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Being a Blessing

Being a Blessing

As we go through this last section of Romans, there are some tough exhortations. But remember, this part of Romans assumes that you’ve applied chapters 8-10. This gives you the ability for what’s ahead.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:14

The teaching here goes against our very human nature. This is impossible to do apart from the strength of the Holy Spirit.

This is more than just ignoring those who persecute you or putting up with them. The word, bless, means to speak well of them. To do that, requires us to see through God’s eyes. We need to see what they could become in Christ.

In this verse, Paul even repeats himself with emphasis. He tells us to bless them and don’t curse them – literally, don’t speak doom over them.

To accomplish this requires quality time with the Holy Spirit.

Another thing we must learn, according to Paul, is identification.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15

We must learn to be happy in the midst of happiness and mournful in the midst of mourning. So often we miss this characteristic of Christ.

Jesus sent out 72 of His followers to do what He was doing. They got amazing results.

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

Luke 10:17

They returned full of joy. What was Jesus’ reaction?

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.”

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 10:18-21

The phrase, full of joy, literally means to jump and dance around with joy. I can picture the Lord giving them all high-fives as they arrived.

Then again, when Lazarus died…

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

John 11:33-36

The fact is that Jesus didn’t need to weep. The Lord knew that He was going to call Lazarus back to life. But, He identified with those who were in mourning.

When we identify with others, it shows them that we care about what they’re going through – either good or bad. Many times that will open their hearts to allow us to speak the truth of the Word into their lives.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23

We need to follow Paul’s example.

Question: How have you been a blessing to someone else recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2021 in Ministry, Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

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Israel and the Gospel

Israel and the Gospel

We’re continuing our walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In my last post, we saw how Paul prophesied Israel’s ultimate return to God. He said that all Israel would be saved.

The question is, what does he mean by all Israel. Is the apostle talking about ethnic Israel or true Israel. Will the nation of Israel be restored to faith in the last days?

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

Romans 11:28-29

Paul tells us that as far as the Gospel is concerned, the Jews are hostile non-participants. But, as far a selection goes, they’re loved because of the patriarchs. Some teachers use this verse to say that all Jews go to heaven simply because they’re Jews. Is that what Paul’s saying?

What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

Romans 3:9

At the beginning of Romans Paul already made the point that both Jews and Gentiles need to be saved through Christ. However, there’s a special bond with the Lord, which is why the nation of Israel will not be destroyed.

They will always be given the chance for salvation. They will always be protected, just like those with praying parents or grandparents. Because of all the intercessions that have gone up for Israel, they will always be drawn by the Holy Spirit.

According to this passage, there are two things that cannot be turned away from. In context, he’s talking about Israel, but this spiritual principle applies to us as well.

The first is the gifts of God. The Greek word he uses here is charismata. This is an endowed gift from God that He retains authority over. It’s the same word used in the gifts of the Spirit.

That’s actually why we’re shocked when we hear what some of the “spiritual giants” have done. How could they have operated in the power of God, all the while participating in secret sins?

The other thing that God never revokes is His callings – literally, the invitations of God. Once God has invited you to do something, it always stands whether you accomplish it or not.

In Abraham, Israel was called to bring salvation to the earth. So they’re still on hold as God waits for them.

Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.

Romans 11:30-31

Paul tells us that in the past it was the Gentiles who were “Unbelievers.” Now we have obtained mercy (sonship by faith) and the Jews are unbelievers. But, because of the grace active in you, they can be brought to repentance.

So it’s because the Gentiles picked up the torch of salvation that Israel now has hope. They can be saved because the Gospel has not been lost.

For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Romans 11:32

God has bound all unbelievers together, both Jew and Gentile, so that now, whosoever will can enter His salvation. He’s calling all people to sonship in Christ.

That’s why living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important. We’ve been entrusted with the Good News. We can’t be selfish with it.

There’s a world of people around us who desperately need this message. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when He prompts you to give your testimony. Pass on this wonderful gift.

Question: How many people have you shared your story with?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Ministry, The Gospel

 

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What are You Hearing?

What are You Hearing?

We’ve been talking about how the Gospel is sent to the world around us. There have to be Christians submitted to the Lord in order to effectively communicate the message of Christ.

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:16-17

The problem is that not all submit to, obey, heed carefully the good news. Even though the context here is talking about Israel, I believe it could apply to all who hear the Gospel.

Paul concludes that faith only comes through the power of the spirit. That’s what the second half of this passage is talking about. But it assumes that the believer with the message is hearing from God.

The Lord is trying to get our attention. He wants to speak to a church that’s largely enamored with what the world has to offer. We don’t want to take the time to hear from the Holy Spirit.

The enemy knows this. Never have there been more distractions then there is right now.

We seem to have lost sight of the truth of this verse. It literally says, “Faith comes out of hearing and hearing through the rhema of Christ.” As I’ve said before, rhema is the Greek word that speaks of the word we hear with our spirit.

That’s one of our biggest failings. Not listening, and therefore not hearing God’s voice speaking to us.

We want to just go out and minister with the power of the spirit. We want to go to work, watch TV, play basketball, and then heal the sick. We want formulas – quick, easy ways to walk in the power of the Spirit.

The spiritual authority that we’re looking for starts with hearing from God. Jesus would spend quality time in prayer and didn’t minister until he heard a Word from the Father. People actually flocked to him.

Today, we find it hard getting people to our meetings in the middle of a city. What’s wrong? I believe that the answer is clear…we have no Word from God. If we want to be the end-time church, prepared for Christ’s return, then we need to be listening to the Holy Spirit.

That’s the conclusion that Paul brings us to. Faith originates, springs from hearing a Word originating in the spirit. Not from reading. Not from speaking. But hearing through the rhema-Word of Christ.

This is where we mess up much of the time. We think that reading Scripture produces faith. NO – it’s a Word from God that produces faith. Please don’t get mad at me for speaking this truth.

We need to relearn that it’s revelation from God that produces faith. It’s not a well thought out argument. Faith springs from hearing through rhema.

This is an important point. That’s why you need God’s approval to share Christ. You have to be submitted enough to hear a Word from Christ. If you’re not listening to the Holy Spirit, then you have no business proclaiming Jesus.

The church needs to get back to an intimacy with the Holy Spirit. We can’t fill our days with every kind of distraction the world offers, and expect to see a move of God.

We are living at a crossroads. The restrictions of the pandemic are starting to come to an end. We’re starting to refill our schedules. Don’t go back to business as usual. Set you heart toward quality time with the Lord.

We don’t know what’s coming down the road. But, if you’re in step with the Holy Spirit, then you’re prepared for whatever may come your way.

Question: What are your scheduling priorities as pandemic restrictions loosen?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Who is Sent?

Who is Sent?

I’m continuing through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In my last post, I ended with some of Paul’s leading questions about the Gospel. The next question is probably the most important of all.

And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10:15

How shall the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ be proclaimed unless someone is sent? You might get mad at me for what I’m about to say, but stick with me and see what Scripture says about it.

Many believers have this idea that it’s every Christian’s job to proclaim Christ. Is it? Look at how Paul describes this ministry elsewhere in his writings.

And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle — I am telling the truth, I am not lying — and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.

1 Timothy 2:7

Paul uses a word here that’s translated as appointed in English. It actually means to be set in place. It wasn’t something that he just decided to do in passing.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

This is something that most teachers never touch on. Paul says the he had to be approved to be entrusted with the Gospel. That word means to be examined and tested to see if something is genuine or not.

According to the apostle, he had to be proven genuine before God would trust him to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. That’s the same word as in this next verse.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

I believe that our lack of boldness is directly related to the way we force new Christians to share the Gospel without first being approved by God. We give them canned speeches and Scriptures that they repeat without any passion. It’s no wonder the world ignores that kind of witness.

Look at Paul’s method of evangelism.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

He tells us that his speaking and proclaiming were based in the power of God. I believe that proclaiming Christ has to be directed by the Holy Spirit. If that were always the case; would it make a difference in how the world sees the church?

We need to be sharing the Gospel effectively. I strongly feel that if you’re not submitted to God, then you shouldn’t proclaim Christ. Rogue Christians do more harm than good in their testimonies.

“Come to Christ, then you can be as flaky as me.”

In the above verse from Romans, Paul quotes a passage from Isaiah 52:7. That Scripture speaks of a proclamation that benefits the hearer. It’s not just something the herald feels like sharing.

The fact is, I don’t know all that you’re going through. That’s why I have to rely on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to guide what I say to you. That will cause you to base your faith on God’s power, and not my intellect.

Question: What did you hear that caused you to put your faith in Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Path of the Gospel

The Path of the Gospel

As we continue on in the book of Romans, Paul is talking about our salvation in Christ. In my last post we looked at the only way to be saved. That is to believe in Christ and confess with your mouth.

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:10-13

He makes it clear that if we follow God’s plan, we’ll never be put to shame. But what if we choose another route? What if I try to be good enough to earn a place in God’s kingdom? Then I’m open to humiliation.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Jew or a Gentile, there’s still only one name that will bring salvation.

then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:10-12

It used to be a generic God. There are even some today who only want to use that term. But, Scripture is clear that only the name of Jesus Christ must be called upon in order to enter salvation.

Paul now asks a series of questions based upon this.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Romans 10:14

We know that if you call upon the name of Jesus Christ, you’ll be saved. But, how can you call on someone you don’t believe in? So, belief – faith – is the key. Where does that come from? Paul brings us to the next question.

How can they believe if they don’t hear? So hearing is the key to obtaining a saving faith. This can’t simply be an exercise of your ears. You need to hear, understand and apply what you’re hearing.

In order to inspire faith, the Holy Spirit needs to be active during this interaction. It takes an act of God. That’s why prayer for the lost is so important.

Paul then asks; where does the hearing come from? There needs to be a preacher. It’s important to understand that Paul does not use the word, evangelist, in this verse. Instead, he uses the word herald. That’s someone who announces what’s coming.

There needs to be an anointed message. It can’t simply be a memorized speech. It must cause the listener to stop looking at the temporary, and focus on the eternal.

That’s the way to a person’s heart. That’s where the decision to follow Christ will be made. Paul doesn’t say that we make a choice in our head, and pray a canned prayer. It’s about faith being born in our hearts and overflowing from our mouth.

The message of Jesus Christ is the most important one that any person will ever hear. It must be heralded with the passion that it deserves. The message must come from a changed life. Only then will the hearer be transformed by the faith growing inside them.

In my next post, Ill talk about the person who should give this message.

Question: Who first brought you the message of Jesus Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2021 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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A Call for Repentance

A Call for Repentance

We’ve been looking at Paul’s “open letter” to the unsaved society around us.  That’s how he starts his letter to the Roman church.

He warns that without Christ, judging each other is pointless.  Of course he gets to the heart of the matter.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Romans 2:4

That’s the real question that those in the world need to be asked.  It’s our job as believers to show them the kindness, tolerance, and patience of the Lord.  All the while we should be leading them towards repentance.

The problem is that many times we do the first part while ignoring the second half of this verse.  We love and accept the unsaved just as they are.  However, if we never show them the way of salvation, they’ll be lost for eternity.

Too often we stay silent because we fear rejection.  But they’re refusal of the Gospel is not on us.  It’s a choice that they might make.

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.  God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”

Romans 2:5-6

Remember, Paul is speaking as if to the unsaved.  As believers, we don’t need to worry about God’s wrath.  There’s no wrath in Christ.  (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

Most of us don’t like to think about this truth.  Yet, I believe it’s something we need to ponder.  If I, as a Christian, don’t understand what’s at stake, I’ll be very uncaring about the lives within my sphere of influence.

We have a responsibility to warn the ones we love about this future event that everyone needs to prepare for.  The apostle shows us the clear choice.  It all hinges on what a person is seeking in life.

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.  But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.  There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For God does not show favoritism.

Romans 2:7-11

This passage is actually a great guideline for checking someone’s readiness to receive the Gospel.  You can tell by their works what they’re seeking in life.  The words, glory, honor, and immortality, have more than just a religious meaning.

It’s talking about an unsaved person who consistently shows certain qualities.  They try to do things that raise dignity, add value to life, and produce long-lasting effects.  These are the ones who are ripe for the Gospel message.

Those who are self-serving and only accept what they want to believe need to be interceded for.  They need a change of heart by the work of the Holy Spirit first.  Then they’ll be ready for that saving Word.

But the bottom line is, no one is outside of God’s love or His grace.  Everyone has the potential to receive the forgiveness and salvation of Christ.

Question: Who needs to hear the Gospel in your sphere of influence?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2020 in Faith, Ministry, Prayer, The Gospel

 

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Judgment?

Judgment?

Paul’s letter to the Roman church starts in chapter 1 with a Word about unsaved society at large.  He talks about the results of rejecting the true knowledge of Jesus Christ.

As we enter chapter 2, Paul shifts a little and starts speaking directly to those in the godless world around us.  That’s who the apostle is speaking to in verses 1 through 16.

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.

Romans 2:1-2

Let me repeat myself.  This passage was not written to believers.  It is a Word to the unsaved.  He’s explaining the foolishness of ungodly people judging one another.

I know of believers who were living sinful lives.  Then a concerned brother or sister comes to them and tries to help restore them.  The sinning believer immediately quotes this verse and says, “The Bible says not to judge, so stop judging me.”

A quick look at Paul’s other letters will show the fallacy of this remark.

Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.

1 Corinthians 5:3

This was concerning a believer in the Corinthian church who was involved in an affair with someone else’s wife.  Look at what Paul also said.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

1 Corinthians 5:12-13

The fact is, believers are supposed to judge the actions of other believers.  In that way we can lovingly warn them of the result of what they’re doing.

What I’m not supposed to judge is your motives.  I don’t know what you’re thinking.  So I’m not to judge you based upon what I perceive your intentions are.

Also, we’re not to judge the lives of the unsaved people around us.  Sinners are going to sin.  It’s not our job to tell them that what they’re doing is wrong.

For the most part, the unsaved know that there’s something wrong with their lives.  What they need to hear is the love, forgiveness, and salvation that are only found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Too often the church is accused, and rightly so, of preaching a word of condemnation.  On the contrary, my place is to preach the Good News of Christ.  That’s what will draw people to the cross.

Getting back to the verse in Romans above, Paul points out the foolishness of what goes on in the world.  It’s full of people who are condemning one another.  He says that when they pass judgment on someone, they’re actually giving themselves a guilty verdict.

That’s because, in God’s eyes, they’re habitually practicing the same wrong behaviors.

So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Romans 2:3-4

It should be obvious now, from this last passage that Paul is speaking to the unsaved.  We need to hear God’s heart.  The goal of all this is repentance.

In dealing with the world, our goal should be the same – introduce them to the love of the Savior.

Question: What is your attitude toward our godless society?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2020 in Legalism, The Gospel

 

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Ashamed of the Gospel?

Ashamed of the Gospel?

Do you find yourself hesitant to share your faith with the people around you?  Do you get flustered when asked about what you believe or your opinion on religious matters?

Many Christians find themselves in this condition.  As we continue our study in Romans, Paul gives us the answer to this.

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.  That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:14-16

We probably all know by now that the word Gospel in the Bible is a Greek word that literally means the Good News.  What is this Good News?

According to the verse above, it’s the power of God to save everyone.  That’s the Good News in a nutshell.  God is powerful enough to save all who come to Him.

Because of this truth, Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed” of this Good News.  But that statement leads us to a thought provoking question.  If I am ashamed of it, is it really the Gospel?

Think about this illustration for a moment.  You were just promoted to Vice President of your company and your salary was doubled.  Would you be too ashamed to tell anyone about that good news?  If you had just won a new car, would you be too ashamed to speak about that?

When it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have to ask, what is it that we’re ashamed of and why?  Is it even the Good News that we’re talking about?

If I were to ask people “What is the Gospel?”, I would probably receive many answers.  There are a host of believers who are actively trying to “win the lost.”  They would most likely give me very Biblical answers.

What I want to know are the perceptions of those who hear the Gospel.  From talking with unbelievers who have been “witnessed to” I could boil it down to the following: “You’re an evil sinner going to hell, but if you repeat a special prayer you can go to Heaven.”

If that’s what they got out of an encounter with a Christian, then something’s wrong with our approach.  There’s no way to demonstrate a statement like that.  That’s why so many unbelievers are bitter toward those who have tried and failed to convert them.

We need to return to a true understanding of what the Good News is all about.  Here’s an example of Jesus’ ministry.

“The time has come,” he said.  “The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!”

Mark 1:15

Jesus made two statements.  The kingdom of God is near was the Good News.  The Lord then told the people how to respond to this Good News.

Repent and believe is not the Good News, it’s the response that’s needed.  We must learn that the power is in the Good News, not in the response to the Good News.  In many cases, we have started calling the response, the Gospel.  You cannot go out preaching “repent and believe” and assume you’re bringing the Gospel to the world.

When it comes to the Good News, one size doesn’t fit all.  There are gang members and single moms, Wall St. executives and the homeless.  Is the Good News the same for all of them?

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the response to the Good News must be the same for all people.  But the message itself will be different depending upon who you’re talking to.  This is how God established it in His Word.

God, Himself, gave us four Gospels.  Matthew was written for the Jews and Mark for the Romans.  Luke was for the Greeks and John contained Good News for the Christian.

It’s a fact that religious people need to hear something different than the unchurched.  The Bible itself describes the Good News in many ways.  It’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom, of God, of Christ, of God’s grace, of your salvation, and the Gospel of peace.

Of course, no matter how the Gospel message is tailored to an audience, Jesus Christ is central.  Furthermore, it all must be demonstrated by the power of the Holy Spirit in order for the world to see the full picture.

Question: How can you bring the Good News to those in your sphere of influence?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2020 in Power of God, The Gospel

 

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The Marks of an Apostle

As we go through Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, he’s continuing to deal with their infatuation with these “super-apostles” that travel the region.  These ministers exalt themselves and put down any other ministry that are not a part of their group.

When these “minsters” came to Corinth, they berated Paul’s work.  Yet, even though it was Paul’s ministry that gave birth to this church, they didn’t speak up on his behalf.

I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it.  I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing.
2 Corinthians 12:11

Paul understands that it’s foolish to exalt yourself.  But, because the Corinthians didn’t speak up for him, he had to remind them of his work in their church.  They should have stood with Paul when these people were slandering his work.

I like Paul’s sarcasm here.  He makes the statement that even though he’s nothing, he’s better than those “super-apostles”.

He goes on to explain.

The things that mark an apostle — signs, wonders and miracles — were done among you with great perseverance.  How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you?  Forgive me this wrong!
2 Corinthians 12:12-13

If you don’t already know this about me, let me tell you that I believe God never stopped anointing apostles and prophets.  These callings are still available today, to those who are open and listening for the Lord’s voice.

The marks of an apostle are the things Paul lists.  All of them are miraculous works of God through His servants.

Signs are miracles that point to the truth of God’s Word.  They confirm that what God says will stand forever.  Wonders are miracles that cause you to simply stop and stand in awe of God’s power.  Of course, there are also miracles that don’t fall into either of those categories.

We need these ministries today.  The Bible tells us what they’re for.  In Ephesians 4:11-13, we’re told that they mature us.  To my knowledge, these verses aren’t fulfilled yet, so these gifts are still needed.

More than that, apostles are vital to the saving of souls.  Listen closely to what Paul says to the Roman believers.

I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done – by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit.  So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.
Romans 15:18-19

The Gospel is more than just spoken.  It involves what we say and do.  My question is; can you fully proclaim the Gospel of Christ without signs, wonders, and the power of the Holy Spirit?

I don’t think so!

Question: Why do so many people try to win the lost with only convincing words?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2020 in Anointing, Ministry, Power of God, The Gospel

 

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Free isn’t Always Free

In the closing chapters of his letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about the other “apostles” (not the 12) that were going around at that time.  The church was comparing Paul with them.  Usually, it was not in a good way.

Paul was a man who understood his weaknesses.  He admitted that he wasn’t a trained speaker like some of these “super-apostles.”

He now talks about another point of comparison.

Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?
2 Corinthians 11:7

The word, sin, does not always mean something evil.  In this case, it simply means to miss the mark or make a mistake.

Paul asks them; was I wrong to bless you by preaching the Gospel to you without asking for your support.  According to some, it was because Paul wasn’t an apostle, and so had no right for support.

Paul was willing to humble himself.  By doing this he was able to bring the Corinthian church to a higher level in Christ as a result of his preaching.  But was it really free of charge?

I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.  And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed.  I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.  As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.
2 Corinthians 11:8-10

The simple fact is that support for the ministry has to come from somewhere.  It could come from the minister taking a second or third job.  It could come, as in this case, from other supporting churches.

As in all things, God is our ultimate source.  But He uses people to supply our needs.  It doesn’t always have to come from those being ministered to.

That’s why Paul said that he “robbed” other churches.  No, he didn’t take their money at sword point.  It was because they were giving him money with no direct service in return.  Of course, they received God’s blessing for their faithfulness.

This in itself proved that those accusers were wrong.  They were trying to show that Paul had no right to support.  All the while there were churches around the region that not only recognized the Apostle’s gifting but were willing to support it financially.

Why?  Because I do not love you?  God knows I do!  And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.
2 Corinthians 11:11-12

God has a way of exalting his faithful servants.  No one even knows the names of these other preachers.  But, because of his willingness to serve, Paul was honored in God’s kingdom.

Question: What is your area of service to God?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2020 in God's Provision, Ministry, Missions, The Church

 

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