I. Selfishness is a problem that has plagued men since the beginning of time.
A. Genesis 3:6 - "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, (For her body) and that it was pleasant to the eyes (whose eyes? Hers!), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (Who would be wise? She would be!), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
B. From this time on, selfishness had taken root with men! (II Timothy 3:2)
II. Selfishness still plagues men today.
A. Why would a husband/wife leave their spouse and children? Selfishness!
B. Why would someone destroy their body with drugs? Destroy their mind by filling it with filth and lewd things? Destroy their influence in letting the world see them in various states of undress, filthy language, etc.? Selfishness!
III. I want us to take some time and study this subject. Let us look and see some examples from the Bible, and then find out what we can do to avoid this plague of selfishness.
I. SELFISHNESS IS A PROBLEM WE ALL FACE:
A. Selfishness - Combination of three words:
1) Self - "person or thing . . . individuality"
2) Ish - "belonging to, after the manner of, inclined or tending to" 3) Ness - "denoting quality or state" (Webster).
1. Therefore, selfishness is the quality or state of being concerned only for the things that are inclined toward, or belong to the individual, namely, me!
2. Selfishness has to do with personal interest.
3. By its very definition, we see that selfishness is a problem each of us individually must deal with and conquer if we are going to please God!
B. Any sin you want to talk about has at its root in selfishness:
1. Cain (Genesis 4:1-11). Why was God displeased? Because Cain offered what he wanted to offer, and not what pleased God. (Hebrews 11:4) He decided that the way to deal with God's displeasure, was not to change self, but to get rid of the one who did right!
2. David (II Samuel 11). After taking another man's wife, once he knew Bathsheba would have the baby, he decided to kill Uriah, and make it look like it was their legitimate baby. All of this was rooted in selfishness! (To look, to take one not his, to kill!)
3. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). Selfishness motivated them to keep part of the money for themselves, though they pretended to give all.
4. Demas (II Timothy 4:10). He put what he loved above God and everyone else!
C. What makes people do so many of the awful things they do to themselves and one another? (Gossip, murder, lie, drugs/alcohol, deny Christ, Not be baptized, denominations, false brethren . . . ) SELFISHNESS!
II. PRIDE AND SELFISHNESS GO HAND IN HAND:
A. Pride is one of the most basic weapons in Satan's arsenal (I John 2:15-16).
1. "The boastful pride of life" (NAS)
2. "The boasting of what he has and does" (NIV) 3. "Empty pomp (ostentatious, vain display) of life" (ABU)
B. What does pride do, but fuel the fire of selfishness?
1. Pride focuses on "I," on "me!" Remember:
a. Naaman was a man who almost let pride keep him from being healed (II Kings 5:1-14)
b. Haman's pride led him to the gallows (Esther 3-7)
2. This is not to mention the characters from Pt. #one:
a. Eve wished to have something to make her wise like God!
b. Cain thought any sacrifice was good enough.
c. David thought he could have any woman in the kingdom.
d. Demas thought what he loved was more important than what God loved.
3. With this in mind, is there any wonder that God so frequently warns us about the sin of pride? (Psalm 12:3-4, 18:27, 101:5, 119:21; Proverbs 6:16-17, 8:13; I Peter 5:5-6; James 4:6)
C. My pride can lead to selfishness, a rejection of God and His word, and an eternity in Hell. (Psalm 10:4, 6)
III. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO STOP THIS PROBLEM?
A. I must realize and confess that I am selfish. No one will be serious about fixing any problem if they think they don't have it!
B. Realize how I compare with God.
1. I am finite, I am nothing! He is infinite and everything! If I can ever get that through my thick skull, I will be looking for ways to stop serving self and start serving God!
2. Description of God:
a. Isaiah 40:12, 15-16
b. Isaiah 55:8-9 (Jeremiah 10:23)
c. Amos 4:13
d. Genesis 1, 2 (Spoke all things into existence.)
3. Once we get this picture in our mind, perhaps we will understand better why people trembled and hid when they heard the voice of God (Exodus 20:18-21). Or, why they said they would die if they saw even an angel God (Yes: Exodus 33:20; But: Judges 6:22-23, 13:22; etc.)
4. We see a picture of ourselves as we consider this description of God. May it humble us!
C. Understand that selfishness is detrimental to my soul:
1. Generally, if people do things that hurt themselves or family members, they usually will not continue in that for very long if they love them.
2. What could hurt people more than our continued focus on ourselves, and excluding others, including our Savior? (If self is coming first, our Lord is not! Prime example: Matt 19:21-22)
3. The inspired will of God talks about selfishness is terms no one could misunderstand:
a. Genesis 4:9 Yes, we are!
b. Proverbs 28:27
c. Romans 15:1-3 (Was Christ selfish?)
d. I Corinthians 10:24 - "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being."
e. Galatians 6:2
f. Philippians 2:4
g. I John 3:17
4. Based on these passages, we know that to continue in selfishness is a sin! Sin destroys!
I. May we have the attitude of Christ, not seeking what we want, but serving God, and considering others better than ourselves! "Self is forgotten in his single aim to save others." How are we doing along this line?
II. Come Now.
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