MATTHEW 16:17-20: “And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Then He gave the disciples strict orders that they were to tell no one that He was the Christ.” NASB
OBSERVATION: Have you ever run out the door, with a to-do list in your hand, ready to tackle the day, and…
YOU FORGOT YOUR KEYS!
YOU LOST YOUR KEYS!
Suddenly you realize – “I am not going to accomplish very much unless I have my keys.” If this is true in everyday life, how much more is it true in our spiritual lives? Yet, we rarely think about the keys that we have been given by Jesus.
The Keys of the Kingdom are the most important set of keys that we have in this life!
Understanding the Keys of the Kingdom is the difference between living a meaningful, purposeful, and fruitful life – and simply existing. It is the difference between fulfilling God’s call for our life and continually missing the mark. It is a life filled with power or a continual struggle with defeat.
The Keys of the Kingdom change everything.
So what are the Keys of the Kingdom? This is where it is easy to get off on the wrong road. Some treat the Keys of the Kingdom as the ability to write your own ticket with God. This not only disagrees with the whole counsel of God’s Word, but it is also dangerous. It is like putting car keys into the hands of a 6-year-old and trusting him to drive.
Most of the misunderstandings regarding the Keys of the Kingdom center around the English translation. The verses regarding these keys are taken in the present.
- “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 NKJV
The New American Standard Bible corrects this with its translation. The proper translation is in the past tense.
- “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
The Keys of the Kingdom is the wonderful gift of partnering with Jesus in the work of the Kingdom of God. It is not doing what we want to do but agreeing with what He has already done. We do this as we proclaim the Gospel and as we pray.
Prayer is our on-the-job training for using the Keys of the Kingdom for the purposes of God.
The context of Jesus’ teaching on the Keys of the Kingdom is His Lordship. After asking His disciples who men were saying He was, He asks them – “But who do you yourselves say that I am?” Peter steps forward with his great confession.
- “…You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16
Jesus affirms Peter’s confession as a revelation from the Father. Jesus goes on to show Peter and the disciples that this confession, the understanding of Jesus’ Lordship is the very foundation on which the church will be built. And, it is the very foundation on which the Kingdom of God will be established!
- “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
It is then, and only then, that Jesus introduces the Keys of the Kingdom. It is His call to all believers in Christ to continue His ministry by proclaiming the Gospel and through prayer. We do that as we proclaim what Jesus has already bound and loosed. We do this as we learn to pray – “Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” We do this as we discover God’s will on our knees in prayer and proclaim His will to others!
All of Jesus’ Lordship, all of His authority, is entrusted in the Keys of the Kingdom!
- “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB
- “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be to you; just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” John 20:21-23 NASB
Jesus did not call these keys – the keys of blessing. They are not the keys to our desires. They are not even the keys of the church. They are the Keys of the Kingdom. They unlock the mysteries of the ages through the preaching of the Gospel and intercessory prayer. They proclaim both freedom for those who believe and judgment for those who reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They do not create new doors…
THEY UNLOCK THE DOORS THAT JESUS HAS ALREADY OPENED AND PROCLAIM THE DOORS THAT HE HAS ALREADY LOCKED!
Each time I think of the Keys of the Kingdom I am drawn to the Lord’s Prayer. This model prayer shows us how much our life of prayer is to be about fulfilling the Great Commission and how little it is about me and my needs. Each segment is important to rightly handling the Keys of the Kingdom. It focuses on God’s holiness, His perfect will, His Kingdom, and then the things that can keep me from partnering with Him each day – unmet physical needs, temptation, and an improper focus and understanding of His kingdom, power, and glory!
I can think of no better way of ending these thoughts than by praying the Lord’s Prayer. Heavenly Father, teach me how to use the Keys of the Kingdom!
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
– Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
– Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
– Give us this day our daily bread.
– And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
– And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
– For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV
In Jesus’ Name!