By Francis Frangipane
"Thus says the Lord God, ‘Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins. You have not gone up into the breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the Lord'" (Ezek. 13:3-5).
In contrast to those who just find fault, the Lord is raising up true Christ-followers. When they see a need in their church, community or nation, instead of just criticizing, they go "into the breaches" and stand in the gap. They are not just critics; they are Heaven-sent agents of redemption.
It is easy to find fault and do nothing. The fact is that all churches are imperfect. The issue is not whether we can see what is wrong, but whether we will stand in love and prayer until that which is wrong is made right.
You may be thinking, "You don't understand; I have revelation of the end-time move of God. These churches barely believe in Jesus." Even if a church is weak, the Lord's heart is such that He will not extinguish "a dimly burning wick" (Isa.42:3).
Considering ourselves more spiritual than others is not a reason to stand aloof from their need. Hebrews tells us that "without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater" (Heb. 7:7). If you are truly "greater," without a hint of pride you will seek ways to be a blessing to struggling churches. Your Christlike love will help carry them through their battle.
If we truly have Christ's heart, we will desire to see the entire body of Christ brought forth, not just our local assembly (Luke 13:34). We will respect and appreciate the diversity of ways through which Christ reveals Himself in the larger, citywide church. I'm not saying we should compromise the truth as we understand it, but that we should not compromise love or the vision of what Christ sees for born-again Christians in our city.
Of course there is but one Gospel, and churches that do not accept the truth of Christ or His unique role as God's only begotten Son are not part of God's kingdom. Conversely, we have not cornered the market on God's truth. We must make room for diversity of expression. Remember: the Lord inspired four very different individuals -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- to present their view of the life and teachings of the Messiah. Just as the four versions of the Gospel complete each other, so we need the variety of our churches to reach the variety of people and personalities in our world.
If we do not adjust our hearts to understand Christ's heart about our unity, we will be unable to stand against the enemy. Indeed, the day in which we live is not a day of peace; it is a time of war, and a house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). God is gathering us together not only to Him but also against the spiritual forces of wickedness in every region. Therefore, the breaches between us must be filled, the walls built, and we must learn to stand together in the day of the Lord.
You Be the People
Some of us have cried for years, "Where are those who will lead us into Christ's fullness?" We have assumed that God had others in mind. What the Lord is saying, however, is, You be the men and women that others are looking for. You be the peacemakers, the sons and daughters of God that bring healing and love to His church.
The responsibility is upon each of us. There is a tremendous job ahead, but the Lord Himself has promised, "Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell" (Isa. 58:12).
Let us lay down our lives in committed faith believing that in our lifetimes, on this earth and in our communities the corporate church of Jesus Christ will be restored, united and made ready as a bride for her Beloved!
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Three Battlegrounds, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.