RSS

Monthly Archives: December 2013

Are You Plugged in to Christ? #powerofGod

PlugI have been posting about how to walk in righteousness and the power of God.  It should be obvious by now that we must rest, remain, abide in Christ.  That’s the place we receive His power.  Once we have the power we need, we’re able to live righteously.

When I’m saved, I’m made righteous by an impartation from God.  He does this so that I can receive His power by the Holy Spirit who now resides in me.

By drawing upon that power I can now live righteously before Him.  Without the power of the Spirit, I have no hope of ever pleasing the Lord with a walk of righteousness.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18

I can’t make myself walk in righteousness.  My flesh will never be able to fix itself.  My only hope is in the power of the Spirit.

I want to sum up the truths that we’ve learned with an illustration the Lord gave me.  Think about a living room with a TV and a lamp.  There’s also an extension chord with a power strip on it plugged into an electrical outlet.

The extension cord will represent our relationship with Christ.  If the plug is attached to the outlet, we’re remaining in Christ, if not then we’re on our own.

The TV is the miraculous – healings, provision, etc.  The lamp is our righteousness – living rightly before God.  Both of these items must be powered by our relationship with the Lord.  They are both plugged into the power strip.

We’ve noticed that if the lamp works, then the TV works as well.  A life that has the miraculous in operation also is becoming more and more like Jesus.

We’ve also noticed that if the TV isn’t working, then the lamp isn’t either.  The TV and the lamp always work together, so we assume that it’s the lamp that’s running the TV.

This is why so many Christians assume that it’s the walk of righteousness that brings the power for the miraculous.  The fact is, that both are powered by the same plug – our relationship with Christ.

So, do we try to increase our intimacy with Christ?  No.  Instead we try to artificially power the lamp through the battery power of the law.  We preach that the people need to live right to see the miraculous.  We tell them that it’s because we’re not living up to the rules that the church has no power.

By doing this, we actually get the lamp to appear to be lit.  What we don’t realize is that it’s not the power of the Spirit that’s working, but our own self-righteousness powered by the law.  Since the power chord of our relationship is not plugged into Christ, the manifestation of God’s power through healing and miracles does not exist.  That’s when all of the excuses start as to why there are no healings, signs, or wonders in the church anymore.

In order for the power of God to flow into your life, you must be intimate in your relationship with Christ.  The flow of power does not depend upon how good you act.  It’s your intimacy with Christ that will bring about both the miraculous and the walk of righteousness that the Savior has called you to manifest.

Question: How intimate is your relationship to Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

You are not like Moses

MountainThe Apostle Paul explained to the early church about the fallacy that obeying the Law of Moses will give you access to the power of God.  In my last post we looked at this verse…

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.  But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.  It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:13-14

Paul says that their minds, or literally their perceptions, were made dull, hardened, and callous.  Then he makes a statement that we miss the implications to altogether.  He says that to this day the veil remains when the Old Covenant is read.  IT HAS NOT BEEN REMOVED.

I have heard preachers talk about this and refer it to Jews who don’t understand that Jesus is the Messiah.  The truth goes so much deeper than this.  Remember, Paul is writing to believers in this passage.  He makes no qualifications as to who the veil is covering.

He says, without any adjusting of the statement, that whenever the Old Covenant is read, the veil remains.  Even if a Christian reads it there remains a veil that only Christ can remove.

The reason is that the law veils the truth about righteousness.  The law sounds logical.  If I will do this, then God will do that.

If I will bring the whole tithe to church, then God will rebuke the devourer and pour out a blessing.  If I will walk in righteousness, then God will manifest His power in me.  This veils the truth that under the New Covenant this is not the case.  Paul goes on in more detail.

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:15-16

EVEN TODAY!!!  It’s so clear.  Right now if I read the Old Testament, a veil covers my heart.  There’s a cure, however.  The word turns in this verse is actually a Greek word that means turn again.

What this says to us, is that when anyone reads the Old Covenant a veil blocks their view of New Covenant righteousness.  But when you turn again to Christ, the veil is cast off.  How can you turn again to Christ if you were never looking at Him in the first place?

Paul is warning us that as New Testament believers, we cannot read the Old Testament without constantly looking back to what Christ did on the cross.  He fulfilled it all.  Everything I need to walk righteously before God has been supplied to me by the Savior.

Question: Why do many believers still live as though they’re under the Old Covenant?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moses and the Power of God

In the church, we’ve come up with all kinds of excuses as to why we lack the power of God.  The one that I’ve been posting about is the notion that until we walk in righteousness, we’ll never experience the move of the Spirit.

This is exactly how the Pharisees viewed the world.  Unfortunately, many of us are walking in the same amount of power they walked in – NONE.

There was a group of former Pharisees who were trying to lead Christians to follow the Law of Moses “if they were truly saved”.  Paul was vehement in his opposition to this movement.  Let’s go back to Second Corinthians, chapter 3, and continue to look at the revelation that he received concerning this teaching.

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.  But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.  It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:13-14

Here Paul is referring to when Moses came down from the mountain where God delivered the law to him.  The Bible says that Moses’ face shown so brightly with the glory of God that it looked like the sun.  People had to shield their eyes from it.

So that he could be among the people, Moses put a veil, or a cloth, over his face to shield them from the light.  But something else happened.  As Moses was with the people, the glory of God started to fade and grow dim.

At one point, even though the glory was dim enough for people to see without hurting their eyes, Moses left the veil on.  Paul said it was so the people would not see the glory of God fading.  In other words, Moses put on a veil so that the Israelites would not see his spiritual batteries draining.

Moses was a man who walked in great power.  He called down plagues upon Egypt.  He commanded the Red Sea to part.  He obtained water from the rock.  The list of miracles God performed through his hand goes on and on.  Yet, all of Moses power was derived through the law.

On more than one occasion he blew it.  He even missed out on entering the Promised Land because of one of his failings.  As great as his power was, it was only a battery pack compared to what the Holy Spirit offers us today.  What surprises me is that we run to use the same lesser power that Moses used.

We have a better covenant than Moses had.  In my next post I’ll show how trying to live like Moses will actually rob us of spiritual strength.

Question: Why is it popular to think that we can adequately serve God in our own strength?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Who’s Disciple are You?

Question MarkI’ve been talking about righteousness and the power of God.  In my last post I looked at a healing that took place on the Sabbath day.  The Pharisees were upset and began an investigation into the details of the miracle.

They interviewed the parents of the blind man who was healed to make sure that the person really was blind.  They confirmed that he was their son, and that he truly was born blind.

The Pharisees then question the former blind man again.  This time the man starts getting frustrated with them.  He asks them, “Do you want to become His disciples?  Is that why you’re asking so many questions?”

Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple!  We are disciples of Moses!”
John 9:28

These Pharisees then proceeded to ridicule this man and to malign Jesus.  It’s amazing how emotional people get when you start messing with their traditions.  Their point was that it was better to be a disciple of Moses then to be a disciple of Jesus.

Eventually the man reached the end of his patience and he told the Pharisees exactly what he was thinking.  He showed a lot of insight in his remarks.

“Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.  If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
John 9:32-33

What a simple statement of this deep truth.  He made the point that he had heard of people who lost their sight and then regained it back again.  But a man who was born blind – his eyes have never worked – healing them was unheard of.

His statement raised a question that should resound through the ages.  Jesus and His disciples are healing the sick.  We see the power of God working through them.  If being a disciple of Moses is so great, then why aren’t you healing the sick?  If I were to judge by appearances I would say that the Pharisees are the ones needing to get closer to God.

This is where we find ourselves in the church today.  We’re powerless, yet complaining about and maligning those who do walk in a degree of the Spirit.  If they’re changing lives, seeing people healed and delivered from sin, then there are those who say that there must be something wrong.  They must be off base in their theology.  After all, my church isn’t that exciting.

What’s the truth of the matter?  God is a powerful God.  He desires to operate through His people.  He hates sickness, sin, and destructive habits that hold people in bondage.  It’s always His goal to set the captives free.  If these things are not happening in the church, then there’s something wrong on our end, not God’s.

Question: Why is it common for believers to speak against those who operate in the power of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

My Righteousness Doesn’t Work #powerofGod

TreeI have been posting about the relationship between righteousness and the power of God manifest in us.  It should be clear that our own self-righteousness is not enough.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Romans 3:21

This verse makes it clear that it cannot be by my works.  It’s apart, separate from the law.  This means that I have to access the power of God in order to live righteously.  Anything else is trying to put the cart before the horse.  If my goal is to live righteously in order to walk in the power of God, then I have chosen a path of weakness and frustration.

And yet, so many people are trying to walk this very way.  The Bible is clear on the outcome.  So let me ask, what if I try to obtain righteousness through obedience to the law?  What if I try my hardest to live up to what I’m told is right?

I can read my Bible daily, go to church on time every week, pray every day, and tithe.  On top of that, I can make sure that I don’t lie, cheat, steal, walk in anger, gossip, or envy.  What’s wrong with trying to live up to a godly standard with my own strength?

In the Gospel of John chapter 9 we’re told of a healing that took place in Jesus’ ministry.  There was a man who was born blind.  He came to the Lord for healing.  Jesus did something very interesting.  He spit on ground, made mud, and put it in the eyes of this blind man.

He then said for the man to go and wash in a nearby pool.  The blind man obeyed the Lord and was healed.  The trouble was that this occurred on the Sabbath – the Jewish holy day when no work was supposed to be done.

According to how the Pharisees interpreted the law of Moses, healing was a form of work that could not be done on the Sabbath.  Because of this, Jesus almost started a riot because of this healing.  For some reason, the Pharisees decided to make an example of this case.

They began an investigation into every aspect of it.  They talked to the man who was blind and now can see.  Because of their exposure to the truth involved in this healing, after talking to this man they are divided.

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”  But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?”  So they were divided.
John 9:16

What was so divisive about this event?  It all centered on their understanding (or lack of understanding) of the power of God.  They had to ask themselves; where does the power to heal come from?

If the power to heal is from God, then Jesus is a man of God.  On the other side, some were saying that there are rules to how you can heal.  If you break these rules, then you’re a sinner no matter what happens.

This is where we seem to be in the body of Christ today.  Divided over how the miraculous takes place.  Is it my righteousness that sets the stage, or is there something else at work?

In my next post I will share how this investigation turned out.

Question: Why is operating in the gifts of the Spirit so controversial?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Two Kinds of Righteousness

BeamIn my last post I started talking about the relationship between the power of God and righteousness.  There are so many believers bound in the notion that if we can just be righteous enough, we can walk in the power of the Spirit.

They spend their lives frustrated trying to live up to the righteous rules set out by their teachers.  Many give up on ever obtaining a walk in the power of the Spirit.  Little do they know that their quest is in vain.

And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
2 Corinthians 3:11

It’s the power of the law which, like batteries, eventually fades away.  Not so the power of the Spirit.  This verse literally says that it lasts, remains, stays perpetually.  What kind of power are you looking for?  A temporary boost that fades as your strength declines?  Or do you seek a power that comes from the Spirit of the living God?

The righteous life can only come from a walk of power.  Jesus not only walked in power, but also in the righteousness of the Father.  This means it’s possible for me as well.  I just need apply the truth of Scripture to my life.

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 1:17

Righteousness is not a function of my strength or my will power.  It comes from God through His Holy Spirit.  The key is that this truth is revealed in the Gospel – the Good News.  Truly, to many believers righteousness from God is Good News.

As I’ve said before, so many live their lives constantly failing to live up to the standards set by Christ in the Word.  The Good News is that you don’t have to.  But wait a minute!  Maybe you think I’m talking about the imparted righteousness that God gives to us when we’re saved.  I’m not.

The Bible teaches about two different kinds of righteousness under the New Covenant.  First, there’s imparted righteousness.  This is the righteousness that Christ places within you when you’re saved.

This means that when God the Father looks at you, He sees you in Christ.  This gives you access to God at all times so that your sin will not keep you from approaching the throne for forgiveness, praise, worship, or any other purpose.  We need this righteousness to establish a relationship with the Lord as we grow in our faith.

There is also another kind of righteousness that the New Testament talks about.  That’s the walk of righteousness.

This is the application of the righteousness of God to our daily lives.  This means that I live correctly before God.  This one is harder to see manifest in my life.  That’s especially true if I try to accomplish it in my own power, as so many Christians endeavor to do.

I believe that in the above verse, Paul is talking about the walk of righteousness.  It’s this righteousness from God that allows us to live righteously.  We can never hope to walk rightly before God in our own strength.  It’s going to require us to walk in the ability of the Lord in order to please Him.

Question: Why is it so tempting to please God in our own strength?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 18, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Righteousness and the Power of God #powerofGod

PowerWe know that the manifestation of God’s power in our lives is directly linked to relationship.  But this brings up a very important question.  What’s the relationship between righteousness and the power of God?

I grew up always feeling unable to walk in the power of the Spirit, because I was never good enough.  We’ll now look at what the Bible says about the relationship between the power of God and righteousness.

The fact is that no Biblical principle exists in a bubble, even though we like to teach them that way sometimes.  Righteousness, mercy, love, and power all relate to each other.  Right now we need to see how power and righteousness relate.

Just to make sure we have the same understanding, I define righteousness as being right in God’s eyes.  It’s when God looks at you and says that you’re living correct according to His standards.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

This is an incredible claim, when you think about it.  Ever-increasing glory.  This sounds powerful to me.  Remember that the definition of power is the ability to produce change.

Think about the amount of power required for this verse to be fulfilled.  We’re being transformed into the likeness of the Lord from our imperfect state.  This is the place Paul is bringing us to in Corinthians, chapter 3.  Listen to how Paul describes this change of living in the verses prior to this.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:6

It’s obvious that he’s talking about the difference between the power of the law and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Life in the New Covenant isn’t based on the power of the law, but on the Spirit.  If we try to use the law, then death will be at work in us.  But it’s the next verse that’s even more revealing to us.

If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
2 Corinthians 3:9

Did you catch what Paul said here?  He said that this ministry – the ministry based in the power of the Spirit – brings righteousness.  It is not the other way around as many people teach.  Some would have us believe that if you live a righteous life, you’ll receive the manifestation of the power of God.

This verse shows us the fallacy in that kind of thinking.  It’s just the opposite.  You need the power of God in order to live righteously. In actuality, righteousness is only obtained through God’s power.

Question: Why does living righteously require God’s power in you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,