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Jesus followers - Jesus people (Part 1)

Rev. Tetteh-Annor Larbi | June 2, 2023 | Matthew 16:24-28

KEY VERSE: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matt 16:24 (NIV)

MESSAGE Jesus said to follow him, one must first deny him/herself. What does it mean to deny yourself? There are many examples in both the Old and New Testaments about self-denial. It means seeking the good of others, before looking out for yourself (1 Cor 10:24). Ruth demonstrated self-denial when she followed, her mother-in-law, for Naomi’s benefit and not hers. Esther put her life on the line to save her people. When you willingly sacrifice your energy, time, rights, positions, reputation, comforts, privileges and even sometimes your very life for Christ's sake, you are the true definition of self-denial. The Apostle Paul uses something similar in Phil 3:7-8; “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” The surpassing worth of knowing Christ should make us count everything as a loss just to follow Him.

The biblical definition of self-denial will align with this; the willingness to deny oneself of possessions, status and any other thing that gratifies the flesh (self) at the expense of the spirit nature. When we consciously deny ourselves of some pleasure or possession, it is usually to be able to achieve a goal set before us. In this case, the goal is to follow Jesus. Think of a student forgoing sleep to be able to study to pass an exam. Or an athlete staying away from certain foods to prepare for a race. This same attitude is required for a spiritual discipline to follow Jesus.

Denying oneself includes overcoming the persistent fleshy demands of the body (the carnal or natural man) and bringing it into subjection to God’s Word. Crucifying the flesh (Gal 5:24). Fasting, giving to the poor and needy and praying are some of the disciplines the bible prescribes to achieve self-denial, which Jesus himself spoke about and practised. To deny yourself is to subject your Flesh (Will, Intellect and Emotions) to the influence of the Word and Spirit of God.


To be a follower of Jesus we must deny ourselves and completely yield to His leading. We must desire to submit to the Word and Spirit of God and align our will to His Will.

PRAYER Dear Lord Jesus, help me to deny myself, as I submit my will, intellect, and emotions to Your Will. For your dear name’s sake. Amen. THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSINGS SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!!

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