The Keys To The Kingdom of Heaven – Part 11


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The Keys To The Kingdom of Heaven – Part 11

The Inward Versus The Outward

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Introduction

“The kingdom of God is within you” does not deny that “the kingdoms of this world [will] become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ” outwardly for a thousand years, to be followed by an outward rebellion against the outward power of the rulers of the outward kingdom of God, which will rule “the kingdoms of this world” throughout the period known as the ‘millennium’.

Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

It is the kingdom which is inward now, in this age, which will rule over the kingdoms of this world outwardly in the coming age. It is our inward struggles, those struggles which attack us when we are most vulnerable, that prepare us to make good and  proper outward decisions, no matter how painful that decision is for all who are involved. It was after forty days of fasting that the adversary attacked Christ inwardly. ‘Fall down and worship me, and you will be given the kingdoms of this world with all their glory, and you can avoid the death of the cross’. It was in the garden, facing eminent death at the hands of a mob, knowing He had mere hours left, that the adversary again attacked within, and with the very same message causing Christ to request of His Father:

Mat 26:39  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Christ struggled inwardly in every way just as we do:

Heb 4:1  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Christ was dying daily on the cross, inwardly, long before the outward cross, and He was encouraging His disciples to do the same:

Mar 8:34  And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

We have seen that the key to the house of David is the same as the keys to the kingdom of heaven because both give us the power to bind on earth that which has been bound in heaven and to loose on earth that which has been loosed in heaven. That is a great and powerful gift, yet the ability to bind on earth what has already been bound in heaven and to loose on earth that which has already been loosed in heaven does not empower any one man to lord it over the Lord’s flock as Christ and the apostle Peter make so clear:

Mat 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
Mat 20:21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
Mat 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
Mat 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
Mat 20:24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
Mat 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Mat 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

While being ready to physically and outwardly be “your servant” the inward intent of these words is revealed beyond doubt with these words:

Act 6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God [our spiritual inward table], and serve [outward physical] tables.

This is the inward spiritual table at which God’s ministers serve:

1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Inward submission to the Words of God also has an outward manifestation for all the flock of God to witness.

Those who are inwardly beheaded for Christ, and who are inwardly crucified with Christ, will in time rule in a very outward display, over the kingdoms of this world:

Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, [the inward nations] and keepeth my works unto the end [outwardly], to him will I give [outward] power over the [outward] nations:
Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

The great military powers of this world will not willingly submit to “the Lord and His Christ”. They will first have to be “broken to shivers [and] ruled with a rod of iron”.

In this series of studies we have seen that the ‘keys to the kingdom of heaven’ are simply the keys to understanding the mind of Christ and the mind of His Father, which are, of course, one and the same. Therefore the elders within the body of Christ, who have been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, will never lord it over the Lord’s heritage, inwardly or outwardly. What they will do is remain faithful to every word of God, and thereby persuade “God’s heritage” to also be obedient and faithful to His Words. In like manner, the Lord’s heritage who have been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven will inwardly and outwardly “defer to [their] elders” simply because they, too, have been given to know what is the mind of Christ and His Father, and they, too, will remain faithful to His words concerning how they are commanded to relate to each other within the body of Christ.

The only power any true minister of Christ has over anyone within His body is the power of persuasion based upon the Words of Christ. “But it shall not be so among you…” (Mat 20:26), is part of those words of Christ.

But so are these words:

Heb 13:17 Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you. (CLV)

There is no advantage for us to withstand the words of men who have been obedient to the words of God in making decisions that relate to the doctrine of Christ.

A minister who obeys our Lord’s words in Mat 18:15-17 is not acting on his own. He is acting inwardly and outwardly on the words of God in concert with other elders and in accord with the body of Christ:

Mat 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Alexander the copper smith was not given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, or if he at one time had them, “that he [once had was] taken from him” and given to the person who had been most blessed to fear and tremble, inwardly and outwardly at the words of God:

Isa 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

Isa 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
Isa 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Our Lord is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. It is by His design whether we diligently seek Him, but if He has taken away our love of His Word, then He does so in this manner:

Luk 19:24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
Luk 19:25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
Luk 19:26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

This is what the apostle Paul told Timothy about just such a person:

2Ti 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
2Ti 4:15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
2Ti 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
2Ti 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

A true minister of Christ is forbidden to ever lord it “over God’s heritage”, and he is commanded to never exercise dominion or authority over the Lord’s flock. But as we have also seen, these words are for all mankind and not just for certain men who are ministers within the body of Christ. We are all given to oversee the kingdom of God within ourselves, and we are all given outwardly to be “the light of the world” (Mat 5:14). Our way of life, our quiet light in this world, is the product of monumental, momentous life-and-death inward struggles, and our way of life is our most powerful means of persuading others to follow our Lord.

But we are still told that we have been given the power to bind on earth the things that have been bound in heaven and to loose on earth the things that have been loosed in heaven. What that means is that it is imperative that we know what has been bound and loosed in heaven, inwardly. Otherwise we are not capable of binding or loosing anything on the earth, outwardly.

Mat 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against her.
Mat 16:19 And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. And whatever you bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven. And whatever you may loose on the earth shall be, having been loosed in Heaven. (LITV)

“Having been bound… having been loosed” demonstrates that our only power lies in being faithful to the Word of God, which reveals what has been bound or loosed in heaven.

Because the translators did not catch the difference between petros, Peter – a small rock, and petra, Christ – a massive rock, these verses appear to be spoken only to Peter, but as we saw in an earlier study, Matthew 18 reveals clearly that Christ was speaking to all of His disciples when He said they were being given power to bind on earth those things having been bound in heaven and to loose on earth those things having been loosed in heaven.

Here is the verse which gives us the setting for who Christ is addressing the words of this chapter:

Mat 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

It is to “the disciples” that Christ continues speaking in this same chapter when He says:

Mat 18:15 But if your brother may sin against you, go and reprove him between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. [This is our goal. Verse 17 may be the outcome, but gaining our brother is the goal.]
Mat 18:16 But if he does not hear, take one or two more with you, “so that on the mouth of two” or “three witnesses every word may stand”. [Deu 19:15]
Mat 18:17 But if he fails to hear them, tell it to the assembly. And if he also fails to hear the assembly, let him be to you as the nations and the tax collector.
Mat 18:18 Truly I say to you, Whatever you bind on the earth will be, having been bound in Heaven. And whatever you loose on the earth will be, having been loosed in Heaven.
Mat 18:19 Again I say to you, If two of you agree on earth as to anything, whatever they shall ask, it shall be to them from My Father in Heaven.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst. (LITV)

As we saw in Mat 16:18-19, this power to bind and loose is granted only to those who have been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, those who are granted to know what is the mind of Christ and His Father concerning the doctrine of Christ, which doctrine is given to Christ by His Father.

The key to the mind of Christ and His Father which we are discussing today is the Biblical principle of seeing that there is both an inward and an outward application to Christ and His Words, as Christ Himself made so clear when He said:

Mat 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Mat 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Mat 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
Mat 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

It is of utmost importance that we notice that if we “cleanse first that which is within” then, and only then, “the outside of them may be clean also. “The… clean… outside of the cup and of the platter” are the clean, pure and true words of Christ. The “extortion and excess… within” is the idols of our own hearts (Eze 14:1-9) over which we have placed the clean words of Christ always mixing truth with lies, just as the serpent did in the garden first lying, but then mixing in the Truth:

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Notice how the serpent made forbidding the fruit of one tree sound as if Christ had said “Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden”. The serpent is twisting God’s Words and mixing the truth with a lie. Then He tells another lie:

Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

And to make sure his strategy works he tells the truth again:

Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Was it true that they would not surely die? No, Christ had said, “In the day you eat thereof dying you shall die”.

Gen 2:16 And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Eating you may eat of every tree in the garden;
Gen 2:17 but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you may not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, dying you shall die. (LITV)

Had the serpent told the truth when he told Adam and Eve that they would become like God to know good and evil? Yes, the Lord Himself agreed with what the serpent had said in this case:

Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Gen 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

If the inside is clean, the outside will also be clean. But we are by birth born in sin, born of our father the devil.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made in clay was ruined in the hand of the potter. So repeating he made it, another vessel, as it seemed good in the potter’s eyes to make it.

Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

So it has always been. As children of our father the devil we always speak just as our father; we have always taken God’s pure words of His silver and His gold, used them and twisted them to cover the idols of our hearts. We have all been there and done that, because at that time the inside was not clean, and the outside is but a reflection of what is still within, and even now that marred clay reminds us it is still there when we slip and stumble at times:

Eze 16:17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,

These “images of men” are defined as the “idols of [our] hearts” which Ezekiel tells us of two chapters earlier:

Eze 14:1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
Eze 14:2 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?
Eze 14:4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;

These idols are “in their heart”. “Their heart” is Biblical symbolism for what is within us. There are inward and outward idols, and if we do not understand that, then we are missing a vital key to the kingdom of heaven within us. That kingdom is full of ‘idols of the heart’ which require being “cleanse[d]… with the washing of the water by the Word”.

Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

It is the kingdom of heaven within us which “must be purified with better sacrifices the that blood of calves and of goats”:

Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves [“the kingdom of God… within you”, Luke 17:21] with better sacrifices than these.

Christ Himself confirms that it is He who “answer[s them] according to the multitude of [their] idols” in Mat 13:9-15. He had already told us that it is really He Himself, via “His hand” (Job 1:11-12. and 2:5-6), who deceives those who are deceived:

Eze 14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
Eze 14:10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;

What an incredible revelation! We have all be given a serpent to deceive us, and we “cannot hear [the Truth]” because “I the Lord have deceived that prophet” until the day that Christ has ordained that He will come to His own temple within us and destroy that “man of sin” within us, with “the spirit of His mouth and with the brightness of His coming” to cleanse us inwardly.. Only then will the cup and platter be cleaned up without also:

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

“Him shall God destroy… with the brightness of His coming” is the best news we will ever hear because it is blindness to that truth that restrains Christ’s coming to “purify… the heavenly things themselves” (Heb 9:23) and cleanse His temple within so that the outside may be clean also:

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [“the day of the Lord”, verse 2] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God [WITHIN US!], shewing himself that he is God.
2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? [1Co 3:16 above]
2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he [“that man of sin”] might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [witholds; restrains the coming of Christ within us] will let [will restrain Christ’s coming within our hearts], until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Which simply means…

Mat 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

What wonderful news! Our old man of sin will be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming within every man, “each in his own order” (1Co 15:23), and “all in Adam” will be given life.

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Every cup and platter will be cleansed within “that the outside of them may be clean also”. Being cleansed from within first “that the outside of them may be clean also” is one more of the keys to the kingdom of heaven within us.

[Part 12 can be found here.]

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