Summary: As followers of Jesus Christ, we’ve each been given authority, but like many Christians today, we don’t often use our authority as God intended.
THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM
We all feel like a nobody sometimes. It’s like the new employee at a Wal-Mart Store who had such an experience. The young man had just been at work a few days and was the low man in the pecking order. He was holding a broom in his hand near the entrance when an irate customer came in the store with a complaint. “Young man,” the customer growled, “I want to speak to someone with a little authority around here.” The new clerk looked around to the left and right and leaning on his broom said, “Well, sir, you might just as well talk to me. I guess I got just about as little authority as anybody here.”
There’s lots of Christians who feel the same way when it comes to their own faith and even their own church . . . which really isn’t the way it should be. If we look at the example of our Lord, we see that He had all the authority of God Himself. He could walk on water, cast out demons, command the storms, heal the sick, and the list is endless because God is endless and so is His authority. With all this power at His command, He nevertheless came to us in a stable and walked among us as a servant. He was a paradox to our understanding because He was the ultimate proof that,
• Real authority is the power to serve.
As followers of Jesus Christ and members of this church, we’ve each been given this authority, but like many Christians today, we don’t use our authority as God intended. I remember hearing a preacher say that he could prove he had authority in his church. He reached into his pocket and produced a ring of keys. “See,” he said, “this proves my authority. I can unlock any door in this church. Nothing is kept from me. This I can do because I’ve been given the authority.”
I thought about that example and realized that most of the members of our church could say the same! Frankly, I don’t know of any active member who doesn’t have keys to our church! And the way things work here, it seems to be a good thing! But God has given us other keys as well which I don’t believe we use nearly as often nor as effectively.
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matt. 18:18ff.)
These are some heavy declarations of authority given to us from the Son of God Himself. Jesus has given this power to us to lock and unlock doors in our lives, but not just in our own lives.
A man took his family to dinner at a Denny’s one night after Bible study. While they were eating, the man noticed an elderly person going from table to table chatting politely. Then he came to a table with several rough looking young men. Suddenly they began arguing, and one youth stood and beat the elderly man to the floor. Another man stood up and stepped between them to protect the elder. They began to argue, and all the family man could think was, “Oh great! Now we’re all going to fight!”
Just then, the man’s wife leapt out of her seat and into the middle of it all. With her finger wagging in their faces, she declared, “You need Jesus!” Suddenly, the room was quiet. You could hear a pin drop. The woman’s tone and words held such authority and conviction that no one doubted it. All of them just nodded their heads and sat down.
Webster’s dictionary defines “authority” as; “the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior.” Jesus had that power when he walked among us. It’s a power that he offers to all those who obey and follow Him. But authority is like inheriting a fortune. It’s useless unless you claim it. That inheritance comes to each of us when we come to Jesus Christ.
Three things happen when we come to Jesus.
1. All our sins are removed and we are made the righteousness of God.
Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Righteousness comes from God, not from us, and we can not have it without God’s grace.
2. The Holy Spirit indwells each of us.
1 Peter 1:15 says: “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” We’re told that Christ must be reflected in our lives, but that won’t happen – until He first lives in your heart.