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The Name is the Target

We’re continuing in the Gospel of Mark.  We’ve been looking at Jesus’ discussion of the Last Days with His disciples.  The Lord begins explaining to them how the world will turn against them.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child.  Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.  All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Mark 13:12-13

What a commentary on life in the end-times.  There will be a total breakdown of the family.  In most of history, the family bond was sacred.  The members of a family would do whatever it took to keep each other safe.

Here we see the exact opposite.  Family members turning on one another.  Even to the point of seeing them put to death.

It’s unfortunate that we’re beginning to see the decay of the family taking place right now.  Relatively few families ever eat meals together.  Many times, when they are together, each one is on their devices, lost in their own world of virtual friends.

But it’s the Lord’s last statement that we really need to take to heart.  The first part of that sentence literally reads; all will hate you because of My Name.

The name of Jesus Christ is becoming more and more hated throughout society.  You can talk about anything else, but not the Lord.

We need to come to the realization that it’s not us that the hatred is aimed at.  It’s the name of Jesus that’s the target.  We just happen to be the bearers of that precious name.

There’s a reason why this is the case.  The ruler of this present age hates that name.  He knows that his time is short and that soon the King will come to take His rightful place.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11

This is the reason that society hates that name.  They may not know why this is so.  There’s just an underlying move to do away with its impact on the lives of individuals.  This even includes using this name as a swear word to try and water down its power.

The good news is that the name of Jesus Christ will never be defeated.  It is the name that’s above all other names.  For us, it’s all that we need.

The second part of Jesus statement to His disciples was for us to stand firm to the end.  That’s the result of staying true to the name of Jesus.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10

The same name that’s so hated in society is our greatest victory.  If we will hold fast to that name, we’ll have the power we need to stand strong in the faith.

I don’t have to fear what’s ahead.  The future may be uncertain, but I know the One who has already been there.  If I put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, then I have nothing to fear, and everything to gain.

Question: How has the name of Jesus changed your life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on June 27, 2018 in Power of God, Return of Christ

 

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Jesus Christ – Our Living Hope

Cloud2For a couple of posts we’ve looked at the first time Jesus mentioned the Last days in His teaching (John chapter 5). It’s the basis for constructing our picture of the future return of the Lord.

As I said before, we’ll build “line upon line, precept upon precept” as we go along. In future posts, we’ll be making the picture more complete.

“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
John 5:26-30

The cross is our starting point. We come along about 2000 years later. The physical resurrection of the dead that Jesus talked about hasn’t happened yet. But, we know for a certainty that someday the dead are going to rise and there’s going to be a time of judgment with the result being either eternal life or eternal condemnation.

We don’t know when it’s coming, but there will be a resurrection day. In Jesus’ teaching, that we looked at in my last post, the disciples hadn’t heard anything that was new to them. Jesus didn’t start with some new doctrine that they’d never heard before.

You can find teaching on the resurrection throughout the Old Testament, too. Job looked forward to it in the book of Job chapter 19. It’s a Scripture that’s probably familiar to most of you. It was Job’s statement of faith that one day he was going to see the Lord.

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
Job 19:25-27

Even in the Old Testament, believers knew that there was going to be a resurrection. They understood that God was not going to leave His people in the grave. It’s in a few other places in the Old Testament as well. Not a lot, but enough to let us know that it was a recognized concept.

The Old Testament saints knew about it. Even the Pharisees, as a group, believed and taught that one day God would bring about the resurrection of the dead.

This is where Jesus starts out. It’s a very simple concept, but He begins where His disciples were familiar – the fact of the resurrection.

The only shocker in His teaching was that it will be the voice of Christ that causes the dead to rise. I’m sure that the Pharisees had some choice thoughts on that subject. We, however, are given a foundation upon which to build the rest of the teaching on the return of Christ.

It’s the Lord Himself who is our resurrection. It’s His voice who will call us from our graves to a place of victory. This is a day we can all look forward to as believers. Knowing this, we now have a proper foundation upon which to build the rest of our end-time teaching.

Question: How does the hope of the resurrection comfort you, especially in uncertain times?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2016 in Power of God, Return of Christ

 

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Jesus Christ the Life Giver

One WayI took a couple of posts to deal with the importance of properly studying the Second Coming of Christ. Now I want to look at the key to it all – resurrection. That was the first track of teaching that Jesus brought to His disciples.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 5, we have the first recorded mention that Jesus makes of the end times. I find it amazing that even though this is where Jesus started, I’ve never heard anyone else begin here. As a matter of fact, in this blog you’re going to look at a lot of Scripture not commonly taught as pertaining to the Second Coming of Christ.

In this section of Scripture, persecution is starting to arise because of the things Jesus is saying and doing. The Pharisees don’t like the way Jesus is ignoring their religious traditions. Among other things, He’s healing on the Sabbath.

In this chapter, the Pharisees were starting to have a problem with the Lord. They didn’t like the fact that Jesus made himself out to be God in the flesh. According to the Old Testament, that’s who the Messiah was meant to be.

Jesus couldn’t lie about who He was. Of course, this didn’t sit well with the Pharisees, who wanted all the praise for themselves. They didn’t want to hear who the Lord was, because it meant that they would have had to submit their will to His.

In spite of their unbelief, the Lord starts to explain some things to them.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.”
John 5:19-21

Jesus is telling this group of unbelieving Pharisees that He does the same work as the Father. The Father can raise the dead, so He can raise the dead. This is the basis for our trust in Christ. He’s the Life-giver. If I want to live an abundant life, then there’s nowhere else I can turn to.

Elsewhere, Jesus says emphatically that He is the Resurrection and the Life. Our hope must be firmly planted in Him. He’s the source of our life.

The next few verses tell us that Jesus has the same authority as the Father. Disrespect of the Son is disrespect of the Father who sent Him. That’s why any study about the Return of the Lord must start with His teaching. If I contradict His word, then I’m the one who’s wrong. His teaching is the basis for all others.

Question: What place of authority does the teaching of Christ have in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Power of God, Return of Christ

 

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The Counter-Culture and the Counter-Anointing

Different Anointing

Did you know that the present culture of America has an anointing on it?  I have been posting about Christianity as a counter-culture.  Today I want to talk about the modern cultural anointing.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
1 John 2:18-19

The word antichrist is very interesting.  When some people think antichrist, it brings images of The Beast or a world dictator.  Actually, antichrists have been around as long as the church has been in existence.

This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
1 John 4:3

What we need to understand is that there is a spirit of antichrist that is constantly at work in secular society.  Let’s stop and think about it.  Here is a spirit that is anti – opposite – Christ.

In my last post I made the point that Christ means the Anointed One.  That means we’re talking about an anti-anointing that’s operating in the world.  Whether you know it or not, there are two different anointings at work in our society.  There’s the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of antichrist.

The first verse above tells us that there are people in churches who have bought into the anti-anointing that’s in the world.  Eventually these people get offended at the Gospel of Christ – the true anointing – and they leave.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.  Who is the liar?  It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Such a man is the antichrist — he denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:20-22

It is all about Jesus Christ – that’s the bottom line.  We live in such an accepting and tolerant world.  It’s okay, no matter what you want to talk about…that is until you mention Jesus Christ.  Suddenly the conversation gets shut down.

The reason is clear.  There are two competing spirits at work.  The spirit of antichrist wants no mention of the true anointing.  Christ, the Anointed One and His anointing can break the bondage of sin, sickness, depression, and a whole host of other symptoms of this age.

We need to walk in the boldness of the Holy Spirit.  Even if it means that we are ridiculed, shut down or rejected.  We must be a light for the true anointing of Christ in our generation.

Question: Have you ever noticed intolerance for the name of Jesus Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Revival, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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The Secret of Knowing God’s Will

I’ve been posting about the power of God at work in us.  This is the power that changes us and others.  We saw that the first component of the Holy Spirit’s power in us is love.  It’s this love of Christ that provides the spiritual pressure that propels us forward.

We started by looking at Paul’s view of this power.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

The second component of power is described here as self-discipline.  Actually the word translated self-discipline is literally a saved mind in the Greek.  I believe that the two components of power in the Word of God are love and a saved mind.  If we follow this through we find that the rest of Scripture confirms this.

Remember what I said about electrical power.  The two parts were voltage and current.  How does electrical current relate to the truth of a saved mind?  Physically speaking, current is electrical movement.  Current is how fast the electrons are moving through the wires.  In the verse we read from Second Timothy, Paul said that the components of spiritual power were love and a saved mind.  Just how important is it to possess a “saved mind?”

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Without a saved mind, a mind that has been washed and renewed by the Word of God, we will never grasp what God’s will is for our lives.  The problem is that most modern Christians don’t place a priority upon renewing their minds.  We want to think and act the way the world does.

This makes for a very interesting dilemma.  Most Christians seem to want to know God’s will for their lives.  Yet, we don’t prepare our minds to receive it.  According to this verse the only way to know God’s will, is to renew your mind.

This was evident in the ministry of Christ.

“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”
John 6:38

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
John 4:34

In natural terms, electrical current is the movement of electricity in the lines.  Power requires movement or action.  Jesus was able to move and act because His mind was attuned to God’s will.  It’s clear from Scripture and the life of Christ that a saved mind is spiritual current because it produces action.  We know from the Word of God that “faith without works [action] is dead.” (James 2:17)  A saved mind is a mind that is full of faith THAT ACTS upon that faith.

Question: Is renewing your mind a priority in your walk with Christ?  What do you do to accomplish this?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Power of God

 

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How Can you Measure Spiritual Power?

We have been talking about the nature of God’s power in your life – how His Spirit produces change in us and in those around us.  We also saw that in nature, power is composed of two components, voltage and current.  How about spiritual power?  Scripture gives us some insight into this.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

It’s obvious from this passage that the Lord doesn’t want us operating in fear.  What He desires for His people is a spirit of power.  It seems that the more I meditate on this verse, the clearer I see it.  I believe that this verse is telling us that the spirit of power is evidenced by two component parts – love and self-discipline.

The natural power law says that power is voltage times current.  It’s a known fact that in the natural, power is always measurable.  I believe that if you know the Word of God, you should be able to gauge your level of power.

The first component of power we’ll look at is voltage.  In the natural realm voltage is electrical pressure.  It’s the force that’s pushing the electrons through the wires in your home.  How does this translate into the spiritual?

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
2 Corinthians 5:14

It’s Christ’s love in us that compels us to work for the Lord.  By using the word compel, Paul means that it’s the love of Christ that puts pressure on us to minister for the Lord.  This verse makes it obvious that love is the spiritual equivalent of voltage.  It’s love that puts pressure on us to serve God, to reach out, and to help others.

Jesus Christ walked in more power than anyone who ever walked the earth.  Do we see the evidence of this love putting pressure on His life?

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 14:14

This incident in the life of Christ happened just after the death of John the Baptist.  Jesus had recently been told that Herod had beheaded John.  Not only was John a colleague in ministry, he was also a family member.  If you read through Matthew chapter 14, you’ll find that Jesus went to a remote place to get away from the crowds so that He could mourn the death of John in private.

When He arrived at what He thought would be a secluded spot, Jesus found that the crowds were waiting for Him.  What would we do in that situation?  We know what Christ did.  Scripture says that He was moved, pressured by compassion to minister to the people in spite of His grief.

Question: Have you ever been pressured by the compassion of Christ to go beyond your normal boundaries?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Power of God

 

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Mount Zion

Hebrews 12:22-25
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks.  If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

In the pages of Scripture, Mount Zion was called the Mountain of God.  It was a place where the presence of God was felt very powerfully.

I’m so glad that the presence of the Lord is no longer confined to a specific place.  That being said, there have been times in my life when I have encountered the Holy Spirit in a powerful way.  Other times He spoke with a “still, small voice.”  When we come to Him in an attitude of expectation, He will speak to our hearts.

There is one thing I have learned in these encounters.  When I hear His voice I must be quick to say, “Yes, Lord!”  Sometimes He speaks a hard word – a word that calls for change – as He did many times in Israel’s history.  Change is never easy, but when ordained by God, it’s for the best.

Seek to spend quality time in the presence of the Lord.  But more than that; when He speaks to you, be the one who is ready and willing to agree with His plan for your life.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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