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The Last Days – “Don’t”

The Last Days – “Don’t”

As we go through Luke’s Gospel, I’m taking a few posts to look at what our attitude should be like in the last days. Specifically, we’re dealing with the principles given to us by Jesus in Luke chapter 21.

First, I want to talk about three things that the Lord told us NOT to do.

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.”

Luke 21:8 NIV

His first command to us is, don’t follow them. We are to ignore those who claim, “I am he.” We should already know that one. Jesus said that at His coming every eye would see Him. It will not be a private return.

In spite of this warning, many have come claiming to be another incarnation of Christ. Over and over again, I hear about people going to hear someone who claims to be a new messiah.

The second statement that the Lord made was a little more subtle. He said not to follow those who come in His name claiming, “The time is near.”

Please understand, I believe that the coming of the Lord is near. The difference is that this is only a small part of my message. Christ is talking about those whose whole focus is on the soon coming of the Lord and the signs surrounding it.

Remember what I told you in my last post. In Scripture, the Second Coming is never the main focus – it’s always the reason for living correctly. You have to be very careful when you see a whole ministry based upon “the time is near.”

Usually these “end-time ministries” like to play on the sensationalism of possible outcomes. Any new astronomical event, international crisis, or natural disaster gives them new ways to bend Scripture to look like the end is upon us.

This type of ministry seems to sell a lot of books. But most of them are only exciting reading for a year or two. Then, it becomes obvious they were on the wrong track with their predictions.

“When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”

Luke 21:9-11 NIV

The next thing Jesus tells us is don’t be frightened. You’re going to hear various bad reports. The world may be full of problems, but one thing remains true through the ages; Christ is still on the throne.

No matter what’s happening around us, Christians should never fear the future. The Holy Spirit is always with us. He leads and guides us. More than that, we know that He gives us the grace to stand strong in spite of the current situations.

Many people are predicting catastrophe for the United States. We don’t know what the future holds for our country. But I know the answer – Jesus Christ is Lord.

“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.”

Luke 21:12-14 NIV

The Lord’s final general statement is; do not worry…how you will defend yourselves.

“What if it becomes illegal to be a Christian?”

It’s happened before and God brought His people through victoriously. In the Book of Acts Paul was headed to Jerusalem. Churches were telling him not to go because of prophecies that spoke of his arrest. He said he was not only willing to be arrested, but to die for Christ.

The key is that if you’re called to go through persecution or martyrdom, then you’ll receive the grace to stand firm. So – don’t worry about it now – the Lord will give you what you need when you need it.

Question: What is the result of following these commands the Lord gave us?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Return of Christ

 

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Ready for the Last Days

Ready for the Last Days

We are continuing our study of Luke’s Gospel. As Jesus prepares to go to the cross, He begins to tell His disciples about His return.

The Second Coming of Christ seems to be an exciting topic among believers. Pre-COVID, the rise of ISIS and the talk of Blood Moons had many people fearful about what was coming. Now, it seems we’re even closer to the Lord’s return.

We need to get back to the teachings of Christ if we’re going to navigate these times that we live in. It’s all about our attitudes.

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
Luke 21:5-7 NIV

Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. As they were looking around, impressed by the great structures, a question arose over the last days.

What a lot of believers don’t realize is that at this point in Jesus’ ministry, the disciples already had a good amount of teaching on the last days; they just didn’t know when it would occur. Jesus answered their questions with a pretty detailed talk.

I’ve been studying the Second Coming of the Lord since the early 1970’s. I believe that we’re living in the last days. The real question is; what should our attitudes be like? I’m going to take a few posts to talk about this section of Scripture.

We have to be careful when studying the Second Coming. Many people get off track because when it comes to the last days, they forget one simple rule about Scripture. KEEP IT IN CONTEXT!

In this chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus deals with general and specific concepts. Verses 20-24 are the dividing point.

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city…They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Luke 21:20-24 NIV

This passage talks about Jerusalem being surrounded resulting in the Jews being dispersed among the nations. Then, after many generations, they’ll be returned to their homeland. It’s obvious from the pages of history that this prophecy is fulfilled.

Before that prophecy are some general principles. After it are some statements that are specifically for our generation, living after the fulfillment. So, we need to be careful that we make the correct applications of these verses.

There’s one more thing I want to talk about in this introductory post. Many people miss it. In Scripture, most of the time the Second Coming is not the main subject, even though it’s talked about. It’s only the jumping off point for the principle being taught. It’s more about how we should live. “Jesus is coming soon, therefore…”

In my next post I’ll start talking about how Jesus said we should live as we see His return approaching.

Question: What are your thoughts on the soon coming of the Lord?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2022 in Israel, Return of Christ

 

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Jesus Christ – God and Man

Jesus Christ – God and Man

As we continue to look at the Gospel of Luke, we’re at the point where Jesus is in Jerusalem, during the last weeks before the cross. The religious leaders were testing Him with questions. Their desire was to discredit the Lord before all of the people.

Instead, their plan backfired. Their hypocrisy was exposed for all to see. Now Jesus turns things around and asks them a question.

Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:

‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’

David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

Luke 20:41-44 NIV

Jesus is giving the crowd something to think about. It’s also a testimony as to who He really is. Any teacher of the Law would know exactly what He was saying.

First, the Lord asks a question. Why do the teachers of the Law use the term Son of David for the Messiah?

That’s important because the phrase Son of David is never used in the Old Testament in relation to the Christ. It does teach that Messiah would be a king from the line of Judah.

So they were right in assuming the connection to David. But the title, Son of David, was coined by the Rabbis. So in answering the question – they call Messiah the Son of David because their careful study of the Scripture pointed them in that direction.

The next question is harder to answer without a willingness to have your heart changed. If David calls Him Lord, how can the Messiah be his son? Jesus is quoting the prophecy of Psalm 110.

In the Hebrew, David gives a prophecy that “Yahweh will say to my Adonai…”. But in Scripture, both Yahweh and Adonai are names of the one, true God.

It’s through this teaching that Jesus declares to all the religious leaders who He is. By their own study, the teachers of that day should realize that the only way for the Son of David to be Adonai is for God Himself to take on flesh.

That’s what sets Christianity apart from all the seemingly Christian based cults. Jesus Christ declared Himself, on more than one occasion, to be God in the flesh. That’s the test of what is the true church versus the false.

Even in Paul’s day, there were those who would try to deny the deity of Christ. He condemned the church at Corinth for not being careful with their teaching.

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
2 Corinthians 11:4 NIV

That’s also what separates Christianity from all other religions. They all teach that man has to strive to reach acceptance with a god or struggle for perfection. The true God tells us that it’s impossible for us to do it on our own. So He took the initiative to take on flesh and provide the way of salvation for us through the work of Christ on the cross.

I am so grateful for the gift given to us by Jesus Christ. There truly is no other name under heaven that provides such a rich reward for those who choose to follow Him.

Question: What events brought you to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Children of the Resurrection

Children of the Resurrection

Continuing through the Gospel of Luke, we see a lot of opposition from the religious leaders. This is especially true from the Sadducees who don’t believe in the resurrection, angels, demons, or miraculous powers. You may want to read Luke 20:27-40 before continuing with this post.

They want to discredit Jesus publicly. So, they come at Him with a question that had stumped the Pharisees (who believe in the resurrection) for many years.

The question is about a woman who had seven husbands in accordance with the Law of Moses. They asked Jesus; at the resurrection, who would receive her as their wife, since she was married to all seven?

The Sadducees felt this proved that the resurrection was illogical. Therefore, it shouldn’t be believed.

Of course, these men had lost the battle before they ever approached Jesus. That’s because Christ is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). There’s no way that these leaders could show the Resurrection that there’s no resurrection.

In looking at the answer the Lord gave them, I see some important truths we need to grasp.

Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage…”

Luke 20:34-35 NIV

The first thing I see is the great transition. The age we live in now, is temporary. Our Resurrection Day is the start of a brand new age. We change from being mortal to immortal (1 Corinthians 15:42).

The way Jesus describes this is absolutely great. The phrase, considered worthy, is, deemed entirely deserving, in the Greek. Because of what Christ did on the cross, you and I can now be considered entirely deserving of immortality.

However, there’s even more to be thankful for in this verse. The phrase, taking part, literally means to hit the mark.

We know that the word, sin, means to miss the mark, in both the Old and New Testaments. But now, because of Jesus, we can actually hit the mark of being worthy of the resurrection. This is something far beyond what any human being is capable of on their own.

…and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”

Luke 20:36 NIV

We put on immortality because we are now children of the resurrection. But there’s even more to it.

The phrase, they are like the angels, literally means, they have the same power as the angels. Please understand that we DO NOT become angels. (Don’t get your theology from It’s a Wonderful Life)

I think about the power of angels in the Scriptures. They have the ability to appear and disappear at will. One angel could defeat an entire army. We will be clothed in this same power one day.

But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Luke 20:37-40 NIV

As believers, we should never fear death. We know that when our body ceases to function, we simply change our residence.

Yes, we go through a grieving process when a loved one passes. But that should be because we know we will miss them for a while. We don’t grieve because we will never see them again. We know there will be a grand reunion one day.

Keep that truth before your eyes. Allow the hope of the resurrection to propel you forward for the Lord.

Question: How does the hope of the resurrection inspire you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2022 in Power of God, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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Grieving the Lord

Grieving the Lord

We’re now in the section of Luke’s Gospel that’s commonly known as the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. The disciples got a colt and a donkey for the Lord to ride as He entered the city. You may want to read Luke 19:36-41 before continuing with this post.

I believe that in this whole passage of Scripture, one of the most important verses is found close to the end.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it

Luke 19:41 NIV

This verse always amazed me. Here Jesus is entering Jerusalem like a triumphant king. Why would He weep and sob? That’s what I want to talk about in this post. It has a lot to do with where we are at this point in history.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen…

Luke 19:37 NIV

I always thought that it was the whole crowd in Jerusalem who were cheering Him on. But that’s simply not the case. It was only the Lord’s disciples who were cheering for Him. Remember, Jesus had over a hundred disciples at this point.

Look at what the priests said about this.

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Luke 19:39-40 NIV

Notice that the priests didn’t say, “Tell the crowd to be quiet.” They only wanted the disciples to stop their ruckus. Still, it was a joyful procession marching into Jerusalem. So, why would Jesus be weeping? I see four things that answers this question.

First of all, looks can be deceiving. Our first thought might be that there’s a crowd with you, cheering you on. However, Jesus looked at the hearts of those around Him.

Today, around the country, Christians will be praising God in all of the churches. But how many believers are there who truly want God’s will in their lives? I’m not just talking about healing, prosperity, joy, and peace. I mean for us to have God set the course for our lives.

Many Christians have no problem with God as co-pilot. The hard part is handing Him the wheel. We want to serve Christ while still having control over some of the aspects of our lives.

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.

Philippians 3:18 NIV

Choosing to be a friend of the world puts you in the same position as an enemy of the cross (James 4:4). Please realize that we don’t make a conscious choice to be an enemy of the cross. Actually, it’s making no choice at all.

Paul says that many “live LIKE enemies of the cross”. Sometimes we’re living like we want God’s will. At other times we live like we want the world. It’s the result of being uncommitted, you want to leave your options open.

That was the greater crowd, they were content to watch and see what would happen. We have to be careful not to simply go along with popular opinion. We need to base our lives on what’s written in God’s Word.

In my next post, I’ll deal with the other three things that caused the Lord to grieve over Jerusalem. I’m hoping they speak to us in this generation.

Question: How can we keep ourselves from becoming captivated by the world’s attraction?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2022 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church, Word of God

 

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A Son Coming Home

A Son Coming Home

In my last post I talked about Zacchaeus from Luke chapter 19. In looking at this encounter, I talked about the Biblical principle of Sonship. Jesus had just called him down from the tree and told him that He was coming to Zacchaeus’ home.

Zacchaeus had no idea what was about to happen.

So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’”
Luke 19:6-7 NIV

These two verses show us, in a tangible way, the difference between using the power of the law and the power of the Spirit. The law is always trying to block your way. It says that you must get yourself ready before you can abide with Christ. The religious people thought that there was no way that Christ should enter Zacchaeus’ home.

I’m writing this so that you’ll know for a certainty that it doesn’t matter how you start out. Your problems, failings and lack of commitment are all things of the past. You can start fresh by abiding with Christ today.

The time to run to the Lord is before you try to fix yourself up. It’s only as you remain in His presence that you receive the power for changing your life.

Look at what happened to Zacchaeus.

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:8-10 NIV

Salvation had come to Zacchaeus’ house. We usually misunderstand what salvation is all about. If you can grasp its total impact in Scripture, salvation actually includes all of God’s life changing and restoring power. It was this power that was manifest in Zacchaeus’ life that day. His love of money dissipated in the light of the Spirit’s love.

But, more importantly, Jesus said that he, too, is a son. He may have gone his own way for a while, but Zacchaeus was loved by the Father. The Lord was clear that He came seeking Zacchaeus.

It’s an interesting perspective because Zacchaeus thought that he was seeking Christ. It’s just like our spiritual worship.

Scripturally, the word, worship, means to bend forward as if to kiss. If we will bend forward to kiss the Lord, then He will bend forward to kiss us.

The greatest ministry of Christ was that He came to seek and save that which was ruined. Right now the body of Christ in America is full of ruined sons and daughters. It’s time to seek the Lord.

What we’ll find is that in our seeking of Him it’s actually the Lord who’s seeking us. It’s time for us as believers not get saved, but to BE SAVED. We need to rise up to our rightful place and position of Sonship.

This can only happen as we see the importance of our relationship with the Father. This means that we understand how to relate as sons and daughters to our heavenly Father.

Question: How does Sonship change your view of who you are as a believer?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Revival, Sonship, Worship

 

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A Wayward Son

A Wayward Son

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we now start chapter 19. Jesus is entering Jericho on His way to Jerusalem. He has an encounter that should give some good insights.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.
Luke 19:1-3 NIV

Here we see Jesus entering the town of Jericho. There was a man there who wanted to see Jesus. The problem is twofold. First of all, he’s a tax-collector. While that’s a respectable job in our society, that wasn’t the case back in ancient Israel.

The closest I can come to showing you how people felt about Zacchaeus is by comparing him to a modern-day drug dealer. That’s the perception that the average Israelite had toward this profession. He was a man both hated and feared by most of the townspeople.

Yet, the Bible says that he was seeking to see Jesus. The reason it was a problem to him was because he had a small stature. Because of this, and the fact that the crowd wouldn’t let him through, Luke states that he did not have the power to see Jesus.

He came up with a good solution for his problem.

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
Luke 19:4 NIV

Notice how he handled the situation. We should learn from him in our walk with the Lord. He saw where Jesus was headed and went in that direction so he could meet the Lord when He got there.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”
Luke 19:5 NIV

The words of Christ are very important. He literally said to Zacchaeus, “I must abide, remain, dwell with you today.” This is the very call that Christ is making to each one of us. It’s His heart’s desire that we make our dwelling place with Him. That’s where we find the power that can transform everything.

The fact is that even though this man was hated among the Jewish people, he was still an Israelite. He was a son of Abraham, a member of God’s household. Jesus was able to look beyond the external things and see into his heart.

I post a lot about our position of Sonship from the Scripture. In many of my posts I talk about the freedom we have as sons and daughters of God.

But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
Hebrews 3:6 NIV

This is another important part of our position as sons in God’s house. It must never be forgotten that Sonship is a position of relationship. In this relationship Jesus Christ is the eldest Son OVER the house. He’s the One from whom and through whom all power and authority flows. Never forget this.

The story of Zacchaeus is a beautiful example of the power of Sonship that occurred during Jesus’ ministry. In my next post, I’ll continue this, by showing how the story of Zacchaeus beautifully illustrates our position as sons and daughters of the Lord.

Question: How does Sonship change your view of yourself?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2022 in Revival, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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A Call for Mercy

A Call for Mercy

Among Christians, we’ve come up with our own “church talk”. There are certain words that we use in the church that have become watered down. We use them a lot without really understanding their Biblical significance.

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we’ll talk about one of these words – mercy.

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Luke 18:35-39 NIV

The first thing I see in this passage is that this man believed something about Jesus. His faith was so strong that a crowd of people couldn’t turn him from his course.

We need to know the whole story. The account of this in Mark, chapter 10, tells us that he was the son of Timaeus. There’s a reason why we’re told this. The Hebrew word, timaeus, means to be spiritually unclean or defiled. He had carried the stigma of this his entire life.

The crowd looked at him and saw the son of a defiled, worthless father. They couldn’t see any reason that Jesus would bother with someone like him. Unfortunately, there are times when we look at others, or even ourselves, in this same way.

What made the difference was that this man knew the truth about the Lord. It’s manifest in the words that he shouted.

“Jesus, Son of David.” That was the title he used in calling the Lord. This is a Messianic title. It means that the blind man was trusting Christ as the Messiah and Savior of Israel. He was coming to Jesus because of who the Lord was, and not just because he wanted a healing.

This blind man had been praying and meditating on the words of Christ. How do I know this? Even the disciples of the Lord only knew He was Messiah because of a revelation from God (Matthew 16:15-17). So, in spite of his blindness, this man was spiritually sensitive.

“Have mercy on me!” This is the key to the whole passage. He wanted to be healed, yet he asked for mercy. Our generation has no concept of what this word means in the Bible.

Mercy is the favor God shows to His obedient sons and daughters. It’s the privilege of sonship. For a more detailed teaching on mercy, click here.

What this shows me is that this man did not choose to identify with his earthly, unclean, father. Instead, he found his place as a son of Abraham. Thus, he had the right to call upon the Messiah as his Lord and Healer. The Lord responded to his cry.

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Luke 18:40-43 NIV

This is very applicable to us in our generation. How do we approach God? Do we come to Him based upon our need?

We should come to Christ on the basis of who He is. Jesus Christ is Lord, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, etc. We should also see ourselves correctly – as a child of God – holy and righteous in His sight. This makes all the difference.

Question: How does your view of Jesus and yourself affect your ability to receive from God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Healing, Sonship

 

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Entering the Kingdom

Entering the Kingdom

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. In chapter 18, we come to an event in the life of Christ that’s largely overlooked. However, I think that it’s important to understand its significance to us.

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Luke 18:15-17 NIV

In this passage, three groups of people were coming to Jesus. There were parents, infants, and children. These parents simply wanted the Lord to declare a blessing over their children. However, the disciples weren’t too happy about this.

Jesus tells them clearly that this isn’t an annoyance. Receiving the children was a wonderful thing to the Lord. We can learn a lot from this encounter.

First of all, the Greek word for baby in this passage is very important. Its primary meaning is an unborn child or fetus. That tells me that, in the womb, a child is capable of receiving a blessing. Of course, we know that’s true because when Mary visited Elizabeth, John the Baptist leapt for joy in her womb (Luke 1:44).

Jesus had no problem holding the infants and blessing them. He used this opportunity to teach the disciples some important truths associated with life in the spirit.

Jesus went a step further. He started calling the other children who were standing nearby. “Hey kids! Come over here so I can bless you!” I’m sure the disciples felt a little embarrassed because of this.

Here’s where it starts to get interesting. The Lord begins to use this situation as a teaching moment for the disciples.

He tells the disciples not to stop them from coming. This is because these infants and children are the sort of people that make up the kingdom of God.

I’ve heard a lot of sermons preached about this, but in my mind, they fall short of what the Lord was saying. He’s talking about receiving the kingdom. You can’t receive something unless it’s given.

So, to understand how to receive, we need to see how the kingdom is offered. Jesus was clear about this throughout His ministry.

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

John 3:3 NIV

If you think about it in the natural, it should become pretty obvious. What’s the easiest way to become part of a kingdom? The simple answer is that you’re born into it.

What’s the easiest way to become a United States citizen? It’s to be born in the United States. That may sound too simple, but the greatest truths usually are.

Jesus makes it clear to the disciples, the only way in, is to be born into the kingdom of God. You have to be willing to start from infancy – spiritually speaking.

Our problem is that many of us were already indoctrinated in the world system before salvation. We think that we know how things work. Unfortunately, the kingdom of God works on a whole different level.

We must start from a position of infancy. We must leave everything behind that we thought we knew.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV

Life in the kingdom of God requires a whole new mindset. That’s why the first order of business is to renew our minds by the Word of God. Only then can we truly begin to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom.

Question: Where are you along your spiritual journey with Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Last Days – The Day of Christ

Last Days – The Day of Christ

I’ve been posting about how Christ will reveal Himself at His return. We’ve talked about Jesus’ teaching in Luke, chapter 17, on the days of Noah and Lot.

Remember that He already said in verse 24 that when He’s revealed on that day, every eye will see Him. It will not be a private return. He’s coming in all of His glory.

“On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.”
Luke 17:31-36 NIV

Many interpret this verse to mean that the one taken is taken into heaven and the one left is the one that’s going to be judged. How can this be? In both of His examples, the stories of Noah and Lot, the Lord clearly states that the unrighteous are taken in judgment and the righteous ones are left.

The disciples wanted Jesus to clarify what He was teaching them. They asked the obvious question: Where was it that they were taken to?

“Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”
Luke 17:37 NIV

Jesus makes it clear that those taken are dead bodies. The Greek word for carcass is what the NIV translates as dead body. Also, the word Jesus used for vulture is a generic term that could be used for any carrion bird that feeds on dead bodies.

So in answer to the question “Where are they taken?” Jesus said, “Do you want to know where the carcasses are taken? Then look for the vultures.” Personally, I don’t want to be taken like that. I want to be one of the ones who are left.

What, then, have we learned in this portion of Scripture? First of all, I see a time of warning leading up to the time when Christ is revealed. We then come to a day – a literal, twenty-four-hour day – during which He will reveal Himself.

Christ uses two examples, Noah and Lot, to explain His point. In both cases the day starts out with some saints. They are then somehow supernaturally protected during the events of that day. In Noah’s case he was put in the ark and in Lot’s case he was taken out of the city.

On the day that they were protected, salvation was then closed, and judgment fell. After judgment had fallen, at the end of the day, the saints were left. That’s the way I read it and that’s the way I believe Christ meant it to be read.

Questions: Are you prepared for that day? How have you prepared?

If you want a more detailed teaching on the Second Coming of Christ, click here to check out my book: The Third Watch – It’s Later Than You Think.

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2022 in Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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