Zebras at a Waterhole in Okaukejo, Etosha Pan, Namibia . PHOTO : J . Rieck

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PRAY FOR AFRICA

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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[1] (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  !


[1] Located in modern Tunisia

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