Summary: Growing in intimacy with God is more than external works of prayer or love, it is dying to our agendas, fleshly desires and ego’s. Today we will look at how dying to oneself opens the door to a new life of intimacy with God.
“Dying To Self”
Dcn. Chris Nerreau
“Dying To Self”
INTRODUCTION: May the words of my lips and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight, giving praise, glory and honor to Your name our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen!
Have you ever asked yourself – “How do I grow in intimacy with God?” If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me I would be well off and if I had a dollar for every time I have asked God myself, I would be extremely wealthy!
Unfortunately most pastors only give half an answer to this question! They simply say you need to read more scripture, pray more, attend church more often or engage in the sacraments more, none of which are wrong, but all are incomplete. So what is the answer? Let me try to illustrate it for you.
ILLUSTRATION: Returning home from a long journey was a Pirate, he had spent many years lying, stealing, and cheating in a far away land, storing up a great chest of treasure for himself. The pirate held on tightly to that chest because he saw in it, something of much more value than just jewels and gold, rather he saw in that chest, the fulfillment of all his dreams, hopes and aspirations. He knew that, that treasure was his key to the “good life”.
The pirate having made his fortune decided it was time to return home and after boarding the ship and having traveled a great distance from the shore, a storm arose. It did not take long for the storm to overtake the ship and soon the ship began to break into pieces. Eventually the pirate and his treasure plunged into the cold sea. He began to sink holding on desperately to that chest. As the pirate was sinking, all that raced through his mind was – “how can I get my treasure to the surface?” Slowly the pirate began to realize that life was not in the chest, but on the surface and that holding onto the chest would cause him to die. Reluctantly the pirate let go of that chest and began to swim upwards toward the surface.
We are a lot like that pirate, holding onto our agenda’s, ego’s and fleshly desires, thinking all the while that they will bring us life. But in reality, they are pulling us down toward death. As such...
PROPOSITION: Growing in intimacy with God occurs as we die to ourselves (let go of our treasure), that we may begin to swim upward toward Christ who is "life".
ORIENTATION: Today I want to discuss with you what it means to die to self (letting go of the treasure) and also what this new life is that Paul describes:
1. Dying to Self
2. Newness of Life
TRANSITION: So let’s begin by looking at what it means to …
I. Die To Self – v.2
What caused Christ’s death was His unwavering commitment to fulfill the will of His Father and this is the death that we enter into in Baptism. Jesus is our example of what it means to die to oneself, He always set the will of the Father above His own.
Observation – (v. 2)
v. 2 “We were buried therefore with Him, by baptism into death…”
• Jesus death began at the incarnation and ended at the crucifixion
• v.2 “Buried” – To be buried with Christ is to have begin our own personal journey toward Calvary.
• What is this death that we have entered into?
o Death To Our Agenda – Submission to the Fathers Will – We are called to trust in God and His plan for our lives when it agrees with our agenda and when it does not.
“Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.”
o Death To Our Ego – A Forfeiting Of Our Right To Strike Back – Forgiveness always costs us something! As Baptized Christians we have entered into Christ’s death and part of that death is setting aside our right to strike back.
Mt. 4:39 – “But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” This has to do with insults, a figurative slap across the face, or a word or act done to us that hurts our ego’s.
Lk. 23:10 – The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then, arraying him in gorgeous apparel, he sent him back to Pilate.
o Death To Our Material Possessions- Believing God’s Owns It All – One of the areas that goes last is money and material things. But to die with Christ is to surrender all of our material wealth.