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Tag Archives: Agreement

Who Are You Following?

As we continue in our study of First Corinthians, Paul has begun talking about agreement in the body of Christ.  We’ll now see why he brought up that subject.

My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.  What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:11-12

When will we learn that among the followers of Christ, there’s only one true God?  There may be a multitude of teachers and methods of teaching, but we serve the same Lord.  2000 years later, and we still fall into the same trap.

Different denominations within Christianity still quarrel over the small details of the faith.  We all have a brand of teaching that we enjoy.

There’s nothing wrong with being different.  That is, as long as we believe in the fundamentals – Jesus Christ, God made flesh, the One who died, rose from the dead, and is Lord of all.  We believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, but my teaching is not the only way to know Christ.

Paul had to deal with this in the Corinthian church.

Is Christ divided?  Was Paul crucified for you?  Were you baptized into the name of Paul?  I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name.  (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.)
1 Corinthians 1:13-16

In these questions, Paul is asking about a fundamental truth.  Who is the focus of our faith?  Is it our teacher, or Christ Himself?  The answer should be obvious.

Paul now makes one of his most powerful statements.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 Corinthians 1:17

The impact of this verse is all but lost on many in the church today.  In effect, Paul is saying, “God did not call me to simply convert people to Christianity.  I am not using my superior wisdom to get people to make a logical choice to follow the teachings of Christ.”

Paul was commissioned by God to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Hearts were to be convicted.  Lives were to be changed and made new.

The Gospel is not about convincing people that they need to begin following the teachings of Christ.  It’s giving them the choice to become a new person in Christ.  It’s a call to leave the kingdom of this world to become a citizen of the kingdom of God.

Human wisdom has no power to change a life.  But in the cross, we find the power of transformation.  Paul makes that abundantly clear.

It’s unfortunate that the cross is preached so rarely in our generation.  It’s actually the foundation of life on a higher level.  In the next few posts, we’ll see how Paul describes it.

Question: What is the place of agreement for all believers?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2018 in Power of God, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Repairing the Body of Christ

I’m continuing my series through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.  He’s writing it in order to give them practical advice on remaining faithful to Christ.

I think it’s beyond question that our God is faithful.  What He’s looking for, is faithful people.  The Lord wants to see believers who walk wholeheartedly with Him.  How is that possible, unless we walk faithfully with each other?

Because of this, we’re not called to live solitary lives.  In Christ, we’re part of a body.  We need each other.  Without the local church, we can never reach our greatest potential.

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

Fulfilling this will require us to walk in agreement.  Agreement is a place of power in the Holy Spirit.  In the above verse, the word, agree means to speak the same thing.  The only way that will happen is if we’re all speaking the Word of God.

It takes time in the Word to bring about agreement.  It’s not about me convincing you that I’m right.  It’s when we both come into agreement that God’s way is right.

The Lord wants us to unite in mind and thought – with no divisions. The simple truth is that this will never happen if we all do our own things. There has to be a coming together for fellowship around the Word of God.  That’s what church is all about, or at least it should be.  The Word should be central to everything we say and do.

The result is that if we all agree with God’s word, then we’re in agreement with each other.  Along with that, we’ll all be speaking the same thing.

I want to emphasize that among God’s people there should be no divisions.  This means that there are no splits or gaps between us.

Instead, we must be perfectly united with one another.  The word Paul uses in this verse is very interesting.  It literally means to be repaired or mended together.  It describes us as going through a process that joins us together.

This is what we’re to strive for. To be perfectly united in mind and thought requires more than just good teaching.  It means that I’m spending time in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It also means that you’re spending time in the Spirit.

Being united in this way is a choice.  It’s unfortunate that when some people pray for the unity of the church, what they’re really praying is, “God, please make everyone else think like me.”  That’s not true unity.  It’s us choosing to work together as the Holy Spirit makes us begin to think like God.

As we allow the mind of Christ to take over our lives, we’re setting the stage for the unity of the Spirit.

The more you and I begin to think like Christ, the more unity we’ll walk in.  This is how the fellowship and unity of Christ can be manifest in His people.  Make that your goal as we minister together for the Lord.

Question: What are you doing in order to come into agreement with God’s Word?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Unity and Agreement

I want to take a few posts to talk about the public use of prayer in the spirit.  There’s a private and corporate use of the gift.  In this series, I want to zero in on the corporate aspects.

The Bible uses a number of word pictures to explain the move of the Spirit.  One of the most common is the wind.

As a matter of fact, both the Hebrew and Greek words for spirit is the word wind.  The only way that a translator knows whether to use “spirit” or “wind” is by the context in which it’s used.  As it turns out, the wind is a very 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 the corporate use of the heavenly language.  There are two main reasons for corporate prayer in the spirit.  Here’s the first.

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

In order to grasp this function, 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.  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.

Question: Why do you think that so many Christians adamantly oppose the gift of tongues?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Salt and Fire

We have been looking at the Gospel of Mark.  Jesus is teaching His disciples how we need to treat each other in the body of Christ.  As the leadership of the church, they needed to understand these principles.

The Lord continues in this context.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.  Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?  Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Mark 9:49-50

As a part of the Jewish people, there were some things that the disciples understood about this.  First of all, salt was representative of their covenant with God.  Even today in cultures where covenants are used, close friends will say, “We have salt between us.”

This is what God says about the share of the offerings belonging to the Levites.

“Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share.  It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.”
Numbers 18:19

But a question that many have is; how can salt lose its saltiness?  It doesn’t in our culture because of the purity.  Back in ancient Israel there was always a small amount of sand that couldn’t be removed.  So if the salt got wet, the real salt would melt out with the water, leaving only sand.

Nobody wants to put sand on their food.  Of course, that’s why we leave a bad taste in the mouth of the world if we water down the Gospel.

There is, however, a deeper truth here than salt merely being used as a spice or a preservative.  We’re talking about covenant and how we treat each other.

Jesus was not just talking about salt.  He spoke of salt and fire.  This was something else that a devout Jew would understand.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices — gum resin, onycha and galbanum — and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer.  It is to be salted and pure and sacred.
Exodus 30:34-35

Salt was a part of the fragrant incense that was used in the worship of God.  The incense represents our prayers rising up to the Father (Revelation 5:8).  The salt is a reminder of how those prayers can enter His presence – because of the covenant we have through the shed blood of Christ.

As the smoke of our prayers rises up to the throne of Heaven, it’s all one cloud.  There’s no differentiating where the individual wisps came from.  We are all one in Christ.

Salt and fire speak of the unity of the spirit as we pray in God’s presence.  That’s why we’re told again and again to walk in unity and agreement with our brothers and sisters in the faith.

That’s what Jesus’ final statement is all about.  He is summing up everything He just taught them.

Have salt in yourselves.  Understand that you’re in covenant with God and therefore with each other.

Then He commands us to be at peace with each other.  There should be no hint of factions or discord between the Lord’s people.  As far as it depends on me, I have to keep my relationships on solid ground.

Question: How does our treatment of others affect our covenant with God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2018 in Fellowship, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Walking with Christ…and You!

WalkI’ve been posting about the benefits of walking closely with the Lord. It’s how we get to truly know Christ. It’s also how we receive guidance from the Holy Spirit.

But there’s another aspect to walking with Christ that we sometimes overlook. It’s why many don’t want that close a relationship with Christ.

Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.
Psalms 26:2-3

To walk closely with the Lord requires testing. We don’t like that word – testing. It sounds uncomfortable.

But actually, testing is a good thing. It shows us how far we’ve progressed. It lets us know that we’re becoming more and more mature in Christ.

It’s a part of everyday life. If you’re in a close relationship with someone, and you truly love that person, something will happen. It’s called change. People in relationships undergo change. There’s no way around it.

Our relationship with Christ is no different. The more I know of Christ, the more I want to be like Him. This puts the pressure on me to change. All testing does, is confirm the changes that are taking place in my life.

But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
1 John 2:5-6

What a privilege we have. God has placed in us the potential to walk and minister just like Jesus did. We should desire this type of walk.

One thing is clear. You can’t live like Jesus did unless you can access the same power He had. That’s the key to a supernatural ministry.

If I’m going to walk His walk, then I am going to have to be tested just like Christ was. The more I learn, the more I grow in knowledge and faith, the more testing will take place in me. Our greatest desire should be to walk as the Lord did.

Then, as this begins to take place in us, there will be another effect that we see.

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:6-7

As we walk closer to God on an individual basis, we end up walking closer to each other collectively. That’s because we’re all headed toward the same goal. The closer we are to Christ, the closer we are to each other.

There’s two ways of working for agreement among believers. I can spend all my time and energy trying to convince you that I’m right, and you need to agree with me. Or…we can spend time in the Lord’s presence and become convinced that He’s right, and we both agree with Him.

The second method is obviously the correct one. We need embrace the privilege we’ve been given to walk with Christ. To learn and grow with Him. To become like Him and draw closer to others on the same path. Then the world will see Jesus in His people.

Question: How has testing shown you areas of growth in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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Are You Walking with God?

BeamOne of the most important concepts for any believer to grasp is walking with God. The fact is that God wants relationship. Do we respond to the Lord on that level?

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

We see this all through the Bible – in both the Old and New Testaments. God wants to walk and converse with His people.

We see it in the life of Adam; the first man. God would meet with him and they would walk together in the garden. Even after all these years, God is still looking for someone who’s willing to walk with Him.

I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
Leviticus 26:12

This is the cry of God’s heart. It’s one of the greatest privileges that we have as Christians. To be able to relate to the Creator of the universe.

And yet, only a small percentage of people avail themselves to this great offer. It’s probably because in our human nature we want things our way. Oh, yes, I want the blessing of God on my life. But I want them on my terms.

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
Amos 3:3

This is the big problem of walking with God. It happens over and over in our Christian experience. Walking together requires agreement.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m walking with other believers or the Lord Jesus. The two of us have to be in agreement. The thing about God is; He’s not going to change His attitude about anything. I’m the one who’ll have to change in order for us to agree.

That’s why it’s all about relationship. It’s a growing process. There has to be a level of trust that’s only built up over time.

I don’t learn to trust God by hearing one sermon and making a decision. It only comes through quality time spent with Him in His presence. It’s developed as we do life together – the Lord and me.

There’s a lot we need to understand about relationships. They’re always a learning experience. Relationships grow and mature over time. When it comes to relating with God, there are aspects to it that only He can teach us.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Psalms 86:11

The more we allow Him to show us, the closer our walk with Him becomes. But for this to take place we have to give Him our undivided attention. Time spent in the Spirit is never wasted. It reaps eternal dividends.

I want to talk about this important concept for a couple of posts.

Question: What are some things that you’ve learned in your walk with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Body Agreement

 

meLyRzsWe are not called to live solitary lives. In Christ we’re part of a body. We need each other. Without the local church, we can never reach our greatest potential.

God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 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 1:9-10

I think it’s beyond question that our God is faithful. What He’s looking for, is faithful people. The Lord wants to see believers who walk wholeheartedly with Him. How is that possible, unless we walk faithfully with each other?

This will require us to walk in agreement. Agreement is a place of power in the Holy Spirit. In the above verse the word agree means to speak the same thing. The only way that will happen is if we’re all speaking the Word of God.

It takes time in the Word to bring about agreement. It’s not about me convincing you that I’m right. It’s when we both come into agreement that God’s way is right.

The Lord wants us to unite in mind and thought – with no divisions. The simple truth is that this will never happen if we all do our own things. There has to be a coming together for fellowship around the Word of God. That’s what church is all about, or at least it should be. The Word should be central to everything we say and do.

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
1 Corinthians 14:26

This means that we regularly meet together as the church. But to do that correctly, I have to come prepared. The church is not a place I come to with all my baggage and expect “them” to bless “me”. I need to arrive prayed up, built up, and ready to be a blessing to someone else. Of course, in the process I end up being blessed as well.

That’s what church is all about. Everyone coming with Christ as our focus. If we expect Him to be present and the Holy Spirit to direct the service, then we can be certain that we’ll grow together in unity. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to grow in the Lord and in fellowship with one another. Make sure you’re an active member of the body of Christ.

Question: What do you do to build up your local church?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Ministry, The Church

 

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