Gates

Ancient Gates
Ancient cities crumbled into ruins with their ancient gates still standing guard, the only remaining testament to the greatness of the city. It requires little imagination to stand under the naked arch of an ancient gateway and visualize the traffic that once crowded through the fortified entrance to the city. With the sunrise the gates were opened to commerce and soon after dark they were closed to danger. High walls protected against the enemies, real and imagined, out there somewhere in the dark who wanted the city and all it contained for themselves.

Gates, themselves, were keepers. They kept people and things out and they kept them in. Important zones were protected by gates. They opened for the right people and closed to the wrong people. Gates were strong points made even stronger by the gatekeepers stationed near them to man the mechanisms that made the gates operate. Armed soldiers patrolled the approaches to the gates, inside and out, ever on the alert for the saboteur or the spy. Lookouts manned the heights above the gates to scan the horizon for enemies who might try to violate the security of the city.

Contemporary Gates
There are real gates, still today. Adjacent countries have borders with armed guards at the check points. These are the gates—of entrance and exit points for the neighboring citizens.

As metaphors, gates are even more numerous. There are behaviors, compromises, substances, and seeming innocent images or presentations that can all act as gateways to sin, disease, and addiction. As we walk the Path of Life, the Spirit warns us where to step, which fork in the path to take, and with whom we should choose to walk.

Ancient Gates Still in Power
The good news is that there are still Ancient Gates guarding significant places. The Poet reveals them to us:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Ps 100:4 NIV

“His gates” means that God has gates. There is a way to approach Him and a way not to approach Him. Three words describe “His Gates:”

  • Gratitude,
  • Praise, and
  • Humility.

We should approach the Gates of His presence with thanksgiving and praise springing from a humble heart. Pride and self-centeredness will close the Gates to us.

When we gather to worship, our greatest desire should be to see these Holy, ancient doors open in response to our thanksgiving and praise. Why? Because above all other considerations, we need for the King of Glory to come in! He is the answer to all the world’s problems from the most private pain to the most public pandemic. If we are faithful to tend His Gates, if we guard the City of God from lesser, frivolous pursuits in public worship, if we lift up our heads, these organs of speech designed in Eden for the praise of Heaven, The Lord Will Come In!

And He will make all the difference.

Scriptures:
Psalm 24
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell therein. For it is he who founded it upon the seas and made it firm upon the rivers of the deep. “Who can ascend the hill of the Lord? and who can stand in his holy place?” “Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who have not pledged themselves to falsehood, nor sworn by what is a fraud. They shall receive a blessing from the Lord and a just reward from the God of their salvation.” Such is the generation of those who seek him, of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, O gates; lift them high, O everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. “Who is this King of glory?” “The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle.” Lift up your heads, O gates; lift them high, O everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. “Who is he, this King of glory?” “The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.”
1 Peter 5:5-7 NIV
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Psalm 51:17 NIV
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Isaiah 57:14-15; 66:1-2
And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.” For this is what the high and lofty One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Psalm 84:10 AMP
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather be a doorkeeper and stand at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, Today I will process with the People of God through the ancient Gates of Thanksgiving. I will lift my voice in the Courts of Praise. I will bow at the Altar of Repentance in deep humility. In the midst of the congregation I will enter the Most Holy Place to pray and hear Your Word in the light and power of the Holy Spirit. Then we, the saints and I, will pass through the Riven Veil to wait before Your Holiness. You will meet my every need, here at the summit of Mt. Zion. How is all this my destiny? Because when we, the church, lift up the ancient Gates of Praise, You, the King of Glory, came in! Thank You, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Jesus, We Crown You King
Words and Music: Stephen Phifer

1. Jesus, we crown You the King of all kings.
Jesus, we crown You the King of all kings.
You’re the joy of all Creation, make the morning stars to sing!
Jesus, we crown You, Lord, We exalt You.
Jesus, we crown You the King of kings.

2. Jesus, we crown You the Lord of all lords.
Jesus, we crown You the Lord of all lords.
On a thrown of greatest splendor You are worshiped and adored!
Jesus, we crown You, Lord, We exalt You.
Jesus, we crown You the Lord of Lords.

3. Jesus we crown you the Prince of all Peace.
Jesus we crown you the Prince of all Peace.
For You ride on every tempest, make the wildest storm to cease!
Jesus, we crown You, Lord, We exalt You.
Jesus, we crown You the Prince of Peace.

King of kings, Lord of lords. Prince of Peace, Mighty God
We crown now, as we sing. Jesus we crown You King of kings!

You’re the joy of all Creation, make the morning stars to sing!
Jesus, we crown You, Lord, We exalt You.
Jesus, we crown You the King of kings.
King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Pease,
Mighty God! King of kings!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s