COMMAND #8 - DENY YOURSELF
Matthew 16:24-25 (AMP) 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples,“If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].
Note: “Get behind me Satan” is saying that you are not going to lead me. Anytime we let our own flesh lead us, we are being led by Satan.
1. SELF DENIAL IS A PRE-REQUISITE TO BEING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST.
(The Goal of a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be like Christ. Therefore we must be willing to say no to everything in us that’s stopping us from saying yes to Christ. We must be willing to die to everything in us that denies Christ.)
Read Matthew 16:24
A. SELF-DENIAL IS A “MUST” TO BE A DISCIPLE OF JESUS. (It always comes down to us decreasing and Christ increasing. Every day we should look more like Christ in our love, actions and attitudes.)
John 3:30 (ESV) 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
We have to be willing to deny ourselves.
B. WE DENY OURSELVES SO THAT WE WILL NOT DENY CHRIST. (If we don’t deny ourselves, we can’t follow Christ. We must deny our selfish ways, deny our pride, deny our lust, deny our mouths, deny our ears, deny our comfort zone, deny our control, deny our negative emotions, deny rebellion, deny prejudice, deny pur hate and unforgiveness, deny our greed, deny ungodly relationships, check into rehab, etc.)
Deny: (ä-pär-ne’-o-mi) to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone, to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests; to deny utterly, to disown, abstain.
Question: What did you need to deny to follow Christ?
Question: Does the denial of self ever stop?
The goal is to deny anything that stops me from being more like Christ.
We are either denying Christ or denying our flesh.
C. SELF-DENIAL IS DOING THE HARD THING THAT OUR FLESH DOESN’T WANT TO DO FOR THE SAKE OF DOING GOD’S WILL. (That falls under the category of suffering for Christ, forgiving someone that really hurt you, humbling yourself and saying I am sorry, giving an offering that is difficult to give, getting up early in the moring, putting in late hours to get the job done, giving up something you really love, turning the other cheek, showing up for power of 12 meeting, cutting off an unhealthy relationship, studying the Word when you really want to watch TV etc. . Jesus showed us how to do it.)
Luke 22:42 (NLT) “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.
Question: What is that hard thing that your flesh doesn’t want to do, but you do anyways?
2. SELF-DENIAL IS THE SAME AS SELF-CRUCIFIXION.
Pick up Your Cross: expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come to follow Christ.
A. A WILLINGNESS TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST.
Romans 5:3-5 (ESV) 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Note: Anytime we suffer for the sake of Christ, we grow in our endurance, character, faith and love. In short it makes us more like Christ.
– Don’t complain about suffering, rejoice about it because it’s making you more like Christ.
B. A WILLINGNESS TO DIE FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST.
Phillipians 1:20 (NIV) I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.
Sometimes you might have to get through storms, suffering, and even threats of death in order to spread the Gospel.
C. SELF- CRUCIFIXION IS A DAILY ACTIVITY. (Paul gave us a great scriptural example.) 1 Corinthians 15:31 (AMP) 31 I assure you, believers, by the pride which I have in you in [your union with] Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily [I face death and die to self].
3. SELF-DENIAL IS A WILLINGNESS TO LOSE IT ALL.
Matthew 16:25 (AMP) For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].
Lose: (apollymi/ä-po’l-lü-mē) to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to, ruin, render useless.
A. ONLY THOSE THAT ARE WILLING TO LOSE IT ALL WILL GAIN IT ALL. (Everyone that tries to hold onto their present lives will not experience eternal life.)
Luke 18:22 (NIV) When Jesus heard this, he said to him,“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.
B. IT’S AN EXCHANGE OUR LIFE FOR HIS LIFE. (This exchange must be made to receive what God has for us. )
We have a corrupted faith when all we think is “what can Jesus do for me?” rather than “what can I do for Jesus?”
The Gospel is about Christ
Question: Are you willing to give it all up now to have it all later? Question: How is this teaching going to help your disciples?