Stand In The Gap

Ezekiel 22:30“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

Israel, in Ezekiel’s day, was a mess. The people had long ago left the Word of God and chose to follow the ways of the world around them. This led them into gross immorality, putting them at odds with God. As a result, the Babylonians were fast approaching the city and the people would be destroyed. Prophet after prophet had filled the airwaves with warnings of coming judgment and the way of escape. Sadly however, instead of turning to the Lord, the people remained entrenched in their immoral ways, hoping against reality, that life would continue unchanged, regardless of their backslidden state. All the while, God was looking for men and women who would respond to him in repentance and obedience, but none were found. In many ways times have not changed, God is still looking for those who will build a wall and stand in the gap.

Building a wall might illustrate taking a personal stand against the sinful practices so common among us. Regretfully, the same sins that are rampant in the world, are also running amuck in the church. It is time we took a personal stand to be men and women who are committed to the Lord. It is time for men to be the husbands, fathers and citizens God has called us to be. Standing in the gap, is a picture of a person who will stand between men and God, seeking to make a difference. We stand in the gap in two ways. First, in prayer. Instead of only complaining about the way things are and wishing for days gone by, we should be praying for those around us. If you are struck by a particular person’s behavior, put them on your prayer list. Pray they would come to Christ and be transformed. Second, to stand in the gap is to share the message of the Gospel. More than anything else, the World needs to hear the saving message of the Gospel. It is the Word of God, through the Spirit of God, that will transform the lives of those who believe.

Let’s commit to be those who will stand the gap.

Pastor Jim

 

Bridging The Gap

Isaiah 59:1-2
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

Sin is missing the mark. Just as an archer aims at a target, lets his arrow fly, and misses; so we attempt to do our best, only to fall short of the perfect standard of God. The problem is, sin has grave consequences. Sin not only effects our emotions by making us feel guilty, it also effects our ability to have a relationship with God. Isaiah reveals, the real impact of sin is separation from God.

If we were hiking and came to a gorge where a bridge used to be, we would be forced to either fashion a new one or find another way across. When it comes to sin, the gorge is too wide. Our efforts can never bridge the gap between man and God. We must look for another way across. Fortunately, there is a way. Jesus went to the cross to make a way for sinners to be reconciled to God. We are told, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead youwill be saved.” (Romans 10:9).

Imagine the utter joy of sin being forgiven, and knowing God personally! This message so impacted the first generation of believers, they sacrificed all to travel the world, telling anyone and everyone that reconciliation with God was possible.

Thank God that while sin separates, Jesus restores.

Pastor Jim

Mind The Gap

Esther 7:3
Then Queen Esther answered and said, ‘If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.'”

When the chance arose for Esther to make her request known to the king, she pleaded on the behalf of others. This is called intercession, and is a critical part of the prayer life of every believer.

When Jesus responded to the disciples’s request to teach them to pray, He gave a model prayer that included praise, petition, confession and intercession. When we pray we should allow time for praying on behalf of others. Intercession includes both praying with others, and in the place of others. We should pray for the physical and spiritual needs of our Christian friends, and we should pray for those who have not yet come to Christ.

Esther’s prayer for the life of her countrymen is a good illustration of what is at stake when we are praying for our unsaved friends. We should keep in mind, we are standing between them and separation from God. Like the watchman who stood guard over an ancient city, we should stand in the gap for those who don’t yet know Christ; praying for their salvation.

Intercession should include praying for their hearts to soften, their eyes to open, and an opportunity for them to hear the Gospel. We should also pray for boldness to share the love of Christ with them, and power to live out our Christianity in a way that is attractive to them.

A great complement to intercession, is taking an opportunity to show the love of Jesus. Perhaps an invitation to coffee, or even to church, might open a door to share the Gospel with someone you have been praying for.

Pastor Jim