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That They May Be One

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you;
your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my
spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth, the people
of the world learn righteousness.
(Isaiah 26:8-9)

Oh what a blessed day when the people of God are more concerned about honoring the name of the Lord than having their own names honored! What joy there must be in heaven when all the man-made barriers, traditions, agendas, and ambitions that have divided believers for years are swept aside—and only one name is exalted among the flock of Christ!Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” What a privilege to be enabled to forget about our own honor and reputation, and to give our whole heart to seek the “renown” of the One who alone should be exalted over all the earth. This should be the normal Christian attitude, yet most of the time we tragically miss the mark, get bogged down in lesser things, and allow the devil a field day!

Is it not about time that the Lord had a field day among those who are called by His name? As Jesus said of His own death in John 12:32-33, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” What a powerful beacon the cross is, breaking the hardened hearts of men! But why then are believers so concerned about lesser things, when their greatest duty and privilege in life is to lift up Jesus Christ—that He may “draw all men” to Himself? Have we forgotten what Jesus prayed for us in John 17:11? “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name — the name you gave me — so that they may be one as we are one.” What a transformation in the testimony of the saints when revival sweeps away their sad divisions, and the world sees a Church that is One Body! Only then does the Church fulfill the description in Song of Solomon 6:10, “Who is she that looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” (KJV, updated)

Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan

What we need to see opened in New York City is a pair of doors, liked the matched pair at the entrance to a cathedral. To see the saints united in Christ is half of the door. I was privileged to be at the 150th anniversary commemoration of the famous Fulton Street Prayer Meeting Revival of 1857, and of the national awakening which sprang from it. It was very special to see so many believers from different churches praying together, worshipping together, lifting up the Lord and honoring Him. It was something that I had never seen before in this great city–a taste of the “fair as the moon, clear as the sun” part of the verse from Song of Solomon.

But, how desperately we need to see the fulfillment of the other half of this verse, and the other half of the door opened! This half is for believers to stand together to evangelize the entire city. No one church or even several churches can ever do this on their own. When the churches of New York stand together united in Christ, “terrible as an army with banners,” they will reach the city to a degree that will never be accomplished by any other means. It has seemed to me at times that this half of the door will never open, but God can open it! God can grant us a season when believers do stand together. That is the great need of our generation! Anything less will leave the largest parts of this city, gathered from many nations, perishing for want of the blessings Jesus won for them on the cross of Calvary.

As we pray for revival, we need to ask ourselves a question. Are we living in the shadow of the cross and pointing lost souls to Christ? Or is our shadow obscuring the cross, and standing in the way of Almighty God, because we refuse to die to ourselves? As Pastor Luis Rivera of Manhattan Grace Tabernacle pointed out a few years ago, we claim that we are too shy to preach the Gospel to the lost, but the fact is that we are too selfish. When we forget about ourselves, nothing will stop us from “speaking the truth in love” to the lost. (Ephesians 4:15)

There is another area where our shadow may be obscuring the cross. Revival is not about our agendas. It is not about our desire to be somebody spiritually, or to build up our ministry. It is not about our desire for church growth, or even for our little group to be blessed. In fact, revival requires us to put down our personal agendas, and to take hold of God for His agenda. Lord, we have had our agendas, we have done our things, we have held our meetings, and we have pressed ahead with our efforts. We have done everything we could think of but, as Jeremiah 8:20 (NKJV) says, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”

Are we living to build our churches, or to build the Church of Jesus Christ? Ponder for a moment another of those great reproofs to the Jewish people, and warnings to Gentile believers. Malachi 1:10-11 declares:

“Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my
altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your
hands. My name will be
great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among
the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.

We long for our places of worship to be full, and blame lost sinners for being so unresponsive. But is it with us that God is not pleased? Are we lighting “useless fires” on His altar, when we should be pouring out tears of repentance before His throne, and when we should also be weeping for the lost to come home to Jesus? “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness,” and so do the members of the Body of Christ!