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Tag Archives: Pharisees

Moses and the Power of God

In the church, we’ve come up with all kinds of excuses as to why we lack the power of God.  The one that I’ve been posting about is the notion that until we walk in righteousness, we’ll never experience the move of the Spirit.

This is exactly how the Pharisees viewed the world.  Unfortunately, many of us are walking in the same amount of power they walked in – NONE.

There was a group of former Pharisees who were trying to lead Christians to follow the Law of Moses “if they were truly saved”.  Paul was vehement in his opposition to this movement.  Let’s go back to Second Corinthians, chapter 3, and continue to look at the revelation that he received concerning this teaching.

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.  But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.  It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:13-14

Here Paul is referring to when Moses came down from the mountain where God delivered the law to him.  The Bible says that Moses’ face shown so brightly with the glory of God that it looked like the sun.  People had to shield their eyes from it.

So that he could be among the people, Moses put a veil, or a cloth, over his face to shield them from the light.  But something else happened.  As Moses was with the people, the glory of God started to fade and grow dim.

At one point, even though the glory was dim enough for people to see without hurting their eyes, Moses left the veil on.  Paul said it was so the people would not see the glory of God fading.  In other words, Moses put on a veil so that the Israelites would not see his spiritual batteries draining.

Moses was a man who walked in great power.  He called down plagues upon Egypt.  He commanded the Red Sea to part.  He obtained water from the rock.  The list of miracles God performed through his hand goes on and on.  Yet, all of Moses power was derived through the law.

On more than one occasion he blew it.  He even missed out on entering the Promised Land because of one of his failings.  As great as his power was, it was only a battery pack compared to what the Holy Spirit offers us today.  What surprises me is that we run to use the same lesser power that Moses used.

We have a better covenant than Moses had.  In my next post I’ll show how trying to live like Moses will actually rob us of spiritual strength.

Question: Why is it popular to think that we can adequately serve God in our own strength?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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Who’s Disciple are You?

Question MarkI’ve been talking about righteousness and the power of God.  In my last post I looked at a healing that took place on the Sabbath day.  The Pharisees were upset and began an investigation into the details of the miracle.

They interviewed the parents of the blind man who was healed to make sure that the person really was blind.  They confirmed that he was their son, and that he truly was born blind.

The Pharisees then question the former blind man again.  This time the man starts getting frustrated with them.  He asks them, “Do you want to become His disciples?  Is that why you’re asking so many questions?”

Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple!  We are disciples of Moses!”
John 9:28

These Pharisees then proceeded to ridicule this man and to malign Jesus.  It’s amazing how emotional people get when you start messing with their traditions.  Their point was that it was better to be a disciple of Moses then to be a disciple of Jesus.

Eventually the man reached the end of his patience and he told the Pharisees exactly what he was thinking.  He showed a lot of insight in his remarks.

“Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.  If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
John 9:32-33

What a simple statement of this deep truth.  He made the point that he had heard of people who lost their sight and then regained it back again.  But a man who was born blind – his eyes have never worked – healing them was unheard of.

His statement raised a question that should resound through the ages.  Jesus and His disciples are healing the sick.  We see the power of God working through them.  If being a disciple of Moses is so great, then why aren’t you healing the sick?  If I were to judge by appearances I would say that the Pharisees are the ones needing to get closer to God.

This is where we find ourselves in the church today.  We’re powerless, yet complaining about and maligning those who do walk in a degree of the Spirit.  If they’re changing lives, seeing people healed and delivered from sin, then there are those who say that there must be something wrong.  They must be off base in their theology.  After all, my church isn’t that exciting.

What’s the truth of the matter?  God is a powerful God.  He desires to operate through His people.  He hates sickness, sin, and destructive habits that hold people in bondage.  It’s always His goal to set the captives free.  If these things are not happening in the church, then there’s something wrong on our end, not God’s.

Question: Why is it common for believers to speak against those who operate in the power of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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Understanding the Kingdom of God #kingdomofGod

CastleThere are some things about the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ that I think we’ve lost sight of.  I want to take a few posts to take a detailed look at the Gospel of Luke, chapter 17.  There are some very surprising things that Jesus said in that text.  But first, He had to correct the Pharisees’ view of the kingdom.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
Luke 17:20-21

The Pharisees were always looking for an occasion to accuse Jesus.  They wanted to find something against Him.  So they came up with this question.  When is the kingdom coming?  They knew that the Messiah was supposed to establish the kingdom.  So they decided to see how smart He was.

Please understand what these men were doing.  They didn’t want to believe in Him.  They weren’t looking for the arrival of the kingdom of God.  They were just looking for a chance to test the Lord and to trick Him into saying something that would open Him up to some accusation.

How does Jesus respond to their question?  In dealing with these men, He turns the tables on them and gives them an answer that refers to the spiritual kingdom instead of the physical.  The Lord’s exhortation to them is that you will not find it by careful observation.

They first needed to understand what “kingdom” means.  A kingdom can be any place.  A king-dom is the domain, or place of dominion of a king.  It’s any place or person over which the King has authority.

So, if the King of kings has authority in your heart, that’s where the kingdom of God is.  Wherever the King has authority to rule is where the kingdom has been established.  The kingdom of God could be among you or in you.  It all depends upon whether or not you have received the King.

If you’re submitted to the King, you’re a part of the kingdom.  If you’re not submitted to the King, then you are not in the kingdom and the kingdom is not in you.  Instead, you will find that the kingdom of God is among you, just like in the parable of the weeds and the wheat (Matthew 13:36-43).

The wheat is a part of the kingdom, the weeds aren’t.  Jesus was explaining the same concept to these Pharisees.  He gives them the spiritual truth even though it wasn’t what they wanted to hear.  They were asking Him for the physical manifestation of the kingdom.

The same applies to us today.  Many believers want to receive the blessings of the kingdom without submitting to the King.  We need to learn that you can’t have one without the other.

Question: What does it mean to be submitted to Christ as King?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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Are You More Like the Pharisees or Jesus? #belikeJesus

Come to JesusI have posted about what happened when the most powerful user of the law (Satan) attacked the most powerful user of the Holy Spirit (Christ).  The battle wasn’t even close.

Now I want to relate how Jesus lived and taught about power on a daily basis.  The last thing I want is to be in error, trying to defeat the devil on his level.  I want to face each battle from a position of strength in the Holy Spirit.

In order to understand this truth, we’ll look at the differences between the Pharisees and Jesus.  It’s no secret that the Pharisees walked in the power of the law.  But…they were powerless in the spirit, so they were usually jealous of Jesus’ power.

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching?  With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!”
Luke 4:36

When Jesus ministered, the people saw something different.  He wasn’t like the Pharisees who simply made excuses why people were sick or poor.  They would point out people’s sin as the answer for everything.  With Jesus, it was a whole different way of ministry.

…and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
Luke 6:19

The people could see the power of God at work through the Lord.  It got to the point where they were not even asking Him to touch them any more.  They were trying to touch Him.  Power was flowing, issuing out, all around Him.  They simply had to put their faith in Him to receive this life transforming flow.  And that’s exactly what it was – a flow of power.

That’s because power is like a liquid.  If the channel is clear, it will move like a river from one person to another.  It was for this reason that a woman tried it later on in the Gospel of Luke.  As He was with the crowd, suddenly Jesus stopped and turned around.

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet.  In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.
Luke 8:46-47

As I was meditating upon these verses, a very interesting question popped up in my mind.  In both Luke 6:19 and Luke 8:46-47 power was flowing out of the Lord.  The question is, was Jesus “controlling” the power?  According to the verses above, He was not consciously deciding who to pray for.  The people were touching Him and the power of God was healing them.  He was simply the avenue through which the Holy Spirit worked.

Questions: Do you want to be used of God in this way?  Are you willing to walk the same road of relationship with the Father that Jesus walked?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God

 

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Scripture and the Word of God

Bible 2I have been posting about the Word of God and its relation to Scripture.  I’ve probably said some things that have caused you to question my beliefs.  In today’s post you’ll see that what I believe is firmly rooted in the teaching of Christ, Himself.

At one point the Pharisees were trying to come up with a reason to kill Jesus.  They were upset that He healed people on the Sabbath and called God “Father,” among other things.  It’s important to see how the Lord handled these men.  Remember, these were people who dedicated their lives to the study and memorization of Scripture.

And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 5:37-40

Notice how the Lord’s words to the Pharisees resemble His words to Satan when He was tempted.  He first tells them that they have not heard from God nor seen God.  He then told them that God’s Word did not live in them.  Wait a minute – they had the Scripture memorized – yet God’s Word did not have a place in their lives.

Jesus then makes a statement that we need to pay particular attention to.  He admits that those around Him diligently study the Scripture.  Isn’t that a good thing?  Why does it sound more like an indictment when the Lord says it?

Because it all depends upon why you’re studying the Scripture.  They were approaching it with the wrong reasoning.  Listen carefully to the words of Christ.  He said that they diligently study the Scriptures because they think that by the Scripture they possess life.

Jesus is clear.  You cannot possess life in Scripture.  You can only possess life in Christ.  It doesn’t matter how hard you study or how many verses you have memorized, according to Jesus, you will not find Life in the Scripture.

You may get mad at me for saying it – but that will not change the truth.  How we handle the Scriptures these days borders on superstition.  So many of us believe that the Bible is going to give us what we want.

I have heard it preached (I preached it, myself, before I understood the truth) that if you want something from God, “just find a Scripture that supports it and stand upon it.”  That’s not what the Bible is for.

Christ came that we might live the abundant life.  That life will only be found in Him.  There are many aspects of the abundant life that the above truth could apply to.  Think of how we do things in the church today.  Christ could be speaking directly to us.

Question: How have you seen the Bible used superstitiously?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Jesus and Religion

John 5:17-18
Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”  For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus and the Pharisees had a hard time getting along.  They were the “religious bunch” in Israel at that time.  Jesus didn’t seem to tolerate religious people too well.  That gets me thinking about the church today.  When you talk to some people, they think that being religious is a plus.  I wonder how they would feel if they ever met Jesus in person.

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.  To make matters worse, the Lord makes an announcement that really starts them grumbling.  He actually calls God His Father.

The Pharisees were always having a problem with what the Lord said and did.  They didn’t like the fact that Jesus made himself out to be God in the flesh.  According to Scripture, that’s who the Messiah was meant to be.  He couldn’t lie about who He was.  Of course, this didn’t sit well with the Pharisees, who enjoyed the esteem and praise of the people.  They didn’t want to hear who the Lord was, because it meant that they’d have to submit their will to His.

It seems that religion always gets in the way of a relationship with Christ.  We need to step back and take a good look at how we view our connection with God.  Do we see it as a set of rules that need to be followed.  Or is it about time and intimacy spent with the Lord.  Don’t become like the Pharisees.  Cultivate the living relationship that Christ wants to have with each of His followers.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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