If you are born again, you are heading toward a goal. When you're heading toward a goal, you want to understand the goal, you want to have a vision of where that goal is so that, when you arrive, you end up in the right place.
That goal is that our whole being be saved. Jesus already paid the price for all of this. All that is really required is that we receive it. Total salvation is to be transfigured completely into the likeness of Jesus. There is much in the Bible about all of this.
God's way is that we die to self and live to Him. Dying to self is not always a popular message, so many churches don't even bother to teach it, but they are really missing out on most of what Jesus has already won for us on the cross.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 speaks of being saved completely. Paul speaks of the whole spirit, soul and body being saved. We are three-part beings.
1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Starting at 1 Corinthians 2:9, especially verse 11, says that we know God by the spirit. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit communes with our spirit.
1Corinthians 2:9-12 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19 says that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1Corinthians 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?
John 3:16 speaks of eternal life. When we are born again, God raises our spirit to life, which had been dead. When Adam sinned, his spirit died. The Holy Spirit has the capacity to give life.
Nothing can undo what the Holy Spirit has done. Never minimize what God has done. (Note: There are two opposing theories, one saying that no one who has been saved can ever walk away from God and one saying that it's possible to fall away. Both require some assumptions beyond what Scripture teaches, and we will leave the judgment of that to God. The reality is that there are consequences to being born again and not walking faithfully in an ever-growing relationship from glory to glory. That is plainly taught in Scripture. We certainly are not going to join the ranks of those who wonder how far they can walk away from the leading and power of God and still get into heaven. We desire to press toward the mark of the high calling of God.)
Without that new birth, there is no way to understand, but the Father can draw us to that new birth.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Matthew 16:24 is instruction to the disciples, who were saved believers. Jesus told them that they had opportunity to follow Him.
Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
If they decided to follow Him, they would need to deny themselves. That is, they would have to lay down their rights and privileges and become God-centered and God-directed.
They would also have to take up their cross. We have received revelation that our ministries are our crosses.
Philippians 2:3 plainly states the Jesus was in the form of God. That's the same as saying that Jesus is God. However, He denied Himself. He didn't take what was rightfully His. And He took up His cross. He was obedient to death.
Philippians 2:3-10 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [literal: being equal with God something to be grasped at] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Francis Schaeffer said that the church has not prepared Christians for suffering.
Matthew 16:24 and 25 speaks of the saving of the soul, which is the opposite of denying ourself and taking up our cross. The soul is the life. This is speaking of our soul life. If we save our soul life, we will eventually lose it. If we lay down our life, we will save our soul. This saving of the soul is only available for those who already have eternal life.
Matthew 16:24-28 Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life [Greek: psuche psoo-khay' literally, breath. Translated, soul, life, mind, heart] shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life [soul, life, mind, heart] for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul [soul, life, mind, heart]? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul [soul, life, mind, heart]? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say to you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
The unbeliever chooses between life and death.
The believer chooses between saving the soul now or saving the soul later.
The soul is the same as the mind and will. This has to do with the renewing of our mind.
It is unprofitable to satisfy the soul. 1 John 2:15 tells us not to love the world.
1John 2:15-17 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
Matthew 16:27-28 tells us that Jesus will come to judge our deeds. This is for saved believers.
Revelations tells us the they did not love their lives, they laid down their lives. This may speak of those who are martyred, but this more likely speaks of that soul life.
Matthew 16:27-28 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say to you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Our souls are not designed to be fulfilled by the things of this world. There is nothing wrong with many of these things: good food, vacations, fun, entertainment, and things like that. It's just that our souls weren't designed to be satisfied with those things.
The beatitudes were written for saved believers. Matthew 5:6 tells us that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.
Matthew 5:3-12 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The gate is very narrow indeed. There is a difference between drawing a line in the sand (walking according to a law or set of rules or principles) and walking in the Spirit. When the Spirit is leading, we either follow Him or we don't. When the Spirit is our source of power, we either lean on His power and let Him be our power or we don't. There is no place in between.
Matthew 7:13-27 Enter ye in at the strait [constricted] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Philippians 3:7 tells us that there are things that have value to our souls, but these things are not the lasting.
Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Matthew 19:16-26 is not a self-help sermon.
Matthew 19:16-26 And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said to him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith to him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith to him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said to him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus to his disciples, Verily I say to you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
There is another very important way that we suffer in the flesh. Whenever we follow the Spirit rather than the body, we suffer in the flesh. The flesh dies and the soul is brought more into unity with the Spirit of God.
Matthew 5:27 shows us a little bit about man's and God's responsibility. No one would say that their hand would be something they would want to cut off or that their eye would be something that they would want to pluck out. This is talking about good things, not bad things. If these things are causing you to stumble, then you would want to get rid of them, even though they are good things.
Matthew 5:27-30 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say to you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
A computer can be a good thing, yet there was a young man who gave his computer away because it became a problem for him.
There are many things that would fall into this category. The TV would be a good example. A 2007 study showed that, on average, all the major networks show some form of obscene, violent, or anti-Christian content every three and a half minutes.
When I'm walking, I choose my route because there are things that I don't want to see. We have to be careful what we put into our minds through our senses.
Often, the temptation happens much sooner than we think it happens. By the time the sinful thought would occur, we may have said, "Yes," to temptation several times in subtle ways.
The scriptural pattern of the church are such that just accepting God's way of doing things is a death to self.
Last updated: Jun, 2012