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Fairview Baptist Church

Message 1: Denying Self

Series: Disciple of Jesus Christ-The Job Description

Message 1: Denying Self

Scripture: Luke 9:22-27 (Focus vs. 23)

Introduction: In John 8: 31 a distinction is made between a believer in Jesus Christ and a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke to the Jews who believed in Him. He then called them to be disciples. This meant they needed to move to a greater level of faith and obedience in order to be considered disciples.

In our focus passage, in Luke 9, Jesus has just quizzed His 12 disciples concerning who He is and Peter declared Jesus to be the Messiah (the Christ) the Son of the living God. Jesus tells them of His suffering to come and then calls others to be His followers.

He gives them a job description which has 3 parts. To be a disciple one must:

  1. Deny self
  2. Take up his cross daily
  3. Follow Jesus

A normal job description seeks to accomplish 3 things.

  1. It explains the task assigned to the person
  2. It explains who the person is accountable too for the work
  3. It explains the expectations of the leader as the goals are being pursued

These 3 steps of the job description of a disciple given to us by Jesus each build on one another.

They are given in order. One must deny self to be able to take up the cross. One must both deny self and take up the cross to be able to follow Jesus.

As Jesus leads His followers He requires them to be growing in their faith (trust) in Him. Each of Jesus followers will go through these 3 steps as each level of spiritual growth is achieved.

Following these steps is not a onetime event but as Jesus brings us from one level of following Him to a deeper level of following we must go through these steps.

The Apostle Paul described this process in 2 Corinthians 3:18 as being transformed from one level of glory to another level of glory as we become more like Jesus. Slide – 2 Corinthians 3:18 on screen

We understand “glory” to be the result of God’s Holiness in taking action. Therefore, when the Holiness of Christ through the Holy Spirit works through us the result is “glory”.

As we follow Jesus He moves us from one level of glory to another until we finally one day see Him face to face and He finishes His work of transformation in us.

In Philippians 3: 7-14 the Apostle Paul describes the process as a pursuit of the prize of Knowing Jesus. Paul says we are Found in Him, we experience the power of His resurrection, we fellowship with Christ in the process of suffering and we are conformed into His death or we die to ourselves and we become like Christ.

Our time together the next few weeks will be to examine these 3 phrases Jesus uses in Luke 9:23. Since we know Jesus has called His church to “Make Disciples” then we know that Jesus has called the church to lead people not only to believe but to follow Him through this process so that each one reached with the Gospel will become a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In 2015 we studied together how the Apostle Paul described his calling to make disciples in Colossians 1:28-29. Paul used the words “present every person as complete in Christ”.

We learned together that “Complete in Christ” means basically we are to help every person grow to be a fully developed multiplying disciple.

This is our goal as the Body of Christ for every person we touch with the Gospel. This is God’s desire for each of us. He desires that we would be not only a believer in Jesus but a follower of Jesus.

We begin today with the first description: Deny self. Each step in the process of following Jesus will require that some part of our self must die. John the Baptist described this process of self-denial with the words; “I must decrease and He must increase”. (John 3:30).

John the Baptist is a beautiful picture of this choice to deny self. John had to deny himself in order to embrace his cross (jail & death) and follow Jesus (personally & encouraging others)

The meaning of denying self is to renounce, or put to death a self-focused life in order to place Jesus Christ, His Kingdom and His Righteousness in first place in every way.

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus commands us to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness.

In Colossians 1:13-18 God’s Word reveals to us who Jesus is and that because of the truth of who He is; He is to be given first place in everything.

Jesus is to be above all other people and things. By putting Him in first place we mean that Jesus, His Kingdom and His Righteousness must be given priority over any of our personal goals, our vision for our lives, our relationships, our possessions, our vocations, etc.

When we use the word Kingdom we mean God’s Heart desire, God’s purpose, God’s priorities, God’s will and God’s ways. These must be given first place!

In the days ahead of us in 2016, as God allows, we will be studying together in greater detail the concept of God’s Kingdom. We will study the meaning of Kingdom and then how to live out the prayer “Thy Kingdom Come” in our culture.

Each of the 11 disciples suffered died for their faith in Jesus with the exception of the Apostle John. Although he died a natural death he experienced suffering in many ways both physically and emotionally.

 

Denial of self is an INTERNAL work. It is a choice of the will which makes the mind & emotions ready to take up the cross and follow Jesus.

Jesus modeled this choice of denying self in the garden of Gethsemane.  After clearly stating His desire to escape the cross, He declared “not my will but Thine be done”.

This choice had to come first. He then was able to get up from this agony of prayer and take up His cross to follow completely God’s will.

This first step is often the hardest step. Jesus sweated blood in the intensity of his agony as He came to His choice to deny to self.

Sometimes we may clearly know the will of God and yet we believe we simply cannot do it. This can be a reality for us because we have not completed the first step which is to die to self in this area.

The desire for “microwave maturity” leads many to frustration and an acceptance of a mediocre walk with Christ.

There are no short cuts to becoming a disciple. We cannot follow Jesus without experiencing the pain and joy of denying self.

Denial of Self is done first in our heart or soul (mind, emotions and will). Once this choice is made in surrender then we can experience God’s peace and His provision of what we need to take up our cross and follow Jesus fully.

Closing thoughts & questions

The most powerful enemy which keeps the church from making disciples is not Satan; it is the lack of self-denial among those who believe in Jesus.

Denying self is not about whether we enjoy something or whether we are emotionally moved by it. Self denial is a deliberate choice of consistent obedience empowered by faith.

Do you already know of an area or areas of needed self denial? What will you do about those areas today? Surrendering to God’s will in this area is step one.

Do you need to begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ? He calls you to believe and follow Him.

 

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