"...upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
– Matthew 16:18b (KJV)
– Matthew 16:18b (KJV)
What are gates for? Why, that's easy! They either keep something in, or they keep it out. Or, they might do both.
Have you ever been attacked by a gate?
I can't say I've ever been chased and assaulted by any gate, large or small. On the other hand, I did once have an extraordinarily strong-willed garden gate. It was bent on doing what gates do best---keeping me out. Sometimes the gate prevailed and I didn't. And if I was in a particular hurry, I would have to find some other way into my own backyard.
And what is the most common device of hell to be found in America today? The Gate!
There are gates of hell that keep America OUT---out of the garden of God's wisdom and provision, out of all opportunities for a hope and a future, and most importantly...out of touch with God Himself.
Then, there are gates of hell keeping America IN bondage---to sickness and affliction, substance abuse, physical abuse, demonic oppression, false religions...even empty forms of religiosity in the church itself.
Where is the Church? The one that God has built upon the great Gibraltar rock of His own lordship and living being?
Are those hellish gates pursuing the Church? Are they assaulting us? Pummeling us into the ground? Absolutely not! But, there's no denying that they are prevailing against us, because they're holding strong In other words...strongholds. Strongholds that defy our polite remonstrances. "Open up and say 'Ahhh', won't you, please? Come now, don't be a naughty-naughty little gate! Jesus would be very cross with you, don't you think? ... Oh, bother. I guess this one just won't open up today. Can't say we didn't try!"
I had a vision of an Abrams tank leveling its fire on an obstinate gate. Nothing can stand up to an Abrams; why, it's the mother of all tanks!
It's about time that the Church stop seeking diplomatic solutions to the gates of hell. Blast them! And if they don't fall the first time... Blast again! THEY SHALL NOT PREVAIL!
- The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds!
- Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! He's not daunted by those gates, and neither should we be, because...
- Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.
On the Great Rock---the lordship of Jesus---we the Church have been built. We have a position of high advantage! Those gates are nothing but a bluff, guarded by flaming and thundering apparitions that keep us trembling in our boots. But when we enter the presence of Jesus Christ, He pulls back the thin veil of deceit and we see an emaciated, defeated little enemy working the machinery of fear. "Pay no attention to that little rat behind the curtain!" he bellows. But we see the rat is all that's guarding the gate! Blast it!
Hope for America must emerge within the heart of the church. It's time for us to stop "looking like grasshoppers...in our own eyes" like the Israelites did as they stood at the gates of the Promised Land. No! Shut off that TV and spend time in the presence of God. And soon, those impish, bluffing little gatekeepers of hell will shrink down to their true size before our spiritual eyes. They are the grasshoppers. Blast them! And let the Abrams tank of the Church of Jesus Christ roll in and reclaim what's His...set the captives free...bring a Hope and a Future once again.
Can you see it? I can see it! Let's do it! Amen.