Monday, July 3, 2017

In Dependence Day

In the US, we are celebrating Independence Day this week.  Yes, we are our own country but if we are followers of Christ we are not our own.   In fact, the truth is everyday is “In Dependence Day”, dependent on both Christ and one another to live as God would have us live.  And if we will live accordingly, then we will find true freedom.

John 15:5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.

Things to think about:
Dependent on Jesus
·      Before you accepted Christ, what (if anything) were you doing to win favor with God?
·      In the sixth chapter of Romans, Paul makes it very clear that Christian or not, we have never been, nor will we ever be “independent”. Either we are slaves to sin or slaves to God.
o   Romans 6:20-22 – “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
§  Actually we did have a certain element of freedom as non-believers – freedom from the control of righteousness.  The only problem with that is it came at a very high price – death!
·      Paul also tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that, “…You are not your own; you were bought at a price. …”
o   The reality is that death was also the price to get us out of the slavery we were in.
·      So we joined a revolution to break away from the old country of sin and be part of a new nation, but just like with our national history, blood had to be spilled to gain our newfound freedom.
o   How is your life different as a result of shedding the shackles of slavery to sin?
o   How would you explain to a non-believer the life-change they can experience if they lay down their arms and accept the victory already won on our behalf?
·      Jesus says apart from Him we can do nothing
o   How does this manifest itself in your day-to-day life?
o   Are there certain situations where this is harder to put into practice (i.e., where you are still trying to do things in your own strength)?
Dependent on One Another
·      Beyond our dependence of Jesus, we are also dependent on one another:
o   Romans 12:4-5 – “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
·      And just like the individual states, we are part of a larger entity where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
o   As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
·      In what ways are we dependent on one another?
·      How does being in dependence with others in the body of Christ make your life richer?
·      Have you recently been on the giving or receiving end of this dependent relationship?
o   What comfort or joy was the result?
o   How would this situation have been different if one of you had to go it alone?

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