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The World at War

I’ve been talking about the spiritual war that we find ourselves in.  The first battleground was internal.  It’s the war against the flesh.  Having talked about that for a few posts, I now want to move on to the next area of conflict.

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4

Our next area of struggle is against the world.  But, just saying that means different things to different people.  Before I can talk about this battle, I need to explain what exactly is meant by the world.

The word that’s translated, world, is usually the Greek word, cosmos.  This word is NOT talking about the planet earth.

As a matter of fact, we’re not even talking about the people on the earth.  The Bible is clear that our fight is not against fellow human beings.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…
Ephesians 6:12a

As Christians, we can’t look at any group of people and label them the enemy.  Many believers are against certain groups.  Let me be clear.  According to Scripture, abortionists, the LGBT community, Democrats and Republicans are NOT our enemies.

We need to understand clearly that the world we struggle against is not the people around us.  Then what does the Bible mean by the world?

The Greek word, cosmos, is about the world system.  It’s the way the world operates.  It’s how the people of the earth relate to each other.  It’s how they go about pursuing life and happiness.  It’s how our society works.

The problem with this world system is that it’s broken.  It was messed up when Adam and Eve fell from grace.

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
1 John 5:19

When Adam fell, control of the system passed into the hands of the devil.  He now sets the rules for how society operates.

That’s why many get frustrated by the outcomes of certain situations.  It’s not about what’s fair or right or just.  In most cases, things turn out according to the agenda set by the devil.

If that’s the case, then where does mankind fit into the equation?

But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Galatians 3:22

Our society operates according to the rules set by the enemy.  The people in this system try to live the best that they can as they follow those rules.  In effect, they’re prisoners of this system.  It’s a system where sin, missing the mark of perfection, is the main goal.

That’s the place that we find ourselves as believers.  We’re in this system.  But, the Good News is that we’re not a part of the system.  In Christ, we’re not subject to the same rules and constraints as the rest of the population.

Over the next few posts, I’ll explain how our victory over the world system works.

Question: How do you see this world system working in the lives of those around you?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2020 in Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Believer’s Court

Judging by what’s on TV, court cases are very entertaining.  Each side tries to prove its claims.  Who’s doing the best job at convincing the judge or jury?  You never know until the final verdict.

But how does this play out when a believer takes another believer to court?  In Paul’s day, society found it just as entertaining as we do.  In Corinth, there was an epidemic of Christians suing Christians.  The Apostle had some things to say about it.

Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!  I say this to shame you.  Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?  But instead, one brother goes to law against another — and this in front of unbelievers!
1 Corinthians 6:4-6

The problem is that many view the church as an organization rather than an organism.  We are a body.  We’re to function as a unit.

There have been times when I’ve accidentally stuck my own finger into my eye.  In that instance, should my eye take my hand to court to sue for damages?  It may sound foolish to even ask that question.  Taking a fellow believer to court is just as foolish in God’s eyes.

According to Paul, even the least esteemed person in the church is probably qualified to act as an arbitrator between two parties.  In that way, internal differences can stay within the church.

But I believe that there’s a deeper issue here.  It’s about taking into account the fact that the world is watching us.  They’re always looking for a reason to accuse the church of hypocrisy.  We shouldn’t be giving ammunition to the enemy.

I have a deep problem when I feel the need to publically and decisively prove that I’m right.  I need to check my motives.  Is it stemming from bitterness, revenge, low self-esteem, or any of a hundred other faults in my sin nature?

Paul clearly gets to the heart of the matter.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already.  Why not rather be wronged?  Why not rather be cheated?  Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
1 Corinthians 6:7-8

Paul says that a public lawsuit between believers is proof that you’ve been defeated by the enemy.  The actual word he used implies that you’re acting like a failure in your Christian walk.

He tells us that it’s better to be wronged or cheated rather than to bring public shame upon the body of Christ.  But if the hurt was great enough, he suggests private, Christian arbitration.

The problem is that we don’t want a Christian to arbitrate between us.  There’s too great a chance that they might use Biblical principles to judge the case.  In our greed, we want to exact revenge for the hurt we suffered.

Instead, we should always look for the restoration and healing of relationships.  I know that might sound idealistic, but in Christ, the Holy Spirit can do great things through those who submit to Him.  As far as it depends on us – whenever possible – we should take the high road of forgiveness and unity.

Question: When have you chosen to forgive instead of seeking retribution?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2019 in Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Do You Need Spiritual Healing?

DoctorGod is calling His church to rise up and be a witness in this generation. I’ve been posting about David’s band of warriors and how they relate to us.

All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.
1 Samuel 22:2

One group of people who rallied around David was those who were in debt. In the Old Testament the root word of being in debt is led astray.

Spiritually speaking, there are Christians today who have been led astray and now feel indebted to the world. They’re chasing after the things of the world and have obligated themselves. Now they can’t totally live for the Lord because of it.

It’s time to call them to Christ. We need to get strong in the Lord and break the hold that the world has over us.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:8

God is calling His strays back into the harvest field.

“I used to go to church.”

Don’t you want to fulfill your calling? It’s time for you to get back into the spiritual battle. Hear the Word of the Lord. Get strong again.

Think about when David and men came into town for supplies. The debt collectors didn’t go near them. There was strength in numbers. It’s the same in the body of Christ.

Sometimes people make it sound so holy.

“I don’t need church. I’m living for God – it’s just me and Jesus.”

The fact is that the devil has an easy time beating up the “lone ranger” Christians. It’s time to get back into the safety of God’s people.

These believers need to get back on the road to their calling. We can’t fulfill our destiny all alone. We need each other.

Maybe you feel bruised and battered. It might have even been at the hands of church people. I have to admit that there are some churches that do more harm than good.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Jesus Christ has established His church as a place of healing, growth, and worship. Don’t allow the foolishness of others to rob you of your destiny.

For every church that hurts people, there are many others that fulfill God’s calling to bring healing to the broken. You need to overcome your hurt, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring you to a body of believers who are living correctly for Christ.

Believe it or not, your hurt is only temporary. God wants to put you back on your feet to live for Him. Don’t waste another day missing your calling. Do what it takes to overcome the attack of the enemy that was meant to destroy you.

Let God have the final Word in your life. You can overcome in Christ.

Question: How has the Lord brought you victoriously through hurts in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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First Impressions of the Holy Spirit

DoveI believe that the church doesn’t acknowledge the Holy Spirit as it should. We don’t fully understand the blessing we’ve been given. We have the Spirit of the living God residing in us.

I wanted to delve deeper into understanding the Holy Spirit as a person. So I began to teach a series on the Holy Spirit in my Wednesday night Bible Study. As I began to study, the Lord started showing me things that I wasn’t prepared for.

What I found is going to be the subject of my next few posts. My hope is that it will lead you to a greater respect and understanding of the Spirit that lives within you.

As I said, I was studying what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. Who wrote the Bible? Obviously THE HOLY SPIRIT! He used individuals to write it down, but the Lord breathed His Word through them to bring us the Scripture.

In thinking about what was written, I asked myself a question. What’s the first thing that the Holy Spirit says about Himself? After all, first impressions are the most important.

In my studies I’ve come to believe that the book of James was the first of the New Testament to be written.

In that short book there’s only one direct reference to the Holy Spirit and it took me off guard.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
James 4:4-5

We know that God the Holy Spirit wants to be your friend. But it’s interesting to see that the first thing He reveals about Himself is that you can’t be both His friend and the world’s friend.

Understand – you can have friends in the world. But the Spirit of God doesn’t want you to be a friend of the world system. We can’t be chasing after the same things that the world does.

The Scripture above literally says that the Holy Spirit is intensely jealous. This is a destructive jealousy to the point where He actively seeks to destroy whatever would try to steal the heart of those He loves.

He knows that you love Him. He knows the plans He has for you. He wants to bring you prosperity and health. He has a hope and a future destiny for you.

But at the same time He sees someone trying to steal your heart. Someone who has plans to ruin your life. Someone with a desire to steal, kill, and destroy.

My question is; if that’s the first thing He says, how important is it to Him? An even greater question is; how important does this seem to the church today? Unfortunately, I believe that we’ve lost this sense of the Lord’s jealousy.

That’s what I intent to write about for the remainder of this series.

Question: How does the knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s jealousy affect your walk with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival

 

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How Will the World See Jesus?

JesusJesus called us to be the light of the world. We are to bring people to the knowledge of Christ. How does this happen? There’s a picture of this in the book of Revelation.

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
Revelation 1:12-13

Through this passage we can gain great insight into the function of a church. This is the point where John begins to see his vision. The first thing that happens is that he hears the voice of the Lord.

Where’s it coming from? He turns around to locate the source and the initial objects of his attention are the golden lampstands. Verse 20 tells us that the lampstands are the churches. So the first thing John sees is the church lighting up the area.

Then, as the view comes into focus, he starts to see the Lord Jesus Christ walking among the churches. We must always remember that when the world hears the voice of the Lord calling them, the first view they’ll get is of the church. It’s only through the light of God’s people that the world will see Christ.

It’s sad today that, in the United States, the church has become the object of such disrespect. The worst part of it is that most of this was brought on by ourselves.

Our pride, arrogance, and foolishness have caused the world to write us off as worthless. Many godless people today feel that if there are any answers to the problems of life, they won’t be found in a church.

Is the picture in Revelation a representation of your church? Can people hear the voice of the Lord there? When they turn to look, do they see Jesus Christ in all His glory?

We are the body of Christ on earth. It’s ultimately through us that the voice of God is heard. How well are we communicating the message?

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:19-20

The presence of the Lord is an incredible thing, and must not be taken lightly in our churches. Jesus walks among us – He is present in all that we do. This knowledge should motivate us to come together in unity of spirit.

The original Greek of the above verse reads that where two or more come together in My name, there I am in the middle of them. The Lord is not just off to the side watching as a spectator does. He stands between us. He wants to be at the center of all that we do.

Walking in unity assumes that there’s more than one person in the mix. We must come into agreement – for that’s the place of power in God. I can’t do it alone.

God has ordained that there’s a special manifestation of His presence when we come together as “the Church.” It must not be ignored or taken lightly. I need to be a part of a local body of believers. I need to be in unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

That’s how the world will see Christ in us.

Question: How do we show more of the light of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2014 in Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Building for the Unseen

FoundationThis is the final post in a series about the faith of Noah. He’s one of the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews, chapter 11. It says of him that he was warned about the unseen, and built for the future by faith. This is the same thing that each of us is called to do.

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15

How we build our lives will be shown for what it really is. After the final tally, some will have no building. The work of others will be burned up. I want to be of the company of those who have a work that lasts.

For this to happen, I must take care how I build, knowing that it’s for eternity. Remember what was said about Noah.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:7

Look at his results. The choice that he made was far-reaching. In most cases, our choices affect so many others.

First of all we see that it saved his family. He had to take care in how he built. In the midst of the storm they were walking on floorboards that might have been laid down 50 years before. His work had to last.

I might think that when I tithe it only affects me. But that’s not entirely true. It will have an effect upon my children and grandchildren.

The last part of the verse literally says that he condemned the world (system). Every day that we live by God’s standards proves that the world system is wrong. Because of this, I don’t fear what they fear. I don’t have to worry about how the economy is going to affect me or what kind of germs I’m being exposed to.

Just like Noah, we are heirs of righteousness. Please understand that righteousness is the complete package of grace that Christ purchased for us. This includes our healing, prosperity, joy, peace, goodness, and so much more.

By taking care how I build, I put myself in a position to receive from God. There may be things in my life that are not seen yet, but I’m getting into position. We need to make the choice to build for the unseen.

Questions: What are you trusting God for that you haven’t seen yet? How are you building for it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Faith, Word of God

 

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Our Culture of Darkness

SunriseA little over a year ago I posted a series about Christianity as a counter-culture. I want to pick up that theme again for a few more posts. Too many believers want to keep their feet in both the church and the world. That’s going to become increasingly difficult as we approach the Lord’s return.

The world hates Christ and His people. Please understand what I mean by this. I’m talking about the world system and not the individual people themselves. It’s the system – the way our culture has established itself – that’s against the knowledge of Christ.

The Lord spoke about it.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19

We live in a society that hates the light – the knowledge of truth. This is because truth is an agent of change. When I begin to know and understand the truth, I’m responsible to do something with it.

Because of this, the default response of the world is, “I don’t want to know the truth.” They have found that ignorance is bliss – at least in the short term.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:17-18

Here’s what many people don’t understand. Christ didn’t come to condemn the world. And it’s definitely not our job either. We are not here to rebuke sinners for doing what is natural to them.

The problem arises when the light of truth becomes evident. Even though we may not directly condemn anyone, by rejecting the truth they stand condemned. In effect, they’ve condemned themselves.

When you know that there’s a right path, yet you knowingly chose the wrong way, you become self-condemned. At that point the only solution is to cram your life with so many distractions that you never think about this truth.

That’s where our society finds itself today. We have more opportunities to amuse ourselves than ever before. I chose that word on purpose. A-muse – it literally means to not-think.

On the other side of the coin, we as believers should be the ones who don’t fear the truth. We should delight in the presence of the Lord and His Word. We should be welcoming the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We can’t afford to pick up the attitude of the world. Don’t fall victim to the distractions of this age which will short-circuit your destiny in Christ. Spend time in the light of Christ and His truth.

Question: How does walking in the light differ from walking in the darkness?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Christian – Why the Word Gets Bad Press #Christian

Dry2It used to be that if you were known as a Christian, it was considered a good thing in our society.  Now, if you use that term, you’re labeled everything from a loser, to a hypocrite, to emotionally disturbed.  Why is that?

It has a lot to do with how we portray ourselves to the world.  We say things about ourselves that give hope to the world only to let them down when they find out the real story.  I’m not talking about Christ, but about us.

I believe that if we truly portrayed Christ to the world, they’d have a different opinion of us.  It’s obvious, even today, that those churches and individuals who walk as Jesus did are drawing many to the cross.  What makes the difference?

A few months ago I wrote a post about what it means to be a disciple.  You can click here to read it.  In that post I said that disciples are more than just students learning what someone taught.  They want to become what the teacher is.

This requires us to follow, come near to, experience, and live in Christ and His Word.  It’s a deeper walk than many want to attain to in our generation.  The reason I bring this up, is a statement I read in the book of Acts.

The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Acts 11:26b

It’s a very simple declaration.  The first time the disciples were called Christianslittle christs – was in a town named Antioch.

This was at a time when the church was walking in the power of God.  Even though they were small and suffering some persecution, they were turning their world upside-down with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Notice what Luke doesn’t say.  He doesn’t record that the believers were called Christians.  It wasn’t all those who attended church.  The disciples – those who were striving to live like Christ – were called little christs by the world.

This is why the world largely rejects our witness.  They look at how we live versus what we say.  They don’t see the same thing in modern Christianity that was evident in the early church.

I know, it’s too late to change our language now but, we can let God change us.  If I’m going to wear the name of Christ, then I need to let Him work His plan in me.  I want the world to see me in Him.

When we lift up Christ by our lives, the world will gain a different perspective of who we are.  It will be easier for them to hear the Gospel.  We need to follow the path of true discipleship.

If that’s already your heart’s desire – continue on and let nothing sway you.  If the Lord is convicting you about it, then repent and move forward right now.  Let the world see Christ through His church.

Question: How would Jesus minister to people in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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The John the Baptist Generation #returnofChrist

BeamI’ve been posting about our end-time ministry as the “John the Baptist Generation”.  There were some interesting prophecies about John that I believe can be applied to us.

“…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Luke 1:78-79

Our generation must be a light in the darkness.  There has never been a darker time in the modern world.  Unless you’re living with your head in the sand, this is an undeniable truth.

We need to understand what being the light entails.  It’s obvious that light gets the attention in the dark.  There’s no getting around that.  We’re not called to just blend into the background.

This is because a light stands in direct opposition to the darkness.  There cannot be any two kingdoms that are more opposite than us and the world.

We are not a part of this society.  We live here, work here, and have to interact with those around us.  We need to be loving, productive, and contributing to the welfare of our community.  But the fact is we don’t BELONG here.

You are all sons of the light and sons of the day.  We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
1Thessalonians 5:5-6

The word night speaks of a segment of time – but we are eternal.  Because we live in the eternal realm, we are of the day.

Dark speaks of a place – but we are seated with Christ in heavenly places; that’s the kingdom of light.  This is not our time and place.

We need to be what we’re called to be.  It’s not our destiny to blend in and become part of the whole.  It’s our calling to show there’s a different way to live.

John the Baptist is an example to us of how to minister to the world while living in the Kingdom of God.  It’s time for us to live up to this calling.  The world is desperate to hear the message that has been entrusted to us.  We need to stop chasing their dreams and live for Christ with an urgency that reflects the times we live in.

This generation of the church must grow up so that we can function as we must at this time in history.  Be equipped with the spiritual weaponry.  Be listening and hearing a Word from God.  Then continue to walk in that word.  Finally, if we do these things we will be the light that will draw people to Christ.  We are the John the Baptist Generation.

Questions: How much light is the church producing right now?  How can that light be increased?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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Holy Spirit or Spirit of Holiness

FlyingAs I was reading the Bible the other day, I came across a Scripture that caught my attention.  It was describing Christ and how He was revealed to the world.  It got me thinking about our relationship to God.

…and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 1:4

Jesus Christ was shown to be the Son of God.  Not just by someone’s testimony.  It was an act of power by God raising Him from the dead.

That in itself was not news to me.  The part that really spoke to my heart was who did the declaring.  The passage says that it was through the Spirit of holiness that He was shown to be the Son of God.

That’s what I found to be interesting – the Spirit of holiness.  Why did Paul not call Him the Holy Spirit?  Isn’t that the more common term?  Actually, this is the only place in Scripture where He’s called the Spirit of holiness.

Holiness is something that this generation of believers really needs to come to grips with.  It seems that we tend to back away from any mention of holiness.  We find it boring and old fashioned.

This is a subject of great importance in the Bible.  It’s found throughout the New Testament.  We are to be a holy people before God.

Holiness is related to separation.  It means to be set apart for God’s purpose.

It’s like this.  When Christ found us, we were like a dirty, cast off piece of pottery in the trash heap of the world.  When we turned to Him as our Lord and Savior, He rescued us from that place – that’s our salvation.

He then took us as His own and placed us on display in His household.  We are now to be exclusively used for the Lord’s purposes.  That’s holiness.

As we remain in His house, Christ continues to clean us up and restore us.  That’s our sanctification.

By using the term Holy Spirit, we mean the Spirit of God who is set apart from the world and the things of the world.  The phrase Spirit of holiness brings it to a whole other realm.

He’s not only the Spirit who is set apart – but the Spirit who sets us apart.  He is the Spirit of God who makes us holy.  That’s where we try to water down the truth.

We like to think of the Holy Spirit as the power source of the church.  Miracles, healings, signs, and wonders always draw a crowd.  But separation, on the other hand, sounds too much like commitment.

This generation seems to want the power without the holiness.  I believe that it’s time for us to seek the Spirit of holiness.  At the place where we are separated for God’s exclusive use, we will find all the power we need to live victoriously and win the lost.

Question: Have you seen examples of the Holy Spirit setting you apart for His use?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Encouragement, Power of God, Revival

 

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