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Living as Light

I’ve been posting about Paul’s view of the Second Coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians. We understand that the Resurrection Day is the great hope of the church. At this point in history, we can see it approaching very quickly. But our understanding of Christ’s return is not just about the future.

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-7

The word night speaks of a segment of time – but we’re eternal. Because we live in the eternal realm, we are of the day.

Darkness speaks of a place – but we’re seated with Christ in heavenly places; that’s the kingdom of light. So the night and the darkness is not our time and place.

Paul also tells us the attitude we need in the last days. He says that we’re to be alert and self-controlled. The literal meaning of these words are awake and sober. We can’t be in a spiritual stupor and be victorious as we approach the end of the age.

We need to be what we’re called to be. It’s not our destiny to blend in and become part of the whole. It’s our calling to show that there’s a different way to live.

John the Baptist is an example to us of how to minister to the world while living in the Kingdom of God.

I believe that because of our end-time ministry, we are the “John the Baptist Generation”. There were some interesting prophecies recorded in Scripture about John that I believe can be applied to us.

“…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Luke 1:78-79

Our generation must be a light in the darkness. There has never been a darker time in the modern world. Unless you’re living with your head in the sand, this is an undeniable truth.

We need to understand what being the light entails. It’s obvious that light gets the attention in the dark. There’s no getting around that. We’re not called to just blend into the background.

This is because a light stands in direct opposition to the darkness. There cannot be any two kingdoms that are more opposite than the Kingdom of God and the world.

We are not a part of this society. We live here, work here, and have to interact with those around us. We need to be loving, productive, and contributing to the welfare of our community. But the fact is we don’t BELONG here.

It’s time for us to live up to this calling. The world is desperate to hear the message that’s been entrusted to us. We need to stop chasing their dreams and live for Christ with an urgency that reflects the times we live in.

This generation of the church needs to grow up so that we can function as we must at this time in history. Be equipped with the spiritual weaponry. Be listening and hearing a Word from God. Then continue to walk in that word.

Finally, if we do these things we will be the light that will draw people to Christ. We are the John the Baptist Generation.

Questions: How much light is the church producing right now? How can that light be increased?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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Shining Like Stars

GalaxyI’m posting about how we show the light of Christ to the world around us. The enemy would try to blind their spiritual eyes to the truth. But he can’t stop the power of God.

That’s because the light takes many forms. The prophet Malachi foresaw this day.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Malachi 4:2

He saw righteousness rising like the sun. Have you ever seen sunbeams breaking through the clouds? In the ancient Hebrew culture, they called them the “wings” of the sun. So Malachi saw healing beaming out from righteousness.

That’s a part of the light that we shine. That’s why we pray for the sick, especially for an unsaved person. When God brings healing, that’s the light of Christ breaking through to them.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

But we always have to remember, it’s not our light but His. Peter talked about having the Word in you and allowing it to grow and produce fruit in your life. In speaking about this fruitfulness…

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 1:9

Peter calls unfruitful Christians blind and nearsighted. He says that you’ve forgotten about your past being cleansed by the blood of Christ.

That’s because this person is blind to what God is doing. They’re also nearsighted; they can only see what’s right in front of them. They major on the temporary things of this world.

We need 20/20 vision in the spirit.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Romans 13:12

It’s interesting to see the contrast here between deeds of darkness vs. armor of light. That’s because the armor is all about action.

Truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith – all of these things must be visible. It’s up to us to make the light accessible to the world.

We’re the ones looking into the light. We should be walking in it, letting it change us.

…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…
Philippians 2:15-16

How do we shine like stars? As we hold out the Word. The Word is the light. We hold it out. Not everybody wants it; but some people are touched and changed by it. We need to live in such a way that the light is seen.

Question: How have people seen the light of Christ in your life lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Healing, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Fear of the Light

BeamI’m talking about how we, as believers should be reflecting the light of Christ to the dark world around us. The Bible says that those in darkness hate the light. What does that mean?

Sometimes if they see the life of Christ clearly in us, it may make them uncomfortable.

Those who have been reading this blog for any length of time know that I’m an avid hiker. I’ll go out for a week at a time.

The first time I went on a solo hike, sleeping alone in the woods, it was a different experience. I set up my tent and when the sun went down I went to sleep. I had no clue that this would be one of the strangest nights of my life.

Around two o’clock in the morning I woke up startled. It was as if I was in the center of a huge spotlight. The full moon was directly over me. I could see right through my thin, nylon tent as if it wasn’t even there.

I could see the trees, rocks, and everything around me as clear as day. I felt exposed and uncomfortable as I looked around. I’m very glad that there were no large animals near the tent!

This is the same effect as what happens in the spiritual when we reflect Christ. When you’re used to living in spiritual darkness, the light makes you uncomfortable. It exposes things that you’d rather not see. It shows you your true condition.

Of course, Satan has a plan as well.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

Please take note of the fact that the enemy is called the god of this age. That means that there’s a time limit on his ability to act.

This verse tells us that unbelievers are given blinders if they want them. The Scripture says that if they persist in their unbelief, the enemy will give them blinders so that the light will not beam out to them.

This light is coming from the Good News of Christ – the Anointed One. The light is the glory of His presence within us.

Unbelievers are blinded to the light if they choose to believe the lies of the enemy. That’s why it’s now our job is to get them to take the blinders off. That’s a big assignment. It can only be accomplished in the power of the Spirit.

In my next post I’ll show how the Word says that this takes place.

Question: How have you experienced unbelievers becoming uncomfortable in the presence of the truth?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Being the Light

MoonThe New Testament speaks a lot about our spiritual light. But do we ever stop to consider the implications of this? I want to take a few posts to talk about it.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

The bottom line is that Jesus Christ is the Light. The world is in darkness. Christ – the Light – came into the world.

We know from history and experience that the world, for the most part, hated the light that He brought. That’s because people who live in darkness, are afraid of the light. It makes them uncomfortable. Many times it reveals things they don’t want to see.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
Hebrews 10:32

We’ve learned that salvation comes through embracing that light. Of course, those of us who desire to live in this light have learned that there’s some discomfort to it. But we have to make the decision that I’m going to live in this light, whatever that means.

The Bible says an interesting thing about John the Baptist. It can be applied to us as well.

He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
John 1:7-8

He wasn’t THE light, but merely a witness to the light. In the same way, we are witnesses to the light. But we have to understand what that means.

Jesus testified to the work that took place through John the Baptist.

“John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.”
John 5:35

In His ministry, Jesus said that John was a light that the people enjoyed for a while. It’s the same with us. We are called the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). How can we be the light, yet not be the light?

It’s all a matter of perspective. Like John, we are a witness to the light.

In Psalm 89:37, the Bible says that the moon is the great witness in the sky. The sun is light. The moon is not light, just a big rock. However, it is a witness to the light of the sun.

From the perspective of people on earth the moon is a light. In the same way, we are not the Light, only a witness to it. But from the perspective of people living in darkness we are the light of the world.

This is our job, just like the moon, to faithfully reflect the light of Christ into the world. That’s why it’s so important that we be positioned properly. It’s also why there are “new moon, half-moon, and full moon” type Christians.

Our goal should be to reflect as much of the life of Christ as we possibly can.

Question: How well are you at reflecting Christ to the world?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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The Light of the World

 

NightIn my last post I started talking about the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew, chapter 25. I concluded that the key is identifying what’s meant by the light, the lamps and the oil. If we can understand these three parts, then we’ll know how to act wisely in the days leading up to the return of the Lord.

All ten virgins had the ability to light up their area, at least for a little while. This tells me that all of the Christians in the end-time church will have the same ability to be a light to their generation.

This should help us, because on more than one occasion Jesus told us to be a light to those around us. What does this mean? And more importantly, does it fit into the constraints of the parable of the ten virgins? Let’s allow Jesus Himself to explain it to us.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world. He wants our light to be as conspicuous as a city on a hill, showing that we belong to Him. What is it that shines from our lives to those around us?

It’s clear from the above passage that our light is the works we show forth to those needing a touch from the Lord. All of us have the same ability. Jesus is clear that He will not allow our light to be hidden.

There are many believers who think that they should be able to live their lives without anyone knowing that they’re Christians. They don’t want to do anything to label themselves. Jesus never gave us this option.

We’re to share the Gospel, pray for the sick, and give hope to the hurting around us. I’m not talking about activities that we do in church buildings. God wants us to function like that in our society.

I’m to be a light on the job, at school, at home, or even on the ball field. The point is that when I’m with people, my works should be a light to reflect who Jesus is. So the light then, is the good works that I perform in Jesus’ name.

But wait, when the Lord speaks of “good works”, He’s talking about righteousness. Please understand that righteousness is the only work that’s good in God’s eyes. It’s as I live righteously before God that the world sees the light of life.

This concept is underscored by the Apostle Paul.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14

In this passage Paul states that righteousness and wickedness are the spiritual equivalents of light and darkness.

Question: How can our lives be as bright as possible?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Ministry, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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How Will the World See Jesus?

JesusJesus called us to be the light of the world. We are to bring people to the knowledge of Christ. How does this happen? There’s a picture of this in the book of Revelation.

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
Revelation 1:12-13

Through this passage we can gain great insight into the function of a church. This is the point where John begins to see his vision. The first thing that happens is that he hears the voice of the Lord.

Where’s it coming from? He turns around to locate the source and the initial objects of his attention are the golden lampstands. Verse 20 tells us that the lampstands are the churches. So the first thing John sees is the church lighting up the area.

Then, as the view comes into focus, he starts to see the Lord Jesus Christ walking among the churches. We must always remember that when the world hears the voice of the Lord calling them, the first view they’ll get is of the church. It’s only through the light of God’s people that the world will see Christ.

It’s sad today that, in the United States, the church has become the object of such disrespect. The worst part of it is that most of this was brought on by ourselves.

Our pride, arrogance, and foolishness have caused the world to write us off as worthless. Many godless people today feel that if there are any answers to the problems of life, they won’t be found in a church.

Is the picture in Revelation a representation of your church? Can people hear the voice of the Lord there? When they turn to look, do they see Jesus Christ in all His glory?

We are the body of Christ on earth. It’s ultimately through us that the voice of God is heard. How well are we communicating the message?

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:19-20

The presence of the Lord is an incredible thing, and must not be taken lightly in our churches. Jesus walks among us – He is present in all that we do. This knowledge should motivate us to come together in unity of spirit.

The original Greek of the above verse reads that where two or more come together in My name, there I am in the middle of them. The Lord is not just off to the side watching as a spectator does. He stands between us. He wants to be at the center of all that we do.

Walking in unity assumes that there’s more than one person in the mix. We must come into agreement – for that’s the place of power in God. I can’t do it alone.

God has ordained that there’s a special manifestation of His presence when we come together as “the Church.” It must not be ignored or taken lightly. I need to be a part of a local body of believers. I need to be in unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

That’s how the world will see Christ in us.

Question: How do we show more of the light of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2014 in Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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