Sunday Sermon: Self Denying Christian


All human being having been given free will to make choices in life. Do you have a strong enough will to self deny?

There are many aspects of life that we should be exercising self denial, if we are true Christians. Self denial should be exercised in these areas:

Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts:

Romans 6:12 (KJV) “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

Titus 2:12 (KJV) “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”

Abstaining from fleshly lusts:

1 Peter 2:11 (KJV) “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”

Mortifying sinful lusts:

Mark 9:43 (KJV) “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched”

Colossians 3:5 (KJV) “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry”

Mortifying deeds of the body:

Romans 8:13 (KJV) “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

Not pleasing ourselves:

Romans 15:1-3 (KJV) “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (2) Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. (3) For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”

Not seeking out own profit:

1 Corinthians 10:24 (KJV) “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.”

1 Corinthians 10:33 (KJV) “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

1 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV) “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil”

Philippians 2:4 (KJV) “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

Preferring the profit of others:

Romans 14:20-21 (KJV) “For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. (21) It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”

1 Corinthians 10:24 (KJV) “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.”

1 Corinthians 10:33 (KJV) “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

Assisting others:

Luke 3:11 (KJV) “He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”

Even lawful things:

1 Corinthians 10:23 (KJV) “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

Forsaking all:

Luke 14:33 (KJV) “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

Taking up the cross and following Christ:

Matthew 10:38 (KJV) “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 16:24 (KJV) “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Crucifying the flesh:

Galatians 5:24 (KJV) “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

Being crucified with Christ:

Romans 6:6 (KJV) “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Being crucified to the world:

Galatians 6:14 (KJV) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Putting off the old man which is corrupt:

Ephesians 4:22 (KJV) “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts”

Colossians 3:9 (KJV) “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds”

Preferring Christ to all earthly relations:

Matthew 8:21 (KJV) “And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. (22) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”

Luke 14:26 (KJV) “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.”

 

We cringe at the very thought of self-denial. It is so contrary to our human nature. We wonder if anyone can take Jesus seriously. I mean, who ever heard of self-denial? We are much more comfortable with words like “self-fulfilment” and “self-actualization”.

And yet, “self-denial” is right there, annoyingly, and not just once, but repeated in the gospels. It seems to me, if we are to be serious followers of Christ, we need to seriously consider these words: self-denial.

Jesus is calling us to self-denial. And on the other hand, Jesus says He has come to bring us life, and not just average life but life to the fullest.

So we wonder, which one is it? We can hardly imagine that a “life to the fullest” is a life of “self-denial”. So which one is it? Does following Christ mean life or does it mean self-denial?

If we believe worldly wisdom, then a “full life” and a life of “self denial” are not compatible. The world’s idea of life to the fullest means a life of self-gratification; exactly the opposite of self-denial. It means putting yourself first, above anyone else… even if it means hurting other people. It means looking out for your own interests. It means satisfying the cravings of the flesh. It says “eat drink and be merry” or as some men would put it, “wine, women & song”. It is a life that is always wanting more, and in the end, it is a life that is never satisfied. In fact, in the pursuit of self-gratification, one finds himself enslaved. We are enslaved by our need for more power, more position, more toys. It’s never enough!

The only way to a full and free life, a life free from the enslavements that come with the pursuit of self-gratification, is a life of self-denial!

The truth of the matter is that we cannot follow Christ while we are following the world.

We try to get the best of both worlds. We want all that God has to offer, but we also want all that the world has to offer. We want them both. But we can’t because they conflict with one another.

If/when we embrace self-denial, we become free to follow Christ. Why? Because the things of this world no longer have a grip on us. We’re no longer bound to them.

The mind-sets of the world are mind-sets of power, control, competition, revenge, etc. It’s all about me!

The world would have you believe that if you only have more “things” you will be happy. If you have more “power and control” you’ll be happy. If you can get revenge on those who hurt you, you’ll be happy. But all of these things do is they rob us of our contentment.

These mindsets put us in perpetual bondage… because there is always MORE we can have, more we can control, more power to obtain, more toys to collect. It just never ends.

Pretty soon we lose focus of the things that are really important. Our priorities get mixed up and in the end we find that self-gratification only leads to discontent.

Self-Denial sets us free from the pursuit of “more”; not just more things but even more “power”.

Embracing Self-Denial sets us free from the bondage to always need more things or more power and control. We’ve opted out of the rat race, because we realize there really are no winners there.

Self-gratification is a bondage; a miserable bondage. Self Denial sets us free from this enslavement.

When we embrace self-denial we become free to lay down the burden of always needing to get our own way.

We have this obsession that things go the way we want them to go and this is one of the greatest things that holds us bondage.

We can spend weeks, months, even years in a perpetual stew because some little thing did not go like we wanted.

Self-Denial sets us free from this drive so that we can live at peace with one another.

Self-Denial sets us free to take up our cross daily. The only question that remains is do we really want to?

Self-denial is not glamorous, and it probably won’t put you in the Fortune 500 magazines, but as far as Jesus is concerned, it is the only way to follow Him. And if we’re going to follow Him, we’re going to embrace the Cross.

Be a self-denying Christian today, and know that the promises of God will be bestowed upon you!

God wants us to success in this life and be prepared for the Kingdom coming!

Rev. DJ

About Rev. DJ

Pastor (Ordained Minister) and Life Coach. I specialize in helping those dealing with grief and bereavement. I coach individuals and couples. Bachelor's Degree in Psychology April of 2013. Master's degree in Patient Advocacy in process.
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