Over the past several months I have been prayerfully contemplating the state of our nation, the condition of the Church and the spiritual climate in society. I recently returned from the World Congress of Families in Australia where I heard disturbing reports of the blatant attempts to redefine marriage, deconstruct the natural family and abolish parental rights and responsibilities. There is a growing call - especially in the Western world - for the Church’s role to be restricted to within the walls of the sanctuary.
Criminalising Biblical instruction
The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that Biblical Scriptures forbidding homosexual practice is a hate crime. That means under Canadian law, preaching Romans Chapter 1 is a criminal offense. The radical agenda to criminalise the Bible’s condemnation of sexual sin is growing in scope and intensity. A church that erected a billboard recently offering help to people trapped in various sins including the sin of homosexuality was ordered by the Advertising Standards Authority to remove the reference to homosexuality.
More recently, Creare Training Centre, a Christian training facility in Bloemfontein, was found guilty of “discriminating against homosexuals” by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). Creare trains people for ministry in the Christian Church. The SAHRC took issue with Creare’s belief that “homosexuality is contrary to the
Divine Will.” In other words, the SAHRC ruled Creare Training Centre cannot hold the Scriptural view that homosexuality is a sin – despite religious freedom being guaranteed in the constitution.
Celebrating the popular sin
Homosexual activists have moved beyond demanding tolerance for their lifestyles and are now demanding the Christian Church conform to and celebrate the popular view of homosexuality.
The tax-payer funded Commission for Gender Equality recently released a statement calling for prostitution to be decriminalised in South Africa despite overwhelming evidence showing that decriminalised prostitution expands the sex industry and harms women and children. Marriage, the family and the Judeo-Christian worldview that underpin these vital social institutions – are all under unprecedented attack from a small but vocal anti-family movement.
In fact, these groups have been so emboldened by political gains in the US and Europe, they are brazenly demanding the Bible be criminalised and Christians prosecuted for preaching ‘hate’.
Do not keep silent!
God has called every one of us to be watchmen on the wall. If you are born of the Spirit of God and are sold out to Jesus Christ – you are a watchman in the house of God and over your city.
Isaiah 62:6 declares: “I have set watchmen on your walls O’Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace, day or night. You who make mention of the Lord do not keep silent.” You, who call on the Name of Jesus, do not keep silent! As a follower of Christ I am aware it is my responsibility to be a watchman in my city - to blow the trumpet and sound the alarm when the enemy advances.
As I pray and reflect on the current situation in our nation I am aware that the enemy is making significant gains in his diabolical quest to destroy the vital institutions of marriage and the family – and in so doing – undermine and weaken the very foundations of our society. I have often asked God this question: “Lord where are the watchmen in your Church?” And, “why is the enemy gaining so much ground in society without a response from your Church?”
And this is what God revealed to me - not only are there not enough watchmen, but we have not even begun to build the walls to defend our cities! The enemy senses the lack of spiritual defences in our marriages, families, churches and cities and is taking full advantage of this negligence.
This is a spiritual battle
Let me clarify who I am talking about when I refer to the enemy, Ephesians 6:12-13: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Although the evil flooding our nation is advanced by people, the battle we are engaged in is essentially a spiritual one! And because this is a spiritual battle, only a spiritual people, led by the Spirit of God can fight this battle effectively and defeat the enemy of our souls.
Nehemiah’s story in the Bible provides strategic insight into our current situation both in South Africa and abroad. Like many of us today, Nehemiah mourned the state of his city. The walls were broken and the gates burned. Those who survived the Babylonian captivity were vulnerable to attacks from their enemies. Nehemiah understood that if the city of Jerusalem and its people had any chance of survival, they had to urgently rebuild the walls.
The first thing he did was go to God in prayer. Nehemiah interceded for his city and asked God for wisdom and favour to rebuild the walls of his city. We can glean a number of spiritual truths from Nehemiah’s experience – truths we can adopt to help us rebuild the spiritual walls of our cities to defend and protect our families.
A country in ruins
The spiritual walls of South Africa currently lie in ruins. This is evidenced by the alarming moral decline in society, rampant corruption and sexual immorality and the flood of godlessness into our nation. There are numerous foreign-funded groups freely operating in South Africa with the express purpose of promoting sexual immorality, undermining the natural family and abolishing Biblical moral values.
Well-funded organisations are lobbying for ‘sexuality education’ for five years olds in our schools, teaching that same-sex relations are normal and gender roles not fixed. Legislation is being formulated at the UN (to be implemented in all member states) giving children from age ten the legal right to make their own sexual choices: independent of their parents. Redefining marriage and the deconstruction of the natural family is gaining ground in the Western world, including South Africa.
The Godly way to rebuild the cityWhen one surveys the spiritual and moral
climate of our nation, like Nehemiah we must weep and mourn for the state of our beautiful country. But Nehemiah did not only mourn for his city, his conviction mobilised him into action! Likewise, if you are heartbroken at the state of your city and nation, God is calling you to action. Nehemiah successfully rebuilt the walls of his city within 52 days and secured the city’s defences. We too must follow his Godly example.
1. Count the cost (Neh 2:13 -15)
The first thing Nehemiah did when he arrived in Jerusalem was make a secret night time inspection of the walls of the city to assess the damage. The Body of Christ must honestly assess the damage our nation has suffered by the rise of secular humanism and the spiritual apathy paralysing the Church. We have to count the cost before we commit to action. Rebuilding the spiritual walls of our cities will demand time, resources and sacrifice.
2. Build the wall to defend your family (Neh 4:13-14)
Nehemiah understood that cities are essentially made up of families. He strategically asked the people to build the sections of the wall opposite their own homes. In other words, you are building the wall to protect your own family, but in so doing – you are protecting all families.
3. Prepare for battle (Neh 4:16-17)
Whether we are building our marriages, families, churches, or the spiritual walls of our city, the key is to remain vigilant – always ready for battle armed with the Sword of the Spirit! While the Jews re-built the walls of Jerusalem they took a defensive posture. The Church in South Africa needs to build the spiritual walls of this nation and defend what it builds.
It is naïve to build large churches and ministries while the walls of our cities lie in ruins; our spiritual defences are down.
4. Build the wall on a sure foundation (Neh 8:1-4)
Once the wall was completed, the first thing Nehemiah did was gather the people in the public square. Ezra, the priest, read the Law of God to the congregation. Nehemiah and Ezra were laying an unshakable foundation for the newly rebuilt city of Jerusalem.
They ensured the restored city walls would be foundationed on the (Law) Word of God. Likewise, as we build the spiritual walls of our cities, we must ensure we build on the foundation of God’s Word. If the foundations are compromised, the wall will not stand. Every time the Church compromises God’s Word, a gap appears in the wall allowing the enemy to breach our defences. Every time we uphold God’s Word without compromise – the foundations of the spiritual wall are strengthened.
5. Build the wall with living stones (1 Pet 2:4-5)
“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
In Nehemiah’s day, the defensive walls were built with stones and mortar, however today the spiritual walls are built with living stones – that includes you and me. We are the living stones built together to form the spiritual walls of our cities. The cement or mortar used to bind us together is the Blood of Jesus, reinforced with the love of God.
Currently, there are heaps of living stones scattered all over the city. God wants to gather these scattered stones and build it into one powerful edifice. Secured firmly on the Word of God, this spiritual wall will act as an impenetrable defence for our cities against attacks from the enemy. The time has come to unite as God’s people, to build the spiritual walls of our cities, to man these walls with watchmen and to defeat the enemy of our souls to the glory of God.