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day 4 - Kingdom keys

Matthew 16:13-19 (KJV)

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He 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 Barjona: 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 loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

 

What an incredibly gripping statement! Jesus basically declares to Peter that the keys to Heaven were now in his possession! Such a grand statement leaves one to wonder exactly what this Biblically historic exchange actually means and its significance within the Kingdom of God. Let’s break this down. Firstly let’s notice who Jesus chooses to build his kingdom upon…this is important. Peter was the same man who we know denied Jesus, had a hot temper and was very outspoken. Again, we are left with no other option than to recognize that our God does NOT choose perfect but rather willing. Peter was far from having everything all together but he was willing, bold, and here’s the biggest factor: HE KNEW WHAT THE KEYS TO GOD’S KINGDOM WERE!

So now what are these special keys? The identity of the first key builds at the beginning of our reading all the way into the bold statement in verse 19. Jesus is first asking His disciples who others say that He is in an effort to help them understand the significance of the moment that was about to come in verses 18 and 19. Jesus finally asks who they believe Him to be and our friend, outspoken Peter, boldly declares that He is indeed the Christ, Son of the living God! By identifying this fact Jesus knew Peter had a revelation of our first key to entering God’s Kingdom or Salvation. The first key is: One must believe that Jesus is indeed God and that beside Him, there is no other! This is the very basis of our existence, for when one realizes this, they are left with no other option than to feel connected to and empowered by a Force greater than imagination will even allow. This key is beautifully complex yet simple enough to hold on to no matter the deck of cards you are dealt in life:

 

“The God I serve is ONE. He is on the Throne and He alone reins supreme! Nothing and no other force can compare or stand against His infinite Deity”…this is real confidence.”

 

 

The second key is the “rock” for which every other Kingdom concept is built, this being the way to Salvation and Eternal life.  To better understand we must ask whom it was that Preached on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out? Peter. Please recognize here that it wasn’t that Peter had some extraterrestrial angelic quality that gave him this kind of favor with God. The reason the keys were given to Him was simple: Peter had a revelation of the necessary steps to be saved or the keys to the Kingdom of God. Keys unlock doors and one must have an adequate knowledge of that key in order to operate it properly. Peter believed in repentance, speaking in other tongues as a sign of the infilling of God’s spirit (Acts 2) as well as water baptism. All of these components clearly a part of Peter’s Kingdom formation. We must understand that when God wants something to be clear, He generally uses simplistic, bold analogies or people.  Peter first states in our reading that he knows WHO God is and then by historical evidence, (Acts 2 – Feast of Pentecost/Outpouring) Jesus knew that Peter realized HOW to obtain real Salvation! ….a beautiful exchange if you think about it!

 

While there many other “sub-keys” on the ring of God’s Kingdom, one must realize that these two by far, are the most important. But what about the results or “sub-keys” Salvation will/should produce? The writer of Galatians sums many (not all) of these up into two verses:

 

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)

 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

 

You may be wondering how in the world you are going to maintain these characteristics all the time and all at once? …YOU’RE NOT. That’s why when we feel we are lacking or needing to grow in an area mentioned in this passage, we find the answers in the vary same source of our Salvation that we started off identifying: Jesus Christ. He alone is your solace, answer and best Friend. He is patient with you, so please be patient with yourself. You’re not going to get it right all of the time but please go on believing that you are a conqueror as long as you have these Keys in your hand and hope in your heart.

 

Extra Thought:

 

- Why do you think the necessary components of salvation are likened to keys?

- What are some of the “sub-keys” from our reading in Galatians that you need to work on?

- What are some ways you can share the main two keys (who Jesus is and how to obtain His Salvation) with those you know?