The Keys to Heaven and Hell
Sermon shared by Jeff Strite
Summary: Is it only Peter who got the "keys" to the Kingdom of Heaven? And what does it mean to "loose and bind" as Jesus told them they could do?
Series: Heaven and Hell
Denomination: Christian/Church of Christ
Audience: General adults
About Sermon Contributor
OPEN: A husband and wife arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up their car but they were told that the keys had been accidentally locked in it.
They went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver’s side door. As the wife watched from the passenger’s side, she instinctively tried the door handle and discovered it was open.
"Hey," she shouted to the technician. "This door is open!"
"I know," answered the young man. "I already got that side."
(GET OUT KEYS)
The purpose of keys is to unlock doors.
I have a whole bunch of keys on my key ring. I have keys to my house, the van, the church building, the church PO Box, etc. I even have keys here that I have no idea what they go to.
Now, I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing more frustrating for me than to go to unlock a door and find that I haven’t got the key. Has that every happened to you?
So I have a solution to that problem. You know what it is? That’s right, I make spares. They’re not on this keyring. They’re hidden all over the place, right where I know where they’re at, so that if I misplace these keys, I’ve got backups.
So I’ve got spare keys that I don’t carry on this key ring.
But there’s another set of keys that aren’t on this key ring.
I don’t’ have them in my pocket, and they’re not hidden around the house or my van. That set of keys is the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus told Peter (and by extension – the rest of us)
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:19
Now, there is a church that doesn’t believe you and I have these keys. The Catholic Church teaches that ONLY Peter received those keys.
That’s one of the reasons we see St. Peter sitting at the Pearly Gates, letting people into heaven.
(We showed the cartoon of Steve Jobs standing before St. Peter who’s rifling through his book of names and saying to Peter “I’ve got an app for that”).
It is believed that Peter is sitting before the gates of Heaven because ONLY he has the keys to let us in.
Now, the Catholic Church rightly understands that keys represent authority.
ILLUS: If I have a key it means that I have been a certain authority.
If I give you a key to my home… that means you have authority to enter my home
If I give you the keys to my van… that means you have the authority to drive my van.
If the church gives you a key to the church building… it means you have the authority… well, you get the idea.
The Keys Jesus talked about with Peter were to serve two purposes:
1. What was bound (or locked up) on earth would be bound in heaven
2. And that which was loosed (or unlocked) on earth would be loosed in heaven.
And Peter did exactly that with those Keys.
• On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and they began to speak in languages they’d never spoken. A large crowd gathered to see this new thing… and guess who stands up to preach a sermon? That’s right: Peter
3000 people repent of their sins and are baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.
• Several days later, Peter and John are going to the Temple to pray when they meet and heal a crippled man. Again a large crowd gathers - and guess who stands up to preach?
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