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Our First Calling

Our First Calling

We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome.  In the introduction of this epistle, he talks about the goal of his writing.

And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:6-7

The first thing Paul does is to make it clear who’s doing the calling.  He literally says that they are called by Jesus Christ.  That brings me to an important point.

Most people read Scripture without ever thinking about the words being used, or the order we find them.  For instance, many believers think that the names “Jesus Christ” and “Christ Jesus” are synonymous and interchangeable.

While I agree that they both refer to the same person, it’s also important to understand their differences.  They speak a lot about what the writer is trying to get across to us.

The name, Jesus, speaks of His earthly body, while Christ refers to His eternal divinity.  So when they’re put together an important union is formed.  It’s all about the Lord’s high priestly office.

Usually, the name Jesus Christ is used when the writer is emphasizing something that’s directed from man to God.  The name, Christ Jesus, directs the emphasis from God to man.

In this passage we are called by Jesus Christ.  That tells me that the emphasis is man to God.  Jesus is calling us so that we can approach God through His work in us.

That’s what this letter to the Roman church is all about.  Paul is taking them on a journey from the outskirts of God’s grace to the inner circle of maturity in Christ.

The next two things Paul talks about are applicable to all people.  That’s the fact that they’re all loved by God and they’re all called to be holy (saints).

This is important because God’s calling is based upon His love for us.  God loves everyone and desires all to come into His salvation.  Unfortunately, not everyone accepts His invitation.  But that doesn’t change the fact that the Lord loves them anyway.

Everyone is also called to be holy – set apart to God.  I explained that term a couple of posts back.  The Lord wants everyone to be a part of His household.  That’s because we’ll never truly be satisfied until we discover our true purpose for living in Christ.

That brings us to the final two parts of what the book of Romans is majoring on.  Paul wants to see them operating in the grace and peace of God.

These are two very important aspects of our walk with God.  Grace is the vertical portion.  We look to God by faith in His Word.  The Lord then responds to our faith by pouring out His grace upon us.

Peace is the horizontal aspect of our spiritual life.  There are many believers who don’t understand this concept.  Peace is that open relationship between God’s people.

It also deals with all the blessings God has provided for me.  This includes, but isn’t limited to, healing, provision, encouragement, and protection.  What we don’t understand about this is that all of these blessings come through other people – the horizontal.

If I’m in need of resources and pray to God to supply my need, these things don’t just fall out of the sky.  They come from other people.

So if I build walls between myself and other Christians, I’m cutting myself off from potential supplies.  I’m also destroying my chance of passing on God’s blessings through my life to others.

We’re all called to come near to God.  That’s where we receive the grace and peace needed to fulfill our earthly ministries.

Question: How have you seen God’s grace and peace at work in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Different Callings – One Purpose

In my last post, Paul talked about the need for different types of ministries in order for God’s people to grow.  Now Paul continues with that thought.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:7-8

This is one of those passages that gives me great joy as a minister of the Gospel.  It helps to keep me in line with God’s calling upon my life.

It tells me that all the various ministries in the body of Christ have one purpose.  That’s to make known the riches of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

That’s good, but the second half is even better.  Everyone will be rewarded according to his own labor.  That’s a great statement.  I’m not going to be judged based on what you did, but my own unique calling.

We all have different personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and challenges.  Praise God!!  He judges me as an individual.  That’s good news.  We’re each rewarded for our own work in Christ.

The Lord made mention of this with His disciples.  It was during the time when He met with the woman at the well.

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’?  I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for harvest.  Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
John 4:35-36

One question that needs to be asked when we read this verse is; who’s the reaper that’s receiving his wages?  The answer should be obvious – it’s Christ!

Usually, we think of this reward for our labor as in the future.  But we need to look carefully at what Jesus said.  The reaper IS RECEIVING His wages.  I HAVE food you don’t know about.  The sower and the reaper can be happy together.

It sounds to me like there’s a reward, in this life, for fulfilling the Lord’s will.  That’s something we need to think about.

Who was the sower that Jesus referenced?  I believe that He was talking about the woman.  Listen to what the townspeople said about her.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
John 4:39

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4:42

What was her reward?  I don’t really know.  It might have been children or a stable family of her own.  We have to wait to find out about her in Heaven.

The fact is, that there’s no need to get jealous about ministry among God’s people.  It’s all about the Kingdom of God increasing.  Everything in our lives is all directly related to the principle of sowing and reaping.

The bottom line is that the Samaritans ultimately believed because they heard Jesus speak.  It’s our job to bring people to a personal encounter with Christ in the unique way God has called us to do it.  That’s where we receive great rewards.

Question: What are some Gospel seeds you have planted?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2019 in Leadership, Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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What’s in Your Name?

presentsIn my last post I started talking about our callings. I began by showing that God calls us by name. He knows each one of us intimately.

I believe very strongly that we should know what our name means and how it fits into the plan God has for us. I said last time that you’re the product of what was expected of you throughout your entire life. That’s all summed up in the name you’ve been called. Back in the days when Scripture was being written, names were an important part of one’s life. A good example of this was when the patriarch Jacob had an encounter with the Lord.

Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Genesis 32:26-28

The names given to people pretty much determined their destiny. In many instances, a believer would change his or her name when they came to the Lord because it was no longer appropriate. That’s what happened when the Apostle Saul changed his name to Paul.

Do you know what you’re called before God? You should research out what your name means and how it fits into your ministry.

One of the biggest blessings I’ve ever received was the name I was given by my godly parents. They prayed about what to name me, and I’m so glad that they did.

My first name, Nicolas, means the people’s victory. I didn’t always like that. I thought it should be God’s victory. However, the more I started understanding my ministry as a pastor, the more I saw that my people’s victory is tied up in how well I lead them. If I don’t live a life of excellence, the church will never attain its calling before the Lord.

How I teach and lead will directly affect the victory that the people walk in. Literally, I am the victory of the people God has brought to me. Now, every time I see my name, I’m reminded of the awesome responsibility that God has entrusted me with.

My second name, Stephen, means crowned one. It reminds me that I’m more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. I don’t have to be ashamed, but can hold my head high because I’m a servant of the Great King.

My last name, Zaccardi, (a good Italian name) was tough to find out. It took me years of searching to learn what it means. When I found out, I realized that it was well worth the search.

I found that Zaccardi comes from the Roman word for Quartermaster. Somewhere back in time one of my ancestors was a quartermaster in the Roman army.

A quartermaster was the officer in charge of the soldier’s supply. He was the one who distributed the weapons, armor, clothes, money, food, blankets, and everything they needed to fight the enemy and bring about the victory. Wow! What a description of my ministry as a pastor. I’m the one who gives the army the weapons and supplies that it needs to gain a victory.

Hopefully, you can see by now that knowing what I’ve been called all my life has been a great encouragement to me in the ministry. I firmly believe that everyone needs to search out the meanings of their names. It may help clarify some missing pieces in your life.

Question: How does your name fit in with your calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Ministry, Spirit of Excellence

 

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