"Controlling The Self"

“CONTROLLING THE SELF” (2 Pet. 1:5-8)

INTRODUCTION

1. As people seek to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ

    (2 Pe 1:5-8)...

    a. They begin with the foundation of faith:

        1) A strong conviction and trust

        2) In both God and Jesus Christ

    b. To which they add the quality of virtue:

        1) A desire for excellence

        2) Striving to become all that Jesus desires of them

    c. All the while increasing in knowledge:

        1) Gaining awareness and understanding through study and

             experience

        2) Especially regarding the will of God and the way of salvation

2. As knowledge increases, they are to add self-control (temperance,

    KJV); which makes sense...

    a. What good is it to grow in knowledge of good and evil...

    b. ...if we do not have the ability to make proper use of such

        knowledge?

3. As we continue our lessons on “A Closer Walk with God” let us to  

    look closer at adding this characteristic of “self control” to our lives

    because it vital to our being able to walk more closely with God. But  

    what exactly is self-control, and how do we add it to our lives?

    Let's take a closer look at self-control...

DISCUSSION

I. THE DEFINITION OF SELF-CONTROL

A. THE GREEK WORD IS ENKRATEIA...

     1. From the word kratos, meaning "strength"

     2. As defined by various scholars:

         a. "one holding himself in" (Robertson)

         b. "the virtue of one who masters his desires and passion,

             especially his sensual appetites" (Thayer)

         c. "Where this virtue subsists (abides), temptation can have

              little influence" (MacKnight)

B. AS FOUND IN THE NT...

     1. Ac 24:25 - "the word follows 'righteousness', which represents

         God's claims, self-control being man's response thereto" (Vine)

     2. Ga 5:23 - it is an element of that fruit born by one who is

         walking by the Spirit

     3. Tit 1:8 - required of one who would serve as an elder

     4. 2Pe 1:6 - "it follows 'knowledge', suggesting that what is

         learned requires to be put into practice" (Vine)

[Self-control is therefore the discipline of one's self so as to live in

harmony with the knowledge of right and wrong that one has.  The

importance of self-control is seen as we consider...]

II. THE DEMAND FOR SELF-CONTROL

A. REQUIRED TO BE CHRIST'S DISCIPLE...

     1. Denial of self necessary to follow Jesus - Lk 9:23

     2. It is an important element of what God's grace teaches us - Ti

         2:11-12

      -- One cannot be a disciple of Jesus without exercising self-

         control!

B. REQUIRED TO PREVENT APOSTASY...

     1. Paul realized the need to keep his body under control - 1Co 9:27

     2. Peter's condemnation of false teachers included their becoming

         enslaved again to the corruption that is in the world - cf.

         2Pe 2:19-20

      -- Just as an athlete must exercise self-control to win the race,

         so we must have self-control if we desire to obtain an

         imperishable crown - cf. 1Co 9:24-25

[Yet most would agree that controlling the self is easier said than

done.  Let's take a look at both the problem and the solution

regarding...]

III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF SELF-CONTROL

A. THE PROBLEM OF SELF-CONTROL...

     1. The challenge of controlling the self is seen throughout the

         scriptures

         a. It is easier to capture a city than to control the spirit!

             - Pr 16:32

         b. The tongue is just one example of how hard self-control can

              be - Jm 1:26; 3:2-10

     2. This challenge is faced by all men

         a. By those outside of Christ (illustrated in Paul's own life)

             1) His dilemma as one who tried to follow the Law of Moses

                 - Ro 7:14

                 a) He does that which he knows is wrong - Ro 7:15-17

                 b) He fails to do that which he knows is right - Ro 7:

                      18-19

             2) He was imprisoned by his own body! - Ro 7:22-24

                  a) He couldn't control self

                  b) Self controlled him!

         b. Even for those in Christ

             1) The battle rages on

                  a) There is a conflict between the Spirit and our flesh

                      - Ga 5:16-17

                  b) There is a war that wages between the flesh and the

                      soul - 1Pe 2:11

             2) Yet there is hope!

                 a) Hope in Christ, as Paul intimates - Ro 7:24-25

                 b) We are no longer indebted to live after the flesh

                     - Ro 8:12

                 c) Those in Christ have crucified the flesh - Ga 5:24

      -- The problem is real, yet the solution comes as we "crucify"  

          the flesh

B. THE SOLUTION FOR SELF-CONTROL...

     1. It begins in baptism

         a. In baptism, our body of sin is put to death as we are buried

             into the death of Christ - Ro 6:3-6

        b. As we rise from baptism, we are now free to live for God

            - Ro 6:7,12-13

        c. Not that we are no longer tempted, but are free from the

            dominion (rule) of sin - cf. Ro 6:14

        d. Note the contrast between one outside of Christ, and one in

            Christ:

            1) Outside of Christ - cf. Ro 7:23-24

            2) In Christ - cf. Ro 8:12; 6:14

         -- In baptism we are set free from the dominion of sin; the

            battle may not be over, but now it can be won!

     2. It continues as we are led by the Spirit

         a. Without the Spirit's help, we will die spiritually - Ro 8:

             12-13

         b. Walking in the Spirit, we will not succumb to the lust of

             the flesh - Ga 5:16-18

         c. How does the Spirit lead us?

             1) When we set our mind on the things of the Spirit- cf. Ro 8:5

             2) The "things of the Spirit" include that truth He was sent

                 to reveal - Jn 16:13

         -- The degree to which we set our minds on what the Spirit

             has revealed (i.e., the Word of God), to that degree we are

             led by the Spirit!

     3. It continues as we are empowered by the Spirit

         a. We can do whatever God wills with His help - Php 4:13; 2:

             12-13

         b. The Spirit is His agent by which He empowers us - cf. Ep 3:

             16,21

         c. How does the Spirit empower us?

             1) Certainly the Word helps, as it is the sword of the

                 Spirit - cf. Ep 6:17

             2) Prayer also, as Paul prayed for the Ephesians - cf. Ep 3:16

         -- What is important is not how the Spirit empowers, but that

             He does, and that we seek His strength through the Word

             and prayer!

[By crucifying the flesh through our union with Christ in baptism, and

then Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered, self-control will be a natural

fruit born by the Christian, Ga 5:22-23).  Finally, some thoughts in

regards to...]

IV. THE DISPLAY OF SELF-CONTROL

A. THE PROPER EXERCISE OF SELF-CONTROL...

     1. We are to bring the body under subjection - cf. 1Co 9:27

     2. We are to deny ourselves ungodliness and worldly lusts - cf. Ti

          2:11-12; 2Ti 2:22

     3. We are not to be in bondage to anything, even that which lawful

         - cf. 1Co 6:12

     4. We should be willing to deny self in service to others

         a. Denying one's pride - cf. Php 2:3-4

         b. Denying one's liberty to help the weak - cf. 1Co 8:9-13;

             Ro 14:14-21

      -- Controlling the self means not only the body, but also the

          ego!

B. THE IMPROPER EXERCISE OF SELF-CONTROL...

     1. Paul warned against the wrong kind of self-control - Col 2:20-23

         a. Restrictions based upon human traditions

         b. Limitations that neglect the body

         -- Such might appear wise, but really don't limit the

            indulgence of the flesh

     2. Paul foretold that this would be a sign of a general apostasy

         - 1Ti 4:1-5

         a. Not allowing marriage

         b. Not eating certain meats

         -- Such might appear spiritual, but is contrary to the truth

CONCLUSION

1. In order for us to have “A Closer Walk with God” we must develop

    “self-control” in our lives. Controlling the self is a natural

    component to growing in the knowledge of Jesus (2 Pet. 1:5-8)...

    a. As faith without works is dead, so faith without self-control is

        meaningless

    b. Striving for excellence (virtue) is not possible without the

        discipline of self-control

    c. Increasing in knowledge is nothing but an academic exercise,

        unless we are able to apply that knowledge by exercising self-

        control

2. As we seek to develop self-control in our lives...

    a. Remember the promise of our baptism (a new life free from sin's

        dominion!)

    b. Walk after the Spirit (by setting your mind on the things of the

        Spirit)

    c. Be empowered by the Spirit through the Word of God and prayer

3. Be careful to properly channel what self-control is developed...

    a. Not to follow human traditions, nor to seek the praise of men

    b. But to humbly pursue godliness, and serve our fellow man

3. In this way we develop that Christ-like character, coming to truly

    Know Him who through self-control offered Himself in service to

    His Father and for sinners.