Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Tag Archives: Romans Verse by Verse

Romans 1.14

0

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 1.13

0

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

I love this verse. Paul says that he would not have the Roman church ignorant.

Ignorant in the Greek is agnoeō. It literally means without knowledge or without awareness. The English word “agnostic” comes from this root – so just think when someone tells you that they are an agnostic, they are saying “I know nothing”!

I love Paul because he wasn’t some kooky emotionalist – he knew that the key to victory in the Christian life isn’t goosebumps, isn’t falling, isn’t laughing, it is knowledge.

Hosea 4.6 says that people are destroyed by lack of knowledge, Isaiah 5.13 says that people are held captive by what they do not know.

So – my challenge and question to you today is this: what are you doing to increase your knowledge?

Do not complain about areas of your life where there is destruction, where there is captivity, if you are not doing something to increase your knowledge.

Are you in a church where the preaching of the Word increases your knowledge? Have you this week read a book on the Word of God (one that exalts the Word and expounds it, not one that attempts to judge it!)?

Have you learned something new about your career this week? Are you studying something?

What do you know about healing? About prosperity? About dominating your emotions? Do you know enough? Where are you going to get new knowledge?

Do you know which websites have faith-filled life-changing messages and which ones are just the shouters and the beggars?

Do you waste your life in amusement? Remember our Greek word agnoeō? It comes from the Greek word gnoeo which means understanding. The “a” at the beginning means “without” or “the opposite of”, similar to how we might use “un-” as a prefix in the English language to change the meaning of a word. For example, happy and unhappy.

Amusement also comes from the Greek language, muse comes from the Greek word mousa meaning to contemplate or to be creative. Amuse literally means without contemplation or creativity.

That is what nearly all amusement is: what you do without contemplation or creativity. Watching hours of TV, listening to most chart music, playing computer games, all these things. I am not saying these things are wrong, but I will tell you that you only have 24 hours every day, and every hour you spend in a-musement is an hour you cannot spend in “musement”. Remember – God would NOT have you ignorant.

I remember a pastor in my city saying that if he had to work out how successful someone was in life just from their house, his formula would involve the inverse of the size of their television and the size of their personal library.

I think that he would not be far off in his guesses.

The world says that ignorance is bliss. It is not – it is deadly, it will keep you captive, it will destroy you.

What are you doing to destroy your ignorance before it destroys you? Don’t just hope it will go away, it won’t. Make a plan. Decide which 5 books you are going to read before the end of the year.

Decide how many books of the Bible you are going to read before the end of the year. Change church if you need to, find out a Christian conference and take the time off work and get yourself there.

Don’t just sit there and stay ignorant!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.12

0

That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Paul wanted to visit the Roman church to be comforted with the Roman church. The word comforted in the Greek is symparakaleō which means: to comfort and encourage each other at the exact same time.

It is one thing that we need to realize is true: we encourage each other in Christ at the exact same time. If I come and find you and have a teaching for you or a prophetic word, you will be encouraged, but I will be encouraged at the exact same time.

We don’t realize this. We think our ministers are supermen, who live in the rarified atmosphere of heaven, who don’t need people but just walk with Jesus. It simply isn’t true – we all need people. There is no-one who can walk entirely with the Lord alone, that is why the Lord puts us in church, in congregrations, in groups, and so on.

Even the great apostle Paul who spent time in the heaven of heavens, who to live was Christ and die was gain, knew that being around the Roman Christians would be comforting and encouraging.

Even if Paul was the one doing the teaching, watching the other Christians respond and grow in Christ encourages them.

Last week I held a healing crusade in London. Many people have told me how encouraged they were by the messages. What they don’t realize is that seeing them respond, seeing them attend, seeing them grow in freedom and in love encourages me – at exactly the same time. Someone told me this week that what I am teaching in the meetings, in Tree of Life Church, is just not taught anywhere else. They were telling me how encouraged they were – but at the exact same time, I was being encouraged.

Whenever you share something to encourage people – you are encouraged at the exact same time. Some people come back from a church service and complain it wasn’t edifying, it wasn’t comforting and it wasn’t encouraging.

What these people need to do is go to the church service with something to bring: go and take someone after church for dinner; go and tell someone what a great job they do as an usher, as a singer, as a preacher, as whatever; go and tell someone their hair looks nice; go and give someone a Scripture or tell them your testimony.

As you encourage that person, I guarantee symparakaleō will take place: you will be encouraged at the exact same time! It is a spiritual law that cannot be denied. I challenge everyone reading this to try it next church service you go to; next cell group; next time you go to the supermarket if you want!

If you get a testimony from doing this, please post it to encourage me – and you can get encouraged at exactly the same time!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

%d bloggers like this: