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A Last-Days Deception

103_A_BonusPhotoThis post is the last in a series about our relationship to the Word of God.

The Book of Revelation mentions synagogues of Satan (Revelation 2:9).  These are places where the teaching of Scripture was done by satanic influence.  I need the Holy Spirit to help me interpret the Bible.  Yet, there are those who listen to the demon’s view of it.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1 Timothy 4:1

There are those who teach the Bible, but not the Word of God.  This is a great deception.  Of course no one would listen if a minister got up and said, “Satan says to do this.”  But if he reads a Scripture verse and puts a demonic twist to it, the church seems to fall for it most of the time.

Just because someone quotes Scripture doesn’t mean that what they’re preaching is of God.  I need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to protect me from false teaching.  How can I tell the difference between Satan’s teaching, man’s teaching, and the true Word of God?

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

This verse literally says that the Lord was a co-worker with them.  They did their work – proclaiming the Word of God.  God did His part – confirming the Word that was proclaimed.  Miracles were commonplace.  As the disciples went out, the Word of God spread, and there were signs and wonders everywhere they went.

When Satan quoted the Bible to Jesus (Luke 3:9-11), he used it to try and convince the Lord to jump off the highest point of the Temple.  If Jesus had jumped, would God the Father have confirmed that “word”?  Of course not.

Just because I quote the Bible, it doesn’t put God under any obligation to confirm it.  Even if I’m preaching from a text on healing, there’s no confirmation unless it’s a Word God wants preached at that moment.

There are questions I need to ask myself.  Is God working with me?  Am I proclaiming the Word of God for these people?  If the answer to both of these is “yes”, then I can expect a move of God.

We may not like it, but the truth is plain and simple.  If there are no signs following, then it wasn’t the Word of God that was preached.

When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.
Acts 8:6

Scripture is very clear as to relationship between the preaching of the Word, and the response of the hearers.  When the Word of God is confirmed, there is a supernatural manifestation that draws people’s attention.

America needs a revival of hearing the Word of God.  It will only come from those who have received and planted the Word into their lives.

Questions: How hungry are you for a revival to sweep our nation?  Are you willing to seek God for it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Revival, The Church, Word of God

 

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The Foundation for Revival

FireI have said that the United States desperately needs a revival.  What is that?  Is it a church full of weeping, “falling down under the power of God”, or huge crowds on Sunday morning?

Is it something we plan into our schedules?  “Revival Meetings the first week of December.”

The truth is that it’s not something we put on, but a work that God performs in us.  It’s a special presence of Christ revealing Himself to our society.

I believe that revival is birthed out of desperation.  When we reach the end of what we can do, all we can rely on is the work of God in us.

It’s kind of like the condition of Israel as they prepared to leave Mt Sinai in the book of Exodus.  They had already turned from God before Moses had even come down from the mountain with the law.

Now God has cleansed the camp and they are about to move out.  They are headed for the Promised Land.

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.  How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us?  What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
Exodus 33:15-16

Now there’s a desperate prayer!  What if the modern church prayed like this and meant it?  Most churches would close their doors the first week.

Unfortunately, we just go on with the show.  We’ve learned how to experience growth without the move of God.  A great music team and a charismatic preacher is all you need for success.

We need to learn that growth doesn’t mean that God is in the work.  It grieves me to say it, but if the Holy Spirit left us today, 90% of churches would be unaffected.  Much of the church in America is leaning on the arm of flesh to sustain it.

We need the presence of the Lord.  What else will distinguish the church from any other good social program?

The key is transformed lives.  That’s the proof of the power of God.  When Christ works through His people, we don’t remain the same.

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
Exodus 33:18

This is the prayer of desperation that needs to go up from God’s people.  We must put aside our goals, and seek the glory of God in our lives.  If He does the work, then He gets the glory.

It’s time for revival in our nation.

Question: How desperate are you for a move of God in our nation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Revival

 

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America, Terrorists, and the Lord

FlagcrossThe past week has been very challenging to us as a community and a nation.  I live and minister in Watertown, Massachusetts.  It’s a tiny area where not much seems to happen – until now.

I have a friend who was at the Boston Marathon.  Upon looking at the pictures they took, they saw the terrorists standing right next to them in the crowd.

My daughter works in the Watertown Mall.  She arrived at 10 pm for an overnight inventory shift.  At 2 am they were informed by FBI agents that the store (and the town) was in lockdown – no one in or out.

I have a member of our church who lived in the area of town where she witnessed explosions and gunfire that evening.  She spent the rest of the night comforting her children and grandchildren as she saw Swat Teams sweeping her neighborhood.

What’s happening in our nation?  Where are the days when this only happened in other parts of the world and we only watched the events on TV?

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.
Psalms 33:12

I believe that the protections we enjoyed in the past were due to the heritage of faith laid down by our godly forefathers.  That was then, this is now.  We have become a nation where any public reference to Jesus Christ is considered an abuse against society.

We have effectively told God that we don’t want Him interfering in our schools, courts, or politics.  Then, in times of crisis, we ask where He went to.  We have become so enamored by our own prowess that we think we have the answer to all our problems.

I do not believe this is the judgment of God on America.  He is a God of grace.  Instead, the Lord is respecting our wishes for Him to keep His hands out of our business.

No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.  A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
Psalms 33:16-17

America needs a change of heart and not a change of politics.  We desperately hunger for revival.  God’s people must awaken from slumber and turn the tide upon their knees.  That is where true restoration will come from.

I believe that the recent events will be a part of the call to us.  The pressure is on.  Are we willing to pray the price required to save our nation?  It is time for us to rise to our feet and be true men and women of God.

Question: How have these events affected your faith?  How will you respond?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Revival

 

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America Needs the Gospel

FlagcrossIt’s hard to believe, but in reality the United States can no longer be called a Christian nation.  Yes, there are pockets of Christian majorities on various parts of the map, but overall the influence of believers is almost gone.  I believe this is because we have lost sight of the true message of the Gospel.

I was recently reading a post about 5 issues the church will have to deal with over the next ten years.  It was by Ed Stetzer, the President of Lifeway Research.  In it he made some startling statements that I may comment about from time to time.

The issue that caught my attention, was that the church of this generation needs a clear understanding of the Gospel.  It wasn’t many years ago that the flames of renewal and revival were sweeping across many parts of our nation.  How have we fallen so far from the message of Christ?

Where has the Gospel of Jesus Christ gone?  In many churches we are taught how to be “good people.”  There are messages on how to live a great life – overcoming depression and other negative qualities.  It’s almost as if the modern church has become a group emotional-therapy session.

Paul’s words should bring us a much needed wake-up call.

2 Timothy 2:8
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…

We wonder why our impact on society has diminished.  This just might be the key.  The Gospel is not about New Year’s resolutions or turning over a new leaf.  It’s not even about wanting to be a better person, spouse, or parent.

The true message of the Gospel is not about what I do.  It’s all about what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.  He died, was buried, and He rose back to life on the third day.  The Lord accomplished this so that we could receive His life and become a new person in Him.

Anything less than that is not the Gospel.

In his post, Ed Stetzer made a statement that I have turned into a question in order to check myself.  As a pastor, I’m responsible for the message received by the people under my care.  I’m going to be accountable for what I preach to them each week.

The question I must ask myself is this: Would the message I’m preaching still be true if Jesus hadn’t died on the cross?  If so, then I’m not proclaiming the Gospel.  It might be good and helpful to the listener, but it isn’t the Good News of the Bible.  The Gospel is life-changing.

The church in America needs to return to the true Gospel message.

Question: How do you perceive a need for the Gospel in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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The Counter-Culture and the Counter-Anointing

Different Anointing

Did you know that the present culture of America has an anointing on it?  I have been posting about Christianity as a counter-culture.  Today I want to talk about the modern cultural anointing.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
1 John 2:18-19

The word antichrist is very interesting.  When some people think antichrist, it brings images of The Beast or a world dictator.  Actually, antichrists have been around as long as the church has been in existence.

This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
1 John 4:3

What we need to understand is that there is a spirit of antichrist that is constantly at work in secular society.  Let’s stop and think about it.  Here is a spirit that is anti – opposite – Christ.

In my last post I made the point that Christ means the Anointed One.  That means we’re talking about an anti-anointing that’s operating in the world.  Whether you know it or not, there are two different anointings at work in our society.  There’s the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of antichrist.

The first verse above tells us that there are people in churches who have bought into the anti-anointing that’s in the world.  Eventually these people get offended at the Gospel of Christ – the true anointing – and they leave.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.  Who is the liar?  It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Such a man is the antichrist — he denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:20-22

It is all about Jesus Christ – that’s the bottom line.  We live in such an accepting and tolerant world.  It’s okay, no matter what you want to talk about…that is until you mention Jesus Christ.  Suddenly the conversation gets shut down.

The reason is clear.  There are two competing spirits at work.  The spirit of antichrist wants no mention of the true anointing.  Christ, the Anointed One and His anointing can break the bondage of sin, sickness, depression, and a whole host of other symptoms of this age.

We need to walk in the boldness of the Holy Spirit.  Even if it means that we are ridiculed, shut down or rejected.  We must be a light for the true anointing of Christ in our generation.

Question: Have you ever noticed intolerance for the name of Jesus Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Revival, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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How to Discover a New World

I have been posting about faith lately.  Our faith is seen in our choices.  As we learn new things about Christ, we then have a choice whether to believe it or not.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

We looked at this verse in my last post.  I said that being sure meant that our faith is a support to our expectations in Christ.  So each time I learn something new about Christ, and make the choice to believe it – I add a new support structure.  As long as this continues, my walk with the Lord grows.

The above verse also says that faith is being certain of what we do not see.  The word translated as certain means proof or discovery.

Faith, then, is the discovery of things not seen.  Notice that the writer of Hebrews did not say it was the discovery of things invisible.  Rather, faith is the discovery of things you haven’t seen.

We say that Columbus discovered America.  We understand that the New World was not invisible; it just couldn’t be seen from Europe.  Through a series of choices Columbus got to a place where he could see it.

In the same way, you can discover new worlds of faith in Christ.  You may not have known that the Lord paid the price for your healing.  Through a series of choices, you came to a healing service.  While there, you hear a message that touched your spirit proclaiming Christ as Healer.

As the Holy Spirit works in you, you choose to accept this truth by faith.  Now your faith is the proof, the discovery, of that which was not seen.

The things that God has prepared for me are not invisible; I’m just not in a place where I can see them.  Faith is the proof I need that they are there.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all…
1 Corinthians 14:24

When we let God speak through us, an amazing thing happens.  Someone may hear the message that has not yet accepted Christ.  He discovers that he’s a sinner.  If he embraces this new discovery, he can make the choice to cross over into the kingdom of God.

Faith is always discovery and response.  As I respond in faith to each new revelation, I lay hold of a new support.  Each positive response helps me to climb a little higher.  We must continue to live out this faith-walk and let God complete His work in us.

Question: What was the most recent discovery that added to your faith-walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Faith

 

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