The Gates of Hell will not Prevail!
Jesus told His disciples that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. The ‘gates of hell’ that Jesus spoke about (see the Gospel of Matthew 16:13-20) was not just a figurative expression. These were literal gates in the city of Caesarea Philippi. They were built over a cave that people believed went into the underworld, or into hell. In short, the pagan city and its gates represented everything dark, lost, and ungodly.
People came from around the known world to worship false gods at Caesarea Philippi. Since this city was not in the land of Israel, it should catch our attention that Jesus took His disciples to this place. And it was here, out of the lost and pagan people who gathered there, that Christ said He would build His church!
One of the darkest places among the Kunda people is not a city but an annual festivity called Malaila. When I first learned about it, one Zambian pastor warned me, “If you go to Malaila, you will lose your salvation!” He was concerned because the festivity is three days of licentiousness. It can be a trap of the devil, leading believers away from Christ.
But our Kunda Bible translation team agreed that we needed to bring the message of Christ to the people there. So, after days of fasting and prayer, we went into the crowds that had gathered, ready to share Jesus.
Our teams came back and reported that over 150 people prayed to accept Christ. Another 100 people asked for prayer to be delivered from evil spirits, and many others asked for prayer for healing. God opened a way so that we could pray with over 300 adults. The churches in the Kunda areas were strengthened as this was the first time many of them ever did such an outreach. One of the most influential pastors in the area said afterward, “Now we see. Our eyes are opened.” He understood that the church needs to go to where the sinners are found. And the gates of hell would not stand against what God would accomplish.
Jesus is building His church every day around the world. Christianity is exploding in Africa growing at nearly three percent.[i] One hundred years ago Christians were less than 10 percent of Africa’s population. But today 25 percent of Africans confess the name of Jesus and by the end of the decade, the number that identifies as Christian is expected to grow to 40 percent of the population.[ii]
[i] A 2019 report said Christianity is growing in Africa at 2.89%.For more details see: https://research.lifeway.com/2019/06/11/7-surprising-trends-in-global-christianity-in-2019/