August/September 2016 - Vol. 87
praying before an open Bible
. Advancing God's Kingdom in a Turbulent World

In this issue
We live in a time of massive change - technical, cultural, and spiritual change to name a few. We are globally connected like no other age and yet we witness almost daily the sweeping storms of division, war, conflict, persecution, and genocide. Some call it a clash of civilizations and the way people have lived for many centuries. Others see it as a decline and dying of an age - like the decline of the Roman empire in the early centuries of the first millenium.

While there are a number of ways for viewing these turbulent times, the Lord Jesus has given his disciples a perspective and orientation to the age in which we live. In the Gospel of Matthew we hear the words which Jesus addresses to his disciples:

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:6-14)

How does the Lord Jesus want Christians to respond to the troubles, challenges, and turmoil going on in our world today? Jesus first says "do not be alarmed" (Matthew 24:6) and then calls his disciples to stand firm in their faith and not yield to despair or hopelessness. And in the same breath, he calls his disciples to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (Matthew 24:14).

Our role in spiritual warfare and mission
We are in a spiritual battle that has been going on for a long time - ever since the fall of the angels who rebelled against God (Revelation 12:7-12, Isaiah 14:12-15) and the fall of humankind who were deceived by the devil and disobeyed God. God's plan from the beginning was to share his glory and reign with those who would believe in him and serve his kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. That is why the Father in heaven sent his only begotten Son to heal and restore a broken human race. There are ultimately only two kingdoms in conflict - the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. The Lord calls us to serve his kingdom and to let the light of Christ shine through us so that many may come to know him, love him, and serve his kingdom of peace and righteousness.

This issue explores our role as individual disciples and as communities of disciples who aim "to fight the good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12) and win as many people as we can for the kingdom of God which endures forever.

Don't miss the inspiring testimonies of Christians in war-torn Aleppo who daily witness the miracles of God in the midst of bombing raids, constant fear, danger, and threats to their survival as a Christian community. May we rise up and take our place in the battle with the armour of God and the spiritual weapons of prayer, intercession, and the "sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:10, 17-20).

Sincerely in Christ,
Don Schwager

Return to Table of Contents or Archives  (c) copyright 2016  The Sword of the Spirit