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Give Me Your Keys!

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The devil works to disrupt and keep us from using the authority and power (the keys) to open the doors of the kingdom for others to enter into it!

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Well, this evening, I would like to revisit, or rather, continue with the subject that we started a week ago and also discussed this past Sunday and that subject has to do with the reality of our enemy, the devil, SATAN!

The objective of those teachings, was to simply point everyone’s attention to the reality that there is a VERY real and destructive enemy that we face as members of the Kingdom of God.
My objective at that time was not to delve into background of, nor expound upon the existence of the devil, but only to make everyone aware of and equally presented with the facts about his existence so that each person could make a consensual decision about their belief of and danger of their ONLY enemy!
Tonight, I am once again speaking about the devil’s existence, but in a different way. I want to look tonight at another reality that we should all be highly ATTUNED to and of how the enemy is influencing the way that we engage this other spiritual dynamic!
So, having said that, let’s dive right on in tonight and look at the Kingdom of God.
And more specifically, I want to us to look at our position within His Kingdom and what the thief is trying to steal from us.
Just as Jesus said of the enemy, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”, I want us to look at what he trying to steal and kill and destroy, as it pertains to our role within the Kingdom!

A few years ago, at a Main Event Christian men’s conference in Nashville, that several men from our church attended, along with thousands of other men from all around, we listened to Dr. Tony Evans speak and petition the men of God’s kingdom. (I love to listen to Tony Evans and his practical way of getting the word across!)

In his message, he made an analogy that stuck with me and that perfectly defines our roles as a child of God. (Or at least to the male mind it was a perfect analogy!)
He made the contrast of our life here on earth as believers, likened to that of a NFL football game.
In any NFL football game, you will see two teams coming onto the field. These two teams are opposing teams and yet they both represent a kingdom that is inherent to all of the teams that play on the field for the NFL.
These two teams are going to be in constant conflict throughout the entire game on the field, because they have are there to war against one another; one team is trying to dominate the other team and make it to one end of the field, and the other team is trying to dominate their opposition and move to the opposite end of the field!
Now, there is another team that is present on the field and this other team, is the team of officials.
And all of the crowd cheers as the the three teams take to the field at the start of the game.
There are 53 players for each of the two opposing teams that are allowed to be brought onto the field and be on their respective sidelines and at any given time, each team is allowed to have 11 players on the field during gameplay.
The officials are drastically outnumbered and out manned in every way, physically speaking. They only have 7 men total throughout the entire game that are even present.
The players are younger and stronger and faster than any of the officials and in the natural respect, they should be able to dominate the officials and have their own way.
However, here comes the big difference between the two opposing teams with the larger numbers and the exceedingly great brute strength, as compared to the weaker in power and highly outnumbered officiating team.
The officiating team represents another kingdom that is different than the one that the players represent!
The officiating team represents the office of the NFL that is located at 345 Park Avenue New York, NY, while each team represents their respective home kingdoms.
The officiating team’s kingdom is constant and NEVER CHANGING and it is the ruling authority over every other kingdom that is below it!
You see, in the natural, each team’s players are physically stronger and faster in raw power (or what the Bible calls, dunamis power, which is explosive, raw power) in comparison to the officiating team’s members. However, the officiating team has another type of power that the Bible refers to, as (exousia power) and this power is authoritative power.
And this is what I mean. The players have the raw power (the dunamis) to knock the officiating team members down to the ground if they so choose, but the officiating team members have the (exousia) the authoritative power to throw the other players out of game, for life!
The officiating team has a supreme authoritative person who rules over them, who is seated at 345 Park Avenue, (who is currently Roger Goodell) and his title is the NFL commissioner.
The commissioner has the authority over every kingdom that is ever represented on the playing field!
And the commissioner issues a manual that is studied and carried by every member of the officiating team,so that no matter where they are and which kingdom they are in, they always and equally, have the AUTHORITY (exousia) to represent the commissioner and his supreme authority and his kingdom of which they have been chosen to represent!
The officiating team only does what the book tells them to do on the field and thus uses the authority they have been given by the commissioner to represent him and execute swift judgement as to right or wrong on the field.
At any given time, the officiating team can be cheered for their calls, or booed and screamed at by the crowd and the two opposing teams, because the other kingdoms don’t always agree with the supreme authority that is being represented on the field!!
The thing is, the officiating team is not on the field to appease and please either team or the onlookers! They are representatives of the commissioner and they uphold the book that they have studied and thus they rightly use their given authority to serve the kingdom they are representatives of and for no other reason and for no other persons and no other kingdom!
And if there is ever a time, where the regular officials are replaced on the field (as happens sometimes if their is a strike in the NFL) and the game is being overseen by these “replacement” officials, then this is what happens.
Where there is normally orderly and calm execution of authority on the field by the officials who KNOW the rule book, backwards and forwards and who execute wise decisions, consistently, by the book, you end up with conflict and chaos, because you now have representatives on the field, who do not know the book as they should while they are acting on behalf of the commissioner and without the rightful power to do so that comes only from the commissioner in the form of his rule book!!
These new officials are ill equipped and only because they haven’t studied the book.
The commissioner has given freely and equally to all of the officiating team members, access to the book and even encouraged them to study it with diligence, so that they can properly represent him and his kingdom, wherever they are.
Does everyone see and kind of get the idea of what I am talking about, as far as having the given authority to act on behalf of the commissioner and the kingdom that he is over?
As Christians, we are to be representatives, or the officiating team for God and His kingdom, as He is the commissioner and over every other faction!
This is the way that Paul says it in “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ!”
And as His ambassadors, His representative officials, it is our job (on the field down here) to make sure that we are guiding and directing the game-play according to His rule book that He has given for our instruction and guidance!

Now, I would like to briefly elaborate on the subject of the authority and power that exists for the believer within the Kingdom of God.

Does everyone understand that all of creation, which God made through Jesus, was created and governed by laws that He put into place? These laws are crucial for everything to exist and remain intact and operational!
For instance, let’s look at one of the most obvious laws that exists and that affects each and everyone of us every day of our lives; THE LAW OF GRAVITY!
Gravity pulls at a constant rate of 9.8 m/s2, or 32 ft/second. And your bodies weight is nothing more than your mass applied to the downward force of gravity!
And yet, even while the law of gravity is in full force and in place all over the world, 24/7, 365, there exists another force that counters it and can work against it.
Have you ever wondered how a plane can fly?
I mean, just moving forward at a fast speed does not mean you are going to fly, if that was the case, I think that some of your cars would be in trouble!
When the right speed for the mass of the plane is met and the design of the wings allowing the airflow to go around them, creates more upward exhorted force versus downward, the force that is called LIFT is created.
This is another natural force that exists, but is only accessible if the conditions are right.
A very small example of this breach to the law of gravity would be with this book and a sheet of paper! (SHOW THE BOOK AND PAPER EXPERIMENT!)
Ask the question about the bullet coming out of the gun and the lead ball falling, as far as which one will hit the ground first?
My point is, everything is governed by laws and the Lord is the one who created these laws and He is the one who governs them!
They are His laws and He is able to do with them as He pleases.
The Lord controls everything and the laws that govern them.
For instance, the Bible records that God shifted the movement of the earth and sun in orbit for Hezekiah, as God moved the sun dial backwards 10 degrees as a sign that the healing that Isaiah had said would come to Hezekiah was in fact real and that God was going to heal him!
Or this account that we find in the book of Joshua, “And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.”
Well, just like I mentioned about the force of LIFT on an airplane, this natural force has always existed and been in place, just waiting to be discovered, as is everything within the kingdom of God!
If you stop and think about it, in the days of David and the kings of the Bible, they had wood and fuel and the means at their disposal to build a vessel that could test the law and force of LIFT, but they didn’t know that it was there.
The law was always there and ready to be enacted, but they didn’t know about it and couldn’t make use of it.
Their lack of knowledge about LIFT didn’t negate its existence, they were just blind to it and so it laid dormant for milleniums, until the Wright brothers tapped into it!
The same thing exists spiritually today, within the Kingdom of God and with His church, (that is His ecclesia, as the Greek text calls it.)
There are laws that are in place and these laws govern the Kingdom and we are supposed to be the ones that appropriate and walk in all authority under these laws and for the expansion and health of the Kingdom of God.
The problem is that too many people are DECEIVED into believing that we do not actually have the authority that we read of in Acts and throughout the epistles and that Jesus said we would have.
And guess who is the one that is so diligent at confusing and deceiving many people into doubting their authority and power that has been given within the Kingdom?
YEP, the devil!

Turn with me please to and let’s read this passage.

Matthew 16:18–19 NLT
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Now in this passage, let me say a couple of points for clarity.
First, Peter is not THE ROCK that the church is built upon, but rather his revealed confession of the truth of who Jesus is, is the in fact the very thing that Jesus is saying that the ecclesia will very soon be built upon!
Jesus is the large rock and solid foundation, the PETRA, not the Petros.
Next, when Jesus rose victorious from the grave, he stripped the finality of death of all power over mankind for everyone who would become His children!
In other words, when Jesus says that the gates of hell shall not prevail, He is in fact speaking into the near future of His resurrection and of how death, both the natural death, but even more so, and what Jesus is speaking of, is the second death (the spiritual death) would forever be thwarted and done away with for those who enter into the Kingdom!
Next and more importantly for tonight’s lesson, is that of the KEYS that Jesus mentions to Peter and before the other disciples.
The one who carries the keys, is the faithful steward who has been given the authority (the exousia) over the masters house, as we find in , where it says,
Isaiah 22:22 NLT
I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.
And with this authority, the steward would be given the right to exercise the kingdom power over matters that pertain to that kingdom!
When Jesus says, “Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven”, He is using what is called “future perfect tense” and so with this understanding, a better translation of the phrase would be, (‘shall have been bound’ and ‘shall have been loosed’), which simply means this.
Peter is not determining, nor are we as the stewards of the Kingdom authority, of what can or cannot be decided for God’s kingdom, but rather, according to the future tense of, ‘shall have been bound’, or ‘shall have been loosed’, we can see that these decisions are already made by God, according to His sovereign will and we simply pass on the decisions, according to His will within His kingdom!
We act on God’s and make exercise decisions that are already bound by His will.
Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary xi. Jesus Is the Messiah (16:13–20)

That authority is exercised in binding and loosing, which were technical terms for the pronouncements of Rabbis on what was or was not permitted (to bind was to forbid, to loose to permit).

No other terms were in more constant use in Rabbinic canon-law than those of “binding and loosing”. They represented the legislative and judicial powers of the Rabbinic office. That authority was exercised in binding and loosing, which were technical terms for the pronouncements of Rabbis on what was or was not permitted (to bind was to forbid, to loose to permit).
Just as Jesus said, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven”, we are not the ones who have been given the power to forgive and pardon people’s sins, but rather, as the steward’s of the kingdom authority, we can open the door for them to walk into the kingdom, through our sharing of the gospel message and thus they can receive the already done work of Jesus, which means that their sins are then already forgiven.
If they refuse to enter into the kingdom and reject salvation through Jesus, then their sins are bound on earth and in heaven and not forgiven them!
The main point here is that as kingdom ambassadors, we have been given the keys, the mantle of authority in God’s kingdom and with this, means that all of God’s laws for the kingdom are with us at all times.
In God’s kingdom, there is no sickness and disease, there is no fear and stress and worry and depression and addiction and so on and so forth!
As his stewards, we are supposed to do as Jesus and walk in the power and authority of God, in His kingdom and under the laws that exist within His kingdom.
The reason that so many people are not doing this today, within the church, is due to their lack of faith and belief!
Isaiah 3:12 NLT
Childish leaders oppress my people, and women rule over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you; they send you down the wrong road.
This is simply saying, that there were not any Godly men stepping up and walking in the authority of the kingdom and so the women and immature children were having to do it instead.
This is a huge epidemic in this nation now! This nation needs the Christian men to stand up and rise to the standard to which they have been called and become REAL men and act in real authority and begin to exercise the Kingdom power that has been given to them.
Jesus said that all authority in heaven and on earth, EVERYWHERE THE KINGDOM EXISTS, was given to Him and then He gave the commission for us to go and use that authority to spread the gospel message!
The Bible says in ,
Deuteronomy 14:2 NLT
You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.
And again in ,
1 Peter 2:9 NLT
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
As we can see here, the Bible talks of people being chosen and yet Jesus said of this, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
This means that the gospel message goes out for everyone who will listen, but the elect, the true followers who come to salvation through true repentant faith and belief, are actually FEW!
And the devil, now more than ever, has a part in this, as Paul said in ,
2 Corinthians 4:5–6 NLT
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 NLT
If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
The devil is working overtime to try and deceive as many as possible into either never coming to the true and saving knowledge of salvation, or getting those who are in the kingdom to walk in doubt and disbelief of the authority that is here for us.
Remember what I said earlier, the laws that God has put into place have always been here and just because we do not walk in faith and acknowledge them, does not mean that they don’t exist, we just fail to use them!
The keys of the kingdom and the authority and power that go with them, are there for us to use, but the devil is always trying to disrupt and deceive, even the elect, the chosen!
We need to KNOW, intimately the one who made the keys and let Him teach us how to use them, through His Holy Spirit!
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