11-Dying to Self To Live Unto God
There were ten virgins, and five were wise and five foolish. What made them foolish? They were careless. They had had oil but they no longer did. The lamp had gone out. You can't put a lamp out unless it once burned. They were virgins, but became careless with their spiritual life. They were pure, still went to church, did all the things people thought they should do but they were dead. They didn't have the life of God. These lessons are to stir up His people and rise to the occasion and be what God wants them to be.
The only pathway it can work is to die unto self and live unto God. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus who walk after according to the desire of the Spirit which is life, and not the desire of the flesh which is death.
Gal 2:20 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.
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Jesus said to all that would ever follow Him, if any man would be My disciple first he must deny himself. There are no selfish Christians. Self has to be put out of the way if you'll be My disciple. You must take up your cross. That is the only way to ensure that self life remains dead, and follow Jesus. That is the pathway into this overcoming life. It is the overcomer according to Rev. 3:21, that is going to sit on the throne of this universe with Christ. If that is your desire and intent, and it must be, then this is the pathway into that overcoming life.
Death to self is not our own effort. We have made that clear. But I've understood as a preacher of this Gospel for 56 years, you have to say and say again until it becomes a moral conviction unto that saint. This self can hide under all forms of goodness. This ought to very much alarm us. Self can watch and pray but it's for its own interest that it has itself in that altar. Self can pray and can preach a long time. Preachers, I've watched them change churches every 2 years. They aren't looking for the will of God, they are looking for a better life down here. It's not dead to self and alive unto God, but it's constantly trying to find a better status for themselves. It's covetousness that mostly drives them. Self can be very, very religious, it can cry, desire, and it can perform and have self pity. It can look like a lot of things. Before you can die to self you have to know what self is. If you do not know to seek him where he hides in the cloak of religion, all teaching about him will be in vain.
You hear a preacher preach about love and show none of it, you are looking at self. All it takes to make a preacher is a sermon. But it takes an altar to make a man of God. It's at an altar that the cross where men die to who they are, that Christ becomes their life. Paul said it pleased God to reveal His Son in me, therefore the apostle had to die to who he was and his own ambition and let Christ become His life. We must be ready at all times to die to our sin and pride and yet we must know its stronghold is in the temple. The stronghold of self is right here, in this temple. Paul talked about him sitting in the temple of God as God. See, that self is anti-Christ. Self will even offer to lead and help us in dying to self. It's only when we begin to fear his subtlety and in utter despair cast ourselves on God alone to do the work that we truly can overcome ourselves. That's what the overcoming is.
Jesus said to him that overcometh...No flesh can sit on that throne, folks. It doesn't matter what you want to think or what your religion teaches you, no self can be on that throne. So, to him that overcomes, overcomes that evil self, I'll give to him to sit with Me on My throne to rule with Him in this universe. So, to die to self, to come out from under its power can't be done by mere human effort.
It's only when we're brought to see we're utterly incapable of dealing with this monster, we'll begin to see we can only overcome by an absolute total surrender to God to do the work for us and in us. Jesus conquered sin by dying to it. He took my sin, died to that sin and He conquered that sin. He who knew no sin became sin. He never sinned, He became sin, my sin, your sin, and conquered that sin by dying to it. We died in Him and are now as He is, dead to sin. We must reckon on that who have been born again. Paul said reckon yourselves dead to sin and alive unto God. As we go about bearing always in ourselves the dying of the Lord Jesus, bearing His dying in us, the dying to self will be real and true, as we bear that dying in our body. Nothing we do in ourselves can have any good in this business of overcoming and dying to self. Because it is self working in us. It cannot crucify itself, because if it does, then a worse form of that self is going to come out. The good in us is the work of God's Spirit and it's all preparatory to that full death to self He seeks to bring about in us.
All failures in the Christian life is because we seek to do in our own strength what God alone by His Spirit can do in us. To exchange this life of self for the life of God to come out of the darkness of self, into the light of God, this is a work we can't do. It's a man who ceases from self, who sees and accepts in the death of Christ, his death to self, that's the man on whom God's light will arise. This is the only true way of dying to self.
First of all, it's a way of patience, meekness, humility, total resignation to God. This is the truth and perfection of dying to self. Dying to sin and turning away, casting it from you, can be effected in no other way but by humbling ourselves before God, confession of sin, in our impotence, and patient waiting for His work in us. As we repent as we fail, we cast ourselves on Him, acknowledging this is too much for me. We cast ourselves on Him like the leper, if You will, You can make me whole. It's in this way, we've opened up for the Holy Spirit to do His work in us. If we walk in the Spirit we won't fulfill the lust of this self. We overcome it by walking in the Spirit, depending upon God. I know some think this is too simple. Others will think the prescription is beyond their reach, that they must die to self before they can be humble and meek. We need to understand what God commands, He will do through us. The answer is if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
God says I can overcome sin, I can by just casting myself upon Him and trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us learn well whatever our experience be of the power of self to see here is the only cure. Sit down in humility before God, confess our nothingness, our absolute inability to perform this and to overcome. But to say to Him, if Thou will, You can make me clean. In meekness that bows under and quietly bears the shame we feel. In patience that waits for God's sure deliverance. A resignation that gives itself to His will, power and His mercy. As easily and immediately as sinners received Christ by turning to Him and confessing their sins and need of a Savior, by that same identical way, you can receive His rest. If you are truly born again, you had to arrive at the place you knew you could not save yourself. You wanted to do better, you tried to do better, it never worked out. But when you cast yourself on Him in absolute confidence that He did the work, just as you were saved, you will find this deliverance.
Look at the simplicity of this faith. Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Can anything be more simple than the receiving of His peace and rest? This does away with all the rules and methods to be delivered from self and the power of sin and find the redeeming power and virtue of Christ. Much of today's teaching would lead you to believe that simply turning to Christ was indeed the way for Jews and heathens to enter in to life. That simplicity ended when Christ was crucified. What foolishness to think that Christ having finished His great work, overcome death, ascended into heaven with all power of heaven and earth has become a less Savior to those who turn to Him now than when He was clothed with infirmity. Does Christ have any less power after He conquered than while He was resisting and fighting the enemy? Does He have any less good will to assist His church, His own body now that He's in heaven than He had for publicans and sinners before He was glorified? When Christ was on earth, nothing was more simple and certain than the way of coming to Him. There was no length of time, no rules to be observed. All who came in simple faith, knowing they couldn't help themselves, and turned to Him, found immediate help. The Syrophoenician woman came with a daughter demon possessed. Disciples tried to run her off. Christ said to her it's not meet to give the children's bread to dogs. She said I know that, but the dogs will eat the crumbs. He said I never saw such faith. That faith was this-she knew He could, she knew He would. Now that Christ is in Heaven, there's been no change in the way to come to Him. Just like that leper, if You will, You can do this. I can't, but You can. Such simple faith in Him can and will bring deliverance from this self just as sure as that faith saved you.
While on earth, His miracles for the most part were physical miracles. Now, that He's been glorified and received all power, He waits to work far greater miracles in them who can now believe for such miracles. The otherwise, the incurable disease of the soul, the dominion of self, only awaits our trust in Him to do it. His exaltation calls us to confidence and assurance such as those who knew Him in the flesh never had. We must know that the death of self is something very different from death to self which God's Word promises. When Jesus died to sin, He didn't annihilate sin. Sin still lives and reigns in all who submit to it, willingly or reluctantly. He died to sin so that it had no more power to tempt or persecute Him. We're partakers of His death to sin and self in which sin works. The healing of our disease which He now gives is the power of His death to sin and His living unto God in such a way that He frees you and me from the dominion of self, so you live unto Him and His life, dead to self. Sin shall not have dominion over you, says the Apostle Paul in Romans 6. As sure as those who believed in Him were healed of whatever disease they had, He still gives healing to those who have courage to trust Him for His deliverance. The way of dying to self is the very perfection of faith. We must give up ourselves in faith and hope, to patience, meekness, humility in total resignation to God. This is not a substitute for faith in Christ. The virtue, humility, patience, meekness, humility and total resignation to God, these are the embodiment of the Lamb of God. That's what He was. These were the virtues which constituted the Lamb of God which gave worth to His suffering which worked out our salvation. He said I do nothing but what I see my Father do. I say nothing but what I hear my Father say. I have no virtue of my own, no honor of my own, no will of my own. He was dead to all but the Father. No one can truly receive Christ without desiring these virtues we just named.
When the heart really sees them to be the nature and glory and life of the Lamb of God and turns to Christ for them, it can really believe and receive them in full salvation. How many Christians seek after and trust in a suffering Christ as their atoning Lamb who never sought or accepted the meek and lowly Lamb of God in the moral glory of His lamb nature to be their life? Yet this is the salvation He offers. God help the Church to hear this. The blood of the Lamb that rent the veil, brought us nigh to God that we might be followers of that Lamb. The path He leads is the very path He walked. The very disposition and tempers which made Him pleasing to God. That meek humble spirit is what He wants to give to us. He never could have died to sin had it not been for His humility, meekness, patience and resignation to God. The only way we can be partakers of this blessed death to sin is by His leading us in meekness and lowliness to forsake self, give up ourselves to God as He did, this is conformity to Christ. The very moment you and I let go of ourselves and its strength and sink down in patience, and meekness, and humility of Christ we are at once made whole by that Christ. At that point, His humility and meekness becomes our life and hope, there is no other way. It's an exchanged life.
They that wait upon the Lord shall exchange their life. Learn of Me, Jesus said, I'm meek and lowly of heart. Here in this simple statement, you have two powerful truths set forth. First, to be given up to God, or to stand in desire of patience, meekness, lowliness, total devotion to God, is the same thing as to learn Christ or to have faith in Him. Second, this is the one and only way to overcome and be delivered from our evil self and you shall find rest in your soul. All our unrest comes from what we are naturally. All of this is because of the state of the heart to follow the meek and lowly lamb of God which in effect means giving up all you are and have from fallen Adam. The whole business of our salvation is being saved from ourselves and what we are through Adam.
Learning Christ means to be meek and lowly like Christ. Self is proud, refuses to bow before God. No rules or programs, no religious act, no breaking blocks with your head, no religious programs can do anything in the least to free us from ourselves. The only path that leads to fullness is to follow this meek and lowly Christ. Learn whatever else you will from books of man, without these virtues, you are a religious man in a desert where no water is. For Christ is nowhere to be found but in these virtues, and where they are is where He is.
When we seek to be saved by these virtues of meekness, patience and total resignation to God, we are truly coming to God through Christ. God help us, make it real that these virtues live and abide in every one of us.
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