RSS

Author Archives: Revzacc

About Revzacc

I pastor a church in Watertown, Massachusetts. I also enjoy traveling, hiking, and enjoying new places and experiences.

Identification Principles

Identification Principles

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching the disciples as well as the crowds following Him. Since the Jewish leaders are now trying to discredit Him, the Lord explains some important concerns that they need to deal with.

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.”

Luke 12:8-9 NIV

The first thing the Lord talks about is agreement. The word, acknowledge, is a Greek word that means to speak the same as. In other words, you agree with Christ, both His claims and His teaching. If we do this, then the Lord acknowledges us before His angels. Why is that so important?

It makes a difference because in many instances God uses His angels to answer our prayers. If we’re not in agreement with Christ, we don’t have that blessing. I imagine it as if we pray for something, and the angels look to Christ for His acknowledgment. But, if we’re not in agreement with Him and His plans for us, the Lord just shrugs His shoulders, and the angels ignore the request.

Acknowledging Jesus is more than just saying, “I’m a Christian. I love Jesus.” It means that I’m getting to know Him personally. I want His will to be accomplished in my life.

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Luke 12:10 NIV

Now the Lord deals with an even deeper issue. It’s something that the religious leaders of Israel need to consider carefully. Of course, it’s also something that a lot of Christians get worked up about, hoping that they haven’t committed the unpardonable sin.

First, Jesus deals with Himself. By calling Himself the Son of Man, the Lord is speaking of His earthly ministry. The fact is, not many people in Israel knew what to expect in the Messiah’s coming. Some of their misgivings were based upon a lack of knowledge. That can be forgiven.

However, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is another matter. That word, blasphemy, means that you’re speaking evil about someone. You are actively trying to injure someone’s good name.

This brings with it some assumptions. It assumes that you know that you’re talking about a real person. Then, you also know that this person is good, you just want them to look bad in the eyes of others.

In this case, the Pharisees and other leaders knew that the hand of God was at work in Jesus’ ministry. They knew it was the power of the Holy Spirit healing and delivering from demonic forces. Yet, in an effort to discredit the Lord, they said it was the power of the devil. By doing this they were placing themselves on very dangerous ground.

What about us? I’ve been asked many times how to know if someone committed the unpardonable sin.

The answer is simple. Since it’s the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and draws us to Christ – a sin against the Spirit is a dangerous thing.

But, as I said, it’s the Holy Spirit who draws us to Christ. So, I ask, would it be upsetting and troubling to you if you found out you had committed this sin? If the answer is “Yes” then you haven’t committed it.

Anyone who had committed this unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit would have absolutely no remorse about it. They wouldn’t care at all. That’s because the Spirit would no longer be working on their heart.

So, as long as you have a desire to repent, you can be forgiven for your sin. The real question is, are you identifying yourself with Christ? Do you want His will to be accomplished in your life? That should be the top priority of your soul.

Question: How intimate are you with the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Fear Without Fear

Fear Without Fear

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is teaching His disciples in chapter 12. We now come to a very interesting portion of Scripture. In this section we’re going to see two important aspects of fear.

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

Luke 12:4-5 NIV

The first thing we need to understand is the fear of the Lord. This is the foundation of a mature walk with God. We know from Scripture that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10) and the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7).

I’ve heard people teach about the fear of the Lord in the past. Sometimes they’re a little off base when they say that this kind of fear is only a healthy respect. I choose to differ.

The word for fear in this verse is the Greek word from which we get the word phobia. It’s talking about actual fear, but you need to understand how it works.

This kind means a fear that changes your actions. Because you know the possible outcomes, you change what you’re doing. That’s the fear of the Lord.

I know that there will be a final Judgment Seat. There’s a lot at stake. Jesus says that if found guilty, I could be thrown into hell – literally, the lake of fire.

But, I know how I’ll be judged, and I know how to come through with an innocent verdict. The only way to freedom is through the payment made by Jesus Christ on the cross.

Since I know this, it changes what I do. I accept His Lordship over my life. I strive to please Him. This is the fear of the Lord. It’s more than respect; it’s a change of lifestyle.

Having said that, there’s another part to this fear. Look at what Jesus says immediately following this thought.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Luke 12:6-7 NIV

Having talked about judgment and hell, Jesus wants to make things clear to His disciples. Knowing all of this, should I constantly be living under the fear of hell? Absolutely not!

I’ve come to Christ and declared Him as Lord of my life. Now my future is secure in Him. My fear of the future should be gone.

Now I need to concentrate on the grace, goodness, and love of the Lord. His knowledge of me and my situations are deeper than I could ever imagine. Even though I may feel neglected at times, I’m never out of His thoughts. God is always working on my behalf.

Along with this, I need to cultivate a healthy fear of the Lord. But, I’m not talking about fear of judgment and hell. It has a different focus.

I saw a documentary once about diamond cutters. One in particular paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for a huge uncut diamond. He believed that if he cut it just right, the cut diamonds would be worth millions of dollars.

What he did surprised me. He didn’t just start cutting. He spent the next year studying the diamond and making notes. He didn’t want to ruin the diamond with a wrong cut.

That’s a great view of the fear of the Lord. I don’t fear judgment and hell. But, my relationship with God is so valuable to me, I don’t want to mess it up. I want it to become more valuable each day.

My relationship with Christ is like an uncut diamond. I don’t see the final outcome yet. God knows what I can become. So, I want to follow His plan as closely as possible each step of the way.

This is what the fear of the Lord is all about. It can be the greatest blessing of your life. Cultivate it more and more each day.

Question: How do you see the fear of the Lord changing your actions?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Nothing Hidden

Nothing Hidden

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we find Jesus teaching His disciples. In my last post, I talked generally about not adding any of our own opinions to the Word of God. Today, I want to talk specifically about what the Lord is teaching.

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

Luke 12:1 NIV

The Pharisees were a group of religious leaders who knew the Bible intimately. They had memorized the entire Torah (the first five books) as well as other huge sections. You would think that they, of all people, would agree with the teaching of Christ.

The problem was, they added their “yeast” to the Word. The yeast the Lord talks about is hypocrisy. Jesus saw that many of the Pharisees were hypocrites. That word in the Greek language is very specific. It’s the word they used for an actor in a play.

An actor studies his lines and gets into character. He does this so that he can convincingly portray a different person before an audience as he’s on the stage. That’s how the Pharisees viewed the Jewish religion.

For them, it was all about putting on a convincing performance before the people. They studied the traditions and laws. They practiced their roles, lines and actions. It was all a show with nothing coming from their heart.

The Lord doesn’t want His disciples to fall into this trap. Hypocrites actually get to the point where they’ve convinced themselves that they’re righteous and holy. Unfortunately, they’ve missed the whole foundation of the fear of the Lord.

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

Luke 12:2-3 NIV

Jesus is giving His disciples an important truth here. We would do well to listen and apply it to ourselves.

The word for hypocrisy literally means to act under an assumed persona. Your real identity is hidden, covered, under the character you’re acting out.

In the above verse, Jesus says that there is nothing covered that will not be uncovered. The truth is that hypocrisy cannot stay hidden forever. No matter how well you act it out, at some point you will be discovered as a hypocrite.

The sad thing is, by that point, you’ve convinced yourself that you’re sincere. You’ll get offended and mad that someone would dare accuse you of this evil. Unless you come to the point of repentance, you’ll sink into bitterness and defeat.

Jesus had better hopes for those under His teaching. The second sentence of the above verse is for them. He wants the apostles to live in such a way that their private conversations can be proclaimed from the rooftops.

That needs to be our desire as well. Because I’m a pastor, I’ve been in meetings with various groups and denominations. There have been times where the discussion sounded more like a political strategy meeting than a ministry.

We have to be careful that we don’t lose sight of the fact that our goal is to serve Jesus Christ – the Head of the church. It’s not about power struggles and who gets the credit for what happens. Our goals and motives should be an open book before all men.

In this way, when a move of God takes place, He gets the glory. We need to reorient our thinking to a ministry mentality. Like Jesus said, “I’m not here to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:45). This will keep us from the yeast of the Pharisees.

Question: What are some ways you can keep your life open before God and men?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

God’s Word Without Yeast

God’s Word Without Yeast

I’m continuing to post through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus has just finished rebuking the Pharisees and teachers of the Law for their blatant opposition to His teaching. They simply refuse to listen to the Word of God.

On top of that they’re doing everything in their power to stop the Lord from continuing His ministry.

When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.

Luke 11:53-54 NIV

In spite of this opposition from the religious leaders, the people continued to listen to the Lord’s teaching.

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Luke 12:1 NIV

On different occasions Jesus told His disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. At that time they didn’t understand what He was saying to them. Later on they realized that the Lord was speaking about their hypocrisy.

This was not a warning that only applied to the disciples. We need to take care not to add our own baggage into the mix. If so, then we’ll corrupt the pure Word of God with our own pet doctrines. What we mix into the Word determines the spiritual climate of our churches.

For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
Hebrews 4:2

This verse speaks to us about the similarity between us and Israel. It warns us about how we receive the Word. It literally says that the logos of their hearing did not benefit them. The only way it will is if we combine it with faith in the process of receiving it. The Word of God must be combined with your faith in order for it to be of benefit to you.

So, here we are. I’m doing my best to present you with the pure, clear, logos of God in this article. I want to give you life and nourishment through the Word of God. This is the logos of your hearing. There’s only one way that it will accomplish what was intended. That’s for you, the reader, to combine it with faith. But wait a minute! Where do you get this faith which you’re to combine with the Word?

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

Most of us have this verse memorized. Faith comes by hearing the Word. What it says in the Greek is that this faith comes by hearing the rhema of Christ. What is this? Is it a “catch 22”?

I present the logos to you, but the only way it will benefit you is if you combine it with the faith that only comes through rhema. What kind of circular logic is this? Actually, it’s a picture of the infinite wisdom of God. It’s better than anything you could ever imagine.

In actuality God wants to give you both logos and rhema at the same time. BUT, you have to be expecting Him to do this. God won’t just hit you over the head with His Word.

That’s why when you go to a meeting, or hear a godly speaker on TV or the internet, you need to be ready to receive from God as the message is coming to you. There actually can be times when God speaks to you something totally unrelated to what’s being preached.

You just need to be open to the Lord’s voice. But remember, don’t mix your “yeast” with the message. Too many people add their opinions, ideas, and prejudices into the word that they hear. That will water down God’s Word and make it unprofitable to you.

Spending time in the presence of the Lord helps you to develop a listening ear in the spirit. Then you can hear and guard the pure Word of God in your heart.

Question: When have you heard a Word from God while listening to a human speaker?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 27, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Listen to God’s Messenger

Listen to God’s Messenger

I’ve been posting about the Lord’s rebuke of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. This is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11. Both of these groups of religious leaders are steeped in tradition. They’ve lost their love for God or the people.

Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.”

Luke 11:47-48 NIV

Jesus judges these leaders by their actions. He comes to them declaring the pure truth of God. But, these men hate Him for it. They try to silence and discredit the Lord’s message at every turn.

So Christ points out that they decorate elaborate tombs for the prophets merely as a show. They want people to be impressed by them. In actuality, they would have agreed to kill these very prophets because they spoke the same message that Jesus is preaching.

The truth is clear. If they hate the message of Christ, they would have hated the message of these holy prophets. However, the Lord shows them God’s mercy.

Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’”

Luke 11:49 NIV

It’s never God’s desire to leave people in their ignorance and sin. In spite of their obstinate behavior, He continues to send those who will speak out on behalf of God’s truth. The door is always open for repentance. But in His foreknowledge, the Lord knows that the message will go largely unheeded.

Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.”

Luke 11:50-51 NIV

The Lord concludes this rebuke with a grim warning. Because the religious leadership rejects Christ and His apostles, a great calamity will come upon Israel. It comes upon the whole nation because, for the most part, all of the Jewish people followed the lead of their rulers.

In saying this, Jesus makes some interesting points. Most people don’t know that Abel was the first prophet. He was actually killed by Cain because Abel was the prophet – the only one designated to bring offerings before God. And, Cain refused to go through his brother in giving the offering.

The other thing you may find surprising, is that Zechariah is listed as the last prophet to be killed. That’s because the Bible that Jesus used was in a different order than our Old Testament.

The last book in the Lord’s Bible was 2 Chronicles. Zechariah was the last martyr in that Book. So Jesus was saying that this generation would be responsible for the first to the last martyr.

After this prophecy, the Lord makes one more point.

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

Luke 11:52 NIV

I believe that Jesus is speaking about Himself and His ministry in this verse. Scripture teaches that true knowledge is hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:2-3).

These leaders rejected Christ and the knowledge He preached. On top of that, they tried their best to hinder or stop the people from receiving this gift from the Lord.

We need to learn the lesson these religious leaders failed to grasp. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you in whatever way He chooses.

Whether you like the vessel or not is immaterial. Look for the truth of God’s Word and allow it to take root in your life. This will bring the growth and maturity you need to live out your faith.

Question: What wisdom and knowledge have you found in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Burden Remover

The Burden Remover

In my last post, I started looking at a conversation that Jesus had with a Pharisee who invited Him for a dinner. The Pharisee was surprised that Jesus didn’t observe the traditional washing ceremony before the meal.

The Lord took the opportunity to explain to this religious leader the difference between the inside and the outside. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

Now Jesus continues with this discussion.

Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”

Luke 11:43-44 NIV

Again, the Lord brings up another area where these leaders choose appearance over substance. They are very people conscious. They’re always looking for the approval of those around them.

It’s a lot like our present political system. It’s not about what you know as much as who you know, and what they think of you.

Even with the Pharisees, it wasn’t a matter of right and wrong. That usually didn’t figure into it. They wanted to express the opinion that most of the “important people” would agree with.

That’s why Jesus had a problem with this group. He looked at them like they were unmarked graves. In walking through the area, it may look like a beautiful field full of wildflowers. But people don’t know that right under their feet were dead bodies.

These religious leaders looked great on the surface. They made a public spectacle of their praying, tithing, fasting, and sometimes even giving to the poor. The problem was that their motives were anything but pure.

They wanted to look good in the eyes of the people. They may have looked good on the outside, but as far as God was concerned, they were dead inside.

In saying this, Jesus got a reaction from one of the listeners.

One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

Luke 11:45 NIV

One of the teachers of the law got upset at what the Lord said. Of course, he proved the advice that sometimes you should just be quiet and take it! The Lord now turns His attention to these teachers.

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”

Luke 11:46 NIV

These religious “lawyers” were another level of the problem. They were experts in the letter of the law. Most of it was traditions added to the law by various Rabbis over the years.

They would teach people what the law said. They gave Israel all of the do’s and don’ts of the law. Most of the time they were rebuking the people for any minor infraction that they were caught doing.

Instead, they should have been teaching about why the law was important. They should have been teaching the love, mercy, and forgiveness of God. But, in their zeal to be seen as experts, they represented God as merely a bringer of death and judgment.

It’s unfortunate that there are many Christians who do the same thing. They make up all of these rules that you need to follow in order to “make it to Heaven.” One of them even told me flat out, they believed it was easier to get saved than to stay saved.

That doesn’t sound like the God I serve.

“I’ll make it easy for you to be saved through Jesus Christ. But, at the first misstep, I’ll send you to hell.”

The fact is, when we bow our knee to Christ, His blood covers our sin, past, present, and future. I know that there are people who twist this truth so they can live however they want. We need to realize that Jesus Christ is the burden remover. I praise God for His great salvation!

Question: What burdens has the Lord removed from your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 22, 2022 in Legalism, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Outside Vs. Inside

Outside Vs. Inside

As we continue through the book of Luke, we come to a meeting between Jesus and a Pharisee. I don’t think that the Pharisee knew what he was getting into as he ate with the Lord.

When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.

Luke 11:37-38 NIV

The first thing we need to realize is that Jesus did not have bad hygiene. The washing this refers to, is a ceremonial washing. It was a tradition that sometimes could take up to an hour to accomplish before a meal, even though everything that was washed was already clean.

When He saw the Pharisee’s surprise, Jesus takes the time to explain things to him. The Lord wants to show this leader that there are more important things than following tradition.

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?”

Luke 11:39 NIV

Jesus is talking here about the Pharisees themselves. They are very outward conscious. What people thought about them was more important than their inner character. Jesus is now going to bring that to their attention.

He literally tells them that they’re acting mindlessly. They’re not taking into account the fact that God places greater importance on what’s on the inside of a person.

He sees their lives as full of greed and wickedness. They grasp at what they want with no regard to God’s will for them. They have evil motives, but no one can see this part of their lives.

You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”

Luke 11:40-41 NIV

The Lord makes it clear that they should be following God’s law instead. They should live as givers. They should be trying to be a blessing to those around them who are in need. That would be a “cleaner” lifestyle.

Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.”

Luke 11:42 NIV

Jesus makes it clear that these Pharisees were practicing tradition over substance in their walk with God. They were doing some of the things required by the law, but neglecting the heart of it.

Actually, what they were doing amazes me when I think about it. They even tithed (donated ten percent as an offering) from the herbs they grew in their gardens.

I wouldn’t have even thought about doing that. Counting how many basil leaves I picked and then giving ten percent to the temple. It would be a tiny amount. Yet these leaders were doing just that.

The problem was, they were doing it to look good in front of the people. They loved the reaction. “Look! He even tithed from the mint he grew!”

They weren’t doing it out of love for God. They wanted the adoration of the people.

But that brings me to the application of this. Why do we do what we do? Do we have pure motives for how we serve God?

Why do we attend church every week? Is it because we worry about what people would think if we missed? Or, is it because we love being in the presence of the Lord and His people?

This is the same for any “religious” activity. We need to be asking ourselves if we’re doing it because of tradition, or out of love for our God? God looks at the heart. Motives are everything.

Make it a point to cultivate a true love for the Lord. All that we do should proceed from that relationship.

Question: How is your love for God being manifest to those around you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 20, 2022 in Faith, Legalism, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Full of Light

Full of Light

We’re continuing in our study of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is teaching on the importance of hearing and obeying God’s Word.

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”

Luke 11:33 NIV

I believe that the Lord is speaking about Himself in this verse. Many times He referred to Himself as the Light of the world (John 8:12).

The religious leaders were making an effort to subdue this light. They wanted to silence Jesus to keep His Word from going forth.

Jesus explains to them that His purpose is for all to see His light. God has sent Him into the world to give spiritual sight to those who will listen.

Then, the Lord makes a very interesting statement.

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.”

Luke 11:34-35 NIV

What He says really catches my attention. Recently, I felt the Holy Spirit directing me to do a study of light and darkness in the Scripture. Along with that, since my background is in science, I did a study of light in the physical world.

Light is actually made up of sub-atomic particles called photons. Biblically speaking, these were the very first things God created when He said, “Let there be light!”

I was recently reading about some cutting edge research. They wrote that it has been discovered that every cell in our body contains structures that harness and direct the flow of photons.

It’s very possible that our cells communicate through a type of fiber-optics rather than simple electrical impulses. However, this research is still in its infancy. Be that as it may, we know that our brains are full of photons – these particles of light.

We also know that in the natural, our bodies need light to function properly. That’s why there are seasonal disorders. We get depressed in the winter if we don’t get enough sunlight.

You may be asking what does all of this have to do with what Jesus said. I believe that many times things in the spiritual work like they do in the natural.

Just like our physical bodies need sunlight, our spiritual beings need the light of God’s Word. Many Christians have a “seasonal disorder” because of a lack of exposure to the Word.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105 NIV

If we want our spiritual man to be full of light, then we need to be walking in the light of God’s Word. Take this to heart. We don’t want to be walking with inner darkness.

See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”

Luke 11:35-36 NIV

This verse literally say that we need to make it our aim, our focus, not to let the light in us become dark. Keep the light intense. Focus on the Word of God.

In that way we’ll be able to clearly see the path before us. Don’t be like the foolish leaders who didn’t like what they saw when the light shined on them. Allow it to change you into who God desires you to become.

Spend time in the Word. Let it fully light up your life.

Question: How has God’s Word brought you spiritual light?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 17, 2022 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , ,

God’s Word – Listen and Obey

God’s Word – Listen and Obey

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. In this section, Jesus is explaining some things about demonic activity. It started when the Pharisees accused the Lord of casting out demons by the power of Satan.

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

Luke 11:24-26 NIV

Christ gives the Pharisees a stern warning. His ministry was cleaning up Israel. Many of the demonic forces were being expelled as He traveled throughout the land.

But the religious leaders, because of their petty jealousy, were attempting to block what the Lord was doing. He warns them that if they allow the enemy’s kingdom back in, it will be seven times worse.

As Jesus says this, something happens that totally annoys me. Mainly because it’s happened to me while I was teaching. Someone interrupts Him.

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

Luke 11:27 NIV

It’s one thing if someone interrupts with a pertinent question. But, this woman makes a statement that’s simply irrelevant.

Has she not been listening? Is everything that Jesus is saying going straight over her head? I believe that Satan was using her to try and sidetrack Jesus from what He was trying to get across.

I’m glad that Jesus is our example of how to be constantly led by the Holy Spirit. This interruption didn’t even slow Him down. It just gave the Lord an opportunity to make a very important point.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Luke 11:28 NIV

This is the basis of the Lord’s ministry to Israel. The blessing doesn’t come from simply attending a meeting, no matter how wonderful the speaker is. Many people in Israel were in the crowds that heard the Messiah speak.

Unfortunately, many of them were only excited just to say they saw and heard Jesus. “Yes, I heard Jesus speak when He came through our town. I saw Him heal my friend of blindness. It was so amazing!” They were there, but they didn’t let it affect their lives.

Jesus is telling this crowd that the blessing comes from truly listening to the Word of God that He’s speaking. Then, don’t just let it end there. It needs to be put into practice.

It’s the same with us. Hearing the Word of God in church, on TV, or on the internet isn’t enough. You must allow that Word to change you. It needs to be applied and made a part of your life.

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

Luke 11:29-32 NIV

Jesus goes on to give a couple of examples. He uses Jonah and Solomon. In both of these cases they were dealing with unspiritual, Gentile, people. Yet, at both times these unbelievers were changed by the Word that they heard.

Don’t miss this great truth. Right now, in the United States, we have access to more of the Word of God than at any other time or place. Yet, much of the church seems oblivious to how they should be living for the Lord.

Allow God’s Word to make a transformation in your life!

Question: How has God’s Word transformed you so far?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 15, 2022 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Gathered or Scattered

Gathered or Scattered

I’m continuing through Luke’s Gospel. We’re at the point where the Pharisees are starting to get intimidated by Jesus’ ministry.

In my last post, we saw the Lord cast a demon out of a young man’s life. As a result, he could now hear and speak. The crowd watching was touched by this miracle.

The religious leaders, on the other hand, used self-promotion to try and look like they had authority over Jesus. They accused Him of being demon possessed. They said that He cast out demons by the power of Satan.

I showed how Jesus revealed the foolishness of their argument. But, these leaders had placed themselves in a very dangerous spiritual position. They assigned what was clearly an act of God, to the satanic kingdom.

Now Jesus warns them of the possible consequences.

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.”

Luke 11:20 NIV

It was clear to the crowd and the Pharisees that the hand of God drove out this demon. If that’s the case, then the only conclusion is that the kingdom of God has showed up. Remember, the kingdom of God is the manifestation of God’s authority. This is over and above the authority of the religious leaders.

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.”

Luke 11:21-22 NIV

What most people don’t realize is that this is a warning to the Pharisees. They felt like they were “strong men”. They were guarding their house – the religious power base of Israel. They had convinced themselves that they were fully in control.

Now Jesus comes on the scene. He proves to be someone with real authority. He obviously walks in the authority and power of God Himself. They are starting to feel threatened. Their hypocrisy was being exposed publicly.

The Lord is warning them that if they continue down this path, they’ll lose everything. Actually, we know from history and the record of Scripture, this is exactly what happened.

We know that Jesus not only did this with the Pharisees, but with the kingdom of Satan as well.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Colossians 2:15 NIV

It’s always unfortunate when people try to fight against God’s will. It’s always a losing battle. That’s why we need to seek to know His will through time spent with the Holy Spirit. In that way we won’t find ourselves fighting against God.

Jesus said it clearly…

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”

Luke 11:23 NIV

Here’s another verse we usually misunderstand. The first part is pretty straight forward. If you’re not on the same path as He is, then your against His plan for you.

The second part is more important. The word, gather, does not mean that we are collecting something. It’s talking about a gathering together of people.

If we’re not a part of the crowd that’s gathered around Jesus, then we’re going to find ourselves scattered everywhere in life. We’ll have no purpose or destiny. It’s like what happened at the tower of Babel when the people were scattered across the earth.

Do your best to find God’s plan for your life. Don’t find yourself scattered, heading against God’s will. Spend time listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What’s the next step in God’s plan for you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , ,