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The Word of Life – Its Three Forms

Bible1Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

We know from Scripture that the Word of God is like seed received into our hearts. How do we receive this life? To answer that question, we’ll go to the beginning of the Gospel of John.

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.
John 6:47-48

This is vital to our understanding of how to receive life. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. That’s the theme of the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. The Lord sums it up in this way.

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

This is the bottom line. In order to walk in the abundant life we must live by every Word of God. Christ is the Living Word – the personification of the Word of God. His Word is spirit and life. It’s a life that can only be received by the spirit. This is the foundational truth of how the Word works in us.

First, we must understand the key to grasping the Word of God. I’m speaking of the two Greek words, logos and rhema. These two words are both translated as “word” in the English, which makes it very hard to see the contrasts without a basic knowledge of the original language. My goal in this series is to bring out the truths contained in these two important words.

A lot of teaching has gone forth in the Faith Movement concerning logos and rhema. Some of it has been good, and some has been a little off. I want our foundation to be solid, so I ask you to read this with an open heart.

Some have mistakenly taught that logos refers to the written Word while rhema is the spoken word. In actuality, the Greek word graphe refers to the written Word. It’s usually translated “writings” or “Scripture”.

In the Bible, both logos and rhema are only referred to as spoken. They’re never read. Graphe is always read and never spoken.

What you’ll find in a careful study of logos and rhema is that they’re almost always indistinguishable from one another. According to Scripture, both of them are alive. Both endure eternally. Both contain creative power. Both are referred to as the sword of the spirit. Both logos and rhema can manifest the power of God.

It’s the differences, however, that I’m going to focus on. The first principle of the Word is found in Matthew 4:4 above. The word used in that verse is rhema. We must live on rhema. This is the source of our life.

The next important truth is found in John 6:63 above. That verse also uses the word rhema. Only rhema is given and received in the spiritual realm. It’s the form that spiritual life takes in order to be transferred from one to another.

You may be wondering why this study of linguistics is so important. I’m now going to put it all together for you so that you can see the beauty of God’s Word in all of its forms. We’ve heard the teaching that the Word of God is like a seed. Think about it as a grain of wheat. In the world, wheat is called the “staff of life.” That makes it a wonderful illustration for the Word.

In my next post I’ll use this view of the seed to explain how God uses His Word to impart life to His people.

Question: How much time do you spend listening to the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Power of God, Word of God

 

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Our Legacy of Giving Out Bread

agricultureI’ve been posting about hearing God’s Word, and using it to bless others. There are plenty of examples in Scripture. One of them was a man named Philip. He was just a normal believer who wanted to serve God.

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
Acts 8:26

The Bible says that an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. The word angel is the Greek word messenger. It was the angel’s job to communicate God’s plan to Philip. How did he do it? We’re not told.

Did the angel physically appear to Philip? Did he speak in an audible voice? Or was it just an impression that Philip got, that he needed to walk down the southern road? There’s no way of knowing.

What we do know is that Philip obeyed the instruction of the angel. Because he did what the Word of the Lord told him to do, salvation was brought to a high official of Ethiopia.

We can also look at the life of the Apostle Peter. One day he was minding his own business, praying on the roof of the house he was staying at. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he receives a vision from God.

A blanket is let down from Heaven with all kinds of unclean animals in it. He hears a voice that tells him to take them and eat them. He replies that he would never do that because they’re unclean. Then the voice tells him not to call unclean, what God has made clean. This happened three times while he was on the roof.

At that point he had no idea what God was trying to say to him. Why take this time to explain that unclean animals had become clean? Personally, I’m happy about this because I enjoy BBQ ribs. But God’s intent was not to simply increase our menu. There was a deeper issue He was trying to prepare Peter for.

While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
Acts 10:19-20

Peter’s attitude about Gentiles was not where it should have been before the revelation of the unclean animals. God had to prepare Peter’s heart in order to get the Good News to the Gentiles.

Sometimes we need to be prepared to hear the Word of God to us. That’s why it’s so important to remain in the presence of God. This Gentile family needed to receive the Bread from Heaven. There was nowhere else for them to get it, except from the Apostle Peter.

God had to give the Word of truth to Peter so that he could then pass it on to these Gentiles. Because of Peter’s faithfulness to the Word, many were saved and salvation was opened up to all nations and people groups.

Right now, God is looking for a people who are willing to spend time with Him to hear His voice. Then, once we’ve heard from Him, we go out into the world and accomplish His objectives for His glory. This is the ministry that we should be performing as a continuation of what Christ did when He walked the earth.

Question: What have you heard from God that could be a blessing to others?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Ministry, Prayer, Word of God

 

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Don’t Be Selfish with the Bread of Life

SharingIn my last post I talked about the Word of God as bread.  I want to continue that discussion by looking at a parable that few ever teach about.  We need to see how the bread of the Word applies to our daily lives.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’
“Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me.  The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’
I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”
Luke 11:5-8

This parable brings to light an incredible truth.  Listen carefully to what the man is asking for.  He’s seeking bread.  But the important fact is the reason he wants it.

Is he hungry?  Does he have no money to buy bread?  Absolutely not!  These are not the reason he needs bread so desperately.

According to the man, a friend of his was on a journey and has come near to him.  He opened his home to the friend but has no bread to place before the friend.

According to Scripture, every human is on a journey.  We are all traveling from total spiritual darkness to maturity in Christ.  We are all at different places along this path.

What this man was saying is, “My friend’s path brought him into my sphere of influence.  I need to help him become what God wants him to be.”

The man was not seeking the bread of the Word for himself.  He was seeking a Word that would meet the need of someone else.  This is something the church needs to hear.  It seems that much of the time we are self-absorbed.

We are always seeking things for ourselves.  We seem to think it’s all about my healing, my prosperity, and my blessing.  We need to follow the example of Christ.  Most of what He sought the Father for was bread that He could give to others.

Notice the humility.  My friend has come to me and I have nothing of my own that could meet his need.  This is an admittance of our total dependency on God.

I’m trusting God to meet someone else’s need.  But I want Him to send the supply through me.  This requires us to admit our inability apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

When you spend time in the presence of the Lord, remember to think of others.  Listen for a Word that could be a help to them as well as yourself.

Question: How have you helped others along their road to maturity in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in God's Provision, Ministry, Word of God

 

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The Bread of Life – Breakfast of Champions

BreadAt one point in their time with the Lord, the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.  Here is one line of the prayer Jesus taught them.

“Give us each day our daily bread.”
Luke 11:3

This prayer of Jesus is not only applicable in the physical, but also in the spiritual.  If earthly bread is necessary for life, how much more is the Word of God needed to nourish our inner man?  God is looking for a people who will feed daily upon His spiritual bread – the Word of God.

You should notice that this prayer is not in the form of a question.  Christ is not asking the Father for bread.  Bread, in this context, is something that is already supplied and on hand.

It’s a grocery item that is already in the cupboard.  When my children get up in the morning, they don’t ask my permission to eat.

“I’m going to eat breakfast now.”

That’s the adult attitude.  You’re up.  You’re going to work.  You need a good breakfast before you leave the house.  When you’re ready to eat you go to the pantry, the place of supply, and get what you need for the day.

It’s the same in the spiritual.  God’s Word to us is always available.  He expects us to seek Him daily for a Word from Him.

When Jesus taught this prayer, He also taught the truths that it encompassed.  Different Gospel writers recorded the various teachings.  Matthew and Luke gave us what the Lord taught concerning the bread.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:9-11

This is the attitude that the Father has toward a child who asks for bread.  In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11, we see this same teaching, but Luke uses the Holy Spirit as the gift.

There’s no question in the mind of Christ.  If you ask God for a daily Word, you will receive.

This is the desire of God’s heart.  He wants His people derive their nourishment from His hand.  We have the ability to go to the presence of God each day for the Word we need to live victoriously.  That’s what Jesus did.

Questions: Did you go to God for your spiritual breakfast today?  What did you receive from Him?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Prayer, Word of God

 

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Are You Living by the Word?

SpotlightWe understand the principle that the Word of God is like seed.  I want to discuss how this seed is received into our hearts.  If the Word is my life, then it’s important that I know how to handle it correctly.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

It’s the Word that gives us life – the essence of life, the abundant life.  That’s what we desperately need as believers in this generation.

How do we receive this life?  To answer that we’ll go to the beginning of the Gospel of John.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
John 1:4

We see in this verse that life is only found in Christ, the Living Word.  Not only is He life, but this life is the light of men.  If we’re truly going to be the light of the world, then we need this life – the life that only comes from Christ.

If Christ is the life, then how is that life transferred to us?

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.  I am the bread of life.
John 6:47-48

This is vital to our understanding of how to receive life.  Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life.  That’s the theme of the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel.  The Lord sums it up in this way.

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

We’ve now come to the bottom line.  In order to walk in the abundant life we must live by every Word of God.  Christ is the Living Word – the personification of the Word of God.  His Word is Spirit and life.  It’s a life that can only be received by the spirit.  This is the foundation of understanding how the Word works in us.  Now we must apply it in our everyday situations.

Over the next few posts, I’ll talk about how the Word of God relates to us.  How I receive the Word is important because without it, I’m powerless.

Too many believers are trying to live for God without placing the Living Word at the center of their being.  This is a sure recipe for disaster.  We need the understanding of Scripture to bring us to the place where we operate out of an overflow of God’s Word.

Question: How important is the Living Word of God to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Word of God

 

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God and the Candy Machine in the Sky

CandyI’ve been posting about how similar our modern attitudes are to the crowd in John Chapter 6.  They seem to have their eyes on the temporary, while Christ is trying to point them to the eternal.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty…And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:35-40

Notice that Jesus repeats Himself here.  Two times He said to them, “I will raise them up at the last day.”  It’s a very simple statement.  It’s so simple, in fact, that most Christians miss it as well.

He told them that if they come to Him and put their trust in Him, He’ll give them eternal life and He’ll raise them up at the last day.  The key is that you must have this eternal life in you BEFORE you enter the grave.  If you have this eternal life in you, then death will not be able to keep you any more than it could hold on to the Lord.

He said it twice yet they didn’t hear him.  Look at their reaction.

At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
John 6:41

It went right over their heads.  They missed it.  The Lord said you can have eternal life and that He’d raise you up at the last day.  All they heard was that He thinks He’s bread that has come down from heaven.  “What does He mean He’s bread coming down from heaven?”

They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered.  “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:42-44

Jesus is desperately trying to get it into their head that He wasn’t emphasizing bread coming down from heaven.  He was trying to get them to embrace eternal life.  Over and over again He said, “I’ll raise him up at the last day.”  They just didn’t get it.

I think, that just like us, they didn’t want to get it.  They could tell that what Jesus was talking about meant change.  They would have to change their views and attitudes about God.  The Lord would no longer be that big “candy machine in the sky,” but a friend with whom you must spend time cultivating a relationship.

Question: How do you deepen your relationship with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Encouragement, Return of Christ

 

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The Temporary vs. the Eternal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been posting about the discussion Jesus had with the crowd in John chapter 6.  Having told them that He understood their motives; Jesus goes on to explain further.

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.  On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
John 6:27

The Lord is about to tell them that He’s the Bread of Life and He has the Words of truth.  He goes on to explain that if they’ll come to Him in faith, they’ll never lack for life.  The point is that you can’t spend all your time and energy chasing the things of this world.  There’s a more important issue at stake here.

Too many believers spend their prayer time with the Lord running through their lists of needs and wants.  While there is a place for petitioning the Lord in prayer, that should not be the major part.  Prayer is where we get to know Christ in relationship.  It’s give and take.

Yes, it is talking, but it’s also listening.  If we’re going to be prepared for the last days, then we must get past this mentality that chases God around simply for what we think we can get from Him.

The crowd made their motives very plain to Jesus.  Even in their answer, they show Him that His assessment of their true character was correct.

“Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
John 6:34

Their thoughts are, “You’ve got the bread from heaven.  Give us this bread.”  Again, they’re thinking in a material way.  If His earthly bread was good, the heavenly must be even better tasting!

It reminds me of the woman at the well.  Jesus said that He could give her living water so that she would never thirst again.  Her reply was, “Great, then I won’t have to come to this well every day to draw water.”

Why are we all so foolish?  Jesus longs to give us eternal, abundant life, yet we are content to simply ask Him for things.  I know that in His Word He’s promised to take care of our needs.  The problem is that we seem to major on the physical.

My true needs are so much deeper than that.  He wants to satisfy the longing of our souls, but this will require that we spend time in His presence.  We fail to enter the abundance that He has for us because we’d rather have the “quick fix” of more money or more stuff so that we can then get on with our plans.  The better solution would be for us to bow our knee to the Lord and take up His plan for our lives.

Question: Why do the temporary issues of life seem so important sometimes?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Encouragement, Faith, Prayer

 

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