RSS

Tag Archives: seed

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

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

How to Turn Dirt into a Garden

Flower GardenIn my last post I started a “dirt” theme. I talked about a verse in James that tells us how to bring about the changes we need in our lives.

Today I want to ask a related question. How do you turn plain old dirt into a beautiful garden? James tells us the answer a few verses before the one we looked at last time.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:18

The answer to our question comes with the realization that the difference between dirt and a garden is the seed that’s planted. You put the seed into the dirt, water them, and all by themselves the flowers grow.

At some point a transformation takes place. There’s a change from a patch of dirt to a garden. Even though the dirt is still there, people will say, “Look at the wonderful flowers.” I’ve never walked by someone’s garden and said, “Hey, that’s really great dirt.”

In the last post we were told by James that in order to remove the evil in us, we need to humbly accept the Word planted in us. That’s what I’m talking about. Today’s verse tells us that the Lord gave us new birth through the Word. It’s the Word of God that breathes new life into us.

He wants us to be a kind of firstfruits for His glory. Farms go through the same transformation that a garden does. It starts out as dirt, but the emphasis changes to tomatoes, wheat or whatever was planted.

“Who cares about the dirt; look at all those watermelons!”

It’s the same way in our lives. As we allow the Word of God to take root in us, people no longer emphasize the “dirt” that we’re dealing with. It’s the fruit of the Spirit that catches their attention. As I accept the seed of the Word into my heart, it can transform my life. Instead of dirt, I’m now considered firstfruits to God.

This is actually a humbling experience. When the focus turns to the fruit, it no longer has anything to do with us. After all, the dirt has nothing to do with what kind of plant is grown. That’s determined by the seed.

When people see the fruit of the Spirit in us, it’s all the work of God. The humbling admission is that I’m nothing, just a patch of dirt, without His Word in me.

Allow the life transforming Word of God to change you into firstfruits for His glory.

Question: How has the Word of God transformed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Truth about Repentance and Restoration

WeedingThere are times when we pick up a bad attitude towards God. This usually happens when we feel that God isn’t listening to us. We think He’s ignoring us. There was a time in Israel that the people felt the same way.

After they returned from captivity in Babylon, the prophet Malachi was sent with a message from God. Listen to the exchange.

“I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’”
Malachi 1:2a

God gets right down to the basics. It’s all about His love for us. He loves us with an everlasting love.

That love is also a tough love. It’s like a parent who will not let their child touch a hot stove. The Bible clearly teaches that discipline flows out of the Father’s love. That’s usually when we get upset.

In the face of God’s love, the people respond with, “How have you loved us?” It’s a slap in God’s face. They’re saying, “Prove it, God.” It implies that they see no evidence of God’s love.

Why this attitude. It could be because they had just returned from Babylon. Their fields were overgrown. They were surrounded by their enemies. The temple they worshipped in was vastly inferior to the one Solomon built.

“Look at what’s happening to me, God. How can You possibly say that you love me.”

The thing is, we do this all the time in our attitudes. Here’s what they didn’t understand. The condition they found themselves in was because of their sin. It got so bad that they were captured and taken from their homeland.

Now they’ve repented. They’ve turned away from the false gods and were brought back to the land of promise. This is where the attitude springs up.

“Lord I repented, why aren’t things like they were before?”

This is what we need to learn as well. Repentance does not equal restoration. How do you get restoration?

Look at it this way. Spiritually speaking, you spent years planting weeds. Now your life is growing nothing but dandelions and chicory. You see the error of your ways and you repent. Immediately you want God to turn all your weeds into porterhouse steaks! I can tell you from the Word of God, and my own experience – it rarely ever happens that way.

What do you need to do? You dig up the weeds, plant new seed, and wait for the new harvest. Yes, you can trust God for an abundant harvest; and even a quick harvest. But there will still be a period of waiting for the blessings to appear.

Repentance and restoration. They go hand in hand. It’s just that restoration sometimes takes a little longer than we want it to. I repent and replant. Then I remember to keep my attitudes pure as I wait on the Lord to restore what was lost.

Question: What has the Lord restored in your life? How long did it take?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Faith, Revival

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are You Living by the Word?

SpotlightWe understand the principle that the Word of God is like seed.  I want to discuss how this seed is received into our hearts.  If the Word is my life, then it’s important that I know how to handle it correctly.

Jesus 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

It’s the Word that gives us life – the essence of life, the abundant life.  That’s what we desperately need as believers in this generation.

How do we receive this life?  To answer that we’ll go to the beginning of the Gospel of John.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
John 1:4

We see in this verse that life is only found in Christ, the Living Word.  Not only is He life, but this life is the light of men.  If we’re truly going to be the light of the world, then we need this life – the life that only comes from Christ.

If Christ is the life, then how is that life transferred to us?

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

We’ve now come to 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 foundation of understanding how the Word works in us.  Now we must apply it in our everyday situations.

Over the next few posts, I’ll talk about how the Word of God relates to us.  How I receive the Word is important because without it, I’m powerless.

Too many believers are trying to live for God without placing the Living Word at the center of their being.  This is a sure recipe for disaster.  We need the understanding of Scripture to bring us to the place where we operate out of an overflow of God’s Word.

Question: How important is the Living Word of God to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Abundant Life #abundantlife #wordofGod

ThanksgivingOver the past few posts we’ve looked at the parable of the seed planted in different soils.  The message Christ was focusing on should be clear.  In order to prepare my heart for a great harvest, I must come to the realization that the Word of God must be the single crop in my heart.

This is what Scripture means by being single-hearted.  When you have a single crop of the Word planted in your life, you’ve set yourself up for a plentiful harvest.

We have a spiritual epidemic across our nation.  There’s an abundance of the Word of God, with very little fruit being produced.  It’s time to weed out these distractions from the good, rich soil of our hearts.  What we need is the mindset of a farmer when it comes to the Word of God.

“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Matthew 13:23

It’s clear from this verse that in order to see the harvest, I must understand the Word – see that it applies to my life.  I have to go beyond the person who lives too close to the road.

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
Luke 8:15

This literally says that I must hold it down fast; keep it secure in my heart.  It has to take root deeply in my life.  I must go beyond those who have rocky soil.

Mark’s Gospel adds that we have to accept the Word. (Mark 4:20)  This means to associate with, delight in.  If you delight in a crop, you’re going to keep it free of weeds.  You don’t want anything choking it out.

The bottom line is that you must persevere.  In actuality it’s never easy to keep a farm or a garden.  It always requires tending.

I must come to the point where I acknowledge that the Word of God is everything to me.  It’s the same principle as in the physical world.

In the past I’ve had a garden.  The fresh tomatoes, peppers, and squash were a welcome sight throughout the summer and fall.  I could proudly say, “This eggplant came from my garden.”  Here’s the difference – I wasn’t a farmer.  I enjoyed the fresh vegetables grown in my garden, but I didn’t need them to survive.

A true farmer, on the other hand, lives by what he grows.  His livelihood is tied to the crops that he produces.  His new car is a result of the crops he harvested.  The renovations to his home are a result of the harvest.  Everything he has is tied up in his ability to produce a bountiful crop.

We must pick up this same mindset in regards to the Word of God.  We live by the Word.  Everything we need for life and godliness is all tied up in the Word. How I relate to the Word determines my destiny.

Hopefully, you can see by Christ’s teaching that it’s not just a matter of getting the seed into the ground.  You can be planting huge amounts of seed and never see a single piece of fruit if you’re not following the basic principles of spiritual farming.

It’s all about getting the right seed into the right ground, then persevering to make sure that the seed can grow and produce fruit unhindered.

Question: How do you cultivate a “farmer’s mindset”?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Really Understand the Word of God? #wordofGod

Dry1The Gospel message hinges upon the giving and receiving of the Word.  How this takes place is of great importance.  We must understand the mechanics involved in the use of the seed of the Word.  If you want to be a successful farmer, then you must study the most excellent techniques.

The Lord told a parable about four different soil types.  He was talking about the human heart.  We must examine our hearts to see if they are conducive to an abundant harvest of the Word.

The first type of ground that Jesus talks about is the soil right by the road.  It’s the worst place to try and grow anything, whether you’re talking about the spiritual or physical garden.

“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is the seed sown along the path.”
Matthew 13:19

You will notice that this ground is by the road.  This is the busiest place.  All of the dirt and debris from the road is blown onto this soil.  It’s hard and lifeless.  The way Jesus puts it in the original is that these people hear the Word of the kingdom and do not put it together.  It doesn’t mean to understand in the traditional sense.

These are not people who don’t know the meaning of what’s being said.  On the contrary, they understand what the Word is saying; they just don’t want to see how it applies to their lives.  They don’t want to put it all together.

Then, because there is no root of application, it’s very easy for the enemy to come and remove the Word permanently from the person’s life.  It’s as if they had never heard it.

This means that if I want an abundant harvest, I need to do just the opposite.  Whenever I hear a Word from God, I need to assume that it applies to me.  I need to guard the Word that’s placed within my heart.  It must be precious to me.

It also tells me that I can’t live too close to the road.  The more I look at the world, and how it operates, the more I disagree with how the Word functions in me.  I must let the Word work on me and change me as the Lord wills.

That’s why Jesus told us of the importance of knowing our audience.  We have to be careful where we’re planting.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
Matthew 7:6

There will always be those who have no regard for the Word of God.  They will hear, yet never apply it to their lives.  They allow the devil to steal it and it will never bear fruit in them.

Question: What is something that you have recently heard and applied from the Word of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Self-Watering Word of God

rainIn my last post I made a statement about the Word of God planted in us.  I first made the point that we’re powerless to make the seed grow. I then said that the only help we can give it, is in the watering process.

How do we water the seed of the Word of God?  That’s what this post is about.

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 55:10-11

Now that’s an interesting concept.  Not only is the Word seed, it’s also the water.  The first time you receive God’s Word concerning a certain matter, be it salvation or healing, it’s the seed being planted in your life.

After that, you can still hear the Word of God in those areas.  However, it’s now the water to bring the plant to maturity.  That is why it’s so important for me to receive God’s Word in all of its forms.  I need both the initial seed and the water for growth.

As a pastor, I’m accountable to God to bring His Word to those under my care.  I must regularly plant seed and water what’s been planted.  Both are done by a Word from God.

The Word is both the seed and the water.  But that’s not a reason for you to feel comfortable if you’re not a pastor.  You’re under the same marching orders.

You’re accountable to God for the Word God has sent you to plant in the lives of others around you.  It’s this truth that sheds light on a problem that we’re currently experiencing in the body of Christ.

Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.
Proverbs 25:14

It’s very easy to claim gifts that you don’t possess.

“I am a teacher to the body of Christ.”

“I’m a prophet of God.”

It’s easy to lay claim to titles and positions.  The true test is whether or not people are being planted with the Word of God.  Is there fruit to the ministry?

What the world desperately needs right now is a Word from God.  The church promises so much, yet a lot of it is “clouds and wind without rain.”

It’s time for God’s people to press in to receive His Word.  When our society sees someone truly transformed by the Spirit of God, then they’ll hunger to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Question: Why are so many believers content to merely talk about the good things of God, yet not experience them?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,