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Storming the Gates of Hell

Bringing love, justice, and peace to the world

What is our role as the church? To discover this we need to look at Jesus and His work on earth. 1 John 3:8 states: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

The cross is victory over the powers holding people in bondage; sin, death, and the devil. As God’s emissaries, believers are called and empowered to continue the work Jesus began with his life, death and resurrection.

Jesus desires to use you to build His church and advance His kingdom. Matthew 16 helps you to better understand your role.

Matthew 16:15-18

He (Jesus) said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied,

You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Gates of hell

Caesarea Philippi – Temple of Pan and Cave known as the Gates of Hell

City of false gods

Jesus travels with His disciples 20 miles north of Galilee to the district of Caesarea Philippi. In this area is a rocky hillside where shrines dedicated to the god of Pan, Echo, and Hermes existed. Next to these shrines is a large cave where a powerful stream once flowed, called the “Gates of Hell”.

The worshippers of Pan would perform human sacrifices in the cave and cast the remains into a natural abyss at the back of the cave.

The living God

In this area where other god’s required human sacrifice, Peter confesses Jesus to be “the Son of the living God.” God brings life, not death. Jesus promised in John 10:10, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

An advancing kingdom

In this passage Jesus is saying,

The church will overcome these lesser gods – the god of Pan, Echo, and Hermes. Other gods focus on self, materialism, pride, fame, sex, power and bring death. I will build my church over these things and the gates of hell shall not prevail against my advancing kingdom.”

Storming the gates of hell

We advance the kingdom by charging the gates of hell, as inaugurated by God’s reign of love, justice, and peace. Where there is despair, bring hope. Where there is unbelief, bring faith. Where there is hatred, bring love. Where there is sickness, offer healing.

We are to be walking, talking, representatives of Jesus to the world.

Committed to the Church

Connect to a community of faith. You cannot effectively advance the kingdom of God on your own. Believers working together with a common goal make it happen.

We need one another. Paul refers to the church as the Body of Christ, with everyone having an important function. You need the church and the church needs you.

Promised victory

When we work together what does Jesus say will happen? “They shall not prevail against us!” The keys of the kingdom have been given to us.

Victory has been promised. We simply need to be willing to advance on the gates of hell.

The challenge

Commit yourself to the task of storming the gates of hell until His imminent return. Be intentional to turn people to Jesus at home and work by displaying His love, justice, and peace to the world.

Listen to my podcast “Build the Church, Advance the Kingdom” The podcast gives a more in-depth discussion of this passage of scripture.

What are some ways that you can storm the gates of hell? Share your comments below.

To (s)Hell and Back

The Power of God Revealed in a Storm

We spent 4 months “camping out” in our house in Sudan; sleeping on air mattresses, using a single knife, pot and pan, borrowing a table and chairs from friends. Our container had not yet arrived. We were dealing daily with intense heat (around 115 degrees) and trying to learn Arabic to simply buy food.

Photo credit: shannonkringen (Creative Commons)

While traveling home from a meeting in Khartoum I drove past a Shell station. I thought to myself, “If they just drop the ‘S’ from the sign, they would have it right.” I felt like we were experiencing the worst place known to man.

A storm on Galilee

Mark chapter 4:35-41 records a story of Jesus crossing the sea of Galilee with his disciples and encountering a storm. Did Jesus know the storm was coming?  Did He actually lead the disciples into a storm? What does this say about Him?  Does this reveal that Jesus desires to make Himself known more than make our lives comfortable?

Jesus spoke to the multitudes, separated his disciples from the crowd and directed them to cross to the other side.  While the disciples are crossing the sea a violent storm threatened their lives but for a reason. They were going to gain a greater awareness of Jesus’ divine nature.  In the midst of the storm the disciples pursued Jesus and the sea became calm.

The Lord faithfully points believers in the direction they should go. Do you listen? God sometimes separates His followers in order to reveal the fullness of His nature. In the midst of life’s storm He often reveals His supernatural power.

Are you presently facing adversity?  Are you looking to Jesus for help?

Who can calm a storm?

After the sea became calm, the disciples asked

Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The friend and teacher Jesus was not being revealed but rather the Son of God. The disciples regularly listened to His teachings but this storm revealed who He is.  He spoke and creation responded.

The greatest part of the story happens in chapter 5:1,

They came to the other side of the sea…”

Jesus instructed His disciples, “Let us go across to the other side”. They faced a storm between the two shores but Jesus kept his promise; they crossed to the other side.

The challenge

When facing life’s storms, pursue Jesus!  He will make Himself powerfully known to you. As Jesus brought my family and I through our storm in Sudan, He will bring you to the other side of your storm.

Visit me on Vimeo for a video bible teaching on this topic entitled “Unveiling Jesus” captured from the shores of Galilee.

What kinds of challenges are you facing right now?  In what ways have you seen God powerfully work through adversity in your past?