THE PROMISE THE PROMISE KEEPERS DO NOT POSSESS
Second Message of a Series
By Wayne Camp
THE PROMISE OF PERPETUAL PRESERVATION
TEXT: Matthew 16:18 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.
In the last issue of The GP&P, I called your attention to the article appearing in the February 20, 1998, issue of the Denver Post in which Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney was issuing his presumptuous plan for fleecing the churches. He said, "What I am going to say right now is hard, but I believe its what God has given me to say . . . I believe that every church that names the name of Jesus is supposed to give Promise Keepers $1,000."
McCartney further said, "If you're a big church, you're supposed to call the smaller churches and say, It wasn't all that hard for us, but can we help you?'
"If you're a smaller church and don't have the resources, out of humility and out of love for what God is doing, you ought to call a larger church and say, Can you help us out here? We want to facilitate what God is doing'."
It occurred to me later that this is really ludicrous. Here is a man that launched his movement, Promise Keepers, with a theme that centered on the terrible state of the "church." It was in its death throes and needed to be rescued from destruction by Promise Keepers. Now, this "church rescuing" organization is crying to the churches to rescue it. And, the founder of this parachurch organization has the unmitigated gall to claim Divine revelation for his rescue plan. If I had founded a movement that was supposed to be the "deliverer" of the churches, I would not be heard crying to the church to deliver the "deliverer."
This is just another reason why I felt compelled to write this message on The Promise the Promise Keepers Do Not Possess. The true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ have a promise that the Promise Keepers cannot claim and do not possess.
In the first message in this study we considered The Promise of a Perpetual Doming Up. Jesus promised to dome up his already established church. He used the word oikodomeiso [oikodomhsw] that has in it the idea of a continuous building up thus assuring that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
I used the word church in the generic or institutional sense several times in that message, as I will in this. As all who regularly read these pages know, this writer does not believe in the mythical universal invisible church. Please do not read that into any use I make of the word church in these messages.
In this message we are considering Christ's promise of the perpetual preservation of his church. The same church to which he promised a perpetual doming up is also promised a perpetual preservation.
THE PERSON OF THE PROMISE OF PERPETUAL PRESERVATION ASSURES THAT IT WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED
Who is it that promised his church a perpetual doming up and a perpetual preservation? It is Jesus Christ who knows all things. John 16:30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. John 21:17 Lord, thou knowest all things. When the one who knows all things says that the gates of hell shall not prevail, I believe it; I am assured of it and do not question the validity or certainty of the promise.
Who is this that promised a perpetual preservation to his church? It is Jesus who made the world and all that therein is. It is Jesus who is not only man but also Lord of all. It is Jesus the Christ who stilled tempestuous storms, calmed raging seas, and made the blind to see and the deaf to hear.
Who is this that promised a perpetual preservation to his church? It is Jesus who went into the arena of death and conquered it. He then came forth with the keys of both hell and death. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Rev. 1:18). Could we ask for a greater one than the incarnate Word to promise that the gates of death, or the gates of hell will not and cannot prevail against his doming up of his church?
Who is this who promised a perpetual existence to his church. It is Jesus the true and faithful witness. Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. He is the faithful witness and when he bore witness to the perpetuity of his church, he was faithful and true in that promise. He does not lie because he is the faithful witness. When he said that the gates of hell would not prevail against it, he was giving a true witness and testimony. For over 1900 years the Lord's churches have embraced that promise and they are not disappointed. Furthermore, they will not be disappointed in the future.
It is true that Jesus did unequivocally and sovereignly declare that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 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. The word hell used here is sometimes used in Scripture to refer to the realm of death. I personally believe that is included in the idea that Jesus has in mind here. Of course, Satan is the habitual murderer. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning (Jn. 8:44). He goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Let it be said that there is nothing and no one that can prevail against the church to which Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, has promised a perpetual preservation.
Satan sought to prevail against the church by killing her Head and Founder but he could not be held in the prison of death. The death of her Head and Founder cannot cause the church to perish from the earth. Dear Readers, death had no rightful claim on Jesus and when he had paid in full the sin debt of his people and his body had lain in the grave for three days and nights, God raised him up from the dead. Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. Since death cannot hold our Head and Founder, it cannot destroy the church to which he promised perpetual preservation.
In his death and resurrection he stormed the gates of hell and came forth with the keys of hell and death. Again, let us look at the precious word of God. How it does cheer our hearts. Let Herbert W. Armstrong come along and claim that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ died out about 100 A. D., but don't believe it. Let the Pentecostals claim that it died out sometime back there and that they rejuvenated it early in this century, but don't believe it. Let the Campbellites, those impassioned followers of Alexander Campbell, claim that the Bible was lost in the church and the church was lost in the world from about A. D. 100 to about 1809 when they restored it, but don't believe it. The promise of Jesus has not failed and the gates of hell have not prevailed. He who lived on earth for over 30 years after his incarnation and worked so many miracles during his life that the world could not contain the books if an account of all of them were given promised the perpetual preservation of his church. He who went to the cross and triumphed over principalities and powers openly humiliating them, he who could not have his life taken from him but willingly laid it down, he who walked the halls of the dungeon of death and came out victorious over hell, death, and the grave has the keys of hell and death; such is the one who promised a perpetual existence for his church. It is he, the great Amen, the alpha and omega, the first and the last who has promised unequivocally that the gates of hell cannot prevail against his church. Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere, the head and founder, the builder and perpetuator of the church holds in his power and under his authority the keys of death and hell. There is no way he will allow hell and death to prevail against his church to which he has promised a perpetual preservation.
In his victory over death, hell and the grave our great head has subdued the archenemy and murderer of his church and he has no power to prevail against the church. Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. I played basketball in high school. I remember a district tournament in which we reached the semi-finals. When you are from a school that had a total of 29 in its graduating class not much is expected of the ball team when you go up against a school which is 10 times your size. The sports writers were playing up the finals between the two schools that were certain to be in that last game. They picked the team we were to play in the semi-final to be the champion of the district. Our coach, in a pre-game meeting Friday night said, "Men, I want this game tonight. No matter what happens tomorrow night, I want this game tonight." He proceeded to vent his feelings about the reporters who had written us off without a second thought. He fired us up. We went out, played the game of our lives, and beat the chosen favorite. The headlines read, Altheimer Red Devils Pull Off Biggest Upset In Many-a-Moon. But, Saturday night was a different story. We had so exhausted ourselves the night before that no amount of encouragement could get our adrenaline flowing. We lost the final game by a score of 48 to 98. Our victory the night before defeated us in the finals.
When Satan inspired the religious leaders and others to put Christ to death, it appeared to all that he had won a tremendous victory. He put his all into this event of the crucifixion. He had killed the Prince of life. He had slain the Saviour. He had crucified the Lord of glory. He had bruised the heel of the Head and Founder of the church. But, My Dear Readers, his apparent victory became his sure defeat. By going into the realm of death, and pulling out its sting, our Head and Founder delivered Satan a defeat from which he has never recovered. Moreover, he will never recover. No longer must Jesus' sheep fear death for he has laid down his life for us and taken it up again. No longer should his true churches fear death and hell for in shedding his blood he has purchased us with an exceedingly precious price. What he has purchased with such a price he must have, and have forever. The gates of hell may appear to prevail at times. But, Christ turns what appears to be defeat into victory.
We can be assured the gates of hell will not prevail against the church because it is written in the word of God and the Scriptures cannot be broken. John 10:35 . . . the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken. God's word is eternally settled in heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ, as revealed in Scripture, has declared certain preservation for his church. The gates of hell cannot prevail against her. That certain promise is found in Matthew 16:18. And, the Scripture cannot be broken.
THE POWER OF THE ONE PROMISING A PERPETUAL PRESERVATION ASSURES ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT
We are assured that the gates of hell have not and will not prevail because of the ability of the one who made the promise. Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Oh yes! It is true. What he has promised he is able also to perform. What he has spoken he will bring to pass. What he has purposed, he will do. None can stay his hand. None can say, "What doest thou."
Regardless of what may come and how stormy things may become, there is nothing that can keep him from keeping his promise of perpetuity for his church. Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. Since he is Emanuel, God of very God, and the King of kings and LORD of all lords, nothing is impossible for him. A perpetual preservation he has promised, and what he has promised he will surely fulfill. What he has purposed, he can surely do. And, what he has spoken, he will surely bring to pass.
We can be assured of the promise of perpetuity because he who gave the promise is able to subdue any adversary of the promise. Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. He has the power, the ability to subdue all things unto himself. He has the power to subdue death. He has the power to subdue hell. He has the power to subdue Satan. He has overcome the world and has the power to subdue the world. He not only has the power to subdue all things, he has the power to so subdue them that they are subject to him. Every knee shall bow to him. Every tongue will confess him to be Lord of all. Such is the power of our great Promiser who has assured his churches of a perpetual preservation in this world and in the world to come.
THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE ONE PROMISING A PERPETUAL PRESERVATION ASSURES ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT
Jesus is the great Promise Maker and he has promised a perpetual preservation of his church. And, he is the persevering Promise Maker. He never starts a work that he does not finish. Paul wrote, Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Yes, we can be confident that the doming up of the church that was begun by Christ will be completed. We can rest assured that the perpetual preservation that was promised by Christ will be accomplished because of the faithful perseverance of the one giving the promise.
He always finishes what he starts. As to his work of redemption, of giving eternal life to those given him by the Father, he finished that work. John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. When he left this earth he had completely finished the work of redemption and nothing need ever added to it. I love to read his cry from the cross, "It is finished! It is accomplished." "tetelesta." Jesus definitely finishes what he starts.
This was the end to which Christ worked during his entire public ministry. He must finish the work given him by the Father. John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. This accomplishment of the work was ever on his mind. John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. He declared that a man had been born blind and had lived that way many years just for the purpose that in him the works of God should be manifested as Jesus pressed on toward Golgotha.
Jesus came into this world to do the will of the Father. He always did the will of the Father while on earth and I doubt that any would be so rash as to suggest that he is not now doing the will of the Father. John 6:38-39 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Fathers will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. Here we all face a question. "Did Jesus always do the will of the Father?" To fail to do the will of God is sin. Jesus did no sin. 1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Jesus knew no sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Since failure to do the will of God would be sin and since Jesus knew no sin and did no sin, we must affirm that he will lose nothing and no one given to him by the Father.
If it be true that Jesus has done all the will and work which the Father gave to him to do during his earthly ministry, and if it be true that he is still doing the will of God, let me pose another question. "Are there any of you reading these lines who would not be willing to take the position that it was and is the will of the Father that Jesus preserve his churches just as he preserves his sheep?" Jesus declared that the words that he spoke on earth were the words given to him by the Father. Therefore, we must conclude that it was and is the Father's will that the gates of hell not prevail against the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. He always finishes what he has started and he started the preservation of his church from the day he called those first members into it during his personal ministry. He continues to preserve his true churches as he has promised. He will continue to dome up his true churches and the gates of hell will not prevail against the church or the doming up of it.
CONCLUSION TO PART TWO
The promise of a perpetual preservation of his church was given to the church, not to any parachurch organization that is less than ten years old, such as the Promise Keepers movement. Promise Keepers is not a church of the Lord Jesus Christ and cannot, therefore, possess the promise of a perpetual preservation.
Promise Keepers' founder, Bill McCartney, unwittingly admitted that Promise Keepers is not a church in his statement reported in the Feb. 20, 1998, Denver Post. He said, "I believe that every church that names the name of Jesus is supposed to give Promise Keepers $1,000." He did not say, "Every other church should give to Pks." He said "that every church that names the name of Jesus is supposed to give Promise Keepers $1,000." The discerning reader will readily see that McCartney, in this statement, makes Promise Keepers a separate organization from the churches that "name the name of Christ." It is not a church and if it were, it has several problems that disqualify it for possessing the promise of a perpetual preservation.
Promise Keepers was founded by the wrong person to be the church of the Lord Jesus Christ which has the promise of a perpetual preservationJesus established his church; Bill McCartney founded PKs.
Promise Keepers was founded at the wrong time to be the church of the Lord Jesus ChristJesus established his church during his personal ministry on earth, or around 30 A. D.; PKs was founded in the last decade of the 20th century, nearly 2,000 years too late to be the church of the Lord Jesus Christ with the promise of a perpetual preservation.
Promise Keepers was founded in the wrong place to be the church of the Lord Jesus Christthe churches of the Lord Jesus Christ had their origin in Palestine; PKs was founded in Colorado, USA, literally thousands of miles from the scene of the founding of the first New Testament church on this earth from which have come all other true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Promise Keepers was founded for the wrong purpose to be the church of the Lord Jesus Christthe churches of the Lord Jesus Christ were founded for the purpose of preaching the gospel into all the world and making disciples, baptizing those disciples, and then teaching those disciples; many PKs have written to me and stated the purpose of the PKs movement and not one has ever given the Biblical purpose of the church as the purpose of PKs.
Promise Keepers was founded far too late to be able to claim the promise of a perpetual preservation.
The rock of Promise Keepers is not as our Rock, Pks themselves being witness. Jesus is our Rock; Bill McCartney is their rock. Since Jesus finished his work while on earth, the founding of any new religious movement such as PKs, or the Vineyard movement from which PKs was spawned could not be a work of Christ on earth. PKs came out of the Vineyard movement and the Vineyard movement was founded by John Wimber who recently died.
The promise of a perpetual preservation is the exclusive possession of true New Testament churches. It was given exclusively to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It cannot be claimed, it cannot be possessed by any other organization. The churches of the Lord Jesus Christ were promised a perpetual preservation over 1.950 years before PKs was formed. It has never been theirs to claim. It will never be theirs to claim.
Matthew 16:18 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. Ephesians 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
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Last updated on Friday, March 04, 2011