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,
Prophecy about Prayer
By Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin
Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin delivered the following prophecy on April 28, 1983 where the Holy Ghost talks about prayer being fuel:
But here’s what the Holy Ghost—do you want to know what the Holy Ghost is saying? I’ll tell you what the Holy Ghost is saying.
“In this move, in this move, in this move that is about to come and even you’re in the edge of it right now. It will not be altogether something new that you’ve never seen. I’ll be a combination of everything you’ve seen put together and then plus a little bit more. This, in this move of God that is just about to spring upon you, there will be a manifestation of casting out demons that you haven’t seen yet. Now some have drawn back from casting out demons. And the Spirit of God said, ‘I began a move along that line a few years ago and men aborted the move, they mixed some of their own thinking in on it and they tried to control it, and do it according to pattern. And according to this way that we think it ought to be done.’ But you haven’t seen anything yet of what you’re going to see in dealing with demons. For demons are let loose upon the earth, they’re going about as never before. Because they know their time is short! And so in this multiplication, this advance of demon activity there will be the activity of the Holy Ghost. Demons that have harassed men, demons that have held ministries in check [hallelujah] will leave. And you have not seen yet what you will see in the area of dealing with demons, casting out demons; exercising authority over demons, and we’re about to step into it. Like you’d step through a door into another room.”
“And secondly,” saith the Spirit of God, “You have not seen the revival of divine healing that you’re about to see.” Oh yes, you saw those that I raised up. You’ve seen men and women, mightily used of My Spirit. I sent them forth as a pilot program to try to train you. But many just looked at them and lifted them up, and some of them were lifted up in pride and the anointing left them. And some became money minded and lost the anointing. But there will arise a group in this day that’s a brand new breed. They’ll not be greedy of filthy lucre. They’ll not be wanting to attract attention unto themselves. They would care less whether God uses me. They’d rather God would use you. And God’ll not just use ministers, He’ll use laymen. And there’ll be a revival of divine healing such as you have not seen in your life time, or read about, or heard about,” saith the Lord!
“And a revival of the supernatural, not only the supernatural in casting out devils. Not only the supernatural in healing the sick. Not only the supernatural in speaking with other tongues. But the supernatural in the realm of the seen realm. Men will see the glory of God; a cloud will hang over certain congregations, even the church building for days at a time. And everybody that passes by, sinner and saint alike will say, ‘Well what in the world is that? I’ve never seen any thing like that.'” Ha, ha, ha.
“And there will be in other places, there will be in other places fire of the Spirit that will actually become literal. Oh yes, in the spirit realm some of us have seen it. In the spirit realm we’ve been conscious of the fire of God. But the fire will actually come into manifestation. And there’ll be people sinners as well as saints that will see fire all over the heads of the people. There’ll be people driving down the street or down the highway and they’ll see fire on top of the buildings. And they’ll come and say, ‘What does all this mean?’ But you see the Lord will use signs of His presence to bring people in the last days, into the fullness of His Spirit, and into full salvation.”
“And signs, signs! What kinds of signs? Miraculous things in the realm of the spirit! And then they’ll be manifested in the realm of the physical. And the glory of God will fall. And the power of God will be in manifestation. And men will—and women too. Will even be transported like Philip was and found in another place. And great! GREAT! GREAT! Shall be the reward thereof. For the Lord God is the same God today as He was yesterday. His power has not diminished. And His Name is still the same. Today He can make the iron axe-head to float. Today He can divide the river just for two men to cross over on the other side. Today He can feed five thousand with a little boy’s lunch. He is the miracle Working God.”
“Brag on Him! Lift Him up! Draw attention unto Him! Tell about how great He is. Get up in faith and tell what great things He’s going to do. And He’ll move and keep His Word with you! And many shall be astonished. But the greatest miracle of all is that there’ll be so many fish caught in the net that the nets can’t hold them. There won’t be church houses enough to hold the people. Amen, Amen. For the purpose of it all is that you may be fishers of men. Hallelujah! Quit fishing, Hallelujah! Quit fishing in your bathtub. There’s not any fish in your own bathtub. Go out where the fishes are and throw out the net. Not the hook, the NET! And pull it in. Hallelujah. And bring them in. And the glory of the Lord shall shine. And the end time shall come. And you’ll stand in the place, yes many of you that stand here including myself, will stand in the place of ministry that you’ve not stood in before. And will stand in the place that’s been ordained for you from the foundation of the earth!” Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
And if it were to be—if it could…if it could… if it could be told you. If we were able to tell you in human language that which will transpire in some of your lives, and some of our lives who are here just now. Your mind would not be able to comprehend it. As you say speaking in the human vernacular, it would almost blow your mind. But you’ll see it! You’ll rejoice in it! You’ll be glad of it! It’s just out there a little ways in front of you. Be faithful, be joyous, and rejoice in the Lord always. And He’ll bring it to pass.
That’s what the Spirit of God is saying. That’s what the Spirit of God is saying. Let’s stand up everybody. Lift your right hand and close your eyes and say it in faith: I’m in agreement with you. I may not understand it with my mind. Even if it was told me I might not be able to comprehend it. But I believe it! I believe it! I commit myself to be one that will be used of God. I go on record tonight. I’ll pay the price. I’ll make the sacrifice. I’ll deny the flesh. I’ll walk in the spirit. I’ll be one who’ll walk in the flow of God and do the will of God. And the work of God. I will give myself to prayer. I will give myself to the Spirit of God. If He calls on me in the nighttime, I’ll be on my knees praying. If I’m never seen of man and am always just behind the scenes, I’ll be faithful. The will of God will be done. The work of God shall be accomplished.
Many shall go and tell the story, and His great glory show. The power of God in manifestation shall be the gifts of the Spirit, the manifestation of His Spirit. Into full potential shall come the ministry gifts, the apostle and prophet, the evangelist, and pastor and teacher too. Shall flow as one, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. And we as one, one body, in one spirit, hallelujah, shall go forth to conquer and to do His deeds. And great shall be the reward thereof. Now put your other hand up and thank Him. Glory to God.
Now let me give you a further word of wisdom and advice.
Being conscious of a mighty move in your spirit, wanting and desiring to do the will of God. But don’t try to do it yourself. Just learn to relax and to flow with the Spirit. Don’t try to figure out in your head, ‘What does He want me to do?’ Just learn to relax and flow with the Spirit, it’ll take care of itself you don’t have to worry. ‘I just wonder, I know there’s something, I know there is something He wants me to do.’ Fine, just keep on praying. And just flow with the Spirit. You’ll not come into the full potential of what God has for you tomorrow. You’ll not come into the full potential of what God has for you next week. You’ll not come into the full potential of what God has for you next month. Some will not even come into the full potential of what God has for you next year. Some will not for quite a period of time. But, as you’re faithful, and as you’re trained, and as you learn to yield, you’ll move eventually into that place, hallelujah that He had for you all along. Glory to God. Glory to God. Did you hear me? Did you hear me? Praise His holy Name.
But you see moving into that place of ministry or whatever it is, whether it’s full time ministry, or pulpit ministry, or personal ministry, or whatever your place is in the Body of Christ. Moving into that place is fueled by prayer, fired by the Spirit and ignited with His glory. Hallelujah to Jesus. Glory to God. I said, “Glory to God.” Glory to God. Glory to God. Hallelujah. Hallelujah, praise God.
But you see if there’s no fuel there, there’s nothing to ignite. Notice the Spirit said [I never thought of that, it came out of the inside of me] fueled by prayer, fired by the Spirit, ignited with His glory. You have to stop and analyze that, there’s a difference between firing, igniting. Yes, you see it’s like the furnace, you see? There’s a pilot light there that fires the thing. And then when the whole thing has become ignited then the heat flows out. Ha, ha, ha, can you see what He’s saying? Fueled by prayer, fired by the Spirit, ignited with His glory. Hallelujah. I never though of that. I mean it just flowed up out of my Spirit. But you see if there’s no fuel there, there’s nothing to fire. If there’s no fuel, there’s nothing to fire. Fueled by prayer. Hallelujah, hallelujah.
What will the glory covering the earth look like? No more pain, no more sickness, no more child abuse, no more barbed wire fences, no more animal abuse. The financial realm and the beauty will be there. No more prisons, no more children crying in the night, no more walls, no more racial issues when the glory is poured out. Can you see it? God can bring us to a place to see it in the realms of prayer.
When God shows us the beauty of His perfection it gives us more desire to pray for it.
(Taken by permission from RHEMA Bible Church , aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries , Tulsa , OK , USA. www.rhema.org )
Two weeks ago, while I was praying for the future of Tree of Life Church, I saw three waves of the glory of the Lord flow across London. It was not an open vision but it was as clear as any vision I have ever seen from the Lord. This vision was not exclusively for Tree of Life Church at all, but for all Christians across London.
The first wave was a wave of the gifts and power ministries of the Holy Spirit. I saw churches that were Pentecostal in theology but not in practise suddenly explode in their services with messages in tongues, interpretations, words of knowledge for healing, words of wisdom that lead to marriages being restored and people being released into prosperity and abundance.
I saw churches that have had great sermons, great truths suddenly have great manifestations that caught everyone by joyous surprise.
I saw Christians who had been opposed to the gifts of the Holy Spirit standing in the streets of London sharing prophetic words with complete strangers. People were weeping and repenting and coming to faith in the street – the power of the Holy Spirit was leading people to be witnesses, as taught in Acts. I saw backsliders suddenly get excited about their faith again. I saw healing crusades with thousands in attendance, people being healed of cancer, people getting out of wheelchairs, I saw deaf ears open and blind eyes open.
I saw healing being like a dinner bell calling people from all walks of life in London to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said himself that Him healing the sick shows that He has the power to forgive sin. And I see Him healing people and people realizing that He is the Lord over sin and sickness.
I see Muslims, Hindus, atheists, people from every creed and belief system becoming Christians as they see the healing power of the Lord. I saw children being healed, I saw the Lord healing people.
What was most beautiful about this all is that this move of the Spirit was not focused around one pastor or one evangelist. Every Christian, including day-old Christians, were laying hands on the sick and seeing them healed. Every Christian was speaking words of faith and seeing those words materialize in the physical realm. Every Christian was excited about the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. Five fold ministers were doing their real calling: the works of the believer and equipping the saints.
I know not every Christian will flow with the Holy Spirit, but when I saw this vision it was as if every Christian was. Christians that no-one would have expected to step out in faith were jumping out of the boats of religion and walking out on the waters of the Spirit-led life.
Some churches were struggling to adapt to the power of the Lord and some Christians would step out in faith and then fall back to safe and routine as they started to grow in maturity.
As people started to realize the gifts were no substitute for maturity, and started to ask the Lord for an increase in wisdom and revelation, the second wave hit.
I will outline that in the second post, but I will end this post with this: there is coming to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ in London, England a move of the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God says desire spiritual gifts – and I encourage everyone reading this to ask the Lord right now for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate fully in their life and in the life of every Christian in London and across the world.
This is such an exciting time to be a Christian, such a wonderful time to be alive. Praise His name for ever!