Blog Archives

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 17)

He did the impossible. He defeated death on our behalf. Peter continues his Pentecost message by telling the throng that “Death Could Not Hold Him.” Neither will it hold His real followers.

.

INTRODUCTION   

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

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

Ch 2: LESSON 15 LESSON 16

LESSON 17:

Acts 2:22-24

22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”

Imagine that. He defeated death. One of the first sermons I ever remember hearing from my first pastor was entitled something along the lines of “Death Could Not Hold Him.” This man was a great preacher. He could paint a word story that kept us enthralled, filled with emoting and tone changes, teaching all the while. He made a man feel like he was there.

So one thinks about this tricky human condition called death. We seem somewhat invincible in our youth—working all day at hard physical toil, staying up late at night, always having so much energy, a few hours of sleep and we’re back at it. But then slowly but surely a few things start going south. The only thing to do is continue staying a step ahead of the grim reaper. We go from laughing in his face to eventually facing the fact that he will win. Facing this reality can be a killer.

SAVED

But thanks to the Lord He saw a young man with a hungry heart longing for truth and presented an opportunity I did not mess up. Dodging a million bullets since—those unseen slugs that often otherwise find their mark— the Lord blessed with a never-say-die desire to keep moving forward. This comes only by His Holy Spirit. If you live for God you will get knocked down. You can either stay there or get back up. And this is not because death does not await, but because death will not win after all. Because my Father GOT BACK UP, I will too, and so will you if you put your trust in Him. In the meantime the victory comes by laughing death in the face anyway and trying to live absolutely as long as possible working and living for the Lord the whole way. My advice is quit thinking in terms of years remaining and start thinking in terms of decades remaining. More decades means having that many more opportunities to serve the Lord who saved us from death because He died in our place.

There was an old church song we sang in my rookie year that sums up what our attitude should be in this regard. It had a big impact on me because it wasn’t just a song but my life. It was called The Old Account. It featured these lyrics:

There was a time on earth when in the book of Heav’n

An old account was standing for sins yet unforgiv’n;

My name was at the top, and many things below—

I went unto the Keeper, and settled long ago.

Long ago, long ago,

Yes, the old account was settled long ago;

And the record’s clear today, for He washed my sins away,

When the old account was settled long ago.

The old account was large, and growing every day,

For I was always sinning, and never tried to pay;

But when I looked ahead, and saw such pain and woe,

I said that I would settle—I settled long ago.

Until one becomes a real Christian one will never know just exactly what the Lord did by becoming one of us. He actually risked everything. Now, stay with me here because this might get a tad deep. God wanted to ransom humanity. But it obviously could not involve coercion. Each person must decide on his own. But no one could ever defeat death because no one could live without sin. Once Adam released sin into the world all humans have become smitten with it, or might I say slapped upside the head. Someone would have to enter humanity and live a full life without ever committing even a single sin. Someone must be able to actually keep the Law of Moses without violation. You see where this is going.

And no, God didn’t spy His good young Son and tap him on the shoulder and tell Him to go. No father would ever do that to his son. A real father would always go in place of his son. The reality is that the Son did not exist until the Incarnation. There was no such “Eternal Son” in heaven. The only God there was God. And He would have to go Himself. But when He arrived on earth He would have to live a perfect life, something otherwise impossible for us mere mortals. Yet, if He had only sinned once, and it was certainly possible, the entire plan would have been wrecked. There would be no spotless Lamb of God to sacrifice. There would be no Blood of the Lamb to cleanse us of our sins. All humanity would be lost including the Lord Himself. And death would win. And the devil would win the universe.

The Good News is that the Lord did not sin. Not once. And because of that He confidently looked death square in the face with no fear. He would certainly die but would not stay dead. Why? Because “Death Could Not Hold Him.” 

For many Christians, a probable majority, there is little or no self-identification with the Lord’s great sacrifice. His sacrifice may be acknowledged but that’s no good. It must be applied. And that can only happen if a person surrenders to Him completely, holding nothing back, and burning all bridges in the process. We must throw ourselves upon the altar of burnt offering and die in order to receive His help and be reborn. There is no other way. Halfway Christianity takes people all the way to hell.

MISSION POSSIBLE

“Your mission Jim, should you choose to accept it, is to get the big idea that God became a Man, lived a life of absolutely no sin, followed the path and plan perfectly, and then sacrificed it all for you. He knew He would be getting back up, but what He really wants is to see you get back up.”   

I will leave you with one of my favorite sayings of the Lord Jesus that perfectly typifies His powerful no fear approach to His coming death. He always knew what would happen. It was why He came. That didn’t make it any easier but that much more difficult. How many of us guys, if we knew the death we were about to die, would stick with the plan? But not only did He stick with the plan, He slammed death, hell, and the grave as wimps! He called them out for the lowdown disgusting sorry idiots they are and was even willing to let them hit Him first with their best shot. And boy howdy, did they ever comply. Even then, though, it was not enough. They knew the stakes. They had their opportunity. And they failed. They failed because He was too much Man for them. They simply did not understand who they were messing with.

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up!” [John 2:19] [1]

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 10)

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” [John 20:21-22] 

.

INTRODUCTION   

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

Ch 2: LESSON 8   LESSON 9

LESSON 10

Acts 2:2

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

Our author Luke characterized the loud sound from heaven that morning as a strong and driving wind, a bearing breeze “bringing forth.” But rather than the prevalent word for wind he used another—pnoe—which primarily means “breath” or “breath of life.” It had a purpose and destination: It was the holy breath of God.

The first thing we must recall is this:

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. [Genesis 2:7]

Adam had been formed—created from the element-rich dry soil of the earth—though was in an inanimate condition. He was the highest life form of Creation and made in God’s own image. This is beyond profound. For such a being there could only be one animating force possible. It must be the breath of God.

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8]

Though this verse is well known, it is also otherwise well known for containing a subpar translation. In the New Testament, there are a total of thirty-one occurrences of the Greek word for wind—anemos. As in Acts 2:2, this is not one of them. The word “wind” in this verse is from the Greek word pneuma which is translated as “Spirit” in every other instance of its use in the passage. Thus, the Lord never said, “The wind blows where it wishes,” but more like “The Spirit goes where it will.”

Now, let’s try this verse again and see how closely it matches up with Acts 2:2:

The Spirit goes where it will and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8]

And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. [Acts 2:2]

The 120 people in the Upper Room were about to be born again, or born of the Spirit, just as Adam was once literally born of the Spirit, or the breath of God. The Lord specifically told Nicodemus that no one could see (perceive, discern, discover) or enter into the kingdom of God unless he was born again.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:6-7][1]

No one of us remembers our physical birth. Not so with our mothers. It goes without saying, of course, but human birth is a powerful process and unforgettable experience. So is the new birth. It denotes a completely new life and a total transformation. After all, it is the Spirit of God we are referring to here. He is like a rushing mighty wind. There was a sound, a noise. He filled the Upper Room and the entire house with His presence. He would soon fill each person with His Holy Spirit.

He would breathe new life into them just as He did with Adam.  

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

Is God Three People? JESUS MUST BE FIRST (1)

         Dear Readers: Thank you for all your support this year. I believe the content in this current series is indispensible regarding the coming Great Awakening in America. We must all grow closer to the Lord Jesus. He must be exalted in this nation. His real identity must be known. Christian persecution will continue rising in America in 2016 and we must all be prepared. Please help make this current series reach as many believers as possible. Be blessed!

         “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…” [John 8:28 NAB]


.     

         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]

         The Lord Jesus warned us about heresy. When one studies His teachings intently without bias or preconceived religious notions, there is a constant theme running throughout His entire curriculum:

         “I AM GOD.”

         Now, right off the bat, many Christians have a problem with that. They do not consider the Lord Jesus to be God. But it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or believes if it disagrees with what the Lord Jesus taught. Consider the following:

         “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” [Matthew 10:38]

SELF SACRIFICE

         It is impossible to be a real Christian without sacrificing one’s life for Him. The cross points directly to sacrifice. The Lord Jesus calls whoever would be His real follower to self sacrifice on a cross.

         The cross He is talking about, though figurative, is absolutely necessary to the new life He desires to give us. Without one’s personal sacrifice upon a cross it is impossible to be a real Christian and have new life in Him.

         In essence, unless one takes up his cross, he does not consider the Lord Jesus to be worthy of such a personal sacrifice.

         This presents a problem, however, for those who want to be Christians but refuse to sacrifice their lives. The problem is solved by simply changing the rules regarding what it means to be a Christian. Changing the rules is actually changing the Lord’s teachings to suit one’s desires, which is exactly equivalent to denying the Lord Jesus.

         And it is this denial of the Lord Jesus by not considering Him worthy that has spawned Unreal Christianity.

UNREAL CHRISTIANITY DENIES THE LORD JESUS

         Yet, the majority of “Christians” are still unclear on the concept. They refuse to put the Lord Jesus in first place. There is one predominant reason for this:

         When the classic “Trinity Doctrine” was invented and officially established THREE CENTURIES after the Lord Jesus taught His original followers, it established that the Lord Jesus was not Immanuel— “God with us”—but merely the second person of a three person union.

         What is even stranger than this concept of a three person union is the belief that the second and third persons are somehow not as worthy or important as the first person, even though the classic trinity doctrine never states such a thing. It states that each of the three persons is completely equal to the other.

         It also states that even though there are three persons, it does not mean there are three gods. It states there is only one God.

         Later false teachings, however, which gave rise to predominant belief, state that it is only the first person who should be honored the most, who actually has the most power and authority, and who is the actual God. Where does that leave the second and third persons?

         The first person then, according to this belief—the Father, or God the Father—is the actual God among the three persons. Thus, the proponents of the classic trinity doctrine break its own rules by giving the implication that the first person is greater than the other two persons, one of which is the Lord Jesus.

         Thus, again, the second person—the Lord Jesus—is secondary to the first person, which is a complete destruction of the teachings of the Lord Jesus, who never taught anything even closely resembling a three person union in a “Godhead.”

         The Lord Jesus never taught that God is three people.

         What He actually taught was that we must give our lives to HIM. We must follow HIM. We must obey HIM. We must be HIS disciples. This obviously means HE must be in first place.

         He never taught us to bypass HIM and follow the Father:

         And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

         “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

         “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” [John 12:23-26] [1]

REAL DISCIPLESHIP

         1. One can never be glorified without first being crucified.

         2. In order to be crucified one must take up one’s cross.

         3. Unless a seed is planted in the earth and dies it remains merely a seed.

         4. Each human being is a seed. A seed is worthless until it is planted.

         5. Only seeds that are planted in the ground and die (are crucified) rise to new life and bring forth spiritual fruit.

         6. The word “lose” in the above verse means to destroy, which means one who refuses to be planted as a seed in the effort to save his life actually chooses to destroy his life. It is only through destroying one’s old life (undergo real repentance) that one can rise again to new life.

         7. The new spiritual birth demands an end to the life created by the first natural birth.

         8. One will never serve the Lord Jesus, follow the Lord Jesus, be where the Lord Jesus is, or be worthy of the Lord Jesus without voluntarily submitting to real repentance and undergoing a new spiritual birth, which entails taking up one’s cross, which means sacrificing oneself for HIM.

         He is worthy. He is God. He must be first.

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


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

Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

         See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

         For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ… [Colossians 2:8-11]

.

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT       

         Circumcision is a circle cut which removes the foreskin. It was a vital and necessary part of the Abrahamic Covenant. It was a type of heart circumcision in human flesh.

         “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations…” [Genesis 17:12]

         Eight is the Biblical number of resurrection and regeneration.

THE NEW COVENANT

         It is the same with spiritual (heart) circumcision. Heart circumcision is a spiritual cut around the human heart (spirit) removing the natural, sinful flesh (foreskin). It is a vital and necessary part of the New Covenant instituted by the Lord Jesus—the Blood Covenant. It is the new birth. There is no new birth without a spiritual circumcision of the heart.

         But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. [Romans 2:29]

THE NEW SPIRITUAL MIND

         Scripture tells us that this heart “circle cut” also removes the lower human mind and renews it with a  new spiritual mind. All real Christians (real disciples of the Lord Jesus) have this mind. It goes along with the new spiritual heart. The renewed mind brings forth renewed thinking. An entirely brand new thinking process develops. It is a thought pattern based on the pure Word of God. It is in agreement with the thought pattern of the Lord Jesus.

         Prior to an actual new spiritual birth, the human thought process is in clear opposition to God. It is a thought process based on the selfish desires of human flesh. It is impossible for this thought process to bring forth anything of spiritual worth or good. This lower human nature is the result of the original rebellion of Adam and Eve. There is nothing to do about this lower nature—there is no escape from it—there is no higher nature to be achieved—unless one is born again from above as taught by the Lord Jesus.

THE ONE WAY TO LIFE

         There is only one new birth. There is only one way to God. There is only one way to the Father.

         The Lord Jesus is the Father.

         He is also the Way to the Father. It is through the humanity of the Lord Jesus that a person finds his or her way to God.

         This is why God—YHWH—the one God of the Hebrews, became a human being. He came among us as one of us to show us the Way to Life. As part of His great love it required a perfect blood sacrifice from within humanity to pay for the sin of mankind. Only one Man qualified. This perfect sacrifice could only have taken place through a perfect, sinless, and spotless human being. This is what and who the Lord Jesus was and is. He is Immanuel—God with us. He is also the Sacrifice Lamb. He became one of us as a Son in whom dwelt the Father (YHWH).

COUNTER CIRCUMCISION: THE MENTAL MARK

         The devil’s answer for the powerful new birth which creates millions of Holy Spirit-filled sons of God is to counterfeit the process. The only option he has is to capture minds. Once he captures minds he changes the thought process even beyond that of generic human rebellion against God and spiritual purity. He creates his own disciples.

         He brands a “mark” upon such minds which serves as more than a stronghold within it. His mark changes a person’s thinking and thought process to one in agreement with the devil’s thinking and thought process. It is a thought process of hate in the guise of love.

         Of course, every individual who undergoes this process is deceived by it. The majority of the devil’s disciples do not know they are serving him. Though they have become haters they are convinced they are lovers. They are blinded to spiritual reality. They have willingly accepted this mark, or branding. Their mind becomes controlled by evil in the guise of good.

         Paul described the devil’s circumcision of the human mind and one’s elimination of it as thus:

         …With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. [2Timothy 2:25-26]

         Paul also speaks of Christians who quit on the Lord (apostasy) and give themselves over to counterfeit forms of Christianity:

         But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1Timothy 4:1-2]

         Thus, we can see that no person without the Lord is immune from the great deception of demonic forces. The only chance one has to be freed from deception is through the Lord Jesus, and this is done by repenting of sin and surrendering to Him so He can begin the process of the new birth. He can deliver the captives from spiritual death and free their minds from the devil’s control.

WHAT IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

         The word “mark” is found seven times in the Book of Revelation. It is translated into English from the Greek word charagma. It is defined as a stamp or impress, or imprinted mark. This particular mark has to do with the economic system of who the Book of Revelation refers to as the Beast.

         The Beast of Revelation is described as a bestial man—brutal, savage, and ferocious. Merriam-Webster defines the word bestial as “marked by base or inhuman instincts or desires.” This lines up perfectly with one who has taken the devil’s mark upon his mind.

         The Beast is the epitome of the aforesaid evil human being in total opposition and rebellion toward God. He is a man of brute force, epitomized by all the brutal dictators of history who had no care or concern for human beings, but used all and abused all to their own ends. His economic system will demand that everyone participate by first buying into the system entirely. Whoever does not will be excluded entirely. Such a system is further implied to be purely demonic and will be used as the method to gain souls through the selling of their souls. People will be forced to choose between God and mammon, one or the other, and nothing in-between.

         For those who choose the Mark of the Beast, it will be a furthering of the existing circumcised mark upon their minds, and will prove one’s total worship of the Beast and his kingdom from which retreat will be impossible.

         Do not be deceived. All who take the mark will do so because they have rejected the Lord Jesus and accepted the Beast. All of these will be unable to see him for who he really is and will love the Beast and believe him to be the greatest and most wonderful leader in history. Externally, he will possess an extremely likeable and charismatic personality. He will look good, dress good, sound good, and seemingly have an answer for every human heart.

         As a leader, he will satisfy every desire of every person on the planet, except, however, for real Christians, who will perceive him clearly, not hindered by the massive fog of deception made possible by a purely exterior masquerade. Only those born of the Spirit of God will see through the sham.

         In order to stay above the fray of dismay we must be born again. Our entire thought process must be renewed by the Spirit of God.

         Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2]

THE MIND OF CHRIST

         …But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

         For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

         Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

         But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.

         For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. [1Corinthians 2:7-16] [1]

         © 2015 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.

You Must Be Born Again

         According to the Word of God, the default destination of every human being is hell. Though this is not a pleasant subject or a fun fact, it is true nonetheless.

         And unless something is done by the individual to change the default as it relates to his personal future, the default will not change.

        The Lord Jesus left no wiggle room in this equation. He stated it flatly and cleanly. Whoever wishes to repudiate His words, transform them into something more comfortable, or liquefy them with the universal solvent is obviously not concerned about truth but has both a different agenda and an ulterior motive.

         The truth is clear:

        “You must be born again.” [John 3:7]

         If one must be born again, it proves the first birth, that from the womb, is merely a step in the process that leads to eternal life. If one chooses to stop his progress and never be born again, that is, never change the default, then one will end up living for this world as if it were the destination that matters. And once one does this, one will eventually make choices that concern only one’s life in this world, and therefore will choose to absolve himself of any pesky moral restraints that might hinder his progress, whether or not some level of human virtue is involved.

         Hence, the Torah will not apply. The Law of God will be perceived as restrictive toward one’s goals. The teachings of the Lord Jesus will be seen as unworkable, untrustworthy, non-applicable to our “modern” world, and an albatross around the neck of one’s earthly goals and ambition. Compromise will be the order of the day. Justifying pet sins will become routine.

         If life in the here and now is most important and if our social standing and reputation, whether secular or religious, is paramount, then whatever must be done to achieve such and maintain such will be the priority. This is why there is such a wide gulf that can never be bridged between making this world one’s priority as opposed to the next, though some attempt to do both. And sadly, since they are familiar with the Word of God, the worst offenders regarding this are “Christians.”

         Again, no new birth, no change in eternal destination:

         “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” [John 3:18]

         What exactly does it mean to believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God?

         Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying,

         “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.

         “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

         But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. [John 7:37-39]

         In this passage John makes a further connection to what believing in the Lord and in His Name entails. He quotes the Lord Jesus as saying that all who believe in Him according to Scripture (not in accordance with man-made doctrines) will receive the infilling of the Spirit of God and become the repository of a living stream flowing forth.

         Moreover, the Lord proclaimed these profound words on the last day of the Feast of Sukkot (or Booths). That He stated such on that particular day is both quite revealing and very significant.

         Are we not traveling through this earth and through time as within a mere temporary dwelling? In other words, if you were a child of the fifties and possessed one of those old mini pedal cars in the form of a real car, or if you rode around on a “big wheel” as a child thirty years later, you certainly did not think, even as a child, that such toys were the end product. You knew they were mere representations of real vehicles. You hoped to grow up one day and get a real car. Why then would one live for this world, and try to gain as much money, as many possessions, and as much authority over other people as possible instead of living for whatever may be the will of God?

         This world is merely a proving ground. It is a test. It is designed to separate the real from the unreal, and to bring forth those who love the Lord and distinguish them from those who do not. It is a celestial halfway house created to cull out the lovers of darkness from the children of light and to reveal and bring forth the sons of God.

         Thus, those who live for this world as if it is the only world do not believe in the Lord or the next world. Or they believe the lie that heaven is the default destination for everyone.

         Returning to the Lord’s quote, with additional teaching, we see:

         “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

         “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” [John 3:18-21]

         Selfishness is not wrought in God. Greed is not wrought in God. Looking out for number one is not wrought in God. Living for this world is not wrought in God. Refusing to love the Lord with all of one’s heart, mind, and strength is not wrought in God. Refusing to love one’s neighbor as oneself is not wrought in God. Adultery, murder, lying, stealing, coveting—none of these is wrought in God but the majority of human beings practice such things on a daily basis—and never repent—because they have no intention of stopping—because they like it—and because they love the darkness.

         And because of their lack of belief in and obedience to the Lord—the only One who has the cure for the disease of sin—there will be judgment for their sin.

         But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. [Jude 1:17-21] [1]

         Jude is speaking here of certain “Christians.” Unreal Christians. Faux Bros. Tares. Wild wheat. These people are:

         (1) Mockers

         (2) Followers of their own ungodly lusts

         (3) Those who cause divisions

         (4) Worldly-minded

         (5) And last but not least, devoid of the Spirit

         Items 1-4 are due to item 5: Being devoid of the Spirit of God causes one to be all of the above (and more).

         But believing in the Lord according to the Word of God means one will receive the Holy Spirit and thus be transformed in heart and mind. Instead of being worldly-minded and living for this world, one will be spiritually-minded and live for the next. One will no longer strive to fulfill the lusts of one’s flesh, but crucify one’s flesh. One will chuck a dead human mind right out the door and incorporate a spiritual mind, and even possess the mind of Christ. Now that’s a big deal!

         But it takes a big deal to get there.

         It takes real repentance—effectively hurling oneself upon a funeral pyre.

         It takes going under water in the Name above all names, in the powerful sin-destroying and devil-delivering Name of Yehoshua HaMashiach.

         And it takes being filled with His Holy Spirit.

         Many believers worldwide are coming into a greater understanding of these facts.

         Nevertheless, this has always been far too much for the average “Christian,” and it is why the average “Christian” more closely resembles a guy in a costume or a woman at a masquerade. For these people, covering up and deceiving one another is far superior to being transparent.

         Looking and acting like a “Christian” from without, frosting one’s cake with mere human virtue, and thinking salvation consists of being a nice guy and never fighting evil is attributable to pure Phariseeism (and there were many “nice” Pharisees to go along with the jerks).

         In the final analysis, Unreal Christianity has constructed a false front, a Fake World, and as a point of law has rejected the Lord’s definition and method of spiritual birth and has replaced it with any number of counterfeits. Hiding one’s darkness has thus become the norm and is preferable to potentially shining one’s light (or having the Light shine upon one). At the heart of this is simple human pride—that which is much more concerned about outward perception and keeping up appearances.

         But the Lord made a way to destroy such pride. He made it possible to throw off the yoke of pretense and fraud.

         He traveled through this temporary life as one of us and established the means of re-creation. The Spirit of God became resident within human flesh and resulted in a perfect, sinless Human Being—the only begotten Son of God. The Son of God was then glorified, a process that had to take place to allow His Spirit to be given.

         As a result, the Lord’s Holy Spirit can now dwell within “whosoever will,” just as it happened for those at Pentecost and for many millions since, and anyone can be fully born again…

         © 2013 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.

RELATED POSTS:

Choose For Yourselves This Day Whom You Will Serve

He Steadfastly Set His Face To Go To Jerusalem

Door of Death

Your Jesus Ain’t My Jesus

Cruel To Be Kind: Destroy Your Life To Save It

Your Jesus Ain’t My Jesus

         Real Christianity is based on the real Jesus. It is based on the teachings of the real Jesus. The real Jesus can be found in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but He can also be found throughout the New Testament. He is also featured prominently in the Old Testament.

         “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Mark 4:9]

         The move toward a different Jesus began from the start. “Who do the people say that I am?” [1] was already in vogue as soon as He began his ministry. In other words, “Who is this guy?” was fresh on the lips of everyone from the very beginning and the devil began sowing the seeds of deception regarding the Lord’s identity from the get-go.

         He knew he must. When people discovered who the Lord really was they would become Satan’s avowed enemy. His game is deception and lies, and more people took the bait and believed his lies than believed the truth. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [2] Only few will be saved. That is, the majority of those who ever lived will be deceived about the Lord and blow their chance at redemption.

         Nowhere is the deception stronger than within official, institutional Christianity. Many different images of the Lord have been presented over the last twenty centuries. Most are the result of misunderstandings and misapplication of Scripture and a limited desire on the part of the faux bro’s to seek and know the real truth. Every society attempts to bend and fashion the Lord Jesus to their own liking. Each Christian culture must have its own Jesus. He is different in every denomination. The Torah includes a very strict command of God that His people should never ever make any graven images, yet “Christians” down through the years have repeatedly violated that command.

         They have made a God to suit themselves. They have created a false Jesus, and another, and another, and another, to suit their own tastes and comfort level. Some have created a peace-love-dove hippie Jesus who lets them get away with anything. This Jesus never preaches sin and would never send anyone whatsoever to hell (except maybe Hitler, etc.).

         Others have created an eternal obedient Son Jesus who is basically emasculated, has no power, and defers everything to His Father, even though He clearly stated:

         “ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH.” [Matthew 28:18]

         Some make a Jesus that fits their quirky man-made religious principles. There are so many ridiculous man-made traditional doctrines within Unreal Christianity it has become a mockery of the Lord’s original teachings and commands. The proof is in the application and results. Dead Christianity produces nothing but death. There is no life or joy or miracles or anything that characterized the Lord’s ministry. Christians go about like a bunch of zombies and ghosts pretending they live when they are in fact as dead as the day they were born. Though the Lord said everyone MUST be born again, the majority of Christains have never experienced a new birth though they insist otherwise. This is strong demonic deception. For many, the blinders will not come off until after their physical death when standing before the Lord—when all will be lost regarding their soul’s destination.

         How does this false Jesus application work? How does the process happen? It is really not all that hard to see: Strong religious personalities apply their own limited understanding in such a way that they convince others. They gain a following. Some followings bud up and become fruitful but fade out. Some followings become very large and in time hang around in a fossilized state. They do not actually represent the Jesus of the Bible but think they do. They are not aware of their deception.

         That’s what deception is.

         Their followers countinue to soldier on, insisting that their way is the right way. They will not give up. They will fight to the death protecting their false form of Christianity. They will not listen to reason. They will not consider a multitude of Scripture verses disproving their made-up Christian religion. Because of their gross sin and idolatry (the worst sin), they have no ears to hear and no eyes to see. How can they possibly correct their steps without real repentance?

         But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1 Timothy 4:1-2]  

         The Real Jesus is the Jesus of Scripture—every Scripture—every verse and every word which He came to fulfill:

         “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-20]   

         He is the one entire Jesus comprising everything contained within His holy Word, even the parts that make us all very uncomfortable and even fearful. He is not a God to be messed with, though His love and mercy fill the universe.

         Due to long centuries of hate and persecution handed out by false Christians, Real Christians and Real Christianity have become a sideshow, the same way the Lord Himself became a sideshow in His time. He was rejected by all. They called Him every name in the book. He suffered betrayal and rejection and was lied about and gossiped about routinely.

         This is the legacy of His real followers.

         Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” [Matthew 10:21-25]   

         Thus, fake Christianity, in its many and varied forms, seeks to do an end run around persecution. It seeks to find a way of compromise with this world. It seeks to gain authority against the authority of Jesus and create its own kingdoms ruled by religious potentates and their toadies.

         For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.” [Matthew 24:24-25] [2]   

         There is only one Real Jesus.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Luke 9:18

[2] Matthew 7:14

[3] 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 10)

         The Lord Jesus consistently displayed the heart of a Father. As we studied in the last post, He said He would not leave His disciples as orphans. Yet, many believers, whether they admit it or not, effectively feel like orphans. They do not feel connected to God. Could this be because they are not connected to God? As in the idea of the new birth experience which the Lord said all real believers are required to undergo [John 3:5], many Christians cannot point to any such experience. If they were born again, they do not know when it may have occurred.

         Imagine that. Then imagine a woman giving birth and not knowing it occurred. (“Hey Ralph, where’d this baby come from?”)

         Moreover, imagine a baby leaving the comfortable confines of the womb through a VERY narrow way and a ridiculously tiny gate and tell me the baby has no idea something out of the ordinary is taking place. I imagine the vast majority of babies are thinking something along the lines of the worst amusement park ride that ever existed on Halloween in a haunted house with a scary little guy donning coke-bottle glasses and a big IRS badge waiting at the other end. (“I didn’t sign up for this!!”)

         In fact, if a Christian cannot locate the time and place of his or her new birth, the odds are high that there never was a new birth. Not that the experience is bad or scary, but memorable. Why?

         Because it was the day one met the God of the universe and gave his or her life to Him!

         The Lord’s disciples certainly looked forward to being reunited with the Lord after being divided from Him that day atop the Mount of Olives. And by His own acclamation, He was not only their Rabbi and Master, but their spiritual Father, and would be away for a while on a ten day trip:

         Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

         So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

         He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

         And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. [Acts 1:4-12]

         He left in a cloud and would return in a cloud…

         Ever notice how the events of Acts 2 relate to (as is the common parlance of today’s TV weather forecasters), a strong weather event? It opens with “a noise like a violent rushing wind.” The noise/wind fills the whole house where the 120 are gathered. Then, there is lightning:

         And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. [Acts 2:3]

         And the Spirit of God continued to fall in a holy rain…

         “‘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 and they shall prophesy. AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.’” [Acts 2:17-19]

         The old-timers called it a glory cloud—a visible manifestation of the presence of the Lord. Christians who have never experienced such a thing might have the attitude of the mockers and unbelievers, but in some ways cannot be blamed. There is so much counterfeit spiritual nonsense in the Christian world today. Charlatans and lovers of money have faked the blessedness of the Lord’s holy rain and manifested their own seedless fabrications and hokum.

         But the real event is undeniable. As it was on that illustrious Day of Pentecost so long ago, so is it still today, circling the globe. The Lord will go wherever He is welcome and will manifest His presence to the degree desired.

         Want more of the Lord?

         And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted.” Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. [Isaiah 12:4-6] [1]

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