PRAYING FOR THE SPREAD OF THE CHURCH IN AFRICA IN THE MIDST OF LIBYA’S TURMOIL
The work of extending the kingdom of God on earth is primarily entrusted to the church . The Sovereign God has chosen to invest His authority for this work in the church . All the commandments , commissions and promises in Scripture are directed and given to the church . The Lord Jesus Christ died for His church , which is a “great multitude that no one can count , from every nation, tribe , people and language…” (Rev 7:9) .
Let that sink in for a moment .
The church for which Christ shed His blood is made up of all kinds of people of this world - past , present and future. And every true church in every generation has the duty to make the gospel known to its own generation in all the countries of the world . For this task the Holy Spirit has come to empower the church . Jesus said that upon the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the church ,…“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem , and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth…”
The church alone is the one body that has this mandate to make the gospel known to the ends of the world . It is a very tough and demanding mandate . Many Christians have died in the execution of this mandate (Rev 6:9-11) , but their work is never in vain .
The famous observation of the North African Theologian , Tertullian of Carthage (160AD - 220 AD) that, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” encourages us to know that the words of the Lord Jesus are true : “ I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it.” (Matt 16:18) The church alone has the power and authority under Christ to resist the destructive work of Satan. The true church alone is the light for the nations , and the hope for despairing mankind .
Apply this to Libya
Libya will not ultimately be freed from the fourty-one year tyrannical rule of Muammar Gaddafi by a United Nations resolution # 1973 . Granted, there may be a short term solution to that by enforcing a ‘ no fly zone’ and by bombing the armoured columns loyal to Gaddafi Libya so that there may be ‘ a level playing field’ for the Libyan rebels . All the signs however point towards a protracted civil war . Iraq and Afghanistan point the way .
And what then ? The winner will become the oppressor of the former oppressor ! Surely Christians of all people must always remember that man is a fallen, sinful creature , incapable of worshipping God in faithfulness and incapable to serve his fellow man in the spirit of Scripture . We must also not forget the conventional wisdom that underwrites the biblical truth when we remember the words of the British parliamentarian , Lord Acton : “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely…”
Pray that the gospel will triumph in Libya
Libyans will be freed ultimately only by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! Satan knows that and the enemies of the gospel know that , and that is why we must never see the conflicts upon the face of the earth as ‘mere violent disagreements among men’ . Behind the present battle for Libya lies a far greater , and far more vicious reality . The forces of darkness which are presently ruling in this world ( Eph 6:12) are persistently at work to create chaos so that the gospel will not be freely proclaimed . Satan knows that this is not merely about a change of regime . If he can manage to substitute one evil dictator for another , he is happy .
The church is therefore called to pray in such times that evil rulers may not prevail. At this time we must pray that one anti-Christian despot in Libya will not be replaced by another anti- Christian despot. Don’t simply pray for the demise of Gaddafi . Pray BOLDLY that the kingdom of God will come in North Africa ! Pray that the gospel which once shone so brightly in North Africa under African leaders like Augustine of Hippo and Tertullian and Cyprian of Carthage and Athanasius of Alexandria will be restored to North Africa . Pray now that many in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco , all areas where formerly the Name of Christ was well known , would be restored to a living faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ .
And our God shall have all the glory !
And our God shall have all the glory !