Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
October 5, 1997
Last Updated :
September 26, 2014
We Need To Forsake All, Die Daily And Present Our Bodies As Living Sacrifices Before The Lord, Dying Daily Requires Real Humility, Defining True Humility, Our Troublesome Rebellious Flesh, Old Man Versus The New Man, God's Spirit Working In Us, God Desires Voluntary Submission And Not Blind Obedience, We Must Bring Our Bodies Into Subjection, Run With Patience The Race That Is Set Before Us, Daily Service And Not Just Weekend Rituals, Do Not Be Like The Selfish Shepherds Of Ancient Israel, Modern Greedy Money-Making Bible Hucksters, The Non-Offensive Unsatisfying "Lite" Gospel, Filthy Lucre, False Abundant Life Doctrine, Materialism And Warning To Church At Laodicea, Freely Share Our Spiritual Riches With Others, The Widow's Mite, One Body But With Many Different Members And Ministries, Don't Have A Boastful Attitude, Lame Man At The Temple Gate, Peter Helped Based On His Ability, Do What You Can With What You've Got, Don't Worry About Opinions
In light of everything which I have shared with you in this series, I hope that you now realize that it is time for all of us to stop being so selfish with our time and with our lives, and to stop selfishly doing our own thing. We each need to begin doing more to die to ourselves, and to our own selfish wants and desires, and do more for the Lord and His Heavenly Kingdom. As Jesus and the Apostle Paul explain in the following verses, we need to forsake all, die daily, and present our bodies and lives as living sacrifices before the Lord, so that He can use us in whatever fashion He deems to be most appropriate for each of us. As Jesus prayed to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, "not my will, but thine, be done." -- Luke 22:42:
"I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."
1 Corinthians 15:31, KJV
"And 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. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Luke 9:23-24, KJV
"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:33, KJV
"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."
Mark 8:35, KJV
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:1-2, KJV
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Galatians 2:20, KJV
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
Galatians 6:14, KJV
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
1 John 3:16, KJV
It takes real humility to die to ourselves that others might live; but this is what the Lord requires of His servants. As I explain in the series entitled "So You Really Think You Are So Humble?", true humility is not pretending to be humble in the sight of men; it is submitting ourselves to God's Will in our lives, exactly as Jesus did. As we have seen through the previous verses, that means forsaking what we want to do, and doing what He desires for us to do. It is not always easy, but the rewards will be great.
If we are truly filled with God's love, and not just love for ourselves, how can we not endeavor to reach His precious lost sheep in some way? As I mentioned in part two, there are many different ways in which we can be effective witnesses of our faith. You just need to find out what works for you, and then be faithful with it. In the previous verses, the Apostle Paul says that we need to present our bodies as living sacrifices, and Jesus says that we need to take up our cross daily. They are not referring to an actual sacrifice, such as when one sacrifices an animal on an altar. Neither are they referring to being literally crucified on a wooden cross. Rather, they are referring to giving ourselves in daily service to the Lord in some way. They are referring to submitting our wills and our lives to the Will of God.
As I said, sometimes it is not easy. Our flesh can be quite rebellious. Oh, it is tired. It is sleepy. It is hungry. It does not feel like working for the Lord today. It aches. It wants to watch a movie. It wants to go out and do this, that or the other. I am very familiar with these things, because I have been engaged in witnessing for the Lord for more than four decades now. I know what excuses we like to make for ourselves, so that we can weasel our way out of doing God's Work. You see, it is just the old self trying to dictate to us what we should be doing with our time and our lives. But as God's Word informs us, the new man of the Spirit must prevail, and overcome the weaknesses of the old man of the flesh, as we see by the following verses:
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Romans 6:6, KJV
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."
Romans 7:18, KJV
"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;"
Ephesians 4:22, KJV
"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;"
Colossians 3:9, KJV
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV
"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Ephesians 4:24, KJV
"And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:"
Colossians 3:10, KJV
Thankfully, we do not have to do it alone. We have help; and that is God's Spirit working in us, and through us, as we see by the following verse:
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13, KJV
So as you can see, God will place His desires in us; but then we have to decide to yield ourselves to His Will for our lives. We can either choose to continue to live our selfish lives, or else we can voluntarily bend the knee. It is my understanding that normally, God will not force us to do His Will. He wants us to do it because we love Him, and for no other reason. He desires voluntary submission, and not merely blind obedience. After all, if it was a matter of us just being obedient robots, then the game could have been over at any time long ago. God could have just put down His thumb; but He didn't, and He hasn't; at least not yet. The day may come when that will suddenly change, so watch out.
I will be quite honest with you. Now, more than ever, as I grow older, it is becoming even more of a challenge for me to sit in this chair day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, ministering to the Lord's online sheep. My flesh can't handle as much abuse as it used to. My back aches. My eyes start to burn. My mind repeatedly wanders so that I have to reread things over and over again, and then my brain fries because I have pushed myself so hard to where I can hardly even think straight. It requires a lot of self-discipline on my part, and I don't always have it; but I continue to do what I can -- albeit at a much slower rate -- by His Grace. As the Apostle Paul informs us in the following set of verses, we need to let our flesh know who is the boss, we need to bring it into subjection, and we need to run with patience the race that is set before us:
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so 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 have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
1 Corinthians 9:24-27, KJV
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
Hebrews 12:1-3, KJV
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13-14, KJV
"Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."
Philippians 2:16, KJV
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
2 Timothy 4:6-8, KJV
"Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?"
Galatians 5:7, KJV
So as we learned earlier, we need to die daily and bear our symbolic cross for the Lord. We need to offer ourselves in sacrificial service to His Kingdom. Please notice that both Jesus and Paul used the word "daily". There is no mention whatsoever of weekend service, as if that could really be enough to satisfy the Lord. God desires daily service from us, and not just spiritually-dead weekend rituals where we go through the motions of being Christians.
Think about this for a moment. If we are not willing to serve the Lord in some capacity, and share our knowledge of His Word with those people who are spiritually hungry and desire to hear it, then we are just as guilty as the fat, selfish shepherds of ancient Israel, who the Lord prophesied against in Ezekiel chapter thirty-four. As you can plainly see by the following set of verses, those shepherds fed themselves and abused the sheep, and the Lord was not happy with them in the least:
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them."
Ezekiel 34:2-10, KJV
Those ancient shepherds of Israel were a lot like many of these modern-day money-making Bible hucksters who fleece God's children of their hard-earned cash with all of their smooth prosperity preaching. Instead of feeding God's sheep, they are stealing from them. Even worse, from what I have been told, some of those false shepherds barely even quote the Word. They are a lot like all of the "lite" food and "diet" food which has become so popular in recent decades. Such false prosperity preachers offer a lot of talk, but very little real substance. They promote a "lite" Gospel which offends no one, but which likewise does not feed anyone spiritually as well. Once again, it just plain old selfishness.
As I explain in a few other articles, such as "Abundant Life Doctrine: Scripturally Exposed!", God's Word very clearly warns us that the Lord's servants are not supposed to profit financially from preaching the Gospel. It is okay to accept donations from people who desire to support the ministry of their own free volition, but it is quite another thing for a Bible preacher to outright charge people money before he is willing to preach the Gospel to them. The Bible refers to this wicked practice as "filthy lucre", as we see by the following set of verses:
"Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous . . . Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;"
1 Timothy 3:3, 8, KJV
"For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre . . . Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
Titus 1:7, 11, KJV
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;"
1 Peter 5:2, KJV
Just so there is no misunderstanding, according to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the phrase "filthy lucre" refers to being eager to acquire base gain, or being greedy for money. It is derived from the Koine Greek word "aischrokerdes". The Apostle Paul uses this word four times in his Epistles, and the Apostle Peter uses it once. As Jesus warns us in John chapter ten:
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10:10, KJV
As I point out in the aforementioned article, Jesus was not talking about a selfish, earthly life of affluence. After all, such an interpretation of the previous verse totally contradicts all of the verses I shared with you in part two. Jesus is not going to tell us that we need to forsake all and take up our cross daily, and then suddenly turn around and say "Oops! Sorry boys. I goofed. Rake in the dough! Let's live it up!"
The fact of the matter is that in saying "that they might have it more abundantly", Jesus was speaking primarily about spiritual abundance. He was talking about laying up eternal treasures in Heaven, and not on Earth. More specifically, He was talking about the coming Gift of Eternal Life, which all of us would have the capacity to receive, once He fulfilled His Mission on the Cross. This life would be so abundant in nature, that it would in fact be eternal, and you certainly can't beat that.
Sadly, as the previous verses regarding filthy lucre reveal, even before the First Century had ended, some of the early Christian congregations were alright getting sidetracked by materialistic living. Consider the stiff warning that the Lord issued to the Church at Laodicea by way of the Apostle John. It sounds just like modern Roman Catholicism and many other religions which pride themselves in their wealth, power, influence and their ornate buildings:
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Revelation 3:14-19, KJV
Contrary to how these modern false religions operate, and contrary to what these prosperity preachers preach with their "Give me, give me!" attitude, as the previous verses in part two make abundantly clear, Jesus never instructed us to selfishly hoard personal wealth. One cannot forsake all and hoard wealth at the same time. It is impossible. Jesus told us to do the exact opposite. He taught us to share our riches, whether they are physical or spiritual in nature. Of course, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Salvation which it offers, is the most valuable treasure that we possess; so let's share it freely. Consider the following verses:
"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
Matthew 10:8, KJV
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
Luke 6:38, KJV
Rather than acting and living selfishly as so many people in this world do, it is in giving of ourselves, in sharing our time and our lives through witnessing to others and feeding God's sheep, and even by sharing our physical possessions whenever it is within our power to do so, that the Lord will bless us in return. Not only that, but He will multiply what we do have, just as He did with the fishes and the loaves in the Gospels, and just as He did for the widow of Zarephath by way of the Prophet Elijah. You may recall the story that Jesus shared in the Gospels regarding the poor widow who was blessed more than the others, because she gave of the little that she had, whereas the others only gave a small portion of their abundance. Allow me to share the story with you:
"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."
Mark 12:41-44, KJV
Let me just mention here that God uses different people in different ways. As I more amply explain in other articles, we are all different members of the same Body of Christ. We each have our place in God's Kingdom, and in His Church here on the Earth. We don't all have the same ministries, or even the same means to help others. Consider the following verses:
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
Romans 12:4-5, KJV
"For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."
1 Corinthians 10:17, KJV
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit . . . But now are they many members, yet but one body . . . Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?"
1 Corinthians 12-13, 20, 27-30, KJV
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
Ephesians 2:13-19, KJV
"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all . . . And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ . . . From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Ephesians 4:3-6, 11-13, 16, KJV
"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."
Colossians 3:15, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV
My point in sharing these verses with you is this: I have noticed that there are certain Christians who seem to have a propensity for becoming a bit proud, and even self-righteous, because of the particular way in which they serve the Lord. They like to boast of how they are feeding and clothing the poor. They like to brag about how much money they donate to their church or to some other worthy cause. They incessantly boast about their prison ministry. They like to broadcast how many souls they have won to the Lord. And on and on it goes. My friends, there is no blessing and no reward in such proud boasting. What did Jesus say in the Gospels? Consider this and be wise:
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
Matthew 6:1-4, KJV
I am also reminded of the incident involving the lame man which occurred at the temple gate called Beautiful in the third chapter of the Book of Acts. Let me share it with you, and then we will draw one particular lesson from it:
"And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him."
Acts 3:2-10, KJV
Let me draw your attention to what Peter said to this man. The lame man was obviously very poor. When Peter and John stopped to look at him, the lame man assumed that they were going to give him alms; that is, some money. However, to his surprise, rather than give him money, Peter said "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee." You see, Peter was poor too. He had forsaken his fishing business at the Lord's command, and so he had very little to offer this man in the way of money. However, Peter did have something which that poor man sorely needed; and that was to be healed of his affliction. Thus, by the creative power of the Holy Spirit, Peter reached down in faith and healed that man.
Do you understand the lesson that I am conveying here? Not all of us have the means to feed the poor, or to clothe the people who need it, or to visit prisons, or to donate large sums of money to a local church or to some worthy charity, or to stand up in a huge stadium and preach to thousands of people and win souls by the boatloads. My friends, that is not important. If God wanted you to be doing that, then He would provide the means for you to do it. All you need to concerned about is doing what you can do with what you have. That is exactly what Peter did.
If all you can do is share your faith with another family member, or perhaps with a friend, then by all means do it. If you are doing what you can with what you've got, if you are being faithful in your own sphere of influence, then personally, I am convinced that the Lord is pleased with you. That being the case, don't ever allow other proud, self-righteous Christians make you feel bad, make you feel as if you are less than they are, or convince you that you are not being used by the Lord. Such condemnation does not come from the Lord. It is of the Devil. Remember: one Body with many members and many different responsibilities.
Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .