When it comes to the church, pay attention to what Jesus says you and I can expect—“I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” In other words, the church of Jesus Christ has staying power! Against all odds, Jesus has promised that the church will prevail. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Jesus paints the picture of His triumphant church that is on the offensive. The idea is not that the church is trying to stop the advancement of hell. Rather, hell is trying its dead level best to stop the forward advancement of the church—but it cannot!
The word ‘gates’ speaks of power and authority. The city gate in the ancient world was the equivalent to what ‘city hall’ is in our present day. The gate of a city was a place of authority, a place of access, a place where decisions were made. The elders of a city would sit at the gate and conduct the city’s business and make decisions on behalf of the city’s citizens. When Jesus says that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church, He is assuring us of the ultimate success of our mission.
Jesus Christ has guaranteed that the forces of hell will not win the battle because it has already been fought and won at the cross. The church is the only thing on earth that is assured of victory. How does Jesus build His church? He does so by the power of His Spirit, through the preaching of His gospel, and by the prayers of His people. That’s what He’s doing right now all throughout the world. What He began centuries ago continues now, and it will continue until the very last ‘stone’ is laid to complete it. As someone who has been born again and adopted into the family of God, be glad that He has made you a part of His triumphant church.
For more, read Matthew 16:13-19; Acts 2:42-47