Principles of Revival: Ezra Part 5

Posted: March 11, 2009 by Josiah Batten in Bible Study, Current Issues, Emerging Church, Revival, The Church
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Moving from Ezra 3 to Ezra 4 we see the true beginning of the work of rebuilding.  It started with the altar, and the rest followed.

At the end of Ezra 3, the people worship as the foundation of the Temple is laid.  Those who hadn’t seen the first Temple rejoiced and praised.  Those who had seen the first Temple wept.  This is an interesting dynamic.  The younger people were filled with hope at the building of a temple.  The older people remembered the glorious old days and wept.  Undoubtedly we’ve all heard or read about the revivals of old, those amazing days when God’s Spirit worked mightily through men like Smith Wigglesworth.  We’ve all heard of Finney, of Campbell, of Whitfield, of Edwards.  It’s easy to look back and become focused on those things.  We may even weep because those days are over.

Maybe it’s just my youthful ignorance and bliss, but I’m convinced the greatest days for God’s people are still to come. I believe God’s greatest work remains to be seen.  Jordan is parted, the Ark is on its’ way through, but it remains to be seen if God’s people, if the up and coming generation will follow.  This doesn’t exclude older generations, it’s just most of them who will follow have already followed.  They’re not the ones on the banks of Jordan.  Though don’t get me wrong, they play an important part in what will happen in these last days.

But with all the excitement of this foundation being laid some problems arise.  In Ezra 4:1-5 some troublemakers claiming to be sacrificing to the God of Israel come and want a part in rebuilding the Temple.  Can you imagine the detrimental effects this would have had?  Once these guys got their foot in the door they would corrupt the sacrifice, the worship, everything.  They would have defiled God’s Temple and I imagine mixed it with pagan worship.

Of course, in today’s Church there are already many pagan elements and many things keeping the Church from being all that it is called to be.  But as we attempt to rebuild, many people who are actually enemies of God have come in claiming to worship at our altar and be serving our Lord.  Among these groups are:

1.  Political parties: We in the Church are more active politically then spiritually.  We’ve relied on political power and force to accomplish the will of God.  No number of bans in the country will stop alcoholism, drug use, immoral sexual practices (porn, pre-marital sex, same-sex sex).  If we truly want to see those things stopped we need to spread the Gospel.  Those things are heart-conditions, and no law gives anybody power to overcome sin; in Christ alone is the answer to the great social questions of our day.  Political parties have only hurt the Church, and we’ve foolishly followed immoral leaders with integrity as deep as tropical ice.  Am I advocating we don’t vote?  Of course not.  What I am saying is we can no longer blindly align ourselves with any specific party.  The Church can be on no party’s side, because no party is on God’s side.

2.  Televangelists: Benny Hinn, Morris Cerullo, Mike Murdock, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer et. al., I’m calling you out.  You have used the Gospel to make money, in your greed you have exploited God’s people (see II Peter 2).  “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God.”  -Ezra 4:3, NIV.  These false prophets take just a hint of truth but pollute it with their “prosperity Gospel”.

I will not apologize for what I write here.  Some of the doctrines these people teach are blasphemous, it goes well beyond a mere disagreement.  Benny Hinn claimed that Jesus would physically appear at one of his crusades, he even asserted he may have footage of Jesus Christ.  Joel Osteen won’t even publicly affirm John 14:6 and say that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man comes to the Father but by Him.  Creflo Dollar reportedly rides around in a Rolls Royce provided by his congregation.  Let me tell you something, I believe he will answer on Judgment Day as to why a Rolls Royce was worth more than starving children in Ethiopia or people faced with genocide in Darfur.

3.  Emergents: It may surprise people that I say this, but the Emergent Church is way off track.  Progress can not be equated with superficial ecclesiastical changes coupled with the abandonment of sound Biblical doctrine.  Brian McLaren has done incredible damage to God’s people.  It’s amazing that Frank Viola would write Pagan Christianity and then assert that men like Brian McLaren are his friends.  McLaren promotes more pagan practice and doctrine then the whole of the Church has since Constantine.

When people start calling the Cross a “distraction” we have a tremendous problem.  I will fully grant, and I have asserted on this blog, that the modern pulpit is full of hypocrisy, that the Church is pretentious, that we’ve abandoned true Biblical community, and that we need massive and substantial reform.  But this will not be achieved by forsaking Christ.  Indeed, McLaren and many Emergents are just as bad if not worse then the Institutional Church only on an opposite end.  My friends, I’m afraid many Emergents really have no part in our work of rebuilding God’s Temple.  I must state at this point that there are many types of “emergent” and “emerging”, and in this section I’m referring only to those who compromise God’s Word and the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ’s work.  If you are an “emergent” of the Eddie Gibbs variety then as far as I can tell, welcome aboard.

In our zeal to rebuild God’s Temple, the rebuild the Church, we must not ever compromise.  We can not associate with false prophets and teachers for the sake of numbers and power.  Remember Elijah on Carmel, the winner here will be the one who’s God answers by fire.  Numbers play no part in determining what God can do.

God bless!

Josiah

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Comments
  1. Robert says:

    As always, an excellent word my good friend. I wonder if the arrival of difficult economic times will shake the materialism out of the church, and refocus God’s people, or will cause many to become discouraged after following the “prosperity gospel”.

  2. sweetswede says:

    I think it could cause both. It’ll help sift the sand so to speak.

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