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Category Archives: God’s Provision

Jesus’ Ministry Team

Jesus’ Ministry Team

As you think of Jesus traveling throughout Israel, preaching and teaching, how do you picture it? Judging by how some preachers describe it, your mental picture is far from the truth. As we begin chapter 8 of Luke’s Gospel, we get a glimpse into the daily operations of the Lord’s ministry.

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him…

Luke 8:1

This is a very simple statement, but by itself there’s no hint of the complexities involved. If we really think about it, there’s more to it than simply walking around Israel.

The first thing we have to understand is that this type of traveling was no different for them than it is for us. Here we have at least 13 people traveling together.

Where do they get their food and water? Where do they spend the night? What about washing their clothing, personal hygiene, and those types of things?

We usually don’t think of these things, reading the Scriptures in the comfort of our homes. I do a lot of overnight hiking, spending days at a time in the woods, so this hits home to me. It causes me to ask; what did it take for them to maintain a ministry like this?

I’m glad to say that the Bible has the answers for these questions. But, many people ignore it, because it goes against what they want to believe about the Lord.

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Luke 8:1-3

Many people like to get the idea of a poor Jesus. They like to think that He was barely getting by, living off the land and any scraps that He could scavenge. That picture is so far from the truth.

Jesus had a very organized and efficient ministry team. He had the apostles to minister along side Him. But, and this is important to realize, He had a very organized fundraising team. This is how the Lord was able to travel so extensively throughout Israel.

It was no different for them than it is for us. They needed to buy food and drink. Many times they would have to pay for lodging. Their clothes would need washing and so forth.

Why is the thought of a financially independent Jesus so hard for people to imagine? One reason, is that because many churches don’t want to give their pastors the salary they need to support their families.

I’ve even heard some board members say that they need to keep the pastor poor so that they’ll stay humble. That kind of thinking is totally selfish and foolish.

In John 6:5, just before He fed the 5000, Jesus asked His disciple where they could buy bread for the crowd. The assumption was that they had the money, they only needed someplace that could supply it. How many ministries do you know that could buy food for 5000 people at a moments notice?

Jesus had a very organized and effective ministry team. He wasn’t poor. But there’s another side to this. The Lord wasn’t overly extravagant either.

They walked wherever they went (or took a boat). Jesus didn’t have a team of golden chariots to carry Him and His disciples from place to place. We need to see the whole picture.

When you talk about godly prosperity, you need to see it from a biblical perspective. God does want His people to prosper. But that means having enough to abundantly fulfill your calling. And, having extra to give away as a blessing to others.

That was how the Lord operated. It should be an example to us in our modern generation. We need the blessing of God – finances included – to bring in the harvest of souls in these last days before the Lord’s return.

Question: How do you give control of your finances to God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Poor and Hungry?

Poor and Hungry?

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we’re now coming to the section known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was teaching righteousness principles to His disciples while a crowd of people were around them, listening.

As we go through Luke 6:20-26, we’ll find that Jesus is contrasting some things. Because of that, I’m going to deal with the differences the Lord brings out rather than going through verse by verse. I believe that in this way, it will be more understandable to us.

But first, there are two words that are repeated throughout these verses that we need to look at. The first is the word, blessed. I always pronounce this word as, blest. It means to be supremely fortunate and well-off.

The other word is, woe. If you’ve ever spent any time around Jewish people, then you’ve heard this word. It’s the exclamation, “Oy!” It’s an exclamation of grief and frustration.

Now to the sermon.

Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.”

Luke 6:20, 24

One of the things we have to remember, is that Jesus is specifically teaching this to His disciples. These are principles for the future leaders of the church.

We have to realize that Christ is not talking about material things in this passage. Nowhere in Scripture are we taught to strive to live in poverty. God wants to bless us with material things so that we can pass on these blessings to others (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).

I believe that the Lord is dealing with attitudes in these verses. We need to come the realization that in ourselves, no matter how great our possessions, we are totally destitute in relation to the kingdom of God.

It’s only when I can see this truth that I’m ready to receive God’s provision. Without Him, I’m not able to accomplish anything He wants me to do. At that point I now have all the resources of the kingdom of God at my disposal.

But, if I have a “rich” mentality, I’m headed for trouble. When I think that I’ve got everything I need and God doesn’t have to help me, I’m in a bad place. God let’s me go off on my own and I soon learn the error of this type of thinking.

The word, comfort, in that verse is a word that means to call alongside. It’s very close to what we mean by coaching in our society. This is the attitude that I already have all the coaching I need. So, I don’t need to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

To this, Jesus simply says, “Oy!”

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied…Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.”

Luke 6:21a, 25a

Again, these are attitudes that need to be cultivated. The word, hunger, means to crave after something. Matthew tells us that we are to crave righteousness – God’s way of doing things (Matthew 5:6). If we crave righteousness, Jesus tells us that we will be able to gorge ourselves when the Holy Spirit answers our prayer.

Then there are those who Jesus refers to as well fed, literally full or satisfied. These people feel that they’re okay. They’re no worse than anybody else. No need to seek a deeper walk with God.

What they’re going to learn is that they’ll come to a point where they realize something is missing. Even though they feel their walk with God is okay, there’s a hole in their life they just can’t seem to fill.

Our goal should never be to get satisfied in our service to the Lord. We should be always craving more of His Spirit. This is how we keep spiritually strong.

Question: What is your satisfaction level in your walk with God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Cutting Corners

Cutting Corners

We’re now back to our study of the Gospel of Luke. Before New Year’s Eve we had begun looking at the temptation of Christ.

In my last post on this subject, I showed that Christ refused to be tempted to claim a promise. This is the opposite of what many believers do today. We’re trusting God to provide things we don’t even need just because we found a convenient Scripture to “stand on.”

Paul talked about this in his letter to Timothy. Paul warned Timothy about people…

who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:5b-6

I believe that there’s something inherently wrong with a message that continually focuses on my happiness, my comfort, and my pleasure. It’s true that God loves us and wants the best for us. I also believe that there is a scriptural prosperity that God desires for His people.

But I also believe that many have taken this too far. As a result, God’s people are spending too much time, prayer, energy and “faith” running after the things of the world that they think will satisfy them. At the same time, they ignore the work of the Kingdom of God. As a result, they never lay hold of what will ultimately fulfill the desires of their souls.

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Luke 4:5-7

The devil continued his assault using the promises of God. This time he used a promise specifically aimed at Christ, the Messiah. He was making a deal with Jesus in which the Lord could obtain the Messiah’s blessing without having to go to the cross.

Jesus was going to become ruler of all creation. The only issue was, according to the Father’s plan, the Lord had to endure all the pain and suffering of the cross. He could now get all of this handed to Him without the struggle.

The only problem was, Jesus would have to bow before Satan. Of course, He didn’t have to mean it. It was tempting because it was a little act with a big reward.

I’m glad to say that as far as the Lord was concerned, this was totally unacceptable to Him.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”

Luke 4:8

Jesus saw right through the devil’s smokescreen, and rejected the offer without even giving it a second thought. How dumb can we be? So often we fall when the enemy tempts us to do foolish, unscriptural, and even ungodly things…all for spiritual reasons, of course. We sometimes make crazy decisions all under the guise of “God wants me blessed, happy, and wealthy”

I’ve heard things like, “God told me that this is the woman He created for me.” My question is; what about the woman you’re married to right now? What about “God hates divorce”?

We need to see how very differently Jesus lived than we do. He didn’t feel the need to spend His life rehearsing the promises. Neither did the Lord try, in His power, to fulfill the requirements so that He could obtain the blessings in His own strength.

The simple fact is, Satan could only give Jesus the authority and splendor of these earthly kingdoms. The Lord was worthy of so much greater power. Look at what Christ said after the resurrection.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Matthew 28:18-19

He could have never said this if He took a short-cut around the cross. As God’s people, we need to stop looking for the easy way to serve God. Find the Father’s plan for your life and obey it with all of your heart.

Question: How have you experienced people doing foolish things for “spiritual” reasons?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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What Are You Trusting God For?

What Are You Trusting God For?

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. At this point, I’m posting about how Christ walked in the power of God. In my last one, I started talking about His time in the wilderness as He faced the devil.

It’s now the end of the Lord’s forty day fast. I can only imagine how the Lord was feeling at the end of this time. But at this point it’s over; He could eat now, according to the rules of fasting.

It’s interesting to see how the devil attacks Jesus. This is how most of our temptations are based. It will give us insight into how the enemy works against us as well.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Luke 4:3

Think about Jesus’ teaching. Specifically how He taught on prayer. In what we commonly call “The Lord’s Prayer,” He prayed, Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

This prayer is a Son praying to the Father. If you look closely at this line, it’s not a request. Jesus is assuming that daily bread is the right of a son. He doesn’t say that God promised it to Him. He simply lays claim to what He wants, knowing God’s provision for His sons.

That’s what life in the family is like. My children would ask, “What are we having for supper?” They didn’t ask if I was going to feed them. The assumption was that the food was theirs. I don’t see anything wrong with that type of thinking.

I believe that Satan based his attack upon this prayer. However, the enemy worded it in the form of a promise. He said, “If you are The Son of God…” He challenged Jesus to prove it by claiming the promise for daily provision. The sad thing is that we would have taken the bait, and we do regularly. Then we say that the Holy Spirit told us to do it.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'”

Luke 4:4

Jesus’ response is clear. The fast was over. It was perfectly in order for Him to eat. But that wasn’t the issue. Jesus wasn’t there in the wilderness for the purpose of eating. He was there to hear from the Father.

In His answer to the enemy, Jesus quotes a verse from Deuteronomy.

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3

There is so much truth to be found here. The reason for fasting was to humble Himself before the Father. Jesus caused Himself to be hungry in order to feed His spirit.

It’s also important to see that in the context of this verse, Israel’s hunger was relieved by a miraculous provision of bread. That’s what the enemy was trying to get Jesus to copy. But the Lord didn’t take the bait.

The reason for His time in the wilderness was to hear a Word from the mouth of the Father. Jesus wasn’t there simply for recreational purposes.

Jesus was telling Satan, “I didn’t come here for bread; I came to hear a Word from the Father.” If the Lord wanted to eat, He could have brought food.

This is a classic strategy that Satan uses over and over again. Sadly, we continue to fall victim to it. We can be tempted to “over-claim” the promises.

In America we already have too much stuff and we’re constantly “believing God” for more. It seems that Christians are always “trusting God” for bigger houses, better cars, and more toys. Then, we get discouraged when our “faith” doesn’t pay off.

I believe that it’s time for God’s people to grow up and act like mature sons and daughters of God – like Jesus.

Question: What should we be trusting God for?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Sin is Not Your Friend

Sin is Not Your Friend

As we continue our look at the book of Romans, we’re now beginning chapter 6. Here Paul starts to show us what Christ has done for us in regard to our sin nature.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Romans 6:1-3

Before we go further in this section, we need a basic understanding of just what sin is. Many have the idea that the words sin and evil are synonymous. That’s simply not the case.

The fact is, you can sin without doing anything considered evil. Let me explain.

The word, sin, in both the Old and the New Testaments is actually a word that means to miss the mark. You were aiming for a certain target, but you failed to hit it.

What we have to realize is that in life there are hundreds of things that fall into this category. Many of them have nothing to do with evil.

By not understanding the nature of what sin is, many have missed out on the blessings that Christ has purchased for them. The fact is that sin is a package deal. When Adam chose to sin, he embraced a package of “missing the mark.”

He chose the way of imperfection. Unfortunately, now that imperfection is passed down throughout all generations since then. We miss God’s best by not understanding what’s included in the sin package.

Anything that misses God’s perfect will for humanity is a part of the sin package. A good rule of thumb to know if it’s in the package, is to ask; was Adam originally created for it?

For instance, a number of years ago I did a series of posts titled Healing 101. In it I talked about God’s provision of healing for His people. One of the important points was the fact that sickness was a part of the package we call the sin nature.

Adam was not created to ever experience sickness. When he embraced the sin package, sickness entered our world. Sickness misses the mark of the health we were created to enjoy. To read this teaching click here.

Another thing Adam was not created for was poverty. God’s will was for Adam to live with his needs perfectly met. When I get the idea that poverty is somehow a virtue, then I’m getting friendly with sin.

Usually we don’t have a problem identifying the evil aspects of sin. It’s the other areas like sickness, poverty, depression, loneliness, etc., that we fail to recognize as missing the mark of God’s perfect will.

I realize that in context Paul is talking about evil sin. But because the Holy Spirit used the generic word, sin, in this verse it can apply to all the forms it takes, not just evil. This verse tells me not to get comfortable with it even though God can give me the grace to cope with it.

I’ve talked to some people with medical conditions who said that they’d decided not to seek God for their healing. They said that God was giving them the grace to work for Him in spite of their sickness.

Paul is saying here, “Shall we continue in sickness so that grace may increase? By no means!” We shouldn’t get comfortable with our sickness even though the Lord’s helping us cope with it.

We can’t get comfortable missing the mark of God’s best, whether it’s evil or not. Sin is not your friend. Attack it with everything God has given you.

Question: Can you think of some other forms of sin that aren’t necessarily evil?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2021 in God's Provision, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Joy of Salvation

The Joy of Salvation

We’re continuing through our study of Paul’s letter to the Roman church. We’ve seen the love of God being manifest in us because of the work of righteousness. This is all initiated by our turning to the Lord in faith.

Paul continues this teaching.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Romans 5:9-10

This verse brings us to the next great blessing of our salvation. Now that we’ve been made righteous and justified by His blood, we’ve also been saved from His wrath.

This word, saved or sozo in the Greek language, is huge in regard to our faith. Our salvation means more than just being saved from a future in hell.

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.

Matthew 9:20-22

The word that’s translated healed in this verse is the word sozo. Our salvation also includes being saved from sickness.

Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.

Luke 8:36

Again, the word translated as cured, is the word sozo. Salvation also includes deliverance and protection from the enemy.

There’s so much that’s included in that word. Everything Christ purchased on the cross is all wrapped up in our salvation package.

So, when Scripture says that we’re saved from God’s wrath, it’s a powerful statement. I don’t ever have to be afraid that God’s mad at me. His love for me is unbreakable.

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Thessalonians 5:9

As Paul continues his teaching, he shows us the foolishness is thinking that God is mad at us.

For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:10-11

Too many people, believers included, think that God is sitting in Heaven just waiting for us to slip up. They’re afraid that one little mistake will take away all the blessings that the Lord has for them.

Paul shows that this kind of thinking is foolish. If Christ treated us this way when we were His enemies – He died for us – how could He ever treat us worse now that we’re reconciled?

He’s looking to impart His life into us. That life brings the total package of salvation He wants us to receive.

Furthermore, it’s something to rejoice about. We should live in an attitude of rejoicing because we serve a God who only wants the best for us.

Question: What can you rejoice about in the salvation you’ve received from the Lord?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Weak vs. Strong Faith

Weak vs. Strong Faith

We’re continuing to look at the example of Abraham.  He’s Paul’s illustration of how we should walk in faith.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Romans 4:18

This is one of those amazing verses in the Scripture.  To fully grasp it, we need to understand what the meaning of hope is in the Bible.

When we use the word, hope, it usually means that we’re wishing for something good to happen.  “I hope I win the lottery.”

That’s not what this word means in the context of Scripture.  It actually means to look forward to with expectation.  “I place my hope in the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow.”

With this knowledge, we can see how Abraham operated.  He was in a situation where, logically, there was nothing to expect.  Yet, by placing his faith in God’s Word, he fully expected to have a multitude of offspring.

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.

Romans 4:19

This is the tough part.  I talked about not walking in denial in my last post.  That’s the key to this kind of faith.

The verse literally says that Abraham fully observed the facts of his situation.  He was almost 100 years old and considered himself already dead.  He understood that under no circumstances could his wife, Sarah, have any children.

As a matter of fact, he had already picked out an heir for his estate.  He chose one of his most trusted servants (Genesis 15:2-3).

What amazes me is that even though he had all of these facts before him, he didn’t weaken his faith.  But that brings up an interesting question.  He already had an heir picked out that was not in his family.  How can you say that he didn’t weaken his faith?

We need to understand exactly what is meant by weak faith.  There’s a clear verse about it.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.  One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Romans 14:1-2

What is weak faith?  It means that you don’t trust God to complete His work in you.  You feel that you have to establish rules to follow so that you won’t accidentally sin.  Weak faith has the idea that if I follow these rules, then I’ll please God and receive His blessing.

Abraham picked out an heir without weakening his faith.  That tells me that I do what I need to do as if nothing special will happen.  But, at the same time, I fully expect the Lord to intervene on my behalf.

I can see my doctor, take my pills, and pay my bills.  At the same time I trust God for my health and provision.

Some people think that they’re operating in faith by never seeing a doctor.  It’s actually a sign of weak faith because they can’t trust God to manage what the doctor might tell them.

Weak faith has to set rules and boundaries so that we can deny any problems.  Strong faith can look straight at the problems and trust God for the solution.

Question: What are you facing right now that requires faith in God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2021 in Faith, God's Provision, Healing, Word of God

 

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The Promise

The Promise

In our journey through the book of Romans, we’ve been seeing that we can’t work for righteousness.  It can only come as we put our faith in Christ.

Paul uses the life of Abraham as an example to us.  He is aptly called the father of our faith.  Now Paul brings us another step further along this path.

It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

Romans 4:13

The apostle now uses a new word.  This is the first time, in the book of Romans, that Paul mentions the promise.

This is an important word.  It literally means an announcement.  However, a promise from God is not like a promise we’re used to receiving.

For us, a promise is based upon mistrust.  You don’t believe me so I try to gain your trust by saying, “I promise.”

God, on the other hand, makes an announcement of His intentions (We call it a “promise”).  It is absolute truth.  It’s now up to you whether you believe His Word or not.

The good news is that now, all of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:29

Because of His work on the cross, Christ has fulfilled the requirements for the promises.  This teaching is carried on throughout the New Testament.  It’s not just a verse pulled out of context, but a scriptural theme that has been all but ignored by the church.

Paul continues with this thought.

For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath.  And where there is no law there is no transgression.

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.  He is the father of us all.

Romans 4:14-16

This is a foundational passage in our knowledge of how the promises are obtained in Christ.  The blessing is received, not by my working to do the requirements, but by faith in the One who has already fulfilled them.

This truth is not only given to us by Paul, but also by Peter as well.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:3-4

The phrase, through these, obviously refers to the glory and goodness of God, not our works of righteousness.  According to this verse, the reason God blesses us is so that we might actually be participants, sharers, in His divine nature.  You will not find the call for us to fulfill the requirements of the promises anywhere in the New Covenant.

If that’s true, then what are the promises for?  We can look at it this way; each promise has two halves.  There are the requirements and the blessing.

According to the New Testament, Jesus came to fulfill the requirements of the promises.  Because of His finished work on the cross, we receive the blessing of the promise because we’re in Him.

Question: Why is it so hard for us to accept that Christ has finished this work on the cross?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2020 in Faith, God's Provision, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Our First Calling

Our First Calling

We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome.  In the introduction of this epistle, he talks about the goal of his writing.

And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:6-7

The first thing Paul does is to make it clear who’s doing the calling.  He literally says that they are called by Jesus Christ.  That brings me to an important point.

Most people read Scripture without ever thinking about the words being used, or the order we find them.  For instance, many believers think that the names “Jesus Christ” and “Christ Jesus” are synonymous and interchangeable.

While I agree that they both refer to the same person, it’s also important to understand their differences.  They speak a lot about what the writer is trying to get across to us.

The name, Jesus, speaks of His earthly body, while Christ refers to His eternal divinity.  So when they’re put together an important union is formed.  It’s all about the Lord’s high priestly office.

Usually, the name Jesus Christ is used when the writer is emphasizing something that’s directed from man to God.  The name, Christ Jesus, directs the emphasis from God to man.

In this passage we are called by Jesus Christ.  That tells me that the emphasis is man to God.  Jesus is calling us so that we can approach God through His work in us.

That’s what this letter to the Roman church is all about.  Paul is taking them on a journey from the outskirts of God’s grace to the inner circle of maturity in Christ.

The next two things Paul talks about are applicable to all people.  That’s the fact that they’re all loved by God and they’re all called to be holy (saints).

This is important because God’s calling is based upon His love for us.  God loves everyone and desires all to come into His salvation.  Unfortunately, not everyone accepts His invitation.  But that doesn’t change the fact that the Lord loves them anyway.

Everyone is also called to be holy – set apart to God.  I explained that term a couple of posts back.  The Lord wants everyone to be a part of His household.  That’s because we’ll never truly be satisfied until we discover our true purpose for living in Christ.

That brings us to the final two parts of what the book of Romans is majoring on.  Paul wants to see them operating in the grace and peace of God.

These are two very important aspects of our walk with God.  Grace is the vertical portion.  We look to God by faith in His Word.  The Lord then responds to our faith by pouring out His grace upon us.

Peace is the horizontal aspect of our spiritual life.  There are many believers who don’t understand this concept.  Peace is that open relationship between God’s people.

It also deals with all the blessings God has provided for me.  This includes, but isn’t limited to, healing, provision, encouragement, and protection.  What we don’t understand about this is that all of these blessings come through other people – the horizontal.

If I’m in need of resources and pray to God to supply my need, these things don’t just fall out of the sky.  They come from other people.

So if I build walls between myself and other Christians, I’m cutting myself off from potential supplies.  I’m also destroying my chance of passing on God’s blessings through my life to others.

We’re all called to come near to God.  That’s where we receive the grace and peace needed to fulfill our earthly ministries.

Question: How have you seen God’s grace and peace at work in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Free isn’t Always Free

In the closing chapters of his letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about the other “apostles” (not the 12) that were going around at that time.  The church was comparing Paul with them.  Usually, it was not in a good way.

Paul was a man who understood his weaknesses.  He admitted that he wasn’t a trained speaker like some of these “super-apostles.”

He now talks about another point of comparison.

Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?
2 Corinthians 11:7

The word, sin, does not always mean something evil.  In this case, it simply means to miss the mark or make a mistake.

Paul asks them; was I wrong to bless you by preaching the Gospel to you without asking for your support.  According to some, it was because Paul wasn’t an apostle, and so had no right for support.

Paul was willing to humble himself.  By doing this he was able to bring the Corinthian church to a higher level in Christ as a result of his preaching.  But was it really free of charge?

I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.  And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed.  I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.  As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.
2 Corinthians 11:8-10

The simple fact is that support for the ministry has to come from somewhere.  It could come from the minister taking a second or third job.  It could come, as in this case, from other supporting churches.

As in all things, God is our ultimate source.  But He uses people to supply our needs.  It doesn’t always have to come from those being ministered to.

That’s why Paul said that he “robbed” other churches.  No, he didn’t take their money at sword point.  It was because they were giving him money with no direct service in return.  Of course, they received God’s blessing for their faithfulness.

This in itself proved that those accusers were wrong.  They were trying to show that Paul had no right to support.  All the while there were churches around the region that not only recognized the Apostle’s gifting but were willing to support it financially.

Why?  Because I do not love you?  God knows I do!  And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.
2 Corinthians 11:11-12

God has a way of exalting his faithful servants.  No one even knows the names of these other preachers.  But, because of his willingness to serve, Paul was honored in God’s kingdom.

Question: What is your area of service to God?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2020 in God's Provision, Ministry, Missions, The Church

 

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