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All About Me

As we continue our look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church, he’s speaking about how idolatry relates to the grey areas of sin.  This is an important issue.  The apostle now lays down the principle of participation.

I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.  Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?  And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?  Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
1 Corinthians 10:15-17

The first part of participation that we need to understand is our fellowship with Christ. The words translated participation in this verse, are the same that are translated fellowship in other places in Scripture.  We have a fellowship in the body and blood of the Lord.

In the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, we’re showing a visible representation of our fellowship.  It’s because of our connection to Christ that we’re connected with each other.  We all have a share in His body and in His blood.

It’s this concept of participation that should guide some of our actions.  There are some who would say that it doesn’t matter what I do outside of the church.  What I do in my private time is my own business.  But is it?

Remember, it’s all about participation.  Am I participating with the world in things I shouldn’t be involved in?  That’s the issue Paul’s dealing with here.

Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?  Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?  No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.
1 Corinthians 10:18-21

Those are strong words.  In context, he’s talking about idolatry in a pagan temple.  But this could apply to us as well.  There are many things in society that could be seen as modern idolatry.  Gaming, the internet, the entertainment industry, sporting events, and a whole host of other things can steal our devotion.

Actually, anything that we participate in that causes us to reject time with Christ is idolatry.  No, I don’t think we should be worshipping 24/7.  But only serving God two hours a week on Sunday morning is a symptom of spiritual sickness.

Paul tells us the bottom line.

Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy?  Are we stronger than he?
“Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial.  “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive.  Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
1 Corinthians 10:22-24

Even things that are permissible, with no evil aspects, can be detrimental to your Christian walk.  The fact is, being a Christian is not all about me.  I’m a part of something bigger than myself.  The fellowship I share is on a spiritual level.  The things I do in the natural can have a spiritual effect.

This is key to understanding what’s right or wrong for me.  What I do as an individual affects the whole.   That’s life in a body.  When I stub my toe, my whole body is affected.   This is a lesson the current generation of believers needs to learn.

Question: How does a person’s private life affect the whole church?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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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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The Teacher – A Lamp

For the last couple of posts, I’ve been talking about teachers in the body of Christ.  I showed that true teachers bring light to our Christian walk.  In our generation there’s a lot of teaching from the Bible going forth; but is it directed by the Holy Spirit?

In His ministry, Jesus made some statements that the disciples couldn’t understand.  Many of them pertained to the church.  They would only understand them after the resurrection.

One of them pertained to the body.

“Your eye is the lamp of your body.  When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light.  But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.”
Luke 11:34

I think you can agree that this is not talking about our internal organs being lit up.  The Lord is dealing with a deeper issue here.

To understand what Jesus is saying, you have to look at the greater context.  He starts this section by talking about the preaching of Jonah.  All of Nineveh repented when they heard his preaching.

The Lord then talks about King Solomon.  The Queen of the South came all the way from Central Africa to hear his wisdom.

Christ was showing the high value that people placed upon hearing a Word from God.  The people who heard Jonah and Solomon didn’t just want to know what the Bible said.  They were looking for something that would change their lives.

Look at the very next thing that Jesus says after explaining about Jonah and Solomon.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl.  Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”
Luke 11:33

The reason that these two men were called to their roles, was not to simply enjoy their times with the Lord.  They were to use their gifts to bring light to those who needed it.

The people of Nineveh needed to understand repentance so that the judgment of God could be averted.  The Queen of the South needed to understand how to rule her people wisely.  They needed someone to light the path ahead of them.

That’s what Jesus is talking about when He says that the eyes are the lamp of the body.  I believe that He’s talking about the need for Holy Spirit directed teaching in the body of Christ.

We need to come back to this truth in our generation.  I believe that this is one of the things that God is trying to restore in us.

We can see it in the church of today.  There are ministries where the people know their place in Christ and are secure in their walk with God.  There are other parts of God’s kingdom where the believers seem to be doing as they please – simply living for themselves.

We need to be praying for the church.  Pray that God would continue to raise up teachers after His own heart.  We need the body of Christ to be full of light.

Question: Why is human-led teaching so accepted in some areas?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2018 in Anointing, Ministry, Revival, Word of God

 

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The Walk of Unity and Fellowship

PowerlessI’ve been posting about fellowship and unity lately. It’s all about recognizing those who are serving Christ around me. Understanding their differences, and working with them for God’s glory.

The Apostle Paul describes it this way…

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:5-7

His prayer is that the same God who gives endurance and encouragement will now give them a spirit of unity. But that phrase, spirit of unity, is interesting in the original Greek. It’s literally asking God to give us a mind toward one another.

This goes right along with what we have been saying about unity thus far. I should be thinking about you. You’re on my mind so that I can understand your calling. In that way I can see how we fit together in the body of Christ.

Truly, we’re not called to be an organization, but an organism. We should be functioning seamlessly together because of the Holy Spirit within us. As we hear the voice of the Spirit and watch over each other, we are now equipped to fulfill the next part of this passage.

Only in unity can we glorify God with one heart and one mouth. Especially since the word translated heart is really the word passion. As I spend time in the Spirit, I pick up God’s passion.

It’s not about me convincing you what you need to be passionate about. If we could all be synced to God’s heartbeat, then we’ll operate in one passion. Time with the Spirit brings true unity.

The goal is to function together. It’s not up to you to change in order to please me. That’s not what Christ did. He paid the price for me to go to Him. Sometimes it will cost me something to overlook the faults and differences that you bring with you.

I must receive you just as Christ received me. Just as you are. I’m not the Holy Spirit. I have to leave room for God’s grace to work in you. None of us are perfect yet. The Lord receives us just the way we are and we need to do the same.

Unity 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 making 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.

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

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. As I allow the mind of Christ to take over my life, I’m setting the stage for the unity of the Spirit.

The more you and I begin to think like Christ, the more unity we will 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 must I do to yield to the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2016 in Fellowship, Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Where’s the Power?

PowerWhere is the manifestation of the power of God in the church today? It grieves me to see the state of powerlessness that we accept as normal in our generation. I read the Book of Acts and see a world shaken by the testimony of the saints. Healing, prophecy, and miracles were common events. Where’s the power?

I think about the days of revival that have burned throughout this nation’s history. From the Great Awakening to the Charismatic Renewal, there have been many outpourings of God’s strength. How did we lose what was gained? Why are there so few churches that portray the full ministry of Jesus? It drives me to my knees to find an answer. Where’s the power?

When I pray over the sick and few are healed. When I see so many in my congregation burdened with financial need. When I stand with those who are bound by habitual sins that never seem to break. This and more causes me to cry out “Oh God, where’s the power?”

We have become very adept at explaining away and excusing our lack of power. We proclaim that we want to see the power of God at work. But, we continue to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. That’s insanity. If we’re to experience a new result, we must step out in a new direction. I want this blog to be a catalyst for that kind of change in the body of Christ.

Please understand, I’m not so foolish as to think that God has left us. I don’t believe that He’s stopped working on the earth. No, I believe that if there’s a problem it rests on the human side of the equation. My quest is to find the solution for that problem.

I began to pray and study the Scripture concerning power. God started dealing with me about the major issues that are hindering the flow of His power through us. These hindrances include attitudes and teachings that we have allowed to creep into the church. Many of them sound good on the surface, but they’re short circuiting the power of God in our lives.

I did a lot of repenting over my foolishness as I uncovered new truths that have been ignored in the Word. We, as the church, have been majoring on things that make us fail to draw on the power of the Lord. I believe that now is the time for us to re-examine our ways. It’s time to set our spiritual feet upon the correct paths.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…
Acts 3:19

If your desire is to see a manifestation of the power of God in your life, then be prepared for some major changes. Some of the things the Lord brought before me in Scripture challenged the very core of what I thought I believed. But I decided to try it His way rather than continuing in my own ineffectiveness. It’s a choice you’ll have to make if you intend on walking in power.

Question: Is there anybody out there hungry for revival?

© Nicolas Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Life in the Blood

heart CrossIn my last post I talked about the relationship between the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and the blood of Christ. This is important to us because we are told from Scripture that we are cleansed from sin by the blood.

The big question is; how do we access the blood? Listen to what Jesus said about the blood.

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
John 6:53

Clearly the Lord says that our spiritual life is tied to His blood. What exactly is this blood that He’s talking about? I believe it’s about more than just taking the communion elements.

This goes along with teaching found in the Old Testament. The ancient Israelites were prohibited from eating an animal’s blood.

But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.
Deuteronomy 12:23

As Jesus was teaching this to His followers, He brought out the meaning of what He was saying. In the same context as the above verse, the Lord said…

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
John 6:63

According to Jesus, the Spirit gives life. But the life is in the blood. It’s through the blood of Christ that we receive life.

Can you see it? Right now, the Holy Spirit is the life blood of the body of Christ. That’s what’s flowing through us. The Spirit of God is cleansing us and giving us His life.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…
Romans 8:13

It’s by the Spirit that we’re made clean from the sin nature. As a matter of fact, everything that blood does in a body, the Holy Spirit does in the body of Christ. He flows through us touching every part with His presence.

The impurities are removed and the life giving nutrients are brought to us. To remain in the Spirit is to remain under the blood. What an awesome truth!

I don’t have to “plead the blood” over my life. If I’m praying in the spirit, communing with the Holy Spirit, then I’m accessing the blood of Christ and all that it does for me.

Don’t neglect this marvelous provision that Christ bought for us on the cross. Remain in Him. Spend time in the Spirit. And watch the life-changing power of God work on your behalf.

Question: How has the blood of Christ changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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It’s All About Me – Or Is It?

DifferentI’ve taken a few posts to talk about our fellowship. It’s more than we think it is in the modern church.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4

This verse talks about all that God has made available to us. Did you ever stop to think about this? Why has the Lord given us all of these great gifts?

“He loves me. He wants to bless me. He’s given me these promises.” ME, ME, ME!

That’s not the way it is. It’s not all about me. Listen to how this is written.

His divine power has given US everything WE need…through OUR knowledge of him who called US…he has given US his…promises, so that YOU (this is in the plural form) may participate in the divine nature…

This is about us as a body. When Peter says that we may participate in the divine nature; it literally says that we are fellowshippers in the divine nature.

What is the divine nature? It’s God’s way of doing things. Growth by germination. Planting, sprouting, growing, and bearing fruit. This can’t happen if I try to do it all on my own. I need the body of Christ. Only then can I escape the ruin that’s happening in the world.

God wants us to walk in a new nature. This only happens when I connect where God wants me in His Body. Only then will I experience the best He has for me.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

The real question is; do we want to walk in the resurrection power of Christ? If so, there’s only one path to get there. I have to participate, fellowship, in sharing His suffering. This is the death process that my old man must go through.

It literally says that I have to take on the same form as His death. It doesn’t sound pleasant or convenient, but the result is worth it. The way Paul puts it, he wants to somehowany way and at any cost – arrive at the resurrection power of the Lord.

But what will it take to accomplish this? Do you think that there’s any way to identify with Christ while ignoring His body on earth? Absolutely not! Fitting into the body of Christ plays a big role in conforming us to the image of Jesus.

Please realize that the suffering he’s talking about is not physical pain. It’s an internal discomfort to the flesh – our old sin nature. That’s why we need the church.

The growth doesn’t happen when the world revolves around me. But in the local church I need to think of the needs of others. I have to learn, by the Spirit, to be in unity with some people who are not like me. They might not think like me. There might even be some that I don’t like or, God forbid, that don’t like me.

It’s in the church that we grow together. We see things in us that need the work of the Holy Spirit to perfect. We learn about the grace of God operating in us. We find our giftings and callings.

Don’t take a light view of the fellowship we share. Without it we’ll never reach our greatest potential.

Question: How has fellowship with others changed your life for the better?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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