We are living in exciting and challenging times. God is displaying His glory in phenomenal ways around the world. His promise is that “this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, and then shall the end come.” In every continent, testimonies abound of God’s moving through His church to extend His Kingdom.
Church growth worldwide is 2.7% versus 1.7% for Islam. In the first century there was 1 Christian for every 360 people in the world; today, the figure is approximately 1 for every 9 or 10 people. Some estimate that there are 76,000 conversions daily, of which 16,000 occur in China alone. Three thousand five hundred new churches are planted every week around the globe.
I talked with a missionary recently who estimated that Africa is 40% Christian and growing. The church in Argentina has grown 800% in the last 10 years. Several missions sources (Network for Strategic Missions, for one) say that of the 3 million people in Nagaland, a state in the majority-Hindu country of India, 90% are considered to be Christian. The Lord is longsuffering and postpones His return!
Worldwide events suggest God is up to something BIG! He will have the last word. God is preparing His bride for His return. He will come to those who “look for Him.”1 So we watch with vigilance and pray with intensity for the extension of His Kingdom. We are to “take heed” lest He comes and we are sleeping!2
Jesus said that we are the salt and light of the world—to preserve and proclaim the gospel in word and deed. The idea of “salt” communicates a passive influence on the part of the Christian, and the idea of “light” indicates an active response demonstrated by our visible works.3
Some call the command of God given to Adam in Gen. 1:26,28 a cultural mandate. The Fall did not erase that mandate. The curse is present but the societal elements of the mandate remain, though our execution of it is marred by the Fall. The heavens still “declare the glory of God.”4
However, redemption includes all of creation as part of God’s ultimate plan—”all things were “created BY Him and FOR Him.”5 Creation is groaning now, waiting for the change. But one day the groaning will cease. When we are changed, redemption in creation will have its final facelift—not just the souls of men.6 Ultimately, there will be “a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.”7
Redemption includes the sovereign Lordship of Christ in all areas of life. There is to be no separation between the sacred and the secular. Christ is Lord of ALL, the public and the private, individual and family, governments, rulers, nations, educational institutions, the workplace, medicine, law, politics, and the cultural spheres of art, music, architecture, etc. Jesus is Lord, not only of the natural realm, but of the moral and societal realm as well.
The world is a spiritual battlefield! The Tower of Babel was an act of open rebellion—an attempt to have a world without God. This revolt against God by mankind sought to build a Kingdom to glorify and deify themselves. (It is interesting to note that Nimrod, whose name means “the rebel”,8 typifies the Antichrist. There are many other similarities with the Antichrist.)
Things have not changed—this is still true today! The battle is fierce, and a growing hatred of the Church worldwide is intensifying. There were more martyrs in the 20th century than all the previous centuries combined. This was predicted by the Lord before His departure.9
The history of Christianity for 2,000 years records the glorious victories of the Kingdom of God around the world. Millions of lives have been changed, some from a life of barbarism to productive members of society.
Besides the transformation of souls, there have been societal and cultural changes resulting in the transformation of whole continents. Advances in individual rights, women’s rights, art, music, medicine, literature, government, law, architecture, the moral renewal of entire countries, the abolition of slavery, etc.—all happened as a result of the Kingdom of God advancing as the Church accepted its preeminent place in society, enabled by the Spirit of God to affect culture for good.
Even in our time, cultural and moral renewal is taking place in some areas of society. Generally, however, the reverse is true. But we must not abandon the cause because of the severity of the battle or the number of casualties.
Let me move quickly to our upcoming elections. We must not abandon the original mandate in these “last days” because of some negative conditions in our country. I am deeply concerned that there is passivity among Evangelicals. (It is said that 30 million did not vote in the last election!)
As the salt and light of the earth, the least we can do is vote—not along party lines, but on the clear moral choices that are represented by the candidates. As Christians we are to vote biblically, not politically! God is calling us as a Church to raise our voice to be heard, first in prayer and secondly in the ballot box.
I sense deeply that the issues before us are much more than political. It is a spiritual battle. There is a direct demonic attack against the man of faith. There is a vitriolic hatred that transcends the normal differences of opinion, not only in this country, but in many places of the world. Satan will stop at nothing in his concentrated and vicious attacks to destroy the moral and spiritual foundations of our country.
We must first unite in concentrated prayer with fasting.10 We are to earnestly call upon God to intervene that we may see His Kingdom advance. We must intercede earnestly for God to intervene. The Kingdom moves forward on its knees. Even now, Jesus exercises His power and authority through prayer, as He ever lives to make intercession. If we do not, the consequences could be catastrophic!
Second, we must register and vote and encourage others to do the same. These two are inseparable!
We have accepted invitations and are scheduled for ministry in Latvia and the Ukraine. Specific dates are being discussed for ministry in the Philippines and Jordan. This fall, I plan to go to the Azores Islands for the opening of the first Pentecostal/Evangelical church in Sao Jorge, the island of my father’s birth! I hope to introduce the new missionary-pastor there to our family and friends.
Here in Sacramento, we have served in several churches and spoken at an international student conference/prayer retreat. I am also teaching a class at Capital Bible College this fall.
Thank you! We are overwhelmed by your kindness, generosity, and especially your prayers. They are deeply appreciated! You are continually in our hearts and prayers also.
Our God reigns! Jesus Christ is Lord of all! Maranatha!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira
1 Hebrews 9:28
2 Mark 13:33-37
3 Matthew 5:16; James 2:14-26
4 Psalm 19:1
5 Colossians 1:16-17; Revelation 4:11
6 Romans 8:21-25
7 2 Peter 3:13
8 1 Thessalonians 2:8-10
9 John 15:18-24
10 2 Timothy 2:1