SWAT REPORT    # 39   10-31-05


When Joshua came through Jordon to the promised land the Lord directed him to take stones out of the bed of the river and build a memorial.  This was in order that the next generation might remember the misery and burden of their bondage in Egypt, and the euphoria of their merciful and miraculous freedom. 

Many times in the Bible God’s people were instructed to observe or build some memorial to commemorate a great work in their lives

In a prominent place in downtown Brasov there stands a memorial to anticommunism.  (see photo #5195).  Notice the significance of the jail cell bars on the left and the eternal flame in the hope of perpetuating the gruesome memory of the years of enslavement under communism.  This speaks volumes in commentary to those who might, in a vain moment, be drawn to the deceptive tenants of what recent history has proven to be a miserable failure and a shameful horror in the long history of human government.  We would do well to hang a huge video screen on the college campuses of the world and let this flame burn its way into the vain hearts and soft heads of our youth. 

Thousands of people walk by this memorial in the course of a day.   I have seen ignorant teens slouching about and leaving their potato chip bags and drink bottles behind in memorial of their apathy.  Conversely, I have also seen others taking photographs and with considerable thought tenderly observing this somber memory. 

Recently I preached a message in our church on the subject of keeping the lamp of God burning in the temple of the Lord.   I drew my text from 1 Samuel 3:3 “And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord.”  The temple being ourselves, our church, our community and the lamp of God being the light of the gospel and the knowledge of the Word of God.   (Now some of you have an outline to preach this coming Sunday…HA) For a conclusion, I told them that I had noticed that since July of this year the flame had not been burning at the anticommunist memorial.  I told them it probably was not because the city of Brasov had run short of natural gas, nor was it that the good people who pay for the upkeep of this memorial had gone broke.  Likely, it was that since it had been 16 years since Romania had been freed from communism, the upcoming generation had lost its memory of these dreadful days of torture: that some in this present day of taken-for-granted-liberty and busy, free, commerce JUST DON’T CARE  as much as those who built the memorial. 



2 Cor. 4:3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 6   For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Many times in the Bible, as here, the Lord commanded that the light be kept shining so that the horror of bondage under sin can be brought afresh to the minds and hearts of those who, in their vanity, might tragically forget. 

The very first week of our ministry here we lit the flame on the publick memorial of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.   We have paid whatever price was set before us, whether that be reproach, verbal persecution, harassment from police, ostracisms by proper congregations, boycott by those who may have attended our church had we not been so brazen in our memorial, adverse weather, and even in some cases physical bodily harm, that we might continue the flame on the memorial lest a country, a city, another generation, a family, a few, or just one silly person be tickled by the vanity of  sin and become entangled thereby.

We now have nine strong men in our church who will step forward at a moments notice to attend to this important flame and see to it that it is properly maintained.  They range in age from 60 down to 12.   There are those of us who have degrees as well as those struggling through the seventh grade.  There are among us those who can and do preach in three languages, and others who are choosing the next word like a baby takes his first steps.  Some, who with so many years experience take the lead as though it were the next breath, and a few who still sweat at the prospect of reading a verse from the Bible.  Ruben, who is 13 years old, asks with ready eagerness, who is to preach next.  Dan jumped to the front of the line of flame keepers a few months ago to preach with a fat lip and obvious facial bruises resulting from the anger of his cousin while hearing Dan witness to him.   Mihai, our gypsy preacher from Racos, who has trouble reading properly, voluntarily stood in for us when we could not minister in his small village, and bore the reproach of Christ among his neighbors and relatives where his family has a three generation history.   He went to his own people and read scripture and sang in the open air.  He went also to the Hungarian side of the village where his presence was anathama and could have brought him much harm. 

I have traveled in many former communist countries but here is the only place I have seen a memorial to anticommunism.   I have traveled and preached in multitudes of cities and countries and in only a few do I know of a publick flame burning to commemorate the slavery of sin and call attention to the liberties in Christ. 

I wonder if there is such a publick memorial to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in your city?  And I wonder if it is situated in a prominent place and being maintained properly.  Oh, like the anticommunist memorial here, there will be those who walk by and never pay a penny’s worth of attention.  There will be those who leave their empty potato chip bags and drink bottles on the memorial and rebellious teens who hang about and blasphemously light their cigarettes at the flame.  But there will also be some to come by and view the memorial in wonder and appreciation, take a picture, trace the history, and make a fresh commitment against the deception which has captivated so many of their ancestors. 

By the way, the other day I saw some men working at the anticommunist memorial.  The flame has been relit.  The flame in your community can be lit or relit with a little work on the part of those who CARE.

Keeping the flame going on the eastern front

Gerald Sutek and the SWAT TEAM for Christ

2 Tim. 1:8, Amos 5:10

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