358 The Gates of Hell – Part One
When Jesus introduces the concept of Church (Ecclesia in the Greek) to the Disciples in Matthew 16:18 he reminds them that the Church will be empowered to break down every gate of Hell, and that Hell can never have defences – no gates stronger than the Church, ever! But the Church has been having a problem with its understanding of the strength of “The Gates of Hell” and running from the Devil when it should have been facing and fighting the Devil. So in these messages I want to help us to see how we can face those evil gates without fear, and break them down.
Today’s message entitled “The Gates of Hell” is part one of a two part sermon on spiritual warfare and I hope you will stay tuned. The problem with us when we fail to grasp our identity in Jesus, is that most of our prayer life is based on an “earth to heaven” concept, when it should be focused on a “heaven to earth” reality. We should be catching what is going on in heaven, and bringing that to earth. Praying “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Seeing the temporal from the eternal, the temporary from the everlasting view-point.
Turn with me again if you will to Ephesians Chapter 6, and at verse 10, where the apostle Paul deals with this matter of our Spiritual Warfare. … lets read from verses 10 through to 12 …
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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.”
And also let us read again a few verses from 2 Corinthians 10,
v 3-5 where Paul says …”For though we walk in the flesh, we
do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 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;”
Today I want you to make sure that you get both information and impartation, because your life is about to change. What I have been leading up to in recent messages about the end times,
is to this one on Spiritual Warfare. You see we need to understand that we are in a fight – not to win, but to keep the victory that has already been won. Satan comes to steal kill and destroy and there can be no stealing if you do not possess? So he comes to rob from you, but a thief need not overpower you to steal, all he has to do is to catch you sleeping. And tragically many are asleep spiritually and don’t know that they are being robbed by the Devil every day. He deceptively steals the benefits of Calvary from the lives of Christians and the Kingdom from the lives of its inheritors.
Satan hates God and he hates you. His goal is to take over, rule and dominate the earth. God had originally given the earth to Adam, who lost it – so Jesus came and took it back for men. So what is happening in your life and all around you has a lot more to do with how we are managing our world, than it has to do with God. The ball is in our court, we can have as much victory as we fight for – and the Kingdom will advance as much as we advance it. This is why we need to understand that the day of sitting in the Church, being all Christian one day a week, is over … we must come out and speak out, and speak up and engage with and fight against those who would silence the voice of the Christian and the Gospel of the Kingdom. There are those in power who want to have us victim of their way, not victors in Jesus way. We are affected by the rules they make and the lifestyles that they allow, and the things that they teach our children in school. Their ideology is coming in to rob those who have no truth, and feed them with error, and we must put
a stop to it before they destroy us.
All spiritual warfare is fought in the minds of men, which means that the objective of demon spirits is to get into the minds – the thinking of people. If the Devil can control your mind, you will do his will. God gave the earth to man, Satan knows the earth belongs to man, so either the kingdom of God or the kingdom of the Devil will rule, but whoever rules depends on whoever gets the minds, and up to date the devil has had more control than God, and we need to change all that, and do it now. Lets not play that old religious tune that says God is in control, he is not because His children are not in control! There are over 7 billion on this planet but only about 1 billion profess to be Christian. We have a lot of work to do and time is short.
We in the Church need to understand that the Gospel is not accepted in much of our world, the Kingdom is not alive everywhere. While great advances have been made, especially with the technological advances, and a great deal of this world has the potential via satellite to hear the Gospel, there is still many not making the most of that potential. There are sinister wicked spirits that have taken territory and we need to realize that the dominant job of evil spirits is to form ideologies, belief systems and ways of thinking. The Devil will not always come as a rogue, deep, dark and evil, he can just as easily come
well dressed, well read, and well spoken – but with evil
intentions, to have more control of you than you imagine?
The Devil battles for your mind, so the renewing of our minds is the most important thing that the Christian can ever do.
What is it to renew the mind? Romans 12. v2. reads:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God“. Renew your mind
so that you will begin to know and discern what is of God and what is of the world. If it is of the world it is the ideas and mentality of Satan, it comes through the world and sometime its polished up to look good, but its what I call – devilogic? At the end of the day its devilogic, no mater how smooth it sounds on the talk show, and sad to say even from some of the pulpits.
That wisdom is either coming from the world, or from the word, Unless you have renewed your mind you’ll never see it.
We are losing in the earth because we have not fought successfully. We have enough people in this town to fill 10 times over every church in every street, but where are they?
Sundays for many Christians is no longer Special. If there is some other opportunity to go eat breakfast somewhere, or to go to a car boot sale, or go cycling or sporting somewhere, or to stay in the bed – what has happened is that we lost the warfare of that particular decision. Life boils down to winning the battle for our thoughts.
Satan should have no place in your mind, that is why the Bible says “give no place to the Devil.” Eph 4:27 Let me remind you that you have to allow him access to you, – he cannot just take it! This is not from the standpoint that he needs your consent before he tries to control, but he has no authority and no power to make you do anything, except that you give in to his suggestions,
ideas and thoughts, – that’s the basis of Spiritual warfare.
Consider what I am calling Direct warfare.
Satan wages war against you directly through demon spirits when he brings ideas, suggestions and thoughts to your mind. You may be just sitting at home, driving in the car, and all of a sudden those thoughts come in, and you respond, and the process can be going on and your not being even aware of it. Satan is constantly working on you, why, because he knows that if you don’t take any authority and control over your mind, sooner or later you will do His will, and not Gods will.
Indirect warfare is when he gets other people to plant his thoughts ideas and negativity into your mind. You need to be able to recognise those who speak in a devilish and deceptive way into your life. If Satan cannot get in directly he will get in indirectly. Psalm 1, reminds us that “blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly” – in other words,
the man who is protecting his mind from ungodly advise and reasoning. You cannot afford to be around ungodly people, nor stand in the path of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful – because those ways of thinking get in. 1 Cor 15:v33 says: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners“ – which means that evil talk corrupts, and you have got to be able to discern how these liaisons made you feel, – do they make you feel better or worse? Sometimes the problem may be friends, co-workers even family members.
You may need to Stay out of some circles, You are not the problem – they are the problem. And instead of your compromising to stay with them, they need to be delivered to hang with you. That’s how Satan gets into your space. Many of you have never heard anything like this because you do not
know the book. If its not from the book (that means the Bible) its devilogic.
Ephesians 6 says that we are wrestling with demonic influences. I don’t want you to think of the demonic as dirty, but rather as wicked, because most of the demonic will be dressed up to sound good, plausible, reasonable even attractive – and the subtle deception of Satan is to get us thinking that we are smarter than God. Satan does not mind you going to Church or listening to “The Sanctuary” on a Sunday, as long as you still listen in to Him as well as listen in to the Preacher. Renew the mind to the word of God, know the logic and the sound of God, when you hear it, Whose signals are you picking up, Gods or the Devils? Do you allow the Devil to use your mind as his playground?
If we are losing the battle it is not because the gates of hell prevailed, but because the saints do not know how to enforce their victory. In 2 Cor 10, v4 when Paul is saying our weapons are “mighty”- he is reminding us that we are bigger in the spirit than we are in the flesh. We have apostolic authority, mighty in God to the pulling down of strongholds….” He was telling the Church at Corinth, that God had anointed him to do this, to keep them from the twisted, wicked thinking of other logic. I can pull down strongholds – everything that raises itself against the knowledge of God. And if Paul could do it, when you and I know who we are in Christ, we can do it too!
Stand and boldly declare the word until demons scatter and devils flee. Some of us, unenlightened, are fighting fortified places in our minds that we will not change, and sometimes we will fight in error to keep the wrong thinking and the wrong teaching. The devil wants to keep you locked up in wrong thinking; so that while I’m preaching, you are trying to talk yourself out of it; because if you take on board this truth, you
may have to change the way you are living, or the way you are praying, or the way you are giving and so on. Its not you rebelling, it’s a rebellious spirit you have allowed to deceive you. … So the battle lives on.
So then the Bible promises that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail. The Gates of Hell are the property lines of the devil. That means that should you decide to go after him, (fight the Devil) he cannot stop you from spoiling him. That’s the assignment of the Church, we must take on these evil issues, evil rules, evil laws and evil men and bind on earth, to seize the territory from the enemy. We are here to engage the devil not to run from him; we are here to claim the earth for God not to read something in the news and say that a shame, and then do nothing about it. We are called to win the earth for Jesus, and you cannot do it hiding out in the prayer closet, you have to come out of it and engage the minds of men and women in darkness around you. Yes – we have to pray in secret to bring all these things to our God, but then we must come out and confront this devilogic, no more allowing the enemy to rule.
Let me show you as we draw to a conclusion today , that the Devil has Seven War zones. The Gates of Hell stand in these seven areas.
- Global 2. National 3. Regional 4. Local 5. Racial
- Generational and 7. Personal.
Because Satan’s plan is to take control of the earth, some strategies or schemes are Global, to establish this scheme his persuasion of the whole earth tries to effect everybody – Demon Spirits do that. What principalities do is that they try to establish principles, and rule with law. You cannot just be
praying for your needs, you’ve got to be watching the news and binding the Devil. If you don’t get a grip on these things sooner or later al-qaeda are going to be sitting in your back garden.
Then the Devils plans are National, Satan has plans for Nations, and you might have to get political in your preaching and praying, because you might need to start effecting governments and legislatures. Public standards and civil rights, and such like, are not only the responsibility of the Governments, they are the responsibility of the Christian and the Church. There are some ideas we may need to fight against, some policies we may need to bind, and tie up. So pray for the Prime Minister, pray for the First Minister and the Taoiseach. Its our job to help them avoid error and from going in the wrong direction.
Satan too has a plan for regions, and localities, and cities. You remember how that Jesus went into the country of the Gadarenes, and there was there a man possessed with a “legion” of demons who begged Jesus not to send them out of the region, but into a nearby herd of swine. But the swine didn’t like them and threw themselves off a cliff to their death. This place, this city, this town belongs to Jesus but we have to fight for it. We may not get to help in every area, but we must help in some.
Satan too has a plan for ethnic groups, for minorities and for those who would try to impose by violence or force – their lifestyles, religions and cultures on others.
He fights too down the generations for your families and for your children and family members. He’ll stop at nothing to get everyone all messed up, and feed them on violence, cruelty and immorality via the TV, Radio, the internet and the newspapers.
But the real tragedy, the real horror is that he fights for People? He is fighting for you and for me, and is relentless in his efforts to get into the controlling seat, on the throne of our lives; and it is to this problem that I feel I need to focus now, in order to give you the maximum help to combat and resist him.
We read earlier from Ephesians 6, that portion commonly known as “The Armour of God” v 14-17 … and although the Church generally accept what Paul was writing about, there are often confusions in theological circles as to why Paul wrote this way to Christians.
Let me try to explain what I see as the best way to help understand what Paul was saying. If (and only for the purposes of this study) we remove the Roman Soldier Symbolism from the text, and read what it is that Paul was saying that we need to put on,
v 14-17 minus the Roman Soldier symbolism would read:
Stand therefore, with truth, and righteousness;
with the gospel of peace; and above all, faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take salvation, and the word of God:
Ephesians 1:1 shows us that Paul is writing to the Saints, the Christians and to the “faithful” at Ephesus, and so the question has been asked, why is he telling them to put on righteousness and put on salvation, and so on? Surely the Christians are already Saved, surely the Christians are already robed in Christ’s righteousness, and does not Paul himself say so in
2 Corinthians 5:21? If we are supposed to put on Salvation every day, what if we rush out in the morning in a hurry and forget, does that mean we walk around all day unsaved and sinful? Of course Not!
For me there is no contradiction and no theological error in these verses. Remember that I have been teaching you today that the Devils target is your mind, your thoughts, and God says in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:”
So I submit and suggest to you today that Ephesians 6: 14-17
is all about an “armour for the mind” In other words, Paul is saying Put on “what you know about your Salvation, what you know about your Righteousness, what you know about Faith, what you know about the Word” …. and so on?
And if you don’t know any more than that you are saved, then you don’t know enough, and you need to get into the Bible and get yourself protected. The world will say that “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”, that’s nonsense – for as a Christian, what you don’t know can hurt you! Remember Jesus in his temptations in the wilderness, uses the scriptures on every single one, and got the victory each time, He had put on what he knew! -Matthew 4.
So walking in the word of God, under the blood of Jesus, every GATE OF HELL must crumble before us. The Devil has no chance and no hiding place. He is already a defeated foe. Don’t ever forget it. That’s all I have time for today, but I will return to this subject of Spiritual Warfare in next weeks message so be sure to join me for that, and in the mean time may God Richly Bless and Empower You in the Fight.