HOUSMAIL HM#064 - THE FOUR KEYS OF THE KINGDOM
14 September 2000
"On this ROCK I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it." (Matt 16:18)
It seems almost inevitable that discussion about this verse will quickly sidetrack to the scholars' distinctions between the two Greek words "petros" (Peter) and "petra" (rock). However, too much concentration on the possible differences between the two Greek words, tends to cloud the REAL issue of what Jesus is trying to TELL US in this passage.
Q. On What Rock will Jesus build His Church?
A. "No other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1Cor 3:11)
Q. Is THAT what Jesus meant in Matt 16:16-20?
A. Yes! Jesus takes a few more words to say it - but it is essentially the same thing.
Matthew lists FOUR fundamental things that God will reveal ABOUT JESUS. On these four things, the REAL Church depends completely for its foundation. These four things are the KEYS of the kingdom of heaven. They unlock the door for entry to the kingdom, and inheritance in the kingdom. They unlock the door because they alone lay the foundation which prepares the way for VICTORY over sin! (1 John 5:1-5)
1. JESUS IS THE "SON OF MAN".
This is the basis of the question Jesus asked in verse 13. It begins HERE! The real Gospel foundation depends absolutely on a recognition of the humanity of Jesus. He is not a preexistent God. He is not a preexistent spirit or angel. He is not a "God-man hybrid". HE IS A MAN. If He is any of those other things He is NOT a man! (because no other man has ever been any of those things!)
2. JESUS IS THE "MESSIAH".
We need to know who and what that word Messiah means, before we personally have the CORRECT foundation for our own faith. The word points us to the OLD TESTAMENT passages which describe the Messiah.
3. JESUS IS THE "SON OF THE LIVING GOD".
We need to know that the relationship between God and Jesus is TRULY that of Father and Son. The life of Jesus was NOT eternally preexistent! It began with the miracle of divine begettal and Virgin Birth. The Father of Jesus is alone truly God. (John 17:3) Our belief in Jesus as "the Son of the living God" calls for our total submission to His DELEGATED authority to speak for God.
(And if you check it out carefully, many of the things which are spoken by the "Son of God", are quite the opposite to those attributed to the COUNTERFEIT "messiah" who is known by his followers as "god-the-son"! Following the teachings of the Church built on the foundation of THAT false "christ" can only lead to disobedience to God, and eternal DEATH!)
4. THE POWERS OF DEATH WILL NOT PREVAIL.
The Resurrection is THE HOPE of this Church! Paul says that without THIS hope, there is no hope. Men who cling to any other counterfeit hope are still in their sins and will perish! (1 Cor 15:16-19)
Did Peter alone possess these keys? Some say that Peter was specially
singled out by Jesus because he was going to be the first to use them!
- To the Jews.
- To the Samaritans.
- To the Gentiles.
Nevertheless, these same keys are STILL in use by others, wherever the REAL Gospel of the Kingdom is preached!
They are the "keys" which Jesus left, not only for Peter, but also for US! They are to be used to open the door for entry to the Kingdom by those who hear the Gospel from us.
They make all the difference between foolish men who build on sand, and wise men who build on THE ROCK! (Matt 7:24-27)
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask
God, who gives to all men generously
and without reproaching, and it will be given him." (James 1:5)