In the days of Ezra, the priest, King Cyrus ordered that the temple of the God of heaven and earth be rebuilt. This was in accordance to what God has put in his mind, a man who is foreign to the Law and to the true God! In the following days God also called Nehemiah who joined Ezra in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The work of God started and paused a few times because of evil men, but in the end was completed because the hand of God was upon His people. The children of Israel also took great responsibility toward the work belonging to God. They understood what they lost, because of their sin and that of their fathers. They sacrificed their goods, time and even put their lives at risk for the rebuilding of the temple. When the Law of God was found and read, they separated themselves from all foreign gods, wept bitterly, confessed and repented before the Almighty God. God worked in their hearts through His Law that they could repent and come to Him.
So great was the movement in those days that every male, female, child in every family made an agreement before God in writing and produced a sealed document. They took on themselves an oath and a curse to walk in God’s law which was given through Moses. So stubborn was their decision that they reviewed the minutest of the law of God to keep it. They determined to give what was to be given to God. When it was needed for some to move to Jerusalem, though the leaders were already living in it and the people in other cities, many volunteered to move to Jerusalem to serve, protect, care and celebrate in it. Such volunteers were necessary in those days for the city of God and such volunteers are even more needed today to serve the Christ of God. For who is the Jerusalem for us, but Christ? And who else are we to serve, protect, care and celebrate, but Jesus the son of God? We are to serve Him voluntarily as those who are called according to the gospel to preach and shine Christ; protect His name from those who deny and even blaspheme Him, not by warring with the flesh, but with the weapons of the Spirit; care for Him, because He cared for us and celebrate Him for the salvation and the victory He gives us. “And the people blessed all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem” (Neh.11:2).
It is eminent that there be more volunteers, people with whole hearts, to live in Christ that God the Father might be glorified. Yet, such volunteers are not born without the gospel being preached in the Spirit. This gospel will yield unfathomable riches for God. The Word preached will prick the hearts of the listeners because of the work of the Spirit, and Christ will bring about the volunteers. O, how mysterious is this work of God that brings us great joy! To bring out volunteers for Christ because of you spreading Him in the Spirit is the undeniable commendation from the Father. Such work produces people for Christ with a repentant heart; people willing to serve, sacrifice and even risk their lives for Jesus. They will not be afraid, but love flows freely without hindrances. Belief in one another takes its stand in this world of unbelief; rumors will be thwarted and lies shall be abated. Then, the true face of Christ will be known to this world, before those who pretend to be in Christ that loves Him for false gains and reputation. This is possible because the God who answered Israel will also answer us; He who forgave them will also forgive us in Christ even if it means by disciplining us. It should be our prayer and belief that because He answered them He shall also answer us. “O LORD our God, You answered them; You were a forgiving God to them, And yet an avenger of their evil deeds” (Ps. 99:8). When we shine Jesus by way of speech and life in the Spirit then this light will awaken people to become volunteers for Him.
However, there is another side to this, if we fail to shine Jesus and this is thoroughly happening in these days. Leaders for the want of their desires have neglected God and His house. Others, like wolves, have entered into the church through the act of baptism purely for selfish gain whose speech is corrupt and intoxicant. “Who drink wine from sacrificial bowls while they anoint themselves with the finest of oils, yet they have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph” (Amos 6:6). Yes, truly this has been the nature of preachers and leaders of churches these days, men whose insight is to gather for themselves and their children. While the church of Christ and of God is being ruined before their eyes, they are still willing to continue in their desires that nourish the doctrine of the flesh.
Still others, in their ignorance are preaching Christ to cause distress to those who preach in faith. All these acts will bring about the judgment of God, because they have blasphemed the name of God and falsified the praise that is due Him. For this reason also, since they are exhibiting the nature of this world and not of the Spirit, the men of this world despise Christianity, despise our God and our way of living. Now, our state of living has become worse than that of the unbelievers. God has never allowed unbelievers that rebelled against Him to escape, though He might have thoroughly blessed them for His namesake. “How Sheshak has been captured, and the praise of the whole earth been seized! How Babylon has become an object of horror among the nations!” (Jer. 51:41). If Christian leaders, elders of the churches, preachers and those who follow them equal themselves to the children of the prince of the air, they too will not find an escape. He will catch them at the time when they are at ease. He will find them while in sin that they should not escape.
Further, God will appoint others in their place by bringing in those who crave Him. Whatever they have gathered He will give them to these. Whatever they did not desire to receive from God the others will receive them. For these others God will provide not only the physical blessings, but much more the spiritual ones; many will be blessed through these. O Christian, are you willing to lose the blessings that flow abundantly from the throne of God by continuously seeking those that are worthless and ready to be destroyed? How long will you despise God’s command? How long will you keep Him in waiting? How long will you let greed, hatred, falsity, envy and immorality turn you against God and the faithful? Is not your conscience working against you? You lust the things of the eyes and flesh and find them, and yet you do not rightly admit as to how you acquired them, because you fear losing your reputation. What reputation is credible? Is it not the reputation for Christ in the first place? Do you not realize that your hypocrisy is being clearly revealed in the expression of your face and others are able to see it? Do you not know that those who listen to you will also practice the same? Do not let God take away even what you have. You have been trained in the flesh to provide an excuse for everything you desire and have. This reveals you have not been trained in the Spirit. “Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas’” (Luke. 19:24).
Come to Christ and allow Him to cultivate in you the talent He has given you, if you know you belong to Him. The Word of Christ can only be the true judge of you. Yet, for this to happen you have to seek Christ relentlessly in your inner room. You must set aside the doctrines of this world and ignore men who seek you for their reputation and not for your salvation. Jesus who is the Word will lead you safely out of sin and on to the solid ground i.e. the salvation. Now, you are in Christ and of God and belong to the assembly of the faithful. As a result, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:2).
Remember these words the Holy Spirit has given us – “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:2). Christ is alive and God has spoken to us the living Word. He is not dead and so is His Word; the Word is alive and gives life. That which is not dead and gives life must always speak. Christ who is the Word always speaks to us. God speaks to us through Christ. This is the Word that when proclaimed brings out volunteers for the church of the living God in Christ. When you hear of such Christ, God will grant you repentance leading to salvation. Since He is the heir of all things and in Him was made the world, He will provide you all you need, even more than you need. Nevertheless, fathom Christ first!