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Planting the Word

Our Supply in GodI’ve been posting from First Thessalonians. In my last article we saw how Paul was a spiritual father to those he ministered to. Because of that, the people were more willing to receive from his ministry.

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13

God is a co-worker with us and it’s His job to confirm His Word with signs and wonders. When receiving the Word of God, that’s the mindset I must bring with me. I want to hear from God. He’s using a human being to distribute this Word, but I want what God has for me.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:10

This verse explains what God provides for us. Even though the context is talking about finances, Paul makes it clear that the scope is far greater by calling it the harvest of your righteousness.

One major principle is that God provides bread for food. That’s the logos of God. It’s the Word that can give you immediate benefit. It’s readily digestible and palatable.

There’s also another major truth found here. It deals with sowing. If you’re a sower – you want the long-term benefits of the Word of God – then you’re seeking rhema from God. God is willing and able to drop the grain of rhema into your spirit.

The key is that you must be seeking this blessing. It doesn’t happen by accident. You need the attitude that says, “Sure, I hear Pastor Nick preaching, but I want to receive a Word from God.”

God desires to give His Word in all of its forms to anyone that will listen and receive. By the power of His Spirit, He gives both at the same time. God sends the digestible logos of preaching right along with the raw rhema from the mouth of God Himself.

Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
Galatians 3:5

This question that Paul asks summarizes the entire scope of this teaching. Paul literally asks how does God fully supply you with His Spirit and activate His miraculous power in you? That’s the question of the hour. It’s what the church desperately needs to learn and lay hold of. It’s what the world is dying to see in operation.

I believe that it’s this truth that will usher in the end time harvest of souls before the coming of the Lord. The answer that Paul gives is that the Spirit is given and His power is activated in you by the hearing of faith.

This is where the power of God resides. It’s not a work of the law. It only comes as I hear His voice and let it inspire faith in me. This is the foundation for the miraculous. God and I as co-workers.

He’s looking for someone who’ll listen for His voice. It’s time for the church to enter that intimate place with the Lord. Only then will we see the glory of God released through His people.

Question: What’s your mindset while hearing the Word preached or taught?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on June 2, 2017 in Faith, Power of God, Word of God

 

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Faith and the Word

In my last post I talked about our faith and our actions working together. James told us that without action, we only have a dead faith.

What kind of faith is James talking about here? Some ethereal faith, believing it will all turn out good in the end? Absolutely not!! It’s the kind of faith that sees things changing by the power of God.

Where do we get that kind of faith? Paul tells us the answer to that question.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

This is one of those verses that everyone quotes, but few understand. The NIV uses the word message in its translation; but that word does not appear in the Greek original. It simply reads faith comes by hearing

The important thing is; what are you hearing? That’s why the Apostle Paul goes on to explain that this hearing is by the Word of Christ.

There are many who believe that this verse is talking about reading the Bible. Personally, I don’t believe that’s what it’s referring to. The Greek words being used here say that this faith comes from the rhema of Christ. That means Paul is talking about the Word we hear directly from the Holy Spirit.

For a detailed explanation of this aspect of the Word, click here.

This faith is not simply choosing to believe what the Bible says – as good as that is. It’s a faith that’s birthed on the inside of you by spending time in the Spirit. That’s the kind of faith that James is talking about.

How do I know this? Look at the example James gives to illustrate his point.

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
James 2:20-23

According to James, Abraham believed God – had faith in His Word – and acted upon his faith. Because of his faith, Abraham took his only son up on a mountain to offer him as a sacrifice to God. When he stepped out in faith, God then looked upon him and credited righteousness to his account.

Why would Abraham do something like that? Because he had faith in God’s Word. What was the Word that inspired this faith? It couldn’t have been the Bible since it wasn’t even begun to be written yet. The truth is that Abraham heard a Word from God and it planted an unwavering faith on the inside of him.

James is telling us that if we want to have this living faith, then we must spend time in God’s presence, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The kind of faith that moves mountains, heals and delivers is only received in a Word from God.

I believe that this is why there’s so little manifestation of the power of God in our generation. Because of the proliferation of Scripture (a good thing), we have replaced intimate time in God’s presence with Bible reading.

Don’t misunderstand me – reading, memorizing, meditating on, and confession of the Scripture is vital for your growth as a believer. But time spent listening for a Word from God is just as important.

Question: What have you heard and obeyed from the Holy Spirit lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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The Word Works

BibleI’ve been posting about the Word of God and how it imparts life to us. In my last article we saw how the Word of God will only benefit you if it’s received with faith. Faith itself is brought to us by the Word of God. How can I position myself to receive from the Lord?

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13

God is a co-worker with us and it’s His job to confirm His Word with signs and wonders. When receiving the Word of God, that’s the mindset I must bring with me. I want to hear from God. He’s using a human being to distribute this Word, but I want what God has for me.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:10

This verse explains what God provides for us. Even though the context is talking about finances, Paul makes it clear that the scope is far greater by calling it the harvest of your righteousness.

One major principle is that God provides bread for food. That’s the logos of God. It’s the Word that can give you immediate benefit. It’s readily digestible and palatable.

There’s also another major truth found here. It deals with sowing. If you’re a sower – you want the long-term benefits of the Word of God – then you’re seeking rhema from God. God is willing and able to drop the grain of rhema into your spirit.

The key is that you must be seeking this blessing. It doesn’t happen by accident. You need the attitude that says, “Sure, I hear Pastor Nick preaching, but I want to receive a Word from God.”

God desires to give His Word in all of its forms to anyone that will listen and receive. By the power of His Spirit, He gives both at the same time. God sends the digestible logos of preaching right along with the raw rhema from the mouth of God Himself.

Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
Galatians 3:5

This question that Paul asks summarizes the entire scope of this teaching. Paul literally asks how does God fully supply you with His Spirit and activate His miraculous power in you? That’s the question of the hour. It’s what the church desperately needs to learn and lay hold of. It’s what the world is dying to see in operation.

I believe that it’s this truth that will usher in the end time harvest of souls before the coming of the Lord. The answer that Paul gives is that the Spirit is given and His power is activated in you by the hearing of faith.

This is where the power of God resides. It’s not a work of the law. It only comes as I hear His voice and let it inspire faith in me. This is the foundation for the miraculous. God and I as co-workers.

He’s looking for someone who’ll listen for His voice. It’s time for the church to enter that intimate place with the Lord. Only then will we see the glory of God released through His people.

Question: What’s your mindset while hearing the Word preached or taught?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Warfare, Word of God

 

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Receiving God’s Word

BreadI’m posting about giving and receiving the Word of God as spiritual seed. I’ve talked about preaching and teaching being like a baker making a loaf of bread for those who listen. Jesus had something to say in this regard.

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Luke 12:1

On different occasions Jesus told His disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. At that time they didn’t understand what He was saying to them. Later on they realized that the Lord was speaking about their hypocrisy.

This was not a warning that only applied to the disciples. We need to take care not to add our own baggage into the mix. If so, then we will corrupt the pure Word of God with our own pet doctrines. What we mix into the Word determines the spiritual climate of our churches.

For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
Hebrews 4:2

This verse speaks to us about the similarity between us and Israel. It warns us about how we receive the Word. It literally says that the logos of their hearing did not benefit them. The only way it will is if we combine it with faith in the process of receiving it. The Word of God must be combined with your faith in order for it to be of benefit to you.

So, here we are. I’m doing my best to present you with the pure, clear, logos of God in this article. I want to give you life and nourishment through the Word of God. This is the logos of your hearing. There’s only one way that it will accomplish what was intended. That’s for you, the reader, to combine it with faith. But wait a minute! Where do you get this faith which you’re to combine with the Word?

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

Most of us have this verse memorized. Faith comes by hearing the Word. What it says in the Greek is that this faith comes by hearing the rhema of Christ. What is this? Is it a “catch 22”?

I present the logos to you, but the only way it will benefit you is if you combine it with the faith that only comes through rhema. What kind of circular logic is this? Actually, it’s a picture of the infinite wisdom of God. It’s better than anything you could ever imagine.

In my next post, which will finish this series, I’ll show how God wants to impart both logos and rhema into His people. But, more importantly, what we need to do to receive them.

Question: When have you heard a Word from God while listening to a human speaker?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Faith, Ministry, Word of God

 

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The Word of God as Wheat

Wheat field against a blue sky.

In my last post I talked about the Word of God in its different forms. These are emphasized by the Greek words graphe, logos and rhema.

We have seen that graphe refers to the written Word of God – the Scripture. To see the differences between logos and rhema, we need to understand the Scriptural illustration of the Word of God as a seed or grain of wheat.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:9-11

The two purposes that God determines for His Word are seed for the sower and bread for food. It’s just like the function of wheat in the natural. You can find wheat all over the world in literally millions of forms.

Grains of wheat, wheat berries, flour, crackers, and bread; it’s all wheat, just in different textures, shapes, and consistencies. Mankind lives on wheat products.

But the real question is; which form of wheat would you prefer to eat, given a choice? Which form is easier to digest? Which is more palatable to you? Personally, I love a fresh loaf of Italian bread, hot out of the oven.

In the same way, the Word of God comes in many forms. All of them are powerful and life giving. We need understanding to discern the differences and how they relate to us.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

The word in this verse is logos. The logos of God needs to be handled correctly. As a matter of fact, throughout the Scripture we find that logos can be distorted, nullified by tradition, peddled for profit, and spoken vainly or carelessly. This means that we must use integrity when dealing with logos.

Based upon a careful study of Scripture, I believe the following: Rhema is the raw, unadulterated Word that God Himself has spoken. Logos is man’s attempt to express the Word that God has spoken.

Let me use myself as an example. As the Senior Pastor of a church, I’m responsible to spend time in the presence of the Lord, listening for His voice. When I hear from God, that’s rhema to me. It’s the raw grain of the Word that God plants in my heart. I then study and meditate on the rhema I’ve received. As I work on it, I’m grinding up the Word into spiritual “flour”.

Along with that I also study the Scripture. In essence I’m adding the flour of the Apostles Matthew, John, or Paul to the mix. In my studies it’s as if I am mixing and baking the Word into a loaf of bread that I can then present to my congregation for their nourishment.

Of course, along the way I’m adding my personality and preaching style into the mix. That’s why it’s important for pastors and teachers to be careful how they form their spiritual bread.

The Word that I present the congregation with is the logos of God. It’s the same Word, but in a form that’s more digestible to the general group of church people. This is what they’ll feed upon for their edification.

In my next post I’ll explain how this Word from God can be life-giving to those who hear it.

Question: Why will God judge preachers and teachers more strictly than others?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Ministry, Word of God

 

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The Word of Life – Its Three Forms

Bible1Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

We know from Scripture that the Word of God is like seed received into our hearts. How do we receive this life? To answer that question, we’ll go to the beginning of the Gospel of John.

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.
John 6:47-48

This is vital to our understanding of how to receive life. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. That’s the theme of the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. The Lord sums it up in this way.

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
John 6:63

This is the bottom line. In order to walk in the abundant life we must live by every Word of God. Christ is the Living Word – the personification of the Word of God. His Word is spirit and life. It’s a life that can only be received by the spirit. This is the foundational truth of how the Word works in us.

First, we must understand the key to grasping the Word of God. I’m speaking of the two Greek words, logos and rhema. These two words are both translated as “word” in the English, which makes it very hard to see the contrasts without a basic knowledge of the original language. My goal in this series is to bring out the truths contained in these two important words.

A lot of teaching has gone forth in the Faith Movement concerning logos and rhema. Some of it has been good, and some has been a little off. I want our foundation to be solid, so I ask you to read this with an open heart.

Some have mistakenly taught that logos refers to the written Word while rhema is the spoken word. In actuality, the Greek word graphe refers to the written Word. It’s usually translated “writings” or “Scripture”.

In the Bible, both logos and rhema are only referred to as spoken. They’re never read. Graphe is always read and never spoken.

What you’ll find in a careful study of logos and rhema is that they’re almost always indistinguishable from one another. According to Scripture, both of them are alive. Both endure eternally. Both contain creative power. Both are referred to as the sword of the spirit. Both logos and rhema can manifest the power of God.

It’s the differences, however, that I’m going to focus on. The first principle of the Word is found in Matthew 4:4 above. The word used in that verse is rhema. We must live on rhema. This is the source of our life.

The next important truth is found in John 6:63 above. That verse also uses the word rhema. Only rhema is given and received in the spiritual realm. It’s the form that spiritual life takes in order to be transferred from one to another.

You may be wondering why this study of linguistics is so important. I’m now going to put it all together for you so that you can see the beauty of God’s Word in all of its forms. We’ve heard the teaching that the Word of God is like a seed. Think about it as a grain of wheat. In the world, wheat is called the “staff of life.” That makes it a wonderful illustration for the Word.

In my next post I’ll use this view of the seed to explain how God uses His Word to impart life to His people.

Question: How much time do you spend listening to the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Power of God, Word of God

 

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Picking Up the Sword of the Spirit

FireI’m posting about the Sword of the Spirit – the rhema of God. In my last post we saw that using this sword means to hear a Word from God and then act upon it.

Paul talked about our speech in the book of Romans. He tells us what righteousness does and doesn’t say. This is what it says if you take out all of the “don’ts”.

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “…The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming…
Romans 10:6-8

“It” is the righteousness by faith. Scripture makes it clear that the rhema is near you – in your heart and in your mouth. He also calls it the rhema of faith.

We know that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. That’s why we must spend quality time with God – praying in the spirit.

As I do that, He puts His rhema in my heart, and then it overflows from my mouth at the right time. The modern church has yet to learn to use this powerful weapon. The early church used it to turn the world upside down.

Before they had any Scripture. Before MP3’s, Bluerays, TV, Radio, or the Internet. They evangelized their world with only the rhema of God. I believe the next great revival will spring from the church laying hold of this truth.

The rhema of God is a necessity. We can’t fulfill God’s plan without it.

In Romans chapter 13, Paul talks about the authorities established by God. In context it’s talking about the government as our authority.

But since he used the general word authority, it can be applied to anyone with God given authority delegated to them. That means it applies to the church since we’ve been given authority to trample the enemy’s kingdom. We’ve been commanded to set the captives free.

Listen to what Paul says about those who walk in God’s authority.

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

This is something that every believer needs to hear. He does not bear the sword for nothing. We weren’t given the sword to take it out and wave it around on Sunday mornings. It’s not merely an ornamental piece to be put up on display.

It’s the power of God given to the church to break the enemy’s hold over the souls around us. Unfortunately much of the church has been ignoring the sword. It’s time to pull it out and use it to drive the enemy back.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:7-8

This is how God gets glory from our lives. This is how we see the supernatural on a daily basis. It all springs from time spent in the spirit. We hear the voice of the Spirit, and then let the rhema of God do its job – destroying the works of the evil one.

Question: How would evangelism change if the church used the sword of the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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