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Warnings from the Past

Many times I’ve been asked, as a Pastor, why the Old Testament is even important to us.  Many believers don’t ever read it.  They say it’s too bloody and violent.  Grace hadn’t been fully accomplished yet, so there are many instances where we see God’s wrath.  Why read that kind of stuff anyway?

In today’s post, I want to continue talking about the example of ancient Israel.  We must let the Bible take its rightful place in our daily lives.

We’ve been looking at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.  He used ancient Israel as an example of how not to serve God.  In telling the church about how God dealt with the Jews, he mentioned some of their rebellions as well as the judgments they received.

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
1 Corinthians 10:11

This verse makes it clear that the things that happened under the Old Covenant, especially the negative things, are a warning to us.  The Greek word for warning in this verse means to place in our minds – in other words, the Lord is trying to grab our attention.

This is because we’re quickly approaching a time in history when all things will be fulfilled.  The goal line is before us.  We’re about to witness the final days of this entire age.

Because of that, we’re at a point in time that requires a different kind of walk from God’s people.  We can’t live the way they did in ages past – that will not work for us.

Israel saw and heard incredible things – yet they fell away.  We need to take this to heart.  Even though we’re under grace, the message of the Old Testament is still important to us.

No, we won’t come under judgment as Israel did.  But the fact remains, God still hates the same lazy attitudes that He hated back then.  He still loves the mindset that’s passionate for His will.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12

In this verse, the word, think, means to assume or to have a reputation of.  In other words, don’t believe your own press.  Just because people tell you that you’re standing strong doesn’t necessarily make it true.

We must take inventory of our walk with God and see if it lines up with the truth of God’s Word.  Only then will we be assured of the rewards that Christ has set aside for us.

The Jews thought that they would be rewarded simply on the basis of them being in Abraham’s family.  It didn’t work that way.  The Lord is looking for a combination of faith and faithfulness.  We need to serve God out of a heart of loving gratitude for all that He’s done for us.

Israel didn’t know the great lengths that the Father would go to in order to save us and bring us into His family.  They didn’t know about Christ dying on the cross.  We do.

How much more should we embrace all that God has for us – both the responsibilities and the glories?  The examples of Scripture warn us to be careful.

Even though we’ll not come under the judgment of the world, we may still lose some of our rewards if we live for ourselves.  Salvation is based on grace; rewards are based upon obedience.  Scripture is a warning to us that disobedience will always be dealt with.  If you want all the rewards the Lord has set aside for you, then heed the warnings of Scripture.

Question: How have the warnings of Scripture kept you out of trouble?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Armed and Ready

I’ve been posting about the last days as described by Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians. My last post was about how we need to live as we see the end in view. Paul continues to share about it.

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

He tells us to put on faith and love as a breastplate. As you know, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I believe that this is the oil and the lamp that we’re to keep burning. These are the two non-negotiable parts to serving God.

In this verse Paul is clearly referring to our spiritual armor. He even makes mention of the helmet of salvation. But instead of assigning righteousness as the breastplate, he says that faith and love are used in that role. Paul is telling us that it’s the combination of our faith and our love working together that completes our righteousness.

According to Scripture, without faith it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and without love your faith is worthless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). You have to use both of these spiritual commodities. You can’t live for God without faith and love.

And so, these fruit need to be evident in all of our good works. Everything we do for the Lord has to spring from faith and love. Paul is in total agreement with the teaching of the Lord as found in the Gospels.

Finally, we must have the hope, or literally, the expectation of salvation as a helmet. We have to expect the salvation of God. We know what’s going to happen. We know that God is going to rescue us, so we might as well live like it.

Paul said that we’re not appointed to wrath. According to the Lord’s own words, wrath was not going to fall until the Last Day. Before it fell, however, Jesus said that He would gather up His elect to Himself. All of this happens on the last day of the age, according to Jesus. The Church will be taken to safety first, and then the wrath of God will fall.

It’s clear from both the teaching of Christ Himself and Paul the Apostle that God did not appoint us to wrath. What Paul is saying here is that we who are alive in the last days – who see the signs approaching as labor pains – must not get worried as people who don’t have any hope.

We must realize that we have the helmet of salvation on. We’re not appointed to wrath, so when The Day gets here, we’re going to be protected.

Don’t worry about the future, even though you see problems coming. Be prepared. Be self-controlled. Be alert. Be working for God, but don’t be afraid.

The last thing we need to remember is to continue to encourage one another, to build one another up and to exhort one another as, in fact, we should be doing.

That’s what being a part of the church is all about. We must help each other in areas of weakness. It’s only as we work together that we’ll gain the victory.

Question: How does your future hope affect your walk with Christ today?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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Living Today with our Hope in View

SpotlightI’ve been posting about Paul’s view of the Second Coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians. We understand that the Resurrection Day is the great hope of the church. But it’s not just about the future.

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. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
I Thessalonians 5:5-11

Paul tells us the attitude we need in the last days. He says that we’re to be alert and self-controlled. The literal meaning of these words are awake and sober. We can’t be in a spiritual stupor and be victorious as we approach the end of the age.

He also tells us to put on faith and love as a breastplate. As you know, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I believe that this is the oil and the lamp that we’re to keep burning. These are the two non-negotiable parts to serving God.

Without faith it’s impossible to please God, and without love your faith is worthless. You have to use both of these spiritual commodities. You can’t live for God without faith and love.

And so, these fruit need to be evident in all of our good works. Everything we do for the Lord has to spring from faith and love. Paul is in total agreement with the teaching of the Lord as found in the Gospels.

Finally, we must have the hope, or literally, the expectation of salvation as a helmet. We have to expect the salvation of God. We know what’s going to happen. We know that God is going to rescue us, so we might as well live like it.

Paul said that we’re not appointed to wrath. According to the Lord’s own words, wrath was not going to fall until the Last Day. Before it fell, however, Jesus said that He would gather up His elect to Himself. All of this happens on the last day of the age, according to Jesus. The Church will be taken to safety first, and then the wrath of God will fall.

It’s clear from both the teaching of Christ Himself and Paul the Apostle that God did not appoint us to wrath. What Paul is saying here is that we who are alive in the last days – who see the signs approaching as labor pains – must not get worried as people who don’t have any hope.

We must realize that we have the helmet of salvation on. We’re not appointed to wrath, so when The Day gets here, we’re going to be protected.

Don’t worry about the future, even though you see problems coming. Be prepared. Be self-controlled. Be alert. Be working for God, but don’t be afraid.

The last thing we need to remember is to continue to encourage one another, to build one another up and to exhort one another as, in fact, we should be doing.

That’s what being a part of the church is all about. We must help each other in areas of weakness. It’s only as we work together that we’ll gain the victory.

Question: How does your future hope affect your walk with Christ today?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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Let God Take You Away

 

Cloud2In my last post I was talking about Enoch’s experience with God. I said that, like Enoch, God wants to transport us – not out of the world, but from death to life.

Where exactly does the Lord want to transport me to?

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Thessalonians 5:9

God did not take us to a place where we suffer His wrath. A lot of Christians need to hear this.

The Lord takes us into His salvation. He has taken us to a place where we can receive healing, prosperity, grace, joy, peace, as well as all the other blessings which He paid for on the cross. That’s why He wants to set you apart. He wants life for us – not death.

Too many believers picture God as someone just waiting for us to mess up so He can “zap” us. That’s not the God we serve. Christ has done everything needed for us to live in the divine blessing of His love and acceptance. We need to see that as a completed work in Christ.

But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
1 Corinthians 12:18

This is another great truth of Scripture.

The Lord takes us to His body. We need to understand what it means to be part of a body. It’s very different from being part of a collection. In a collection everything is independent from each other.

I have a postage stamp collection. If I’m missing a certain stamp, I say, “Someday it would be nice to get it.”

That’s not how the church should operate. In a body, all the parts depend upon all the others. A person that’s missing a hand is at a disadvantage.

Stamp collections can be arranged in many different ways – by topic, color, country, value, etc. In a body every part has only one place where it belongs. This means that I must let God place me where He wants me.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
1 Timothy 1:12

This is the final place we’re transported to.

The Lord takes us to His service. This is an incredible verse. God has endued me with His power so that now He can put His faith in me.  He wants to trust me and place me in His service.

What a privilege – I can serve God as a well-pleasing servant. I don’t serve out of fear, but love. He has provided all that I need to serve Him acceptably. I can know and do His will.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Philippians 3:12

Paul had a goal. He wanted to pursue His calling in Christ. He did this so that he could take hold of that for which Christ had taken him. Christ wants me for a reason. I want to find out what that reason is.

This should be the attitude of every believer. Pursue the knowledge of why God has chosen you for His service.

Question: What is your place in the body of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God

 

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Waiting for God

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Never get the idea that God is just waiting for us to mess up so that He can strike us down.  It is just the opposite.  He is looking out for our best.  The Lord wants each of us to experience the ultimate fulfillment in life.

To bring this about, He walks with us, guiding us each day – showing us compassion and faithfulness.  Let’s face it, if it were God’s goal to judge us, He would not have to wait long for us to make a mistake.  Each one of us has a personal history such that if He wanted to, the Lord could lock us in Hell and throw away the key.

The fact is, God has proven His intent through the death and resurrection of Christ.  He loved us enough to go to the cross.  He wouldn’t have done that if He was intent on condemning us.

Come to God today in a spirit of expectancy.  Be ready to hear and obey His plans for your life.  Wait on Him in the stillness of trust and dependancy.  Spend some time just listening for that still, small voice inside you.  It will be well worth your time.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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