Dying To Sin, Part 3
This is *was* a Sound Doctrine Ministries’ refreshment series sermons. They are devoted to 2 Peter 1:13.
2 Peter 1:13 – I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body,
These publications are not intended to be a deep, detailed study of scripture. Rather it is to refresh those who have already drunk deep from the well of God’s word. These publications are for those who understand what the crucified life by the power of the Holy Spirit is all about. They are for those who are finding it their joy to hate their own lives and who rejoice in both the pain and the joy of the daily cross. At all times there will be other scriptures which could support a point that is being made, but these publications will not stop to explore those particular scriptures. Rather they are to remind you of what you are already obeying in the Lord and hopefully to increase your work for the Lord. If you do not understand the cross of Christ, then much of what is being explored here will not make sense. These publications do not attempt to increase your head knowledge of the Greek or Hebrew or even the cultural situation of the time. These publications are about every day obedience and have 1 Corinthians 2:2 as the goal.
1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
This publication is given away for free because Jesus commands all Christians to hate and despise money, which we gladly do.
Luke 23:47-49 – The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
How sad it is when the church has not set the example for other people on how to go to the cross and die to sin. People are standing by and watching your life. They are seeing if you really count the cross to be a joy, if it is really true, and if it really has the life of God in it? Every time a person falls away he takes others with him, just as when Satan fell he took 1/3 of the angels with him. Every time the church or you set an example of unfaithfulness by refusing to die, somebody else in the crowd walks away and concludes, “That must not be of God.” Woe unto those who cause others to stumble like this.
Luke 23:49 – But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
People are watching. Let us set the example. There are some who know Jesus, who love him and who are looking to others for an example of how to overcome sin. Even though Jesus has died and the good thief has died, it’s not over with yet. The thief should never come back to life in his own power and effort to live the Christian life or do anything for God. He should remain dead to this sin and not allow his sinful nature to come back alive. All death on the cross really means is that in everything we do, from the time we get up, to when we eat, to who we marry, we say, “Not my will, but your will be done.” We learn to wait upon the Lord for everything. I do not ever run into the prayer closet demanding that God do certain things or even saying, “God, I want these certain things.” I have learned to say, “Thy will be done. Show me what to pray and what is your will today,” like a servant to his master or a son to his father. So even though Jesus is dead, he has to wait in the tomb upon God’s will. This is the Christian life―waiting upon God for his will to be done. No longer will you repent when you want to repent or how you want to repent, but you will discover that repentance is waiting upon God to do God’s will. This was the difference between David and Saul. David was after God’s heart, but Saul just wanted to understand what God’s will was. How many people there are who want to understand what God’s will is so they can go do it, but they do it in their own strength and wisdom, even though it is religious wisdom. They do that because they do not want to be dead to their flesh and sin, they still want to do what they want to do. Sometimes what they want to do is serve God with their flesh. David wasn’t concerned about what he wanted. He desired God’s heart. What did God want to do, what was God’s desire, what would God pray, and what would God feel in any situation?
1 Peter 5:6 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
So even though you have hung on the cross and died, it’s not cause for celebration yet. You have to wait in the tomb. You have to humble yourself under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time, when he sees fit. How many people there are who become convicted of sin, who even wrestle and seek to be crucified to sin and then say, “It’s all over with. OK, I am dead to that.” Or they will say, “I thought I was trying the best I could to overcome it. I thought I was seeking to be dead to it.” Or worse yet, we know a lot of individuals who go out and seek to repent. They choose how they will repent. Repentance is the doing of God’s will and saying, “Thy will be done.” Humble yourself and wait upon the Lord under his mighty hand. He will lift you up in due time and tell you how to repent. He will inspire you and show you where the life is found. Do you remember what Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” It will be Christ in you repenting. It will be God’s will concerning the whole issue of repentance. But as long as you continue to repent then you are just playing God-man choosing the best way to change your life. Don’t worry even though you are laying in the tomb in a helpless state, even though you are dead on the cross and cannot do anything for yourself, that is exactly where God wants you to be. Remember what Paul said, “We felt the sentence of death but this happened so that we might not depend upon ourselves but upon God who raises the dead.” So God will send his messengers to begin to conduct your life. He will send someone to place you where he wants you to be, inside Jesus Christ, inside the Rock. In Luke 23:50 we find ourselves being placed inside Jesus Christ who is the Rock.
Luke 23:50-53 – Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.
Do you understand what is happening? Your life is now hidden in Christ. “I no longer live but Christ lives in me.” Do you know those scriptures? Your life is now being hidden in the rock of Jesus Christ and you are dead. Any life that you live is because Jesus resurrects you. As long as you remain dead to self and remain inside that rock, then you will experience the resurrection. By the way, this is the true Sabbath rest of God. The Sabbath rest of God is not meeting on Saturday, it is being dead inside the tomb, lifeless and helpless, totally dependent upon God, absolutely surrendered and fully in Jesus Christ fully is the Sabbath rest of God. No longer will it be you obeying God; it will be Jesus in you giving you the power to obey God’s commands. No longer will you be deciding how and when to obey scripture, it will be God in you working the obedience and teaching you how to obey scripture. Go inside the rock. Even that you cannot do yourself, can you? Somebody else has to carry you in. You are dead. You finally died to your self, and so now you go in and are laid in there with Jesus Christ. The life you now live is by the power of God.
Luke 23:54-56 – It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Now everything is according to God’s word and is full of life. Jesus Christ is bringing life to us who are dead. No longer will man’s effort to smell good be needed. No longer will men’s efforts of prayers and perfumes be required. No longer will the demands of the old law to be obedient to the Sabbath on Saturday be required. None of these outward things will be necessary because it will be the resurrection power of God working obedience and a relationship with God. The old law is really put to death now. All of your self-effort, all of your spices and all of your perfume are worthless. How you smell, all the things that bring spice to your life, and all your obedience to God’s commands are now laid to rest and put to death. Now the life you live will be by the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Do you want the power and the resurrection? Then you have to go all the way to death and be laid in a tomb. If you stop anywhere along the line, then you are not a Christian and do not belong to Jesus Christ. You really do not have the joy that’s prepared for you from heaven. You might have a joy that comes from your church, your own Bible study, book reading, sermon notes, outlines, or whatever you have to make yourself feel good. You may have joy from your spices and perfumes but you do not have this joy. This kind of joy comes from heaven.
Luke 24:50 – When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
Jesus has now been resurrected and lives by the power of God. He now has provided us with the way. The problem is we will not come all the way to this point of death and then submit and wait upon God always. You see, we think it’s enough that we have been crucified, flogged, or endured a little bit of embarrassment. We think it’s enough just to see our sins and confess them.
Hosea 12:4-6 – He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there―the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name of renown! But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.
Jacob wrestled and he struggled with an angel. He went through the dying process. It says he wept and begged for his favor. He went through the crucifixion process, he wrestled with God, and this is how we too wrestle with God to gain his favor. As scripture says, “Forceful men lay hold of the kingdom,” and only forceful men get in.
Hosea 12:6 – But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.
Once we are crucified, on the cross and dead to a certain aspect of self, then let us continue to wait in the tomb until God lifts us up.
Jesus is now resurrected and leading his people. He has shown them the power of God. This is where we should be in so many areas of our life. We should be able to point others to Jesus and say, “This has been overcome. This has been crucified. I went through the pain in this area. I was put to death and I am waiting in the tomb always for my God.” This is the life. We ought to be showing people the way. Just as Jesus after he was resurrected came to those who love him and led them out.
Luke 24:50 – When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
This is how we receive the power to bless other people. This is how we get the power to show them the life. We have to be crucified, go into a tomb, and wait for our God always. We wait for him to tell us where to go and what to do, how to worship, how to serve, what to say, how to live any aspect of scripture, what to pray. In everything we do we are to say, “Thy will be done.” This requires a heart that is continually waiting upon the Lord and surrendering to him in everything. Not coming in day after day with our requests and our wants, but humbling ourselves before the Lord and saying, “OK, Lord, what is your will for today?” Scripture says he lifted up his hands and blessed them. Let us be able to lift up hands and bless other people. This is where the blessing and the life is.
Luke 24:51 – While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
Just think, the last thing they saw was Jesus Christ blessing them even as he drew closer into heaven. Won’t people see us blessing them if they will but go to the cross and die, if they will but see Jesus Christ lifted up and crucified? They will hear the blessings of God. How everybody wants to hear the blessings of God but they do not want to die or wait on God always. Everybody wants joy and happiness, but nobody wants to die in order to get it. If we took the offense of the cross out of this, people would love us and listen to the message. Our church would be packed with people. But because the offense of the cross is present and it requires perseverance, people do not want to go on to die. So they never hear Jesus Christ blessing them. They never catch the heavenly vision. They never see Jesus being lifted up into the clouds and hearing his blessings as he goes. They are afraid to die or they die in delusions thinking they are going to heaven.
Luke 24:52 – Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
They had great joy but they knew they also had to die on a cross. They discovered this was the power of God but it filled them with joy, not misery. They saw the glory of what it would mean to die to self and they were eager for it even though they knew it would cost them much. Indeed Jesus says it costs us everything. They were willing to endure the pain that they might have a harvest of righteousness and peace.
Luke 24:53 – And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
These people loved church. You wouldn’t have had a problem with a lower attendance on Wednesday or Sunday nights. These people had tasted the new life so TV didn’t attract them, worldly activities didn’t allure them, and they loved to fellowship with God. Again, they knew the cross was for them. In John 21:14-19 Jesus is talking to Peter. We have seen so much of what Peter went through and how we do the same thing. The only question I have for you is, do you go all the way to death like Peter did?
John 21:14-15 – This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
Isn’t that the question Jesus is asking you? Do you truly love me more than your family, money, time and your life? Peter of course says, “Yes, Lord you know that I love you.” So Jesus says, “Feed my lambs.”
John 21:16-17 – Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time; “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Don’t think that just because you have died to your sin, you’ve lain in the tomb and are waiting on God that you are not going to be rebuked. How many of you think that if you confess your sin it’s over with and there’s nothing left for God to deal with. This is the third time Jesus has appeared to them since he rose from the dead and he’s rebuking Peter. Oh, it’s in a loving way, but it’s a reminder of his sin. He brings it up again. How many people become resentful when we bring up the fact that they committed a sin some time ago as if we don’t love them because we brought it up even though the Holy Spirit led us to do so. How many people reject the Holy Spirit when he reminds them of sins they have committed in the past. They do not want to be reminded, yet there is forgiveness and power in remembering our sins. It causes us to keep from committing the sin again and letting self come back to life. We are in the grave and have gone through the suffering, let’s not let self come back alive.
John 21:17 – The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time,
No discipline seems pleasant at the time. You will be hurt by it, but that’s the intention. Jesus wants to make sure you are going to die to your sin.
John 21:17 – The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time; “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Every time Jesus reminds Peter of his flesh, he’s saying, “Peter you fed your flesh here, now I want you to do my will. I want you to feed my sheep.” He’s reminding Peter that the cross has to be in his life. Jesus goes on in further detail to talk about the cross that will be in Peter’s life.
John 21:18-19 – “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Jesus Christ is trying to come to each one of us to show us what kind of death will glorify him. He tells us the truth. When we were younger we did what we wanted to do, we went where we wanted and dressed ourselves. But now that we have seen Jesus Christ clearly portrayed as crucified, he tells us that we will no longer do what we want. “Someone else will dress you.” The cross comes down to what you will wear. I know that no one wants to hear that. It comes down to how long you have your hair and the kind of clothes you wear. The cross entails a surrender to God’s will in everything both outward and inward.
John 21:18 – I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.
This time Peter will submit to God’s will, even though his flesh doesn’t want to. This is what death to self is all aboutgoing where we do not want to go; and surrendering our attitudes, thoughts, and things we do not want to surrender. All of this is unto the glory of God.
John 21:19 – Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Do you remember the passage in Romans? “If by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live.” Someone else says, “Gee, if Peter is going to glorify God by dying this way, I think I will do the same thing,” they would be in sin. Each person has to follow Jesus Christ. He said in Luke that we have to take up a cross, deny ourselves, and follow him. All of this has to be done by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why so many churches that talk about denying self and picking up a cross have no power or life. It’s just rules, regulations, and guidelines because they do not follow the Holy Spirit. Are you willing to wait upon God always; and to wait for the voice and direction of the Holy Spirit? Are you willing for the Holy Spirit to crucify your sin unto death? Are you willing to get to a place of honestly being put to death?
2 Corinthians 4:10 – We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
Always! Let the Holy Spirit write this on your heart.
2 Corinthians 4:11-12 – For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
Did you catch the “always”? “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus.” We are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake. This is so that the life of Christ might be revealed in us so that others might have his life. This is the power and glory of being crucified with Christ and having sin put to death.
2 Peter 1:4-5 – Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
We have seen how to put forth that effort and how it takes place. We have seen how we put sin to death. This is a daily thing. It is always carrying around the death of Jesus.
2 Peter 1:6-8 – …and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Increasing measure―this death must continue day in and day out, always, all the time.
2 Peter 1:9 – But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
They have been cleansed from their sins, not just forgiven. Therefore, in the same way you have overcome past sins and you should keep on being cleansed. Are you getting the idea that you should always be suffering with Christ so that you always have his life? You should always allow yourself to remain on the cross so that others might see the power of God and you might bring them life. If the church would do this, outreach would be motivated from and based on really laying down our lives for one another. As it is, it’s just a result of evangelism programs and people doing good things to make themselves feel good.
2 Peter 1:10 – Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,
If you don’t live this message, you will fall from grace.
2 Peter 1:11-15 – …and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
How did this passage begin? “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Do you want to experience the divine nature? Do you want the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in your life? Do you want to have joy from overcoming sin? Then run from the whitewash that you are hearing from the pulpit today, get to the cross and get crucified. Allow yourself to be put to death. This is where the divine power is. This is where the great promises are. This is where the life is. Those who give themselves to this will be full of great joy.
What exactly is the resurrected life? What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to be led by the Holy Spirit and die to one’s self?
Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
What exactly is the rest of Jesus Christ?
Matthew 11:29 – Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
If we come to Jesus Christ to be taught by him and learn from him as he said in verse 29, how will we find this rest for our souls?
Matthew 11:30 – For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
If all of that is so true then why did they crucify Jesus Christ? Because men do not want the rest of God. They do not want his easy yoke and his light burden. In order find to rest for your soul, to find a Jesus who is gentle and humble in heart, to find the rest deep within our hearts and spirits that we say we want, we have to get on to the resurrected life. The only way to get there is to die to self. What exactly is the resurrected life? A one-sentence definition is this: a total loss of self so that all that is left is God. That is where the easy yoke and the light burden can be found. When you finally lose all of your self. All of your good self-esteem has to be crucified along with the demands of self. Think about all the demands of your fleshthe comfort it wants, entertainment, its thinking and opinions, its ideas, the places it would like to go and what it would like to do with all its moneysuppose all of those things were dead and were not there to bother you. Then you could find rest and you would have peace.
Suppose you didn’t have to figure out what was right and wrong, or the proper thing to do in a certain situation. Suppose you weren’t playing God in your life deciding where you should go and where you should live. Suppose, for example, that two jobs were presented to you but you were able to hear from God exactly which job to take so you didn’t have to go through all the analyzing and debate about which career move is the best. You would be dead to that issue so you would be able to rest in the wisdom of God. You wouldn’t have to know the future. All you would have to do is go into the prayer closet, be dead to either job and say, “God, are one of these jobs from you?” He would say, “Yes, take this job,” and then you go on your way. It doesn’t matter to you what you are paid because you are dead to money. It doesn’t matter if you get vacation time or whether self gains anything from the job because you are dead to yourself and content to take whatever job God wants you to have. So when all of our opinions are crucified and put on the cross and we are no longer thinking, but instead using our minds to just love the Lord our God as scripture says with all of our mind, heart and soul, we are then able to receive the truth from God and rest in his wisdom.
John 15:4-6 – Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
So the abundant life is us doing nothing but totally relying upon God. Again, we are back to our example of just resting in the will of God. In other words, there are a lot of people who desire a Christian mate. After all, that’s what singles groups are for in the church today. But suppose everybody was dead to the issue of whether or not they had a Christian mate. They were content to be single. They weren’t praying or looking for someone to fulfill their life, bring them comfort, rest or were not waiting on God to bring them the good little Christian mate they had been waiting for. They were living in obedience to scripture that says, “Do not look for a wife.” They were totally content. Then one day God is able to bring the person that was for them just as he did for Adam. Was Adam looking for a girlfriend or wife? It was God that realized there was a need that had to be filled and he presented Adam with the woman for him. In the same way, when we are dead to our flesh and are not looking at a woman in terms of her beauty or whether she can bring our life satisfaction, and we are just able to rest content in God, we can then hear from him whom we should marry. We do not have to spend all of our time prepping ourselves to look good or dating a bunch of different people to find the one chosen mate we think God wants us to marry.
John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
We must become extremely sensitive to our doing of spiritual things or our doing of any thing. We must be able to sense when we are the ones praying instead of the Holy Spirit within us. That’s what scripture means when it says, “Pray in the Holy Spirit.” It doesn’t mean speak in tongues, it means let there be a surrender that comes from the cross so it’s the Holy Spirit praying in you. We have to become sensitive to when we are doing the work and it’s not Jesus Christ doing it in us. Again, we have to become extremely sensitive to when we are loving, being gentle, or studying our Bible because all of that effort is nothing but total sin. We have to learn and be taught by the Holy Spirit to rely only upon God. Remember Paul had to despair of life in order to be taught that. You will have to go through the same trials and crucifixion to be taught the same thing.
Philippians 2:12-13 – Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed―not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence―continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
To most people this is not the easy yoke. To constantly be thinking, “Am I in God’s will or not? Did I hear the Holy Spirit correctly? Is this my flesh doing this? Am I really hearing the Lord,” is just too much for most people. That is not good news for most. But for those who love God, the one thing they love to do is discover God’s will and surrender themselves to his will. That’s why Philippians tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. One of the things we fear tremendously is that we will be the ones praying instead of the Holy Spirit praying through us. We become fearful that we will be the ones giving, serving or tithing or whatever we consider the outward things that signify being a good Christian, and not Jesus Christ in us. That’s why it goes on to say: “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Only as we have fear and trembling concerning the salvation of God in our lives will we then be watching our lives and be sensitive to when we are doing the work. It might be a good work. It might be a righteous work. It might even be a work God has called you to do, but if it’s done by self-effort and your own strength, then it is sin. Apart from Jesus Christ you can do nothing. That doesn’t mean that you do it in the name of Jesus. It means you are dead so that you no longer live and it’s Jesus in you living out the Christian life.
John 8:28 – So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”
Jesus is saying, “When you have lifted me up and crucified me, you will understand that I do not do anything on my own but I only speak just what the Father teaches me to speak.” Jesus Christ is saying to us as Christians that if we are to be his disciples and belong to him, we have to go to the cross just as he did so that it’s not us speaking but the Father speaking in us. It’s not us speaking in the name of Jesus, it is Jesus speaking through us. That’s the abundant life. That’s where the power, strength and glory of God are found. Again, if Jesus Christ was totally dependent upon the Father, and this is what he came to bring to us, then why do we continue to act in the name of the Lord? This is why Christianity is such a mess. Everyone is acting for Jesus and not allowing Jesus to act through them. In other words they are playing God with Jesus rather than letting Jesus be God in their life.
John 8:29 – The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him
Do you see his total dependence upon God? Do you see how Jesus Christ was surrendered to the will of God in everything? He never, one time, sought to please himself. You as a child of God must seek never to please yourself in anything. For instance if you need a car for the ministry purposes of God (because that’s the only reason a Christian would need a car), then it doesn’t matter to you what you drive. It doesn’t matter what color it is or what it looks like. All you want to know is which car God wants you to purchase. But we cannot even attempt to hear the will of the Lord until we are crucified and our thoughts about which car we want are put to death. You can’t very well go into a car lot and want a particular car and expect to hear the voice of the Lord at the same time. The battle will be too severe. You have to get into the garden to be crucified so you can hear what God wants you to do.
John 8:28 – So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”
We will only understand this when we have lifted up the son of man, Jesus said. If you will get into the prayer closet and ask God to lift up Jesus before you so you see him clearly portrayed as crucified, then you will understand Jesus didn’t do anything on his own. He didn’t do anything he wanted to do. He only did what God wanted him to do and we too need to have the same thing happen in our life. Then we ask God to crucify us as he crucified Jesus Christ in his name and by the power of his blood. We tell the Lord, “I am willing to die that I might hear what your will is every second of every day.” As an example, parents should not be concerned with whether or not their children go to college. All they want to know is if it’s God’s will for their child to go to college. But they have to be dead to the world that says their child must go to college and should prepare himself for it. What people do is combine Jesus Christ with the things they want. But that’s not the cross. The cross says, “Die to your will.” Jesus Christ came that he might not give you anything you want. That’s right, he came to oppose everything that you want or desire.
John 8:30 – Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.
There are a lot of individuals who believe in Jesus Christ. They are believers. As they hear him speak they become excited about it and begin to believe in him.
John 8:31 – To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
It is crucial for you to realize these Jews were believers. They are putting their trust in Jesus. But there’s a problem. They are not willing to hold to his teachings because what he came to do was to bring a cross and put it in their life to oppose everything that they want. You may want a family―Jesus Christ opposes that. You may want a certain career―Jesus Christ opposes that. He came to crucify everything that you are. You might believe a certain thing or think scripture says something, but Jesus Christ came to put that to death.
John 8:30-31 – Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
What was the teaching of Jesus Christ? “When you have lifted me up and crucified me, you will realize that I do nothing on my own. I always do what pleases God and I only say what the Father has taught me to say.” So Jesus Christ turns to us and tells us that apart from him we can do NOTHING! Are you a believer but not set free? Are you a believer but headed to hell? Are you a believer but not dead to sin and self? Are you a believer who is not dying to self but trying to combine the flesh with Jesus Christ? These individuals were believers, but we will see in a moment that they were headed to hell.
John 8:30-32 – Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
These were believers who would not accept the truth. Jesus Christ said they would know the truth and it would set them free, if they hold to the teaching of the cross.
John 8:33 – They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
This is what happens in the church today. If you talk about the cross and the need for people to hate their lives and be crucified with Jesus Christ, they will say, “But we do that. We belong to Abraham. We are a people of faith. We are believers who trust in Jesus Christ and rely upon the blood of the Lamb.” Yet self is still alive. They will not let God crucify their flesh and put it to death. They are saying that they have asked Jesus Christ into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior.
John 8:34-35 – Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.”
There are a lot of individuals who are in the household of God but they are not sons, they are slaves. Anyone who does not hate their own life and who is not dying to sin is a slave, and has no permanent place in the house of God. These slaves will hear the voice of the Lord, feel the presence of the master, will have the blessings of the household, but a slave does not have a permanent place in the home. When the final judgment occurs and everything is weeded and separated out, these individuals will go to hell.
John 8:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Indeed we will be set free because we allowed self to be crucified. But these individuals cannot hear and understand what Jesus Christ is talking about concerning the crucified life. In verse 37 they are still protesting that they belong to God.
John 8:37 – I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word.
They believe in Jesus Christ but have no room for his word. How many people who claim to be Christians are in this position. They are slaves. They will not permanently go to heaven nor remain in the household of God because they will not allow God to take their life and put it to death.
John 8:38-41 – “I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.” “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
Can you imagine standing in front of a church and declaring the truth that the members do not permanently belong to Jesus Christ? Everybody would complain that they do belong to Jesus Christ and are not illegitimate. These people were believers and they had faith in Jesus Christ, but self was alive. They would not let God crucify them.
John 8:41 – “You are doing the things your own father does.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
In other words, “We are Christians and who are you to talk like that to us?”
John 8:42 – Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.”
How many people will not even listen or understand the message of the cross because they do not want to give up their life. Or they mock it and say, “Oh, we believe in Jesus Christ. Our preacher preaches about the cross. I seek to be crucified,” but self and self-righteousness are well and alive. The important thing for us to consider is that once you get on the cross, don’t ever come down. We have seen this before over and over again.
Hebrews 6:1-2 – Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
You allow God to crucify you once and you think it’s all over with. Somebody who has the attitude to say, “I thought I was doing better and I thought I was being crucified,” and yet comes down off the cross has proven they do not consider the good news to be good news. The cross is the power of God that delivers us from sin and self. Remember the first passage we looked at as we began this whole series, “To us it (the cross) is the power of God but to those who are perishing it is foolishness.” So anyone who gets up on the cross and then gets down is proving they love themselves more than Jesus Christ. How many individuals get all the way to the cross, get nails in their hands and feet but come down off the cross and begin to commit the same sins they did before. This is what Hebrews is warning us about. Let us consider the resurrected life to be good news and then we will not come down off the cross.
Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,
How do you know if you are laying a foundation again for repenting of certain sins? The answer is easy. If you are repenting of the same sin over and over again, then you are not gaining the victory in Jesus Christ. If you came to Jesus Christ 20 years ago and all you continue to talk about are the basic things you already learned then you are laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death. You have not even begun to repent over the deep seriousness of self that is in you.
1 John 3:9-10 – No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
Anyone who is not seeing more and more self on a daily basis, always carrying the death of Jesus Christ and always carrying the resurrection in their life is laying again a foundation of the need for repentance in the future. It is questionable at that point whether they will repent or whether God will allow them to repent.
Hebrews 6:2 – …instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
How sad it is that in most churches the sermons are just a repeat of the same things over and over again because all they are trying to do is get new members. No one is really going on to maturity. It’s just the basic doctrines of their church over and over again. Self is not being dealt with. More and more people are not being crucified to their opinions and their lives. They come to Jesus Christ, accept his mercy and just stay in that general holding pattern until they think Jesus comes back for them. The writer of Hebrews is saying to get past all the basic things of faith in God, instruction about baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, asking Jesus in your heart and get onto maturity. Let’s get on to what it means to really die to self.
Hebrews 6:3 – And God permitting, we will do so.
You can’t just look at this and say, “OK, I want to go on to maturity. I am going to go on.” Again, there has to be a total reliance on God. “And God permitting, we will do so.” You probably need to be taught the elementary teachings of God all over again. You can’t go onto maturity yet. One way of knowing you are laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death is that you have to have the basic things of the cross explained all over again. So don’t run ahead. Don’t become arrogant and say to yourself, “I want to go on to maturity. I want to taste this so I am going ahead.” You get before God and say, “God, is it time to go onto maturity? Can you work these things in my life?” The warning is that if we do not go onto maturity, we could fall away to the point that we cannot come back to God.
Hebrews 6:4 – It is impossible…
Under line that, it is impossible. This is something that cannot happen in God.
Hebrews 6:4-6 – …for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
When someone begins to taste the power of God, and allows God to crucify their sinful nature, if they fall away, it is impossible for them to be brought back to Jesus Christ. God just won’t permit it, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again. You get one chance to come to Jesus Christ, if you fall away, you cannot come back. This is why scripture declares to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Make sure you’re going on to the point of death and being dead to self. Because verse 7 of Hebrews chapter 6 says:
Hebrews 6:7-8 – Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
Remember there were two different kinds of thieves. One was submitting to the will of God and actually going on to death, the other wanted self saved. That is the one that is producing thorns and thistles, in the end it is worthless, and it will be cursed and burned up in hell. But those who persevere, those who fall to the ground and die and let God honestly take their life so that it no longer exists will produce a crop. Anyone who comes to Jesus Christ needs to send a death certificate to their friends, family, and people at work saying, “That old person you know will be dying and disappearing. You will not recognize me, I’m a totally different person.” They will see that happening in leaps and bounds. They will see the humility, weeping, and crying over sins. They will also see the resurrection, the power, and the glory of God working in your life unto obedience and righteousness. This is the promised life; this is the light burden.
When you can rest from self then you have a light yoke. When I’m able just to sit and rest and be content before the Lord that is a light burden. When I don’t have to have a pillow to prop my head, a drink of water or cup of coffee, when I don’t have to feed my belly, and I don’t have to bow down to this flesh of mine, then I am able to be strong and just rest in the Lord. When I don’t have to make decisions about where I am going to go, or what I am going to say, but I can rely totally upon God’s power to tell me what to do and when to do it, I can rest and be at peace. But with all the programs in the churches about how to reach out to other people, or how to live the Christian life, nobody can find rest or peace. Of course, they don’t want to find rest or peace because they would have to give up their life in order to get it. So the church runs to programs and gimmicks because it reassures us that we might get to go to heaven if we do certain things.
Are you drinking in the rain of God and dying to self to product a crop? Or is everything that’s coming up from you just thorns and thistles. You are not really dying. Oh, you are doing Christian works. You are praying and doing all manner of things in Jesus Christ, all in the name of the Lord, but it’s you doing the work so it’s thorns and thistles. You are in danger of being cursed. In the end you will be burned. Now is the time to let God crucify your sinful nature and put you to death. Let me give you some examples of the resurrected life and this rest in God. We need to lay hold of it with fear and trembling, and honestly allow God to work his will in us. In Philippians 4:12-13 Paul speaks of this peace and rest that comes from allowing God to deal with our flesh and put it to death.
Philippians 4:12-13 – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
It’s amazing that you will find verse 13 on T-shirts and all kinds of things. Of course, it usually shows a football player or someone gaining this tremendous victory and winning the first place trophy. But it isn’t quoted from a weakness of self. If they understood the scripture that says, “My power is made perfect in weakness,” then they would understand that God is not glorified by us building our muscles up and winning a trophy. Now if I won a trophy that would be to the glory of God because I am not athletic at all. God’s power is made perfect in weakness, not in our macho body building or our promise keeping where we say, “I am going to be a man for God, and I’m going to be tough in the Lord.” God isn’t glorified when we suck up within us all this self-effort to live for Jesus Christ. Our promises mean nothing. The only thing that matters is if we claim the promises of God and he’s able to work those in our life.
Paul was able to be at peace in any and every situation because he was dead to self. Self didn’t have to be well fed. Self could go hungry and be content while waiting on the Lord. When self was well fed it didn’t become sleepy and begin to waste time and want to party. It didn’t want to please self more and more. Self was able to be content even when well fed. “I know what it is to be in need. I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. The reason he could do that is because he was totally dependent upon God.
When a man can be content when he has no money, that’s one kind of victory. When a man can be content when he has plenty, that’s another kind of victory. When self is dead to money and it means nothing to him, when he hates and despises money as Jesus commands us to do, then he can be content in every situation. It doesn’t mean anything to him. But most people lie to themselves and say, “I don’t have to have money. It’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil.” Of course, they never ask God what he means by the love of money. After all, the love of money, according to God, means you do not hate and despise it. If you don’t hate and despise money, you love it, it’s that simple. That’s the definition of greed.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Because he’s dead and totally dependent upon God.
Acts 16:6-7 – Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
Here in the Book of Acts we find that Paul tried to enter a certain region to preach the gospel but the Holy Spirit said, “No, you can’t go in there.” Later on we know that Paul does go to Asia, but at this point he’s not permitted to go. Most of you would rebuke that answer as from Satan. Say for instance you are going next door to share the gospel with your neighbor, and you hear this voice or have a feeling that says, “Don’t go in there to share the gospel,” your response would be, “Get behind me, Satan. I am going to go in there and win a soul for Jesus Christ.” Most people are just doing their program of inviting people to the church ice cream social. But let’s say, for instance, that you really are asking to hear the voice of the Lord, you would rebuke the answer as from Satan yet it is the Holy Spirit. Are you able to discern when Satan is stopping you from preaching the gospel and when the Spirit of God is stopping you? Only a man who is dead to self is able to hear from God whether he should go to Asia to preach to gospel.
We find within Paul this total dependence upon God to preach the gospel. Remember what Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the son of man, you will realize that I do nothing on my own but I only say what the Father gives me to say.” In our own life, when we have been crucified we will then realize that it is God who gives us the words to speak, and tells us where and when to go. It will not be according to your sleeping pattern or where you would like to live. Even if it were, you wouldn’t care because you are dead to what you want. You do not even know what your will is. That’s the blessed life. When you have lost your life and you do not even realize what it is you want because that part of you is dead. The truth is, I don’t know where I would want to live. I know I want to go only where God wants me to go. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s in Alaska or Florida. In everything that a true Christian does he only has one question; “Is this the will of the Lord?” That’s the only thing he is concerned with. The second question we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I dead enough to self in order to hear the Lord’s will and rejoice in that will?” How does a person begin to start the crucified life? Romans 12 shows us where to begin.
Romans 12:1 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God―this is your spiritual act of worship.
Going to church is not a spiritual act of worship. Saying that you have faith in Jesus Christ is not a spiritual act of worship. In view of God’s mercy and love and the fact that he will forgive you and accept you, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice. Right now if you want to begin this kind of life, then get into the prayer closet, get down on your knees, and simply give your body to God to do with it as he sees fit. Tell God, “I only want to speak the words you would have me speak. I want these arms to only do the things you want me to do. Lord, see these legs, I only want them to go where you want me to go. I only want my eyes to look at what you want me to look at. This mind of mine, Oh, Lord, use it only as you see fit.” In everything you do, offer your body to God to do with as he sees fit. This is a sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is the spiritual act of worship that Jesus Christ came to bring. Then you begin to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and put to death the deeds of your body and flesh that the will of God might be done in your life. The second thing that begins to happen is the Holy Spirit will lead you away from the pattern of the world and renew your mind so that you will eventually be able to understand the will of God.
Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is―his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Everything becomes different. You go the opposite direction of the world. The world loves money, the Christian hates it. The world has a good self-esteem, and the Christian has a bad one. People in the world seek out things to fulfill their life. Christians could care less about finding anything in this world to fulfill their life or to make them happy. On and on we could go. Whatever the pattern of the world is, you can be sure that Jesus Christ will lead you in the opposite direction. The world is concerned about getting ahead, getting an education, stepping up the career ladder, and you are going to go the opposite direction if you are going to follow Jesus Christ. The world is concerned about getting a good bargain. The Christian could care less about a bargain, they only want to know if it’s God’s will to buy a particular item, no matter how small a purchase it is or how large it is. The pattern of the world is to be concerned about what we are going to eat for dinner and what the latest festivals or sport events are that we can participate in. A Christian could care less. He’s willing to sit in his living room and let the world go by with all of its fun and pleasure in order to do exactly what Jesus Christ would call him to do. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Why is it that if this is the call of God, then we find the church going along with the pattern of the world? After all, how do they get people into the church? By having ice cream socials, sporting events, entertaining people, all of which are the pattern of the world. How can the church bring people to Jesus Christ when they are exactly like the world? When somebody walks into the church they ought to see a group of people hating their own life. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Romans 12:2-3 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is―his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Only after you have offered your body to God and let him transform your mind are you able to test what his will is. Only when you are dead to the pattern of this world, which is to please self, and are willing to give up all of self, will you be in a position to test and find out what God’s will is. But until you are willing to surrender everything, don’t expect to hear the voice of the Lord. The voice you are hearing is not the voice of the Lord, it’s your flesh mocking the voice of the Lord, and it will get you in trouble. Not only will you be able to test what this will is, but once you discover what the will of God is you will approve of it. You will find it to be good, pleasing, and perfect.
Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is―his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We do not find God’s will to be pleasing, good and perfect because we want our flesh fed. We are going along with the pattern of the world. If you had to boil everything down, what is the pattern of the world? To please one’s self. The opposite of that is for us to deny and hate ourselves. Only when somebody has done that by the power of the Holy Spirit will they find the will of God to be something that is good, pleasing, and perfect. Honestly, when you reach this point it’s where the good news and the joy is, because you realize that while it may not agree with what you want, if it is God’s will, it is pleasing and perfect. There’s nothing any better than that. The hardest struggles in my life have been learning to rest and wait upon God to work out his timing in all things. But I have always realized and come to grow in the peace and rest knowing there isn’t anything better than exactly where God has me at this moment if I am in his will.
Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,
Denying self, picking up a cross, being crucified with Jesus, offering your body as a living sacrifice, testing God’s will and not conforming to the pattern of this world is all mixed in with fear. We have seen this all along the way. The major fear is that we will copy the things of the Lord in our flesh and so become a slave, believing in Jesus Christ but going to hell.
Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Man can have faith. Self-effort can produce faith, but a life that is totally dependent upon God says, “I will not believe in God with any more faith than the faith God gives me. Only his power and his faith in me brings life and it’s all that counts.” Again and again, there is a total dependence and surrender to God in almost every scripture. Judge yourself only with the measure of faith God has given you.
When I go into the prayer closet or when I go about my daily life, I judge my life to see where I am at. I have to be able to sense when I am moving away from God’s faith and into my own self-effort faith. There is a faith that I personally have that comes from my flesh that is sin. It will not be able to discern the will of the Lord, nor is it dependent upon God. It is corrupt. It comes from my sinful nature. It is totally worthless and vile. It will always, always give the wrong answer. There are people who have faith in Jesus Christ who are always coming up with the wrong answer, because the faith that they are dependent upon is their faith and not the faith of the Holy Spirit in them. The only way to get that kind of faith is by allowing God to crucify your faith. You have to let God crucify all of your effort that goes into believing in God and trusting the Lord.
Yet the sermons that are preached today are to build up the faith that comes from self. That’s why you hear everybody repeating certain phrases in church. “I can’t hear you. Say, ‘Amen’ to this.” Everybody psyches themselves up. They take their faith and their ability to believe in things and put their trust in God, but it is total sin because it comes from the corrupt nature that is totally vile. As Paul says, “I know that nothing good lives in my sinful nature.” The sinful nature can believe in God. This is the great danger, that your faith in God is you believing in him, but you are not holding to the teaching of God and you are not accepting the cross that he has for you. Once you have done what Romans 12:1-3 talks about then the Holy Spirit will lead you to do some other things. You shouldn’t be surprised when it begins to happen to you. This is what will take place once you begin to listen to the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 9:24 – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
You are going to have to compete according to the rules of Jesus Christ. You will appear to be legalistic to other people.
1 Corinthians 9:25 – Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.
The Holy Spirit will lead you into strict training. There will be things that God will communicate to you that will cause you to have to establish very strict training in order to walk this narrow road. Indeed it will be so strict and so narrow that if it weren’t for God’s power you couldn’t walk it.
1 Corinthians 9:25 – Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Again, he’s pointing us back to the prize and the glory that is in Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 9:26 – Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
The Holy Spirit will give you very specific things to deal with in your life. Remember how Jesus spoke to Peter at the Last Supper? He told him exactly how he was going to sin, at what time he was going to sin, and exactly what the rooster would do after he sinned. When Jesus Christ does begin to communicate to you he’s not going to say, “I have a great plan for you. I am going to glorify my name through you. I have this tremendous opportunity for you to fulfill this dream you have.” The first thing the Holy Spirit will bring to you is something that will put you into strict training, that will give you a course you are to run and things you are to deny. You will not just run aimlessly as many people do in the church. They are just busy being busy, and thinking that’s something in the Lord.
Paul says, “I do not fight like a man beating the air.” You will have things you are going to fight and wrestle, but you are going to know what those things are. You are going to say, “The Lord has told me about this sin in my life, and he has told me this is how it’s going to be overcome and how he wants me to step out in obedience. Now I need to begin to fight this particular thing.” No longer are you going to be able to pick and choose which sins you want to deal with or when you want to deal with them. It’s a matter of surrender. God is going to come to you and say, “Today I want you to deal with this sin, and this is how I want you to deny yourself.” You begin to fight, wrestle, run, and put yourself in strict training. God will say, “I want you out of bed at this certain time,” and you say, “But God, I have tomorrow off. I can sleep in until 9:00 or 10:00 and get a really good quiet time.” The Lord says, “No, I want you up at 4:00, the same time as if you were going into work.” This is just an example. I don’t know specifically how the Lord will talk to you, but I do know it will oppose your flesh. It will be what you do not want in your flesh, but if you love the Lord, you will submit to it, die, and go on to joy. You are going to have to do the following:
1 Corinthians 9:27 – No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
How many people are preaching the gospel and sharing with their neighbors but are going to be disqualified for the prize of glory (salvation). The Holy Spirit will begin to lead you to beat your body and make it your slave. You do not want to pick up after yourself, but the Holy Spirit will tell you to pick up after yourself. You do not want to help serve that person at work. You are going to have to beat your body, make it your slave and go serve them. You don’t want to get out of bed, or you don’t want to stay up late. You don’t want to talk to someone on the phone. Flesh comes out in millions of ways. I could do thousands of tapes on that aspect. The important thing is that whatever the situation, when somebody looks at your life, they are going to be able to say, “That person is in strict training. They are not running around aimlessly. They know exactly the sins they are dealing with. They are not just beating the air. They are beating the flesh and sin that is in them by the power of the Holy Spirit. They are beating their body to make it their slave; they are not a slave to their body.”
This is what the Holy Spirit will lead you into if you offer yourself as Romans 12 talks about. The question is, are you willing to do that? Right now with sober judgment and the faith that God has given you ask yourself, “When people look at your life do they see somebody in strict training? Do they see someone running the course that Jesus Christ has set down for them or do they see you running a course that you set down for yourself? Do they see someone fighting and really wrestling, not just beating the air? Not just going from one book to another, to the next revival meeting, to the next activity in order to put your life together. Do they see you beating your body and making it your slave?
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 – For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
They were all Christians, they all belonged to God, and they all read the same Bible. They all went to the same church and listened to the same leader. They all heard the same sermons.
1 Corinthians 10:5 – Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Paul is warning us that if we are not beating our bodies, running the course God has laid out for us, and putting ourselves in strict training, then God will be displeased with us and we will be scattered over the desert.
1 Corinthians 10:6-7 – Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.”
When you look around the church today what do you see but eating, drinking, and a worship of family and self.
1 Corinthians 10:8 – We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did―and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.
What is the example in the church today? Divorce and remarriage is in abundance. That is adultery because Jesus said anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
1 Corinthians 10:9 – We should not test the Lord, as some of them did―and were killed by snakes.
How many people complain about the message and say it’s legalistic, hard, and unloving. They are testing the Lord. They are saying the Lord is too difficult to follow.
1 Corinthians 10:10 – And do not grumble, as some of them did―and were killed by the destroying angel.
Again, we are back to the same thing. They complained about this message. They call the good news bad news. They say this comes from Satan and is not of God, yet it is the very life of God and that which gives us joy. They were killed by a destroying angel.
1 Corinthians 10:11-12 – These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
What is the teaching in the church today? You are saved. Don’t even question your salvation. Yet all through scripture it says, “Test yourself to see if you are in the faith. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Make sure you are not a slave but a son.”
1 Corinthians 10:12 – So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Judge yourself with sober judgment with the faith that God will give you. That is done by offering yourself as a living sacrifice to God, knowing that God wants to take you to one place. He wants to crucify every desire, every wish, every hope and every dream that your flesh has, because there is nothing good that lives in your sinful nature. Only those who go on to die to sin and be transformed will enter glory. Again, many people follow Jesus Christ and deny themselves in a lot of things, but they do not go on to death. In fact there are large crowds following Jesus.
Luke 14:25 – Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:
There are a lot of people with Jesus Christ, but they are just travelers. They are not disciples, they are not saved, but they are right there next to Jesus. They will complain and say, “But we were right there with you.” Jesus says that unless Luke 14:26 is in your life, you do not belong to him.
Luke 14:26 – If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters―yes, even his own life―he cannot be my disciple.
How is this hatred fulfilled in you? How does the Holy Spirit work it? Do you understand what it means or do you recoil at even the thought of using this passage? Have you never seen it before in scripture? Then you are not on the narrow road.
Luke 14:27 – And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
You have to sit down and count the cost before you become a Christian.
Luke 14:28-32 – Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
Here are the terms of peace. This is how you get the joy that’s in the Lord.
Luke 14:33 – In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
Unless you give up all of self, hate your own life, hate your father and mother, your brothers and sisters―yes, even your own life―you cannot belong to Jesus Christ. Even as you begin the hatred, unless you carry your cross and go on to death, you cannot be a disciple. If you are in a church where new disciples come forward and just ask Jesus in their heart or sign an little piece of paper saying they want to be a Christian, you have lost your saltiness. You are not fit for the manure pile.
Luke 14:34-35 – Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Are you shrinking from dying to self?
Revelation 12:10-11 – Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
That’s not talking about just physical death or being a martyr, it’s talking about death to self. How many people think they overcome just by the blood of the Lamb without realizing that the blood of the Lamb takes our self and puts it to death. Are you shrinking from death? Are you pulling back from this message of the cross? If you are you will not overcome the evil one and you will not be in paradise with God.
Revelation 12:11 – They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Are you just a traveler walking along with Jesus Christ but not a disciple? Get into the prayer closet and offer your body as a living sacrifice. Know that God will first of all lead you up to the hill of the skull to have self put to death.
Revelation 12:11 – They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Luke 14:26-27 – If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters―yes, even his own life―he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
This concludes this series on putting sin to death.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.