Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
The fact that we know that either Christ is coming or we are leaving this earth ought to cause us to abound in the work of the Lord. And that means we live in three specific ways.
First, we engage in offensive living. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Most Christians think this is a picture of the church behind the gates trying to survive Satan’s battering ram. That’s not what Jesus is saying. It’s not the church behind the gates—it’s Satan and his minions behind those gates who are trying to survive the attack of the church. Do you realize that every time you lead another person to a saving faith in Christ you have rescued someone from the enemy’s camp? Every time you speak an encouraging word to another Christian you give him the strength to continue his fight. Every time you give credit to God for something He has done, you refute Satan’s lie that there is no God and break the spell he has cast over this world. Followers of Christ are to put Satan and his minions on the run. We are to live offensively.
Second, we engage in continuous living. Paul says we are to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Notice that word “always.” Do you know what the single greatest roadblock to fulfilling this command is? Retirement. The idea behind retirement is that you work yourself to death for 40 years so that you can have enough money to spend the last 15 years of your life doing absolutely nothing but entertaining yourself. God never meant for you to spend the final years of your life entertaining yourself. Paul says you need to always be productive—abounding and overflowing in the work of the Lord.
Finally, we engage in strategic living. The reason Paul willingly suffered for the cause of Christ is because he believed there was going to be a payoff. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” God is not asking you to overexert yourself to work overtime for no pay. There is a reward coming for those who invest their lives in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God has called you to a greater purpose than simply trying to eke out a living for yourself. He has enlisted you to be a part of an offensive force that is willing to stand up and push back against evil in our culture. A force that is willing to illuminate the world with the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we see the twilight turn to darkness in our world, the need to influence and illuminate our world has never been greater.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Last Days Living” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.