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Tag Archives: eternal life

The Reason for Perseverance

Sometimes it seems difficult to serve Christ.  That’s especially true in the parts of the world where Christians are persecuted.  Why do we persevere through the trials?

We’re continuing to look at First Corinthians. Paul is teaching about the truth of the resurrection.  He’s writing to some believers who think that the concept of resurrection is only a suggested teaching.

Paul rebukes them and explained that belief in our future resurrection is non-optional.  Without the resurrection, there’s no salvation.

He now talks about how it relates to us.

Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?  If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
1 Corinthians 15:29

This probably refers to a local tradition they had in the early church.  If someone was saved in prison and was martyred before they could be baptized, someone would be baptized for them.  In this way, they could publically proclaim that this person was saved before they died.

But how does looking forward to the resurrection affect us?

And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?  I die every day — I mean that, brothers — just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.  If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained?  If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
1 Corinthians 15:30-32

Paul walked a very difficult road in his service to Christ.  It involved persecution again and again.  It was his view of the resurrection that kept him going.

That’s why he asks the important question.  Why go through this type of suffering if there’s no resurrection?

No resurrection means that there’s no eternal life.  That would mean this life is the only thing we’d experience.  If that was the case, there would be no reason to endure hardship for the Lord.  Without eternal life to look forward to, our goal should be to go for everything the world has to offer.

The fact is that eternal life is real.  We will rise again when Christ returns to the earth.  This present world is not all that there is.  We can give all for Jesus, knowing that our future glory is something to look forward to.

The apostle gives those who don’t believe in the resurrection a final rebuke.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God — I say this to your shame.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34

It all comes down to who you’re trying to impress.  If you spend all of your free time with unbelievers and you want to please them, then your character will suffer.  Their attitudes will start to affect you.

The ones that Paul was writing to actually got to the point where they felt that the Resurrection Day was unimportant.  Their walk with the Lord suffered because they were living for the world.  We can’t allow that to happen to us.

You need to take stock of your friendships.  What effect are they having on you?  Are you in fellowship with other believers, or do you mostly want friendship with the world?

Keep your focus on the eternal.  That’s what will give you the foundation for perseverance in Christ.

Question: How important is the future resurrection to you?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2019 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Jump in the River

diveIn my last post I started talking about the Holy Spirit being described as Living Water in the Scripture. Jesus referred to this water when He talked with the woman at the well. She had no idea what He was talking about.

I also talked about Jesus preparing His disciples for the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church. He told them that the Gift of God was the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-5)

Baptism is a religious word that we sometimes misunderstand. To baptize literally means to submerge or immerse completely in a liquid.

So when we talk about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we’re really talking about being immersed in the Spirit. So the gift of God is a spiritual immersion. The Lord wants us to jump in this spring of living water.

The woman didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about, so He explained it.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14

The water that Christ gives (the Holy Spirit) will become a gushing fountain of this water. And it will continue springing up to eternal life.

Drinking water is a lot like breathing air. In the spirit we need to be breathing in and out. It should be a continual thing.

That’s why Jesus could say in verse 21 that a day is coming to fulfill this in God’s people.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24

We are given the Holy Spirit on the inside of us when we’re saved. But God wants us to be immersed in Him; immersed in the living Holy Spirit.

We sometimes think of eternal life only in terms of length. God wants us to live His kind of life – the God kind of life. That’s why God wants us to have the water of life within us.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

What is the gift of God? It’s the Holy Spirit in you – springing up to eternal life. The gift of God brings eternal life.

The real question we should be asking is; what exactly is eternal life? What does God mean when He uses that phrase?

In my next post I’ll wrap up this series by showing how Christ explains this gift of His life bubbling up within us.

Question: How often do you pray and worship God in the Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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Hope and Our Inheritance

BeamI’ve been posting about the living hope we have in Christ. In my last post I talked about how the Lord’s mercy brings about hope in us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you…
1 Peter 1:3-4

So far we’ve seen that this hope is birthed by mercy through the resurrection of Christ. But we also need to see that this Living Hope brings us into an inheritance.

The fact is that this hope points to an inheritance that we didn’t deserve. There was nothing we could have done to lay hold of it. It was all a work of Jesus Christ for us.

In the above verse there are three nots associated with this inheritance. First of all, it does not perish or decay. Praise God! That means that my inheritance in Christ is not affected by inflation.

It also says that it will not spoil. That means that it will not become soiled or dirty. It will always remain pure and new to us.

Finally, our inheritance will never fade. That means that it will never be used up or become worthless over time. Nothing on this earth meets those criteria. That’s why our hope, our treasure, is in Christ alone. I can look forward to His blessing in my life.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

It’s because of this hope of the inheritance that we can work for God with all our heart. But there’s more. The above verse from Peter doesn’t end there.

…who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:5

Yes, we are birthed by mercy, through the resurrection, into an inheritance; but this Living Hope shields us by God’s power. I don’t need to remind you about the shield of faith. It keeps us secure in times of trial.

But it’s fed by the living expectation that’s fresh and new every morning. Paul puts it this way…

…a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…
Titus 1:2

Paul mentions both faith and knowledge in this verse. Faith is our trust in God’s Word; while knowledge is what we have once our faith has been proven. It’s through these that we can rest on the hope of eternal life.

…so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:7

It’s this hope of eternal life that gives us joy in the trials that we face. This is because we know that the Lord is going to show up and work on our behalf. Never give up your hope; it will be richly rewarded.

Question: How has God proven Himself in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Sent One

BreadI’m taking some time to talk about the Holy Spirit and His work in us. In my last post I looked at the following verse.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John 14:25-26

Notice that Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit was the one whom the Father will send in my name. It’s important to understand that the Spirit was sent to us from the Father.

At one point, just after He fed the 5000, Jesus was speaking to the crowd that was following Him.

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 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 6:26-27

As He speaks, the Lord begins to tell them about spiritual food. He calls it food that remains to the point of eternal life. In other words, food that is eternally alive in you – always nourishing you. It doesn’t just leave your body after a day. That’s what we should be working for.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
John 6:28

They knew He was talking about spiritual food so they asked what kind of work was required.

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
John 6:29

This is how you work for food that remains in you, bringing you eternal life. Believe in the one God has sent. Jesus could have said “believe in me”, “believe in my words,” or “believe in the Son of Man.” But He didn’t and there’s a good reason.

I’m a firm believer that Jesus meant what He said and said what He meant. Since He used a broader term – the one sent – it must be important.

At that point in history – Jesus was the revelation of God sent to Israel. But what about now…to us? Right now the sent one – the revelation of God sent to the world – is the Holy Spirit.

According to Christ, the work of God that feeds your soul is to believe the one that’s sent – the Holy Spirit. When He speaks I have to believe Him. That’s how I nourish my soul. That’s how I can receive spiritual food others have no concept of.

The Holy Spirit has been sent to us. We need a greater revelation of His work in us. In my next post, I’ll continue, taking this in more detail.

Question: What was the last thing you heard from the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2015 in Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

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God and the Candy Machine

 

CandyThis is the first of six reposts of my most read articles. This one is from 2013. It was originally from a series dealing with 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.

Click here to view the original series.

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 2015

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Waking Up on the Last Day

Clouds ReturnI’m continuing my posts on John chapter 6.  So far I’ve covered through verse 44.  If you read through the rest of this chapter, you’ll find that Jesus continues talking about eternal life.  He explains that you must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood to have eternal life.

I’m not going to go through the whole doctrine of the sufficiency of the body and blood of the Lord, given for us.  That would take a year’s worth of posts!  Suffice it to say that the Lord tried to tell them, “I’m the One who gives eternal life and I will raise you up (or literally wake you up) at the last day.”

Please take the time to understand this.  Jesus’ audience refused to hear it.  Even today many Christians have missed this simple truth.

He gives the disciples and us a term we must understand: “the last day.”  The word day in this Scripture is a literal, 24-hour day.  The word is singular.  Jesus said that if you put your trust in Him, He would raise you up at the last day.  What exactly is the last day?

I believe that Jesus built the disciples’ faith step by step.  The disciples were taught by the Lord that there was a time period called this age.  They also knew that the Lord intended to do some cleaning up of the world toward the end of this age, just before He called His people from their graves to receive their rewards. (Matthew 33:24-43)  The only conclusion that makes any sense is that Jesus was talking about the last, literal, twenty-four hour day of this present age.

I think it’s amazing that some preachers and teachers who normally make it a rule to interpret the Bible literally, unless it’s impossible to do so, suddenly lose all concept of reality.  Jesus said, “the last day.”  There’s nothing in this context to indicate that He meant anything other than a normal 24 hour day.  Yet, so many people have interpreted this last day from months to years long.

Throughout the Bible we find both of the terms last day and last days.  I believe that the Holy Spirit knew which term was appropriate in each section of the Scripture.  I also believe that Jesus meant what He said and said what He meant.  I believe that He intends to raise His people – to resurrect them – on the last day of this present age.

Jesus’ teaching is very clear on these points if you dare to take Him at His word.  As we approach the end of this age, God will somehow do a work that establishes a clear distinction between the “sons of the kingdom” and the “sons of the enemy.”  This work will culminate on the last day of the age when “all those who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live…” (John 5:28-29).

This is the great hope of the church.

Question: How does meditating on the return of Christ give you hope?

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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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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