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By Eddie and Alice Smith
U.S. Prayer Center, Houston, Texas

 

Sadly, as we enter 2013 we can’t help but notice that much of the twenty-first century church is in disarray.

 

Despite Paul’s 2,000-year-old admonition against division in the church (1 Cor. 12:22-25), it’s plain to see that the body of Christ is severely splintered. Among the divisions are:

 

•  Denominationalism

•  Racial tensions

•  The gender gap

•  The Charismatic versus non-Charismatic issues

•  Minister and laity distinctions

 

Although in the past twenty years we’ve seen some encouraging reconciliation in the church, the lost world might rightly ask, “Why are these Christians trying to reconcile me to God when they are not even reconciled to each other?”

 

It’s an excellent question, and one that deserves an answer. After all, reconciliation implies relationship!

 

But there is something else. Along with the need for reconciliation, we must offer the Lord new wineskins. God wants to pour out the new wine of revival upon his church. In fact, he has saved the best wine until last. It is a purifying wine, a healing wine, and an empowering wine. New wine however, requires new wineskins. (Mark 2:22) As someone has rightly said, “All new wineskins have one thing in common. They are freshly dead.”

 

To become new wineskins and truly live, we must die to ourselves and abandon the old. So the church today is in a state of flux. The only thing we can count on in the future is change! But as long as the church looks like a sieve, fraught with disunity, it will never hold water, much less new wine.

 

We are on the brink of what may be history’s last great revival and a worldwide harvest of souls. God is renewing the nature of the church (his bride) as he prepares her for earth’s final spiritual battle to be followed by the marriage supper of the Lamb.

 

However, Jesus said, “A house divided against itself will fall” (Luke 11:17). As unity enables, so also disunity disables. For 2,000 years, a disabled church has tried,

 

• To reach a disabled world

• To fight against the kingdom of darkness

• To complete the Great Commission

 

As a result of our divisions, not surprisingly, we have accomplished little. After 2,000 years of opportunity, much of the world is yet to know God and the eternal salvation that could be theirs through his Son, Jesus Christ. Two thousand more years of the same from the church will produce the same pitiful results!

 

That is precisely why we need watchmen (intercessors) who will “stand in the gap in prayer,” and for gatekeepers (pastors), who will move into their Kingdom positions to work effectively with them.

 

(Source: Eddie and Alice Smith’s book, Intercessors & Pastors: The Emerging Partnership of Watchmen & Gatekeepers, pages 5-6)

 

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