Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

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?

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."


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?

That’s right: Peter

And as a result of Peter’s boldness the church grew to more than 5000.

• In Acts 10, Peter is sent by God to the household of a Roman Centurion to preach to him and to a large crowd of Gentiles that had gathered at his home. Before the day is done Peter - and the 6 friends who came with him - baptized everybody in the audience.

Why did Jesus give keys to Peter???

Because Peter would use them.

Again and again in the book of Acts, Peter was the “point man”.

 Peter opened doors for the crowd at Pentecost

 He opens the doors for the crowd at the Temple

 And he opens the doors for the crowd at Cornelius’ home.

But Peter WASN’T the only follower of Christ given permission to bind & loose/lock & unlock. In Matthew 18, Jesus’ disciples come to Jesus and ask Him: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Matthew 18:1

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Hubert Herring

commented on Oct 28, 2011

Great Sermon..Jeff !!!

John E Miller

commented on Nov 11, 2011

Jesus specifically singles out Peter in these words, so we must be careful not to add our own interpretation to them. Had He meant to include all believers in the gift of the Keys of the Kingdom in this context, he would have included all the disciples. Peter used these keys, not just to crowds in the beginning of the Acts, but first by preaching the Gospel of the Risen Christ to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Although Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles it was Peter who first preached the full gospel to them. I believe that we should search out the scriptures and interpret them carefully, not loosely.

Jeff Strite

commented on Nov 22, 2011

Dear Mr. Miller (if you revisit to check my response to your comment). I tried very hard not to "loosely" interpret the scripture. I did document the reason for my conclusions, but I suspect you might have a theological reason for rejecting that reasoning. Had you noticed, you would have seen that I did dwell on Peter''s role with the keys of the Kingdom... but I also substantiated that he wasn''t the only one who was told he could lock and unlock things in heaven and on earth.

Dearl Hardy

commented on Jan 17, 2014

I didn't find any loose interpretation of scriptures in the message, I thought it was a great message and very well put together and explained. Great Job Jeff

Danny Brightwell

commented on Feb 18, 2014

Wonderful sermon, Jeff. I believe your conclusions are on target.

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