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The Word, Faith, and Testing

The Word, Faith, and Testing

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we find that Luke has set his narrative up to be topical. He’s not concerned with a timeline as much as showing what Jesus taught, and how it applied to a personal walk with God.

So far in chapter 8, the Lord has been emphasizing the Word of God. He’s taught the people how to receive it, respond to it, and obey it. Luke now shows how it worked in the Lord’s life.

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Luke 8:19-21

I believe that Luke included this incident to give us a summary of what Jesus has been teaching so far. There’s a family-like intimacy with the Father when we hear and obey God’s Word to us.

The Lord was told that His mother and brothers were desiring to meet with Him. That’s important to Jesus’ response. Do you have a desire to meet with the Lord? The solution is to hear God’s Word and do it.

The disciples were listening. How well did they hear and do it?

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out.

Luke 8:22

The disciples seemed to start out correctly. They heard the Word of the Lord and set sail in that direction. So far, so good.

As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

Luke 8:23

Now we see an illustration of exactly what Jesus said would happen when the seed falls on the rocks. I’m sure the disciples were joyfully starting out on their journey across the lake.

However, Jesus said that there would be a time of testing whenever you receive a Word from God. He even took a nap so that they would be free to show what they learned.

Then it arrived. The disciples were tested by a squall that suddenly came up. They were in a dangerous situation. Would they continue in faith or “quickly fall away”?

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Luke 8:24-25

The outcome is that they gave up without even a fight. They went to the Lord totally ignoring His Word to them and announced definitively, “It’s all over, we’re destroyed.”

The first thing Jesus did was to show them the power of His Word. Even the elements of the weather are under His control. He quieted the storm and then dealt with his disciples.

The big question He asked them was, “Where is your faith?” They had heard His voice. They should have trusted His Word. Yet they failed to see the power He had placed in their hands.

Their hearts were still rocky. They didn’t get it. Jesus asked about their faith, yet they asked each other, “Who is this?” They should have been asking, “Why couldn’t we do what He told us to do?”

Obviously, Jesus intended for them to quiet the storm. The problem was that the Word had not yet taken root in their lives.

This is why time with the Holy Spirit is so important. The more time we spend in His presence, the deeper our roots grow. Then, in the times of testing, we’ll find ourselves walking in the power of God.

Question: How deep is your spiritual root system?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Producing Fruit

Producing Fruit

In my last post, we started looking at Paul’s example of the marriage. He was using it to explain how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and the world.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:4

This is the verse that we ended with. However, we hadn’t talked about the second half of the verse.

Paul makes it clear that we’ve been set free for a purpose. Now we can be fruitful toward God. Remember, this is in the context of using marriage as the example.

When we’re speaking about marriage, being fruitful is equivalent to having children. Gently put, it’s the seed of the man delivered into the life of the woman. This is another common illustration of Scripture.

Think about what Christ taught in His parable of the sower and the seed.

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Matthew 13:23

Jesus was talking about a person who is receiving the seed of God’s Word. In terms of our discussion, I would say that the good soil is a life that’s lost connection with sin, the law, and the world.

This is in agreement with other verses we’ve been given.

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.

Colossians 1:6b

The Good News is the Word of God. Does it immediately bear fruit when you receive it? No, you must receive it and understand God’s grace working through it.

Think about it. Sometimes a group of believers are all attending the same church. They all hear same good news – the Word of God. Yet, in spite of this, only some bear fruit. That’s because they’re missing the grace ingredient.

That brings us to an obvious question; what’s the fruit? Jesus talked about it with His disciples.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:7-8

For every fruit in the natural, there’s a supernatural expression. Jesus had the ability to either provide money from His purse or the mouth of a fish. He made it clear that He could either buy a meal for 5000 people or break fish and bread to feed them all.

The fact is, as long as we’re content to serve in the natural, we have no need of intimacy with Christ. If we want to see the supernatural work of God through us, that will require the Word of God and His grace in us producing fruit.

That’s the real question. Do I want the glory; or do I want God to receive glory through my life? For God to be praised, I must allow His Word to work through me. I must develop intimacy with the Lord through His Holy Spirit.

Question: What does it take to allow God’s Word to produce fruit in us?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Do You Really Understand the Word of God? #wordofGod

Dry1The Gospel message hinges upon the giving and receiving of the Word.  How this takes place is of great importance.  We must understand the mechanics involved in the use of the seed of the Word.  If you want to be a successful farmer, then you must study the most excellent techniques.

The Lord told a parable about four different soil types.  He was talking about the human heart.  We must examine our hearts to see if they are conducive to an abundant harvest of the Word.

The first type of ground that Jesus talks about is the soil right by the road.  It’s the worst place to try and grow anything, whether you’re talking about the spiritual or physical garden.

“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is the seed sown along the path.”
Matthew 13:19

You will notice that this ground is by the road.  This is the busiest place.  All of the dirt and debris from the road is blown onto this soil.  It’s hard and lifeless.  The way Jesus puts it in the original is that these people hear the Word of the kingdom and do not put it together.  It doesn’t mean to understand in the traditional sense.

These are not people who don’t know the meaning of what’s being said.  On the contrary, they understand what the Word is saying; they just don’t want to see how it applies to their lives.  They don’t want to put it all together.

Then, because there is no root of application, it’s very easy for the enemy to come and remove the Word permanently from the person’s life.  It’s as if they had never heard it.

This means that if I want an abundant harvest, I need to do just the opposite.  Whenever I hear a Word from God, I need to assume that it applies to me.  I need to guard the Word that’s placed within my heart.  It must be precious to me.

It also tells me that I can’t live too close to the road.  The more I look at the world, and how it operates, the more I disagree with how the Word functions in me.  I must let the Word work on me and change me as the Lord wills.

That’s why Jesus told us of the importance of knowing our audience.  We have to be careful where we’re planting.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
Matthew 7:6

There will always be those who have no regard for the Word of God.  They will hear, yet never apply it to their lives.  They allow the devil to steal it and it will never bear fruit in them.

Question: What is something that you have recently heard and applied from the Word of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Word of God

 

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God’s Seed in You

SeedIn many of my posts I talk about the relationship between the Word of God and the Scripture.  The Bible is the written Word of God.  But we also need to hear the Word from the Holy Spirit.  This is where the power of God intersects with our lives.

For a few posts I want to write about how the Word of God relates to us.  The Bible teaches that we must correctly handle the Word of Truth.  In order to do that I must be studying the Scripture – the written record of God’s Word – so that I can handle the Word I receive from God today.

In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Acts 19:20

The Bible uses many terms in relation to the Word of God.  It uses language such as spread, increased, grew, reached and multiplied.  In the above verse we’re told how.  The verse says in this way.  If you read through this nineteenth chapter of the Book of Acts you’ll get a taste for the effects of the Word.

We see the gifts of tongues and prophecy being manifested.  There was boldness in preaching.  Handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul were taken to the sick and they were healed.  Demonic spirits were confronted and expelled.  There was widespread repentance such that a group of new believers burned the equivalent of $5,000,000 worth of satanic sorcery books.

That’s the way the Word of God is described as growing.  Literally, the above verse says that the Word became a force to be reckoned with.  The Word of God is alive and it grows.  That’s the aspect that I want to discuss in this series of posts.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23

We’ve been saved by the living Word of God.  That Word is a seed that’s growing inside of us.  It will never decay or diminish.  It’s there forever.

Somewhere along the line somebody spoke God’s Word to you.  It doesn’t matter whether they used the Bible or not – you heard a Word from God that changed your life.  It might have been a Bible verse, a word of prophecy, or a statement of divine truth.  Either way, you received it, it grew inside of you, and eventually you accepted Jesus Christ and were born again.

That’s how the Word of God starts its work in you.  The fact that you’ve established Christ as your Lord and Savior is proof that the Word has taken residence in you.  Now it’s up to us what we do with that seed.

Question: What was the Word of God that brought salvation into your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Word of God

 

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