Jesus asked, “Who do men say that I am?” When Peter answered, “You are the Christ,” Jesus said, ‘On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” No doubt by now you have recognized for the battle to be at the “gates of hell”, the church must be on the attack. It is functioning from an offensive position, not a defensive one.
We have seen in the last couple of days that there are two kingdoms in conflict in our world. Satan is a usurper and has laid claim to that which truly belongs to God. So Jesus came into the world to reconcile lost mankind to the Father. In commissioning the church to carry on His work, Jesus for all practical purposes told the church to go to war and reclaim God’s possessions.
There is an interesting passage in Matthew 12. Some of Jesus’ opponents have accused him of casting out demons in the name of Satan. That is where Jesus then said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Abraham Lincoln didn’t originate that, Jesus did.” It is in that context that Jesus makes the very interesting statement of v. 29, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man> The he can rob his house.”
When we as the church engage in the mission Christ has given us, Jesus said we are invading the enemy’s house. We must “tie up the” strongman. How do we do that? We do that in prayer. This is where our war happens, in the prayer closet.
Think about what happens when you pray. I have asked that question of groups and I always hear the same answers: My mind wanders, distractions begin to occur, I fall asleep. No wonder Jesus cautioned us to be vigilant in prayer. It is work. It is a war. We cannot invade the enemy’s own house without binding him in prayer. Think about that the next time you pray.