Church of Christ
at
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5) Matthew 16:18 and following (continued)
Matthew 16:18

Keep in mind that this kingdom is not from man nor is it ruled by man.  Jesus said He would found His church on
Himself and the belief in Him.  It is not seen as fighting against the gates of Hades but the other way around.

This power confers no political authority over the kingdoms of the world.  It is no mistaken antithesis that notices that
Jesus said, not "keys of the kingdom of the world," but "keys of the kingdom of heaven."  The reign of God is not "of
this world" (John 18:36), although very much IN the world.

The power of the keys and binding and loosing is spiritual power to be used for making men godly.  It is therefore a
redemptive, sanctifying influence.  No corruption of this influence, either by its abuse or omission, can lay claim to
Christ's support.  Because it is also a liberating influence, all unauthorized binding of human opinions, conclusions
and traditions upon the disciples is unjustified.  Therefore, when any disciple, without divine authorization confirmed
by prophetic credentials, attempts to invoke the power of the keys by binding their conclusions upon others, he has
usurped the Lord's authority and must be rebuked.

It follows that the power of the keys and binding and loosing, understood in the sense of teaching what God had
revealed, is essential to liberate the Kingdom from evil men who try to take possession of it for their own purposes.  
Spiritual men must be equipped to exclude these usurpers.

The power of the keys and binding and loosing necessarily involves the teaching of the condition of entrance into
the Kingdom and proper conduct in it.  But this cannot mean the "authoritative" invention of "necessary" applications
of divine principles where God has not revealed these.  It must mean merely the appropriate and thorough
proclamation of the revelations given once and for all by the Apostles and Prophets.  We are the bride of Christ and
thus spiritual life comes from our uniting with Christ.

Jesus rightly sees that the popular enthusiasm of the masses ready to crown Him and sweep Him into power is a real
problem to Him.

The major problem for the Lord is to get His disciples to see that the kingdom is not of this world.  It is still the same
today.  We must be about the Lord's business but somehow we focus on each other rather than conversion to Him.
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