Summary: There is a marked difference between a believer and a disciple, between being a Spirit-sealed Christian and a Spirit-filled Christian. The distinguishing mark of the disciple, the Spirit-filled Christian, and the soldier of the Kingdom is the abrogation o
The Abrogation of Self
Introduction: There is a marked difference between a believer and a disciple, between being a Spirit-sealed Christian and a Spirit-filled Christian. There is likewise considerable difference between being a citizen of Heaven and being a soldier of the Kingdom. In each case the difference is the same. The distinguishing mark of the disciple, the Spirit-filled Christian, and the soldier of the Kingdom is the abrogation of self.
I. Self is the Center of the Problem
A. Every church conflict, every personal spiritual struggle, every sin has “I” at the center.
B. We live in an “Age of Self” evidenced and fed by the slogans and phrases that glorify personal choice above all other values: have it your way; do your own thing; self-determination, self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-help, do-it-yourself. The standard of belief today has become the individual, not the teaching of the church and the Word of God. Many Christians are best described as “Burger King Believer’s” or "Cafeteria Christians" who pick and choose what they will believe and practice. Leadership is spurned as “followers don't want to be led”. – Adapted from an article by Steven V. Roberts, "Leading the Faithful in an Age of Dissent," U.S. News and World Report, August 23, 1993, p. 6.
C. Isaiah 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'”
D. James 1:13-14 “Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
E. The sin of idolatry that plagues the modern world is a "me first" attitude that gives God the leftovers in thought and life. – W. Werning
F. One thousand church attendees were asked the question, "Why does the church exist?" Eighty-nine percent said that the church's purpose was “to take care of MY family's and MY spiritual needs.” Only eleven percent said that the purpose of the church was “to win the world for Jesus Christ.” – Spirit of Revival & Awakening, June 1999, p. 27-28.
II. Christ calls us to self denial
A. Luke 9:23 “…he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
B. If you’re living for self, you’re not following Jesus.
C. "Some of us are so full of ourselves," says a writer in the Canadian Baptist, "and our busy servings, that we cannot see Christ in all His beauty. Some years ago, when I was away on a preaching appointment, my wife and little daughter stayed at the home of a friend. On the bedroom wall, just over the head of the bed in which they slept, there was a picture of the Lord Jesus, which was reflected in the large mirror of the dressing table standing in the bay of the bedroom window. When my little daughter woke on her first morning there, she saw the picture reflected in the mirror while she still lay in bed, and exclaimed, "Oh, Mummy, I can see Jesus through the mirror!" Then she quickly kneeled up to take a better look, but in so doing brought her own body between the picture and the mirror, so that instead of seeing the picture of Jesus reflected, she now saw herself. So she lay down again, and again she saw the picture of Jesus. She was up and down several times after that with her eyes fixed on the mirror, Then she said, "Mummy, when I can't see myself, I can see Jesus; but every time I see myself, I don't see Him." How true it is that when self fills the vision we do not see Jesus! " - Sunday School Times
D. Luke 14:26, 33 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple… So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
III. Understand what self denial is not.
A. It is not a self-imposed legalism