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Jerusalem’s Fall

Jerusalem’s Fall

We’ve been in the Gospel of Luke, looking at Jesus teaching His disciples about the end-times. Having warned them of what they were about to face, the Lord now answers their original question that started it all (Luke 21:7).

He tells them the signs that signal the approach of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Because we live on this side of the historical event, it’s easier to look back and interpret the Lord’s words.

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.”

Luke 21:20-21 NIV

Jesus is referring to a prophecy from the book of Daniel. He makes mention of the desolation of Jerusalem. Daniel calls it the detestable thing that causes the city to be laid waste.

I know a lot of Bible teachers who say that this is a future event, and they have a variety of teachings and beliefs on this subject. I ask you to please read the Scripture without preconceived ideas about what’s being said. Put yourself in the place of the disciples who are hearing this for the first time.

The reaction of the disciples must have been one of surprise. This is because every God-fearing Jew knew that the reference Jesus gave them from the book of Daniel had ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED.

Around 170 BC there was a Syrian ruler named Antiochus IV. He was so full of himself that he gave himself the title “Epiphanes,” which means “the manifest god”. As many emperors did, he forced those around him to worship him.

Antiochus Epiphanes led his army to successfully conquer Israel. On December 15, 168 BC, he set up the image of Zeus on an altar in the Temple of Jerusalem. Ten days later, he dedicated it by sacrificing a pig in the Temple.

Heathen altars were then erected throughout Israel, their celebrations being compulsory. Any Jew would receive the death penalty if found in possession of the Torah. Observing the Sabbath and circumcision were forbidden. Because of their faithfulness to the Law of God, many Jews were killed in those days.

As the disciples heard Jesus speak about Daniel’s prophecy, they must have also thought about the reign of Antiochus. Now they’re hearing from the Lord that it will be fulfilled again. This was a new concept for them to grasp – the fact that a prophetic Scripture could have two fulfillments.

“For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

Luke 21:22-24 NIV

This sounds all too familiar to the disciples. Throughout history, the Jews had been conquered again and again. Now one of the worst chapters in their history was going to repeat itself. All they could do was listen and be prepared.

I think the Lord is obviously talking about the times that the disciples were living in. He says that the Jews would be dispersed among the nations. However, there would be a time-limit on how long the Gentiles would be in control of the Holy Land.

We’ve seen this in our generation. Israel has once again returned to their homeland. And, by God’s power, they have once again become a sovereign nation. God is always confirming that His Word is true.

This should encourage us. I believe that this is how the Holy Spirit operates. If we’re listening, the Spirit will always prepare us for what’s ahead in our future. We need to continue developing our spiritual sensitivity to hear His voice.

Question: Why does the Holy Spirit want to reveal the future to us?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2022 in Israel, Return of Christ, Word of God

 

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Understanding the Word

Understanding the Word

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is now making His final trip to Jerusalem, where He will be crucified. He explains this to the disciples.

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

Luke 18:31-34 NIV

Jesus is very clear about what’s going to happen when they reach Jerusalem. We need to understand that nobody took Him by surprise. The Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection was all a part of God’s plan from the beginning of time.

Now, He wanted to prepare His disciples for what was coming. They needed to be ready for these sorrowful events that would literally rock their world.

This passage is jam-packed with important truth. If you remember, in one of my recent posts, I said that when He was ministering on earth, Jesus fulfilled the same role that the Holy Spirit has with us now. We see that clearly in these verses.

Verse 34 actually reads, this rhema-Word was concealed from them. Jesus was giving the disciples a rhema Word. That’s a pure, unprocessed Word directly from God.

There are two more important words in this section. It says that the disciples did not understand, and they did not know what was being said. That’s a big problem.

When we spend time with the Holy Spirit in God’s presence, sometimes He imparts to us a Word from heaven. That’s a rhema Word to us.

Many times, we can’t readily understand it because of our human mindset. At those times, we need to guard it in our heart. We need to protect it and rehearse it. Jesus told His disciples why this is important.

If you remember the parable of the Sower, the seed stood for the Word being sown. Look at what Jesus said about what was sown along the road.

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 NIV

If we have no understanding of what’s being imparted to us, there’s a risk we could lose it. That’s what happened with the disciples. They let go of the Word and had to go through depression and confusion between the death and resurrection of Christ.

When we receive something from God that we don’t understand, we need to search Scripture about it. Then continue to meditate on it and ask the Holy Spirit to give us the understanding we need. That’s His role with us.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 14:26 NIV

The issue with the disciples was that whenever Jesus spoke about His death, they never said anything. They didn’t know what He was talking about, but they never asked for clarification. So, when the time came, they were totally unprepared for the devastating events.

We should learn this lesson. Spend time listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Then, guard that Word in your heart. Over time, and with the help of the Spirit, understanding will come, and you’ll see that which God has given you.

Question: What are some things that God has spoken to you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Prepared?

Prepared?

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. Jesus now tells the crowds about the rich man and Lazarus. You may want to read Luke 16:19-31 before going further in the post.

The Lord has been talking about the difference between living under the Law of Moses and entering the kingdom of God. It’s the difference between following rules and cultivating a relationship with God.

Christ said that those who enter the kingdom have to put forth an effort. It requires conviction and zeal to find that “narrow gate” which leads to the life in the spirit.

He concludes this teaching by talking about the rich man and Lazarus. There are many who believe that this is not a parable. They think it’s an actual event Jesus is talking about. They believe this because Jesus doesn’t give anyone an actual name in His parables.

Whatever the case, we need to hear what the Lord is saying to us. It’s not simply about being saved.

The Lord starts with the two main characters. The first is a rich man, who according to Christ, radiated rejoicing every day.

Then there was a poor beggar who was thrown down at the rich man’s gate every day. He watched the house and wished that he could eat the crumbs that the rich man threw away. This beggar was covered in sores that he allowed the dogs to lick in order to keep them clean.

The Lord then describes what happened after they both died. We need to remember that this description is about death before the resurrection of Christ. At that time everyone went to a “holding area”, waiting for the salvation that Christ would purchase.

In this holding area, there were two sections. One for those who were lost, and one for those were looking forward in faith to the Messiah.

It’s very interesting the way the story unfolds. One thing I see, is that attitudes and perceptions don’t change, even after death. Look at the request that the rich man asked of Abraham.

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’”

Luke 16:24 NIV

Do you hear the attitude? The rich man still sees himself as superior to Lazarus. He expects Lazarus to tend to his needs. Abraham explains that this will never happen.

When he sees that his condition will not be improved, the rich man begins to think about his family. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to tell his brothers about this place.

Abraham tells the rich man that his family already knows about this. They have the Scripture warning them about the afterlife.

The rich man says that they need a miracle to convince them. They need to see someone rise from the dead.

Abraham counters with a very important statement.

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Luke 16:31 NIV

That raises an important question we need to ask ourselves. What will it take for us to wholeheartedly follow God’s Word? We all need to come to grips with this.

In this story, I see so many parallels with the generation we’re living in. Yes, I know that we’re now living under grace and not under the Law. I know that in Christ, our sins are covered, and we stand in the righteousness of God.

However, there are still things that please and displease the Lord. There is still going to be a final judgment where we receive, or don’t receive, rewards for our service to Christ.

Many believers live in luxury, with no thought to those who are dying around them. Many powerful ministries are starving for the resources that could multiply their ability to reach the lost. What side of the kingdom are you sitting on?

This story should force us to think about our eternal future. Set aside spiritual riches for the kingdom. Prepare now for your future with Christ.

Question: How prepared are you for your eternal life in the kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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God’s Word Without Yeast

God’s Word Without Yeast

I’m continuing to post through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus has just finished rebuking the Pharisees and teachers of the Law for their blatant opposition to His teaching. They simply refuse to listen to the Word of God.

On top of that they’re doing everything in their power to stop the Lord from continuing His ministry.

When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.

Luke 11:53-54 NIV

In spite of this opposition from the religious leaders, the people continued to listen to the Lord’s teaching.

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Luke 12:1 NIV

On different occasions Jesus told His disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. At that time they didn’t understand what He was saying to them. Later on they realized that the Lord was speaking about their hypocrisy.

This was not a warning that only applied to the disciples. We need to take care not to add our own baggage into the mix. If so, then we’ll corrupt the pure Word of God with our own pet doctrines. What we mix into the Word determines the spiritual climate of our churches.

For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
Hebrews 4:2

This verse speaks to us about the similarity between us and Israel. It warns us about how we receive the Word. It literally says that the logos of their hearing did not benefit them. The only way it will is if we combine it with faith in the process of receiving it. The Word of God must be combined with your faith in order for it to be of benefit to you.

So, here we are. I’m doing my best to present you with the pure, clear, logos of God in this article. I want to give you life and nourishment through the Word of God. This is the logos of your hearing. There’s only one way that it will accomplish what was intended. That’s for you, the reader, to combine it with faith. But wait a minute! Where do you get this faith which you’re to combine with the Word?

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

Most of us have this verse memorized. Faith comes by hearing the Word. What it says in the Greek is that this faith comes by hearing the rhema of Christ. What is this? Is it a “catch 22”?

I present the logos to you, but the only way it will benefit you is if you combine it with the faith that only comes through rhema. What kind of circular logic is this? Actually, it’s a picture of the infinite wisdom of God. It’s better than anything you could ever imagine.

In actuality God wants to give you both logos and rhema at the same time. BUT, you have to be expecting Him to do this. God won’t just hit you over the head with His Word.

That’s why when you go to a meeting, or hear a godly speaker on TV or the internet, you need to be ready to receive from God as the message is coming to you. There actually can be times when God speaks to you something totally unrelated to what’s being preached.

You just need to be open to the Lord’s voice. But remember, don’t mix your “yeast” with the message. Too many people add their opinions, ideas, and prejudices into the word that they hear. That will water down God’s Word and make it unprofitable to you.

Spending time in the presence of the Lord helps you to develop a listening ear in the spirit. Then you can hear and guard the pure Word of God in your heart.

Question: When have you heard a Word from God while listening to a human speaker?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Full of Light

Full of Light

We’re continuing in our study of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is teaching on the importance of hearing and obeying God’s Word.

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”

Luke 11:33 NIV

I believe that the Lord is speaking about Himself in this verse. Many times He referred to Himself as the Light of the world (John 8:12).

The religious leaders were making an effort to subdue this light. They wanted to silence Jesus to keep His Word from going forth.

Jesus explains to them that His purpose is for all to see His light. God has sent Him into the world to give spiritual sight to those who will listen.

Then, the Lord makes a very interesting statement.

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.”

Luke 11:34-35 NIV

What He says really catches my attention. Recently, I felt the Holy Spirit directing me to do a study of light and darkness in the Scripture. Along with that, since my background is in science, I did a study of light in the physical world.

Light is actually made up of sub-atomic particles called photons. Biblically speaking, these were the very first things God created when He said, “Let there be light!”

I was recently reading about some cutting edge research. They wrote that it has been discovered that every cell in our body contains structures that harness and direct the flow of photons.

It’s very possible that our cells communicate through a type of fiber-optics rather than simple electrical impulses. However, this research is still in its infancy. Be that as it may, we know that our brains are full of photons – these particles of light.

We also know that in the natural, our bodies need light to function properly. That’s why there are seasonal disorders. We get depressed in the winter if we don’t get enough sunlight.

You may be asking what does all of this have to do with what Jesus said. I believe that many times things in the spiritual work like they do in the natural.

Just like our physical bodies need sunlight, our spiritual beings need the light of God’s Word. Many Christians have a “seasonal disorder” because of a lack of exposure to the Word.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105 NIV

If we want our spiritual man to be full of light, then we need to be walking in the light of God’s Word. Take this to heart. We don’t want to be walking with inner darkness.

See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”

Luke 11:35-36 NIV

This verse literally say that we need to make it our aim, our focus, not to let the light in us become dark. Keep the light intense. Focus on the Word of God.

In that way we’ll be able to clearly see the path before us. Don’t be like the foolish leaders who didn’t like what they saw when the light shined on them. Allow it to change you into who God desires you to become.

Spend time in the Word. Let it fully light up your life.

Question: How has God’s Word brought you spiritual light?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2022 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Spiritually Selfish

Spiritually Selfish

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. For the last few posts, I’ve been talking about the Lord’s Prayer.

At one point, I talked about our daily bread, and I related it to receiving God’s Word on a daily basis. As we continue in this chapter, Christ now gives a parable concerning bread. I want to continue that discussion.

We’re going to do that by looking at a parable which few ever teach about. We need to see how the bread of the Word applies to our daily lives.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

Luke 11:5-6 NIV

This parable brings to light an incredible truth. Listen carefully to what the man is asking for. He’s seeking bread. But the important fact is the reason he wants it.

Is he hungry? Does he have no money to buy bread? Absolutely not! These are not the reasons he needs bread so desperately.

According to the man, a friend of his was on a journey and has come near to him. He opened his home to the friend, but has no bread to place before the friend.

According to Scripture, every human is on a journey. We’re all traveling from total spiritual darkness to maturity in Christ. We’re all at different places along this path.

What this man was saying is, “My friend’s path brought him into my sphere of influence. I need to help him become what God wants him to be.”

The man was not seeking the bread of the Word for himself. He was seeking a Word that would meet the need of someone else. This is something the church needs to hear. It seems that much of the time we’re self-absorbed.

Many times we find that we’re seeking things for ourselves. We seem to think it’s all about my healing, my prosperity, and my blessing. What we really need to do is to follow the example of Christ. Most of what He sought the Father for was bread that He could give to others.

Notice the humility. My friend has come to me and I have nothing of my own that could meet his needs. This is an admittance of our total dependency on God.

I’m trusting God to meet someone else’s need. But I want Him to send the supply through me. This requires us to admit our inability apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

I believe this is what James was talking about in his book.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 NIV

James gives us this exhortation in the context of healing. We need to admit the areas for which we need prayer. But then, we also need to be in prayer for one another.

In the context of the above parable, James is saying that we should be constantly seeking bread for others. Praying for other people is a way of asking God the Father to supply us with the Word needed to bring healing into someone else’s life.

If all I ever pray about is my own needs, then I’m being very spiritually selfish. God wants us to be more than just a Christian organization. He wants us to be an organism – the body of Christ. In that way every part can be a help to all the other parts.

When you spend time in the presence of the Lord, remember to think of others. Listen for a Word that could be a help to them as well as yourself.

Question: How have you helped others along their road to maturity in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Ministry, Prayer, The Church

 

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The Bread of Life

The Bread of Life

At one point in their time with the Lord, the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. So, Jesus gave them a foundation, a framework, around which to build their prayers. We call this the Lord’s Prayer.

For the past couple of posts, I’ve been going through this prayer. It should help us to understand how we should approach God in our times with Him.

“Give us each day our daily bread.”
Luke 11:3 NIV

It’s clear that God is concerned about our everyday needs. He actually knows what we need before we ever ask Him. What we must see, is that asking is a form of humility before the Lord.

Too often, especially in the United States where we feel entitled to these necessities, we look to our bank account or the government. What we need to realize is that no matter how these things come to us, they ultimately come from the hand of God, our Provider.

This should inspire gratefulness in us as His children. We serve a good God who loves and cares for His children.

However, this prayer of Jesus is not only applicable in the physical, but also in the spiritual. If earthly bread is necessary for life, how much more is the Word of God needed to nourish our inner man? God is looking for a people who will feed daily upon His spiritual bread – the Word of God.

You should notice that this prayer is not in the form of a question. Christ is not asking the Father for bread. Bread, in this context, is something that’s already supplied and on hand.

It’s a grocery item that’s already in the cupboard. When my children get up in the morning, they don’t ask my permission to eat.

“I’m going to eat breakfast now.”

That’s the adult attitude. You’re up. You’re going to work. You need a good breakfast before you leave the house. When you’re ready to eat you go to the pantry, the place of supply, and get what you need for the day.

It’s the same in the spiritual. God’s Word to us is always available. He expects us to seek Him daily for a Word from Him.

When Jesus taught this prayer, He also taught the truths that it encompassed. Different Gospel writers recorded the various teachings. Matthew and Luke gave us what the Lord taught concerning the bread.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:9-11

This is the attitude that the Father has toward a child who asks for bread. Further on, in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11, we’ll see this same teaching, but Luke uses the Holy Spirit as the gift.

There’s no question in the mind of Christ. If you ask God for a daily Word, you’ll receive.

This is the desire of God’s heart. He wants His people derive their nourishment from His hand. We have the ability to go to the presence of God each day for the Word we need to live victoriously. That’s what Jesus did.

Questions: Did you go to God for your spiritual breakfast today? What did you receive from Him?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Who Am I?

Who Am I?

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re seeing how Jesus interacted with His disciples. He asks them some important questions. In this post, I’m talking about Luke 9:18-27. You may want to read through this before continuing.

Jesus had taken His disciples off to a private place to pray. The Lord did that pretty often, and He wanted His disciples to learn this practice. It would become an important part of their ministry someday.

As He was praying, the Holy Spirit prompted Jesus to ask the men who the crowds thought He was. It turned out to be the same as what Herod had thought.

It’s interesting that most of what people thought revolved around dead prophets who had come back to life. This speaks to the miraculous power that was evident in the Lord’s ministry.

After that discussion, Jesus brought the conversation around to the most important question.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Luke 9:12

More than what the crowds thought about Him, Jesus wanted to hear what the disciples thought. Peter, as usual, was the spokesman for the group. He immediately answers that Jesus is the Christ – the long awaited Messiah of God.

This statement showed that they were finally starting to understand what was happening. They were witnessing the fulfillment of the entire teaching of Scripture.

Once Peter makes this confession, the Lord is able to take them a little deeper into His confidence. He begins to share about what would take place in the future.

Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Luke 9:21-22

The first thing He does is to warn them not to tell anyone this truth. That’s because accepting Jesus as Messiah has to be a personal choice made by faith.

This is in stark contrast to the many individuals who have falsely claimed that title down through the years. Most of them publicly declared this claim in an effort to seduce masses of people to follow them – and give financial support.

Also, at this point, Jesus begins to clearly state the fact that He is to die at the hands of the Jewish leadership, and then rise from the dead three days later. I’m sure the disciples had no idea that He was speaking literally. They probably thought the Lord was speaking in parables again.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:23-27

But clearly, the most important thing they needed to learn, was now that they knew the truth, they were responsible to live it out. There was no more sitting on the fence. Trusting Christ as Lord is an all or nothing proposition.

The Lord made it clear that this is not a one time thing. It’s a daily decision to follow Christ over and above your own wants and desires. We must identify with Him no matter where that road leads.

That’s the key to seeing the kingdom of God manifest in your life.

Question: Who do you see Jesus Christ as in your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2022 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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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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The Word – Good News and Bad News

The Word – Good News and Bad News

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just finished looking at the Parable of the Sower. In that section of Scripture, we saw the different responses to the Word of God as we receive it. Now Jesus comments on the overall effects of the Word.

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

Luke 8:16

The Lord is still talking about the results of God’s Word in a person’s life. The Word is like a light in a dark place. It illuminates large areas of our lives. We know this from other parts of Scripture as well.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105

As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit gives us insight into many things. He prepares us for the road ahead. He gives us instructions to carry out. He also warns us of sin and faults that we need to repent of and turn from.

The only reason for turning on a light is to see your surroundings better. Lighting a lamp, and then covering it up, is both illogical and foolish.

It’s the same with God’s Word to us. So many believers want to know God’s will for their lives. They ask how to hear His voice speaking to them. Then, once they hear from the Lord, many times they choose to ignore His Spirit.

The best approach is to commit to follow the Lord’s leading before you ever receive His Word. The only acceptable answer to Him is, “Yes, Lord!”

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Luke 8:17

However, there’s both good news and bad news in hearing God’s voice. The good news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open. Of course, the bad news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open.

I don’t believe Jesus is talking about revealing your deepest secrets to the world. He’s talking about disclosing things to you about yourself that you’ve hidden away.

Many times, in God’s presence, I’ve learned things about myself that I had no clue about. In those times I had a choice. Either I deal with the issue, with God’s help, or ignore it and continue walking toward that spiritual cliff.

I’d love to tell you that I always made the right choice. However, that would be a lie. But, I am learning to obey the voice of the Spirit more and more as He sheds His light on my path.

Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Luke 8:18

As in most areas of life, attitude is everything. The Lord shows the result of either decision we make when His light shines on our lives.

In this verse, the word He uses is “holds”. Whoever holds on to it, will be given more. When I embrace God’s Word to me, I prepare myself for more to come.

In contrast to that, I can choose not to hold on to the Word I’ve heard. I can say, “I’m doing okay. I don’t need to change anything right now. Maybe in the future.” In that case, I actually begin to lose ground in the spirit.

We need to be spending quality time in the Spirit, listening for God’s voice. But, that comes with a warning. Once you’ve heard from Him, don’t ignore what you’ve heard. Obey the Lord’s instructions no matter how difficult you think they are.

Question: What’s the last thing you heard from the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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