How to Empty Self - Discover the Book Ministries


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How to Empty Self



This morning we are continuing our examination of the Spirit filled Walk. Walking in the Spirit is best described in our text this morning, Romans 8. Before we read that, let me use the world around us to describe what God wants to do to the world within us.

The Miraculous Physical Power of Flight

It was 1903 and two young men stood perched on a sand dune overlooking the Atlantic. The place Kitty Hawk, NC on the outer banks. The boys we remember as Wilbur and Orville Wright. They were launching a 40 foot long frame that weighed barely 750 pounds. In a brief 12 second flight of less than a 120 feet the Wright Brothers became the fathers of modern aviation.

This morning imagine a gleaming metal object sat on our parking lot. This metallic tube is 185.7726 feet long, 65.2833 feet high, wings spreading 194.544 feet wide, and weighing in at and incredible fully loaded weight of 899, 490 pounds!

317520 kg


59.6 m wide


feet wide
20 m high


feet high
56.3 m long


feet long

That object is called today a Boeing 747-400. In 1903 there would have been no wildest imagination that such an object weighing (fully loaded) 899, 490 pounds could ever fly. Strapped to the earth by sheer weight and the law of gravity, it would be impossible to ever think it could soar through thin air. But hundreds of times each day all over the world objects just like it do!

Do you ever feel like you are one of the Wright Brothers sitting at Kitty Hawk with an 899,490 pound hunk of metal on the sand trying to get it in the air? Trying to walk in the Spirit but glued to the ground?

Last week we found we are often overwhelmed at what amazing things those saints lived and did for God as we read over some of the more vivid parts of the New Testament. What were some of the words that came to our minds were unbelievable, incredible and unattainable. Isn’t that where most of us get to after a while? Unbelievable, incredible, but alas, unattainable for me!

Yes, the way to live an unbelievable, incredible life is found in God’s Word. In fact, one word sums up Peter’s life, Paul’s life and John’s life. This same word summarizes how the galaxy of 1st through 20th century saints have stood alone triumphantly for Christ. In fact, one word tells all there is about walking in the Spirit this morning. The secret they knew and followed was fullness of God’s Spirit.


I God Almighty command each and everyone of you to be filled continuously with my Spirit!

The Miraculous Spiritual Power of God

WALKING IN THE SPIRIT is living in the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, letting His mind, through the Word, dominate everything that is thought and done. Being filled with the Spirit is the same as walking LIKE Jesus did on earth!

  • Love. One of several Gr. words for love, agape , is the love of choice, respect, devotion, and affection that leads to willing, self-sacrificial service (John 15:13; Rom. 5:81 John 3:16, 17).
  • Joy. A happiness based on unchanging divine promises and eternal spiritual realities. Joy is not the result of favorable circumstances, and even occurs when those circumstances are the most painful and severe (John 16:20–22). Joy is a gift from God.
  • Peace. The inner calm that results from confidence in one’s saving relationship with Christ. Like joy, peace is not related to one’s circumstances (John 14:27; Rom. 8:28; Phil. 4:6, 7, 9).
  • Longsuffering.This is patience or the ability to endure injuries inflicted by others and the willingness to accept irritating or painful situations (Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:121 Tim. 1:15, 16).
  • Kindness. Tender concern for others, reflected in a desire to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats all believers (Matt. 11:28, 29; 19:13, 14; 2 Tim. 2:24).
  • Goodness. Moral and spiritual excellence manifested in active kindness, exemplifying goodness (6:10; 2 Thess. 1:11). faithfulness. Loyalty and trustworthiness (Lam. 3:22; Phil. 2:7–9; 1 Thess. 5:24;Rev. 2:10).
  • Gentleness. Better translated “meekness.” It is a humble and gentle attitude that is patiently submissive in every offense, while having no desire for revenge or retribution. In the NT, it is used to describe 3 attitudes: submission to the will of God (Col. 3:12), teachability (James 1:21), and consideration of others (Eph. 4:2).
  • Self-control. This refers to restraining passions and appetites (1 Cor. 9:252 Pet. 1:5, 6). no law. When a Christian walks by the Spirit and manifests His fruit, he needs no external law to produce the attitudes and behavior that please God (cf. Rom. 8:4). [1]

Our Desperate Need to be Liberated

You and I were all born chained down to this earth. The chains that bound us were the result of our inherited sins and then our own sinful choices from our earliest days. When we were saved we received the engines, fuel and wings to take off but so much hinders us doesn’t it?

Sometimes for us to ever think we could rise above the bondage of sin and death would be about as possible as the Wright Brothers sending a 747 aloft in 1903. There were some powerful secrets they had not yet discovered. That is much like the Spirit filled walk. God has laid down laws of for Walking in the Spirit. These are operative but must be applied.

But fullness presupposes something. What? Emptiness! To be filled we must be emptied of self. That is the hard part. God is flowing into us through the power of His Spirit rivers of love, joy and peace. But all that gets trapped, clogged and impeded by the wall of flesh we face every day in our lives. So what God offers is such an insatiable thirst for God in our lives that we seek out the constant filling of His Spirit to overflow our lives!

Now open with me to Romans 8 and stand as I read v. 1-11.

Seeking With All Our Hearts

The attitude of the Spirit filled Christian is one of hungering and thirsting for God with all the heart. As we saw last time, it is an imperative and we take His call to Spirit filled living as our greatest desire! One account from history paints the kind of desire we can have. During the liberation of Palestine in World War I, a combined force of British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers was closely pursuing the Turks as they retreated from the desert. As the allied troops moved northward past Beersheba they began to outdistance their water-carrying camel train. When the water ran out, their mouths got dry, their heads ached, and they became dizzy and faint. Eyes became bloodshot, lips swelled and turned purple, and mirages became common. They knew that if they did not make the wells of Sheriah by nightfall, thousands of them would die-as hundreds already had done. Literally fighting for their lives, they managed to drive the Turks from Sheriah.

As water was distributed from the great stone cisterns, the more able-bodied were required to stand at attention and wait for the wounded and those who would take guard duty to drink first It was four hours before the last man had his drink. During that time the men stood no more than twenty feet from thousands of gallons of water, to drink of which had been their consuming passion for many agonizing days. It is said that one of the officers who was present reported, “I believe that we all learned our first real Bible lesson on the march from Beersheba to Sheriah Wells. If such were our thirst for God, for righteousness and for His will in our lives, a consuming, all-embracing, preoccupying desire, how rich in the fruit of the Spirit would we be?” (E.M. Blaiklock, “Water,” Eternity (August 1966), p. 27) [2]

How often do we run out of water as it were in our daily lives? We thirst and go dry. But God says, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can have the well spring up within us filling us to overflowing!

What is the answer? Paul explains it in Romans. We need to listen to the Word and Walk in the Spirit who longs to empty us of self!

The Book of Romans introduces us to the Walk in the Spirit. In this book we have the 13 keys that unlock the Spirit filled walk into our everyday lives.

These 13 truths about God the Holy Spirit unlock the habit of self emptying and invite the continuous experience of Spirit filling!


1. the WITNESSING SPIRIT OF God ROMANS. 1:3-4 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

In Acts 2 we have the first 9 of 160 different times the early church witnessed to the reality of Jesus Christ. There are 31 different Greek words used in the book of Acts to describe the 160 different times of Christians verbally communicating the Good News about Jesus [3] . It is the Holy Spirit who energized them into action. This book is not the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES but of the HOLY SPIRIT!

Some of these are well known NT ministry words like EVANGELIZE or PREACH [15 X euangolidzomai #2097 = 8:4, 12, 25, 35, 40; 13:32]; PROCLAIM [8X kerusso #2784 = 8:5, 9; 10:37, 42]; ANNOUNCE [10X katangello #2605 = 13:5, 38;; 15:36]; TESTIFY [martureo]… others are just ordinary everyday words of folks living life for Jesus in the market place like: Speak [ 62 X laleo #2980 = 5:20; 4:1, 17, 20, 29, 31; 2:4, 6-7, 11, 31]; Say [103 X lego #3004 = 8:6, 34; 11:34; 19:26]; Talk [2X homileo #3656 = 20:11, 24:26]; Teach [didasko #1321 = 18:11, 20:20, 28:31]; Reason [dialogidzomai #1256 = 17:2,17; 18:4, 19; 19:8, 9; 20:7, 9]; Exhort; Answer [apologeomai #626 = 19:33, 24:10, 25:8]; Prove ; Explain

What’s the bottom line? We need to be talking in everyday terms to everyday people about the most extraordinary event of all time. Jesus is to be a part of life. Is He in yours?

  • Do your work friends know about Him from you?
  • Do your school friends know about Him from you?
  • Do your sports friends know about Him from you?
  • Do your neighborhood friends know about Him from you?
  • Do your relatives know about Him from you?
  • Do your old friends know about Him from you?

We need to be talking in everyday terms to everyday people about the most extraordinary event of all time. Jesus is to be a part of life. Is He in yours?

When emptied of self, our mouths begin to fill with speaking of Jesus!

2. THE LIBERATING SPIRIT of god Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.THE SPIRIT SUPPLIES US LIFE IN CHRIST

  • He lifts us above the law of sin. Air India was the carrier chosen to make my world pass connections. Over one 96 day period we flew 20,000 miles to 30 countries. Air India has a reputation for over filling the planes with people and cargo until it groans with the weight. At Delhi, with cows at eye level, our 899,490 pound 747 was earthbound to nearly the end of the runway until a higher law than gravity, the law of lift took over and snatched us off the ground.
  • Just like the law of lift aerodynamically teaches that the faster the plane moves down the runway the sooner the lift of the wings tear away the chains of gravity. So the Spirit of God teaches us that the faster we develop our resistence to sin, the sooner we tear away at the anchors of sin and the flesh chaining us to mere earthliness, and we begin to regularly soar to even greater levels of fewllowship with Jesus!

· Does YEILDING to Him take that place in my life?

  • Have we given obedience to God the highest place in our lives, as the inspiration for every action and motivation?
  • If we yielded to the searching of the Holy Spirit, we may find we have never given to Him the place of our total submission, or that we have some how over time taken it back.
  • Let us unite in prayer that the Spirit may show us:

· how defective the Christian life is where obedience doesn’t rule all;

· how that life can be exchanged for one of full surrender to absolute obedience;

· and how sure it is that God in Christ will enable us to live it out! [4]

Here are six practical action items to begin the MORTIFICATION process in your life. That word means, to throttle sin and crush it in our lives, sapping it of its strength, rooting it out, and depriving it of its influence. …Mortification involves the cultivation of new habits of godliness, combined with the elimination of old sinful habits from our behavior. [5]

1. Stop the pattern today: Abstain from fleshly lusts. 1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, Concerning the first command Abstain from fleshly lusts,Look at I Peter 2:11 with me. Pretty straight forward isn’t it? Listen to the great preacher of last generation, D. Martin Lloyd Jones:

I do not know of a single scripture – and I speak advisedly – which tells me to take my sin, the particular thing that gets me down, to God in prayer and ask Him to deliver me from it and them trust in faith that He will.

Now that teaching is often put like this: you must say to {one} who is constantly defeated by a particular sin, “I think your only hope is to take it to Christ and Christ will take it from you.” But what does the Scipture say inEphesians 4:28 to the {one} who finds himself constantly guilty of stealing, to {one} who sees something {they} like and [they] take it? What am I to tell to such a {one}? Am I to say, “Take that sin to Christ and ask Him to deliver you?” No, what the Apostle Paul tells him to do is this: “Let him that stole, steal no more.” Just that. STOP DOING IT. And if it is fornication or adultery or lustful thoughts, again: STOP DOING IT, says Paul. He does not say, “Go and pray to Christ to deliver you.” No. You stop doing that, he says, as becomes children of God. [6]

2. Starve the flesh: Make no provision for the flesh. Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Simply put,

  • If you struggle with gluttony, don’t pile your basket with junk food at the super market.
  • If you are prone to gossip walk away from the converstion that goes into gossip. Become a keeper at home and invest in your family which was Paul’s solution for gossiping women.
  • If you struggle with materialism stop drooling over the ads for what you want.
  • If you have struggle with sexual desires, stop putting more pictures in your mind. Cancel cable, change to internet with blocks like Family Net, ask someone to check up on you.
  • Yes, stop the sin where it is fed and breeds, starve it!

3. Stare at the goal: Set your mind, Fix your heart on Christ. Heb12:1-2 (Like the person who won’t let anything get in the way of what they are watching)Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Fix your heart on Christ. 1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (KJV)

4. Soak up the word: Saturate, Fill your mind and Meditate on God’s Word.Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

5. stay in touch with god: By staying in touch with God by praying without ceasing. Staying alert and guarded by watching and praying. Mt 26:4; Stay in control by exercising your discipline of self-control. Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

6. Seek full yieldedness: be filled with the Holy Spirit. Gal 5:16, 25

Each of these Biblical commands are for us as Christians to obey. They are not something we pray for and wait. They are for us to actively grab a hold of and obey.

[1] John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.

[2] MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.

[3] Robert Coleman, The Master Plan of Discipleship, p.88-89.

[4] Murray, p.24.

[5] John MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience, Dallas:Word, 1994, p. 156.

[6] Sanctified Through the Truth: The Assurance of Our Salavation (Wheaton: Crossway, 1989), 54.

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