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Why We Ignore the Cross

cross 2In my last post I talked about the mystery of the power of the cross. It’s something that God expects His church to understand. It’s been revealed to us in His Word.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:22-24

This is a problem we face even in our society today. There’s a pressure on the church to cater our message to those we’re trying to win. Religious people want to hear one thing, while the educational community wants to hear something else. Many times we fall into the trap of trying to please our listeners with the message we think they want to hear.

Paul strips away all of these elements by boiling the message down to its vital component. He preaches the same essential message to all who will listen. That message is the Word of the cross – Christ crucified.

The reason is clear. There’s a supernatural call in that Word. It contains the power of God to draw men and women to the place of repentance.

We need to see this. When we water down or ignore the Word of the cross, we lose the bulk of the power needed to win the lost. Beyond that, those who do come to the Lord with little knowledge of the cross, have no desire to become radical disciples of Christ.

This is what the world desperately needs to see in the church. It’s also what the church needs in order to be transformed into the victorious kingdom that was set forth by Christ. We must hunger and thirst for the Word of the cross.

We’ve tried a whole host of other strategies only to be met with little or no results. Isn’t it time to proclaim Christ the way they did it when the world was “turned upside-down” by the Gospel? We need to renew our knowledge of what happened in and through the cross of Christ. This is a message that the Lord can’t wait to reveal to us if we’ll just stop and listen.

This is one of the things that we’re missing in our churches these days. In my last post I quoted I Corinthians 2:7. In it, Paul explained that this message was destined for our glory. That’s why it’s such a mystery. From the outside, the cross looks like a place of pain, suffering, and weakness. But in reality, it will bring glory to all who live by it.

It was the same for Christ. The demonic kingdom had no idea what would be unleashed on the cross. When the “Lord of Glory” was crucified, there was an explosion of power that rocked the universe. It’s clear that Satan would never have allowed this to happen if he had known what the results would be.

It’s time for God’s people to once again unleash this power in the world. We need to walk in the power of the cross. The message of the cross is vital for our last-days testimony.

Question: What would change if we incorporated the teaching of the cross in our message?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Choose Understanding

DimThe Bible talks a lot about understanding.  Unfortunately we live in a society that runs from it, because with understanding, comes responsibility.  Once I understand something, I’m responsible to walk in it.

The Jewish people were much the same as our world when it came to the ministry of Christ.  Because they rejected understanding, they lost out on a blessing.

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.
Matthew 13:15

The fact is that understanding takes place in the heart.  The Greek word for understanding literally means to put together.  It’s in the heart that I begin to put together all the things that I’ve seen and experienced.

But that takes thought and meditation on your life.  Most people don’t want to do that.  They would rather just have a quick explanation about why things are the way they are.

“If I just had more money, I’d be happy.”

“If my parents had loved me more, my life would have turned out better.”

Understanding makes us responsible for our choices and responses.  That’s why it seems so hard to win the lost to Christ in our generation.

What happens if I try to plant the seed of the Gospel in a heart with no understanding?

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is the seed sown along the path.
Matthew 13:19

Without understanding, Satan can snatch the seed right out of your heart.  The one receiving the Gospel must put it together with their whole life experience without Christ.  That’s why in this society, with the Word of God everywhere, many are rejecting the Gospel.

Our generation is taught to not understand.

“If it feels good, do it.”

Understanding protects the Gospel seed.  This should help us to minister in this society.  For instance, if someone says they’re an atheist, don’t just tell them what the Bible says.  They don’t want to understand it, so it will have no effect.

Instead, tell them, “I’m going to pray that God will make Himself real to you.  When He does, I’ll be there to talk to you about it.”  Then as you go through your day, continue in prayer for them.  This gives the Holy Spirit a chance to work on them.

As the Spirit of God starts to bring light into their experience, they’ll come to a point of decision.  Then it’s up to them whether they want to walk in their new found understanding.  That’s always the first step to God – choosing understanding.

Of course it doesn’t stop when we accept Christ as our Lord.  We must continue in it our whole lives.  It’s the basis for all we do in the Lord.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Ephesians 5:17

Question: How did understanding play a key role in your salvation experience?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Ministry, Prayer, Word of God

 

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Have You been Bought Off?

PeopleWe call Satan “the enemy.”  But in many cases, it looks like regular church people have accepted payment from him to ignore the work of God.  Are you one of these individuals?

God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you
Romans 1:9-10

In this verse, the word serve literally means to serve as a hired menial.  So Paul is saying that he considers himself hired by God for a purpose.  He understands that there’s a payment, a reward that he will receive from God for a job well done.

How do we handle this?  In our modern American culture there’s not a lot of job loyalty anymore.  People are constantly keeping their resumes tuned up in case a better position opens up in another company.  It’s unfortunate, but this same mindset has spilled over into the church.

Satan tries to capitalize on this thinking.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Matthew 4:8-10

In this verse we see Satan trying to give Christ a better offer.  It was promised that the Messiah would one day rule over all the kingdoms of the world.  But by God’s way, the Lord would have to suffer and die in agony to receive it.

Satan is giving Christ the chance to bypass all the pain.  By a simple act of devotion, He could receive the reward without the pain of the cross.  I’m so glad that Jesus saw through the deception, and carried out God’s plan as it was meant to be done.

Satan tries to buy us off all the time.  He holds out to us all the pleasures, entertainments, and activities of the world.  He tells us to just play with these toys for a little while.

“They’re not sinful, and nobody will be hurt by them.”

But there’s a price that’s being paid.  The work of the kingdom is being ignored by a large segment of believers.  There are souls not being saved, prisoners not being set free, and lives not being healed.  There’s a calling that only you can fulfill.

If you’re looking for a better offer, Satan will give it to you; he just won’t follow through with it.  It’s time for the church of Christ to rise to its feet.  We must throw off the distractions of the world and complete the assignments that we were call to do.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
Hebrews 12:28

Our wages from the Lord are well worth what we are called to do.  We are hired by God for a purpose.  Let’s give all and do great things for God!

Questions: How has the enemy tried to buy your time?  How have you answered his offer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Ministry, The Church

 

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