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Category Archives: Word of God

Relating to Scripture

We’re continuing to look at Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church.  He’s been sharing about his ministry.  Through his words, we can see his attitude.

Now he begins to talk about how he views the church.  We get some insight into why he writes these epistles.

I don’t think Paul knew that his writings were going to become Scripture.  He probably didn’t realize that people would be reading, studying and memorizing them 2000 years after he sent them off.

But God knew!  As the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle to write these words, He was looking forward to all who would believe and accept the Gospel of Christ.

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God.  We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.
2 Corinthians 1:12

I understand that in the context of Paul’s writing, he’s addressing his comments to the Corinthian church.  He’s reminding them of his way of ministering.

But in the greater agenda of the Holy Spirit, he’s also speaking to us.  Even though he wasn’t aware of it, Paul is explaining to us how he wants us to relate to what he’s writing.

There are two things that he received from God that he wants to shine through in what he writes.  The first is translated as holiness.  This is not the normal Greek word for holiness.  It actually means singleness; without any hidden agenda.

He also says that he writes with sincerity.  It’s a word that means clear and pure.  Paul wants to say what the Spirit is saying.

The only way he could do this was by the grace of God operating in his life.  The wisdom of the world would never give the Word that the Lord wanted to impart to the church.

Look at how Paul describes his writings.  We need to hear this as if it was written to us personally.

For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand.  And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
2 Corinthians 1:13-14

This is the key to the Holy Spirit’s plan in giving us the Scripture.  He gave us a written Word that we could both read and understand.

The word, read, is very interesting.  It literally means to know again.  It assumes that what is written will be reread and reviewed over and over again.

That’s the foundation for our understanding of God’s Word to us.  As we continue to read it, we begin to understand it in the way that the Lord intended us to.  The Spirit of God can bring us into the full understanding of the Scripture.

Paul ends this passage by looking forward to the coming of Christ.  When the Lord returns, there will be a great reunion.  Paul says that he will boast about God’s work in the Corinthian church on that day.

Little did he know that not only will the Corinthians boast about him, but we will boast about his work in us.  Because of Paul’s faithfulness to the Spirit, we have a clear testimony to the grace of God.

Paul’s instructions have not only affected the people of his day but have touched and changed our lives as well.

Question: How has your life been changed by studying God’s Word?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Power of the Rhema – Word

I want to continue my discussion from the last post.  I was dealing with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the rhema – Word of God.  We need to understand just how powerful this Word is.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

The word, command, in the above verse, is the Greek word rhema.  This tells me that the rhema of God created the universe – everything there is – visible and invisible.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Hebrews 1:3

That word is used again in this verse.  The universe, both the visible and invisible, is sustained by the rhema of His power.  We need to see that the rhema – Word of God is the power of God.

This Word is also the power of God in me.  I must be hearing from God and acting on it.

Please understand that quoting Scripture didn’t create the world.  Quoting the Bible doesn’t sustain the world.  It’s His Word of power, the rhema of God that formed these atoms.  It’s the rhema of God that keeps them arranged the way they are.

In the same way, the rhema of God can rearrange them.  When I hear from God and say “Be healed” by the rhema of God, cancer cells become healthy cells.

You might be thinking right now, “That’s good for a pastor or minister, but not for me.”

Look at what Jesus said to the Pharisees.

“He who belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
John 8:47

Jesus literally said that he who belongs to God hears the rhema of God.  Do you belong to God?  If so, then this is for you.

But what does it say?  “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
Romans 10:8

In context, “It” is our righteousness by faith.  The righteousness that we stand in tells you that the rhema is near you, it’s in your heart and mouth.  This is the rhema of faith.

We should know by now that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  We should be spending quality time with God, praying in the spirit.  As you do, He puts His rhema in your heart, and then it overflows from your mouth at the right time.

The church has yet to learn to use this powerful weapon.  The early church used it to turn the world upside down.  That was before they had any Scripture.  It was before CD’s, DVD’s, TV, radio, or internet.  They did it with only the rhema of God.

I believe the next revival in the church will be God’s people laying hold of this.  We can’t fulfill God’s plan without hearing and obeying God’s rhema – Word to us.

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

In our generation, most of the church has been ignoring the sword.  It’s time to pull it out and use it to drive the enemy back.

Question: Why do God’s people seem to ignore hearing God’s voice?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2020 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Warfare, Word of God

 

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Rhema – The Key to Victory

In my last post, I talked about prayer in the spirit as the key to spiritual warfare.  It’s through prayer in the spirit that we receive the helmet and the sword.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  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 6:17-18

As we’ve already seen in this series, the helmet and sword speak of the authority and power of God working in us.  God wants to show His power through us in order to bring the Good News of Christ to the world.

We need to understand how our weapons work.  Specifically, I’m talking about the sword of the spirit – the rhema – Word of God.  For a detailed discussion of the word, rhema, click here.

Remember, we’re talking about the armor of God.  That means this is the sword of the Lord.  Our knowledge of this got watered down over time.  We have used this weapon less and less since the advent of the printing press.

You may not want to hear this, but the Bible is not our sword.  The sword is a spiritual weapon.  As a matter of fact, the devil doesn’t fear the Bible.  He has it memorized.  There are even times that he uses it against God’s people.

It’s the rhema – Word of God that’s our spiritual weapon.  But does that mean I don’t need the Bible?  Absolutely not!  We are to study in order to show ourselves approved to use the rhema.

Look at what Jesus said to the Pharisees.

“If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
John 5:46-47

Literally, the Lord said, “If you don’t believe what was written, how will you believe my rhema?”  The rhema is the revealed Word of God to me…and to you.  This is the greatest weapon of the church; God speaking to us.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

Christ brought us the spiritual weapons that we would use to fight the enemy’s kingdom.  The Sword of the Spirit was just what we needed for victory.

Under the Old Covenant, they had no spiritual weapons.  All their battles had to be fought in the natural.  That’s why the Law of Moses had so many death penalties.  The only way to stop the spirit of adultery was to kill those who were controlled by it.

After Christ died and rose again, everything changed.  Now there’s nowhere in New Testament that tells us that God will fight the battle for us.

We now have a weapon that the enemy cannot defend against.  He can debate the Bible with you.  But a sword that pierces the spirit, he has no defense against that.

That’s why it’s so important that we understand, not only what the Word of God is, but how we use it against the enemy’s kingdom.  God wants His people to hear His voice and act on it in obedience.  That’s the key to our victory.

Question: Why is a Word from God so destructive to the enemy’s kingdom?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Seeking God’s Approval

In my last post, I talked about the fact that we need to be approved by the Holy Spirit in order to use the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.  They are too powerful to be used by infants or the unfaithful.

Now I want to go into this truth in a little more detail.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:4

This is an important verse to understand.  Here’s what the verse says in the Greek language: We speak as men who have been tested and approved by God.  He trusted us enough to allow us to use His Gospel.

I don’t believe that every single Christian should be sharing the Gospel.  I know there are some who would get mad at me for saying this.  But the truth is that there are certain believers that I don’t want anyone to know that they’re a Christian.

When they share about Jesus, they’re doing more harm than good.  Their lives don’t testify to God’s grace.  They actually make people not want to choose Christ.

We need to understand that the Gospel is the Word of God.  If we’re going to spread it with life-changing power, then it has to be done on God’s terms and not ours.

That’s why Paul makes it clear that the true Gospel is about pleasing God.  Too often we try to spread the Gospel with a message designed to please men.  We try to make the message more palatable.

That’s not how we should be operating.  It should be our goal to hear a Word from the Holy Spirit, then speak that to those who will listen.  This is the sword that there’s no defense against.

For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:18

This verse says it all.  We need to take it to heart.  We need to seek God’s approval.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

I talked about this verse a couple of posts back.  At that point, I emphasized the fact that we need to be approved.  Now I want to concentrate on the first part of the verse.

That phrase, do your best, literally, means be diligent or prompt.  In other words, stop putting off your approval process before God.  It should be a main priority of your life.

The verse goes on to say that we should desire to present ourselves to God in this way.  The words used in this verse are a word picture of standing beside yourself in order to present yourself.  There are times we need to take a step back and view our life from God’s perspective.

Then, we need to do what it takes to seek God’s approval.  This will require us to submit under the Holy Spirit’s training program.

Our flesh will definitely try to rebel against this plan.  But if we want to walk in the supernatural power of God, then this is the only road.

Question: What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do for the next step in your training?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Helmet and Sword – A Lethal Combination

Over the past few posts, I’ve talked about the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.  I looked at them individually in order to understand what they are and how they operate.

But if you remember, when I first talked about them, I said that they were given to us as a set.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

After we lift up the Shield of Faith, the next step is to receive, accept, the helmet and sword.  As I’ve said, these are the two pieces of armor that God bestows on us once we’re sufficiently trained.

You may not like this teaching.  Most others preach that these are ours to use simply by faith.  However, I think that a quick look at the church today will prove that relatively few believers are victorious over the enemy and his kingdom.

Personally, I want to see results in my Christian walk.  To do that, I need to trust what Scripture says and not a good sounding preacher.

I need to first prepare myself for battle.  I take up the belt, breastplate, shoes, and shield.  I submit myself to the training of the Holy Spirit.  Only then am I in a position to receive the helmet and sword.

To review, the Helmet of Salvation is the authority of God working through me.  The Sword of the Spirit is the power of God.  This is a lethal combination against the enemy’s kingdom.

Authority is the permission you need to carry out your calling effectively.  Power is the ability to see it accomplished.  You can’t complete your assignment without both of these ingredients.

The concept of “issued armor” is not only a spiritual truth.  It works this way in the physical as well.  Think about what it takes to become a Police Officer.

First, they have to undergo classroom training.  They need to learn the law, tactics, and procedures.  Then they need weapons training.  After that, they need to practice their fieldwork.  If they pass all their training, they can graduate from the Police Academy.

However, even then, they can’t hit the streets and start arresting criminals or issuing tickets.  There’s one more important step.  They need to be accepted and hired by a police force.

Let’s say that a graduate from the academy is hired by the NYPD.  Only then are they issued their two most important pieces of equipment.  I’m talking about their badge and their gun.

The badge tells the city they work for, their rank, and the authority they have in the department.  The gun gives them the power to enforce the authority that’s been given to them.

The Scripture teaches that it’s the same way in the spirit.  We need to be issued a helmet and sword.  Unfortunately, because of a lack of teaching about this, there are many believers trying to battle the enemy hand-to-hand.  We were never called to do that.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:4

We get into trouble when we ignore verses like this.  Paul clearly taught that God has an approval process before He’ll entrust you with His Word of power.  It’s the Holy Spirit that does the testing.

This concept is found all through the New Testament.  We would do well to understand it and walk in it.  Only then will we see the power and authority of Christ affecting the world around us.  I believe that this is the next step on God’s agenda.  He wants to train His church to live and minister as Christ did.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about this approval process.

Question: How does the spiritual helmet and sword increase the effectiveness of our evangelism?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Armor – Using the Sword of the Spirit

In my last post, I explained that the Sword of the Spirit is a special Word that you’ve received from God.  You get it by spending quality time in His presence.  The Holy Spirit trains you before giving you this gift.

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

This truth is hard for us to accept sometimes.  The true Word of God is alive and active.  It has a life and will of its own.  I can speak it, but I can’t control what it does.

We sometimes think that if God would speak through us, we’ll have such a great time.  That’s not always the case.

Think about Elijah.  He heard from God and then spoke to a king saying that it wouldn’t rain for a few years.  Because of that Word, Elijah had to live by a brook for his water.  Later, the brook dried up and he had to go to a widow for provision.

When God’s Word is invoked over a situation, that Word has its own plan.  Scripture makes it clear that it will accomplish what God ordained it to do. (Isaiah 55:11)

Even more than that, once God’s Word goes forth, nothing can be protected from it.  It can totally change every area of your life.  The writer of Hebrews continues with this thought.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13

When this verse says that everything is laid bare, it uses a special Greek word.  It literally means to expose the neck of a victim so that they can be killed.  This is a powerful spiritual weapon.

This is why the Holy Spirit must train us to use it.  God will never entrust it to an infant, the unapproved, or fools.  It can totally destroy the work of the enemy in someone’s life, in a city, or in a region.

As believers, we should desire to enter the spiritual battle.  Our goal should be to set the captives free from the influence and control of the enemy.

In speaking about those with God-given authority, Paul made an interesting observation.

For he is God’s servant to do you good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

I know that in its context, this verse is talking about people in authority, such as the Police Department, who are authorized to keep the peace.  But there’s a greater application.

Are you God’s servant?  Do you desire to do good?  If so, then this verse could be applied to you in a spiritual sense.

This verse tells me that there’s a reason why the police carry a gun.  In the same way, the Lord doesn’t issue the Sword of the Spirit for no reason.  If you have no reason to bear the sword, you will not be issued the sword.

What’s the reason that we’re given this sword?  To explain it, I’m going to give a word by word translation of the last sentence of the above verse.  In essence, God’s servant is a punisher, who repeatedly carries out justice against evil, while motivated by a violent passion.

Please remember – I’m ONLY talking about attacking the devil’s kingdom IN THE SPIRIT.  I’m not talking about any physical attack.

With that in mind, if you have no intention of attacking the enemy’s kingdom with a violent passion, then you’ll have no reason to be given the Sword of the Spirit.  To put it another way, God will have no reason to give you a special Word from Him.

We need to allow the Holy Spirit to train us.  Our generation needs more believers who can handle this sword.

Question: How passionate are you about seeing God’s will done on earth?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Armor – The Sword of the Spirit

Today I want to begin looking at the Sword of the Spirit.  It’s the second of the pieces that we receive.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

It goes without saying that the sword is an offensive weapon.  Everything so far has kept the enemy from hurting you.  This piece actually hurts the enemy and does damage to his kingdom.  If we’re going to walk in the victory that God has ordained for us, then we need to understand what this weapon is and how to use it.

First, we need to know what it’s not.  The Sword of the Spirit is not the Bible.  The Bible does not hurt the enemy.  As a matter of fact, the devil has the Bible memorized and he quotes it when it suits his purposes (Matthew 4:5-6).

The Sword of the Spirit is a rhema-word from God.  It’s a Word I need to receive directly from God.

We serve a God who speaks to His people.  But we need to be in a position to hear what He’s saying to us.  I must spend the time needed to be listening in His presence.

That’s why it’s important that we understand this is a received weapon, along with the helmet.  The fact is that the Holy Spirit has to train us to use this weapon.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

There are many Scriptures that talk about our need to be approved.  For the most part, we ignore them.  Then we wonder why the church seems to have no power.

The word approved means that there has been an inspection.  More than that, the inspection has been passed and the one tested has been certified.  There needs to be training.

The phrase that’s translated as correctly handles actually means to make a straight cut.  We need to be able to make a straight cut with the Word of truth.  This verse is talking about the logos-word of God.

It’s the logos-word that trains us to use the rhema-word.  For in-depth teaching on the differences between the logos, rhema, and graphe word of God, click here.

The fact is, if you can’t make a straight cut with the logos-word, then you’ll not be given permission to use the rhema-word.  We must be approved to use the sword.  It’s not some spiritual toy that we can take out and play with whenever we want.

The question is, how do I become approved to use this sword?

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:19-21

This verse tells us that anger, man’s passion, will never win the war against evil.  It’s the humble acceptance of the Word that rids us of evil.  At least that’s how it’s written in Greek.

James goes on to tell us how to prepare.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.
James 1:22

These verses from James are all talking about the logos-word.  If I can’t hear and obey God’s logos-word to me, then I’m not ready for His rhema.

If I want to walk in the greater things of God, then I first need to be faithful in what I’ve already received.  That’s the key to a victorious Christian walk.

Question: What’s the last thing you knew that the Holy Spirit was speaking to you?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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