Jesus is implying that the Church will be storming the gates of hell,not running the opposite way. We should be engaging and pushing back the realms of darkness as a powerful offensive force. – Jefferson Bethke
Jeff is referring to Matthew 6:18, which in the Amplified Bible says: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it (or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it).
I love this version because of what it says right there at the end. That the gates of Hell will not ‘be strong to the Church’s detriment.’ That word detriment means loss, damage, disadvantage, or injury.
Hell will not be strong enough to injure the Church, to cause damage or loss of any sort. So if Scripture says this, why is the Church hiding from injury so much? Why has the Church become peripheral to the world instead of the other way around?
Now, let me clarify. I love the Church – truly. And I want to be part of the solution of returning the Church to its rightful position. But the best way for me to do that, is to write. So here I am, writing, reminding us as Christians, as Christ’s Church, that we don’t need to be afraid of Hell. We don’t need to be afraid of Satan’s power. Because his power ain't got nothin on Jesus, and the Church totally alive in Him.
Church, we are meant to be ‘storming the gates of hell.’ We weren't made to run from the darkness for fear of it overcoming us, we were made to run straight to it. It’s not enough to hide in the four walls of our church building, to surround ourselves with Christian friends and bible studies and church meetings 24/7… It’s not okay to sit back and watch a desperate world sink further into darkness than ever before.
It’s time to rise up. It’s time to build relationship with those who don’t know Jesus. It’s time to start being the example to your co-workers by being a person of integrity, doing the right thing even when no one is watching. It’s time for all you singers, dancers, song writers, rappers, writers, spoken word poets, artists, videographers to claim back creative ground for the Church. The church is meant to be the forefront of creativity, not the sideline copycats.
And Christians, it’s time to start speaking life. That’s the one thing Satan can’t do – he can’t speak life and speak the name of Jesus into a hopeless situation. But you – you can. You can offer to pray for that friend who’s sick. You can remind your family, your siblings that it’s not too late for them, and they are never too far gone for Jesus. You can speak God’s peace even when crisis is surrounding your family, your schools, your friends.
Now is not the time to watch the gates of hell prevail. Now is the time to step up, and claim back ground for Jesus. Now is the time to proclaim that Satan will not prevail to the detriment of the Church. Now is the time to speak up for what’s right and stop ignoring everything that’s wrong. Now is the time to speak and celebrate Truth, and love people regardless of how they sin and what their brokenness is.
The Church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The Church is Christ’s Body, in which He speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with His presence. – Ephesians 1:23