Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And the Gates of Hell Shall not Prevail Against Her

Matthew 16:18b and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 
The promise here is a simple one, but one that should give us great courage. Death, sin, Satan, and all the powers of darkness will not overcome God’s people. Why? This is Jesus’ Church. He will overcome all and so his people will overcome all. The human heart is so easily gripped by fear that Christ must constantly remind us that he is in charge. He is the one with authority.  We are weak and the powers of Hell so mighty. The forces of darkness rally against us. We rarely hold positions of power and authority in the world. Governments clamp down on us and burn Bibles. Churches are destroyed and Christians killed around the world. Hollywood actively opposes the Christian faith with billions of dollars with of movies and TV shows every year. Christianity is bad mouthed by the media. Wolves are within the fold. Wolves are outside the fold. Yet somehow the Church marches on. Somehow civilizations fall, yet we do not. Somehow Rome, France, Spain, England, and now America fade into the sunset, but the Church marches on. She preaches and prays and worships and gives alms. She meets in huts and store fronts and houses and cathedrals.  She tells her people to turn the other cheek and to live peaceably with all men and to lead a quiet and peaceful life and to deny yourself. Yet she conquers all. Nations like Russia try to stamp her out and fail miserably. Jesus cannot lose. Hell doesn’t have a chance.  I think this is why Christians like to read and write stories about underdogs. For example, we love Lord of the Rings. A small Hobbit with hairy feet saves the world. I am reading a story now to the boys about an assistant pig keeper who is fighting against the forces of evil.  Christians feel these types of stories are true to the real story, the story of Christ the carpenter’s son and all his losers who conquer the world. 
(Excerpt from my sermon this past Sunday.)

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8