I was reading Ezra chapter 3, when I noticed a strange idea. The Jews had returned to the ruins of Jerusalem after decades of exile, and they had nothing but their faith in God, the company of their fellow Jews, and a grant from the King to rebuild the Temple of the Lord.
The first thing they did was gather together to worship. They were so joined in their purpose, the Bible says they were “as one man.”
42,000 people gathered “as one man.”
They gathered to worship one God, and they worshipped him on one altar.
One nation, one city, one God, one Temple, one altar.
“One Lord, one faith…”
As I read Ezra 3, these words from Ephesians 4:5 invaded my mind, and I had to pray for the Church.
I didn’t need to debate covenantal / dispensational hermeneutics, I had to pray.
Whether or not the Church is the current embodiment of the Temple and Christ the fulfillment of the altar, I had to pray.
If Ephesians 4 has no connection with Ezra 3, I had to pray.
I had to pray for the Church
Of course I prayed for my own church, but I had to pray for all the other churches, too.
We are so divided.
How many different denominations there are! Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, etc.
How many different kinds in each denomination! Southern Baptist, American Baptist, General Baptist, Regular Baptist, unaffiliated Baptist, etc.
How many streams within each kind! Intellectuals, Legalists, Evangelists, Revivalists, Calvinists, etc.
How many will not speak, fellowship, worship, work, pray, or cooperate with each other in any way!
Must we stand as a persecuted minority among the ruins of a post-Christian society before we understand?
So I prayed…
…for Gospel-preaching churches to keep Christ at the center of all they do, and for churches that have forgotten the Gospel to remember it
…for Bible-believing churches to build on the authoritative exposition of Scripture, and for churches that have traded divine inspiration for public opinion to humbly repent
…for the churches that hold the core doctrines of Christianity never to compromise them, and for churches that have wandered astray to return to their roots
…for churches to celebrate the Christ who unites them, rather than their personal convictions that divide
…for churches to join forces for the glory of God and the good of souls, rather than promote their own brand
…for churches to demonstrate the supremacy of God, rather than their particular traditions
…for churches to embrace brothers and sisters in Christ, to edify the Body of Christ, to exalt the name of Christ, to endorse the message of Christ, to enjoy the communion of Christ, no matter the building or location
…for churches to work hard to maintain the unity of the Holy Spirit in the bond of peace
…for churches to say to their worldly audience, to the everlasting praise of the Father, “We may look different, sound different, and sometimes do very different things, but there is one person we share. On this we all agree. His name is Jesus Christ, and he is the only way to be saved. Hear him.”