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THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

       The Lord Jesus taught that His followers would do what He did. Since this is obviously not the case among the majority of Christians it proves such Christians are not for real. Something is off.

 

         The evidence of His presence is always obvious. When He shows up, believe me, you will know it. When the evidence is lacking His active presence is lacking. The Lord is omnipresent, of course, but that does not mean He has the authority to work. Human beings have free wills and most often reject Him. Thus, restrictions upon Him in Christian circles must be removed. Because one never sees any evidence of His miraculous work in most Christian gatherings it means not only that restrictions upon His work exist in such places but also that they were often put there on purpose and by design.

         Why would so-called Christians do this?

        Again, it is an authority issue. Let me give you a simple example. There are a great many free websites in the world. One can go to such sites and gain free information. Much of this information is excellent. People work very hard at bringing forth the information they present and then give it out for free. This is essentially what the Lord Jesus did with His teachings and what He taught His disciples to do:

         “Freely you received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8]

         “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:31-32] [1]

         But then there are those websites who keep much of their information behind a pay wall. There is nothing wrong with this. It is their right to do it.

         What model do most Christian churches and ministries use? One should notice that the offering always precedes the preaching. One may also notice that celebrity preachers sell tickets. Christian music artists have almost always done the same. Regular church singers never do this. It is because they are most likely not talented enough to charge for their efforts. Can anyone imagine the Lord Jesus insisting on an offering before He would teach? As it was, whatever money His ministry was blessed with by people giving freely likely never went to Him. He had pared down His life to such an extent that He needed very little to live on.

         I bring this up because there is a clear connection between churches and ministries who install a pay wall and exhibit a decided lack of evidence of the Lord’s presence and authority. These two most often go together. If the Lord was there and was allowed to work, miracles would happen. But someone else is in charge and that someone is charging for the services. They refuse to “have church” for free. They refuse to preach for free. They are professionals and they demand payment.

         Now, I believe in giving. I have given very large untold amounts in my time. I have given more money away to churches and ministries than most Christians have by far. I know this because statistics prove the majority of Christians give little or nothing. [2] But I also learned long ago to give it to the Lord. Though I was giving through the medium of a church or ministry, I was actually giving to the Lord Jesus through them, and I did my best to only give where He directed. The Lord also taught me long ago to never pay tithes. The tithe is not a tax. I have given tithes. I give the tithe to the Lord Jesus. If you pay tithes you will likely not receive the promised blessing or increase whatsoever.

         So again, we have this phenomenon in which the Lord Jesus taught for free and gave everything for free. HE EVEN GAVE HIS VERY OWN PERFECT LIFE FOR FREE. This was the greatest life ever lived in which He never, ever sinned. And He gave it away? His salvation is thus absolutely free. Whoever attempts to charge a person for salvation will have to answer to God.

         Since the Lord never charged anyone for anything He ever did in His ministry, where do the majority of “ministers” get off in charging for their “services?” The Lord even did miracles for free. He healed so many hurting sick people for free. They never had to pay a dime. He raised the dead for free. Fake ministers have no power to do miracles. But they charge money for what they offer. They operate behind a pay wall. Most people should see the connection between preachers who only work for pay and who never operate in the Spirit in which there is no evidence of the Lord’s presence. Non-Christians see the connection. It’s much easier to see the fakers from the outside.

        There is an old song by Charlie Daniels, [3] before he began living as a Christian, in which he expresses this idea perfectly. Here is the particular verse:

           Jesus walked on the water and I know that it’s true

           But sometimes I think that preacher man’d like do a little walkin’ too [4]

           © 2019 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.

[2] Church Giving Statistics, 2019 Edition

[3] Charlie Daniel’s Testimony

[4] Written by: CHARLES EDWARD DANIELS Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 3)

EXCERPT FROM PART 3:

         “In Part 2 we learned that Jerusalem was not prepared for the manifest presence of God, any more than many Christian congregations and groups in America are ready. David’s original plan was well-intentioned but not even close to the Lord’s protocol. It seems that in our many and varied attempts to do something for God, we fail to inquire of God, either whether we should do a particular thing, or regarding the method we employ in doing it…”

Link to Part 3:

Here Comes the Ark (Part 3)

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Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 2)

EXCERPT FROM PART 2:

         “At present, God is still waiting for us to get our act together. He is waiting for a full expression of honor toward Him. Traditional American Christianity may have credentialed clergy, many schools and seminaries, about a million church buildings (some incredibly state of the art), television studios, stations, and networks, a powerful radio presence, hundreds of billions of dollars in net worth, and the vast majority who profess Christianity.

         But all we do has made little difference in the overall scheme of things. The only hope for America is the Lord Jesus. Because we still lack the desired presence of God, it proves our collective irreverence and lack of respect for Him. We are content without Him in His full strength and power. This proves an absence of general servanthood and proper worship…”

Link to Part 2:

Here Comes the Ark (Part 2)

.

Here Comes the Ark (Part 3)

David Dances as the Ark Enters Jerusalem

         In Part 2 we learned that Jerusalem was not prepared for the manifest presence of God, any more than many Christian congregations and groups in America are ready. David’s original plan was well-intentioned but not even close to the Lord’s protocol. It seems that in our many and varied attempts to do something for God, we fail to inquire of God, either whether we should do a particular thing, or regarding the method we employ in doing it.

         It was fortunate for David and the nation of Israel that Uzzah was the only one killed. It was also fortunate that a Philistine convert named Obed-edom had a proper heart for the Lord. As a result, the Ark of the Covenant stayed at his house for a full three months while the heart of Jerusalem was prepared. The day came at last to continue the glorious procession.

         David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. [2 Samuel 6:12-13]     

         They had only gone a mere six paces before a fitting sacrifice was made. It was obvious someone had done their homework. Uzzah lost his life on account of his irreverence toward God. The episode reflected on David, though he had orchestrated a parade of worship and praise from the beginning. What he had not done at the beginning was make any kind of sacrifice to God.

         Our churches are often filled with wonderful praise music and worshipful hearts every Sunday morning. But what about sacrifice? Sacrifice is representative of repentance. Though all looks fairly good on the surface, our congregations are often filled with uncircumcised hearts and unrepentant attitudes. The presence of sin, disobedience, and a lack of reverence for the Lord Jesus often causes a muted meeting comprised of going through religious motions and largely leaving the way we came.

         David got the big idea. Six paces is not a very long stretch. Six is the Biblical number of man. It was at that point that an ox and a fatling were sacrificed. One wonders if it was one of the oxen originally pulling the cart upon which the Ark rested. The point, however, that the Biblical account portends, is that there will be no actual presence of God without repentance. We may receive an emotional lift or some other such thing in our meetings that may feel right, but without proper repentance it is a mere counterfeit traded for the real presence of God.

         Once the sacrifice was made, the procession resumed.

         And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sound of the trumpet. [2 Samuel 6:14-15] [1]

         The Ark of the Covenant had never been to Jerusalem. It was a triumphant entry. David had prepared not only a proper dwelling place for the Ark according to the Mosaic law, a tent, but also prepared his own heart and the heart of the people. Though David was the king, he was not parading through the streets of the city as some ego-driven potentate, along the lines of most political and Christian leaders, but as a man demonstrating his correct heart condition and position. He knew his place. He was no better than anyone else.

         It was the Lord God who was King! And the Lord would be honored and reverenced properly and completely. David’s act of dancing with all his might with no pompous clothing or attitude was in perfect keeping with what we must give the Lord. God is worthy of our praise, but our praise is worthless without our entire heart and without full repentance. Imagine the incredible and far-reaching moves of God we can have in the present only by learning and practicing these simple truths. The good news is we are on the way, but there still remains opposition. For we have met the enemy, and it is us. [Part 3 of 4]

         © 2011 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.

Here Comes the Ark (Part 2)

        

The Chastisement of Uzzah

         In the last post we learned that David was afraid after Uzzah was killed. The presence of God had not been paid the proper respect. If we think this is a tad arrogant of God, there are things we need to learn.

         Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [Galatians 6:7-8]

         Though the procession began as a joyous celebration, Jerusalem was not ready. Though David perceived he was doing a great thing, he was not ready. There remained far too much irreverence and dishonor of God, as characterized in part by the practical insolence of Uzzah, regardless of his intentions. One may dishonor the Lord all day long without immediate recompense, but barring repentance, the tables will turn. Payment will be made. A person will eventually reap some really bad stuff. Those who cloak themselves with a bullet-proof attitude, especially a religious one, will one day learn they have no armor at all.

         Dishonoring God comes in many different forms.

         “And David was unwilling to move the ark of the LORD into the city of David with him; but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. Thus the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household. Now it was told King David, saying, “The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” [2 Samuel 6:10-12] [1]

         Here was a man who understood reverence for God and why it is so vitally important. But guess what? He was not a native Levite. He was not a native priest. He was not a native Israelite.

         He was a Philistine, a convert from Gath, the same city as the slain giant Goliath. [2]

         What’s up with that? Where were the descendants of Levi? Where were those natural descendants entrusted with the duties of caring for and bearing the Ark of God? There is even doubt that Abinadab was a true Levite. Like so many Christians and ministers in America today, were they off somewhere padding their own nest, raising their own stature, and completely dishonoring God in the process? Institutional American Christianity has largely gone off the deep end, as characterized in this Old Testament account. Wherever the powerful, loving, and glorified presence of the Lord Jesus dwells, real believers know it. Dead churches have no clue.

         The Lord would spend 90 days with a Philistine who apparently reverenced Him more than anyone else in all of Israel. The meaning of his name gives a perfect clue. Obed means “servant,” or “worshipper.” Despite his lack of pedigree, he was a true servant and worshipper of YHWH. Notice that the Lord not only allowed His Ark to dwell in the house of Obed-edom, the man was blessed. Because of this converted Gentile Philistine, Jerusalem was allowed 90 days to get its act together, and instead of an end to the celebratory procession, it was merely put on hold.

         At present, God is still waiting for us to get our act together. He is waiting for a full expression of honor toward Him. Traditional American Christianity may have credentialed clergy, many schools and seminaries, about a million church buildings (some incredibly state of the art), television studios, stations, and networks, a powerful radio presence, hundreds of billions of dollars in net worth, and the vast majority who profess Christianity. But all we do has made little difference in the overall scheme of things. The only hope for America is the Lord Jesus. Because we still lack the desired presence of God, it proves our collective irreverence and lack of respect for Him. We are content without Him in His full strength and power. This proves an absence of general servanthood and proper worship.

         Until we get there (or back there), the Ark will be elsewhere. [Part 2 of 4]

         © 2011 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.

[2] It is possible that Obed-edom hailed from Gath-rimmon, a Levitical city, yet there are ten references in the OT to the word Gittite. Three of them refer to Obed-edom. The other seven all refer to Philistine inhabitants of Gath. Also, this name is interpreted to mean “servant of Edom (Esau),” not likely the name a Levite (descendant of Jacob) would give his son. The name Gath means “winepress.” Edom means “red.” These are apparent references to repentance and sacrifice (blood), and the three months as a time of repentance and getting right with God.