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8-"THE GATES OF HELL," WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
8-"THE GATES OF HELL," WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
8-“THE GATES OF HELL,” WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
CAN THEY PREVAIL AGAINST US?
By: Rev. Abraham Bascon, Senior Pastor
The Word of God Church, Brockton, MA. 02302
Praise God! Praise Him constantly! It is because FAITH in God, that we are what we are in Christ Jesus! And, do you know what? We have it so-o-o good! We have it s-o-o good; because we are born of God! So good!! I want to encourage you to read your Bible, and just see how good a life that we all have, because of what the Lord Jesus Christ, because of what God, Himself did for us in redeeming us, in saving us! Saving us from what? Answer: Saving us from eternal damnation! Instead, of eternal damnation which the Lord referred to as “perishing.” “…. Those who believe in Him, shall not perish; but, they shall have everlasting life.” (JOHN 3:16) That’s salvation! That’s salvation, NOT perishing! Not receiving the wrath of God towards sinners. Towards all of those who reject Him. But instead, that they receive everlasting life. Of course, receive this by God’s Grace through Faith. And, so, when you see the marvelous work, that only God, Himself could do to set us free from the captivity of our sins, from the captivity of Satan, himself, as well as the captivity of the world, and the things of the world. You will have to believe than, as believers of Christ, life is GOOD for us! It is GOOD for us!!
So, I want to point out several things that will make you so appreciative of God. Every second, every moment, every day of your life, until the Lord, Himself returns! Praise God! So, turn to MATTHEW 16: …The bottom line is to know exactly what God has done for s when He gave us everlasting life. When He made it possible for sinners to be saved by God’s Grace. I want us to realize the “value” of our Salvation. MATTHEW 16:18 – “And Jesus answered, and He said: And, I also say to you, that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My Church, and the Gates of Hell SHALL NOT prevail against it.” Jesus said, HE will build HIS church upon the fact that Peter’s revelation that he received from the Father, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Upon “that” rock, that rock of revelation, upon that rock, the Rock of our Salvation, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. How important was that answer that Peter gave to Jesus? Answer: Very important, because in the Gospel of John, in Chapter 20, he makes this statement: That the things that he wrote about in his Gospel, the things that he explained and illustrated, about the signs and wonders, about the miraculous, that Jesus did while He was here on earth, was to cause folks to believe. That Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Then, he says: “And, believing as such, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, you shall have everlasting life.” So, in consideration of what Apostle John stated in his Gospel pertaining to everlasting life, when Peter said to Jesus: “You are the Messiah, the Son of God.” So, Jesus rightly said: Upon that fact, upon that spoken revelation, that My heavenly Father has given you Peter, that I am the Messiah, the Son of God, I will build My church. So, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, is built upon that fact. He is our Messiah! He is the Son of God! He is the Word of God who was in the beginning with God and He is God. Who became flesh about two-thousand years ago. And, the Bible says that the reason that He became a human being at the same time as being God was so that He could destroy the works of the devil! And, even to destroy the devil, himself! To render the devil, powerless!
Render the devil powerless!! So, Jesus says: “Upon this rock, (rock of revelation, that I am the Messiah, the Son of God), I will build My Church.” And, the Gates of hell shall NOT prevail against the Church. Whose Church? Answer: Jesus’ Church!
What is the Church? Here is the Church in EPHESIANS 1:22 – Apostle Paul explains: “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church. Which is His Body. The Church is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is believers of Christ. Therefore, this word church, in the Greek is: ecclesia, meaning: the called out ones.” Believers of Christ are the “called-out” ones. They are the “ecclesia.” Believers then, are individually and corporately, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I, individually, am the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We, collectively, are the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The building is NOT the church! Those who believe in Christ that are in that building are the Church!
So when you hear that expression: I’m going to church. You’re NOT going to a building. You are going to a place where there are people that are of “like-mind” and “like-heart” with you. Who, refer to themselves or are referred by God, as the Body of Christ, or the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, when we come to church, we’re joining ourselves with folks of “like-mind” and “like-heart.” We have the same things in common. So much in common that we are called the same thing, the church! And, in the presence of God, we have nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to be embarrassed about. The Church comes together to pray. To worship God, to give Him praise and glory. To give Him thanksgiving for the wonderful new life that He has given us! This life! This miraculous life that He gives us! And, other spiritual blessings that are in heavenly places and are available for each one of us! That’s why we come to church! We don’t come into this place to worship this building. We come into this place to the One who gave us this building to worship Him!! Praise God!!
I saw on T.V. the other night, well, I’ve seen this scene many times over and over…if you watch “American Idol,” you will see it: And, the person upon the platform is singing, cro-o-o-ning, cro-o-o-ning. And, for most of the time, the songs that they are singing are all sort of “self-centered” songs. And, the type of love or love song that they sing, unfortunately, is NOT the “agape” love. It’s more of the “philio” love, the romantic love. And, even that, the romantic love songs that they sing, if you listen closely to the lyrics, they are mostly sexual, immoral. And, yet, as they are cro-o-o-ning up on the platform, thousands of people are up on their feet. And, they are going like this (Swaying arms). And, you should see the expression on their faces! (Folks laughing as Pastor demonstrates). So, you can see why, I get a little disappointed when I come to church, and we have folks sitting down ….(Again folks are laughing as Pastor demonstrates)…He continues on and imitates someone sitting at church who pulls out their cell phone and sees that it is lit! Folks laughing even more.) Then, Pastor continues on with the message: Of all the people in the audience of “American Idol,” NOT ONE of them is sitting down; but, they are all standing, waving their arms and cro-o-o-ning along with the singer! And, when folks come to Church, they can’t even stand-up and say: “Yes Lord, I surrender ALL! I surrender ALL, YOU take over!!” Pastor: We can’t do that? When you know what God has done for YOU? When YOU know, how He spared YOUR life!! That instead of perishing, YOU have everlasting life!! So, Jesus said: “On this rock, I will build My Church, and the Gates of Hell shall NOT prevail against it!”
Against Christ’s Church!! The Gates of Hell shall NOT be victorious over Christ’s Church!! The Gates of Hell shall NOT overcome, shall NOT overtake the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ!! Hallelujah!! (Congregation applauds.) Pastor: And, do you know what folks? This is NOT Peter making this statement! This is NOT a mere man making this statement! This is yes,
Christ the Lord!! We have HIS WORD, that if you are the Church of Christ, if you are His Body, that the Gates of Hell shall NOT be victorious over YOU!! NOT!!! (Congregation applauds.) The expression, the Gates of Hell…I believe that when you understand that statement of just “what” does “the Gates of Hell” really mean? Well, some folks would like to interpret that as the powers of Hell. But, what are the powers of Hell? So, we envision, fallen angels, demons, principalities and powers of darkness; but, you know, the Apostle Paul tells us in EPHESIANS 1: 19–23 “….and, what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us, who believe, (And, the believers are the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.) according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” According to what we just read, where is Christ seated? Congregation answers: At the right hand of the Father. Pastor: And He is above all principalities and power and might etc… not only in this age; but also in the age to come. Now…where are all those things? Where are all those powers and authorities? Answer: Under Jesus’ feet!! Now…the body consists of a head, which is Jesus! The body has feet!
And, what is under Jesus’ feet? Answer: v. 21- “”…far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Pastor: Who is the head? Answer: Jesus! Pastor: Who is the body? Answer: The church! Pastor: What is under the Church’s feet? Answer: “…. all principalities and power and might and dominion etc…. Pastor: Now…do YOU understand who YOU are in Christ Jesus? Do YOU understand the power and authority that YOU have in Christ Jesus? Not only in this age; but, in the age to come!!! This power and authority that we have in Christ Jesus, DOESN’T expire!! Positionally in Christ Jesus, that is the picture that is painted for us, CHURCH!! It DOESN’T say, someday, maybe not in this age; but, in the age to come, you might be able to have one principality under your feet. NO MAYBE’S!! ALL of these powers and authorities are NOW under YOUR FEET!! Let me ask you this question: When is Jesus sitting on the Throne? Congregation answers: NOW! So, when are His feet trampling down the principalities and powers…when? Congregation answers: NOW! Pastor continues: So, if this is what the head is doing; then the body is also doing it NOW!! Doing it NOW!!! What does it mean? Answer: It means that YOU are a prevailer NOW!! And, the one thing that is preventing folks from acting as being MORE than a conqueror, is the devil!! The devil will use the world, and the things of the world to misguide you, to distract you from “who” YOU really are in Christ Jesus and what YOU “already have” in Him!! That’s why God says, don’t be friends with the world! And, the things that are in the world, God says: they are just passing away!! So, you are putting all your hope, your trust and your confidence in the things of this world? Which are just passing away!! Wow! God says: If you love the world, the love of God cannot be within you!
So, you need to see this! Every time someone mentions “Church,” you should see this picture: JESUS, the HEAD, YOU are the BODY, and YOUR FEET which belongs to the HEAD…amen? That YOU have…Oh, praise God! Do you see the picture?
That’s US, not tomorrow! Not in the next age! But…That’s US, NOW! In 1 JOHN, it also says: “As Jesus is, so are we in this present world!” Positionally in Christ Jesus, WE are sitting with Him in high places!! How much more above can you get? You are sitting with Him who is above ALL!! You see….when Jesus said: “I come that YOU may have life and have it MORE ABUNDANTLY!” (Or MORE ADVANTAGEOUSLY!) He says: “It is expedient that I go to the Father and send the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit to YOU. It is to YOUR ADVANTAGE that I go!” So, Jesus went! And, He sent the Holy Spirit! And, we have the Holy Spirit within US! So, therefore, WE have the ADVANTAGE!! And, not just ADVANTAGE…Let me put it in the words of Jesus…”MORE ABUNDANTLY or MORE ADVANTAGEOUSLY!” Get the picture Church? JESUS the HEAD, YOU the BODY…and whose under YOUR FEET? Congregation answers: ALL principalities and powers etc… Pastor: And, if that is the case….and it is….WHO has the ADVANTAGE?? Congregation answers: WE DO! WHO is VICTORIOUS? Congregation answers: WE ARE! WHO PREVAILS? Congregation answers: WE DO! Pastor: WHO then, has the ADVANTAGE? Congregation answers: WE HAVE IT!! Pastor continues: Do you see? That’s what it is!! But, it’s the devil who is trying to misguide you, misinform you! Why? Answer: Because he doesn’t want YOU to have the ADVANTAGE over him! That’s why! He wants to keep on having the advantage OVER YOU! Now…you might say: “Well, I know…the things of the world, I know that I should give this up or that up; but, I can’t do it!!” Why? Answer: Because it is so difficult! I just can’t do it!
Pastor: You’re right! YOU can’t do it!! But, HE who is in YOU, is GREATER than he that is in the world!! Therefore, YOU have the ADVANTAGE!! Hallelujah!! So, understanding the Gates of Hell….what does it mean? Answer: Well, you all know what a gate is. You might have a garden; and, to keep out the animals etc.. from helping themselves, you might put up a gate so that you can enter into that area. Same thing with those who have an in ground swimming pool. The law says, in order for you to have an in ground swimming pool, you MUST have that area fenced, and fenced high enough so that little kids will not be able to enter that area and hurt themselves. However, if you want to go and use the pool, you need to get in. So, what do you put there? You put a gate, so you can go in and out. So, “gate” is NOT in reference to “powers,” the gates or the powers of hell. Because, do you know what? Answer: The so-called “powers of hell” are already under YOUR feet!
They are already under YOUR feet! Therefore, the “gates” pertains to something else! “The Gates of Hell,” you might be thinking that the term: “The Gates of Hell” must pertain to something very profound! I’ll tell you how “profound” that “gate” is: It is just an opening to a place that is enclosed. That’s a gate! The Gates of Hell is the entrance to hell. I know that when we hear the word, “hell,” we get squeamish; we look at a place that is on fire! And, we look at a place that is a place of pain and misery. Hell, in the Greek is Hades. Hell or Hades is a “pit” or a “grave.” Hades is the place for departed souls. When I say “departed” souls, I am making reference to those who have physically died. Now, Hades, once upon a time, had THREE different compartments. THREE different levels. One level on the top was referred to as Abraham’s Bosom. The second compartment is the place of torment, which is called Gehenna. And, the THIRD, is Tartarus.
Now… if you look real quickly in LUKE 16, I might be able to explain to you the first compartment of Hades. Beginning at verse 19. “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. V.20-But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, v.21-desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. v. 22-So it was that the beggar
Died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. v. 23-And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. v. 24-Then he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” v. 25- But Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted and you are tormented. v.26- “And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us. “ Hades, the FIRST compartment, Abraham’s bosom. And, between Abraham and on the other side, there was a lake, a gulf, and those who were at Abraham’s bosom, were those who were comforted. And, on the other side, were those who were being tormented, tormented with fire; and, they thirst for water. Abraham said: The gulf that is fixed between us prevents us from going over to you; and, from you coming over to us. Okay…remember when Jesus descended into hell?
The part that Jesus descended to is Abraham’s bosom. Abraham’s bosom contained the saints or all of those God-fearing people who died BEFORE the Lord Jesus Christ was able to preach the Gospel to them; and, to have them according to their own free will choose to believe that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, so that they too may be saved. So, when Jesus descended into hell, He descended into Abraham’s bosom. He DID NOT go on the opposite side where folks were being tormented by fire! He went to the area of Abraham’s bosom, and He set the captives free. That’s the FIRST compartment. Abraham’s bosom no longer exists; because, from the time that Jesus gave His life on the cross, folks who die will have TWO different destinations. Those who die in Christ Jesus, they are going to be comforted. To this extent that Apostle Paul says: “To be absent for your body (which means you’re dead) is to be present with the Lord.” It means that your spirit is in the Lord’s presence. How comforting is that?? Yes, that is comforting! So, Abraham’s bosom, no longer exists. Now…those who reject Christ will go into that place, being tormented daily by fire. That place is called Gehenna.
The THIRD place is called Tartarus. If you look in your Bible in 2 PETER 2: 4-And, this is what Apostle Peter says: “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned; but, cast them down to hell (The translation for “hell” here, is Tartarus) and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment. That’s the THIRD compartment. Which NOW is actually the SECOND compartment. Gehenna and then Tartarus. And, Tartarus is where the fallen angels who sinned against God are now chained there in Tartarus, waiting for the Judgment. So, the Gates of Hell or the entrance to the place of the departed souls, whether it be Gehenna or Tartarus, shall NOT prevail against YOU, CHURCH! Shall NOT have victory OVER YOU, CHURCH! Shall NOT OVERCOME or OVERTAKE YOU, CHURCH! Who said this? Answer: Jesus!! So, that sounds to me like a promise of Jesus! Who is Jesus? Answer: GOD! So, that sounds to me, to be a promise of GOD made to His Church, the believers of Christ Jesus! YOU! Will NOT end up going to Gehenna or Tartarus! Instead, hell or Hades prevailing against YOU; YOU prevail against Hades!! Did you hear what Jesus said? It’s a guarantee that His Church shall NOT go to hell!!
Congregation applauds! And, some folks might say: Well, Pastor, what about this person who says that they are a Christian; but, he is walking in sin? Answer: Well, I’ll tell you what will happen to such a person who is a Christian and is living in sin….They will be cut-off. Cut-off from what? Answer: Cut-off from the living. They will experience premature death. Why? Answer: So that their souls will be saved. That’s why! For the salvation of their souls, they will experience premature death; so, they will still NOT go to hell; but, they will die, not living according to the full potential that they have in Christ Jesus. I have to stop; but, I left you with a cheerful ending. We have the guarantee!! And, that’s the reason that the Gates of Hell will NOT prevail against YOU! And, the reason is: that YOU ARE A NIKAO MAN!! THAT’S WHY!!
(Congregation laughs and applauds.)