The Keys of the Kingdom
By Joseph Chambers
One of our Lord’s greatest, but most misunderstood statements was when He said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19a). It is impossible to separate every great movement of spiritual victory from one or more persons that put themselves at God’s disposal until He could affect the Kingdom through them. God is not looking for committees, organizations, or even congregations. He is looking for men or women in whose hands He can put the keys. Every Sovereign move of the Holy Ghost in church history can be traced to one person or at least a very small group of persons that waited together before God until He could totally change them and then use them. Often, it was one individual. But in every case, multitudes were affected and the course of history was changed.
The Keys of the Kingdom are not affected by the sharp personality of the individual. That may well be used but is not the source. Many people build ministries where good works occur but where the sovereign work of the Holy Ghost never touches. The good will be short-lived and often becomes nothing but more religion. “Developing Leadership Skills” sounds so wonderful but in most cases becomes a substitute for waiting on God for His wisdom and sovereign direction. The church world is at least 99% humanistic ideas and maybe 1% dependence on God. Many church leaders, clergy, or laity are never touched by supernatural powers even one time in their whole lives. Yet, we would call most of these people good, kind, and genuine – such they are, but woefully lacking in Holy Ghost authority.
This is why Jesus said to His disciples, “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (St. Luke 24:49b). I know that the Holy Ghost had not come when He said tarry, but the tarrying was not for Him but for them. When their time to tarry was complete, they were totally surrendered, totally dependent, and totally stripped of self. The denying Peter was now Peter the Rock. James and John, who sought the front seat, were now ready to be humbly used for the Lord. They “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Shortly after his repentance for denying and his baptism in the Holy Ghost, Peter spoke to the lame with authority and said, “such as I have give I thee” (Acts 3:6). What did he have? He had the Keys to the Kingdom put in his hands by the sovereign work of the Holy Ghost in his life.
When self has been stripped by the sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ and you rest in total dependency on Him, He will give you the Keys. Let’s listen to our Lord Jesus carefully, “And I say also 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” (St. Matthew 16:18-19).
“We are labourers together with God” (I Corinthians 3:9). You won’t need to beg and act like a poor spiritual pauper when the authority of the Holy Ghost possesses you. You won’t need to beg your church to get with the program when the authority of the Holy Ghost is manifest in your life. When a man or woman has the Keys to the Kingdom, they can walk right through the enemy and possess the Kingdom. They won’t be haughty, arrogant, and self-serving; but gentle, Godly, and compassionate. Whatever they bind will be bound and whatever they loose will be loosed. The Kingdom of God will be manifest and the enemy will be defeated.
Our God Jehovah that sent His Son to be crucified and then baptized His disciples in the Holy Ghost after He was resurrected, has clearly promised, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (II Chronicles 16:9). God wants to make you His partner in the Kingdom. He will do nothing without His servants and you cannot do anything without Him.
Joseph R. Chambers