Isaiah 58:12 “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
“With unprecedented power and courage, Luther had brought to light the Scripture truths as to the individual salvation of the sinner by faith, but failed when he might have shown the way to a return to Scripture in all things, including its teaching as to the Church. In 1526, he has written:
“The right kind of evangelical order cannot be exhibited among all sorts of people, but those who are seriously determined to be Christians and confess the gospel with hand and mouth, must enroll themselves by name and meet apart, in one house, for prayer, for reading, to baptize, to take the Sacrament, and exercise other Christian works. With such order it would be possible for those who did not behave in a Christian manner to be known, reproved, restored, or excluded, according to the rule of Christ (Matt. 18:15). Here also they could in common, subscribe alms, which would be willingly given and distributed among the poor, according to the example of Paul (2 Cor. 9:1-12). Here it would not be necessary to have much or fine singing. Here a short and simple way of baptism and the Sacrament could be practiced, and all would be according to the Word and in love. But I cannot yet order and establish such an assembly, for I have not yet the right people for it. If however, it should come about that I must do it, and am driven to it, I will willingly do my part. In the meantime, I will call, excite, preach, help, forward it until the Christians take the Word so in earnest that they will themselves find how to do it and continue in it.”
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” -Luke 9:23
“If you would come after me as my disciple (fill in your name), you must deny your own personal collection of fallen Adamic attachments and aversions; your own set of “emotional programs for happiness” independent of God; your literal “death grip” on self-generated Security & Survival, Esteem & Affection, Power & Control.
Then, take your place in your objective union and co-crucifixion with me in MY Cross. You must do this as an intentional act of consecration every single day; you must daily reckon yourself dead to sin, self, Satan and his kingdom- the world.
Then, follow me- listen to my voice; the “voice of a thin silence”. Stay close and ask… frequently; don’t just assume. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.
If you insist and persist in trying to arrange for life; trying to self-secure happiness based on your own attachments and aversions, I tell you, you will lose it all. What benefit is it to you, even if you were successful in self-securing happiness to the point of gaining the whole world, if along the way you lost your true integrity of being or forfeited your unique person in union with me?
You were chosen (fill in your name), predestined and created in me for this divine union; for your own unique sonship and participation in my communion with the Father. I alone am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes unto the Father except through me. So release your grip and open your clinched fists of self-security and anger and take my hand…you can trust me. The nail scars in my hands are your proof…no one can snatch you out of these hands.”
Deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him are the immediate and basic instructions to all disciples of all time. Their context is Peter’s God given revelation and confession of Jesus as Messiah and in his next breath that which we are all familiar with, the blurting forth of our own Adamic attachments and aversions in the “basic principles of this world”. How easy it is to fall from grace, having in mind the things of man rather than the things of God.
There is so much at stake…“Oh God, come to my aid. Oh Lord, make haste to help me.”
(Matt. 10:37-9; 16:24-26; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-25; 14:26-33; John 10:27; 1 Kings 19:12; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:10; John 14:6; 17:22-23; Romans 5:8; John 10:28)