When Jesus said I will build my Church and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it, He really meant to say that the Church shall be a militant force with enough capacity to confront and prevail over the rulers, authorities, arguments, and philosophies that rise against it.
As the disciples preached the gospel, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. They arrested the disciples and put them in custody to meet them the next day because it was already evening.
The next day Peter the leader responded to their question – “by what power or by what name did you do this?” Peter filled with the Holy Spirit pointed out to the rulers and the elders that it was by no other name than Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom they crucified but was raised by God!
Peter’s boldness in speaking the Truth without mincing words was seen by them all. The beautiful Roman hymnal Stand Up! Stand Up For Jesus by G. Duffield has part of the second stanza as:
Ye that are men now serve Him
Against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger
And strength to strength oppose
The Church of Jesus must be confrontational in her quest to possessing the nations. The Church must not be silent in her preaching even when society rises against her. Rather she must rise with courage in the midst of the unnumbered foes and oppose them in the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot possess the nations if we want to save our skins and desire to have all the comforts that life offers.