7 March 2018
What is Office of the Keys?
Office Hymn 608 – "Lord, to You I Make Confession”
Closing Hymn 609 – “Jesus Sinners Doth Receive”
Psalm 34:4 – “I sought the Lord and he answered me,”
Romans 10: 13-17 – So everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” v.13 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” V.17
Matthew 16:13-19 - Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ -
A Great Confession
“God of all creation, You reach out to call people of all nations to Your kingdom. As You gather disciples from near and far, count us also among those who boldly confess Your Son Jesus Christ as Lord.”
Finally! The disciples get it! It came at a crucial time in our Lord’s public ministry. His focus was set on Jerusalem. Where He would complete His work of redemption the cross. He was set to suffer many things. For you. And your salvation.
When Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was, Peter was the spokesman — “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” According to the account there was no hesitation in answering. Peter did not say, “Let us think about it for a while.” His reply was spontaneous and immediate.
God gave Peter faith and put the words in his mouth. It was so great and true that Peter could never have never thought up the answer even if he had a year to consider the answer. Jesus acknowledged the correctness of the answer and told Peter that only God had revealed it to him. Man on his own and in his weakness cannot know or understand the true identity of Jesus. The Lord Himself must reveal the truth of His Son. Today we consider Peter’s great confession of faith.
Outline: What God said through Peter.
1. Jesus is the Christ —Peter said, “You are the Christ.” This was an insight and understanding into the true nature of Jesus that Peter did not think up by himself. He had help from above. This truth was revealed to him by God.
Man by himself cannot fathom the truth or the significance of Jesus as Son of God. Even today the person who confesses Jesus as the Christ does it only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only God through His Word can tell us who Jesus is, and He reveals this to us plainly.
We can answer the question only through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s means are Word and Sacrament brought to the troubled heart of the sinner. The saving faith, freely given by God, leads each one of us to confess: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
The Father revealed who Jesus is to Peter. Such understanding was not transmitted from one person to the other as secondhand information. One who is infinitely greater than flesh and blood revealed the identity of the Messiah to Peter.
Today, the faithful of God continue to confess, “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him…” through His Word, Christ, the Son of the Living God, is revealed to mankind. “But it is the Holy Ghost who has called me by the Gospel. Enlighten me with His gifts. Sanctifies and keeps me in the faith.”
2. Jesus is the Messiah — He is our Redeemer, the Savior, the Father’s Chosen One. This speaks of Jesus’ nature and work. He who has keys has power and authority. It is the power and authority to lock or to unlock. The keys are to the kingdom of heaven; the kingdom of God, our salvation. To enter the kingdom is to be forgiven of sins. It is an awesome responsibility and privilege to proclaim this good news. To whom are the keys given?
In this case, they were given to Peter as the representative of the disciples, the Church. Christ through the Church gives the keys to His disciples. What are these keys? They the Word and Sacraments -through which the grace of God is received.
Keys are used to lock or unlock doors. The disciples will be the leaders of this new institution, and Jesus is giving them the authority to, as it were, open the doors to heaven and invite the world to enter. saved that day. Peter’s preaching had “unlocked the door” of heaven.
Later on, in Acts 8, the Samaritans believe the gospel and receive the Holy Spirit. Again, Peter (and John) was present for this event. Peter had “unlocked the door” for the Samaritans.
Then, in Acts 10, Peter brings the gospel to a Roman centurion’s household. They, too, receive the Holy Spirit. Peter had “unlocked the door” for the Gentiles. The “keys” that Jesus had given him worked in each case.
Of course, keys can be used to lock doors as well as open them. Part of the gospel message is that faith is necessary. Without faith in Christ, the door to heaven is shut and barred (see John 3:18). As the apostles preached the gospel, those who responded in faith and repentance were granted access to the Kingdom of Heaven; yet those who continued to harden their hearts and reject the gospel of God’s saving grace were shut out of the Kingdom (Acts 8:23).
To enter the Kingdom is to be forgiven of sins. It is an awesome responsibility and privilege. To whom does Christ give the keys? He gives them to the Church. And what are these keys? They are the keys of forgiveness, life, salvation. And they are found in the Word and Sacraments through which the grace of God is received.
Yet, your pastor does not exercise these keys in a vacuum or by himself. They are distributed publicly on behalf of God’s people. The source of our actions is the faith God our Father gives us. Because Jesus is the Christ, your sins are forgiven. Because Jesus is the Christ, you are given to live a new life. Because Jesus is the Christ, you have the sure certainty of eternal life.
This Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. To those who believe on His name He gives power to become the children of God and has promised them His Holy Spirit. He offers to us freely; forgiveness, life, and salvation. Thanks be to God for this remarkable gift. Thanks be to God for His amazing mercy and grace!
Words – 1,100;
Passive Sentences -13%;
Readability – 76%;
Reading Level -4.5