This week the 'Word of the Week' is a little different. This week we are looking at an object - gates. I was drawn to this word as many people in Christianity use it in the wrong context.
Before I go into the definition/s, Greek translations etc. think with me for a minute. What is the purpose of a gate? - It's not a trick question. You probably already thought of the definition of gates "a barrier used to close an opening in a wall, fence etc."
The Bible verse that I am referring to where gates get a bad rap is in Matthew 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
This is an awesome verse of victory and triumph, but many have the wrong idea about the 'gates of hell' it speaks of. Often this bible verse is used when Christians or the Church are being attacked, but can I ask you another question - When were you last attacked by a gate?
Gates in this verse come from the Greek word pyle. The Strong's concordance associates this with gates of a large sort, such as a palace, city, town, prison, temple - so not your little driveway gates. It also makes a mention of hell being a vast prison. Putting this in context the verse speaks of how the gates of the vast prison known as Hell shall not prevail against the church that God builds.
The mistake if you haven't clicked already, is that many read this verse with a defensive perspective when it is actually an offensive one. God is not saying how as the church we will not 'get the bash' from hell's gates. He is giving us encouragement. He is assuring us of the victory and sending us to break down those gates and free the prisoners. This is a great commission verse of populating heaven by de-populating hell. Who is God building the church with? Former inmates who were sentenced to prison by the sin they committed.
Now that we are no longer waving the bible verse around as a misguided prayer trying to stop any gates from hurting us, what's next? Pastor Dan Stephan at this years New Zealand Conference gave us a starting point, start fighting on the offensive and get your name known in hell! The police do not know the name of every petty thief, but they do know the name of those who are causing destruction on cities and nations. We don't want to cause destruction to the things of this world - we don't fight against flesh and blood, but we do want to cause destruction against hell and its plans to keep people as prisoners. We are all asked to engage in the warfare for souls and we need to stop cowering in a defensive position and step out in victory.
I want to finish with a question that Pastor Stephan asked us. Is your name known in hell?