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11. Self After Surrender

Michael Dant
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What happens to self after we surrender ourselves whole-heartedly to God? It gets dethroned, but it is still alive and well. How, in practical terms, can we cooperate with God as He works to starve self to death?

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Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 

Recorded

  • November 5, 2016
    11:30 AM
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What happens to self after surrender in January twenty fourth one nine hundred eighty edition of The Washington Post Thomas Boswell writes an article about the Libyans and the title of the article is the first Olympic requirement self-torture. OK Interesting title first Olympics requirements torture and in this article he talks about the one nine hundred eighty boycott of the US Olympic sites and some of the the personal tragedy stories that came from that boycott one Libyan said you can put up with everything if you know you're good you're doing it for a purpose and for your country but now it looks like I'll never be known as an Olympian you got to feel for these people they spent years and years working on this and now all of a sudden they can't make it. Another Olympian declared bitterly I've only given up seven years of my life and my whole future if there are no lympics What have I done with my life it's a good question isn't it a live picture or not what have you done with your life most Olympians put their lives on hold for years at a time so that they can excel in a sport they dedicate every ounce of their energy and stamina and brainpower to something that known because of the one nine hundred eighty. Was not going to happen for them and you can imagine the tragedy that that was for their life to get a glimpse of this self-torture Boswell says that the women volleyball is live a spartan year round existence at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs rising at seventy I'm practicing from eight until twelve and then from two until six with lunch and sleep between After dinner come hypnosis and mind control sessions motivational talks or strategy sessions you're so tired you can't wait to get to bed said Rita Crockett. They do this for years. I mean playing volleyball fun but my goodness eight hours a day. Every day for years that could be definitely torture is not just the volleyball or the swimmers had the same problem swimmers swim coach was saying ask themselves why they have been getting up at five am and jumping in the water by five thirty am almost every day for most of their lives they ask why they had been trained outdoors when it was so cold that their footprints froze on the pool deck even with the Olympics as a goal kids told me drop dead coach I'm not doing anymore I can't do it anymore I can't think and they disappear. Olympians exercise self-denial and self-control hoping that they will have a good day at the Olympics and come back with a medal think about what they're putting into that think about the energy in the time of the emotions in the putting their lives on hold Think about that for years just hope they have a good day at the Olympics and bring back a medal. What about you and I as a spiritual impugns what are we willing to put up with to have that close. All or Nothing love relationship with Jesus do we exercise self-control and self-denial. First Corinthians nine twenty five we read this in a previous line let's read it again First Corinthians nine twenty five. This is Paul telling us about his spiritual a limpy at. Nine twenty five everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in how many things all those things interesting they then do it to receive a perishable reef or a gold. Medal or whatever but we and imperishable whether you like it or not you and I are spiritual Libyans and this is a limp This is our life we have a job but there's a lympics is our life the spiritual. Work despair. Ritual growth the spiritual connection the relationship with Jesus that is our life. We are spiritual a limb peons and that is why Jesus said. If anyone wishes to come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross and daily and follow me now isn't that interesting if we want to be Christ's followers we have to do some things we have to deny ourselves take up across it daily and follow Jesus why is it so important for God's people to have this self-denial Well it's because self is not dead right it's because self is not dead yes we die to self we take it off the throne of our lives yes we relegate it to the deepest dungeons of our life but it keeps on calling out it keeps on trying to entice us to let it make some choices in our life. So it is not dead and that's why self-denial so important. Paul goes on to say therefore I run in such a way as not without an aim I box and such as a way is not beating the air but I discipline my body and make it my slave so after I have preached to others I myself will not be disqualified I liked this passage from Paul because he's saying hey this is real practical Christian life this is what it takes sometimes. To self-denial is real it works we are told the self-denial is essential to genuine religion. What is essential to genuine religion self-denial those who have not learned to deny themselves are destitute of vital practical love that word godliness we cannot expect anything else and that the claims of religion will come in contact with the natural affection and worldly interests we've got to know that right we're going to be finding those and so that's why self-denial so important so what was it again self is the problem the Holy Spirit is the slow. Lucian surrender is the key only God can do it only we can let him and self-denial is one of the tools that the Holy Spirit uses in our life to keep self under control you know there are many good examples of self-denial in Scripture Jesus of course is a good example of self-denial and scripture but one of my favorites is the nick. Enoch stands out as a as a self-denying Christian Ellen White tells us that eunuch lived an active zealous life of self-denial and I'm sorry you can't see that better on this particular projector but this is an important statement in its lived an active zealous life of self-denial he walked with God in a world so corrupt that the Lord afterward destroyed it by the flood and he walked with the ungodly as one monk them this is important he walked as one among them but not as one of them. He walked as one among them but not as one of them but as one whose purposes and works and hopes were based not only on time but on eternity my friends Enoch is an example to each one of us today living an active zealous life of self-denial realizing that we must walk among ungodly men all around us not as one of them but as one among them and you and I also live in a world that will soon be destroyed. And we are told of the sin which is indulged to the greatest extent and which separates us from God and produces so many contagious spiritual disorders is what. Selfishness there can be no returning to the Lord except by self-denial right in the common walks of life this is practical you guys is where self is to be denied and kept in subordination Paul could say I die daily it is the daily dying to self in the what. In the big things no it's. In the little transactions right of life that make us overcomers now we're talking about self-denial so I have to put in a disclaimer here in a warning because it's easy. To. Be unhealthy in our self-denial we want a special type of self-denial we want a godly self-denial. And we want to avoid unhealthy fanaticism So let's just talk a little bit about that very briefly anybody here know Simon styli do you see any kids Simon style of use goes up aren't up on your Greek history Simon stylised he's lived in the fifth century A.D. and he wanted to be closer to God So you know what he did he left civilisation behind and he walked out into the desert and he found these old Roman ruins and because he wanted to be as close to God as possible he climbed up on top of a nine foot pillar and he stayed there for the rest next thirty seven years of his life. You can see on that particular pillar actually other people came out and started building bigger pillars by the time he died he was on a fifty foot pillar. He want to get close to God So he separated himself from the world that how we do it. Is that whole unit did it no you know the problem with Simon styli the self-denial was it was selfish it really was it was selfish. God is don't ask us to be monks to seclude ourselves in monasteries and flagellate ourselves God is calling us to do something much harder is calling us to live among men not as one of them but as one among them living an active zealous life of self-denial so. How can we avoid the pitfalls of self-denial Well there's three things that we can remember one self-denial is not for God you're not denying yourself in order to prove anything to God you're not doing it to deserve anything from God. You're not doing it to impress God you're not doing it to make God pleased with you you're not doing it for God God is doing it for you remember that that's important number two self-denial true self-denial is Spirit inspired spirit enabled and love motivated to self-denial comes from the Holy Spirit it's got to Otherwise it will become fanaticism unhealthy self-denial. Spirit inspired spirit enabled love motivated any atheist can deny themselves any atheist can go into the desert live in a pillar all their life that's not true self-denial only the Holy Spirit can produce true self denial denying in US The third thing that we should know is that self-denial true self denial is for the purpose of seeking the glory of God and the good of others don't you think that's a great model for a Christian life for the glory of God and the good of others for the glory of God and the good of others. Great model for the Christian life what do you think God could do in each of our lives and in this world if that was our motto that was Are our purpose for living for the glory of God and for the good of others true self-denial is Spirit inspired spirit enabled love motivated and seeks the glory of God and the good of others that's our key phrase let's all say it out loud together shall we true self-denial is Spirit inspired spirit enabled love motivated and seeks the glory of God and the good of others the problem is for most of us who live in the first world countries we don't have to deny ourselves much think about your life how must you deny yourself most of us have all the things we need and most of things we want right so denial is uncomfortable self-denial is not easy. It's not our natural inclination our natural inclination is to indulge self not to deny self. Mark Twain understood this and he said this he said the only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want drink what you don't like and do what you'd rather not and that's true we're constantly fighting the self when we want to be healthy we're constantly fighting self. By nature we do not want to deny self but my friends good news opportunities to deny yourself abound. Here are some ideas attending church board faithfully a very difficult one for me driving the speed limit another difficult one for me I'm getting these from my own personal experience. Exercising five times a week good way to deny yourself in practical ways keeping juicy gossip to ourselves curbing our spending these are just five examples My goodness you guys you can find many many good ways to deny yourself the world is full of never ending opportunities I went on a mission trip once I took some other students to. Think it was Peru that time and I was going through this whole self-denial thing I was learning more about self-denial at that time and I was asking God to help me to deny myself and so. One thing about traveling internationally there are lots of lines have you ever noticed that you got custom lines you got in immigration lines you've got baggage lines you've got check in lines you've got all kinds of lines and when I travel internationally when I used to use to travel a lot in my in my work I would always try to be at the front of those lines I was you know type A personality when I got out that airplane I make a beeline to the front of the lines is much as I can and you can do that quite easily you can get good at this I was really an expert even if I was in the back of the airplane I could get to the front of the immigration line this is I do it for those of you who are interested you run walk you don't walk you go to the bathroom before you exit the plane before the plane lands go to the bathroom or be able to go to the bathroom after they get off you could just pass a whole group of people also the escalator was going down it's full a third of the. It is on the escalator you go down the steps to get past the mall really easy right it can be done I was expert at this but guess what when I was on this mission trip my job was to take the students there safely which meant that by definition I had to be last in line all the time to make sure that they got their luggage to make sure they got through immigration the do forget their return card to make sure that they get checked in properly with no problems I had to be the last in the line all the time and that was excruciatingly difficult for me I tell you it really was because here I was I was getting off this international airplane and you know what I did I stood there by the door of the airplane and watched one after another after another go by I mean that was torture I tell you it was. Because I had to make sure that all my students were off that plane before I could move from that spot. Well you know it actually turned out to be quite liberating I can relax I can say I'm going to be the end of the line so what you know I'm going to just relax and enjoy this and not try to be at the front all the time is very good attitude to have God bless me he helped me to recognize that this self-denying is not necessarily a bad thing it can actually be good for others and for me well another place I learned about self-denial on the same trip was in the seating Usually when I travel internationally I like to get the best seat on the airplane in my class so as soon as I get my ticket I look on the web and I find the exit row seat by the window. Best seat in the airplane because you have lots of leg room and you. Can go to sleep as and you get any time you want to you know all kinds of flexibility so I did that and I got the best seat in the airplane and for the for the other student who was on my ticket I got them the same seat on the other side of the airplane. And afterwards she came up to me says wow that was a great See how did you get that fantastic seat I just went online and got it but you know I was thinking that's not really necessarily very self the nine. Is just you know there's probably a lot of people on that plane who are bigger than I am and taller than I am who would really have been able to use that seat better than I. So I decided that I was not going to do anything with any of my seats for the rest of that trip or just to leave it in the Lord's hands and guess where I sat for most of the rest of the trip. In the middle seat. There is no place worse on an airplane in the middle seat because almost invariably the people be on either side of you are much bigger than the seat they're sitting in you know and so you had this mall time hour flight going like this with people sleeping on your shoulder you know let me ask you something if you want to witness to your seat mate which seat in the airplane is the best one to be in. The middle so you got two opportunities right if the ones remaining You can go to the other that one sleeping you can go to the windows the person so the middle seat is really the best place to witness for Jesus and so I said to myself you want to do I'm going to practice active zealous self-denial I'm going to go on the website to my profile for that airline and I'm going to select the middle seat as my preferred seat guess what the middle seat is not an option for preferred seat on that airline nobody wants the middle seat it's the aisle seat or the window seat those are preferred seats know the middle seat never preferred so I couldn't sign up for that but I can still have the Lord do it for me so my friends there's all kinds of opportunities for denying self good opportunities for denying yourself you don't have to be on a mission trip every day life you can find these and guess what God has built into us three times a day and opportunity to deny self good news right yes we often think of fasting as being self-denying But did you know that. Every time we eat we can deny ourselves in very. Practical and important ways we are told that true fasting which should be recommended to all is abstinence from every stimulating kind of food and the proper use of wholesome simple food which God has provided in abundance that's the true fasting guess what you and I can fast for every meal healthfully. We're not excited Come on you guys go side about this. OK opportunities result in the Isle of bound God is so good all right. So denying self that I've been describing to you is really good and really helpful but remember the ultimate self-denial is the Nile for others right the ultimate self-denial is the self-denial for the good of others and have you ever noticed that when you deny yourself for others it takes time and money and energy it's uncomfortable it's inconvenient a lot of times right but that is the best kind of self-denial. Paul says Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength to not just please ourselves each of us is to please his neighbor for his good to his edification for even Christ did not please themselves but as it is written the reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me. And here's the good news you guys no individual who has before him so great an object as the salvation of souls will be at a loss to devise ways and means for denying self. Is an incredible statement. Let's read it again I'll read it to you again no individual who has before him so great an object as the salvation of souls will be at a loss to devise ways and means for denying self God has built into each one of our lives the opportunity to have unlimited opportunities to deny self. Yeah well when you get more side about the guys. So tonight is not a popular topic it's not easy it's not come. Instable it's time consuming it's unpleasant and well you know it's it's self-denying to write not a pleasant topic lived an active zealous life of self-denial daily constantly in the little things of life God has given us opportunities for us to keep self down. And by His grace we can do it unfortunately there has been so little self-denial so little suffering for Christ's sake that the cross is almost entirely forgotten we must be partakers with Christ of his sufferings if we would sit down in triumph with him on his throne so long as we choose the easy path of self-indulgence and are what. Frightened. Are we frightened self-denial our faith will never become firm and we cannot know the peace of Jesus nor the joy that comes through conscious victory my friends I want you to think about self-denial in a different light for a little bit here did you realize that self-denial is one of the greatest privileges that God has given us think about what self-denial really is self-denial is setting aside my own bad choices so that I can choose God's good choices that's what self-denial is by nature I want to do my bad choices God's ways better self-denial is setting aside my bad choices so that I can do God's good choices where is the downside in that it's a blessing it's a privilege we should think of self-denial as one of the greatest opportunities in the Christian life to grow to keep up playing going forward and upward all the time and not letting it settle No wonder God would have us lay aside the heavy burdens of worldly care and perplexity and take his yoke which is self-denial and sacrifice for the good of others self is alive and well and self is the problem the Holy Spirit is the. Solution and surrender is the key. Self-denial is a powerful tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit to keep us from reinstating self in our life. God would have each one of us to live the life that lived a life of zealous active self-denial for the glory of God and for the good of others and by God's grace we can all grow in that wonderful discipline. Let's pray Father thank You for self-denial thank you for the power to deny self thank you for the the desire Thank you father that you work in us both to will and to do it. Thank you father that we can set aside our own bad choices and choose your good choices by your grace and your power what a privilege thank you for these blessings in Jesus' name amen this media was brought to you by audio from a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about you. If you would like to listen to more sermon. Visit. Or.

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