The Church is Under Attack

March 12, 2022
Church Under Attack

As I see current world events accelerating, thereby heralding the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, rather than becoming dispirited or anxious I become excited. Jesus tells us that when we see these things occurring to look up as our redemption draws nigh (Luke 21:28).

Yes the Church is under attack but, conversely, we see how the Church strengthens and grows when it is persecuted. Satan’s wrath will not breach a Church built upon the unadulterated Word of God, unless the attacks come from within. A Church built on the Rock will ultimately be a victorious Church.
Colin Stott of Global Recordings Network USA writes:

“The Church of Jesus Christ, despite all of its appalling failures and sins, is the greatest force on earth for good and the only threat to Satan’s Kingdom. It is the only group of people on the planet feared by the god of this age. No other religion poses any threat to him. None. Just the Church. Satan trembles when he hears God’s people praising their Lord. Even the weakest saint on his or her knees surely strikes fear in the enemy camp.

“No surprise then that the Church is always under attack. This is especially true today as persecutions and unspeakable horrors are befalling many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world. We see also the abominations of today’s culture impacting our nations as a flood of evil threatens to overwhelm and marginalize the Church. Sadly, instead of influencing our culture for good, the Church finds itself being influenced by it.

“How are we to respond? Such times call for us to confess that we have not been the purified Bride that God intends us to be. Nor have we been the salt and light necessary to restrain evil in our society. More than ever do we need to humble ourselves, repent and pray and turn from our sinful ways (2 Chronicles 7:14).”

Jesus knew that Satan would attack His Bride, and warned us very early on. Just as He pronounced a blessing upon Peter proclaiming his answer as recorded in Matthew 16:17-18 as divinely inspired, He will bless His Church today if she continues to faithfully seek after righteousness, preach the Gospel and proclaim His Word in full truth. “And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Satan has no power over an individual or a church that shelters under the blood of Jesus Christ and the truth and leading of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they did not know the times in which they lived. Do we?

Why is the Church so weak in parts today? The early Church was Jewish. Jesus was and is Jewish—the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). Catastrophically the Church of today has lost its ‘Jewish-ness’. I often quote this little poem as I am thankful for its simple but profound truth. The first line is attributed to William Norman Ewer and the rest of the poem to Cecil Brown.

HOW ODD OF GOD, TO CHOOSE THE JEWS.

BUT ODDER STILL ARE THOSE WHO CHOOSE THE JEWISH GOD BUT SPURN THE JEWS.

Is the Church interpreting the times? Could that area of the Church that is buckling under Satan’s attacks be a malnourished Church, not feeding upon the whole Word of God from Genesis to Revelation? When we are malnourished we are susceptible to attack by a creeping malaise, weakness leading to illness which, in turn, can lead to paralysis or even death. Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they did not know the times in which they lived. Do we? In Matthew 16 Jesus spoke these words ‘But He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘The weather will be fair, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah”. Then He left them and went away.’

One of the most exciting pointers to the times is the return of the Jewish nation to Israel, a factor so many in the Church continue to miss. Is this the time of the fig tree and all the trees sprouting leaves? (Luke 21:29-31).

How many in the Church neglect to pray for Israel and teach the signs of the times as outlined in the prophetic Scriptures? Many of these prophesies are spiritualised by some when in fact they are a manifesting observable fact, occurring before the eyes of those who wish to see. The Lord, as He promised, is bringing His people back to the land He covenanted to them. God does not break covenant.

Does the Church wish to step into her fullness? Through His suffering upon the Cross Jesus engrafted us into the Olive Tree (Romans 9-11). Do we wish to bless God and our older Jewish brethren by praying for His chosen people with whom God has kept covenant despite their unfaithfulness? Do we wish to bless His people and in turn be blessed? (Gen 12:3).

In his book ‘The Mystery of the Olive Tree’ Johannes Fichtenbauer writes:

“It is not really possible to understand what the Church is, let alone talk about the ‘Messianic Jewish phenomenon’ without first being deeply confronted with the fact of Israel’s election—Israel as the Apple of God’s eye. The Church of the Gentiles will never reach the full measure of engagement with the plan of God on earth without understanding that it serves not just any God—but specifically the God of Israel. This has implications in all areas of our faith: in our theology and Christology, in our personal prayer life and our corporate worship, in our morals, in our evangelism, in the way we live out our family life in private and in the way that we are ‘Church.’”

God invites us to work with Him as He watches over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). He extends to us a glorious and exciting invitation. ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders”’ (Isaiah 49:22-23a).

Our generation is the one privileged to see this prophesy occurring from the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948. The rise in numbers of Messianic Jews in Israel is wonderful to behold. There are thousands of Jewish believers in the land of Israel today.

Are we praying for the full number of Jews to come to faith in Yeshua/Jesus, their Messiah? Is Satan blinding the Church to this call? In our blindness are we delaying the return of Jesus to a world crying out for restoration?

Again I quote from Colin Stott:

“Such times call for us to identify the real enemy. It is not our leaders who disregard God’s laws or those in the media or the politically correct brigade who mock us for our faith. Our fight is not against flesh and blood. No, our battle is with the powers of darkness that goad them to blaspheme the sacred and celebrate the obscene. “As prayer warriors we must boldly rise up and take the fight to the heavenlies where the real battle is being waged. We have spiritual weapons to demolish strongholds of deception and every godless philosophy and false belief system that tries to exalt itself above the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

The Church, triumphant in Christ, must confront and destroy these if we are to see God’s kingdom advance.
“And so we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. As the days get darker may our worship grow ever stronger. The more the enemy attacks the more praise God will receive! And let us show God’s love to those who rage against the Church and who want to silence it. (How they must fear the Truth!) This is no time to retreat but to step up our intercession for the persecuted Church and for God to be glorified among the nations. His honour matters!”

Should we worry about cancel culture and woke-ism? Let the Word of God answer our question. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I finish this chapter by again referring to the Lord and His work in Israel and the nations. The Gospel went out to the ends of the earth from Jerusalem and it is returning to the land in a wonderful and exciting way. There are marvellous ministries at work in Israel. Let the Church “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6).

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Judy Russell

Judy Russell is an advocate for Christians for Israel Australia and also leads Study Tours in Israel.

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