Summary: To deny ourselves is the call to total surrender
Imagine yourself at the local gym; you are working out trying to get fit, loose weight, generally looking good. As you are on one of the machines you notice a friend coming to the gym. He gets out of his car grabs his gym bag, and just as he leaves the car to come into the gym you notice he has a cup in his hand, a blizzard cup from DQ. As he walks to the door he spoons the last few scoops from the cup into his mouth. He wants the gym, the workout, and maybe the body but he is not making the personal sacrifices to attain the goal.
For us the goal is simple, the goal is Heaven. In order to get there we have to follow Jesus. In Luke 9:23 we read;
***If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
We have identified “If anyone” meaning me, “Come after me” is a passionate plea to follow, and now we learn in order to follow we must DENY OURSELVES.
WE cannot come after Jesus without denying ourselves.
***Denying ourselves is more than:
1. Saying no to ourselves
2. Saying not to worldly desires
3. We cannot recognize/acknowledge ourselves w/o seeing Jesus first
We live in a culture that says:
1. What’s in it for me
2. What will this do for me?
3. Look out for #1
The rich young ruler: Wants heaven, but does he want to do what he has to in order to get there?
***Jesus says: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
***Rule #1 is clear
We cannot have Jesus and have the stuff that possesses us
Jesus knew his possessions possessed him, he is at crossroads
One road leads or is lead by his possessions
The other road is lead by Jesus and leads to heaven
Which road are we on?
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
It is not about money, it is about a PATH. Which road are we on?
A follower says I CHOOSE JESUS:
1. over family
3. Career goals
4. Getting drunk
5. Looking at Porn
6. Redecorating the house
9. Even if it costs me everything.
***Are we Christians or Flexitarians?
A Flexitarian says:
I will follow Jesus as long as:
1. Don’t ask me to give to the poor
2. Don’t ask me to be sexually pure
3. Don’t ask me to give
4. Don’t ask me to forgive.
Just like vegetarians who won’t eat meat unless it is served to them or Jews who won’t eat pork but slip in some bacon from time to time.
A flexitarian asks What can Jesus do for me, instead of What can I do for Jesus.
Bill Bright: Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ spent many years working on the program in order to help reach kids for Christ and help strengthen those who were. Great public speaker, on his tombstone he has
Bill Bright: Slave for Christ
If Jesus is LORD what does that make us? Another word for LORD is MASTER, if he is the Master what are we? The NT has a word for us it is:
The word is sometimes translated slave, sometimes servant
Peter identifies himself as such in 2 Peter 1:1
Why not Chief Apostle, friend of Jesus, member of the inner circle, winner of souls or such other accolade?
How about Paul? Why not student of Gamaleil? Writer of 2/3rd of the NT? Missionary to the Gentiles, church planter extraordinaire?
Instead both use this same word to describe themselves.
He will provide for us
He will protect us
He will forgive us our sins
He will give us rest
He will make us heirs in HIS KINGDOM
What does he want, in legal terms it is called a ****Quitclaim Deed.
A denial of all our rights, we sign everything over to Him
Millard Fuller, a modern day Rich young ruler
Multi-millionaire at age 29
Gave his wife everything she ever wanted, yet by her own testimony, she was empty. She left him, he found her in a Motel in NYC. She confessed her loneliness, her emptiness, they were Christians but something was missing, something their wealth could not give them. They knelt by the bedside and prayed