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August 26, 2014, 9:55 AM

The Keys are given!

Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. NRSV MATTHEW 16:15-20


Do you hear the good news in this passage? It is a great message on our faith and redemption in Jesus Christ. He gave US the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

I lift up to you three questions about your spiritual journey and your faith… understanding that Jesus Christ gives you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. I got the following idea from and modify the questions asked by Adam Hamilton, in his book “Leading Beyond the Walls” (ISBN 13:978-0-687-06415-1, Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN 1976).

The first question is why do you need Jesus Christ? Isn’t this the question that burned or even burns in our souls as we look to keep our eye on the prize? He is our Lord and Savior, the one who was born, lived, suffered, died and rose again for us. He is the Word made flesh, the way, the truth and the life. He is the light of the world. Yup, these words define who he is and there is much more but WHY do we need him? I need him because without him I can do nothing and I am simply a lost human and through this gift that comes from God I am in him and he is in me. He literally fills my heart with Joy, a joy that I cannot put into words. Only he can show me the true journey and path of life. Only he offers eternal life. I am part of him and connected to you all and all the body of believers. How do you answer the question?

Since we are part of the body of Christ the second question I pose is, “Why do you need Church?” If we believe we are part of the community of faith and the body of believers we know that the Church we belong to is Jesus’ Church. It doesn’t matter the denomination they are the way we practice our faith but our faith is in Jesus Christ and Jesus reminded us that wherever two or more are gathered in his name HE IS THERE! I know of no church that didn’t start with a group gathered in his name. Again, if we are part of the body of Christ…..don’t we need each other to spur each other on, to support, encourage and to embrace? Isn’t there an advantage of the whole vs the one?

So if this is all true why do you need Providence Church? There are 54 churches in the Presbytery and there are 10 Presbyterian churches in the immediate area. Some of you travel some way, many bypassing several along the way to get here and that doesn’t even count the countless other denominations in our midst. If we were not here who and what ministries would be lost? Is there a true need for us and the ministries we are called to perform? Can we be and develop disciples of Jesus Christ? Could the people we help be fed and or clothed?

We are blessed beyond all measures and our goal, our mission, our call is absolutely, positively to open the doors of this place, God’s place, to pray for the Holy spirit to call, push, pursue and change the people’s hearts that walk in these doors to feel the love of Jesus Christ to be so moved, in their faith that they just can’t wait to leave this place and invite their friends, family and anyone they see to come and worship that same loving God. Our call is to preach to Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. God wants us to walk out of these doors so filled with the Spirit that we just can’t wait to spread the WORD! We know and feel the change in our hearts so much that we cannot wait to share the experience.

Friends, God revealed, reveals and will continue to reveal the keys to God’s kingdom. The keys to faith, the keys to life, keys to life eternal… that Jesus Christ is the Son of GOD, the Messiah and our Lord and Savior. So, God must be the center in our lives and only then our eyes are opened and our ears hear, our hearts feel and our minds begin to realize that only GOD has the power to bring, soften and enliven people’s hearts.

God choses this place to be one of God’s houses. Providence IS one of the places where he calls us to come forward and GO FORTH in our faith to preach the Good News and urges us to be baptized and baptize so we can keep our eye on the prize. The prize of the kingdom where we have eternal life and sit with God and all the saints that came before us and those that will come after us.

I pray that our hearts are so moved, so softened, so energized that God lifts up in us his spirit, his energy, his wisdom, his strength and his call to each and every one of us. I pray this happens daily, as God brings God’s people into our lives, to remind us why he chose each of us to the ministry we are called individually and as a body to perform. NOT OUR MINISTY BUT GOD’s. Remember we can do nothing except by and in God. Also, we need not be afraid to step forward and out because if God is for us, who can possible be against us?

My brothers and sisters, pray often, listen continuously, love always and keep your eye on the prize. Be open to the spirt moving you to use your time, talents and resources to further the kingdom of God. Do not be distracted by evil or other idols for he gave us the keys to heaven and on earth!


Pastor Ken

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