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Category Archives: Power of God

God’s Word Without Yeast

God’s Word Without Yeast

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

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

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

Luke 11:53-54 NIV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

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

 

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Gathered or Scattered

Gathered or Scattered

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

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

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

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

Now Jesus warns them of the possible consequences.

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

Luke 11:20 NIV

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

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

Luke 11:21-22 NIV

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

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

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

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

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

Colossians 2:15 NIV

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

Jesus said it clearly…

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

Luke 11:23 NIV

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

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

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

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

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

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Judgmental Spirits

Judgmental Spirits

I’m continuing to post through the Gospel of Luke. We’re in chapter 11, where Jesus has just given His disciples a teaching on prayer. When we pray like Christ, we’re calling for God’s kingdom to be manifest on earth.

When that takes place, we experience the miraculous. There are many responses when that happens. Now we’ll see an example of this in Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed.

Luke 11:14 NIV

Here was something to praise God over. A man was unable to speak, and probably unable to hear, because of demonic oppression. Jesus cast out the demon and the man was healed. This should have cause everyone to enjoy God’s goodness. But, that wasn’t the case.

But some of them said, “By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

Luke 11:15-16 NIV

These responses simply amaze me. Instead of enjoying the blessing of God, the religious leaders felt the need to prove their authority.

Some of them, out of jealousy, said the Jesus could cast out demons because He was one of them. Others wanted to inflate their egos by saying they needed the Lord to show them a sign that proved what He was doing was of God.

The Lord just cast out a demon. That should be sign enough!

This is what happens when people who are self-important run into someone with real power. They have to prove, mostly to themselves, that they’re really superior. However, I think it was clear to the crowd exactly what was going on.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub.”

Luke 11:17-18 NIV

The first thing that Jesus does, is to prove the foolishness of their argument. Kingdoms cannot stay strong if they’re divided. Satan is not going to cast out a demon if God’s going to get glory from it.

But, there’s another important point I want to make here. This is not the first time the Pharisees have seen Jesus cast out devils. They’ve witnessed many miracles at His hand.

The above verse says that Jesus knew their thoughts. The word, thought, in that verse, literally means their conclusions, something they had already thought through.

Their response to the miracle was not something they said quickly, without thinking. This was something that they had discussed previously and had planned to use at the next opportunity. They concluded that the best way to undermine the Lord’s work, was to attack His character.

The religious leaders wanted people to question His motives. Is He really operating in the power of God? Has He really proven that His power is from the kingdom of Heaven?

This is why, on many occasions, Jesus seemed to be very strict with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.

Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.”

Luke 11:19-20 NIV

The fact is, the Pharisees understood that it was the power of God driving out demons. There were some Pharisees who truly trusted God and were operating in the same authority. Jesus encouraged these foolish ones to go to them and let them judge the argument.

The lesson is that we need to be careful who we judge as to the validity of their ministries. You might not like their personalities. However, that doesn’t mean that God’s not working through them.

Question: How judgmental are you of other ministries?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2022 in Ministry, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Prayer and Sonship

Prayer and Sonship

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, I’ve been talking about chapter 11. In this chapter, Jesus is teaching His disciples about prayer. He started with what we know as The Lord’s Prayer.

He then began to teach them about prayer for the needs of others. We need to be bold in our acknowledgment of God’s power. We should be allowing the Lord to work through us to meet the needs of others.

That was a big part of the context of our “asking, seeking and knocking” in prayer. I talked about that in my last post. Today, I want to take this verse a little further in its application.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Luke 11:9-10 NIV

I’ve heard many people preach on this verse. For the most part we take it out of context and miss what it’s really saying. Indeed, we’re told that we have the power to receive answered prayers, to find that which is hidden, and to open doors that seem impenetrable.

But the first thing we should ask is; what is this authority based upon? If we would just read the next few verses, we’d see that Jesus gives us the guidelines for this type of power.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11-13 NIV

It’s obvious that Jesus is talking about the authority of Sonship in this passage. He tells us that we’re asking for the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit that then confers upon us the Spirit of Sonship. Once that’s in place, and I’m walking as a mature son (this includes women as well), then I’m free to ask, seek, and knock as led by the Spirit of God.

In many cases our trouble is that we don’t ask for the Spirit. We want to do it our way. We want what our earthly desires are prompting us to seek for. Then we end up begging God for a snake or a scorpion. It’s no wonder why we don’t get most of what we pray for.

The simple fact is that true authority resides in the correct use of mature sonship. There was another time in Jesus’ ministry when He was talking about being a disciple. He said that if you were truly His disciple, then the truth would set you free.

The religious community – those who continued to rely upon the power of the law – were outraged.

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:33-36 NIV

I’m sure that the Pharisees and the teachers of the law had no clue what the Lord was talking about when He said this. To us, however, it should be rich in meaning. The words of Christ tell me that Sonship is a position of freedom.

We’ve been set free because of the authority of Christ. We’re no longer under the bondage of sin, the world or the devil. What we need is the maturity to walk in it.

That should give us a new freedom in our prayer life. When we realize that we want the same goals as the Lord, it’s a lot easier to stand in faith.

As mature believers, we should be spending quality time with the Holy Spirit. That will bring us the wisdom and knowledge we need to ask, seek, and knock for the desire of God’s heart.

Question: What does it mean to be free in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Prayer, Sonship

 

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Supply for Others

Supply for Others

In my last post I started talking about a parable of Jesus found in Luke, chapter 11. In the Lord’s teaching, a man is looking for bread from his neighbor at midnight.

This parable is about going to God on behalf of the needs of others. Let’s compare this neighbor to what we know about God.

“Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’”
Luke 11:7 NIV

The first thing this neighbor says is, “Don’t bother me.” The word bother comes from a root word that means to cut. We know from the Scripture, that Jesus Christ was cut and bruised for me.

He bore my sicknesses and diseases. He took upon Himself everything that would hurt or harm me. This neighbor may not want to help, but the God I serve is ready, willing, and able to meet the needs of those I’m praying for.

The next thing he said was, “The door is shut and locked.” How does this compare to what Christ has done for us?

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Revelation 3:8 NIV

The Lord is the One who opens the door before us. I know that I can go forward boldly because of His work in my life. If I seek God’s path, then I’m assured that the door stands open before me.

No matter what the circumstances look like in the natural, my advancement does not rely upon the hand of man, but on the power of God.

The neighbor also declared, “My children are with me in bed.” Of course, this is how many Christians would like to picture their relationship with God. We want to be cozy in our room – “us four and no more.”

This is not a picture of the God we serve. Christ has clearly commanded us to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone who would listen. God wants us to be a blessing to those around us. We are to be salt and light in this dark generation.

The neighbor’s last statement was probably the most important of all, when looking at the comparison with Christ. The man said, “I have no power to rise and give you anything.”

Jesus Christ proved that He was the One with power enough to do all of God’s will.

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:17-18 NIV

All power in Heaven and earth was committed to Christ. He had the power, not only to lay down His life, but to then rise from the dead three days later. He has proven Himself victorious over sin and the grave.
Unlike this neighbor, Christ has everything I need to be an abundant blessing to those around me if I will go to Him for supply. But I have to be willing to be a conduit of God’s blessing.

Too many believers are praying for “just enough” for their own needs. That’s a very selfish prayer. I want to see the prosperity of God manifest in my life.

I don’t pray this so I can hoard up the blessings of God for myself. I want to be able to minister to the needs of those around me.

Make it your goal to receive and pass on the blessings of the Lord.

Question: What are the needs of others that you are currently seeking God for?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Power Over Temptation

Power Over Temptation

In this post, I’m continuing with the last line of the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. This should serve as a guide to our prayer times with the Lord.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”

Luke 11:4 NIV

This line of the prayer is especially important for us to understand. We must first grasp the nature of temptation in the New Testament.

First, we must get rid of the cartoon version of temptation. We don’t have an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, trying to get us to obey them. When it comes to temptation, we’re sometimes our own worst enemy.

If you were reading this blog years ago, when I was going through the book of James, you may remember what temptation is. In Scripture, the words temptation, testing, and trial are all the exact same Greek word.

It’s a word that literally means a putting to proof by experiment or experience. Usually, the translators will use the word, temptation, in the context of testing by evil. A trial, on the other hand is a testing to do good by faith.

The fact is, the Lord will never try and test us by putting us in a position to possibly choose evil.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

James 1:13-14 NIV

This verse also makes it clear that we blame the devil for too much. It’s the desires of our own flesh that brings us to the point of temptation. Only through fasting and prayer can we turn down the voice of our flesh. But that’s a teaching for another day.

When you look at these two verses, James and Luke, there’s a very interesting contrast. James says that we drag ourselves away toward what our flesh desires. It’s like our flesh is pulling us along to where it wants us to go.

The phrase, deliver us, has a different emphasis. We’re literally asking God to draw us away toward Himself, from the evil. It’s like we’re standing in a fast-flowing river headed toward God’s will for us.

What we have to learn is that praying for God to deliver us from evil is not asking God to stop us. The choice is still ours. We have to decide which “pull” we’ll allow to take us.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

This verse is clear. God will never stop us from sinning. He will provide the exit strategy, but we have to be willing to take it. By the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we should be able to overcome in all situations.

God’s desire for us is that we live a life free from sin. He wants us to live above the dominion of our fleshly desires. But for that to happen, we need to trust Him to do the work in us. I know for a fact that I’m not strong enough on my own to walk in this victory.

It’s when we have a strong prayer life that we see this work being accomplished in us. That will require time.

This is why I went through this prayer of the Lord in great detail. I wanted to show the foundation for a life grounded in the power of God. Don’t neglect this great gift that we’ve been given. The Lord has purchased for us 24/7 access to the throne room of God.

It’s up to us to avail ourselves to the power and blessing that’s being held out to us. Take the time necessary to form an intimate relationship with your heavenly Father.

Question: What is the condition of your prayer life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Bread of Life

The Bread of Life

At one point in their time with the Lord, the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. So, Jesus gave them a foundation, a framework, around which to build their prayers. We call this the Lord’s Prayer.

For the past couple of posts, I’ve been going through this prayer. It should help us to understand how we should approach God in our times with Him.

“Give us each day our daily bread.”
Luke 11:3 NIV

It’s clear that God is concerned about our everyday needs. He actually knows what we need before we ever ask Him. What we must see, is that asking is a form of humility before the Lord.

Too often, especially in the United States where we feel entitled to these necessities, we look to our bank account or the government. What we need to realize is that no matter how these things come to us, they ultimately come from the hand of God, our Provider.

This should inspire gratefulness in us as His children. We serve a good God who loves and cares for His children.

However, this prayer of Jesus is not only applicable in the physical, but also in the spiritual. If earthly bread is necessary for life, how much more is the Word of God needed to nourish our inner man? God is looking for a people who will feed daily upon His spiritual bread – the Word of God.

You should notice that this prayer is not in the form of a question. Christ is not asking the Father for bread. Bread, in this context, is something that’s already supplied and on hand.

It’s a grocery item that’s already in the cupboard. When my children get up in the morning, they don’t ask my permission to eat.

“I’m going to eat breakfast now.”

That’s the adult attitude. You’re up. You’re going to work. You need a good breakfast before you leave the house. When you’re ready to eat you go to the pantry, the place of supply, and get what you need for the day.

It’s the same in the spiritual. God’s Word to us is always available. He expects us to seek Him daily for a Word from Him.

When Jesus taught this prayer, He also taught the truths that it encompassed. Different Gospel writers recorded the various teachings. Matthew and Luke gave us what the Lord taught concerning the bread.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:9-11

This is the attitude that the Father has toward a child who asks for bread. Further on, in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11, we’ll see this same teaching, but Luke uses the Holy Spirit as the gift.

There’s no question in the mind of Christ. If you ask God for a daily Word, you’ll receive.

This is the desire of God’s heart. He wants His people derive their nourishment from His hand. We have the ability to go to the presence of God each day for the Word we need to live victoriously. That’s what Jesus did.

Questions: Did you go to God for your spiritual breakfast today? What did you receive from Him?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Rejoice in the Lord!

Rejoice in the Lord!

Over the last couple of posts I’ve been talking about the 72 disciples that Jesus sent out ahead of Him. Having been trained by Christ, they went out and saw the power of God manifest through their lives.

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

Luke 10:17 NIV

After having been out for a while, these men started returning. They came back rejoicing in what God was doing.

Obviously they had learned how to operate in the Name of the Lord. They were seeing, first hand, the power of Jesus’ name.

Demons had to submit to that name. This is a great step forward. If you remember, in chapter 9 of Luke’s Gospel, the disciples were unable to free a young man from his demonic oppression. Now they’re learning the joy that comes through setting captives free.

As the Lord was listening to their reports, He wanted to make sure their hearts were right. He didn’t want them to get caught up in pride.

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:18-20 NIV

When the disciples had told about the demons submitting to them, Jesus tells them of an even greater victory. There was a day when Satan, himself, was cast out of Heaven. That occurred ages before and is probably what’s recorded in Isaiah 14:12-15.

Literally, Jesus says that He was there, watching, as Satan fell from the sky as a bolt of lightning. Jesus was victorious then, and His power over the enemy’s kingdom is still as great today.

The Lord wants the disciples to always be mindful of where this power and authority comes from. It’s not about their goodness or ability. It only flows from their relationship with Christ.

It was wonderful to see the power of God working through them. But, there was a greater reason for them to rejoice. Because they had submitted their lives to Christ, their names are written – engraved – in Heaven.

We need to realize that same truth. Even though we look for, and praise God for, the abundant blessings we receive from Him, our greatest treasure is the salvation we’ve been given. That’s the foundation for everything else in our lives.

So often we get feeling down because a prayer wasn’t answered when we thought it should. We lose sight of the fact that if God never did another thing for us, we’ve already received more than we could ever hope for or even imagine.

However, even in this teaching, Jesus was not trying to put a damper on the disciple’s joy. He rejoiced with them in what they experienced.

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”

Luke 10:21 NIV

Here’s a verse that totally falls short of what it says in the original Greek. This verse literally says that Jesus jumped and danced in the Holy Spirit because of the report He heard.

I’ve been at meetings where people jumped or danced in the spirit. I’ve heard them get criticized by believers who think it’s unspiritual and undignified. Jesus is our great example. If He could jump and dance in the Spirit, then we’re free to do so as well.

We need to rejoice in what the Lord has done for us and in us!

Question: What have you experienced in Christ that you can rejoice over?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Don’t Take it Personally

Don’t Take it Personally

We’re continuing to go through Luke’s Gospel. For the last couple of posts we’ve seen Jesus sending out the 72 disciples. They were to prepare the way as the Lord traveled throughout Israel.

There was more they were called to do than just the logistics. They were to minister as well.

When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’”

Luke 10:8-9 NIV

They were told to preach the kingdom of God. They were preparing the towns for the message that Christ would bring.

However, there’s something greater that I think we miss here. Jesus commanded them to heal the sick. The Lord didn’t simply say to pray over them. They were to bring healing.

That’s important. This command would have been impossible unless the power and authority to heal were given with it.

I believe that this should be a vital part of our ministry today. The power of God to heal and deliver should be present in God’s people. This is what would drive the Gospel message forward.

Unfortunately, much of today’s evangelism consists of trying to convince people to change their thinking. We hope that our words will cause people to turn to Christ.

We need a revival of the power of God in our witnessing.

But, some people are not even moved when they witness the miraculous.

But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”

Luke 10:10-12 NIV

Jesus warns these disciples that not everyone will receive the Good News. There are some that will reject Christ, no matter what they learn about Him. Even miracles will not convince them to follow the Lord.

That’s because the message of Christ involves giving up control. You have to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are many who will totally refuse to hand over the reigns of their lives to Christ.

Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.”

Luke 10:13-15 NIV

Please understand what the Lord is saying here. He’s not telling these cities that their punishment will be greater. Theirs will be less tolerable because they didn’t just reject the words of a prophet.

These cities actually saw the Messiah in person. They heard the very words that he spoke. They saw the miracles done from His hands. Yet, in spite of all that, they rejected the Hope of Israel. This knowledge will continually haunt them throughout eternity.

Then the Lord turns to His disciples. He gives them an important piece of knowledge that we need to hold on to as well.

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke 10:16 NIV

No matter what happens through our ministry, don’t take it personally. If someone accepts Christ as their Savior and Lord, it’s not about us, but the Holy Spirit working in them.

If they reject the message of Christ, they’re not rejecting us. They’re rejecting the One who sent us. Ultimately, they’re rejecting the work of God in their lives.

Our goal should be to walk in such a way before God, that the world sees His power and is drawn to Him. Then we can be a faithful witness to what Christ has done in us. However, the final choice is theirs – for or against Christ. We are simply the messengers.

Question: How do you witness for the Lord?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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No Place for Competition

No Place for Competition

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, today’s post will deal with something found in Luke 9:37-50. You may want to look at that passage before reading this article.

As Jesus was coming down from the mountain where was transfigured before a few of His disciples, He was met with a very agitated crowd. It seems that a man had brought his son to the disciples. This child was tormented by a demon.

The disciples had tried to cast the demon out of the boy’s life. Unfortunately, even though they had success in the past, they were unable to prevail in this situation. The people were looking for the Lord’s intervention.

When the father approached Jesus and asked for His help, the Lord had an interesting response.

“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”

Luke 9:41 NIV

This took place well into Christ’s ministry in Israel. You would think that by now some of His teachings would have taken root in the people, especially His disciples. But, at this point, the Lord’s followers were very inconsistent in their understanding of spiritual principles.

Needless to say, Jesus was well able to rebuke and remove the evil spirit. The boy was returned to his father healed and whole, with no more problems in that area.

When I talked about this verse as I went through the book of Mark, the emphasis was removing unbelief though prayer and fasting. Luke, however, takes us in a different direction.

When the young man was restored, Jesus had an important statement to make.

“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”

Luke 9:44 NIV

Jesus makes it clear that He’s not going to be with them forever. There’s coming a time in the near future, when the disciples will have to stand on their own spiritual feet. They need to be learning and growing with more fervency.

It seems to be the same with us sometimes. We would much rather have someone else do the hard studying, praying, and fasting. We want to live for ourselves, then run to the pastor or spiritual leader when we need serious prayer.

It’s interesting that in the next few verses we see the disciples arguing over which of them was the greatest. The Lord made it clear to them that if they truly wanted to be great, they needed to get back to basics and start with the faith of a little child.

That’s good advice. We get so proud of ourselves sometimes. We need to realize where we actually are in the faith walk. There is no correspondence between physical age and spiritual age. You can be a middle aged adult and yet be an infant, sucking on a bottle, in the spirit.

As Jesus was trying to get this across to them, one of His disciples – John – had a realization dawn on him. The Holy Spirit brought to mind an incident that had recently occurred. Now it was time for him to bring it up.

“Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Luke 9:49-50 NIV

Here’s a group of men who followed Jesus as closely as anyone could. Yet, when called upon to cast out a demon, failed to accomplish it. They meet another person who probably only heard Jesus speak a few times, but went out and exemplified His teaching.

We need to learn what they failed to realize. It’s not a competition in the body of Christ. We each need to be running our own race. I must concentrate on what the Spirit is trying to teach me. When I do that, then I’ll see the manifestation of God’s Word in me.

Question: Where are you in your spiritual journey?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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