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Choosing the Right Path

TrailIt seems that the more I study about the cross, the more I’m drawn to it. It was on the cross that Christ became our Savior. It was there that the saving power of the Messiah was released to transform our lives forever.

Salvation is not a one-time thing, but an ongoing process. It’s a process that all focuses on the work of the cross.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

It all hinges on the Word of the cross. What we find in the body of Christ is two kinds of believers. One group is composed of those who are being saved. They have decided to submit to God’s renovation plan in their lives.

They want to see the whole package of God’s provision accomplished in them. They want not only healing, joy and prosperity, but they’re willing to see righteousness, holiness, and obedience developed as well. They want to see all the losses of the curse turned around. To this group, the Word of the cross is the power of God that transforms them into the image of Christ.

There’s another group as well. These are people who have accepted God’s forgiveness, but haven’t progressed any further. They’ll be in God’s kingdom when they die, but for now they’re content to live for themselves.

The word perishing in the verse above simply means decay or loss. There are those in the church who have chosen the path of decay and loss.

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Philippians 3:17-18

There’s a pattern that we can follow. Literally this verse says that there is a die that has been struck. A die, in this sense, is a mold for shaping something according to an original pattern. Christ was the original.

On the cross He became a pattern for us to follow in the spiritual realm. There’s a work the Holy Spirit wants to do in us if we will only let Him.

As he went around to all the churches, Paul would give them a pattern of living. This is what we’re missing in our generation. We need a pattern to focus our lifestyles around. Following Christ is not a hobby. It’s not just one of many pursuits in our daily schedules. If we serve Christ, then that’s all there is – everything else revolves around that truth.

That’s the goal of these posts. I want us, as the people of God, to get back to the pattern. We have made serving God into formulas. Each one has their own little bubble. Nothing affects anything else.

We’ll teach about the “Ten Steps to Prosperity” or the “Five Steps to Receive your Healing.” We’ll talk about how to walk in the power of God or what to do to overcome depression. Once in a while we might even hear that we need to become a disciple. Each teaching comes in its own separate parcel. Little do we realize that our life in Christ is a package deal.

Everything we do affects all the areas of our life. My righteousness affects my prosperity. My holiness affects my relationships. Everything is intertwined. That’s why I need the pattern, if I’m going to live the abundant life that Christ talked about.

Question: Where do we find the pattern for how we are to live?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Power of God, Revival

 

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The Word of the Cross

Cross SunsetAs believers, most of us know that the goal is to walk in maturity. What I’ve found is that in order to understand the road to maturity, we must first understand the significance of the cross.

Usually when we think about Christ, and all that He accomplished for us, we mention the cross but immediately focus on the resurrection. Don’t get me wrong, the resurrection of Christ was the most important event in all of history. It sealed our redemption. Without the risen Lord, we would still be dead in our sins.

Our problem is that we usually don’t give the cross a second glance. We sometimes downplay the cross. We’ve become too familiar with it. We see crosses everywhere. It has become the most recognized symbol of Christianity.

But do we really understand its significance in our growth process? I want to take a few posts to show you some things that seem to have gotten lost along the way.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18

When I meditate upon what Paul is saying in this passage, it causes me to take a step back. Paul said that Christ did not make me an apostle to baptize. This statement should capture our attention.

The apostle was not sent out to make converts. That wasn’t his goal and it shouldn’t be ours. In some circles this needs to be emphasized.

We’re not in the Kingdom of God to “get people saved.” We’re simply here to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. How people respond to the message is up to them. The only thing I’ll be judged on is how accurately I gave that message, not on how many believed it. I think this distinction is lost on many believers.

However, there is a deeper truth here than just to preach the Gospel. We must preach this Good News without emptying the cross of its power. By expressing the Gospel through my human wisdom and reasoning, I lose the power that is resident in the cross. That’s why I need to hear a Word from God, and preach that Word.

The Word of the cross has the power to save. But it’s how we understand this statement that makes all the difference. Remember, being saved is not a one-time thing. It’s an on-going process. That’s why the Word of the cross is for those who are being saved.

I need the saving power of God on a daily basis. This is the power that saves me from my sinful actions, sickness, poverty, depression, and a whole host of other issues I have to deal with in my old nature. The message of the cross speaks to all of these and brings victory. It’s because we have watered down the message of the cross, that we have such battered down church in our generation.

When we give the Word of the cross a back seat, we miss out on the victory that God has made available to us. That’s why I feel it necessary to write about the cross of Christ for a little while. My hope is that it will help us in becoming more like the Lord.

Question: What do you see as significant about the cross?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Power of God, The Church, Word of God

 

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