DYING TO SELF
Cooper P. Abrams III
INTRODUCTION: God created you for a purpose! You are very important to Him. You have the great potential to be used by the Lord and to have Him directing your life. Think what it means to have the Lord, who knows all things and certainly what is best for you...to be guiding your life. Think about the mistake you would avoid and the heartache that could be avoided. Think too about what it would mean to be a part of God’s plan for the world.
To be used of God we must understand what we really are and how it is that God can use us. I am assuming that every child of God wants to be used.
"By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." (John 15:8)
That's God's plan....saved to bear fruit. First God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. That begins when we believe and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior. That establishes the relationship and begins a new life for us with Him directing us. Being saved is more than just getting to go to heaven when we die. It is to have God the Holy Spirit leading us daily and helping us through life. More it is to have a purpose for life and to have the satisfaction of knowing we are doing what God created us for.
Paul was addressing this when he said, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21)
The purpose of his whole life was to live for Christ.
The Bible knows nothing of what some call a Sunday morning religion. That means that the only time God has a par in our lives is when we go to church on Sunday morning. When a person receives Christ there is a great positive change their lives.
All things became new, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Cor. 5:17)
Becoming a child of God is not just adding the church, or Christian beliefs to your life. It is to become a disciple of Christ. A devoted disciple who gives his all to serve his Master.
The world's philosophy is simple. Live for self. The Word of God says die to self.
Many came to Jesus and ask to be His disciples. But most were turned down. Not because Christ did not want them! They were turned down because they would not whole give themselves to Christ.
Jesus told us in Matthew 10:37-39, "He who loves father
or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matt. 16:24)
It does not mean our relationship with our families is negatively impacted. What it does mean is that we put Christ first in our lives, that will have a positive effect on everything in our lives.
THIS IS NOT POPULAR IN OUR MODERN TIMES. BUT IT IS GOD'S REVEALED TRUTH.
I. ERRORS IN THINKING IN REGARD TO SELF.
A. THE ERROR OF MAN'S THINKING IN REGARD TO SELF-WORTH.
The Bible says we are more valuable that the lower forms of God creation (Mt. 6:26, 10:29-31, 12:12, Luke 12:7, 24)
"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matt. 6:26)
We are intimately know by God. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matt. 10:30)
However, we still deserve death because of our inherent sinfulness. "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23)
Being adopted into God's family should cause us to praise and thank Him for the glory of His grace. Ephesians 1:5-6 says, "having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved."
It is wrong for us to think in any way we are worthy to receive Christ's unmerited favor (grace).
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
READ 1 Cor. 1:26-31................ God explains to us and says, “Let him who glories glory in Christ.”
ILLUS: We go to doctors and seek their advise as to how to have better health or deal with health problems. Many go to councilors seeking help. Millions of dollars are spent on “How to” books with deal with everything from diets, managing our money, buying houses, retirement...and you name it. . .we all are seeking advise. Psychiatry is a billion dollar a year business....offering someone advise as to how to deal with their problems. Rarely if ever is the counsel help us.
I once helped a Psychiatrist with his computer problems and I got to know him. He worked for the state and people on welfare and with mental problems. It did not take long to see this fellow’s life was a mess, yet he was being paid lots of money to advise others on how they were to fit the problems in their lives. You see the problem?
Often we are disappointed in the advise and because it often does not really help. However, God’s help is 100% correct every time and He will never steer us wrong.
B. THE ERROR OF MAN'S THINKING IN REGARD TO SELF-ASSURANCE.
A dependence on yourself or your possessions instead of God will lead to a fall.
"He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage." (PROVERBS 11:28)
John 15:5 says, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
A believer is to live in total dependence upon Christ, who is the power and wisdom of God.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Prov. 3:5-6)
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20) "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)
C. THE ERROR OF MAN'S THINKING IN REGARD TO SELF-LOVE
Nowhere in the Bible are you told to love yourself.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deut. 6:5)
That command is unnecessary because man naturally loves himself.
;"And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt. 22:39)
"So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones." (Eph. 5:28-30)
The last days will be marked by those who love self:
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
D. THE ERROR OF MAN'S THINKING IN REGARD TO SELF-ASSERTIVENESS.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
God has not given us a spirit of timidness or weakness, however, the Bible says we are not to assert ourselves.
"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phil. 2:3-4)
E. THE ERROR OF MAN'S THINKING IN REGARD TO SELF-CONFIDENCE.
You are not to trust yourself, but are to trust God. That means we test everything in light of God’s word. We trust Him in following God’s principles we find in the Bible. Most people rely on their own wisdom and reasoning, and few seek God counsel. This is what this means. Our confidence is in the advise God gives us because we know it to be true.
The believer knows that he has a carnal or fleshly nature that is corrupt. It seeks to destroy us. But the believer has the Spirit of God and a new nature that comes from God. That nature allows to understand God’s principles and to apply them in our lives. In other words, we learn from the Bible the principle and we with God’s help apply that in our daily living.
"For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3)
We are to live my faith. Not in our selves but in Christ.
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith." (1 John 5:4)
F. THE ERROR OF MAN'S THINKING IN REGARD TO SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS.
We are not righteous in ourselves.
"As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one." (Rom. 3:10-12)
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isa. 64:6)
Your true righteousness is based ONLY on a sincere belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. That means we are “right” when we follow God’s instructions.
This is not a head knowledge of Christ, but a personal belief and commitment to Him that changes your life. It is a true belief that directs and controls your life.
"For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Rom. 5:17)
G. THE ERROR OF MAN'S THINKING IN REGARD TO SELF-EXALTATION.
Exalting ourselves above others has no value. It is certainly wrong or unrighteous behavior.
"For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends." (2 Cor. 10:18)
Those who exalt themselves will be humbled.
"And whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt. 23:12)
WE ARE ONLY TO BOAST:
In the Lord. "that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Cor. 1:31)
In the Cross. But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal. 6:14)
In your weakness. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
A. The Lord who made and created us wants us to live a godly and productive happy life. He has a purpose for us to be here and we live the best lives possible when we allow Him to accomplish His purposes in our lives. Everyone will have problems in life, but those that live by God's principles found in the Bible can overcome these difficulties and not be defeated by them, kept depressed, or down troddened. B. Even the so-called difficult problems of life, chronic depression, child abuse, battered spouse, alcohol and etc are only solved effectively from a biblical perspective of pleasing God.
1. Paul said to the Colossians:
"That you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10)
2. We must rely on God's instructions to us.
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Pet. 1:2-4)
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
B. God has a plan and a way for you to live. It is a way by which you will over come the difficulties of live.
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5)
An assignment: READ Matt 5:3-12. Beatitudes.
God's cure for the problems of "self" is a transformation.
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20)