For the Week of May 26, 2019


Growing In The Knowledge Of Christ 

Lesson Number Five:  Controlling The Self 


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?  

[But what exactly is self-control, and how do we add it to our lives?  Let's take a closer look at self-control...]  



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...]  



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! 


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...]  



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 


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...]  



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; Ro14:14-21 -- Controlling the self means not only the body, but also the ego! 


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 


1. Controlling the self is a natural component to growing in the knowledge of Jesus...    

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  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.