Dear Church, I Prayed for You Tonight

4912359665_b061bb7a32_zI 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.”

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One Response to Dear Church, I Prayed for You Tonight

  1. Adam says:

    Their unity in Ezra 3 is maintained because of their Spiritual convictions that kept them separated in Ezra 4:

    Ezra 4:1-3 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.

    Who were these “adversaries”?

    2 Kings 17:32-34 So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;

    So, these said: “Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do…”

    But God said: they “served their own gods” and “they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD”

    The unity they had in Ezra 3 would have been broken apart if they had opted in Ezra 4 for conformity.

    Jesus prayed for Church unity on the basis of true Spirituality:
    John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

    Walking in the Spirit therefore is the only way to unity in Body of Christ:
    Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

    Division today is a fulfillment of prophecy due to a lack of true Spirituality:
    Jude 1:18-19 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

    So, what should we do today?:
    Jude 1:20-23 “But ye…”

    Beware of “those sheep” who want you to conform:
    Matthew 7:15-16 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    How do we know “those sheep”?:
    Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    Gal. 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
    Eph. 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

    How will they attempt to deceive us?:
    Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    What will He profess to “those sheep”:
    Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    Conformity is an effort by men to behave according to a mutually agreed acceptable standard.

    Unity is the supernatural, Spiritual result of being His:
    “John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…”

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