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Category Archives: Faith

Hope, Patience, and Prayer

Hope, Patience, and Prayer

As we continue through Romans, Paul is giving us a list of things that should be in place in the life of a mature believer. Remember, these are very frustrating to accomplish without first going through the “boot-camp” of chapters 8-10.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12

It’s amazing that there’s so much to learn from such a short verse! There’s a lot of truth contained here.

First, we should be joyful in hope. That literally means that you cheer yourself up by your hope. So, the question is; what is hope?

In our modern culture, we’ve defined hope as a strong desire. “”I want to go to the beach tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t rain.” That has nothing to do with the scriptural concept of hope.

In the Bible, hope is what you expect, based upon God’s Word. God says something, and because we trust Him, we expect that what He said will happen.

So, let me ask you; what do you expect from God? Do you meditate on it and what the Word says about it? Do you use this expectation to build yourself up emotionally?

Next, we should be patient in affliction. I don’t like the sound of that. It literally means that when under pressure, we remain patient while staying under it.

I have to tell you that this is easier to do when you’re rejoicing in your expectation. The fact is that we’ll always have pressure. Furthermore, you can’t do anything about the pressure anyway.

The best way to weather it is to put your expectation in God. Find out what He says about your situation. Then, trust the Lord to bring you through it.

Our human nature is to stop looking to God and to start looking for the way out. In most cases that’s not helpful because we don’t have the ability on our own. The best course is to look for guidance and strength from the Holy Spirit. Trust Him to bring about the victory.

Finally, we are to be faithful in prayer. That phrase literally means to be strong toward prayer. This means that you press into the place of prayer even when you don’t feel like it. We see this exemplified in the life of Moses.

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Hebrews 11:27

The word, persevered, in this verse is the same as faithful, above. Moses remained strong toward God. I believe that’s done by staying strong in prayer.

Think about these three exhortations. They all work together. You really can’t separate them if you want a successful Christian walk.

It’s like a great circle of faith. You can’t be patient under pressure unless you’re joyful in your expectation. Then again, you can’t be strong toward prayer unless you have a patience to endure. And, you can’t have a full expectancy from God unless you’re faithful in prayer.

This is why we should be striving toward maturity. It’s like a snowball of grace, rolling down a hill and growing as it goes.

In his letters, Peter talked about a number of things that should be growing in a believer’s life. I believe that what he said about them could also be applied here.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:8

Our goal should be daily growth in Christ. I realize that most of the time it’s too slow to even notice. But, it’s taking place just the same, if we follow the Lord’s plan.

Question: How have you seen these three qualities at work in your life?

2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Do You have a Prophet’s Heart?

Do You have a Prophet’s Heart?

In my last post, I started to look at the grace gifts that each of has. These speak of the different motivations we use to distribute God’s grace to those around us.

I personally believe, based upon my observation of God’s people, that each of us has only been given one of these gifts. It’s the filter through which we see the world and our ministry.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.

Romans 12:6

The first gift Paul mentions is prophesying. Remember, this is not the ministry of a prophet, but a “prophet’s heart.” This motivation is a heart that desires to speak for God.

This is probably the motivation that’s the easiest to spot in someone. A person with a prophet’s heart will manifest a very dogmatic personality. There are no gray areas with them. Everything is either right or wrong, black or white; there’s no middle ground.

What we need to realize is that each of these motivations can be mishandled. None of us are perfect. If we’re not careful, we can get carried away by the directions of our heart and cause conflict with others of a different heart.

Many times you’ll find someone with a prophet’s heart getting in trouble for what they say. People can easily misunderstand them and think that they’re too legalistic.

The fact is, this grace gift is motivated by a desire to see people reach their fullest potential in Christ. When they see someone missing the mark, they feel the need to warn them. Not to be mean, but to help them live their best life.
The fact is that we need dogmatic people in the body of Christ. They help keep us straight when we’re tempted to leave the path.

I know this from experience. My wife, Cheryl, has the motivation of a prophet’s heart. I find it a blessing to my spiritual walk. However, there have been those who’ve accused her of being mean because they don’t understand what she’s really trying to accomplish.

A great example of this in the Scripture is the apostle, Peter. He definitely walked in this grace gift. Look at his response to Jesus when the Lord tried to wash his feet.

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

John 13:8-9

Peter was that person with no middle ground. His first response, thinking that this act was beneath the Messiah, was that it would never happen. Then, once Christ explained what He was doing, Peter jumps in “whole hog”, and tells Jesus to give him a bath. These are the responses of a prophet’s heart.

That’s why Paul exhorts this person to use this heart in proportion to your faith. Having already told us that faith comes by hearing through a Word from God, it gives us the foundation for this grace gift.

Someone with this gift needs to be careful to only be adamant about what they know they received from God. We have to rely on what God says as truth. That’s the only true foundation for our faith.

If not, we become dogmatic about the laws of men. Being hard-headed about the doctrines of man can cause a lot of unneeded drama in the body of Christ. This causes many to be accused of being self-righteous Pharisees.

Used correctly, this motivation is very much needed in the church. If it’s your gift, cultivate it as the Lord leads you to speak and act on His behalf. It brings God’s grace to keep His people on track with His will.

Questions: Do you have a prophet’s heart? Who do you know with a prophet’s heart?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Righteousness Brings Healing (Repost)

Righteousness Brings Healing (Repost)

Over the next couple of weeks or so I’ll be on vacation. While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important. Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already. If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

A number of years ago, I wrote a series on divine healing. In that series, I said that God wants to remove all sin; and sickness is a part of that package. To see that series, click here.

When God removes something, He always replaces it with something else. What’s the opposite of sin?

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
Romans 6:13

It’s clear from Scripture that the opposite of sin is righteousness. You can read all of Romans, chapters 5-6, and see how God replaced sin with His righteousness.

The fact is that I can’t be righteous on my own – it has to be a work of God’s power.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

On the cross, Christ became sin so that we might become righteousness. This is a divine truth, but how does it apply to healing? If you can grasp this it will set you free.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24

This recaps everything that we’ve been saying. Sickness is a manifestation of the sin nature. In the same way that sickness is a part of the sin package, healing is a part of our righteousness.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Malachi 4:2

I’ve heard this verse preached in the past. Usually the preacher or teacher will transform the word sun into the word son and speak about the Son of God. Christ is the Healer, but there’s more to it than that.

In order to really lay hold of what the prophet is saying in this verse, we must understand the ancient Hebrew mindset. Think about what it looks like when the sun rises on a new day. Maybe there’s a small cloud or two in the sky.

As the light of the sun breaks forth, you see the rays of light emanating from the sun and reaching to the earth. We call these the rays of the sun or sunbeams. The ancient Israelites didn’t use this terminology. They called these rays the wings of the sun.

The prophet Malachi saw a day when the Messiah would usher in God’s righteousness. He saw it rising like the sun in all of its glory. But he saw something else that should make us rejoice.

Emanating from that righteousness, like the rays of the sun, was healing for all who came into its light. What an incredible truth to lay hold of! Healing emanates from righteousness.

Just as sickness is a part of the sin package, healing is a part of the righteousness that Christ purchased for us. Healing is not something that God decides to do or not do on a case by case basis. It was provided once and for all at the cross.

The church needs a fresh revelation of Christ the Healer. When that happens, His righteousness will bring the healing we seek.

Question: What else has Christ provided through His righteousness?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2021 in Faith, Healing, Power of God

 

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God’s Seed in You (Repost)

God’s Seed in You (Repost)

Over the next couple of weeks or so I’ll be on vacation. While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important. Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already. If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

In many of my posts, I talk about the relationship between the Word of God and the Scripture. The Bible is the written Word of God. But we also need to hear a Word from the Holy Spirit. This is where the power of God intersects with our lives.

I want to write about how the Word of God relates to us. The Bible teaches that we must correctly handle the Word of Truth. In order to do that I must be studying the Scripture – the written record of God’s Word – so that I can handle the Word I receive from God today.

In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Acts 19:20

The Bible uses many terms in relation to the Word of God. It uses language such as spread, increased, grew, reached and multiplied. In the above verse, we’re told how. The verse says in this way. If you read through this nineteenth chapter of the Book of Acts you’ll get a taste for the effects of the Word.

We see the gifts of tongues and prophecy being manifested. There was boldness in preaching. Handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul were taken to the sick and they were healed. Demonic spirits were confronted and expelled. There was widespread repentance such that a group of new believers burned the equivalent of $5,000,000 worth of satanic sorcery books.

That’s the way the Word of God is described as growing. Literally, the above verse says that the Word became a force to be reckoned with. The Word of God is alive and it grows. That’s the aspect that I discussed in a series of posts. For that original series, click here.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23

We’ve been saved by the living Word of God. That Word is a seed that’s growing inside of us. It will never decay or diminish. It’s there forever.

Somewhere along the line, somebody spoke God’s Word to you. It doesn’t matter whether they used the Bible or not – you heard a Word from God that changed your life.

It might have been a Bible verse, a word of prophecy, or a statement of divine truth. Either way, it grew inside of you, and eventually, you received Jesus Christ and were saved.

That’s how the Word of God starts its work in you. The fact that you’ve established Christ as your Lord and Savior is proof that the Word has taken residence in you. Now, what we do with that seed is up to us.

Question: What was the Word of God that brought salvation into your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Four Kinds of Glory (Repost)

Four Kinds of Glory (Repost)

Over the next couple of weeks or so I’ll be on vacation. So, during that time, I’m reposting some of my more popular articles.

We use the word glory quite a lot in Christian circles. But what does it mean when we say, “Glory to God!”?

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

I don’t know if you can really define glory. All you can do is see how it’s used. I want to talk about four uses – 2 from the Old Testament and 2 from the New.

Glory is the visible manifestation of God.

This is probably the most well-known. In the tabernacle and temple, there was a visible ball of light as bright as the sun. This was called The Glory.

Glory is the weight assigned to God.

How much weight do you give to what God says vs. what the world says? What Christ says vs. what the doctor says?

Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalms 29:1-2

We must give God the weight that His name deserves.  His ways, His will, and His Word are more important than anything else. How much priority do you place on the Lord’s will for you? That’s the glory you give Him.

Glory is an opinion expressed about God.

What’s your opinion of God? That’s the glory you give Him.

“He’s nice; I talk to Him once a week.”

How do you affect the opinion others have about God? Jesus looked at it this way…

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
John 17:4

We give glory to God in our service to Him. Standing in church with your hands lifted doesn’t raise people’s opinions of God. It’s what you do out there on the street.  I can tell your opinion of God, by how you serve Him.

Glory is the visible sign of God at work.

This is probably the most important one. When others see God’s work in us, it brings the focus to Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7

We’re the clay pot that houses this glory.  Should His glory be in a clay pot?  I don’t think so, but God planned it like that. He wants His glory to be seen in us.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Do everything so that people see how much weight you give to God. And how high an opinion you have of God. But mostly, so they can see God at work in and through you.

Question: How have you seen God’s glory in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Worship

 

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Speaking Grace

Speaking Grace

Continuing through Paul’s letter to the Roman church, the apostle shows us what the walk of righteousness looks like.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Romans 12:3

Paul opens this section with the phrase, “Speaking through the grace I’ve been given…” We really need to grasp the importance of what’s being said here. This needs to be our passion.

We get into trouble when we get out of our “grace spot.” Everything we do, and especially what we say, should be motivated by God’s grace working in us.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

One of the goals in our communication should be the building up of others. We must understand who we’re talking to and how our words will affect them. We want to be a positive influence on those around us.

The phrase, benefit those who listen, literally means giving grace to the hearers. That’s the big question we all need to ask ourselves. Am I giving God’s grace to others through my words?

Moving forward, we need to ask; what is Paul saying to us through the grace given him? The best translation from Greek says, don’t over think yourself. Our tendency is to put ourselves at the center of everything we talk about.

“It’s all about me!!!”

Instead, he tells us to use a sound mind. But, we are to do this according to the measure of faith God has given us. Please understand what Paul is saying in this verse. Over the years, I’ve heard many people preach this out of context.

He’s talking about how you think about yourself. We are to think soundly, in proportion to our received faith. Remember, faith comes by hearing the rhema – Word of God. (Rhema being the Word you hear from God in your spirit.)

So, the question is; how much Word have you received, not how much Bible have you memorized. That question should keep us on track. That’s why we need to understand what he’s already written to get to this point.

My sound mindedness is based upon the Word I’ve received. And, that’s based upon how much quality time I’ve spent with the Holy Spirit.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…

Titus 2:11-13

This is what keeps us straight in the crooked world around us. The Word I receive from the Lord keeps me on the path I need to walk. It keeps me from being distracted, especially living in the Last Days.

That’s why Paul tells us to think of ourselves in relation to the Word we’ve received. That’s where our “measure of faith” is. It’s this measure of faith that places you in the body, in the right spot.

In my next post, we’ll see that Paul talks about this placement using the body and its parts as the example. Spend time in the presence of the Lord, so you have a deeper understanding of the faith and grace that’s been given to you.

Question: How would you describe the faith and grace that God’s placed within you personally?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Paul’s Praise

Paul’s Praise

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Paul has been looking forward, prophetically, to the salvation and restoration of Israel. At the end of chapter 11, he bursts out in praise to God, quoting Isaiah and Job.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Romans 11:33

He loosely bases his praise from Isaiah 40:13-14. Paul starts by expressing his awe at the wealth of God’s wisdom and knowledge. Of course, God is omniscient – He knows all things. But because He exists outside of time, the Lord knows all things past, present, and future.

The word, judgment, speaks of God’s decision making ability. It’s far beyond anything that we could imagine. And, His ways are beyond our ability to figure out.

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”

Romans 11:34

We will never fully understand how the Lord thinks. His goals and ways are so complex that they’re unsearchable to us.

The fact is that the Lord doesn’t need our advice. But, that doesn’t stop me from trying to convince Him that I know what I’m talking about. Then, He kindly lets me know who’s in charge of the universe. Eventually, I have to admit that his way is the best.

Now Paul gives us a quote from the book of Job.

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”

Romans 11:35

God doesn’t owe anyone anything, no matter what we give to Him, or give up for Him. He created it all, so it all belongs to Him already.

This truth should keep us all from becoming greedy. Nothing is actually mine, even my own life. Everything belongs to the Lord and I’m just a caretaker of what He’s allowed me to have.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:36

Paul concludes this section by exclaiming that everything in all creation is from Him, through Him, and for Him. And that’s a comforting thought. Because of this, I have nothing to fear or be anxious about. It’s all in His very capable hands.

But, remember this. Even though God’s wisdom, knowledge, ways, and decisions are far beyond our limited understanding; we still have access to them. We can walk in the glory of God.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

It’s all accessible in the realm of the spirit. As I pray in the spirit, my spirit and the Holy Spirit interact together to endow me with all that I need for life and godliness.

That’s the power of a walk in the spirit. It’s a life led and directed by the Holy Spirit. That should be the goal of every believer.

Please don’t get me wrong. I haven’t arrived there yet. Even as I write this, I pray to God for a greater intimacy with Him. I want to see the church, and myself, walking in the power they had in the book of Acts.

Hopefully, you want to come along with me on this journey. To that end, I’m going to be adding to this website. My goal is that very soon I’ll be starting a podcast that will deal with how God is waking the church in these Last Days.

Pray for me and this ministry to complete what God has for us.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit been leading you forward lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Revival

 

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Israel and the Gospel

Israel and the Gospel

We’re continuing our walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In my last post, we saw how Paul prophesied Israel’s ultimate return to God. He said that all Israel would be saved.

The question is, what does he mean by all Israel. Is the apostle talking about ethnic Israel or true Israel. Will the nation of Israel be restored to faith in the last days?

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

Romans 11:28-29

Paul tells us that as far as the Gospel is concerned, the Jews are hostile non-participants. But, as far a selection goes, they’re loved because of the patriarchs. Some teachers use this verse to say that all Jews go to heaven simply because they’re Jews. Is that what Paul’s saying?

What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

Romans 3:9

At the beginning of Romans Paul already made the point that both Jews and Gentiles need to be saved through Christ. However, there’s a special bond with the Lord, which is why the nation of Israel will not be destroyed.

They will always be given the chance for salvation. They will always be protected, just like those with praying parents or grandparents. Because of all the intercessions that have gone up for Israel, they will always be drawn by the Holy Spirit.

According to this passage, there are two things that cannot be turned away from. In context, he’s talking about Israel, but this spiritual principle applies to us as well.

The first is the gifts of God. The Greek word he uses here is charismata. This is an endowed gift from God that He retains authority over. It’s the same word used in the gifts of the Spirit.

That’s actually why we’re shocked when we hear what some of the “spiritual giants” have done. How could they have operated in the power of God, all the while participating in secret sins?

The other thing that God never revokes is His callings – literally, the invitations of God. Once God has invited you to do something, it always stands whether you accomplish it or not.

In Abraham, Israel was called to bring salvation to the earth. So they’re still on hold as God waits for them.

Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.

Romans 11:30-31

Paul tells us that in the past it was the Gentiles who were “Unbelievers.” Now we have obtained mercy (sonship by faith) and the Jews are unbelievers. But, because of the grace active in you, they can be brought to repentance.

So it’s because the Gentiles picked up the torch of salvation that Israel now has hope. They can be saved because the Gospel has not been lost.

For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Romans 11:32

God has bound all unbelievers together, both Jew and Gentile, so that now, whosoever will can enter His salvation. He’s calling all people to sonship in Christ.

That’s why living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important. We’ve been entrusted with the Good News. We can’t be selfish with it.

There’s a world of people around us who desperately need this message. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when He prompts you to give your testimony. Pass on this wonderful gift.

Question: How many people have you shared your story with?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Ministry, The Gospel

 

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Israel Restored

Israel Restored

As we go through the book of Romans, Paul has been talking about the spiritual condition of Israel. He tells us that many had refused the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ. Because of that, these persons lost their place in God’s kingdom.

But, there’s a remnant of Jews who have chosen to follow the Messiah. It’s Paul’s desire that Israel as a nation turns to Christ.

And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Romans 11:23-24

According to Paul, Israel’s unbelief is not a permanent condition. If they come to faith in Christ, God can re-graft them into the tree.

As Gentiles, our very nature was wild. Yet, in Christ, God could graft us into His kingdom. How much more could God bring back those who were a part of the “founding family.”

A Jew coming to Christ has a background of knowledge that the Holy Spirit can draw on. Their eyes can be opened to the truth. They start further along than some Gentiles who have to start from scratch.

Paul now gives us a prophetic look at the future of Israel.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Romans 11:25-27

We need to understand what the apostle is saying here. In Scripture, the word, mystery, means something hidden until the time it happens. It’s just like the start of the church. No one saw it coming until Christ rose from the dead.

Paul doesn’t want us to be ignorant of the mystery concerning Israel. He doesn’t want us to become conceited, thinking the church is just a Gentile thing.

What’s happening in the spirit, is there’s a part of Israel that has experienced a hardening. But, it’s only temporary, until the number Gentiles is complete.

Jesus said the same thing concerning the nation of Israel.

They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Luke 21:24

Paul and Jesus use almost the same words – times of Gentiles filled up vs. Gentiles coming in filled up. The times seem to be fulfilled at this point, since Israel has once again become a nation.

The mystery is that all Israel shall be saved. Then he quotes Isaiah who says that the Deliverer will turn away “worshiplessness” from Jacob. It’s a new covenant when their sins are removed. But we know that can only be done by faith in Christ.

Here’s how Jeremiah puts it.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Jeremiah 31:33

This is a great description of righteousness as Paul has been teaching it throughout the book of Romans. This is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. That’s why we, as believers, must be constantly praying for Israel’s salvation. That their eyes would be opened to the truth of Christ.

Question: How often do you pray for the spiritual restoration of Israel?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Prayer, The Gospel

 

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A Call to Remain

A Call to Remain

In my last post we looked at Paul’s illustration of the root and branches. We’re told that as Gentiles, we’ve been grafted into the holy root.

You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.

Romans 11:19-20

Sometimes we get the wrong perspective, as believers. We concentrate on the fact that they were broken off so that we would have a place in God’s kingdom.

The problem is that when I take that view, it makes me the center. In actuality, they were broken off because of their unbelief. It had nothing to do with whether or not I would be grafted in.

On the other hand, we as Gentile believers, remain by faith. So Paul tells us not to have a lofty mind. We’re no better, just because we trusted God. Instead, there should be some holy fear mixed in.

This is how Jesus put it.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

John 15:1-4

The simple fact is that we remain in Christ – the holy Root – by faith. Otherwise we wither and die, spiritually. That’s where this fear comes in. We need to understand that fear is not always a bad thing. The right kind of fear is essential to our Christian walk.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Hebrews 11:7

Scripture is clear that by faith, Noah…feared. This fear came when he was warned about unseen things. Yet by his faith – fearing to miss out on God’s best for him and his family – he obtained righteousness.

In Romans we see the kingdom of God as a living olive tree. That testimony brings condemnation on the withering branches lying on the ground. It’s a sobering call to remain in Him. Please understand, we don’t fear Him, but we fear the possibility of losing out on this life-giving Root.

For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Romans 11:21

The question is whether I trust Him or not. It’s not about doing or saying the right things. It’s understanding the character of the God we serve.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Romans 11:22

Throughout the pages of Scripture we see the twofold character of God. One part is His kindness. If you remember, this is one of the fruit of the Spirit. It speaks of the fact that God is good to the undeserving.

The other side of the coin is God’s sternness, or literally, sharp decisiveness. God has the ability to make the hard choices immediately.

Those without faith fell immediately. But, those who trusted in Christ were immediately shown kindness. That’s why there’s a warning for us to continue to remain in Him. This is especially true in these last days.

Question: What does it take to remain in Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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