JANUARY 16, 2011, am

Matthew 16:21-28 Complete Apostles' Bible  (21)  From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go off to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised the third day.  (22)  And taking Him aside, Peter began to rebuke Him, saying, "God be gracious to You, Lord! This shall by no means happen to You!"  (23)  But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block unto Me, because you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."  (24)  Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  (25)  For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life on account of Me shall find it.  (26)  For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give as an exchange for his soul?  (27)  For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will render to each according to his works.  (28)  Assuredly I say to you, there are some standing here who will by no means taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

Jeremiah 8:12-13 MKJV  Were they ashamed when they had done an abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, nor could they blush; therefore they shall fall among those who fall; in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, says Jehovah.  (13)  I will utterly consume them, says Jehovah; there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them, those who pass over them.

Many see the grave warning Jesus gave to us to make sure we deny ourselves and take up our crosses and BE SHEEP, or else he will say I NEVER KNEW YOU, and not allow us to enter the KINGDOM.

WATCHMAN NEE:  “Then said Jesus unto his disciples”—By this we know that the following words which the Lord Jesus utters are spoken to His disciples and not to outsiders. If disciples, then they are saved ones. Let us therefore keep in mind that the words which follow are directed at saved saints, not unsaved sinners.

“If any man would come after me”—That is, if any man among the saved would follow the Lord. The man is a saved disciple who wishes especially to follow the Lord. “Follow me” gives the clue to the conditions which are thereafter set forth.

“Let him deny himself”—Denying the self means disregarding one’s self or renouncing one’s privileges. To deny oneself denotes a setting aside of the self in seeking the mind of God, so that in all things he may not follow his own mind nor be self-centered. Only such kind of people can follow the Lord. This is of course self-evident, for how can anyone follow the Lord if he follows after himself?

“And take up his cross, and follow me”—This is even deeper than denying the self. For self-denying is only the disregarding of self whereas taking up the cross is obeying God. To take up the cross means to accept whatever God has decided for the person and to be willing to suffer according to the will of God. By denying self and taking up the cross we may truly follow the Lord.

(From the book THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL, by Watchman Nee.)

So you can be saved and NOT FOLLOW THE LORD.

Matt 16 (25)  For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life on account of Me shall find it.


Some ministries may be life threatening.

1 Corinthians 15:30-32 Complete Apostles' Bible  (30)  And why are we also in danger every hour?  (31)  I affirm, by my boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.  (32)  If, in the manner of men, I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what is the benefit to me? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"

Paul realized he could die every day he got up to preach, so he said he died daily.

Most people think of LOSING THEIR SOULS to mean going to hell.

Matthew 16:25 Complete Apostles' Bible  (25)  For whoever desires to save his life shall go to hell, but whoever GOES TO HELL on account of Me shall find it.

It makes no sense.

You can gain the whole world (all its pleasures it has to give) and lose your soul later…. Lose ALL that gave you pleasure.

Jesus spoke of COMING IN HIS KINGDOM when he finished speaking about losing your soul.

Matt 16 (27)  For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will render to each according to his works.

John 15:1-5 Complete Apostles' Bible  (1)  "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  (2)  Every branch in Me which does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch which bears fruit He prunes, so that it may bear more fruit.  (3)  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  (4)  Abide in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit on its own, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  (5)  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; because apart from Me you can do nothing.

Notice that Jesus says HE IS THE TRUE VINE.

This is so important.

SELF is the element satan appealed to way back in the Garden.

Genesis 3:1-6 MKJV  Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, Is it so that God has said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  (2)  And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.  (3)  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.  (4)  And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die,  (5)  for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.  (6)  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Satan knows that we are nothing without God.

Since we are nothing without God, then the devil’s ploy to get us to be like gods ourselves would ensure we REMAIN NOTHING!

The devil tries anything he can to keep SELF a means of hindrance against God’s will, beyond just this tact he used in the forbidden fruit in Adam’s day.

Matthew 7:12-21 Complete Apostles' Bible  (12)  Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, thus also you do to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (13)  "Enter in through the narrow gate; because wide is the gate, and broad is the way which leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in through it.  (14)  How narrow the gate, and confined the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it!  (15)  "But beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  (16)  You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grape clusters from thorns, or figs from thistles?  (17)  Thus every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces evil fruit.  (18)  A good tree cannot produce evil fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit.  (19)  Every tree not producing good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.  (20)  Consequently, by their fruits you shall know them.  (21)  "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

Notice the WAY OF LIFE and DEATH – like two trees… Cherubims and flaming sword guarded the Way of the tree of Life.

Satan knows that appealing to your SELF is what so successfully worked when he tempted mankind and saw us thrown out of the Garden.

Jesus is actually saying we cannot be the KINGS that satan is threatened by and that can destroy satan, if we do not deny self.

Satan does not mind you having a few fireworks of miracles and never really stomp the devil’s kingdom down.

In our attempts to see SELF elevated, the devil knows that we will COVER UP FAULTS AND SINS.

King Saul become so possessed of SELF that when God was actually using David who was humble and knew he needed God, Saul became jealous.

Satan always worked like this.

Cain could have repented and got hold of things and offered the right sacrifice and saw sin dealt with, too.

So Jesus told us we will face persecutions and suffer tribulations because there is a devil out there who does not want to be vanquished.

The days of Christians slain in the arenas with lions may be far from us in Canada, but the same thing goes on in a smaller scale in each of our lives.

That is why Jesus said we have to take up our crosses and deny ourselves, or else the devil will work so much with our SELF and manipulate us to finally do HIS WILL.

Deny your self.
SELF wants to be God.
It craves attention.
It LOVES applause, and some of that is healthy and good.
But to crave it so much and to be so self centred that it hinders God is something anyone can easily fall prey to.
God does not get the focus and attention and FAITH needed when we are so concerned over ourselves.

Turn the other cheek.

False prophets hand out that same SELF APPEALING fruit to people to this day.

If you seek YOUR will, you will not seek His WILL.