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Don’t Let Go

SwordI’ve been sharing about David’s mighty men from the Old Testament. They’re an example to us of the warrior spirit that we need in order to fight our spiritual battle.

The next person I want to talk about is a man named Eleazar.

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.
2 Samuel 23:9-10

Apparently there was a time when David’s army started making fun of the Philistines. Israel decided that it wasn’t a good idea to provoke them and they took off. David and his men stayed. In the course of the battle, Eleazar’s hand froze to his sword.

Think about what happens in the body of Christ today. It’s easy to taunt the enemy while we’re safe in church with other believers. What about in the middle of the attack when we’re on our own?

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

We’ve been given the most powerful spiritual weapon anyone can use – the Word of God. It’s the sword we need to defeat the enemy. Does your hand freeze to the sword in the spiritual struggle?

Remember the early church. At one point they were commanded not to speak in Jesus’ name anymore. What did they do? Run and hide? Did they compromise to as not to offend?

They had a prayer meeting, praying in the spirit.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:31

The middle of the battle is when you cling more tightly to the sword. Only then can the victory be assured.

You need to realize that I’m not just talking about reading the Bible. Even though that’s important to our spiritual growth, it’s the Word we hear from God in our prayer time that makes the difference. Even David understood this.

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
Psalms 138:3

There’s a boldness that only comes when we’ve heard God’s voice speaking to us. Then we know that there’s no weapon that can defeat us. It’s time for the church to press in and hear from Heaven. Then we must walk in obedience to the Lord’s will.

Question: When have you been made bold as a result of being in prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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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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The Sword and the Word

KeyI’m taking a few posts to talk about the Sword of the Spirit. This is our most important piece of weaponry in the spiritual battles we face.   In my last article we looked at the Greek word rhema. In Ephesians it said that the Sword of the Spirit is the rhema of God.

The rhema of God is revelation knowledge from the Holy Spirit. That’s what the gates of hell can’t stand up against. Jesus mentioned this to His disciples.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

By His death, burial, and resurrection, Christ was bringing us what we needed for victory. He released a power that could overcome all the attacks of the enemy.

Under the Old Covenant they had no spiritual weapons. All of their battles had to be fought in the natural. That’s why there were so many death penalties. The only way to stop the spirit of adultery was to put to death the person who was controlled by it.

Now we’re under a new and better covenant. It’s interesting to see that nowhere in New Testament are we told that God will fight our battle for us. We now have a weapon that the enemy can’t defend against. He can debate the Bible with you. But there’s no defense against the revealed Word of God spoken against him.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

The rhema of God created the universe – everything – both visible and invisible.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Hebrews 1:3

The universe – both visible and invisible is sustained by the rhema of His power. So it’s clear from Scripture that the rhema of God is the power of God.

This is also the power of God in me.   When I hear from the Spirit of God, I’m receiving His power. When I act upon that Word, I’m walking in the power and authority of the Lord. So using the Sword of the Spirit means that I’m hearing from God and acting on it.

Quoting Scripture didn’t create the world. Quoting the Bible doesn’t sustain the world. It’s the Word of His power.

It’s the rhema of God that formed the atoms of all that we see. It’s the rhema of God that keeps them arranged the way they are. But the rhema of God can also rearrange them. When I hear from God and say “Be healed” by the rhema of God…cancer cells become healthy cells.

“That’s good for a pastor or an evangelist, but not me.”

“He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
John 8:47

He who belongs to God hears the rhema of God. Do you belong to God? Then it’s for you. Spend time in the Lord’s presence and expect to hear a Word that will change your life.

Question: Why aren’t more believers listening for God’s voice?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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God’s Word – The Sword

SwordI want to take a few posts to talk about the greatest weapon that we’ve been given. Without it we’ll never overcome the enemy. Unfortunately, many Christians have never even picked it up.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

This verse is talking about the authority and power of God. He wants to work this through us. In order for that to happen, we must use what He’s given to us. The greatest gift we could be given is the sword of the spirit – the rhema- word of God.

Remember, we’re talking about the armor of God. This is His personal armor and weaponry. That means that this is the sword of the Lord.

Our knowledge of this got watered down over time; especially since the advent of the printing press. With the proliferation of Scripture we have come to assume that whenever we read word of God, it means the Bible.

Please don’t turn me off before I explain this next statement. It may come as a shock to you. You might even think that I’m in error. But the fact is that a careful reading of Scripture will bear me out.

The Bible is not our sword of the spirit. The sword Paul is talking about is a spiritual weapon that wreaks havoc on the enemy.

It’s clear from the Bible and our experience that the devil doesn’t fear the Bible. He actually has it memorized. He even does his best to use it against us. He tried to use it against Jesus – and failed miserably.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”
Matthew 4:5-6

The devil doesn’t fear to hear or use the Bible. According to the verse from Ephesians it’s the rhema of God that’s our spiritual weapon.

Does that mean I don’t need the Bible? Absolutely not! We’re to study to show ourselves approved.

“If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
John 5:46-47

In the literal Greek of this verse, Jesus said, “If you don’t believe what was written, how will you believe my rhema?” It’s the knowledge of Scripture that gives us the foundation we need to hear, trust and obey God’s word to us.

That’s what the sword of the spirit is all about. The Greek word Rhema is the revealed word of God to me…and to you. That’s the greatest weapon of the church – God speaking to us.

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Matthew 16:16-18

Christ is building His church on the rock of the revealed will of God. It’s that word of God that brings the victory. The gates of hell can’t stand against it. It’s this revealed word of God that I want to talk about for a few posts.

Question: How has God spoken to you personally in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Faith, Power of God, Word of God

 

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Spiritual Surgery

 

surgeryI’ve been posting about how we deal with our old sin nature. In my last post I said that water baptism was the first step in this process. Through it we identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

Here Paul tells us that in the same way we trusted Christ in baptism, we must count or literally inventory ourselves dead, indeed, to sin.

This goes right along with our baptism. In verse 3 of Romans chapter 6 we were baptized into His death. Now in verse 11, there’s something that Paul is hoping you’ll move into by faith. Paul describes this step to the Colossian church.

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
Colossians 2:11-12

This is what we want to concentrate on – the putting off of the sinful nature. According to Paul, this is a surgical procedure that can only be done by Christ.

It isn’t a work I can perform. It doesn’t matter how much will-power I put forth. Only Christ, Himself, can bring it to pass in my life. I must submit under the blade of the divine Surgeon.

There are two prerequisites to this surgery. The first is baptism and the second is faith in the power of God. This means that I can’t look to myself and how well I can obey God. It’s all about how much I trust His power working in my life. How much am I willing to surrender to Him?

It’s the same as in the natural world. If I don’t trust the surgeon in a medical procedure, then I will not allow them to put me under the anesthesia.   I’ll only let someone I trust have that much power over my body. Do we trust Christ enough to consent to His life changing work in us?

No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.
Romans 2:29

There’s another key point to this work of Christ in us. It can only be done in the spirit. It’s not something that I can physically accomplish. Neither is it a choice that I make in my mind.

The change is required in my heart. The old self has to be removed. How can my sin nature remove itself? It would never willingly choose to do that.

To get the old sin nature out of our heart requires outside assistance. That’s why it’s a work that only Christ can do, and it must be a spiritual work.

It’s for this reason that an understanding of the Word of God as a sword is so important.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

The sword of the spirit is the scalpel that performs the work in our heart. In the past I’ve emphasized that the things of the spirit can only be received through prayer in the spirit. This is the work that needs to be done in us. It’s a work that must be done in the spirit. Only prayer in the spirit will accomplish the change that’s necessary in our hearts.

In order for God to do this work in us, we must yield ourselves to Him. As in any surgery, we must willingly go under the knife if our healing is to take place. This is true for our spiritual surgery as well.

Question: How has Prayer in the Spirit changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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It’s Not Magic

PowerlessThis is the final post in a series about spiritual warfare. Specifically talking about the helmet and the sword of the spirit. They correspond to the power and authority of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

We need to understand that in God’s kingdom power flows through authority.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
Matthew 8:8-9

The centurion understood the principles of power and authority. Just say the WORD. He knew what it meant to be under authority. Notice that he didn’t say that he was a man in authority. It was because of the authority he was under that he could say, “Do this,” and see it happen.

So if we say, “Be healed,” and nothing happens; what’s the problem? I think it’s an issue of authority and power.

To use power we must line up with authority. We sometimes think that the subject of authority and submission is not a big deal. Things like…

Where I go to church. How I respond to leadership. Where do I fit in ministry? Or even submission within the family.

And I agree. These aren’t a big deal. They don’t cause us to lose our salvation. Unless you want to walk in the power of God.

One of the hallmarks of this generation of Christianity is a lot of talk and no power. We even have a lot of faith and no power.

We sometimes think that if we can say the right words, we’ll receive our miracle. The truth is that the reason the words work is because you’re correctly lined up under authority.

I’ve heard people say, “The Word doesn’t work.” Please understand, the Word of God is not a magic spell like in the movies. That may be what we want the Word to work like.

There’s no magic in the words. The authority and power rests in God. Unless we correctly align with Him, we have no power and authority that activates the Word.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
1 Corinthians 4:20-21

We have to realize this truth. Talk is not enough. If you want power – you must be in position. You need to get yourself rightly aligned under the authority of God.

God’s church needs to walk in this right now. There’s no time to waste. We need the power of God. That’s what will change lives and usher in a harvest of souls in our generation.

Question: How do I align myself under God’s authority?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Is Faith Enough?

Different AnointingIn my last post I began talking about the spiritual helmet and sword. I said that they correspond to our power and authority in the Holy Spirit.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

The truth is that power and authority must be used together. I believe that’s why this verse says to take them at the same time. All the other pieces of armor are taken and described separately.

It was true in the life of Christ as well as now, through Him, in the church.

…to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 25

It’s interesting that we’re told to take them. The responsibility is on us. Of course, this is after the shield of faith is lifted up before us.

Sometimes we seem to think it’s all about faith. In reality, faith is just the start. It’s only when we decide to trust God that the battle starts to become fierce.

It’s as we walk in faith that the enemy takes notice of us. Look at the life of Jesus.

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!”
Luke 4:36

What does it take to drive out a demon? Obviously Jesus had faith – was that enough? Is faith and authority enough? No! It took faith, authority and power to cast out a demon.

It’s no different for us. Authority and power are what’s needed for miracles to be manifest in the church. Faith goes without saying.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Luke 9:1-2

They were given detailed orders. Drive out demons. Heal the sick. Preach the good news. Later in this chapter of Luke they were told not to take money with them – they were to trust God’s provision.

All of these things are wrapped up in power and authority.

It’s funny how many in the body of Christ are running after things. We seek healing, miracles, and financial blessing. What we should be pressing into is the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. If I can come into correct relationship with Him, then the rest will naturally be there.

Question: How can I enter the flow of the Holy Spirit’s power and authority?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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