I don’t think God is pleased when our churches seem to be succeeding, maybe almost full of "safe saints," but our surrounding city is sliding into more sin and social chaos.
For too long, the church has been stuck in a mode of surrender. The body of Christ today is ill-served by this defeatist posture since our Founder spoke victorious words about our mission to his core group known as The Twelve.
In marching orders never revoked, Christ said his church would be in a constant spiritual battle. In this war for the liberation of humanity, Jesus said his followers would be the winners, not the devil. He said, “the gates of hell will not prevail” over his empowered community. So a victorious church was what Jesus expected.
The second thing Jesus emphasized was the power delegated to his disciples to declare the kingdom and use divine authority to defeat our common foes: disease, demons, and the ultimate enemy, which is death. The early recruits of Jesus went out and healed sickness, expelled evil spirits, and declared Christ’s victory over death.
Many eyewitnesses saw Lazarus rise from the dead. Later, Jesus arose after being crucified and entombed, appearing alive to hundreds of witnesses. His kingdom grew and the church was established.
Before he departed from earth, Jesus gave instructions to his ministry team. His final mandate is called “The Great Commission.” It describes the task of apostles, or “sent ones.” They were to spread the news of Jesus’ kingdom as a present-day reality that all believers can enjoy, even though there is a future aspect yet to be manifested.
The fullness of the kingdom awaits the return of Jesus as King, along with our own resurrection.
So, just to be clear, there are three things that should lead us to expect victory over the devil in this present evil age. First, the victorious expectations of Jesus, our Founder (Mt 16:18); Second, the example of powerful ministry by the original disciples showing they had authority over the devil’s afflictions (Mt 10:1); Third, the Great Commission — the final charge to continue the ministry begun by Jesus until he returns and declares that our work here is finished (Mt 28:18-19).
But most of our seminaries, Bible schools, and traditional mainstream denominations today have given up the fight. They have adopted a “hold the fort” mentality, yielding up the world to the powers of darkness. Many look for reasons to hide in a cave. They have forgotten that Jesus planted a mindset to win and a mandate of victory into ordinary men and women who followed him. Many died as martyrs as they kept that faith to the end.
I propose that we ask God to give us prophetic insight today to see our task through new eyes. I want us to quit giving in; quit yielding to our enemy. Instead, let’s shake off defeat even before we’ve lost! Let’s develop a methodology to find and recruit young apostles, so that we can train a new generation of bold generals for God.
Ron Wood is a pastor and writer who once lived in Meridian. Contact him at email@example.com.