Thursday, August 24, 2017

Matthew 16:13-20 Keys of the Kingdom


KEY TEXT: Matthew 16:16-19 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

KEY THOT: When Peter made his famous confession, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v.16), he set in motion a spiritual transformation in his life that transferred him from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. In his confession, he acknowledges Jesus as the Anointed One (Christ), the promised human descendant of David who would one day sit on David's throne as King forever. His confession also acknowledges Jesus as the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity. In one breath, Peter confesses Jesus as both the Son of Man (the human Messiah-King) and the Son of God (the divine Son of the Father). But this confession didn't come from himself, but was revealed to him by the Spirit of the Father: "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (v.17). Upon this rock of confession Jesus said He would build His church: "upon this rock I will build my church" (v.18).

The church of Jesus Christ is built upon the faith confession that Jesus Christ is both Son of Man and Son of God. This dual-confession is the foundation upon which the church of Jesus Christ is built--nothing more and definitely nothing less. When a person makes this confession, he or she is immediately transferred into God's kingdom and given the keys (authority) as citizens of the kingdom. The keys represent the divine power to bind and to loose: "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (v.19). Citizens of the kingdom have the authority to bind the works of Satan and authority to lose all who are held captives by Satan because of their sin and also through their fear of death.

As God's kingdom people, we are called not to sleep with the kingdom keys in our pockets but to bind and to loose--to engage in spiritual warfare by binding the forces of darkness and setting free all the captives of these evil powers of darkness. The Gospel (Good News) that Jesus came to proclaim is about the coming of the Kingdom of God--it is the Good News that membership in God's Kingdom is now open. And whoever makes the same confession Peter made will be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Once in, they are entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom.

The keys of the Kingdom are given not to be kept in our pockets but to go out to open prison doors to set captives free via the same confession Peter made: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!" And God has anointed all believers with the Holy Spirit in order to proclaim this good news to the poor: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives" (Luke 4:18).

May we as His church join Jesus in building His church by proclaiming the good news about the kingdom. He has called us to set captives free with the kingdom keys of authority He has entrusted to us to bind and to loose.

Abba-Father, thank You for giving us the keys of the kingdom to bind and to loose. May You grant us boldness to reach out to those who are still held in captivity in Satan's kingdom to bind the wicked spirits holding them captive to sin and Satan. Amen.

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