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The Mystery – Christ Crucified

Do I want to be a disciple – an imitator – of Christ?  Do I want to learn the path of life from His example?  If not, then the cross is a word I push off to the corners of my Christian walk.

How do you turn all this around and get the victory?  The Word of the cross is what makes the difference.  There’s just one problem with this kind of thinking.  We don’t like the cross.  It makes us nervous.  It sounds too much like sacrifice.

This isn’t the first time the church has had to deal with this issue.  Paul wrote about it 2000 years ago.

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2

This is a totally different approach to ministry than what we see today.  Paul said that he didn’t arrive on the scene with great, persuasive words of wisdom.  Instead, he preached a simple message – Christ crucified.

That was it.  Not the risen Lord, not the King of Heaven, not Christ the Healer, or seated at the right hand of the Father.  Only the crucified Savior, which he calls the testimony about God.

The Greek word for testimony in this verse literally means mystery.  Scripturally, a mystery is something that wasn’t understood until God actually accomplished it.

That’s what Christ did on the cross.  The Old Testament saints had no concept of how God would use the cross to provide our salvation.

No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.  None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1 Corinthians 2:7-8

It was a secret that God kept hidden away long before our age began.  Even Satan, as intelligent as he is, couldn’t conceive of how God would save us.  If he even had a hint of the power of the cross, the enemy would never have crucified the Lord.  The working of the cross was the greatest mystery of all time.

But wait! Does this mean that it’s a mystery to us?  Of course not.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

This is a mystery that God wants to reveal to us.  If we can grasp what happened on the cross, then it will have the power to totally transform our lives.  This is the message for those who want to participate with the work of God’s ongoing salvation in their lives.  It’s for those who desire to be disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

This is how we’ve gotten so far astray in our nation.  Many of us spend most of our time seeking God for things.  We follow Him for healings, joy, and prosperity.  Yet, we don’t realize that all of these things are available in the person of the crucified Savior.  We need to seek a relationship with the One who has the power to completely save us from the effects of sin.

As we continue this series in First Corinthians, we’ll see how to walk in this power.

Question: Why does this generation seem to avoid teaching about Christ crucified?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2018 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Prepared to Wait

As we continue our study of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is closing His End-Times teaching with His disciples.  These are His concluding statements.  They’re important for us to hear and understand.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard!  Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.”
Mark 13:32-34

He starts by saying that the exact day and hour will be a mystery.  Even Christ, when He took on our humanity, did not retain that knowledge of when that day would be.  Of course, now in His glorified state, Jesus knows when He will return.

His first command to the disciples and us is to watch.  The word literally means to be sleepless.  I don’t believe that the Lord means physical sleep in this verse.  It’s our spiritual eyes that we must keep open.

Too many of God’s people seem to be blind to what’s happening in the spirit.  They go to church for an hour or two a week and expect that this will provide them with everything they need to know.  I wish that were true.

We need intimacy with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.  That’s the only way to remain spiritually alert and vigilant in these Last Days.

 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back — whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
Mark 13:35-37

Jesus is explaining to us a little bit of His time frame here.  Even though He never tells us exactly when He’ll return, He gives us some hints to help us be ready.  He doesn’t want us to be taken by surprise.

Jesus tells us the most important hint as we wait for His return.  He says that He will come when you don’t expect it.  Please be careful when reading the words of Jesus here.  Many miss the whole point of what He says.

Notice that it will not be a surprise because He comes before you expect Him.  What’s going to throw people off is that He’ll arrive later than they thought it would be.  That’s what He’s emphasizing in this verse.  The Lord said that it could be as late as midnight, the early hours of the morning, or even dawn.

What if I said to you, “Can I come over to your house tonight?”?

“Sure,” you reply and you wait for me to show up.  7 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 9 o’clock go by.  At that point, you’ll probably shut the porch light off.  At 10 o’clock you might be in bed.  At 11 o’clock you’ll definitely be in bed.  If I then bang on your door at 3 o’clock in the morning, I’m sure you wouldn’t even get out of bed to answer the door, even though I told you I was coming.

That’s what Jesus is saying.  He’s telling us that He’s coming later than we think.  There will be a time when people think that Jesus should be here by now, but He’s not.  We could call that “prophetic midnight”.

If you’re one of the people who believe that He’s going to be here at this prophetic midnight, you might be disappointed.  We’ve got to be careful.  Most of Christianity is expecting Him to come before certain prophetic events occur.  Jesus said, “I’m going to come later than you think.”

As a matter of fact, what you’re going to find, is that whenever Christ warns us about being ready, He always qualifies it by saying that He’ll come later than we’re expecting.  Jesus said that if the servant knew when the owner was coming he’d be ready.  We need to be spiritually awake and alert no matter what the future holds.

Question: What do you do to remain spiritually alert?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Time Economy

Time ChainI’ve been posting about our time as a commodity. How important is it that I give time to the Lord? It all comes down to God’s will.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Ephesians 1:9-10

This verse talks about the mystery of His will. It’s unfortunate that the working of God’s will is a mystery to most Christians.

“We may never understand the way God moves.”

Whatever you call it – God’s will, His good pleasure, or His purpose; He made this mystery known to us. We, of all people should understand the working of the Lord’s will.

According to this verse, God’s will is put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment. The literal Greek of this verse says that God’s will is brought about in the economy of filling the time.

Economy – here’s another financial term the Bible associates with time. Did you know that filling time is a part of God’s economy? In my last post I said that we spend time, run out of time, save time, and lose time – just like money. We have to understand that there’s an economy of time in the Kingdom of God.

Time is something tangible. It can be traded and exchanged for stuff. That’s basically what you’re doing on your job. In effect, you’re trading your time for your employer’s money. It’s a commodity exchange.

In God’s Kingdom time purchases the fulfillment of vision and prophecy.

So right now we have evil days coming at us one after another. What do we do to bring about God’s will for revival?

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:4-5

Did God create time? Yes! But I believe we’ll understand this concept better if we talk about money first. I don’t care where the money’s been before I got it. It’s mine now, and a part of God’s kingdom.

It all starts with how I receive it. I must receive it with thanksgiving. God is the One who ultimately supplies my need. But it doesn’t stop there. There must be a consecration. It must turn from evil money to good.

Literally, the word consecrate means to be purified, made holy. This is done by two things – the Word of God and prayer. The Word of God talked about here is more than the Bible. It means that I pray, hear His word to me concerning my money, and I obey Him.

We need to apply this process to our time. We thank God for every day that He gives to us. Then we consecrate those days by turning them over to the Lord for His use. I seek His will for my daily schedule.

This is how God’s will is brought about on the earth. It’s as God’s people invest their time in Kingdom work. Time is the commodity that will purchase revival in our generation. Don’t withhold yours from the Lord. Let Christ be Lord over your schedule.

Question: How can I turn my time over to Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

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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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The Mystery of the Cross

Question MarkDo I want to be a disciple – a student – of Christ? Do I want to learn the path of life from His example? If not, then the cross is a word I push off to the corners of my Christian walk.

How do you turn all this around and get the victory? The Word of the cross is what makes the difference. There’s just one problem with this kind of thinking. We don’t like the cross. It makes us nervous. It sounds too much like sacrifice.

This isn’t the first time the church has had to deal with this issue. Paul wrote about it 2000 years ago.

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2

This is a totally different approach to ministry than what we see today. Paul said that he didn’t arrive on the scene with great, persuasive words of wisdom. Instead, he preached a simple message – Christ crucified.

That was it. Not the risen Lord, not the King of Heaven, not Christ the Healer, or seated at the right hand of the Father. Only the crucified Savior, which he calls the testimony about God.

The Greek word for testimony in this verse literally means mystery. Scripturally, a mystery is something that wasn’t understood until God actually accomplished it.

That’s what Christ did on the cross. The Old Testament saints had no concept of how God would use the cross to provide our salvation.

No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1 Corinthians 2:7-8

It was a secret that God kept hidden away from before our age began. Even Satan, as intelligent as he is, couldn’t conceive of how God would save us. If he even had a hint of the power of the cross, Satan would never have crucified the Lord. The working of the cross was the greatest mystery of all time.

But wait! Does this mean that it’s a mystery to us? Of course not.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

This is a mystery that God wants to reveal to us. If we can grasp what happened on the cross, then it will have the power to totally transform our lives. This is the message for those who want to participate with the work of God’s ongoing salvation in their lives. It’s for those who desire to be disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

This is how we’ve gotten so far astray in this nation. We spend most of our time seeking God for things. We follow Him for healings, joy, and prosperity. Yet, we don’t realize that all of these things are available in the person of the crucified Savior. We need to seek a relationship with the One who has the power to completely save us from the effects of sin.

Question: Why does this generation seem to avoid teaching about Christ crucified?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Power of God, The Church

 

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How to Purchase Revival

Fake MoneyI’ve been posting about why revival seems to be delayed. I ended my last post by saying that we are not waiting for revival, but revival is waiting for us. The Apostle Paul wrote about this principle.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Ephesians 1:9-10

In this verse Paul talks about the mystery of God’s will. He’s not talking so much about what God’s will is. The mystery is how God’s will comes to pass on the earth. Even today, how God’s will works is a mystery to most Christians.

“We may never understand the way God moves.”

Paul makes it clear that this mystery has been made known to us. It doesn’t matter what you call it. The verse uses God’s will, good pleasure, and purpose to describe what He plans to do on earth. What we need to understand is how His will is put into effect.

That’s the mystery that He has made known to us. This verse literally says that His will is put into effect in the economy of filling the time. The word economy is usually used to describe our monetary system. It’s a way of tracking the flow of assets in society.

We need to understand that filling time is a part of God’s economy. Think about the financial words we associate with time. We spend time, run out of time, save time, and lose time just to name a few. There is an economy of time in the Kingdom of God.

We must realize that time is a commodity. It’s something tangible. It can be traded and exchanged for stuff. That’s what we do on our jobs; we are trading our time for our employer’s money.

In God’s Kingdom, it’s time that purchases the fulfillment of vision and prophecy. Here’s the problem. We’ve learned to become cheerful givers of money. But we’ve become stingy misers with our time.

Getting back to the original question – how do we lay hold of revival? God wants us to repent – change our thinking. He wants us to turn around. Then He’ll send times of refreshing – revival.

We need revival – we may even want revival. But are we willing to do what it takes to initiate revival? If I said that revival would cost a million dollars, someone would come up with it. If I said revival will cost 2 weeks of your time, very few people would make the investment. It’s going to take our time – that’s the commodity of the next revival.

I wrote the outline for this series of posts a while ago. Since then I had the opportunity to meet with a friend of mine with a prophetic ministry. She said that the Lord had been speaking to her about the coming revival.

She said that God impressed her that it won’t be a revival as much as a revolution. Later on I thought about it. The word revolution comes from the word “revolve.” A turning around. It’s time for the church to turn around.

God’s people are spending too much time on their own desires. We have become a generation who gives God the bare minimum that we can get away with. It’s time to turn the tide. Are you willing to give God your time?

Question: Why is our time so hard to turn over to the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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