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The Power of Christ #powerofChrist

LightningIn my last post I talked about my struggle with legalism that I didn’t even know I had.  I was like so many others who “stand on the promises.”  They are trusting in the power of the law instead of the power of God working in them.

Then again, there are other Christians who have thrown out the whole idea altogether.  They’ve tried to live up to the requirements of the promises and failed.  They’ve come to the conclusion that they’ll never gain the blessings of the promises.  So what they’ve done is to start living for themselves and chase after the things of the world.  Unfortunately, if you throw out the promises altogether, and don’t remain in Christ, you’ll find yourself unplugged from the source of our power.

If my attitude is that I don’t want to read the Bible or go to church, then in essence I don’t love God.  This is because love is an action, and I’m not showing it toward the Lord.  You can say, “I love God” all you want, but that only means that you have good feelings toward Him.

That’s usually how the world defines the word “love.”  In that sense you can love God without any of those things.  However, I’m talking about true love – an action where all your heart, soul, mind, and strength are involved.

It’s clear from Scripture that there are two forms of power – the Spirit and the law.  Both of them are strong forces for change, but the power of the Spirit is the greatest.  We also know that trying to fulfill the requirements of the promises is a form of legalism.

Under the New Covenant, the promises serve two purposes, of which both are important.  The blessings of the promises show us what God enjoys doing for us.  The requirement side of the promise shows us what we can do to please God.

The real question we need to deal with is how did Jesus operate in the power?  We will start by seeing how Jesus taught about the power.

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8

This is a simple yet profound truth.  One of the main purposes of Christ coming to the earth was to destroy the devil’s work.  The Lord wanted to end Satan’s reign of terror on this planet.  To do that Christ would have to wield a power much greater than that of the devil.

It’s this power that I want to talk about in these posts.  Christ is our example.  If I can grasp how He walked in the power of God, then I can get the same results by following His principles.

Question: What works of the devil need to be dealt with in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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Legalism and the Promises

LionIn my last post I shared that when I decided to tithe in order for God to rebuke the devourer, I was appealing to the law for my financial blessing.  Through the gentle leading of the Spirit, I came to the realization that I had placed myself under the commandment.  I now understand that trying to fulfill the requirements of the promises is a form of legalism.

What I forgot was this:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
James 2:10

By placing my hope in keeping the tithe law, I was missing the rest of the puzzle.  Here’s what I had neglected.  The passage in Malachi showed me the conditions to rebuke the devourer.  But there are 20 other verses that deal with things I can do that allows the devourer to get my stuff.

They talk about everything from hiring prostitutes to neglecting the needs of the church.  So in effect, when I tithed, God rebuked the devourer.  Then, if I neglected the church, I was calling the devourer back so he could continue his work.

Now, don’t get ahead of me.  This is a dangerous point to only have half of the truth.  You need the whole truth, if you’re going to walk in the power of God.  At this point I’m still dealing with the first half.  You must read all the blogs in this series to get the whole picture.

I became more and more aware of the fact that trying to fulfill the requirements of the promises actually puts me under the law.  So I did a study of promises in the New Testament to see how they’re used under the New Covenant.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.  And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 1:20

I was surprised at what the Scripture had to say.  Nowhere did I find it taught that we have to fulfill the requirements.  As a matter, of fact it was just the opposite.  The reason for this is the finished work of Christ on the cross.  He even told us that was why He came to the earth.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Matthew 5:17

In this statement, Jesus tells us the whole foundation for walking in the blessings of the Word.  Part of His work was to fulfill everything written in the Old Covenant.

The word, fulfill means to cram full, to fill in the holes.  All of the open-ended requirements needed to “claim” the promises have been filled in by Christ.

This means that we are exempt from the requirements, unless we voluntarily place ourselves under the law.  In that case, the kingdom of the enemy has the right to use its power against us on the same level.

Question: What promises have you turned into laws in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God, The Church

 

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How God Exposed my Legalism

SpotlightIn my last post, I looked at Paul’s question – How does God give His Spirit and work power in the church?  This question is the difference between all other religions and Christianity.

Think about it.  In the book of Acts, the early church had no phones, radio, New Testament Scripture, or anything like the resources and knowledge we have today.  Yet they walked in the power of God that’s unrivaled in our modern generation.

As I thought about it, I also realized that my grandparents couldn’t read and had no formal education to speak of.  Yet there was an incredible manifestation of the power of God in their lives – what happened?

Let me say something now, for shock value, that I’ll explain more fully in a later post.  It was when the church started teaching about the promises we began to lose the power.

Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.  I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
Romans 7:9-10

This verse is very clear.  God saved me apart from the law when I trusted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Through this finished work I was made alive apart from the law.  Then the commandment came, which the Scripture says is the power of sin (I Corinthians 15:56). When this happens, death begins its work in me.

Let me explain how God used this truth to minister to me.  One day, as I was driving, praying, and meditating upon the Word, the Holy Spirit started to speak to me.  I had been going through a rough time financially.

I had done everything that I knew to do.  I had stood on all I’d been taught about prayers and confessions.  I’ve always been a tither.  I always remind the Lord what His Word says and that I’m standing on His promises.

At this point in my life I clearly heard God speak to my heart and ask me, “What are you basing your expectation on?”  Immediately my thoughts turned to the Scripture.  I’m basing my hope in the Word that tells me to tithe.  If I’ll tithe, then You will rebuke the devourer and open the windows of Heaven.  I give special offerings when You lead me to, so that I’ll receive the blessings of the seed of faith.

The Lord then asked me a question that floored me.  He said, “So you’re basing your expectation upon the law?”  I was speechless.  I had no response to this.  On the inside I felt like defending and justifying my actions.  But deep down I knew that the Lord had hit upon the very root of the problem, even though at that point I had no clue how to get out of it.

I came to the realization that I had placed myself under the commandment.  Trying to fulfill the requirements of the promises is a form of legalism.

Question: Are there Scriptural promises that you find yourself legalistic about?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God, The Church

 

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