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Category Archives: Spiritual Walk

Transmitting the Truth

In my last post, we saw how the Thessalonian church pressed into a mature walk with Christ.  It’s something that we need to learn in our present generation.  Paul commends them for it and exhorts them to continue.

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Thessalonians 2:15

Paul tells these believers to stand firm and unmovable in the truth that they’ve received.  The word translated, teachings, is a special word.  It means something that’s been transmitted or passed down from one to another.

The things that they were taught were not invented by Paul.  They were transmitted from God the Father to Christ, then Christ to His apostles, and finally from the apostles to the church.

The unfortunate thing is that, in many cases, we’ve either stopped teaching them or watered them down in our generation.  Personally, I want to see them restored in our lifetime.  That’s the goal behind this blog and my ministry.

Notice that this passage tells us that the church received this through both the spoken and written Word.  This will require us to spend time in the Lord’s presence.  As great as the Scripture is, we need both God’s written and spoken Word to fulfill our calling in Christ.

I like the encouragement that Paul gives at the close of this passage.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

We’re told that if we stand firm in the Lord’s grace, we have eternal encouragement.  That’s important.  It’s speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

The word, encouragement, is the same word Jesus used in calling the Holy Spirit the Comforter.  In our modern terminology, it means to be a coach.  If we remain in God’s presence, we have an eternal Life-Coach.

Here’s some more good news.  This Coach does not only deal with your physical life, but He can coach your heart as well.  I don’t know about you, but I need the internal coaching more than the outer.

Because of this, our words and our actions will be produced by an overflow of God’s grace working through us.  I believe this is what the world desperately needs to see in the church.

This is what will draw people to the cross of Christ.  It’s only when the Holy Spirit is active in us that the Gospel is energized to that extent.  We need to get back to the pattern that was originally transmitted to the church.

Question: What differences do you see between the early church and our modern church experience?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on November 12, 2018 in Encouragement, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Called to Glory

I’m continuing to look at Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian church.  After talking to them about the second coming of Christ, he now starts to close with some words of encouragement.

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.  He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

This is a very important message which our generation of the church needs to hear.  Even though the Thessalonian church was only recently established, they had grown quickly in their spirituality.

This fact is brought out in how the Apostle describes them.  Paul literally says that God took them for Himself from the firstfruits.  In Paul’s mind, this was a “firstfruits” church.

There was a point in Paul’s ministry when he received a dream from the Lord that sent him into the region of Macedonia.  Thessalonica was the first city in that region where he was able to preach in a synagogue.

Because of that, this church was always the firstfruits of Macedonia in Paul’s mind.  But there was something they needed to do in order to claim that status.  They had to believe the Word that was preached to them and then submit to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

Their goal was not only to have their sins forgiven but to become what God wanted them to be.  This made them fully aware of the calling that was placed upon their lives.  It’s what we need to understand as well.

There’s more to being a Christian than just getting into Heaven.  We’re all called to a higher walk.  The Good News is that God wants us to share in the glory of Christ.

But please notice the important word in that passage.  It’s the word “might”.

This is not something you receive simply by praying the Sinner’s Prayer.  It’s what you have to move forward to obtain.  Yes, that’s the word translated by, share, in that Scripture.  It means to obtain and surround yourself with.

I believe that this glory is not reserved for the sweet by and by.  It’s something the Lord wants His church to walk in right now.  If the world would see the glory of Christ surrounding us, they would be drawn to His saving grace.

What does that say to us?  Paul is not trying to teach something new here.  We’re called through the Gospel that we might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we need to stand firm and hold on to the teachings we’ve been given.

Then, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to complete His work in us.  That means spending quality time in His presence.  Time spent in the Spirit will cause us to obtain and surround ourselves in the glory of Christ.

Let that be your spiritual goal.

Question: What’s the next step you need to take to press into your calling?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Our Last Days Calling

In my last post, I talked about how Paul described the Lord’s return in Second Thessalonians.  He said that those who didn’t know the Lord would be shut out of His presence.

Please understand the justice of God in this situation.  When this passage talks about the people who don’t know God, it literally means, to know by observation.

For instance, I know about Abraham Lincoln, but I can’t say that I know Abraham Lincoln.  That’s what it’s talking about.  It means to know God – not simply to know about God.  These are people who don’t want to know God.

They’ve heard about Him.  They just don’t want to get to know Him, and they sure don’t want to obey the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ.  These are people who have made a conscious decision not to obey the Lord or the Gospel.

This theme will be developed later on in the Word of God, but for now, I want you to realize that when the Lord returns, there will be two groups of people on the earth.   There will be those who have decided to serve the Lord and those who have decided not to serve the Lord.  There isn’t going to be anybody who doesn’t know about Him – no middle ground.

Why is Paul telling us all this? The answer is found in the very next verse.

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.  We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
II Thessalonians 1:11-12

We have a purpose to fulfill.  He wasn’t telling them this just to give them more information about Christ’s return.  Too many Christians have made studying the Lord’s return an end in itself.

The fact that we know Jesus is returning should spur us on to do the work that He’s called us to.  We need to be found fulfilling the call of God prompted by our faith.

That’s what God wants for us.  Paul is explaining to these people that they need to be ready for the Lord’s return, but more importantly, they need to be fulfilling their call in Christ.

Don’t just hide under a bush and say, “I’m waiting for Jesus to come.”  We know there are people who’ve done that throughout history.  Many people have set dates for the return of Christ.

Then they went out and sold everything they had.  They ended up sitting on a mountain in white clothes just waiting for Jesus.  They sat on that mountain for a while until they realized that Jesus wasn’t going to come at that time.

We’ve got to learn that same lesson.  Yes, Jesus is coming, but we don’t know when.  So we’ve got to do what we’re called to do until the day that Jesus Christ returns.

Question: What is God calling you to do in these last days before His return?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2018 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Power of Prayer in the Spirit

I’ve been posting about the connection between prayer in the spirit, unity, and the fight of faith.  Did you know that they all go hand in hand?

Today we’ll look at another place in Scripture where we’re told to contend for the faith.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.
Philippians 1:27

I’ve read through this verse many times.  After careful study, I have developed a very different take on this passage.  When I read it now, it sounds to me like an army general giving a final speech to his troops on the eve of battle.

Listen to what Paul says.  Stand firm in ONE SPIRIT.  Contend as ONE MAN for the faith.  How can this be done in the natural?

We now know that it can’t, it must be a work of the spirit.  We must pray in the heavenly gift together, and so line up our spirits with each other and with the Holy Spirit.  Only then can we stand firm in one “spiritual wind”.

It’s without a doubt that prayer in the spirit unifies the church for war.  This gift is the unifying factor in the body of Christ.  There is, however, a deeper reason for using prayer in the spirit as a part of our warfare.  I found this, of all places, while watching the Weather Channel.

They were airing a special about wind.  Scientifically, the wind is simply air molecules in motion.  They talked about everything from light winds to severe winds.

You would think that a 40 MPH wind is twice as strong, does twice the damage of a 20 MPH wind.  So did I, and I was wrong.  The effect of wind on its environment is an exponential increase as the speed increases.

This means that because of the nature of wind, a 40 MPH wind is actually ten times the strength and effect of a 20 MPH wind.  Take hurricanes for example.  A Category 1 hurricane, the weakest, is about 75 MPH.  The strongest, a Category 5, is about 135 MPH.  Even though it has twice the wind speed, a Category 5 hurricane does ten times the damage of a Category 1.

What does any of this have to do with prayer in the spirit?  Well, all of this talk about the exponential increase of wind should remind you of a spiritual truth.

How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?  For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.
Deuteronomy 32:30-31

We usually quote this by saying, “one can put a thousand to flight and two shall put ten thousand to flight.”  Whether you know it or not this verse is speaking about the exponential increase of the move of the Spirit of God.

The truth we need to learn is that prayer in the spirit has an exponential effect on the object of that prayer.  This is the true power of corporate prayer in the spirit.

Question: Why is the power of corporate prayer in the spirit largely untapped in our generation?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Unity and the Fight of Faith

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.

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 Azuza Street 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.  I was led to this truth while I was studying for a series of messages on Spiritual Warfare.  It all began while I was studying the standard warfare section of 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?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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One Spirit – One Wind

What has to happen for the church to walk in unity?  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 walk with God.  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?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Wind of the Spirit

I’ve started to post about the corporate use of prayer in the spirit.  In my last article, I talked about the difference between 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 wind.  It blows wherever it pleases.  Just as in the case of the physical wind, we can see the effect, direction, and speed 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 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?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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