Hello, and welcome back to our series on Spiritual Warfare and Missions (SWAM). If you missed the previous posts in this series, you really should click here to read them first. And be reminded that this series is based on the book by Jerry Rankin and Ed Stetzer called Spiritual Warfare and Missions.
Last time we learned that part of Satan’s Strategy is to destroy the spiritual vitality of the Church. It is that spiritual vitality that is the distinct witness of a dynamic, spiritually transformed people of God.
In this final post of this Spiritual Warfare and Missions series we will look at the final victory and ask whether we will be found faithful.
To begin this final chapter, the authors relate the story of Esther. Please take a few minutes to read the story if you aren’t familiar with it.
In chapter 8, Esther had become the queen of Persia and, at risk of her own life, had intervened for her people. The conspiracy of Haman was revealed, and he was hung on the gallows prepared for Mordecai. However, the decree had already been issued, due to Haman’s devious influence that all Jews were to be destroyed. And the law of the Medes and Persians could not be changed.
So the king issued another decree. In this edict he warned the Jews of the pending threat and gave them permission to arm and defend themselves. It was a message of salvation for a people doomed to be destroyed. The Bible tells us that they sent couriers with the message translated into every language to the most remote regions of the empire. There was a sense of urgency. They chose the fastest horses from the royal stables as the couriers “rode out in haste, at the king’s urgent command” (Esther 8:14).
Several things could have gone wrong with this attempt to get this good news out. What if they had forgotten about one of the minority people groups in a faraway province in the remote regions of the empire? Or what if they had not been able to find someone in the capital city to translate the decree into the language of some of the people? What if the courier had stopped along the way, or been diverted, and the people to whom he had been sent never got the message? The people would have perished, not because a decree of salvation and deliverance had not been given but because they never got the message!
That is exactly what has happened in our world today. Jesus Christ came and died for the sins of the world so that whoever calls on the name of the Lord can be saved. But many of the peoples of the world have not heard that good news, and they continue to perish in their sins. Multitudes continue to die and enter an eternity in hell, not because salvation is not available but because they have never heard the news. Of the sixty-five hundred languages in the world, fewer than a thousand have the entire Bible in their own language.
We are the couriers sent to proclaim deliverance to all peoples, but we have stopped short. Instead of reaching the most regions, we have been diverted to caring for our own people and investing more in our own church programs than getting the gospel to all peoples.
But, God’s mission will be fulfilled. God is moving in providence and power to bring the nations into the kingdom. Mordecai has this sense of God’s providence when he challenged Esther to recognize that God had uniquely positioned her within the palace to be the one to intercede before the king. We often miss the implications of the rest of that often quoted verse. Mordecai goes on to say in Esther 4:14, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Mordecai remembered God’s covenant with Abraham, the patriarchs and the affirmation of His promise to the prophets of God who foresaw the fulfillment of that coming kingdom. He knew that God would be true to his covenant promise. He would make a way to deliver His people that the Messiah would come and bring redemption.
He said to Esther, “If you do not step up to be the one that God chooses to use, you are the loser. You and your household will perish along with others, but God’s purpose will be carried out through some other means and instrument.” God’s mission will be fulfilled. That day will come when those from every people, tongue, tribe, and nation will be gathered together around the throne of God singing praises to the Lamb.
The tragedy is the fact that many of God’s people have forfeited the privilege of being the one used by God. Many have been unwilling to take the risk, holding on to their own security and comfort instead of recognizing that we have been called into the kingdom for such a time as this.
We are called to be the faithful ones that have the privilege of extending the kingdom of God on the earth. “The Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). God is sovereign over the nations, and His kingdom will prevail. We need to recapture the vision that was so prominent among the Old Testament prophets.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising (Isaiah 60:1-3).
The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, (Isaiah 62:2).
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem, (Isaiah 2:2-3).
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts, (Malachi:1:11).
It is going to happen. The question is, will we be found faithful to our calling? Will we go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded?
If you want to know how to do this better, let us know in the comments below and we can help you.