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Category Archives: Leadership

A Last Days Mindset 3

A Last Days Mindset 3

We’re continuing to look at Jesus as He teaches His disciples about the End Times. He’s telling them what He’ll be looking for at His return. The Lord will be rewarding those who are found faithfully fulfilling their calling.

However, Christ knows that there will be another group of leaders in the church. He gives this as a warning not to be a part of this.

But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.”

Luke 12:45-46 NIV

The Lord talks about leaders who are only thinking about themselves. They act like the purpose of the church is to fulfill their every want and desire. They have no thought to what will happen at the return of Christ.

Church leaders – shepherds of the flock – should be feeding, guiding, and protecting their people. That’s what their calling is about. There’s no place in the body of Christ for self-serving ministers.

Jesus says that these leaders eat, drink, and get drunk. This reminds me of another End Time teaching that the Lord gave to His disciples. It’s near the end of Luke’s Gospel, so we haven’t looked at it yet. Here’s a preview.

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”

Luke 21:34 NIV

Jesus warns that the Last Days will be marked by these three things. It’s an exact description of our society without Christ.

Dissipation is using up all of our resources – time, money, talent and strength – on things that have no eternal value. Spiritual drunkenness is becoming intoxicated with the things of the world. Anxiety is focusing on all the fearful things around us rather than looking to Christ and His Word.

It’s unfortunate, but there’s a segment of church leadership that falls into this category. They need to heed the Lord’s warning before it’s too late. If not, they run the risk of losing out on their rewards.

The NIV translation, above, makes it seem like they’re unsaved. That’s actually not the case.

The phrase, cut him to pieces, means severely scourged in the Greek. That’s being lashed with a whip with pieces of glass or metal at the ends. It brings deep lacerations. The above verse could also be read that he was assigned a place with the unfaithful.

This goes along with what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He explained about the works we do for God.

…his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NIV

These self-serving leaders will seem to be living large now, but they’ll have no future rewards. We should be building now, for eternity. We have to be careful that we don’t make our ministry all about us.

I believe that the scourging Jesus talks about, is watching all of our works go up in smoke. They’ll still be saved, but with nothing to show for it.

I want to have an eternal reward to look forward to. That means I need to be faithful to the Lord’s calling right now. Yes, it’s hard sometimes, when I look at what others are doing. But I’m not out to please them or compete with them.

Our calling is to seek God’s face and fulfill His calling in us.

Question: What is God calling you to do in His kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Last Days Mindset 2

A Last Days Mindset 2

In my last post, I started looking at how Jesus told us to be ready for His return. We need to be always awake and alert in the spirit. This is important because we have no idea when this return will take place.

But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Luke 12:39-40 NIV

Jesus uses the illustration of a thief breaking into a house. The Lord makes it clear that no amount of experience or calculation can pinpoint the day and hour of a break-in. The only thing you can do is to make preparations for that possibility.

In the same way, Jesus will return at an unknown day and hour. It will be when a majority of people don’t expect Him. The Greek word for expect means to be of the opinion or to suppose.

As I said in my last post, there are many believers who are of the opinion that Jesus is going to come sooner than He says He will. The Lord doesn’t operate according to popular opinion. It’s all about His Word and His will.

There are some who think it’s the world that Christ is talking about here. They suppose it’s the world who won’t expect Jesus to return at the proper time. The Scripture has an answer for this.

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”

Luke 12:41-44 NIV

Thank you, Peter, for asking that question. The answer is very important to our discussion. The Lord makes it clear that He’s not only talking to believers, but especially to the leadership of the church. If the spiritual leaders are ignorant of the truth, then what chance do the young believers have?

Jesus is talking to the teachers. He wants those who feed the Word of God to the flock to know the truth. After all, those who teach and preach will be judged more strictly.

Because of this, the Lord is directing His comments to the faithful and wise leaders. He’s addressing those who have a great desire to accomplish God’s will.

That word, faithful, means someone who you can fully trust. The word, wise, literally means thoughtful and implies a cautious character.

What does this mean to us? When it comes to the return of the Lord, there are many who teach what they’ve heard others teach. They only echo the voice of others with no thought of seeking the truth for themselves.

We live in the last days. The time is getting shorter. We don’t have the luxury of teaching something because it sounds exciting. By our preaching, believers are either being set-up for heartache and failure or faith and victory.

We need to be prepared to wait for the Lord’s return, no matter how long it takes. I’ve done an in-depth study of the Lord’s teaching on this and put it in a book. It’s called The Third Watch – It’s Later than You Think. For more information about this book, click here.

We need to be a people who are preparing ourselves for the Lord’s coming. That means spending time in the Word and in the Spirit. We need to be praying, hearing from God, and then doing what He speaks.

Then, no matter what the future holds, we’ll be found as faithful and wise servants at His return.

Question: How do you cultivate faithfulness to Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2022 in Faith, Leadership, Return of Christ

 

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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

 

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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

 

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Are You Leading?

Are You Leading?

We’re continuing to look at the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus now talks about those who lead others.

He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?”

Luke 6:39-40

Jesus asks an interesting question. It almost seems foolish, except that it happens all the time in relationships.

He literally asks; can a blind man show the way forward to another blind man? For that to happen, the one leading must be totally unaware of his condition.

This man is under the opinion that he knows where he’s going and how to get there. The truth is, he can’t see where he is or what direction he needs to walk in. Yet, in his foolishness, he wants to bring someone else with him.

The end result is obvious. They both find themselves lost, trapped, with no way out on their own.

I hate to say it, but that’s what church life is like under leaders who ignore time spent in the spirit. It’s in cooperation with the Holy Spirit that we have the spiritual eyes to see where we are. And more than that, what direction we need to be headed in.

A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Luke 6:40

The fact is that we all need someone to follow. No, I’m not talking about Facebook or TikTok. We need to be following the leading of the Holy Spirit. That comes from time in the spirit or listening to those who are led by the Spirit.

That brings me to an important distinction. There are two English words that we need to understand. They are student and disciple. We sometimes use them interchangeably. But, they have vastly different meanings.

A student wants to learn what his teacher knows. A disciple wants to become what his teacher is. There’s a world of difference between the two. That’s why we’re encouraged to become a disciple of Christ.

Too many believers want to simply learn the teachings of Jesus. That’s not enough. To truly walk in the ministry of the Lord, we need to let the Holy Spirit transform us into the image of Christ. That’s the walk of maturity.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Luke 6:41-42

This parable sums up what Jesus is saying in this section. We all want to be looked up to. We think we have all the answers for what someone else is going through.

The truth is that I have to take care of my own mess first. Step one is seeking God’s wisdom to see my own condition. Once that’s realized, I can allow the Holy Spirit to work on changing me.

As the power of God is working on my life, only then can it overflow into the lives of others. As I receive from God, I become mature, and am now able to help others.

That’s God’s way of moving us forward. If I’m trapped, I’ll never be able to help someone else out of that mess. I need the Lord’s life-changing power to work on me first.

This is the attitude of a disciple that we all need to pick up in the church. If we do that, then we’ll see the power of God at work in us.

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

© 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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Commending Phoebe

Commending Phoebe

In going through the book of Romans, we’re now in the final chapter. Here, Paul gives his greetings to various people he knows in the church.

Don’t ignore these verses. They still contain truth and insight that will benefit us.

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

Romans 16:1-2

The first person he talks about is a woman named Phoebe. I need to take some time to talk about her. The English translations don’t do her justice.

I understand that there are churches and denominations who believe that women have no place in leadership. I don’t want to offend any of these people, but truth is truth.

Suffice it to say that there are a few places in Scripture where the translators try to blur the more controversial verses. They want believers to be happy, reading them in church.

Some are happy because the translation doesn’t offend their traditions. Others are happy simply because they don’t know what the verse is actually saying. This is one of those places in Scripture.

One of my pet peeves with translators is their treatment of women in the Scripture. Let me explain with this section. It has a number of examples.

First, the word, servant, is the word, diakonon in the Greek. In reality, it literally means a household servant – so what’s the problem?

Actually, the problem is this…when it refers to a man (1 Timothy 4:6, Colossians 1:7; 4:7) it’s translated as minister or deacon. Yet, when use for Phoebe, they chose the word, servant.

While the words servant, minister, and deacon all have the same original meaning; in our modern terminology, they imply much different functions. We get the idea that women servants are somehow less important than men servants.

In this section, Paul is commending her to the church. That tells me that they are just meeting her for the first time. Phoebe must have been one of the group of travelers who brought this letter to the church in Rome. He asks the church to receive her worthily.

He instructs the church to give her any help she needs. That Greek passage literally reads, stand with her, be at hand, ready to assist her in her work. But what is that work? Here’s where it really gets interesting.

The NIV says that she has been a great help to many people including me. The Greek word that Paul uses for her is a prostatis. This is the only place that word is used in Bible. It’s a word that’s full of meaning.

It’s definition is a woman set over others. According to Thayer’s Lexicon, it describes a female guardian, protectress, or patroness, caring for the affairs of others and aiding them with her resources.

This word basically means that she is the head of a mission’s organization. Phoebe runs an organization that raises money for missions. More than that, according to Paul’s own words, he is one of those missionaries that she supports. That’s why Paul asks them to help her any way they can.

It’s sad that many translations water down these verses that show women in a place of authority. God will use whoever is available to further His kingdom.

I have a problem with people who try to erect a glass ceiling in God’s church. Any person, no matter who they are or where they came from, can rise as far as God calls them in His kingdom.

Question: What is God’s calling on your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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My Plan vs. God’s Plan

My Plan vs. God’s Plan

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. At this point we’re in the final stretch to the end. But, Paul still has some important insights for us.

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”

This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.

Romans 15:20-22

In this verse we get a glimpse into Paul’s heart for ministry. His great desire is to make Christ know where He was formerly unknown.

Speaking as a pastor, this is my heart as well. I never wanted to take people away from their church. My overwhelming desire is to see believers grow in Christ, and to live out their faith to the fullest.

However, there’s another insight into grace that Paul gives us here. Sometimes we have to put our desires on hold because of the grace we’ve been given.

The apostle very much wanted to go to Rome and fellowship with the believers there. But God had other plans. There were cities where the Gospel of Christ hadn’t reached yet. The Holy Spirit was sending Paul to the places he was most needed.

We need to remember this in our Christian walk. Many times we pray for things that we desire. But, we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes the answer is a resounding “NO!” But, there are other times when God is simply telling us to wait, because it’s not time for that yet.

For the next seven verses (Romans 15:23-29), Paul talks about his plans for the future of his ministry. I suggest that you read this section and compare it to the last eight chapters of the book of Acts. It’s interesting to see what Paul is planning versus what God had already mapped out for him.

His agenda was to go to Jerusalem with an offering from the Gentile churches in Greece and Asia. Little does he know that he will be arrested when he gets to Jerusalem. He will then make it to Rome, but as a prisoner headed to trial.

Most Bible scholars believe that this was his first trial in Rome. He was eventually acquitted, and made his journey to Spain. Then, later in his life, he was tried and executed in Rome.

We need to see that even though Paul knew the outline of his future ministry – Jerusalem, Rome, Spain – he didn’t know all the details that the Holy Spirit had in store for him. We face the same challenges in discovering God’s will for our lives.

We pray and seek God for His wisdom. The Lord then imparts the outline for His plan into our spirits. Then, many times, we run off, thinking that we know how to get to the goal line. It’s only after bumping into a few closed doors that we find the true path God intends for us to follow.

In all of this, Paul understood the key to reaching the finish line.

I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 15:30-33

Paul calls out to the church with an important request. He asks them to join the struggle with him through prayer. We have to realize that most people pray for their own concerns. He wants them to take up a concern for those yet to be reached by Paul’s ministry.

We know from the book of Acts, everything that Paul is about to face. We also know that God took him through it victoriously. A large part of this victory was the churches who stood by him in prayer.

Make sure that you stand in prayer with your leadership, missionaries, and other ministries (like mine!), to see God accomplish his will in our generation.

Question: What is God’s outline for your life right now?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Baby Believers

Baby Believers

As we continue looking at the book of Romans, we’re now starting chapter 14. Here, Paul begins talking about how mature Christians should relate with those who are younger, spiritually.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

Romans 14:1

This is the generation that definitely needs to hear this teaching. Especially in social media forums, we seem to love to be argumentative. People are judgmental, confrontational, and belligerent. This is because they can stay anonymous while they’re online.

The truth is that we need to portray Christ whether others know who we are or not. That’s why this teaching is so important.

So, with that in mind, the first thing I want to do is define what Paul means by a weak believer. There are a few aspects to this. The root of this Greek word means to be without strength. These are Christians whose faith is without strength.

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. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God…

Romans 4:19-20

This verse is talking about Abraham. He could look at his situation, and still trust God. He didn’t allow his faith to become weak.

This is what we usually think of by “weak faith.” It’s when we start wavering when things look bad. However, that’s only one side of the issue.

At one point the writer of the book of Hebrews talks about natural priests who have to offer sacrifices for themselves first.

He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.

Hebrews 5:2

This verse tells us that the human priests have to be gentle with those who are ignorant and going astray. The words literally mean unknowing and roaming.

When someone is roaming or wavering in their faith, it’s usually obvious. However, those who are unknowing of the truth, not so much. Many times they’ll be judged and rebuked even though they don’t have the experience to know what the problem is.

We need to be careful in our treatment of those who are younger in the faith. The problem is that chronological age has no relation at all with our spiritual age.

But now that you know God — or rather are known by God — how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!

Galatians 4:9-10

In this verse, Paul is upset because the Galatians do know the truth – yet they’re acting as though they don’t. They were observing rules to serve and please God.

This is sometime one of the most noticeable signs of a baby Christian. They need a set of man-made rules to serve God. Please understand that this is not a bad thing.

Rules help a young believer to become consistent in their walk with Jesus. Later on, they can lay aside the rules when they learn to walk by the spirit.

Unfortunately, there are too many times when some older Christians try to push them to act mature too quickly. It actually hurts their growth, and may even push them away from the Lord.

It’s like telling a two-year-old that if he doesn’t mop the kitchen floor, then he’s no longer part of the family. It’s very detrimental to someone’s growth in the Lord.

We must learn to accept people where they are in their spiritual level.

Question: What do you believe is your spiritual maturity level?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God-Given Authority

God-Given Authority

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re looking at God’s authority structures. We need to learn godly submission, if we want God’s best for us.

For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

Romans 13:3

Under normal circumstances, those in authority don’t strike fear in the ones doing good. It’s those who are breaking the law that fear.

It’s like the people who are in their cars, speeding down the highway. Then, suddenly, when they see a police cruiser parked on the side, they jam on their brakes.

Paul asks and answers a simple question. Do you want to be free from this fear? Then do what’s right.

At this point, Paul gives us an important spiritual key.

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Romans 13:4

The apostle makes it clear that the one in authority is God’s servant to do you good. That’s an important point.

We understand that all authority in heaven and earth is God’s. Any authority that someone has is ultimately from God. What we have to do is separate the authority, from the individual who’s in authority.

Authority is a place, a position that someone occupies. We have to realize that God has established the position so there will be order.

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Hebrews 13:17

This includes kings, presidents, governors, senators, etc. We are to respect the position as a part of God-ordained authority. Who is in that position is immaterial, and that’s the hard part.

In my last post, we looked at this next verse. God was addressing King Saul.

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

1 Samuel 15:23

Saul was in the position of king, but God had rejected him. Yet, for years he remained in the office.

At one point, David was being hunted down by Saul, for no reason but jealousy. In the wilderness, David had a chance to kill Saul in his sleep, but he didn’t.

This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’”

1 Samuel 24:10

Here we can see David’s heart. For years the wrong man was in the position of king. The nation was in turmoil. But the position had to be respected.

Our God is a God of order. It’s through God’s order that we can live good and productive lives.

The fact is that no matter who is in the position of authority, there will be those who don’t think he or she should be there. That’s immaterial to the discussion. We respect and pray for our leaders because of the position.

Question: What’s your prayer for our leaders, in both the church and in government?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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