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THE DAY OF PENTECOST 2021

Today is Pentecost. It is the 50th day since the anniversary of our Lord’s resurrection. On this date almost two thousand years ago the Holy Spirit outpouring began.

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In the beginning God initiated the initial Great Awakening. He brought forth a great spiritual event heavily prophesied in Old Testament literature and in His own ministry. He told everyone with ears to hear what would happen and it is apparent that only very few had such ears. As recounted here often, the Lord Jesus had preached to tens of thousands at the populous height of His ministry. They came from near and far. Word had spread rapidly. For a while He was the most sought after and popular Israelite in history. But alas, like all things spiritually solid and truthful in a fickle, unbelieving, sinful, and shallow religious world, His popularity and support began to fade.

WAS IT SOMETHING I SAID?

Though it was the greatest of Messianic ages in that a probable majority were aware of the prophetic times, there was much difference of opinion and confusion over what the Messiah must be. Most Israelites were obviously put off with their station in life and with the status of their nation as a whole, though it was no longer much of a nation. From the heights of the later portion of King David’s time a thousand years before when the Lord had brought together a roughly unified people after the defeat of Saul and emerging Israelite interlopers intent on the throne, a time not unlike the heights of Joshua’s conquest when the warrior David regained and established much territory, Israel began its long and steady decline. David’s son Solomon, like King Saul before him, had started out well but fell into sin and eventually descended into abject idol worship and tyranny. All that David had gained was lost not soon after Solomon’s death when the nation was split in two. From there it was a precipitous fall. The great nation began hemorrhaging and never recovered. Over the next millennium God did all He could to keep His believing remnant intact for His eventual arrival.  

The Lord’s ministry experienced a similar pattern. The tens of thousands of followers were reduced over time due to various reasons, though He was as powerful and consistent as ever. It appeared as though His school might end. The Lord even alluded to the possibility of being reduced completely in the following passage:

As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” [John 6:66-67]

By the time the great prophesied and hoped-for event of Pentecost arrived, only a relative fraction remained as His faithful followers.

The people of the Lord’s time thus looked back with great remorse over what had become of a once profound nation and also seethed with anger over its centuries-long perceived mistreatment at the hands of various world powers. Little did they know or appreciate that such powers—Babylon, Medo-Persia, the Macedonian Greeks, and now the hated Romans—were actually being used to keep the nation intact. Without the strong unifying governmental structure applied from without, the Israelites would have easily destroyed themselves years before from within. Which brings to mind a statement of God made early in their history which encapsulates and defines Israel’s true identity that it would never be able to slough off or prove otherwise:

And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people… [Exodus 32:9 KJV]

This descriptive term arrived in the English language in 1526, undoubtedly associated with William Tyndale’s first printed English translation of the New Testament of the same year, the first to be translated directly from the Greek. Most of the much later King James Version (1611) was taken directly from Tyndale’s version, though not credited to him. The echo of the preceding statement of God referencing the early Israelites in Exodus 32:9 is found in its only New Testament occurrence, translated by Tyndale and spoken by Stephen, telling the world that nothing had changed in the intervening centuries:

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” [Acts 7:51KJV]   

And they still resist the Holy Ghost. And most Christians do likewise. In fact, Christianity has taken such stiffneckedness to entirely new levels beyond that of its early Israelite forebears. In somewhat reasonable defense of the Pharisees et al who pretty much had no impulse control whatsoever when it came to any perceived slights against their prideful exalted religious standing and highly slanted, opinionated, and goofy interpretations of OT Scripture, they never had any hands-on frame of reference to Pentecostal happenings as later Christians did. In fact, the history of Christianity in the world contains a world class stiffnecked opposition toward all things New Covenant spiritual that actually puts the rebellious Pharisees to shame, if that were possible, and thus evokes the notion, judging by having so much in common, that those same Pharisees had somehow morphed into fake Christians.  

RESISTANCE AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT

There are several strange non-New Testament beliefs held by some Christians who are not so clear on the concept regarding the Holy Spirit’s identity. Many Christians actually believe that God is literally three different persons. They believe this because they were taught it. They did not acquire this belief from the Lord’s pure teachings or the New Covenant writings because it simply isn’t there. Call it an interpolation. The classic trinity doctrine was invented two to three centuries after the Lord’s time. There is obviously no such thing ever alluded to in OT literature which consistently and repeatedly states, in direct contrast to the rest of the world, that God is one. He is one Person. This was a quite radical departure among the ancient Hebrew patriarchs from the polytheism of the time. The prophets especially reveal this truth. Isaiah shouts it. But whatever. That was a long time ago and those guys just didn’t get it, right? I wrote about this in my post, IF ISAIAH SAID THAT HE’S A LIAR!

To illustrate this further, I remember seeing a Christian production a few decades back likely put on by some mega church and broadcast on Christian TV that featured the Lord Jesus in the usual stage depiction but also added the Holy Spirit as an additional personage. One might have thought prior to production, “But how do we display the Holy Spirit?” They solved that problem by essentially using the Casper the Ghost model. I kid you not. They made a Holy Spirit effigy out of a very white sheet flowing loosely below but gathered together at the top in a clearly delineated rounded head motif by installing the required wadding and utilizing an unseen band at the neck. They were somehow controlling this from above with piano wire or something to make it flit about. So there was the Lord and His disciples and some other hangers on all in the usual Biblical dress with robes and head wrappings and whatnot and among them flitted this “Holy Spirit” ghost thing, in appearance pretty much exactly like a ghost and invoking memories of Halloween. As far as I remember this person of the Holy Ghost had a non-speaking part, which, when one thinks about it, probably did much to further the notion of etherealness and spiritual distance from lower level humans. But I think it might have been just this side of awesome if this depiction of the Holy Ghost did speak just to see how far they might have taken it.

I would think if this is the real Holy Spirit no one should have anything against Him. It has been opined in the past that if Jesus was the super cool hippie dude as often presented by the know-nothings, why would anyone hate Him? Who in their right mind would crucify Mister Rogers? But again, Scripture is quite clear that the Israelites in general and the Israelite religious leaders in particular really hated the Holy Spirit pretty much the same way they hated the Lord Jesus (clue alert). And I guess since we’re on the trinity theme they must have also hated God the Father.

HEART CIRCUMCISION (OR NOT)

Stephen told them what their problem was. He said their hearts were each encircled with a fat encrusted infected mass that also had metastasized to their ears. Now, the concept of fat encrusted infected masses on human hearts was not a new thing. It too, as the previously mentioned stiffneckedness, was spoken of in the vast distant past in Old Testament lore which came to the fore through Moses (15th century BC):

“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” [Deuteronomy 10:16]  

Jeremiah (late 7th to early 6th century BC), brought a prophetic explanation to the issue 800 years later in the following:

“For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. 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 4:3-4]

Imagine then, a thick foreskin-like wrapping encircling the heart encrusted and hardened like sun-baked fallow ground impervious to plows. Then imagine the stiffest of necks reinforced with #18 rebar. Then imagine ears plugged with epoxy and spiritual eyes sealed with super glue. How is a loving God supposed to get through to such evil people? How are such spiritually diseased people to apply a remedy? What concoction from great grandma’s dusty cupboard might do the trick and heal the sick?

In the few more explanatory Bible translations we get a fuller academic meaning of the word stiffnecked. A more expository definition of the Hebrew and Greek originals results in the well known English word obstinate. And if you’re wondering how that plays out consider the thesaurus entries of this word from Misters Merriam and Webster:

obstinate  adjective:

    1. unwilling to submit (as to reason or control) <he had an obstinate determination to live as he pleased>

Synonyms: bullheaded, closed-minded, deaf, hardheaded, headstrong, incompliant, intractable, intransigent, muleheaded, muley, mulish, pertinacious, perverse, pervicacious, pigheaded, refractory, self-willed, ||sot, stiff, stiff-necked, stubborn, tough, unpliable, unpliant, unyielding, willful, wrongheaded; Compare UNRULY 1

Related: resistant, unsubmissive, withstanding; contrary, crabbed, recalcitrant, renitent; inexorable, inflexible, obdurate; opinionated; resolute, staunch, steadfast, unbudging [1]

Yikes. Now that we have a greater understanding of the heart, neck, eyes, and ears condition of those on the other side of rightness with God, we must get to the (ahem) heart of the matter regarding Christian religious prejudice against the Lord’s teachings and spiritual ways of operating. Again, the Pharisees and those guys in powerful opposition to the Lord were certainly bad enough but the later Christians who subverted the New Covenant were in my opinion far worse. Once the Light has come there is no longer any excuse for darkness. Once the first guy way back when decided to reject particular aspects of the New Covenant and opened the door for later anti-Christian hordes successfully masquerading as pro-Christian to further undermine and sabotage real Christianity to the nth degree and coerce millions to follow accordingly (or else), the die had been cast as it were and evil gained a great upper hand. It would do all Christians good to admit there is a devil and that he is extremely good at what he does. And it should not be so difficult to believe he has power to convince anyone to follow him and believe his tripe. And furthermore it must follow that there is only one cure for his great ability to deceive and if that one cure is not applied then one has no chance.

THE DEVIL GOES TO CHURCH

Many years ago there was a popular minister who pastored a very large denominational church, one of those “First” churches located in a large metropolis. He used to shout from the pulpit something to the effect that if one didn’t like something in the Bible then just tear it out! I am not sure if he only pretended to tear pages out of his Bible or just acted like it but he made his point very clear. Of course, this man also had his extreme prejudices against holy writ and had effectively already torn much from the New Testament, but this mattered little. No one among his own ever called him on it because they all believed the same. His church had a membership role in the tens of thousands. His denomination consisted of thousands of churches. Except for the ever-present minor squabbles among those otherwise perfect Christians they all believed basically the same thing. Isn’t that why they call them denominations?

Anyway, this particular minister apparently made a definitive anti-Pentecost statement at the forefront of the Holy Spirit outpouring of the early 1960s which I’ll get to shortly. A little background: The Lord had begun blessing Protestants with the infilling of the Holy Spirit at that time. Before then, due to religious prejudice, this experience was only possible for the most part among Pentecostal Christians. The new outpouring of the 20th century dated back to the Topeka, Kansas event in 1901 and the Azusa Street Revival which began in 1906 in Los Angeles. In the 1950s a few Protestants from various denominations began receiving the experience and their influence spread the word among their own. By about 1960 the movement had started to spread throughout Protestant churches and by early 1967 the movement even found favor among Catholics. Catholic priests and nuns were suddenly speaking in tongues, which brings me to the statement apparently made by the minister in question:

He supposedly said “Tongues are of the devil.” This was very well known at the time in Pentecostal circles. After all these years we must attempt to understand that “speaking in tongues” was a huge cutting-edge issue at the time and extremely divisive. Nevertheless, and despite the shenanigans of more than a few within the movement, the overall historical Pentecostal outpouring of the 20th century was decidedly very real. It has since spread all across the planet. Multiple millions have received the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Returning to our origins then, what happened on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem in about 32AD was clearly unprecedented. Also, in true Gideon paradigm form, many thousands of the Lord’s one time followers were eliminated from participating in the Upper Room Experience by their own unwillingness to walk with the Lord to the finish line and were reduced to a relatively microscopic 120 ever-faithful ones. In line with Gideon’s retort to God, how could the Lord’s future ministry, after so much work and spiritual achievement, possibly be successful with so few remaining disciples? The point here is that many were called but few were chosen. To put it another way, real disciples were not only called, they were also chosen and remained faithful, no matter what. That last part is really tricky because a Christian’s faith in the Lord Jesus will be tested greatly, far beyond the point one ever would have previously thought. The remaining 120 had been through the ringer. They were threatened always and sometimes with death. The disciples knew the religious leaders were out to stomp them into the ground. Sound familiar? The others could not handle it. It was simply too much. There were various reasons for departing, all involving some form of fear. For the most part it was simply because they either refused full obedience or could not bring themselves to the 100% commitment level. They were concerned about their status and livelihoods unlike the 120 who pretty much lost everything and had their reputations destroyed. It was the cost all real disciples must pay and are willing to pay.

But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Luke 9:62]

THE FINAL MEMBER TO YIELD

The Lord’s brother James, in the third chapter of his noted epistle, taught that the unregenerate human tongue is evil. It is a condition, of course, that every human has in common prior to spiritual regeneration and commitment to the Lord. Whereas the tongue is a miraculous creation with great abilities and is capable of many astounding achievements, it is also responsible for the worst atrocities. The following are the descriptions James used to define the tongue:

    1. A boaster of great things
    2. A fire
    3. Able to create allegorical forest fires
    4. A world of iniquity
    5. A body part that defiles the entire body
    6. It sets the course of one’s life on fire
    7. Is set on fire by hell
    8. A restless evil
    9. Full of deadly poison

Wow. James certainly didn’t stutter. Everything he wrote, however, is absolutely true though not often acknowledged. It is clear then, that this body organ we call the tongue is the most powerful organ we possess. Of course, James is referring to human speech. He gives the cure in chapter four and it essentially comes down to giving one’s all to the Lord Jesus in total surrender. This is actually what a real believer is. One either gives 100% to the Lord or one does not. If one never submits completely then one’s tongue is never tamed. Why? Because only the Lord can tame the tongue. Only He can bring it out of subjection to sin. And this means He must be in total charge. Any remnant of remaining human control will subvert the process.

It is thus completely within the realm of spiritual rationality that there must be a universal sign that the most unruly, rebellious, and sinful member of the human body has been tamed and brought under control. The New Covenant writings, especially the Book of Acts, reveal this sign. Paul mentions it directly in First Corinthians 14. In the recorded historical events regarding the infilling of the Holy Spirit it was not only the event that proved something profound and miraculous took place, but also that each one additionally proved in some way the taming of the tongue and a brand new use of human speech never utilized before. Just as the human heart must be spiritually circumcised to remove the fat encrusted infected mass encircling it so must the human tongue be cleansed of evil. Both are a vital part of the sin removal process. Both require the hands on participation of the Lord Himself. Only He can do it. Our part is to fully surrender to Him so He can. The tongue is the last member of the body to submit.

THE EVIDENCE

Though most Christians probably look for long term evidence proving one’s genuine relationship with God, from a New Testament perspective there was also immediate evidence. Just as there were immediate healings, immediate miracles, immediate answers to prayer, and immediate occurrences of deliverance, so were there immediate transformations of heart and tongue. These things did not have to take long. They did not need to be drawn out. It was simply a matter of the Lord Jesus taking authority. He has ALL authority on earth and in heaven but will never force anyone to do anything. Thus, a person must simply submit to His authority. When the Lord Jesus is given authority to act on one’s behalf by that person then all things become possible according to His will, and it is certainly always in His will to excise the evil from one’s heart and tongue. Once a person has been spiritually cleansed and becomes a clean vessel the Holy Spirit can then take up residence.

For perhaps most Christians, this is an entirely new definition of faith in Jesus. It demands total trust. And this demands the complete abdication of our own personal opposing authority which makes His work on our behalf impossible. When we allow Him to work, miracles happen. Always.

Happy Day of Pentecost everyone.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4] [2]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] ©1997, 1996 Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary/Thesaurus. Zane Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.             

[2] 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.

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 15)

Beyond the spiritual manifestations of the infilling of the Spirit, there were also the emotional and physical ones. To outside observers, it appeared as though the Upper-Roomers were drunk or high on something.

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INTRODUCTION   

Ch 1: LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6   LESSON 7

Ch 2: LESSON 8  LESSON 9  LESSON 10  LESSON 11  LESSON 12  LESSON 13  LESSON 14

LESSON 15

Acts 2:12-15

12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day… [1]

In the ancient city of Babel, God transformed the one language of all people into many languages. The people could no longer understand one another and were consequently dispersed into separate regions. Conversely, on the day of Pentecost, the languages of the dispersed peoples of the world were spoken by the power of one Person who resided within many. This was a reversal of the confusion of Babel. This act would unite instead of divide. The builders of the city and tower of Babel were united against God. The constructors of the Church are united for Him. This was the clarion call sent out to all nations to join the kingdom without walls, the spiritual kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the new Jerusalem.

But as now and throughout the church age, some were not impressed. Some people openly mocked the work of the Spirit, claiming the boisterous activity and loud voices were merely the actions of the inebriated and ignorant. Though there have always been excesses, were the Upper-Roomers excessive? Was the Lord Jesus excessive? When He walked the earth, His detractors called Him a wino. Is it merely coincidence that the same accusation emerged once again?

Something about the disciples’ behavior reminded the naysayers of common drunks. Sweet wine, or “new wine,” was that which was produced the same year of its harvest. It was very intoxicating. In a relatively joyless world of difficult toil and little natural merriment, wine provided a relaxing and welcome respite from the rigors of the work week. Maybe few Jews drank to excess but those who did were obvious to all. It was indeed a cheap shot to label the Lord’s people Sunday morning Mardi Gras revelers under the influence of strong drink, but what else were the mockers to think? Such a thing had never happened before. It was relatively early in the day and a house load of fellow Israelites had taken on the apparent appearance of festival-goers too impatient or undisciplined to at least wait until evening before engaging the vino.

But the majority of those below sensed something else. Instead of simply making a quick judgment based on minimal evidence, they were drawn to the spectacle in wonder. The Spirit of God was everywhere around them. They began to feel what the Upper-Roomers were feeling. Joy was spilling out of the windows. Great smiles and laughter abounded. A release was taking place. Over and over the same thought kept running through their awestruck and somewhat confused minds, What does this mean?

Peter, sensing that the time had arrived to explain the current happening, moved to the forefront and prepared for his address. He was no longer the impetuous fisherman, but the articulate and well-versed spokesman of the “fishers of men.”

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 14)

While the unprecedented and astonishing miracle was taking place in the Upper Room with those inside oblivious to the outside world, a great stirring was occurring in the streets below: They had an audience.

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INTRODUCTION   

Ch 1: LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6   LESSON 7

Ch 2: LESSON 8  LESSON 9  LESSON 10  LESSON 11  LESSON 12  LESSON 13

LESSON 14

Acts 2:5-11

5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

The Lord said they would be witnesses. I remember many years ago I heard a New Testament studies teacher expounding on the subject. He was a brilliant man and a friend, who has since made the big trip. By this time in my walk I had witnessed to countless people but I had never before heard one particular thing that man spoke forth. It stood out within his teaching and has remained strong in my memory ever since. He said, “Witnessing is a forced option.” What he meant was that Christians are witnesses twenty-four hours a day whether they want to be or not, or whether they think they are or not. We are not witnesses only when we are witnessing.

While that particular thought settles in, let’s think about the mindset of the believers in the midst of the greatest event of their lives. Many had their eyes closed, lost in the Spirit, emotions spilling forth. There were loud voices of praise at various levels, male and female, bass, alto, soprano, all speaking forth in languages they had never spoken before. Most were unaware of their surroundings, being completely focused on the Lord. Tears were streaming. Smiles were beaming. Pure joy was breaking out all over. They had been clothed with power from on high.

And in the midst of it all, those on the streets below, Jews from all over the empire in town for the great Feast of Weeks, were beyond perplexed. It was unprecedented for them as well.

The Upper-Roomers were already fulfilling their call to be witnesses and did not even know it.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” [Acts 1:8] [1]

Every one of those temporary residents of Jerusalem and the city dwellers themselves were receiving a forced witness. They had no choice in the matter. They heard unlearned and ignorant Galileans, given away by their accents, “speaking of the mighty deeds of God,” in their own respective languages. It was the first instance of this “sign for unbelievers,” as Paul mentioned, which would be given again and again—the evidence of a surrendered heart and the fruit of holy speech. It was also an awakening moment for those on the outside looking in.

Pentecost was a reversal of Babel.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 13)

It happened fast: A loud sound of wind filling the house—A visible Light filling the Upper Room—Division into smaller Lights upon each believer—Speaking new languages by the power of God…

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INTRODUCTION   

Ch 1: LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6   LESSON 7

Ch 2: LESSON 8   LESSON 9   LESSON 10   LESSON 11   LESSON 12

LESSON 13

Acts 2:1-4

1 And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place, 2 when suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and that settled on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled—diffused throughout their souls—with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages, as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression (in each tongue in appropriate words). [1]

THE TONGUE IS A FIRE

The last member of the human body to yield to the Spirit of God is the tongue. The Lord’s brother James held nothing back when writing the following revelatory verses—strong, intense, and filled with spiritual import—explaining this phenomenon:

Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. [James 3:3-8] [2]

Speech is a powerful force. It is a great gift from our Creator. Humans are hardwired with the ability to speak. Small children gain the use of extremely complicated language skills, grammars, and word dictionaries with no scientific explanation. We take it all for granted but the evolutionists among us are stymied by this otherwise impossible ability possessed by mere babes.

As all things human can be corrupted and have been corrupted, so it is with speech. In the beginning, God spoke creation into existence. Sinful man destroys by the same power. This is yet further proof that every human is estranged from God until delivered from sin and born anew from above. Those who would gain the Lord’s spiritual life must humble themselves and surrender all. It is not an easy process. As illustrated perfectly by James, the tongue is the deadliest and most sinful member of our body. It dies the hardest.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

It is no wonder then that the Lord chose speech as an outward sign. It is the last to yield to the Spirit of God and the first to break forth in praises to Him. And this is exactly what the 120 did that morning. Like newborn babes who cry at birth, the first significant thing we ever do under our own power and will, so were these new born babes in the Lord crying forth. They had no idea what they were saying. Remember, these believers were disparaged as mere unlearned and ignorant Galileans, most of whom had no higher education or training. They were certainly not linguists. Yet, from the depths of their hearts, enabled by the newly indwelling Holy Spirit, they were all speaking perfectly and fluently in languages they had never learned.

Again, the same inexplicable phenomenon takes place with babies, whose first word is spoken as early as six months. By eighteen months there are multiple word sentences. They are soon communicating with eye-contact and inflection. Though they pick up this ability in part empirically, most arrives miraculously. Language is far too complex for such unaware babes to develop it at such a young age without some unknown, unexplainable ability.

So it was with the Upper-Roomers. Their speech was miraculous. The sign was unmistakable. The hand of God was evident.    

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] The Amplified Bible © 1965 by Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights Reserved.

[2] 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.

CHURCH AS WE KNOW IT IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF ORIGINAL NEW COVENANT COMMUNITY

Blog Pic 12.12.18

      The Lord Jesus created a Community that is spiritually strong and knowledgeable due only to the combined brilliance of all members, not the limited low wattage of a few.

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            On the Day of Pentecost in the upper room the visible presence of the Spirit of God separated into 120 small flames and these were distributed to rest on the head of each person present. It was an outer representation of the infilling of the Holy Spirit taking place at that moment. This powerful and miraculous occurrence was clearly representative of the legitimacy and ministry of each and every real believer.

        This original Spirit-filled Community of the Lord that started with 120 grew by the thousands but maintained its initial structure and ministry model. The Day of Pentecost experience never ceased. We have clear references to it and the evidence of miraculous occurrences throughout the Book of Acts which proved the ministry of the Lord Jesus continued onward and unabated yet through His disciples. We also have glimpses of what occurred in Christian meetings of that time, but perhaps no better account exists than what the apostle Paul describes in his first letter to the Corinthian believers. This letter was written at the crossroads port city of Ephesus in about the year AD 57. The following descriptive illustration gives us a much fuller picture of what actually transpired in Christian gatherings in the first century:

         What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. [1Corinthians 14:26-33]           

         This passage in the fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians contains an actual look into what most Christians today would call a “church service.” What the apostle Paul writes about, however, looks nothing like most church services of today or of pretty much any day, even among Spirit-filled people. Back then, the Lord Jesus made sure everyone He wanted to be involved was involved and that meant everyone, though not necessarily in each gathering. The point is simply that He wanted each of His children to have the opportunity to contribute. After all, each believer is a member of His Body. Each member has a purpose and a function, and without each respective part something is missing and this negatively affects the Community as a whole. Thus, He wants everyone, not just a few, spiritually engaged.

NO ONE IS AS SMART AS ALL OF US

         In most church services, of course, the opposite happens. What is more, rule by one or a few is the law, unwritten or not. By this we know who is in charge. If the great bulk of believers are made to sit down in orderly rows and stay quiet, never contribute except in some largely inconsequential collective manner, and believe they really have nothing to give anyway compared to the brilliant spiritual giant in the pulpit, then why even try? It doesn’t take long to figure out that one better go along with the program if one wishes to have a favorable and positive “church” experience and maintain social approval and acceptance. To do otherwise is to invite suspicion, be perceived as a mild antagonist, or even eventually be cold-shouldered or blackballed.

         There are a great many Christians who spent many years as the good soldier in their respective churches even after discovering Biblical truths that contradict church as they knew it. I know I have. But I always held my peace and attempted a possible discussion later. I did my best to go along with whatever we were all expected to go along with. I figured the people in charge knew a lot more than I did even though I rarely had any of my questions satisfied or answered properly. After my rookie year or so I simply quit asking. I could never get a straight answer. The attitude presented to me by those in charge led me to develop a much closer walk with the Lord and that led me to much more study and research to go along with my often essentially incessant Bible reading. Since there were rarely any viable ministry opportunities in church services, I used my own personal study and prayer time as a principle outlet. Whenever I did get a chance to contribute in a more meaningful way, I certainly engaged and it was good.

         One might recall the example of Stephen who was greatly anointed of the Lord to tear into the wicked unbelieving religious leaders the same way his Lord had done. I certainly never did that and rarely saw it done in my entire church career. Those kinds of diatribes were allowed only by the guy in the pulpit. Regarding what was sometimes displayed there will have to wait for another possible post down the road. The difference, of course, is that we are all part of a spiritual community and Stephen was strongly rebuking non-believing Messiah-hating spiritual enemies and defending himself and the Lord against false charges. We, on the other hand, are supposed do our best to maintain fellowship according to the Lord’s will.

         Regarding our early, developing personal ministries, most of us thought the leadership would eventually come around and recognize our anointing. We were even taught we must wait on God but surely, they said, recognition would come. This does happen with a few, but for most the recognition never comes. That was my experience. Actually, that’s not exactly true, because some in leadership certainly did recognize what I had, they just never officially acknowledged it or rarely allowed a place for it. I knew then that I had something the Lord gave me that they did not want. I was strong spiritually but sometimes insecure socially in the presence of leadership because I knew they disagreed with me even though they knew I had legitimate questions.

         It was also because I was growing more knowledgeable than them and beginning to find holes in the church doctrines and bylaws, though that was not my intent. I never wanted to break fellowship and I wanted good relations, and this caused me to walk an endless tightrope in my attempt to please the Lord and honor my calling while also striving to get along with those who stuck to convention. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was challenging their standing. It was only later when I began to realize that many preachers are not really interested in Biblical truth beyond a certain point and are more interested in keeping their jobs. I never saw ministry as a job.

         This is the story of who knows how many believers, perhaps millions. I know many of you reading this can identify with it. Perhaps many of us have had similar paths. Maybe that’s why we have these blogs. They are excellent outlets. Imagine all the prayers that went forth before there was ever an internet or the possibility of being able to use our own internet sites as personal ministry. This was something that many of us never imagined. The internet has served to be a viable ministry option, especially for those who have no other opportunities, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Christians are now using it. This can only be a good thing. Consider it internet “fellowship” or an overall online Christian community.

         “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35][1]  

        The constant tension of “official leaders” attempting to bar the door within their venues to real ministry as per the New Covenant model could be because they are intimidated and insecure, and may see themselves as somewhat improper or compromised in the full light of the Lord’s teachings. In other words, honest believers obeying the Lord have a difficult time fitting into incorrect or wrongheaded church models, but because the leaders thereof are so invested in their programs, they attempt to force people into them rather than get their own act together and get with the Lord’s program.  

         The Awakening is changing this.         

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

LINK: Exactly eight years ago, in late August of 2010, the Lord spoke to me very clearly: “WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING.”

Catholics Speaking in Tongues! The Spirit-Filled Movement of the 1960s

         In light of the fact that the Pope was recently in the news again and let everyone know what it means to be a real Christian, there is a powerful anniversary for Roman Catholics that he should have paid attention to that gives one a much better indication.

         The Catholic Charismatic movement is now 49 years old. It was in early 1967 when the Spirit-filled movement reached Catholics in a major way.

         The movement had started among denominational Christianity around 1960. All of the sudden, Christians of many Protestant denominations began getting baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, exactly as it happened in the Book of Acts.

THEY SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES

         Many were skeptical of the movement but the movement continued unabated. If you want to read a good introductory book of that early time, I suggest They Speak with Other Tongues by John Sherrill. John Sherrill also wrote The Cross and the Switchblade with David Wilkerson.

         Sherrill was indeed one of the skeptics. Early on, he thought the entire phenomenon of speaking with other tongues to be a farce. But as he yielded to the Lord Jesus and continued seeking, he found actual proof that he was wrong.

         Just as the Pope is wrong. He made a false judgment and got called out on it. By the way, there has never been a tongue-talking Roman Catholic Pope that we know of, including the current one. Yet there are perhaps millions of tongue-talking Spirit-filled Catholic Charismatics the world over. I don’t have the space here to go very deep on the subject, but if you are interested, and you should be, there are many books and publications on the topic.

         Here is one from 1969: Catholic Pentecostals

         The simple fact is that the Lord began pouring out His Spirit on traditional Protestants of almost every denomination in the early 1960s and then began doing the same with Catholics. Priests and nuns were getting Spirit-filled. They were all speaking in tongues. Imagine that.

PENTECOSTAL PIONEERS

         It’s hard for me to imagine in one sense because I was raised Catholic. I never saw anything in my circle. It must have been very well hidden. In the defense of those early Pentecostal Catholics, I am sure they had a very fine line to walk.

         I left Catholicism while still in high school. Then, about five years later, by the Lord’s great grace, I was blessed with the same experience! Though I found the Lord in a Pentecostal church, I began meeting with Spirit-filled Christians of many traditions. There was a lot of cross-fellowship back then. We visited many Spirit-filled black churches. THAT was fun. Many black people in America had been Spirit-filled for decades and had a rich experience by that time, though many denominational white Christians were just then coming into the experience.

         Of course, Pentecostalism also had a rich tradition among predominantly white churches in America long prior to 1960. It didn’t take long with all the cultural shifts in America in the 1960s for whites and blacks to begin worshipping the Lord together, although the Azusa Street Revival in 1906 got that ball rolling.

         William Seymour, a black preacher from Texas went to Los Angeles and was promptly kicked out of an early meeting. He then began leading a small group of all colors and cultures that soon exploded into one of the greatest Awakenings in America history. This white and black Christian togetherness is another largely untold story at present, in that real Christianity has been most responsible for bridging racial and cultural divides.

         Roman Catholics would seem to never have any acceptance for speaking in tongues, but I also attended many Catholic Charismatic meetings in the 1970s. Some Spirit-filled Catholics left Catholicism but many others stayed. There were so many being Spirit-filled and speaking in tongues that Catholic leadership had quite a dilemma on their hands. They couldn’t do anything whatsoever to stop it so the hierarchy reverted to channeling it in what they thought was a relatively safe direction.

         Denominational Protestants did the same. Many Protestant denominational leaders and church pastors did everything in their power to stop the movement. This is all history and again, the record is very clear and available for anyone of you who may wish to inquire further.

         No, when the Pope said building protective walls is not Christian, even though the Vatican itself is surrounded by tall protective walls and has been for over a thousand years, he was wrong. He is also wrong to choose against Spirit-filled reality like the majority of Catholics have done, a spiritual dividing wall that the Lord Jesus never sanctioned. Regardless, and knowing the true pioneers will always be a minority, we should pay some honor to those original Spirit-filled, tongue-talking Catholics of 1967 who loved the Lord Jesus so much and wanted everything He had for them that they boldly defied staunch convention and joined the movement.

         We should also honor all those Protestants who took it on the chin in the early 60s and did the unthinkable. I know VERY WELL what it is like to be castigated for making the right choice. For those who know, there is no wrath quite like the wrath of stubborn Christians who insist on their dead orthodoxy and man-made beliefs. The Lord often called his own people hard-headed and stiff-necked. It’s all over the Old Testament Scriptures. And it has also been the case among the majority of Protestants and Catholics in this world.

         Therefore, it is great to have a historical record, and a very recent one at that, to prove the truth of the Book of Acts experience. It only doesn’t happen for those who don’t want it. Conversely, for all those who do want it, the experience is readily available. The Lord Jesus is ever faithful.

         The 1960s Spirit-filled outpouring has been forgotten somewhat, and many Christians have never even heard of it. This shows how bad things have become for many in that they are oblivious to recent spiritual history. Hopefully, the current Great Awakening will continue to shed more light on those times.

         I highly recommend to all Christians out there who have never had a real Book of Acts Spirit-filled experience to at least begin reading up on what took place in America in the 1960s. The research will enlighten you.

         Again, congratulations to all those Catholics who were Spirit-filled in 1967. Happy Anniversary! And may the Pope join you soon and gain greater understanding of what it means to be a real Christian.

         And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:4] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Apostasy: Invalidating the Word of God For the Sake of Religious Tradition (2)

         For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. [Hebrews 6:4-6 RSV]

.

         First of all, it must be noted that the great bulk of that which is called “Christianity” is not real Christianity, but something entirely different. It is not watered-down Christianity. It is not less-than-the-best Christianity. It is not weak or backslid Christianity. Instead, it is a completely separate entity.

         With reference to the above verses of scripture, the clear facts are:

(1) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never tasted the heavenly gift.

(2) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never become partakers of the Holy Spirit.

(3) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never tasted the goodness of the Word of God.

(4) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never experienced the powers of the age to come.

         For all of these reasons, it is therefore impossible for those who make up the great bulk of Christianity to commit apostasy simply because they never had the real thing to begin with.

         Apostasy is a conscience decision of the human will to quit on the Lord Jesus and walk away. Whoever does this can never be restored again to God until they make the decision on their own to return to God. No one else can thus force repentance upon them.

         But the majority of those called “Christians” are not real Christians and never have been. They are playing a game with their chosen form of Christianity and have substituted empty and powerless replacements that have no actual spiritual effect whatsoever. The only thing distinguishing these people from non-believers is the exterior wrapping. And as a person associates with a larger group of people clothed with the same chosen exterior wrapping, such a person feels completely secure within said group and becomes convinced the group is the “right” group or an “approved” group.

         How do we then distinguish real Christianity from the many counterfeit forms? Here’s how: Real Christianity has the power of God. This power is released through the use of the Name of the Lord Jesus and through His pure Word.

         However, the only people who can use the Name of the Lord Jesus properly and legally are those who have completely surrendered their lives to Him. These are real believers who have have given Him their entire heart. They have subjected their hearts to full heart circumcision. They have turned away completely from all sin, disobedience, and rebellion against the Lord. This is the nature of repentance. They have also been filled with the Spirit of the Lord with the outward evidence of a complete change in their speech—their tongue, the most unruly member of the body, has been completely subjected to the Lord.

SPEECH

         In the act of real repentance, the tongue is the very last member of the body to yield to God. Once this happens, an immediate proof of the occurrence follows: The new believer begins praising God in a new language. The person’s speech is at once given over, as if a switch was flipped, to praising God and even prophesying of the things of God. This is all very clearly spelled out in scripture.

         James wrote the following:

         If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. [James 1:26]

         For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

         Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

         So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

         For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. [James 3:2-8]

         It is obvious then, that a tongue never yielded to God proves sinner status and non-discipleship, regardless of anything else by which a person claims to be a Christian. The yielded tongue, however, with miraculous speech following, proves a new birth.

         This new birth then allows for invoking the powerful Name of Jesus. Its use, as given by the Lord, results in miracles. The use of the Lord’s Name is only given to real disciples.

         This is also why each and every real believer as recorded in the Book of Acts invoked the Name of Jesus in water baptism. The reason why is otherwise simple: Without the Name of Jesus there is no spiritual power.

         We can see, therefore, that if there are no miracles within a Christian group, it obviously follows that there is no spiritual power, which indicates the group is not right with God. It proves that the group has never yielded to God.

         Real Christianity is distinguished by the following:

         And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

         “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

         “These signs will accompany those who have believed: In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” [Mark 16:16-18] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Acts of the Apostles [2:1-4]

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

         And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

         And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

         And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [1]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Day of Atonement

         He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. [John 1:11][1]

         Many Christians have some semblance of an idea that Jesus was rejected by His people. But what most do not know is just how wicked and pervasive the rejection was.

         And He is still being rejected today.

         He is rejected by the majority of those who confess to be adherents of Christianity. He is rejected by most churches. He is rejected by most preachers. He is most often never welcomed in our so-called places of worship. Christians in general don’t want Him, don’t like Him, and most will never allow Him to be in control and be the Leader we all need.

         I have written about this extensively but for the most part it always seems to fall on deaf ears. I have never been officially disfellowshipped from a church but I have been silenced and slandered and libeled and gossiped about. Many wished I would leave before the Lord released me. Though I have met thousands of wonderful believers with big smiles and great attitudes, I have also seen many dirty looks from so many so-called loving Christians and preachers I have halfway come to expect it. Some can think what they want, but others will identify with this. I have years of personal experience in this area and can relate, though on a smaller scale of course, to what the Lord went through.

         The worst persecution comes from those you thought were friends.

         But official churches do not care. The people within most churches have accepted a watered-down version of the original and have retained the right to hate and reject, and there is no doubt they would hate and reject the Lord if He ever showed up. We have glorified preachers and Christian personalities. We have allowed them the high place, the television studio chair, the radio broadcaster’s booth, and have lifted them up over and beyond the Lord. They claim His Lordship but don’t really know Him. If they did they would spend most of the time on their faces instead of soaking up the control, authority, and glory. These are pretenders who have not only accepted a weak version of the original but teach it as gospel. The time will come when the Lord will clean house but that time is not yet.

         There are so many false doctrines being taught within official Christian circles it is laughable. There are many, though, who feel more and want more, and get inspired to act, but quickly withdraw once it becomes evident it will cause a problem in the local body. You can bet there will be scads of preachers and church officials getting creamed at the judgment for being so control-oriented and hateful toward God’s apostles and prophets and teachers, and all those who were earnestly doing the will of God but suffering for it.

         Even this paper will go over the heads of some who read it. They cannot imagine that their lovely church could be guilty of rejecting the Lord Jesus, though the very clear evidence is all around them.

         On this annual Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, how many churches and preachers and denominational leaders and church-going Christians even consider honoring that which is clearly put forth in the Word of God? Most have never even heard of it. Most would never bring it up, maybe because it is “too Jewish,” and “We’re not under the Law,” or some other garbage. Yet having dead services is fine. Rejecting the infilling of the Holy Spirit is perfectly okay. Wanting nothing to do with anything resembling the Book of Acts is perfectly acceptable.

         Such have rejected the Lord. Such are embarrassed by “speaking in tongues.” Such refuse to take on the Name Above Every Name in water baptism. Such will not really love his brother unless he looks like them, acts like them, and believes like them. These people talk about love but violate every commandment concerning love. If they really did love it would show. If they really loved the Lord it would show, instead of insisting on dead, boring, lifeless churches where a miracle could not find its way in edgewise, even though there might be a great eloquent preacher or wonderful “worship” music.

         Whoever takes the time to study real revivals and spiritual awakenings knows the usual order of things is wholly unlike the way the Lord wants it to be. But what can He do?

         Most have kicked Him out.

         Most don’t want Him.

         Most have instead invented a worldly, religious substitute.

         But the Lord will not be stopped. Just as He has always done, He will use the nobodies and those the official Christians think are idiots. Since He is not welcome in most church buildings, He will use living rooms and garages and shacks and barns and open fields and anywhere else He might find before the official Christians find out about it and shut them down or run them out of town.

         I could quote Scripture forever but it won’t do any good. But, speaking of which, here’s a good one:

         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. [1 Corinthians 1:26-29]

         We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening. But it will bypass most churches. Most preachers don’t get it and won’t get it. As He did in the beginning, the Lord will use the humble and the nobodies. There are many who have been in the process of being prepared for what is coming forth, and will come forth suddenly. These are the ones who had formerly been rejected, just as the Lord Jesus was rejected. And like Him, they do not fit within official church circles. And because of this, the Lord will generally work outside official church circles and most so-called Christians will end up missing out on the greatest spiritual movement this nation has ever seen.

         And you know what else? They will even fight it, like rabid wolves, just as they have been doing all along. But this time there will be far too many real Christians, and they will be connected in fellowship, and they will not be so easy to pick on and pick off as before. And the Lord will be with them and among them because they have never rejected Him like so many others have, but have embraced Him, and suffered with Him.

         Since real repentance always accompanies great spiritual movements, there is always the hope that opposing churches and preachers repent as well, overcome their spiritual pride, and get right with God.

         On this Day of Atonement, consider the price that was paid to buy your salvation. Consider the One who was rejected but completed His mission anyway. And think about where you want to stand in the coming Great Awakening—within it or against it.

         And start doing something about it now.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Door of Life

         Real Life is the one thing lacking in the Christian experience of most, and it is the reason so many Christians are stacked up against the outside of the entry door to the Kingdom. Milling around without, not wanting to venture inside, they have set up transitory venues like so many crude wooden market booths constructed hastily against the outer walls. The door remains in their midst and every so often someone has the temerity to not only ask about it but want to proceed through it.

        “We can’t have that!” the vendors all cry. Denominational Christianity always winces when someone wants to go deeper into a closer walk with God. They are all well aware of the real Spirit-filled experiences of others but have been so conditioned by their own reluctance and weakness, and also their cultural underpinnings to shun all things “Pentecostal,” that they successfully remain outside. The Lord continues to beckon all to the door however, as He always has. Large numbers of “I don’t think so’s” will not sway Him from His mission. The door of death has become persona non grata and down-to-earth Christians recoil at what would happen to their social standing if they followed the Lord through it.

         The people on that original Day of Pentecost had the same concerns at some early point in their walks with God but had quickly cast off the doubts. They instead manned-up and courageously took a stand for God and the truth. They realized that something optimum must happen, that something very powerful and new awaited them on the other side, and that they must obey the Lord.

         Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” [Acts 1:4-8][1]

         We all know what happened next. If only the Lord had arranged some other way that did not involve such boisterous expression and (crud!) speaking in tongues. What a terrible way to start the Church! Well, at least we can all be glad that it was over long ago, right? That it doesn’t happen anymore. That God has thankfully done away with it. That…

         Well, the above is true, of course, for those who reject it and build church communities without it, and remove any and all people from their midst who actually do it. And there are other things behind that door of death, you know. The people outside hear stories of miraculous healings and strong manifestations of the very Spirit of God that never take place outside in the normal world. Some are always curious but are very concerned about breaking any social conventions and losing their standing among their fellows. I mean, what would people think, right? “Can’t do it, no sir. I’m stayin’ out here. Those people inside that door are freaks…”

         For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [Titus 3:3-7]

         There’s a Holy Ghost experience waiting inside the Kingdom. The Door of Death is always open. Real repentance removes our sin and all things that hinder, and prepares us for real Life. The 120 knew something incredible was going to happen, but no one could have imagined just how incredible.

         Of the tens of thousands who followed the Lord during His ministry, only 120 followed Him all the way to the Upper Room. It was a command, of course, but not everyone obeyed. The majority never obeyed. You can be sure that at least a few hundred had severe second thoughts when the Day of Pentecost arrived. They had been the reluctant ones. The Lord had appeared to over five hundred at one time in His glorified state, but most of these experienced Pentecost outside the initial Upper Room experience. They refused to enter the Door of Death and thus did not understand that it was also The Door of Life. They stayed back and some even watched what was happening. They missed it! But many of them found their way to the streets below the Upper Room as Peter preached that initial message of the entire Church Age. They ran through the door and were a part of that original class of three thousand that turned Jerusalem upside down.

         The moral of the story is that only a few are willing to be pioneers, leave all, and do all that the Lord requires, including entering the Door. They must experience real Life. They must show succeeding generations the Way.  

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 2]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.