Love vs. Selfishness

I. The Origin of Self-Ism (Self-love, Image, Esteem)

A. Origin seen in naturalistic effort to make guilty people feel better.

1. God intends for sinners to be appropriately miserable in order to motivate them toward repentance (conscience).

2. Since all have sinned, this is pervasive condition of humankind, the very problem Christ came to solve, Matt.11:28-30.

Cf "Rest unto your souls," and "Cure of souls" (Psychiatry).

3. It is entirely inappropriate to try to relieve this suffering apart from repentance and God's plan for forgiveness.

B. Historical Context:

1. Darwin destroyed faith in Scripture among liberal theologians. They no longer believed in salvation, heaven, hell, etc.

2. Produced Social Gospel; clear slums, feed hungry, relieve suffering, including guilt "feelings" (no longer believed in sin).

a. William James; 1890-Self Love

b. Erich Fromin; Unconditional Love

c. Abraham Maslow; Self-Actualism

d. Carl Rogers; Non-Judgmental, Self Help

3. Amazingly many "Evangelicals" jumped on the bandwagon

(Ex., Robert Shuler; "New Reformation").

C. Understandably, has become tremendously popular movement. Offers freedom from misery without humiliating confession of sin.

1. Just learn to change your "thinking" (actually sear conscience).

2. Oppose the message of conscience with opposite affirmations.

You are not bad or guilty; you are good person. Must eliminate "negative thinking" and learn to love self, improve self-image.

3. Who doesn't like to hear, "You are great, good, lovable, etc."

a. Cf. Garfield cartoon; " I'm tired of talking about me. Now you talk about me."

b. "Flattery will get you anywhere."

D. Is an expression of our natural tendancy to pride and selfishness.

(Claimed distinction between self-love & selfishness is arbitrary)

II. Perverted Passages

A. "Love As Self," Matt. 22:39; Eph. 5:28-29

B. "Image of God," Gen. 9:6; Infinite Worth? (no junk)Ps. 139:13,14(2)

C. "Sacrifice of Christ proves worth." Denies Grace! Eph. 2:8.

D. Not in the Bible, therefore not "life or Godliness," I Pet.1:3.

III. Truth is Opposite Created Good But....

A. Value of Humans, Isa. 40:17. Cf. Even Abraham, Gen.18:27.

1. Unfaithful Are Nothing, I Cor. 13:2; (Gal.6:3).

2. Faithful Are Nothing, Lk. 17:10.

a. Cf. same word, Matt. 25:30.

b. Thayer, "useless, good for nothing"

3. Even Paul & Apollos, Nothing, I Cor.3:5-6.

B. We Are Blame-Worthy, Rom. 7:14, 24; Cf. Job 5-7.

C. We Are Helpless, Js.1:17. We are grasshoppers, Nu. 13:33.

D. Abilities Are Not Ours, II Cor. 4:6-7; Jer.9:23, 24.

E. The solution to these indisputable truths is not in denying them. Denial and confession are opposites. Devil's lies, mere illusion.

The true solution is found only in Christ, I Cor.1:30-31.

IV. Bible Speaks Plainly ABOUT SELF-IMAGE.

A. Self-Image is the Problem, II Tim. 3:1-2.

1. New Testament Christians, Rom. 12:3.

2. Elders, I Tim. 3:6.

3. Paul, II Cor.12:7.

B. Results of the self-image problem, Js.3:14-16.

C. God's solution requires opposite approach; Deny Self! Matt. 16:24.

1. Humility Commanded, Micah 6:8; Matt. 5:3; I Pet 5:6; etc.; etc.

2. Contrast, "You are special." "You are of infinite worth."


A. Examples of Great Lovers (Great givers).

God, I Jn. 4:9-11; Christ, Eph.5:25; Paul, II Cor.12:15.

B. Definition Chart: LOVE (agape)

....the characteristic word of Christianity, and since the Spirit of revelation has used it to express ideas previously unknown, enquiry into its use, whether in Greek literature or in the Septuagint, throws but little light upon its distinctive meaning in the N.T.....Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God's love is seen in the gift of His Son, I John 4:9, 10. ....self-pleasing, is the negation of love.... Vine's Expository Dictionary of N. T. Words, p. 20-21

C. Self-love is self-contradictory. Destroys love.

D. "Is not....," I Cor 13:4.


A. Survey of self estimate of 829,000 Students.

1. Leadership ability: 70% Above Average

2% Below Average

2. Athletic ability: 6% Below Average

3. Ability to get along: 0% below Average

60% in top 10%

25% in top 1%

B. College faculty: 94% better than average


A. Humanistic explanation: "Negative thinking;" "Verbal abuse," etc.

Yet, for the forgiven, I Pet.4:13 (I Pet.3:16).

B. Sin causes depression. Cf. David, Ps. 38:6, 8, 10, 17.

C. Depressed person, ultimate selfishness. Me-My-Mine; I hurt.

B. We have cure, Matt. 26:28; Acts 2:38.

VI. RESULTS OF THE CURE, Col.1:22; Phil.4:7, Phil.4:13.



 Don Patton

Click to View