Skip to main content

Offense Vs. Defense

Defensive Gate

Stop playing defense.

If we're going to let Jesus have His way in His church then we need to stop playing defense. We need to focus on playing offense.

Look carefully at what Jesus said about the nature of His church: "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18).

Gates are defensive structures. They are built to protect their own. Jesus plainly said that He would build His church. This building would happen on the rock of people confessing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

As Jesus builds His church people will come out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light (1 Pet 2:9-10). The gates of Hades will not be able to stop the advance of Christ's kingdom expansion.

Somewhere along the lines those who call themselves Christians reversed the purpose of the church. We stopped being gate crashers of the kingdom of darkness. We started building our own gates. We stopped playing offense. We began playing defense.

The Defensive Church

What are the marks of a defensive church? A defensive church:
  1. Protects its own territory
  2. Responds to attacks from without and within
  3. Seeks comfort and offers ministry to those who are not "comfortable."
On the surface all of these activities seem good and right. It is certainly what we are used to. Are there not an abundance of passages in Scripture that we can point to that affirm all of these practices?

Jude 1:3 tells us to contend for the faith once for all handed down to the saints. Should we stand idly by as false teachers spread heresy in disobedience to Paul's instruction to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:3? Should the church ignore the broken and hurting and tear James 1:27 out of their Bibles?

No. We shouldn't do that.

But we also shouldn't employ worldly strategies when Christ has given us His strategy.

The defensive posture fails. It doesn't fail because it's not aiming at many of the right things. It fails because it fails to aim at the cause. It only aims at the symptoms.

In the process it creates new symptoms that are deadly to the Body of Christ.

Defensive Mini-Kingdom
A defensive church protects its own territory and attempts to establish its own "mini-kingdom." Consequently, a defensive church is often unwilling to participate with other genuine Christians in advancing the kingdom of God and tearing down the gates of Hades.

Heaven forbid that some of "our people" may find a pastor they like more and sit in his pews instead of ours!

The defensive mindset convinces us we must protect our own. We become competitors with other "mini-kingdoms" as we seek to grow and protect our own territory. Often the gates of Hades remain unshaken while the gates of each local church expand and contract based on transfer growth from one congregation to another.

Instead of raiding the kingdom of darkness the defensive posture has turned us into raiders of other pastures to compete for the sheep already in the fold!

Jesus' strategy was radically different. Jesus designed His church to play offense.

The Offensive Church

  1. Seeks to take ground from the kingdom of darkness by expanding the kingdom of God
  2. Initiates attacks against the kingdom of darkness
  3. Ignores comfort and seeks to release captives as the major ministry
  4. Then it seeks to equip those who have been released to further crash the gates of Hades.
Although the Bible uses aggressive terminology it must be stated clearly that Jesus' followers are not called to engage in physical violence of any kind. The "attacks" that are being discussed are spiritual in nature. The weapons of the biblical Christian are the proclamation of the gospel, love, prayer, and service -- all empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The offensive church seeks to bring the gospel to the world. The offensive church recognizes that only the gospel has the ability to genuinely transform a spiritually dead world and bring it back to life. The offensive church seeks unity and fellowship with other believers regardless of where they congregate on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.

Potlucks can't do that. Programs can't do it either.

An offensive church understands that we cannot dismember the body of Christ and compete with one another if we really want to crash the gates of Hades. We need each other.

Are you playing offense? Or are you still focused on defense?

Jesus did not call us to defend the gates of heaven but to crash the gates of hell. The best defense is a potent offense.

Comments

Popular Posts

Prayer vs. Petition

Q: What's the difference between prayer and petition? Phil 4:6 for example.

A: An excellent word study question! When attempting to study words from the text it is necessary to analyze the word being studied in the original language (in this case Greek) as attempting to look up the words in English will often produce erroneous results.

For example, in English the word petition has within its range of meanings things that are certainly not within the scope of meanings for the Greek word (i.e. “a sheet that is signed to demonstrate agreement with some principle or desire for some social action to be taken” is part of the range of “petition” but not of the Greek deesis from which “petition” is translated).

The word most commonly translated as “prayer” in our English Bibles is proseuche, which appears 36 times in the New Testament (NT) in one form or another (for the purposes of this study, we are only examining the usage of these words as nouns – the verbal forms will not be included…

10 Things An Evangelist Is Not

You've probably heard the term Evangelist before. Most people have. The term most likely brings something to mind. Sometimes positive. Often negative.

Does your idea match what other people think of when they hear the term evangelist?

More importantly, do any of these ideas match what the Bible tells us an evangelist is?
The truth is that most of the popular ideas about what an evangelist is and does are based on the culture, not the Bible. This is a problem.

The cultural idea of an evangelist is so popular that it is beginning to be used by companies. If you go to popular job sites and put the term evangelist into the search bar you will find many non-church jobs looking for evangelists. Many of these positions include the duties of spreading knowledge about a particular company, product, service, or idea.
The Bible tells us that Jesus gave some Evangelists for His church.And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers

5 Keys To Effective Witness

Content is important. But it's not the only thing. Some evangelistic methods are presented as if they are the perfect witnessing method. Some think memorizing a method and mechanically delivering the content means you have effectively witnessed.

Witness throughout the New Testament demonstrates this is not accurate. There is not a cookie-cutter approach that is applied the same way every time.
Content is extremely important. Without the right content our witness cannot be effective. Messing with the content of the gospel voids its power. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (1 Corinthians 1:17) Focusing only on content fails to recognize that we are not preaching to the air. We are preaching to persons.
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel,…

Lift Up The Son, Part 2

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
(Romans 15:4)

(If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.)

The Apostle Paul quoted a verse from Psalm 69 before making his comment in Romans 15:4. When he speaks of whatever was written before he means what we have recorded in the Old Testament. He simply called them the Scriptures.

God inspired the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament. Paul said they were written for the instruction of New Testament believers. Through perseverance and encouragement in the Scriptures we can have hope. The Old Testament is not supposed to be ignored by Christians.

As we apply this to our task of lifting up the Son, that in and through Christ our Father may be glorified, we encounter a word of caution.

It is easy to agree on the surface that the church ought to talk about Jesus. That's a given. But are we aware that not everyone means th…

Fullness By Design

My wife and I are expecting our 8th child this year. I want my children to grow to full maturity. That's not to say that I want to skip the fun things that accompany young kids. I don't want to skip any of it. As each day passes I realize how quickly these moments are gone.

The march toward adulthood is inevitable. Every day, we all get older. I must be aware that my children are growing up, whether I like it or not.

But maturity is not the same as age. It is possible to get older while never really growing up.

When I say that I want my children to grow to full maturity what I mean is: I desire my children to realize their potential. I want them to grow into responsible adults.

I don't want my three sons to live in my house indefinitely. They shouldn't be expecting their mother to cook and clean for them into their thirties. Part of my responsibility as a father is to steward the children God has so graciously given us. We are to raise them so that they can be delivere…