Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
One of the truisms of football is also applicable to warfare: the best defense is a good offense. When a soldier hears the bullets zinging or the bombs bursting overhead, his first instinct is to drop to the ground and look for cover. While such a response is natural, it is not enough. Eventually the soldier has to stand back up, dust himself off, and start moving forward against the enemy if he is going to win the battle. The best defense is a good offense.
That principle also applies to spiritual warfare. In our battle against Satan, it is not enough to try to protect ourselves from the enemy’s attack, to just hunker down and hope somehow we survive. God is calling you and me to do more than simply survive Satan’s attacks; instead, He wants us to be a part of the offense against Satan and the overthrow of his kingdom. Jesus said so very clearly in Mathew 16. The Lord was taking an opinion survey of Peter and some of the apostles. He asked, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (v. 13), and the apostles gave various opinions–John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah. “[Jesus] said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (vv. 15-16). Bingo! Peter had the right answer. Then in verse 18, Jesus told him, “Upon this rock”–that is, upon this confession of faith that Peter made–“I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” When we read that verse, many of us picture the church shivering in fear, hoping to survive the pounding of Satan’s battering ram. But that it is not what this verse is saying. It is not the church withstanding a siege by the enemy; it is Satan and his forces who are behind the gates, cowering in fear as the church advances.
God wants you and me to be a part of His force to overthrow the kingdom of Satan, and we do not have to wait until the second coming of Christ to begin the assault. Every time you win somebody to faith in Jesus Christ, you loosen the grip that Satan has on this world. Every time you encourage a fellow Christian, you are strengthening one of our own troops, giving him the fortitude to continue fighting the fight. Whenever you publicly give God glory for something He has done in your life, you help break the spell the enemy has cast over the world that says, “There is no God.” Whenever you refuse to surrender an area of your life to Satan, you thwart the plan he has for your life and throw him into absolute chaos.
God has sent you and me here on earth to be the first wave of assault against Satan and his kingdom. We are softening the ground, so to speak, to prepare the way for the return of our Commander in Chief–who, when He returns, will finally reclaim this world that is rightfully His.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Storming The Gates Of Hell” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org