Self-DenialBro. David Chancellor
7/20/2008 11:00 AM
And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassador, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus was trying to prepare his disciples for what was ahead … Calvary. His disciples were looking for something else; a hero who would restore Israel and make them great and powerful. Jesus was emphasizing something else to his disciples. He wanted them to see that self-denial was necessary for success.
It’s more than just accepting Jesus if we want to succeed as Christians. "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." All of these could be a hindrance to your service to God … self most of all. Be settled on nothing less than serving God. The disciples thought they’d stay with him, but they didn’t quite have pictured what was ahead. They weren’t able to stand at that point. Jesus talks to them about counting the cost. Self-denial is the path to heaven. This is what it will take to finish. It’s not enough to just start. Some denial of self will be necessary to make it through. Are you willing to commit yourself to God? If you don’t deny yourself along the way, you could become useless to the purpose of God. God has to be in first place. What does self-denial look like? Deliverance from sin is not self-denial; it’s deliverance.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.
Denying yourself doesn’t mean you’ll have everyone’s acceptance. People who aren’t following Christ don’t necessarily like Christians. A person who lives a godly life makes the person who is living a wrecked life miserable. They see how far short they are of following Jesus. A lot of "Christianity" has backed away from Jesus being the way to heaven. Our attention needs to be focused on following him. Jesus came to do the Father’s will. We need to be able to stand for God, deny self and follow Jesus. Following Christ is the best way. You have to deny yourself to have the strength to stand for what’s right.
2 Timothy 3:10-15
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra: what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Paul reminded Timothy of some of the things he went through. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." A godly life will cost us something. You will have to deny yourself something to live right. If you would live godly, you and the world will eventually be out of sorts. When it comes down to friends and family, we need the grace of God to bear it. Jesus has to be first.
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s. But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
Jesus asked this man to deny himself. He wanted a total sellout. Everything has to come second to God. Everything God has given you belongs to God. It isn’t yours. But no one who has sold out to God comes up on the short end of the deal. Commit yourself completely to God. In the gospel, you’ll receive something better. It’s worth it to deny yourself and follow Christ.