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One Passion, One Mouth

One Passion, One Mouth

It seems like in this final part of the book of Romans, I’ve been posting a lot about relationships in the body of Christ. It’s all about understanding those who are serving Christ around me. I need to see and accept their differences, and work with them for God’s glory.

In my last post we saw that Paul showed how we can receive endurance and encouragement from the Scripture. He now continues that thought.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:5-7

His prayer is that the same God who gives endurance and encouragement will now give them a spirit of unity. But that phrase, spirit of unity, is interesting in the original Greek. It’s literally asking God to give us a mind toward one another.

This goes right along with what we’ve been saying about our spiritual relationships thus far. I should be thinking about you. You’re on my mind so that I can understand your calling. In that way I can see how we fit together in the body of Christ.

Truly, we’re not called to be an organization, but an organism. We should be functioning seamlessly together because of the Holy Spirit within us. As we hear the voice of the Spirit and watch over each other, we are now equipped to fulfill the next part of this passage.

Only in unity can we glorify God with one heart and one mouth. Especially since the word translated heart is really the word passion. As I spend time in the Spirit, I pick up God’s passion.

It’s not about me convincing you what you need to be passionate about. If we could all be synced to God’s heartbeat, then we’ll operate in one passion. Time with the Spirit brings true unity.

This is an important combination. He’s saying we need one passion and one mouth. That means that we’re operating in agreement and unity. Some churches seem to operate in one or the other, but the power is in both together.

The goal is for us to function together in these qualities. It’s not up to you to change in order to please me. That’s not what Christ did. He paid the price for me to enter His kingdom. Sometimes it will cost me something to overlook the faults and differences that you bring with you.

I must receive you just as Christ received me. Just as you are. I’m not the Holy Spirit. I have to leave room for God’s grace to work in you. None of us are perfect yet. The Lord receives us just the way we are and we need to do the same.

Unity is a choice. It’s unfortunate that when some people pray for the unity of the church, what they’re really praying is, “God, please making everyone else think like me.” That’s not true unity. It’s us choosing to work together as the Holy Spirit makes us begin to think like God.

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10

This is what we’re to strive for. To be perfectly united in mind and thought requires more than just good teaching. It means that I’m spending time in the presence of the Holy Spirit. As I allow the mind of Christ to take over my life, I’m setting the stage for the unity of the Spirit.

The more you and I begin to think like Christ, the more unity we’ll walk in. This is how the fellowship and unity of Christ can be manifest in His people. Make that your goal as we minister together for the Lord.

Question: What must I do to yield to the Holy Spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2021 in Fellowship, Ministry, Relationships, The Church

 

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Building Up the Body of Christ

Building Up the Body of Christ

We’re continuing to go through the book of Romans. Paul is dealing with how we treat one another, especially those who are weaker in the faith. We must be careful not to bring hurt into their lives.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14:19

This should be the goal of all that we do and say. The word, peace, in this verse is one of the Fruit of the Spirit. It comes from a root which means to join. We need to concentrate on things which bring us together.

Paul also tells us to strive for mutual edification. This word speaks of things that build up one-another. Too often we’re guilty of tearing down God’s work over minor, insignificant issues.

Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

Romans 14:20-21

This is the other side of the coin. The verse tells us not to destroy, or literally, don’t loosen the joints, in God’s temple. That’s especially true for the sake of temporary things.

It’s important to note here that Paul makes a very broad statement. “All food is clean.” For a former Pharisee to say this is monumental.

At one point, recorded in the book of Acts, there was a controversy. They were questioning if Gentiles should become Jews in order to be saved. They had a huge meeting in Jerusalem, with all the apostles present, including Paul and Peter.

After hearing all the arguments, James stands up and gives his judgment. It’s important to see what he says and why. Remember, he was surrounded by some apostles and Christian Pharisees who believed you must become a Jew to be saved.

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

Acts 15:19-21

First, we see that it was his judgment, but, based on what? The fact that Moses has been preached all over the Jewish world. The fact is that James didn’t want to cause a split.

Look at the letter that was sent around after the meeting.

It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

Acts 15:28-29

I think it’s interesting that they blamed the Holy Spirit for this, even though there’s no mention of prayer, prophecy, or the Word of God. They did, however, admit that this decision was a burden to the churches.

By saying that all food is clean, in Romans, Paul is totally rejecting this “judgment” of James. He did that under the actual inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

After all this, we realize that the issue is not whether something is right or wrong. There’s a higher principle involved. It’s about the effect our actions have on fellow believers. There’s also the issue of how we’ll be looked at by the world.

The bottom line – it’s sinful to knowingly cause someone to stumble.

Question: How do you handle questionable things that aren’t specifically mentioned in Scripture?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Stumbling Blocks and Obstacles

Stumbling Blocks and Obstacles

As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Romans, he’s explaining the relationship between strong and weak believers. We mustn’t fall prey to the temptation to judge one another. In my last post, I left off on this verse.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

Romans 14:13

I want to take the time to explain what these stumbling blocks and obstacles mean. It’s important for us to make it as easy as possible for growth to take place in the lives of fellow Christians.

The Greek word translated stumbling block, means a stub. It’s something sticking up from the ground, that will cause a person to trip. What does this mean in relation to weaker believers?

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.

1 Corinthians 8:9-11

When Paul wrote this, idol temples were the restaurants of his day. Selling the food that had been sacrificed was a way that these temples made money.

Paul taught that since these idols were nothing, you could eat this food without guilt. However, a Christian that might have worshiped at this temple before they were saved, would have a problem with it. In that case, the stronger Christian should be mindful of this issue.

What does that mean to us now? If you know that someone has rules in an area, then don’t rub your freedom in his face. If you know someone has an issue with scratch tickets, don’t wave your winning ticket in front of them.

“It’s not my fault they’re too weak to deal with it.”

But it is your fault if you don’t walk in love towards your fellow believers. That brings me to the word, obstacle. This word literally means a stick-trap. It’s what you see in the cartoons when a rope is hung from a bent tree.

This is a trap that will spring when you step in it. That’s what we’re doing when we don’t operate in love with a weaker Christian.

Maybe they had an issue with something before Christ. Maybe they were addicted to video games (Yes, that is an addiction) and the Lord had set them free from that. If you force them to play a game with you, the devil might use that to trap them all over again.

Do you really want to be the source of guilt and pain for a brother or sister in Christ? We must walk in love with each other.

As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

Romans 14:14

In this verse, Paul literally says that I have seen and I have been convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in and of itself. This is totally opposite what he was taught as a Pharisee. God must have done an incredible work in him.

But, Paul adds a footnote to this. If someone assigns the label of “unclean” to something, then to that person it is unclean.

It’s all about your attitude. If it reminds you of your sin and tempts you to return, then it’s unclean to you. Since you won’t be operating in faith, that would make it a sin for you to do it.

That’s why our overall outlook must be that of love, especially to those of us with a weak conscience. We mustn’t ridicule or judge each other for what someone feels strongly about. In that way we can all grow together as the body of Christ, fulfilling His call.

Question: What is an area of weakness for you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Faith and Conscience

Faith and Conscience

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. In this section, Paul is talking about how we should treat those of weaker faith than ourselves. It’s important that we don’t cause them to fall away by our actions.

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Romans 14:5-6

This is a very important concept for us to understand. That’s because this type of difference will always be the case in the body of Christ.

Someone believes that he cannot please God and buy a scratch ticket. Someone else believes that it’s okay. The fact is that neither of these conditions matter to God.

The key is that what you do is because in your mind you are fully persuaded by faith. Based upon your knowledge of the Word, you believe that what you’re doing is right before God. It cannot be simply because someone else told you to do it or not do it.

I looked at this next verse in my last post.

But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.

1 Corinthians 8:7

The catch is that when you were involved in something questionable before you came to Christ, it weakened your conscience in that area. Now that you’re in Christ, there’s a pain in your conscience until it heals. However, in some people it never heals.

For us to look down on someone in this condition, is wrong. I’ve also seen some militant believers try to push these weaker ones to do what their hurting conscience is telling them not to do. This is equally wrong, and maybe even worse.

If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8

If you’re fully persuaded by your faith, then what you do, you do for your love of God. You do what you do in thankfulness and under submission to God. We don’t live for ourselves – our lives belong to the Lord.

If, on the other hand, I’m doing things for selfish reasons, or because someone told me to do it, that’s wrong. I need to live under the attitude that I belong to God. I need to be fully persuaded that what I’m doing brings glory to God.

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Romans 14:9

This is why Christ died and rose from the dead. It was so that He’s Lord over the living and the dead. We need to get a handle on this.

When a person dies, they don’t cease to exist. We mourn because we lose the ability to fellowship with them for a little while. The fact is that when I die all that happens is I change my address.

That’s what we need to see. Jesus Christ is Lord over all. It’s His world. We don’t make the rules, He does.

I can’t judge you by my own definition of right and wrong. Neither can you judge me. That’s not our assignment. We all submit to the One, true God.

Question: How have you experienced the judgment of others in the past?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Differences

Differences

In my last post we started talking about our relationship with young believers. We looked at the first verse in Romans chapter 14.

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

Romans 14:1

Those who are young in Christ, also called weak in the faith, don’t have the experience of maturity. We shouldn’t be passing judgment on them because of their limited faith.

Paul had a similar teaching for the Corinthian church. He explains to them that idols are nothing. So, food sacrificed to them is nothing bad.

But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

1 Corinthians 8:7-8

That’s one of the problems that weak believers have. They feel that in order to please God, there are certain rules they must adhere to. Sometimes they get down on themselves, thinking that they failed God by breaking one of these rules.

Please understand that I’m not talking about self-righteous, Pharisaical believers. These are people who come up with a list of man-made rules which they try to impose on all those around them.

These legalistic Christians are still categorized as weak believers. The difference is that they should be further along, yet choose to be stuck in legalism.

The verse in Romans, above tells us to receive the weak, young believers to ourselves. Literally, we are to show them hospitality and share fellowship with them.

But, the purpose of this fellowship is not for judgmental debating over things that are not black and white in Scripture. In Paul’s day, this included food sacrificed to idols, observing special days, washings, ceremonies, etc.

To us, this might include, drinking alcohol (not drunkenness), dancing, gambling, and other things not covered by the Scripture. This does not include things that Scripture clearly calls out as sinful, such as murder, porn, racism, etc.

One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

Romans 14:2-4

To Paul, it’s all a matter of faith. No matter what your choice in things not covered by Scripture, we don’t look down on those who choose differently. The apostle is actually talking to both groups in this section.

It literally says that if you eat everything, don’t despise or consider him worthless if your brother or sister takes a different viewpoint. If you have placed yourself under a set of rules, don’t judge or condemn those who haven’t.

The reason for this is clear. It’s God who receives people into His kingdom. He hasn’t placed you as the gatekeeper to allow or deny entrance into the family of Christ.

Because we’re all in the same body, it’s not up to you to reject those whom God has accepted in Christ. This is the key; you’re not the judge. It’s God who makes the final decision. And, it’s God who’s able to establish all believers.

The bottom line is that on black and white issues of sin, there’s a proper way to handle it outlined in Scripture. But, on debatable things, let the Holy Spirit do His work in the hearts of individuals.

Question: What’s your attitude towards those who think differently than you do?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2021 in Legalism, Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

Understanding the Times

Understanding the Times

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. Having talked about our debt to love one another, Paul now shows us its importance.

He causes us to ask an important question. Do we know where we are in the history of the church? It’s vital that we understand the times we live in.

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11

We need to know where we are on God’s timetable. I think we can all agree that we live in a very treacherous times. There are many things happening that that are difficult to go through.

I don’t like saying it, but the truth is that past generations of believers could “sleep” through their Christian walk. Not us. We live in a dangerous generation.

The Apostle Paul continues talking about this.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Romans 13:12-14

In this generation we need to lay aside the things that are a part of the darkness. In their place, we must put on the armor of God.

We must live carefully and clothe ourselves with Christ. And as I focused on in my last post, we need to show the love of Christ to all those around us. That’s how we keep alert spiritually and fulfill God’s plan.

This requires us to stay spiritually strong.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

This verse literally says that we must keep watch with all persistency. That word persistency means to be strong toward, to be diligent. We must be diligent in the times we find ourselves in.

When we say that we need to be strong toward something, it speaks about a goal, a direction. We sometimes use the term “press in.”

In a battle, there are places that are hard to get to. There are houses you can’t enter until you bind the strong man. It isn’t easy to press into the miraculous. If it was – everyone, every church, would have it.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
Acts 2:42-43

Was it any easier back then, in the early church? Did those believers have all the time in the world to do all these things? I don’t think they were any different from us. It was as hard for them as it is for this generation.

If we want God’s best, it takes diligence. It will cause us to leave our comfort zone. But the spiritual rewards will be worth it.

Question: What do you find to be the most difficult about pressing in to God’s presence?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

Authority and Conscience

Authority and Conscience

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul sums up his teaching on God-given authority.

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

Romans 13:5

As far as believers go, we don’t submit to our authorities because we fear wrath or punishment. According to Paul, our consciences should be telling us it’s the right thing to do. We need to learn to listen to the inner voice of our conscience.

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.

2 Corinthians 1:12

Our conscience is a very important part of our being. God has given us a conscience to work with our spirit and God’s grace. It’s important to understand how it functions.

Our conscience puts together what we know from God. It then applies it to our present situation. As it continues to operate, it either tells us that our actions are right or wrong.

Unfortunately, many of us have learned to ignore our conscience. We find ways to justify what we want to do, even though we know it’s not God’s will for us.

There are times when we’ll blame others. They give us godly advice and in response, we get upset at them. “Why are you trying to make me feel guilty.”

Most of the time it’s because they care about us. They’re not trying to put guilt on us. It’s just that our conscience agrees with them. Instead of fighting it, we should learn to listen to the voice of our conscience. We could avoid a lot of trouble that way.

If you continue to ignore your conscience for too long, there’s a terrible effect that this has on your life.

Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1 Timothy 4:2

People in this condition are walking in hypocrisy. They say that they love God and are serving Him. Yet, it’s obvious from their life that this is far from the truth.

I said all that to reinforce the fact that we need to listen to our consciences in regard to submission to our God-given authorities. It’s a normal part of life. Paul gives us some practical applications.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Romans 13:6-7

Paul makes a clear statement. Because of our understanding of authority and submission, we should pay our taxes. That’s because there are those giving their full time to governing. They’re our public servants.

You may not like the person in office or the public officials you have to deal with. That’s not the issue. It’s all about what’s right, and listening to our inner man.

He makes it clear that we need to pay all that we owe. Paul uses different words to describe these debts. Taxes and revenue are what we pay on property and income. Actually, they tried to trip Jesus up with this question.

The word translated, respect, is literally the Greek word for fear. From my perspective, God is the only one fear is owed to. This covers what Jesus answered about taxes. Give Caesar his portion (money) and give God what belongs to Him (fear).

Finally, honor is the value you place on someone. Without value there’s no honor. We need to value each other. This is how we stay in the flow of God’s authority.

Question: How well do you follow the voice of your conscience?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2021 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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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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The Flow of Authority

The Flow of Authority

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Today we’re starting chapter 13. In this chapter, Paul begins to talk about authority and our relationship to it.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God

Romans 13:1

The first thing we need to do is define what authority is, exactly. There are many people who confuse authority and power. Although they function together, they’re not the same thing.

Authority is basically the permission or freedom to do something. This permission must come from someone higher up the chain of authority. Power, on the other hand, is the ability to carry out that which you have the permission or freedom to do.

Paul begins by establishing the basis for authority. As I’ve said, there’s a chain of authority. It all flows from the throne of God. There is no authority (permission to use power) except what comes from God.

We also need to realize that all authority has been arranged by God in an orderly manner. That’s because God is a God of order.

Please understand – God has established all the authority structures. However, not every person in those positions of authority were placed there by God. It’s the structure that is God-ordained.

This is the reason that we must submit ourselves to those in authority. That’s the only way for authority to flow to me.

The word, submit, means to arrange under. It’s a choice I make to arrange myself under the chain of authority God has called me to be a part of. When I submit myself in His plan, I have God’s authority flowing through me.

That brings us to the next important concept – rebellion.

Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:2

The Greek word for rebel in this verse means to oppose the arrangement. It tells us that if we rebel against authority, we’re standing against what God instituted. In other words, we are opposing the way God chooses to work through us.

The Word is very clear on this point. If you do this, you’ll receive a guilty verdict. Without submission, we have no authority. Without authority, we have no permission to walk in the power of God.

This is how it worked during the ministry of Jesus.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Luke 10:17

The disciples understood how their authority functioned. It wasn’t their natural ability. In the same way, we must be clear where our authority comes from. Never think that it’s because of your own goodness.

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

This is the opposite of how God’s kingdom works. Sorcery wants to have power without God’s authority. This is how demonic forces operate. That’s also why those who walk in God’s power and authority have nothing to fear from the devil’s kingdom.

We must learn to submit ourselves to God’s authority structures. That’s the only way to walk in the power of God.

Question: Who do you submit to in the chains of authority God has placed you in?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Power of God

 

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Overcoming Evil with Good

Overcoming Evil with Good

We’re continuing our walk through Romans. Paul is exhorting us to walk in maturity. Of course this is impossible without first implementing his teachings in chapters 8-10. He now makes a very important statement that we should consider carefully.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21

Is this verse true? Can evil be overcome with good? The answer is a resounding YES! The principles of God’s Word bring victory over evil. Look at the example of Scripture.

In the early church of Jerusalem thousands of people a month were being saved. Jesus was being preached. Also during this time the apostles were arrested and brought before the religious leaders for questioning.

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:18

This was the outcome of their meeting. Does it sound familiar to you? It should. This is the attitude of society in the United States today. They tell us that we can do whatever we want – just don’t mention Jesus.

What was the response of the church in Jerusalem to this kind of attitude? Did they go out and preach some more? Hold a Jesus concert? Put a referendum on the ballot? Absolutely not.

They called a prayer meeting. This is what they brought before the Lord at that time.

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:29-30

Considering that they were told not to use the name of Jesus, here’s their request. First, they asked for boldness. Then they asked for healings, miraculous signs and wonders. But the important point was that they wanted all these things to be accomplished in the name of Jesus.

They didn’t just want to preach in His name, they wanted the world to see the power of the name of Jesus. This is the forgiveness principle at work – it’s the power to arrest and destroy sin. It’s all done by the power of the Spirit.

Wait a minute, what does forgiveness have to do with overcoming evil with good? I’m glad you asked. This brings me to a verse that I’ve heard preached many times about our nation. It’s only the power of God – not politics – that will turn our nation around.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Do we want our land healed? Then sin must be forgiven – removed – arrested and destroyed. The only way this will happen is for the church to get on our knees. There needs to be intercession made for our nation.

Not praying for a better president or leaders. Not praying for new laws. We must cry out for God to give us the boldness to speak His Word. We must intercede for the Lord to send miracles, healings, signs and wonders. All of this so that the name of Jesus can break sin.

After all, it’s so much easier to win the lost if the battle is won first in the heavens. In order for us to overcome evil with good, we need to do what it takes. It will require consistent times in God’s presence.

Questions: Why is it so hard to get people to intercede for our nation? Are you willing to “pray the price” for revival?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2021 in Ministry, Power of God, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk