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God’s Approval System

I’ve been posting from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. In it we’ve been looking at the true Gospel. According to Paul, it comes with a demonstration of God’s power. In my last post I talked about the other methods people must use when they don’t walk in God’s power.

The question is; why is there so little of the whole Gospel of Christ being presented in our generation? It turns out that Paul understood the answer.

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’ve seen that Paul understood the true Gospel as including power, the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction. That might have been surprising to some. But I believe his words in this verse would totally shock many preachers if they understood their significance.

According to Paul, you need to be approved by God to preach this Gospel. Actually it’s deeper than that. He said that you need God’s approval even to be entrusted with this Gospel.

Is this what’s taught in Bible schools? I don’t think so; at least I’ve never heard it taught. In my experience preaching the Gospel is simply coming up with a Scripture for an opening text. Then we apply it to the need for the hearers to “get saved.”

Where’s the power? Where’s the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, and the deep conviction? I believe that there’s too much unapproved Gospel being preached these days. That’s why many have written off Christianity as a dead horse that needs to be removed from society.

How do you become approved to be entrusted with the true Gospel? The answer to this is why there’s so little of it in our generation. It’s not about college degrees or denominational accreditation. No, it’s much deeper than that.

Paul makes it clear that this approval can only come from God. Furthermore, the test takes place in your heart. Where’s your heart set? Who are you trying to please?

Your anointing (God’s approval of your ministry) is resting on that answer. It’s not about how much you want it; instead, it’s wrapped up in the direction your heart is taking you.

What we have to realize is that in our own power we can never be well pleasing to God. It only comes from time spent in His presence. It’s what Jesus talked about in the parable of the sower.

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
Mark 4:20

As I said, the test is in your heart – where you hear and plant the Word. This requires time in the presence of the Lord. It means that we have a listening ear toward the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Then, when Gods sees the quality of the crop produced by the Word planted in our heart, He grants His approval. We will see the manifestation of the Word of God when we present the Gospel. Then the lives of the hearers are changed by that powerful Word from God.

Question: How would churches be different if we sought the approval of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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Have You Been Gospel Approved?

ApproveIn my last post I talked about the true Gospel. I said that it was more than just words, but included the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. Why is there so little of the whole Gospel of Christ being presented in our generation?

The same letter of Paul that we looked at last time gives us the answer to this question.

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

In the last post we saw that Paul understood the true Gospel as including power, the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction. That might have been surprising to some. But I believe his words in this verse would totally shock many preachers if they understood their significance.

According to Paul, you need to be approved by God to preach this Gospel. Actually it’s deeper than that. He said that you need God’s approval even to be entrusted with this Gospel.

Is this what’s taught in Bible schools? I don’t think so; at least I’ve never heard it taught. In my experience preaching the Gospel is simply coming up with a Scripture for an opening text. Then we apply it to the need for the hearers to “get saved.”

Where’s the power? Where’s the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, and the deep conviction? I believe that there’s too much unapproved Gospel being preached these days. That’s why many have written off Christianity as a dead horse that needs to be removed from society.

How do you become approved to be entrusted with the true Gospel? The answer to this is why there’s so little of it in our generation. It’s not about college degrees or denominational accreditation. No, it’s much deeper than that.

Paul makes it clear that this approval can only come from God. Furthermore, the test takes place in your heart. It’s what Jesus talked about in the parable of the sower.

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
Mark 4:20

The test is in your heart – where you hear and plant the Word. This requires time in the presence of the Lord. It means that we have a listening ear toward the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Then, when Gods sees the quality of the crop produced by the Word planted in our heart, He grants His approval. Then we see the manifestation of the Word of God when we present the Gospel. Then the lives of the hearers are changed by that powerful Word from God.

Question: How would churches be different if we sought the approval of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Anointing, Ministry, Power of God, Word of God

 

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Is Your Faith Pleasing to God?

 

DoveDo you make an effort to please God? Do you know what that means? I’m not talking about God loving you – He loves everyone. I’m not even talking about God accepting you. We’re made righteous and acceptable to God in Christ.

Pleasing is on a different level. It means that God actually enjoys what you’re doing. The Bible talks about it.

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22

Just like Christ, we must be driven to set our hearts on what is well pleasing to God. Only then will He release His power in us to secure our anointing. It should be important to us to find out what well pleases the Lord.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

This is the starting line. Pleasing the Lord requires faith. That should come as no surprise. But let’s seek the understanding of what this means.

Many say, “I’m a faith person.” Is that enough?

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7

Talk is cheap. In more than one place, the Scripture tells us that your faith must be tried and approved. Even Christ told us that when the Word sown in you, trials would come.

So I’m not talking about a generic, surface faith. We need a faith that has stood the test, and is found to be approved by God. That’s why in the verse from Hebrews, above, it’s not just about believing He exists.

We must also have faith in the knowledge that He rewards those who seek Him.

“I will diligently seek Him…tomorrow.”

If I’m going to please God, then I need to be diligent and press in immediately. It’s not something that I keep putting off for a more convenient time. In all likelihood, there will never be an easy time to press in to God’s will.

If I want an approved faith, then I need to just “go for it.” The time is now. Diligently seek a tested and approved faith that goes beyond just being acceptable to the Lord. Go for the “well pleasing” kind of faith.

Questions: How has your faith been tested recently? Did it stand the test?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Anointing, Faith

 

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Approved for the Anointing #anointing

ApproveI’ve been posting about David’s anointing as king and how it relates to us.  It’s surprisingly similar to what we go through in the church today.

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:13

It’s clear from this verse that the Holy Spirit and power follows the anointing.  That’s what Christ was referring to when He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me BECAUSE He has anointed me.” (Luke 4:18)

I believe that this is a special move of the Holy Spirit to work signs and miracles.  It’s not the same as the Holy Spirit simply being in us because of salvation.  It’s the power of God, present to confirm His word.

If you’ve been following these posts, you may remember I said how little the word “anointing” was used in the New Testament.  If you check it out, except once by Paul, all the usage was Jews writing to Jews.

Paul wrote most of the New Testament to Gentiles.  What would a Greek know about the Hebrew anointing?  Paul wrote to people who had no knowledge of it.  How did he describe it?

To understand it, let’s talk about the priesthood in Israel.  To become a priest, you didn’t just walk up to the temple and say, “I’m a Levite and I want to be a priest.”  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

To be anointed as priest, you had to attend and graduate a school of the law taught by a Rabbi.  Then you had to prove that you’ve memorized the Pentateuch (The first five books of the Bible).  You had to show your family records proving priestly lineage.  Then you would strip and every inch of your body would be inspected by a board of priests who were looking for any defect that would disqualify you.

Only when you had passed every test would you be robed in priestly clothes and the oil of the anointing was poured on your head.  Being in the right family was only the beginning.  It wasn’t until you were tested and approved to be a priest that you could be anointed.

In reality, our spiritual anointing involves being approved by God.  That’s the word Paul used throughout his writings to the Gentiles.  They wouldn’t understand anoint, but approve they could grasp.

The Greek word that Paul used is translated as approve, commend, chosen, or election depending upon the context.  But these words were used by Paul the same way anointing is used in the Old Testament.

What we miss sometimes, is that we can be saved, but not approved to walk in the power of God.  We think that just because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we have the same authority as Christ.  We have to be approved to walk in God’s authority.

That’s the true anointing of power.

Question: What does it take to be approved to walk in the authority of the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in Anointing, The Church

 

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