But if the church can unite, it can change this world for good. It can help stop the rampant sickness in this society. It can help change lives, and stop the sick people from committing these sins. The power of the gospel can change lives and stop wickedness in this world. But the church has played defense for too long. Look at what Jesus says in verse 18, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The church has seen itself as the city set on the hill, with the forces of Satan attacking it. It has stayed isolated from the world. But the verse is not taking about the gates of hell coming against the church. It is talking about the church going against the gates of hell. This is a familiar symbol during this time in which Jesus is talking. All powerful cities had gates and walls protecting it. You could not take a city unless you could penetrate the city walls. And the weakest part of the walls was always the city gates. The church has viewed this verse as talking about the gates of hell coming against the church, and that the church has to protect itself. But this is not the intent of the verse. Notice that gates are not offensive. Gates are defensive. Gates are provided for protect.
Look at Ephesians 6:11-17 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” We read these verses like we need to be defensive. But look at the verse. It is not that we are sitting around putting on all this amour for the fun of it. It is not that we are sitting in a church building trying to protect ourselves from Satan. You put armor on to do battle. You are going to be in the fight so you put on this stuff. But there are too many Christians that have armor on but are not fighting against the forces of Satan.
These gates of hell will not prevail against Christians. The gates are not attacking us, we are attacking them. We are taking the fight to this world. We are taking the fight to Satan and his forces. And when we wage war against the wickedness of this world, we will not lose. The gates cannot stand against the forces of the church. The church cannot lose. But we must make up our minds to go to battle. We have to go to the gates, we have to put on the armor to wage war. This is the only way to overcome the forces of evil, and it is winning because we are not fighting. We are playing defensive, but the church is called to go on the offensive.