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Scripture Reading: Mark 8:34-38
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.
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO DENY SELF?
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.)
II. WHY DENY YOURSELF?
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