The Good News - Home

Upon This Rock

by David A. DePra

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? And they said, Some say that thou art John the

Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon

Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the

living God. 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. And I say 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. And I will give unto

thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou

shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever

thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

(Matt. 16:13-19)

     This event in the ministry of Jesus Christ was pivotal. The

disciples had been with Jesus for about two and one-half years.

They had been wondering, off and on, who this man was. For

over two years they had seen Him work miracles. They had

heard Him preach. They had been in His presence. But now

it was time to answer THE question: Who was Jesus?

In the final analysis, this is THE question for each of us. Who

do WE say Jesus Christ is? Not -- who do men say He is. No.

Jesus got that question out of the way quickly. The issue is: Who

do I say Jesus is?

     Peter gave the correct answer. He said, "You are the Christ,

the Son of the Living God." Jesus, of course, commended Peter

for this answer. But if we look at Jesus' response a little closer,

we will discover much more than merely a commendation. We

will discover much Truth about how God works and then apply

that Truth today to the church.

The Church

     Peter had confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus not only commended Him for seeing this Truth, but then

said, "It is upon this Rock that I will build my church." What did

Jesus mean?

     Well, He certainly did not mean that upon Peter He would

build His church. No. And the Greek verifies this. Peter is a

name which means "stone or pebble." Not a ROCK. Thus, we

see that Jesus was using what we would today call "a play on

words." He was saying, "You are Peter, a little stone. I cannot

build anything on a little stone. But it is upon this ROCK that I will

build my church." But what Rock? Jesus Christ! -- or to apply it

to the passage -- Jesus will build His church upon the confession

of Jesus that Peter just made.

     Jesus was saying that His church would consist of all of those

who make essentially the same confession as Peter had made.

It would consist of those who had embraced Jesus Christ as the

Christ, the Saviour, the Son of the Living God. Those people

would be the church. THEY would be built upon the Rock -- upon

the very One whom they were confessing. THEY would be the


     So the first thing we see here is a "definition" of the church. The

church is not a building, denomination, geographical location, or

any kind of organization. The church is PEOPLE. The church

consists of people who confess as Peter did: Jesus is the Christ.

They confess it, yes, verbally, but by their lives. And so they

become part of what Jesus is building upon Himself: The church.

     The New Testament word for "church" is EKKLESIA, which

means "called out ones." Notice that this is referring to PEOPLE.

It is not referring to a movement, a list of doctrines, or to any kind

of organization. The church are those individuals who God has

called OUT OF the world TO Jesus Christ.

     Now, we do need to be clear about this. Jesus is NOT saying

that He has this big organization called "the church," and that He

is going to call people into it. No. That is precisely what Jesus

is NOT saying. Rather, He is saying that the people He is calling

are, themselves, THE CHURCH.

     This is clearly illustrated when Christ calls the church HIS BODY.

Jesus does not call people into His Body -- although sometimes

we say that to communicate with each other. Rather, the people

He calls ARE His Body. They are not just IN something called

the church -- they ARE the church.

     Actually, Peter came to understand exactly what Jesus meant

that day. We know this, because Peter wrote an epistle and

used a picture lesson which tells us he knew. Note his words

to the church:

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you

may grow thereby. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is

gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed

indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. You also, as

living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to

offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in

Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes

on him shall not be confounded. (I Pet. 2:2-6)

     Peter here pictures individuals as "living stones" who are

together built up into the household of God -- Christ being the

foundational, or cornerstone. Quite a similar picture to that of

Christ building His church upon Himself as the Rock.

     So we see that we are not merely IN the church. We ARE the

church -- by virtue of the fact that He lives in us. We have seen

the revelation which Peter saw, and have confessed Jesus is

the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

What this means practically is that being a "church-goer" or

a "church member" has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether

     I am in Christ. I am in Christ only if He is in me, that is, only if I

have been born again as a result of the revelation and

confession of Jesus as the Christ, Son of the Living God.

     "The church" which Jesus is building cuts across all

denominations and cultures. In every church organization there

are many people who are the "real church" and there are those

who are not. You and I are not the church through association

with others. We are the church only if we are built upon HIM, the

one an only true Rock.

Not Through Flesh and Blood

     Now let's ask another question: How did Peter get this

revelation of Jesus as the Son of God?

     Jesus said how: Not by flesh and blood, but by a revelation

from the Father in heaven. Period. THAT is how Peter came to

see what he confessed.

     Peter had spent two years plus with Jesus. Every day. He

ate and slept with Him. He heard every sermon Jesus ever

preached. He had seen all of the miracles. Yet when the big

moment came, and Peter made his confession of Christ, Jesus

did not say, "Peter, you have finally gotten My message." No.

Jesus did not say, "I see that you have finally come to grips

with what the Bible says about Me." No. Neither did Jesus say,

"It's about time you figured out what is going on here, Peter."

No. Jesus said clearly that no "flesh and blood means" got

this revelation into Peter's heart. Only the Father in heaven was

able to do this.

     Now, if it took that for Peter, what about us -- who have never

met Jesus as a physical man? Who know Him only by the

Spirit? Do we actually think that "flesh and blood" can reveal

to US what it could not reveal to Peter?

     You see, the church today, has been sold a bill of goods by the

enemy of our souls. And some of us have bought it lock, stock, and

barrel. We think that seeing the Truth about Jesus Christ IS

possible through "flesh and blood." We would never say that up

front, but we prove that is what we think by our actions. For

example, many people argue continually with the world about

Jesus Christ -- thinking that winning the argument with the world is

somehow going to reveal Christ to the world. But conversion is NOT

accomplished as the outcome of a logical argument. We can't

"corner people" with logic and proclaim them converted. Faith

in Christ is a MORAL issue, not an intellectual or logical one.

     Some others of us think that conversion to Christ is the outcome

of a history lesson. We see that there are historical proofs for

Jesus and for the resurrection. And there ARE. But we think

that we can convert people by using these. But this gets us

no where. History coverts no one. That is why God hasn't

provided a ton of it for us to use. It isn't His way of revealing to

people who Jesus Christ really is.

     One common method we use is fear. We try to scare people

into accepting Christ by threatening them with the consequences

of not accepting Him. But again, this is NOT conversion. It is

merely a religious routine to get people to say what you want

them to say.

     Now don't get me wrong. I believe that you can explain Truth

logically. I believe in preaching. I'm doing it right now. And I

also believe that there are historical proofs for Christ. I also know

there are consequences for rejecting Christ. But my point is this:

     That stuff, as valuable as it might be in ministry, cannot penetrate

the heart of a person and reveal to them Jesus Christ. Only

God can do that. As Jesus said, "Flesh and blood has not

revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."

     The best ministry in the world is nothing more than a vehicle.

God Himself is the converter. And we need to realize this and

let Him do what only HE can do.

Not A Doctrine

     You will notice that Jesus did not say to Peter, "Peter, you have

finally studied and learned the doctrine of the Christ. You now

see that I must be Him." No. What Peter saw that day was not

a doctrine. He saw the Truth. And there is a big difference.

     Doctrine is essential because it communicates what we

believe. But doctrine only represents Truth. It is never to be the

object of our faith. Peter was not saying, "I believe in the doctrine

which says that You are the Christ, Jesus." No. He was saying,

"I believe YOU are the Christ."

     Lots of people place their faith in doctrines about Christ, instead

of in Christ Himself. Lots of folks still haven't seen that Jesus is more

than a Bible character. He is the Living Lord, who is living inside of

us. He is real.

     It is possible to be quite deceived on this point. It is possible to

think that you know Jesus Christ, and have a relationship with Him,

yet NOT have anything. What you have instead are doctrines,

teachings, and book knowledge ABOUT Jesus Christ. Merely

"facts" about Him. And they may be GOOD facts, even true facts.

But this is not the same thing as having received the revelation of

Jesus Christ.

     Probably the biggest hindrance to seeing the Living Christ

today is the plastic one offered by many churches. The plastic one

looks like the Living One. But the plastic one isn't living. It is merely

a dead representation created by study, man's brain, and our forms

of religion.

     I would never put down study. Everyone should study about

Jesus Christ -- before we know Him and after. And there is nothing

wrong with any of the above mentioned tools for discussing Christ.

We can use logic. Truth is very logical. We should use historical

research -- there is plenty of that available. And we do need to tell

people about the consequences for sin -- although I wouldn't use

fear as the central theme. But all of these things are NOT how we

come to see Jesus is the Christ. At best, they are some means by

which we may explain what we have seen. They are a means of

expression, explanation, and discussion.

     Jesus said plainly, "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to

you. My Father in heaven has shown you."

     "Flesh and blood" means people, things, and anything of this

physical world. Again -- we have many valuable tools at our

disposal to share Christ. But we cannot reveal Him to people

through words of wisdom. We cannot penetrate the human heart,

the sin nature, or the blindness which each of us have inherited

from Adam. We cannot fix our own blindness, much less anyone


     Indeed, this is what the whole Bible teaches: That God must

reveal Christ to people. Jesus said elsewhere, "No one can come

to me except the Father who sent Me draw him." (Jn. 6:44) He also

said, "No man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any

man the Father, save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal

Him." (Matt. 11:27) Clearly, unless God reveals Christ, and convicts

a person as a sinner without hope, and shows us that we need

deliverance from death, we have no hope.

     Of course, this doesn't mean we shouldn't preach. No. God has

commissoned preaching His Word as a vehicle for spreading the

good news of Jesus Christ. But our words are not what converts

people. God converts people. Our words are merely the message.

Jesus is the reality to which our message points.


     When all is said and done, Christianity is the result of Divine

REVELATION. Period. You can argue all you want about the

historicity of the resurrection -- I believe in that -- or argue about the

divine inspiration of scripture -- I believe that also. But none of those

things can push a person into seeing what he is incapable of seeing

without a Divine revelation from God: That Jesus Christ is God.

That Jesus is the Son of God -- the Saviour which that person needs.

     Now, once we say that Christianity is the result of revelation, many

people are going to say, "Well, then Christianity is not provable.

It is totally subjective. Anyone can say they got a revelation from

God. Christianity is not based on facts."

     First of all, this objection forgets that we have a Bible which

governs the content of any subjective revelation. All revelation

which is of God will agree with the written Word. Secondly, even

though conversion is the result of revelation, this does not mean

that revelation is not based on facts. Historical and provable

facts. It is. It's just that it takes a revelation of God to show us

what these facts mean and that they are REAL.

     Actually, this objection is ridiculous. ALL history enters the

subjective realm once the events take place. In fact, even AS

events take place they are interpreted subjectively by those

who witness them. We see this all the time in the news. Two

people see the same thing, but interpret it differently.

     So when we say that Christianity is the result of revelation we

are NOT throwing things into the subjective realm. Things are

ALREADY there. Rather, we are saying that God will DELIVER

us from the subjective realm by showing us the TRUTH about

His Son -- Truth we could not see otherwise.

     Rather than say that revelation leaves things at the mercy of

the subjectivity of man, the truth is the opposite: Only revelation

can deliver man from his bias and subjectivity. Only revelation can

set us free from the deception of our own hearts.

     You see, you are I are absolutely incapable -- without God -- of

being objective about anything. EVERYTHING we grasp is filtered

through our intellect, emotions, and more importantly, MORAL

character. Thus, we have NO TOOLS to work with for the discovery

of Truth. None. There is nothing in us which is able to reach out

and grab the Truth, let alone understand it. Only if God comes in

from the outside of us, purely by His initiative, is there any hope.

     We must see this. We must see that we are totally unable to be

objective -- to see things as they are -- without God. Our inability

in this regard is one characteristic of the sin nature. We are utterly

bias in everything we do, say, and ARE.

     Now, you and I might doubt that. We might say, "I can see that

the sky is blue and that water is wet. That is objective." But is it?

     What I'm getting at is this: You believe that what you see when you

look up is a blue sky, and that what you feel when you touch water

is wet, because you have been taught that it is that. You did not

discover these things as original concepts. You LEARNED them

from others.

     This also is a part of man's subjectivity. There is a corporate

subjectivity -- things which we take so much for granted through

being taught them that we never question them. But they are

subjective nevertheless.

     Now don't get the idea that I'm suggesting that the sky isn't blue,

or that water isn't wet. I'm not. I'm just making a point. We all take

for granted that how we interpret things is right, simply because

everyone else interprets them that way, too.

     We live in an objective universe. Facts are facts. Laws are

laws. Real is real. But we are not objective creatures. We are

totally subjective in every way -- even if we don't want to be. How

we interpret the facts we discover has as much to do with our final

conclusion -- as do the facts themselves.

     Now, once we get away from these simplistic issues into MORAL

issues, the stakes are much higher. For it is there, in that moral and

spiritual realm, that man's subjectivity is the greatest.

     Why? Because you cannot examine MORAL things with physical

laws. So there is no yard-stick or standard -- that is, unless you

bring God into the picture. Or, as mentioned, unless God takes the

initiative to invade the picture.

     God knows all about our subjective and self-centered natures.

He alone is able to penetrate that and give us a frame of reference

which is outside of our own subjectivity. He is able to clear away

the rubble and reveal to us Jesus Christ. He did this with Peter, and

He can do this with us. This is the ONLY way we can see the Truth.

     So saying, "Christianity is the product of revelation," does not

throw things into the subjective realm. No. It delivers us from it.

Man is ALREADY there, and without the intervention of God, he will

stay there forever.

     Flesh and blood cannot reveal Jesus as the Christ. It does not

matter how much it seems like it can. It cannot. Jesus said, "My

Father in heaven has done this."

The Witness Within

     Despite the fact that the Bible tells us that Christianity is the

product of revelation, Christians continue today to try to convince

unbelievers that Jesus is God and Lord and Saviour by other

means. Instead of appealing to people on the MORAL level

through the preaching of the gospel -- telling people they are

sinners and that God offers salvation by grace alone -- we try to

appeal on the intellectual or emotion level. This is NOT what

God has told us to do.

     One of the reasons Christians get into this arena of argumentation

is that we do not want to be ridiculed as fools. But what we end up

doing is that we make ourselves accountable to unbelievers for our

faith. We try to validate and justify ourselves to them. This is

nonsense. We need not apologize to anyone for our faith. We

should not care if they think what we believe is valid. What we

should care about is whether we are pointing them to God.

     Paul said, "The Cross of Christ is foolishness to those who are

perishing." Do we believe him? He is not saying that if I think that

the Cross is foolish that the penalty is that I will perish. Nope. He

is saying that if we think the Cross is foolish that we are ALREADY

in the process of perishing. That is WHY we think it is foolish.

     The solution here is not an intellectual argument. It is a moral

transformation through repentance of unbelief.

     When God tells us that we need to be ready to give an answer

to others for the hope that is in us, He is not talking about trying to

prove to someone we are right about what we believe. He is saying

that we need to be able to tell others what we believe and why. Let

God do the convincing and converting. Let God bring them to

faith in Christ.

     The reason it is folly to try to "prove" to someone that what we

believe is right, is that the real "proof" is not going to be able to be

found in any argument or line of reasoning -- as good as some of

those things might be. The "proof" -- according to the Bible -- is IN


     Note what John says about this:

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.

For this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself:

he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he

believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is

the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is

in His Son. (I John 5:9-11)

     This passage is so clear that it is amazing that we miss it. John

says that even if we do receive some kind of "witness of man" --

like logic, words of wisdom, or history -- that what? He says that

EVEN THEN the "witness of God is GREATER." He is not

negating any valid flesh and blood witness. He is simply pointing

out that there is a much greater witness: The revelation, or

witness, of God Himself.

     And where does John say we find this "witness?" He says,

"He who believes on the Son of God has the witness in

HIMSELF." Within. Now, if anything was ever "subjective," that


     To top it all off, John then tells what the "record" is that we

believe, and which bears witness to the Truth: "And THIS IS

the record: That God has given us eternal life, and this life is

in His Son." Again -- WITHIN us. To the world, subjective. But

in reality, the most objective thing possible. For it came by

revelation, and was given to us solely by the grace of God. In

effect, totally independent of any subjectivity!

     The apostle Paul agrees completely:

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are

the children of God. (Rom. 8:16)

     Does this sound like there is any possibility that someone

could have eternal life and NOT know it? Impossible. The

Truth of God is so powerful and life-changing that you do not

have to try to figure out whether you have seen it. How far we

have strayed today from the POWER of the gospel!

Jesus is God

     Peter had seen that Jesus was God. He said, "You are the

Christ, the Son of the Living God." But there are people today

who deny that this is what Peter was confessing. In fact, there

are professing Christians today who suggest that Jesus never

claimed to be God at all.

     This is, of course, total nonsense. Jesus said He was God

at least 9 times, and those who wrote about Him said He was

God dozens of times. Read John 1. Jesus was God and is God.

Your salvation depends on it.

     We might expect such denials from those of the world. One way

out of accountability to God is to deny Jesus Christ was God. But

what about professing Christians? Is it ok if they deny Jesus is God?

     The fact is, there are many leaders in denominations, many

pastors of churches, and many layman in churches, who today

openly deny Jesus is God. But they not only deny Jesus is God,

they nevertheless maintain they are Christians. If you question

them, you will be branded stupid and uneducated, at best, and an

unloving bigot, at worst.

     Brand me what you want. But if you sir, or you madam, deny that

Jesus is God, you aren't a Christian. I don't know what you are, but

it's not a Christian. You are not in the church -- no matter how much

of a loyal "church-goer" you are. You are not in the Body of Christ.

     Now, how can I say that?  How can I say that you aren't a

Christian if you deny Jesus is God? I can say it because they way

you BECOME a Christian is by seeing that Jesus is God. It's the

ONLY way you become one.

     Today, in our "politically correct" world, "truth" is what ever we

want it to be. So we feel free to redefine even what a Christian is.

Thus, Christianity can now be defined as simply "honoring Jesus

as a great teacher." Or merely "as following the teachings of Jesus

Christ." Sounds good. But I would suggest that God is quite able

to define what a Christian is. Not us. And if we take this issue

lightly, we had better start reading what the Bible has to say

about it:

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is

antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Who ever denies

the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth

the Son hath the Father also. (I Jn. 2:22-23)

     Pretty strong words, aren't they? I'd take them seriously if I

were presently denying that Jesus is God.

     The fact is, Jesus is God, a mad man, or a liar. No other options.

And a liar or mad-mad is not someone whose teachings I would

want to follow, or even honor. I would run the other way.

     Human beings become born again by seeing and embracing

certain Truths. One of them is that Jesus is God. A person who is

born again cannot therefore turn around and deny Jesus is God.

No. They are born again BECAUSE they have embraced Jesus

as God. There is no middle ground here.

     Therefore, here is my suggestion to anyone who denies that

Jesus is God -- especially if you turn around and profess to be

a Christian: You had better make sure you are right. You had

better make REAL sure you are right. This is something you

cannot afford to be wrong about. Sneer if you will, and roll back

your eyes in your head. But on this point you will be judged. And

if I read my Bible right, those who deny Jesus is God have no

excuse for doing so. If you know enough to deny, you know

enough to seek God for the real Truth -- if you really want it.

Upon This Rock I Will Build

     As mentioned, Jesus said, "Upon THIS Rock, I will build my

church." The Rock was the revelation of Jesus as the Christ. This

revelation would be the foundation. The church would be built

upon it.

     Now this very quickly and clearly draws a line. It means that the

church consists of, and ONLY of, those who have seen the Truth

about Jesus Christ. Do you see that? The church is PEOPLE, not

a building or an organization. And Jesus said He was going to

build His church -- His body -- upon the Rock of this confession

of Jesus as the Christ. Thus, only those who have come to see

Jesus is the Christ, and have embraced Him as such, constitute "the


     That's not all. Jesus said, "I -- Himself -- will build MY church."

He would do it. Not us. Again we see a cut-and-dry statement. If

my church isn't being built by Jesus Christ, then it is NOT His. It

doesn't matter how successful it seems to be. It doesn't matter how

many people attend, how much money it raises, or even how much

good it may seem to do. A church is either being built by Christ, or

it is not. HE builds HIS church, and doesn't build anyone else's.

     We must, however, remember once again: The church is not a

building. It isn't where I go to church. It's not that geographical place

I attend on Sunday. No. The church is the people. Thus, at a given

location, there may be people who ARE the church, and people

who aren't. And this is so, to the complete disregard of any positions

held in the church. "The church" -- the ekklesia -- are those who

confess Jesus is the Christ. Both verbally and by their lives.

     Years ago, there was a movie titled, "Field of Dreams," whose

theme was, "If you build it, he will come." Never apply this to Jesus

Christ. For the Truth is, if WE build it, He will never come. Rather, if

HE builds it, WE will come -- that is -- He will call us out of the world

to become His church.

     Jesus never said, "You build the church and invite me in." No.

He said, "I will build MY church." He would build it, and what He

builds is HIS. We are just along for the ride -- as beneficiaries and

faithful stewards.

The Gates of Hell

     Jesus added, "And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

He was saying that the gates of hell would not stand against the

church He was going to build.

     Now notice: We often picture the church as being in a big castle,

and the enemy attacking us. But according to this, we have it

backwards. Jesus is saying that it is hell that has the gates. Hell

is the big castle or fortress. The church is pictured as invading

those area which hell has possessed. Hell cannot stand against


     This picture holds true everywhere in the Bible. For example,

Israel was given the promised land. But there were giants living in

it, occupying walled cities, castles, and fortresses. They were told

to go in and take possession. When they believed and obeyed,

the gates of these cities could not stand.

     Paul speaks of spiritual warfare in the same way for Christians.

He says,

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. For

weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to

the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and

every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,

and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

(II Cor. 10:3-5)

     This carries exactly the same thought: The enemy once did have

possession of territory -- territory which now belongs to God through

the victory of Jesus Christ. WE are called upon to go in and take

practical possession of that territory.

     Now notice: There is never any question as to WHO the territory

belongs to. It belongs to God through Jesus Christ. That victory is

as finished as it is going to get. The enemy is like an evicted

tenant who has yet to be booted off the property. WE are supposed

to go in and do that.

     Here we see a great Truth: No spiritual warfare in the life of the

Christian is to WIN anything. It is not to win the victory. No. It is to

stand in the victory Christ has won. It is to take possession of what

Christ has won. And if we believe and obey God there is NO

possibility we will lose. NONE.

      Jesus said so. He said, "The gates of hell cannot stand against

the Truth that I am the Christ. It cannot stand against people who

know this Truth, embrace this Truth, and walk in this Truth."

     Don't think of this, however, on some kind of political level -- as if

Jesus is talking about Christians taking over the government or the

world. No. Jesus is talking FIRST -- about the "gates of hell" in US!

     This must first be personalized. How could it not be? The great

revelation of Jesus as the Christ must FIRST be personal. It must

be from God to the individual. Thus, the gates of hell which cannot

stand before this revelation has it's first and primary application on

the individual heart level.

     One big mistake we make today in the church is to think that

as a group we can be strong in Christ if we are not strong in Him as

individuals. We cannot be. We must first believe and obey Him as

individuals. Then we can be strong as the church.

The Keys of the Kingdom

     Jesus said that He would give to His church, the "keys of the

kingdom." But then we went on to describe what we would do

with these keys: Binding and loosing. He said that whatever we

bind on earth would be as bound in heaven, etc. But this has

been a much misunderstood and misapplied verse. What did

Jesus mean?

     Well, think of it in physical terms. A key only opens the lock for

which it is intended. That is why we have keys -- keys would not be

of any value if all keys opened all locks. No. A key can only open

the lock for which it is made. Thus, when we read the words of

Jesus, we can assume He is saying, "These keys are for you to

open the locks for which they were made, and to loose what has

been bound." And likewise, "These keys will also lock up and

BIND those things for which they are intended."

     Again, there is a key for each lock, and a lock for each key.

We cannot open just any lock with any key -- because WE think

we should.

     Spiritually speaking, we must remember this or be confused.

We are not at liberty to simply use "the keys of the kingdom" to

"bind" or "loose" what we think ought to be bound or loosed. No.

If we try that, we will find the keys don't fit the lock. They will be

useless. These keys are only for God's intended use -- they will

only "bind," or "loose," that which God wants to bind or loose.

Simply put, God has a will. He knows what HE wants to be

bound or loosed. Those keys only work IN His will. We are only

able to do the will of God with the keys He gives us.

     But having said that, there IS binding and loosing to be done.

There ARE keys which Jesus gives that are intended to be used.

Jesus said so. And you will notice that He doesn't say, "Just sit

back and relax. I'll do all the binding and loosing. I'll pull down

all the strongholds, and I'll drive out the enemy. I'll let you know

when I'm done."

     No. Jesus said, "Whatever YOU bind or loose......" He said, "I

will give YOU the keys of the kingdom...." WE have a responsibility

to be used of God.

     Why does God require OUR involvement? Because we need to

learn and grow. There is a process here. As we bind and loose,

we ourselves are set free. We grow in the grace and knowledge of

Jesus Christ.

     Actually, you and I don't have to worry about how to get involved

in binding and loosing. We ARE involved. We are IN the promised

land and there ARE giants everywhere. Especially in US. So we

are already faced with this issue and responsibility. It comes with

the territory of being in God's kingdom.

     Notice also that a key can lock things IN, and lock things OUT.

A key can set a prisoner free, or lock a criminal behind bars. Thus,

in this binding and loosing, there is a two-way street. There is Truth

to be loosened. People to be loosened. Error to be bound. And

people, and the works of the enemy, to be bound. God wants both

the binding and the loosing.

     How do we do this? By going around shouting and yelling things

in the name of Jesus? Let's face it: Doing that usually doesn't work.

I'm sorry, it just doesn't -- and I am aware that once in a great while

it does. But by and large, these displays don't change much about


     So what exactly ARE "the keys of the kingdom," and how are we

to use them?

     There are many ways to describe these keys. But I prefer this

one: WE are the keys. Or to put it another way, Christ in us is the

key. Truth is the key.

     Notice what Jesus said about the Truth: You shall know the

Truth, and the Truth shall set you FREE." (Jn. 8:32) Well, isn't that

a "loosing" of what had been "bound?" Sure. Truth is like a key

which sets someone free from error and darkness.

     We can tell people the Truth about Jesus Christ. But are we,

flesh and blood, setting them free? No. The Truth is setting them

free. It is a great key which opens a prison.

     The Truth, of course, is not merely teaching about Christ. It is

Christ Himself. Jesus said, "I am the Truth." So when we speak

of the Truth as a key, it is Jesus we are talking about -- or the

revelation of Jesus Christ.

     No wonder Jesus spoke this to Peter. He was saying, "You

have just seen a tremendous Truth -- that I am the Christ, the Son

of God." Now, I am going to build My church upon that revelation.

Take this key to the kingdom -- this revelation of the Truth -- and

it shall set many free. It shall also bind the deceptions of the


     This only makes sense when you think of it. We bind and loose

by bringing the presence of the Lord Jesus into the picture. He is

the Truth which sets us free. His is the victory which binds the

enemy. We do this by faith, obedience, prayer, and by standing for

the Truth against all contradiction. Sometimes this requires that we

DO something. (You do have to "put the key in the lock and turn it!")

Other times, it means we just pray. All of these things can be "keys."

But in the final analysis, Christ in us is THE key. And we are the

instruments He uses to execute His will.

     When Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,"

Jesus responded to Peter by changing His name. This is quite

significant. Simon was now Peter. The "reed" was now the "rock,"

or "stone." Such is the effect that embracing Jesus as the Christ

has upon those to whom God reveals this Truth. They are

changed forever. They become one of the church -- built upon

the apostles and prophets, with Christ Himself as the cornerstone.

The Good News - Home

Hit Counter