The gates of Hades shall not prevail Eld. Kwame Adutuah-Amakye Sunday, March 24, 2019 Celebration Service at PIWC, Atomic

There are two confessions in Matthew 16.16 and 18. It would be good for you to rehearse and confess them. The first one was made by Simon Peter while the second was made by Jesus Christ.

Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16.16 KJV) So, this morning, I want you to picture yourself like Peter standing before Jesus telling him, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is the most important confession any human being can make on this earth for it is the one that brings salvation.

From Genesis to Malachi, there had been prophecies about a man who was going to come to the earth. In Genesis 49, Jacob said to Judah, “Until Shiloh come; and to him shall be the obedience of the people.” (Genesis 49.10 KJV) In Psalm 110 he says, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek;” he was also described as the stem of Jesse in Isaiah 11. There are many of them. In Malachi 4, he is described as the sun of righteousness who shall arise with healing in his wings. Even today the Jews are expecting this man.

One day, as he walked through Caesarea Philippi, he asked, “Who do men say I am?” There must have been a moment of silence. Then the Holy Spirit dropped a revelation in the heart of Simon Peter and he said, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” Then Jesus said,

Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16.17-18 KJV)

When you are writing a contract and you write “shall,” then you are very serious. You don’t write “will” or “may” so that there is a way of escape. When it is shall it is a must. If I am the contractor I would want to write “may” or “will.” The leadership of Israel at the time understood that saying you were the son of God meant you were God. They falsely accused him of blasphemy because he called himself the son of God. So the other text for the year, Titus 2.13, says, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

John summarizes his gospel in John 20.30-31 by saying that,

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20.30-31 KJV)

He wants you to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and, believing in him, you will have life. Look at Philip in Acts 8. The Holy Ghost takes him to the desert where he meets a eunuch of Ethiopia reading Isaiah 53. He asked him if he understood what he was reading. From there he began to teach him about Jesus Christ. As they got to a place where there was water he asked, “What prevents me from being baptized?” He confessed that Jesus was the son of God and then was baptized. Similarly, when the Philippian jailer asked what he had to do to be saved he was told to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The resurrection is the last proof that Jesus is the son of God. He came as the seed of David but has been declared as the son of God by the resurrection. That is why it says in Romans 10 that If you confess that he is the son of the living God and that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. If you confess the Lord Jesus and agree that he has been raised from the dead, you are saying that he is the Christ. Let’s confess that Jesus Christ is the son of God. It should be your confession everyday—in your bed, in you car, everywhere.

Jesus also came to Peter with a confession that,

Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16.17-18 KJV)

He was going to make him a building material. He was to be a stone. We too are living stones by which the Lord is going to build a house. (1 Peter 2.5) So, you are Peter and I am Peter. There is life in us and it is the divine life. You cannot be just anyone—you are a building material.

Two agents for building the church: The Holy Spirit and the ministry gifts
Jesus has given us two agents to build his church. The first is the Holy Spirit. He started talking about him in John 14.16 and 17. When the Holy Spirit came, he descended on the disciples and empowered them. In the same way, he gives each of us spiritual gifts to function as part of the church. The Holy Ghost gives us power and it begins with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. In those days, even if you wanted to sweep the church, we needed to know that you were baptized in the Holy Spirit. To sing, you must be baptized in the Holy Spirit. When Paul went to Ephesus he asked them if they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit since they had believed. (Acts 19) If you are not baptized in the Holy Spirit you are not a Pentecostal. When there is the baptism of the Holy Ghost then the Holy Ghost will transmit the gifts. If there is a local assembly where the gifts are not operational, it is either dead or asleep. Read more about the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.7-11 and Romans 12.5-8.

The second agent is called the ascension or ministry gifts (Greek: domata) These are gifts of men and women. If these gifts are operating in the church, they equip the saints to minister. The acid test of good leadership in the church is whether your members can minister. It doesn’t demonstrate good leadership when, as a pastor, your members cannot do anything without you. Good leadership must equip others to minister. When a pastor comes, you must get close to him and catch something.

The gates of Hades shall not prevail
But this morning I want us to look at the gates of Hades. He is promising a militant church, an all-conquering church, and a victorious church. The church is not just an organization or a society but a movement, a military force because the Lord we serve is Yahweh and he is a man of war. These days the Americans don’t want wars to be brought to their territory so they fight them overseas. That is why they supported the Syrians to fight ISIS. So, it is better to take the war to the enemy than for him to bring it to you. Take the war to where the enemy is.

Ancient cities were normally walled with huge walls. We can compare them to gated communities or your own house, which you fortify. Walls define your borders. Walls also give a sense of security. There is one thing I learned from Apostle Jimmy Markin. He said there some noise in the house and he rushed to wake his wife up but later said to himself, “The Lord is the watchman and there cannot be two watchmen.” So, he went back to sleep. Your own defense can give you a false sense of security.

Gates served as entrances into cities. So, gates became the weakest points of the whole city. Gates were where battles were fiercest. They were fortified. To break through the gates you needed strength. In Isaiah 28.6 it says,

And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate. (KJV)

Hades is the underworld or the grave where the dead were kept. Before Jesus Christ came to the scene, all the dead, whether righteous or unrighteous, were kept in Hades but there was a compartment for the righteous and another for the unrighteous and there was a great rift between these two compartments. This is the picture Jesus gives us in Luke 16 in the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

If the lord opens your eyes you will see that when a righteous man is buried, angels come for the body. Death is the entrance to Hades. So, when I said, “The gates of Hades…,” I meant we were going to confront death. In Revelation 20.14 we see that both death and Hades are spirits and they will be the last spirits cast into the lak of fire. Jesus had to deal with these spirits when he came. Death is a wicked sprit. When he enters your family there can be confusion, sorrow, and gnashing of teeth. Some will be so desperate they will lose hope and, if you are not careful, you may not recover from that singular death. But I pray that you may recover if you are suffering from this.

I lost my brother and pastor called me one day and said, “Don’t let your brother’s death trouble you.” You need someone to counsel you when you encounter death. Some take to drinking because of the depth of sadness they are plunged into.

Death has two agents. The first one is called the sting, like the sharp pain you feel when a snake bites you. The second one is the strength. In 1 Corinthians 15.55-57, he says,

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15.55-57 KJV)

This morning we are going to deal with death, sin, and the law. This is what Jesus came to do. Paul said, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5.21 says Jesus was made a sin offering. On the cross our sins were placed on him so he became sin that we may become the righteousness of God. On the cross, if you read Colossians 2.14-15, he says, he blotted out the handwritings that were against us. All the accusations against us he took away and triumphed over the powers and principalities—it is called the law of sin and death but there is a second law. In Romans 8.2 he says, “The law of the spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death.” This law is called grace.

And so, having dealt with these enemies, he gave up the ghost and died on the cross. So he could now go to the gate. If you read Hebrews 2.14-15 he says for all these years we had been kept under bondage so he became like us so he could deliver us from it. He died to save us from death. The principle is like we have in vaccination where you introduce the same disease into the body to build resistance against it. When he died his soul went to Hades, his spirit went to the Father, and his body went to the grave. In Hades he took the keys of Hades and death and took all the righteous persons in Hades and, when he ascended, Ephesians 4.8 says he took captivity captive—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, all the righteous ones. So, today, when you go to Hades, that compartment for the righteous is empty. That is why we can say we have won the victory over the gates of Hades. So, by saying the gates of Hades shall not prevail, he was saying the church will not die. It may go through difficulties but it shall never die. You have heard of China. We were part of the underground churches, sneaking Bibles around.

A man came from America to preach to us. He told us his wife was dying of cancer but had given him permission to come to us. After preaching to us he went to the hotel and received a message, which was delivered to him by the attendant. The message was that his wife had died. Incidentally, the attendant was a Christian and she laid hands on the man and he started speaking in tongues. A year later he came back with his son to thank God. Everywhere, even in China, the church is marching on. I believe that the Muslim countries have got Christians who confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

The believer has been delivered from the power of death. For the believer death is a transition, a passage into God’s presence. For the believer death is gain. In death you pass on to God’s presence. For the believer, death is not a loss. I’m not saying you should go and die. Some of us are not going to die.

1 Corinthians 15 says,

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15.51-53 KJV)

I believe I will be a partaker of the rapture. We shall not all die we shall not all sleep. I come against premature death in this place. It is a demon, a spirit. We bind you and cast you out.

I submit that that the gates of Hades shall not prevail. The church shall never die. PIWC will not die. But we need strength to be able to fight the battle and I am going to talk about these also.

The church needs power and purity to thrive
There are two issues—the first one is power while the second one is purity. You can call them charisma and character.

In Luke 10.19 the Lord said,

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10.19 KJV)

This means the enemy has also got power. Don’t take him for granted. The sons of Sceva got a taste of the power of the evil one when they had to take to their heels after being challenged. He says you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost comes upon you. It shows up in the form of signs, wonders, and gifts of the Holy Ghost.

The Bible makes it clear that there are degrees of power. Acts 1.8 talks about power. Acts 4.33 talks about great power. When that came, the place shook and they went out to preach. Ephesians 1.19 talks about exceeding great power. So, don’t just stay at the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Move on to exceeding great power that can raise the dead. So, Paul said that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think according to the power at work in us. (Ephesians 3.20)

Jesus Christ is coming for a pure church, without spots and wrinkles, washed in the blood. These days Christians don’t want to talk about purity. The enemy has got power but not purity. If you don’t add purity to power you will miss the mark. Ephesians 5 says certain things are a shame to talk about in the open, yet Christians are doing them. That is why Paul was so angry that a member of the church had gone to have sex with his own father’s wife. So, he said,

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5.4-5 KJV)

But when something happens some say we shouldn’t judge. When somebody calls himself a Christian and is sinning you have the power to judge. Don’t tell me, “We shouldn’t judge; we shouldn’t judge.” We will judge.

There is no law against purity. 1 Timothy 1.9-10 says,

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (KJV)

Wesley Girls has the slogan, “Live pure. Speak true. Right wrong. Follow the king.” There is a pure church. In Acts 5, when Ananias and Sapphira decided to deceive the apostles, they died just as it happened in the Old Testament when Nadab and Abihu, the sons of the high priest, offered strange fire on the altar and died.

When this happened, signs and wonders were flowing so that even Peter’s shadow could heal the sick. Some were running away from the church but the Lord added to their number daily. May God make us like that church so that you cannot sin and be comfortable in the church—that people will be exposed even during the Lord’s Supper. This is how the church, this church, was. We cannot continue to let this church be a worldly church.

Main reference
Matthew 16.18

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