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Flee and Pursue

Flee and Pursue

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. In my last post, we saw Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His trial. Now, He’s about to be arrested. You may want to read Luke 22:47-53 before continuing with the rest of this article.

The Lord knew that His captors were approaching. He woke up His disciples and went to meet the officials. It’s interesting to see how the disciples reacted.

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

Luke 22:49-50 NIV

We know from the other Gospels that this verse is referring to Peter. A fisherman wielding a sword. I’m surprised that he didn’t hurt himself! The best he could do was to cut the ear off of an unarmed servant.

When the other disciples saw the futility of resisting, they all ran away. One of them, when he was grabbed, left without any clothing (Mark 14:51-52). It was the normal, human, fight or flight reaction.

The Lord knew where He was headed. He was looking forward to the victory He was going to accomplish on the cross. So, instead, I want to talk about what was happening with the disciples.

What they did was the normal reaction that’s built into all of us. When we see trouble coming, our entire being begins to prepare to either fight or run away. God placed that in our DNA in order for us to protect ourselves in emergency situations.

The problem is that there’s a spiritual side that many of us fail to grasp. In the spiritual battles that we face, there are times that we need to apply the lessons of “fight or flight”.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:13 NIV

I think Scripture is clear that the first choice is to stand your ground. We need to prepare ourselves spiritually, so that we don’t fall back into our old ways. If you’re strong in the Lord, and understand your place in Christ, then stand and fight that spiritual battle.

If you remember from my last post, Jesus gave this warning to the disciples. Two times He told them to pray in order that they wouldn’t fall to temptation. The time to prepare is before the spiritual struggle.

But, what about those who aren’t in that position? They’ve tried to fight the enemy and merely “cut off a servant’s ear”. They haven’t put on their holy armor.

Many believers find themselves in spiritual battles with no hope of victory. They’ve resigned themselves to falling backwards for the rest of their lives. There is another choice.

Look at what Paul advised a young pastor who he was mentoring.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:22 NIV

Some of the worst problems we face are when the old man tries to reassert itself. The sins that we thought were long gone are suddenly calling to us again.

This is especially true of addictive sins. Sexual, drug, and alcohol addictions are a few areas that never seem to let up on their assaults. What do you do if your spiritual strength is not enough to overcome? Should you just give in? Absolutely not!

There is a time to flee. Get out of the situation that’s causing the temptation. You must leave the environment that weakens your defenses. There’s nothing shameful about a strategic retreat. It gives you the ability to strengthen your position for the next battle.

However, that’s not the end of the story. There’s a place you need to run into. Along with “fleeing”, we need to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. There must be both fleeing and pursuing if we want a life of victory over evil in our lives.

Question: When have you needed to flee from an overpowering situation?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2023 in Power of God, Prayer, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Prayer in the Battle

Prayer in the Battle

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we’re now at the point just before the Lord’s arrest. They had finished the Passover meal and were now spending the night on the Mount of Olives.

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”

Luke 22:39-40 NIV

This was the time in Jesus’ life that leads up to His betrayal and arrest. He knew that the cross was before Him. He came to earth knowing that He was to die for the sins of all people.

When it comes down to the hard choices, knowing your path and walking it out can be very different. Now that the hour was at hand, the Lord needed the strength to see it through.

In order to receive what He needed from the Father, Jesus did what He always knew would bring Him an answer. He spent time with God the Father in a private place, far away from any distractions.

This was not to be a time for crowds of people. He even left most of His disciples at the entrance to the garden. The only ones to stay with Him were Peter, James, and John. He would spend the night agonizing over what was ahead.

The disciples didn’t know it, but they were about to enter a storm of doubt and fear. Jesus wanted them to be prepared as well. Unfortunately, they didn’t have that same fervency in prayer.

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Luke 22:41-44 NIV

This is one of the simplest yet profound prayers in the Bible. It’s during these times of struggle that we dispense with the “religious protocol” of prayer. We forget about the intricate prayer charts or King James English. Our goal is to get right to the heart of the prayer – HELP!!!

It was no different for Jesus. He wasted no time on introductions. However, there’s one difference between His prayer and many of ours. This is seen in His attitude. Rather than trying to convince the Father to work out His plan in an easier way, our Lord immediately bowed His knee to the revealed will of God.

This is the example we need to follow. How often do we try to convince God to do things our way? Instead, our goal should be to learn the kind of submission that brings us right into the center of God’s will for us.

Are there things that God wants you to do that you’re having a hard time yielding to? Take this time to follow Christ’s lead. Surrender your whole life to God. Submit yourself by saying, in your own way, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Luke 22:45-46 NIV

I always stand in awe of how determined Christ was to accomplish the work He was called to do. After His time in the presence of the Father we see no hesitancy or fear. He has set His face toward the path ahead.

I realize that, unlike us, He had no sin nature. However, it’s clear that He keenly felt the sting of His mortality. I believe that He also understood clearly the pain that He would have to endure. It was these realizations that brought Him to His knees in the garden.

What I really need to grab hold of is the understanding that it’s only in the presence of God that I can receive the strength and determination that it takes to move forward in my life. All of my will power and good intentions will never bring me to my destiny in the Lord. I need help from beyond myself.

Seeking intimacy with the Lord is time well spent. Use the time that you’ve been given to get into that place of safety in God. In that way – just like Jesus – you may leave your time in His presence physically drained, but you’ll be spiritually strong.

Question: What trials are you facing right now that are beyond your control?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Psalm for 2023

A Psalm for 2023

As we begin this new year, we should take the time to meditate on where we’re headed. I want to use this post to give you some thoughts to pray on.

For many years, I’ve had a tradition when it comes to the New Year. I’ve only posted about it a few times, but I want to start making it a yearly thing.

A long time ago, I noticed that since 1901, the Psalms have pretty much lined up with what was happening in world events. For at least 20 years, I’ve been using them to prepare me, and those under my ministry, for the year ahead.

Last year, I noticed something that I find very interesting. With the global pandemic that started in 2019, a majority of Christians stopped attending church in-person. Coinciding with that, from Psalm 120 on, are what’s known as the Psalms of ascent. That means they are Psalms calling God’s people to meet together. Hmmmm!

In last year’s post, I showed a call to return to in-person meetings. Unfortunately, there are large groups of believers who still don’t meet together for whatever reasons. To read last year’s post, click here.

Psalm 123 is the Psalm of Ascent for 2023. That’s what I want to talk about in this post. It’s up to you whether or not you see it as a prep for the coming year.

I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy.

Psalm 123:1-2 NIV

This Psalm begins with an acknowledgment that God is higher than we are. We need to start looking up – seeking His face. This has to be done in the humility of a servant’s heart.

That in itself is an important concept. We look to the Lord’s hand. The Hebrew language distinguishes between an open hand and a closed hand. In the above verse, we look to the open hand of our Lord.

We need to understand this because an open hand is significant in Scripture. An open hand speaks of power, means, and direction. All of these things are to be sought from the hand of God.

This is where the Holy Spirit is leading us in the coming year. That is, if we’re willing to seek His face. That’s the place where we obtain mercy.

In this verse, the Hebrew word for mercy literally means that a superior being is bending or stooping in kindness to an inferior, in order to bestow favor on them. This is where the Lord wants us to be positioned.

However, the question this brings up is; why – why do we need this divine impartation at this time? The Psalm gives us the answer, although you may not want to hear it.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt. We have endured much ridicule from the proud, much contempt from the arrogant.

Psalm 123:3-4 NIV

This cry for mercy is because of the attitude of the world around us. These verses say that our lives will be abundantly filled with disrespect, contempt, and ridicule.

Our society has already begun this type of assault against true, Bible believing Christians. I believe that it will ramp up this year. Some of it is deserved for our timid service to Christ.

I believe that God is allowing this in order to get our attention. We need to get back to a lifestyle of seeking God’s face. We must let 2023 be a year of pressing into the Holy Spirit.

Question: How deep is your walk with the Lord?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Get Packed Up!

Get Packed Up!

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. At this point, Jesus and His disciples are about to leave the upper room where the Last Supper was held.

The Lord gives these men some final instructions.

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That is enough,” he replied.

Luke 22:35-38 NIV

The Lord tells His disciples how to prepare for what’s ahead. As I look at this, I can see some spiritual parallels to what He’s saying. It’s how we should be prepared for our walk with the Lord.

Take a purse. That’s a money holder. In some of his parables, Jesus talked about money. A rich man gave money to his servants, for them to increase it while he was away (Matthew 25:14-30).

That speaks to me of calling. We’re called to be fruitful and profitable in the Lord’s kingdom. This means that we’ve sought God’s will for our lives. More than that, now we seek to please God by fulfilling that purpose.

Take a bag. The Greek word used, speaks specifically about a food bag. We need to have something to sustain our inner man.

In the natural, they would probably pack some bread. We have something more nourishing in the spirit.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:4 NIV

We must spend time in the Lord’s presence. We need to be regularly hearing from the Holy Spirit. After all, He’s the one leading and guiding us to our calling and destiny.

Sell your cloak. We need to stop hiding. Many of us are very comfortable in our “spiritual cloaks”. We like blending in with the society around us.

Many times, I hear believers say that they’re trying to be relevant. I’m sick of hearing that. We were never called to be “relevant” to the point of compromise.

If the world can’t see a difference between us and them, then there’s something wrong with our lifestyle. Jesus makes it clear that how we live is going to make the world uncomfortable (John 15:18-19). There’s no way around it.

Take a sword. I don’t think this should take much to explain. We need God’s Word as a weapon. It’s a component of the whole armor of God.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:17 NIV

I talked about the Word when I looked at the food bag. That was a Word for our nourishment and growth. This is a Word to defeat the enemy.

That’s why intimacy with the Holy Spirit is so important. Hearing from God is a vital part of our entire walk with the Lord. It’s what we need in every area.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3 NIV

The Lord wanted His disciples to be prepared. Spiritually speaking, we need preparation as well. Don’t be found lacking in the things of God. Walk in the fullness of what He has for you.

Question: What will it take for you to be spiritually prepared?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Standing with Christ

Standing with Christ

We’re looking at the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ as recorded by Luke’s Gospel. They have just finished the Passover meal. Jesus gave them some sobering words about His betrayal. Now, He gives them some encouragement.

You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Luke 22:28-30 NIV

The Lord lets them know that their faithfulness will be rewarded. They have been given a place of honor in the kingdom of God. They are qualified to judge, because they have seen the response of the nation of Israel.

Now, Christ turns His attention to Simon Peter.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Luke 22:31-34 NIV

The Lord predicts that none will stand with Him in His final hours. That thought shocked them, especially Peter. He couldn’t imagine that he would ever deny knowing Christ. But very soon he would find out how far off his self-assessment was.

I think that we focus on Peter too much when we read this passage. After all, we would know better than to deny knowing the Lord. Or would we? Let’s think about what’s happening here. Mark gives us a few more details.

You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’”

Mark 14:27 NIV

Jesus quotes a Scriptural truth to His disciples. He tells them that when the Shepherd it struck, the sheep are scattered. He was referring to the disciples as the sheep.

However, Jesus was using this verse to prove His first statement that they would all fall away. That literally means that they would all be offended or tripped up. It was being offended that caused the sheep to leave the side of the Shepherd.

This didn’t mean that they stopped loving or following Christ, they just didn’t want to stand too close to Him. They didn’t want the hatred of the leaders to be against themselves.

In our society, right now, there’s a definite hatred against the name of Jesus Christ. Any mention of Christ or the teaching of Scripture and they begin to shut down and stop listening. So, what’s our response?

I’ve found that in many cases we start to distance ourselves from Christ. For instance, there are many singers and entertainers who profess Christ – privately. I’m frequently told of one or another who are Christians.

The problem is that by watching the movies they’re in or hearing the songs they record; I would never have known. Even in their interviews, they may only make a slight reference to God.

Of course, it’s not just those in the media. What about “regular” Christians? What happens when people ask us about our views on evolution, homosexuality, abortion, or other controversial topics? Do we simply shrug our shoulders and stay silent?

Please understand that I’m not talking about being offensive and attacking others with Scripture. The world has a very good idea of what Christ, and the Bible, teaches. As believers, we need to be willing to stand with Christ and take any heat the world may bring on account of this.

We need to pray for boldness in our generation. In that way, when the world strikes at our Shepherd, we will stand with Him.

Question: How have you been hurt for standing with Christ and His Word?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Leading by Serving

Leading by Serving

What do you think is the best path to leadership in the kingdom of God? There was a principle of leadership that Jesus had to get across to His disciples. After all, they were going to be leading the church after His ascension.

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. At this point we’re viewing the Last Supper before Jesus goes to the cross.

Christ wants to prepare the Apostles for the challenges ahead. Part of this was to instruct them about the cross. He was going to suffer, die, and then rise from the dead three days later.

The Lord had given them the bread and the cup of the New Covenant. He then told them about how He was going to be betrayed. That’s an interesting place for this conversation to begin.

As they were sitting around the table, the disciples started to debate something among themselves. I’m sure that it got pretty heated.

Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

Luke 22:24 NIV

This argument probably started with, “It’s obviously not me. I would never betray Him. After all, I’m closer to the Lord than any of you!” I’m sure that Peter, James, and John all thought that they were at the top of the list. That is, until Jesus shared His views with them.

Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

Luke 22:25-27 NIV

The Lord explains that the true path to leadership is through servanthood. That’s something that we have a hard time grasping in the church these days.

Jesus is our prime example. The disciples were arguing over who was greatest, right after Jesus told them about His body and blood being given up for them.

He is the Lord of all creation. But the path He took involved laying down His life – serving – all of humanity.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:5-8 NIV

I think that it’s funny the way we get into leadership in our generation. If someone wants to be a pastor or teacher, they go to a Bible college and seminary for years. Then they graduate and send their resumes to churches. A lot of them will get voted in and installed as pastors having never served in ministry.

I think that’s why there’s such a high burn-out rate in the ministry. We haven’t learned that the path to knowing your calling is service in the kingdom. Without being a true servant, there’s no way of understanding the needs of those you’re leading.

That was the path that Christ took. It hasn’t changed. The Father is looking for qualified servants to lead His people. Don’t ever look down on that season of your life. Enjoy your call to servanthood.

Question: How are you called to serve in God’s kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Christmas Star Rising

Christmas Star Rising

Around the world, people are going to be celebrating Christmas this weekend. Even though it has become commercialized, I still enjoy this season.

It reminds me of how much God loves us. He was willing to send His Son to redeem fallen humanity.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:1-2 NIV

This verse speaks of one of the premier symbols of Christmas – the star. Think about that. What brought you to Christ?

For most, it was a life-changing event. Somebody shared the Gospel with you, and you felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Think about one tiny star. Stars are pretty insignificant to us. These men were pagan astrologers. They made their fortune predicting things through the alignment of stars and planets. Yet, one star spoke enough to them to send them on a journey across the globe to worship Christ.

The fact is stars have always been associated with Christ.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

Revelation 22:16 NIV

The Lord calls himself the Bright Morning Star. In the natural, that’s the planet Venus. It’s the star ships would steer by. It gives direction.

Considering the stars should lead us to worship, just like the Magi. They should bring something to mind throughout this season.

This star should remind us of the Word of God. After all, Jesus Christ is the Living Word.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

2 Peter 1:19 NIV

We have heard the Word of God. It starts as a seed planted in our hearts. Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, it grows and matures.

Soon, it becomes a star rising in our hearts. We’re told that it’s important that we pay attention to the Word. It’s like a tiny light shining in a dark place.

Are you in a dark place right now? Many people find themselves in this condition during the holidays.

If so, then it’s important that you focus on the Word. It doesn’t matter how small.

A lot of things start that way. A cloud size of a man’s hand. Joseph in a prison cell. 120 people praying in an upper room.

There’s no way you can look at your life in the dark place and predict what God could do through you. It begins as His light starts to rise in you.

This season – look for the star. Let it speak to you.

Have a very blest Christmas season!

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Word of God

 

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Facing Trials

Facing Trials

How bold are you when you see trouble coming in your future? Are you willing to stand your ground and face it head-on? Or, like so many, do you simply ignore it and hope that it goes away?

As we look at the life of Christ in the Gospel of Luke, we’re talking about His time with the disciples at the Last Supper. The Lord has already shared the bread and the cup with them. Now He gives them a shocking announcement.

But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

Luke 22:21-23 NIV

Luke shows us the disciples’ reaction to the revelation that one of their own would betray Christ. The word, betray, in this verse means to surrender over. Somebody was going to turn the Lord in to the authorities.

The effect was that they were distressed by this knowledge. It hurt them. In one sense, most of them felt that they would never do such a thing. On the other hand, Jesus had never been wrong in any of His predictions. The reality of the situation was overwhelming.

The men with Jesus must have felt a great grief come over them. But in spite of this emotional upheaval, it’s not the disciples that I want to concentrate on. It’s the attitude of Christ that we need to examine.

Mark’s Gospel gives us a little more detail of how Jesus explained it to His disciples.

“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Mark 14:20-21 NIV

The Lord reveals that it is indeed one of His twelve closest friends who will do this deed. It would be someone who is in fellowship, eating at the same table. In that culture, sharing a meal was one of the most intimate things that friends did.

Jesus makes it clear that this would not turn out well for the betrayer. There will come a time when he wishes he had never been born. His guilt will eventually destroy his life.

But it’s the statement Christ makes about Himself that really gets my attention. He said that He would go just as it was written about Him.

That word, go, in the Greek, means to lead oneself. He was stating that He was more than willing to walk the road that was laid out for Him in the Scripture.

Jesus knew what was ahead. The cross was not taking Him by surprise. He saw it and was progressing toward it with boldness and conviction. That had always been the goal of Christ’s ministry on earth, and nothing would prevent Him from accomplishing it.

We need to walk in that same conviction when it comes to following the will of God for our lives. Too often we let the problems, challenges, and distraction of life sidetrack us from the straight and narrow path.

We must realize that the spiritual struggle can only be won with the Lord’s strength operating through us. Time spent in His presence will assure us the victory. So, we won’t need to fret over the challenges we see coming down the road toward us. Stand strong in the Lord!

Question: How has time in the Lord’s presence helped you to overcome the obstacles of life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Blood of the New Covenant

The Blood of the New Covenant

In this post I’m going to continue looking at the Last Supper as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Last time I talked about the bread, in this article we’ll see the cup of the covenant.

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Luke 22:20 NIV

It should be clear from this verse that the communion cup causes us to remember the covenant. We’re in covenant with God. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t understand what that means.

In our society, we understand contracts. There’s a big difference between contracts and covenants. Contracts have an ending date, covenants are in effect forever. A contract will usually cover a specific item or job. A covenant covers every area of our lives.

But the biggest difference is that a contract simply requires a signature for it to be valid. A covenant requires the shedding of blood from both parties.

Communion remembers the blood of the covenant between God and us. Hebrews, chapter 12, talks about where we’ve come to by faith.

to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Hebrews 12:24 NIV

Jesus is the Mediator, or literally the go-between of this covenant. On the cross, the blood of God and man was shed by one person – Jesus Christ. He offered it for us so that we could have a part in the New Covenant.

But, more than that, we need to understand that the blood SPEAKS. Jesus was killed just like Abel. But Abel’s blood spoke of revenge and justice. Jesus’ blood speaks of forgiveness.

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:28 NIV

Now that we’re in covenant with God, there’s a responsibility upon us to remember it and keep it. In a covenant, everything that either person has is available to all parties. In the natural, it would usually be two powerful people who would covenant together.

But, in our case, an all-powerful, holy God cut covenant with us. For our part we were unrighteous, sinful, imperfect, weak, and poor. I don’t have space here to list everything He provides for us. On His part, He simply asks for 10% of our wealth, some time, fellowship, and some of our strength.

This is the part of covenant we fail to think about sometimes.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6 NIV

In our churchy way of speaking, minister means to have a position of authority over someone or something. In Scripture it actually means to be a servant to something. This verse really means that God has qualified us to serve the covenant. The good news is that we don’t serve by the letter, but by the spirit.

When we come to the Lord’s Table, we’re remembering this covenant.

“I’m in covenant with God. It’s my whole life I’m giving over for Him.”

Keep this thought in mind whenever you participate in receiving the Lord’s Supper. This should cause you to worship and praise God for all He has done for you.

Question: What should our attitudes be when receiving the Communion elements?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2022 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel, Worship

 

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Our Body Freed from the Flesh

Our Body Freed from the Flesh

Do you know the difference between your body and your flesh? Scripturally speaking, they’re not the same thing. Knowing what those two Biblical words mean will help you in living for Christ.

We’re looking at the Last Supper as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is revealing a new concept to the disciples as they celebrate the Passover meal.

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:14-19 NIV

First, we have to understand that the cup mentioned here is the drink that started the Passover meal. It’s not the cup of the covenant we share in Communion. I’ll talk about that one in my next post.

In this post, I’ll talk about the bread. This is the foundation for the Communion observances in our churches. It was a small but important part of the Passover meal. The bread, which was a hard, dry, matzo cracker, was broken and passed to each one around the table.

It’s important to know what the Lord was speaking about. In the Greek language there are two different words that we sometimes take for granted. In English, they’re translated as flesh and body.

In the natural, they seem to be speaking about the same thing – our physical body. But when you look at how they’re used in Scripture, you get a new perspective.

The word, body, refers to our outward, physical vessel that holds who we are. It can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. The body is what we use to interact in the natural world.

The flesh, on the other hand, speaks of the old sin nature that’s been passed down to us from our ancestor, Adam. It’s the desire within us to make the experience of our body the center of our life. It wants our body to have everything it needs to feel good.

So usually, when we see the body spoken of in Scripture, we’re referring to the deeds that are being done and the outward appearance. In this verse, Christ is speaking of imparting His body into us. Paul talked about the importance of this.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:4 NIV

This is an incredible truth. By taking on Christ’s body, our physical bodies are now counted as dead to the Law. Not only is that true, but now the resurrection of Christ is credited to my account.

This means that my body is no longer bound to do what my flesh (my sin nature) wants it to do. The control of the flesh is broken. This is the foundation of our freedom in Christ.

Look at what Paul goes on to say.

But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 7:6 NIV

Not only have we been released from slavery to our flesh and the Law; now our bodies can come under the direct influence of our spirit. We don’t have to serve God by obeying a list of dos and don’ts. I can follow the lead of the Holy Spirit who’s taken up residence in me.

In the future, when you receive the Communion elements, meditate on this truth. Because you’re receiving His body, you’re receiving the whole work that was done on the cross. All the power that was released for your life and godliness is available to you right now.

Question: How does knowing that we died and rose with Christ affect our daily walk with God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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