I Cor. 16:9  ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’

March 29, 2009


(Missionary Matthew Ude)

Concerning our brethren in West Africa who fight in the Lord surrounded on every side by spiritual foes and attacked within by our own evil desires. Whereas such a fight is by no means limited to Africa for wherever the Word is taught in its truth and purity there Satan will by no means relent in assailing church and Christian with every manner of temptation, and evil. Nevertheless with earthly eyes we perceive that at different times and in different places the battle wages more heavily on some than others. The spiritual reality we cannot always know, yet we do know that where Christ is preached there the Arm of God is in action, where the sacraments are received there the Grace of God is abundantly supplied. Thus though we groan in body with our African brothers we rejoice in spirit, for whatever difficulty abounds according to this earth we know that the strength of God is greater and indeed has already defeated our enemies. Furthermore whatever tribulation shows our weakness in our earthly struggle, serves also to show forth the glory of God’s grace and the power of His right arm by which He saved us out of His love. Therefore although we see and hear of your tribulation and it causes us great pain, for we are certainly one body with you, we rejoice because we are confident that God is faithful who has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Whatever great burden He has laid on you or us the result will always be success for God’s Kingdom. Sometimes such success can be partly seen in the outward growth of the kingdom, through which we have every confidence though we cannot see it that such it is not merely an outward growth of an earthly church, but a true growth also of God’s Kingdom. Sometimes such success can be seen partly in this that where God has richly blessed with earthly blessings  those touched by the Gospel are ready with willing and eager hearts to dedicate such blessings to the work of God’s kingdom and seek to use whatever gifts they can to benefit not themselves but the entire community of believers showing forth their love for Christ in their love for you and me. But in Africa the success of God’s kingdom is seen partly in this that despite tremendous temptations you have held on to the pure and undefiled truth of God’s word accepting neither compromise nor addition nor subtraction even while all around you churches that accept only small changes nevertheless seem to enjoy bountiful increases.

In Nigeria …

The truth of God’s word is still held fast and preached by 19 pastors in various parts of Nigeria. Though the congregations are not large and the men are not esteemed wise by the world, God’s wisdom is present among them and the people of God are shown clearly the cross of Christ as the only solution for our poverty of soul and abundance of Sin.

Besides the 19 pastors the truth of God’s word is still held fast and proclaimed by our two Seminary teachers, Pastor Udo and Pastor Edwin. There are many of course that criticize this school, and see it as a thing of little importance. The teachers they say do not have doctorates in theology. The library is limited and the resource scarce. But then neither the school nor the teachers were set up as those who wish to gain acceptance by men, but those who seek the approval of the LORD. Pastor Udo in particular who has a degree in education from the UWEC is constantly tempted by his relatives to seek a job in a “real” college or other institute of education where his wages would be substantially increased, nevertheless the power of God’s grace works within him to remain as he is a bond-servant of Christ and not of men, dedicated to increasing heavenly wealth and not earthly riches.

And so the Gospel succeeds in standing firm against the attacks of the world.

In Ghana . . .

In Accra, Ghana there is a far greater influence and influx of Western people as well as western wealth, beautiful buildings, shopping malls, and western goods of every kind are not hard to find here. But the greatest prize in the city is given away from a dirt patch under a single lamp post on the side of the road.

Pastor Gideon Abussah having previously left home and church in order to preach the pure and uncontaminated word of God, remains alone in his efforts in that area, but nevertheless strong in conviction to the word of God. Despite the fact that there is little outward physical signs of growth, nevertheless the handful of people that come every Wednesday to meet under that street lamp hear what every church ought to teach but so few do anymore. And rather than being discouraged by what is seen and passing they are encouraged by what is heard and everlasting.

Pastor Gideon himself though without much in the way of material things and great difficulty in the work before him remains not only faithful in teaching the pure word of God, but cheerful and upbeat in his labor for Christ.

And so the gospel by the power and grace of God succeeds in Accra, Ghana for it remains firm though those who bear it are weak.

In Togo . . .

In Togo the EELCT (Eglise Evangelique Lutherienne de Confession du Togo) was blessed by the ordination of Pastor Kossi. I was joyfully able to be present and a part of this wonderful ceremony as was Pastor Gideon from Accra, Ghana. There was generally great encouragement here as members from different congregations of the EELCT joined together for one joyful celebration. A celebration that rejoiced that the Lord had given to them a pastor not only knowledgeable in the scriptures, not only able to, but also willing to preach the whole counsel of God without subtractions, additions or compromise to the rationales of men.

And so the gospel of God succeeds in Togo where one more man has dedicated his life to the preaching the undefiled word of God.

For surely the Word of God’s grace is not devoid of power as men assume it to be, but works mightily at all times bringing some to the wondrous grace of God and condemning others in their sin.

Isaiah 55:8-11   8 ” For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.  9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.  10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,  11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

For this reason all who like Gideon labor under extremely difficult situations are reminded to take heart in the power of the Lord. Even as St. Patrick did whose festival was so recently celebrated. Here was a man who was sold into slavery at a young age and afterward walked alone among the heathen Irish where he had been a slave to give them the Christian faith. There he faced perils daily we can only but imagine and taught the word of God to a people dead set against hearing. Nevertheless through Him God not only established and prospered the Church in Ireland but gave to those people such a heart of humility and joy in the Gospel that it was from the Irish church that both Scotland and Germany received the gospel, and it was the Irish church that would later fight against the encroaching darkness of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, long before God raised up Martin Luther to continue that struggle.

-Matthew Ude

Jesus My All
Christ my Savior, Christ my friend,
Christ my treasure without end;
Christ when waves of sorrow roll,
Christ the comfort of my soul.
Christ when all around should fail,
Christ when enemies prevail;
Christ when false accusers rise,
Christ my solace in the skies.
Christ when days are dark and drear,
Christ when all around is clear;
Christ when all the earth is gone,
Christ my portion on the throne.
Christ at home and Christ abroad,
Christ my company on the road;
Christ in sickness, Christ in health,
Christ in poverty and weath.
Christ who once on earth has trod,
Christ the blessed Son of God;
Christ for now and Christ for then,
Christ my Savior and my friend.
—Author unknown

Attachment of Symbols #16