Have you ever been attacked by a gate?When I was child I was waylaid at times by 2 or 3 other boys together.Also, as a child, I was attacked once by a swarm of bees, and attacked at times by angry dogs.I was spared, though, being attacked by gates - I don't know how I would have responded to that.As a Christian, I've quite often been attacked by the enemy.Sometimes it was by temptation, or by discouragement, or through the words of other people.Sometimes, the enemy assaulted my thinking, or overwhelmed me with doubts or fears.I've been spared, though, being attacked by gates - as I'm not sure how I would respond to that.As for the attacks by the enemy, there are scriptures that have helped:
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
II Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
But what weapon, or defense, could we use against gates attacking us?I always had thought that gates, themselves, were a defensive tool, not an offensive tool.I always thought that gates were to be used to protect against someone from coming in.I never had thought that the enemy would use gates to attack people with.Apparently, that is what the vast majority of Christians I know, think, that somehow, gates attack people.Why? Because that is exactly how most Christians explain the following:
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Most Christians use this as an example of an assault of the enemy against the church.Apparently that is to assure others that the enemy attack won't be successful against the church.However, that is absolutely not what it says, the enemy isn't attacking, using their gates, against the church.Gates don't attack, gates are for defense, not offense!Line 18 doesn't say, "the gates of the church" are being attacked by the forces of hell.Rather, it mentions, "the gates of hell".The gates of hell are a defensive mechanism of the enemy, to protect itself against assaults of the church.The church is to be on the offensive against the kingdom of darkness, reaching souls for Jesus, and recovering backsliders.The kingdom of darkness tries to protect itself from the offensive assault of the church.The gates of hell are there as a futile attempt of the enemy to protect itself from the church.So why do we so easily turn this scripture around, the wrong way?Why do we so often think that we are on the defensive, and need gates to protect ourselves from the enemy?We are not to retreat, and we are not to be bunkered in with closed gates.
Revelation 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
The church is supposed to "go out", and reach people for Jesus.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
We are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone.Some people have tried to convince me that the commission was only for the apostles, and hence today only for the "clergy".However there was something that happened early on in church history:
Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
Acts 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
As a result of the persecution, the "non-clergy" were scattered, as it says, "except the apostles".And the "non-clergy" went everywhere preaching, including at Antioch, where they started a great church.So, no, clearly, the great commission is also to the "non-clergy" as well.We are all supposed to go out, through the open door, and reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
II Corinthians 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christís gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
Colossians 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
The church is be on the offensive, with the gospel, going "out" into the world of the kingdom of the enemy, with the gospel.Also, the armor of God, described by Paul in Ephesians 6, protects our front, not our back parts.Why? Because we are to be going forward, on the offensive, not retreating.And when we are on the offensive with the gospel, the enemy cannot stop us.i.e. the gates of hell will not prevail against the church on the offensive.We can boldly storm the gates of hell, and bring the gospel to those in darkness, that the enemy is trying to protect against the gospel.So why do we so often retreat behind closed doors, too afraid of the enemy to go out on the offensive.Then we are afraid of an offensive of the enemy, afraid that the enemy will storm the church.That is not how it is supposed to be.The church in Philadelphia shows us how the church is supposed to go out through the open door.However, the church of the Laodiceans shows how many of us really react today, instead.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
In this case, the church is not going out through the open door with the gospel.The church is inside, with the door closed, but Jesus is outside, knocking on the door.Thank the Lord that he is merciful, and gracious to anyone in the church who will open the door to him.He said that he will sup with them and they with him.After that, does he want them to stay inside, hiding with Jesus, with the door closed?Did Jesus abrogate the great commission for the church of the Laodiceans?Because we don't want to go out, does Jesus then change his mind?Does he say to us, "Okay, you people don't have to go out, but the others do"?Does he say, "I understand, you Laodiceans need your safe place"?Does he say, "You can stay inside, but those Middle Eastern Christians will still have to go out with the gospel"?No way - we are to go on the offensive with the gospel, as our brothers and sisters have done at other times.Some try to say that they don't have the gift to witness.However, in this case, we are commanded to witness, a command is different from a gift, and it is a command to all of us.We are not to disobey this command because we are scared, or because we think only clergy should obey it.Also, we are not to disobey this command because we convince ourselves that we are not gifted enough.Any Christian should be able to at least witness to how they got saved, we don't need 4 years of Bible school to do that.We are not be retreating and hiding from gates attacking us.There are no gates attacking us, gates don't attack.Instead, we are to storm the gates of hell, they cannot prevail to stop the assault of the church.And even if the enemy does come out and face us with all they got, even in that case we are to stand, not retreat:
Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Even in that battle, the enemy is still not attacking the church using gates.Gates don't attack us, rather, the church attacks the gates of hell.