Dr. Gray Sr.
Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Leadership is multi-faced and a complex combination of personalities and passions. Followers are only as productive as the leadership with the ability to connect and not be in disconnect is a key factor. The idea is to translate Scriptural leadership principles into the followers’ life in order to produce a transformation. Leaders have an inherent problem of being so right so much of the time they begin to think they are right all the time.
The ability to provide Scriptural precepts to build upon is critical while being able to take suggestions and even correction from follower and leader alike. The communication must remain open and comfortable to both the leader and the follower. When this grows into a “co-worker” relationship and the “command” is not a “demand,” but a healthy respect for the leader then we have accomplished what God intended.
Genesis 18:19, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep thy way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”
Abraham carried himself in such a manner with his relationship to the Lord that he was able to “command” not “demand” of his children and his household. They were in awe of him and thus followed him. Abraham denied himself in order to live in obedience to his Lord. Denial is the catalyst that creates this bond between leader and follower. Never forget this great truth for it is God that magnifies men in the sight of men! The question is what must man do in order to have this happen?
God has many thrones. He is called King of glory for example. Jesus is called the King Salem, King of kings, King of Israel, King of Judah, King eternal, King of the Jews, King of Zion, peace, righteousness, forever, King of old, King everlasting, King whose name is the Lord, King of Heaven, mighty King, my Lord the King, Lord and King, and everlasting King. All of these are thrones on which our Saviour seats, crowns that our Saviour wears, and all of these are scepters, which our Saviour holds.
Our Scripture says, “Let him deny himself.” Deny meaning to overthrow, dethrone, or have a military coup. Thus, God is saying when a man denies himself he is stepping down from the throne of his life because he is overthrowing himself. He is impeaching himself. He is overthrowing himself. He is leading a coup against himself.
Thus, Jesus is saying if you want to follow me and lead others you must deny yourself. If you want to come after me and follow me the first thing you have to do is to deny yourself, step down off the throne of your life, impeach yourself, lead a coup against yourself, and overthrow yourself. That is the first thing a follower who leads must do.
YOUR LIFE IS A KINGDOM
Please take note of this. Your life and my life is a kingdom, and that kingdom has a ruler. Something rules your kingdom. It may be a sport such as basketball, football, golf, bowling, volleyball, or tennis. God is saying lead a coup against that person or thing seating on your throne so you can follow and eventually lead. God is saying overthrow, impeach, give up your throne, or anything that is on your throne ruling your kingdom. God’s desire is for Jesus be the King on the throne of your life and allow him to rule your kingdom.
Maybe success has ruled your life and makes all of the decisions in your kingdom. Jesus is saying dethrone success, overthrow success, lead a coup against success, impeach success and have it step down off of the throne of your kingdom and permit Jesus to seat on the throne of your kingdom.
It may be position that is on the throne of your kingdom, and this position is ruling your kingdom making the decisions for your kingdom. God says have position step down, abdicate, and overthrown with you leading the coupe. God is saying put the King of kings back on the throne of your kingdom.
It may be the appetite of food, sex, sleep, or some other physical appetite, but God says force appetite off of the throne of your kingdom. God says have appetite give up the throne and overthrow appetite and put Jesus back on the throne of your kingdom.
It may be making money is the ruler of your kingdom. The king of your kingdom may be money. Maybe accumulating possessions is the king of your life and possessions make all of the decisions for your kingdom. God is saying step down money and let the King of kings back on the throne of this kingdom. God is saying possessions step down and let the King of glory back on the throne of this kingdom of yours.
It may be a business is the ruler of your kingdom, and it makes all of the decisions of your life. My friend, it is time for a revolt! It is time to lead a coupe! It is time to overthrow the ruler. It is time to have the business step down so that Jesus can step up to his rightful place on the throne of your kingdom.
It may be academics that rules your kingdom, or music may be the one who rules, or friends, or the world that rule, but whoever or whatever it is it is time for a revolution. God is saying to his children give up the throne, overthrow the ruler, lead a coup against the ruler, and saying to whoever or whatever is ruling your kingdom to step down and let Jesus rule and reign.
Our Lord is anticipating that day when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ the very Son of God. He is anticipates that day when he shall be crowned as King of kings and we shall sing, “All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostrate fall” and “Bring forth the royal diadem and crown him Lord of all.”
He has anticipated that day ever since they made for him a wooden throne, a walking stick for a scepter, a borrowed overcoat for a royal robe, a crown of thorns for a diadem, a mock sign over his head that said “Hail King of the Jews,” and they took the stick using it to smote him on the head acting like his subjects bowing mockingly on their knees.
Ever since that day the King of kings and Lord of lords has looked forward to that day when we shall crown him Lord of lords and King of kings and he shall reign and rule on earth for a thousand years. Jesus anticipated that day ever since he rode into Jerusalem on that donkey with multitudes spreading their garments in the way strewing branches in his path crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Jesus knew on what they called Palm Sunday that on that day those same tongues in a few hours would cry, “Crucify him! Free Barabbas! Crucify Jesus!” He full well knew that those who would throw branches before him throwing their garments before him on the streets of Jerusalem in just a few hours those same hands would crucify him.
He anticipated that day would come when he would seat on the throne of David, but until then he wants to sit on the throne of your kingdom. Oh yes, he will seat on the throne of David one day as ruler of the entire world, but the throne he desires most is the throne of your kingdom. Until you follow, you cannot lead!
Jesus anticipate that day when Russian shall attack little Israel, and the way the world events are shaping up it will not be long. He full well knows that along with Russia will come Turkey, Libya, Iran, Germany, and other countries that will join in the attack on little Israel. He also knows that America will come to the rescue of Israel. He also knows the Revived Roman Empire, the Western Confederacy, and the European Common Market will join in with America to come to defend Israel.
These will fight Russia, Turkey, Germany, Iran, Libya, and others in defense of little Israel. He full well knows that America and the Western Confederacy will win that battle. Then all of a sudden here comes reinforcements from the East with the Euphrates river drying up and from the East comes China and Japan to join Russia to fight Israel for the oil. This will be the great end-time battle of the tribulation period.
Our Lord full well knows that in that time the Western Powers will conquer the North, South, and East with the Western powers ending up as rulers. The Anti-Christ will then appear on the scene to rule with the man of sin conquering the earth.
The Anti-Christ will look toward the South and say, “I’ve conquered the South!” He will look toward the East and say, “I’ve conquered the East!” He will look toward the West and say, “I’ve conquered the West!” He will look toward the North and say, “I’ve conquered the North!” but there is one place he forgot to look … toward heaven! Up in the heavenlies there is coming someone riding on a white horse. He is called the King of kings, Lord of lords, and he shall come not with a little old nuclear bomb, or Atom bomb, but with his word he will conquer the Anti-Christ and the man of sin.
It is with his word that Jesus has done everything he has done. The stars that shine tonight were placed there by his word. The moon that shines tonight was placed there by his word. The sun that set this afternoon was placed there by his word. The oceans, the lakes, the rills, the rivers, and the waters of the world were placed there by his word.
Jesus will come back to earth and will put down the Anti-Christ! How will he do it? He will do it with his words! He will do it for out of his mouth with his words he will defeat the man of sin! My friend, if that is what will bring the ultimate and final victory then certainly his words will work for you and I Monday through Sunday?
Let it be known to the whole world that the great churches in America and around the world were not built on personality, or humor, or gimmicks, for every great Scriptural local church has been built around and on the very words of God. Our Lord knew full well that he would be crowned as King of kings and Lord of lords.
He who came on a donkey will come on a white horse. He who came to be crucified will come to be crowned. He who was on a throne of wood will come to be on the throne of David. He who was hated shall be loved. He who was rejected shall be accepted. He who was taken from us shall return to us. He who died and ascended shall descent and defeat the forces of Satan.
Hold it, even though Jesus anticipated that day and though he looks forward to that day and though he full well knows he will seat on the throne of David there is still one throne he wants to seat on now. That throne if the throne of your kingdom!
He desires to rule your kingdom, but there is one problem. That problem is Jesus refuses to overthrow the one who seats on the throne of your kingdom. He asks us to choose to abdicate. He asks us to overthrow ourselves. He asks us to hold a coup against ourselves. He asks us to dethrone ourselves. He is asking us to step down voluntarily ourselves.
JESUS WILL NOT OVERTHROW THE ONE ON YOUR THRONE
Do not miss this! Jesus will NOT overthrow the one on the throne of your kingdom. Jesus will NOT challenge the one who seats on the throne of your kingdom. Jesus refuses to lead a coup against the one sitting on the throne of your kingdom. Jesus will not call for the forces of Heaven to come and kick whoever or whatever is sitting on the throne of your kingdom.
Jesus simply asks us to “Deny ourselves!” He asks us to abdicate, dethrone, step down, overthrow, or have a coup against ourselves. “If any man will come after me let him deny himself, or dethrone himself, or overthrow himself, or step down himself, or lead a coup against himself, or revolt against himself.”
There it is! That is the secret! Let Jesus have the throne he desires more than the throne of David at this moment in time. There is no way we can lead others until we are led, not by ourselves, but by the King of kings and Lord of lords. This throne is the one we have been sitting on, ruling from, and controlling from the kingdom of our life.
Jesus anticipates the day when he will take the keys of death and unlock the grave coming out alive for evermore. Jesus anticipates his arrival back home where no longer will he walk the dusty shores of Judea, no longer will he have no place to lay his head, while foxes go to their holes and birds fly to their nests.
No longer will Jesus be a man of sorrows acquainted with grief and rejected. He looks forward to returning home. He said, “Father, restore unto me the joy which I had with thee before the world was.” Wow! What a great anticipation, but more than that he anticipates you and I stepping down off of the throne of our kingdom and having the ability to be able to sit down on the throne of the kingdom of our life.
Show me anywhere in the scriptures where it says, “Seek ye second the kingdom of God.” Show me anywhere in the Scriptures where it says, “Part to Jesus I surrender.” No sir, “All to Jesus I surrender is the theme of the Bible.” God has every right to rule in our lives, and when he rules, we can rule. Until then none of us are qualified to rule! However, there is an obstacle, and it is you and I!
Jesus anticipated the day when the prophecy of Daniel chapter 2 is fulfilled, when the dreams of that great Image of head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet of iron and clay with each representing a kingdom of power. However, then it says there comes a stone cut out without hands that will break the legs of Iron and clay, that stone is the Rock of Ages cleft for me. The stone cut out without hands is Jesus Christ himself.
He is the one who will break in pieces the Western Power, the Northern Power, the Eastern Power, and Jesus shall reign where ere the sun does its successive journeys run. His kingdom shall spread from shore to shore till moon shall wax and wane no more. Jesus anticipates that day. Jesus desires that day, but more than that he desires to seat on the throne of our kingdoms.
The Anti-Christ has no choice. The man of sin has no choice. The Western Powers have no choice. The Northern Powers have no choice. The Eastern Powers have no choice. Hell has no choice. Satan has no choice. The imps of Hell have no choice. Russia has no choice. Iran has no choice. Germany has no choice. Turkey has no choice. China has no choice. Japan has no choice. Libya has no choice. USA has no choice. European Common Market has no choice. Egypt has no choice. HOWEVER, YOU AND I DO!
Jesus refuses to overthrow you and I off of the throne of our kingdom. Jesus desires to rule in the lives of grade school children, junior high students, senior high students, college age, young married couples, middle age couples, old married couples, widows, widowers, divorced, bus riders, mission men, choir members, ushers, deacons, staff, teachers, staff, the pastoral staff, and the pastor. However, Jesus will not overthrow whoever, or whatever is on the throne of your kingdom.
Jesus knew and anticipated the day when he would walk through the gates of pearl into the Holy City. Jesus anticipates walking through those gates of pearl upheld by the foundations of precious stones. Jesus knew full well he would walk down golden streets someday by the river of life.
He knew and anticipated that city where tears were outlawed, sorrow expelled, pain crucified, night executed, where sin has expired, sickness will become wellness, heartache will be broken, loneliness will become lonely, sadness will become sad, bereavement will bereave, poverty will become impoverished, death will die, and he will be the main attraction.
Jesus anticipates that day, but much more than that he anticipates ruling your kingdom from your throne given to him by you and not taken by him from you!
Jesus anticipates that day of the Judgment Seat of Christ where he shall give the redeemed their crowns. They will be crowns for suffering, service, soul winning, faithfulness, and loving the appearing of Jesus. He will place those crowns upon the heads of the redeemed, but we will not keep them very long for we will in unison throw them at the feet of our Saviour. The redeemed will begin to sing, “Thou art worthy, Oh Lord to receive glory and honor and power and dominion.”
However, there is something he desires more, and that is that he be allowed to rule from the throne of our kingdoms. There is an obstacle! The obstacle is whoever or whatever is sitting on the throne of our kingdom currently and that is why Jesus said, “deny thyself” or “dethrone thyself,” or “overthrow thyself,” or “have a coup against thyself,” or “revolt against thyself,” or “voluntarily step down from off of your throne yourself.”
Each of us has a life, an empire, or a kingdom and Jesus desires to rule that life, empire, or kingdom. Jesus refuses to lead the coupe, the revolt, the revolution, or the dethroning. He simply waits for you and I to “deny thyself.”
When you and I say, “What’s wrong with…?” then we are still on the throne of our kingdom. When we say, “Well I just don’t see any harm in doing…!” then we are still sitting on the throne of our empire.
There are many things in our lives that are weights and not sin that hinder us. The Scripture says, “Lay aside every weight…”
In Revelation chapter 5 there is a seven-sealed book that is the deed to the earth. No man on earth, no man beneath the earth, and no man above the earth were worthy to open this seven-sealed book. Then someone said, “There stood a Lamb in the midst.” This is the same Lamb of which John the Baptist on the banks of the Jordan River pointed to and said, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” This Lamb stands up, he opens the book of the title deed, the mortgage is paid off, and the title deed is the Lamb’s again for he is worthy!
Finally the title deed is paid off, the mortgage is burned, Jesus holds in his hands the title deed, and certainly Jesus anticipates that day, but as wonderful would be if you and I would step down voluntarily, dethrone voluntarily, and deny voluntarily removing ourselves off of the throne of our kingdoms.
JESUS DESIRES THE THRONE OF OUR KINGDOM
Jesus wants the throne of our kingdom more than the throne of David. He wants to reign in our lives more than he wants to reign for a thousand years. In Revelation chapter 7 we have, “Amen and blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be unto our God for ever and ever.”
What a wonderful day that will be when the Hugh Heffner’s will have to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord, when Zondervan will have to confess the King James Bible is the only real Scripture for the English speaking people, when the new morality crowd, when the humanist, when the Kennedys, when the Clintons, when the Gores, and all the rest of the liberalist will have to bow confessing that Jesus is the Christ!
Hold it! There is something Jesus desires more than that, and that is YOU! He wants to rule your life and by the way you are the only obstacle he has between him ruling the whole world and ruling your world. He wants you! Why? He wants to rule your life! Why? So you can not only follow but also lead. You will avoid self-destruction and help others to victory while being victorious yourself!
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“I don't like to hear cut and dried sermons. No - when I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees.” - Abraham Lincoln
"We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results." ~R.A. Torrey