Now is the TIME!
We live in challenging times where evil seems to have the upper hand. To counter that, the Lord commanded us in the opening verses of Isaiah chapter 60 to arise and shine for Him and not be intimidated by the darkness that is covering the earth, nor by the deeper darkness covering its people. How is that possible? Because His glory is about to come upon us so that leaders and nations will come to the brightness of His light reflected through us.
In essence, this means that the prevailing darkness is being used by God to “dim the lights in the world theater” so that the only light left will be that of His children on the world stage. For this to happen now, it is necessary to more fully understand who we are as members of the Church—the Ekklesia. Jesus stated that the Gates of Hades will not prevail against us, something that is also confirmed in Revelation 12:11.
When Jesus declared, “I will build my church and the Gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18), he was not referring to an institution, much less to a building, but to people. The Greek word used here for Church is Ekklesia which is always used to describe an assembly of people.
The beginning of the Ekklesia in Matthew 16, we find Jesus in Caesarea Philippi, in Northern Israel. Unlike Jerusalem, the deeply religious city with the Temple as its epicenter, this city was known as a vortex of evil in Israel. It seems that He deliberately chose this dark place as the setting to unfold two most powerful truths about Himself and the plans He had for His followers: 1) that He is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” and 2) that as such, He will build His church—His Ekklesia—as an assembly of men and women gathered in His name who know Him as their personal Lord and Savior to defeat the forces of evil (see Matthew 16:15-19).
The setting where Jesus made these declarations had four temples: one to Caesar, another to Zeus, a third one to the Greek god Pan, and a fourth one called the Gates of Hades. It’s not hard to imagine Jesus looking at these imposing but powerless physical shrines and stating, “I will not build temples but people, and when I do, the evil powers will not prevail against them.” The clear personal implication is that He is going to build you and assured you that evil—symbolized by the Gates of Hades—will not prevail against you.
Two chapters later, in Matthew 18:18-20, He explained how powerful those gatherings are designed to be. He stated that when two or three believers gather in His Name, anything they ask in prayer on earth will be done by His Father in heaven. His manifest presence, our submission to Him (whose name is above all names), and His teaching us how to pray according to the will of God so that all of our prayers will be answered, constitute the most powerful outlet of divine power on earth. When we understand and apply these principles, the Gates of Hades collapse and His Kingdom becomes manifest.
The fact that Jesus specified that as few as two or three believers is all that is necessary for the Ekklesia (His assembly) to have the quorum necessary to defeat the Gates of Hades is very encouraging. All of us know at least one or two other believers in our personal spheres of influence—our neighborhood, our school, our workplace—with whom we can come together around His presence on a regular basis. This will ensure that God’s people are able to punch holes in the spiritual darkness for God’s light to shine through.
Key to this is to learn how to change the spiritual climate over our cities, beginning with our own spheres of influence.
It's time for YOU to arise and shine for Transformation to begin NOW.
It's time to restore biblically-grounded, Christ-centered citizenship as an effective ministry of the local church.