Luke 9:23-26: Gospel Death and Life
You can turn in your Bibles with me to Luke Chapter 9. Luke Chapter 9.
And we’re gonna read from Luke 9, verses 23 to 26, and we’ll go all the way to 27.
And He said all If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever would lose his life for my sake will save it.
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God.
We are in mini-sermon series on what we call the secrets of Christian living, and I’ve commented each time, none of these things are really secrets, I’m not uncovering anything radical to the Christian faith, and yet they’re secrets, there are parts that are maybe harder, maybe more demanding and maybe more often forgotten in the Christian faith, and that’s why we call them secrets, and today we’re gonna continue on with that, and today is the secret… Well, I would say the dark secret that yourself is your own worst enemy, that yourself is your own worst enemy.
Now, this includes many different self-sins, in fact, if you can think of all of the words and list them off that begin with the self-word, like self-promotion or selfishness, when you see those words, you naturally think, Okay, things like that. That’s pride, that’s arrogance, it’s ego or that’s being selfish with what you have and not considering what other people’s needs are, and so you understand… Yes, that is self-sins, but I’m not containing this, and this text does not just contain that to issues of pride or selfishness, it’s denying yourself as a whole, and in today’s culture, and it’s not just today’s culture, there’s nothing new under the sun and throughout the eras of world history, there have been swings of momentum toward different ideologies that I really aren’t that different from today, and today there’s a movement more and more toward this idea of being true to yourself or self-discovery, or if you’ve heard this phrase of… You heard self-love and how that’s important.
There are other ones: self-sufficiency, self-confidence, the idea of self-discovery or self-worth, the idea of self-righteousness, and then how about just self-pity? These are all the same, there’s a core problem in each one of these that manifest itself in many different ways, so there are many symptoms, but there’s a core issue, and that core issue is an inward focus, it’s a focus on trying to be you, understand you, get what you want. And its this idea of, I need to focus on me in order to be truly happy, and I’m gonna tell you today, there were people in Jesus day and age, you would have said the same things that our culture today says, and yet Jesus here is gonna say, No you don’t understand, you don’t understand.
You want life, if you wanna come after me and get everything that I promised, that can only happen when you deny yourself, you take up your cross and you follow me. You are your own worst enemy. Hear me. You are your own worst enemy.
Jesus did not come and die to make you a slightly better version of the you today, he came to die, and all those who believe in him, their self… We call it the old self sometimes in the Pauline Epistles is crucified with Christ and they are made completely new. It’s not a slight update, it’s not patching the software on your phone where most of the software stays put, but we just need a patch to update a few things. That’s not it. This is a completely new program that God is interested in, he didn’t come to sand off your rough edges, he didn’t come to help you achieve your goals, he didn’t come to help you find yourself or to help you to be happy with who you are. Jesus is not interested in any of that, and you will not find that anywhere in the Word of God, anything that would profess that is taking Jesus words and twisting them to mean something he never intended. And if you call Him your savior, you can’t do that with his words.
You can’t do that with this word, so we’re gonna follow the three steps there, and it’s actually fascinating the way this is set up, because I think in my study of this passage, you have in verse number 23, I believe. Yeah, 23, You have… If anyone would come after me, he’s got three steps. Let him deny himself, take up his cross. Follow me, makes it a really nice three-point sermon proposers, really easy to follow that outline, but what’s so fascinating is the following three verses actually illuminate each one of those things.
So verse 24 is gonna go with deny himself. And what does that mean?
Verse 25 is gonna go with, Take up your cross, and Verse 26 is gonna go with what it means to follow him.
Okay, so we’re gonna work through this passage like that, just a few verses, we’re gonna go through today, and my goal for you today, this is not mere theology, this is not fluffy teaching, these are not religious truth that like you’ve got… This is the core of Christianity. This is everything it is. So you have to understand these things. The first one here is this command to deny, it’s actually not a command, it’s a soft command, it’s called the subjunctive in Greek, and it’s this idea of a soft command or a plea, He’s pleading with you to deny yourself, why does he plead with us to deny Oursef?
What does deny mean? Because I think we have an idea of, it’s just like, accept or deny today, I was denied for that loan that I applied for, so it’s this idea of like, yes or no, and we think of denies synonym for no, and that’s not really what this word is, and we’re gonna be able to flush this out in just a moment, it is the idea of refuse to disdain, to disclaim association with… To repudiate, to do so, to disregard, to renounce, those are all big words, we could just use the word hate, and not in this mopy, self-hate sense, that’s not what we’re after, but we understand who we are, and yet who we are is not gonna provide us hope it’s not gonna give us everything we need and everything we want, so we must reject it, like I hate cooks carrots.
Any events there.
Okay, thank you, Lou.
I hate cooked carrots, but I don’t hate to cook carrots the same way I hate abortion…
I don’t hate cook carrots the same way, I hate injustice, unfairness, bullying and hypocrisy, I distain that stuff, and when I see it in me, I just distain it even more… The word that’s used here is not like cook carrots are the worst, it’s like a discussed a moral disgust that we have, and like I said, there are three kind of levels of how we think of self-sins, a lot of times… The first is the ones we consider obvious selfishness, self-righteousness, ego, which doesn’t begin with self, but you know what I mean, like pride, ego, it’s all about me, type stuff, and when people around us have a lot of ego, they’re selfish about what they want, are they… Constantly boasting about all the cities they’re doing, we’re kinda like, Yeah, it bothers us.
We have a sense of the immorality of that, and a lot of times when we think of… We’ve gotta deny ourself. That’s where we leave it.
We’ve gotta hate anything that would crop up, that’s ego and selfishness, we gotta repudiate it and reject it and crucify it, but that’s not what this word only means, there’s a second level to it, which is a selfishness that I would add even about a good thing.
So I find this often, like in a relationship, we often tell a couple who’s just getting together or something like that, we say It’s good that you like being around each other, but there’s such a thing as infatuation, you can go overboard with it, you can… Like something too much. Want something that’s good too much. I really want giant bowls of cereal at night… No, amen’s there either. Okay, that’s alright. I love a giant bowl of ceral at night.. Too much. You know what I’m talking about, right? That’s the reality.
There are good things in your life that is possible to want too much, and these are the things where we are focused on me, we’re focused on what we want out of a situation, and even if it’s a good thing, we sometimes justify because it’s a good thing I should be able to have this.
So we could talk any number of ways about this, we see this a lot in our area with materialism, like it can be a good thing to enjoy God’s blessings, the Bible makes that very clear in 1 Timothy, okay. It can’t be a good thing to enjoy the blessings that God’s given to us, and the blessing that it gives to us are good things, and yet there’s such a thing as being like, You know… This is a good thing, not a bad thing, so I might as well get it. And so, we reason within ourselves that… Yes. A bigger, better house? Yes. A bigger, better car? Maybe not, sometimes smaller, depending on your taste… Yes, a nicer computer, a better phone, more clothes, and we think, Well, it’s okay to want these things, and so we justify it essentially that because we want them, it’s good, and it denies a basic core tenant of Christianity that is… It’s also a good thing to deny yourself, To deny what you want.. to reject that, that’s… By the way, what fasting is, I want to eat food every day, I haven’t been doing fasting lately, and yet, you know, if any of you have fasted for any portion of time, you’re like, Oh great. I just had dinner and now I’m not supposed to eat again till tomorrow, dinner you’re gonna go to for 24 hours, and you’re like, This is the worst day of my week. I hate this day.
And then you start to be like, I want food. Food is a good thing, and your reason within yourself, if I ate food, I would probably be able to read by commentaries a lot better, I’d be able to concentrate a lot more in my work… Right, and so we start to justify it and we root out a basic core characteristic that self-denial is a good thing, It’s why Paul says, I buffet my body, I bring it under subjection. Paul says, I know how to be with much and with little, because He had disciplined himself. The denial of just basic things that can be good, is a godly characteristic, and that’s normally… We also tend to… About those two levels. We’re like, Yeah, that’s part of Christianity, right? Part of Christianity is denial of self and then also not being proud, egotistical, selfish, self-righteous people, that’s perfect, but we oftentimes forget about the third level, and that’s what today… We talk about self-actualization. You know that word? Self-Discovery, They’re on a quest to discover who they are, and once they discovered who they are, and then they’ll have real and lasting joy, and oftentimes with homosexuality, that’s kind of the carrot that’s held out to them, they say, You have these desires in you that might be the true you, and you need to discover that part of who you are and you need to embrace that part of who you are, and little do they know that not every little desire that you and I have is a moral thing for us to chase… Amen.
You and I have many desires that would be somewhat satisfying to fulfill, and yet we choose not to do them, are we being less true to ourself if we decide when we get angry not to punch that person, is that being less true to ourselves… See, This is where we get wrapped up and confused, and this this world has placed at its highest an understanding of who you are, that’s the chief virtue, if you know you and you’re happy with who you are, then you’re gonna find true light, and this is the beauty of this text and how it unfolds because actually, verse 24 that explains This deny yourself idea helps us a lot.
Verse 24 says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever would lose his life for my sake will save it.
When you hear that verse, do you think immediately of being martyred, anyone else lose your life? You think of martyrdom? ’cause I don’t think that’s what Jesus was talking about here. The normal word for life that’s used in the Bible is zoa You go say, zoa, it’s the word we get our word zoo from living things zoology, the study of living things.
That’s the normal word in the Bible that’s used for life… That is not the word that’s used here.
It’s not like as opposed to death here… This is the word psucha. It’s kind of a fun one. Yeah, psucha is the word, we get our word. Psychology from… Think about it.
There is absolutely a sense in which Jesus was calling his followers to be willing to die for Him, and some were going to… Some were going to. But not all of them were. Does that mean this command has nothing to do with us? No, absolutely not.
See, this command is talking also about a sense of self that everyone seeks and that people, even in that day, we’re seeking… Who am I? What should I do? I build my identity on my race, on my gender, on my accomplishments, on my wealth, I find, I self-actualize and I find happiness and that stuff. And Jesus then says in that next verse, in verse 24, he says, If you are seeking to save everything you want, to hold on to everything you are, if you’re seeking that, then there is coming a day when you will lose it all. And yet there’s also a sense when, if you are willing to sacrifice and lay down yourself, find something better, and that’s what he says next, he says, If you would lose your life, deny yourself, for my sake, you’re gonna find true life.
A sense of confidence, not in yourself, not in your abilities, not in who you are not and what you like, not in any of that, that’s all that is shaky ground No, you find it in Jesus. That’s where we’re headed here.
Now, now you gotta understand, this is a warning for you, this is a warning for you today, these words here are saying that if you will seek your life and be selfish with your life and hold on to everything you want to get out of your life, there’s coming a day when you will lose it all, now we’ll read on in a moment what that looks like, but for now, let’s go to point number two, this idea of taking up your cross, taking up your cross, the cross was specifically designed to make people hate it, and avoid it at all costs. I shared the illustration with you before the rebellion that took back took place in the 70s BC, that led to an entire stretch of road just being lined with crucified people, 6000 of them.
For balance, okay, you gotta remember that the population of the Earth was much less back then, but just on balance… The known lynchings that took place in America was something like 4800, both terrible things.
The cross was an awful instrument of torture, and it wasn’t just an instrument of physical torture, you gotta understand that it was an instrument of emotional torture, your identity was stripped. Who you were was stripped, your clothes were stripped off, you are only a hunk of meat that was barely holding on to life, your family, turned their face from you and would reject you, so you would no longer be a family, you would lose your possessions, you no longer have anything.
Your identity was completely stripped away when you went to the cross, they were shunned in their communities, the families disavowed, they lost everything, every piece of who they were until the last drop of blood was shed, and this is the reality of those who went to the cross and were crucified. And this is what Jesus is telling you and I to do.
Now, this is interesting again, ’cause he’s not telling us to get out an actual hammer and nails and go hammer our wrist to a tree. That you gotta take up your cross Physically, literally. Is that what he’s talking about? Because if you read in the verses verse 21 and 22, what does he say? It was one of Jesus predictions to the disciples of what was gonna happen.
Hey, by the way, I’m about to go to Jerusalem, I’m gonna be handed over to the leaders, I’m gonna be nailed to a cross and crucified, and after three days, I’m gonna raise, arise from the dead. And what do the disciples say?
What do you think he means by that?… That’s exactly what you and I would have said to.
And yet Jesus transitions right away and he says, By the way, you yourselves are going to need to be willing to take up a cross and follow me… Right to Jerusalem, right up Mount Golgotha. You need to be willing to do that. You need to be willing to be stripped of everything you fought for in this life, not only materially, not only dollars and cents, but everything you’ve given your life to, Are you willing to have all of that stripped away… Well, look at the next verse. Look at the next verse, Verse 25. I think this one is the one that’s supposed to shed light on the idea of taking up your cross, what does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself. This is a question for you to meditate on. Are you ambitious? What do you want to do for your life?
What do you wanna do with your life? Ambition is a good thing, and yet, just imagine if you were able to gain everything you set your mind to… You got that great job with a great pension plan and health insurance, you got the two and a half kids in the dog, a wonderful spouse, you’ve got a good church family, you got success at every step you took. Now, my question to you is, if God put out before you the option to get everything you ever wanted or to have Jesus… What would your answer be?
’cause that’s what he’s holding out here, he’s saying, What does a profit if you will save your life, if you will hover, keep it all to yourself, live for yourself, refused to deny yourself anything instead, give yourself everything you want, if you were able to do that and you found success to the point where you gained the world, but you lost your soul. Is that worth it?
The opposite of gaining the world and forfeiting your soul, the opposite of that is losing the World, losing everything you think is important right now, losing everything you selfishly want, everything you’re gonna put your mind and your heart on losing all of that, and yet gaining your soul… What Jesus is holding out and offering to Christianity is not this polite, nice little religion that’s like, You know, I know you’re struggle in your life right now, but God loves you and that kind of gives you… the little boost on Sunday is to get through the rest of the week. Like Christianity is a radical religion, it’s a radical religion that says you must be willing to give up everything, and oh by the way, it’s worth it! It makes radical claims about what Jesus offers you, it makes radical claims about what you will get one day with him. And it says, Would you like that or would you like everything his life has to offer?
And Jesus says, Take up your cross. He’s saying, Are you willing to lose your identity to be disgraced, to be humiliated, to lay down your dreams, to lay down your hope, and lay out everything you’ve lived your life, or are you willing to give it all up? And take up your cross and follow Him.
I asked you a question because when I brought all of that up, I guarantee in every single one of your minds, there was at least one thing that came up, one thing that you were maybe even doing a little bit of mental to gymnastics about.
You were maybe even saying at that moment… Yeah, but is this really that bad of a thing? This is a good thing, right? What is that one thing for you?
What are you most afraid to lose? What relationship are you you most afraid will abandon you if you surrender to Jesus, what is the thing that the world could offer that is keeping you right now from Jesus, what is the thing that you have gotten from the world already that you don’t wanna lose by coming to Jesus? He has radical commands and we cannot qualify them, we cannot dumb them down and cannot make them easier.
The third command is where it kinda starts clearing up, it is, take up your cross and follow me. Take up your cross and follow me. It’s an invitation to be discipled by Jesus Christ himself in that day and age, you may be aware, you may not be, it was somewhat common for rabbis to travel around and for them to have a group of disciples that follow them.
Now, it was still a big step to leave your business, leave your home, leave the community that you grew up in, and to follow a rabbi around, and his disciples did, and there is a broad invitation here from Jesus for you and I even today, to follow him follow him and his teachings, to lay all those things down and leave them behind, if we can… Look at Verse 26 with me.
Whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, him will the Son of Man be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. This is what I believe connects to his command to follow him.
Do you only follow him when it makes your life a little better?
This is a different way because I think it’s first 26, clarifies what he means by following… The opposite of following him, I think, would be being ashamed of him. Verse 26, are you ashamed of Jesus?
Are you ashamed that he claims to be God.
Are you ashamed that he claims that his death and resurrection is sufficient to pay for your sins? Here today, 200 years later, are you ashamed at the ethic that He calls you to live, are you ashamed that he calls you… Do you hide your face? When you hear Jesus say No, 70 times seven. Forgive them.
Do you hide your face? When he says, No, love your enemies.
You… Yeah, I mean, Jesus, I get what you mean. But you don’t understand the situation I’m in right now. I mean… Let’s qualify it a little bit, right? We should qualify what your ethics mean, right, you get ashamed of Him when He says, yeah, by the way, even if you think lustful thoughts in your heart, it’s adultery, are you ashamed of His word when he teaches you about how this world works. The wisdom of this world, the righteousness that’s in this world, that his way really is better, are you ashamed and embarrassed of him?
Because if you are, you need to understand the picture that’s being laid out here, Jesus Himself as He looks at the crowds, will also be ashamed of you in that day, there is coming a day when all will stand before Him and all wrongs will be righted? All rights will be rewarded, there’s coming a day when that will happen… You cannot avoid it. You can’t get around it.
There’s coming a day when Jesus will stand in judgment over all people, and those who were not ashamed of him, but maybe we’re put to shame on Earth will be his forever, and those who have been embarrassed by his teachings, have not been all in have not denied himself took up their cross and followed him, but if instead toy with Christianity and said, Have only followed Jesus when He gave him stuff like food, when he get made their life a little better.
But when it got awkward, they would hide their faces or they kinda made excuses and they kind of said, Well, a Christian doesn’t have to believe that… a Christian doesn’t have to think that way. I know plenty of people who don’t. I can still be a follower and believe X, Y, Z, and so you change who Jesus is in your mind, and if you are ashamed of who he presented himself to be, that he will be ashamed of you in that day… There is no way around that.
And if He will not gather you to himself in that day, you will be gathered to judgment, if you’re not with him on that day, then you will be outside the boundary of His protection from just punishment from your sin.
That’s what it’s saying. Like imagine that picture is harsh.
Statements, pause, and I wanna say the invitation. Sometimes we get lost in the words. I want you to imagine the picture of Jesus holding out His hand and inviting you to follow him with a smile on the space, ’cause this is not follow Me in a strict moral code. It’s following a person, and he’s what makes it all worth it.
Take this world. But give me Jesus. You can have my self-worth, but give me Jesus. Take my ambitions. My selfishness, everything I want for my life. But give me Jesus.
Take my self-righteousness. My sense of self-worth. But give me Jesus, ’cause he’s my righteousness. And here, Jesus is what makes it worth it. The invitation here is not to follow the strict moral obligatory code, it’s an invitation, join Him in a relationship with him. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to share with you. God has been really working on my heart lately, and I don’t always know how to express that in my sermons, so this is my attempt to do that, I can tell you, I’ve had a couple different moments in my life where I knew God was working on me in a profound way, and most of the time that happened, it was when I was willing to lay down myself, deny it. It was those moments that I found I was following my Savior, this happened to me recently, about a month ago, actually, and I’ve been struggling with a lot spiritually for a while, and in my battle against pride and arrogance and selfishness and self, this ambition and all these things I was twisted and turned up, I’ve compared it to a tornado in my mind, anybody ever feel like that, where you just got your swirling dirbish of thoughts and you can’t make sense of them and guess what? I like to make sense of my thoughts. I can’t live in that world. I like things to be and organized and in their cabinets.
They were everywhere.
And I wanted certain things, I want this for my life, I want this for my life. And I knew that I shouldn’t be selfishly ambitious, and I repented of those things, what I could, but I still felt like I was stuck with it, and I came to a moment recently where I surrendered, and by the way, this entire series is birthed out of this desire, I surrendered to God, I denied myself. I said, I don’t care any more. Father, what you choose to do with my life. Just give me Jesus.
I felt like Moses… You know that scene where Moses, after He breaks the commands and makes the… Breaks down the golden cap for the Israelites, and then he goes back up the mountain, and he goes with Jesus and Jesus, or maybe Jesus, Yahweh….Yahweh was there, and he says… He says, Look, I’m gonna send you and I’m gonna… I’m gonna help you go into the land, but my presence isn’t gonna go with you anymore, this people is petuant. They’re finicky, they’re constantly running to sin. I’m not gonna do that anymore. And Moses, here’s how I imagine it, this is un-sanctified imagination.
I imagine him sitting down, Chris-cross, applesauce on the ground, crossing his arms and saying, No. If you want to go with me, I won’t go.
I can’t, I won’t, I need you with me. I can’t do it. And God took that and he said, Okay, God and his beautiful wisdom responded to that request and said, Okay, I’ll go with you.
And so we kept going with them, I think that’s amazing, and that’s the point that I came to… If I was able to follow Jesus, if I knew that I was with Jesus and he was gonna be blessing me and my efforts, if I knew I was doing what he called me to do, I don’t care what it is, you want me to clean toilets, I’ll do that.
You want me to eat cooked carrots? I’ll do that. What do you want?
Whatever you want, Father, I will do that thing. Just let me have you… And that’s this… This is the invitation. It’s the third part of this command, I needed to come to a point where I was willing to give up everything as long as I had him, and he met me in that… Met me in that, and he gave me a piece that I have been searching for, but perhaps through my hard heart was not finding for a couple of years now.
And it was amazing, I’m still living in that today, I’m living in this daily thing where I don’t care, Father, what you have for me, I will not be about me anymore, I don’t want that.
I repent of that, I denied that, I repudiate that. I disown that. I take it to the cross where you were crucified, and I nail it there, and I consider myself dead to that sin and alive to God, and it’s in that… And this is what AW Tozer says, “yes, there is a sense in which God calls you and I to take up your cross daily and follow him, but you don’t live on the cross. That’s not what God called you to do. He never called you to live on the cross in a crucified state”, . Jesus himself was only on the Cross for five or six hours, you and I, we go to the cross, we deny ourselves there, we crucify and kill off the old flesh, the selfish desires, we kill those things there, and then we live in newness of life.
That’s what we get to enjoy, but you don’t get the life unless you go through the death, you gotta understand that. The way forward is through the darkness, you gotta duck under into the grave before you can come out of the grave in new life.
It’s the only way.
And so I’m not calling you today, I’m not calling you today to a moral code, I’m not calling you today to be a masochist who hates themself, I’m not calling you to that stuff, I’m calling you today to find Jesus as he really wants you to find him and if Jesus is not sweet to you, it may be that you’ve never denied yourself in your pursuit of Jesus. I want to invite you to stop trying to discover yourself and instead discover Jesus…
I want you to invite, I want to invite you to stop trying to accept yourself and accept instead, receive Jesus, stopped trying to believe in yourself, and instead believe in Jesus, stop trying to love yourself and instead love Jesus, stop trying to find what makes yourself happy with who you are, and instead let Him be your joy, stop boasting and your self-righteousness, and instead recognized that only he can be your righteousness because of what he did here on The sir.
Let him be your hope and joy and peace. Stop making it about you.
Instead, Fix your eyes on Jesus and Him alone. Then you will not waste your life, then you will not be ignored when Christ gathers his people together, then you will find a greater treasure than what you value in this world and what you give your life to attain in this world.
The Christian life is a call to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. There’s a dark secret. The dark secret is that yourself is your own worst enemy, and the only way forward and growth is not to add Jesus to your life and your selfishness and what you already want in your life, the only way forward is to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. Let’s pray and then we’re gonna close with a song.
I invite you to just take a moment here and quit your heart, humble it, humble it to the word of God, What are you holding on to? What’s the most important thing to you?
What was coming to your mind when I was describing what it’s like to live for yourself, what were you arguing in your mind, in your heart about feeling justified, you should have that… What was it?
So tired. Living for yourself as a heavy burden.
Take that to God right now, confess it to God.
Father, I ask You to work in us, help us to surrender all to You.
I pray that we would be willing daily to die to self, even the things that are good at times, to give up what we want to give up, self-sins, pride, self-righteousness and pity, self-pity. And self-discovery and everything else.
Help us to live for you, Lord.
You’re worth it, Father.
Father, I thank you for the peace that you give in the cross of Jesus Christ, and it’s a hard call, it’s an invitation to leave. And sometimes everything that we know, everything that we found to be at least somewhat comfortable and easy, and everything we set our hope in and our minds on, and your invitation, Lord, it calls us to start at zero, calls us to start at just whatever you want, God.
And we know for many of us that might be staying exactly where we are, doing exactly what we’re doing, are there others of us, Lord, you’ve been working on people to call them to missions or call into ministry, and they need to humble their hearts even now.
Yes, Lord, there are even others still here who you are working on their heart and have for a time now, and they have been desperately holding on to themself -what they want, I pray that you would free them from themselves even now. We ask this in your precious name, Amen.