Self-DenialBro. David Chancellor
3/14/2010 11:00 AM
2 Timothy 2:1-4
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Paul encouraged Timothy to be strong in Christ and to be prepared to endure some things. When we come to God, not all of our trials are removed. There will still be hard things to go through. We must be prepared to deny ourselves some things if we would walk with God. God will provide sufficient grace for those times.
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. but when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever shall loose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Jesus was trying to help his disciples see what was coming. Peter tried to tell Jesus not to talk that way, and became an adversary to what Jesus was trying to show them, but Jesus rebuked him. If we would follow Christ, we need to learn to deny self. Self-denial is part of being a Christian.
"…Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" The world says, "Every man has his price." Do you have a price? If you won’t deny self, then you have a price. Some won’t sell out because their faith and hope is in Christ. The world’s price is cheap. Nothing it offers is lasting. Only God gives what will last.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Those who rose above the accuser did so by the blood of Christ and the word. This is where we find the strength to overcome everything that comes against us. Be willing to do whatever it takes to serve God. Self-denial is loving Christ more than ourselves. It is always being true to him.
We can’t enjoy what God provided at his expense. God has given us many good things, but our lives need to be focused on more than these things here. Self-denial is about having a genuine love for God and Christ.
1 John 2:3-5
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
If we truly love God, we’ll do whatever it takes to do what he’d have us to do. Love for God will deny self. God must come out on top. Be faithful to him and let other things go. Anything is in the wrong place when it comes between us and God. Be prepared to deny self to walk with God.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends: for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Jesus wanted us to have his joy. Self-denial doesn’t have to be a joyless path. "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." Jesus laid down his life that we might be saved. Look at the great love he had for us. He commands us to love one another. Without self-denial, you can’t love right. You can’t love right if you can’t put others and God before yourself. God wants us to give of ourselves for his cause. Be willing to deny yourself for the good of another soul. People today are so focused on pleasure that they forget to lift up Christ to a lost world. True love requires self-denial. Self-denial thinks of God and our fellowman. It seeks good for others.
Be willing to deal with whatever comes and stay with God. Self-denial comes with the love of God.