I want to start out by reading for you a very famous verse, Matthew 16:24 which reads, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.'" Again, in Mark 8:34 it says, "When he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, 'Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.'" Look down at verse number 23 of Luke 9 where we just read. You'll find the same statement but there's another word that's added there. It says in Luke 9:23, "He said to them all, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"
That's what I want to preach about today. Denying self and taking up the cross daily. A lot of people have mistakenly associated denying self or taking up your own cross with salvation. The proof that this has nothing to do with salvation is that the Bible's clear here, that this is something that needs to be done daily, whereas salvation is not a daily thing. Jesus said you must be born again to see the kingdom of God. He didn't say you have to be born again and again and again and again and again. Just as we were only born one time into our physical family, we only need to be born one time into God's spiritual family. Salvation is a one time moment where we are passed from death unto life, where we shall not come into condemnation because we have believed on the name of the lord Jesus Christ. That's what salvation is. After we're saved, the Bible does call us to deny ourself and take up our cross daily and follow him. If we're going to be a disciple of Christ, if we're going to follow Christ, and be a great Christian, salvation's only the first step. After that, God wants us to deny ourselves and take up the cross and follow him.
What does it mean to deny ourselves? If you would, look over at Luke 22 verse 42. While you're turning to Luke 22:42, I'll read for you from Matthew 26:39 where it reads, "And he went a little further and fell on his face prayed and saying, 'Oh my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou will.'" Look down at Luke 22:42 saying, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." That's what Jesus Christ is saying here as he prays to the father. "Not my will, but thine be done." That is denying yourself, saying, "What God wants is more important than what I want. I'm going to deny myself the things that I want in order to serve God more effectively." Go over to John chapter 5, just a few pages to the right in your Bible. John chapter number 5. We'll see something similar where Jesus says in John chapter 5 verse 30, "I can of mine own self do nothing, as I hear, I judge. And my judgement is just because I seek not my own will, but the will of the father, which hath sent me." Go to chapter 6 verse 38, just right across the page there. John 6:38 and it says, "For I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."
If you're going to follow Jesus Christ, then like him, you're going to have to say unto God, "Not my will, but thine be done." You're going to have to be one that denies self and takes up the cross and follows in the footsteps of Jesus by denying yourself and doing what God wants you to do. Go to 1 Corinthians chapter number 9. 1 Corinthians chapter number 9. Here, the apostle Paul uses the illustration of an athlete who denies himself physically in order to achieve greatness in the athletic competition, in order to achieve the victory.
It says in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 verse 24, "Know ye not, that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize, so run that ye may obtain. Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I, therefore, run not as uncertainly, so fight I. Not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I preach to others, I, myself, should be a castaway." The illustration here, is of an athlete who is temperate in all things. Meaning that if he's going to win, he has to be careful about what he eats, he has to be careful to get enough sleep, he has to do the proper exercise and the proper training even when he doesn't feel like it.
If you were to talk to great athlete, I'm sure that they would tell you that there are days when they don't fell like going running or they don't feel like training. They don't feel like exercising. But they do it anyway because they want to win. They have to keep under their body, meaning that they have to be the boss of their body and not vise versa. They can't let the flesh control them. They have to control the flesh. They do it for a corruptible crown. The athletic competition that they win is going to meaningless 100 years from now. I mean, who can name the great athletes from 100 years ago? Okay. I'm sure somebody will try. Anyway. Very few people. It's like when you play the old Trivial Pursuit and you get in that sports category and you're like, "What in the world?" Because it's all from the 1920s and 30s and everything. We don't know who the great athletes were from 100 years ago. Why? Because athletics has no eternal value. That's why. None. Zero.
God is saying that what we do has eternal value. Our life that we live for Jesus Christ, the soul winning that we do, the spiritual decisions that we make, will earn us an incorruptible crown in Heaven, unlike the corruptible crown that the winner of an athletics event will receive. The Bible's saying we have an even greater reason to keep under our bodies. We have an even greater reason to deny ourselves, to deny our bodies, to exercise some self-discipline in our lives, so that we can achieve greatness for the lord Jesus Christ.
Go to Titus chapter 2. Titus chapter 2. As you're turning there, let me remind you what he said in 1 Corinthians 9, he said, "I there so for run, not as uncertainly, so fight I. Not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my body and bring it in to subjection. Lest that by any means what I have preached to others, I, myself shall be a castaway." Subjection. What does it mean to be in subjection? It means that you're not the boss. When the Bible says that when Paul brought his body into subjection, he says, "My body is not the boss. The cravings of my body are not the boss. No. I'm going to tell my body what it's going to do. It's not going to tell me what to do." Many people are lead by the cravings of their body. Let me just substitute for cravings of the body a Biblical term, the lust of the flesh. That's what it is. When the Bible says "lust", what is lust? It's a craving. It's a desire. What is the body? It's our flesh. When the Bible talks about the lust of the flesh, it's talking about your body has certain physical cravings and are you going to give into those things if they dishonor Christ.
Look at Titus chapter 2 verse 11. It says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." By the way, can somebody show this to the Calvinists of this world who think that salvation's not available to everybody? It says, "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." After we believe on the lord Jesus Christ, after we're saved by grace, there are other things that we should do. This reminds me of Ephesians 2, 8, and 9. It says, "For by grace, are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." That's salvation. Then it says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Notice what it says, "We should walk in them."
There are many things that we should do, aren't there? We should go to church, we should read our Bible, we should pray, we should live a clean life, we should deny ourself, we should take up the cross. What must we do to be saved? Believe. This is what people get confused. Because you tell people that salvation is only by believing in Jesus Christ, not by works, and you show them that great verse in Acts 16. What must I do to be saved? What do I have to do to be saved? It's just a simple answer: Believe on the lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. That's it.
Now, are there other things that we should do? Of course. But we must not do those things. We don't have to go to church to be saved. We don't have to be baptized to be saved. We don't have to read our Bible every day to be saved. We don't have to do the things that Christ commanded us to do in order to be saved. If we did, then no one would be saved because no one follows all of Christ's commands. There's not a just man upon the Earth that doeth good and sinneth not. If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. What does "in vain" mean? It means there's no point. Why would Jesus Christ need to die for us if we're so good we can just go to Heaven because we're good people? The reason that he had to die for us is because we're all equally condemned under the law because we've all sinned. Therefore, we need a savior.
This is a similar teaching that we have in Titus 2, as what we had in Ephesians 2, where he said, "Hey, salvation's by faith, but we should do works." All right. Here he's saying grace of God is what brings us salvation. Grace means something we don't deserve. Grace is something that's freely given unto us as a gift. It's not something that we can earn. But he says here that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Look again at verse 12. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously in this present world. What did Jesus mean when he said, "Hey, many men will come after me, let him deny himself and take up the cross and follow me." You know what he meant when he said "deny self"? He meant deny worldly lusts. Deny the lusts of the flesh. He said, "Deny," verse 11, there, look down, verse 12. "Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts." That's what he meant when he said "deny self". That's what dwells in our flesh. Worldly lusts. The tendency to sin.
Go to 1 Peter chapter 2, toward the very end of the New Testament. 1 Peter, chapter 2. While you're turning there, I'll read for you from 2 Corinthians 10 verse 3 where it says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal." Carnal means "fleshly". "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exulted itself against the knowledge of God." Watch this. "And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Here he says that we have a spiritual war going on in our body where we are not warring with flesh and blood. We don't wrestle against flesh and blood. I mean, we don't go out every week and get in physical fist fights and physical gun fights and say, "We're fighting the good fight of faith. We're on the frontlines of the fight." And you, know, we're firing weapons, we're beating people up. That's not what we're doing. We fight a spiritual battle. We don't war according to flesh. We war a spiritual warfare. A lot of that warfare takes place within us. Because the Bible says that the weapons of our warfare will help us to cast down imaginations and to bring every thought into subjection and every thought unto the obedience of Christ.
Look down with that in mind at 1 Peter 2, where it says in verse 11, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war again the soul." Do you see the warfare that's going on between the flesh and the spirit? Our sinful flesh, our body, wants to indulge in things that are wrong. Our spirit that's been saved by Jesus Christ, wants to do what's right. There's a conflict where on the inside, deep down, if you're saved today, even if you're living a worldly and sinful life, if you're saved, if you're believer, deep down on the inside, you want to do what's right. The inward man, the spiritual man, that new creature that was created in you, wants to do what's right. But often, the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak. There's a warfare that's going on where your spirit wants to do what's right and your flesh wants to do which is wrong.
You say, "Well, Pastor Anderson, have absolutely zero desire to do what's right. Ever." Then you're clearly not saved. Obviously anybody who's saved, they've been made a new creature on the inside. It doesn't mean that they're going to do what's right. Often, they let the flesh be in the driver's seat and then they do all the wrong things. That's why you'll see a lot of Christians who lead a very sinful life, because the flesh is in the driver's seat and they're not listening to the Holy Spirit and they're not listening to their spirit that wants to do what's right. Paul said, "I delight after the law of God after the inward man." Talking about his spirit. But he said, "I find another law warring in my members." Meaning in my body parts, my flesh. He said that's trying to pull him into sin. If you're saved, you have this battle going on in you between good and evil. Between the flesh and the spirit. The Bible says that fleshly lusts are warring against our soul.
Go to Galatians chapter 5. Galatians chapter number 5. Back toward the front of your Bible. Galatians chapter number 5. We'll look at a classic passage about this. We're talking about denying self this morning. I'm going to get into some specific applications of denying yourself. I'm just laying the foundation here. Look at Galatians 5, verse 16. It says, "This I say then, 'Walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.'" Galatians 5:17. "For the flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. These are contrary one to the other so that you cannot do the things that you would, but if you be lead of the spirit, you're not under the law. The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these." You say, "Pastor Anderson, when you say I'm supposed to deny myself and follow Jesus, when you say I'm supposed to deny worldly lusts, when you say I'm supposed to resist against and abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul, what kind of wrong desires are you talking about? What are these fleshly lusts? What are these things that I need to deny in my life?" Here we get a list as to what the works of the flesh are. The Bible says, "The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery ..."
There, you go right there. An example of something that is a worldly lust that we should abstain from. He says adultery. That is a married person who would be unfaithful to their spouse and they would have a physical relationship with someone outside of that marriage. Then, also, Jesus Christ talked about the fact that if you just look on a woman, to lust after her, you've committed adultery with her already in your heart. That in and of itself is the lust of the eyes, when you're looking upon a woman with lust in your heart. Then, he says fornication. What is fornication? The difference between fornication and adultery is that adultery has to do with someone who's married that commits adultery. Fornication is when unmarried people have a physical relationship with each other that's reserved for marriage. They have that outside of marriage. That is fornication. That is one of the works of the flesh. That's not a spiritual thing. That's not a godly thing. It's very godly to be married and have a physical relationship with your wife or your husband within marriage. That's very godly. The Bible says marriage is honorable in all and the bed, undefiled. But whore mongers and adulterers, God will judge.
One of the primary works of the flesh that we need to deny and one of the main lusts. I mean, he listed it first, adultery, fornication. Even the next two, uncleanness and lasciviousness, are in that same category of those types of sins. You say, "Why uncleanness?" Because fornication does involve uncleanness when you see how people are just going from one person to another to another. It becomes unsanitary and it becomes a disease-carrying activity. Let me say this: Adultery and fornication are major sins that God condemns throughout the New Testament. In fact, he seems to bring them up more than other sins. It's just over and over and over again. He's warning. Why? These are things that our flesh will tempt us to engage in and we must deny self. We must deny that lust and we must follow Christ and take up the cross.
Let me say this about fornication. It's a very serious sin, in so much that the Bible even says that it can get you thrown out of the local church. 1 Corinthians 5 reveals that those who are in fornication should be thrown out of the church. It's a major, major sin. You say, "What are you talking about?" Listen, if you're living together and you're not married, you're living in fornication. I'm talking about a man and woman that are living together and they're not married. You say, "Well, what are my options?" Here are your options: Get married or stop living together. You say, "Well, I'm just not ready for marriage." Then you're not ready to be living with somebody. "Well, I'm just not ready for marriage." Then you're not ready to be sleeping with somebody, because the Bible teaches that we should only have that within marriage. Within marriage, it's godly, it's holy, it's honorable. Outside of marriage, it's a major sin that needs to be denied. You say, "But I want to." Deny self. Deny the desire to commit sin and do what's right for the sake of Jesus Christ. That's what the Bible teaches. That's what it means to deny self.
It means that when you get the point where you don't want to stay with your spouse anymore, you stay with your spouse anyway because you don't want to be an adulterer or an adulterous. You get to the point where you desire someone other than your spouse, you deny that wicked, ungodly lust, and you stay true and faithful to the one to whom you said your vows.
When you get to the point, young person, where you're tempted to commit adultery, you deny that lust, and you keep yourself pure and holy and virgin until your wedding day. You say, "Well, I've already blown that." But you know what? From this day forward, you need to be pure until you get married, until you say, "I do." By the way, so many women today are in relationships where they'd like to get married and the guy won't marry them. Let me give you a little saying, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" You're sitting there and giving away your body to someone without demanding a ring on the finger, without demanding a commitment of marriage. You know what you're doing? You're cheapening yourself. Your worth more than that. You have more value than that. Save yourself for the one that will make a commitment unto you. Save your body for the one who will say, "I'll be with you until death. For better, for worse, for rich, or for poor." Not the one that's here today, gone tomorrow. It's hypocrisy to say, "Oh, we're committed to each other." Then you'd be married. It's hypocrisy to say, "I'm not ready to get married." Then you're not ready for that either. Our society condones it. I don't. The Bible doesn't. Faithful Word Baptist Church doesn't. Let's keep going though. Those are some main things in verse 19.
In verse 20, we have idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, saditions, heresies. Really, I mean, each of these could be a whole sermon in and of itself. You could preach a whole sermon on each word here and on each sin. These are just the type of sins that people are tempted into committing. It says in verse 21, "envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like." Just anything like that.
Then he says this, "Of the which I tell you before as I've also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." A lot of people will say, "Well, if you do any of these sins on this list, you're not saved." But again, that's not true. Because of the fact that they'll point to this and say, "Well, you don't inherit the kingdom of God." But the Bible also says all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth in the lake of fire and brimstone. Not only that, it says here, "and such like." Even if you say, "I don't do any of the sins on that list." But if you just did something like that, then you're not worthy of the kingdom of God. But of course, that's where salvation comes in. That's where forgiveness comes in. That's where being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ comes in. Just as all liars have to be washed, all these sinners also need to be.
The point is that these are the lusts of the flesh. These are the temptations that we need to deny if we're going to follow Jesus Christ and be a good Christian. Just to focus in on one of them: drunkenness, in verse 21 there. Drunkenness. That's a temptation for a lot of people. Drinking. A lot of people will say this, "I drink, but I don't get drunk." I've never met one yet who that was true. You know what I mean? "I drink, but I ..." Then why do you even drink? "Oh, I just drink a little bit." But you know what? I see people, I can name for you all the people I know who have ever said, "Well, I drink but I don't get drunk." I'm not saying that there's not somebody out there who really does drink and doesn't get drunk. I've just never seen it. You know what usually it is? It's just people who just use that as a cop out. Like, "I just never get drunk. I just like the taste or whatever." They drink and you see them drink one, two, three, four, "but I don't get drunk."
It's funny. You'll call somebody on the carpet and you'll say, "You just had four drinks. I thought you never get drunk." Here's what they'll say, "Oh. I can handle four drinks. No problem." You know what that means if you can handle four drinks, no problem? It means you drink a lot because you have tolerance to alcohol. Because somebody who doesn't drink a lot, if they drink four drinks, they're going to be drunk. If you say, "I can drink a six pack. It doesn't even affect me." That just means you're an alcoholic. That just means that you built tolerance to alcohol. That's one of the signs of being a drunk. That you drink that much that your body is just impervious to it.
Not only that, a lot of people like to focus on the commandment in the Bible not to be drunk. They'll say, "Well, it's okay to drink, just don't get drunk." But actually what they're ignoring is all the multitude of scriptures that say be sober. You know what I mean? Even if you're not getting drunk, if you drink one or two beers, you're not sober. You cease to be sober. The Bible says, "Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly." The Bible says, "righteously, godly, in this present world." We should be sober. Drinking is not going to do anything good for you in your life. It's only going to lead you into sin. The Bible says that when you drink, your eyes shall behold strange women. Your mouth shall utter perverse things. I don't want to say perverted things. I don't want to cast my eyes upon strange women. Therefore, I abstain from drinking alcohol whatsoever. The Bible teaches here that drunkenness is one of those lusts of the flesh.
Go if you would to Deuteronomy chapter 21. Deuteronomy chapter 21. Deuteronomy chapter number 21. I want to point out this scripture because this scripture that a lot of people will often misquote and a lot of atheists, if you ever talk to somebody who is an atheist, who really hates the Bible, they like to take this scripture that I'm turning to and twist it and misquote it. It has to do with drunkenness, but it also has to do with gluttony. Again, we were talking just denying ourself, but they'll quote this. Here's what you'll hear atheists say, "The Bible tells you to stone a disobedient child." Who's ever heard an atheist say that? "The Bible says to kill your disobedient child." "The Bible says to stone ..." They'll laugh at this and mock the Bible and say, "You believe the Bible? The Bible says to stone your disobedient child. The Bible says to kill your disobedient child." Now, if the Bible said that if your child disobeys you, kill it. That would be ridiculous. You know what? Then every child would be dead. Every child is a disobedient child. Has there ever been a fully obedient child ever?
The Bible says, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from it." We know that children do disobey and make mistakes, but that's not what this scripture teaches. Let's read it together and let's see what the scripture actually teaches under the old covenant, under the laws of the land of Israel there. It says in Deuteronomy 21:18, "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and that when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them. Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him and bring him out unto the elders of his city and unto the gate of this place and they shall say unto the elders of his city, 'This, our son, is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey our voice. He is a glutton and a drunkard.' All the men of his city shall stone him with stones that he die so shalt thou put away evil from among you and all Israel shall hear and fear."
What the scripture's actually teaching is these people have a child. It doesn't say "disobedient". Where does it say "disobedient"? What is it saying? It's saying this child is just completely rebellious to his parents. Then Dad disciplines him. He still won't listen. Mom disciplines him. He still won't listen. Then they take him and drag him before the authorities. They take him to elders of the city. I mean, they take him to the authorities. They say, "Look. We have disciplined him. We have tried everything. This is just a bad kid. He's a glutton. He's a drunk. He won't work. He's living in sin. He won't respond to discipline." Then they say, "Okay. We'll stone him with stones." You say, "I don't think that's right. I can't believe that." You know what? This would just get rid of worthless, wicked people before they go out and just commit all kinds of acts of rape and pillage and murder. Just some kind of a horrible, bad scene.
Here's the thing. I don't think they had to do this very often, because they key is at the end of verse 21. "So shalt thou put away evil from among you and all is all Israel shall hear and fear." This is something that it's just good to know that it's there. Saying, "Look. You're going to obey your parents. You're going to obey a godly life. You're not just going to go out and just become a lazy, drunken, glutton, that just completely despises your parents and won't listen to them." This is just putting some backing ... Basically what this is it is the state backing the parents against the child.
What we have today is the government will not back you up against your child today. You know, now today, we live in this weird backwards society where children divorce their parents. Remember that? I remember that, what 20 years ago, when some twelve-year-old kid divorced his parents just because they didn't let him have enough fun. Here, today, if you want to discipline your children, the authorities want to sometimes get in the way of that and stop you from disciplining your own child or you have children that are 16, 17 years old. They've called the police on their parents. "My parents are disciplining. My parents won't let me go to the prom. My parents are telling me I can't leave the house." And then they'll tell the parents, "Well, you have to let your child leave the house." I don't use groundation as a form of discipline, but a lot of parents do. Right. My parents didn't ground me either. My parents whipped me. They didn't ground me. I don't ground my children.
Here's the thing, parents will try to ground their child and say like, "You can't go anywhere. You didn't do your work. You didn't obey. You're not going to go out with your friends on Friday night. You're not going to go out with your friends. You're grounded." Then, basically, they'll just say like, call the police and say, "I'm being kidnapped. I'm being held against my will. I'm being imprisoned." Then the cops will come and say, "You know, well, you have to let them go. As long as they're back by curfew ..." You know what it is is the government wants to take the place of the parents and make the rules and they decide what time the kids should be home and they decide what's acceptable and what's not. Basically, what we have is a government that wants to take the place of God also. They decide what's right and wrong.
We don't have a society today where the government backs up the parent. A lot of times, the government is there to make sure that the parents aren't disciplining too much or to make sure they're letting their child live a normal life and get out and socialize and go to school and do all the things. Whatever. What I'm trying to say is that this scripture is just showing that if the worst came to worst, the elders of the city are supposed to back up the parents and not side with the child against their parents. The man is the king of his castle. The wife the boss of those children as well. They need to be honored and respected.
You know, when you have someone who is this worthless and wicked as what we have described in Deuteronomy 21, the Bible's just saying, "Put away that evil from Israel." Again, we're not under this today, but I'm not against this at all. This is still God's law. It's a good idea. But it's something that they were under back then as their actual law. But I doubt that they were just constantly stoning these drunken, gluttonous, young people because you know what I think, the parents just told them, "Hey, you better straighten up or else we'll take this down to the elders of the city and you'll be killed." That was probably a powerful threat because it had the force of the law behind it. Now, the children are threatening their parents, "If you spank me, I'll call the police." That's the day we're living in now. The opposite. The kid's saying, he calls 911, calls the elders of the city, "My parents spanked me with a paddle. They spanked me with hairbrush." Whatever. This is a righteous commandment in the Bible.
Why are we turning to this in a sermon about denying yourself? Because when God's trying to describe somebody who is so rebellious and so wicked that they need to just be put away from Israel, what are the two things that are brought out? They're a glutton and a drunkard. That should show you that a person that does not deny themself at all has the potential to become a very ungodly person. Because a person who just gratifies every lust ... I mean, what is gluttony? Gluttony is just a completely unrestrained, I'm just going to eat whatever junk. I'm going to eat whatever amount. I'm not going to deny myself any food. What's drunkenness? Just an unhibited, just drinking what you want to drink. Just enjoying drunkenness and whatever.
Bible says in Proverbs 23:21, "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty." The Bible talks about people in Ecclesiastes 10:17, "Who eat for strength, not for drunkenness." They don't just eat and gorge themselves in an unrestrained way. The Bible talked about a man of the name of Eli, who was a glutenous man. He was a very heavy man. It talked about him just gorging himself on fat, he was just fat. But then his children, they were fat also, the Bible says, from gorging themselves. The Bible said this, "They also went into fornication." Okay.
What I'm saying here is that we need to live our lives in a way. Go to 1 John chapter 2, in a way where we restrain our flesh. Where we restrain our flesh. Where we don't just whatever we feel like eating, we just eat it. Whatever we feel like drinking, we just drink it. Whatever we feel like doing, we just do it. Whatever we feel like watching, we just watch it. Whatever we feel like looking at, we just look at it. Whatever we feel like reading, we just read it. No. We need to deny self and say, "I don't care what you want to read. I don't care what you want to look at. I don't care what you want to eat. I don't care what you want to drink. This is what you're going to do, because you're not the boss. Listen flesh, you're not the boss, I'm the boss. I'm going to tell you what to eat. I'm going to tell you what to drink. I'm going to tell you what to do. I'm going to tell you ..." "I don't feel like reading my Bible," says the flesh. "Well, you're going to read it anyway," says the spirit, "because you're not the boss." T
hat's what it means to deny self. To deny the lusts of the flesh. Look, again, you say, "Skinny guy getting on people that eat a lot." Honestly, I'm not one of these that thinks everybody needs to be skinny. I'm not into this Hollywood image where only skinny people are beautiful and everybody needs to be skinny. God made us all different and not everybody's designed to be what like what Hollywood puts out there, real skinny. I'm not saying, "Hey, everybody needs to be skinny." Honestly, you know what? There are different body types. Honestly, there are people who are beautiful people of all shapes and sizes. Obviously, Hollywood portrays a certain way that we're all supposed to look. I don't believe in that. I believe God's made us all different. Okay. Some people if they eat a normal, healthy diet are going to be more plump than those who eat a normal, healthy diet and they're going to be thinner. I mean, a lot of that is just genetic.
Let me say this though, there are people who do gorge themselves on junk food. You know. It is important that we do take care of ourselves and eat healthy food. You know, my philosophy is you're going to eat healthy food and have an active lifestyle. Everybody's not going to come out looking the same. You know what I'm saying? I'm not saying, "Hey, everybody has to be this." But you know what I am saying though? Gluttony is a sin. Even if you never hear that preached in most churches, that is a biblical teaching. The Bible does mention it. We should take care that we don't just eat to always tickle our taste buds and that we don't just have a pack of Ho Hos by the bed and a pack of Twinkies by the bed and get out of bed and start drinking soda pop and junk food.
You say, "Oh, pastor. You're getting on me because you saw me eating junk food the other day." Here's the thing, I'm not. Honestly what I'm telling you is just for your own good, because you're going to be unhealthy and you're going to die young if you eat a lot of junk food. There's a lot of junk food out there today. A lot of chemicals and a lot of additives and a lot of junk. You know what? If you leave this sermon and say, "You know, Pastor Anderson, I don't care what you say. I'm going to eat at McDonald's on Monday, Burger King on Tuesday, Jack In The Box on Wednesday. I'm going to eat Ho Hos after I go to bed at night, every time I wake up for the bathroom, I'm going to get a Ho Ho and eat it. I'm going to wake up in the morning and I'm going to pour myself a big gulp of Diet Pepsi and I'm going to you know ..." Go ahead. But you know, you're hurting yourself. It's not good for you. We should take care of our body, which is a temple of the holy ghost, which is in us, and take care of our health.
Does anybody here think that I'm wrong if I say, "Hey, eat nutritious food and take care of your health?" Is anybody really going to challenge me on that? "No, Pastor Anderson. Little Debbies ..." By the way, the Seventh Day Adventists are the ones who put out Little Debbies. Did you know that? The cult leader Ellen G. White with all her talk about eating healthy and all this and then they put out Little Debbies. How hypocrite. Debbie G. White. Anyway, that's just a piece of trivia for you.
Where did I have you turn? 1 John chapter 2. Let me get off your food thing. Look, by the way, every once in a while indulging in treats and every once in a while indulging in stuff that's maybe not the healthiest thing in the world, great. But you know in America today, a lot of people just have a steady diet of junk food. You know, sometimes you might just need to deny self and eat the vegetables or eat the whatever that's a little bit of a healthier option.
1 John chapter 2 says this in verse 15. It says, "Love not the world neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father's not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh," we covered that, didn't we? "And the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the father, but is of the world." Another lust that we need to deny is the lust of the eyes. We don't need to just look at everything that we want to look at. I find that when I take my children out to a restaurant, when there's small children, there will be a TV screen sometimes in the lobby of the restaurant and it's like their eyes are sometimes just drawn to it like a magnet. I have to constantly tell them, "Don't look at the TV. Don't look at the TV." We'll try to position ourselves to where their back is to the TV, just because it's just something that kind of catches your eye. All of us have a tendency to just ... I mean, it's designed that way, to get your attention.
It takes self denial to say, "I know that I'm having a physical reaction to want to look at that and want to watch that, but I'm not going to because I'm not really interested in what the devil has for me today on the TV." Or you know, you go to the store and there's the magazine rack and there's some indecent, scantily clad pictures of women there. Your tendency is to want to look at that. You have to say, "No. I don't want to look at that." Deny self. What I'm saying is, don't live your life in such a way where if it feels good, do it. Just whatever I feel like doing. What do I feel like doing today? No. It should be, "What should I do today?" "What's the best use of my time today?" Not just, "What do I feel like doing, necessarily?"
Then, lastly, let's go to Philippians chapter 2. We saw the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, but I want to give you another aspect of denying self. I think another aspect of denying self is just looking out for the needs of others, not our own needs. What does it mean to deny self? Well, it's lust. When lust is compelling us to commit sin, we deny that. What's self denial? When we want to look at something we shouldn't look at, we deny ourself. But also, what about when it comes to what we want versus what other people want? Sometimes we need to deny ourself and do what's best for other people, not just what's best for self all the time.
Look down at verse 2, it says, "Fulfill ye, my joy that you be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man not on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Don't just care about your things. Care about the things of others. Look upon their things. He says in verse 5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man."
According to the Bible, Jesus' mentality was one of serving others. He said the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many. He said, "I didn't come to be served, I came to serve." God's saying, "Don't just think about your own things, think about the things of others. Get the mentality of Christ where you are a servant unto others." When you go out soul winning, here's what you're saying, "Others matter. Other people matter." I'm already saved, so even if I never go soul winning, I'm going to go to Heaven. But you know why I go soul winning, so that other people can go to Heaven, because I care about them. Okay.
What about in your marriage? Do you live your life when it comes to your marriage in a way where it's just, "Well, I just want everything what's best for me"? Just please self. Just, "What can I get for myself out of this marriage?" No. Our marriage should be where we want to care for the other person. Every wife should want what's best for her husband and every husband should want what's best for the wife. You say, "Wait, I thought the husband's the leader. I thought he's the boss." But wait a minute. Yes, he's the leader. Yes, he's the boss, but he should use that power to please his wife and to do what's best for the wife because he loves his wife. Not to just selfishly say, "Well, I'm the boss. I have all the power. Therefore, I'm just going to do everything to gratify myself and nuts to her." That would be a very unloving husband indeed, wouldn't it? That's why the Bible says husbands love your wives.
Both husband and wife should think about the other person. If the husband puts his wife as number one and the wife puts her husband as number one, they're probably going to have a great marriage. Probably going to get along pretty well, huh? If he's always looking out for her and she's always looking out for him, they're going to get along great. Where's the strife come from? Selfishness. Only by pride cometh contention. It's pride and selfishness that says, "I matter. It's about what I can get out of this." You can even see people, even before they're married, just when they're looking for someone to marry, sometimes they're really selfish in the way they make that decision. They're not looking for someone that they can love and do something for and be a blessing to. They're looking for somebody who can do the most for them. You know what? It's selfishness. What does it mean to deny self? It means to deny lust and it means to put other people first. Jesus, then others, then you spells joy. Right. J-O-Y. Jesus. Others. You. That should be the priority.
One last place. Ecclesiastes chapter 2. Ecclesiastes chapter 2. There's a famous quote from Shakespeare. "To thine own self be true." That's not what the Bible says. The Bible says, "Deny your ownself." Deny self. The one thing I want to point out in Ecclesiastes chapter 2 is that if you live your life without denying self ... What's the opposite of self denial? Self indulgence. Every appetite that your flesh has, you fulfill it. Every food you want to eat, you eat it. Everything you want to look at, you look at it. Everything you want to do, you do it. Without regard for Christ, without regard for others, you just indulge self. You will be a miserable person if you live your life that way, even if you're saved.
Because in Ecclesiastes 2, we find a man who was saved, King Solomon. He was a godly man, but the power of being king went to his head. He started to just indulge himself. Look at that it says in verse 10, "Whatsoever mine eyes desired, I kept not from them. I withheld not my heart from any joy. For my heart rejoiced in all my labor and this was my portion of all my labor." What's he saying there? If I saw it and I wanted it, I took it. I withheld nothing from myself. Does this sounding like a guy who's denying self? No way. I mean, this is a guy who had 700 wives. Why? Because he had the power to have 700 wives. He had the money and the power to eat whatever he wanted, to be with whatever woman he wanted, to have whatever entertainment he wanted. He talks about having men singers and women singers. He brought in apes and peacocks and all kinds ... Just cool stuff that he wanted to have. He had swimming pools, orchards. I mean this guy had it all. Wouldn't you expect to be the happiest man?
Money, power, riches, respect, wisdom, intelligence, surrounded by beautiful women, surrounded by beautiful orchards and pools, surrounded by beautiful and tasty foods that he could dine on. Yet, he says in verse 11, "Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought and on the labor and the labor to do and behold, all was vanity." Vanity means it's worthless. And he said, "And vexation of spirit." What does it mean to be vexed? It means to be irritated, to be bothered, to be annoyed. It bothered him. You say, "Well, I can't understand that." Look at verse 17. "Therefore I hated life." Here's a guy who has all the money, all the power, all the pleasure, everything he wants and he hates life. Why? Because he's spoiled. This is what it means to spoil a child. He's spoiled. What does spoiled mean? It means ruined. Getting everything you want ruins you.
Total indulgence will ruin you as a person. The more you learn to deny yourself, you'll be a better person. Listen to this, you'll be a happier person, because this is a miserable person. That's why constantly in Hollywood, people are miserable. Just this week, everybody's talking about Robin Williams committed suicide. Why? Because he's miserable. You know why? Because he doesn't follow Christ. Because he doesn't deny self. Because these Hollywood actors have everything and indulge everything and it's all about selfishness. And you say, "Don't get on Robin Williams." You know what? I haven't even started getting on that cross-dressing freak yet. You want me to get on Robin Williams? I'm sick and tire of Christians who sit there and exalt. You know what the Bible says? They that forsake the law praise the wicked. But it's not just keep the law, contend with them. It's a sad day when Christians today are eulogizing and praising and saying, "Rest in peace, Robin Williams." Robin Williams is burning in Hell. The Bible says they have no rest day nor night in Hell. "That's a hateful thing." It's not a hateful thing. It's just a statement of fact.
I don't hate Robin Williams. Robin Williams is burning in Hell today because he did not believe on Jesus Christ. He stood up as a stand up comedian and mocked the lord Jesus and made money by mocking Jesus. Mocking Jesus, mocking the word of God, mocking the scripture for money. Then he gets up on screen and plays homosexuals, he plays cross dressers, the plays all kinds of other wicked parts. I mean, I don't really know a lot of his movies, but the one movie I remember from when I was a kid, he spends the whole movie in drag, dressed up like an old woman. That's not cool. That's an abomination.
People today, they praise and they eulogize and ... What about all the other people that died that day? I mean, why don't we just get a newspaper and pull open the obituary and I guarantee you, we can find a better person in the obituary any day than Robin Williams if you want to just be sad. I mean, if you just like to be sad about people who die, let's go by the obituary page and find a nice person for you to be sad about. Maybe we can even find a Christian person. Maybe we can find somebody that didn't blaspheme Jesus and that didn't dress up like a woman and that didn't promote homosexuality. Then, we could get sad about that. You're sad about your actor hero because you're worldly. You know why he hanged himself like Judas Iscariot? Because he was miserable because he indulged himself.
You know what? If you, child in this room, that's hearing me or teenager or young person. If you live your life where my life is just, "Me, me, me. Ice cream. Cake. Candy. Play, play, play. Fun, fun, fun." If you live your life like that, you're going to end up the same way that Robin Williams and Judas Iscariot had ended up. Why? Because it's a miserable way to live your life. You kids now need to learn to deny yourself and learn how to work, learn how to force yourself to read the Bible, learn how to get something, learn to obey your parents and say to your parents, "Not my will, but thine be done, Mom and Dad." Why? So that someday you can look up to God and say, "Not mine will, but thine be done." Because he's your father in Heaven.
We need to today learn that if we want happiness in life, it's going to be through denying self, not indulging self. If we want to be a true disciple and follower of Christ, you got to deny self. I know you're already saved if you believe in Christ. 90 something percent of people in this room are already saved. Hopefully, 100% believe on the lord Jesus Christ as their savior. But if you really want to be a disciple, I mean, think about it. How many people believed on Jesus when he came? How many people do you think? Yeah. How many disciples did he have? Right. Different number isn't it?
One of these Jewish rabbis that I talked to a couple weeks ago, he made of fun of Jesus. "He only had 12 disciples." Like nobody believed in him. Yeah. That's why we're still talking about him, right? That's why more books have been written about him than any other human being who's ever walked on the face of the Earth. That's why he's the most famous. That's why the year 2014 is based on his birthday. 2014 years after he was born. I mean, those 12 people must have had a lot of clout when it came to making calendars and stuff. That's not true. Multitudes believed on him. Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands believed. But only a very few people were willing to deny self, take up the cross, and follow him. Be one of those few today and deny self and follow Christ. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much, Lord, for your spirit, Lord. We thank you also for making us a new creature. But Lord, we still have the flesh. The flesh has not changed, Lord. Help us to deny self, to die daily, Lord. Lord, we want to do it. Our spirit is willing, Lord. But our flesh is weak. Help us, Lord, to live a life that would be pleasing to you that denies the flesh.