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And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem;
And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.  Ezra 10:7–8
In this passage a real line of separation was being made. They are under the Mosaic Law. In the church today I don’t believe you could force the issue as they are doing here. They are removing all of the chaff that they possibly can from the good wheat. It would take about “three days” to come from any section in that land, and this proclamation was directed to all those who had come out of the Babylonian captivity, who had returned to rebuild the city, the walls, and the temple. They were to come together for a time of spiritual refreshing, but repentance must precede it. Those who would not come because they felt that things were not being done the way they wanted them done, or had some other objection, were to be cast out of the congregation.
The church needs housecleaning today. I don’t mean taking from the church roll the names of the members who can’t be located either. What the average church needs to do is get rid of some of the members they can locate—those who need to repent but will not repent.
Bitterness today is like quinine in a barrel of water. It doesn’t take much to make the water bitter. I remember when I was a boy my mother would always tell me when I cut up a chicken, “Be careful and don’t break the gall bladder. You’ll ruin the whole chicken if you do.” She was right. You could spoil the entire fowl if you broke the gall bladder. God wants to get rid of that gall bladder of bitterness in His church. For instance, Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Just a few complainers and critics in the church can absolutely stifle any spiritual movement. Oh, how many lives have been wrecked by bitterness!



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