So that my in-laws would be somewhat comfortable with their daughter living in Miami, we bought a house in a gated community. After all, Miami is not known as the safest place to live. Miami Vice and CSI Miami do not help the perception. So I was excited to tell my in-laws that I was doing all that I could to protect their daughter when I moved her to South Florida.
At least that is what the brochure said when we bought the house.
It turned out the gate was just a piece of PVC pipe attached to a mechanical device. That’s it. In the entire time we lived in the house, the gate was closed approximately forty-one hours.
The demise of the gate is pretty simple. People who did not receive the clicker in the mail decided to run through the ￼gate. The painted piece of PVC pipe was no match for the cars. The gate cracked off. For a few weeks the homeowners association paid a company to fix the gate. Then someone else would run through the gate. Eventually the homeowners association decided to stop paying.
So the gate/PVC pipe sat on the ground just beneath the sign that pointed people to the gated community. The gate could not stop the traffic. It could not overcome the power of cars. It was pathetic in comparison.
The gates of hell are the same way. They are powerless to contain the movement of the gospel. Jesus started the movement, and hell cannot contain it.
There is another thing about gates. They are always defensive. They protect. They guard. But they never attack. The gate lying next to the sign in my neighborhood never attacked me despite all that I said about it. The gate is inept.
Gates are never on offense. Only defense. Hell is always on defense. However, the movement of the church is never on defense. Only offense. The church always has the ball. There are no defenders on the squad.
This is good news. Victory is guaranteed.
The question is not whether we are going to win or not. Our victory celebration has already been determined. Christ has promised it. We win in the end. In fact, the enemy never gets the ball. The kingdom of darkness is stuck on defense. And we are on perpetual offense.
Even the more inept team could win if the other team never played offense. It may take some time, but they would win. Eventually.
The question is, how much will we win by? How big of a dent in the gates of hell will we make? Will we run up the ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼score? Will we push the movement of the gospel forcefully through the gates of hell?
Adapted from Simple Church (B&H Publishing Group, 2006)