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2 Peter 1:12

Dear Readers,

July 2007

“Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Timothy 1:2). We had a wonderful camp meeting in West Virginia. We will have the sermons available in DVD, audio CD, and mp3 formats soon. I encourage you to get some of these presentations. I believe you will be blessed by them. Some of my sermons will be printed in upcoming issues of Present Truth, and will be available to download from our website.

Northern California Camp Meeting: Our brethren in Lookout, California, are hosting a camp meeting August 1-5. Please contact David Sims for more information: 530-294-1115, cell: 619-851-0953. Upon request, Brother David will send you detailed directions.

In this Issue

Deny Yourself

by Lynnford Beachy

Upcoming Meetings in Your Area

Waggoner on Romans (Part 16)

by Ellet J. Waggoner

Pennsylvania Camp Meeting

Deny Yourself

by Lynnford Beachy

(This article was taken from a sermon I preached at the 2007 West Virginia camp meeting. Soon you will be able to hear this sermon by downloading an mp3 file from our website.    Editor)

Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it: but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away.” (Luke 9:23-25). If any man will be a disciple of Christ he must do three things: 1) deny himself, 2) take up his cross daily, and 3) follow Jesus. There is a specific order given here. Many people attempt to follow Jesus, they want to be His disciple, but they fail to deny themselves and take up their cross. This method is bound to end up in failure. (This article focuses mainly on step 1, and some on step 2. Lord willing, we will focus more on steps 2 and 3 in upcoming issues of Present Truth.)

Is there a difference between denying self and self denial? Self denial would be to deny myself a pleasure, like eating a candy bar or giving up my comfortable seat. That would be self denial. Is this the first step in following Christ? No, that comes later. The Bible talks about temperance (self control or self denial) as part of the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-24).

So, there is a difference between self denial and denying self. Here, Jesus is talking about denying self, not self denial. The Greek word translated, deny, in this verse is the very same word used to describe Peter’s denial of the Lord.

I would like us to read this description. Jesus said, “I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.” (Luke 22:34). According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon this word means, “To affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone, to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests.” Strong’s Greek Dictionary says it means, “to disown.” Jesus said that Peter would deny that he knew Him. Let us read Luke’s account of this denial:

“And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not, And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:55-62).

In Peter’s denial he said, “I know not this man of whom ye speak” (Mark 14:71), “I know him not” (Luke 22:57). He was saying, “I refuse to have any connection with this man.” When Jesus said that you must deny yourself, I believe this is what He is talking about. What self are you supposed to deny? The old self, the “old man” (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9); deny him existence in your life. That is what Jesus wants you to do.

Before Peter went through this experience, could he really see himself? When Jesus said you are going to deny me three times, Peter “spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.” (Mark 14:31). But when it came time to be tested, Peter denied the Lord three times. He denied any connection with this person, and this is what Jesus says we are to do with ourselves. Deny any connection to that “old man.”

Jesus looked at Peter after he denied Him, and Peter began to see himself. Did he like what he saw? No! He went out and wept bitterly. He repented, asking God to forgive him. He saw what he was and he didn’t like it; he wanted something else. He was disgusted with himself. This is what we need to do, to be disgusted with ourselves. This is what Jesus is talking about when He says we must deny ourselves.

Often we defend ourselves. If someone says something bad about us, we want to say something to defend ourselves. The Bible says, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2). Jesus said, “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory…” (John 7:18). It is not good to speak of yourself. Why? What is wrong with yourself? Self wants to be recognized, and this causes people to get puffed-up. The urge to lift yourself up above others comes from Satan. Continuing in the same verse Jesus said, “but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” Jesus said, “I seek not mine own glory.” (John 8:50). Instead, Jesus sought the glory of His Father, and that is what He will do in us, if we allow Him to live in our hearts.

Total commitment

Luke wrote, “There went great multitudes with him [Jesus]: and he turned, and said unto them,…” (Luke 14:25). What follows is a very strong statement. He had done the same thing earlier when He said we must eat His flesh and drink His blood, and “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66). Jesus was looking for quality, not quantity. He wanted to weed out that great multitude to those who were really committed. That is what He wants from us; He wants us to be totally committed.

Jesus said to this multitude, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, 27). Did you notice what He did here? In the last verse He mentions “take up your cross” and “follow me,” steps 2 and 3. He is talking about step 1 in verse 26. He is using the very same order, 1) deny himself, 2) take up his cross, and 3) follow me. Denying yourself is equivalent to hating your mother, brother, and your “own life also.” Do you think Peter came to this point, where he hated himself? Certainly! He hated his disgusting character. He hated the sin that was in him and he went out and wept bitterly and was finally converted. Jesus had told him, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32). Peter had to come to the point where he hated himself, just like Jesus said we must do.

When Jesus said that we must hate ourselves, did He mean that we should go out and kill ourselves or do harm to ourselves? Certainly not! The Greek word that was translated “hate” in this verse is also used when God said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (Romans 9:13). Now did He hate Esau in a way that He wanted to go out and hurt him? No, not at all! What did God hate about Esau? The sin in him! This is what Jesus said we are to hate about ourselves: to hate our stubbornness, our selfishness, and the wickedness that is in us. Jesus loves righteousness and hates iniquity. (Hebrews 1:9). We must come to the point where we hate the sin that is in us. He says we are to hate father, mother, brother, etc. It doesn’t mean you are supposed to go and do harm to them, but that you hate the wickedness in them. Love the sinner but hate the sin.

God loves sinners so much that He gave His son to die for us. But, does He love the sin that is in us? No, He wants that eradicated; He wants that gone. He hates that sin and He wants us to hate it too. We need to see ourselves for what we are, and when we fail to do that God has a big problem on His hands because we need to see ourselves before we even desire a change. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So God works upon us, trying to get us to the point that we can see how sinful we really are.

Jesus had been working with Peter for three and a half years, trying to get him to see who he was, so he would be disgusted with himself. But Peter failed to see this until that very moment when he denied his Lord. Peter didn’t think this would ever happen. He thought he would be able to go to his death before this would happen, but he saw that there was something in him that was wicked, evil, and he was disgusted with himself. He came to that point that Jesus says we all need to reach.

Many Christians have never come to that point yet, but we need to come to that point where we are thoroughly disgusted with ourselves, with the self that we are. If that old man is still living, then we have a serious problem. But Satan doesn’t want us to know it. He wants us to think that everything is okay. Satan would be happy if you went to church, if you would pray and study the Bible occasionally. He would rather that you occupy your life in a Christian atmosphere as long as you don’t come to the point of total surrender to God. He would rather you hang out in that condition rather than being wholly in the world.

Do you know why? Because Jesus said, very plainly, “I would thou wert cold or hot.” (Revelation 3:15). I wish you were either one way or the other, instead you are lukewarm, the worst condition possible. Because you are lukewarm, because you think you are rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, I am going to have to spew you out of my mouth. I wish that you would see what you are really like. (Revelation 3:16, 17). That is why He says, “I counsel thee to… anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:18). Paul says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Examine what condition you are in. That is what I want us to see, so we won’t be like Peter before his conversion. You might be more zealous than the next person. You might think that you will go to your death without denying the Lord, but you might find that when you come to that trial you are going to deny Him just as thoroughly as Peter did. “I know not this man.” But the person that we are to deny is our self—to deny that old self in us.

Building a tower

Let’s continue in Luke chapter 14. Jesus gave three parables to illustrate this. Remember, He is speaking very pointedly to a great multitude following Him. There is a good possibility that He is saying these words to you, right now, so take it to heart! He says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30). Jesus is applying this to the principle of denying yourself. He says take consideration of what you are getting into. “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62). Don’t put your hand to the plough unless you are sure this is what you want to do, unless you are sure you are committed to this unto the end. That’s why Jesus said, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13).

It is not good enough to endure most of the way; you must endure to the end. That tower must be built all the way to the top. Don’t get started and find you do not have enough commitment to continue, that you don’t have what it takes to finish the job. Start the foundation right, by denying yourself, and taking up your cross. Then you can follow Him. Don’t bother trying to follow Him without taking the first two steps, because it’s not going to work. You are going to be “of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19). But, if you do these things, you will be of all men most joyful, rejoicing “with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8).

Jesus said the reason that you should not start building this tower without considering how much material you have is that others are going to look on and say, “Look, this man started and he couldn’t make it. He didn’t have what it takes.” When you start off in a Christian experience do you think others are watching? Everybody who can see is watching! They are looking on and they are saying, “I wonder how long this is going to go on.”

I used to be heavily into drugs, I had long hair down to the middle of my back, and when I went on this path I know my friends were wondering how long this is going to last. The people who are most closely watching you are your family and those closest to you. They are watching and saying how long is this going to take. How far is he going to go? Is he really going to get to the end and finish the job? Does he have what it takes? They most closely watch the little things in your life, noticing whether or not you still have a hot temper, a critical spirit, or sharp and unkind words.

Going to war

Jesus gave another parable: “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:31-33). You must forsake everything you have, including your own life, your own self. You must come to the point where you hate this old self, this old man. He says if you only have ten thousand men of war, and you go against him that has twenty thousand you are likely to get beaten because he’s more powerful than you are.

In the Christian life if you are going to fight Satan on your own, you will find that he is more powerful than you are. That old man wants to live. He doesn’t want to let go. He wants to make sure you keep doing those things you have always been doing. He is more powerful than you are to resist him. There is one who is greater, though. The Bible says, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26). “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed… Nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20).

If when you are considering to make war with this enemy, and you find that you can’t overcome him, then you send an ambassador to make “conditions of peace.” Who are you making peace with? The enemy, the old man. You are saying, “How much of the old man can I put up with?” You know what happens to a lot of people? They get started on their Christian experience and they find that this old man is more powerful than they expected. They say, “Let’s see how we can make peace with this old man. I can let this old man live; I will bring him to church, make him study the Bible.” How much of this old man are you going to put up with? How much does Jesus say you should put up with? None!

When a dead person is dead does he get up and walk around? Does he talk? No! (For a thorough study on the condition of the dead, please contact us and request the tract entitled, “What Happens After Death.”) Jesus said, that we must take up our cross. What is a cross for? Death! If you had lived during the time of Jesus, and saw someone carrying a cross, what would you expect is going to happen next? They are going to be nailed to it. I have seen people carrying crosses and they are doing it for another reason. Usually they have wheels on the back. They are just demonstrating something, they are not actually going to physically die. But when a person took up a cross back then, when Jesus spoke these words, it was certain that he was going to die. That is what this “take up your cross” means. It means you must die, that old man, that old self must die. That dying might be painful. But you are not to make conditions of peace with that old man, not even a little bit.

You know Satan is happy if you have 98% of yourself submitted to God, and 2% of you has made peace with the devil. Satan is happy with that. God is not! He will not accept that.

Have you heard about the Ivory soap? It is 99.94% pure. Is that good enough? That .06% is a problem. God wants total surrender, total commitment, nothing held back. Did He hold anything back when He sent His Son to save us? He didn’t hold anything back. He doesn’t want us to hold anything back either, and if we do, notice what He says. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33). He didn’t say, “almost all that he has,” or “all that he has except a little bit.” Every part of you has to be forsaken, completely. If there is anything, it doesn’t matter how small it is, if it is held back, you are not fully committed, and you are fully lost. You are in a worse condition than if you were out in the world. That is what Jesus said. You are worse partially committed than if you were out in the world. He says he wants all of you or nothing. You have to give all, forsake all that you have, all that you are, give it over to God. Utterly deny yourself, refuse any association or conditions of peace with your old man.

Ye are the salt of the earth

Jesus gave another parable in verses 34, 35. He said, “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” “Ye are the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13). You are supposed to be a preservative of the earth, but if salt has lost its savour it is like that man going to war and deciding this is too big for him and he says, “I’m going to make conditions of peace,” so you end up half-way committed. Or if you start building a tower and you find out you don’t have what it takes to get it done, your tower is half-way built, you think you are on some middle ground.

A lot of people think that they can be on the Lord’s side and still hang on to a little bit of self. They say, “I want to make a few decisions on my own. I will let you make the big decisions. You can take most of my life, but there is a little bit I want to hold back.” You think you are on safe ground in doing this, but is there any middle ground? You are either all the way on the Lord’s side or you are totally working for the devil. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me.” (Matthew 12:30). If you are not totally surrendered to God then you are working against Him. You are more valuable to Satan right in the church because then you can influence others. “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:7, 8).

Satan knows that if he can keep a little bit of himself, of that old man, in the church he has got something to work with, to cause problems in others. If you open the door just a little bit to Satan he is going to come in like a flood—he is going to reek havoc in your life. You cannot give an inch. There is a hedge about you. Job had a hedge all around him. (Job 1:10). God says about His people, “I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.” (Zechariah 2:5). “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Psalms 34:7). If you open that hedge up just a little bit, is that okay? Never!

When Jesus talks about denying yourself and taking up your cross He is talking about a total work, a total commitment. Most Christians will admit that they are not living the way they should, at least in some way. There is some point in their life that they are not living exactly the way they know that they should, but they feel satisfied that they are mostly committed, and they feel okay. They feel like someday the latter rain of God’s Spirit is going to be poured out and fix their lack of commitment. Do you think that is going to happen? If you wait until the latter rain comes, it is not coming upon you. God is not going to pour out His Spirit on half committed people. Jesus said, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33). If you are not His disciple, you will not receive the latter rain. You have to be completely committed.

These half-committed Christians are not willing to live the way they know they should, but they are not willing to call themselves sinners or wicked. They are not willing to tear down the tower, so they leave it half-way built. They don’t feel terribly convicted, just maybe a little bit uneasy. Peter had this half-way dedication to the Lord until he saw himself. That is what we need to do, to see ourselves. We are not willing to call ourselves wicked or evil. Why not? That is what God says we are if we are not committed to Him, and it is time to face the facts. It is time to admit it because that is the first step to recovery, to denying yourself. You are never going to deny yourself if that self is still being defended. “I’m okay, I’m all right.” You cannot defend self. You have to let that self die, that old self, that old man, must die.

Sometimes, when I tell my son, “Come here,” he will say, “But Daddy I want to do this.” Do you ever do that to God? He says do this, but you say, “I want to do this instead.” Who is that “I” who wants to do it? Is that good? What self is that? That is the old man. That “I” has to go! That “I” has to die. That “I” must be denied the right to live. Deny its existence. (Galatians 2:20). “I deny that this person exists. I deny any connection to this person. I refuse to acknowledge its existence any longer.” Can you do that? Are we admonished to do that? Yes, we are! Self is the root word of selfish. You cannot be selfish unless self is still alive.

Crucifixion is not a self-inflicted wound. If God wanted us to think about self-inflicted wounds, He would have used something other than crucifixion as a representation of our old man dying. This is something you cannot do to yourself. It is something God has to do, but He can only do it if you submit like Jesus did. Submit and say, “Here I am Father. I am done fighting. I am done saying, ‘I want it my way, me, me, me.’” Many times that “I” is Satan speaking through you, tricking you, impersonating you. Satan is making you think that it is you, but it is Satan in you trying to get his will accomplished in your life. Please do not get the wrong impression. The sinful nature we inherited from Adam is corrupt on its own. Even if Satan would not be able to tempt us, we would sin, if not for the regenerating power of being born again. But after that is crucified Satan tries to trick us into thinking that it is still alive. He implants an evil thought in our minds, and then uses that thought as evidence that the old man is still alive. Don’t be fooled by this trick of the devil. Refuse to acknowledge the old man as being alive in you.

Paul wrote, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:6). Is that possible? If you continue to serve sin what is that? Has self really died?

The Bible says, “Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” (2 Peter 2:19). If you let sin overcome you, you are a slave to it. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants [slaves] to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). You are either a slave unto God or to Satan. You are not a slave to yourself. A lot of people think they can run their own lives. But you have to realize that you are either God’s servant or Satan’s servant and there is no middle ground. Jesus said, “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.” (Matthew 6:24). You are either going to be totally committed to God, and hate Satan’s evil ways or you will cling to sin, and thus despise God. Half-way committal to God is not committal to Him at all, you are still clinging to sin, you are a slave of Satan.

Paul explained, “He that is dead is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6). Are you free from sin? If you are not, then you are not dead, your old man, is still ruling you. That old man must die. This is the only way you can be a disciple of Christ. You cannot do it any other way. “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise [in the same manner] reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:8-11). How can you reckon yourself to be dead to sin? By faith! That is the only way you can do it. Reckoning something means to account it as a fact. You believe that this is true. You believe that your old man is dead. You deny his existence any longer in your life.

Putting the old man to rest

So what happens when the old man comes up, saying “I want to do this”? Where did that come from? That is Satan speaking through you, trying to get you to do something wrong. When that happens what are you to do? You can say, “I deny that this person is alive in me anymore. This old man is dead, so that can have no power over me anymore.” Can you do that? We read where Jesus said we are to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. This is a daily, a continual, process of denying yourself, of accounting yourself dead to sin. Reckon yourself dead to sin. This is the only way you can be his disciple. If you fail to do these steps, you are not truly following Him. You can try all you want but you are still going to have to come right back to the beginning. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him.

“Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14). The old man constantly wants to stay alive. You are never going to get to the point, prior to Christ’s second coming, where that old man isn’t going to try to come back, trying to convince you that he is alive. But you cannot acknowledge his existence any longer. You cannot allow him to live. He says make no provision for the flesh. If you acknowledge him a place in your life at all, you are making provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. You cannot do that. You have to deny yourself, deny that old man.

Paul spoke of half-committed Christians. He said, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Philippians 3:18, 19). If you fail to deny yourself and take up your cross, then you will become an enemy of the cross.

Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:23-26). It is a serious thing to play with the devil. It is a serious thing to let a little bit of self live. If you have made conditions of peace with that old man, you are playing with fire.

Jesus said that the evil that got cast out of you is going to come back and it is going to be much worse than before. He said your last condition is worse than the first. For a lot of people, when they reach this point, it is very difficult to come back. Don’t let that happen, friends. Don’t let Satan have that foothold in you. When Jesus was about to die on the cross He said, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” (John 14:30). If He was holding on to a little bit of self could He say that? If you are holding on to a little bit of self can you say that? If Satan has something in you, you have a very big problem and that problem is worse than the one who has all of Satan in them because they are cold, in the world, and they have more of a chance of recognizing their condition than you do. God wants you to see what you are like. How do you know? How do you gauge whether the old man is in you or not? Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20) Whatever fruit you have in your life is how you are going to know your condition. You may say, “I have some good fruit, so I must be all right.” If you have any consistently bad fruit, you have a big problem. In that area, Jesus is not your master, and you are a slave to Satan.

Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.… Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:30-35).

If you have a corrupt, evil heart then corrupt things are going to come out. If you have a good heart then good things are going to come out. So, how do you know if you have a good tree or a bad tree? It is very simple, what is coming out in your life? You know more than anyone what is coming out. You can see if you are continually battling with the same old thing. Satan has just been working this thing over and over again because it is successful. He is able to get you to fall on this point over and over again. If this is happening in your life you’ve got a problem, and it is your evil heart. It is that corrupt tree that is just continually bearing corrupt fruit. If you want to have good fruit you are going to have to switch trees. It is not going to work any other way. You cannot reform that tree. Lay the axe to the root.

Don’t deny the Lord

Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32, 33). How do you deny the Lord? You saw how Peter did it in a very open, bold way. Can you deny Him in any other way? Paul lamented, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16). You deny Him by what you do, it doesn’t have to be by what you say. You can say all of the nice words, but if you deny Him by what you do you are denying the Lord and He’s going to have to deny you at the end. That’s why He says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). That is the only way you are going to make it, friends. And you cannot do the will of the Father unless you have His Spirit within you. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13).

Deny yourself; get rid of that old man. Refuse to acknowledge his existence in your life. Come to God and ask Him for a new heart. That is the only way you can take up your cross, that old man has to die.

Ask God, “Father, put that old man to death and give me a new heart.” He will do it for you. The first step is to acknowledge your need. If you cannot see your need you will not get help because you won’t even want it. All the while God is going to do everything in His power to get you to see your need. If you have been walking on the fence, you think you are in some middle ground, you think you’re okay and you’re just playing with this little bit of sin in your life for the last two or three years, or even ten years. You have to admit where you are. You are in that old tree experience, that old man condition, and you are not going to heaven like that. It is not going to magically change some day without coming to God and admitting your problem, and asking God for a new heart. (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). Time is not going to heal the problem, that will just make it worse.

Let us pray, “Our dear Father in heaven we come before you and we thank you so much for your love and your prodding. You said in your word, ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.’ (Revelation 3:19). Maybe today some of us have gotten a rebuke, but Father, we thank you for that, because if we did, we needed it. I pray that each of us would submit and surrender our lives to you 100%. You say in your word, ‘Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ (2 Corinthians 6:2). Father, if there is anyone reading this who recognizes that the old man is living in them, who wants to do, and is doing, their own thing, I pray, Father, that you would show them their condition. If there is anyone reading this who acknowledges this and wants a new heart, wants you in their life, I pray that they would ask and plead for a new heart. We know for certain that you will not turn them away, no matter what they have done, no matter how long they have been in this middle condition, you will accept them. Jesus promised, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’ (John 6:37). So, I pray that each of us would turn to you, not just today, but every day of our lives, that we would daily refuse this old man any existence in us. We commit ourselves to you, Father; we pray you will keep us. Keep us in this surrendered condition so that our lives would be simply a reflection of your character, your life flowing through us. We pray this in Jesus name; we thank you. Amen.”

Waggoner on Romans — The Gospel in Paul’s Great Letter  (Part 16)    by Ellet J. Waggoner

(We are continuing a series of articles commenting on Paul’s epistle to the Romans. We pray that they will be a blessing to you.    Editor)

Something Worth Knowing—Romans 8:26-28

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. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

“Praying in the Spirit”—The heart is deceitful above all things, and none can know it except God (Jeremiah 17:9, 10). That in itself is sufficient reason why we do not know what we should pray for.

Moreover, we do not know the things that God has to give us; and even if we did, our lips could not describe them, for “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 unto 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 2:9-12).

God desires to give to us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20). Of course a petition for such things can not be put into words. The next clause however says that it is “according to the power that worketh in us;” and the sixteenth verse tells us that the power that works in us is the Spirit. Thus we find the same thing that we read in the eighth of Romans and the second of 1 Corinthians.

“The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” Therefore the Spirit knows just what the Lord has for us. The deepest thoughts are too great for language, and so the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings that can not be uttered. But, although there is no articulate speech “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.” The Lord knows that the Spirit asks for just the things that He has to bestow. He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that whatever is asked according to God’s will is granted (1 John 5:14, 15).

Now note how this statement in regard to prayer fits in with what goes before in the eighth of Romans. God has given us His Spirit to be in us, to lead us, and to direct our lives. The possession of the Spirit of God proves that we are the sons of God. Being sons, we can come to Him to ask for things to supply our need, with all the confidence of a child to a parent. But while we have all confidence, our thoughts are as the earth is below the heaven (Isaiah 55:8, 9).

Not only are our thoughts feeble, but our language is still more so. We can not give proper expression even to the little that we do realize. But if we are the sons of God, we have in us His own representative, who helps our infirmity and who is able to take of the things of God to give to us. What wonderful confidence this should give us in praying to God; and especially should it give confidence to those who are particularly infirm in regard to language! It makes no difference if one has a very limited vocabulary, if he stammers, or even if he is dumb; if he prays in the Spirit, he is sure to receive all that he needs, and more than he can ask or think.

With these facts before us, how much more forcible becomes the exhortation of the apostle, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Ephesians 6:18).

All Things Work for Good—“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28). Without this knowledge we could not have that confidence in prayer that we ought to have and that is indicated in the preceding verses. Whoever knows the Lord must love Him, for He is love. And the Spirit reveals Him to us. Whoever knows that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), can not fail to love Him. And then all things work together for good to him.

Take notice that the text does not say that all things shall work together for good to them that love God, but that they do so work now in this present time. Everything as it comes is good to those who love and trust the Lord. Many people lose the blessing of this assurance by reading it as though it were for the future. They try to be resigned to troubles that come by thinking that by and by some good will come from them; but in that case they do not get the good that God gives them.

Note further that the text does not say that we know how all things work together for good to them that love God. People in trouble often sigh piously and say, “Well, I suppose that it is all for good, but I can’t see how.” Of course not; and they have no business to see how. It is God that makes them work good, because He alone has the power.

Therefore it is not necessary for us to know anything about how it is done. The fact is knowledge enough for us. God can overrule all the plans of the devil, and can make the wrath of man to praise Him. Our part is to believe. There is no trust in the Lord if we must see how He does everything. Those who must be able to see how the Lord works, show that they can not trust Him out of sight, and thus they give Him a bad name to the world.

Called of God—God has called everybody to come to Him. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17). God is no respecter of persons; He desires that all men shall be saved, and so He calls them all.

Not only does He call us, but He draws us. No man can come to Him without being drawn, and so Christ is lifted up to draw all to God. He tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9), and through Him all men have access to God. He has destroyed in His own body the enmity, the wall that separates men from God, so that nothing can keep any man from God unless that man builds up again the barrier.

The Lord draws us, but does not employ force. He calls, but does not drive. It remains therefore for us to make our “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10) by yielding to the influence that God throws round us. He says, “Follow me,” and we must make the calling effectual by following Him.

Purpose of the Calling—God calls us “in the grace of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6). “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4). Still further, we read that He hath “called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9). In our text in Romans we learned that those who love God are the “called according to his purpose.” His purpose is that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. If we yield to His purpose, He will see that it is carried out.

God designed man for a companion for Himself. But there is no true companionship where there is restraint. Therefore, in order that man might associate with Him on terms of intimacy, He made the will of man as free as His own. God can not work against His own purpose; and therefore He not only will not, but He can not, force the will of man. All men are as absolutely free to choose as is God Himself; and when they choose to yield to the call of God, His purpose of grace is wrought out in them by the power by which He is able to make all things work together for good.

We have learned about our relation to God through the Spirit, and of the help which the Spirit gives us in prayer, as well as of the assurance that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” The grounds for that assurance are infinitely strengthened in the verses that follow.

The Unspeakable Gift—
Romans 8:29-32

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Foreknowledge vs. Foreordination—The word “predestinate” is the same as “foreordain.” Volumes of speculation have been written about these terms, but a few words are sufficient to set forth the facts. With respect to these, as well as the other attributes of God, it is sufficient for us to know the fact. With the explanation we have nothing to do.

It is plainly set forth in the Scriptures that God knows all things. Not only does he know the things that are past, but he sees the future as well. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:18). “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off.” (Psalm 139:1, 2). Thus God can tell what people even yet unborn will do and say.

This does not make God responsible for the evil that they do. Some have foolishly thought it necessary to apologize for the Lord and to relieve Him of the charge that if He is omniscient He is responsible for the evil if He does not prevent it, by saying that He could know if He wished, but that He chooses not to know many things. Such a “defense” of God is both foolish and wicked. It assumes that God would be responsible for the evil if He knew it beforehand and did not prevent it, and that in order not to be in a position to prevent it, He deliberately shuts His eyes from it. Thus their “defense” really puts the responsibility for all evil upon God. Not only so, but it limits Him. It makes Him like a man.

God knows all things, not by study and research as man learns the little he knows, but because He is God. He inhabits eternity. (Isaiah 57:15). We can not understand how this can be any more than we can understand eternity. We must accept the fact and be not only content, but glad, that God is greater than we. All time, past, present, and future, is the same to Him. It is always “now” with God.

The fact that God knew the evil that men would do, even before the foundation of the world, does not make Him responsible for it, any more than the fact that a man can see by means of a telescope what a man is doing ten miles distant makes him responsible for that other one’s actions. God has from the beginning set before people warnings against sin, and has provided them with all the necessary means for avoiding it; but He can not interfere with man’s right and freedom of choice without depriving him of his manhood and making him the same as a stick.

Freedom to do right implies freedom to do wrong. If a man were made so that he could not do wrong, he would have no freedom at all, not even to do right. He would be less than the brutes. There is no virtue in forced obedience, nor would there be any virtue in doing that which is right if it were impossible to do wrong. Moreover, there could be no pleasure or satisfaction in the professed friendship of two persons if one associated with the other just because he could not avoid it. The joy of the Lord in the companionship of His people is that they of their own free-will choose Him above all others. And that which is the joy of the Lord is the joy of His people.

The very ones who rail against God for not preventing the ills that He forsees since He is all-powerful, would be the very first to charge Him with cruelty if He did arbitrarily interfere with their freedom and make them do that which they do not choose. Such a course would make everybody unhappy and discontented. The wisest thing for us to do is to stop trying to fathom the ways of the Almighty, and accept the fact that whatever He does is right. “As for God, his way is perfect.” (Psalm 18:30).

What About Predestination?—The text shows that “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29). God’s thoughts toward men are thoughts of peace, and not of evil. (Jeremiah 29:11). He ordains peace for us. (Isaiah 26:12). We read nothing about men being foreordained to destruction; the only thing that God has predestinated is that men should be conformed to the image of His Son.

But it is only in Christ that we become conformed to His image. It is in Him that we come “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13). Therefore it is that men are foreordained or predestinated only in Christ. The whole story is told in the following passage of Scripture:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6).

Everything is in Christ. We receive all spiritual blessings in Him; we are chosen in Him unto holiness; in Him we are predestinated unto the adoption of children; in Him we are accepted; and in Him we have redemption through His blood. “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

That is God’s purpose and foreordination concerning man. Still further, “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Whom did He foreknow? There can be no limit; He must have foreknown all. If there were any exception, then God would not be infinite in knowledge. If He foreknows one person, then He foreknows every person. There has not been a person born into the world whose birth God did not foreknow. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13).

Therefore, since every person has been known to God even before the foundation of the world, and those whom He foreknew He predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, it follows that God has purposed salvation for every soul that has ever come into the world. His love embraces all, without respect of persons.

“Then everybody will be saved, no matter what he does,” some one will say. Not by any means. Remember that the purpose of God is in Christ. It is only in Him that we are predestinated. And we are free to choose for ourselves whether we will accept Him or not. Man’s will has been forever set free, and God Himself will not presume to interfere with it. He holds sacred the choice and will of each individual. He will not carry out His own purpose contrary to man’s will. His will is to give man whatever man decides will best please Him.

So He sets before man life and death, good and evil, and tells him to choose which he will have. God knows what is best, and has chosen and prepared that for man. He has gone so far as to fix it beyond all possibility of failure, that man shall have that good thing if he chooses it. But the wonderful kindness and courteousness of the great God is seen in this, that He defers in everything to man’s wishes. If man, in his turn, will but defer to God’s wishes, there will be the most delightful and loving companionship between them.

Called, Justified, Glorified—“Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them be also glorified.” (Romans 8:30). This is completed action. We need not stumble over it, if we will but remember that everything is in Christ. In Christ we have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings. All men are called to that which God has prepared for them, but none are “the called according to his purpose” unless they have made their calling and election sure by submitting to His will. Such ones are predestinated to be saved. Nothing in the universe can hinder the salvation of any soul that accepts and trusts the Lord Jesus Christ.

And all such are justified. The death of Christ reconciles us to God. “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2). His death has secured pardon and life for all. Nothing can keep them from salvation except their own perverse will. Men must take themselves out of the hand of God, in order to be lost.

Much more, then, those who accept the sacrifice, are justified. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).

“And whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Have we not read in the prayer of Christ for His disciples, not only for those who were with Him in the garden, but also for all them that should believe on Him through their word and therefore for us, “The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them”? (John 17:22). Peter said that he was a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. God has left nothing undone. Everything that Christ has we have if we accept Him. All that remains is that it should be revealed. “The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:19). When God asks concerning His people, “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” (Isaiah 5:4), who shall presume to say that there is something that He has overlooked?

All Things Are Ours—But we have anticipated the apostle. Hear him: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

"How shall he not?" That is, How can He avoid giving us all things? In giving Christ for and to us, God could not do otherwise than give us all things, “for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16, 17).

“Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). This, then, answers the question, “Who can be against us?” Everything is for us. “All things are for your sakes.” (2 Corinthians 4:15).

A general once telegraphed to the seat of government, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” This is what every child of God is privileged to say. “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

“This is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4). This is what makes us know that all things work together for good to them that love God. No matter how dark and forbidding the things may seem, if we are in Christ, they are for us, and not against us.

We come now to the close of the eighth chapter of Romans. It is the Pisgah of the epistle, for from it the eye of faith sees the promised land a certainty. Perhaps at this point a very brief summary of the ground already passed over may be profitable. The following is perhaps about as briefly as it can be put.

(To be continued)

(This article was taken from a series of articles printed in The Signs of the Times from October, 1895 through September, 1896. Some editing has been done for this publication.    Editor)

Upcoming Meetings in Your Area

Here is the currently-planned 2007 itinerary for Lynnford Beachy:

June 30    Newark, Ohio, contact Steve or Lorinda Sutton, 740-763-0155.

July 6, 7    Cleveland, Ohio, contact Willis Smith, 216-271-9045.

July 11-15    Northwestern Pennsylvania Camp Meeting, contact Calvin Bickel, 814-676-8660.

July 20, 21    Cadillac, Michigan, contact Rick Jaroh, 231-862-3344.

July 27, 28    Wilson, Michigan (UP), contact Jim Pierce, 906-639-2166.

New-July 29    Oxford, Wisconsin, contact Barb Spencer, 608-369-2423.

Aug. 4    Bemidji, Minnesota, contact Bob Talios, 352-219-8503.

Aug. 17-19    Joliet, Montana, contact George Kerr, 406-446-1414.

Aug. 24, 25    Eureka, Montana, contact Colette Konschuh, 406-889-3242.

Sep. 1    Wenatchee, Washington, contact Eldon Noyes, 509-782-3192.

Sep. 15    Ontario, Oregon (in a prison), contact Lynnford Beachy, 304-633-5411 (Cingular Cell Phone).

Sep. 28-Oct. 1    Rainier, Oregon Camp Meeting, contact Kristen Dreyer, 503-556-4190.

Between these meetings we will be available to visit people in their homes and to have additional meetings. Check upcoming issues of Present Truth (available on our website) to keep informed about these meetings and others in your area. If you would like to host meetings in your area, please contact us. (See contact information on page 12.)

Many of these meetings will be broadcast live over the Internet and by telephone conference. To listen to these sermons go to www.skype.com, download and install the free software, then click on the “Explore the skypecasts directory” link on the Skype homepage. You will see a list of all of the skypecasts available at that particular time. You can also check those “Starting soon,” in case you arrive early. Look for the broadcast entitled “God’s Love on Trial.” Often we will be broadcasting at seven o’clock Friday evening, eleven o’clock Sabbath morning, and Sabbath afternoon and evening at three and seven o’clock. (These are local times for wherever I am scheduled to speak, currently mountain time. You can also call from any phone (long distance charges may apply). In the US call: 605-475-8590, Austria: 0820 4000 1574, Belgium: 070 35 9989, Spain: 0902 886 051, Switzerland: 0848 560 195, Ireland: 0818 270 034, Italy: 0848 390 175, France: 0826 100 277, Germany: 01805 00 7649, Australia: 61 283 078 824, UK: 0870 738 0763, Netherlands: 0870 001 932. You will be prompted to dial this room number: 5225823. You can dial directly from Skype at: +990008275225823. (When you use Skype, it is a free call from anywhere in the world.) I often will be broadcasting using my cell phone, and while I am still able to broadcast our meetings over the Internet, they will not be listed in the Skype directory unless someone can help me do this. If you have a highspeed Internet connection, and would like to help with these broadcasts, please let me know (you do not need to be at the meetings to help). You can call me at 304-633-5411.

Pennsylvania Camp Meeting

Seed of Truth Ministries is hosting the first northwestern Pennsylvania camp meeting. For those who plan to attend, this is a tent-style camp meeting. Please bring camping equipment, such as: tents, sleeping bags, eating utensils, food, coolers, etc. For those who may need it, there is a natural food store in Cranberry, approximately seven miles from the camp meeting. Maps to the store and shopping areas will be made available at the camp meeting.

To get to the camp meeting take Interstate 80 to exit 29 in Pennsylvania. This is the Barkeyville, Franklin, Oil City exit. You will be on Route 8. Take this road north to Oil City. As you come into Oil City Route 62 turns off to the right. Follow it over a bridge to the second traffic light and turn left and follow 62 for three miles and turn right on Route 157 (Strawberry Delight ice cream). Take this road three miles and turn right on Heckathorn Church Road for 1.25 miles. Turn left on Autumn Haze Lane and find 161 Autumn Haze Lane.

For those who may need to do some shopping on the way take Route 8 north to Franklin. In Franklin Routes 8, 62, & 322 will all run together for a short distance, follow 322 thru Franklin. After leaving Franklin you will travel 6.5 miles to Cranberry, you will find a Wal-Mart on your right. Also you will see two strip malls, The one behind McDonald’s has God’s Little Garden Natural Food Store. God’s Little Garden is our outreach to the public and you can get directions to camp meeting from there. There are also a few hotels in the area. (Holiday Inn: 814-677-2640, Arlington Hotel: 814-677-1221.) Visit our temporary web site at www.seed-of-truth.freehosting.net for a camp meeting schedule.


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Present Truth is published monthly by Present Truth Ministries. It is sent free upon request. Duplication of these papers is not only permitted but strongly encouraged, as long as our contact information is retained. Present Truth is available online at www.presenttruth.info.

Editor: Lynnford Beachy, PO Box 315, Kansas, OK 74347, USA. Phone: (304) 633-5411, E-mail: webnewsletters@presenttruth.info.

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