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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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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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Salvation and Rewards

Salvation and Rewards

As we go through Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus teaching the crowds. In my last post, He talked about entering the kingdom of God as a child. Upon hearing that, someone in the group was prompted to ask a question.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”

Luke 18:18-20 NIV

We have to remember that Jesus lived and ministered under the Old Covenant. This young man wanted to be sure of his salvation. He asked the Lord about it.

Jesus gave him the only way to eternal life at that time. In simple terms, He said to follow the Law of Moses. That was the road to life.

“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

Luke 18:21 NIV

The young man was given what he asked for. According to the words of Jesus, this man already possessed eternal life. He was on his way to heaven.

However, Jesus could see by his response, that this man wanted more than just salvation. He wanted a fulfilled life. His desire was for more than simply life after death.

The Lord saw into his heart and answered the real question that was driving him. He wanted to know how to advance spiritually in his walk with God.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Luke 18:22 NIV

Jesus was basically telling this man that possessing eternal life is not enough. It was time for him to start accruing eternal rewards. It was time for him to start following the plan of God for his life.

There are a couple of things that we need to realize about this passage. First, the Lord operated, back then, in the same role that the Holy Spirit has for us now. Also, these instructions were a specific Word of God for this man in particular. It’s not a rule for all believers.

Jesus was telling this man that the next step in his spiritual development was to sell all and become His disciple. That would start him down the road to a fulfilled life. His riches were holding him back.

That’s because he had more than just a lot of money. According to the words used in Scripture, he had a large estate. He probably spent all of his time tending to the issues of maintaining and increasing his holdings.

This is where God’s plan for him was leading. Would he take the next step in the journey?

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 18:23-25 NIV

Here’s where a lot of people get mixed up. You have to realize that the kingdom of God is not the same as salvation. The kingdom is the rule of God. It’s the place of blessing based upon obedience.

The truth is, you can be a citizen of a kingdom, yet be living someplace else. You lose out on the blessings of being at home in the kingdom.

You may not want to hear this, but not all believers are walking in the kingdom of God. They’re saved, but they’re missing out on the kingdom blessings. Paul talked about this to the believers in Antioch.

…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Acts 14:22 NIV

These are hard words to accept. Paul told the believers to remain steadfast in hardships. That’s what it takes to enter the kingdom. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.

Question: What’s the next step God has for you in your spiritual walk?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Finding What’s Lost

Finding What’s Lost

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. We’re now starting chapter 15. Jesus’ ministry is beginning to attract those who the religious leaders consider unworthy.

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Luke 15:1-2 NIV

This is a very interesting picture of Jesus. He was very willing to spend time with people who were considered “sinners” by the spiritual elite.

Tax collectors were Jews who were taking money from their own people and giving it to the Roman conquerors. They were viewed much the same way as we view drug dealers in our society.

Not only that, but they had the same type of friends that a drug dealer would have. Prostitutes, loan sharks, and the like. All the people that the upstanding Pharisees would look down on as the dregs of their society.

Because of His spiritual walk, the Lord had the strength of character be around these people without letting them drag Him down. He could be a light in their darkness, and they recognized this.

We need to understand this principle. How can unbelievers ever experience the love and grace of Christ, if no one ever walks with them?

Jesus uses a couple of parables to explain it.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Luke 15:3-7 NIV

At the end of chapter 14, Jesus talked about the need to be salt in the world. If your ministry is to be this seasoning and bring the message of salvation, then what better place to be then among “unsavory” people. Jesus knew that He was sent to save these people. The Pharisees may have written them off, but Jesus saw them as loved by God.

I always find it offensive when I hear a Christian remark that someone deserves hell.

“When they die, they’re gonna get what they have coming.”

That must break the Lord’s heart. He died for everyone. Not just the people we like. We need to watch our attitudes about those without Christ. The fact is that we all deserve hell – but I don’t want anyone to go there.

Even the most perverted, murderous, evil person on earth should be given the chance to hear about the life-changing work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We should be representing Christ and His attitudes in our generation.

Too often what some believers consider “ministry”, is telling sinners to stop sinning. It’s all over the internet. Unbelievers don’t need to stop doing wrong. They need to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

That’s what will turn their lives around. Pointing out what we think is wrong with them will only serve to push them away from the cross. We need to be seeking and saving those who are lost.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:8-10 NIV

There’s rejoicing over a life that’s saved. I also believe there’s weeping over a lost sheep that’s pushed off a cliff, or a coin that’s made to fall through the cracks. We can’t be so self-righteous that we cause unbelievers to reject Christ. Be the Lord’s hand, reaching out in love to those around you.

Question: Why is it so easy to pick up the same attitudes as the Pharisees?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Safe in God’s Will

Safe in God’s Will

We’re looking at the ministry of Jesus as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Luke usually shows Jesus’ teaching, then gives an example of how He walks it out. Here, Luke is continuing this pattern.

In the middle of chapter 13, Jesus gives a parable of a mustard seed that grew into a tree. He was showing how unstoppable the kingdom of God is. The Lord now shows it by His ministry.

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

Luke 13:31 NIV

Obviously, not all of the Pharisees were opposing Jesus. We know from the Gospels that some of them were secret believers in Him as the Messiah. They usually kept quiet about it because the ones who opposed Jesus held the most political power.

This group heard, through their channels, that Herod was out to kill the Lord. Concerned about His safety, they warned Christ about it.

I love the Lord’s reaction to this.

He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day — for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!”

Luke 13:32-33 NIV

The Lord makes it clear to these Pharisees that He has no intention of changing His plans. Not only that, but He states that they could even go ahead and tell Herod where He would be.

Jesus got His marching orders from the Holy Spirit. He had no fear for His safety. He knew that if He was to minister in these towns, then nothing could stop Him.

Of course, the Lord also knew for a fact that He was going to die in Jerusalem. With that knowledge, He knew that there was nowhere else that He could be attacked. He was safe in the center of God’s will.

That should speak to us as well. Our greatest goal should be to know and walk in God’s plan for our lives. That’s the position of safety and fulfillment.

But that brings me another thought. In my flesh, knowing that I would die in Jerusalem, I would make it a point to never set foot in that city.

However, that didn’t stop the Lord either. He always operated according to the Father’s plans. Knowing what awaited Him, didn’t cause Jesus to shrink back.

But that also didn’t stop Him from grieving over the truth that Jerusalem was the city of godly martyrs.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Luke 13:34-35 NIV

Jesus is saddened because on more than one occasion, He desired to bring all of Israel together under His protection. Yet even though that was His desire, it was not the desire of the Jewish people.

The Lord declares that the point has been reached where they are left desolate. That’s an important word. It means to be solitary, alone and deserted. Throughout Greek literature, it’s used for a flock of sheep deserted by the shepherd, or a wife neglected by her husband.

Israel has chosen a path without their Messiah. Remember, Jesus had warned them about this in the parable of the fig tree (Luke 13:6-9). It’s obvious that at this time they’ve reached the point of no return.

Now the Lord’s goal is to accomplish their salvation on the cross. He will be crucified, buried, and in three days He will rise from the dead. At that point they can repent and receive full forgiveness for their sin.

Let this be a lesson to us. We can’t ignore the call of the Holy Spirit forever. We need to spend the time necessary to hear His voice and obey His Word to us. That’s the real place of safety for our souls.

Question: What has the Spirit been speaking to you lately?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Narrow Gate

The Narrow Gate

As we go through Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus teaching the crowds. As they listen to Him, questions arise in their minds. Sometimes they’re the same questions we wrestle with.

You may want to read Luke 13:22-30 before continuing.

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

Luke 13:22-23a NIV

This is an interesting question. Especially so, since we’re talking about ancient Israel.

Right now, we have many words in our religious vocabulary that have changed over the years. The word “saved” is one of them. That word has picked up a lot of spiritual baggage since this verse was written.

When we hear the word “saved”, it has a special meaning to us. We think of someone who’s prayed the sinner’s prayer. They’ve accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They have become a Christian.

When that question was first asked, this word had no such connotation. It was not a religious word in those days. It meant to be rescued from danger or destruction. It also meant to be kept safe and sound. As well as to save someone from suffering, as with a disease.

When this person questioned Jesus, he was speaking about the natural world. Israel was under slavery to the oppressive Roman Empire. There was a lot of fear over how that would turn out.

There were groups known as Zealots. These were anti-Roman terrorists who were making bold attacks against Roman holdings.

The Roman emperors were well know for making rash decisions to wipe out nations that rebelled against their rule. This was one of the very things that caused the religious leaders to put Jesus to death (John 11:47-50).

Throughout the Old Testament, there were prophecies about times of persecution where only a remnant of Israel survived. I believe that this was the thinking behind that question. This man wanted to plan ahead for his survival.

Jesus seems to ignore the question and begins to tell the crowd a more important remnant to be a part of. He starts to talk about the final judgment.

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’”

Luke 13:23b-25 NIV

Jesus tells the crowd that the way to the abundant life is through a narrow, tight gate. He puts it in a way that our English translations don’t do justice to.

The phrase, make every effort, means to contend. It’s what athletes put themselves through in order to win an Olympic gold medal. It means that there’s a struggle that has to take place.

You might think that in the Olympics, the struggle is against the other athletes. That’s simply not the case. The greatest struggle is having to contend with your own body. It needs to be disciplined in order to win the event.

That’s why Jesus said that many will try to enter. This phrase means to seek or desire. The narrow entrance looks too hard to manage. They’re looking for an easier way in.

There are other places in the Scripture where the word, contend, is used.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12 NIV

Faith is a battle. It requires us to overcome the desires of our flesh. It means yielding to the Holy Spirit. There’s no easy way. Spend the time necessary to see God’s will accomplished in your life.

Question: What are some of the struggles you contend with in your faith walk?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Holy Spirit and Fire

The Holy Spirit and Fire

We’re continuing in our study through Luke’s Gospel. The Lord is teaching about the future ministry of His disciples and the church. At that point, the disciples probably didn’t understand most of what Christ was saying. But, looking back, we can take it to heart.

I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!”

Luke 12:49-50 NIV

The Lord begins to talk about the results of His ministry on the earth. There’s a fire He wants to start, but He has to undergo His immersion first. Jesus is talking about His death, burial, and resurrection.

The fire is to be an important part of what He starts at His resurrection. He mentioned it at another place in His ministry.

Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

Mark 9:49-50 NIV

In this section, the Lord is not talking about us being the salt of the earth. He’s speaking about the salt of fire being placed within us. I believe that He’s talking about the Holy Spirit, who we receive when we become a Christian.

Throughout the Bible, God is referred to as a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Elsewhere, we’re told not to put out the Holy Spirit’s fire (1 Thessalonians 5:19). It’s through this purifying work of the Holy Spirit that we’re made clean before God.

There is a consequence of this, however. Not everybody wants to be changed by the Spirit of God. There are those who will refuse to accept this free gift of salvation.

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Luke 12:51-53 NIV

Peace is a big subject when you talk about Christ. At Christmas time we sing about “Peace on Earth.” That’s what Christ is talking about here, but that won’t come about until His return. At that time the Lord will reign over the earth and there will be peace.

Until then, the earth will be in turmoil. Part of that will be the tension between darkness and light. The kingdom of God vs the enemy’s rule on earth. Many times this war will erupt right inside our homes. This happens when some family members are Christians and some are not.

We experience this on many occasions. We need to be going to the Lord to receive grace to win over our families. Sometimes that’s the hardest place to minister. I’ve heard so many stories where a family member comes to Christ through a friend, even though they had rejected that same witness from their family.

But there’s another peace that’s available to us, as believers. That’s God’s peace. It’s the peace that should be active in His people. Jesus said that He was going to give it to us (John 14:27).

I believe this is the peace that Jesus was referring to in the verse in Mark, above. If we let God salt us with His purifying fire, then we’ll be clean from all the things that cause conflict. By submitting to the Holy Spirit’s work, the church can be a place that shows forth the peace of God. This should be an example to the world around us.

Of course, we want our loved ones to enter into this peace. We need to be praying for them. And praying for the grace to reach them.

But, if we find that they refuse to listen to our testimony, there’s another prayer that we must use. We should be praying that God would send someone to them that they will listen to. We can’t be so stubborn to think that we’re the only person God will use to reach them. Pray for a Christian friend to bring the Word they need to hear.

Question: Who are you praying for to receive the Gospel of Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Burden Remover

The Burden Remover

In my last post, I started looking at a conversation that Jesus had with a Pharisee who invited Him for a dinner. The Pharisee was surprised that Jesus didn’t observe the traditional washing ceremony before the meal.

The Lord took the opportunity to explain to this religious leader the difference between the inside and the outside. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

Now Jesus continues with this discussion.

Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”

Luke 11:43-44 NIV

Again, the Lord brings up another area where these leaders choose appearance over substance. They are very people conscious. They’re always looking for the approval of those around them.

It’s a lot like our present political system. It’s not about what you know as much as who you know, and what they think of you.

Even with the Pharisees, it wasn’t a matter of right and wrong. That usually didn’t figure into it. They wanted to express the opinion that most of the “important people” would agree with.

That’s why Jesus had a problem with this group. He looked at them like they were unmarked graves. In walking through the area, it may look like a beautiful field full of wildflowers. But people don’t know that right under their feet were dead bodies.

These religious leaders looked great on the surface. They made a public spectacle of their praying, tithing, fasting, and sometimes even giving to the poor. The problem was that their motives were anything but pure.

They wanted to look good in the eyes of the people. They may have looked good on the outside, but as far as God was concerned, they were dead inside.

In saying this, Jesus got a reaction from one of the listeners.

One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

Luke 11:45 NIV

One of the teachers of the law got upset at what the Lord said. Of course, he proved the advice that sometimes you should just be quiet and take it! The Lord now turns His attention to these teachers.

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”

Luke 11:46 NIV

These religious “lawyers” were another level of the problem. They were experts in the letter of the law. Most of it was traditions added to the law by various Rabbis over the years.

They would teach people what the law said. They gave Israel all of the do’s and don’ts of the law. Most of the time they were rebuking the people for any minor infraction that they were caught doing.

Instead, they should have been teaching about why the law was important. They should have been teaching the love, mercy, and forgiveness of God. But, in their zeal to be seen as experts, they represented God as merely a bringer of death and judgment.

It’s unfortunate that there are many Christians who do the same thing. They make up all of these rules that you need to follow in order to “make it to Heaven.” One of them even told me flat out, they believed it was easier to get saved than to stay saved.

That doesn’t sound like the God I serve.

“I’ll make it easy for you to be saved through Jesus Christ. But, at the first misstep, I’ll send you to hell.”

The fact is, when we bow our knee to Christ, His blood covers our sin, past, present, and future. I know that there are people who twist this truth so they can live however they want. We need to realize that Jesus Christ is the burden remover. I praise God for His great salvation!

Question: What burdens has the Lord removed from your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2022 in Legalism, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Messiah is Coming!

Messiah is Coming!

Continuing through the Gospel of Luke, today’s post will talk about Luke 1:61-75. You may want to read this passage before going forward in this article.

We’ve seen the angel, Gabriel, bringing a message to Zechariah and Mary. Zechariah was to be the father of John the Baptist, while Mary was to give birth to Jesus Christ. After nine months of waiting, Elizabeth was about to give birth to John.

When the child arrived, everyone wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. But, both Elizabeth and Zechariah were adamant that his name was John. They were determined to walk in obedience to God’s Word to them.

You may remember that Zechariah was told by the angel that he would not be able to talk until the child was born. On the day that the baby was named, he was able to talk again. He immediately started praising God and began to prophesy.

He beautifully proclaimed what was about to take place in Israel. He foretold the ministries of both John the Baptist and Jesus. In today’s post we’ll look at what he said about Christ. It will give us incite into what they were expecting.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.”

Luke 1:68

The first thing he talks about is the fact that God is showing up. It has been many years since the Old Testament was closed. There’s been no prophetic ministry since Ezra and Nehemiah’s time. Now God is doing a new thing in Israel.

This verse literally says that God has come and is now doing redemption. He has started the process of paying the price to loose His people from their slavery to sin and death.

He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago)…”

Luke 1:69-70

The culmination of Old Testament prophecy was about to come to pass. The picture of a horn was a symbol of strength to these ancient people. So, this talks of the power of God’s salvation.

This word, salvation, is a huge word. It not only means to be saved from sin, but from everything that would hurt us. This includes sickness, poverty, depression, confusion, and a whole host of other things that hinder God’s will for us.

…salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us — to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham:”

Luke 1:71-73

This salvation not only includes the things that come against us. It also protects us from people and spiritual forces of evil that would try to stop us from carrying out God’s plan.

At this point in Israel’s history it may have looked like God’s covenant had failed. The nation had been conquered by the Roman Empire. There was no supernatural ministry. It was a dark time in their lives.

But now, a light was about to break through into their darkness. God was raising up the answer to centuries of prayer and intercession. The Messiah was on His way!

…to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Luke 1:74-75

This is probably the most important part of the prophecy. It reveals the purpose of all that God is doing. There’s a reason He’s redeeming, saving, and protecting us. The Lord’s desire is to have a people who can now serve Him without any fear.

We can now walk in holiness and righteousness. We don’t have to fear death. We don’t have to fear God’s wrath. We can look forward to the glory that will be revealed in us.

I can’t imagine what those who heard this message were thinking. Maybe they heard things like this before. Hopefully, faith was being raised up in their hearts. They were given the hope they needed to await the ministry of the Messiah.

Question: How does this apply to us as we await the return of the Messiah?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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Let Praise Arise

Let Praise Arise

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul is wrapping up his thoughts. He’s talking about the work that Christ had to do for us.

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written:”Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.”

Romans 15:8-9

The word, Jews, in this verse is literally the word, circumcision. This means that Christ became a servant of the covenant law on behalf of the truth. According to Paul, He did this for two reasons.

The first was to establishstabilize, confirm – the promises made to the patriarchs. He had to come under the law in order to fulfill the law. That’s because the Law of Moses was an addendum to the covenant of Abraham.

It needed to be completed and abolished. In this way only the promises and covenant of the patriarchs remain.

The second reason Christ did this was so that Gentiles will glorify God because of His mercy. Now those who were not physical members of the Hebrew family can join them under the covenant.

Then he quotes Psalm 18. This is a victory psalm of David when he beat the Philistines. It speaks of the victory of God’s anointed king in the line of David. Now, because of this work, we are His descendants.

Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

Romans 15:10

This is a quote from Deuteronomy 32:43. Why would the Gentiles rejoice with His people? The Gentiles can praise God because they were included in the atonement.

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.”

Romans 15:11

Here he quotes from Psalm 117, calling the nations to praise God for what He does in Israel. Through Israel, the entire world is blessed with salvation.

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.”

Romans 15:12

Here, Paul is actually paraphrasing Isaiah.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.

Isaiah 11:10

Paul explains that Messiah will arise and rule over all people. Many will bow before Him willingly and put their hope, their expectation in Him.

Knowing that he’s writing to a mostly Gentile church in Rome, Paul now gives his final desire for these Gentile believers.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

This is Paul’s prayer for the Gentile churches. He calls upon the God of our expectation. He wants the Lord to fill you with joy and peace.

There is joy and peace that comes from expectancy. In human terms, we’re sometimes disappointed by those we place our expectancy in. But, in Christ, these qualities can overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What aspects of your salvation causes you to praise God the most?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2021 in Spiritual Walk, The Church, The Gospel

 

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