Using the Keys that Open & Shut God's Kingdom Door to Us
Dear Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
What is a key for? Symbols of Keys - today to the most famous world cities, back then to king gates - The Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a municipality upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. Arising from the medieval practice of granting respected citizens freedom from serfdom, the tradition still lives on in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand – although today the title of "freeman" confers no special privileges. The Freedom of the City can also be granted by municipal authorities to military units which have earned the city's trust; in this context, it is sometimes called the Freedom of Entry. LEIDEN - Morspoort This allows them the freedom to parade through the city, and is an affirmation of the bond between the regiment and the citizenry. Open
We must maintain this emphasis - keys are when they are put in the right hands are a good thing. Sure if some narrow minded crochety kill-joy has the keys - goal is to keep as many poeopleout, unless they have his right awnswer and his practices Kingdomof God is Fortress to keep people out - then keys would be bad news.
But even though the way is narrow, and the gate and road are straight and few find it. Still their is a good way and the gate is opened by these keys - Satan may put roadblocks , yet the Holy Spirit and the Word give you the strngth and guidance need to jump and overcome these hurddles. But the overwhelming good news is there is a key that opens up the kingdom of heaven even now already on earth and we are to use it! Interesting that QA 84 states the first key - proclamation of the Word will open and close, while QA 85on church disciplines says the eky will close , but even when this happens the goal and hopeis thatit will open the door again to fallen straying unrepentant brother or sister! But it isthe opening that gets the first andlast word,
- even further back and the image used by Rabbis, keys over the shoulder -keys of learning - To whom do the keys beong - Christ ie.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
Notice also a most ominous use of this key, not just for letting poeople in, buit also for shutting and locking out! More speiccfically these are not just mystical keys for the kingdom of God, they are mystical keys that are to be used on earth to build and strengthen and protect the ever growing Church f Jesus Christ. The keys are to be used in two ways - loosing sins - and also for binding retaining them
A. Whose Keys? Authoritative Keys of Christ
A. Whose Keys: Authoritative Keys of Christ
context - gates of hell; city; , Mt. Hermon, tributary… Spring Banias - gate to underworld. Christ choose this Northern most part of his ministry -to announce His Kingdom, Power and Glory.
another city Zion, Judah Ps78 church of Jesus Christ - Peter makes confession of who Jesus is as THE CHRIST, Son of the living God - by Caeasarea Philippi - literal gate of hades, gentile territory - CHRIST declaring freeing news - Peter’s confession and granting of keys not just for Peter - Christ is the conrerstone says
remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
See it isn’t like Jesus was transferring his power to Peter directly. The foundation isn’t peter, but all the protphers and apostles (Pl) - divinely inspired to establish CHurch Jesus work began! Why in the book of Revelation how many foundations stones - 12 of them.
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
It was not the case in first century of Christianity that bishops and priest had diffrent roles, though some priest/bishops same word did have a geographic leadership , but always were also functioning as priest of local church wihtout heirarchy. Further more this power given to all 12 in where Christ says to all the apostles - YOU plural.
Listen also to
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending 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, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
The picture is not of St. Peter in heaven opening and shutting the gate based on your examination. The picture is of true these representatives of Christ through the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins, the heart of the gospel, declaring salvation and eternal life and membership in Christ! The apostles, authorized powers of attorney of Christ when He is gone, including later the Apostle Paul - inspired by the Holy Spirit - able to declare who is in and out based on acceptance or rejection of the gospel! though absent, confirms their decision with decision as it were from God. To a peculiar degree correspondence of their judgment on remitting or raining ones sins - spirit of discernment.
When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Today, we are not guaranteed that churches exercise these with error, misjudgment and uncharitableness, But none the less in so far as our hearts, and our leaders hearts are purified from sin, as he use the means of grace, act in the spirit of Christ, and according to the Word of God, and for Christ’s glory.
though absent, confirms their decision with decision as it were from God. To a perculiar degree correspondence of theirjudgment on remitting or raining ones sins - spriti of discernment. We are not guaranteeed that churches will won’t exercsise these with error, misjudgment and uncharitableness, But none the less in so far as our hearts, and our leaders hearts are purified from sin, as he use the means of grace, act in the spirit of Christ, and according to the Word of God, and for Christ’s glory.
The use of the keys of the kingdom are for us, now, even if not perfectly used! But when used well, Christ in heaven confirms their use. ; Clarifies what was loosed or bound, shall have been bound in heaven - agrees with Christ’s judgment of salvation already made in heaven or not!
Maybe the last day that appeals revealed by Christ, but until then Christ has constituted his church for these keys to be usedon earth in your life and mine!
And while its true the Apostles have no successors - big mistake of some Pentecostal movements, and of the RCC . And while its also true that the office of apostles has ceased, still Matthew 16Jesus is calling the church to use the key of the preaching of the Word to open and close, and in He is calling all Christians to privately exercise disicpline and then if that fails for the church, through its elders too as well. Same principles apply.
Now lets be clear on what this power, authority symobilzed in the keys is and isn’t. It is not like temporal power of this world - it is not like the power Christ received after He died, rose, ascended - king in new way of heaven and earth - throne of David everlasting throne all authority. No this is the authority of speaking, convincing for Christ about His Word and His Gospel: - declarative power. Ministerial power. It doesn’t work by force, it isn’t involved in civil or political affiars - Remember Christ being asked to give such civil judgment and he says:
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”
But when it comes to spiritual matters of Christ’s church, real authority to open and close the kingdom through declaration!
This power though great, does not reside in the person - weak vessel, but only in the power of Word of Christ commissioned to speak on Christ behalf and apply to people ...
Nature of the authority is such that it is like a company getting incorporated, need certain bylaws, certain officers to carry them out. So too Christ did with the apostles, and by extension to us His church.
But how are we to use these two keys? The Function of the Keys. Really just one the Word of God - but it is used both publicly in the preaching of God’s Word, but also personally and individually in the discipline of the Church. And in both functions - two purposes - one is to authoritatively shut off passage in tot he kingdom, and the other glorious one to throw wide open the door to people in such a way that it can never be shut once they are entering in!
The Function of the Keys. Really just one the Word of God - but it is used both publicly in the preaching of God’s Word, but also personally and individually in the discipline of the Church. And in both functions - two purposes - one is to authrotitively shut off passage in tothe kingdom, adn the other glroius one to throw wide open the door to peole in such a way that it can never be shut once they are enetering in!
B. The Function of the Public Preaching of God’s Word - the purpose of a key is to either confer privileges or withhold privileges in a state or society! Now listen to the awesome but limited power of the keys used in preaching in Christ’s church. Not preaching my ideas, opinions, Not called to give my theolgoical assements and truths. Called
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
B. The Function of the Public Preaching of God’s Word - the purpose of a key is to either confer privelleges or wihthold privelegs in a state or society! Now listen to the awesome but limited power of the keys used in preaching in Christ’s church. Not preaching my ideas, opinions, Not called to give my theolgoical assements and truths. Called an amabassador for Christ, as if he is making His appeal to you and the world through me. CAlled to preach his gospel - Steward entrusted with something, the gospel of Jesus, once hidden mystery now fully revealed in Chrst - the hope of glroy - You come to church you have a right to hear the gospel as God has sent it. Your eternal life or your eternal dmanation depends on the manner in which receive or reject this revelation of MERCY. What a reposnibility - last week saw that the table like the Word has a message of death and curse as well as a message of life and salvation. Well Paul goes on to ask:
CAlled to preach his gospel - Steward entrusted with something, the gospel of Jesus, once hidden mystery now fully revealed in Chrst - the hope of glroy - You come to church you have a right to hear the gospel as God has sent it. Your eternal life or your eternal damnation depends on the manner in which receive or reject this revelation of MERCY. What a reposnibility - last week saw that the table like the Word has a message of death and curse as well as a message of life and salvation. Well Paul goes on to ask:
to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
If I am faihtful I’m free from the blood of all men, but if I’m a faithless messneger twist s the word and makes the gospel unclear, blood of hearers souls dying mpentitnt- God will require that of me - Ezekiel Watchman. Converesely, if I am faithful and you have the pure preaching of the Word from hear, it is as if Christ by His SPirit is speaking these very words into your life, in to our situation right now! But if that awesome, almost crushing responsbility to preach Christ’s Word is upon me, is it not also tand awesome responsiblity for you? To you who hear the actual oracles of God from frail human lips. No wonder Jesus says: Take heed!
Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
Did you hear how the catechism put it- every time the gospel is preached, the gate of heaven is flung open and -enter enter enter ; Everytime Word received with faith, participating in the Kkngdom its open to you! But listen everytime this gospel is preached and someone turn saway in unbleief - slammed shut, left in misery suffering, despicable helplessness of sins, My repsonoiblity, elders responbility that thios first key the publci praching of God’s word - happens here. That the two fold purpose - of warm free invitation with all its promises and blessings most appealiingly extenedd, but that also dire warning of the sin of unbelief is osunded with compassion yet somberness from ths pulpit. But that is done genreally, and universally in our public teaching. But the second key is an extension of the Word more personally into your life and friendships here!
C. The Function of the Personal Discipline of God’s Word
B. The Personal Discipline of God’s Word
This second key is the one no one likes to use. Like Discovery Channels Dirty Jobs - filming some o f the messiest jobs peole do for al iving, goose down plucker, poisonous spider venom collector, sewage worker, elevatro shaft cleaner, mold remover. Yet followers of Jesus and members f his church, not jsut the leaders but all of us, have a dirty job part of our assigment. We must learn to handle sinful situation in the lives of other people. And the intersting thing about those TV shows is that it actually takes a great deal of knoelsge and skill both to et those jobs done, but also not to get hurt in the process.
The key of God’s word, in rabbinical terms of Jesus day for losing = approving behaviour, ideas; binding - prohibiting,, banning. While this is done from the pulpit in general. Private ministry of the Word one to one - the goal is repentance , the goal is forigvenss and walking in new way = when disicpline of the Word whether self-disicpline, privately one to one or in a later step of official church discipline this what’s at stake. if not heeded, Jesus says - sins are retained declaration of church to be taken as declaration of Jesus in heaven - goal -confornt , earnest ly plead - and in extreem turn that person out of the fellowship of the church, if persist and reject - turn them out of the realm of Christ’s grace and truth - into realm of the world, where Satan the prince of the world - and so experienceing this to finally turn back
Do you sense something already? Unlike how poorly used church discipline goes, the goal is not merely punitive - there is a deterrent role, but not the first place. The goal is that person and all of us are turning/repenting. Sadly, the way often applied today - let people live how ever they want, don’t really care, as long as not a problem to us, but then when a problem gets so bad usually because now public, feel got to do something, but we have no relatinship , lot of time has passed, not there when sin started, so let’s just slam a fine, punihsment. .. gget mad walk away!
Before we get to how - need to see why. Jenke Disciplining the Brother - must have relationship , walk beside in recovering from sin, early - so much at stake for church, for person, Jesus commands both parties to make first move… whether they have sinned against you or they have something aginst them… Either you must go first to them. And the goal is to win back both of us in a right rleainship with the LROD and each other:
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
The first goal is not punishment or deal with a situation, its all about this persons relationships to the Lrod, to the gospel to God’s Word, to His walk and obeidence. “Don’t care how much you know until I know howmuch you care! Give each other permission - to enter into each other lies not as meddlers but as pilgrims, who know the eakeness of the felsh, the struggle to live a hold life. KNow that their are many sins which love must cover, their are molehillls, but if it is someting thataffects your relationships with this person, something that effects their relatoinship with the LORD, something that brings shame on the gospel this person bears publically in the world. The first step, isn’t to whisper about it to a couple of close friends, or to tell your pastor or the church, but to go to that person. with patience, forbearing oneantohe, in love you ar to go. Putting aside all desire reveange or speak words that won’t build up. Log and speck principle, and praying for a teachable spirit. We are to care enough to go. And with all the kindness towards the person, subjectively, we are to objectively name the problem the sin. Ask them to take your words to heart, ask if you got the picture right or something I’m missing. If happening to you, don’t get defensive, share in concern of conscience.
Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
But as to the manner listen to
save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
We are called to do this with each other privately. Need to model it in our closest relationships and keep short accounts with the sins we are dealing with. It is a most basic part of Christian living that’s implied in how we live out the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” A Forgiving attitude is always required, to those who owes truth or w owe them truth because we hav lied. T go to them. Stolen or cheated something - go … You hurt someone phyically , taken livelihood away; not called to go tothers and complain, but go to the offender. Or if your the offender go to the ones affected by what you have done.
II. If we’d start doing this with smaller every day sin, easier with the big stuff. But what if perseiting in unrepentant un Christian way, you cannot turn away from helping this straying brother - or else the cancer of sin gwill grow. Takes time and wisdom to involve a few other epoeple, someone qualified to walk dangerous path with this situation. Works best if offender involved in choosing someone else both trust! Appropriate time and setting, respoect privacy. Not at work, or on busy day. Give time to respond, look for repentance, offer forgiveness and if possible transact.
III. But thrid step: Tell it ot the church - church needs to know using keys, ask for prayer, first witholding the name. ; persist seek wisdom of other churches… Announce name, put out.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Understand that in these rare and sad occassions when someone professess Christ but remains inpentient in some revealed sin, the congregation is to be informed to pray for that person - that person is to see the seriousness of what they are doing and the church is to see how serious it is to continue in blaspheming the gospel:
As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.
It is after this step that a most serious declaration may need to be made, that a Christian is one who lives in communion with Christ and his people; and this person is not walking that way, that he or she is living a life of ex-communing , and the body is recognizing that from discerning the fruit in their lives, they are not embracing Christ or Christ way. We will continue to love but as an unbeliever. Not worthy of the name Christian, they are reomoved from the rights and privellegees of Christ’s soceity. The key closes the kingdom to the, in the sense that outside of the church they are now in the kingdom the realm of the Prince of this world. In this way the NT calls this “turning one over to Satan”. Its to wak e this person up ot he life they are choosing with Christ.
If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Do you see the excommunication is not saying, we have the final judgment or the story is over, It’s saying right now you are not living in Christ, but in sin, and if that doesn’t change, if you persist in your stubbornness be lost on the final day. We sincerely want to wak eyou up to that warning: b
you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Before you woud say, well we want to be more ovoing and merciful thn that. But Are you more merciful and lvoing than God. He says these are the tools of proclaiming the gospel and way of salvation, and of reppentnace - and this is what protects them from future judgement.
THis is the proclaimation that Jesus tells us we are to make - the gospel believed - losing of sins, weare to confidently prolaimi it, its what Jesus declares from heaven; and the gospel scorned, ignoreed, that is the binding of sin, and it is what Jesus declares from heavn.
Whether we’re engaged in holding each other to account one to aonther - or whether have to go down the route of official church disciplie, whether you go to someone who walks in repntance, or to one who refuses to ever talk to church leaders again - this task of church disicpline isn’t just hte task of the leders, RB KUIPEr, The Glrious Body of Christ, that at mistake: the members of the church are primarly responsbile for discipling those who err.”
Dear Cognregation, Not a pleasant job, but one that we in a broken world are called to as borken sinners, repenting and bleiveing hta gospel cotniunally. Imagine a world, where we didn’tno what to do with garbage or sewage. Imagine a world where we didn’t have washing machines - how the person next to you would smell. But GOd has a plan, hee’s given tools , means, even two keys -
We are to be clothed in holiness, like clothes stained - learn to off past sinful behviours and put on new righteouness of a aints… as we help people overcome sin we need ot be extremely careful , that like flyin spiders web - not entangled eitherin attiude or same sin. If Word, Saxcrament, and Discipline is th e third mark it begins with you and me demonstartions of God’s love. We are duty bound to exclude the unbeliveing and ungodly not from our love and concern - but they are not to be harnded by asssuming they have the gospel when they don’t whn the y are in Chrst, when Christ isn’t in them. We are duty bound to show them they needto repsond to Christ differently. And we are duty bound as those who do belive and do repent ,even though in imperfect yet growing way - to remind each other of the gospel in real life siutationss