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Category Archives: Sonship

Jesus – Our Example

Jesus – Our Example

I’m continuing to go through the Gospel of Luke. In this book we’re seeing the pattern of life that the Lord lived out. Throughout His ministry the disciples were able to watch and then imitate the Lord’s lifestyle.

They saw the Lord, and how He walked, for months at a time. I need to ask; how can I follow that same example in my life? If I can understand how He lived and ministered, then I can start to implement that into my walk. What is it about Jesus that made the difference?

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Luke 10:22 NIV

Without a doubt, the defining characteristic of Jesus’ life on earth was His relationship with the Father.

That’s the key – relationship with the Father. It’s not just knowing about the Father. Jesus knew who the Father is. He had an intimate relationship with the Father. It’s from this relationship that everything else flowed.

Jesus described the power of this relationship on many occasions.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
John 5:19 NIV

It wasn’t a matter of deciding what to do at the moment. The Lord didn’t see a sick person and, at that point, pray and hope that the Father would heal them. Jesus knew what He was going to do BEFORE He got into the situation.

This was because He had already seen the Father doing the work. He spent time with the Father in the Spirit so that He was prepared for what was to come. But it wasn’t just the work that needed to be done.

“For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
John 12:49-50 NIV

This is an amazing statement. Not only did His words come from the Father. But the very way in which He presented those words was orchestrated by the Father.

He didn’t attend seminary (although there’s nothing wrong with studying). He didn’t sit down and craft a good sounding sermon. The content and the delivery were learned in the presence of God. That’s why it was acknowledged that no one ever spoke like Jesus did.

It’s clear from the Gospels that the pattern of Jesus’ life was first of all, being in an intimate relationship with the Father. Then, watch what the Father is doing and listen to what He is saying. Finally, do and say exactly what you saw and heard.

This is the pattern that was handed down to the Apostles.

Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

Luke 10:23-24 NIV

The disciples were given a great gift. They were able to live with the Messiah. They could watch Him and listen to Him on a daily basis. Through this, they could learn how to live according to the same pattern.

We’re blessed as well. We have the writings of these men as our guide. We can walk by the Lord’s example if we’re willing to read His Word and spend time with the Holy Spirit.

Question: How would the church look if we all followed this pattern?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Am I Worthy or Not?

Am I Worthy or Not?

In my blog I talk a lot about the concept of sonship. This is how God views us all (male and female) through the blood of Christ. There needs to be an understanding of the relationship of sonship to walk in the power of the Lord. Sometimes, the tension between the two creates a problem for some Christians.

In going through the Gospel of Luke, chapter 7, verses 1-10, contain an incident that highlights this issue. It happened when Jesus was in Capernaum.

When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.

Luke 7:1-3

In that town, there was a Roman officer whose servant was sick. He was a part of the occupation force in Israel. He knew that not many people were happy with the Romans being there, but he had the town elders on his side.

Listen carefully to what the elders said to Jesus about this man.

When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”
Luke 7:4-5

The elders literally said, “this man is worthy because…” They based his worthiness upon good works. We now know from Scripture that this is wrong thinking. It’s foolish to think that my good works somehow improves my standing with God.

Jesus, however, understood their heart.

Later on in this Gospel, we’ll look at the parable of the Prodigal Son. For now, I want you to see something that he said, because he put it in just the right words.

The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
Luke 15:21

It’s the same question that most of us wrestle with as believers. Am I worthy? This is usually what drives us to the law (or to the pigpen). I need to understand what makes me worthy of having God’s power manifest through my life.

Look at the Lord’s response to these elders.

So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
Luke 7:6-7

By the centurion’s own words he said, “I am not worthy.” The elders said what they thought Jesus wanted to hear. These friends said what the centurion wanted them to say.

This centurion said that he wasn’t worthy of two things. First he was not worthy for Jesus to come to him. He also said that he was not worthy to go to Jesus himself.

The question arises, was he worthy or not worthy? We know that his faith was ready by his statement, “But say the word…”

It turns out that there are two different Greek words that are used in this passage. They are the two that trip up believers every day. When the centurion said, “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof,” the Greek word hikanos is used. The word hikanos means far enough along or good enough in English.

When the man said, “I do not even consider myself worthy to come to you,” the Greek word axios was used. Axios means deserving in English. In other words, many times we feel that we’re not worthy because we either don’t deserve it or we’re not far enough along in our walk with God yet. The big question is, what does the Word of God say?

Over the next couple of posts, I’m going to look at this incident in detail. We need to understand the Biblical concept of what makes us worthy.

Question: How do feelings of unworthiness affect your Christian walk?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Legalism, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Continuing in the Power of God

Continuing in the Power of God

I’ve been posting through the Gospel of Luke. In the last few posts, I’ve been talking about how Christ was tempted in the wilderness. He is the perfect example of victorious living.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, He overcame all the assaults of the enemy. But there’s more to the story than just the devil’s defeat.

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
Luke 4:13-14

The story goes on. After the devil had done everything he knew to do, he was finished. The enemy’s battery was totally drained. He had to leave for a while to recharge.

Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t miss a beat. He’d been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. Then the Lord experienced a spiritual battle the likes of which we’ve never seen in our lives.

Was He drained? Did he have to recuperate? Absolutely not! Jesus Christ came out of the wilderness experience just as powerful as when He entered 40 days before.

We need to walk in this kind of power. But in order to do this we must let go of our reliance upon the promises and start acting like spiritual adults. We need to truly tap into the full potential of the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work within us.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
Ephesians 3:16

Without a doubt, this is the key – the Holy Spirit living within us. Being led by the Spirit is the earmark of a son or daughter of God. We must remain in Christ if we are to access this potential. Christ is our example.

I don’t know why we’ve turned it around and made it all about us. As if we have the power to change anything. We think that if we find the right promise or confess the right Scripture verse, then a miracle will happen. Maybe if we put together the correct formula of words in a prayer, the power will manifest.

What’s the secret of how Christ consistently walked in the power of the Spirit? It wasn’t confessions or formulas. It was the time He spend remaining in the Father’s presence. He prayed, He listened, and He obeyed.

So often we think that if we say the right words in the right order, we’ll see a miracle. That’s not how life in the kingdom of God works. The Scripture makes it abundantly clear.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

1 Corinthians 4:20

For too many of God’s people, It’s all talk and no power. They talk about faith, they mindlessly recite Bible verses, but they walk in defeat. The only way to break this cycle is to spend quality time listening for God’s voice.

It’s time for us to learn this lesson. We need to stop looking for an easy way to tap into the Spirit while continuing to live for ourselves. We need to submit to the Lord’s agenda for our lives. Time in the presence of God is the only thing that will bring about this transformation.

But, hearing from God is only half of the equation. Once I hear from the Holy Spirit, I need to obey what He’s told me. That’s the key to an abundant, victorious, life.

Question: What would have to change in order for you to spend more time in the Lord’s presence?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Coming of Age

Coming of Age

We’re continuing our study of the Gospel of Luke. In today’s post I’ll be looking at Luke 2:41-52.

This event happens when Jesus is in His pre-teen years.

Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.

Luke 2:41-42

It’s important for us to see that Jesus was raised in a family that steadfastly observed Jewish worship. We also have to realize that He was not an only child. After the birth of Christ, Mary and Joseph had other children.

According to Scripture, Jesus had at least four brothers and two sisters. That must have been quite a feat of coordination to go to Jerusalem faithfully, every year. I’ve seen some families who can’t manage to get themselves and two children to church every week. It’s obvious to me that we can accomplish what’s important to us. Is a godly family important?

I believe that the Holy Spirit put this event in the Bible for a reason. Now that Jesus was twelve, the Passover was an important milestone in His life.

It was a custom in Israel, that when a boy turned twelve, he was to be brought to the temple. While there, he went through some ceremonies where he was taught about fasting and other requirements of the law. This prepares him for full entry into adulthood at thirteen years of age.

The spiritual responsibility was upon the parents until a child was twelve years old. Now that Jesus was twelve, He was responsible for His own walk before God.

That really is an eye-opener. In our society, we usually think of someone being a child until the age of eighteen. Very few churches give these teenagers any important responsibilities. More than once I’ve heard them referred to as “the church of the future.”

I believe that at this age, these young men and women can understand and apply the spiritual principles of what they hear. They can start to walk in the spiritual disciplines they’ve seen demonstrated. It’s unfortunate that so many people write them off as too young to serve God effectively.

Look at the example of Jesus. The feast at Jerusalem lasted for seven days. Now that He was considered a responsible adult, Jesus was allowed to be on His own.

When the feast was over, Mary and Joseph rounded up their children and made the assumption that Jesus knew it was time to leave. At sunset, they went looking to see where He was among the group that they traveled with. But, nobody remembered seeing Him.

So, Joseph and family went back to Jerusalem where they searched for another three days.

After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Luke 2:46-47

Now that the Lord was considered an adult, He was allowed to spend time with the great teachers of Jerusalem. What we have to realize is, that in Hebrew tradition, the one asking the questions is the one who’s teaching. That’s why everyone was so amazed. Jesus was literally teaching the teachers.

Of course, parents being the worriers they are, Mary was a little upset that Jesus didn’t tell her what He was doing. They were more than a little inconvenienced by His absence. His response is important.

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Luke 2:49-50

Now that the Lord was an adult, He had an understanding of who He was, and the mission He was called to accomplish. At this point, His parents didn’t understand the full scope of His calling, but they would someday.

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Luke 2:51-52

Question: Why do we expect so little, spiritually, from our teenagers in this society?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2021 in Ministry, Sonship, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Our Glorious God

Our Glorious God

In my last post, I started talking about the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth. This occurred when they both became pregnant after hearing a message from God. Elizabeth was carrying John the Baptist, while Mary was pregnant with Jesus.

We saw that when they met together, God showed up. He overshadowed their time together. Elizabeth was given a revelation of who Mary would give birth to – the Messiah. Now Mary is overcome by the presence of the Lord and she begins to prophesy.

This is found in Luke 1:46-56. You may want to read this passage before continuing with this post.

She begins with a revelation of who she is, and the magnitude of what God is doing in her.

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.”

Luke 1:46-49

It’s important to see her attitude here. She understands that it’s all about God, and has nothing to do with how good she is. She sees God as her Lord and Savior. Her blessing is from Him alone.

We need to learn this lesson. There’s nothing we can do to work for, or earn the Lord’s blessing. It’s all a part of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross. All we can do is accept the blessing of His salvation.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.”

Luke 1:50-51

God alone is merciful and mighty. It’s important for us to understand what that means. We get a skewed understanding of mercy sometimes.

In our modern generation we use the word, mercy, incorrectly. We think it means to give someone a second chance after they’ve wronged us. We sweep their sin under the carpet. That’s not the Biblical idea.

Notice that God extends mercy to those who fear Him. That’s because God’s mercy is His reward to those who are obedient to His covenant. It’s the added benefit you get for being part of the family.

To fear God means that you humble yourself before Him. These verses reinforce the fact that pride hinders our relationship with the Lord. It’s all about our attitudes.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”

Luke 1:52-53

Ruling, humble, hungry, and rich are all attitudes. They’re choices we have to make. Am I in charge of my life (ruler) or is God in charge (humble)? Do I see my need for the Lord’s help (hungry) or do I think I can make it without His help (rich)? How we answer these questions determine the amount of grace we receive.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Luke 1:54-55

I especially love this last part. This blessing is forever on the descendants of Abraham. That includes me.

Remember, from the book of Romans, that as Gentile believers we’ve been grafted into the family of Abraham. Genetically, I have no part of this heritage, yet because of Christ I can claim the full rights of a son of Abraham. And, you can too if you’ve bowed your knee to Jesus Christ.

This whole exchange was just the first few minutes of Mary and Elizabeth getting together. I can only imagine what the next few months were like. The mutual encouragement must have been incredible. This is what life in the family of God should be like for all of us.

Question: How is your knowledge of God increased by your meeting with other believers?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Call to Everyone

The Call to Everyone

We’re continuing through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He’s talking about Israel’s rejection of the Messiah and the calling of the Gentiles.

As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”

Romans 9:25-26

Here Paul quotes a prophecy from Hosea (Hosea 2:23, 1:10). In context it’s about Israel being called to repentance. At that time, Israel joined with the Gentiles in their unbelief and caused judgment upon themselves.

Now, this same spirit of unbelief opened the call of salvation to us as Gentiles. Because, as Paul said, not all “Israel” is true Israel. The call to “not my people” can apply to everyone, Jew and Gentile alike. We can all go from “not His people” to sons of the living God.

That’s the journey that Romans, chapters 1-8, was all about. It’s the path to mature sonship in Christ.

At this point the path is the same for Jew and Gentile. It must be through faith in Christ. There are no special exemptions for the Jew. Actually, that’s why the book of Hebrews was written.

At that point many Jews were being saved. They came under intense persecution for following Christ. As a result, many wanted to go back to the old way under the law of Moses. Hebrews was written to let them know that there was no going back.

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

Hebrews 10:15-18

The call to sonship in Christ is for all, both Jew and Gentile alike. Now we turn to the prophet, Isaiah.

Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

Romans 9:27-28

Here the prophet is clearly speaking to Israel. In this quote there are some interesting things. First of all, the Old Testament verse (Isaiah 10:22-23) says they will turn around. Paul quotes the verse by saying they will be saved. (Actually, I’ve found many times where Paul quotes an Old Testament verse with a New Testament twist.)

But the real question before us is; what is true Israel. He said that Israel would be like the sand of the sea, but only a remnant saved. Right now you can find Jews in every part of the world. Yet how many are saved?

Some teach that they go to heaven simply because they’re Jews. That’s not what Paul, or the writer of Hebrews preached.

Verse 28 is the key. It’s not really a part of the Isaiah verse. I believe that it’s Paul’s comment on the subject. It literally says that the Lord will fulfill this word with a short cut.

How did He do that? The short cut is through Jesus Christ. Salvation through the Messiah, Jesus is much easier than the Old Testament law of Moses.

Through Jesus Christ, both Jews and Gentiles have been given a great gift. We have the ability to be saved simply by believing that Jesus is the Christ and accepting Him as Lord and Savior.

Question: How did you hear about the grace of God in Christ Jesus?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Yackity Yak, Don’t Talk Back

Yackity Yak, Don’t Talk Back

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. In talking about Israel’s place in the plan of God, Paul is explaining about God’s foreknowledge.

It’s a hard concept for us to grasp. The Lord sits outside of time and can view all of eternity at once. Our view is limited to where we are right now.

Because of this, some people get the idea that God makes everything happen. They say that He planned out everyone’s actions and reactions. I don’t believe this. Just because you know what everyone will do, doesn’t mean that you’re making them do it.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Romans 9:19-21

If God already knows what will happen, then why does He blame us when we turn out that way? Paul asks us; who can stand against and oppose His resolve?

What do you think you’re doing when you talk back to God? He’s the Creator, the great Potter. We’re the ones being formed. How can we say to the Potter, “Why are you making me into this type of pot? I don’t want to be this.”

Some of the pottery is for noble purposes, like vases and ornamental pieces. Others are for common uses, like wash basins and bed pans.

Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s really up to the clay to decide what purpose it’s used for.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

It takes the right kind of clay to make a delicate vessel. Hard, unyielding clay can only make a common pot. The fact is that God determines the use, based on what He knows of the clay. The pliability of the person determines how God shapes him.

In my last post, I talked about Moses and Pharaoh. God shaped Pharaoh to display His glory, based upon the desire of Pharaoh’s heart. A resistant heart can never become what a soft, yielding heart can be.

Remember, Paul is still talking about Israel in this passage. He said that not all of Israel is Israel. Not all of Israel yields to His will.

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Romans 9:22-24

God desires to display who He is. Even in His wrath, He is passionate. The Lord shows forth His power and glory in all that He does.

He could, by His foreknowledge, immediately send everyone to hell that He knows will reject Him. He could also immediately translate to Heaven, everyone who accepts Christ. But, that wouldn’t show who He is.

In the Lord’s grace, He shows His patience, even to those who will someday enter His wrath. He does this so that He could show the wealth of His glory to the objects of His mercy, those who yielded to His molding. In Christ, we’re being prepared for His glory.

Question: How is God’s patience a blessing to you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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A Hardened Heart

A Hardened Heart

In my last post, I started taking a little side trip to discuss mercy, from a biblical perspective. I explained that mercy is one of three foundations of God’s righteous law. The three are faith, judgment, and mercy.

Now we need to understand the important role that mercy should have in our lives.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:3-4

The mercy of God speaks of new birth and an inheritance. It’s the family blessing of God. As I said in my last post, mercy is the reward for being an obedient child of God.

In essence the walk of sonship is the walk of mercy. It’s a higher way of life than the faith-walk.

But, what we don’t get, is how it ties into the fact that God exists outside of time. That’s why His mercy looks random to us sometimes.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

1 Timothy 1:12-13

This is Paul’s testimony of the work of Christ in his life. Paul received mercy, not based upon what he had done, but upon what God knew he would become in the future.

God knows who is going to respond to Him. So, He sometimes bases the blessings He gives on that foreknowledge. That’s why many seemingly sinful people receive protection, provision, and grace long before they bow their knee to Christ.

The Lord knew that you were going to choose Him. There are others, however, that He knows will never choose Christ, no matter the circumstances. Mercy is always based on obedience – past, present or future.

Now with an understanding of the mercy of God we can move forward with our study of Romans.

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Romans 9:17

We need to understand this verse from the standpoint of God’s mercy. This verse doesn’t say, “I made you king…” It literally says, “I resurrected you…” God got what was on the inside of Pharaoh to come out. These things sometimes only come out in the heat of emotion.

If you read Exodus, chapters 7-9, you’ll see Moses going before Pharaoh again and again. Each time Pharaoh says he’ll let Israel go, but then he goes back on his word. He wants to negotiate, and look kingly, but his heart was actually against Moses and Israel.

Finally, God declared that He had spared Pharaoh to show His power. In that way, God’s mighty name would be proclaimed throughout the earth.

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Romans 9:18

According to His will, God grants mercy to His obedient sons and daughters. Others, the Lord will make stubborn, because that’s what they want to happen.

God did not do something with Pharaoh against his will. Just the opposite – God strengthened Pharaoh’s resolve to do what was already in his heart.

God didn’t want Pharaoh to cave in to the pressure from his advisors or magicians. God gave Pharaoh the backbone to do what he actually wanted to do.

That’s why it’s so important for us to pray for God to soften the hearts of those around us. We don’t want anyone hardened against the Gospel of Christ.

Question: In what ways have you seen emotions bring out what’s in a person’s heart?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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They’re Waiting for Us

They’re Waiting for Us

In my last post I talked about the suffering that we’re all called to endure. It’s brought on by making the flesh do things that it doesn’t want to do.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

I sometimes think that I’m the only one with these problems. The fact is that Jesus had to go through the same things that we do. Even though His flesh wasn’t sinful, the Lord still had to bring it under the Holy Spirit’s control.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Hebrews 5:8-9

It’s interesting to note that Christ learned obedience from what He suffered. Now we’re called to obey, so it only follows that we learn obedience the same way that He did.

How did Christ deal with this?

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Hebrews 5:7

Please understand that this is not talking about the Garden of Gethsemane. This is the suffering that took place during His life.

Think about the football player in my last post. He went forward with loud cries and tears. He screamed, “It hurts, it burns,” yet he kept going.

This is what we are sharers of. According to the verse in Romans, this is for the glory about to be uncovered in us.

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

Romans 8:19

This is the intense anticipation of the creation. The whole system of life on this planet is waiting for the unveiling of the sons (and daughters) of God. The Lord’s endgame is for the church to become a full-fledged son.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Romans 8:20-21

Actually, this is probably why we’re so hated by the world. The system wants liberation and they expect it to come from us. But, they look at the church, and compare us to what we promise. The result is frustration and hatred.

It’s like being a fan of a baseball team that keeps losing. Even if their team doesn’t win, the fans keep coming out. They hope for the best, but remain angry and frustrated.

The expectation is that there will be liberation from the effects of sin. This liberation should come through us, as believers.

The system is waiting for us to bring freedom. We need to rise to our feet as sons and daughters of the living God.

This could be the final harvest that’s talked about in Scripture. This will happen when the church becomes fully mature.

This is why we need to learn the lessons that Paul lays out in the book of Romans. We need to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What would it look like if the church was fully mature?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Good Suffering?

Good Suffering?

As we continue our study through the book of Romans, Paul is about to show us the way to finally overcome the flesh. He’s told us about the work of Christ on the cross. By identifying with Him, we count ourselves as dead to sin.

At that point, I’m a spiritual infant in God’s kingdom. I’m not where I should be yet. How do I deal with that? I want to be an adult son now.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:17

Maturity is something that takes time to develop. How do I live with this frustration of wanting to be mature right now? Nobody wants to wait to grow up.

This verse tells us that we’re co-heirs with Christ. It also tells us that if we’re co-sufferers with Him, we’ll be co-sharers of His glory.

This tells me that the suffering is what we go through to become adults. It’s not really what we want to hear. But, Paul goes on to explain it to us.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

Paul literally says that according to his calculations, our present sufferings cannot even be compared with our future glory. Suffering is one of those topics we don’t want to talk about.

The truth is that we need to co-suffer, but it doesn’t compare to the glory.

What is this suffering that he’s talking about? First off, let me assure you that it’s NOT sickness, poverty, or depression.

The Bible actually lets us know where this suffering comes from.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:24

The word, passion, in this verse is the same word as suffering in the Romans verse. The root of this word is passion, but it’s a passionate suffering. It’s like when something causes you to cry out, “I can’t take this anymore!” It comes from our sin nature. Why is this a good thing?

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7

Here’s another important word – comfort. In our modern culture, we think about someone putting their arms around us and saying, “There, there, it will be okay.” On the contrary, this word means to call alongside. It’s what a coach does when he trains his athletes.

The best illustration I’ve ever seen of the Holy Spirit’s comfort, was from a movie a few years ago. It’s called Facing the Giants. I encourage you to watch it. To see the clip I’m talking about, click here.

That perfectly illustrates the suffering and the comfort provided by our Coach, the Holy Spirit. It’s about making our flesh do what it doesn’t want to, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

We think we can’t go on. We think we can’t do what we’re called to do. We call it suffering. But God knows better than us.

We need to learn to listen to, and obey our Coach. Only then will we see the glory of a victorious life.

Question: What are some times that you had to suffer on the road to maturity?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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