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Continuing in the Power of God

Continuing in the Power of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 4:20

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

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

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

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

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Following Christ – But How Far?

Following Christ – But How Far?

I’ve been taking us through a study of the Gospel of Luke. In my last post we saw how Jesus Christ was driven to fulfill His calling before the Father. Now we’ll see the start of His earthly ministry.

In Luke 3:23-38, we see that Jesus has just turned thirty and was beginning His ministry. Luke then goes on to record the earthly ancestry of Christ all the way back to Adam.

Then, we’re shown the very start of all He accomplished.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert…
Luke 4:1

The first thing that we see is that the Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be led by the Spirit. He was brought to the wilderness where He was about to encounter His greatest enemy. That means that this meeting wasn’t an accident. This event was part of the strategy for victory over sin.

The victory that started here, in the wilderness, was carried on throughout the Lord’s lifetime.

You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Acts 10:37-38

This was the theme throughout the ministry of Christ. Whoever sought help to escape the enemy’s grasp was set free by the Lord. The reason He could accomplish this is because His anointing was based upon the power of the Holy Spirit. By the way, this is the same Holy Spirit who now resides in us.

So, the big question is; why was He able to heal? Was it because of the Old Testament promises that spoke of healing? No, it was because God, the Holy Spirit, was with Him.

What we need to come to grips with is the fact that God wants to heal. He doesn’t want anyone bound by the power of the enemy.

So we can see clearly that Jesus’ power was from the Spirit, not from the law. It’s vitally important that we understand this truth. This is the key.

To aid in our realization of this we’ll look at the best example that the Gospel record gives us. We will go to the section of Scripture where the devil and Jesus have their first battle – in the wilderness.

I’m going to take my time in going through this section of Luke’s Gospel. It’s very important to us as it’s the foundation for living on the level that Jesus walked.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Luke 4:1-2

When Jesus went into the wilderness His intention was to meet with the Father. His desire was to fast and pray for the ministry He was about to begin. In order to do this, Jesus fasted for forty days.

This brings up an interesting question. How important to us is walking in God’s power? How far are we willing to go to obtain it? Are we willing to do a long term fast? Spend time in the wilderness, away from all distractions, seeking God? In most cases I see believers who live for themselves and are simply “trusting God for a breakthrough.”

If we want to see the results of Christ, we need to walk His walk.

Question: How far are you willing to go to walk in the power of God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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It’s Time for a Change

It’s Time for a Change

In my last post, we saw how John the Baptist called his nation to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. We need to do the same in regards to the Second Coming of Christ.

Let’s continue looking at John’s message.

“‘Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’”

Luke 3:5-6

This is one of those beautiful prophecies of Scripture. In many ways, John was ahead of his time. He spoke mysteries that not only applied in his day, but in ours as well.

In our vocabulary, valleys are sometimes called gaps or hollows. That’s very appropriate to where the modern church finds itself. Compared to the early church, we seem to have a few gaps in our experience.

I believe that right now God is in the process of filling in those gaps. Those who are listening to His voice are seeing the move of His Spirit. I can’t wait for the full-on outpouring of the Last Days.

In the same way, there are mountains – high places of pride – that keep us from following God’s will with all our heart. We rely too much on our experiences. We don’t expect the miraculous anymore. God needs to humble us so we can trust His Word no matter what’s going on around us.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

God wants a people who are willing to walk in His power, no matter the outcome. That means rejecting our exalted opinions, and embracing His Word.

Getting back to the verse in Luke, it’s interesting that the word, crooked, can also be used figuratively to mean disobedient. God has a path mapped out for our lives, but we choose to go our own way regardless of the consequences.

God is trying to get our attention. The Holy Spirit is tirelessly working to straighten out and level up our crooked and rough patches.

The goal is simple. The way much of the church is right now, it’s impossible for the world to get a clear picture of Christ and His salvation. They see our opinions, disobedience, bigotry, and worldliness. They conclude that if there’s an answer to life’s problems, it won’t be found in the church.

That’s an unfortunate and unacceptable situation. Right now, God is actively working on the course-correction for His people. You can choose to continue going your own way and be humbled. Or, you can submit to God’s plan, and see the truly miraculous take place around you.

In the next few verses, Luke 3:7-14, John ministers according to the Old Covenant. He talks about the works that they need to do to be acceptable to God. That’s not our ministry. We speak of the great salvation God has already accomplished in Christ.

But, in spite of the “works mentality” in his preaching, the Scripture records that crowds of people made the long journey out into the desert to listen to him. It’s sad that even with our message of hope, forgiveness and salvation in Christ, relatively few are being drawn to it.

We use the excuse that, “Society doesn’t respect the Lord anymore. That’s why they don’t receive the Gospel.” In actuality, there’s a bigger problem.

As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Romans 2:24

We need to change. We need to live in such a way that the world sees a difference in us. They need to see a higher level of living. Only then will they want what we have and be attracted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Question: What needs to change in order for us to more effectively portray the glory of God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2021 in Faith, Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival, The Gospel

 

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Preparing the Way

Preparing the Way

As we continue going through the Gospel of Luke, I’ll go on talking about us as being the “John the Baptist Generation”. We should be calling God’s people to wake up and prepare for the second coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ.

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:3

The first thing we have to realize is that our message is a little bit different than his was. We have to remember that John the Baptist preached before the cross of Christ.

Therefore, in order to be forgiven, there had to be true repentance. That word means a total reversal of direction. I had to stop doing wrong before I could be forgiven. My forgiveness was based upon my ability to obey God.

Praise the Lord! We live after the cross. It’s no longer “turn around and be forgiven”. But now, by grace, it’s confess your sin to God and be forgiven.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

God knows that I have no ability to change my life. I cry out to Him in my weakness. I confess how I’ve missed the mark of His perfection. Then, I allow the Holy Spirit to do the purifying work in me.

I think that we miss this sometimes. Too many believers are living in the Old Covenant. They think that they have to change themselves in order to please God. That will never work.

When I come to God, He is faithful to forgive – remove – my sin. Then, it’s only by His power that I can truly change my lifestyle to conform to His image.

But, there’s another part of John’s message that we need to lay hold of. Remember, John was calling Israel, God’s people, to prepare for Messiah’s coming. That same message is needed today in the church.

As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him…’”

Luke 3:4

I hate the fact that I have to be the one who says this. But, compared to the early church, we live in a spiritual wilderness. We’re no longer excited about who God is. (I’m speaking overall, not about the few who are awake)

What seems to really get our attention is what God can do for us. We ignore what God wants to do through us. We no longer think in terms of bringing people to the knowledge of salvation. We want to fit into society.

We concern ourselves with so many side issues that it crowds out our devotion to Christ. Our fear of the social problems around us keeps us from worshiping together.

So many churches are places where we come together to hear great inspirational singing. We listen to a motivational talk. But, we leave unchanged and continue on our way oblivious to God’s plan for us.

It’s truly time for us to seek God’s presence. We must want Him to show up at our services. That’s what making straight paths for Him is all about.

The problem is that many churches don’t want the Holy Spirit to show up at their services. It would mess things up. He would really throw off their schedules. And He’d make them late for dinner.

In this generation, we truly need a manifestation of the presence of God in our meetings.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

1 Corinthians 14:24-25

This is what we should be preparing ourselves for. This will bring in a harvest of souls. It’s what the world needs to see.

Question: What will it take for us to start truly seeking the presence of God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2021 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival, The Gospel

 

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Hopeless Situations

Hopeless Situations

How do you view God’s will in your life. As for me, there are times when I look at what God has spoken to me and it seems miles away from where I am. I wonder how God will ever bring to pass what He said He would. Actually, this is normal for those who follow God’s plan for their lives.

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. It’s very appropriate, because we’re now entering the holiday season where peoples’ thoughts naturally look to the birth of Christ.

Today’s post will look at Luke 2:1-5. You may want to read this section before continuing with this post.

In chapter one, we saw the angelic announcement of John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ birth. We saw Mary going to Elizabeth’s house for a few months to prepare. Then, we saw the arrival of John. Now we fast-forward to the birth of Christ.

Luke begins chapter two with a history lesson. Caesar Augustus was the emperor of the Roman Empire. As emperors do, he wants to bring in some more revenue for his campaigns. So, he decides to tax the empire.

That means everyone needs to go to their home towns because that’s where the family lists are kept. And, of course, with taxes you don’t want to miss anyone.

We also meet a man named Joseph for the first time. He’s living in a town called Nazareth in the region of Galilee. It turns out, he’s also the man that Mary is engaged to. It seems that he’s come to terms with her pregnancy, and they’re moving forward with their plans to start a family together.

Why is all of this important? I’m glad you asked!

Everyone is waiting for the Messiah to be born. There are many Old Testament Scriptures that point to this great event. The verses even tell us where the Christ child will be born.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Micah 5:2

This is another important Scripture. I’ve heard people try to discredit the Biblical account by pointing out that there was more than one Bethlehem in Israel. But, the Word of God makes it clear that we’re talking about the Bethlehem that’s located in Judea, the tribal land of Judah.

Here’s the problem. Joseph and Mary are living in Nazareth. It’s the tribal land of Zebulun. That’s approximately 120 miles from where God said Messiah would be born.

If Joseph and Mary were normal Israelites, then they probably had no clue as to the location of the prophecy. In the natural, things look almost impossible for the Messiah to be born where God predicted.

But, God can move in ways that we can’t even imagine. That’s why we can trust Him to accomplish in us exactly what He say’s He will do.

The Lord moved upon the heart of Caesar.

And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

Luke 2:3-4

It turns out that God is a perfect strategist. He can work through people and events to bring about His will no matter what the situation looks like. We can always fully trust the Lord to accomplish His plan in us.

120 miles might not sound like much to us, but for a pregnant woman on foot, it’s a huge distance. It had to be something of great importance to make them take this hard journey. Everything worked together for the completion of God’s will.

Question: How well do you trust God when the situation looks impossible?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2021 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Gospel and Power

The Gospel and Power

In the concluding chapters of the book of Romans, Paul talks about his ministry. He has yet to go to Rome, but he want to get there someday.

Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.

Romans 15:17

When Paul boasts, it’s about what God is doing through him. We need to remember that. It’s not how much I do for Him, but how much He can do through me. After all, I can’t do any miracle or healings on my own. It’s only by the power of God at work in me.

That being said, I believe that signs and miracles are a part of the true Gospel. Without them, it’s difficult to impact the unbeliever.

The Apostle Paul refers to this truth as he continues.

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

Paul tells us how he led the Gentiles to obey God by announcing the Gospel and making disciples. Notice, that he accomplished this by what he said AND did. It was through the power of signs and miracles.

There’s a difference between a sign and a miracle. A sign is a miracle that confirms the Word of God that you’re speaking.

The key issue is that by operating in this way, Paul fully proclaimed the gospel. I believe that just talking about Christ is not the whole Gospel. The Bible is clear that the kingdom of God is “not a matter of talk but of power.” (I Corinthians 4:20)

In one of my posts I asked, what is it about the Gospel that we’re ashamed of? I used some illustrations. If I won a new car I would call you over to look at it. If I got a promotion at work, I would immediately show you my new business cards. How is that different from the spiritual Good News?

I believe it’s because we have reduced the Gospel to cliches. “Jesus loves you.” “Jesus wants to bless you.” “God loves you and I do too.”

The problem is that there’s no demonstration. It’s not like the new car or the promotion at work because I offer you no proof of what I’m saying.

Based upon Scripture, if there’s no demonstration, then there’s no Gospel. Many are ashamed because all they can do is tell about Jesus. Some can’t even see the proof in their own lives because of the lack of power. It makes many believers feel like charlatans when they share the Good News.

It seems we’ve lost the original Good News. We don’t understand the power of God and we don’t understand the Gospel. The two go hand in hand.

Without the Good News, there’s no need for the demonstration of power. Some American Christians want the power without proclaiming the Good News. The fact is, that without the message of the Gospel there’s no need to demonstrate healing, prosperity, joy, freedom from depression, or anything else the Lord has provided for us through the cross. I’m striving to spur the church on to get hungry to experience the full Gospel.

That’s why Paul could say that he had fully proclaimed the Gospel of Christ. Not only did he tell about Christ, but he also demonstrated the love and power of the Lord.

Question: How can we return to the true Gospel?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Flow of Authority

The Flow of Authority

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Today we’re starting chapter 13. In this chapter, Paul begins to talk about authority and our relationship to it.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God

Romans 13:1

The first thing we need to do is define what authority is, exactly. There are many people who confuse authority and power. Although they function together, they’re not the same thing.

Authority is basically the permission or freedom to do something. This permission must come from someone higher up the chain of authority. Power, on the other hand, is the ability to carry out that which you have the permission or freedom to do.

Paul begins by establishing the basis for authority. As I’ve said, there’s a chain of authority. It all flows from the throne of God. There is no authority (permission to use power) except what comes from God.

We also need to realize that all authority has been arranged by God in an orderly manner. That’s because God is a God of order.

Please understand – God has established all the authority structures. However, not every person in those positions of authority were placed there by God. It’s the structure that is God-ordained.

This is the reason that we must submit ourselves to those in authority. That’s the only way for authority to flow to me.

The word, submit, means to arrange under. It’s a choice I make to arrange myself under the chain of authority God has called me to be a part of. When I submit myself in His plan, I have God’s authority flowing through me.

That brings us to the next important concept – rebellion.

Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:2

The Greek word for rebel in this verse means to oppose the arrangement. It tells us that if we rebel against authority, we’re standing against what God instituted. In other words, we are opposing the way God chooses to work through us.

The Word is very clear on this point. If you do this, you’ll receive a guilty verdict. Without submission, we have no authority. Without authority, we have no permission to walk in the power of God.

This is how it worked during the ministry of Jesus.

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

Luke 10:17

The disciples understood how their authority functioned. It wasn’t their natural ability. In the same way, we must be clear where our authority comes from. Never think that it’s because of your own goodness.

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

1 Samuel 15:23

This is the opposite of how God’s kingdom works. Sorcery wants to have power without God’s authority. This is how demonic forces operate. That’s also why those who walk in God’s power and authority have nothing to fear from the devil’s kingdom.

We must learn to submit ourselves to God’s authority structures. That’s the only way to walk in the power of God.

Question: Who do you submit to in the chains of authority God has placed you in?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Power of God

 

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Four Kinds of Glory (Repost)

Four Kinds of Glory (Repost)

Over the next couple of weeks or so I’ll be on vacation. So, during that time, I’m reposting some of my more popular articles.

We use the word glory quite a lot in Christian circles. But what does it mean when we say, “Glory to God!”?

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

I don’t know if you can really define glory. All you can do is see how it’s used. I want to talk about four uses – 2 from the Old Testament and 2 from the New.

Glory is the visible manifestation of God.

This is probably the most well-known. In the tabernacle and temple, there was a visible ball of light as bright as the sun. This was called The Glory.

Glory is the weight assigned to God.

How much weight do you give to what God says vs. what the world says? What Christ says vs. what the doctor says?

Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalms 29:1-2

We must give God the weight that His name deserves.  His ways, His will, and His Word are more important than anything else. How much priority do you place on the Lord’s will for you? That’s the glory you give Him.

Glory is an opinion expressed about God.

What’s your opinion of God? That’s the glory you give Him.

“He’s nice; I talk to Him once a week.”

How do you affect the opinion others have about God? Jesus looked at it this way…

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
John 17:4

We give glory to God in our service to Him. Standing in church with your hands lifted doesn’t raise people’s opinions of God. It’s what you do out there on the street.  I can tell your opinion of God, by how you serve Him.

Glory is the visible sign of God at work.

This is probably the most important one. When others see God’s work in us, it brings the focus to Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7

We’re the clay pot that houses this glory.  Should His glory be in a clay pot?  I don’t think so, but God planned it like that. He wants His glory to be seen in us.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Do everything so that people see how much weight you give to God. And how high an opinion you have of God. But mostly, so they can see God at work in and through you.

Question: How have you seen God’s glory in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Worship

 

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The Living Sacrifice

The Living Sacrifice

As we go through the book of Romans, we’re beginning chapter 12. This is where Paul starts his concluding remarks.

What we have to realize is that you can’t understand this section properly, without a grasp of what he taught in chapters 4-8. We need to walk by the spirit to receive the power to fulfill what he’s about to bring to us.

The last chapters of Romans can never be accomplished in our own strength. But, first, Paul summarizes what he’s talked about so far.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

This is one of those verses that we wished wasn’t in the Bible. But it is, so we have to follow it. It says that there’s something we can do that’s holy and well pleasing to God.

The word offer means to stand beside your body. Paul is talking about something that can only be done in the spirit.

In the spirit I can stand next to myself and look at my flesh as the enemy – my greatest weakness. Only then can I offer it to God on His altar.

The original Greek says that it’s a burnt offering, living, holy, and to God – well pleasing. Wait a minute; we are to be a living burnt offering? Yes! There’s really no other way to say it.

Pleasing God requires sacrifice. But what exactly does that mean to us? Most people use the word sacrifice to mean they’ll try harder. They think it tells them to fast on holidays, eat according to the Old Testament food laws, dress like the 1940’s, and talk King James English.

That’s not what God is looking for. If you read the epistle to the Romans, you find that Paul writes about the walk of the spirit. If that’s in place, then you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. But how do we get there?

We need the fire of God to consume the sacrifice. In the book of Acts we see tongues of fire on the heads of those praying in the upper room. We’re also told (I Thessalonians 5:19) not to quench the Holy Spirit’s fire. Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy, to fan into flame the gift that was within him (II Timothy 1:6).

Paul was a man who had a rich experience of prayer in the spirit. He assumed that those he was writing to also knew how to pray in the spirit. When you pray in the spirit, you’re standing beside your body as a burnt offering.

The last part of the verse in Romans could be modernized as, logically – this is what you signed up for. We’re living out a spiritual walk. You can try harder, stumbling around in the flesh without Christ. But if I’m to be well pleasing, it will require a spiritual work.

In the first part of Romans, Paul showed us that righteousness could only be achieved by a walk in the spirit. That’s accomplished through a rich prayer life of praying in the spirit. As I pray in the spirit, I stand beside the burnt offering.

Remember, I’m not talking about whether or not you’re saved, or even acceptable to God. You’re all those things, and more, in Christ. I’m talking about going beyond acceptable and into the realm of well-pleasing to God.

This should be our desire if we want to see a move of God in our lifetime.

Question: Why do some believers find this sacrifice so difficult?

© 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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