The Keys Of The Kingdom.

In the book of Matthew, Chapter 16 and in verse 19 Jesus tells his disciples that He will give them the keys of the kingdom. By the way, the occurrences of 'you' in this verse are all plural. Jesus was referring to ALL the disciples and by extension to ALL His disciples like you and I today. Here is what the verse says.

Mat 16:19 "I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven. (WEB)"

The passage above has the correct rendering. I trust that you realize that God will not back what we decide to bind whether it's right or wrong, and neither will He back what we decide to loose regardless of whether it's good or bad! What we bind and loose must be in agreement with what God says is right to be bound or loosed!

So we have the authority to declare and decree what is bound or loosed on the earth in accordance with God's will. Now, HOW do we do this binding and loosing? What is the gift or anointing that could allow us to know what we can bind or loose and then by our words bind or loose these things?

Here I would like to build a link between Matthew 16:19 and the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 which I see as the means by which we can understand God's will and what He expects us to do regarding binding and loosing. We bind what Satan tries to loose on mankind and we loose those things that Satan has put into bondage.

God could defeat Satan in an instant regarding anything evil that Satan tried to accomplish, but He wants Satan defeated by people who put their trust in Him! Satan is already a defeated foe, defeated by the man Jesus, and God has given us the means to enforce that defeat in the earth.

Col 2:15 And having disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

As examples; when Satan tried to kill Jesus and the disciples by loosing a storm on the lake of Galilee, Jesus bound the wind and told it to hush! And, when people were in bondage to demonic powers like the Gardarene demoniac, Jesus loosed them from bondage through a word of healing.

Jesus demonstrated, we follow. So let's now see how these gifts enable us to loose what God wants loosed and bind what God wants bound?

Let's have a look at 1 Cor 12:8-11

1 Cor 12:8-11 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. But the one and the same Spirit works all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.

These are not keys TO the kingdom. Jesus himself is the means by which we enter the kingdom of Heaven. But these gifts OF the kingdom are the means by which we lock up those spiritual things which are oppressing God's people, or unlock that which is holding God's people bound. Using these we bind and loose and the gates of hell cannot prevail against one who is utilising these gifts to wield the keys!

Let's bring these gifts out into a list for easy viewing and deal with them one by one. We have...

No. 1. The word of wisdom.
A word from God with His wisdom to see us through our daily difficulties! We can all have wisdom like Solomon; just ask and listen as he did! We need to operate not with human wisdom which only puts us on a level with the world at large, at best! But, if we ask for and operate with the wisdom of God, then we can show the world the greatness of our God!

As an example; when the lady caught in adultery was thrown at Jesus' feet, the Pharisees thought they had Jesus beaten. If He said that for her sin she should be stoned He showed that He was not the man of grace that He was portraying. But, if He told them to set her free then He would be seen to be going against the law!

But Jesus was given a word of wisdom by the Father. Don't try to answer their question, ask them one they cannot answer! So jesus said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." And one by one they all slunk away!

No. 2. The word of knowledge.
A word of knowledge from God is important for all Christians. God has all knowledge and we humans are usually not so knowledgable, so a word from God is priceless! As we listen to Holy Spirit within us we learn from God. We can learn things about the situations we find ourselves in so that we are better able to make right decisions.

We could take as an example the night of the last supper and Jesus' betrayal. There God gave Jesus a word of knowledge regarding who His betrayer would be. So Jesus was able to let Judas know that the 'cat was out of the bag'. Judas had to 'fish or cut bait', and he made his choice not realising that his choice fitted in with God's plans.

No. 3. Faith (the faith of Christ).
Some people believe that these gifts are poured out very sparingly and that one person may get one of the gifts and someone else might get another gift while the rest of the Christian world goes without! This gift of 'faith' can be used as an example to look at that thought.

In Gal 2:20 we read this...
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, ...

Paul like us is crucified in Christ and we also live by the faith of Christ. Not faith in Christ but the faith of Christ. Or as the apostle Peter put it in his second letter...

2 Pet 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

So Peter writing to all believers says that our faith is of equal standing to his own. When the level of faith that we operate in is not enough to perform what God requires, Holy Spirit in us can bring to bear that faith of Jesus resident in our spirit which is not yet effective directly through our soul (our mind, intellect and emotions). The bible also tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing, by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
So as we hear the word taught or as we meditate on it, we grow in faith!

The more we believe and come to trust God and His word, the more we will have the courage to do, for His glory. As the apostle James said...

Jam 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

That's operating in faith; doing works or deeds of faith as James encourages us to do in his letter. And it's available to all!

No. 4. Gifts of healings.
Jesus has given us the ability to heal by laying on of hands. He said that we would, "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons". We don't always manifest/use the built in ability God has given Christians though. In those situations God can give certain men of God special gifts of healings to cover the gap brought about by our fear, uncertainty and doubt!

But, the more we grow in faith, the easier we will take the risk to lay on our hands to heal the sick, knowing that the power belongs to God! We only have to speak God's will to heal, etc.

No. 5. Working of miracles.
There are miracles available for the Children of God who will put faith in Jesus. I believe that is why faith is mentioned before miracles in the list! We can have many excuses why it won't work when WE do it, so God makes it available as a gift to fulfill His will by His mercy, despite our unbelief. As we grow in faith in God and remove our fear, unbelief and doubt the miracles that flow to others in our sphere of influence will increase.

No. 6. Prophecy.
God can and does give us knowledge about the future that will affect our lives and more usually as a gift, it's for the benefit of others. This is not just referring to prophesy at the level of an Ezekiel. For us it can be at the level of God putting an impression in your mind to change your route to work one day, and later you find that by following that impression you avoided a problem that would have affected you badly.

No. 7. Discerning of spirits.
This is being able to recognize good or bad spiritual influences; to be able to discern the activity or disposition of evil spirits, human spirits and God's angels around us.

No. 8. Speaking in tongues (languages, known and unknown).
This is where God gives us the ability to speak in a known human language, or in a heavenly (unknown to humans) language, so that we can convey informaton from God to others in their human language, or speak to God in perfect prayer by the Holy Spirit. Where we do not know how to pray, we can let Holy Spirit pray through us so we say the perfect prayer for the situation!

Being able to speak in a known langusge is also important and useful. In one case that I was told about, an american evangelist was booked to speak in a large church in Russia. When she arrived though, the interpreter found out that it was a lady preaching and refused to do any interpreting. He walked out. He did not believe in women preachers!

The evangelist heard a voice in her head say, "Just speak!" In her head she said, "Is that you, God?" Once more the voice said, "Just speak!"

So she went up to the microphone and started her message. When no-one reacted badly she continued and delivered her whole message. Afterwards a couple of people from the audience who spoke english asked her where she had learned to speak Russian so well? It turned out that while, as far as she knew, she had spoken in English, everyone in the congregation heard Russian!

No. 9. Interpretation of tongues (languages).
Here God gives us the ability to interpret an unknown language, either one spoken by ourselves or spoken by someone else where this knowledge is beneficial to us individually or to the Church.

Through these gifts we are enabled to advance the kingdom in all the world.

Through Holy Spirit in us, we have the ability to do all that Jesus did, as long as we don't forget that it's the anointing of the baptism in the Holy Spirit that brings us the enabling gifts! It's not by our efforts, or might or power, but by His Spirit.

Of course, I hope you realize, all of these gifts are to be operated in love. Without love we are just spinning our spiritual wheels! Paul puts it this way...

1 Cor 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is not a better replacement for the gifts of God! Love is the manner through which they operate! God is love. So naturally, as you'd expect, His gifts operate in love! On the other hand you cannot say that you have love if you do not DO anything to help those in need. And where the need has spiritual components - that's when you need the gifts!

So God gives us His gifts to enable us to do the works of Jesus. They are not optional extras, otherwise Jesus would not have needed them! If any human epitomized love it must have been Him, and He moved mightily in all the gifts, signs and wonders!

Faith, Hope and Love are the greatest things and the greatest of these is love, but none of God's blessings and attributes can be dispensed with in this age! Not the gifts; Nor the giver; Nor faith, hope or love!

Because faith is not as great as love doesn't make it optional.
   - Without faith it's impossible to please God. (Heb 11:6)
Yet, faith is the assurance of things 'hoped' for.
   - So, no 'hope', no reason for faith! (Heb 11:1)
Not only that, it's not just the gifts of 1 Cor 13 that work through love.
   - Faith works through 'love'! (Gal 5:6)

So seek the best gifts. They are the ones that you need to do the work of God at the time. And...

2 Cor 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Best wishes for Grace and the Peace of Jesus.

Another thought...

Don't limit God. Click Here.
Is Jesus God? Click Here.
Is Holy Spirit God? (Pt 1) Click Here.