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Monthly Archives: February 2020

Spiritual Warfare and Unity

In my last post, I showed how when I pray in the spirit, I align my spirit with the Holy Spirit.  I used the illustration of a fan in a field.  This is an important concept in understanding spiritual warfare in the church.

I’ll now continue with a deeper truth.  It all begins when you come along into this illustration.  Let’s say that we’re together.  I’m praying in the spirit and then you begin to pray in the spirit.  We’re now together praying in the spirit.

At that point, I’m one with the Holy Spirit, and you’re one with that same Holy Spirit.  Our two separate spiritual “winds” are now consumed by the wind of the Holy Spirit.

So as we all come together to pray in the spirit, we create a spirit (or “wind”) of unity.  This is the unity of the spirit.  The incredible truth is that as we pray in the spirit together we align with the Spirit of God AND with each other.

Think about some of the great spiritual movements of recent history.  Moves like what happened at the Azuza Street Mission, in California.  According to the reports, rich and poor, black and white, it made no difference, as people from all backgrounds came together into unity.  This was not achieved by willpower or a decision to agree – but by the Spirit.

More recently, think about the Charismatic renewal.  Denominations that never spoke to each other came together in unity as they prayed together in the spirit.  This could only have been accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that both of these moves of God were orchestrated by Him to bring His church into unity for the end-time harvest.  I also believe that the Lord is going to do it again in the near future, only this time with a church that understands the importance.

There is, however, an even deeper work that the Lord wants to do through corporate prayer in the spirit.  The question is; how does this tie into Spiritual Warfare.  For the answer to this, we need to go back to Ephesians, chapter 6.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

Most of us know this section of Scripture pretty well.  It’s in the passage that deals with the Armor of God.  This section literally says to pray in the spirit, sleeplessly watching, and persevere at it.  I always thought that this was an interesting verse, especially since it concluded the section on spiritual warfare.  Keep this in mind.

Now we will go to the book of Jude.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…
Jude 20 (NKJV)

Jude is telling us to strengthen our inner man by praying in the spirit.  Here’s where it starts to get interesting.  To find the reason for Jude’s writing of this short letter we must go to verse 3.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 1:3

According to Jude’s own words, he started out just wanting to write a light letter of encouragement.  It would have been a short word about the salvation that we all share.  But the Holy Spirit had other plans.

The Spirit of God moved upon Jude to change the course of his writing.  He says that he felt like he had to write about CONTENDINGfighting, struggling, wrestling – for the faith.  It so happens, that Jude uses the same Greek word here that Paul used when he said that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12).

There are also some differences between the two writers.  Paul was writing about contending against spiritual forces.  Jude, on the other hand, was dealing with the struggle against false teachers.  But it’s the similarities that caught me off guard.

Here we see two very different writers talking about the fight of faith.  In both cases, they conclude with PRAY IN THE SPIRIT.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see that there’s a connection.  Somehow our spiritual struggle requires prayer in the spirit.

Question: Why do we need unity for the fight of faith?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Warfare – One in Spirit

What has to happen for the church to walk in unity against the devil’s kingdom?  I’ve been posting about it, and I think the answer will surprise you.

In my last installment, we saw that Jesus prayed to the Father, that He would make us one.  That means that it must be by the Spirit.  The church can never operate as one person in the natural; it’s a work that only can be performed in the spiritual realm.  In His prayer, the Lord gives an indication of how this process works.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me.  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:22-23

If the unity of the church is just like the unity shared by the Father and the Son, then we must ask; how are the Father and the Son one?  Simply put, they share the same Spirit.

It sounds to me as if this is one of the most important aspects of our spiritual battle.  It’s our unity that speaks to the world and lets them know the truth about Christ.

I don’t believe that this is what the world sees in this generation.  Right now many churches have no agreement or unity.  Agreement is good; it means that we’re all being taught the truth.  Our agreement lets the world hear the Good News with one voice.

Unity is better.  It allows the church to operate as a unit.  But the real place of power is a church that’s operating in both agreement and unity together.  This means that we not only believe the same and speak the same but also operate in one spirit.  How is that accomplished?

Let me illustrate how this truth works.  Picture yourself out in a field.  The wind is gently blowing and you can see the grass swaying in the breeze.  For the purpose of this illustration, the natural wind is the Holy Spirit.

Now I come into the picture.  Compared to the wind, I’m a little electric fan.  When I pray “in the Spirit,” I align my spirit with the Holy Spirit and start to blow my wind in the same direction as the natural wind.  When I’m in the spirit, I’ve lined myself up with God’s Spirit.

Being in the spirit allows my spiritual wind to blow in the same direction as the Holy Spirit.  If this scenario were happening in the natural – a fan in a field – would you be able to tell which part of the wind came from the fan and which came from the air?  No, it would be impossible to differentiate the two.

In the same way, you can’t differentiate my spirit versus the Holy Spirit.  The wind of the Holy Spirit completely envelops my wind, it’s all ONE.  The Holy Spirit and I are in unity.  This is what Paul wrote about to the Corinthian church.

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:17

We’re now starting to see the whole picture.  To be one with Him, I must unite myself with the Lord.  It’s interesting to note here that the word, unite is the word, glue, in the Greek.  According to Paul, being one with the Lord in spirit is being glued to Him.  This is the unity we share with the Lord.

In my next post, I’ll show how my unity with the Lord becomes unity in the church.

Question: Why is it important for us to be in unity with the Lord?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Wind of the Spirit

In my last article, I talked about spiritual warfare and the need for unity and agreement.  Today, I want to share some things that Jesus taught about the move of the Spirit.

At one point a teacher of the law named Nicodemus asked Jesus some questions.  Jesus spent some quality time with this young man.  I think however that this teacher left with more questions than he started with.  During the conversation, Jesus said the following to Nicodemus:

“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:7-8

When you’re born of the Spirit, you can now live life on a new level.  It’s the level of the spiritual realm.

God describes it as the wind.  It blows wherever it pleases.  Just as in the case of the physical wind, we can see the effect, direction, and speed that it’s traveling.

This is the case even if we don’t know where it’s coming from or going to.  Maybe you’ve seen a weather map on TV.  Personally, the Weather Channel is one of my favorite places on Cable TV.  I’ve gotten many spiritual illustrations from its programs.

When you look at a weather map, sometimes it shows you the flow of the Jet Stream over the United States.  It could start flowing East over Washington state.  Then it dips down to Texas and takes a turn to flow directly up the East Coast.

This is how the flow of the wind operates.  You can’t tell where it’s been or where it’s going just because you know the direction where you’re standing.  In Washington, it flows east, in Colorado it flows south, and in Kentucky, it flows north, all at the same time.

The flow of the Holy Spirit is just as unpredictable; that’s why we must be sensitive.  The Spirit of God may be moving through prophecy in one church, healing in another, and weeping in a third.

I can’t say that because God is not moving in your church the way He moves in mine, that therefore you are out of His will.  It takes sensitivity to the Spirit to know just what He wants to do right here, right now.

It’s just like the wind.  It takes someone who’s born of the Spirit to understand the move of the Spirit.  That’s why it’s called the “flow” of the Spirit.  It’s my goal to get in on that flow which is the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

But what does the flow of the Spirit have to do with spiritual warfare and unity in the body of Christ?  As you’ll see, it has everything to do with it.

“My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
John 17:20-21

Jesus is praying in this verse for the church to be one.  This is the same Greek word that’s translated as unity in the verses we looked at in my last post.  It literally means to be one.

This is not a word that means “I agree with you”.  According to the Lord, the way it works between the Father and Himself is that He is in the Father.  It’s Christ’s desire that we share this same degree of unity.  He wants us to be one in Him.

In my next post, we’ll see how this is accomplished.

Question: What would a church look like if it operated in true unity?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Need for Unity

I’m continuing to post about spiritual warfare.   It should be obvious that this type of battle takes place in the spiritual realm.  To understand it, we need to grasp life in the spirit.

One of the most common word pictures for the spirit is the wind.  As a matter of fact, both the Hebrew and Greek words for spirit are the English word, wind.

The only way that a translator knows whether to use “spirit” or “wind” is by the context in which it’s used.  The wind is a powerful picture of how our spirits operate in conjunction with the Spirit of God.

When you speak about wind, it implies motion.  Motion is determined by speed and direction.  We need to understand this aspect of the Spirit if we’re to talk about how to wage war in the spirit.

If you remember, I talked about the fact that a war is nation against nation.  That means this warfare is conducted by the body of Christ.  For any type of warfare, a kingdom must fight in unity.  It’s no different for the church.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:3

In order to grasp this, we must first define some terms in the Scripture that are commonly misunderstood.  What we must understand is that there’s a big difference between unity and agreement.

Most Christians use these two terms interchangeably.  Actually, they’re two very different truths.  So, we must ask ourselves what’s the difference between unity and agreement?

The Word of God is clear that agreement is when we think and believe the same way.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”
Matthew 18:19

In this verse, the Greek word that’s translated, agree, is sumphoneo.  It’s where we get our English word symphony.  It literally means to sound together.

You agree on the facts, so you speak the same thing.  This means that if I believe Jesus is Healer, and you believe Jesus is Healer, we’ll sound the same when we speak.  In that case, we’re in agreement.

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10

In this passage, Paul makes it very clear.  Our agreement involves mind and thought.  These are functions of our soul.  If we believe the same thing, then we’ll also speak the same.  This is agreement – our thinking and our speaking.

Unity is a whole different thing.  Let’s look at the verse from Ephesians again.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:3

In the same way, that agreement is a function of our soul, unity is a function of our spirits.  What we need to realize is that we’ve already been made one in Christ.  It’s now our job to keep or guard the unity of the spirit.

In the Greek, the phrase, make every effort, means to use prompt and earnest effort.  This tells me that it requires work on our part.  There’s something we need to do.  In order to keep this unity, it will require the “wind power” of the spirit.

In the next couple of posts, I’ll share how the power of the spirit brings unity in the church and havoc on the enemy’s kingdom.

Question: Why do you think that it’s so hard for churches to come into unity and agreement?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2020 in Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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Our Victory is in Christ

Now that we’ve seen the war against the flesh and the world, we’ll move on to the final battle.  We’re in a war against the spiritual forces of the kingdom of Satan.

As I’ve already written about, the people around us are not the enemy.  They’re prisoners of war in the spiritual battle.  They’re being held captive by the world system under the control of the devil.

It’s up to us, God’s people, to set them free and bring them to the cross.  That’s where they can find true salvation for their souls.

In order for that to happen, there are some things that we need to understand.  We can’t go into this battle with only half the information.

The first thing that we have to realize is that Christ has already won the war.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15

Jesus Christ has once and for all won the victory over all the power of the enemy kingdom.  However, that doesn’t mean that the fighting has stopped.

Just like in WWII, when the Axis powers collapsed, the Allied forces had to mop up the remaining troops.  They had to enter the concentration camps and free the surviving prisoners.  That’s where we are in the spiritual war today.

The trouble is that even in defeat, the enemy is dangerous.  He wants as few people as possible to be set free by the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just how do we thwart the devil’s plans?  The Lord already took care of this.  Look at what Christ said to His followers.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Luke 10:19

The same power over the enemy that the Lord walked in has been conferred upon us.  We have authority over the enemy’s kingdom.  Of course, the devil would like that to remain a carefully guarded secret.

As long as we look to the future for our victory, we’ll never see the enemy kingdom back down.  We must learn to walk in the authority of Christ that we’ve already been given.

We need to see a God’s-eye-view of the spiritual war.

“…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] will not overcome it.”
Matthew 16:18b

We have to come to the realization that the gates of Hell don’t move.  They don’t attack the church.  These gates are fixed around what the enemy already possesses and he’s trying to keep hold of.

The gates of Hell are around our centers of education.  They surround our political systems.  They’re also around our entertainment industry.

What we need to see is that it’s not an insurmountable obstacle.  The gates of Hell – all the power of the enemy – cannot withstand an attack by God’s people walking in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Too often we try to infiltrate these areas of society using the rules of the world.  That’s why we only achieve limited success.  We need to learn to take this battle into the spiritual realm.

I’m going to take a few posts to talk about what God has given us in order to walk in the victory that Christ has already won for us.

Question: What are the spiritual battles that you’re facing right now?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Overcoming the World

In my last two posts, we’ve seen what the world is and our relationship to it.  Today I want to talk about what it means to be victorious over the world system.

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 5:4-5

The first thing we need to see is that you can’t be victorious over the world system if you’re a part of it.  Only a citizen of the kingdom of God can win this battle.

It requires a victory over your own flesh and a renewed mind.  Only then can you direct your faith in a way that goes contrary to where the world is headed.

I think that in many ways, our generation of believers has used the term “relevance” as an excuse to join with the world.  We will very easily miss meeting with the saints in order to attend parties, sporting events, or other activities.

We want to show the world that we’re not different from them.  The fact is that in Christ we are different – very different.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

The problem is that we have a hard time differentiating the people from the system.  The people who live and work around us are not the world.  The world is the system that controls them.

The goal is to show them that we are different.  Only when they see that there’s a life uncontrolled by the world, will they want what we have.

Remember, the objective is to set them free from the enemy’s control.  But first, they need to see their condition.

They must understand that in Christ, my prosperity is not tied to the world’s economic system.  My joy is not dependent on what’s happening around me.  I’m not shaken by the threat of catastrophes that they see looming over their future.

I’ve been set free from the system that has them bound up in slavery.  It’s only when they see the difference that they can be ready to receive the truth of the Gospel of Christ.

Instead, many believers try to become friends of the system in order to reap the benefits that it promises.  In most cases, the cost is too great.  They find themselves in places and conditions that they never thought they would enter.

It’s time for us to live whole-heartedly for Christ.  Victory over the world system means living a life in total freedom from that system.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

You were set free in Christ.  Don’t go back to the same old routine.  Walk in the victory that was won for you at the cross.  If repentance is necessary, then do it quickly.  Get back on the path the Lord has laid out before you.

Question: How have you seen freedom from the world system in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2020 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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We Don’t Belong

In my last post, we saw that the world is under the control of the enemy kingdom.  It’s a system based upon missing the mark of God’s perfect will.

But what does that mean for us as believers?  We have to live in this society even though it’s not headed the same direction that we are.  There are some definite guidelines we need to know if we’re going to be successful.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples as He was preparing them for His departure.  He explained to them that they would soon be led by the Holy Spirit.  We need to understand this as well.

Jesus Christ has overcome the world system.  Now, as we live in Him, we have that same victory.  We are free from the control of sin and the devil.  We don’t have to worry about the same things that the people of this world fear.

As the Lord prayed for His disciples and all who would believe their message, He said these words.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
John 17:15-16

The truth is clear.  Now that we’re in Christ we’re no longer a part of this world system.  We’ve been removed from the workings of it even though we’re still physically located on the earth.

When I look at all that’s happening in the world around me, I need to take a step back.  I have to realize that I’m from a different kingdom.  As the Apostle Peter put it, we’re strangers and aliens here (1 Peter 2:11).

Knowing this brings us to the next important point of how we operate here.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2a

We are not to conform to the world’s way of doing things.  Our kingdom has a different system.  It doesn’t work the way the world does.

In the world system, I have to struggle and fight to get ahead.  It’s survival of the fittest.  I have to think about what’s best for me, in order to reach my goals.

In God’s kingdom, it’s not my struggle.  That’s why my mind needs to be renewed to a new way of thinking.  I must be led by the Holy Spirit.  It’s His job to bring me into my destiny.

That brings us to the final point.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

We have to keep ourselves from being stained by the world.  This happens when we try to run after the things that the world thinks are important.

This often causes unforeseen consequences.  Either we suffer or our family suffers.  Then it takes us time and effort to get our lives back on track again.  We need to keep our focus on the priorities of God’s kingdom.

These are the things we need to know if we’re going to live victoriously while we’re living on planet earth.

Question: What are the differences between God’s kingdom and the world system?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2020 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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