Sermon Illustrations

The Christian's Passion

"Denying Oneself"

There is a tale of the great English actor Macready. Macready was once asked by a preacher; "What is the difference between you and me?" You see the actor appeared before crowds night after night proclaiming fiction and people listened with delight. The preacher spoke of the essentials and the unchanged truths of God, yet, most listened with no passion upon their hearts. Macready's answer was this, "I present fiction as though it were true; you present truth as though it were fiction."

Over the course of time the cancers of legalism, traditionalism, denominationalism and faddism will choke the life out of a church. True believers do not want a church that has only a form of godliness but denies the truth and power of God (2 Timothy 3:5). It is a necessity that the church of Jesus Christ maintains a vibrant walk with the Lord. Pastors must preach messages that reflect Holy Spirit revelation and illumination of the Word of God.

Jesus has this description of what is to be expressed in the child of God who is passionate for Him, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself... For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37) This is a very powerful truth presented by Christ which enables the child of God to express a life of passion for Him and it begins with "denying oneself."

If there is anyone who deserves our attention, our loyalty, our time, our money, our efforts, our adoration, our devotion, our worship and praise, it is Jesus Christ. The Christian's passion is to accomplish the complete will of God for him and he must have a desire in his heart to die to self-will. "Deny" (Greek aparneomai) means to disown, disregard, forsake, renounce, or reject. The application is to subdue the flesh and bring it under submission to the Highest authority. This is not negative, such as denying oneself something, but rather it is positive action. It is saying "No" to self in order to say "Yes" to what Jesus Christ wills you to do. This enables you to let Jesus be truly Lord of your life allowing you to enjoy the benefits of being a child of God. People all too often forfeit God's best for them by not denying self.


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