Most people have heard of Patrick Henry’s defiant call at the second Virginia Convention of 1775: “…give me liberty or give me death!” This was a call to form armed militias in resistance to British law, and in order to repel and repulse a potential incursion by British troops. It was unquestionably an exhortation in favor of rebellion. Other political rebellions have formed nation-states much different from the United States: the first French Republic in 1792; Haiti in 1804; the Soviet Union in 1917; and Iran in 1978. As varied as these examples are, they were all born out of defiance against an existing government.
Rebellion can occur on a large, geo-political scale but, as many parents of teens will attest, it more often happens across the dinner table. The recent stock market turmoil looked like a revolt of a different sort – the small, retail day-traders against the billion-dollar hedge funds. In fact, authority changes hands all the time in board rooms, town halls, church committees, bowling leagues, and baseball teams. Sometimes the authority is willingly ceded; in other instances, it is bitterly wrested from the powers that be. These rebellions can be noble or selfish; short-lived or longstanding; victorious or crushed.
Above all, there is now a cosmic rebellion where the result is fore-ordained. This is the overthrow of the Enemy’s power and influence on earth; his ruthless attacks on the Gospel; and his rule by falsehood and deceit. While Jesus enjoys all authority in heaven and on earth, Satan is not without his finite and temporary fiefdom. The apostle Paul refers to him as the “ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and our Lord calls him “the prince of this world” (John 12:31). In any event, his authority is counterfeit and will one day be stripped from him.
In anticipation of this, we are each called to rebel against the evil principalities that seek to cover the earth in spiritual darkness. Since the beginning of the church, the tip of our spear consists of missionaries going to peoples who have either never heard the name of Jesus or otherwise misunderstand what the Gospel means. This conquest can resemble that of Israel in Deuteronomy 7: “…little by little…” (v.22). Sometimes this slow-as-molasses tempo feels like a standstill, even a reversal. Discouragement can often follow. This is why we pray for missionaries. In so doing, we defy the Enemy with power he can neither mimic nor resist. We rebel against his worldly strongholds.
Praying for those laborers in the harvesting of souls is the focus of our Missions Week from February 21st through 28th. Book-ended by two Sunday worship services – where updates from missionary partners will complement missions-centered sermons – will be our virtual Missions Conference on Saturday, February 27 from 9am to 12:30pm. At this event, participants will receive additional updates; hear talks from selected missionaries; and engage in extended intercessory prayer for our missionary partners. Confident in our God to overcome every obstacle, we will also examine ourselves to determine how our faith translates into financial support for these sacrificial servants.
Register soon for this all-church event. When we join in prayer for souls to be saved, we advance toward that day when the heavenly choir will sing, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Wait no longer, brothers and sisters, to join the Prayer Rebellion!
John Gregory is a Ruling Elder.