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Last Days – The Days of Lot

Last Days – The Days of Lot

I’m posting about Christ’s teaching on the Last Days in Luke, chapter 17. After talking about the days of Noah, the Lord goes on to describe the days of Abraham’s nephew, Lot.

“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

Luke 17:28-29 NIV

This event is recorded in Genesis 19. You can read through that chapter to get the whole story.

Two angels arrived in Sodom to visit Lot. Lot invited them into his home, knowing who they were.

When the men of the city heard that travelers were in Lot’s house, they demanded that Lot turn them over to the crowd. According to the Bible, they wanted to rape these angels. Lot then tried to reason with the men of the city but they wouldn’t listen.

You probably know what happens in the city of Sodom. The two guests, who happen to be angels, come to Lot’s defense. They bar the way into Lot’s house and bring blindness upon all the men of the city who are trying to get in.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Genesis 19:15-17 NIV

With the coming of the dawn – THE DAY – judgment came upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Once Lot and his family were out of sight of the city it was all over. The day that Lot left the city was the day that judgment fell. Now bear in mind that the inhabitants of those cities had some warning. Lot spent the whole day before trying to convince them.

The angels told Lot that if he had any loved ones in the city he should go and warn them. The Bible says that he went to his sons-in-law and they laughed at him. The city was warned. But because Lot wasn’t as in tune to the Lord as Noah, they didn’t have as much time to prepare. In both Noah’s day and in Lot’s the people ignored the warning.

Now I’ll ask the same questions I asked in my last post. When it was all said and done, who was left? According to Scripture it was Lot. Who was taken? Again, according to Scripture, it was the inhabitants of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Twice in the verses from Genesis 19:15-17 the angels said that the inhabitants would be “swept away.” That concept is very important.

We need to understand what will happen when Christ reveals Himself at His return. In my next post we’ll look at how Christ summarized His teaching on this future event.

Question: How does this knowledge affect how we live for Christ?

If you want a more detailed teaching on the Second Coming of Christ, click here to check out my book: The Third Watch – It’s Later Than You Think.

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2022 in Return of Christ, Spiritual Walk

 

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Last Days – The Days of Noah

Last Days – The Days of Noah

We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. At this point, I’ve been posting about the Lord’s teaching on the last days. Last time, we saw the warning He gave to His disciples that He would not return in their lifetime.

Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.”
Luke 17:22-24 NIV

He had to tell them the truth. They weren’t going to see the days of the Son of Man. Now that’s a term we need to understand. He had never yet used that term with His disciples before that day.

Let’s look carefully at the words of the Lord as He explains it to His disciples. He talked about the days of the Son of Man culminating in His day. Notice that He says in verse 24, “For the Son of Man in his day…”singular.

The word day means one literal twenty-four hour day. So what we see are “the days of the Son of Man” leading up to “the day of the Son of Man.” Thankfully He’s not finished with His explanation.

“But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”
Luke 17:25 NIV

Here Jesus explains to them what He’s going to do. He still hadn’t died yet and the disciples needed to prepare themselves for the shock of seeing their Messiah hung upon a cross. Unfortunately, the disciples never really heard what Jesus said, and ultimately were taken by surprise by the death of the Lord.

We’re now going to look at verse 26. Please read it carefully because a lot of people use these comparisons out of context and twist them all around to mean something other than what’s written.

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”
Luke 17:26-27 NIV

Notice that Jesus again uses the phrase “the days of the Son of Man.” It will be just like in “the days of Noah.” Notice “the days of the Son of Man” culminates in “the day of the Son of Man.” Compare that to “the days of Noah” culminating in “the day Noah entered the ark.” It was on that day that the flood came and destroyed them all.

At that point, when all were safe inside, God shut the door. That was it, there was no turning back. No one could leave, and no one else could enter the ark of salvation. This is an important point in the principle Jesus is trying to get across to His disciples.

When all these things had taken place, the judgment of God fell upon that ancient world.

Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
Genesis 7:22-23 NIV

Now it’s important for me to ask you another question. According to the Scripture above, who was left? The answer is simple yet ignored. It clearly states that Noah and everybody in the ark were left. Who was wiped away from off the face of the earth? Every person and animal not in the ark.

It’s so clearly stated that you might ask why I’m emphasizing this issue. There’s a very important reason. Most of the people, who interpret this section of Scripture, rip it from its context, reverse it, and say that Noah was taken and the rest were left. We’re not going to do that today. I believe this verse as written and refuse to do any scriptural gymnastics to try and make it say something that it doesn’t. Here’s a parallel passage of Scripture.

and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Matthew 24:39 NIV

Even in His comments concerning the flood Jesus makes it abundantly clear that it was the sinners that were taken and Noah who was left. This is a very important concept to grasp. It goes against most of the teaching in the church today. Yet it’s vital that we agree with what Christ says no matter what anybody else teaches.

Question: Does this challenge or confirm your beliefs about the Second Coming of the Lord? How?

If you want a more detailed teaching on the Second Coming of Christ, click here to check out my book: The Third Watch – It’s Later Than You Think.

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2022 in Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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Christ’s Visible Return

Christ’s Visible Return

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post we saw Jesus answering the Pharisees’ question about the kingdom of God. When they leave, the Lord turns to His disciples and starts teaching them about the last days.

Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.”
Luke 17:22

Jesus begins to tell them what the Pharisees were really asking about. He told them that they would not see one of the days of the Son of Man. It turns out that there’s a special reason why He gave this teaching to His disciples. He needed to warn them that none of the disciples would be alive when Jesus Christ was to return.

“Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.”
Luke 17:23-24

The Lord knew that as soon as He died, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, there were going to be people who claimed to be the Messiah. There would be those who proclaimed, “Jesus has returned, He’s back again”.

After all, even when Jesus was ministering, the people thought He was the return of Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. He knew that there would always be those who claimed to be a new incarnation of the Christ. In this teaching, the Lord wanted to nip that heresy in the bud.

He told His disciples clearly that if anybody said that the Lord had returned, they would automatically know it was a lie. They wouldn’t have to go someplace to check it out. They wouldn’t have to verify it.  He was saying, “Know for sure that I will not come back in your lifetime.”

This verse then, was specifically for the disciples. As it turned out, they were very glad that the Lord gave them this wisdom. Following the ascension of Christ, there were plenty of false Messiahs that came along. The disciples were fortunate in knowing that they didn’t have to worry about whether they were the real thing or not.

Even Paul ran into this problem. He had to write to the Thessalonian church dealing with this issue. They were all upset because somebody told them Jesus had already returned and they had missed it. Paul had to tell them, “No, it hasn’t happened yet.”

He didn’t have to go and find out. He didn’t have to call up anybody or check it out. He knew with a certainty that Christ had not yet returned.

As a matter of fact, Jesus said, “When I come, it’s not going to be in secret. It will be like lightning flashing from one end of the heavens to the other. Everybody is going to see Me.”

Even in my generation, I’ve heard about a few people who’ve claimed to be the Christ. They said that they were the next incarnation or avatar of Jesus. I can say with absolute certainty, these people are lying.

When Christ truly does return, every eye will see Him. I won’t have to pay to go to a meeting in Florida or fly to India. I’ll see the Lord perfectly fine, right where I’m at.

I also believe that we’re the generation that will see His return.

Question: How are you preparing and looking forward to the day Christ will appear?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2022 in Faith, Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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Thankful People

Thankful People

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. Now, we see Jesus traveling throughout Israel. He’s preaching the Word and doing God’s will. As the Lord is walking along, some men with leprosy approach Him.

You may want to read Luke 17:11-19 before going on with this post. This section of Scripture gives us some insights into what it means to be thankful. It should cause you to stop and think; how thankful am I for all that God has done?

In this portion of Scripture, a group of lepers went to Jesus for healing. In these verses, we see everything needed for obtaining the blessing of God. There’s faith, obedience, and expectancy. Jesus’ response to them is simple.

He told them to go and show themselves to the priests. There was no special religious display. The Lord didn’t touch them or even pray over them. He simply gave them a task to complete. As they obeyed His command, they found they were healed along the way.

One former leper had a great response.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
Luke 17:15

The first thing he does is to come back to Jesus, yelling praises on the top of his lungs. The literal Greek uses the words mega-phone. This was not a quiet thankfulness of the heart. He must have attracted a lot of attention, but he didn’t care. He wanted to praise God for what happened to him. That’s the first thing we see…

Thankful people live loud for the Lord. We must learn to have a lifestyle of praise. It’s time that God’s people come “out of the closet” with their thankfulness.

That’s because this is a normal response to the hand of God at work. It doesn’t mean that you have to yell all the time. But I am saying that God’s work should be abundantly evident in your life. But there was more…

He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:16

Next thing we see is this man throwing himself at Jesus’ feet. This is the position of worship.

Thankful people live a life of worship. Because we’re thankful – we worship. Worship acknowledges God for who He is. We’re simply grateful because He allows us to come before Him anytime we want, clothed in His righteousness.

But that verse also said that he thanked Jesus.

…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20

Are we to thank God for everything? The actual Greek says over everything. I need to thank God over everything I receive. (I don’t receive sickness, etc.)

Thankful people thank God over everything. We know the source of life and blessing. Of all people, we should be the ones who are constantly thanking God for the good things we see in our lives.

But there’s one more aspect of thankfulness that we need to look at. It comes from Jesus’ reaction to the healed man.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Luke 17:17-18

This question gives us insight into the heart of God. We all want to be loved and appreciated. Where do you think that comes from? I’ll tell you – we were created in the image of God.

Thankful people are sought out by God. Thank offerings were not required by the Law of Moses. God wanted the hearts of the people to prompt them to be thankful. When we’re thankful, it opens the door for a richer walk with the Lord. We need to take the time to be truly thankful before God.

Questions: What are you thankful to God for? Are you willing to let people know about it?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Profitable in the Kingdom

Profitable in the Kingdom

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is talking about the subject of obedience. Many Christians want to hear Christ say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But do we really know what kind of obedience Jesus looks for in a servant? Listen to what He tells His disciples.

Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?”

Luke 17:7-9 NIV

Christ shows us a servant, working in the fields. He comes home tired and hungry. Just as he sits down to eat with his family, he hears the master arrive.

Does he have the luxury of finishing his meal first? Of course not. He must immediately get up and tend to the needs of his master. That’s the life of a servant.

After he has served, he can go back to his meal. After all he did, does he now expect a bonus? No, he’s only done what’s normally expected of a person in his position.

God expects more from us than we expect from ourselves. In the passage above, the Lord goes on to ask a very fearful question. As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I tremble at the implications.

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

Luke 17:10 NIV

That’s a very deep question. Should you, as a servant, do as you’re told and then expect to be thanked? The word thanked means to be blessed, tipped or given a special reward. Actually, a servant is supposed to do what he or she is told.

If all we do in our ministry is what’s expected or normal for our kind of ministry, then we’re not operating in the excellent. As a matter of fact, Jesus calls us unworthy servants, meaning unprofitable.

There are always things that we must do or that we’re expected to do. The word unworthy is derived from a Greek word that means, not ought.

The thought is that you are not what you ought to be. To break into the realm of the excellent you must break through the “musts” and enter into the “oughts.”

Those who are not only doing what they have to do, but have found a way to do what they ought to do, are considered to be walking in excellence. When a person goes beyond the expected in his or her walk with the Lord we marvel at their spirit of excellence.

What does that mean to me? I must stop saying, “I ought to have…”, “I ought to do…”, or “I ought to be…” then with the next breath say, “But I have so much I need to do; I can’t.” When you develop the spirit of excellence, the Holy Spirit is now free to work in you to accomplish what wasn’t expected.

As excellence starts its work in you, you can tap into God’s excellent power, His excellent grace, and His excellent love. You’ll find out that God has all the resources you need to fulfill the call to excellence that He’s placed inside of you. That will bring glory to His name.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

II Corinthians 4:7

The word all-surpassing is the Greek word hyperballoexcellent. This excellent power does not come from our own strength. Don’t ever take the credit for the excellence in your ministry. The glory belongs to God.

Walking in the spirit of excellence is one of the earmarks of the power of God in your life, showing that you hear from God and are obeying His voice.

Question: What are some of the marks of God’s excellence in your life and ministry?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Watch for Stumbling Blocks

Watch for Stumbling Blocks

We’re continuing to study the Gospel of Luke. We’re now starting chapter 17. Jesus makes a comment that many people think is just a random exhortation.

That’s because of the way our Bibles were put together. Remember, originally there were no chapters and verses. They were added later to make it easier to find things. This is one of those places where they mess things up.

Jesus is continuing His same thought from chapter 16. He has just told the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This comment refers to that story.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.”

Luke 17:1-3a NIV

The phrase, things that cause people to sin, actually means things that cause offense. It means things that could possibly trap you in anger and bitterness.

Going back to the rich man and Lazarus, we can see the connection. Everyday Lazarus was placed at the rich man’s doorstep. Everyday, Lazarus watched the lavish lifestyle that was lived out in that house.

Everyday he longed for the scraps that were carelessly thrown away, but he was denied from getting them. This means that everyday Lazarus was given an opportunity to be offended and become angry and bitter at God.

These offenses are not isolated incidents. By His language, the Lord makes it clear that they will come upon us regularly. Like it or not, you will be given the opportunity to be offended. It’s how you handle that temptation that matters.

Sometimes this word, offense, is translated as a stumbling block. The rich man was probably oblivious to the fact that he was laying down stumbling blocks, everyday, in the path of Lazarus. The implication is that Lazarus had to watch his attitude everyday.

That’s why the Lord said we need to watch ourselves. I don’t think Jesus is talking about us watching out to not offend people. He offended multitudes. His focus is that we don’t pick up bitterness and anger when given the opportunity.

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

Luke 17:3-6 NIV

The disciples were having a hard time with this. The Lord taught that if someone offends you seven times in one day, you must still forgive them. That means you have to release any bitterness and anger against them.

The disciples tried to sound holy to get around it. “We don’t have enough faith for that yet!” Jesus made it clear that you don’t need faith, you only need obedience to His word.

It’s good to see that the Apostle John grabbed hold of this truth. He wrote about it in one of his letters.

Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.

1 John 2:10 NIV

If you walk in the love of Christ, then you’re walking in the light. This verse literally say that in that case, you have no offense – no stumbling blocks – inside you.

We need to live free of bitterness. Release your offenses to God. Walk in forgiveness, the same forgiveness that was shown to you on the cross. Only then can you walk in the peace and joy of the Lord.

Question: How free are you from offense and bitterness?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2022 in Faith, Relationships, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Prepared?

Prepared?

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. Jesus now tells the crowds about the rich man and Lazarus. You may want to read Luke 16:19-31 before going further in the post.

The Lord has been talking about the difference between living under the Law of Moses and entering the kingdom of God. It’s the difference between following rules and cultivating a relationship with God.

Christ said that those who enter the kingdom have to put forth an effort. It requires conviction and zeal to find that “narrow gate” which leads to the life in the spirit.

He concludes this teaching by talking about the rich man and Lazarus. There are many who believe that this is not a parable. They think it’s an actual event Jesus is talking about. They believe this because Jesus doesn’t give anyone an actual name in His parables.

Whatever the case, we need to hear what the Lord is saying to us. It’s not simply about being saved.

The Lord starts with the two main characters. The first is a rich man, who according to Christ, radiated rejoicing every day.

Then there was a poor beggar who was thrown down at the rich man’s gate every day. He watched the house and wished that he could eat the crumbs that the rich man threw away. This beggar was covered in sores that he allowed the dogs to lick in order to keep them clean.

The Lord then describes what happened after they both died. We need to remember that this description is about death before the resurrection of Christ. At that time everyone went to a “holding area”, waiting for the salvation that Christ would purchase.

In this holding area, there were two sections. One for those who were lost, and one for those were looking forward in faith to the Messiah.

It’s very interesting the way the story unfolds. One thing I see, is that attitudes and perceptions don’t change, even after death. Look at the request that the rich man asked of Abraham.

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’”

Luke 16:24 NIV

Do you hear the attitude? The rich man still sees himself as superior to Lazarus. He expects Lazarus to tend to his needs. Abraham explains that this will never happen.

When he sees that his condition will not be improved, the rich man begins to think about his family. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to tell his brothers about this place.

Abraham tells the rich man that his family already knows about this. They have the Scripture warning them about the afterlife.

The rich man says that they need a miracle to convince them. They need to see someone rise from the dead.

Abraham counters with a very important statement.

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Luke 16:31 NIV

That raises an important question we need to ask ourselves. What will it take for us to wholeheartedly follow God’s Word? We all need to come to grips with this.

In this story, I see so many parallels with the generation we’re living in. Yes, I know that we’re now living under grace and not under the Law. I know that in Christ, our sins are covered, and we stand in the righteousness of God.

However, there are still things that please and displease the Lord. There is still going to be a final judgment where we receive, or don’t receive, rewards for our service to Christ.

Many believers live in luxury, with no thought to those who are dying around them. Many powerful ministries are starving for the resources that could multiply their ability to reach the lost. What side of the kingdom are you sitting on?

This story should force us to think about our eternal future. Set aside spiritual riches for the kingdom. Prepare now for your future with Christ.

Question: How prepared are you for your eternal life in the kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Legalism is a Dead End

Legalism is a Dead End

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is talking to His disciples and the crowds about the kingdom of God.

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”

Luke 16:16 NIV

In the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus, a new focus has emerged. The Law and the Prophets were the main points of religious teaching until that time. Now there’s an emphasis on the kingdom of God.

The religious leaders are not too happy about this. They could get around some of the Law of Moses. They were experts in the loopholes allowing them to do as they pleased, all the while keeping the facade of holiness.

The kingdom of God is about relationship with God. It’s not about a set of rules made by men. The Law is a set of unchanging commands.

It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.”

Luke 16:17 NIV

The Law of Moses is unchanging and impersonal. It doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t make any exceptions because of your situations, weaknesses, or what you happen to be going through at the moment.

The Law doesn’t have the power to help you. It doesn’t give you any support to live an overcoming life. It’s just there to point out the sin that you’re wrestling with on a daily basis.

Jesus gives the Pharisees an example.

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Luke 16:18 NIV

This seems to be a random verse, stuck in here for no reason. But, there’s a truth that Jesus is trying to get across to the Pharisees. The Law doesn’t care about your situation.

At one point the Pharisees came to Jesus and questioned Him about the issue of divorce. I covered this a while back as we were going through the Gospel of Mark. The details are in Mark 10:1-12.

The religious leaders enjoyed this “divorce loophole”. The Law allowed for a husband to give his wife a certificate of divorce. That was the Law. What was God’s view?

That was clear throughout Scripture.

“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty.

Malachi 2:16 NIV

That’s the difference between serving God by following the rules and life in the kingdom. We all want to know the rules. Rules are easier than maintaining a relationship.

There are Christians who live this way. They’ve boiled Christianity down to a set of man-made rules. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, go to church, give your tithes, etc. They follow the rules, then live for themselves the rest of the time.

A relationship with God is harder to maintain. In any relationship there’s shared responsibility. I have to find out what my partner likes or doesn’t like. My goal is to live in such a way that we grow together.

That’s what the kingdom of God is like. It’s not about rules. I must seek what pleases God and what displeases Him. I need to allow His Holy Spirit to work in me. I must hear Him, trust Him, and obey Him.

This is why many marriages break down. They don’t cultivate relationship. They think that as long as they’re doing what they’re supposed to do (following the rules), then the marriage is strong. They realize too late that when the relationship breaks down, the marriage soon follows.

Don’t turn your Christian walk into a set of rules. Legalism is a dead-end street full of frustration and guilt. Cultivate a strong relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit. That’s the key to fulfillment.

Question: How strong is your relationship with Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2022 in Faith, Legalism, Relationships, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Spiritual Violence

Spiritual Violence

In my last post, Jesus concluded with a comment about finances. He said that you couldn’t serve both God and a desire for riches. The Pharisees heard it and continued in a state of denial.

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”

Luke 16:14-15 NIV

This section of Scripture shows just how hardhearted the Pharisees had become. By their actions, they clearly loved riches and power. When Jesus talks about the love of money, they openly ridicule Him.

They’ve gotten to the point where they’ve rejected Him and His teaching. Now, their goal is to publicly discredit the Lord.

As usual, Jesus brings their hypocrisy to the surface. He exposes the fact that they’re always justifying themselves before men. They had a great way of twisting Scripture to make them sound holy while doing evil.

What they seem to forget is that God is not like any human judge. He doesn’t give any credence to a fine sounding argument. The Lord looks straight at what’s going on in their hearts. That’s what He bases His verdict on.

We would do well to remember this. Humanity places a high importance on the temporary. That’s especially true when it comes to personal pleasure. In God’s eyes, it’s the unseen – the eternal – which is the most valuable.

Just how bad are these temporary things that we run after? This translation uses the word detestable. This is one of those words that the translators had to be careful with, knowing that the Bible will be read in church with the Sunday morning crowd.

This Greek word comes from a root that means to pass gas silently. That’s why Jesus felt the need to expose where this foul spiritual smell was coming from! That’s what God thinks about us when we chase after the world and try to justify it by Scripture.

Jesus continues.

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”

Luke 16:16 NIV

Jesus warns the Pharisees that they’re out of step with what God is doing. Until John the Baptist came on the scene, the Law and the Prophets were the main emphasis.

The Pharisees enjoyed that. Any good lawyer could get around the teachings of the Law of Moses. They knew all the loopholes.

Now, since the beginning of John’s ministry, it’s the kingdom of God that’s being focused on in anointed preaching. The kingdom doesn’t deal with laws, rules and loopholes. It looks at the hearts and minds of individuals.

You don’t enter the kingdom of God by well thought out arguments. You have to force your way in by overcoming the natural inclinations of the flesh.

A fire has to ignite in your soul. Another way to say this is that you need the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Then, in response to this work, you must accept Christ in total opposition to the desires of your sinful nature.

We need to realize that making a decision to ignore the flesh is an act of spiritual violence. Throughout our whole lives to that point, our body and soul were in complete agreement. Then, suddenly, the Holy Spirit plants a seed of dissension in this relationship.

Now, body and soul don’t totally agree. Eventually you came to the place where your soul made the choice to bow its knee to Christ. The flesh lost its place on the throne of your life. That’s a spiritual rebellion against the established order of your very being.

Praise God for His life changing power in your life. That’s what gave you the strength you needed to see this change through to its completion.

Question: How did the power of God change your life?

©2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2022 in Faith, Legalism, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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