My Dear Partners in Christ:
Over the holidays I spent time with my brother and his family out of state. It was an enjoyable time for me as he, as you may remember, is deeply involved with a growing work of the Lord in East Africa, especially the Bible School. We desired to share many thoughts, and our discussions lasted for hours; on Africa, much theology, and our concerns as Christians, over our freedoms and future as a civilization. Of special interest to us both was the destiny of the Church, not just churches, but the worldwide Church of Christ.
The Church will triumph of that there is no doubt, for it is Christ Jesus who is building “His Church.” And in this our Lord adds, “and the powers of hell,” or in some translations “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt.16:18). I have no wish to be sidetrack debating whether Jesus is speaking of the Church being built on Peter, or upon his faith in our Lord. It is enough to say Jesus is the “solid rock” and the only foundation (1 Cor.3:11). There is nothing without Him. Nothing evil, hell, or our adversary, the dragon can do to prevent the ultimate victory of His Church.
Will we be found at times “underground,” as in North Korea, Iran, or Saudi Arabia? No! I don’t believe so! Will we be as persecuted, as those in China, Egypt, or Iraq? Not as yet! Those who have already taken on the mark of the beast, you know those who have given their minds and good “right” arm to the “Beast” are not strong enough, as yet. Will our Christian churches be harassed, hindered, and hurt? Always! Satan will continue to do his worse. But, our Creator sees all of time, and He knows how this ends. Satan is defeated. God’s reign will only expand to reveal at last the glory of a new heaven and earth.
We as yet but “occupy” His growing Kingdom until He comes, and He with a “Word” will end all the efforts of Lucifer. Note: there is no great battle! Our Lord comes bringing no weapons of war, His “army” dressed in white linen, and He rides upon the white horse of victory, and with but a Word, the breath of His mouth, it’s over (Rev.19:13-15; 2Th.2:8:). It could be a shout, but it need not be, for everything that was, is, and will be is in His hands. His Church is victorious. Will we be tested until then, will there be times of difficulty, will we experience some setbacks, of course we will. “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn.16:33). Yet, if we have learned the secret, “we can do all things through Him who strengthen us” (Phil.4:13).
We are to be the “overcomers,” those who “conquer” (Rev.21:7) We have, as believers, already washed our robes in His blood and they are white as snow (Rev.7:14). This is our heritage. His Church grew while believers were thrown to the lions, Bibles were still printed as those who translated them into English were burned at the stake. This faith of ours would thrive among whipped slaves in the Antebellum South, and native churches would grow under Japanese occupation during World War Two. Communism has tried repeatedly to kill the Church, and cannot. So Obviously no one, no nation, no movement can kill Christ’s Church. The Devil keeps trying, as has countless emperors, kings, tyrants, dictators, and other demented fools. But they cannot, for it is Christ’s Church! It bears repeating, and sometime I need to remind myself, and perhaps you as well, that there is nothing to fear, nothing to really concern us, for nothing the Devil can do will change what will be. He will try, but the “Lion of Judah, the root of Jessie, has (already) conquered…” (Rev.5:5).
“We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (Rm.8:37)
Thomas R. Wyatt