Summary: Part 5 of 5 in a series on the false gods of this world (i.e. of our own creation) that vie to be the ultimate object of our worship.
INTRODUCTION: Monsters… just say the word and images of mummies, vampires, zombies and things that go “bump” in the night fill our heads, but believe it or not there’s a monster out there that is even more dangerous than the ones brought to us by Hollywood, or our dads around a campfire, and chances are you’ve met this monster, and it may even be that you’ve been some incarnation of this monster… the “me-monster.” So how would we describe such a monster?
• The “me-monster” always has to “one-up” the accomplishments of others. This person is so insecure that he has to go several notches above someone else to prove they are superior.
• The “me-monster” cannot stand anyone “stealing the spotlight” from them.
• The “me-monster” is a narcissist, preoccupied with “self” – taken from the name of the mythological Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image and was doomed to die because he would not turn away from it.
• The “me-monster” sees everything from a “how does this affect me?” perspective.
BACKGROUND: Of all the counterfeit gods that make war on us in attempt to get our worship, this one is by far the most personal, and thus perhaps that most dangerous, not to mention that fact that often our worship of it goes un-noticed, while the fallout can be absolutely devastating, not only for us, but for those around us, and if we’re honest with ourselves we all struggle with this to one degree or another… and scripture has much to say about it! (Philippians 2:4) the battle with this god boils down to a battle between “selfishness,” and “selflessness” – which one wins, determines the “true” object of our worship.
SELF-ISHNESS – THE LOVE OF SELF
• We begin out study by tuning our attention to a few Scriptural examples of “selfish” people
• Cain (Genesis 4) most are familiar with the story of Cain -- how God rejected his sacrifice while accepting that of Abel, his brother. Cain, jealous of his brother and having no regard for anyone but self, murdered his brother.
• When God afterward asks him where Abel was, Cain responds with the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?
• Ahab (1st Kings 21) he’s an example of one whose selfishness led him to be concerned about things before he was concerned about people.
• He coveted Naboth's vineyard and pouted when he could not get it his wicked wife Jezebel killed Naboth and then gave his vineyard to her husband as a gift. He was ecstatic, while having no concern for Naboth or his family.
• James and John (Matthew 20) these two stand out as examples of those who selfishly desire power and prestige for themselves. They asked for the most prestigious and powerful positions in Jesus' kingdom, not to help others, but to have their own egos inflated and fulfilled.
• Jesus told them their selfishness reflected the selfish attitude of the worldly-minded. Such ambitious drive today still is opposed to the teachings of Jesus. He said that those who would be “great” in His kingdom would be a servant of all
SELF-LESNESS – THE LOVE OF OTHERS
• We now turn our attention to a few Scriptural examples of selfless people.
• These are individuals who had a proper perspective on self and others. In each example, the one who manifested selflessness was blessed by God for doing so.
• Joseph (Genesis 45) even though his brothers had sold him into slavery, when they came to Egypt seeking food, he forgave them and then helped them.
• If he had been selfish, he could have demanded his brothers be punished, or maybe even put to death. Rather, he did what was best for them.
• The Good Samaritan (Luke 10) unlike those who were outwardly pious, he took the time to help a person in need using his own resources and time to gain no advantage for self but only to help a person who needed help.
• Barnabas (Acts 4) he saw the needs of his brethren so he sold his land, gave all the money to the Lord's cause so that those in need might have relief.
• And then of course we have the “ultimate” example Jesus. The Son of God selflessly left heaven and came to this world to give Himself as a sacrifice for man's sins He had no selfish motives in His actions, just the drive to “seek,” and “save” the lost.
SELF-SACRIFICE – THE SERVICE TO OTHERS
• We are called to not let the pantheon of counterfeit gods to rule our lives… we must let the Word of God be our guide and permit it, under the power of the Holy Spirit to mold us in the image of Christ, by denying self and living for the benefit of others and ultimately for His glory!