The Gates of Hell

 

by Charlie Marquis, Forge Speaker

During the month of October, the “dark side” seems to be more readily acknowledged – some being fun and games, and some… not so much.

Venturing into temples, places of spirit worship, night-time brothels, mosques, and regions of violent persecution, I have witnessed palpable spiritual darkness. Some of these have felt like walking into a room full of demonic Jell-O. The dark side is not simply some comic story. It is a reality we often forget, write off as not applicable, or avoid talking about altogether. The darkness can easily create uneasiness, un-comfortability, and even fear – and for good reason.

As followers of Jesus, how should we approach spiritual darkness? What should we do?

In Matthew 16 Jesus took his disciples to Caesarea Philippi, a place of vivid spiritual darkness. There were various temples in which people gave sacrifices to the disturbing looking pan god, practiced bestiality, and believed that spirits could roam back and forth from the realm of the dead through the waterway called “the Gates of Hades.” Jesus didn’t run in fear. Jesus didn’t try to avoid this place. Jesus did not seem phased. Rather he proclaimed, “on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

Jesus’ proclamation was not a defensive statement, but an offensive one. He was painting a picture of the gates which guarded the fortress of Hades being attacked and knocked down! Disciples of Jesus would go into all the earth – even to the darkest places – and He will build His church, even there. I have begun to view places of darkness as places of opportunity to advance His Kingdom, seeking to join Jesus in His cause for the world. It truly is the darkness that most needs the light.

In fact, Scripture often paints this spiritual reality in terms of warfare. Paul, a follower of Jesus who dealt directly with darkness (see Acts 16:16-18), urges us to prepare for war by putting on “the whole armor of God” because we fight against real living “spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:11-17). Are you ready to join His offensive movement into the darkness?

What are the dark places you have seen in your life? Could it be that Jesus want to advance His Kingdom in those places?

Rather than running from darkness what if we ran toward it, with His cause driving us? What would happen if we viewed places of darkness as places of opportunity?

Food (Scripture) For Thought:

2 Timothy 1:7
James 4:7
Ephesians 6:11-17
Matthew 16:18

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