Saturday, November 12, 2011
The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail
This one verse is a short description of an eternal conflict, which began in Heaven (Isaiah 14:4) and will continue thru-out eternity, even into the depths of the bottomless pit. (Rev. 20:3). So, all indications point to the fact that it all started in Heaven, and continues on in the earth and throughout the universe and will last forever in eternity.
Think it not strange that this conflict has been a part of human history touching every facet of life. Religious controversy has not escaped the conflict. The J. Frank Norris Historical Society is dedicated to confronting issues recognizing that we do not live in a dream world. One of the favorite lampooning epitaphs heaped upon the legacy of J. Frank Norris is the fact he was accused of always stirring up trouble, as if he is out-of-step with a peaceful world.
Friends, we have never lived in a peaceful world and the prospects are pretty clear that we never will. I have noted in my research of the J. Frank Norris ministry, so-called facts have been sketchy and slanted. He was not a man looking for an encounter, but contrariwise, encounter will soon surface if you dare to face evil head-on. The same goes for you and me also. Church history is an eye-opening validation of the eternal warfare.
It all began in eternity past, as we learn from (Isaiah 14:4). There was war in Heaven when Lucifer was cast out along with all of the fallen angels. The origin of all sin began with the advent of rebellion in eternity past. The sin of pride is at the top of this list. I remind you that a willing and submissive heart has no desire to rebel against the God of creation, the author of truth and righteousness.
I want to explain at this point why God did not step in and by His sovereign power put a stop to this original rebellion. He could have, but we must understand the nature of God. There are numerous attributes which explain God’s nature. God is love, omnipotent and so forth, but another side of His nature is the gift of freedom, but which He desires that no creature would misuse. Nothing is so cherished as the freedom of choice bestowed upon us from the very beginning, including Lucifer. Nothing is more precious to a parent than having an obedient child that honors father and mother. So, God did not create robots, but as a part of His benevolent being, this gift of freedom explains it all. If Lucifer had not misused his freedom, he would still be in good graces with a sovereign Creator. Submissiveness is just the opposite from rebellion. Rebellion leads to ultimate damnation. Submission leads to repentance and faith toward a loving and merciful Father.
And so, the conflict continues to this day, even being manifested in the lives of multitudes of thousands of troubled souls. This note of example. Just this week November 2011, I had a neighbor who drank himself to a drunken death, and a few days before had confided in a neighbor, “he had no desire to live.” Just 48 years of age.
The struggle within the beast of every human being is the out-growth and off-shoot of the war in Heaven. How else can you explain all this human unrest? “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against power, against the ruler of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12).
The death knell of Satan’s defeat has already been pronounced and was culminated at the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior. This is where God has most clearly demonstrated the nobility of His character. It is at the cross where the spirit of God convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment to come. Without that conviction, the sinner remains in that state of rebellion. It is no different from what happened in the first war in Heaven.
Be assured the “gates of hell” will not prevail against His bride, “the church”, nor any one of His redeemed sons and daughters. For the born again Christian, the battle is over, and we are just waiting for the final redemption of the body. Our crowning moment will come when we see “Him” face to face.
For the unredeemed, the war will continue forever. We, as God’s creation were designed to live forever. How long is forever, you may ask? My reply: How deep is a “bottomless” pit? Think of this. Descending forever toward a “bottomless pit”. To every troubled heart, I bring tidings of hope. Cease from your rebellion, cling to the rock, as the bible says ….. “to the rock that is higher than I”. Upon this rock I will build my church.
Good night and may God bless each of you ……… our friends around the world ………. and may God bless America.
November 12, 2011