Death to Sin: Your New Life in Christ

Spend some time listening to Christian leaders and you will probably hear them say that we must continually “die to sin” and “die to self”. They will typically say that this dying is a process that we must continually strive towards, focus on and work hard to achieve.

This leaves many people stuck in the spiritual mud of legalism – spinning their wheels furiously to get ahead, but never actually making progress – because progress can not actually be made in this fashion.

So today in this study, we will be taking a look at the idea of dying to sin, and dying to self, as well as what it actually means to have new life in Christ, because all of these ideas and terms are actually related… and sadly through generations of religious indoctrination, we have forgotten the foundation of the finished work of Christ, and begun to construct a faulty foundation of works and self-effort in-place of the cross, and that is not only foolish, but it is flat-out deadly.

The Kingdom is Within You

Jesus made several interesting statements regarding the Kingdom of God, and as we have studied previously, He even tells us to seek the Kingdom of God first, and all the other things would be added to us.

Yet if you ask the typical believer what the Kingdom of God is, many of them will struggle to give an answer. Simply put, most people aren’t sure what the Kingdom of God is. How can we seek for something if we don’t know what it is? How do we know when we’ve found it, if we don’t know what we are looking for?

Today we are going to answer these questions. We will begin by examining what Jesus said about the Kingdom of God; we will begin to form a picture of what the Kingdom looks like, and then we will see what it actually is, and we will see an amazing picture of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us, and what he has Given to us.

You Have Every Gift in Christ

Most people enjoy receiving gifts. For believers, this is also true of spiritual gifts. Now the term “spiritual gifts” has been somewhat misunderstood over the years to mean spiritual realm only with no earthly effects; when in-reality, spiritual gifts are actually gifts from the Spirit of God, which have very great earthly effects. In-fact, the gifts which the Spirit of God gives can completely transform your life, and the lives of those around you as well.

The trouble comes in when people start chasing after these gifts, as if they do not have them; and some have even been taught that the gifts are no longer active and that they are no longer being given.

What I want to share with you today in this study, is how because of the finished work of Christ, in Him you already have been given every single gift. You do not need to strive for, beg for, or plead for God to give you any gift. You do not need to sacrifice in an attempt to merit the gifts, because the sacrifice has already been given – Jesus Christ Himself.

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.