42]
“The angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire.” [Matthew 13:49-50]
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones (goats), into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…” [Matthew 25:41]
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” [John 15:5-6] 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Matthew 3:10]
The Lord Jesus made it very clear in His teachings that fruitless discipleship is no discipleship. In other words, if there is no spiritual fruit there then there is no discipleship there. Real discipleship bears good fruit. It is impossible for it to not bear good fruit. A good tree always bears good fruit.
As did John the Immerser, the Lord Jesus also said:
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:19-20]
He was talking about false prophets. He likened false prophets to ravenous wolves. He said ravenous wolves were bad trees bearing bad fruit:
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” [Matthew 7:15-16]
In comparing sheep to wolves the Lord is comparing good trees to bad trees. Wolves are ravenous. It means they are very hungry and will kill to satiate their hunger. Wolves kill sheep in order to eat sheep. False prophets do the same. They not only rip off the sheep—removing from them all their valuable externals—they will also eat up everything the sheep are composed of—everything that comprises their lives. In the best case scenario they will transform the sheep into trees bearing fruit for the sole benefit of the wolves.
We may call these zombie sheep. They obey their voodoo masters the false prophets. They do not have any critical thinking skills. Their minds are not their own. Their minds have become religionified. They have fallen into a cult, though it may be a “respectable” denomination or world wide organization. Such sheep do not bear good fruit.
Imagine creating such sheep. It sure makes life easy for the wolves. They do whatever the wolves tell them to do, especially when it comes to money, their primary fruit. Take away their primary fruit and they also become worthless to the wolves. They are already of no worth to the Lord. They have rejected Him and His pure Word. Therefore, they will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
The Lord Jesus is THE Good Tree. He bears fruit, and it is always good fruit and only good fruit. It is also always available. All real disciples also bear only good fruit since they are good trees which came from THE Good Tree.
Unreal disciples usually don’t bear any fruit, though some bear bad fruit. The Lord said any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. John said it also. This is pretty self-explanatory, but one thing remains. What, exactly, is good fruit? What is spiritually representative of grapes and figs? Here you go:
“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance…” [Matthew 3:8]
And what is the fruit, or the proof, of repentance?
“Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?”
And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”
Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.” [Luke 3:8-14] 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
FROM PART 1: Much more importantly, most people are walking around in sin, with sin attached to them, with sin stamped on their minds, with sinful souls, and with much sin on their account. But they don’t know it. The sin is not acknowledged. It is unknown to them. The possibility of its presence is refused. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t there…
We live at a time in which people are highly encouraged to have frequent medical checkups. There are also many new checkup procedures not available in the past and instrumentation that is much more sophisticated toward discovering health problems or potential problems. Within certain industries and corporations, medical examinations are required for employment and periodic health screening is required to stay employed.
I just read an article about aging former NBA basketball players. The greatest professional basketball player who ever lived, regarding not only incredible playing ability but also work ethic, hustle, and heart, and a huge contribution toward winning, was, in my studied opinion, Larry Bird.
His impact was such that without him his team would not only not have won, they would have been largely mediocre. He had great teammates. Some are in the Hall of Fame. But there is no question he was always by far the best, and they all knew it. He did everything to win while also playing completely within the rules, including the unwritten rules. He respected the game. He was a winner who often willed his team to win. He always gave the fans their money’s worth.
That is why the following is all the more remarkable. It was discovered through medical testing after his playing career that he had a heart problem. He had the problem most of his life but never talked about it. He had spells that he kept to himself. He came close to buying the farm, apparently, on several occasions.
I prayed for Larry Bird today. He just turned 59 years old. There have been several ex-NBA players who have died around his age, some recently. Some have died much earlier. It has often been due to heart attacks. Larry Bird believes that the former players who are most susceptible are big men like himself (he’s 6’ 9”), who have worked and hustled the hardest. He believes all the very hard work at such an incredible level of play, in addition to great size that makes the heart work harder, greatly increases the chances of a shorter life. That’s why, he says, you don’t see many old big men. Even very tall non-basketball players will die on average sooner simply because of their size. Short men, in reality, will have a decided tendency to live longer.
OUR TOP PRIORITY
I say all this to say that there is a correlation toward today’s overt universal mandatory medical screening and pretty much zero spiritual screening, which means we also live at a time when a person’s physical condition is treated in the opposite manner of one’s spiritual condition.
The same authority figures who desire and demand proper health screening as a top priority generally have no desire whatsoever for proper spiritual screening. This can only be due to placing this life and this realm above the next life, and for many it is because they do not believe in an afterlife. Most people certainly do not respect the Gospel.
This life is so very temporary. The next life is eternal. Living for this life at the expense of the next life will cost a person his soul. Our top priority must always be getting right with God. To that end we must all undergo spiritual checkups beginning with initial repentance. We must deal with our sin and be rid of it. We must stop sinning. The Lord Jesus has given us a way to do this.
Stay tuned. I will break down the following in our next lesson:
“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:10-12] 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
There was a vacation house out in the woods pretty far from the nearest town. It was located in the middle of a 1200 acre section of private land. There were no restrictions upon its building site or construction, though it was well built. The owner chose the site for its natural settings and views, but he didn’t pay much attention to the topography. He lived a thousand miles away and there were no close neighbors.
One day it began to rain in those woods and the rain didn’t let up for several weeks. The locals had never seen anything like it. Unbeknownst to the vacation house owner, he built his little hideaway in a very old flood plain.
At the height of the rains the flood waters had risen to four feet in the house and remained standing for a few days before slowly receding. The house was knocked slightly off its pier and beam foundation in the beginning which also damaged the framing in several places. This in turn damaged the roof’s integrity and several large leaks had developed allowing rain to pour in.
By the time the owner managed to check on his house several weeks later he was shocked at the damage. It was inundated by black mold. The wood framing had started to rot. Every insect and bug known to man had taken up residence in the house as well as a vast array of critters, including rodents, and even small mammals. The house was still filled with drying mud.
When the man started repairs he discovered that the mold had reached the tops of the walls in places. Even after removing all the wallboard and insulation he saw that the entire structure was affected. The critters had also taken up residence in the attic. Everywhere was mold, rot, and the byproduct of two months of small animals. The odor was overwhelming. It was an absolute mess.
He had no insurance. He checked with his lawyer on local laws. The next day he cleared out a break around the perimeter of the structure and made ready a few hoses from the well. After waiting for a day that had no wind, he set the house on fire and burned it to the ground.
“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:10-12] 
Today’s lesson begins with a simple truth: Fire removes the disgusting filth of corruption.
Corruption, of course, comes in many forms. There is the actual physical tangible filth that adversely affects the five senses, but there is also intangible corruption. For example, sin is intangible. You cannot see it. But you can certainly see its effects.
Picture a very clean mansion beautifully decorated in which everything is in perfect condition and every appearance, even the clothing of the inhabitants, is perfectly tailored and pleasing to the eye. Then picture the intangible sinful condition of the inhabitants. Picture their evil hearts and machinations, and the gross behavior they engage in behind the scenes.
The Lord Jesus says the intangible is much more real than that which is seen. If one could actually see the unseen corruption in the midst of the perfect and beautiful setting clearly seen with the naked eye, one’s opinion would change.
But most people never see this. Most people simply do not have spiritual eyes. They are very easily swayed by the illusory perception of their five senses.
Please see the following chart and look it over: Electromagnetic Spectrum
As I’ve taught before, the visible light portion of the Electromagnetic Spectrum is an extremely small part of the overall Spectrum. There is much more light that is unseen rather than the very little that is seen. 95% of the entire Universe cannot be perceived by the five senses.
Therefore, whoever bases their beliefs on mere sensory data cannot possibly have the full picture since the vast majority is completely unknown.
To bring this home and make it more visceral, there are people walking around right now with problems in their bodies and they don’t even know it. They go about their daily business as if the problem isn’t there. They cannot see inside their bodies. Imagine that. Something so close to us and so much a part of us and we don’t even know.
Much more importantly, most people are walking around in sin, with sin attached to them, with sin stamped on their minds, with sinful souls, and with much sin on their account. But they don’t know it. The sin is not acknowledged. It is unknown to them. The possibility of its presence is often refused. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t there…
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8:44]
To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. [Titus 1:15-16]
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight! [Isaiah 5: 20-21]
One of the greatest evils in this fallen world is evil people in positions of great power. And the worst kind of evil people are those who pretend to be good.
As sin increases exponentially and the authority of the devil continues to invade powerful positions of authority, millions of otherwise moral people with sound minds are so affected and influenced by the power of evil in authority figures that, barring a close walk with God, they also become depraved.
And despite the presence of any number of maniacs engaged in isolated incidents, the worst maniacs are those who use their positions of great power to corrupt huge populations.
For such people, the very best course of action is to repent and get right with God while they still can.
Barring that, they choose the worst course of all—choosing the devil as their father—and expose themselves to the worst judgment of all—eternal separation from God—that perpetrated upon themselves from which no one else can be blamed. They become the worst the human race has to offer and those who should never be in any position of authority.
They will receive the justice they deserve when they face God at the Judgment.
The Word of God states that prior to making a decision for God everyone is a sinner bound for hell.
Most people, including most professing “Christians,” do not believe this. Never mind that their own personal history is laden with sins acknowledged or not (most often not), the history of the world clearly reveals, from anyone’s perspective, that it is absolutely true.
Mankind’s history is one of sin, depravity, immorality, murder on a grand scale, and pure evil. Such sin is in every society, culture, and nation that has ever existed.
No one can disprove this because it is impossible to disprove. One won’t get far if one tries and will consequently silently close the book, put it away, and stare with great disillusionment into thin air at the revelation.
This world is no playground. Those who believe it is eventually get creamed. People learn early on that they must defend themselves and quickly seek some form of protection for the purpose of survival. A few, very few, are ultra-protected and blessed with unlimited money and appear to be beyond judgment.
But for such people who have chosen a very temporary dream world, they must know that human bodies do not last forever: They wear out; they get old. And the people existing within said bodies will have to leave the comforts of home one day and enter into what is a completely mysterious future from their perspective.
Eternity is a great unknown for them because they risked everything on this life and living for this world, this very short sojourn that all humans get a chance at, without doing anything whatsoever to prepare for what comes after, which leaves them completely unprepared.
Such people are bold and strong when young and vibrant, when they seemingly have the world by the tail. They shoot their mouths off though they often have no real clue about whatever subject they may be discussing.
Most never consider the cost paid by parents or others, but mostly the cost paid by God to both create them AND die for them to purchase their salvation. They laugh at the idea. They take for granted the cost paid to get them to the place of their comfort from which they choose the opposite of the correct attitude and adopt instead a brash, spoiled-brattish stance revealing them to be the mere posers they are.
THE DOWNWARD SLOPE
But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. [Matthew 12:14]
All nations go through stages. Great nations are led by great people who are mature, moral, and battle-tested. The final stages of a nation, however, are staffed by the opposite.
When nations go bad, it is because the people in said nation grow immature. They live off the great strength of those who have gone before them, who knew the price that must be paid for greatness.
Immature, spoiled people then choose likeminded people to be their leaders. A nation’s leaders are always a reflection of the populace. Poor nations are poor because they lack the moral strength and resolve to do something about it, and evil leaders rush in to take charge, since no one stops them. They end up taking everything for themselves.
In America, it used to be that political leaders must pass a very strict test placed before them by society at large. It included a morals test. But presently, the idea of a morals test placed upon prospective leaders is a joke. We have not had a series of moral leaders in a long, long time.
Why? Because the country has drifted downward. It began the descent by drifting downward morally. Once morality was thrown out the window no one could put a morals test on leaders. Hence, leaders became depraved.
But there is something else. When a nation of 300 million begins to go bad it takes a while. And while it is descending toward a moral cesspit having lost its way, and thus making completely idiotic choices for leaders, it goes relatively slow. There are many within the down-sliding group that continue to speak out and warn, and the warnings are always given with sufficient time to change course.
But not so with the chosen evil leaders. Their decline into abject immorality is relatively fast. Depending on the immoral state of the country, there are fewer and fewer checks and balances against evil overseers. No one can thus stop them without a drastic course correction.
WHO’S THE BOSS?
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” [Luke 12:48] 
In America, the Constitution states the people are the masters and government representatives are servants of the people. Hence, the people are the boss and must therefore always take their responsibility seriously.
This is why, even in a place like America—always imperfect but overall historically more moral and especially free than most other countries—it creates the saddest state of affairs when decent people choose evil people to lead them.
They choose them because they believe their lies. The people are cheated, but the people actually cheat themselves.
Why? Because a big part of immorality is willful ignorance. Americans knew better but neglected their homework and became a nation filled predominantly with ill-informed voters who chose people to lead them for all the wrong reasons.
And now we are stuck with a few, very few, in very, very powerful positions who no longer listen to voters AT ALL.
And why should they? They know the majority of voters are stupid which can easily be proven by their own elections and appointments.
And they know if they can deceive the American public so easily while merely running for office, they can deceive them that much more easily once they gain office.
Hence, Americans have chosen leaders who have zero respect for them and treat them exactly as they feel they should be treated according to their evil inclinations and attitudes.
This makes them maniacs.
Americans should be ashamed.
Things are backwards and upside down.
Americans should do what is required to right the course and regain control.
It begins with repentance and getting right with God.
We have been taken over by Political Pharisees.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Animals do some strange things and may be perceived as evil, especially if one finds himself alone in the woods with a hungry bear. But a hungry bear on his own turf cannot be blamed for eating a dumb human (should have had a proper weapon instead of a can of mace).
The great predator cats like lions and tigers may be seen as evil when they run down, kill, and eat slow, sick, and dumb antelopes. But they are actually doing a great service to the antelope herd by keeping it strong and alert.
The humans who used to live in the wild among ferocious and deadly beasts were without doubt very strong and alert, since those who were not did not survive.
The same thing happens with sin. The righteous people who flee sin and find sin abhorrent are morally strong and live on, but those who embrace sin do not and should not survive. And since sin is progressive, it spreads rapidly throughout a populace and always consumes the majority in time, since only a few are willing to do the work associated with living righteously against the tide of popular opinion.
This is presently taking place worldwide, but especially in America, where the righteous were formerly in the majority. The morality of America has fallen rapidly and, barring a very strong corrective such as great judgment or a spiritual awakening, will never recover.
The Lord Jesus said the very last days would be like the days of Noah just prior to the great flood, and this fact should give everyone serious pause. Back then, God had to wipe out all humanity except Noah and his family, for example, because humanity in toto had become a vile collection of filthy vermin completely beyond repentance or salvation. Their sin disease had become terminal. He did the same with Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet, as vile and egregious as their sin was, He angrily charged certain cities of His own people with a greater sin:
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
“And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.
“Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” [Matthew 11:21-24]
In spiritual terms, this is what is known as throwing down the hammer. Not only were the majority of the inhabitants of these first-century Galilean cities vile, they were most likely extremely self-righteous and deceived by false religion, in that they refused to honor the very clear ministry of the Lord.
Miracles had no effect upon them. Preaching the Word of God had no effect upon them. Imagine how enraged they must have become when the Lord said the people of Sodom were not as evil as they were!
In general, the Lord also prophesied the disastrous fate of His own people, stating that the remaining remnant of the kingdom of David would be destroyed, as well as Jerusalem, and even the great Temple. Which begs the question:
Why do we not think the same won’t happen to us? The sin of this present world far exceeds the sins of those in the past. Present humanity is more disgusting, more vile, more evil, more rebellious, more hateful, more immoral, more damaging to the planet, more in love with power and wealth, more materialistic, more shallow, more stupid, more self-righteous, more headstrong, and much more prideful. And in the good old USA upwards of 60 MILLION innocent defenseless babies have been legally murdered in extremely violent ways with the full compliance of the government through officials put in power by free elections. And abortions continue as you read this.
Intelligent and well-informed people know exactly what humanity in general has done to this planet. They know humanity has become a vile disease-carrying parasite destroying the world. This is just fact. But why can’t many of these same people acknowledge the cure? They continue to propose correctives that either don’t work, can never work, or merely work in part but have the overall effect of destroying freedom and liberty.
God does not want that. God loves humanity. He has a better plan. He proposes to cleanse us through and through and restore our liberty. He made us to be morally strong, free, and holy. Without Him the opposite happens, and is happening.
We say we understand when mankind throws down the hammer, often by force, to fix something or another, but we have a real problem when God does it. Thus, the hammer must come down, is coming down, and will continue to come down. It is designed to help us all toward repentance. Judgment is a viable part of the cure.
The majority will still squeal about the cure, though. Most will refuse to get right with God, will dishonor God, will pick a fight with God, will think God is an idiot, and hate God, which means many are not only vile but crazy. Once sin permeates and takes over the brain it transforms an otherwise healthy individual into a pompous little dictator, a mouse that roars, or an uproarious little nitwit. What ultra pride is this?
“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands?’” [Isaiah 45:9]
Whatever any individual may want to fix regarding the evil humanity is inflicting upon the world, it is a complete waste of time and effort without repentance and the application of the cleansing blood of God. There must be a circumcision of the heart. One cannot get good from evil or fresh water from a polluted pit. Unless a person is cleansed from and given power over sin and becomes a new creation, unless he or she submits to the Lord Jesus and follows Him and obeys Him, and unless he or she goes forth to help humanity with the real corrective, he or she remains subjected to the problem and is also part of the problem.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” [Luke 20:17-18]
Here we see the fate of sinful humanity—Repentance or Judgment. The spiritually proactive deal with their sin properly and allow the corrective to be applied and by this attain eternal life.
For those who choose life, it is possible to lay our burdens down. There is relief. Someone really does care. And He proposes the exact and perfect solution. It’s amazing what good can happen if we just get out of the way, let God lead, recognize our place in the order of things, acknowledge the fact that we have a very serious problem and that God has the only corrective, have a respectful attitude toward the Lord and become a servant, and simply let God be God.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30] 
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
God reveals sin. He knows our thoughts and intentions. He knows our secret sins. We may be able to fool many or most, and even ourselves, but we can never fool God.
Yet strangely, many of us apparently think that if God is the only one who knows, it’s okay, because He’s a nice guy and doesn’t seem to care too much. He is loving and forgiving and kind, and would never want to embarrass us.
Part of this characterization has some validity, but it’s simply not true overall. God is Love and He is very loving, but it’s not very loving to know someone has a fatal disease and never disclose the information. Imagine a doctor saying to an assistant, “Oh crud. The tests have uncovered something very bad! But I just don’t have the heart to tell my patient!”
God wants us to know. So He tells us. Or actually, He tries to tell us. But humans generally do not listen, or they cover the ears. Or they get very angry when conviction comes upon them. Imagine getting angry at the doctor for being the bearer of bad news: “Why you! What’s your problem? I don’t need this!” (And then you die.)
Actually, when people get such news they usually make the decision to comply with whatever the doctor orders and tell their friends and family they will fight the disease and win. They approach it with a great attitude. They show courage and strength, and trust their physician, the medical testing procedure, and the established program that attempts to rid their body of the sickness.
But when the aforementioned type of belligerent person hears the Word of God and suddenly knows he is a disease-carrying sinner in need of repentance, he often gets angry and stomps out of the room and gets mad at God and all those sorry Christians who think they’re better than everyone else and goes back to family and friends who he knows will agree with him and thus surrounds himself with fellow angry enabling deniers who refuse to acknowledge the truth. (And unless they repent they all go to hell.)
Others, though, fall flat on their faces before God repenting with much anguish over their many failures and violations of God’s standards and laws. And they continue at this until they are cleansed by the only cleansing agent for a filthy human soul—the Blood of Jesus. They then find peace “that passes all understanding” and receive the abundant life of God. And when God brings His Good News to a people and some hear it and respond properly and positively, He rejoices over their salvation. He paid the highest price for their welfare and is overjoyed when people apply it and their disease of sin is cured.
He also brings the Good News to those who refuse the opportunity. Such people become that much more strident against Him. They angrily sign their own death certificate. All they do after that point is a detriment to society as a whole. They become rebellious and hard core carriers of the sin disease and infect all they come in contact with. If it is a good thing to quarantine the diseased, is it not also a good thing to quarantine those with the sin disease?
In effect it certainly is, but since God wants no one to lose his soul, He will usually remain patient and hope they will change their hearts before passing from this realm. Plus, even though it can be difficult to deal with, He would rather such sinners have interaction with those who are set free, in hopes that their living or spoken witness will bring salvation, as in the wheat and tares parable (Matthew 13:24-30).
The Word specifically states, however, that real Christians must not have close relationships (being yoked together) with willful sinners. This is their method of quarantine.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. [2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1]
This may be termed a pre-separation, since at the end all sheep will be separated from the goats. In fact, if there is no “pre-separation” for believers there will likely not be any later separation either, since hanging around goats all the time often turns one into a goat. Real Christians must be separate from the world.
Though most people do not understand the truth and refuse to try to understand, willfully sinful human beings are basically disease-ridden vermin, regardless of outward appearances, and God must sometimes rid the world of such vermin to protect the world and those who try hard to live right. Hardened criminals who engage in vile practices with no heart for others often shuck all pretense, and their mug shots reveal them for the vermin they are.
But many less obvious willful sinners engage in unseen or unacknowledged sins (though just as deadly) and are mere posers who successfully transform their outer appearance to appear upstanding. For such confidence people, outward beauty is not merely skin deep but transcends to the soul. Some of the best posers are religious posers.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:27-28] 
I wonder if that brought on any conviction?
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]
“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” [Jeremiah 23:29]
“I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” [Revelation 2:23]
Almost everyone on the planet thinks he is a good person. There will almost always be someone in someone’s circle of family and friends to honor him regardless of his faults or transgressions. Many continue to honor family members and friends in this way after they pass on. In most cases, like at most funerals, those who have passed on are perceived as veritable saints. They are commended for their personalities, work habits, virtues, or seemingly inherent goodness. It’s rare that someone is not honored at his funeral.
There is thus a natural defense mechanism in those who defend the ones who cannot defend themselves, and to pay tribute to those who they deem good and have lived a good life. Because there is an emotional connection and love, and because feelings are tender, we always have a tendency to remember the good.
But such remembrances are usually not complete. God certainly sees the good things we have done, but He also sees the bad things. He knows our virtues, but He also knows our vices. Like most of us, I don’t think His intention is to trash fallible human beings at such a time, those who have done many good things in life and had good intentions or possessed what may be referred to as a “good heart.” He proved this by becoming one of us and giving His life on our behalf.
But He will never simply cover over our sins or refuse to acknowledge them as most of us would do. That is our foible. It is up to each individual to face the facts in this regard.
…For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… [Romans 3:23]
Sin is the most uncomfortable aspect of humanity. We all know we do things we would rather not (excepting, of course, the super saints among us), and many are actually so bound by sin and out of control they are helpless to stop bad behavior. Other people try everything they know to be righteous and often succeed from a human standpoint, but are haunted by failures they cannot overcome. Here’s a guy with this exact problem:
“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” [Romans 7:19] 
Since there seems to be no cure whatsoever, the solution for many is to simply redefine sin. If all the bad we do is actually not sin (something wrong or evil), then such actions are merely basic and indigenous expressions of humanity. In other words, if there is no such thing as sin then there is no such thing as sinners. It is relatively simple and easy to deceive oneself regarding this, but even easier when society as a whole teaches and enforces the idea, since individual sinners find comfort and security in numbers. Hence, the trashing of longstanding moral codes that have proven to be very effective historically at keeping people and societies moral. This is especially true of the Law of Moses.
The Torah has POWER in that it brings CONVICTION.
But conviction of sin is not comfortable. Humans would rather not believe they are perpetrators of evil. Thus, the acknowledgement of sin is opposed by self-righteousness, and the self-righteous are currently winning the battle since they have become the majority. The concept of sin is no longer a viable issue within society as a whole. The truth of sin has generally been rejected.
But why is this idea just as strong among “Christians?” Why have so many church officials and congregations redefined sin and even eliminated it? Before the Lord brings conviction of sin to the world, He must first bring conviction of sin to Christians. When He does, all who pay attention find out who the real Christians among us are, because real Christians respond to the conviction. Real Christians respond with real repentance, since they acknowledge their sins and feel anguish, distress, and sorrow as a result. Barring such a response, all non-responders, including unreal Christians, remain unconverted, are no different than unregenerate humanity, and remain in their sins.
The Word of God shines a light upon us outwardly and inwardly, to the depths of our hearts and down to the very genetic and DNA structure. If one has any sin, the Word will reveal it. This is why conviction of sin is a GREAT thing, because it shocks every individual with knowledge of their disease. And sin is the worst of any and all diseases, metastasizing even to the soul.
Many people have virus protection for their computers. Also, people go to the doctor and get checkups. They have routine medical examinations. And such examinations, like scanning one’s computer, are so thorough and all-encompassing that anything possibly wrong is rarely missed. The technology for detecting problems, even at a very early level, is impressive.
Now imagine the Word of God as a sin detector. God searches the soul the way doctors and medical technicians examine the physical body. While their means are impressive, His methods are perfect.
But they can only work if we make an appointment.
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]
Where is Perry Mason when you need him?
Well, the real Perry Mason who always wins His cases through justice and honor, who defends the innocent and proves their innocence, and who reveals as well the guilty parties, serves not in our courtrooms but in His own. He is not watching everything we do by using spy satellites and a million other means, but He did create a way to keep a perfect record — an eternal dossier on everything we will ever do in this life. He will use it to discover one’s innocence or guilt at the final judgment. Of course, if one does not believe in such stuff and reject it all outright, his guilt will condemn him with no cure, since he will have rejected the only advocate to plead his case.
Imagine that. You have been brought up on serious sin charges and Perry Mason himself is willing to take your case to help you out. Anyone with a measurable IQ would jump at such a chance because Perry never loses. Yet Mr. Brainiac rejects Mr. Mason and consequently goes to hell. Nice. Real good.
Here we have the Lord God Himself taking it on the chin for us and most reject Him? It is either because they are flat stupid or God’s people have done a sorry job of representing Him (or some combination thereof).
Nevertheless, everyone is guilty. Everyone requires the sacrifice the Lord made. Even those who have never heard the Gospel and have no clue who the Lord Jesus is know what sin is. A three year-old sins in secret, or thinks he does, and then lies when getting caught. The human conscience does a terrific job of sin conviction until said conscience is repeatedly overruled. But even eighty year-old career criminals on their death bed know their life of crime is wrong. They do not deny that. They simply love sin. They would hate heaven. They will not be so fond of hell either, but will fit better there.
God’s surveillance is therefore a very good thing. He will play back our lives at the judgment and, barring our personal repentance before we died, will explain why sinful behavior stems from a sinful heart unworthy of His kingdom. He will have the goods on us. It is only fair. His court will only render perfect judgments.
But what about the few who actually make it to heaven? If they have sinned as well as the unrepentant bad guys, why should they be allowed to have eternal life? It is as simple as this:
Their King died in their place.
They submitted to His Lordship. They chose to do their best to do right instead of wrong, but when they failed, they desired and allowed the blood of their Savior to cleanse them. They know they are not and will never be worthy of the presence of God in and of themselves or by their own efforts. All of this will show up on their surveillance video. Their personal movie will reveal their heart as well, but will find a contrite heart changed by God’s grace through their own repentance and love for the Lord.
So the next time you think about being surveilled almost everywhere you go by little or large video cameras and electronic eavesdropping, consider the eternal surveillance tape being recorded on your behalf. It will assist in giving you a perfectly fair verdict when standing before the King.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. [Revelation 20:11-15] 
The first and most important goal in this short and temporary life is to make sure one’s name is written in that book. Nothing else will otherwise matter. Also, if we allow the Lord Jesus to be the Author and Perfecter of our faith, it will bring Him unimaginable joy. Why?
Because every story He writes has a happy ending.
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 2]