Summary: The Church needs to learn to die to self more collectively but it begins on an individual basis first. Like Jesus said, "Not My Will But Your Will Be Done!
Why Aren’t More Of Us Dying?
When you read the Title in the Bulletin this morning, did it make you think “what is the preacher going to preach about today”? I hope that he doesn’t want us to die! I want to tell you today that yes; I really do want all of you to die today.
Now before you throw me out or leave, bear with me and I will explain exactly why I want you all to die. I don’t want you all to die physically I want all of us to die to ourselves in a spiritual manner. And I don’t just want you to die to yourself once but I want you all to die to yourself every single day that you live and here’s another thing this is not optional!
This is a very important biblical subject. It is so important that there are many Scripture verses and passages that deal with it. And if we can’t or don’t get our hearts and minds around this mandate from Jesus then we will find ourselves in a huge amount of trouble and pain.
How do I know that this subject is so important to Jesus? I know that dying to self is important to Jesus because He did it too and here is one example of what He did to “die to Himself”. This is what Jesus prayed while He was in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest in Matthew 26 verses 36-45: 36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."
37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
38 Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
40 Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What, could you not watch with Me one hour?
41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."
43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
I want you to notice that Jesus was, in His humanness, struggling with the crucifixion that was coming and it’s not wrong to struggle with our humanness but it is wrong and sinful to allow our will or ourselves to win the struggle.
Notice that Jesus asks the Father that if it’s possible for the “cup” (which is symbolic of His being crucified) to pass from Him to let it be so, the first time he talks to the Father about His situation. And even though He is asking for the “cup” to pass from Him Jesus also says, and this is important, “not my will but your will be done”. This is the beginning of Jesus’ example to us about how to die to ourselves.
The second time that Jesus prays to the Father about having the “cup” pass from Him I want you to notice that He prays in such a way that it appears that He has already gotten the answer from the Father. Notice again what Jesus prayed in verse 42: He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."
Jesus is acknowledging here that He knows that the “cup” cannot pass from Him unless He drinks it and in so doing is submitting Himself and His will to the will of the Father. Jesus is teaching us by His own example how to die to ourselves. And while we will never face the circumstances that Jesus faced then, we are to die to ourselves because He did die on the cross and we share in that death just as when we accepted Him as our personal Lord and Savior we will share in His resurrection too.
And while this is a crucial and vital example of Jesus teaching us to die to ourselves and to submit our wills to that of the Father it is by no means all that Jesus had to say about on this subject.