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Category Archives: Revival

Don’t Return to Slavery

As we continue to follow Paul’s practical teaching through 1 Corinthians, he’s been talking about carnal Christians.  These are believers who love the Lord but are ruled by their feelings rather than the Word of God.  They’re saved people who act like the world.

In my last post, we saw that these carnal believers have no kingdom inheritance.  They’re missing out on many of the blessings that are ours in Christ.

As a matter of fact, there may have been some self-righteous Christians who got offended by my last post.  They would disagree with me when I say that carnal believers are saved.  My understanding of the grace of God will not allow me to so easily destine these people to hell.

I know that it’s very easy for worldly Christians to use the grace of God like a doormat.  They live like the world and “wipe their feet off” every so often to ease their conscience.  But the Bible does teach that this is a possible response to God’s grace.

However, living this way gets very little of the kingdom blessings.  There will also be no eternal rewards waiting for them.

Paul records their mindsets as we continue in his letter.

“Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial.  “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Corinthians 6:12

They say that they’re free to do whatever they want.  That much is true.  But as Paul comments on it, he makes it clear that certain behaviors come with a price.  This worldly lifestyle will bring no kingdom benefits.  And it will also come to the point where these sins are controlling you.

In telling His disciples about the last days, Jesus warned them of falling into this trap.

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
Luke 21:34

Here Jesus tells us of three weights that can hinder us from fulfilling our destiny.  They are called dissipation, drunkenness, and anxieties.  We will never reach our true potential in Christ if we try to live with these hindrances.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

We’re warned to throw off the things that hinder.  Probably the worst is dissipation.  We allow the best parts of our life to be dissipated.

The world has so many distractions these days.  Classes we could take, recreational opportunities, athletic events, and entertainment.  All of these things, in and of themselves, add to our enjoyment of life.  They’re good things.

Yes, they’re all permissible things, but they can become the masters of our lives. They dictate our schedules. They tell us what we can and can’t do for God.

We fill up our time with all these good things. Then, more often than not, God gets the leftovers.  Our leftover time, strength, and resources.

If left unchecked, the church can become a prisoner to our permissible things.  If we find ourselves in this condition, then we need to be set free by the power of God.

Question: What will it take to break free from a worldly lifestyle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2019

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Posted by on March 18, 2019 in Legalism, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Replacing Power with Talk

As we continue through First Corinthians, Paul shows his frustration with the church leaders who insist on doing things their own way.  They had an inflated view of themselves.

Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.  But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.  What do you prefer?  Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
1 Corinthians 4:18-21

Paul’s words to us are very clear.  When it comes to power in the kingdom of God, we better do more than just talk.  The problem is that much of what’s called power in the kingdom today is just that – talk.  The first step toward walking in the power of God is to understand what true power is all about.

Let’s start by looking at things from a natural perspective.  When we talk about power it’s usually in the context of electrical power.  We use phrases like power lines, power plant, and power outages.  We think of electricity as being a form of power.  This can help us to understand spiritual power.

Simply put, the definition of power is the same whether you’re talking about electricity coming into your house, or the power of God to heal the sick.  The International Edition of the Webster Comprehensive Dictionary defines it in the following way:

“Power is the ability to act.  It is the property of a thing that is manifested in effort or action, by virtue of which that thing produces change.”

Let me boil it down for you.  True power is the ability to produce change.  Change is the keyword.  It takes power to transform water at room temperature into hot water for a cup of tea.  It takes power to get a one-ton car to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour.  It takes power to transform a body from sickness to health.  It takes power to change a liar into a saint.  It takes power to replace guilt with innocence.

If we understand this correctly, then the verse above should bring new understanding.  It’s our assignment in the Kingdom of God to produce change.  It’s not about how well you can speak about it.  Change is the priority.  Is the church producing change?

You have to remember that this passage was written when Christians were the people who were “turning the world upside down”.  In light of this, how powerful is the kingdom of God today?  In order to answer that we must ask, how much change is being produced in the church today?

The unfortunate answer is – not much.  In many churches around the country, few are being healed, set free from sins, or seeing great growth in their spiritual lives.  It seems that we’ve become masters of talking as if there’s power in our lives.

We say things like, “That was a powerful message.”  Or, “We had a powerful service last night.”  I’ve also heard, “She has a powerful anointing to sing.”

But if no one leaves the service changed, then there was no power manifested in the service.  There are plenty of unsaved actors and singers that can evoke an incredible emotional response from their audience, but that’s not power.  People weeping during the service is no indication of any power.

We’ve learned to cover over our powerlessness by calling emotionalism power.  The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how many people wept, how many chills ran down your spine, or how many people were slain in the spirit.  If no one was changed, then there was no power.

Do you want to walk in the true power of God?  Then you need to stop talking about it, and admit your lack – if that’s the case.  We need a true, Biblical knowledge of what it is and how to use it.  We need to seek God for a touch from His hand.  That’s where true change – true power – originates from.

Question: What does a church look like that’s walking in the power of God?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2019 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Place of Worship

Worship is a word that we use a lot as Christians.  Do we really understand what it means?  We call church buildings “place of worship.”  But that’s not entirely correct.  Actually, there are many churches where there hasn’t been any real worship for years, yet they still call what they’re doing “worship services.”
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle is dealing with people who have lost sight of their spiritual identity.  They don’t really know who they are in Christ.  Consequently, their worship has become a set of rules.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

The Bible is clear that for us, the temple is not a physical building.  We find this thought in more than one spot in the Word.  When we’re told that you are the temple, sometimes the you is singular and sometimes it’s plural.

Regardless of the tense that’s used, the meaning is clear.  Worship takes place in people.  It’s not about a special location.  It takes place in me or in us.

But what is this place of worship that we’re called to?  Throughout the book of Hebrews, the writer uses the term, draw near, only for worship.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:22-24

The true place of worship is around the throne of God; for He’s the only one worthy to be worshiped.  The Apostle John had a vision of the majesty of this place.

Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders.  They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.  From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.  Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing.  These are the seven spirits of God.  Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
Revelation 4:4-6

True worship takes place around the throne of God.  The fact is that when we worship, we’re transported, in the spirit, to God’s throne.  That’s because worship is a supernatural encounter with God.  It has nothing to do with our flesh, but everything to do with our spirit.

In talking to the woman at the well, Jesus spoke about this truth.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24

When you pray in the spirit, you’re brought into the very presence of God.  Your spirit is there with others in God’s throne room.

That’s why it surprises me that there are those who simply ignore this awesome opportunity that we’ve been given.  We’re allowed instant access into the place of worship in the throne room of the Sovereign of the universe.  Take advantage of this great invitation that we’ve been given.

Question: How often do you worship in spirit?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Final Exam

As we continue to go through our study of First Corinthians, Paul is explaining to the church about the importance of God’s calling.  The Lord’s work is different in each of us.  He deals with us all as individuals.

Our rewards are based upon what we’ve done.  My work isn’t compared to yours.  It’s judged against what God’s plan for my life required.

God desires to continually bring about changes in us to get us to where we need to be.  As I submit to these changes, I fulfill more of my calling.

But what happens if I don’t allow God to continue with His plan to renew my life?  Paul gives us some insight into the question.  In the letter to the Corinthian church, Paul is addressing a group of mostly baby Christians.  According to the Apostle, they’re not babies because they lack experience, but because they chose not to grow up.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15

When we were initially saved we were placed onto the foundation of Christ.  It’s afterward that the building program begins.  We have the choice to build for ourselves – wood, hay, and straw.

Think about it in the natural.  All over the world wood, hay, and straw are normal building materials.  They’re used because they’re readily available and easy to build with.

It’s a lot more difficult to build with gold, silver or costly stones.  They speak of what’s built by the spirit.  If we submit to the will of God for our lives, then we’ll see a beautiful structure arise.  Not only that, but it will be beyond our expectations for what we could have ever accomplished on our own.

The good news is that we’re told how it will all turn out.  We’re not in the dark.  We know what we’ll be judged on.  The test is fire.

You can build some elaborate and beautiful houses with wood, hay, and straw.  I’ve seen some grandiose mansions around the country.  Here’s the problem, they’re not going to be judged on how high they were built or how ornate they are.  They’re going to be doused with gasoline and lit up.

Think about what’s important to you right now.  The test is not how high you climbed up the corporate ladder.  It’s not how much money you accumulated.  It’s not even about how many good deeds you did or how many friends you have on Facebook.

The judgment will be based upon how close you stuck to the plan of God for your life.  Did you allow the Holy Spirit to work His changes in you?  The final exam is how close your life came to God’s will for you.

That’s what will matter the most to you in the end.

Question: How high on your priority list is knowing and accomplishing God’s will for your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2019 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Are You an Infant?

I’m continuing my series through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  He laid a foundation by showing the need for quality time spent with the Holy Spirit.  Now he begins dealing with the specifics of their spiritual walk.

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:1

The first thing Paul does is to show the root issue of their problems; they’re still spiritual infants.  But what exactly is a spiritual baby?

One of the main characteristics of an infant in Christ is worldliness.  They run after the things that our society says will satisfy them.  They have the same mindset as the world and place importance on obtaining things and pleasures.

Unfortunately, because we’re unaware of the growth process, many overzealous believers will write these people off.  Sometimes in our self-righteous fervor, we may even accuse them of being unsaved.

That’s as foolish as telling your 5-month old that he’s not a part of the family because he never takes out the trash.  Instead of condemning them, we should be there to help guide them through the growth process.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Ephesians 4:14

Spiritual infants are inexperienced in the Word.  Because of this, they’re very trusting of anyone quoting a Bible verse.  They tend to jump in with any new fad that comes out on Christian radio or TV.

That’s why they need to be firmly grounded in a local church where the basics of the Scripture are taught.  That’s the only way they can learn to distinguish truth from flakiness.

The United States has become a hotbed for new doctrines for people to follow.  Sometimes I watch Christian cable networks.  I see people who use the Scriptures to convince you to take money from your wallet and put it into theirs.

Even though their doctrines and teachings are foolish, out of context from the Scripture, and, many times, illogical, Christians flock to their meetings.  They rake in millions of dollars a year.  Spiritually speaking, they’re “stealing candy from babies.”

But, more than anything else, the infant stage of our walk with God is characterized by the following…

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
Hebrews 5:13

The word, acquainted, in this verse literally means to test, attempt, or experience.  This verse says that the infant believer has not yet tested, attempted or experienced the Word of righteousness.  Yes, they are righteous by position in Christ.  But they haven’t yet learned how to apply it to their daily walk.

So many American believers are living for themselves, yet they feel secure because they only know about positional righteousness.   When they read the Bible or hear a sermon about the effects and blessings of righteousness, they think it automatically applies to them.  Little do they realize that so much of Scripture deals with the walk of righteousness rather than the position.

Because of the lack of teaching on the Word of righteousness we’ve produced a generation of Christians who seem to be perpetual infants.  They’re continuing in their habits and sins.  They follow after whatever the world offers them.  Worst of all, they don’t realize their condition – total powerlessness in the spiritual realm.

It’s time for us to grow up in Christ.

Question: How do you treat the infant believers that are in your circle?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2019 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Spirit Investigation

In my last post, I talked about the spiritual Christian.  We read a verse that the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14

One of the last statements I made was that the things that are received from God are spiritually investigated.  You may wonder why I used the word, investigate, when the verse said discerned.

The Greek word that Paul used is a legal term that applies to what a judge does when he’s hearing the facts of the case.  It’s the investigation stage of the trial.  Paul tells us that there are things that can only be investigated in the spirit.

Paul goes further with this point.

The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
1 Corinthians 2:15

We’re told here that the spiritual man is able to use his spirit to investigate all things.  On the other hand, he cannot be investigated or figured out.  It’s funny when soulish Christians hear the teaching of a spiritual believer.  They have a hard time figuring the teacher out.

There have been many times that I’ve taught on things that I’ve received from the Spirit of God.  Frequently someone will come to me and tell me how it blessed them.  Then they’ll ask, “Where did you get that from.  I’ve read that verse a hundred times and never saw it.  What commentaries do you use?”

The soulish Christian just can’t wrap their brain around the fact that you can be taught directly by the Holy Spirit.  They think the only place to get good teaching is from the bookstore or a good commentary.

The fact is, there’s a higher lifestyle in the Lord.  A spiritual walk with God simply uses more of the power that He’s made available to us by His Spirit.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16

This verse sounds kind of disjointed in English.  The reason is that the translators couldn’t figure out why Paul was using the words that he used.  What he literally said was, who knows the mind of the Lord that we might unite or be knit together with Him?

That’s a very powerful question.  He then answers it by saying that we hold the mind of Christ.  The Holy Spirit who lives in us has access to the very mind of the Lord.  All the answers that we need are right within our grasp if we know the language of the Spirit.

One spiritual word from God could change the whole course of our life.  This is why we need to live daily in the spirit.  The gift of the Holy Spirit gives intimate access to the mind of God.  That’s why I’m such a proponent of prayer in the spirit.

It’s time for the body of believers to start walking in this great gift.  Only then will the church live up to its calling in Christ.

Question: How often do you access the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spirit Words

I’m posting about the tremendous amount of power we have access to while praying in the spirit.  It’s all about how our spirit and the Holy Spirit work together to bring about God’s will in our lives.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Corinthians 2:11-12

God does not desire to hold anything back from His children.  Verse 12 tells us, literally, that we can know by seeing what God has freely given us.

As I’ve recently posted, this is not known to us by reading the Bible.  It’s not revealed by hearing great sermons or prophetic words.  It’s only known in that intimate place when my spirit and the Holy Spirit communicate in the language of heaven.  This is reinforced by the next verse.

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:13

What is it that the Spirit of God teaches us?  He teaches us the wisdom of God.  But He can’t put it into human words.  They’re not adequate for the task.  The Spirit must use spiritual words.

What is a spiritual word?  If you ask some people, they’ll tell you that King James English is speaking in spiritual words!  Please understand that using “thee” and “thou” does not mean you’re speaking in spiritual words.

Spiritual words can only be words spoken in the spiritual realm by your spirit and the Holy Spirit.  It’s the language they use to communicate on that higher level.

Look at it this way.  If I had a friend in Italy, and wanted to send him a message, I could type it up and send it Airmail.  He would then receive it in about a week or so.  This is how humans have conversed long distance for thousands of years.

Now, with my computer, I can type up the letter using E-mail.  When I hit the “send” button, the entire letter is converted into digital words and sent into the internet.  My friend can then receive it instantaneously.  But in order to use this marvelous technique, my computer must be interfaced with the internet so that this letter can travel through cyberspace.

But it’s much more than that.  It’s not only English words that can be converted into digital words.  I can convert pictures into digital words and send them just as fast.  More than that, I can also convert songs and videos into digital words and send them instantly across the planet, simply because of the power of the internet.  I can’t do that with human words.

This is the truth that Paul is trying to convey to us about the language of the spirit.  It was something that he had an intimate knowledge about, but we’ve all but lost in our modern age.  He’s trying to tell us that there are deep principles that God wants us to learn.  The problem is that if the Lord has to use the English language it will take Him 20 years to get it across to us.

Yes, God has many means at His disposal.  He could use the Bible, pastors, teachers, situations and a host of other things.  But if He could communicate to us by the Spirit, using spirit words, He could get the whole message across to us in one instant.  The language of the spirit is the single most efficient way of communicating with the Father.  Every believer should be using this gift that has been bestowed upon the church.

Question: What have you learned from the Holy Spirit while praying in the spirit?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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