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“WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING” [Part 1]

It was ten years ago when I first heard the preceding words. The Lord spoke to me clearly and directly. There was absolutely no doubt regarding what He said. I’ve done my best to relay the message ever since.

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For those of you following the site over the years, you know I have brought this up before, several times. It has, however, like so many other truths I have received, largely fallen on deaf ears. Sometimes truth is not accepted because people simply cannot hear it. They don’t get it. It could be they have no frame of reference. One might as well be speaking another language. Others cannot receive it because there is something in the way, something is blocking transmission. The something, of course, is in their minds. A strong signal goes out. They cannot help but be in the direct path of the frequency, so to speak. But an unseen or unacknowledged obstruction disallows their reception like a mountain might block radio waves. They have no ill intent, necessarily, to block it, but something is blocking it.

In the majority of cases, however, at least according to my experience, which is extensive over many years, the truth is openly rejected. People hear it. They understand, at least to a degree, what is being said. There is not necessarily any obstruction in their minds blocking transmission.

Some reject truth out of hand, almost immediately, simply because it appears far too foreign for their chosen narratives which they live by or because it sounds too far out for any further consideration. These people are often in a hurry with maybe many irons in the fire. They keep their personal beliefs on the surface for the most part. Regarding the big picture they are shallow thinkers. They put most of their effort into making a living and living life, including their down time, which is filled with other pursuits. They give very little or mostly no thought to higher things that might allow them a brief glimpse into spiritual reality.

Many people, however, reject truth because they have already adopted their form of truth. If it’s religion or spirituality of some form or another, they already have that base covered. Their beliefs are set. They were either born into a particular traditional belief system and have accepted it wholly with no desire whatsoever to seek anything else, or they chose another at some point along the way, usually early on in life, and made it a foundation upon which everything else is built. Their thinking is such that they rarely or never question their beliefs or how their traditional religion came to be. All they can muster in this regard is unconditional deference to those in authority who pronounce it and they trust them wholeheartedly. They never look behind the curtain. Most don’t even know there is a curtain. They are also greatly supported by others in their group/clan/religion who believe exactly the same and it is from this well that they primarily draw from when questions might arise. Rather than do any serious research on their own they are content to be in union with a great many others who believe as they do and this is what they use for support. Whether they fully understand it or not, they are thus bound by a religious culture.

This dynamic is especially true regarding Christianity. Though the Lord Jesus has only one curriculum this has not stopped Christians over the centuries from rejecting it and creating their own, even though they still draw from His teachings in general. They acknowledge certain passages and verses and reject or neglect others. Another church down the street has their own favorites. Once you consider all the churches over the world you see that their respective constructed dogmas amount to a mishmash of various religious principles, some of which have no Christian basis at all. Their particular Statements of Faith include, of course, obligatory grabs and segments from the Lord’s original curriculum, as if they only had a limited supply of papyrus fragments or scroll segments to choose from, but also a rejection of much of His teachings because they don’t fit their perception of what Christianity is or what it should be.

I have always been somewhat astounded at this. When it comes to pretty much anything else, especially as it regards their means of making a living, these same Christians will do the opposite and adopt the full instruction manual. Earning money means they must know their product or the elements of the service they perform to the fullest extent in order to perform their best and engage in all that is required to procure success or maximum success. These Christians also have authority figures of some sort breathing down their neck to get their jobs right and perform correctly. It is how one gets in good standing and remains there to keep getting a paycheck or the necessary remuneration which they need to live and upon which their lives are built. The better they get at their profession, which obviously includes as much knowledge of it as possible and the experience to perform within it toward possible excellence, the better off they will be. This is what we all work at to varying degrees in order to receive maximum compensation which makes for a better life.

But strangely, this dynamic is rarely applied by Christians toward the Lord’s teachings. We have a billion Bibles largely going to waste and many appear as pristine as the day they were published. We have a full accounting of the Lord’s extant teachings in written form in pretty much every language known to man. We also have a great many works referencing His teachings that lend excellent support to our further understanding of it as well as any number of technological tools for assisting deep study. The material is there. The knowledge of how it got here is there. This is not simply a slow well to draw from but an ocean eclipsing the Pacific.

Why then are so many Christians, a probable majority, content with so little knowledge of the Lord? Why are they content with trusting their Christian education to one or a few religious authority figures? Why are they content with so little, even with purported degrees from “accredited” Christian schools? Many Christian “pastors” are only knowledgeable of their own Christian perspectives and can therefore only speak from what they know within their limited environment, which is often limited by design, especially if particular outside teachings appear strangely foreign regardless of Scriptural pedigree. Thus, their narrow approach regulates and imposes limits on “acceptable” Biblical truth, rejects that which they don’t feel comfortable with, and creates restricted parameters rather than allowing for access to the effective limitlessness of spiritual knowledge and the written Word of God.

Now, if they need a miracle in their lives, which can only come from the supernatural world, notably the Lord’s miracle realm, and can only involve supernatural miraculous means, well then, the supernatural in this case is suddenly not so odd and becomes agreeable. For anything else, however, especially everyday living and getting along, and making sure they do nothing to appear weird to friends and family, they reject the supernatural. I mean, come on, everyone must save face don’t you know.

AUGUST 30, 2010

I had hoped to write this article sooner so I could present it on the exact ten year anniversary of having received it. It was on the preceding date, so I’m close. One might consider that time ten years ago. I can still see it clearly. There was very little or nothing then that suggested any such thing as a Great Awakening would happen. Though a few Christians have believed in a coming great revival for perhaps a few decades, it seems as though their beliefs were presented in a general inarticulate sense in which the belief of revival outweighed any efficacy toward it.

To set the scene of hearing this message from the Lord, I was in the process of writing a paper presumably to be posted on my former website. During the previous year and a half, starting in early 2009, I had begun to write again and continue my research. Previous to then I had been inundated with practical necessities for a few years which restricted my time and opportunities. In that year and a half from early ’09 to August of 2010, I had created a relatively large amount of work including much research. The papers I created for posting averaged maybe 8-12 pages. I assumed the paper I began writing in late August ten years ago would be the same. The one thing that was different about it however was the unique subject matter. My relatively brief paper, over the next six months, became a book of well over 300 pages. I considered that a confirming sign.

One of the central purposes of the initial paper was to reveal fake revivals. One was occurring at that very time. It was mainly in the political realm but such often has strong Christian overtones. An event had very recently taken place in Washington DC at that time which involved the contribution of many religious leaders. It was supposedly about American patriotism associated with Christianity and included several national Christian personalities and church leaders. At one point the outdoor stage included a large group of these people in a lateral file from left to right. There was a call to lock arms together. However, intermixed within the mostly Christian leaders, both Protestant and Catholic, were several other leaders of various religious backgrounds, including Jews, Muslims, and Mormons. It was not simply another ludicrous ecumenical display but one absolutely antithetical to real Christianity. All those so-called Christian leaders, supposedly pledged eternally to the Lord Jesus, were locked arm in arm to those absolutely hostile to the Lord Jesus.

It was a perfect illustration of what would be ongoing deceptive efforts designed to stop what was coming.

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]  

AND STILL THEY DO NOTHING

 

For the few who are keeping up, you now have all the evidence required to prove traditional institutional Christianity in America has become largely willingly ineffective in the current spiritual war.

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This is the price of compromise, of holding on to cherished notions that what worked yesterday can still work today. It can’t. Yesterday is gone forever. Those who know what real spiritual war is know this is true. Those who have fought valiantly with their entire being know it was the only means to victory but also that victory is not necessarily guaranteed. The days of playing church as a means of overcoming a determined enemy out to destroy them only worked in the minds of the deceived. As always, it was the largely hidden frontline spiritual soldiers keeping things as intact as possible while the majority looked the other way, not comprehending spiritual reality and not willing to be bothered with the Lord’s call to spiritual arms.

Such real believers continue to take the Words of the Lord very seriously. They don’t pick and choose from His curriculum what they will believe and act upon. These are real disciples who understand that His full teachings have never been a mere suggestion or some quaint repository from which to draw to maintain the mere semblance of duty. They give it everything they have as the Lord requires.

Compromised Christians are people who simply don’t get it or won’t. They do not understand or care that, according to the Lord’s teachings, the only way to win spiritual victories is through a 100% commitment. Maintaining the spiritual high ground works only through the same process. The Lord did not teach full commitment as only a last stand gesture to be utilized as a last resort when the enemy comes in like a flood, but as the only means of ongoing victory through its consistent daily application. Why? Because the enemy never takes a day off. Slackers and rebels thus side with the enemy through their inaction and refusal to obey the Lord.

We should now know the majority of Christians were playing church all along because of what has now transpired in America. Whatever they were doing did not prevent it. We should now know it is still doing it even in the face of the current dire circumstances. I have been arguing for decades against the wrongheaded notion of restricting ministry to official church tradition as usual for several reasons, but primarily because it stands as a stubborn opposing force to the actual powerfully effective means the Lord taught and practiced. We currently have insistent traditional Christians still insisting on traditional Christian means even though they are no longer practicing traditional Christian means because they have been ordered to cease practicing their traditional Christian means by their traditional Christian leaders who have succumbed to secular mini-tyrants.

Remember, in times of peace and prosperity many never notice or care about real Christianity. But when peace and prosperity goes south in part due to Christians not honoring their commitment to the Lord they start paying more attention. A few get the message. A few get the big idea. A few repent. A few rededicate themselves to God. A few rise to the occasion. A few stand up for the Lord Jesus. Those who do make all the difference. Remember Gideon’s 300.

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” [Matthew 12:30][1]

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

 

CHRISTIAN MYTH MAKING: TWISTING THE GOSPEL TO FIT A NARRATIVE

New Covenant truth is too real for many Christians. It is far too powerful and demands too much. They can’t handle it. They must torque it down enough so their flesh will not be offended.

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It brings on serious bouts of conviction and knee jerk reactions to defend:

(1) One’s pride

(2) One’s chosen non-New Covenant-supported alternative views, and

(3) One’s belief that no one should be subjected to the discomfiting notion that God requires more than we are willing to give.

FAITH COMES FROM HEARING

Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? [John 6:60 KJV]

Translated into English, here is the same verse:

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” [John 6:60 NASB]

And the answer to that, my friend, is the one with spiritual ears. Such ears are apparently in short supply these days. Or maybe they always have been. Or maybe it takes effort on our part to locate such ears or manifest them. Perhaps such ears have something to do with being tuned in to the right channel? And isn’t it interesting that the Lord did not seem overly concerned with making sure everyone within earshot was properly equipped with such ears to gain His frequency?

“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” [Luke 13:24]

Here we see it again. As in the ears scenario, there is also the “who can enter” scenario. The Lord makes a clear ratio proportion statement here between the enterers and non-enterers apparently related directly to the ears and no ears people and that the former (enterers with ears) are fewer than the latter (non-enterers with no ears). In other words, there will be many more goats than sheep. That is why he answered in verse 24 the question asked by someone in verse 23 the way He did. That person heard something in the spirit which made it sound as if only a relatively small number would make entering the narrow door a priority:

“Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” [Luke 13:23]

Was this true? (Affirmative). And are spiritual ears a component of the admission ticket? (Sure sounds like it). And for at least partial confirmation, we have the following declarative statement (which explains a lot):

“Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” [Acts 14:22]    

MAKING THE TEAM

I played a lot of men’s softball in my time. I coached several teams. I named one of my church teams the Walk-Ons. For those of you not clear on this sports term, a Walk-On was a player who was never expected to make a team but “walked on” the field. It usually relates to college teams who fill their rosters with prized recruits who are given athletic scholarships but also allow tryouts for other students. Walk-Ons used to be a little more common.

In my case our church had an “A” team but the coach allowed ringers. I didn’t like that. They also didn’t have the best attitude. So I put together a team of actual loyal church-goers. We all chipped in for the league fee. We were designated the “B” team but we beat the “A” team in the only practice game we played together. Right before the season started, one really good player left the “A” team to play on my team, in part because he appreciated that we did things the right way. Even so, we were still only the second team, largely unknown and unsupported. Nevertheless, though just a bunch of Walk-Ons, we gave it our all.

THE LORD’S TEAM

Only the best will make the cut. Getting to heaven is not a popularity contest. It doesn’t matter how great a Christian thinks he is, how much he has accomplished for the Lord, and to whatever degree he managed to cross the religious T’s and dot the churchy I’s. No one is saved by their accomplishments. No one makes heaven based on their record within a Christian culture, no matter how many accolades are thrust upon one or memorials, monuments, or statues built to honor one’s posterity.

The only way to make heaven is by the Blood of the Lamb. Period. It was a perfect sacrifice. It was enough to save every single person who ever lived. Nothing anyone can do will ever add to it and it is impossible to take anything from it. The New Covenant is thus written in Blood. And it is a Covenant. It is a Blood Covenant. It is an agreement made between two parties in which each party gives 100%. That means everything. It starts with giving one’s entire heart. It continues with giving one’s entire life. Anything one does for the Lord is a gift to Him. It can never, ever come close to His gift for us, but He doesn’t look at it that way. What must happen to make the Covenant complete, lawful, and in effect is not that we match His gift, because it can never be done, but that we give all. Giving all is our best gift. He gave His all and we give our all. This activates the Covenant. Anything less will not work. Those who make the cut are those who gave all.

MILLIONS OF SEEDS BUT ONLY FEW GERMINATE

Most seeds never result in mature, healthy plants. God designed nature to have an overabundance of seeds to increase the chances of life. Watch what happens here:

“The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Luke 8:5-8]

In this parable, three out of four seeds never come to fruition. Have you ever wondered why the sower threw his seed beside a road, upon rocky soil, or among thorn bushes? What kind of sower does that? A sower with bad aim? A sower who doesn’t much care where the seed goes? This does not appear to be a very good sower. He pretty much throws the seed everywhere.

So here we have a parable within a parable. I must leave it to the reader to figure out the full implications put forth here because that’s what the Lord said to do (“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”) Nevertheless, I would think that those who heard these words back then were probably thinking the same thing, in that no experienced planter would be so careless. An experienced planter would only plant seeds in well cultivated good soil.

His disciples immediately asked the Lord what this parable meant. They didn’t understand. He then explained it to them. He also said, however, that only His disciples would be granted the meaning. No one else would get it. Whoever was not the Lord’s disciple would hear the parable but not understand the meaning of it, likely because they didn’t care about it anyway. They didn’t care and could not understand because they were not disciples. A disciple of the Lord is characterized as one who gives all. It doesn’t mean His disciples are necessarily the best specimens of humanity but only that they are fully committed.

Regarding why the sower appeared to have such bad aim is because he had to go where the people were. The people had four different types of hearts and only one was the type that produced spiritual fruit. Was only one qualified to make heaven? When I was a rookie Christian years ago I surmised that the Lord taught us we had a one in four chance of getting saved or 25%. This means 75% would not make the cut. He said as much in the following:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14]

The word “few” sounds like even less than 25%. The point, however, is that only a decided minority will make heaven. Like the superfluous seeds of nature which never come to full fruition, neither will the majority of humans. However, there is yet another aspect to the Parable of the Sower. The Lord is only referring to people who receive a Gospel witness. Out of all who do, only one in four actually do what is necessary to have good ground and become fruitful Christians. The other 75% HEAR the Word but never produce. Notice the following score card:

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. [Luke 8:11]

ONE (NO PLANT / NO FRUIT / NO SALVATION):

Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. [Luke 8:12]

TWO (WEAK PLANT / NO FRUIT / NO SALVATION):

Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. [Luke 8:13]

THREE (WEAK PLANT / NO MATURE FRUIT / POSSIBLE SALVATION?):

The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. [Luke 8:14]

FOUR (STRONG PLANT / MATURE FRUIT / FULL SALVATION):

But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” [Luke 8:15][1]

Regarding number three, is it possible to never produce a harvest and still be saved?

CHRISTIAN MYTH MAKING

We can see that some Christians, maybe many, may not agree with the gist of this parable. It appears as though the Lord is making it much too hard to be a good Christian. The truth is that the naysayers likely think the Lord’s standard is too difficult because their brand of Christianity is so easy. This is true for Christianity in general. It doesn’t ask much. It makes few demands. It certainly does not call for strong perseverance to produce a harvest or indicate that such a harvest is proof of real discipleship. Somewhere along the way, since the time of the original Christians, someone decided to lighten the discipleship load. After a while, being a disciple was no longer required. Keep in mind the Lord never taught this and certainly did not agree with the new slackers, but slacker Christianity eventually became the dominant form. Rather than be a disciple of the Lord giving one’s entire heart and life, many Christians were taught to just show up and go through religious motions and give the new clergyites honor and funding and all would be well. They were lied to, of course, but still complied. They agreed with a false teaching.

Thus, easy believe-ism is not at all a new thing. It’s been around a long time. This does not lessen its diabolical nature. It is one more ploy of the devil to capture souls. Those Christians who buy into such a fraudulent covenant do not deserve heaven, essentially because they do a grave disservice to the Lord’s pure sacrifice. They hear the Word, at least in part, but rarely or never act on it according to the Lord’s directives. Spiritually speaking, they keep their hearts to themselves.

And because their preferred narrative states that as many as all four types of the people listed are saved, for various reasons, and that the work of salvation and persevering discipleship are mere outdated or non-essential notions, they not only create a god to suit themselves but a gospel as well.

It is the twisted gospel of the mythmakers.

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[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.

DEFINING NEW WINE (AND EMBRACING ADULTHOOD)

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       The Millennial generation has now overtaken the Baby Boomers. This development parallels the fading dominion of “old wine” Christianity.

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        We are on the threshold of a vast new transformation. The bulk of the coming-of-age Millennial generation, those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s to early 2000s, likely will not be engaging in anywhere close to the same degree of hands-on, practical, do-it-yourself utility and blue collar work of past generations. In general, while brilliant and exceptional in many areas of expertise, its skill set is lacking in the use of tools and, though gaining, has less aptitude for practical self-reliance.

       As a result, since Millennials number in the 80-90 million range, the home improvement industry is particularly panicked about the upcoming diminishing demand for its products. To remedy the potentially huge future problem, how-to videos and tutorials on an extremely elementary and basic level have been created, such as “How To Use A Tape Measure.”

         Sound familiar? What are the otherwise veiled common denominators of the largely unchurched Millennial generation and traditional church congregations of past and present? How are these alike? Do both share commonalities through no initial fault of their own, such as being adulthood challenged, sheltered, dependency-bred, and subjected to Groupthink? (Traditional church congregations in general are rarely taught to graduate and go on into individual ministry, for example, as commanded in the Great Commission.) These common characteristics indicate far too much “old wine” influence and a dearth of the new.

NEW WINE

        And He was also telling them a parable: “…And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’” [Luke 5:36-39]

OLD WHINE

         Christians have labored for centuries trying to figure out this passage or trying to figure out why the Lord used it in the first place, since the subject matter causes discomfort in some circles. Yet it remains a classic “eyes and ears” parable of which the true understanding is often missed. Rather than seeing the deeper meaning and making the correct application the Lord is calling for, however, the passage often evokes the prohibition response among those Christians who believe wine is not good. Instead of censoring the Lord Jesus or taking Him to task for NT wine references, of which there are many, perhaps they should try to see what He’s getting at.  

         I say this because immature and out-of-touch past generations of Christians with such an attitude have also missed the boat on other spiritual teachings. Missing the one addressed by the New Wine parable, though, is enormously problematic since it directly regards the pure practicality of reaching the lost without forcing them into largely dead impractical religion and non-spiritual constructs. For example, it didn’t help that for much of the time since it was first published in 1611, many Christians only had a King James Bible with no alternative or were not allowed one that may exist, especially, of course, in England and the English-speaking world. Because the KJV was state-sponsored, it forced millions into accepting every word and punctuation mark therein without question. Yet, on the all-important New Wine and New Wineskins passage, a deeply important parable, the KJV translators got it really wrong by referring to the wineskins as bottles.

         Right. They all had glass wine bottles in the first century. But according to some, those people apparently were not allowed to drink the wine therein anyway. What grandiose minds are these who project their convictions on all prior generations? There is a reason we have better translations today. Yet there remain millions of Christians at present who refuse to use any other Bible and even insist other versions are sinful. This is evidence of remaining endemic authoritative bias which disallows the necessary developmental steps toward gaining maturity. It creates a purposed distance from the Lord’s pure teachings by an agenda-based clergy promoting subjugation to them and their old wineskins.

         Ironically, I guess we may say, the incorrect KJV translation of the New Wine passage proves the gist of the Lord’s New Wine parable.

FERMENTATION (SPIRITUAL EYES AND EARS ALERT)

        The process of fermentation changes mere grape juice into a completely different liquid with different properties. New Wine is wine still undergoing the fermentation process.

         In Biblical times, as fermentation commenced and the juice of the grapes foamed up, somewhat dynamically, the process was allowed to take place only in open vats or containers for obvious reasons. After this initial substantial fermentation the wine was poured into small containers made of animal skins, but it was most important that the skins be new and fresh. Why? Because the wine was still undergoing fermentation and the skins must be new, strong, and flexible to allow for further expansion. It was sometimes the case that the new skins filled with New Wine appeared close to bursting.

         This is why everyone with knowledge of wine-making knew to never put New Wine into old dried-up wineskins because such containers would never be able to handle the ongoing fermentation process. If this principle was violated the old skins would crack or tear and be ruined by the New Wine, which would spill out and be lost. Incidentally, and in light of what I have been addressing in several recent posts, the fermentation process lasted about forty days. This means something. You might want to take a look at those recent posts.

PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

         The parable of the New Wine and New Wineskins appears only in the three synoptic gospels. It is apparent that Matthew and Mark were referencing Luke. Only Luke actually refers to it as a parable. Yet in each occurrence, the parable appears somewhat out of nowhere, especially in Luke, and there is no explanation. No one asked about the spiritual or allegorical meaning when the Lord addressed it. It is just there, and then the narrative moves on. What does it mean?

         We can find a clue simply by looking at the fermentation process. In His teachings regarding new beginnings and the necessity of both a New Covenant and new approaches to spiritual life, the Lord also referred to the absolute necessity of a new birth, meaning a spiritual birth. He is referencing by these illustrations a must-metamorphosis or a transformation from one stage to another, just as we are presently on the threshold of a vast new spiritual transformation. He also claimed that such a personal change, or birth, was both dramatic and all-encompassing.

BECOMING FULLY MATURE

(1) A butterfly lays an egg on a food plant

(2) The egg becomes a larva, or caterpillar, and the caterpillar grows rapidly

(3) When fully developed, the caterpillar enters the pupa stage and surrounds itself in a chrysalis

(4) When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits and a fully developed butterfly emerges, illustrating the final stage of maturation, and it soon takes flight

       Through the Lord’s mysterious ways, a relatively non-attractive many-legged worm thoroughly grounded and munching leaves and whatnot is inexplicably transformed into a lightweight beautiful butterfly able to escape the weighty hold of gravity. Remember, this is the same creature during all four stages. It merely exists in different forms on the way toward becoming fully mature, or complete.

DEVELOPING INTO SPIRITUAL ADULTS

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48]

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” [Matthew 19:21]

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphoo) 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. [Romans 12:2]

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you… [Philippians 3:14-15]

[The Greek word translated in the preceding as “perfect” or “complete” is teleios. It is defined as “mature, full grown, adult, or completed.”]

THE PROPER FRAME OF REFERENCE 

         Mere grape juice released through a violent crushing process somehow begins to be instantly transformed into another substance with powerful properties. What does this sound like? What does the Lord mean by New Wine and New Wineskins? Correctly defining these terms means we must first determine the proper frame of reference. The answer would seem to be otherwise obvious, since we have an Old Covenant and a New Covenant. The Old made possible the New, but the New replaced the Old. The New Wine replaces the old wine. It was a fact that due to the wine-making process of those times, the fully fermented wine lasted only so long. Old wine was wine stored for about a year or more, but it sometimes only lasted for about three years before turning into vinegar, though that could happen earlier.

FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN

          It follows then, that wine-making must be ongoing. There must always be a new batch of wine on the horizon. (Think Great Awakening.) The Feast of Tabernacles, in the autumn of the year, was an annual time of harvesting the fall grapes. It was a time of great joy. All of these facts are clues.

        The Pharisees and Sadducees represented the old wine that had degenerated into sour vinegar. Those guys could not get any more sour.

         The Lord was bringing forth the New Wine with His new kingdom. The refusing-to-be-transformed religious killjoys hated both. They rejected the new birth as do most “Christians.” Little did they know that they were actually playing right into the Lord’s hands, however, in that by crushing Him they were assisting in the process of bringing forth a brand new vintage, the best New Wine of all time!

DRUNK ON THE HOLY GHOST

         When the 120 were filled with His Spirit in the Upper Room they acted very differently. Their actions were out of the ordinary. What transpired on that morning did not look at all like the standard, dour-faced, traditional, institutional, stuck-in-the-mud, ultra-religious old wine that was “good enough.” Instead, they were all filled with incredible JOY and displayed never-before-seen bright shining faces, dazzling smiles, and much laughter. They were overcome with the Lord’s overwhelming love. Highly concentrated LOVE was all around them and spilling forth everywhere. By their love everybody appearance and manner it looked to outside observers that the Upper Roomers had been swimming around in a giant vat of New Wine:

         And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 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. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

         “‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT…’” [Acts 2:12-18] [1]

       We are on the threshold of a vast new transformation toward real spiritual adulthood.

          “New Wine must be put into fresh wineskins.”

         © 2017 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.

THE INDEPENDENT SOVEREIGNTY OF EACH REAL CHRISTIAN

        When the American colonies were first formed a few centuries ago, each was a sovereign entity. After the Revolutionary War (1775-1781), each colony became a separate sovereign state.

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         Each state was responsible for its own laws and welfare under the general umbrella of coexistence with the other United States. The Federal government had no jurisdiction in the internal affairs of the thirteen states, each of which was akin to a separate nation.

CREATING AN ENTIRELY NEW AMERICA

         The War of Northern Aggression (1861-1865), otherwise known as the Civil War, changed all that. The Federal government made the decision to grossly violate the Constitution by invading and destroying the Southern states. It also stole the authority of not only those states but all the states in the union. After the Civil War the states were no longer sovereign entities and were only separate states in the administrative sense. All states from that time forward were forced to bow to the newly garnered power of the Federal government.

        It is obvious, thus, that central control and power in Washington DC has only grown more immense and unaccountable over time until the present. And though there have been attempts at intervals in American history since the Civil War to correct this wrong and stem the tide, each has failed to curtail the overriding power of the Feds. Those who know history know such federal power was not the vision of the Founding Fathers. Indeed, after the Revolutionary War they had attempted to write a new Constitution (1787) that would continue to respect the sovereignty of states but also grant a greater unifying force at the federal level. Their effort diverged from the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation (1777), which was written and ratified during the war. Article II of the Articles of Confederation states the following:

         Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

         Thus, in the effort to grant a greater unifying force in the new Constitution of 1787, they took a great risk by granting the possibility of too much federal control. As opposed to the former Articles of Confederation, the Founding Fathers granted what eventually became far too large a loophole within the new Constitution that would eventually allow for unscrupulous and immoral scoundrels to usurp the authority of the states and thereby destroy the authority of the citizens of those states. Since that time, by deviating from the clear intent of the law, authority was unlawfully granted to those who gravitated to yet another man-made government ziggurat in which the few ruled over the many and from which great spoils could be extracted from the citizenry.

         The natural course of this action after 154 years is that much of the vast wealth and authority of America is owned by less than one percent, which is quickly growing to an even smaller fraction. The more they gain the more we lose. Foreign entities and dual citizens are buying up and controlling much of the country. Americans are being squeezed like never before. We are long since past the time of another Revolution, something Thomas Jefferson said we must have at not so long intervals, to maintain the freedom and liberty of the people. It was We the People who originally had the power and wealth. It was what the Constitution called for and to which the original sovereign states agreed to.

THE REAL CHURCH AND THE EVIL FAKERS

       But again, that sovereignty is long gone, as is the original freedom and liberty of Americans. This exact occurrence has also taken place within institutional, traditional Christianity: One must enter a “church” on their terms. One must sit down among a sea of people and remain silent. One is a mere spectator. On must go through choreographed routines and submit to dry “liturgies.” By this practice, if one never matures spiritually, one grossly violates the teachings of the Lord Jesus. He created a Community in which each of His followers has an independent mind and spirit. Each must walk in the freedom and liberty of the Lord. Each believer understands he or she has a duty to the Lord to participate significantly. Indeed, His is a participatory Community that demands the involvement, input, and contribution of every member.    

         According to His teachings, each real Christian is a sovereign entity accountable only to the higher power of the Lord. Any other authority is only lateral. It is why He refers to His people as a family and a Community. Everyone is the same. Each is equal. The only difference is that some believers are more mature than others but all begin at the same place and each can develop to full maturity. Followers of the Lord were never to rule over other believers. These simple facts easily tell us whose methods are wrong and who has robbed individual Christians of their God-given authority and freedom in the Lord. The vast majority of Christians and Christian leaders have gotten it wrong over these last twenty centuries. An extremely small class, the Clergy, has taken over and believes itself to be far superior. The vast 99% of everyone else, the Laity, has surrendered to a false authority as a wimpy dog to a pack leader. The people who comprise these classes will not fare well at the Judgment. The Lord will reprimand one for taking authority He never granted and He will reprimand the other for never taking the authority He did grant.

        Until then, however, millions of real Christians worldwide have thrown off their shackles and insist on doing Christianity the way the Lord Jesus intended. They are having a far greater impact than most people, especially unreal Christians, are aware of. It is the false Christians who are the chief persecutors of the real Christians. But it has always been this way. It is up to real believers to take on and maintain their sovereign authority, walk in spiritual maturity, take the battle to the enemy, and assist the Lord Jesus in doing the work and living the lives He has called them to. This is the only road to spiritual success. It is the only way to fully honor Him. It is the only way to get the job done.

THE REAL CHOSEN PEOPLE

         For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. [Galatians 3:26-29][1]

          © 2019 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.

THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN

         And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” [Revelation 12:9-10]

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FROM THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA:

124 Accuser: <a-kuz’-er> This word, not found in the Old Testament, is the rendering of two Greek words:

(1) Greek: kategoros, that is, a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another (Acts 23:30, 35; 25:16, 18; Rev 12:10);

(2) Greek: diabolos, meaning adversary or enemy. This word is rendered “accuser” in the King James Version and “slanderer” in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version (2Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3).

According to the rabbinic teaching Satan, or the devil, was regarded as hostile to God and man, and that it was a part of his work to accuse the latter of disloyalty and sin before the tribunal of the former (see Job 1:6 ff; Zechariah 3:1 f; Revelation 12:10).

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THE ADVERSARY AT WORK         

        We gather from the Book of Job that The Adversary (HaSatan) is in the business of doing everything possible to denigrate the people of God. As the early conversation goes, the Lord holds up Job to be a good example and a fine servant:

         The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” [Job 1:8]

         The Adversary was just getting started. He had plenty of fuel left. He rammed it into high gear and began telling the Lord it was only because He protects him so, and makes him virtually impervious to attack. He said:

         “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” [Job 1:9-11]

         And this, thus, is the challenge. The Lord indeed protects His people but there are times when they must be tested. They are often tested, as per the Lord’s example, when something profound is about to happen. They must be found with no pride or arrogance. In essence, they must be tested and submitted to a process by which they can be purged of anything possibly within them that causes them to act like the enemy.

OVERCOMING THE FLESH

        “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Matthew 26:41]   

         In New Covenant terminology, there is much reference to “the flesh.” It is defined as that part of a person which is indicative of one’s lower nature, that of purely natural processes, in which one acts according to one’s pure sinful humanity rather than according to the Spirit. The process of discipleship is therefore an ongoing progression toward developing a spiritual nature rather than a carnal one. The carnal nature wants to always be first, number one, and act out of personal pride. It is the antithesis of spiritual humility.

        As I mentioned in my last post, the Lord Jesus said we must be as children. Young children have yet to develop the carnal nature brought on by advancement in sin. They are often joyous, happy, trusting, and humble. In answer to those of His disciples who were arguing about which of them might be the greatest, the Lord put forth the following:

         But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.” [Luke 9:47-48]

         The Lord obviously has a different definition of greatness. One sees this greatness in Him, as He is the most humble Man who ever lived, very self-effacing and always willing to turn the other cheek. He allowed Himself to be persecuted in such a way that those close to Him did not understand. In saying at His ongoing trial right before His death that His kingdom was not of this world, it helps explain so many of His actions when it appeared He never took up for Himself the way most people do.

        He knew who He was, of course, but also lived according to a higher standard that is contrary to living according to basic human nature, in which selfishness and pride must rule.

         The Lord Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God without measure, as the Father in His fullness dwelt within Him. He is God in flesh. But He still had His flesh to deal with. He overcame His flesh on an ongoing basis and never, ever allowed it to have the upper hand. Because He disciplined His flesh in such a powerful manner, His flesh was always subservient to His Spirit. This took a lot of work, the kind most people know nothing about, which also includes many Christians. Overcoming the flesh is a must for the spiritual disciple of the Lord. It is the only way one’s spirit can rule. But long before that occurrence can ever happen, one’s spirit must be born. It is why all real believers undergo a born-again experience. Otherwise, the flesh, or lower human nature, remains in charge.

         Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [Galatians 5:19-21]

       Those who do practice such things must be under the Law. They have not taken authority over their lower nature and must therefore be ruled from without by a higher power. They must be told what they can and cannot do on a daily basis. Their conscience must always be at work to give them every opportunity of assistance toward knowing right and wrong, since they cannot control themselves. It is, of course, possible to overcome the dictates and desires of the flesh somewhat through personal (non-spiritual) discipleship of a kind, but this usually involves the mere strapping-on-of-the-plow for singular purposes which have no bearing on taking full control, since such is impossible. Those who appear to achieve it only give the impression of overcoming their lower nature but at best all they do is temporarily suppress it. There is only one way to defeat the flesh and bring it under subjection and that is by the Spirit of God.

WINNING THE BATTLE

        Perhaps this is why there must be an accuser. As in the previously stated ISBE definition, the accuser is as “a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another.” This is what HaSatan did to Job. The Lord spoke of Job in glowing terms. He was quite proud of His child. But the devil had to do his part, in that he must make every attempt to prove to God that Job was indeed not so great at all. He felt strongly he could prosecute him successfully if given the chance.

       “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” [Matthew 5:10-13]

         When people join in with the devil to help him in his work, they engage in the insults as listed above. The flesh hates such insults, in that it will always strike back against attack and accusations if at all possible, unless greater damage may be done to it. What the Lord taught in this regard is absolutely completely contrary to the will of the flesh. He said disciples must rejoice when under persecution and undergoing slander? Yes. It is counterintuitive. It makes no sense to a carnal mind. But all this is illustrated in the life of Job. He was put to the test. His life was virtually destroyed. He lost everything. But he never lost his faith in God. He was being made fun of and accused even by his friends. His own wife told him to curse God. How many could hold up under such an onslaught? How many can withstand such ongoing adversarial tactics? How many can overcome the Accuser of the Brethren?

         Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” [Mark 15:29-31]    

         But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” [Luke 23:33-35] [1]

            © 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.

DEFINING NEW WINE (AND EMBRACING ADULTHOOD)

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The Millennial generation has now overtaken the Baby Boomers. This development parallels the fading dominion of “old wine” Christianity.

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We are on the threshold of a vast new transformation. The bulk of the coming-of-age Millennial generation, those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s to early 2000s, likely will not be engaging in anywhere close to the same degree of hands-on, practical, do-it-yourself utility and blue collar work of past generations. In general, while brilliant and exceptional in many areas of expertise, its skill set is lacking in the use of tools and, though gaining, has less aptitude for practical self-reliance.

As a result, since Millennials number in the 80-90 million range, the home improvement industry is particularly panicked about the upcoming diminishing demand for its products. To remedy the potentially huge future problem, how-to videos and tutorials on an extremely elementary and basic level have been created, such as “How To Use A Tape Measure.”

Sound familiar? What are the otherwise veiled common denominators of the largely unchurched Millennial generation and traditional church congregations of past and present? How are these alike? Do both share commonalities through no initial fault of their own, such as being adulthood challenged, sheltered, dependency-bred, and subjected to Groupthink? (Traditional church congregations in general are rarely taught to graduate and go on into individual ministry, for example, as commanded in the Great Commission.) These common characteristics indicate far too much “old wine” influence and a dearth of the new.

NEW WINE

And He was also telling them a parable: “…And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’” [Luke 5:36-39]

OLD WHINE

Christians have labored for centuries trying to figure out this passage or trying to figure out why the Lord used it in the first place, since the subject matter causes discomfort in some circles. Yet it remains a classic “eyes and ears” parable of which the true understanding is often missed. Rather than seeing the deeper meaning and making the correct application the Lord is calling for, however, the passage often evokes the prohibition response among those Christians who believe wine is not good. Instead of censoring the Lord Jesus or taking Him to task for NT wine references, of which there are many, perhaps they should try to see what He’s getting at.  

I say this because immature and out-of-touch past generations of Christians with such an attitude have also missed the boat on other spiritual teachings. Missing the one addressed by the New Wine parable, though, is enormously problematic since it directly regards the pure practicality of reaching the lost without forcing them into largely dead impractical religion and non-spiritual constructs. For example, it didn’t help that for much of the time since it was first published in 1611, many Christians only had a King James Bible with no alternative or were not allowed one that may exist, especially, of course, in England and the English-speaking world. Because the KJV was state-sponsored, it forced millions into accepting every word and punctuation mark therein without question. Yet, on the all-important New Wine and New Wineskins passage, a deeply important parable, the KJV translators got it really wrong by referring to the wineskins as bottles.

Right. They all had glass wine bottles in the first century. But according to some, those people apparently were not allowed to drink the wine therein anyway. What grandiose minds are these who project their convictions on all prior generations? There is a reason we have better translations today. Yet there remain millions of Christians at present who refuse to use any other Bible and even insist other versions are sinful. This is evidence of remaining endemic authoritative bias which disallows the necessary developmental steps toward gaining maturity. It creates a purposed distance from the Lord’s pure teachings by an agenda-based clergy promoting subjugation to them and their old wineskins.

Ironically, I guess we may say, the incorrect KJV translation of the New Wine passage proves the gist of the Lord’s New Wine parable.

FERMENTATION (SPIRITUAL EYES AND EARS ALERT)

The process of fermentation changes mere grape juice into a completely different liquid with different properties. New Wine is wine still undergoing the fermentation process.

In Biblical times, as fermentation commenced and the juice of the grapes foamed up, somewhat dynamically, the process was allowed to take place only in open vats or containers for obvious reasons. After this initial substantial fermentation the wine was poured into small containers made of animal skins, but it was most important that the skins be new and fresh. Why? Because the wine was still undergoing fermentation and the skins must be new, strong, and flexible to allow for further expansion. It was sometimes the case that the new skins filled with New Wine appeared close to bursting.

This is why everyone with knowledge of wine-making knew to never put New Wine into old dried-up wineskins because such containers would never be able to handle the ongoing fermentation process. If this principle was violated the old skins would crack or tear and be ruined by the New Wine, which would spill out and be lost. Incidentally, and in light of what I have been addressing in several recent posts, the fermentation process lasted about forty days. This means something. You might want to take a look at those recent posts.

PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

The parable of the New Wine and New Wineskins appears only in the three synoptic gospels. It is apparent that Matthew and Mark were referencing Luke. Only Luke actually refers to it as a parable. Yet in each occurrence, the parable appears somewhat out of nowhere, especially in Luke, and there is no explanation. No one asked about the spiritual or allegorical meaning when the Lord addressed it. It is just there, and then the narrative moves on. What does it mean?

We can find a clue simply by looking at the fermentation process. In His teachings regarding new beginnings and the necessity of both a New Covenant and new approaches to spiritual life, the Lord also referred to the absolute necessity of a new birth, meaning a spiritual birth. He is referencing by these illustrations a must-metamorphosis or a transformation from one stage to another, just as we are presently on the threshold of a vast new spiritual transformation. He also claimed that such a personal change, or birth, was both dramatic and all-encompassing.

BECOMING FULLY MATURE

(1) A butterfly lays an egg on a food plant

(2) The egg becomes a larva, or caterpillar, and the caterpillar grows rapidly

(3) When fully developed, the caterpillar enters the pupa stage and surrounds itself in a chrysalis

(4) When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits and a fully developed butterfly emerges, illustrating the final stage of maturation, and it soon takes flight

Through the Lord’s mysterious ways, a relatively non-attractive many-legged worm thoroughly grounded and munching leaves and whatnot is inexplicably transformed into a lightweight beautiful butterfly able to escape the weighty hold of gravity. Remember, this is the same creature during all four stages. It merely exists in different forms on the way toward becoming fully mature, or complete.

DEVELOPING INTO SPIRITUAL ADULTS

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48]

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” [Matthew 19:21]

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphoo) 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. [Romans 12:2]

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you… [Philippians 3:14-15]

[The Greek word translated in the preceding as “perfect” or “complete” is teleios. It is defined as “mature, full grown, adult, or completed.”]

THE PROPER FRAME OF REFERENCE 

Mere grape juice released through a violent crushing process somehow begins to be instantly transformed into another substance with powerful properties. What does this sound like? What does the Lord mean by New Wine and New Wineskins? Correctly defining these terms means we must first determine the proper frame of reference. The answer would seem to be otherwise obvious, since we have an Old Covenant and a New Covenant. The Old made possible the New, but the New replaced the Old. The New Wine replaces the old wine. It was a fact that due to the wine-making process of those times, the fully fermented wine lasted only so long. Old wine was wine stored for about a year or more, but it sometimes only lasted for about three years before turning into vinegar, though that could happen earlier.

FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN

It follows then, that wine-making must be ongoing. There must always be a new batch of wine on the horizon. (Think Great Awakening.) The Feast of Tabernacles, which we just completed, was an annual time of harvesting the fall grapes. It was a time of great joy. All of these facts are clues.

The Pharisees and Sadducees represented the old wine that had degenerated into sour vinegar. Those guys could not get any more sour.

The Lord was bringing forth the New Wine with His new kingdom. The refusing-to-be-transformed religious killjoys hated both. They rejected the new birth as do most “Christians.” Little did they know that they were actually playing right into the Lord’s hands, however, in that by crushing Him they were assisting in the process of bringing forth a brand new vintage, the best New Wine of all time!

DRUNK ON THE HOLY GHOST

When the 120 were filled with His Spirit in the Upper Room they acted very differently. Their actions were out of the ordinary. What transpired on that morning did not look at all like the standard, dour-faced, traditional, institutional, stuck-in-the-mud, ultra-religious old wine that was “good enough.” Instead, they were all filled with incredible JOY and displayed never-before-seen bright shining faces, dazzling smiles, and much laughter. They were overcome with the Lord’s overwhelming love. Highly concentrated LOVE was all around them and spilling forth everywhere. By their love everybody appearance and manner it looked to outside observers that the Upper Roomers had been swimming around in a giant vat of New Wine:

And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 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. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

“‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT…’” [Acts 2:12-18] [1]

We are on the threshold of a vast new transformation toward real spiritual adulthood.

“New Wine must be put into fresh wineskins.”

© 2017 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.

HAPPY SIXTH BIRTHDAY, REAL CHRISTIANITY

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       As of today, Real Christianity has completed a full six years and begins year number seven. My thanks and sincere appreciation goes out to all of you for your gracious and faithful support.

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         It means a lot. I remember well when I was a rookie Christian brimming over with the Spirit of the Lord and wanting to give everything I had. I was in the process of devouring the Word of God. I could not get enough. I was breezing through the Bible and was forever continually amazed. I distinctly recall the day when I read 1Corinthians 14:1 for the first time:

         “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”

         The apostle Paul made it very clear in this passage that there was something very special about the prophetic gift. I knew next to nothing at the time but was learning fast. I really did not understand the full impact of the request I was about to make, but my brother Paul appeared to be talking directly to me. I took his advice personally. I figured that if the prophetic gift had the word “especially” attached to it then I had better seek it. It seemed that Paul was saying it was needed the most. I had some understanding of the gifts at that time since I read 1Corinthians 12 before I got to 14, and I had also seen the gifts in action.

         But again, when I saw 14:1 I went directly to the Lord in prayer and told Him that if the prophetic gift was what He wanted me to have and it was needed the most then I wanted it. I was seeing the bigger picture. I wanted to be of greater service.

         “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” [1Corinthians 14:2-3]

         After about a year I was preaching in a pulpit. I did most of my preaching outside the church building, however. Yet, in my estimation at the time, I wasn’t really preaching out there, and it was not preaching in the conventional sense. Instead, it was what I may term anointed witnessing. And Boy Howdy, I was witnessing to everyone. It was not at all unlikely for me to go 45 minutes at a time. I had so much to give and the Lord just kept on anointing me to keep going. Those poor people! I know many appreciated it but I also found out early on that many did not. I started getting called “Reverend” and “Little Jesus” and other names I forget but you get the gist. I caught some flack but not all that much. Most of the flak came from a few.

         What I discovered was that the majority of the people were very open and respectful. The ones who caused me the greatest grief were those in closer proximity, if you get my drift. It seems the people who are connected relationally understand without really knowing why that the relational connection put an ongoing pressure on them to consider the truth, whereas people I didn’t know could simply walk away and would likely never see me again. It is easier to be polite that way. The Lord summed it up as thus:

         “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” [Mark 6:4]  

         Most Christians never make the connection that one’s “own household” is often one’s own church. This is in part why church as we know it doesn’t work past a certain point. Whoever wants to get in deep with the Lord and go all out like every real disciple should finds out that after about two years or so he or she will come to a previously unseen spiritual fork in the road. One will either continue to move on with the Lord and stay strong and continue developing or one will succumb to church life.

         Since you just read something considered by some to be quite pejorative, a caveat is called for: Some Christians outside of the preaching profession are meant to serve long term in local churches. Therefore, I am not saying that one cannot find their ministry and exercise their calling within a local, traditional body. The problem is that most can’t. And the problem there is that there are only a few places where one can. So even if one wants to serve there is most often no place in which to serve except on a very limited basis.

         But the Lord did not call us to limited service. He demands our entire heart, our entire life, and our entire everything. If a Christian holds back he or she is limiting God and can never become a fully developed and mature disciple.

         “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]

         This is why He used a different method from what most Christians are used to. He had to create a venue in which every single one of His children could minister in exactly the way He called them to minister. This is also why He created diverse spiritual giftings. Again, in reading 1Corinthians 12 and 14 we see many of these giftings and also several different places of service. However, there is no room whatsoever for the vast majority of these giftings and places of service in traditional local assemblies.

         “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.” [Luke 5:37-38]   

        And there it is. That’s the key. The key word is FRESH. An old wineskin might be good for something but it is never good for new wine.

         In my six years here on WordPress I have met a great many people doing exactly what we were all called to do—that being whatever the Lord has placed on our hearts. It is limited to putting digital words on a screen but is unlimited regarding what those words are. The Lord sees it all and will judge it accordingly. We should all be seeking His approval but that can only come through faithful obedience. The great thing about venues such as this is one can preach or teach or write or witness to their heart’s content without any limitations save for those coming from the Lord.

         The greater impact is that internet communities are formed. Friends are made. Brothers and sisters come together. Truth is disseminated. There is no one telling you that you must comply with some traditional outlook or force you to believe a certain way if it conflicts with what God says. If we make mistakes the Lord is forgiving. Children make mistakes. Do we hold it against a child for not knowing any better? Neither does the Lord. He loves us no matter what we do. But if we are fully dedicated we will learn. We will grow in wisdom. We will come upon truths we never saw before. The Lord can open our eyes.

         My hope for each one of you is to continue growing ever-closer to the Lord Jesus and being even more effective for Him and one another. We know what happens when we achieve it: We help each other to change for the better—we all minister to one another. This is the essence of true koinonia. The Great Awakening is being driven by all those who are fully committed, insist on appropriating the full spiritual liberty the Lord died to give us, strive to fulfill their callings, and never look back.

         “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…” [1Corinthians 14:26-32] [1]

         © 2017 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.

HIERARCHY HIRELINGS: How Incompetent Posers Gain Authority (Doh!)

         “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:11-13]

THE PETER PRINCIPLE        

         According to Laurence J. Peter in his best-selling book, The Peter Principle, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

         This management principle has proven to be absolutely true. It explains everything. It illustrates why we have so many incompetent people in the upper levels of power. It contrasts the real world of cause and effect, risk and reward, and survival of the fittest with the fake world of herds without predators.

         Two hunters deep in the woods are suddenly surprised by a very angry bear. They both take off running for their lives, the bear right behind them. One hunter yells to the other, “Do you think we can outrun him?” The other hunter says, “I don’t need to outrun him. I only need to outrun you.”

         This is the real world. It is why God created predators. Predators are the eliminators of incompetence in the natural world. Unless you stay sharp and at the top of your game the bear will get you.

         This is why incompetent people don’t survive long in real world applications. Many meet a quick end. There is simply no place for ongoing laziness, lack of ability, foolishness, stupidity, and bad decisions. The natural world teaches this. Incompetence is never rewarded or allowed. Natural selection means survival of only the fittest.

         In fake world situations, however, the opposite takes place. Rules are written to protect incompetence. Instead of rightfully being killed and eaten by angry bears, incompetent people not only survive, they thrive. Their bad behavior is rewarded. Everybody gets a trophy.

THE BACKYARD WARRIORS PRINCIPLE

         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. [1 Corinthians 9:24]

         I remember when I was about eleven years old I had a birthday party at my house. We lived in a well-kept suburban working class neighborhood. As part of the birthday fun I set up an intricate obstacle course in the backyard. You had to run around the perimeter of the yard as fast as you could under and through this and over and around that—just a bunch of stuff I found laying around that I transformed into world class athletic equipment. Not bad for a kid. It was pretty cool. I had an old army tarp tied to the chain-link fence at a 45 degree angle that you had to crawl under. There was stuff to jump over, like a strategically located metal trash can. Things like that. You had to run the course while being timed. Whoever completed the course correctly and the fastest was the winner. We probably had some small prize.

         The rules were the same for everyone. I invited a bunch of friends over from school and the neighborhood. But someone also invited my young cousin, who was probably about seven or eight. If that wasn’t bad enough I also had an older sister hanging around who was sixteen or so at the time. She had an inordinate desire to lend what amounted to overwhelming assistance to those such as my young cousin who she thought were in great need, as a way to even the playing field. I had a different perspective. I have always been competitive. My concerns about her ruining the competition were soon realized.

         Some of us had already run the course. We gave it everything we had. When a kid was out there running around he was completely on his own. It was sink or swim. Figure it out. Don’t miss anything. Show respect for the process. Everybody else was watching making sure he did it right.

         Then it was my little cousin’s turn. And what does my older sister do? She starts running the course with him! He appeared to have no clue what to do but probably would have done okay if allowed to run by himself. I still have this mental picture of her leaning over slightly and running off with him with her arm on his shoulder guiding him around. He quickly yielded to her lead. She then decided he only needed to run less than half the layout! And here they come, cutting right through my well constructed obstacle course across the middle of the yard making a total mockery of the game! She’s still right there with her arm on his shoulder, leaning over, telling him what to do while running him back to the start.

         We did not appreciate this. Neither I nor my friends said anything. It was an era when kids showed more respect. She meant well. But what a joke. She almost ruined the whole day with that pathetic display.

         This is exactly how incompetence thrives.

THE JEREMIAH JOHNSON PRINCIPLE

         Again, in the real world only the strongest and wisest survive. America was founded by such people. So was Texas. The few incompetent people out on the frontier were soon dead if they didn’t manage to get back to civilization post haste.

         I am reminded of Robert Redford’s character in the movie Jeremiah Johnson, set in the mid 1800s. There was an early scene when he was way up in the frozen Rocky Mountains trying to catch fish by hand in an icy stream. He was soon in the water. There he was in the deep snow and ice splashing around doing his best to catch a fish to stay alive. The scene then switched to an Indian on horseback silently watching. Later in the movie when the same Indian recognized him in a different setting, he told another, “He fishes poorly.”

         But Jeremiah Johnson survived and then thrived. He figured out how to stay alive in a killer environment. Though he met friends, nobody held his hand. He overcame all obstacles, including some personal losses that ripped his heart apart. That movie was about the real world and survival.

         It is quite the contrast to our present world. Since that time America has largely become a vast, neurotic, socialist nanny state ruled over by bureaucratic incompetents and enablers with selfish agendas in which everybody, regardless of any achievement, gets a little trophy. Many would never be in their positions of authority without some big sister brotherhood opening doors, scripting their work, showing them the way, and refusing to let them stand on their own. It is the complete opposite of survival of the fittest. Because of the ridiculous policy of allowing incompetent idiots to become our “experts” America is going down fast.

         Now, before you think I’m stumping for a certain presidential candidate, I’m not. I’ve been saying this for decades. (That dude stole my thunder.) I have watched this contrary agenda develop over several decades. Of course, many people know what’s going on but almost everybody feels powerless to do anything about it. When some charismatic person comes along who says all the right things and claims to have the answers he gains an immediate following.

         But it rarely or never works. It’s always just words. Those that actually gain power never follow through. The only thing that does work in such cases is following the lead of someone who actually knows what to do and has a proven track record. Such good guys, however, are currently very few and far between, and are becoming extinct. The bad guys have taken over. The paradigm shift of rewarding evil and eliminating the good is almost complete. It’s why Biblical prophecy says the world would succeed in blowing itself up without the Lord’s end-time intervention. Corrupt doofuses in places of authority are the sole cause.

THE LORD JESUS PRINCIPLE

         There is only one Leader who can fix this mess. The reason America is cratering is due only to the rejecting of His leadership. There is no possible way to remove the preserving agent without falling into gross corruption. The more He has been rejected over the last several decades the worse things have become. Though few acknowledge Him, He is the one who holds everything together.

         Also, though the Lord Jesus is the best Father, He never spoils His children. Though He is our Shepherd, He is never the enabler of stupidity, laziness, or incompetence. He only rewards those who give it their all. Whoever will do things His way must be absolutely dedicated and must also be in it for the long haul. One will discover that following His lead allows one to grow stronger and wiser, and possess greater ability to overcome and thrive. He prepares us to be the best. His discipleship methods always work. He is a maker of champions.

THE UNREAL CHRISTIANITY PRINCIPLE

         The reason the Peter Principle has become a burgeoning reality is because the people in power have rejected the Lord’s proper authority and correct management principles. They have replaced them with bulky, unresponsive, impersonal hierarchies and shallow methodologies that reward morons and punish the strong, independent, honest, and righteous.

         GUESS WHAT? THE EXACT THING HAS HAPPENED WITHIN TRADITIONAL AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY.

         Pious pinheads and parading shysters have taken over the outward institutional format and are now the tenured cloth men. We know the majority of these guys have no clue how to right our wayward course or have any desire to, largely because they’re the ones who caused it. They’re invested in it. It serves them very well. These sold-out fakers only exist because foolish people keep throwing money in their coffers, which only enables them and their incompetence. Every time the Lord tries to correct them their supporters reward them. These power-tripping Christian “experts” eventually cold shoulder any real Christians in their vicinity, refuse to support them, and badmouth them, in the sinister effort to eliminate those who would rightfully take their job.

         But this has always been true. Thus, all real Christians must first learn to survive in this fallen world, then learn to fight, overcome, and thrive within it, AND THEN TAKE OVER. It’s how the Lord does things. It’s exactly how He did it. When He was crucified He looked like the greatest loser that ever lived. Three days later He became the greatest winner of all time. If we would be successful we must follow His lead, trust Him, and do things His way.

         This is why the Lord Jesus never coddles His children. He has no use for perpetual babies and whiners. He never hands out participant trophies. He requires us to run the race well without constant enabling. He calls us to follow Him even through the worst spiritual environments that will test us to the nth degree.

THE PAUL PRINCIPLE

         For correct spiritual perspective with respect to real discipleship, consider the fact that the apostle Paul once found himself dead under a pile of rocks. He suffered this fate doing exactly what he was called to do. The Lord Jesus did nothing to stop the brutal attack against him—He let Paul get stoned by a bunch of Jewish religious idiots.

         But He did bless him with a preview of heaven:

         I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. [2Corinthians 12:2-4]

         That’s pretty cool. And He did bring him back to earth. And He did give Paul supportive friends after he was dragged out of Lystra for dead who stood around him when he suddenly got up:

         But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. [Acts 14:19-20]

         Therefore, it is not that we don’t need help and support from time to time. We obviously should help one another. But such help is usually designed to get us on track or back on track. Both of these should be very few and far between events after our initial discipleship training. After that it’s a matter of running the race well without being hindered or enabled, both of which restrict our mission.

         If the Lord has given you honest and competent authority figures at present, be thankful. We need the wisdom of those who have gone before us who have gained the Lord’s wisdom. But in order to be the spiritual success the Lord needs you to be, you must work at becoming a spiritual adult.

         For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity… [Hebrews 5:13-6:1] [1]

         Live the adventure.

         Climb the Rockies.

         But watch out for rocks.

       © 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.

You Can Trust Your Heart With God

         If God is anything at all, He is faithful. He won’t let us down. He’ll always be there. Betrayal is the farthest thing from His mind. And though we might not be able to figure out why, He really does love us all, and it hurts Him to have those He has created reject Him.

         And we think, how in the world can God be all-powerful and strong and yet so easily hurt by mere human beings? Maybe it’s because He’s not the big bad unfeeling ogre some people think He is. He really can be touched by our pain and feelings of helplessness.

         But He also knows that freedom comes with a price and He can’t be there every five seconds to protect us from every little happenstance. There is no growth in that. God puts a very high price on maturity and maturity demands pain. There is simply no other way.

         Now, He does watch over us, and He often protects us, but His goal for us is to grow and be like Him. He is not in the business of having perpetual children who never grow up. Why in the world would He want that? WE don’t want that. So the way things are make life tough.

         But He wants us to be up to the challenge. He has chosen that we enter this world in a completely helpless state. He has chosen the way of growth. Any intelligent person would eventually discover that if he or she was in God’s shoes it would be done in the same way.

         But whatever happens, because God is loving and kind, it never means that anything lousy is permanent, or else He would not have made a way for miracles. He would not allow the possibility of a sunrise chasing away the darkness of night. And he has made His Holy Spirit available to help and comfort us.

         Christianity 101 is this: Our Lord Jesus is God, and God is Love, and Love is good.

         There is no doubt that the circumstances of this life can be bad, but God is not bad. And when God is summoned in faith He shows up, and He chases away darkness and a lack of hope. He blesses us with strength and will often help us open a door, so we might go in where the life is.

         I have found that when we are serious about God, God will be serious about us. There is a clear connection between giving ourselves completely to God and God giving Himself completely to us. He is a lover, and He believes in love. And He knows love is a 100% commitment and never anything less. Therefore, if someone wants to mess around on God and give Him anything less than what He has already given to us, that someone better not expect anything from God.

         If you have never been hurt in love you have never lived, so why would we expect to treat God in such a way? If it isn’t fun for us, why would it be fun for Him?

         We are truly made in the image of God, and if anyone loses track of this, our Lord Jesus is the perfect image of God in human form to always remind us. Jesus is God. Did He not provide the greatest expression of love in paying our way out of sin?

         “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13] [1] 

         If that’s not love, there is no love. The greatest love is giving oneself for another. One will find that when he does for God what God has done for him, he will know God.

         Such giving creates a pure heart. Selfishness, however, creates a cold and evil heart. This pretty much explains everything, doesn’t it?

         Our Lord is 100% Love, 100% faithful, and a 100% giver, and these are the kind of people He relates to.

         One will never go wrong in giving his or her entire heart to the Lord Jesus.

         In fact, one could never do anything more right.

         © 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.

The Lighter Side of Darkness

        

         When human beings are subjected to the full authority of the Lord Jesus, they treat other human beings with equal respect. They have long since gotten down off their high horse. They see by the light of the Gospel that they were formerly sinners destined to hell and realize they were saved from that hell by the sacrificial death of their Lord and Master. They consequently can no longer be critical of others as “sinners” since they themselves are former sinners saved only by the grace of God.

         Real Christians still commit sins, however. What changes is the lifestyle of sin. Those not subjected to the Lord have no true awareness of their sin and no true desire to cease from it. They exist in a fairy tale land of no recompense for their evil deeds. Indeed, the idea that they do “evil deeds” is ridiculous to them. In their reasoning, only vile criminals, murderers, etc, engage in “evil deeds.” But God has a different opinion. And when people come into contact with God for the first time through the hearing of the powerful Gospel message, which includes the cutting truth that one is a sinner in opposition to God, it causes them to bow before their Creator and seek His pardon.

         Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.

         And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

         Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” [Luke 7:36-50]

         Real repentance is often done with much emotion. For those who refuse to repent, they consider the Gospel message as inapplicable to themselves, in that they see themselves as righteous apart from God.

         These reject the Gospel message and continue on their journey toward hell.

         Those who repent, on the other hand, cease being sinners in that their previous sins are removed by the cleansing blood of the Lamb of God. They do an about face. They start walking in the opposite direction. They get off the train to hell and hop on board the train to heaven.

         They still sin from time to time, partly from ignorance, partly from not yet fully overcoming the dictates of their sinful nature, and partly from not continuing in their spiritual disciplines. An altar of repentance always awaits them for personal use when needed, and the blood of the Lord is once again invoked to cleanse them. In time, they grow more spiritually mature and their faults grow fewer.

         They learn to take it on the chin. They learn to not fight back against others who treat them with contempt. They see other people as those in need of salvation the same way they were. They become more accommodating and graceful. They learn the art of spiritual tact. They attempt to help others see the light that was shown to them. They do not consider themselves better, or holier, or a greater specimen of humanity, but someone who was saved from a life of sin and eventual hell by a loving Savior through no effort whatsoever of their own.

         They understand that their righteousness is a gift.

         They see clearly that the death of the Lord Jesus paid for all sins for all time.

         They see there is nothing to crow about, that though they are cleansed, they personally had nothing to do with it except merely saying yes to God and accepting His generous offer of salvation.

         Humility becomes their standard.

         Obedience to the Lord becomes their modus operandi.

         Loving the Lord and others becomes their purpose.

         Telling others about the Good News becomes their principle occupation.

         They want to see others saved from sin and set free the way they were.

         They want others to meet the Lord.

         “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] [1]

         © 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.

THANKS TO ALL FOR READING AND SPREADING THE WORD