Tag Archives: Goodness
God is Your FATHER!
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!
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!
Wonderful News Healing Crusade!
Melvin Banks has seen the deaf hear, the lame and crippled walk and lives completely changed by the power of God for over 40 years of ministry.
He is known throughout the world as an evangelist who preaches the Word of God with honestly, simplicity and integrity.
And now – for three days only – he will be in Dagenham with Tree of Life Church. This is a sign of divine favour on our church and we are believing for awesome signs and wonders and salvations for these days.
Saturday 21st August 7pm
Sunday 22nd August 9.30am
Both these services are in Dagenham Park Leisure Centre. For directions click here. All services are free of charge, and all are welcome. To reserve seats please contact us.
In addition, on Thursday 9th September at 7pm, Melvin Banks is joining us in Harmony House for a Special Free Buffet. Again, all are welcome – but it would be preferable to call and let us know if you are coming for the purposes of preparing appropriate amounts of food!
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Paul is talking still about religious people: about people who come to God on the basis of what they have done, not on the basis of what He has done. Religion ruins lives.
As we have seen in verses 1-3, religion leads you to judge people for things that you do yourself. It leads you to criticise people for doing things wrong that you do yourself. It leads you to having a double standard for judging people – if person X commits sin Y then you condemn them and judge them. When you commit the same sin, you justify yourself because of your motivation or your other good works. In short, religion makes you judgmental, critical, acerbic and rude. No-one likes a religious person.
Jesus on the other hand is gracious, kind, redemptive, helpful, gentle and easy to live with. If people truly know Jesus they are great people to be around. They are easy to live with, they are kind, patient and gentle.
Religion is awful.
Now, this verse contains some wonderful instruction. It explains why religious people are so condemning, judgmental and hypocritical.
The reason is this: they hate the riches of God’s goodness, forbearance and longsuffering. Never, ever hate God’s goodness, forbearance and longsuffering.
Let’s look at these three elements of God individually:
1. God’s goodness
The Greek word for goodness is chrēstotēs. It can be translated as goodness or benignity or kindness. It means that God is never mean, never malicious, never hurtful. It means that God does not have plans to harm us, does not want revenge on us when we sin, is not holding back anything from us.
It means God is good and good means good. God loves us and God is for us. You can cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you. He adores you. He only wants to do good for you, He only speaks good words about you, He only acts for your good. He truly is awesome!
Religious people do not realize that God is rich in goodness. They think that if you do something wrong, God will immediately withhold His blessing and get revenge. Some religious people will tell you that God is behind all the evil in the world. Others will tell you that you are not healed or not wealthy because of your sin or your lack of goodness or lack of service.
All these ideas have their root in despising the goodness of God and not having a clue of who God really is!
2. God’s forbearance
The Greek word for forbearance is anochē. It means the ability to put up with things. God is rich in forbearance. God is tolerant.
If you have messed up today, God is not looking to get you and beat you up for it. God is rich in the ability to put up with things. Look how much you did wrong before you were born again! God put up with all of that, and still when you repented and believed accepted you fully and made you fully righteous.
Now you are in God’s family: He puts up with anything you do.
Religious people are not tolerant. They will not put up with anything. If you sin you are out the door. Heaven forbid if you do something wrong that people find out about. If you break the religious community rules you will be shunned. That is what religious people are like: they will turn on you as quickly as you can imagine. They are not tolerant because they do not know the tolerance of God. God is gracious! God can put up with things.
The more you realize the goodness and graciousness of God, the easier it is to develop a real genuine relationship with Him.
3. God’s longsuffering
God’s forbearance is God’s ability to put up with anything you do wrong and not shun you or kick you out of the community. It is a form of mercy: God’s mercy is God’s ability not to treat you as your sins deserve.
God’s longsuffering is God’s ability to love you and care about you and passionately desire to be with you no matter what you have done. It is a form of God’s grace. God’s mercy is not giving you what you deserve, God’s grace is giving you what you do not deserve.
God’s longsuffering is God’s ability to love you and bless you even when you do not deserve it. It comes from the Greek word makrothymia, which is translated patience or longsuffering in the KJV. It comes from two words: makro, meaning long; and thymos which means passion or heat.
Listen: even on your worst day, God still feels passion for you. He is the God of macro-passion. He dotes on you, cares for you, loves you passionately.
Religious people cannot deal with this. They cannot sustain their passion for God or for people. They cloak their lack of passion for God and for people with religious cliches. They hate people who turn up and who pray with passion, preach with passion, love with passion, serve with passion. Religious people portray an austere God, not a God hot with passion.
There is even a doctrine many churches in the UK teach called impassibility. This means that God cannot experience pain or pleasure from our actions. It is heresy – the Bible is clear: he CAN be touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4.15). Not only that: it leads to people not being able to understand God, so it stops people having a real relationship with Him.
Muslims also teach that God has no emotions, no passion, no heat. It is simply not true: God can be made happy by your actions. God can be grieved by your actions.
Listen: God adores you. He is passionate about you. When you fail and you feel pain, He feels it more. His love for you is boundless, it is passionate, it is red-hot. He adores you.
When you realize that God is good, longsuffering and tolerant you start to enjoy His company. It is when you accept the lie that God is some short-fused difficult to please monster that you run far far away from Him.
People often get worried and concerned when you teach that God is good, that God forgives, that God does not hold sin against you. They start to panic: if you do that they say, people will do whatever they want. They will live in sin and rebel.
That is absolutely not true. It is the truth that sets people free. When the truth that God is good and kind is preached, it leads people to repentance. The Greek word for repentance means to change your thinking.
It is ONLY when you realize that God is good, can you actually change your life and live a pure, holy, loving, kind life. Religious people do not live a pure life, they are critical hypocrites. They are cruel, mean and condemning. If you sin they will judge you and fail to love you. They are not godly. They have a form of godliness, but no power. People who think that God is out to get them may look holy, they ARE NOT.
When you realize that God is good and that He adores you, that does not make you want to go and do what you want. It makes you want to tell God how much you love Him, to go and show that love and goodness to some stranger, to go and serve your family, to honour His life and goodness and to go and preach the gospel to the world.
I adjure you: NEVER NEVER NEVER despise the riches of God’s goodness, God’s forbearance and God’s longsuffering. Rather enjoy those riches and share them with the world!
Glory and freedom,
Paul breaks down what Jesus has given him into two categories: grace and apostleship.
Grace is what Jesus gives to everybody – of his grace we have all received (John 1.16). When Paul talks about receiving grace He means receiving the grace that we all have access to in Him.
Grace means something you are given that you do not deserve. When we are talking about Jesus, His grace is where He gives you what you do not deserve due to His redemptive work. You deserved poverty, but He gave you riches (2 Cor. 9.8). You deserved sickness, but He healed you (Matthew 8.14-16). You deserved death and hell, but He gave you eternal life (Romans 6.23).
Apostleship is what Jesus gave to Paul only – He gave some apostles (Ephesians 4.11). This represents what Jesus gives us as individuals as our destiny – the anointings and giftings that help us assume our place in the body and fulfill our destiny. You are probably not an apostle, but you are a somebody with a destiny and with a special gift from God that no-one else has.
Can you see how wonderful this is? Jesus gives us grace – all the stuff that everyone gets, and then Jesus gives us an equipping, a mantle, a revelation, a gift that is just for us to fulfill our ministry. He is such a good God.
I have received from Christ grace and teachingship. I have got all the stuff every Christian has – health, wealth, righteousness, peace, joy; and I have some stuff only I have – the ability to expound the Word in a way that makes people think and changes lifes, the ability to release people into their destiny, and the ability to refresh an entire church at once through my words.
You have the stuff we all have, and you have stuff only you have. You should know what both those stuffs are. You should be operating in both the stuffs.
However, confusing these two things up: the general grace and the specific gifts of your destiny leads to many Christians leaving stagnant lifes.
I lay hands on the sick and see them recover not because I am a minister but because I am a believer (Mark 16.17). Many believers will never minister healing because they think it goes in the specific gifting category and never realize it is for EVERY Christian. I have been to churches that teach that speaking in tongues is only for some Christians, when it is available for all.
On the other hand, some Christians think they can be a prophet or teacher if they believe and receive. You can only believe and receive what is in the general grace, not what is a specific gift. You cannot make God make you a teacher or a prophet or an apostle. You cannot confess that you are an apostle and make it so. You cannot teach like me – just like I cannot do what you do the way you do it.
You can believe and receive for your healing because that is grace. You cannot believe and receive for an office and role in the body of Christ – you can only discover your office, not decide it.
Notice that Paul’s grace and apostleship (just like your grace and destiny) were not for him to strut about and boast, were not for goosebumps, were not for laughing and happy meetings – no, they were for obedience to faith among all nations. God has given you grace and a destiny for a reason: to make the nations obey the Word. Whatever God has given you to do, go and take that gift to the nations and convince them to obey the Word.
If you do not know your destiny, don’t sit on your backside waiting for God to write on your wall. Go and use your grace and take that to the nation. Paul was called to be an apostle when he was already preaching the gospel to the nations. If you want to know your calling, start doing the stuff every Christian is expected to do: go and heal the sick, cast out demons, preach the gospel and raise the dead. Speak in new tongues, preach the gospel, make disciples of all nations. As you go, God will reveal His specific plans to you.
But don’t expect God to reveal His specific orders to someone not obeying His standing orders!
God has a destiny for you impact the world and glorify His name. If you want to know what it is, start doing all the stuff that you know to do from the Word.
Then you will know that you have grace and a destiny. You too can say with Paul:
By whom I have received grace and [my destiny], for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
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,