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God’s Word – Listen and Obey

God’s Word – Listen and Obey

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. In this section, Jesus is explaining some things about demonic activity. It started when the Pharisees accused the Lord of casting out demons by the power of Satan.

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

Luke 11:24-26 NIV

Christ gives the Pharisees a stern warning. His ministry was cleaning up Israel. Many of the demonic forces were being expelled as He traveled throughout the land.

But the religious leaders, because of their petty jealousy, were attempting to block what the Lord was doing. He warns them that if they allow the enemy’s kingdom back in, it will be seven times worse.

As Jesus says this, something happens that totally annoys me. Mainly because it’s happened to me while I was teaching. Someone interrupts Him.

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

Luke 11:27 NIV

It’s one thing if someone interrupts with a pertinent question. But, this woman makes a statement that’s simply irrelevant.

Has she not been listening? Is everything that Jesus is saying going straight over her head? I believe that Satan was using her to try and sidetrack Jesus from what He was trying to get across.

I’m glad that Jesus is our example of how to be constantly led by the Holy Spirit. This interruption didn’t even slow Him down. It just gave the Lord an opportunity to make a very important point.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Luke 11:28 NIV

This is the basis of the Lord’s ministry to Israel. The blessing doesn’t come from simply attending a meeting, no matter how wonderful the speaker is. Many people in Israel were in the crowds that heard the Messiah speak.

Unfortunately, many of them were only excited just to say they saw and heard Jesus. “Yes, I heard Jesus speak when He came through our town. I saw Him heal my friend of blindness. It was so amazing!” They were there, but they didn’t let it affect their lives.

Jesus is telling this crowd that the blessing comes from truly listening to the Word of God that He’s speaking. Then, don’t just let it end there. It needs to be put into practice.

It’s the same with us. Hearing the Word of God in church, on TV, or on the internet isn’t enough. You must allow that Word to change you. It needs to be applied and made a part of your life.

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

Luke 11:29-32 NIV

Jesus goes on to give a couple of examples. He uses Jonah and Solomon. In both of these cases they were dealing with unspiritual, Gentile, people. Yet, at both times these unbelievers were changed by the Word that they heard.

Don’t miss this great truth. Right now, in the United States, we have access to more of the Word of God than at any other time or place. Yet, much of the church seems oblivious to how they should be living for the Lord.

Allow God’s Word to make a transformation in your life!

Question: How has God’s Word transformed you so far?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2022 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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You’ve Been Hand-Picked

MixFor the last couple of posts I’ve been talking about Peter’s opening remarks in his first epistle.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
1 Peter 1:1-2

I’ve talked about the fact that we are aliens, scattered throughout the world. Today I want to emphasize that we are chosen. That word chosen means selected, hand-picked, or favorite.

Why has God chosen us? The answer is simply because we responded to His call.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

We are all invitedcalled – but chosen means that you responded and put yourself in the position of being selected.

The Apostle, Peter described this truth in the verse we looked at above. He said that we were chosen according to the foreknowledge of the Father. Then we were sanctified by the working of the Holy Spirit in us.

That, in and of itself, is great news. But he didn’t stop there. He had to put in that tough little word – “for”. That changes everything. That means that there was a reason for all that He did. It can be summed up in one word – purpose.

It turns out that we are strangers, scattered and chosen for a purpose. What is that purpose? According the Peter, the purpose is obedience to Christ.

That word obedience literally means to hear under. You could also call it attentive listening. If I’m an alien, then I must listen to MY King. Being scattered in the world I have to listen for the Lord’s special instructions for me.

If I’m chosen, then I need to listen to the one who chose me. We must listen carefully and follow His instructions. If we don’t, then things will start to go wrong.

The problem is that listening requires time in the Lord’s presence. We live in a fast paced world. We look for the quick fixes. How can I get it done immediately?

The truth is that there’s no technology that can speed up the development of relationship. The only way is by spending time. Whether it’s with another human, or the Holy Spirit, I have to take the time necessary to get to know them. This fact will never change.

I am a stranger, an alien, to this world. I am scattered to be salt. I am chosen by God to obey Him. Therefore, I must listen attentively.

We need these attitudes if we’re going to be effective for Christ. Only then will we see a difference in the world around us. The world is desperately waiting for a church that knows who they are in Christ.

Question: How have you made a difference for Christ in the lives of those around you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

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Continuing in Power #powerofGod

PowerI have been posting about how Christ was tempted in the wilderness.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, He overcame all the assaults of the enemy.  But there’s more to the story than just the devil’s defeat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Power of God, Prayer

 

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