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God’s Will vs. Permission

Jesus had to deal with some very controversial subjects sometimes.  This was one of them.  Even today, the subject of divorce and remarriage can cause arguments among believers.

It’s a very complicated issue, and I’m not going to fully deal with it in this post.  I’m merely going to explain what Jesus is saying to those who asked Him a question.  There are plenty of books and articles you can obtain if you want to get deeper into this subject.

Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan.  Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
Mark 10:1-2

Clearly, the Pharisees were trying to cause trouble for Jesus.  The question they asked was; is it right for a man to divorce his wife?  So Jesus is about to answer a question in terms of right and wrong.

As He frequently did with people who should know better, the Lord answered their question with another question.

“What did Moses command you?” he replied.
They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
Mark 10:3-4

These two statements really explain everything that characterized the Pharisees.  Jesus asked what Moses commanded.  They answered with what he permitted.

That’s actually what many Christians ask about in our generation.  Many times I’ve been asked, “Pastor, can I still be a Christian and go to Heaven if I … ?”  You can fill in the blank with anything you want.  What they were really asking is; how far into the world can I get and still go to Heaven?

The problem with that thinking is that it misses the point of salvation.  It’s not about making it to Heaven.  My life in Christ is about becoming who God created me to be.

So Jesus answered His question for them by quoting Moses’ commands from the book of Genesis.

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied.  “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’  ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this.  He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.  And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
Mark 10:5-12

Jesus takes the Pharisees back to Moses’ original commands before the law was given.  We see the will of God in this matter.  Throughout the Bible, God shows that He hates divorce.

It was later on that the law gave permission and requirements for divorce.  The reason was not that divorce was acceptable to God, but that people were going to do it with or without His permission.  Paul explained it this way…

What, then, was the purpose of the law?  It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.
Galatians 3:19a

Like I said, this post is not about fully investigating divorce in Scripture.  Instead, it’s about the lesson Jesus was trying to get across to the Pharisees.

As in all areas of life, my goal should never be to see how much I can get away with and still be a Christian.  I should be trying to please God with every fiber of my being.

Question: How does this truth apply to areas other than divorce?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on April 27, 2018 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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You Can Change Your Family

 

Jet Plane to NowhereI’m posting about Sonship and how it’s a part of God’s plan to work in His people. The Lord is leading us from glory to glory.

By the way, you may notice that I mostly use the word son, rather than sons and daughters. Check out my post, Sonship Includes Women Too, to see why I do that.

In speaking about Sonship, it’s the very reason why God has called pastors into the ministry. Our calling is to help the process of becoming like Christ. Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Ephesians. He says that the ministry gifts (of which pastoring is a part) are given…

…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12-13

The goal then, for every believer, is to be like Jesus. This means we’re to talk like Him, work like Him and love like Him. Jesus Himself said that we were to do His works.

It’s the work of the Holy Spirit in us to achieve this result. But, in order for that to happen, we must cooperate with Him. It’s at this point – me cooperating with the Spirit of Christ – that the life changing power of God manifests. As this takes place it becomes evident to those around that we are walking as sons of God.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John 1:12-13

This verse should cause us to jump up and praise the Lord. The implications alone are staggering. The word right in this verse is the Greek word exusia. It literally means that we have the authority or permission to be God’s children.

If you remember, authority means that we have the right to use power. This means that because God has adopted us, we have the right to use the power of a son of God. Sonship, then, is a position of authority.

But now, notice what this entails. In order to walk in the authority associated with Sonship, we must receive Him and put our faith in His name. When we asked Christ to be our Lord and Savior we took on a new family name. We now are of the household of Christ – we are Christians.

When you’re a member of a family you always carry with you the authority and the power of your family name. This is true whether your name is Smith or Trump. We now carry the family name of He who spoke the world into existence. Yet for the most part we live in spiritual defeat. It’s time for us to rise up and be who God has destined us to be.

Question: What does the word Christian mean to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Power of God, Sonship, The Church

 

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Spiritual Adolescence

SkateboardI’m continuing to post about the growth stages of the believer. Today I’m talking about spiritual adolescence.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the worse stage of growth whether you’re talking about the spiritual or the physical. If there was one point in my life I wouldn’t want to go back to, it would be my pre-teen and teenage years.

The problem with life as an adolescent is that you’re coming into the height of your adult strength and intelligence. Yet, you lack the experience and permission to do things on your own. You see the freedom and resources that adults enjoy, yet you’re locked into a world where you have to wait for your turn to experience it.

In many ways, this is the place that most of the modern church finds itself in. We understand what should be ours in Christ, but walking in it seems to elude us. We need to learn how to overcome and make it successfully through this stage of our Christian development.

I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
1 Corinthians 4:14-16

In this passage, Paul urges his people to follow his example as a mature believer. That’s the toughest assignment for a growing Christian. It’s a very hard thing to move from a childish mindset to that of an adult.

There are behaviors that will work for children that adults will never get away with. The problem in most of the church is that we want the irresponsibility of childhood with the freedom and resources of adulthood. This will never happen.

There has to be a giving up of childish ways. We have to move into our role as mature followers of the risen Lord. Until this happens, we will never attain to our true potential in Christ.

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…
Galatians 4:19

This verse should wake us up. Paul is writing to believers who are in the adolescent stage of their spiritual growth. They are saved and on their way to Heaven, but he tells them something that should get our attention. His burning desire is that Christ would be formed in them.

This is the Greek word morphoo. It’s where we get our English word morph. We hear this word a lot in dealing with computer graphics. When we see special effects in a movie, where one thing turns into something else, we say that it morphed. That’s the spiritual change that we’re looking for.

I want to let the world see a change in me. I want to “morph” into the same life that Christ lived. This is the point where the change happens that brings me from being a child to living as an adult.

In life it happens almost unnoticed. Then one day you see what you’re doing and realize you’re not a child anymore. As Christians, we need to go through this change on a spiritual level. This is what Christ is looking for in us.

Question: What stage of growth do you find yourself in right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Sonship, The Church

 

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Do You Know the Enemy’s Power Source?

BatteryIn my last post I talked about power and authority.  Power is the ability to produce change.  Authority is the permission to use power.

Jesus told us that we had authority over all the power of the enemy.  This causes me to question our current church experience.  If what the Lord said is true, then why does the enemy seem to be winning?

To understand this you must realize that just like electricity, there are two forms of spiritual power.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

These were some of the last words of Jesus before He was taken up into Heaven.  We must realize that our power comes from God Himself through the Holy Spirit in us.  This means that the two sources of spiritual power are the Holy Spirit and sin.

This is a very important fact to know if we’re to grow in our spiritual walk.  Our goal should be to only receive our power from the Holy Spirit.

We must be certain that we’re not powered by the same thing that powers the enemy’s kingdom.  To have this assurance, we need to ask a very important question.  If sin is a power source, then what is the power of sin?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:56-57

That should be an eye opener.  Most Christians have no idea that the power of sin is the law. We seem to have missed this fact even though it’s plainly taught in the Scripture.  This means that without the law, sin would have no power.

As a matter of fact, Satan’s power is derived totally from sin.  So if there were no law, then the enemy would have no power.  Everything that Satan is able to do is powered by the law.  Whether you realize this or not, every accusation and attack that he makes is all based upon the law.  The problem we have is that just knowing this truth isn’t enough to defeat him.

Like AC and DC, both forms are very powerful.  AC is the type of electricity that powers your house.  DC is the type that starts your car in the morning as well as supplying power for the lightning we see in a thunderstorm.  In the same way, the two forms of spiritual power can be very potent.

We, as believers, need to understand the differences so that we’ll not fall into the trap of trying to use the enemy’s power to defeat sin in our lives.

Question: How do we sometimes try to use our sinful nature to defeat sin in our lives?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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