|TAKING THE OFFENSIVE
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Oct 31 2008 08:00AM
The six items of defensive armor listed by Paul in Ephesians 6:14-17: the girdle of truth, the breastplate of
righteousness, the shoes of the preparation of the Gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of
the Spirit have been dealt with in the previous sections. With the exception of the sword, all these items are essentially
for protection or self-defense. Even the sword can reach no further than the arm of the person who wields it. In other
words, there is nothing in this list of defensive equipment that will enable us to deal with Satan's strongholds as Paul
described them in II Corinthians 10:4-5, where he spoke about our obligation to cast down Satan's strongholds or
Now we want to move from the defensive to the offensive. We want to deal with weapons of attack that will enable us to
assail and cast down Satan's strongholds. It is important that we see our obligation to take the offensive, to move out
and actively attack Satan's kingdom. It is a fact of history and experience that no army ever won a war on the defensive.
In the early part of this century, someone asked a well-known French general, "In a war, which army wins?" The general
replied, "The one that advances."
That is probably an oversimplification, but at least it is true that we will never win a war by retreating or even by merely
holding our ground. As long as Satan keeps the church on the defensive, his kingdom will never be overthrown.
Therefore, we have an absolute obligation to move out from the defensive and mere self-protection to an attack position.
When Jesus first unveiled His plan for the church, He envisioned it being on the offensive and attacking Satan's
strongholds. The first time the word church is used in the New Testament is in Matthew 16:18. Jesus was here
speaking to Peter, and He said, "...That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it." An alternative reading is "all the gates of hell, in Greek, is the word Hades. The root
meaning of the word hades is "invisible, unseen." So hades, or hell, is the unseen world of Satan's kingdom.
Jesus pictured His church in the light of two primary activities: building and battling. These must always go together. It
is no good doing battle if we do not build. On the other hand, we cannot build if we do not battle. So we must think
always in terms of building the church and battling the forces of Satan.
Many people have interpreted these words of Jesus incorrectly. They have somehow assumed that Jesus pictured the
church on the defensive, being besieged in a city by Satan's forces. They have taken His promise to mean that Satan
would not be able to batter the gate of that city down before Jesus came and caught the church away. That is a totally
defensive concept of the church in the world, and it is completely incorrect.
Jesus pictured the church on the offensive, attacking the gates of Satan. Jesus promised that Satan's gates will not
hold out against the church and that Satan will not be able to keep the church out. It is not the church trying to keep
Satan out; it is Satan failing to keep the church out. Jesus promised us that, if we obey Him as our Commander-in-
Chief, we will be able to move out, storm Satan's citadels, break through his gates, release his captives, and carry away
his spoil. That is the church's assignment, and it is essentially offensive, not defensive.
The word gate has a great deal of meaning in Scripture. First of all, the gate is the place of counsel and rule. For
instance, in Proverbs 31:23, it says of the husband of the ideal wife, the faithful wife:
Notice the city gate was the place where the ruling council of elders sat and rules and administered the city. So when
the Scripture says that the gates of Satan will not prevail against the church, it means that Satan's councils will not
prevail against the church but will be frustrated and brought to naught.
In attacking a city, the natural place to attack is the gates, because they are weaker than the walls. Isaiah 28:6 says, "...
And for a spirit of judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate." The picture presented is the
church making an onslaught on the gates of Satan's citadel and that the gates of Satan will not be able to keep the
church out. So we must stop thinking on the defensive and start thinking on the offensive.
My (Derek Prince) experience is that most Christians have the attitude, "I wonder where the Devil is going to strike
next?" I suggest to you that the boot should be on the other foot. The Devil should be wondering where the church is
going to strike him next!
To continue with this theme of the church taking the offensive, I want to explain the scriptural basis for our doing so. It is
found mainly in one verse, Colossians 2:15, which describes what God accomplished through the death of Christ on the
cross on our behalf: "And having spoiled principalities and powers," Now, the rulers and authorities are the same
spiritual forces of Satan that are referred to in Ephesians 6:12. Through the cross, God disarmed those rulers and
authorities. Have you ever thought that Satan has been left without armor? He has been stripped of his weapons.
God, through the cross, disarmed the rulers and authorities. Then it says, "...he made a shew of them openly,
triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:15)
So, God, through the cross, disarmed Satan's kingdom; He made a public display of the representatives of Satan's
kingdom, and He triumphed over them in the cross.
A triumph is not so much winning a victory as it is the celebration of a victory that has already been won. It is a public
demonstration that complete victory has been won.
On the cross, Jesus did not win the victory for Himself. He always had the victory. As our representative, He won the
victory on our behalf. Thus, His victory becomes our victory. Second Corinthians 2:14 declares the following:
savour of his knowledge by us in every place."
"Always" and "in every place" we are to represent Christ's victory. God is going to demonstrate, publicly, the victory that
Christ has won through us. That is the victory over Satan's rulers and authorities or principalities and powers. The
victory is to be worked out through us.
This is the final commission of Jesus, given to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-19:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I
am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Jesus said, "'All authority has (already) been given to me.' You go, therefore..." What does the "therefore" mean? I
(Derek Prince) understand it to mean, "You go and exercise, on My behalf, the authority that I have already won." Our
assignment is to administer the victory, demonstrate the triumph, and exercise the authority that Jesus has won on our
behalf. Authority is only effective when it is exercised. If we do not exercise the authority that He has given to us, it
The world can only see Christ's victory when we demonstrate it. Christ has won the victory, but our assignment is to
demonstrate the victory over Satan and his kingdom that Jesus has already won; this we can only do when we move
from the defensive to the offensive.
Spiritual Warfare, by Derek Prince, Copyright 1987, Whitaker House.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES