RSS

Tag Archives: confession

A Call to Repentance

We’re continuing our look at John the Baptist in the Gospel of Mark.  He had a very important ministry.  He prepared Israel for the coming of the Messiah.

He’s also a good example of what our ministry should be like.

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
Mark 1:4-5

John was a minister who didn’t feel the need to impress people.  He lived separately from society.  He didn’t let the day to day fads affect him.  He simply ministered the message he was given.

I’m glad that there are churches today that are attracting lots of people.  They have a modern atmosphere.  There’s smoke, lights, comfortable seating, and a professional sound.

That’s fine, as long as the message of Christ isn’t watered down.  When the methods become more important than the message, then we’re starting to compromise.  When the cash-flow required to maintain the look becomes the purpose; now the church is in trouble.

It seems to me that it was the message of John the Baptist that was attracting the crowds.  Their lives were being changed.  They came back from the Jordan River with a new outlook on life.

There’s also an aspect of John’s ministry that I think we miss because we’re on the other side of the cross.  We have to remember, while we read the Gospels, that the events described were taking place under the Old Covenant.

The people coming out to hear John’s message were “church people.”  If they were participating in the traditions of the Law of Moses, then they were saved and on their way to Heaven.  This was not the same baptism that we receive after salvation.

These people were already a part of the Old Testament congregation of believers because of the sacrificial system.  This baptism was a preparation for the continued work of Christ in the lives of His people.

Jesus didn’t just die on the cross to give me my initial salvation.  He took all my sins to the cross so that I could remain clean before God.  This baptism was looking forward to the ongoing work of grace in our lives.

That’s because we see the people confessing their particular sins, then being baptized for their removal.  It corresponds to the continued work of Christ’s cleansing in our lives.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8-9

This verse isn’t telling me that I need to be rebaptized whenever I fall into sin.  I’ve already been baptized to identify with Christ.  Now, all that’s needed is for me to confess my failures to God and receive His forgiveness and cleansing power.

I explained all of that, to simply say that this ministry is fading away in our generation.  Where’s the call to repentance in our day?  It seems that when someone preaches against sin and calls for repentance, a cry goes up that they’re bringing condemnation.  This is not the way it should be.

Yes, we’re righteous in the sight of God if we’re in Christ.  However, there’s an ongoing work of cleaning that the Holy Spirit wants to work in us.  That process requires conviction, confession of sin, repentance, forgiveness, and purifying.  Please don’t ignore the whole work of salvation that Christ wants to accomplish in you.

Question: When was the last time you went before God in repentance?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2017 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The 5 Warning Signs of Legalism (Repost)

I’m continuing through the book of Galatians, studying Paul’s teaching on legalism.  Because many people have told me this post helped them in the past, I decided to include it in this series.  I hope this repost will be a blessing to you.

Many Christians are bound by legalism.  Are you one of them?  The trouble is that legalism can be very deceptive.  You can be caught up in it and never know it – unless you see the warning signs.  I hope this will be both a challenge and a blessing to you.

Elevating works over position.  Do you worry about what you can do to please God?  The correct answer is – nothing!!  It’s the blood of Christ that makes me acceptable to God.  Nothing I do can make Him love me any more or any less.  While works can affect my rewards and blessings, they’ll never change God’s love and acceptance of me if I’m in Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Seeing yourself more of a slave than a son. Yes, we do serve God and are expected to obey Him in all things. But the way we obey is as mature sons and daughters.  As spiritual children, we learn servanthood.  It’s the training ground for our growth in Christ.  The purpose of servanthood is so that we can walk in maturity.  The Lord desires sons and daughters to represent Him to the world.  (Galatians 4:1-7)

Relying more on your confession than God’s grace. I believe in the confession of Scripture.  Rehearsing and memorizing it is an important part of the believer’s life.  Just as important is the reason we do it.  The purpose of confessing God’s Word is to increase our faith in Him.  But ultimately, it’s not my confession, but the power of God that will bring about the changes that I need.  (II Peter 1:3)

Giving more time to studying Scripture than to intimacy with Christ.  Scripture study is very important – it’s one of my passions.  I couldn’t live without it.  But, spending quality time with the Lord is even more so.  Jesus rebuked the Scribes and the Pharisees for diligently studying the Scriptures, yet not going to the Christ that they pointed to.  It’s not enough just to know about Christ.  I need to have an intimate, personal knowledge of Him that only comes from time spent in His presence.  (John 5:39-40)

Being confident more in the comparison with others than abiding in Christ.  Comparison is a deadly trap.  The problem is that I can always find someone less committed than me. It gives me a false sense of security because I’m no worse than anyone else.  On the other hand, I can spend my days feeling worthless, because I look at others who are farther along than me in the faith.  I can’t base my self-evaluation on someone else’s life.  My goal is not to be better than you, but to be like Christ.  (II Corinthians 10:12)

Questions: Have you battled with legalism?  How have you overcome it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 25, 2017 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

From Heart to Mouth

In my last post I talked about controlling the tongue, by putting the Word of God in our hearts. This was because it’s from the overflow of what we store in our heart that the mouth speaks. James goes on to give us more detail about this.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
James 3:3-4

It doesn’t take much to steer a horse or a ship. Bits and rudders are relatively small in comparison to the whole animal or ship. Yet, if we have control of that small piece, we can set the direction we want to go.

I’ve heard people take this verse and say that this is why we need to speak out what we want to receive from life. They say that your speaking will set the direction you’re heading. But that’s not the whole truth.

If you read the two chapters of James leading up to this, you’ll find that this is more about planting the right things in your heart. In order to be in continual control of your tongue, you need to be continually planting the right things in your heart.

The fact is that it’s possible to recite Scripture without letting it change your heart. That’s the same as only grabbing the rudder of a ship and controlling it for five minutes a day. You’ll never get to your destination like that. You must take continual control.

We need to heed the warning of Proverbs.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23

This verse literally says that your heart contains the source of your life. Everything you receive comes through your heart first. It’s what you plant in your heart that eventually dictates what your life becomes.

When the Word of God flows from your heart to your mouth, your life starts heading in that direction. If not, then nothing you do can stop the natural progression that James warns us about in the next verses.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:5-8

This is the outcome of a heart without the Word being planted. Our mouth is a part of our flesh. Trying to control it for ten minutes a day is not enough. Without the constant supply of the Word to our hearts, there’s no control to where our lives are heading.

It’s clear from Scripture that the progression of a spiritual life is – Word of God, heart, mouth, and then life. If that’s not how we work it, then it’s like we’re on the ocean without holding the rudder. Take control of your life. Plant the Word of God into your heart.

Question: How have you seen the Word bring forth fruit in your Life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Word of God and His Rest

SwordThis is the last post in the series about entering God’s rest. In my previous article, we saw that the writer of Hebrew’s final statement was about the Word of God.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

This section of Scripture has been talking about the Word of God throughout chapters three and four.

Based upon these Scriptures, there are three facts that we can conclude.

First, God has spoken to us a Word concerning our entering His rest. Next, we have heard that Word. Finally, we MUST, therefore enter His rest. The reason that we must enter His rest is because the Word of the Lord is living, active, sharp, penetrating, and judging.

The Word of God is both living and active. It doesn’t just lay dormant waiting for you to do something with it. It is, right now, in the process of working in you.

The literal Greek reads that it’s sharp enough to cut through with a single stroke. The Word doesn’t need to keep chopping and hacking. One cut is all it takes and it can pierce through all the layers of your life – body, soul, and spirit.

No matter how you receive it, God’s Word can change everything. If you receive it with your spirit, the Word can cut right through to your flesh. If you hear it with your ears, it can make its way to your spirit. Nothing is beyond its reach.

Another word that’s used about the Word of God in this passage is judging. This means that it’s decisive. It decides the deliberations of your heart. It looks at your moral understanding, intents, and thoughtfulness.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13

The Greek word used for that thought means an exposed neck for the killing stroke. There’s absolutely no defense against this weapon. This is especially true when wielded by the One to whom we must give account.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.
Hebrews 4:14-15

The Lord God has called us to enter His rest by His powerful Word. And it’s that same Word that will judge our response to it. Thank God that we have a Great High Priest who has traversed the heavens. He has bridged the gap between us and God’s resting place. We can now hold fast to our profession of faith. This means that we can speak the same way that He speaks.

What will our response be? We’ve been called to enter the powerful place of the Lord’s rest. We’re now responsible for that knowledge. How will we answer? Will we make every effort to enter in? Or will we ignore it like the children of Israel? Remember, we have the Great High Priest to help us. He’s standing with you right now. Here’s the bottom line.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

We must make the decision to enter the place of rest with confidence. That’s what the throne of grace is all about. The word confidence means outspoken, with publicity. It should be common knowledge to all that you’re resting in Christ and are relying upon His power.

The throne of grace is where we have that perfect rest in God. It’s the intimate place of mercy which we talked about in chapter 4. It’s in that place that you find all the grace needed for life and godliness. The passage literally says that this grace will hold you tightly and right on time.

Remember, the key to resting in God is the knowledge that we don’t work to bring about an outcome. We rest in faith knowing that God has already accomplished it. I have the assurance that God will provide all of my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

I don’t work to provide for myself and my family. I merely need to respond correctly to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life. The world has no concept of this rest.

Unfortunately, a lot of the church doesn’t either. My greatest need is to learn how to respond to God. It requires me to put forth the faith to lay hold of this. It should our greatest joy to know that we’re fellow participants in Christ. We can experience the manifestation of His rest and His power. Make every effort to enter into His rest today!

Question: What do you need to do to enter this resting place?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Healing Principles – Truth

MirrorFor the past couple of posts I’ve been talking about God’s divine healing that was provided by Christ on the cross. So far we’ve seen that sickness is a part of the sin nature and our healing is based in the authority of God.

Today I want to talk about a problem I see in the lives of some believers who erroneously believe that denial is the path to their healing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But first, I need to make it clear that I wholeheartedly believe in the confession of the Word of God. We need to speak out our faith. The words of our mouth must line up with God’s view of life as found in the Scriptures.

That being said, there are those who take this too far. If the doctor gives them some bad news, especially when it’s something like cancer, they start to deny it. When they’re with other believers they’ll act as if there’s nothing wrong. You ask them how they’re doing and they say, “I’m healed and whole.”

It actually all comes down to fear. They’re afraid that if somehow they slip up in their “faith confession”, God will never heal them.

The fact is that because sickness is a part of the sin package, it’s to be treated the same way that any other kind of sin is taken care of.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
I John 1:8

Because sickness is a part of this package, you can replace the word sin with sickness. The principle is that claiming you’re not sick, when you are, means that you’ve deceived yourself. We cannot sweep sickness under the carpet and expect to be healed. Denial is never God’s method for anything that needs to be removed from our lives.

God’s way is just the opposite.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

Never deny your sickness. Denial is based in fear and it causes us to leave the path of truth. What we must do with sickness is to confess it so that He can remove it. We do this to let Christ purify us – body and soul.

This agrees with the Word in other parts of Scripture.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
James 5:13-14

This verse tells us some good advice. If you’re going through troubled times, then pray. If you’re cheerful, sing. If you’re sick in some way, call elders in Christ.

Please realize that depending on the church this may or may not be the official elder board. This verse is talking about those who know God’s Word concerning healing.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
James 5:15

This is God’s divine order for the sin package. Confession of the problem and removal by the prayer of authority based upon faith in God’s Word. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical sickness or a sinful activity.

Question: How have you experienced confession and removal in your Christian walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Prayer

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Persuaded are You?

Bible 2We sometimes tend to treat the things of God very lightly. We say things like, “Of course I’m trusting God.” But are we really? How far would we let our faith take us? That’s the real test of our belief.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews talked about some Old Testament saints who stood their ground in the spirit.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 11:13

This Scripture says that they saw the promises of God from a distance. Obviously Christ had not arrived on the scene yet. They had to wait for the fulfillment. They went to their graves fully trusting God for the outcome He promised.

There’s actually more to it than that. The word saw in the above verse literally means to become persuaded. These believers become persuaded about God’s power.

How persuaded are you? They were convinced in God’s ability to accomplish what He said He would do. What’s the confession that people hear from your mouth?

It should be: “God can heal.” “God can restore broken homes.” “God can provide for needs.” “God can change people’s lives.”

Not only were these Old Testament people persuaded by God’s abilities, the verse says that they welcomed His promises. That word welcomed means that they embraced those promises even at a distance.

Are you embracing the Lord’s Word for yourself? It’s not enough just to agree that God is able to do something. You need to make it personal.

“God can heal me.” “God can restore my home.” “God can provide for my needs.” “God can change my life.”

We all have to come to the point where we understand that we serve a very personal God. Christ didn’t just go to the cross for the sins of the world. He went to save ME from MY SIN. I need to see Him as the One who is presently working in my life.

That will lead me to the next thing that these bygone saints were known for. They admitted, literally confessed, that they were aliens and strangers on earth. That word, in Greek, means to speak the same as. I need to speak the same Word that the Lord speaks.

I’m an alien here on earth. I’m a part of the heavenly kingdom. I have access to more than our society does. It changes the way I talk.

“God is my Savior.” “God is my Healer.” “God is my Provider.” “God is my Restorer.”

This is where our strength comes from. It’s not from how good I am, but how good my God is.

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

That word confident is the same word persuaded from the verse above. How persuaded are you, not only that God can do the work, but that He will complete it in you? It’s not about us. It’s all about what He has accomplished for us. Let the Word of God fully persuade you to put your whole trust in the Lord.

Question: What are you trusting God to accomplish in you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

God doesn’t Need to Cool Off

MeditationThis continues the subject of personal revival which we started in my last post.  The road to revival begins by taking a long, hard look at your life in comparison to Jesus.

Once you see your condition, you’re ready for the second step.  David describes it to us in Psalm 51.

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Psalm 51:6-9

The next logical step, after self examination, is to run into the presence of God for forgiveness.  Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that God is mad at you.

It’s never too soon after a failure to go to Him.  Our Heavenly Father doesn’t need any “cooling off time”.  He loves you as much right now as He ever will.  As soon as you’re aware of your fault, seek out His presence.

That was one of David’s greatest character traits.  When he was confronted with his sin, he was quick to repent.  We need to follow his example.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

That’s where true forgiveness can be found.  Remember, it’s God’s forgiveness that can totally wash us clean of our sin.  Don’t try to rely on good intentions, will power, or turning over a new leaf.  Let God work His cleansing power in you.  Lay your sin under the blood of Christ.

That’s the joy and gladness that David talks about.  We’re not just going to try harder.  We’re going to the Lord for Him to clean us by the Holy Spirit.

There’s no need for a guilty conscience.  There’s no need to work extra hard to get God to accept you again.  When God does the work, it’s done and final.

Elsewhere in Scripture it says that God throws our sin into the sea of forgetfulness.  He removes it as far as the East is from the West.  Those are powerful statements about God’s ability to remove the stains of sin.

If you see places of fault or failure in your walk with God – take the time to seek Him for His cleaning process.  Let Christ totally wipe the slate clean.  Then you’re ready to continue your walk toward personal revival.

Question: Why do we sometimes feel that God is mad at us?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,