Intro. We hear a lot of people talking about finding themselves. You hear such statements as, "I'm looking out for number one." or "I need to find myself." According to Jesus you need to lose yourself.
I. ONE OF THE MAJOR PROBLEMS OF OUR SOCIETY TODAY IS THE SELF CENTEREDNESS OF MAN.
A. If you will seek to trace the basic motive for everything you do, if you will go deep enough, you will usually find self.
1. Even actions that on the surface seem to be very magnanimous, often have a hidden agenda.
2. Many times those huge contributions to some charitable cause, some University, are made for the recognition of the donor.
a. Build a new science building and name it after me.
b. Establish a scholarship fund after my name.
c. Make sure the press is there to get pictures of me handing the check to the president of the University.
3. We are by nature self centered.
a. Look how early a child begins to say, "Mine"
b. They say that birds are territorial, and that they establish their territory, and will seek to defend their space that they have claimed.
c. I believe that the same is true for us, we sort of mark out our space and we defend it against any intrusion.
B. If you will look at the reason behind most every crime, it comes from a person thinking only about themselves.
1. They have a disregard for the needs or feelings of others.
2. They have no respect for the person or property of others.
3. They do not care for the rights of others.
C. Jesus said something very similar to this when He was calling men to discipleship. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it."
1. The first requirement for being a disciple of Jesus is to deny yourself, then take up your cross and follow Him.
2. Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
3. How beautiful it is, yet how rare it is to find a person who truly denies himself for the cause and sake of Jesus Christ.
4. Jesus set the example.
a. He said that He did not come to do His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him.
b. He said that the works that He did, the words that He spoke were not His but His Fathers.
c. Paul said, "He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might know the riches of God.
d. The cross of Jesus Christ stands as the greatest example of selflessness in the history of man.
5. Even here in our text, the losing our lives for His sake, is spoken in the context of the cross. In the previous verse Jesus said, "And He that taketh not his cross and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me."
D. At a pastor's conference I once had a Bishop tell all of us pastors that he realized that competition was carnal motivation, but we needed to realize that the majority of the people in our congregations were carnal, thus carnal motivation was necessary if we were ever to get them to do anything. I found myself resenting his statement very much at the time. I later began to conclude with his observation, but not with his conclusion.
1. I do believe that the majority of the congregation is carnal, but rather than seek through carnal means to motivate you, I would rather seek to bring you into the joys and freedom of the life in the Spirit.
2. Do you resent being thought of as carnal Christians?
3. If we should offer 1,000 dollars for every person you brought to church with you tonight, how many people do you suppose you would have with you?
4. God complained concerning the people in Malachi's day because they would not shut the doors of the temple, nor kindle a fire upon the altar unless they got paid for it.
5. People will do for money what they would not do for just the plain love of Jesus Christ.
II. WHAT IS MEANT BY, "HE THAT FINDETH HIS LIFE SHALL LOSE IT."?
A. He that lives only for himself, thinks only of himself, will be an ultimate loser.
1. That which you do for yourself will burn as wood, hay, and stubble in His fires that will test our works.
2. That which you amass for yourself, you will never be able to take with you.
3. You have only one life, and it will soon be past, and only what's done for Christ will last.
4. I might ask, what have you sacrificed for Christ lately?
5. What have you given to Christ as far as energy, time, or effort, for which you have not sought for something in return?
6. I only ask these questions to help you examine yourself, and get an honest look at where you really stand with Him. Paul said that we should examine ourselves, for if we will judge ourselves, then we would not be judged of Him.
B. If you are saying, "I need to find myself." let me suggest that what you really need is to find Jesus Christ.
1. To find yourself will not benefit you or anyone else, but to find Jesus Christ is to find eternal life.
2. Living for yourself is not fulfilling or gratifying. It will, in the end, only bring you misery and emptiness.
III. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO FIND THE DEEPEST MEANING IN LIFE, LOSE YOUR LIFE IN JESUS CHRIST AND IN THE THINGS OF CHRIST.
A. You will find joy.
1. The greatest joy is found in giving not receiving.
2. The fullness of joy comes in sharing with one you love.
a. Beautiful music, sunsets, can be enjoyed by yourself, but if they are shared with someone you love, they are enhanced that much more.
B. You will find peace.
1. The person that is seeking to find himself, is usually in a disturbed state of mind, they usually say it with agitation.
2. The person who has found himself is even worse off.
3. The person who has lost his life in Jesus Christ has such peace.
a. I am not in control of my life, I have surrendered the control to Him.
b. I know that He does all things well.
c. I know that He is only concerned in the best for me, and that He is looking out for my best eternal interests.
d. I am not interested in going to a Doctor who is only interested in my temporal comfort. If I have severe abdominal pains because of an appendix that is about to rupture, I do not want pain pills so that I can be at ease, I want the appendix treated or removed, though the operation may incapacitate me for a time, the long term results are my main concern.
e. I know that He is working out all the details of my life with the eternal benefits in view.
f. My rest in Him, brings me at rest with my circumstances.
C. Basically we once again come to the place where we have a choice of two alternatives.
1. We can seek to find our lives, live as though we are the only one that matters.
2. Or we can lose our lives for the sake of Jesus Christ. Lose our lives in Him.
3. It seems to be a paradox, to seek to find it is to lose it, to lose it is to find it.