You are on page 1of 7

Redependence Day 2011

July 3, 2011

Redependence Day 2011


Sunday Morning July 3, 2011 Church in the Boro Rob Wilkerson Independence arises from self: self-preservation, self-indulgence, self-protection, and selfesteem. Self-preservation is the inherent felt-need to preserve myself above all others. Selfindulgence is the inherent drive to please myself above all others. Self-protection is the inherent felt-need to protect me above others. Self-esteem is the inherent drive to respect myself more than others. Independence is conceived in a felt threat which grows in the womb of distrust and is fed on the malnutrients of self-preservation, self-indulgence, self-protection, and self-esteem. It is seen in the first three sins in the Bible. 1. Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). In their first sin they proclaimed their independence from God. They distrusted God on whom they were dependent. The lie of the enemy about the forbidden fruit stimulated self-preservation, self-indulgence, self-protection, and selfesteem. The enemy lied to them about the goodness of God so that distrust in Him was planted and immediately conceived in their hearts. Then the enemy lied to them about the need to be as smart as God, which became self-protection. Because they distrusted God s goodness, they now felt He was out to get them or to hold back on them. So self-protection grew in a desire to self-indulge in the fruit so that their self-esteem would be as great as God s. 2. Cain and Abe (Genesis 4). In Cain s sin against his brother Abel, distrust was again at the root. God preferred Abel s sacrifice over Cain s. But Cain was clearly disobedient in his sacrifice. Yet because God preferred Abel s offering, Cain grew to distrust God. God warned Cain and told him that if he didn t do right, sin was crouching at the door ready to pounce on him and take him captive. But Cain s lack of trust in God grew in the womb of self-preservation and self-protection. He felt he had to protect and preserve himself against the threat Abel posed. This in turn gave birth to murder. 3. Lamech s Bigamy (Genesis 5). Lamech is plainly a man who is given over to self-indulgence. The point of this story in the series of Genesis stories is to show the progression of sin s entrance into the world and how it completely mutated mankind spiritually. By the fifth chapter of Genesis we see Lamech as a man so distrustful of God that he has completely dismissed God from his life altogether. His passionate lifestyle of self-preservation led him to murder a man and then brag about it, as well as mocking the consequences that murder brought to Cain. And on top of that his
Church in the Boro 1|P a g e

Redependence Day 2011

July 3, 2011

passionate lifestyle of self-indulgence led him to marry two women, which was clearly not God s design from the beginning. This in turn gave birth to bigamy and polygamy. In response to a world which had declared independence from God, He sent a flood to destroy every human being except for eight. Independence from God always leads to absolute corruption and the necessity for judgment to cleanse and set right. The world went this way again immediately after the flood, as we see in Noah s self-indulgence with alcohol, as well as his son s self-indulgence regarding sexual immorality. But this time God provided a different judgment that would rescue humanity from independence rather than destroy them. The cross and the empty tomb was God s judgment on Jesus Christ so that those who were independent from God could be brought back into His family and made dependent upon Him once again. This was His original design all along when He created Adam and Eve. He simply wanted a humanity He had created to live in simple childlike faith and dependence upon Him. For it is only in dependence on Him that humans can truly be happy and joyful and fulfilled. A human rescued from independence has been made REdependent upon God. And if the life of independence arises in self-preservation, self-indulgence, self-protection, and self-esteem, all conceived in distrust, then REdependence is the life of self-denial, self-sacrifice, and selfcontrol, all conceived in a childlike faith and trust in God. 1. Self-Denial. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 16:24, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. This is called love. Independence is loving yourself more than God and more than others. REdependence is loving God and one another more than yourself. In order to do this you say NO! to yourself and YES! to God and to one another. What Jesus demands of us here is nothing less than what He gave Himself. y y y He denied Himself food for forty days, and then denied Himself the opportunity to create food from stones when He was at His hungriest. He denied Himself the world He already owned, when Satan offered it to Him at His weakest moment. He denied Himself the Father s protection at His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, even though He had the power and authority to command tens of thousands of angels to come to His rescue.

Here is how Paul describes it in Philippians 2:3-9. 3 Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,
Church in the Boro 2|P a g e

Redependence Day 2011

July 3, 2011

8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (NLT). Self-denial is deciding against yourself in almost every circumstance, and for someone else, or for God, or for His kingdom, or for His righteousness. It is saying No! to two categories of decisions. a. Self-denial is saying NO! to decisions to sin. God s grace is the motivating force behind this self-denial. He has set us free from sin s power and control forever! His justifying grace has set us free from condemnation and death forever! According to Paul in Titus 2:11-15, 11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. b. Self-denial is saying NO! to many decisions for good things. Not only does it say NO! to sin, but it goes one step further and even often denies itself good things so that you can stay sharp spiritually and so that you can do more and be more for others, as well as give more to others. Jesus taught in Matthew 5:38-42 about denying ourselves justice and fairness in order to be the salt of the earth, to be a light, to be a city on a hill. 38 "You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow. Paul described the self-denying giving of the Macedonians in 2 Corinthians 8. They had every right to keep their money because they were living in extreme poverty. Yet Paul says, 1 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
Church in the Boro 3|P a g e

Redependence Day 2011

July 3, 2011

Paul described his own self-denying lifestyle toward the Thessalonians so that he could avoid any accusation of wrongdoing and make every part of himself and his life available to them for the sake of the gospel. In 1 Thessalonians 2 he explains, 7 As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. 8 We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too. 9 Don't you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God's Good News to you. The Christian rescued from independence to REdependence knows that following Jesus demand self-denial. And self-denial means saying NO! to sins of self-indulgence, as well as to opportunities for self-preservation and self-protection. It resigns itself to the assumption that death is a certainty, and so is resurrection. So it does not seek to protect or preserve itself. The believer knows that the Father already knows what we have need of and so HE is the protector and provider. That is why Christians pray to the Father, give us today our daily bread and deliver us from the evil one. When spare time comes into a believer s lap, self-denial says NO! to self-indulgent uses of that time and says YES! to opportunities to pray, to serve, and to love. When money comes into a believer s pocket, self-denial says NO! to self-preserving temptations to stock it away, and says YES! to opportunities to give to those who have nothing. When circumstances arise for the believer to take matters into his own hands, self-denial says NO! to self-protection from hurts and offenses and says YES! to intentionally putting oneself out there to be hurt so that forgiveness can win the day. When opportunities arise for you to take what rightfully belongs to you, self-denial says NO! to self-protection and says YES! to letting other people take advantage of us, because we know who really cares for us. 2. Self-Sacrifice. Going back to Matthew 16, Jesus also said that if we wanted to follow Him we must also take up our cross. This means assuming that we are already as good as dead, that our death penalty has already been pronounced and that we ve fully accepted and embraced our death. Consequently, one who has embraced this lifestyle is enabled and prompted toward selfsacrifice as a second nature response when temptation and crisis provokes everyone else around us toward self-protection and self-preservation. When the world is grabbing up all it can for itself in order to protect itself, Jesus explains that those who seek to preserve their life will actually lose it, but that those who lose their life for the sake of Jesus will actually preserve it in the end. Besides, what possible good does it actually do a person to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

Church in the Boro

4|P a g e

Redependence Day 2011

July 3, 2011

Going back to Philippians 2 we see that Jesus took on the form of a human being, even the form of a servant and became obedient to death on the cross. That is, He became obedient to the Father s demand for self-sacrifice. And this is just what love is. Giving up ourselves for others who need us, even though they may not want us. It is actually laying our lives on the line regarding where we go, where we work, where we live, and where we play. Not because we are foolishly frittering our lives away and playing with danger, but because we have already been told to accept our death penalty and thus we live boldly in risk-taking lifestyles because we believe in the resurrection from the dead! It is actually laying our money on the line regarding what we buy, when we buy, and especially why we buy. Not because we are foolishly frittering our money away, but because we believe God loves a hilarious, cheerful giver who simply gives it all away and simply trusts God to provide what is needed next. It is actually laying our time on the line regarding what we do, where we go, where we play. Not because we are trying to pursue some pietistic sense of holiness, but because we know that our time is short and we desire to redeem it wherever possible in order to stay awake spiritually and be useful to the Master. All in all, it is not counting our lives as anything dear to ourselves. Paul said this in his farewell speech to the elders he d raised up in the Ephesian church. In Acts 20, he explains, 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. One chapter later he told the group, "Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus (Acts 21:13). Paul along with Barnabas were described self-sacrificially as two men, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:26). And so was Epaphroditus, whom Paul described this way: 25 Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need. 26 I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. 27 And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing for me what you couldn't do from far away (Phil. 2:25-30). Self-sacrifice does not wait for an opportunity to sacrifice something or self. It looks actively for an opportunity to do so. And in the looking, it seizes every opportunity that comes along the way in the meantime. Self-sacrifice informs the believer that every person is an opportunity sacrifice something in my life for them. It motivates the believer to see every opportunity as one in which my time may be sacrificed for the good of others. It stimulates the believer to see every dollar as something which can be
Church in the Boro 5|P a g e

Redependence Day 2011

July 3, 2011

sacrificed for someone else who has little or nothing. This is exactly the way Jesus and Paul and Barnabas and Epaphroditus lived. And their examples are recorded for us in Scripture not to illustrate what spiritual supermen look like, but so that we will see their lifestyles as the norm for every Christian. 3. Self-control. The war with self-indulgence is already won with REdependence upon God in a self-denying and self-sacrificing commitment to follow Jesus. But the battles are won daily with REdependence upon the filling of the Spirit through whom self-control comes. Paul describes self-control as the last in the list of the fruit the Spirit produces in the life of a believer. One who is filled with the Spirit will experience a supernatural ability to control himself or herself. Temptations which seemed impossible to resist before are more easily resisted with the Spirit s filling. Paul describes it this way to the Galatian church in chapter 5: 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. When the Spirit is leading me, I am under His direction and control instead of my own. I am actually able to resist sin with success. I am actually able to make a momentary decision of selfdenial, saying NO! to this sin or that. I am actually able to make a momentary decision of self-sacrifice and offer my body as a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1) rather than as a sacrifice to sin. Paul said it this way in Romans 6. 12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace. Conclusion No human being is able to make a commitment to self-denial, self-sacrifice, and self-control for the love of God and others without REdependence upon God. Repentance from independence
Church in the Boro 6|P a g e

Redependence Day 2011

July 3, 2011

is the only thing required to come to Jesus. Acknowledging that you live your life this way, independent from God and His demands on us, is the starting point. Seeing this lifestyle for what it is rebellion against your Creator is the only right viewpoint to take. Confessing it as sin and asking for God s forgiveness is the way forward. Then freshly committing yourself everyday to Jesus demand of self-denial and self-sacrifice is the way onward. For only in so doing can you actually have the supernatural power of self-control. Independence from God leads to a mutation of God s intention for humanity. It will lead you to self-protection, self-preservation, self-indulgence and self-esteem, all of which are centered on self out of some false threat that God cannot be trusted. Lived consistently, this lifestyle will result in misery and eventual judgment. And that is one of the reasons God gave us the Bible, so that we will see story after story of a humanity who chose the path of independence from God. Jesus has come to rescue humanity from independence by taking God s judgment for it on Himself so that we won t have to experience it firsthand. As a result, those who accept Jesus rescue throw themselves in REdependence upon God to live in the childlike faith that God originally intended for all of humanity to enjoy and experience. This is the only lifestyle choice for the follower of Jesus. What path are you on, and which will you choose from this moment forward?

Church in the Boro

7|P a g e