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BREAKING FREE FROM CHRISTIAN PROGRAMMING

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If you’re a Christian of some form or another, the odds are high that you’ve been religiously programmed in some way or another. They don’t call it indoctrination for nothing. You must find a way to break free.

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A LONG TIME AGO IN A LAND FAR AWAY

Let’s set the scene: Two thousand years ago, in a small secluded land, a solitary figure arose from abject obscurity and began to teach. He gathered a small group of followers, twelve in number, to assist Him. He explained that they must be fully dedicated and so this small band of men lived as a brotherhood twenty-four hours a day. They traveled the countryside, visited small villages, and on occasion ventured into larger towns, even those not necessarily of their ancestral tradition.

These men were thoroughly unknown to the rest of the world, but also remained obscure among their own in the early days of the mission. If it were not for some extremely extraordinary events that took place among them by the hand of this Teacher, the group would likely have never achieved any notoriety at all and would have just as likely faded out, unknown to history. There were such groups that did. Local bands of rabbis and students dotted the place, this little country, a place with a centuries-old tradition of legends and stories of past exploits and endeavors. They said it was once at the top of nations, that it achieved the greatness reserved only for the rarest and best, and that it achieved it in a way no other country had ever done.

The residents believed these stories. Their priests and doctors of law, what some referred to as shamans and others as religious enforcers, kept the traditions alive through various means, at best to maintain revealed truths and at worse to control the populace and extract wealth. The people had no choice but to honor these men since they had attained power over the people by possessing closely held access to the ancestral writings and the ability to decipher their content. Only they could read from them and deliver teachings based upon them. No one else had access to any meaningful degree.

The new Teacher had been raised upon these traditions and knew them as well as anyone. He had become very well versed in the teachings thereof, as others had done, but most of the others had taken another turn long before by entering the ranks of the learned by joining up with the established denominations from which honor and wealth could be appropriated. Many a proud parent saw their grown children become exalted expositors of the law and sacred parchments, not knowing or apparently caring that such expositions had become stale and distant from those of the originals long before.

The great patriarchs, in a distant age, and later prophets, were said to be in close contact with what this strange and small people referred to as the One God. They had communed with Him and heard His great Words, and honored the great God with their lives. The people of the present knew conditions must have been much different and better in those days long ago and a few longed for such to be again.

SOLITARY MAN

The new Teacher did not take the traditional ministerial route. He was no mere ecclesiastic. He did not join the ranks of the powerful public officially-ordained clerics but struck out completely on His own. He was a solitary Man, a lone figure on the outer fringes, collecting not the learned ones from religious academies as student followers, but everyday men, fishermen and tradesmen, and even the lowborn and despised, like a certain tax collector. This merry band of misfits was truly unique and showed no future promise that anyone could see, and appeared destined, like so many others, for the scrap heap of wayward wonderers and wretched falsifiers.

Except, again, for the curious presence of those otherworldly occurrences that no one else had ever seen or experienced—those strange works that followed them wherever they went—those “extremely extraordinary events.” And when people saw the events, they also began paying more attention to this Man’s teachings and pronouncements. They noticed first, that His teachings were not actually so different at all from what they had grown up hearing, but secondly, that he delivered His teachings and pronouncements in a way that no one had ever done before or even heard of before. He was powerful. He never simply read a script or spoke in the usual dry and monotonous manner of the elders and priests, or carried any scrolls that anyone could see, but delivered His words as if somehow, in some unknown way, He actually was the words. His words did not simply fall to the ground or quickly dissipate in the immediate air as all were used to, but were delivered in a way in which the words entered directly into a person, like the air he or she breathed, and stirred his soul and revived his heart. It was not as if they were words, but food. They were like spiritual food. Yes, that was it.

Others came. They sat enthralled at what they were hearing. The Scriptures were coming alive as delivered by this obscure young Preacher, if one could call Him that. He was more like a Father teaching His children, but how could that be? He was so young. And a tradesman! He bore the mark of much physical strength and long toil in the hard and rough elements. No preacher or priest they knew ever looked like that. How does such a man have so much wisdom and ability? Old men with much experience, vaunted elders of the land, had not the vast wisdom and abilities of this Man.

Who is He?

TOTAL TRANSFORMATION

From the above description we can ascertain quite the contrast between The Lord’s original ministry and that of later forms of Christianity which obviously do not possess this powerful spiritual dynamic. Their character exposes them not so much as Christianity light but as entirely different entities. We fully understand such a contrast in other fields or subjects, when something vibrant and energetic either becomes downgraded over time through use, neglect, or attack, or when it is entirely replaced by a facsimile which merely poses as the original. Why don’t we consider this in the case of Christianity?

The same thing happened to the nation of ancient Israel. There was time when it reached a zenith among nations and was blessed with God’s full protection and providence. And all throughout its history to that point there was at the very least a strong Remnant of the faithful which kept the fire burning, but this didn’t last. The Remnant certainly lasted and remained as vibrant as ever. What changed was the number of spiritually energized participants holding true to the Word first delivered. The majority had drifted away from the heart of God and flaked off. Whatever they did outwardly, if they maintained the correct geography, or became members of an official religious order, didn’t matter. They had turned on the Lord in heart.

Thus we see when studying the history of the nation, a new majority arose which was not connected whatsoever to the original or in fellowship to the Remnant. They certainly were not connected to God. The fruit was not there. The same has happened in Christianity. It has happened because Christians allowed themselves to be torn from their roots and planted elsewhere under the authority of counterfeit vinedressers in entirely different vineyards. In time the forms of Christianity these Christians became associated with were essentially the only ones they knew. They did not know a variant curriculum had been foisted upon them or their parents or ancestors. And through the use of the usual religious fear tactics by those in charge to keep everyone on the plantation, they had no heart to attempt an escape but settled into their respective cultural practices and identities. They had become captured and it often passed from generation to generation.

It is the clear evidence of indoctrination. Their lives reveal religious programming. Why their brand doesn’t match first century Christianity does not matter to them because actual history does not matter, both because those who know it reject it and those who don’t have no frame of reference. As far as the latter are concerned, their denomination’s version of events is the only one that matters. This is a bad bridge to cross because the next step is actually defaming the originals as primitive and unenlightened, and unaware of “higher truths” arising later, an otherwise clear falsehood. This perspective also implicates the Lord Himself as a veritable imposter, meaning a “new Jesus” has been created in the minds of these unfortunate ones, both to make their faux forms work and also to relieve their conscience. When presented with the real Lord Jesus He appears to them as a foreigner and His real curriculum is seen as wholly incorrect, unworkable, and even strange.

BREAKING FREE

When we see the Lord for who He actually is we understand, as the Scriptures state, that He never changes. We are still in the Age of Grace. With reference to the Church it began at Pentecost. Nothing has changed regarding His pertinent commandments since then. What was done in the beginning remains in effect now. For those Christians who disagree, they may argue until the cows come home but have no leg to stand on and the Lord will never bless them. Until they get their hearts right before Him such Christians will never see what those people saw so long ago in His ministry. What He did then He is still doing now.

Maybe only a few have experienced this. Maybe the Remnant is comparatively small as it was in those OT times when the generational line was reduced to a thread. Or maybe many Christians are not doing their work to become good disciples, “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” Can it be that most are satisfied with far less than the Lord has appropriated? Don’t we all want the full blessing? Don’t we know our Lord will not only rain down His love but also His very Spirit to fill us with His energetic and vibrant life, to do as He did and as the early believers did? There comes a time when we need to get out more. Abundant life awaits for all those who seek it.

There’s a green pasture out there where dreams come true.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 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 10:7-13][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.

HOW TO ENTER THE DOOR OF ABUNDANCE

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      The Lord Jesus, God Himself, the Creator of the Universe, became a human being, just like us, but knew He would have the loneliest calling of all.

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         He also knew, in order to achieve His calling and get the job done, He would have to be last in all things.

OFF THE GRID 

         Since He created everything I think it is safe to say He knows how everything works. He also knows, in the spiritual realm, that the way up is down: 

         But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” [Mark 9:34-35]   

         Now, I can tell you with no hesitation that the Lord wanted to be first. He was already first before He got here and was determined to be first again. It was not a selfish motive, however, but the opposite. No one else could do the job and the Lord knew that. He took it upon Himself to humble Himself to the nth degree and do whatever it took to rescue us even if it meant living a very difficult but perfect life and then sacrificing it all at the end. He had to be first but also had to be last to get there. No one else could have done it. No one else qualified. Here is another example:

         And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.

         “But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” [Luke 14:7-11]  

         Now, consider the powerful ramifications of what the apostle Paul revealed in the following passage regarding the difficult path the Lord had chosen:

         He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. [Colossians 1:15-18]

CHOOSING TO LIVE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH CHOSEN ONES

          Rather than actually strive for personal spiritual victory, some people who believe they will never be winners like to associate with those characterized as such, if at all possible, as a way to be around winning. Believing they will never be accepted, well-liked, admired, or popular, they strive to associate with the people who are. This is why so many people fawn over the few recognized prominent and distinguished among us. It starts in childhood. It gets ramped up in high school as a manifestation of the popularity contests which thrive in that environment. If one looks better than others, is more talented, or is simply more self-assured, one will rise in the ranks and be seen as better and more worthy of whatever accolades there may be. Many of these got a head start early on and probably always had a strong support group.

         The Lord had none of this, save for Joseph and Mary. He was obscure and most likely not attractive. He had no “charisma.” He was never seen as someone destined for greatness. He had decided all of this in advance. He would arrive as a nobody and people would often treat Him that way. He would never expect any special favors. He would be last:

         Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [Philippians 2:3-8]

         As you can see, the Lord decided He would take a totally opposite road of the so-called popular people and hupokritai. Rather than be a performing, stage-oriented glory hound seeking fame and money, He would instead strive to serve others and help them, and bless them. As a result, no one was more spiritually fruitful than the Lord Jesus. He planted Himself in death as a lonely rejected seed, the last and the only one there was.

         From such a humble beginning so long ago, the fruit of His ministry is still bringing forth a burgeoning, incessant, and abundant yield all over the planet to this day, and continues to increase. He started out last, became the Servant of all, and then gained first place in everything. This means He also became the only Door of salvation and eternal life. No one can get to heaven without Him.

         So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” [John 10:7-11] [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.

OUTING THE CLERGY SPIRIT (4)

         And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’

         “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” [Luke 22:25-26]

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE WOMAN?

         But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. [Judges 9:53]

 ENMITY BETWEEN SEEDS

         “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” [Genesis 3:15]

 THE WOMAN AND HER RIGHTFUL HUSBAND

         The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” [Genesis 2:22-23]

THE ATTACK OF THE DRAGON

         A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

         Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [Revelation 12:1-4]

THE RIGHTFUL HUSBAND AND THE INTERLOPER

         And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

         At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.

         And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

         But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. [Acts 5:11-18] [1]

         © 2016 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 Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 7)

         Pessimism is a sin. If a person claims to be a real Christian and is not optimistic regarding areas under God’s control, then one is sinning against Him.

         It’s called a lack of faith.

         …And whatever is not from faith is sin. [Romans 14:23]  

         The Lord was often exasperated with faithlessness, especially among His own disciples. Remembering the simple fact that those guys were His students learning His craft excuses them since they were in the process of moving from darkness to light. If they continued in pessimistic faithlessness after the Resurrection, the Ascension, and Pentecost, then they failed His curriculum and were in sin.

         And not a real part of His community.

         Which brings us to the crux of the matter: The majority who claim to be Christians are not real Christians. They are Christian in name only, regardless of their denomination or doctrinal beliefs.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. [John 10:1-6]

         From this definitive statement the Lord is clearly teaching that it is possible for “strangers” to get into His sheepfold. Think about that. We gain greater understanding of this fact when discovering that the Greek word for stranger in this verse means “one belonging to another.” In other words, these strangers are not simply unknown persons crashing the party but those who belong to someone else. And in the clear context of the verse we see that He is referring to people who are shepherds other than the Lord Jesus.

         Who are these shepherds?

         I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:6-12]

         There is no doubt that Paul spoke often of false apostles and false gospels. This obviously presupposes false shepherds. False shepherds are “strangers” who enter the Lord’s sheepfold through means other than the door. They assume authority over people not granted from God. It was the Pharisees who Jesus was referring to as such strangers, as clearly indicated in chapter nine of John’s gospel. (There should have been no chapter break, since the narrative from chapter nine continues into chapter ten.)

         The Lord Jesus tells them He is the Door of the sheepfold. He is also the Good Shepherd. Whoever does an end run into His sheepfold without going through the Door (the only means of proper access) is not a real believer.

         “…No one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

         No one can possibly get to the Father without going through the Son. Whoever rejects the Son automatically rejects the Father also. The Father and Son are a package deal. One cannot have one without also having the other.

         If one has a shepherd other than the Son, one does not have the Father.

         Yet, such people think they still have the Father. Some Christians insistently refer to “God” as someone other than the Lord Jesus, but have no real idea who this “God” is. The term often refers to an unknowable, intangible, and conceptual God that people end up making to suit themselves. In their minds, this God is not Jesus.

         They must, therefore, have a shepherd other than Jesus, because if Jesus were their shepherd, He would be their God also.

         Who qualifies then as replacement shepherds of unreal Christians? Who are the Christian leaders who teach their sheep to enter the Lord’s sheepfold through a means other than the Door? Who are these replacement shepherds who take the place of the Door?

         So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 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 10:7-13] [1]

         One should see very clearly that any shepherd who advises his sheep to disregard the Door and enter His sheepfold through another means or method is not honest or upright, but a thief and a mere hired hand working for pay. What’s more, you can bet that the sheep of the false shepherds look and act like them, and not at all like the Door.

         The password to the kingdom of God is the Name of Jesus.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 7 of 10]


[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.