Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Tag Archives: Good News

Romans 2.13

0

(For not the hearers of the law [are] just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

This is a verse that without paying careful attention to context and to systematic theology is one that you could easily take to mean the exact opposite of what Paul actually means.

Paul is talking to religious people.  He has essentially just told that God has no favourites and that they will be judged by the law.  They think because they know the law they will escape condemnation and be welcomed into heaven.  There are still people like that in the world today – I go to church, I will therefore go to heaven.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  You cannot be justified by hearing the law.  You cannot be just (righteous) by hearing the law.  It does not matter how many times I stand up in the pulpit and tell people “Do not lie”, that will NEVER make them right with God.

So many preachers seem to have no idea of this Biblical truth: you cannot be made righteous by hearing the law.  I could get in the pulpit and go to people “Do not lie”, “Do not commit adultery”, “Do not steal” and it would not make anyone right with God.  It might make someone feel guilty or condemned, it might make someone feel out of sorts, depressed and sad, but it will never make someone right with God.

Yet today there are whole sections of the church where if you go to their churches and conferences, you will be a hearer of the law.  They will tell you what to do, what the law says, what holiness is all about.  I was in discussion with someone about one of these preachers once and they say “I love that preacher, when he preaches it is like a kick in the kidneys”.  Who wants a kick in the kidneys?  Who goes to church to be told how vile and horrible they are and how much they have broken the law?

Yet some people want to get involved with sermons that tear them to pieces.  Some people venerate sermons that are hard-hitting and condemning.  One example is a sermon once preached called Sinners in the Hands of Angry God.  We are not sinners in the hands of an angry God.  God’s not an angry God – He is a loving Father.  Sending Jesus to redeem us was HIS IDEA!  The man who preached that we were sinners in the hands of an angry God depressed people in his church so much people went and killed themselves!  When he was told, he said that God made them kill themselves.   That’s not Biblical – and no matter how much law you hear, it will never make you right with God.

But religious people think because they have heard the law, they are right with God.  Because they went to church heard the sermon and now feel like dirt, they think they are right with God.  Everyone else who has not heard the legalistic message of the law is not right with God, and being religious they then judge everyone else.  Especially if you know about grace and love and you have some joy and some contentment and some security in your walk with God.  They want to drag you down to their level and have you meditate on how evil you are.  There is one guy even calls his radio ministry “Wretched” to emphasis that we are wretches.  That is true without God’s grace and goodness, but we are never without God’s grace and goodness.

But then Paul says this: you are made righteous by obeying the law.  Now, in several places in Romans Paul makes it more than clear that we are not made righteous by obeying the law.  But here Paul says: doers of the law will be made righteous (justified).

How can this make sense?  It makes sense when you realize the point Paul is trying to make: if you want to use the law to be made righteous, you need to do it.  Yes, all of it.  Every single bit.  Just hearing a message on the law is not enough, you need to put it perfectly into practise.  Paul is trying to take the sails out of the wind of the religious people by saying just hearing a condemning message is not enough – you need to put it entirely into practise!

If you cannot obey God perfectly and obey the entire law of Moses perfectly, then you are never going to be made righteous listening to the law.  So, go and listen to the gospel instead.  The word gospel means good news – find a preacher preaching good news.  Find someone preaching life and faith, find someone preaching repentance and the kingdom.  Stay clear from people who punch you in the kidneys and find someone who places a hand on your shoulder and tells you: God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

Romans 2.1

0

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

In Romans 1, Paul takes great pain to point out to us that every human who rejects God slips down a death spiral, that without God their condition is hopeless. This is why Paul is not ashamed of the good news that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, Redeemer, Healer, Prosperer, Lord, Protector, Comforter and Friend. Because everyone needs a Saviour.

In Romans 2, Paul deals with the biggest problem in people becoming Christians: organized religion. Since I have started feeding on the Word of God and realizing how much God loves me, I have developed an absolute hatred for religion. There is not an atheist or secular humanist on this planet that hates religion as much as I do.

Religion is a system of behaving to attempt to impress God. Whether it is a Muslim praying five times a day, a Hindu offering food to an idol, or a Christian tithing – if the motivation behind your behaviour is to impress God it is religion. Religion always leads to depression, failure, bondage and sin. Religion always leads to comparing yourself with other people, something the Bible describes as foolish (2 Cor. 10.12). It always leads to making judgments on other people, something that is a symptom of pride. Religion always leads to pride, and pride goeth before destruction (Proverbs 16.18). Religion is evil.

Christianity as it should be is resting on the completed work of Christ on the cross. It is knowing that I do not have to impress God because I already impress God because of Jesus. If I do anything for God it is because He loves me and I love Him; never because I am scared of Him or because I need to placate Him. The wrath of God and the justice of God are taken care of because of the gospel which is the message of Romans 1.

Romans 2 is setting out to prove that religion does not mean you do not need the grace and mercy of God. We know instantly that Paul is talking about religious people in chapter 2 of Romans because he is speaking to those “that judgest”, and that is religious people. The reason why more people are in the pub than in the church is because non-religious people are – on the whole – non-judgmental and they accept people as they are. Do you remember the old sitcom “Cheers” set in a pub, it used to begin with the lyrics:

Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

That is why more people are down the pub than in church because with a few notable exceptions in church people do not know your name, are not glad you came and try their hardest to hide that they have the same troubles as you because they are terrified of being judged. It is not Christ, the friend of sinners, the merciful, the Redeemer, the one who eternally makes intercession for us, that makes people like that it is religion. It is the stinking lie that you have to reach a certain standard or do a certain thing to impress God.

Paul takes his first swipe at religion here in this verse: if you judge people according to a standard, you are inexcusable. The Greek word here is anapologētos, which literally is: without apology. Apologetos in the Greek means a defense or justification for your actions.

People in the Roman church, just like in my church and your church, often when they have done things wrong and sinned against God and man do not rest in the truth that they are justified by faith in Christ and have peace with God (Romans 5.1), but rather try to hide the seriousness of their sin by comparing themselves with other people and judging other people:

I might have lost my temper at my wife, but at least I provide for her, unlike Bob in the church.
I might have eaten too much cake, but at least I don’t have a glass of wine like her.
I might have had a glass of wine, but at least I am not a greedy glutton like him.
I might have had an affair, but I tithe and turn up every week – most people in here don’t care for this church and do that!
I might have an anger problem, but I am a deacon, not like everyone who is not a deacon.

It is a horrible attitude for two reasons. Firstly and obviously, it means that church becomes just another rat race. You can never be the holy building God wants you to be while one stone is thinking it is better than the other stones. Every stone is needed, and it is need in the shape it is to fit into the master plan for the building. No one wants to go to church where the leaders are smug, where the ushers are sneering and where people do not genuinely love them.

Secondly, it means that people are self-justifying. They are acting in a way to impress God. It totally bypasses the work of Christ. In Romans 1-5, Paul is showing the Romans – in the most powerful way ever put to paper by any individual in all of history – how to enjoy being made righteous. One of the key ways is to realize that righteousness frees you from religion.

Then Paul says something so accurate and powerful: if you judge someone, you condemn yourself because you do the same things. Look at the verse in some modern translations:

You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. (NLT)

THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. (AMP)

Therefore, anyone of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. (Holman Christian Standard)

Whenever you judge another person for their sin, two things are true:

1. You are condemning yourself.

If you are pointing out the sin in another and holding it against them, you are saying implicitly that Jesus Christ’s redemptive power is not enough to deal with sin. If someone comes to your church for healing and you tell them God cannot heal them when they are wearing ripped jeans (I have heard someone say that to someone), you are saying that the blood of Jesus is less powerful than rips in clothes! The blood of Jesus is more powerful than ripped jeans! The blood of Jesus is more powerful than alcohol, than drugs, than adultery, than immorality. Healing is a fact achieved for us by Christ – there is no minimum standard necessary to receive healing.

But the minute you set a standard, you condemn yourself because you are not perfect. The next time you come to the Lord for healing, the devil will jump in there and your own conscience will jump in there and tell you that you had a lustful thought, you had an angry thought, you haven’t prayed enough, you aren’t good enough and your faith will not be enough to overcome this because you are the one that said there was a standard. Yes, you set the standard in such a way that you are doing better than Mr Jones, so you should be more blessed than Mr Jones, but by setting a standard you are being legalistic and you obscure Christ and His redemption, so when you come to the Lord you condemn yourself and make it impossible to receive from God.

If you are telling other people they are not good enough for God, but you are coming to God on grace alone, then you are double minded (see James 1 to find out what you will receive from God being double minded!)

2. You do the same things!

This is very difficult to misunderstand. When someone in the church starts aggressively judging someone in sexual immorality, that person according to Romans 2, does the same things.

One of the main reasons why some Christians are so judgmental of people living in sin is that they secretly want to! They live the life in their mind, never letting it out and hide it away. This is what religion does to people: because it makes God this critical wrathful Judge, it keeps people away from Him. People who know the Father, who walk with Him, genuinely do not want to sin. Like Moses they would give up the pleasures of sin in a second just to be known as one of God’s people and enjoy fellowship with Him (Hebrews 11.25). They know that God is more wonderful than any passing folly.

Religious people keep away from God: He is painted as a God of wrath with exacting standards who we have to continually impress or be attacked. I would stay away from God if He were like that, but He is not: He is humble, He is gentle, He is gracious. He redeemed us and He loved us and He gave the most precious thing He had to set us free! But religion tells people that God needs to be impressed.

So religious people have no relationship with God, they only have relationship with rules. Their hearts are still wicked and selfish as they have never been given a new heart. They have no intimate relationship with God, so they turn to rules and try and keep the rules. But their heart is not in it. So on the outside they have never committed adultery, but on the inside they are burning with lust. Jesus said that if you look at a woman with lust and imagine having sex with her, you have committed adultery of the heart (Matthew 5.28). The reason someone committing adultery of the heart disdains and hates and judges someone committing adultery is because they are jealous: their heart’s desire is to commit adultery. They do not do it not because they know the love of God, but because they are terrified of the punishment of God. They are only keeping the rules because of fear.

They are like the little boy who tells Jimmy angrily that he cannot come out to play because “Mum won’t let me.” Everything on the inside of the little boy wants to go and play, but he is scared of his mother. As soon as mother’s back is turned, the boy will be out the house. If mum does not turn her back, Jimmy will not have a good relationship with mum, but sulk and hate her. That sums up many Christians relationship with God perfectly.

When your secret heart desire is to commit a sin, you hate and judge the people who do commit that sin because you are jealous.

Christians who are not religious, who love God and know God loves them, do not want to commit adultery. They are not stupid – they know that breaking a marraige covenant would cause so much pain in the world they will not do it. They do not want to catch STDs, or hurt their families, or bring pain into their life. They trust God to satisfy them with one woman or one man, they believe God’s plan for sex and marriage works because they know God and they know He is love and that He is wiser than them! They walk with God and do not fill their minds with thoughts of adultery. They are not avoiding adultery to make God love them, because they know God loves them.

When someone like that meets someone in adultery, they do not condemn them. (John 8.1-11, compare Jesus’ reaction of love with the Pharisees’ reaction of judgment – that story sums up what I am saying here perfectly). They love them. They do not want them to commit adultery because they do not want them to be in pain, but if they keep doing it they will still love them. They will still know their name, they will still welcome them. But because our churches do not show the unconditional love that the pubs do, people are going to go “where everybody knows their name” and stay away from church in droves.

Religion kills. It stops people from accessing the grace of God for themselves and it then means that they stop others receiving that grace. Hopefully as we examine Romans 2 we are going to see how destructive religion is and get out of it. Religious death is just the same as Conscienceless death (Romans 1) and has the same negative effects. But when we reject religion and accept redemption and righteousness, we enjoy life, we enjoy God, and good things happen to us.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.16

0

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

This is one of my favourite verses ever. Everyone should memorize this verse in my opinion, it is so powerful. It is life changing truth.

Paul starts by saying “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”.

The Greek word for ashamed is the word epaischynomai which means guilty, disgraced and embarassed. How do we feel about the good news of Jesus Christ? Are we disgraced by it? Does it embarass us?

I think it often does embarass us. I am not talking about not sharing the gospel and being afraid to share the gospel – you should never be afraid to tell people the good news. I think that the gospel embarasses us as Christians because it is a message of entire grace and no merit.

The gospel (Gk. euaggelion) is the good news of Christ. It is the truth that we don’t have to be spiritually dead, we don’t have to be sick, we don’t have to be poor, we don’t have to be rejected because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross.

I think Christians are embarassed of the gospel because it is so unbelievable – as Andrew Wommack calls it, it is the “too good to be true news”. So what we do is add a little to the gospel to make it more acceptable and less embarassing: you have to go to church for it to work, you have to be a good person, you have to change, you have to pray for this long. None of this is the gospel – the gospel is that we are redeemed, we are righteous, we are healthy, we are wealthy because of Jesus Christ and because of His goodness and His brilliance.

Stop being embarassed of the gospel. Tell people the truth: Jesus Christ has done it all. Jesus has paid the price for every sin you have ever committed, ever will commit, and you are free in Him if you believe in Him. You are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

This gospel – this news that it is all Jesus and not our works, not our righteousness, not our attitudes, but His redemptive work on the cross – this gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.

This is the most important truth you can ever, ever receive: the power of God is in the good news that Jesus has completely paid the price for us.

The power of God is not in fasting. The power of God is not in prayer. The power of God is certainly not in binding demons and screaming in tongues for hours. The power of God is not in our holiness. The power of God is not in special people – charismatic superstars.

The power of God is in the gospel – the good news that Jesus paid the price.

If you know someone who needs healing, you don’t need to pray and fast. You don’t need to bind the devil, you don’t need to drag them to a crusade.

You need to tell them the good news. You need to tell them the truth that Jesus Christ has completely paid the price for their healing. The power of God is in the good news.

Don’t be embarassed about the good news. Tell people they can be healed – not because of their merit, but because of Jesus. Tell people they can be wealthy because of Jesus – not because of their background or any other reason. Tell people that they can be righteous because of Jesus – not due to their actions, their prayer life, their anything! It is all Jesus.

The power is only in what Jesus has done. It is not anywhere else. If we don’t tell people boldly that Jesus has done it all, then we will not see the power of God.

This is why the church at large does not see the power of God. Galatians 3 says that we see miracles because of grace and faith, not works of the law. We have made miracles subject to our holiness, to our goodness. We have told people that they need to clean up their lives to see the goodness of God, to see healings, to see wealth, to see salvation, to be righteous.

It is all untrue – in fact, Paul calls it witchcraft in Galatians 3. It is witchcraft to say that you need to do something to be saved other than believe in Christ and His redemptive work.

Get out of witchcraft, and get into the gospel. Stop being embarassed about the gospel and tell people boldly that Jesus has done it all. Then you will see the power of God – you will see people born again, people healed, people released from poverty, from shame, from rejection. You will see people who used to hold their heads down low lift them high, their entire faces will change as the gospel renews their mind.

Stop trying to find the power of God where it is not. Stop being embarassed that Jesus has done it all and you have done nothing, are nothing and deserve nothing without Him! Admit it – you are nothing without Christ. You can do nothing without Christ. You deserve nothing without Christ.

Christ has done it all – paid the total price so we, and the world, can be righteous, can be saved, can be accepted, can be loved, can be redeemed, can be joyous, can be healed, can be happy, can work miracles, can enjoy life in abundance. It is all HIM!

All we have to do to enjoy salvation (which in the Greek means healing, peace and prosperity) is believe. That is the greatest truth in the Bible. It is the most wonderful truth in the universe. That is the most important truth you can ever realize.

Romans 1.1

0

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

I am going to daily post a sequential verse of Romans and make commentary on it.  I hope you enjoy.  Please feel free to make comments as per the blog system, regards.

The gospel is the Greek word euaggelion which means good news or happy news. There is no Hebrew equivalent because the Old Testament does not bring good news, only the news that Jesus Christ has completely paid the price for your sin, that you are not under law but under grace, that you are completely free from sin, sickness and poverty is good news.

Paul was separated to the gospel. What are you separated unto? Paul was utterly devoted to the gospel – anything that got in the way of the gospel Paul just did not pay attention to. Think about that – if anything in your life does not increase the gospel in your life: does not increase the amount of good news that is in your heart, then just ignore it. Turn that TV programme off, distance yourself from that person, and throw that religious book in the bin. If it is not making you glad, what is your fascination with it?

Get separated unto the gospel. Whatever it takes get it. Because what you are separated to, what you fill your heart with will produce in your life. You are what you think, so think the gospel.

Glory and freedom,

Benjamin

Wonderful News Healing Crusade – evening ONE

1

Hi gang,

What a wonderful night tonight was. All three people who reponded to the call for healing were healed. One lady of a congenital problem who kept saying “all the pain is gone, all the pain is gone”.   I think we had about 20-25 people present in the room, I forgot to count.

They were a lovely family who had travelled for an hour to come to the meeting after reading about it on the internet.  We had people from Clayhall, from Dagenham, from Barking, from Barkingside and it was wonderful.

Another lady saw our newspaper advert and came, her friend was healed of a headache and someone else was healed of leg pain.

We saw people come we had never met, and I think there were 20-25 people in the room (I was so excited I never even did a head count! – I will tomorrow I promise. All the feedback was positive, even though I think I preached one of the most meandering directionles sermons I have ever preached!!)  I think we had more people than we ever had last year after months of meetings – God has given us increase and it is VERY GOOD!   We already know that we have more people coming tomorrow because they have phoned us and spoken to us.

Poonam in our church came alive tonight – praying for everyone, sharing her testimony and was just on fire.  That was wonderful to see because it means our church is not just growing in numbers, but in spiritual depth.
Anyway, you can hear the sermon for yourself. My wife said it was very powerful, and I always consider her a good judge. So many people came because we spoke to them at bus stops – not having a car has proved such a blessing in our evangelism!! The whole atmosphere tonight was powerful, we have such a good God. He is so faithful to His Word, so good to all of us.
One family (mother and daughter) came from Buckinghamshire and I know they were very blessed. In fact, the daughter the day before was believing for a copy of BLESSING OR CURSE: You can choose by Derek Prince, and we were giving them away for free at the meeting!

Here is to night two, which will only be increase!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Your Debt Is Wiped Out (T L Osborn)

0

Your Debt Is Wiped Out

Jesus assumed our guilt when He suffered the
full penalty of our sins, in our name, in our place in His death for us on the cross. The entire debt against the one who believes on Christ is wiped out. Such a person shall never have to face God’s judgment for sin. Jesus said, I say emphatically that anyone who believes in God who sent me has eternal life. And will never be damned [or condemned or judged] for his or her sins, but has already passed out of death into life. John 5:24LB

There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus-Romans 8:1

for who shall accuse those whom God has chosen? God himself declares them not guilty! Can anyone, then, condemn them?…Jesus Christ is the one who died [for them]…who then can separate us from the love of Christ? Rom.8:33-35TEV As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.Psa.103:12 God is love.1Jo.4:8

God’s love never gives up on us.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,2Peter 3:9 God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish, but would have everlasting life.John 3:16 The gospel [the good news] is the power of God to everyone who believes.Romans 1:16 If any one is in Christ, that person is a new creature. Old things are passed away; all things are become new. 2Co.5:17

You can be a product of GOD’S LOVE-PLAN.

Psalm 112 (NLT)

0

Psalm 112

1 Praise the Lord!

How joyful are those who fear the Lord
and delight in obeying his commands.
2 Their children will be successful everywhere;
an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
3 They themselves will be wealthy,
and their good deeds will last forever.
4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
5 Good comes to those who lend money generously
and conduct their business fairly.
6 Such people will not be overcome by evil.
Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
7 They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
8 They are confident and fearless
and can face their foes triumphantly.
9 They share freely and give generously to those in need.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
They will have influence and honor.
10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
They will grind their teeth in anger;
they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

%d bloggers like this: