Receiving Divine Power

Divine power. Supernatural ability. Going beyond human strength, human limits. Being something more. For years we have been infatuated with the idea of having power – even from the very beginning. It’s one of the reasons we like super-heroes… because they have strength and abilities beyond regular humans.

If we are being honest, “regular” human beings are rather weak on their own. Relying on devices and machines to accomplish most of our advanced tasks… not even the strongest among the animals when compared strength for strength and speed for speed.

Yet we have access to something that these others do not have, we have access to divine power which would actually put our favorite comic book heroes to shame – the kind of power that makes evil forces run and hide in terror. It has been given to us by God Himself.

This probably sounds to good to be true, and you’re doubting it in your mind right now… but I’m going to prove it in scripture, and by the end of this study today, you’re going to realize just how strong you truly are, and how to receive divine power; not just a nice thought or a warm fuzzy feeling – but real and effectual power that makes a difference.

Know That You Are Completely Clean Forever

One of the biggest hindrances (if not the only hindrance) to intimacy with God, is sin. Almost every single believer, and even most non-believers know this to be true. With that said, what is to be done about it?

This is where most people tend to branch-off into different directions regarding the solution to the sin problem. Some people set-out on a grand life-long quest to try and rid-themselves of wrong behaviors, wrong thoughts, and to “clean themselves” up, always reaching but never truly attaining perfection.
Others become so confused and intimidated by the whole problem that they become discouraged and defeated and just shut-down on the whole thing.
Still others accept their sin and decide that since they can’t do anything about it anyway, they might as well indulge it all the way.

But are any of these ways correct?

Must we live a defeated and striving life here on this earth dominated by sin and beaten-down with sin-consciousness?

Today in this study, we are going to answer that question, and through the finished work of Jesus Christ and His New Covenant of Grace, you will be able to have assurance, and confidence in your position from this day onward.

Without Jesus, We Can Do Nothing

The name of this ministry ThrivingBranch, comes from the discourse that Jesus makes in John chapter 15, about Him being the Vine and us being the branches. We have done studies in this discourse before. Today however, we are going to focus in on one specific area of what Jesus said – one specific point which often gets overlooked; that without Him we can do nothing.
I emphasize that last part, because it is actually very important to our understanding and perspective of our relationship with Christ, and it’s also a point that is devastating to our own human pride.

You see, we tend to not really believe that Jesus meant what He said… that without Him we truly cannot do anything. Surely, He was exaggerating a little bit, right? Of-course He didn’t mean that we can’t do a single thing without Him, did He?

Indeed He did. And this is what we will be taking a look at today in this study. And by seeing this, we will be able to truly embrace our relationship with Christ, and understand the necessity for Him and everything that He provides to us.

The Fullness of God, Through His Love

When people think about receiving the fullness of God, many things might come to mind. Usually involving some type of sacrifice, work or effort on their part. They might think that receiving more of God requires diligent and prolonged periods of study, fasting, or other types of sacrifice. They may think that it comes from attending lots of Christian conferences, or reading a lot of Christian books or articles, or any number of things.

Yet the scriptures tell a different story. That the fullness of God, the totality of His righteousness, His holiness, His peace and all of His blessing, comes a different way, one that we don’t really expect.

What I want to share with you today, is the true vehicle by which the fullness of God comes. Not the religious man-made ideas about how to receive the fullness of God, but rather the truth directly from scripture. And I believe that as you see this today, the burden of religion and the self-effort of trying to reach for God will be lifted away, and you will be free to simply enjoy what Christ has accomplished for you.

Don’t Fear the Shadows

When I was a young child, I used to be afraid of the dark. I would look at the walls, or outside my window and see shadows which I presumed to be monsters. I didn’t recognize the shapes, and the sizes of the things seemed to be very large. It was a troubling sight to my young mind.

Later in life, as I became more mature, I understood that those things were just shadows without substance, and they could not actually hurt me in any way. The perception of danger was a false perception, and that the fear of them was doing me more harm than anything else.

This simple realization carries with it a spiritual truth as well – more than one in-fact, as many believers today are held captive by the fear of things which also are just shadows. Spiritual shadows that cannot actually hurt them; yet just as when I was held in bondage to fear of the shadows as a young boy, these precious believers are likewise held in bondage by fear of things which are just as false and empty as the shadows on the wall.

You Are in Christ… (No, Really!)

One of the most common phrases, both in the Bible and among believers is “in Christ” along with its variations such as “in Him” and “in the Beloved”. Nearly every believer will readily admit to being in Christ – that’s really the whole point! Yet very few understand what it really means, and the full extent of the meaning of it. Once during a Bible study, I suggested that if you want to broaden your horizon to all of what being in Christ meant, you should find all of the places in the Bible that mention being in Christ and the associated phrases, and you will end-up with a very large list of things that you have in Him. It’s actually fairly easy to do with our modern technology, but almost no-one in the study actually followed through.

The sad reality is that many people today do not have a very high opinion of what it means to be in Christ. Those whom I have spoken with typically see being in Christ as little more than a spiritual safety-net that catches them whenever their performance falls-short. However, being in Christ is so very much more than a safety net… being in Christ is literally the very Kingdom of God.

Seek First the Kingdom of God

One of the more notable statements made by Jesus can be found in Matthew 6:33, in which Jesus says that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of the other things will be added to us. Now, as believers we have become fairly adept at seeking God’s righteousness, as that was made available for us by Jesus on the cross. Yet it is interesting that His righteousness was not the first thing mentioned by Jesus when telling us what to search for. Jesus said that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Now in many Christian circles, the Kingdom of God is not talked about very much; most people don’t even properly know what the Kingdom of God even is, or how to define it. We haven’t really sought it first as we were told to, but we have instead been seeking His Righteousness without His Kingdom. That’s why today in this study we will be examining what His Kingdom is, and what it means to seek (and find) the Kingdom of God.

Live in the Power of the Spirit (Part 2)

In our study last week, we examined how God actually wants us to have power, and how Jesus has given us power, both through His redemptive work on the cross and through the sending of His Spirit (one act facilitating the other). These concepts are often not even touched in many Christian circles, often seen as fringe. Indeed many people are afraid to take an honest look at the topic of the Holy Spirit in connection with the power given to us because they have been jaded by past experience or the horror stories that people tell about what happened in some charismatic group previously.

Yet these things are spoken of in scripture and so they should not and can not be ignored. And so today we will continue with Part 2 of our study on living in the power of the Spirit, by taking a look at the baptism of the Spirit – specifically what Jesus said about it, because His opinion is the only one that carries any weight, and as we see the truth from scripture, we will be moved from a place of weakness, to a place of great strength in the power of the Spirit through Christ Jesus.

Live in the Power of the Spirit (Part 1)

One of the most overlooked areas in the life of a believer is the area of power. It is often not even mentioned in sermons, nor is it brought up in connection with the Holy Spirit. In some Christian circles it is considered wrong to think of ourselves as having any power at all, and others that it it is possible to operate in power, but only once-in-a-while when God feels like it – and therefore it is not reliable or consistent. All of these different ideas and opinions on the power of the Spirit have given rise to generations of believers who are quite literally living in defeat and confusion, and feeling helpless against the advances of the enemy in their life.

In this study today, we will be examining the truth of what the scripture says regarding the power of the Holy Spirit, and specifically the power that Jesus came to give us. It is important to see that it is not wrong to look at these things; in-fact they were written down for us precisely so that we would know and understand them. And by seeing the truth directly from scripture, we can start living in the power which Jesus paid for us to have.

Jesus Is Your Answer

It’s considered cliché these days to say Jesus is the answer. People upon hearing the phrase will typically react with an eye-roll, or say “Yeah, I know, but…” – as if to admit that they do not really believe that He is the answer at all. Believers continue to search for new truths, new ideas, new philosophies and theologies every day because they are still searching for answers. They are searching for something more, as if Jesus was not enough, and in the eyes of many, He secretly isn’t enough.

Now it’s okay to admit feeling that way. It’s okay to admit thinking that… because the honest admission that sometimes we feel or think that Jesus isn’t enough is a starting-point upon which to build the true Gospel foundation of Jesus Christ. I’ve watched many professing believers over the years, who were too afraid to make that admission, live their entire lives searching for answers, going from this thing to that thing, attending every conference they come across, reading every book, laboring in all kinds of works – so busy, yet still not finding their answer, because in all of their busy-ness, they have missed Jesus… never even truly realizing that He is the One and Only Answer that they need. Today, we will be taking a look at how Jesus is our true answer, and saying that will no longer be an empty cliché.