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(I am only sharing this sermon that I got from a source I do not remember. I have had it in my computer archives for over four years and I don't know where it came from. I do know that it is not mine. I will only share it through the month of June. If you recognize where it is from let me know.)

John 12:23-25
And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (KJV)


Selfishness is the greatest single enemy of a happy marriage. Selfishness is the root of all other sins. When I am at the center of my world, I am out of place and my world is out of balance. The tremors that follow will not stop until they have destroyed something -- my marriage, my job, my sanity.

Selfishness is a natural sin. It comes easy. Selfishness is when I pout or sulk when things don't work out my way.

All men are egocentric at the core. The law of man's fallen nature is that he shall strive to make himself the center of the universe.

We are driven to seek security by trying to reach self-sufficiency.

When Eve sinned in the Garden she believed that if she would eat the forbidden fruit she would "be like God --- knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:16).

Satan tempts us the same way today through three aspects of self-centeredness.

1 John 2:15-16
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (KJV)

The lust of the flesh = I want it.

The lust of the eyes = It is so pretty.

The pride of life = it will make me intelligent.

Pride and lust are forms of selfishness. They have always been Satan's most effective tools.

Most of the time what we feel and think is right isn't. In fact, we often make wise decisions by determining first what we feel and think is right, and then reversing it.

It is like a man caught in a tide carrying him out to sea. The obvious thing to do is swim hard for shore. The reverse -- relax, stay afloat, and let the tide carry you -- seems quite illogical. Regardless of how unreasonable it sounds, it's the best thing to do.

I. The death principle.

A. The death principle is the center of the gospel message. Paul draws a parallel between Christ's death-burial-resurrection and baptism.

Rom 6:1-4
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (KJV)

In baptism, I allow God to dethrone me; and by faith, I allow Christ to become the center of my life. As Christ was buried in the tomb, so I am buried "with him" in baptism. As Christ was raised from the tomb in a new body, so I am raised from the water/grave of baptism to a "newness of life" to be a "new creation" (2 Cor 5:17).

In Argentina some Christians baptize with this formula: "I kill you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Juan Carlos Ortiz said:

"In baptism, it is more than the tobacco, the drinking and the gambling that stay under the water. It is self. People must understand that. When they come up out of the water they leave themselves behind. It is a totally new self which now begins to live a life of obedience.?

When the Christians' theology in Rome became to lenient, Paul corrected them by reminding them of their death-burial-resurrection. In Romans 6:1-17, he mentions some form of the word death fifteen times.

It is a paradox, but true: I must die to live. As Christ died to fulfill God's purpose, I must die to fulfill Christ's purpose for me.

2 Cor 5:14-17
For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (NIV)

This death is not my loss -- it is my victory.

God has replaced my self-interest with his Spirit.

Acts 5:32
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (NIV)

His power enables me to triumph over desires of the flesh. I am no longer enslaved; I am free, alive, and victorious.

As I commit sin, I become a slave of Satan.

John 8:34
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. (NIV)

And slaves don't have rights; they cannot free themselves. Like flies caught on sticky paper, they will die unless an outsider frees them. The only outsider capable of saving me from sin is Jesus Christ. When I accept his blood to cover my sins, I am free.

I am still a slave, but now I am a slave to Christ. You say, "I don't want to be a slave to anybody!" Do you realize there are only two masters -- Satan and Christ. And since no one can serve two masters, (Mt 6:24) you must choose one.

The concept of absolute freedom is a satanic trick, Satan allows us to think we are "absolutely free," but we are slaves to self.

We make ourselves lord by dethroning God and practicing idolatry. We serve self, not God. Families and marriages are happier when their members serve the right master.

To be a husband or wife according to God's plan means servant hood.

II. Why "My Way" Will Not Work.

A. My way is never satisfied.

Selfishness is never satisfied. The more it gets, the more it wants. King Solomon began his reign as a man of God, full of wisdom and splendor. Unfortunately, he watered down his faithfulness to God with self-serving allegiances: many wives and concubines, gold, and riches -- much of which came from heavy taxation of his people.

Toward the end of his life Solomon looked back on his accumulated wealth and said:

Ecc 1:2-3 2
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? (NIV)

He had quenched every physical appetite, but it was in vain.

Howard Hughes and John Paul Getty did the same in this generation.

Self is a good servant, but as a master it is a tyrant. Selfishness is never satisfied until it completely consumes.

B. My way doesn't pay, it costs.

King David allowed his lust for a woman to lead him to adultery. His cover-up tactics didn't work, so he killed her innocent husband (2 Sam 11).

David later repented of this sin that was ever before him (Psa 51). But the effect of his sin spread to his children and the whole nation of Israel.

Anyone who remains very close to a self-centered person will have to bear some of the consequences of his actions, even though they are innocent. That is the nature of the disease.

This can be seen in a family where the wife and children pay the price for the husband's reputation of adultery and bad debts.

C. My way doesn't work in the long run.

Earth life is only a prelude to eternal life. When we treat life on this earth as the total package, we misunderstand and misappropriate the gift of life.

It is like a caterpillar that sells its right to become a butterfly for one stomach full of leaves.

The young prodigal son in Luke 15:11-24 was shortsighted. He didn't investigate the results of his self-indulgence. Only the body comes to an end when a person dies, and it will be resurrected in the judgment day.

D. My way gets in God's way.

Jer 10:23 I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. (NIV)

Often what I think is a stepping stone is a stumbling block in God's view. Moses wanted to deliver the Israelites prematurely, but it didn't work.

He became angry, disillusioned, and uncooperative, even when God told him it was the proper time to deliver Israel.

Ex 3-4

Prov 14:12
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (NIV)

E. My way dissipates me.

To enthrone self is a form of mental suicide. To be exalted, one must be a slave to all.

Mk 10:43-44
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. (NIV)

Judas enthroned himself and committed suicide. Hitler followed the same pattern.

Life works just the reverse of what the natural man thinks.

F. My way stunts growth.

When I do everything my way, I have no opportunity to learn from others. I am doomed to commit the same mistakes over and over because I won't listen to or learn from others.

My horizons are too narrow.

G. My way allows no freedom.

My way is undisciplined. It is a long line of urges, wants, and desires. Selfishness is not found around freedom.

Undisciplined people follow the path of least resistance. The person who does only what he wants never completes difficult jobs. He is always behind in debt.

Freedom comes through self-denial. No person is free from financial trouble if he uses charge cards unwisely.

2 Tim 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (NIV)

H. My way causes dissension.

Self-seekers are just that -- seekers. Their attitude is "me first."

The Corinthian church was a quarreling family.

1 Cor 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. (NIV)

Men were making names for themselves, not for God. They were puffed up, full of pride, not living according to scripture. Paul makes it plain that God gives us gifts and abilities; they are not earned.

1 Cor 4:7
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (NIV)

Paul pleads for maturity which comes by understanding that we have no reason to boast.

Eph 4:7
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (NIV)

How can I boast of my accomplishments when I am "not my own."

1 Cor 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (KJV)

I was bought with Christ's blood. How can I be selfish when everything I have of value is a gift?

James 3:16
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (KJV)

I. My way separates me from God.

There is room for only one throne in my heart. It will be occupied by God or self. When I enthrone myself, I dethrone God.

Mt 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (KJV)

III. Six Steps To Defeat Self-centeredness.

Here are six steps that help draw on the power of God to defeat self-centeredness.

A. Be humble enough to admit that self-centeredness is sin.

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. (KJV)

Do not rationalize, play selfishness down, or project it on circumstances of others.

B. Rely by faith on God to help me live beyond my self-interest.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (KJV)

C. Turn my life from serving self to serving others. When I serve others, I am pointed in the right direction. In the Bible, demonstrated selflessness is called repentance.

Luke 13:3

D. Confirm to myself and others that I am willing to kill the old life and be resurrected to a new life in Christ.

This is illustrated by the concept of baptism.

Gal 3:27
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (KJV)

E. Restore the peace destroyed by my selfishness. make apologies, repair the damage, and accept forgiveness if I cannot repay the damage.

Mt 5:23-26
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. (KJV)

F. Enjoy the gifts of God in Christ. He has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit in our life.

Acts 5:32
And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (KJV)

Therein is power, a source of energy when I fail, and new power in prayer.

Ro 8:26-27
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (KJV)


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