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Scripture Reading: Mark 8:34-38

Deny Yourself



1.  “Be your true self” is a catchphrase I’ve seen recently. It seems to especially serve the interests of the “woke” crowd. It centers attention on self, first, above anything and anyone else.

    *[An aside: The culture shift from 60s-80s situation ethics (it is OK if it doesn’t harm someone else) to today’s narcissistic, self-absorbed attitude of self-promotion at the expense of others.]

2.  Christians are not immune to similar thinking and conduct.

3.  This is the exact opposite of what Jesus said is necessary to seek, find, and follow Him, Matt. 16:24-25; Luke 9:23.

4.  Disciples of Christ wear the yoke of self-denial, Matt. 11:28-30.



  A.  Definition, Matt. 16:24.

    1.  “To forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests” (Thayer, 54).

    2.  “Disregarding one’s own interests” (Vine, II:158).

    3.  Self-denial says “no” to self (indulgence, stubbornness…).

  B.  Application of Denying Self Means:

    1.  Give my life to Jesus, not myself, Matt. 16:25.

       -New master is followed by faith, Gal. 2:20.

    2.  Priority of faith before family, life, and comfort, Luke 14:26-27; Matt. 6:33.

    3.  Obey Christ (truth) instead of indulging self in sin, Rom. 2:8; 6:12.

    4.  Passages that forbid anything require self-denial. (Ex. Lust, 2 Tim. 2:22; Lying, Eph. 4:25; Fornication, 1 Cor. 6:18; etc.)

    5.  Passages that command anything require self-denial. (Ex. Gentleness and patience, 2 Tim. 2:24; Love, Rom. 12:9-10.)



  A.  Because Temptation to Sin is Resisted by Denying Self, 1 Cor. 10:12-13 (cf. Joseph, Gen. 39:7-12; Moses, Heb. 11:25-26).

  B.  Because Refusing to Deny Self is Foolish and Worldly, James 3:13-18.

    1.  We must estimate ourselves as lowly, humble, Rom. 12:16.

    2.  Selfishness (self-seeking) does not deny self, Phil. 2:3-4.

    3.  Examples of self-seeking, of never denying self for anything, anyone, or any reason:

      a.  “I deserve to be first!” (First-graders) Who is the most important person in your life?

      b.  “Why should I have to share?” Problem: The selfish do not see themselves as being selfish! (2 Cor. 13:5)

      c.  “Isn’t it all about me?” Robert E. Lee to a mother who brought her baby to him to be blessed, “Teach him he must deny himself” (R. E. Lee, Freeman).

  C.  Because Denying Self Serves Others, Matt. 20:27-28.

    -Are we ready to wash each other’s feet? John 13:12-17

  D.  Because Jesus Denied Himself, 1 Pet. 2:21-23.

    1.  Follow His steps. Deny self even when mistreated.

    2.  Christ did not please Himself, Rom. 15:2-3.

      a.  Pleased (benefited) others instead of Himself (v. 2).

      b.  The Father’s will before Himself, Luke 22:42.



1.  “My way or the highway” leads to spiritual ruin.

2.  Denying self is a personal choice by each individual.

3.  Jesus: “Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37)

  a.  Self-seeker says, “I won’t give up myself” (loses his soul).

  b.  Self-denier says, “I will give up everything" (and is saved).

4.  Invitation (Mark 8:34):

  a.  Lost: Deny yourself, come to Jesus in obedience and be saved.

  b.  Christian: If not daily denial, return to Jesus with repentant confession of sin.



By: Joe R. Price

Posted September 29, 2021