Don’t forget for any information on any of our services, and a host of articles by Ben:
Don’t forget for any information on any of our services, and a host of articles by Ben:
Don’t forget for any information on any of our services, and a host of articles by Ben:
Today, we are wrapping up our study on the things that stop us from producing the results promised in the Word happening in our lives. We have looked at the danger of not fighting for the Word, for only listening to the Word on an emotional level, of allowing money and wealth to dictate to us and of the desire for people to like and honour us stopping us being the Christians that we are destined to be.
Now we shall look at the final challenge: the lust for other things.
Mark 4.19 says:
And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
If you have the lust of other things enter into your heart, it will choke the Word of God and the Word of God will not be fruitful in your life. You will most likely blame God and His Word, but it is not God’s fault – it is because of what you have allowed into your heart.
Don’t kick yourself though, make a change. Let’s look at what the lust of other things actually is:
The word used for lust here is the Greek word epithymia. It means a strong desire. It does not always refer to something bad – Jesus uses the word to refer to his desire to share the passover meal with his disciples for example (Luke 22.15) – but generally it is used to refer to a strong desire that your body has.
A good example would be:
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof]. – Romans 13.14
If you allow the desires of your flesh to control what you do, what you think and how you behave you will never see the manifestation of the Word of God in your life.
Romans 6.12 says: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Now this is where many Christians get themselves into trouble and tie themselves into knots. They read a Scripture like Romans 6.12 that tells them not to obey the desires of their body. It might be a sin-desire like using a pornographic website or spreading gossip. It might be a sickness-desire like lying in bed all day and not fighting off the cold. Either way it is a desire of your flesh. Now if you simply try and fight off that desire you will fail.
Sometimes you will succeed but sometimes you will fail. Your Christian life will be a roller-coaster of success and failure. You will lead a generally unfruitful Christian life. I know many Christians that live like this, and I know I have had seasons where I have lived like this too. Struggled to walk in purity, in health, in prosperity, in love – sometimes succeeding and sometimes not, my emotions flowing all over the place. An up and down Christian.
But that is not God’s will – He has redeemed us from this, praise the Lord. To find out how to live free from the strong desires of your body, let’s re-read Romans 6.12, but in context:
6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6.6-18)
Romans is one of the most powerful books in the Bible because it deals with the most important topic in the New Testament: righteousness. I sincerely believe that righteousness is the most misunderstood topic in the Bible and that if Christians truly understood it, there would be a revival across the world that has never been seen before in any generation.
It was a revelation of what righteousness really is that started the Protestant Reformation. It was a revelation of what righteousness really is that started the charismatic move. These are the two most influential revivals that have ever happened in history.
Righteousness is the state of right standing with God. A synonym for righteousness is just. To make someone righteous is to justify them. It means you can stand in the presence of God and not be afraid, not feel inferior, not be condemned. It means you are right with God. A righteous person is as bold as a lion. A righteous person has their prayers answered. They have joy, they have peace. Understanding what righteousness is and how to receive it is the key to life.
Romans 1 tells us that the nations are not righteous. Romans 2 tells us that the nation of Israel and people who obey the law are not righteous. Romans 3 tells us no-one is righteous because of their actions., but that you can only receive righteousness by faith. Romans 4 shows how the remarkable individual Abraham did not even have righteousness by his actions, but was made righteous (justified) by faith. Romans 5 tells us the benefits of being righteous by faith.
Romans 6 then deals with a wonderful question: if I am righteous and have the benefits of righteousness because of faith in the complete work of redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, then why should I even bother living right?
(If you read Romans 6.1-2 you will find that Paul was accused of teaching you can live however you like if you are a Christian. The technical name for such a belief is libertarianism. It means a Christian can act as selfish as they like and there is no problem.
Now that is clearly not true – but if in your preaching of the Word no-one has managed to accuse you of this, you do need to ask yourself are you preaching righteousness by grace through faith as powerfully as Paul was?)
In Romans 6, Paul gives 2 reasons why we should live a holy and loving life, and not just do what our body feels like. He also gives us 2 ways in which we can live holy.
The two reasons why we should live holy are:
1. Because it is our nature. You are holy, so living holy should be natural to you. Like a bird flying or a tree producing fruit, it shouldn’t be difficult. Verse 7 of Romans 6 says that we are dead to sin. If you are dead to something, it should not tempt you. The more time we spend meditating on Bible verses that tell us our true nature, the easier it is to resist sin.
Once you realize that you are righteous, then it becomes natural to act righteous. Lots of people are trying to act righteous to convince themselves they are righteous – this is the wrong way round! Have a read of 2 Cor. 5.21 and see what you are because of the work of Jesus Christ.
2. We should live holy because living in sin brings death into your life. This concept is addressed in v.17 and in Romans 6.23 which says that the wages of sin is death. If you sin, then you will become trapped by that sin and that sin will bring death into your life. If you lie, you will be tempted to lie more, and the lies will bring sickness, stress, broken relationships and poverty into your life. It will not stop God loving you but it will not allow you to enjoy His love.
Sin won’t keep you from heaven, but it will keep others from heaven. They will fail to see the life of God inside you and will not be attracted to the wonderful news of redemption. Sin makes you miserable – holiness is for your own good.
Why is it so important that we are holy because of these reasons and not to make God love us? Does the motive matter – or just the fact that we are striving to be holy. The answer is that if you are just trying to live right to please God and to become righteous then you will always fail. You will always feel God is against you and you will be defeated.
If you realize you are right, then you can live right. You can enjoy fellowship with the Holy Spirit, you can have confidence when you pray, you can go and lay hands on the sick and know it is not because of you that they are healed but because of Jesus.
The lust for other things can be lorded over if you realize that God has already lifted you above that.
Romans 7 goes on to tell of the futility of still trying to live by the law of God. Romans 8 tells of the wonders of living by the Spirit, aware of your righteousness. If you realize that you are righteous and realize that sin always leads to death, you will find that there is a power inside you – the power of the reborn, righteous spirit, the power of the new creation that you became on the day you became a Christian – and that this power is more powerful than the lust for other things.
If you deal with the lust for other things, then the Word of God will start to spring up in your life. Healing, peace, prosperity, wholeness will no longer be in seed form, planted deep in your life with no evidence they are there, but they will spring up in your life and transform not just your life, but the whole world.
Tree of Life Church believes that the wonderful news of redemption should be broadcast to the ends of the earth. Here is some information about a couple that have laid down their lives in service of the kingdom of God. They are true heroes:
Restoration of Hope began as a dream in the heart of Donatien Nahimana (Honda). After working for 6 years with African Revival Ministries as a driver, administrator and house parent to orphan children, in January 2004 he established Restoration of Hope with a vision to help the streetboys of Bujumbura – the capital of Burundi.
Honda’s vision was to take boys off the street and to completely change their environment giving them a family, a home, an education and introducing them to a God who has a purpose for their lives – a God who longs to restore their hope!
The project started when Libby (Honda’s wife) was followed home by 3 streetboys looking for food. These boys were soon living in the Nahimana’s home and were quickly joined by many others who required help.
7 months later the first Hope House was opened which is now the home to 13 boys who previously lived on the street. The second Hope House opened in October 2005 and is home to a further 17 boys. Restoration of Hope currently cares for another 21 boys providing food, education and essential medicines in times of need.
Restoration of Hope is funded by individual contributions and is supported by friends and family all over the world.
If you are interested in supporting some of the orphan boys, use this link. Think about this: for just £70 you could pay the school fees of an orphan child for one year. James tells us that if our religion does not help widows and orphans it is not pure. In case maths is not your strong suit, £70 a year is merely £6 a month. You could change someone’s life for £6 a month. Think about that!
Obviously there are so many needs in the world, and in this information age we find out about so many more than we could ever reach, and we know you cannot help them all.
But we know the Lord loves a cheerful giver, so if while reading about the Nahimana’s and their wonderful work you feel happy to help one of the orphans then ask the Lord if that is not His way of letting you know it is a great time to make a kingdom investment.
I am packing right now for a business trip that will mean that I will not be able to post on the Sower Sows the Word until Saturday. I do apologize.
Keep well while I am away and please start to add your comments and questions to the posts.
I will post a beautiful worship song and a teaching article before I leave to build you up and bless you,
The Deceitfulness of Riches
Mark 4.19 tells us that one of the things that will choke the Word of God out of you and that will stop it producing results in your life is the deceitfulness of riches. Today we will look at the deceitfulness of riches and find out what it is and how to stop it choking your prosperity and success in every area of your life.
Firstly, it is vital to understand that it not riches that will choke the Word. The Word working in your life and producing a harvest has nothing to do with how much money you have. A rich person can have the Word of God produce in their life and so can a poor person. A famous quote that isn’t even in the Bible is: “Money is the root of all evil”. The correct reference is “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6.10). Even a poor person can love money. Money is a great slave, but a lousy master.
It is vital to understand this because a lie infiltrated Christianity that says that money is evil. It lead to many horrible situations and caused many dreadful things to happen. It has many faces that I simply cannot go into due to time constraints. Some Christians have even taken vows of poverty. This is ridiculous – God is a good God and a giving God. Poverty is a curse, it is a horrible thing to be in. But praise God, Christ redeemed us and set us free from poverty.
The problem is not having money, but listening to it. Even the world is bright enough to know that “money talks”, but what the world has failed to tell us is that money lies. You can have as much money as you like – prosperity is part of your inheritance in Christ – but just don’t listen to it.
Wealth is deceitful. You could say it this way: money lies. The main lie that money will tell you is that it is all you need. Money will lie to you. It will tell you that it will make you happy and that without it you will fail in life. It is a lie.
You might be in a situation where your boss wants you to tell a lie, and money will tell you to do it because otherwise you will lose your job and lose your money, so you break the Word of God because you listened to money. You ignored God to listen to money.
Money will tell you to accept a promotion several hundred miles from home when you know there is not a strong Word-teaching, love God love people church anywhere near there and you are part of a great church. You ignored God to listen to money.
Money will tell you not to spend time in prayer, in intimacy with the Father, but rather worry about how your bills will be paid or how you will feed the children. You ignored God and listened to money, and worried rather than meditated on the Word.
A young preacher is struggling to survive so at offering time he makes a long drawn out offering, highlighting Scriptures on giving and the benefits of giving.
The Scriptural truths might be true, but using them to manipulate people to give when the Lord loves people who are cheerful givers, not those who walk out the church feeling they just had a wallet extraction, is plain wrong. Money talked, and the preacher listened. And this goes on all across Christianity, even in major ministries. Here is a rule of thumb I have: I never give to a ministry that preaches faith for finances unless they appear to actually have faith for their own finances! And if they are begging for bread, they do not have faith for finances, simple as.
This is how the deceitfulness of riches works: it lies to you and makes you make wrong choices. Choices based on mis-information.
The solution is threefold:
1. to spend time in the Word of God. If you can hear the voice of the Lord clearly and know His Word, you will not be deceived by the lies of money. Learn the Scriptural truth about money. Find out what Jesus said about money, and study it out.
2. to cultivate a generous spirit. If you are continually giving money away, it cannot speak to you. Ensure you are generous to your local church and to Christians who are lacking or going through difficult times.
3. Speak back to money. If it says “if you give that in the offering you will go broke”, tell it to shut up. Tell it that if you give it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and in good measure (Luke 6.38). If the bill comes in and you cannot pay it, say out loud “God will provide the money.” You may think it is strange to speak to money, but I think it is a lot stranger to listen to it, and many Christians do.
Deal with this issue and you will allow the Word of God to multiply in your life and produce results. A life of victory and peace is on its way – so get excited.
Ben became a Christian in 1996 at the age of 16. He attended church as a dare, having never been to church in his life. He found out that Jesus Christ was a real person who died, rose again and that He was still alive today. Ben trained at Regent’s College in Nantwich for 3 years having a BA(Hons) in Theology.
He has preached across Europe, and in India and in Ghana. He preaches a practical message of how to live by faith in the Word. He has a passion for every Christian to know God’s Word for themselves and to move in spectacular miracles.
This is his retelling of his salvation story. How he was water baptized and baptized in the Holy Spirit will be in a later post:
I grew up without any religious upbringing. One day in 1993 when I was only 16 years old, a girl from my school dared me to go to church. I had a reputation for never resisting a dare. So I did. I went to a Presbyterian church because that was the one I was dared to go to – I had never been to a church service even once before.
I was the youngest person in the church by a clear 40 years. I sat down at the back and two old ladies told me off for sitting on their pew. It was their pew – they bought it, and they threw me off it. I would have seated about 10 people, but it just sat those two. I had to go and find an unbought pew and sit on that. I was sitting there bored stiff through the out of tune singing of hymns I knew nothing about and cared even less about. I sat there watching the old ladies of both genders standing up and sitting down and thinking about how selfish the two old ladies had been. All my preconceived ideas of Christians were being fulfilled.
Then the preacher preached. He was old school and preached a very clear gospel message about how Jesus bore my sins. I was captivated. I went back not because I was dared but because the message about Jesus captivated me. Everything Jesus did and everything Jesus said fascinated me. For two months I went to two services a Sunday listening to the simple gospel.
After two months I became a Christian. I repented of my sins and decided to have faith in the gospel. Even though I was only 16, within three months my younger brother became a Christian because I changed so much in my attitude towards him.
I read the Bible voraciously. I loved reading about Jesus. I love reading about how He spoke, how He acted, how He treated people. I read the gospels and Acts over and over. I decided I wanted to be water baptized.
I spoke to my minister and he said that his church would not baptize me but would sprinkle water on me. Well – I wanted it the Jesus way, and I said so. The preacher told me I should find another church.
So I went home, opened the Yellow Pages and looked through Churches. Some churches were called Baptist churches. I thought I bet they will baptize me, so the following Sunday I went to the closest Baptist church.