Dr. Marc Drake, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Sun Lakes
Russian leader Vladimir Putin thinks he can stop the gospel. Perhaps you’ve read of his action to sign into law measures that severely restrict religious freedom and criminalize missionary activities. Like so many others before him, he is attempting the impossible! How successful were Nero, Diocletian, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and many others before Putin? They all failed! And that’s because the gospel is from God, about God and for the glory of God. It will not be stopped as long as breathing believers roam the earth proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit! As writer Os Guinness asserts, “When the gospel is lived out in practice, it is the most powerful force in history, both for individuals and for entire societies.”
Consider this: The year was 1673. The chief magistrate of Bedford, England, had grown quite weary of John Bunyan and his constant preaching of the gospel. Bunyan was reaching thousands of people, and because the magistrate hated the truth of the gospel, he had Bunyan jailed. The magistrate then said, “At last we are done with this tinker and his cause. Never more will he plague us: for his name, locked away as surely as he, shall be forgotten, as surely as he. Done we are, and all eternity with him.”
History has proven that a more foolish statement has never been spoken! While in prison, Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress – a book that has been used for centuries to lead people to Christ and has been more widely read than any other except the Bible. The Bedford chief magistrate thought he could stop the gospel, but by having John Bunyan thrown in jail, he actually ended up spreading the Good News of Christ further than even Bunyan would have imagined!
Russia’s Putin and others like him just don’t get it. They would do well to read Philippians 1:12-14 where the apostle Paul spoke of his own imprisonment: “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
Here in the 21st century, as we encounter growing opposition and witness religious liberties being threatened, it is so important that believers cherish the gospel all the more and share it with love and boldness. Let’s also pray for Christians in Russia that God will strengthen them in their faith and give them courage to continue sharing it. Our God reigns! His gospel is unstoppable!