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An On Fire Christian Can Never Be Stopped

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Steal from them and they will joyfully give you everything they own.

Force them to be your slave and they will happily be your servant.

Smack them on the nose and they will turn the other cheek again and again.

Kill them – it is simply gain.

Don’t kill them – they will simply live for Christ.

Put them in jail and they will use the time to commune with the Lord and write down their revelations which will then turn the world upside down.

An Onfire Christian can never be stopped.

Romans 1.21

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Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

What has led to unrighteousness in the world? Why is the world so wicked? Why does the world ignore the truth of Jesus Christ?

Paul gives four clear reasons for this state of affairs in this verse.

1) They did not glorify God
2) They were not grateful and thankful to God
3) They became vain in their imaginations
4) Their foolish hearts were made dark

I believe this is an utterly comprehensive list. If you want to know why a community or a nation is unrighteous and wicked, it is that they did not glorify God, were not grateful to God, had vain imaginations, and their foolish hearts were dark.

Let’s make it more personal: if you feel far from God, if you feel like you are running on empty, feel confused, unable to deal with sin and conquer it, then I guarantee 4 things:

1. You are not glorifying God
2. You are not being thankful to God
3. Your imagination is out of control
4. Your heart is dark

Or let’s turn it around and make it applicable to you as a Christian who I would assume wants to have a dynamic excitiing relationship with God:

If you:

1. Glorify God
2. Thank God
3. Keep control of your imagination
4. Keep light in your heart

Then you: will always have a dynamic, intimate walk with God and have continual victory in every circumstance in life.

It is that simple. Let’s look at all four of these one by one and give a sentence or two on how to ensure they are active in your life. If you want a deeper study on these things, then I have a four part sermon series called “How Not To Be An Idiot” on our church website, if you click on the media tab, and this series covers each of these four points.

For the brief version, keep reading.

1. Glorify God. This is the Greek word doxa, which means to give weight to. Do you give weight to God? You do realize that God’s promises put on the scales with any of your problems will outweigh them a million times over? That Paul after being whipped, stoned, beaten and shipwrecked and continually persecuted – he called his problems “light”. Why? Because if you give God glory and weight in your life, you will be always praising, always dancing, always smiling. God is bigger than the problem!

2. Thank God. Many Christians spend their whole life thinking and dreaming about what they do not have. I dare you to thank God for everything you do have. It will take longer than you can ever imagine. Gratefulness leads to faithfulness.

3. Keep control of your imagination. Imagine what life would be like if God’s Word was true – NEVER imagine your future without God’s promises. Never imagine yourself sick, dying young, broke, in broken relationships. Imagine yourself healthy, happy, rich, flowing in the Holy Spirit with love and mercy, fulfilling your destiny.

4. Keep light in your heart. In other words, keep in the Word – there is light in the Word. Keep meditating God’s Word.

If you do those four things you will live in assured victory every single day.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.19

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Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Remembering that our last verse told us the wrath of God was revealed against unrighteousness; and that the wrath of God is the judicial punishment of God – not the violent anger of God, then we can see in this verse WHY God is punishing sin.

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them – and them here is referring to the people who are ungodly and unrighteous.

God is right to punish the ungodly and the unrighteous, because what may be known of God is manifest in them.

What does this mean?

It means this: every person knows there is a God. Every person knows that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, all-loving being that created them and created the universe.

That is what the Bible teaches. That is why it is correct for God to punish sin, because everyone who sins knows that they have sinned, knows that they have done something wrong.

This “knower” is called the conscience, and it is a great Trojan horse when you are evangelising someone.

It is part of their mind, part of their inner being and it knows there is a God. It knows that God is good and it knows that they have not always kept the standards of this God. Athiest, Hindu, Muslim, JW, whatever – every human has this conscience, this knower.

When you evangelise, ask people if they think they are a good person – if they say no, then ask why. If they say yes, ask them why. Ask them if they know any of God’s commandments and if they have ever broken any of them.

Awaken the conscience inside the person and evangelise them there. You won’t win over someone with an intellectual argument unless you awaken their conscience. As soon as it is awakened, it will start to deal with the person. Let them know what Jesus has done for them on the cross and that Jesus has redeemed them from all sin.

The Bible says in John 16.13 that the Holy Spirit convinces us of sin because we do not believe in Jesus. That is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, by the way, not to convince us of lying or stealing or adultery, but to convince and convict us of not relying on Jesus, not putting our faith in Jesus, not relating to Jesus, not trusting Him and His goodness.

Now when you have shown someone what Jesus did for them, and maybe illustrated it with an example or two from your life, then the Holy Spirit has material to work with.

That person walks off, but the Holy Spirit walks with them… you cannot escape the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will work at convincing the person that they have failed to trust Jesus. They have to accept redemption from Jesus.

Most Christians seem to think the Holy Spirit goes around saying “sin, sin, sin, repent, you sinned, you are useless, you missed it again, you failed.” No – the Holy Spirit goes around saying “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, trust Jesus, put your faith in Jesus, Jesus has rescued you, Jesus has set you free.”

Same applies for us as Christians – it is not the Holy Spirit that is harping on about your sins. He harps on about Jesus and His redemptive power!

So, next time you share your faith realize that the person you are talking to, deep down, knows that there is a God. And that if you clearly show them Christ crucified and explain why (see Galatians 3.1), then the Holy Spirit can convince them of this truth and their spirit will bear witness to the Holy Spirit and they will be born again.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.15

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So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

I want to show you this verse in a couple of other translations before I dig into it:

So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News. (NLT)

So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. (AMP)

Paul was eager to go to Rome to preach the wonderful, happy, good news. He was also ready to go.

If you read the KJV it says Paul was “ready”, if you read the NLT you find Paul was “eager”. The Amplified does what it does best and amplifies the word to “willing and eagerly ready”.

The word used here is the same word used by Jesus when He says the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. In fact, I think in Mark’s gospel it is translated “the spirit is ready” in the KJV.

Paul was willing and ready to preach the gospel. Are you?

I believe that Paul was willing because he was ready. Being ready makes you willing. No one is willing to do something they are not prepared to do.

I believe that because Paul knew the gospel so well, knew its wonderful power and wonderful benefits and knew he could preach and present it powerfully with signs and wonders following – that is why Paul was so eager and willing to preach. What you are prepared to do, you are enthusiastic to do.

If you start praying for boldness, start praying for open doors to preach the gospel, start studying the books of Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews (the three books Paul wrote explaining and defending and outlining the gospel) and start realizing what the wonderful news of our redemption actually is.

I guarantee that as you start getting ready to preach the gospel, you will start being willing. You will start getting excited to preach the gospel, start getting passionate about going and telling people in the street, in your work – even in your church (because not everyone in church knows!) – the good news.

Many people try and pray for willingness. “Oh God, give us a passion for souls.” “Oh God, make me love the lost…”

That is not a prayer God can or will ever answer. God is not going to give you emotional pain to motivate you to do something! That is not the nature of our Father. We are willing to do what we are ready to do.

If you want a passion for evangelism, get ready to evangelise! Study the gospel, study common objections and find Scriptures to counter those objections.

If you want a passion for worship, don’t beg God to force you to worship Him – God is not a forcer, rather get your Bible out and study the concept of worship. You will soon be singing praises to God.

If you want to be willing to give millions into the gospel, get ready. Find out what the Bible says about giving and receiving. Understand what the tithe is and how it functions. Soon enough you will be giving what you have and shouting with joy. You will start a life of financial fruitfulness that will change the world.

If you want a passion for the Word, study it, get into it, get ready to understand it.

What you are ready to do, you will be eager and willing to do.
What you are not ready to do, you will not be eager and willing to do.

So – don’t beg God to make you willing, but get ready, get ready, get ready!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.14

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I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

In the last verse, Paul says that he would not have the church ignorant. That is Paul’s calling – to educate and provide information about grace and faith to the body of Christ. A very high calling – but it is your calling too.

As an apostle Paul’s ministry was to equip the saints to do the works of ministry (Ephesians 4.11ff). His life was to train the church to do the works of ministry.

We have to, utterly and totally, get away from the superstar ministers that do all the work and get back to the Bible bueprint: the fivefold ministries equipping, training and discipling the church and the CHURCH doing the works of ministry. The church being every single Christian.

We often read statements that Paul makes and we dismiss them as being for superstar ministers. Rubbish – Paul tells us clearly: copy me as I copy Christ (1 Corinthians 11.1).

Why I have said all this is to say this: Romans 1.14 is not just for Paul, not just for Oral Roberts, not just for Billy Graham, not just for Mike, but for every single Christian in the body of Christ. It is for you!

Paul says this: I am a debtor to people. The Greek word is opheiletēs. It means to be bound to someone by duty. Paul’s duty to ensure the church had knowledge bound him to people. So much so that his writings are still rescuing the church from ignorance, generations after he penned them!

Everyone of us is bound to people by duty. For Paul it was four groups of people: the Greeks, the Barbarians, the wise and the unwise. (Actually the wise and unwise covers everyone!), who is it for you? Who are you bound to by duty?

I used to be in a denomination where pastors moved around all the time, then they found out that you do not build a church by moving around, you build a church when a pastor comes to a people and the people realize that the man of God is bound to them, that he will never leave them or forsake them, that he is there for their good and will keep being there. He may move on like Paul did often, but he will still be there in his heart and still be with them in spirit.

Who are you bound to by duty? Who do you owe your destiny to? There is no destiny that does not involve people. No Christian has a destiny that does not involve them being bound to a group of people by destiny.

No Christian can avoid saying what Paul says here: I am a debtor to people. If you cannot say this and know which people you are in debtor to, go and find out. Go and pray and ask the Lord – go and find out.

I have just entered into the first step of my ministry, but I could not enter it at all if I did not know from the Lord who I am a debtor to.

I am a debtor to the people of London and of Essex, people who have lived there all their lives and people who have moved there from every nation and ethnic group.

I am bound to them by my duty to God. They will rise or fall on my obedience.

It is a weighty matter when you deal with destiny because it is not just a game – it is about people. Every single person is worth an infinite amount because that was the price that Jesus paid for them. Every single person on the planet will in one million years time either be a being of pure light and love, or a creature of torment and hatred.

When I make decisions such as where shall our church meet, when shall it meet, what shall I do this evening, where and when shall I go on holiday, what book shall I read I need to realize I am not a free man. I cannot ever just do what I want. I am bound to London and bound to Essex by duty and by destiny.

I take this seriously and soberly. It is not just enough to know the function of your destiny, you must know the geographical and ethnic boundaries of your destiny.

I will say it again – if you do not know who you are bound to by duty, you must find out. Then act bound!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.8

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First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

If you were asked right now to pray for your church or to pray for another church or Christian that you know, what would be your opening sentence? What would you start with?

If you are like most Christians I hear pray for churches and for Christians you would first ask for something for them. You would go “God, please help Brother X in ….”, or “Lord, send revival to our church, send your Spirit…”

Now I hope that most of you reading this are enough of a faith bunch never to ask God for something you already have (e.g. health, joy, the Holy Spirit) and I reckon most of you are sensible enough not to ask God for something that He told you to do (“give us 100 converts, Lord” when we don’t witness, evangelise or follow up!), but I still reckon most faith Christians start their prayer times for others with asking.

Paul did not. Paul said this:

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all

I have a sermon on thanksgiving on my website which I think everyone should listen to because I think thanksgiving is so crucial to a successful faith life. But look at this: before asking God for anything for the Romans, Paul thanked God for them.

I dare you for everyone you pray for this week to thank God for them first and spend more time thanking God for them than asking for stuff for them. I bet they end up with more stuff than if you had just asked for stuff for them.

And why did Paul thank God for them?

that [their] faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

You might say that the people you are praying for do not have their faith spoken of throughout the world, but why not thank God for something that they do have and then pray for their faith to be spoken of throughout the whole world.

If you cannot find something to thank God for with someone or with a church, you have a problem.

D L Moody made it his business to thank everyone he met or compliment them for some reason. He was determined to see and highlight and enhance the good in people.

One evening he was on a train and a smelly, dirty, drunk was tripping over himself moving from carriage to carriage putting a bottle of whiskey under everyone’s noses and telling them to drink it. When they refused, he yelled at them for not taking it.

People started watching Moody to see if he could find good in this man. When the man pushed the bottle of whiskey in Moody’s face and snarled at him to drink it, Moody said to him gently:

You must be such a generous hearted man, you clearly love whiskey and you clearly have little else, but you are so willing to share it, that is an admirable thing.

The man stopped shouting, sat down and spent the rest of the journey listening to Moody share the gospel.

If you can thank someone in a prayer or in a personal way, you will succeed with that person in a way that asking and telling never will.

If there is someone you are struggling with, or someone you love and are praying for, or if you are just generally praying for your church:

First of all, give thanks.

Hebrews – the Pivotal Epistle (Chuck Missler)

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The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the two greatest theological treatises of the New Testament.1 This letter is, in a real sense, the “Leviticus” of the New Testament, detailing how the Lord Jesus Christ is both the fulfillment and the successor to all that had gone on before.

The extreme dilemma of the Jewish Christians — especially while the Temple was still standing — was their extreme predicament.

They had been drawn from a divinely appointed religion, with divinely appointed priests officiating in a divinely appointed Temple, accomplishing a divinely ordered service, all of which had been ennobled throughout their entire history.

How could believing priests and Pharisees remain “zealous of the Law”? It was, after all, the Jewish world that had crucified Christ and was repudiating Him.

This letter was clearly aimed at the people who were now Christians but had come out of Judaism. It focuses on the background that they came from, and tries to demonstrate how Jesus was a fulfillment of those things; in fact, he superseded those things. Jesus is the very fulfillment of the Old Testament.

Authorship

Who wrote the book of Hebrews? Hebrews is an unsigned book and there are many theories, but the available evidence, we feel, seems to justify a Pauline ascription.

Apollos? Some suggest that Apollos wrote this epistle, although there is not much evidence to support the theory. Furthermore, Apollos was from Alexandria, and yet even in Alexandria in the earliest times the book was associated with Paul. So, if Apollos was the author, somehow he didn’t even convince his own hometown.

Barnabas? Others ascribe the book to Barnabas, but here again there is no evidence to support this theory. There are some spurious writings (that are not regarded as authentic) that were attributed to Barnabas, but their style is so different from the epistle to the Hebrews that if one can conclude that the writings attributed to Barnabas were at all indicative of Barnabas’ style, he clearly didn’t write the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Paul? There are many stylistic reasons that point to its Pauline authorship.

Paul’s Special Mark

If one recognizes that there were apparently forgeries of Thessalonian letters being circulated, then several passages become clearer.2 Thus at the end of that letter, Paul includes a sort of special mark, a token:

The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.
2 Thessalonians 3:17

Note how Paul is emphasizing that he has signed the letter with his own hand (most were probably drafted by an amanuensis or secretary). He would include a sign at the end so they would know that the letter was really from him.

So what is this signature or style item that is included in every letter?3

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
2 Thessalonians 3:18

And how does Hebrews end?

Grace be with you all. Amen.
Hebrews 13:25

Why is this so impressive of Paul’s style? Because the word “Grace” does not even appear in the other epistles!4

The Trilogy on Habakkuk 2:4

The key verse in Habakkuk is:

The Just shall live by faith.
Habakkuk 2:4

This verse became the primary banner that inflamed the Reformation. It would seem that Paul penned a deliberate trilogy on this very verse.

Who are “the Just”? The Book of Romans answers the question (Cf. Rom 1:17).

How then “Shall [they] Live”? Gal-atians shows how we are to live — called out of religious externalism (Cf. Gal 3:11).

“By faith…” What is the epistle on “faith”? This Epistle to the Hebrews (Cf. Heb 10:38)!

As a former systems engineer and technologist in the information sciences, I tend to favor evidences that reveal an architecture and integrity of design, and it is this unique characteristic of the entire Bible that has been the foundation of our ministry.

Thus, it is the apparent trilogy of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews, dealing specifically on Habakkuk 2:4, that causes us to lean strongly on the inference that Hebrews was authored by Paul.

(If it should turn out that it was by another, then this very design becomes an even more impressive “fingerprint” of the Holy Spirit!)

Other Stylistic Evidences

In Romans 8:35-39, Paul lists a number of things that can separate you from the love of Christ. He lists seven things, and then 10 more, for a total of 17.

In Hebrews 12:18-24 we find a similar list: Again there are seven things, and then 10 more, for a total of 17. And in Galatians 5:19-21 there is also a list of 17 things.

(Again, it is Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews that evidence a similarity of style.)

Paul also favored the Greek word, huios, “sons,” rather than a similar Greek word, teknon, which other writers use, which means “children.”

The “witness of the Holy Spirit,” discussed in Romans 8:16 and Hebrews 10:15 also hints at a common authorship.

In Hebrews 13:18, the writer says, “Pray for us.” There is only one epistle writer that makes that specific request: none other than Paul.

The Role of Timothy

In Chapter 13 of Hebrews, there is a reference that notes that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews was accompanied by Timothy.5 We know from a number of epistles that Timothy accompanied Paul.6 We do not have any record of him accompanying anyone else. While that does not mean that Timothy exclusively accompanied Paul, we do not have any evidence of him accompanying any other writer.

Why Anonymous?

So if Paul did write the book, why would he keep it anonymous? From Acts 9:15 we know that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. While the Gentiles were his primary mission field, he also had an intense burden for his own brethren. Looking at Paul’s life, it is clear that Paul would sooner or later write an epistle to the Hebrews.

So why would he write one and keep it anonymous? Because every time he tried to address them there were riots. They were prejudiced against his ministry; he was distrusted by the Jews because he had converted to Christianity.

He never recovered the confidence of the Jewish side; they reputed his apostleship and also feared his attack against their ancient rituals and ceremonies.7

Nowhere in the book of Hebrews does Paul assert his apostleship, unlike his other epistles, but instead he builds his entire thesis uniquely from basic Jewish arguments from Old Testament passages. He exalts Christ, not his own apostleship.

There are reasons in the text that we could infer that the book was probably written after Paul’s first imprisonment, but before his second arrest.8 It was clearly written prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 a.d. The impending destruction of the Temple may have been one of the reasons that God had Paul show them how they needed, as Christian believers, not only to accept Christ, but to come out of Judaism.9

Peter’s Testimony

Peter also seems to allude to this letter in 2 Peter 3:15-16:

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you…
2 Peter 3:15

Peter here ascribes a letter written by Paul to the Hebrews. But the other 13 Pauline epistles all went to Gentile churches. So if Hebrews was not written by Paul, then there is a missing letter written by Paul to the Hebrews.

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:16

Here Peter is commenting on Paul’s letter, saying that Paul had written some things that were hard to understand (indeed, the difficulties in Hebrews 6 and 10).

Pressing On to Maturity

The primary focus of this letter to believers is to press on to spiritual maturity.10

For anyone serious about their spiritual growth, both the Epistle to the Romans and the Epistle to the Hebrews are absolutely essential to thoroughly understand.

And is there any priority or commitment that is more important — or urgent — in your own life? Pray about it.

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