f o r t h e s a k e o f t h e
N A T I O N S A R E A T S T A K E.
In 2001, I was invited to attend a leadership seminar in Moscow. It was being hosted by Sunday Adelijah, the pastor of Word of Faith Church in Kiev. It has fast become the largest Church in Europe with over 17,000 members. I met Sunday over ten years ago while he was a journalist student in Minsk, Belarus. It’s been my privilege to preach for him on a few occasions. I have been honored to watch God raise this man up to reach his generation.
As I entered the auditorium, the Lord began sharing with me some insights concerning the nation of Russia and the state of the Church as a whole. I sensed a strong anointing to pray for the Church in Russia and for her leadership.
I had no idea that Pastor Sunday was going to invite me to the platform to share with the people. I had even less of an idea that the Lord would have me share a prophetic message about unity.
The meeting began with Pastor Sunday introducing several leaders and pastors who were attending. He invited the president of the Pentecostal Union to come to the pulpit and lead the people in prayer. The anointing was electric.
This elderly man began to pray and everyone present could sense his spiritual burden. I didn’t have an interpreter with me, so much of his prayer was lost to my ears, but my spirit was jumping up and down. Then I began to identify specific words that I know: they were the names of regions, and cities and capitals all over Russia. I knew he was praying for the nation, passing over each major city one by one. As he mentioned each city, the crowd shouted, “Amen!” and each time the anointing seemed to grow stronger and stronger.
When he finished praying, Sunday took the microphone and exhorted the people, and then suddenly turned towards me and pointed. I heard my name in Russian, but really didn’t understand what was happening until an usher was taking my arm and leading me to the platform. Another grabbed my Bible that I had left on the front seat and brought it to me. Sunday was smiling, and as I approached him on the platform he said, “Preach to them, dear brother! Share what’s on your heart.”
This is the message, abbreviated somewhat, that I shared that night, as best I remember it.
Unity from a Common Enemy
Many times what is happening in the natural is paralleled in the Spirit. When the terrorists attacked America, I am sure they did not consider the unity it would bring to the world. We all have been so blessed to see President Putin and President Bush working towards a better friendship of nations, and even in Europe there have been many victories that have resulted from this unity.
But it is a unity based on a common enemy, and it can only benefit us so far. We are already seeing the strain. When President Bush declared that Iraq and North Korea are the axis of evil in the world, the unity began to falter. President Putin has been under pressure to support Iraq, and he has made some strong statements in favor of Hussein. Now we will see the real ability or failure of President Bush. Is he a strong enough leader to finish what he started in the face of losing what frail unity that exists? Or will he compromise his mission to keep the unity? These are very serious questions.
He will have to find a higher reason for unity once the enemy is gone.
I see similar parallels in the body of Christ in Russia at this present time. When President Yeltsin signed certain laws into effect what could easily have caused harm to the growth of the Church was turned to good. We saw a great unity come to the body of Christ, and several Unions were created that have been very, very successful. The Church focused on a common enemy.
Fortunately, we know our enemy. Our enemy is not a government, or a leader, or the Orthodox Church. Paul taught us that our warfare is not carnal (literally, fleshly), meaning it is not with individuals; but it is powerful to pull down strong holds — including imaginations and the mindsets or patterns of thought that contradict the knowledge of God, (2 Corinthians 10:4,5).
He also said that our warfare was not with flesh and blood, but with “principalities, powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) One translation renders it, “We have to do with those who have mastery of the world in these dark days with influences in a higher order than ours.” (Knox).
Our enemy is Satan.
But remember that it is a unity based on a common enemy and it will be tested. It is being tested right now, in fact. I’ve heard talk from other very influential leaders, and it appears that everyone has their own opinion about what is necessary in this hour. It is very much like President Putin and President Bush talking. Their differences are growing larger than their unity because the enemy they face is losing his motivational influence. Terrorism is fast begin contained.
Several of the Church’s leaders (and I do not want to mention names, but God has privileged me to know quite a few) are retreating and not going forward – they have been focused on the enemy for a long time. I suppose it is based on the fears that ruled them while under communism. Although Stalin has been dead many years, the spirit that possessed him is still working in this nation. It can be described in a very well known phrase: kto kovo. [*This was a favorite phrase of Stalin, and translates loosely, “who has power over whom.”] This demonic idea of control, manipulation and power are dangerous enemies against any man who would lead the Church of Jesus Christ.
If our unity is only based on a common enemy, we have not grown to the place of authority, and grace, and anointing that Jesus desires His Church to have. We are retreating, not going forward. And when we retreat we reach for ways to maintain, to keep, to guard our little kingdoms that we have built and to find ways to keep them under our control.
Our greatest motivation for unity is our love for Jesus who is alive and ever present in His Body. Jesus is a much better reason for unity than Satan.
As God’s leaders we must find a higher purpose for unity and pursue that, rather than focus on what the enemy is saying or doing. You understand that when I say enemy, I don’t mean the government, or politicians, or the press, or the Orthodox Church. These are only symptoms of what lies at the root. If we allow our enemy Satan to be the one to force unity upon us, we are reacting and not acting out our destiny that God desires for us as a Church.
We stand in a position very similar to President Bush. There are other national and international leaders in Russia and the former Soviet Union who see things differently, one from the other. A way must be found to bring unity among these brothers that is higher in purpose than reacting to the events we hear of in the news.
God has anointed you to lead a great Church, and I know that His anointing is present to help you in forging unity of purpose in His Church universal.
At the same time, I want to encourage you: never forsake the purpose of God to maintain some sense of unity that people think is right. This is not unity, it is compromise, and it is a trap of the enemy.