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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 1.18

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For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

This is a very serious verse and one that needs considerable contemplation by all Christians. Let’s first of all define the phrase “wrath of God”. The Greek word is orge (pronounced or-gay) and it can mean violent emotions or it can mean punishment.

Most commentaries I read seem to lean towards defining orge in this verse as violent emotions. This goes back to the Calvinist idea that God is angry with the world. I even read one commentary that said that God hates sinners – that if you sin, God hates you until you repent.

I believe whole heartedly that this idea of “sinners in the hand of an angry God” is a false one. We are not sinners in the hands of an angry God, and we were never sinners in the hands of an angry God! We were sinners, but God was not angry. Now, as Christians, we are not sinners any more: we are righteous saints in the hands of a loving Father.

The preacher of “sinners in the hands of an angry God” first transcribed sermon was about how God will not save anyone who comes to Him in sincere faith, as God can do what He likes and God will only save who He wants to save! People in his church were so depressed by his preaching that some of them committed suicide, including his own uncle. He then said that it was God that made them kill themselves! If I thought that unless I was specially chosen by God there was no way I could be redeemed from sin, no matter how much I wanted to be, I think I would be suicidal too! It is utterly Biblically incorrect to say that we are sinners in the hands of an angry God, yet many Christians use this era of Christianity as their benchmark of living Christianity and ignore the book of Acts!

Let’s look at this topic of the wrath of God across the wider Biblical teaching of God and then let’s look at this within the context of Romans 1 and unpick what this verse means. I believe it means that the legal punishment of God is revealed, not God’s emotional anger.

Firstly, let me say that the Bible is clear that God is pure and righteous and holy. Godliness is about being pure and acting right and living holy. I am not for sin – sin is a killer: sin will keep you enslaved and take you places where death can attack and destroy you. However, the sin problem has been dealt with. Sin will never affect your relationship and intimacy with God.

You see when God created Adam and Eve and when they first sinned, God did not punish them. Pain in childbirth, having to work and sweat to make the world produce, difficulty in relationships, being dead spiritually and eventually dying physically were not placed on Adam and Eve by God – they were just the natural consequences of kicking God out of your life and your planet. God gave Adam and Eve planet Earth and they booted God out of it – no wonder the planet is in a mess! No wonder marriages are in a mess – they booted God out of marriage! No wonder child-rearing and producing a living are such hard work – they booted God out of these things!

God wasn’t punishing them, they were just dealing with the natural consequences of their actions. If you live a promiscuous lifestyle and catch a sexually transmitted disease, God didn’t put that on you – it is simply the natural consequence of you actions. If you eat 5000+ calories a day, and you have a heart attack – God didn’t do it. If you drink and drive and crash your car, God didn’t do it. If you sin and end up in hell because you never accepted the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary, God didn’t send you to hell – it is simply the consequence of your actions.

God found Adam and Eve and clothed them with the skin of an animal. God brought death into an animal, so that Adam and Eve could live. That is not the actions of someone who is “violently emotional and angry”. You don’t make a sacrifice for someone you hate.

Now, God continually showed love and affection to the human race. Cain murdered his brother and God marked him. The mark of Cain wasn’t judgment it was mercy: it said that you couldn’t punish Cain. It was protection. You don’t protect a murderer if you are violently emotional and angry.

However, people took the love and mercy of God and the goodness of God for granted. The world became more and more wicked, and people such as Lamech said essentially if Cain could murder and God still loved him, I will go and murder who I like. The goodness of God leads to repentance (Romans 2.4) but not if we take it for granted.

So God had to develop a system of laws. He had to wipe out everyone in a flood. But God did it as a discipline and a punishment for sin – not out of a temper. He is our Father – if a father disciplines and punishes a son, that is fine. If my son was rude or stole something, I would punish them in some appropriate way. But, if I did it out of violent anger (which I have on occasion lost my temper at my children and had to repent of it) then you would say that this was bad parenting. How much more is God a good Father?

He flooded the world because He was the judge of the world, not because He violently hated mankind. Someone in a violent emotional state would not have led Noah to build an ark and waited 100 years to discipline humanity, spending that time calling them to repent with a powerfully anointed preacher. Violently angry people do not wait 100 years pleading with people to change!

He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because He had to stop their wickedness spreading. Violently angry people don’t wait until people escape before destroying a city – God did.

You see this idea of God being violently angry and needing to be placated is actually a pagan idea, not a Christian one. The truth is that sin does need a punishment, a death, but God is the one providing the lamb that takes away the sin of the world, not the one looking for it. We are the ones looking for it, and we found it at Calvary – the love of God in a human, giving up His life for us. That is the nature of God.

God must punish sin. The wages of sin is death, and if you die in sin you will go to hell. Sin cannot enter heaven. God’s justice demands that sin is punished. But the love of God triumphs over sin through Calvary. Mercy has triumphed over justice.

This is what this verse is talking about, not a God in heaven looking at people enjoying getting them and blasting them and being violently angry at them. It is a God who knows that sin must be punished and needs to deal with that so that He doesn’t have to punish sin. God doesn’t want anyone going to hell, God doesn’t want anyone sick, anyone suffering, God loves people! Your ungodliness must be punished, your unrighteousness has to be punished! But Jesus was punished so you don’t have to be!

The context of Romans 1.18 is the gospel. The whole reason we need the good news of Jesus is the wrath of God. Not the capricious anger of God, but the punishment of God. God must punish every sin you have ever committed, every impure thought you have ever had. But far from being violently angry with you, God loves you so much that He gave up His only Son to die your death, to bear your iniquity, to take the punishment for your sin – so you could have eternal life, so you could be righteous and pure and so you could have a relationship with God! Selah!

You deserved hell, Jesus went there so you don’t have to. You deserved death, but you are going to live forever if you accept by faith that Jesus took your place. This is the good news. The wrath of God is what makes the good news good news. If there is no wrath of God, then the gospel is meaningless. If sin did not warrant death, then the gospel is useless.

But let that realization of a clear punishment for sin lead you to say that God is an angry God – He is a God who only has thoughts to prosper you not to harm you. Angry people cannot think like that. God is angry – but not at humans, He is angry at injustice, He is angry at ignorance, He is angry that the devil keeps tripping people up and lying to them and making them think that He hates them. He is angry at anything that stops you and Him enjoying fellowship and friendship. But He is not angry at you.

Look at Isaiah 54.7-8:

8In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
9For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

God compares His never being wroth (angry) with us again like the promise that He will never flood the earth again. They are as important to Him. Every Christian knows that God will never flood the world again like He did. You need to know as well and as deeply in your spirit that God will NEVER be wroth with you. Ever.

Next time you see a rainbow, thank God that He is not and will never be angry with you. The wrath of God was entirely poured out on Jesus, the entire punishment for the sin of the world was laid entirely on Him.

That is good news!

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 1.12

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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

Romans 1.11

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For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

Here is a question for you: do you long to see the church? I mean do you long to be with the crowd of Christians, worshipping Jesus, living with the church, helping them in their problems, putting up with their carnality, helping them to grow up, laying down your life for them.

Listen the body of Christ is the church. If you don’t long to see the church, you don’t really love Jesus. You might have emotional feelings about Him, but love is expressing in how you treat someone.

Paul longed to see the Romans. In the midst of 2 Corinthians 11 when Paul is talking about some of the situations he went through in his life, he puts the burden of his love for the churches as being more difficult than being beaten with sticks or lashed with a whip!

How much do you long to be with the church?

And what was Paul’s motivation for being with other Christians? It was not to get.

I will say this, most Christians go to church to get. That is true. It is an absolute indictment on the church, its structure, its understanding of love, its understanding of the kingdom of God.

Most Christians leave church and they rate the service. They comment on what the worship was like (I won’t spend the time necessary to explain how you cannot rate worship!), they make their judgment on how anointed the preacher was, and they assess how good the offering was. They never came to give, they never came to offer.

Well, they came to offer some cash, to tip good and pay their protection money, and to sit on the seat. But that is not the offerings that God is looking for.

Paul longed to be with the church to offer (impart = Gk. metadidomi – to offer, cf. Luke 3.11) a spiritual gift to the church. Paul wanted to go to church to offer spiritual life to the church – to impart faith, to teach the Word, to inspire with His testimony, to give a message in tongues, to prophesy over people, to have a word of wisdom for someone, to help a sheep find their way.

Why do you go to church?

Are you imitating Paul the way he copied Jesus? (1 Cor. 11.1).

Are you longing to go to church to offer something?

Not for your glory, not so people write about you or praise you or thank you, not to establish your ministry – but to establish (Gk. sterizo – to make constant, to make strong or to make stable) the church.

Is your joy found in going to church?

Is your goal in going to church to strengthen the church and offer something?

Is your motive in giving and imparting spiritual wisdom and revelation and gifting, selfless and to make strong the church?

If so, you can say that you are copying Paul like he is copying Christ.

If not, you have some adjusting to do in the way you think about the church and about Christians!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.10

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Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

Paul is requesting that he might have a prosperous journey to visit the Romans. The NLT makes this verse very simple:

One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you.

Paul is praying for the Romans what he is praying for is the chance to see them. We all know Paul’s great hymns of praise (cf. Romans 11.34-36) and Paul’s theological prayers (cf. Ephesians 1.16-23) and they are beautiful. Paul was a deep man.

But just because someone is deep doesn’t mean that they are not a human! Paul is praying for the Romans – not for deep revelation, not for truth and life, for wisdom, for the will of God – no, Paul is praying that he can get a chance to see them and visit them.

It is perfectly acceptable to pray for things that you might think are mundane. Not every prayer has to be for a worldwide revival and power and glory sweeping the earth!

It is ok to ask for a parking space, to ask God that you would bump into an old friend that you miss, that someone in church would give you a lift home. That is great.

Notice as well that Paul did not know the will of God – here he prays that he would journey to them by the will of God (Paul was not asking for the will of God to be that his journey was prosperous, but that God would allow him to go!).

Paul prayed about things that he didn’t know what God wanted. That is fine. It is ok to say “if it by Thy will” when we pray.

Sometimes as faith people we get the revelation that when we are praying for something that the Bible clearly tells us is the will of God, then it is sin and doubt to pray “if it be Thy will”, and then we go overboard and never pray “if it be Thy will” again!

Listen if the will of God is clearly revealed in Scripture or by revelation, DO NOT pray “if it be Thy will”. The Bible says “By His stripes We Are Healed.” Never pray for healing “if it be Thy will” – what an insult to the stripes. Never pray for prosperity or joy “if it be Thy will” – pray the Word.

But some things we don’t know. Paul didn’t know at that stage if God wanted him to go to Rome or not. You might not know if someone is the right person to marry, or if a church is the right church to go to. At times like this there is nothing wrong with asking God “if it be Thy will, I want to go to Rome”, “if it be thy will, I will marry her/ him or not”, “if it be Thy Will, I will join this church”.

Or whatever. Don’t get silly about it, there is no need to pray for which breakfast cereal to eat. Grow up – remember God is our Father. If my children asked me to tell them what cereal to eat, I would be stunned. If I replied to such a ridiculous question it would be to say “Eat the one you fancy, it doesn’t matter”.

If at any point it did matter, I would let my children know. “Adam, the milkman hasn’t come, don’t have cereal because you will use all the milk, have some toast and a croissant.” He is my son – the lines of communication are open, so I don’t expect silly questions.

Some of ask God the most silly questions – I know someone who used to pray what socks to wear in the morning. Now if it bothers you, then He is touched with our infirmities. God is our Father and loves us – and that is fine. If you ask him “look, Father, which tie looks best with this shirt”, He will tell you if it matters to you. He knows what is important to you.

But in general, we should not be asking about trivial things – God expects you to just do them. Even in the street, people ask God should I talk to that person when the Bible says preach to every creature. If you are asking the question, you should be speaking to that person!

But for important things – which church should I go to, should I go here or there, where should I go on holiday – ask Him, and freely say “if it be Thy will”. By saying this you are letting God know that He is GOD! That if He says go to Rome, you will go to Rome. If He says don’t go, then you won’t.

Be that kind of person and you will very soon find out the will of God for your life. If you are prepared to do anything, you will quickly find the something you are called to do.

Romans 1.9

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For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

Let’s start with what Paul says first: he serves God with his spirit. This means that Paul is always serving God because he serves God from the inside.

He doesn’t need a crowd to listen to him to serve God, he can serve God chained up in prison. Sometimes we think that we have to do great things on earth to impress God – but God is impressed by our spirit, by us worshipping, praising and praying for people. Also – if you do mighty public works without your spirit being humble and pure before God you are wasting your time – you gain nothing (see 1 Cor. 13).

You can serve God right now – lift your hands to heaven and thank Him for making a wonderful day, pray for someone who has persecuted you and ask God to bless them and show them honour, then speak life over your family and your church. How easy it is to serve God!

Paul says that without ceasing he prayed for the Roman church. This word without ceasing is adialeiptōs in the Greek. This word is only used four times in the New Testament:

Romans 1.9 – without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers

1 Thess 1.2-3 – We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus
Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

1 Thess 2.13 – For this cause also we thank God without ceasing

1 Thess 5.17 – Pray without ceasing

Notice that this word is only used in the Bible in the context of our relationship with God. We should pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5.17), and incase we dismiss this command as an ideal and not reality Paul says clearly in Romans 1.9 that he prayed without ceasing for the Roman church.

Now this does not mean that Paul prayed non-stop for the Roman Christians. It does not mean that whenever you found Paul he was lying prostrate praying in tongues for the Romans.

Firstly, Paul slept, he ate, he drank, he was a worker, he was a preacher. You cannot pray non-stop and nor can I. There is no Biblical command to pray non-stop.

The devil likes to get in to these sorts of commands and condemn us for not praying enough. He misquotes the Scripture to make you feel like rubbish.

Listen when God convicts us it is always three things:

1) Redemptive
2) Specific
3) Achievable

If the Holy Spirit says “Every day before you leave the house pray in tongues for 20 minutes” that is probably God because it is redemptive (it is something positive), it is specific (you can easily tell if you have done it or not) and it is achievable.

The devil is the one that says “you must pray more” – he wouldn’t dare tell you when to pray or give you a method of prayer or a goal, he just wants you to feel like rubbish. You must be more loving is another one of his phrases.

You cannot pray non-stop so stop feeling guilty that you don’t.

Let me explain what without ceasing means: it means without an intermission. Have you ever been to the cinema (I know all you holy people have never been to the cinema!) when there is a long film with an intermission: it is a break where something else happens.

You should pray without a break where something else happens. It means without an interruption to your prayer. Look at Strong’s Concordance:

Adverb from adialeiptos; uninterruptedly
When you read without ceasing in your Bible, translate it in your mind to without interruptions.

When you pray, you should be operating in faith and love. What praying without interruptions means is that just because you are not in your prayer time, don’t drop the faith and the love.

Let me try and make it practical for you so you can grasp this. Imagine you are praying for one of your children. You know that prayer must be in faith and you know that faith comes from hearing the Word so you search the Scriptures for a Scripture for your child. Maybe your child is having difficulties or starting to rebel.

Imagine you find Isaiah 54.13, which says great shall be the peace of thy children. So you go to prayer:

Father, thank you for Bob. Thank you that your Word says that His peace shall be great. He is not controlled by fear but by peace. He shall not have a broken life, but a peaceful life. He is a man of peace, and brings peace with him. Amen.

Now to pray for Bob without ceasing doesn’t mean that you pray non-stop, no drinking, no thinking, no sleeping, no anything that stops you praying and never doing anything else. Imagine if Paul prayed for the Romans like that and if pray without ceasing meant that, then Paul would never have prayed for the Thessalonians because that would mean to cease praying for the Romans! This is clearly not what pray without ceasing means.

To pray for Bob without ceasing means that after you have finished praying, you don’t phone Sister Bucketmouth and say “Man, what am I going to do with Bob? I can’t get a handle on him, it’s getting worse.” If you say contrary to your prayer, you have interrupted your prayer. You have failed to pray without interruption.

You have interrupted your prayer of faith with doubt, fear, worry and unbelief. You are undoing your prayer!

Listen: Paul prayed (and gave thanks – read Romans 1.8 and 9 together) for the Romans without ceasing. When he finished praying for them and thanking God for them, he did not go:

“Well, those Romans, it is so tough being church in Rome, I don’t know how they have made it. I hope they keep making it, I better go there and sort them out… you no what kind of mess they will be in without me…”

No – he refused to interrupt his prayer. He didn’t pray for his bills to be met on Sunday and get up Monday and worry and fret – he never interrupted his prayer. He didn’t pray in faith for the church to be revived and then tell his friend what a bunch of unspiritual fools they were down at the church as soon as he said amen.

Paul didn’t quit being thankful and appreciative for the church when he finished praying. He didn’t take faith and love into the prayer closet and leave them in there.

No – God was and is His witness, he refused to interrupt his prayers.

My encouragement to you today is this:

Pray without interruption (1 Thessalonians 5.17, Ben Conway Translation)

Do not let anything interrupt your prayers. When you have offered up your prayer in faith and love, don’t go and speak something in doubt and hatred. Don’t interrupt your prayers.

God doen’t interrupt prayers, He answers them. But if in the process of that answer manifesting, you interrupt yourself, then you are the one stopping the answer from manifesting.

You don’t have to pray non-stop, you need to pray and keep the attitudes of faith and love non-stop.

I hope this clarifies for you and helps you realize that 1 Thess. 5.17 is a command you can obey, and should obey, I hope it stops the devil ever thumping you on the head with this Scripture!

But more than that, I hope it helps you pray the prayer of faith for yourself, for friends, for enemies and for entire churches and see your answers manifest because you refuse to interrupt yourself.

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.

Romans 1.5

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By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Paul is now being fairly personal about his life: from Jesus he received grace and apostleship.

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:

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