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Difficult Verses: 1 Cor. 10.13

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Someone recently asked me to discuss 1 Cor. 10.13 as they found it a difficult verse.  No problems there, let’s do it!

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

It’s quite a long verse, so let’s break it down a bit so we can digest it.  The first section says “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man.”  This is actually one of the most encouraging sentences in the New Covenant.  We all have times when we feel overwhelmed with temptation – when doing the wrong thing pressurizes us so much it seems difficult to imagine ourselves surviving temptation.  But the good news is this: firstly, everyone has been tempted too.  Nothing has happened to you that is unique.  In a healthy church or community, you can easily share what you are going through and people will understand because they have been through similar things: that’s part of the value of a strong, healthy community.  It’s why Jesus puts people in churches! Secondly, it means that everything you are facing in terms of temptation is on a human level.  That’s awesome – it means that you are not having to deal with problems that are supernatural or spiritual!  Even an unregenerate human can deal with temptation – and you are born again, you have the zoe life of God inside you.  You are the head and not the tail.  You can deal with the temptation.  So that bit is double good news!

The second bit of this verse says: “and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able”.  This sentence is another bit of double good news. Firstly, God is faithful.  Now, in the Greek, there is no difference between the words “faithful” and “faith”.  This verse is actually letting us know that God is FAITH.  God believes in you.  God knows you can make it.  God knows you can manage.  God knows you can cope.  And God – who knows and believes in you – will never ever let things get beyond your ability to handle.  So whatever mess you are in right now, you know you can cope.  God believes in you – so why not believe in yourself?  So here is the double good news from this part of the verse: God is on your side.  No matter how many times you have messed up in the past, God believes you can make it this time.  No matter your past, God believes in your future.  And secondly: you will never be put in a situation you cannot handle.

Finally, we find out that “but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”  Again, another double blessing in here.  With every temptation there is a way out.  You need to understand this – no matter what you are going through there is a way out.  Maybe you have a porn addiction – there is a way out, there is someone you can talk to, there are solutions to help you get out of it.  Maybe you are drinking too much, there is a way out.  Maybe you are becoming cynical and mean – there is a way out.  THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT!  THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT!  That’s great news.  And finally: you can endure.  The word endure means to put up with; you can find a way out – and it won’t always be easy, but you can endure the way out.  It might be difficult to share your struggles with another human, it may be a shame getting rid of the internet or satellite TV, it may be hard to ditch a couple of your best friends who are always leading you the wrong way.  But YOU CAN ENDURE – whatever the path out is, you can walk it, and you can walk in victory.

This verse is full of good news for anyone who is struggling with sin.  It really is.  

If you have any thoughts or comments, or prayer requests, why not comment below?

Difficult Verses 2: Hebrews 12.14

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Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12.14)

This verse is one of the verses that is used to condemn people all the time.  If you are not holy, you will not see the Lord.  It’s often taken two ways: firstly, if you are not holy you will not see the Lord (come through for you).  In other words, you will stay poor and sick, stay broken, stay a mess because God isn’t happy with you and doesn’t want to bless you until you reach a certain standard of holiness.  That brings so much condemnation.  The second way people add to this verse is even worse, they think: if you are not holy, you will not see the Lord (when you die).  In other words, you lose your salvation because you are not good enough to be saved.

Let’s refute both of these.  Firstly, you are not going to fail to get blessed because you are not good enough.  You are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1.3) so you are not going to fail to be blessed because you are blessed.  In Galatians 3.1-5 Paul is clear that miracles happen because you believed the Word not because of you obeying the Law.  Your goodness is not a currency that you can exchange for blessings.  The good news of the gospel is that you are blessed independent of your behaviour.

Secondly, you are not going to heaven if you are good enough.  You are not good enough – entry into heaven is through faith in Christ alone.  All you have to do is believe and receive.  You are saved from hell by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing with your heart that He is risen from the dead.  Again, goodness has nothing to do with it.

So what does the verse mean?  The context is clear from the first part of the verse (and the surrounding verses) that Paul (or whoever you think the writer to Hebrews is) is talking about how we relate to other people.  It’s to do with peace with all people.  You see this verse is about following holiness because without that holiness no man (i.e. other people) will see the Lord.

You are holy already (Ephesians 1.5).  Your spirit has been made in true holiness and righteousness.  Deep down you are holy – your salvation and you being blessed is secure in Him and His work.  But unless you follow that holiness other people will not see the Lord in you.  You have all the love of God in your spirit, but if you steal from your boss, are mean to your co-workers and are known as the office flirt, no one will ever see that love and that holiness in you.  You have to follow holiness – not to get saved, you are; not to get blessed, you are – but so that the world will see our light and come to the light.

So go and live holy.  Not to impress God – He loves you to bits.  Not to get blessed – everything is yours in Christ already.  But so the world may know.  So you have credibility when you ask people to church.  So you can impact the world with the love of God.

Your Time is Limited

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“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs

Every one of us is a unique soul with a unique personality.  You were designed to be unique!

Listen: it’s ok to have preferences – it’s not right when Christianity tries to make people into clones – the Stepford Wives church!  Everyone dresses the same, walks the same – no, we are unique individuals.  In Genesis 10, at the Tower of Babel was built with bricks.  That’s how the world builds – everyone is shaped to be the same, fit in, fit together, become a clone.  But in Exodus 20.22, we are told not to build the altar of the Lord with cut stone – use the stones as they are.  God wants to use you as you are with your personality as you are!  Some stones are more loud, some more quiet – but God does not want to change your personality for you to be part of His kingdom. 

(Now there are some sins more tempting to loud people, some are more tempting to quiet people and you have to be aware of that in terms of your disposition – but having a unique personality is not a sin!)  You are who you are! 

All our life we spend so much effort trying to fit in, but God has made you to stand out.

 

God is YOUR FATHER!

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God is Your FATHER!

http://treeoflifelondon.weebly.com/the-father-and-his-family.html

God loves you. It doesn’t matter what you have done, it doesn’t matter what you do, God loves you. It is a lie that God’s love for you depends on your performance.

In this bold, uncompromising sermon Benjamin preaches the truth about a God who is not a harsh God looking to get you, but a tender Father looking to get stuff to you. This is a foundational message that every Christian needs to build into their life – it will set you free from worry, fear and sadness for EVER!

What is going to happen TOMORROW?

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God is still going to be your Father

God is still going to love you

God is still going to care for you

God is still going to provide for you

God is still going to give good gifts to you!

Melvin Banks Healing Crusade

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People got out of wheelchairs, people laid down their walking sticks, and people got born again!

Praise the Lord!

Despite a room with some terrible acoustics (we will never hire that hall again!) and despite some of our regulars being away for family reasons, we still had 81 people on Saturday night and over 50 on Sunday morning (9.30am!).    Tree of Life Church is on the move!

23 people on the Saturday were either born again or re-dedicated.  All good!

When Dreams Come True

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I have just uploaded our fourth and fifth parts to our building a foundation for success series:

http://treeoflifelondon.weebly.com/january-2010.html

Part 4: Gifts, Operations and Offices

Every Christian has something they can bring to the local church. Every Christian can operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian can flow in the power of God.

This message will show you and inspire you to take your place in your church and be all you can be in Christ!

Part 5: A Dream Fulfilled

Your dream is from God. it is not from the flesh, not from the devil – it is from God. And God is not a tease. He wants you to walk in the fullness of your dream and your destiny.

Thie simple and practical message will inspire you and encourage you to step out in faith and see what God sees and do what God calls you to do in your life

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