A Branch That is Thriving

I have been asked a number of times, about the name ThrivingBranch. What exactly does it mean, anyway? And while I have explained it before, It occurs to me that I have not shared an actual study on it in quite a while.

So in light of that, what I want to share with you today, is not merely the explanation of the name (that wouldn’t really constitute a Bible study by itself), but the words of Jesus from where the name ThrivingBranch comes from, and the amazing truth contained in it. And as we look at this today, we are going to see some aspects of our identity in Christ that will have a profound effect, even in our daily life.

Deconstructing Common Anti-Grace Beliefs

I have encountered many anti-Grace beliefs and positions over the years. One of the most common push-backs against the Gospel of Grace in Christ, is that “Grace gives people a license to sin”. This is the one that I have encountered more than any other. It is a sentiment that is expressed in a variety of different ways, such as “So you’re saying people can live however they want?”, to the more subtle “well, there needs to a balance to prevent hyper-grace”.

Regardless of what form this sentiment takes, it is all rooted in the same thing: a fear of Grace. Many people have been trained to be fearful of the very Grace that can save… the very Grace that Jesus came to bring; and the sad reality is that this fear (which is based on man-made doctrines) actually prevents people from receiving the Grace that can save them.

So today in this study, we will be examining the most common anti-Grace beliefs, and see how they hold up to the truth of scripture.

The Tearing of the Veil

In the ancient temple, there was a veil (the פרכת) – which was actually a very large and thick cloth, that separated people from God… Only one person (the High Priest) could enter in to the most holy place of the temple, which was sealed-off by the veil; and he could only go in once per year (Hebrews 9:7).

The high priest would enter only after a very thorough cleansing ritual, and offerings of blood sacrifice to cover his own sins, and the sins of the people for which he was a representative.

This continued for years, until one major event, until Jesus Christ, the final eternal High Priest offered the final eternal sacrifice for all-time; not just covering sins for one year – but completely removing sins for all-time.
And right after Jesus declared “It is Finished!”, and surrendered His Spirit, that veil which separated the people from God was torn – and this is what I want to share with you today… the tearing of the veil, and what it means for us today in Christ.

Do Not Worry (About Anything!)

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” advice that is constantly given out whenever one person wants to encourage another… but would it surprise you that the first person to offer such advice was actually Jesus? And He doesn’t just tell you to not worry and be happy, but He actually gives you the reason why you can safely and securely cease your worrying and have both joy and happiness, because of the truth of Christ and the fact that you have a Heavenly Father who actually loves and cares for you.

You see, the message of “don’t worry, be happy” really doesn’t carry its full weight, until you understand precisely why you can do those things. Without the foundation, it will often crumble to the daily stresses of life. So what I want to share with you today, is what Jesus said about letting go of your worry, and how to be truly happy.

Your Union With Christ

In many Christian circles there is talk about the relationship with Christ, we hear about that quite often in-fact, and I have mentioned it many times in these studies as well. However it has come to my attention that there is actually some misunderstanding regarding what this phrase means. In some ways we have turned this simple phrase into something mystical, magical or difficult to comprehend, when in-fact it is so simple.

As a result of this confusion, what actually is very simple and straightforward, now seems out of reach to many people. I have spoken with many Christians who are chasing after this unicorn of “relationship with Christ”, when it actually has already been given. And as such, believers are left dazed, confused and wondering when it will be completed, never realizing that the work was completed long ago.

This is what I want to share with you today – the truth about your union with Christ.

Dress For Success

At one time or another, you’ve probably heard the phrase “dress for success”. It’s a bit of often-used advice, which basically means that you should always wear the appropriate clothes for whatever position or status that you are seeking to achieve. For example, you shouldn’t attend a high-level job interview in tattered clothes; but instead in a nice outfit appropriate for the intended vocation.

Spiritually speaking, the same type of advice applies, although with a couple of twists. First of all, we don’t really dress to attain a position, rather we dress because we already have a position.
And secondly, we don’t actually dress ourselves in this case, but rather we are clothed with a dress attire, given to us by none other than Jesus Christ Himself!

This is what I want to share with you today in this study; and by seeing this truth you will be able to step into your new identity in Christ with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective on what Jesus has given to you today.

Don’t Sleep With the Enemy

A phrase that is often heard (at least in the United States) is “Don’t sleep with the enemy” – it’s a phrase of advice, and it is basically advising against maintaining a friendly relationship with an adversary, or someone on an opposing side.

It’s good advice, not only for the physical world, but for the spiritual realm as well. In-fact there is a very interesting example of just such an occurrence happening in scripture, and through it, we can see an amazing truth and a wonderful picture of Jesus, and what we have today in Him. That is what I want to share for you today in this study.

What the Finished Work Means For You

Why did Jesus die? It’s a simple question that will get you a myriad of different answers. There is also another question that follows along with it… since He died, what does that mean for you today? It’s amazing that something so simple and so foundational to this thing known as Christianity, can be so confused and so misunderstood. But answering these questions is essential to living the live that Christ truly wants us to live… and it may not be what you expect – it probably isn’t what you have been told or what you have believed.

You see, Jesus didn’t die just for your old identity to endure – for you to remain a “sinner” and just suffer here on the earth as a broken vessel hoping and waiting for everything to be made well one day when you finally go to Heaven.

No, Jesus died for your remove that old identity from you and to give you a completely new identity, and to place His Spirit back inside of you, to indwell you fully and to give you His righteousness and a proper place as a beloved child of God.

This is the truth that I want to share with you today, and as you receive this truth, you will be able to enjoy new levels of union with Christ and enjoy the new identity that you have in Him.

Jesus Healing the Blood Issue

The woman with the blood issue, is one of the more well-known accounts of healing mentioned in the scripture. Literally thousands of sermons (probably more) have been preached on it over the years. Many have been from the perspective of “You need to sacrifice everything and press-in through the crowd to receive healing! You need to keep on pushing to touch Jesus!”

However, what I want to share with you today, is a different perspective on the entire thing; a perspective not focused on ourselves, or our works, but one focused on the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. As I meditated on this some amazing things came to light, that I am excited to share with you today.

Savor the Taste of the Finished Work

We’ve discussed previously about having joy in Christ – and that’s a phrase that’s fairly common; there’s even songs sung about the joy of the LORD. We know as Christians, joy is something that we are supposed to have (and happiness also, even though some deny that today), yet very few people actually seem to have joy or happiness.

I have been to far too many churches and encountered far too many people who put on fake smiles, church-masks, and take on an entirely different persona when they are around others. Inside, they really are not happy. Inside they really have no joy.

And what makes it even worse is that they are afraid, ashamed and embarrassed to mention this fact to any of their Christian friends, because then the friend might look at them differently, treat them differently, or maybe even begin to gossip to other church members (more common than you might think!)

However the reality is that the friend is probably feeling the exact same way on the inside!

So, what I want to share with you today in this study, is how to receive real joy, real happiness, which only comes from Jesus Christ and His finished work. The kind of joy and happiness that lasts, and endures. The kind that can not be taken away.