Summary: The Sermon assures of victory over the forces of evil.
In our text, Jesus used the terms gates and hell to refer to the powers of evil forces and the physical death. Jesus taught his followers that they were to confront the gates of hell. Christ spoke these words in Caesarea Phillippi, a pagan city that was filled with moral corruption. History reveals that there was a cave entrance that stood near Caesarea wherein spring water flowed. The pagans naturally thought of this cave as a door to the underworld. As Jesus challenged his disciples to confront the "gates of hell." He possibly stood near this familiar cave, a physical picture of the gates of hell. Caesarea was represented by the worst evils of culture; it was filled with idols, shrines and immoral worship. Today Jesus is calling the church to tear down the gates of hell in modern day Caesarea. We are God’s mighty army sent out to wage war against the strong-holds of evil. We are called to attack hell, by breaking down its gates. We are assured of the victory through Christ Jesus our Lord. We must approach this battle with a victorious mind. God had not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. Paul says, that our warfare are not carnal, but might through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and evry high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Today is Operation Tear down. We are on hell alert. We must liberate the weak Christians and the lost sinners from the gates of hell. We are living in a day, when hell is trying to barred the church from reaching the lost. Jesus says in the text, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Gate are offensive weapons. A city never carried its gates into battles. Gates are instruments of defense. They are erected to withstand the assaults of the attacker. It is evident from the text, First that Satan is on the defense. He is like the citizens of Jericho cringing behind their walls, dreading the attack of God’s people. Secondly, the text teaches us that the church is to be on the attack. God is calling the Church in this 21st century to confidently take the battle to every place where we see the gates of hell erected. We must storm the gates of drug addiction and violence that is destroying our land. We must storm the feeble gates of false doctrine that is crippling the mind of God’s people. We must assault the gates of discord that is separating the church of God. We must snatch up the gates of monetary income and replace them with the sinners outcome. We must replace the gates of world relevance with the gates of bible revelation. God is calling us today to saw down the gates of structure and replace them with the hammer of scripture. We must replace the gates of programs with the walls of prayer. The golden cash gates must be torn assunder and replace with consecration fences. It is important that we realize that God’s saints are the only winning saints. No Satanic blockade can withstand the power of God. The word church is derived from the Greek word (Ekklesia). It is a compound word taken from Kaleo(to call or summon) and ek (out from). Therefore the church is an assembly of the call out ones. But the mystery is that we are called out, to come together and only to be sent back out to storms the gates of hell. In the bible the church is referred to in many ways. It is called a body to represent its unity. It is called a temple to represent its structure. It is called a mystery to symbolize the supernatural. It is called a bride to convey the relational. But above all, the
church is called a soldier because it on assault against the forces of evil. It is interesting that suits, white dresses, wide hats, and blue jeans are not church clothes; they are clothes for the body but not church clothes. The clothes of the church are derived from God’s armorer. God is the only armorer that can issued the church’s armorer. The clothes of spiritual soldier are not symbols of prosperity but they are clothes for bloodshed. Helmets, shields, breastplates, girdles, swords, and war shoes are strictly for fighting. The church not Satan, holds the balance of power in world missions. Jesus, the God of the empty tomb declared power over death and hell. He is the sovereign and only Lord of history. God is the chief commander of the heavenly host; He is also the chief over the hosts of hell. The church not the U.S. Marine is the mightest force on earth. Satan is trying to desperately to turn the church into a business operation. But I submit to you today, that the church is more than a life-less organization. It is a mighty organism filled with Holy Ghost power. We have been on the defense too long. It’s time for this mighty army of God to storm the forces of evil and ripp the gates from thier bottom. The term gates of hell suggest that Satan’s army is dugged in and prepared to defend its boundaries. The armies of Satan are backed into fighting areas. Gates suggest that Satan has some stuff locked in and other stuff locked out. There are confused church folks trapped inside the gates. There are lost family members trapped inside the gates. There are love ones trapped inside the gates. There are hoards of young people trapped inside the gates. Gates imply a possibility of escape and imprisonment. So many lost souls are dying within the gates of hell. So long as the church refuse to attack the gates of hell, the captives will remain in captivity, the hurt will remain in bondage, the depress will remain in hiding. If we don’t storm the gates of hell, the hireling will build pimpp houses to pimp the people of God. We are involved ina last hour conflict between the Spirit of God and the powers of darkness. Many of our soldiers are caught between the love of money and the love of mission. They are caught between the the truth of God and the lie of Satan. The bible says, that we can prevail over evil by prevailing prayer, 2nd by our testimony concerning the gospel and by loving God more than life. Whenever light meet darkness there is fierce resistance. Prevailing prayer will up root the deep gates of hell. Powerful preaching will tear the hinges off strong-holds. Holy ghost unity will crush Satanic taut wire. Let me say to you, the gates will not fall easily. We must taer them down. Not by our own power but soley through the power of God. The power of the church lies within the power of God. He is not only the captain but He is the owner also. The Lord is the builder and the head of the church. He said, I will build my church. He is not only its builder but He is the foundation also. He is the Lords our banner. For the wounded soldier, He is the Lord our healer. For the captured soldier, he is the Lord our liberator. Christ reminds us today, that we will win beacuse He has already given us the vicroty. But as I close today, we will not tear down the gates until we first tear down the gates that separates the body of Christ. We must tear down the gates of egotism. We must tear down the gates of false security. We must tear down the gates of the new age movements. We must tear down the mind set that God is a big city mover. Somehow we’ve been hood winked, bamboozled, duped, deceived, deluded and buffaloed into this superficial conundrum that God has left Nazareth for the big city. If true annointing was only in the city, the violence would stopped. If true annointing was only in the Mega churches, our children would have play ground/our poor people would be lifted from poverty. God never meant for one man to set-up churches everywhere for self-empowerment and monetary gain. Saints of God, "don’t get trapped in the business of men for God’s business is not of the world. God is not just on the TV,CDS, Videos and tapes etc. He is still in your neighborhood. "It’s Time to Tear Down the Gates of Hell."
May God Bless and Keep You,
Pastor Rodney L. Johnson Sr.,
Historic Bethlehem Baptist Church