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The True Expression of Faith

lampI’ve been taking an in-depth look at the parable of the Ten Virgins of Matthew, chapter 21. In my last post we concluded that the combination of faith and love was needed to produce righteousness in our lives. Could this be what we are looking for to explain the mystery of the oil and the lamps producing light?

Today I want to look closely at these concepts, to see if they’re what Jesus is talking about. The first question we must ask ourselves is, are they both non-optional in the forming of the light of our righteousness?

First we’ll look at faith. We know, from Hebrews 11:6, that without faith it is impossible to please God. The verse doesn’t say that it’s difficult to serve God without faith. It says that no matter what you do, how much love is in your heart, or how often you go to church, it’s impossible for your works to count for anything in the kingdom of God apart from faith. Working for God absolutely requires faith.

The second commodity necessary for the light to appear is love. Without love our faith will be of no value. The clear teaching of Scripture in I Corinthians 13:2 says if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

I can have faith in God for incredible miracles and yet still not be able to please Him, if I don’t walk in love. Again, the Scripture makes it clear that love is a non-optional requirement to serve the Lord.

Knowing this, I’m now in a position to understand how faith and love work together in my life. They’re not independent. I can’t use one without the other and expect my works to be pleasing in the sight of God.

So, we can see that these two spiritual concepts pass the first test. What about the next test? How do faith and love relate to each other? Remember, the oil must work through the wick of the lamp in order to produce light.

It takes a lamp for the oil to express its true nature. Light is revealed when the oil expresses itself through the lamp. Does this parallel the scriptural description of faith and love?

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Galatians 5:6

It’s clear from this verse that all the outward trappings that man looks at are not worth a thing in God’s estimation. If we’re to please God, then our works must be a matter of faith expressing itself through love. Just like the light of a lamp is the oil working itself through the lamp, the light of our righteous works by faith working through love.

I believe that in this parable, the lamp is our love and the oil is our faith. Both are needed to produce the kind of light that will draw men and women to Christ for salvation. Love must be the medium through which the true character of my faith is revealed. It’s only as I have my lamp burning, my faith expressing itself through my love, that my works are acceptable before God.

Question: How does your faith express itself through your love in a practical way?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Faith, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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The Well Pleasing Sacrifice

FireIn my last post I talked about having a faith that’s well pleasing to God. Today I want to continue in that theme of pleasing God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

This is one of those verses that we wished wasn’t in the Bible. But it is, so we have to follow it. It says that there’s something we can do that’s holy and well pleasing to God.

The word offer means to stand beside your body. Paul is talking about something that can only be done in the spirit.

The original Greek says that it’s a burnt offering, living, holy, and to God – well pleasing. Wait a minute; we are to be a living burnt offering? There’s really no other way to say it.

Pleasing God requires sacrifice. But what exactly does that mean to us? Most people use the word sacrifice to mean they’ll try harder. They think it tells them to fast on holidays, eat according to the Old Testament food laws, dress like the 1940’s, and talk King James English.

That’s not what God is looking for. If you read the epistle to the Romans, you find that Paul writes about the walk of the spirit. If that’s in place, then you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. How do we get there?

We need the fire of God to consume the sacrifice. In the book of Acts we see tongues of fire on the heads of those praying in the upper room. We are also told (I Thessalonians 5:19) not to quench the Holy Spirit’s fire. Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy, to fan into flame the gift that was within him (II Timothy 1:6).

Paul was a man who had a rich experience of prayer in the spirit. He assumed that those he was writing to also knew how to pray in the spirit. When you pray in the spirit, you’re standing beside your body as a burnt offering.

The last part of the verse in Romans could be modernized as, logically – this is what you signed up for. We are living out a spiritual walk. You can try harder, stumbling around in the flesh without Christ. But if I’m to be well pleasing, it will require a spiritual work.

My last post talked about our faith being tested and approved – that’s the fire. As I pray in the spirit, I stand beside the burnt offering.

Remember, I’m not talking about whether or not you’re saved, or even acceptable to God. You’re all those things, and more, in Christ. I’m talking about going beyond acceptable and into the realm of well-pleasing to God.

This should be our desire if we want to see a move of God in our lifetime.

Question: Why do some believers find this sacrifice so difficult?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
 

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God’s Approval #theanointing

SpotlightI’ve been talking about walking in the anointing of God.  In my last post I discussed being well pleasing to the Lord.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8-10

This verse tells us that we should live the way a child of the light should live.  The fruit of the light is the evidence that we’re walking in the light.

This passage literally says that as children of the light, we need to test and approve what is well pleasing to the Lord.  The more we walk in His light – the more we learn about pleasing Him.

It’s by pleasing the Lord that we secure the anointing.  That’s a key concept that many miss out on.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1Thessalonians 2:4

I’ve asked this before.  Where is your heart set?  Who are you trying to please?  Your anointing (God’s approval of your ministry) is resting on that answer.  It’s not about how much you want it; instead, it’s wrapped up in the direction your heart is taking you.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21

What we have to realize is that in our own power we can never be well pleasing to God.  It only comes from time spent in His presence.  Only God’s power can secure our anointing.

We have to position ourselves to receive His power that works through us.  We have to be driven to walk in the anointing.

This means that we have set our heart on it.  It’s all about getting close enough in the spirit, to find out what’s well pleasing to Him.  It’s the only way to get ourselves in the position to receive.

In the final analysis it can only be accomplished by His power at work in us.

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
2 Corinthians 5:9

Be driven to please God.

Question: What is God calling you to do that will require His power to accomplish?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Anointing

 

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