His Robe Or Mine
(Campmeeting Study Guide)
If anyone desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself,
take up his cross daily,
and follow Me. Luke 9: 23
A Seminar On The Themes of
Frank Phillips Book
By Daniel E. Augsburger
The Wedding Garment: The Promise of Power 3
Confidential! Top Secret: The Peril to Power - 5
Perfectly Legal: The Portal to Power - 9
Graveyard Religion: The Price of Power - 13
Follow Me: The Pathway of Power 18
Abide in Me: The Proliferation of Power - 24
Pastor Frank Phillips and His Robe Or Mine
Pastor Phillips served the Seventh-Day Adventist Church for over 45 years in a variety of pastoral and leadership positions. Upon retiring, he devoted the next ten years to sharing the message of righteousness by faith and the more abundant life that had been so life changing for him. In these revivals his wife Dorothy was his constant companion. He was a popular speaker and many individuals experienced new life as a result. Most of the time he held one-week revivals that typically consisted of nine to ten sessions. In 2003 his sermons were providentially brought back to the publics attention, and eventually resulted in the publishing of his manuscript, His Robe Or Mine. Some key themes of Pastor Phillips preaching were justification, the role of the will, dying to self, sanctification, trust in Gods providential leading, and abiding in the Christ.
Two quotations greatly influenced his understanding of righteousness by faith:
The Father's presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission, and "all things" that are permitted "work together for good to them that love God." Romans 8:28.
The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.
This Seminar & Associated MaterialsThis seminar was developed to provide an overview of the concepts of victory found in Pastor Phillips book. Reading the book along with the longer study guide is strongly recommended. Information on obtaining these resources can be obtained on the web at justifiedwalk.com, calling 269 471 9224, or e-mailing email@example.com. The materials are being provided on a donation basis. The continued availability of these resources for others depends on the generous financial support of those who have been blessed by these messages. Thank you for helping! You can find downloadable pdfs of this study guide and other materials on victory (and prayer) at path2prayer.com. Contact me (Dan Augsburger) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. The Wedding Garment: The Promise of Power
Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?
Charles Trumble, in his book Victory In Christ speaks of attending a missionary conference where speaker after speaker kept asking the same question: Is your kind of Christianity worth sending to the non-Christian world?
A skeptic once challenged Hannah Whitall Smith with the following:
You Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. You are like a man with a headache. He does not want to get rid of his head, but it hurts him to keep it. You cannot expect outsiders to seek very earnestly for anything so uncomfortable.
Mrs. White said the following regarding the kind of Christianity we should exhibit:
Let us remember that a Christlike life is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Christianity, and that a cheap Christian character works more harm in the world than the character of a worldling
. It is the purpose of God to glorify Himself in His people before the world. He expects those who bear the name of Christ to represent Him in thought, word, and deed.
Connecting With Others & God
Share your name and a little about your spiritual journey with another person. Why is learning about victory important to you and what do you hope to gain by pursuing these studies? Then talk to God about what you have discussed and ask Him to make this a life-changing experience for you and the others attending.
Some Biblical Data
Matthew 22: 1-14: Revelation 19: 7-9
1. What does the following quote say about the necessity of preparing for the heavenly wedding?
I am instructed to urge the necessity of personal consecration and sanctification of the whole being to God... I am in fear and trembling for those who have not yet put on the wedding garment. Many are expecting to sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb who are unprepared for the coming of the King. They are like the blind; they do not discern their danger. Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way," the Saviour declared, "which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
2. What surprising thing do we learn about one of the guests?
The man who came to the feast without a wedding garment represents the condition of many in our world today. They profess to be Christians, and lay claim to the blessings and privileges of the gospel; yet they feel no need of a transformation of character. They have never felt true repentance for sin. They do not realize their need of Christ or exercise faith in Him. They have not overcome their hereditary or cultivated tendencies to wrongdoing. Yet they think that they are good enough in themselves, and they rest upon their own merits instead of trusting in Christ. Hearers of the word, they come to the banquet, but they have not put on the robe of Christ's righteousness.
3. Has God made provision for the necessary transformation?
God has made every provision whereby our thoughts may become purified, elevated, refined, and ennobled. He has not only promised to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, but he has made an actual provision for the supply of the grace that will lift our thoughts toward him, and enable us to appreciate his holiness. We may realize that we are Christ's possession, and that we are to manifest his character to the world. Prepared by heavenly grace, we become clothed with the righteousness of Christ, in the wedding garment, and are fitted to sit down at the marriage supper.
4. How possible is this experience?
Before the believer is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ, obedient to all the principles of the law. But of himself man is utterly unable to reach this condition. The holiness that God's word declares he must have before he can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influences of the Spirit of truth. Man's obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ's righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sin-sick soul. He has not the wisdom or the strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help.
Applying The Data
On a scale of 1-10 how interested are you in accepting the invitation to the wedding and wear the wedding garment? Prayerfully read the following as you consider your decision.
Satan has worked hard to make sure we dont understand how he maintains control over us! Next time we consider his secret? Notice the following:
When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world.
2. Confidential! Top Secret: The Peril of Power
But I see another law in my members warring
Luke 15: 11 16: The Prodigal Son takes a journey into a far country.
Connecting With Others & God
Share your name and an experience when you felt controlled by another. Did you resist that control? Why? How do you feel about Gods controlHis authorityin your life?
Some Biblical Data
1. What do we learn about Satan from the following verses? John 8 44; Revelation 12: 9.
2. What deception of Satans was first expressed in the following verses? Genesis 3: 4, 5.
3. What does Satan have according to the following verse? Acts 26: 18 (KJV says authority)
4. How does Paul refer to Satans power in our lives? Romans 7: 21 24.
1. The following quotations clearly expose Satans most guarded secret. Why do you suppose the enemy of souls doesnt want Gods people to know about this?
There are but two powers that control the minds of menthe power of God and the power of Satan."
Satan takes control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God.
2. Notice the kind of power Satan wields in our lives, and how he gains that power
Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery. He is not allowed to see the beauty of truth, for his mind is under the control of Satan. While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment, he obeys the will of the prince of darkness.
Man is Satan's captive and is naturally inclined to follow his suggestions and do his bidding. He has in himself no power to oppose effectual resistance to evil. It is only as Christ abides in him by living faith, influencing his desires and strengthening him with strength from above, that man may venture to face so terrible a foe. Every other means of defense is utterly vain. It is only through Christ that Satan's power is limited.
By his subtle workings in these last days, he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will.
The enemy is preparing for his last campaign against the church. He has so concealed himself from view that many can hardly believe that he exists, much less can they be convinced of his amazing activity and power
. Boasting of their independence they will, under his specious, bewitching influence, obey the worst impulses of the human heart and yet believe that God is leading them. Could their eyes be opened to distinguish their captain, they would see that they are not serving God, but the enemy of all righteousness. They would see that their boasted independence is one of the heaviest fetters Satan can rivet on unbalanced minds.
God, by open confrontation, uses reason. Satan, by keeping hidden, causes man to feel that he is doing his own thinking and making his own decisions when, in fact, the opposite is true.
All who are not decided followers of Christ are servants of Satan.
3. Notice Gods method of working:
The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward has always failed, and always will fail. God's plan with you is to begin at the very seat of all difficulties, the heart, and then from out of the heart will issue the principles of righteousness; the reformation will be outward as well as inward.
As the leaven, when mingled with the meal, works from within outward, so it is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life. No mere external change is sufficient to bring us into harmony with God. There are many who try to reform by correcting this or that bad habit, and they hope in this way to become Christians, but they are beginning in the wrong place. Our first work is with the heart.
4. Notice Gods provision for our need:
This will, that forms so important a factor in the character of man, was at the fall given into the control of Satan; and he has ever since been working in man to will and to do of his own pleasure, but to the utter ruin and misery of man.
Satan knows better than God's people the power that they can have over him when their strength is in Christ. When they humbly entreat the mighty Conqueror for help, the weakest believer in the truth, relying firmly upon Christ, can successfully repulse Satan and all his host
. Satan cannot endure to have his powerful rival appealed to, for he fears and trembles before His strength and majesty. At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan's whole host trembles.
The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to fight--the greatest battle that was ever fought by man-is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love.
He who determines to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of an unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Selfishness and pride will make a stand against anything that would show them to be sinful. We cannot, of ourselves, conquer the evil desires and habits that strive for the mastery. We cannot overcome the mighty foe who holds us in his thrall. God alone can give us the victory
. The will must be placed on the side of God's will. You are not able, of yourself, to bring your purposes and desires and inclinations into submission to the will of God; but if you are "willing to be made willing," God will accomplish the work for you, even "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5. Then you will "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12, 13.
5. Notice our part in taking our will from Satan and giving it to God:
The infinite sacrifice of God in giving Jesus, His beloved Son, to become a sacrifice for sin, enables Him to say, without violating one principle of His government, "Yield yourself up to Me; give Me that will; take it from the control of Satan, and I will take possession of it; then I can work in you to will and to do of My good pleasure." When He gives you the mind of Christ, your will becomes as His will, and your character is transformed to be like Christ's character.
You will be in constant peril until you understand the true force of the will. You may believe and promise all things, but your promises or your faith are of no value until you put your will on the side of faith and action. If you fight the fight of faith with all your will-power, you will conquer. Your feelings, your impressions, your emotions, are not to be trusted, for they are not reliable, especially with your perverted ideas; and the knowledge of your broken promises and your forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in yourself, and the faith of others in you
. But you need not despair
. It is for you to yield up your will to the will of Jesus Christ; and as you do this, God will immediately take possession, and work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Your whole nature will then be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; and even your thoughts will be subject to Him
6. What does God do to our wills after we surrender them to Him?
God does not design that our will should be destroyed, for it is only through its exercise that we can accomplish what He would have us do. Our will is to be yielded to Him, that we may receive it again, purified and refined, and so linked in sympathy with the Divine that He can pour through us the tides of His love and power. However bitter and painful this surrender may appear to the willful, wayward heart, yet "it is profitable for thee."
Applying the Data
It is a sobering thought that we are either under the control of God or the control of Satan! Which power is controlling your life at this time? Would you like to take your will from Satan and give it to God?
Gods remedy addresses the penalty of our sins (the sins we have committed in the past) and the power of sin in our lives. Next time we learn about the first part: how God can forgive us of our mistakes and treat us as if we have never sinned.
3. Perfectly Legal: The Portal To Power
For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners,
so also by one Mans obedience many will be made righteous.
Ellen White shares an interesting thought about the truth of justification by faith:
The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken.
Connecting With Others & God
If you were facing a financial crisis, how long would you wait before you admitted to another person you were struggling and needed their help? Would it be hard to accept help? How hard is it for you to seek Gods help? How willing are you to receive something from God?
Some Biblical Data
1. Mead MacGuire states the following regarding our need of justification:
We can never appreciate the wonders of atoning grace unless we understand the awful nature and ravages of the evil which made the atonement necessary. He later states, To learn that I am all bad and that there is no good thing in me, is one of the greatest steps toward appreciation of the atonement of Christ. Do you agree?
2. Notice what the Bible says about our condition? Isaiah 64: 6; Job 14: 4; Jeremiah. 13: 23; Romans 8: 7, 8
3. Notice the two-fold manner in which God addresses our need for (1) dealing with mistakes we have committed in the past, and (2) dealing with the power of sin which rules in our members and keeps us making mistakes:
Justification deals with the penalty of our sins (mistakes we have made in the past): Romans 5:1, 7-8, 19
Sanctification deals with the power of sin (the overmastering power of temptation which we are unable to resist) ruling in our members: Romans 6: 1-6, 11; 7: 24, 25; 8: 2
1. Robert Murray MCheyne described our condition this way:
Do you think you have been convinced of sin? This is the Holy Spirits work and His first work upon the soul (John 26:8; Acts 2: 37; 21: 29,30)
. The world will say you are an innocent and harmless [person]; do not believe them. The world is a liar. Pray to see yourself exactly as God sees you; pray to know the worth of your soul. Have you seen yourself vile, as Job saw himself? (Job 11: 3,5; 13: 5,6); undone, as Isaiah saw himself? (Isaiah 6: 1,5). Have you experienced anything like Psalms 51
? I seldom get more than a glance at the true state of my soul in its naked self. But when I do, then I see that I am wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Revelation 3: 17). I believe every member of our body has been a servant of sin (Romans 3: 13, 18)throat, tongue, lips, mouth, feet, eyes. Every faculty of our mind is polluted (Genesis 6: 5). Besides, you have long neglected the great salvation; you have been gainsaying and disobedient. Oh that you were brought to pass sentence on yourself, guilty of all! Hear what a dear believer writes of himself:
When I look into my heart and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deep, and yet it seems to me that my conviction of sin is exceeding small and faint. Perhaps you will ask, Why do you wish me to have such a discovery of my lost condition? I answer, That you may be broken off from all schemes of self-righteousness; that you may never look into your poor guilty soul to recommend you to God; and that you may joyfully accept of the Lord Jesus Christ, who obeyed and died for sinners.
2. What does Mrs. White say about our condition?
Our condition is helpless and hopeless unless infinite mercy is granted us daily, and pardon is written against our names in the heavenly records. Those only who see and feel their spiritual necessities will go to Jesus for that help which they so much need, and which he only can give. He alone can cleanse us from all sin. He alone can place upon us the robe of righteousness.
Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God. His thoughts were pure, his aims holy. But through disobedience, his powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil. He was made captive by Satan
It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness
3. What is Gods remedy for the penalty of our sins?
What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God's law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ's character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.
Grace is an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow this grace upon every one who hungers for it. To every one He presents terms of mercy, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we shall receive this gift.
Herein is the mystery of redemption, that the innocent, pure, and holy Son of the infinite God was permitted to bear the punishment of a thankless race of rebels against the divine government; that through the manifestation of His matchless love, these rebels might be inspired with faith in, and love for God, and might stand before Him repentant, forgiven, guiltless, as if they had never sinned. Angels in heaven marveled that the wrath of God should be laid on His well-beloved Son; that a life of infinite value in the heavenly courts should be given for the worthless life of a race degraded by sin .
The world's Redeemer was treated as we deserve to be treated, in order that we might be treated as he deserved to be treated. He came to our world and took our sins upon his own divine soul, that we might receive his imputed righteousness. He was condemned for our sins, in which he had no share, that we might be justified by his righteousness, in which we had no share. The world's Redeemer gave himself for us. Who was he?--The Majesty of heaven, pouring out his blood upon the altar of justice for the sins of guilty man.
Pardon and justification are one and the same thing. Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption. The sinner receives the forgiveness of his sins, because these sins are borne by his Substitute and Surety. The Lord speaks to His heavenly Father, saying: "This is My child. I reprieve him from the condemnation of death, giving him My life insurance policy--eternal life--because I have taken his place and have suffered for his sins. He is even My beloved son." Thus man, pardoned, and clothed with the beautiful garments of Christ's righteousness, stands faultless before God.
Christ is the friend of sinners. When the scribes and the Pharisees accused him of eating with publicans and sinners, Jesus said, "I come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." If you feel yourself to be the greatest of sinners, then Christ is just what you need; for he is the greatest of Saviours. Lift up your head, and look away from yourself, away from the poisoned wound of the serpent, to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. What will all your groaning and the torturing of your soul avail? You may entertain thoughts that condemn you, but in them there is no salvation. Put away your thoughts, and receive the thoughts of God, through which your mind may be elevated, your soul purified and uplifted. The Lord says: "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." Why will you carry your burden of sin, when Christ has come to be your burden bearer? Roll your sins at the foot of the cross. Unload! unload! He takes away the sins of the world. "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."
All who have a sense of their deep soul poverty, who feel that they have nothing good in themselves, may find righteousness and strength by looking unto Jesus. He says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden." Matthew 11:28. He bids you exchange your poverty for the riches of His grace. We are not worthy of God's love, but Christ, our surety, is worthy, and is abundantly able to save all who shall come unto Him. Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you His arms of love and His robe of righteousness. He presents us to the Father clothed in the white raiment of His own character. He pleads before God in our behalf, saying: I have taken the sinner's place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on Me.
4. Here is a final thought on the subject:
There is only one in all the world on whose face God can look and say, He is altogether lovely. Jesus is that one. Now God is willing that you and I should hide in Jesus. I feel at this moment that He is my righteousness
. I feel that the love of God shines upon my guilty soul through Jesus. This is all my peace
. Your tears will not blot out sin
. Your right views of the gospel will not justify you; you must be covered with a spotless righteousness. Your change of heart and of life will not justify you; it cannot cover past sinsneither is it perfect. Your amended life is still fearfully sinful in Jehovahs sight, and yet nothing but perfect righteousness can stand before Him. Jesus offers you this perfect righteousness; in Him you may stand and hear God say, Thou art all fair, my love. There is no spot in me. Do you thus look to Jesus? Do you believe the record that God has given concerning Him? Do you receive Christ with open arms? Do you cry, My Lord and my God; my suretymy all
Applying The Data
Do you see the need for a righteousness outside of yourself? Do you want to receive it for yourself?
Next time we consider sanctificationGods remedy for the power of sinand why Jesus said, If any man desires to come after Me, let him take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
4. Graveyard Religion: The Price of Power
If any man desires to come after Me,
let him take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
In the book Some Secrets of Christian Living, F. B. Meyer describes the all too familiar experience of most Christian believers:
The most bitter experience with most believers is the presence and power of sin in their lives. They long to walk through this grimy world with pure hearts and stainless garments. But when they would do good, evil is present with them. They consent that Gods law is good; they approve it; they delight in it; they endeavor to keep it. Notwithstanding all this, they seem as helpless to perform Gods law as a man whose brain has been smitten with paralysis is helpless to walk straight
. Surely our God must have provided for all this. It would not have been like Him to fill us with hatred for sin and longings for holiness, if there were no escape from the tyranny of the one and no possibility of attaining the other!
Mead MacGuire begins to give the answer and sets the tone for this session when he states:
There is a great deal of modern preaching which presents, as a remedy for sin, love, social regeneration, culture, self-development, etc.. According to the Scriptures, the only way to deal with sin is to begin with death
. Undoubtedly the great difficulty with the majority of believers is that they are trying to live Christs life without first having died Christs death
. It is much more popular these days to talk about life than death, but not more necessary, for death is the way into life. Many have not seen or understood the necessity of this death; and others, having seen it, are afraid or unwilling to die
. It is the daily dying of self that makes room for the living of Christ.
The necessity of the believers old nature dying and the means by which that death takes place, is our subject. By the end of our time together we will have discovered that Jesus death on the cross accomplished morefar morethan most of us realize! But to experience the change we are seeking will cost as we find in the following paragraph:
We cannot retain self and yet enter the kingdom of God. If we ever attain unto holiness, it will be through the renunciation of self and the reception of the mind of Christ.
Connecting With Others & God
Share with another person a little about a humbling moment you have experienced. How long did it last? How did you feel about the experience? Would you want to endure that kind of thing again? Jesus calls us to humble ourselves in order to follow Him. What does it mean to humble oneself in following Jesus? How willing are you to pursue His more humble way?
Some Biblical Data
1. What important truth was Jesus trying to teach in the following verses? Luke 9: 23: Romans 6: 3, 6, 11
2. What do we learn about dying from these verses? John 12: 24, 25?
3. How did Jesus learn to obey? Hebrews 5: 8
4. To what degree did Paul subscribe to the need to die? Philippians 1: 21; Galatians 2: 20; 6: 14
1. Why does the old natureold man, selfneed to die?
There is a great difference between sins and sin. Many find serious difficulty in their Christian life because they do not understand this distinction. Beneath all our acts of transgression is the principle of sin from which they spring. Though all our evil deeds were pardoned we would still go on sinning. Something more must be done for us than simply to pardon our sins.
The pardon of our sins changes our relation to the law. It removes the condemnation, but it does not change our nature. We are powerless to refrain from repeating the offense. There is an additional work that must be done.
The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.
2. How is the old man nature crucified?
There are some who seem to be always seeking for the heavenly pearl. But they do not make an entire surrender of their wrong habits. They do not die to self that Christ may live in them. Therefore they do not find the precious pearl. They have not overcome unholy ambition and their love for worldly attractions. They do not take up the cross and follow Christ in the path of self-denial and sacrifice. Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of heaven, but they cannot enter there. Almost but not wholly saved, means to be not almost but wholly lost.
Whatever your temperament may be, whatever your hereditary and cultivated tendencies may be, there is a character to be formed after the divine pattern. We have no excuse for retaining our own mold and superscription of nature, for Christ has died that we may have His mold and His superscription. We cannot retain our own self and be filled with the fullness of God. We must be emptied of self. If heaven is gained by us at last, it will be only through the renunciation of self and in receiving the mind, the spirit, and the will of Christ Jesus. . . .
Are we willing to pay the price for eternal life? Are we ready to sit down and count the cost, whether heaven is worth such a sacrifice as to die to self and let our will be bent and fashioned into perfect conformity with the will of God? Until this shall be, the transforming grace of God will not be experienced by us.}
Just as soon as we present our emptied nature to the Lord Jesus and His cause, He will supply the vacuum by His Holy Spirit. We can then believe He will give us of His fullness. He does not want us to perish. We do not want more of God any more urgently than He wants all that there is of us to be consecrated to His service. . . . There is a great difference between realizing, On that Cross He was crucified for me, and On that Cross I am crucified with Him. The one aspect brings us deliverance from sins condemnation, the other from sins power.
Whatever the character of your sin, confess it. If it is against God only, confess only to Him. If you have wronged or offended others, confess also to them, and the blessing of the Lord will rest upon you. In this way you die to self, and Christ is formed within.
Reckoning in order to be real, includes self-renunciation. Our reckoning is doomed to failure unless we renounce self. In the power of Christs death I must refuse my old life. On the basis of Calvary and of my oneness with Christ in His death, I must refuse to let self lord it over me
. When we thus begin to renounce self we shall find that this will generally be done through our submission to someone in the family or business circle
. There are some women who will find practical victory at home through submitting to that husbands temper; some men through accepting the lashes of that long-tongued wife; others through embracing that seeming handicap or infirmity. Often we can believe for victory only around some such practical obedience. There self is renounced
. You must learn by kindness or by terror. Gods sword of providence may be laid successively to every tie that binds you to self and sin. Wealth and health and friends may fall before that sword
. Smitten within and without, burned and peeled and blasted, you may finally, amidst the dreadful baptism, be driven from the sinful inconsistency of living for yourself. You may at length (blessed wordsweet compulsion) yield self over to the victory and undoing of Calvary.
The position you must come into is to value salvation dearer than earthly gain, to count everything but loss that you may win Christ. The consecration on your part must be entire. God will admit of no reserve, of no divided sacrifice; you can cherish no idol. You must die to self and to the world. Renew your consecration to God daily. Everlasting life is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort.
How few are aware that they have darling idols, that they have cherished sins! God sees these sins to which you may be blinded, and He works with His pruning knife to strike deep and separate these cherished sins from you. You all want to choose for yourselves the process of purification. How hard it is for you to submit to the crucifixion of self; but when the work is all submitted to God, to Him who knows our weakness and our sinfulness, He takes the very best way to bring about the desired results.
In order that we may die to self, we are called upon to endure trial, and when the chastening hand of the Lord is laid upon us, we are not to fret and complain, not to rebel, not to worry ourselves out of the hand of Christ. We are to humble ourselves before God, pleading with him to give us rest and peace. We enter the furnace of affliction with our hearts darkened by selfishness; but if patient under the crucial test, we shall come forth reflecting the divine image, as gold tried in the fire. No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
3. What does this crucifixion mean on a practical basis?
I have found God works thus. He leads me to see a thing to be wrong, and then I put my will against it. Whenever it comes towards me, God says, It is coming. Hide, hide in the cleft of the Rock. I see it coming. It is like a chickhawkthe mother; I runI hidethe devil finds me in Christ. And if I fall through not trusting Him to keep me, He works in me to be sorry, and I am sorry; and then He works in me to confess.
Christians entirely miss the point of the Lords command when they refer the taking up of the cross only to the crosses or trials of life. It means much more. The cross means death. Taking up the cross means going out to die. It is just in the time of prosperity that we most need to bear the cross. Taking up the cross and following Him is nothing less than living every day with our own life and will given up to death.
On one occasion I spoke in reference to genuine sanctification, which is nothing less than a daily dying to self and daily conformity to the will of God.
Let self die. Surrender your will and die to self now, just now, and leave God to make your way for you. }
We have a character to maintain, but it is the character of Christ. . . . May the Lord help us to die to self, and be born again, that Christ may live in us, a living, active principle, a power that will keep us holy.
Some seek to control their surroundings, thinking that if they are placed in favorable positions, the bad traits in their character will not be developed. But God orders our surroundings, and he will place us where we shall have test after test, to prove us and to reveal what is in our hearts. Again and again we shall be brought into strait places, that it may be known whether we are indeed crucified with Christ or full of self-love. How will this testing process end with each of us? The prince of darkness will put forth all his power to retain us in his possession; but we have a mighty Helper.
The very trials that test our faith most severely, and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are designed to lead us nearer to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at his feet, and receive the peace he will give us in exchange. . . . When you surrender yourself entirely to God, when you fall all broken upon Jesus, you will be rewarded by a victory, the joy of which you have never yet realized. As you review the past with a clear vision, you will see that at the very time when life seemed to you only a perplexity and a burden, Jesus himself was near you, seeking to lead you into the light. Your Father was by your side, bending over you with unutterable love, afflicting you for your good, as the refiner purifies the precious ore. When you have thought yourself forsaken, he has been near you to comfort and sustain. We seldom view Jesus as he is, and are never so ready to receive his help as he is to help us.
You are to die to self, to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. You need not devise ways and methods of bringing about your own crucifixion; self-inflicted penances are of no avail, and will be found worthless when the test comes upon you. We are to surrender the heart to God, that he may renew and sanctify us, and fit us for his heavenly courts. We are not to wait for some special time, but today we are to give ourselves to him, refusing to be the servants of sin. Do you imagine that you can leave off sin by your own human power a little at a time? You cannot do this; Jesus was treated as a sinner when he assumed the likeness of sinful flesh, that the sinner might be treated as righteous. The Father loves us who believe in Christ as he loves his only-begotten Son. Thus by faith we can grasp the righteousness of Christ, and our Saviour saves us from all sin. The converted soul will hate the thing that Christ hates, and love the thing that Christ loves. Has he not by his death and suffering made provision for your cleansing from sin? You must take the blood of Jesus and apply it to your heart by faith; for that alone can make you whiter than snow. But you say, "The surrender of all my idols will break my heart." This is what is needed. In giving up all for God, you fall upon the rock and are broken. Give up all for him without delay, for unless you are broken, you are worthless.
What a victory you will gain when you learn to follow the opening providences of God with a grateful heart, and a determination to live with an eye single to his glory, in sickness or health, in abundance or want.
John and Judas are representatives of those who profess to be Christ's followers. Both these disciples had the same opportunities to study and follow the divine Pattern. Both were closely associated with Jesus and were privileged to listen to His teaching. Each possessed serious defects of character; and each had access to the divine grace that transforms character. But while one in humility was learning of Jesus, the other revealed that he was not a doer of the word, but a hearer only. One, daily dying to self and overcoming sin, was sanctified through the truth; the other, resisting the transforming power of grace and indulging selfish desires, was brought into bondage to Satan.
Many, like the rich young ruler, when tested and tried, will refuse to deny self, to take up the cross and follow Christ. When the test comes to a man, and he refuses to obey, he shows that he is unregenerate in heart, whatever may be the outward propriety of his conduct, or whatever belief he may claim to have in the truth. He needs to have the law brought home to his conscience, that he may see the exceeding sinfulness of sin. He must die to self. Until self is crucified, he can not know what spiritual holiness is.
Applying The Data
1. Are you ready to die to self through the graveyard processed described above? What circumstances may God use to bring about your death to self?
Next time we learn how to live the crucified experience on a daily basis. Under the banner of Follow Me: The Pathway of power, we learn how Jesus and so many others lived with an eye single to Gods glory.
5. Follow Me: The Pathway of Power
Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him and
said to him, One thing you lack.
Go, sell whatever you have
and give it to the poor,
and you shall have treasure in Heaven.
And come, take up the cross and follow Me. Mark 10: 21
Jesus said we were to take up our cross daily, and follow Him. What does this mean on a practical basis? We will consider what it meant for Jesus and some of His disciples and what it should mean for us. Why is this important? Because the daily lifting of the cross maintains the new life!
Notice the following:
We are to lift the cross, and follow the steps of Christ. Those who lift the cross will find that as they do this, the cross lifts them, giving them fortitude and courage, and pointing them to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.
Connecting With Others
Share with another person how you understand and feel about Jesus call to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him? Then talk to God about your discussion.
Some Biblical Data
A. Taking Up the Cross
What did it mean in the life of Jesus?
1. What did obeying His Father mean to Jesus? Isaiah 53:7; John 5: 30; Philippians 2: 5-8; Hebrews 5: 8
2. What was Jesus tempted to do? Matt 4: 8,9; John 7: 2-6; Matthew 27: 40-42
B. Taking Up the Cross
What did it mean in the life of Paul?
1. What do we learn about Pauls feelings on the subject in the following verses? Galatians 2: 20; 6: 14; Philippians 1: 21; 1 Corinthians 15: 31; 1 Corinthians 2: 2
C. Taking Up the Cross
What does it mean in the life of the believer?
1. The following verses represent all the times Jesus spoke of the cross. Whose cross is He referring to and what kind of experience is being described? Matthew 10: 38; 16: 24, Mark 8: 34; 10: 21; Luke 9: 23; 14: 27
2. What instruction is gained from John 12: 24, 25 regarding the deny self and take up the cross experience?
3. What more do we learn about taking up the cross from Matthew 5: 29; 8: 21, 22?
4. How does Paul define the experience of the believer in these verses? Colossians 3: 3; Romans 6: 4, 6, 11; Galatians 5: 24; 2 Corinthians 4: 10; 2 Timothy 2: 11
A. The Call to Deny Selfto Surrender
1. What level of surrender and humiliation was Jesus referring to in calling His children to take up their cross and follow Him, and what will be the result of that surrender?
Jesus now explained to His disciples that His own life of self-abnegation was an example of what theirs should be. Calling about Him, with the disciples, the people who had been lingering near, He said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." The cross was associated with the power of Rome. It was the instrument of the most cruel and humiliating form of death. The lowest criminals were required to bear the cross to the place of execution; and often as it was about to be laid upon their shoulders, they resisted with desperate violence, until they were overpowered, and the instrument of torture was bound upon them. But Jesus bade His followers take up the cross and bear it after Him. To the disciples His words, though dimly comprehended, pointed to their submission to the most bitter humiliationsubmission even unto death for the sake of Christ. No more complete self-surrender could the Saviour's words have pictured.
The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing,the giving up of the will to God.
Whatever may be our temperament, we are to form a character after the divine Pattern; we have no excuse for retaining the mold and superscription of our nature; for Christ has died that we may have his mold and superscription. We cannot retain self and yet be filled with the fullness of God. We must be emptied of self. If heaven is gained by us at last, it will be only through the renunciation of self, and the receiving of the mind of Christ. Pride and self-sufficiency must be crucified, and the vacuum supplied with the Spirit and power of God. Are we willing to pay the price required of us for eternal life? Are we ready to sit down and count the cost, and conclude that heaven is worth the sacrifice of dying to self, of having our will brought into perfect conformity with the will of God? Until we are willing, the transforming grace of God will not be manifested upon us. When we present our emptied nature to God, he will by his Holy Spirit supply the vacuum made by the renunciation of self, and give us of his fullness
2. What is the difference between self-denial and denying self?
In self-denial various things are given up for the sake of personal growth or some worthy cause. Webster defines it as a limitation of ones own desires. Self is still in charge, however, and choosing what to limit. In deny self we no longer look to ourselves, rather we accept whatever God brings our way as His choice for us. In self denial we are in charge; in denying self God is in charge.
B. Some Glorious Inducements To Follow Jesus
We need to understand how necessary it is that we die to self. Self-crucifixion will place souls on vantage ground. I entreat those [of you] who profess to be Christians to die to self that you may be stirred with a new life by the Holy Spirit's power.
It is necessary that the will should be sanctified. In surrendering the will, the root of the matter is reached. When the will is surrendered, the streams that flow from the fountain will not be bitter, but will be as pure as crystal. The flowers and fruit of Christian life will bloom and ripen to perfection.
Victory is sure when self is surrendered to God.
Genuine sanctification ... is nothing less than a daily dying to self and daily conformity to the will of God.
C. Dying to Self
1. How did Jesus die to self?
It was a difficult task for the Prince of Life to carry out the plan which He had undertaken for the salvation of man, in clothing His divinity with humanity. He had received honor in the heavenly courts and was familiar with absolute power. It was as difficult for Him to keep the level of humanity as for men to rise above the low level of their depraved natures and be partakers of the divine nature.
The Father's presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. Whatever comes to him comes from the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Nothing can touch him except by the Lord's permission. All our sufferings and sorrows, all our temptations and trials, all our sadness and griefs, all our persecutions and privations, in short, all things work together for our good. All experiences and circumstances are God's workmen whereby good is brought to us.
They [the Jews] believed, He was to secure His own exaltation, and gratify their ambitious hopes. Thus when Christ was treated with contempt, there came to Him a strong temptation to manifest His divine character. By a word, by a look, He could compel His persecutors to confess that He was Lord above kings and rulers, priests and temple. But it was His difficult task to keep to the position He had chosen as one with humanity.
To keep His glory veiled as the child of a fallen race, this was the most severe discipline to which the Prince of life could subject Himself.
2. How do we die to self?
The yoke is placed upon the oxen to aid them in drawing the load, to lighten the burden. So with the yoke of Christ. When our will is swallowed up in the will of God, and we use His gifts to bless others, we shall find life's burdens light,
He who bears the yoke of Christ no longer follows his own way or does his own pleasure. In times of difficulty he looks to his Master to direct his course, and follows not the way of his own choosing. The more trying the circumstances under which he is placed, the more closely he presses to the side of Jesus. He finds that the heaviest labor can be performed, the heaviest burdens borne, because the Lord gives strength, and He gives gladness in doing the work.
Those who work for God are daily to empty the heart of self, that they may be cleansed of their hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. They are to depend wholly upon Him who taught as never man taught. Unless the soul temple is daily emptied of self, and prepared for the reception of the Holy Spirit, self will rule the entire being. The words and acts will be tarnished with selfishness. Christ will not appear in the life. There will be seen a self-confidence that is wholly inappropriate
. In order to be a co-laborer with Christ, man must put away his supposed wisdom. Then he will be humble enough to wear Christ's yoke and to receive His Spirit, the gift that brings to the soul rest and peace."
D. Encouragement during the dying process.
Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. In every affliction God has a purpose to work out for our good. Every blow that destroys an idol, every providence that weakens our hold upon earth and fastens our affections more firmly upon God, is a blessing. The pruning may be painful for a time, but afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness. We should receive with gratitude whatever will quicken the conscience, elevate the thoughts, and ennoble the life. The fruitless branches are cut off and cast into the fire. Let us be thankful that through painful pruning we may retain a connection with the living Vine; for if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him. The very trial that taxes our faith the most severely and makes it seem as though God had forsaken us is to lead us more closely to Him, that we may lay all our burdens at the feet of Christ and experience the peace which He will give us. . . . God loves and cares for the feeblest of His creatures, and we cannot di