The Keys Of The Kingdom Of Heaven

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Matthew 16:15-19 {Jesus} saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Last week we heard Jesus ask His disciples, “Whom do you say that I Am?”. Peter spoke up. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.

When Protestants and Catholics read the rest of the text, we interpret it differently. Catholics (and Beloved, if they are saved by faith in Christ, they are our brethren) read where Jesus said:

Matthew 16:17-19 Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven

Catholics believe that, with these words, Jesus made Peter the Pope or highest authority of the Church. Catholics believe that the Pope is a major foundation of the Church, that he is infallible (without error). Catholics believe that Peter alone has the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. I disagree with this for a few textual reasons.

Jesus Died For Us All, Even Sinful Peter

First of all, Peter is not infallible. Right after Peter told the Lord “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, we read:

Matthew 16:21-23 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

No man, outside of Jesus Christ, is infallible. We are all sinners, Pope or otherwise. We all fail. We are fragile creatures, a point recognized by the Apostle when he wrote:

2 Corinthians 4:6-8 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

We who are saved are as fragile and fallible as earthen vessels, easily broken, easily misled. The foundation of the Church is no mortal man. The foundation of the Church is …

1 Timothy 6:15 {Jesus Christ}, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.

The Peter who acknowledged that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God is the very same Peter that Jesus would later call Satan, who savored not the things of God but the things of this world. So no, the Church is not built on fallible man. The Church is built on the infallible Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus had to die on Calvary for us all.

He drank a cup of wrath without mercy, that we might drink a cup of mercy without wrath” (Oswald Chambers)

So what did Jesus mean when He told Peter,

Matthew 16:19 … I WILL give unto thee
the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

What are these “keys”? That’s what I want to talk about. Notice Jesus’ exact words to Peter. Jesus doesn’t say “I am NOW giving you the keys”, but He says “I WILL give unto you the keys”. This is a promise of a future blessing. They keys were not given to Peter, nor to anyone just yet. Jesus promises “I WILL give the keys”. Do you see that?

At this point in human history the Church has not yet begun. Jesus said:

upon this rock I WILL build my Church”

Not “I am building”, but “I will build”. Just like the Church is still future, the keys to be given are still future. There is something that must happen before the Church can be. At this time in history the Temple is still standing. People are still making animal sacrifices, waiting for the Messiah. The Messiah has come, The Christ, the Son of the Living God. But something else must happen. Christ must go to the Cross of Calvary, making payment for our sins.Once the disciples heard the great truth that Jesus ALONE is THE Christ {Messiah}, THE Son of the Living God, the Bible says:

Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Jesus MUST go to Jerusalem. He MUST suffer under the hand of the religious establishment. He MUST be killed. He MUST lay His life down, and MUST rise again on the third day. The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29) must die for us. Sin is no trifle before God. Sin is an offense against an Eternal Being, the God Who made all things. Born into this world of sin, born of parents who are sinners, we are the offspring of Adam, sinners all. The Apostle said:

Romans 5:8-12, 15 … while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: … 15 … if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Adam brought sin into the world. The madness that we see on the news, the riots, the murders, the evil trying to make lawlessness normal, these are all the marks of the lost sinful soul. Those without Christ cannot do well before God, and rarely do well among man. The plowing of the wicked is sin (Proverbs 21:4). Every act of human good done before God without Christ and His shed Blood is like unto filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Jesus said “A bad tree cannot produce good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). The Bible teaches that every human is born physically alive, but spiritually dead to God:

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged {from God} from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Jesus had to die for our sins. He alone is THE Christ, THE Son of the Living God. The Son of God died on Calvary for the sons of Adam. The Apostle said:

Romans 3:9-18 both Jews and Gentile … are all under sin; 10 as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 and the way of peace have they not known: 18 there is no fear of God before their eyes.

Creatures that are fallen from God cannot enter into God’s Heaven. They must be given the keys, for Heaven is locked out from those who are lost.

Jesus Will Only Give The Keys Of Heaven To Those Who Confess To The World That
Jesus Is The Christ, The Son Of The Living God”

As Jesus speaks to His disciples this day, the Church is future and the Keys to be given are yet future. Jesus must go to Calvary. The Church is built on two future things:

The Cross And Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and
The Coming of the Holy Spirit

The Spirit had not yet been given to man, for Christ had not yet died for our sins. Jesus declared …

John 7:37-39 If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Coming of the Holy Spirit cannot happen until our Lord goes to Calvary. The Lord began to teach the disciples that He had to depart, and that the Spirit of God had to come. We read:

John 14:15-17 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Once Jesus went to Calvary and rose again, the stage could be set that the Holy Spirit come unto God’s people. To those who confidently confess that Jesus ALONE is THE Christ, THE Son of the Living God, God has sent the Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to the Christian to teach us more about Jesus:

John 14:26 … the Comforter, which is the Holy {Spirit}, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26 … when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Jesus had to go before the Spirit could come. This is why Jesus spoke of the Church and the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven as a future event. The Spirit could not come and indwell the Children of God until the Son made our adoption possible. Jesus told His disciples:

John 16:7-14 … Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me:

When Jesus Christ died on Calvary, He made payment for the sins of the world. When we call on Him, believing, He promises that the Spirit of God will come to us. It is the Spirit of God that brings the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Spirit comes to every professor of Christ Jesus. The Bible declares:

Romans 8:9-11 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

On the day that Jesus commended Peter for understanding the greatest truth ever told, Jesus had yet to go to Calvary. That was coming. But in order for God to save man, it would require more than just the sacrifice of Calvary. God would have to change us. We are born into this world sinners, children of Adam. But HEAVEN IS GOD’S HOME. Heaven is not where the Children of Adam go. Heaven is where the Children of God go.

It Is God The Spirit That Brings Us Both Life,
And The Keys To Heaven

It’s not our color or behavior that define who we are. At the core of who we are is God, the essence of existence. And sometimes we lose sight of that.” (Armstrong Williams)

We are born into this world spiritually dead. But when we confess that Jesus is THE Christ, THE Son of the Living God, then God sends His Spirit to us to make us fit for Heaven. Salvation is more than just a creed. When you confess Christ, believing on Him, God sends His Spirit into your life. You change. You must change.

Heaven does not have open borders. Heaven is God’s home, a place where God’s Children go. Apart from Christ we are Adam’s Children. But confessing Christ, God sends His Spirit to us, to change us from children of Adam to Children of the Living God. Jesus said:

John 3:3 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Heaven is God’s Home. You cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, unless you are BORN AGAIN. You cannot make yourself born again. You cannot. You could not make yourself born the first time, nor can you make yourself born the second time. Hear the Lord:

John 3:6-8 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

There are many who profess to be Christian, but their profession is but outward, much like the profession of the Scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees of Jesus’ day. God must come to you and change you. He promises to do so when you confess that Jesus is THE Christ, THE Son of the Living God. When you,

Romans 10:9-11 …. if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Do you wish to enter Heaven? You need the keys. Profess Christ as He is, and God will bring you the keys. God will come to you, and cause you to be born again. Your portion is to lay your life down, to turn from being your own god, and turn to the Son of God. The Christian is the person who has

1 Peter 1:22-25 … purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Oh that God would reveal the great truth to you, and that you would believe. When you believe on Christ the Holy Spirit will do His part.

Romans 8:13-17 …. if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

If you are a Christian, indwelt by the Spirit of God, you have they keys of Heaven. If you have the keys, you have the RIGHT to be in Heaven. If you have the keys, your DESTINATION is Heaven, where you will live in eternity. But also if you have the keys, you have the right to offer them to others.

If You Are Saved, Share The Keys With Others

Matthew 16:19 I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

People have argued about the meaning of this passage for years, but I see no difficulty in it. If you have the keys of Heaven, if you have confessed Christ as Lord and Savior, and God the Holy Spirit has changed you, then share these keys with others. If a soul is saved here (loosed from sin and death), then it will be loosed in Heaven (forgiven and adopted into the Kingdom). The Apostle Peter used the keys on the Day of Pentecost. Our Lord Jesus, having paid for our sins, told us:

Matthew 28:18-20 … All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you

In Acts 2 Peter shared the keys with crowds in Jerusalem, and 3000 entered the Church that day. In Acts 8 Peter shared the keys in Samaria, and in Acts 10 he preached to the Gentiles. Where people believed and confessed that Jesus is The Christ, The Son of the Living God, the Holy Spirit came and changed both hearts and destination. People are bound in their sins, enslaved to this world. But where Christ Jesus is shared the Spirit can work. Bonds can be broken. Sinners freed. But if you refuse to take the keys, then what is bound on earth is bound in Heaven. When you leave this earth, you will not go to Heaven, but Hell.

Beloved, the choice is yours.

Matthew 16:24-26 … If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Do you know Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior? If not, lay your life down to Him. Believe that He gave Himself on Calvary for you. And, once you are converted, strengthen your fellow believers (Luke 22:32). Oh, how I pray that God’s Spirit touch your souls, that you come to Jesus this very day. May God the Holy Spirit make this seed cast a reality. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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