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The Holy Spirit, the Word, and the Blood

cross 2Very often we like to talk about the Holy Spirit. But there’s a work of the Spirit that we don’t usually look forward to. But whether we like it or not, it’s important to let the Spirit have His way in us.

Look at what Jesus said in the section of the Gospel of John where He was talking about sending the Holy Spirit.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
John 15:1-4

So when Christ talks about remaining in Him, He means that we continue to commune with the Holy Spirit. If that’s the case, then who’s doing the life-changing work in us? It must be the Holy Spirit’s job.

We may not like it, but the Spirit of God was sent to prune us to greater fruitfulness. Even the Apostle Paul understood this.

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

In the original Greek language this verse reads, God did not call us to be unpruned. No one in the kingdom of God should be unpruned. If we reject this work, then we’re rejecting the Holy Spirit. That’s probably why He gets grieved over us sometimes.

So it’s clear from the Gospel of John that the Spirit prunes every branch.

The Lord told the Disciples that they were already pruned because of the Word He spoke to them. How can that be the case? Jesus explained it to the disciples.

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

They were pruned because Words Jesus spoke were Spirit and Life. So what exactly is it that prunes us? I want to look at one more verse to help us see an incredible truth.

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Hebrews 9:14

Here we see the Holy Spirit working together with the blood of Christ to cleanse us. This is a powerful work of God in us. It all works together for our righteousness.

We need to understand the interactions of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the blood of Christ. In my next post we’ll look deeper into this life-changing aspect of God’s grace.

Question: How has your life changed since you let the Holy Spirit work in you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Growth – Beyond My Control

SproutI’ve been posting about our relationship to the Word of God.  Specifically, how it works as seed in our lives.  While I am responsible to accept God’s Word into my life, there is another aspect that I have no control over.

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like.  A man scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

One of the most important concepts for us to understand is that the Kingdom of God is all about the Word being planted.  This is a part of all that we do as believers.

As a pastor, my greatest assignment is to receive the Word in order to plant it again in the lives of those who hear me.  Every Christian needs to be planting the Word into the lives of those around them.

With that comes the realization that nothing I do will bring about the growth of that seed, once it has been planted.  From then on it’s out of my control.  Once you plant the Word into the lives of your friends and family, it is time to wait – and that can be the hardest part.

Sometimes we want to force them to produce fruit.  We try to convince and coerce.  That’s usually when we start to push them further away.  We need to learn to plant, then step back and let God provide the increase.

The Word, by its very nature, begins to grow below the surface.  It cannot be stopped, but neither can it be hurried along.  It goes at the pace God has set for it.  One thing is certain; it will produce the harvest that God intended it to bring forth.  This thought was echoed by the apostle Paul.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7

We all have our part to play in the Kingdom of God.  Some of us plant the seed and some water it.  None of us can make it grow, that’s God’s department.  The only help we can give it, once it’s planted, is in the watering process.

Question: Have you ever caused bigger problems by trying to force the Word of God to grow in someone?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Church Dinners or Fasting and Prayer

DinnerThere were times in His ministry that Christ taught some things that the crowd didn’t like, mostly because they didn’t understand it.  As a result, a lot of people left Him, even some of His disciples.  These are some of the Lord’s most important teachings.

I want to take a few posts to look at one such section.  Here’s some background to help you understand what’s happening in this passage of Scripture.  Jesus had just miraculously fed 5000 people.

They were all on a hillside listening to Jesus and hadn’t eaten all day.  The disciples found someone with five loaves of bread and two fish.  They took this meager provision to the Lord.  Jesus then broke the fish and bread and fed the whole crowd with what started out as just a little bit.

He then sent the disciples out on a boat to cross the lake and meet Him on the other side.  As they were in the middle of the crossing a huge storm came up and the disciples feared for their very lives.  In the midst of the storm, Jesus comes to them walking on the water and gets them safely to the other side.

Now, on the far end of the lake, the crowd catches up to the Lord on foot.  They were surprised at how fast He got there.  Of course, He went straight across.  He didn’t have to go the long way around!

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
John 6:25-26

Here we see Jesus going right to the heart of the matter.  “Why do you care where I go and how I get there?  The reason you’re following Me is for what you can get materially.  You only want a free lunch.”

The trouble with the crowd was that they didn’t want to hear and obey His teaching.  Instead, they liked the spread He put on.  They weren’t following Him because He had the words of eternal life.

It’s a sad truth, even in Christian circles today.  If you throw a church dinner everybody comes.  If, on the other hand, you call for a week of special fasting and prayer you get a lot fewer people involved.  It’s easy to see that the desires of the flesh haven’t changed in 2000 years.

Question: Why does it seem so hard to deepen our spiritual walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Encouragement, Prayer

 

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Lacking Love – A Sign of the Times

Gas TankIn my last post I talked about the work it took to love others.  Faith is the fuel, so as we love, our faith is used up.

That’s the hindrance that we face.  We’ve noticed, the more we try to love others, the more of our spiritual reserves are used up.  Anyone in ministry can tell you about this phenomenon.  The more we minister to the needs of others, the more we need to be built up ourselves.

But, instead of more time in the Word to refuel, since faith comes by hearing the Word of God, we decide to love less.  We spend less time truly fellowshipping with other believers.  Less time going to church, prayer meetings, and other events that could possible tap into our faith-fuel reserves.  That’s the condition of many Christians these days.

There is a fallacy with this kind of thinking.  You can’t just decide not to use the car because the gas gauge goes down when you drive it.  That’s simply foolish.

We wouldn’t do that in the natural.  We’d never think of telling our boss, “I’m only coming to work one day a week because my car would use too much gas if I came to work more often.”  Yet, many believers treat God this way all the time.

Jesus warned us that this would be a sign of the last days.

“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18:8b

Jesus was asking if anyone would fuel up in the last days.  That’s a valid question based upon what we see taking place in the church today.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Matthew 24:12-13

Jesus warns us that in the last days the love-generators will start shutting down for lack of fuel.  Engines begin to grow cold once they’re turned off.  In the same way, love begins to grow cold without the addition of faith.

Heed the warning of the Lord.  Don’t become a victim of this age.  Keep your spiritual engine running.  Keep your tank filled with the fuel of faith.  Use it to energize your love walk so that your spiritual voltage is always high.

This is the generation when the church needs to shine the brightest.  The world is getting darker and darker.  This makes the light of the Lord that much more powerful.

Remember, it’s the power of God that draws men to Himself.  But that power is only energized in us by our faith working through love.  It’s not faith all by itself.  Stay fueled up, and keep your love flowing.

Question: How do you keep your “faith tank” filled?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Faith, Power of God

 

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