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God’s Approval System

I’ve been posting from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. In it we’ve been looking at the true Gospel. According to Paul, it comes with a demonstration of God’s power. In my last post I talked about the other methods people must use when they don’t walk in God’s power.

The question is; why is there so little of the whole Gospel of Christ being presented in our generation? It turns out that Paul understood the answer.

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.
1 Thessalonians 2:4

We’ve seen that Paul understood the true Gospel as including power, the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction. That might have been surprising to some. But I believe his words in this verse would totally shock many preachers if they understood their significance.

According to Paul, you need to be approved by God to preach this Gospel. Actually it’s deeper than that. He said that you need God’s approval even to be entrusted with this Gospel.

Is this what’s taught in Bible schools? I don’t think so; at least I’ve never heard it taught. In my experience preaching the Gospel is simply coming up with a Scripture for an opening text. Then we apply it to the need for the hearers to “get saved.”

Where’s the power? Where’s the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, and the deep conviction? I believe that there’s too much unapproved Gospel being preached these days. That’s why many have written off Christianity as a dead horse that needs to be removed from society.

How do you become approved to be entrusted with the true Gospel? The answer to this is why there’s so little of it in our generation. It’s not about college degrees or denominational accreditation. No, it’s much deeper than that.

Paul makes it clear that this approval can only come from God. Furthermore, the test takes place in your heart. Where’s 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.

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. It’s what Jesus talked about in the parable of the sower.

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
Mark 4:20

As I said, the test is in your heart – where you hear and plant the Word. This requires time in the presence of the Lord. It means that we have a listening ear toward the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Then, when Gods sees the quality of the crop produced by the Word planted in our heart, He grants His approval. We will see the manifestation of the Word of God when we present the Gospel. Then the lives of the hearers are changed by that powerful Word from God.

Question: How would churches be different if we sought the approval of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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What is Spiritual Power?

SpeedIn my last post I talked about being hungry to see the power of God. Where is it? Why does the church seem so powerless? How do you walk in God’s power? All of these and more were going around inside of me as the Holy Spirit started to work on me.

At one point the Lord spoke to my heart and I realized that because of my background in Electrical Engineering, I already had an understanding of the natural concepts of power. This revelation started a whole new string of questions in me.

Is spiritual power the same as electrical power? Are the laws that govern them the same? Are there parallels between spiritual and natural power? I began from that point and dove into the Word of God.

I realized right from the beginning that most people, ministers included, have no idea what true power is. We have no concept of the nature and function of power.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
1 Corinthians 4:20

Paul’s words to us are very clear. When it comes to power in the kingdom of God, we had better do more than just talk. The problem is that most of what we call power in the kingdom today is just that – talk. The first step toward walking in the power of God is to understand what true power is all about.

Let’s start by looking at things from a natural perspective. When we talk about “power” it’s usually in the context of electrical power. We use phrases like power lines, power plant, and power outages. We think of electricity as being a form of power. How can this help us to understand what power is?

Very simply put, the definition of power is the same whether you’re talking about electricity coming into your house, or the power of God to heal the sick. The International Edition of the Webster Comprehensive Dictionary defines it in the following way:

“Power is the ability to act. It is the property of a thing that is manifested in effort or action, by virtue of which that thing produces change.”

Let me boil it down for you. True power is the ability to produce change. Change is the key word in that sentence.

It takes power to transform water at room temperature into hot water for a cup of tea. It takes power to get a one-ton car to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour. It takes power to transform a body from sickness to health. It takes power to change a liar into a saint. It takes power to replace guilt with innocence.

If we understand this correctly, then the verse above should bring new understanding. It’s the assignment of the Kingdom of God to produce change. It’s not about how well you can speak about it. Change is the priority.

Question: Is the church producing change? How has the power of God produced change in your life?

© Nicolas Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2016 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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New Book – The Truth About Power

CoverThe following is an excerpt from the introduction to my new book, The Truth about Power.

Where is the manifestation of the power of God in the church today? I believe that this is one of the most important questions that we can ask in this generation. Where’s the power?

As I look out over the church, it grieves me to see the state of utter powerlessness that we accept as normal. I read the Book of Acts and see the heathen world shaken by the testimony of the saints. Healing, prophecy, and the raising of the dead were common events. When I think about what it was like in the early days of Christianity, I’m struck by just how far we’ve fallen. Where’s the power?

I think about the days of revival that have burned throughout this nation’s history. From Azuza Street to the Charismatic Renewal, there have been many outpourings of God’s strength. How did we lose what was gained? Why are there so few churches that portray the full ministry of Jesus? It drives me to my knees to find out why we’re so far from the ideal that the Lord has set before our eyes. Where’s the power?

Please understand; I’m not so foolish as to think that God has left us. I don’t believe that He’s stopped working on the earth. On the contrary, I believe that if there’s a problem, it rests on the human side of the equation. My quest is to find the solution for that problem.

I began to study the Scripture concerning power, and was amazed at the way the physical world shadowed our life in the Spirit. However, it didn’t stop there. As I continued to search the Word, God started dealing with me about the major issues that are hindering the flow of His power through us. These hindrances include attitudes and teachings that we’ve allowed to creep into the church. Many of them sound good on the surface, but they are essentially short circuiting the power of God in our lives. Sometimes the most well-meaning people can do the most damage.

We’ve become very adept at explaining away and excusing our lack of power. We proclaim that we want to see the power of God at work. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, we cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results. That’s insanity. If we’re to experience a new result, we must step out in a new direction. Hopefully this book will provide that catalyst for change.

One quick disclaimer – I don’t want you to think more highly of me than you should. While I believe the truths outlined in this book will ultimately lead to a greater flow of the power of Christ in us, I’m not there yet. I’m only beginning to apply these concepts to my walk with God. I have to struggle with the same old thought patterns that need to be broken. Understanding the truth and walking in it are two different things entirely. It takes time for our walk to come up to the level of our understanding. But it’s my goal to attain to this high calling that God has given me.

I invite you to join me on this journey to discover why there’s so little power in the American church today – and more than that – how to find the river and flow in it once again. May God the Father abundantly bless and anoint you as you read this book.

To see this book on Amazon, click here.

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in Book Reviews, Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Get Rid of Powerlessness Once and for All

For a few posts I’ve been talking about the nature of spiritual power.  I’ve been using the example of electrical power to explain these truths.  We have seen that love is our spiritual “voltage”, while a saved mind is spiritual “current”.  In this final post of the series, I’ll talk about the importance of a saved mind.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  “Never, Lord!” he said.  “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Matthew 16:21-23

Peter was acting on the principles of an unsaved mind.  This actually caused Peter to rebuke and contradict Jesus.

We can end up in that same state if we don’t allow our minds to be saved and renewed by the Word.  We must always check to see what principles we’re acting on.  Are they the truth of God’s Word, or the principles of the world system?

Don’t get into the position where you contradict the Word of God, because you’re acting out your own human wisdom.

“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”
Matthew 13:22

This verse shows the result of an unsaved mind.  Your actions will be based upon worries, the desire for riches and pleasures, rather than the will of God.  A mind choked by the cares of this world is unfruitful, even if we’re hearing the Word of God.

Unfruitful means that the Word does not produce any change in our lives.  If change is not being produced, then that, by definition, is powerlessness.

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else…
Galatians 6:3-4a

If you find yourself in this state of powerlessness, don’t add the condition of self-deception to it.  Take stock of your life.  Do you see the marks of the power of God or not?  Is there room for improvement?  If so, then allow the working of the Holy Spirit to move you into a closer walk with the Lord.

Don’t be satisfied with the same old mediocre walk that most of Christianity calls normal in this generation.  Break free from that mold and seek the power of God to flow freely through your life.  It all depends upon your attitude and your willingness to humble yourself before a holy God who already knows your condition.

Question: Do you desire the power of God in your life?  What’s your next step to walking in it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Power of God

 

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