Jesus Defined His Kingdom
Book of Matthew Chapter 16
There is no doubt that the greatest thing the Lord Jesus Christ did for us was to die for our sins!
Our sin debt has been paid and we stand on Holy ground before our Heavenly father.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What a blessing that has been bestowed upon us!
The greatest thing that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for this world is the formation and the leadership of the Church!
We must know that every building with a steeple is not a church.
Every group of people claiming religion is not a church.
Every time a news source claims a church did this or a church did that, does not mean they are talking about the true church.
Only those who gather in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ where the Lord Jesus is the Head of the Church are the true Church.
Only those who gather in the power of the Holy Spirit are the true Church.
Joh 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Joh 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who powers the true Church in this world!
Saying all this, we must know that the Church has tares within the congregation, and they are hard to find but the Lord said He would remove them.
This includes such people as the Pharisees of the Old Testament.
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
This does not mean we cannot stop someone in the Church from doing wrong and stop them from attending with us in fellowship.
We must be Holy in the House of God!
So Jesus has a little test for His disciples.
*Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
We could ask this same question today? Whom does the world think that Jesus is?
Even today, it is important for the Church to know what the world thinks about the Lord Jesus Christ.
The message of the Church is the Gospel, and this will always be true, but the way the “Gospel” is presented is determined by what the world thinks about our Lord.
We may have to think back when we were lost in this dying world, what did we think about Jesus?
When our Lord was asking these questions, He knew it was but a short time until He faced the death of the Cross.
We already know that the greatest sin in this world is to be ignorant of the Lord Jesus Christ!
To the average man Jesus was highly esteemed and respected.
When Jesus asked this question, that word “men” was not intended to be the Jews only but all the people in and about that part of the world.
We see what the world thinks of Jesus today, but the Lord Jesus Christ changed this world when He walked upon this earth!
We know that an opinion is a “judgment” of someone without having much knowledge of that person.
What do we know about the world today?
Joh 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Joh 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
The world hates the Lord Jesus Christ!
What did the world say then?
*Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
Remember King Herod thought that Jesus was a resurrection of John the Baptist and John the Baptist was the Messiah.
The Bible states in so many words that the Prophet Elijah will return, and some thought Jesus was he.
There was at that time a current tradition among the Jews, that either Jeremiah, or some other of the ancient prophets would rise again before the Messiah came.
We see what happens when we try to interpret the Bible and not study to see what God has said while rightly dividing the Bible.
We know for certain that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah, God in the flesh!
What had God told Moses?
Deu 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
Deu 18:16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
Deu 18:17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
Deu 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
Deu 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
The biggest problem we see is that no one actually took the time to see what God actually said and they depended upon men to tell them what God had said.
Every true prophet spoke the words God had told them to say, even the Lord Jesus Christ.
Joh 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
Joh 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
Then Jesus asked his chosen disciples, what did they think.
*Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
We know the “Gospel of Matthew” is not written in chronological order but as far as we know, how could Peter or any of these disciples believe that the Lord Jesus was not the Messiah.
How long had it been since Jesus walked upon the Sea of Galilee and saved Peter from drowning?
How long had it been since the Lord Jesus fed the 5000 plus?
They had seen the Lord Jesus heal person after person, continuously?
They had to see the Lord Jesus just speak and calm the seas and the winds?
How could they not believe that Jesus was the Messiah?
They had rested their beliefs on one thing, and it was their stumbling block.
They wanted another King David for their Messiah!
Jesus came as a Savior, which was far more important!
It was critical that these men knew the truth before Jesus went back to Heaven!
If they could not believe then, how could they continue to learn from Him.
Let us be honest we will never learn from those we do not trust!
We have to answer this same question today in faith or we cannot be saved!
Do we know the Anointed of God sent to this earth to provide a means of salvation?
Listen in as Jesus prays:
Joh 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
Joh 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Joh 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
It is a fact Jesus did not come to convince us He was the Messiah. Jesus came to do the will of His Father!
Our Heavenly Father has provided us with His Holy Word, and it is up to us to believe Him or not!
It is not that God does not care, for He does, but God has humbled Himself one time and died upon a cruel cross.
God will never humble Himself in that manner ever again.
He humbles Himself every time He listens to what we have to say!
Why should He do anything else? He has provided all we need to spend eternity with Him!
We can ask too much from Him!
I believe the Lord Jesus is exactly who He said He is, and I believe the Word of God came to us from Heaven!
Then Jesus teaches these disciples the platform of the Church.
*Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 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.
Who are all those who will become the church? All those who agree with Peter that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed One of God!
It was the Holy Spirit that revealed this to Peter.
Joh 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Joh 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Joh 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Joh 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Joh 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
The natural man cannot receive the Holy Spirit!
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
If you cannot think like Jesus Christ, you cannot be like Jesus Christ, and this is what being a Christian is all about!
Rom 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
Rom 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
Rom 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
Rom 1:6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
Jesus came to inform the world a Church is a gathering of those who have the mind of Christ, so therefore He cannot be guilty of all those things He is being accused of doing.
It was the Apostle Peter who led 10 of those other men in the Doctrine of the Messiah to build the early Church and there were 12 again when the Lord called the Apostle Paul.
We see that when the Messiah returns to Heaven, something new “ecclesia” a community of others who believe as stated by the Apostle Peter.
“Thou art the Son of the Living God”.
This is how the Church began and continues to thrive today!
To those who say they do not have saving faith, they should realize that no one had saving faith until they came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit just as the Lord Jesus said to Peter.
Peter would become that stone, a living stone, who would reveal the “Rock” of our salvation, the Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is not hard to understand, really it is very simple.
2Co_11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ did all the work, the Holy Spirit provides the conviction “and that first bit of faith” and just a call upon our Heavenly Father will get salvation for eternity.
Remembering that there is no other way! And there was no Church in existence at this time on earth!
The Church is not built upon the Apostle Peter even though he was instrumental in the beginning of the New Testament Church.
Peter had these words:
1Pe 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Peter was one of those lively stones for his lifetime just as every believer is to be a “lively stone” today until our death!
We should keep in mind this was a New Covenant (New Testament) for the children of Israel, it is the only Covenant made to the Church!
*Mat 16:19 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.
1) Peter is not guarding the entrance into Heaven with the keys to allow those he has chosen to enter!
2) The Lord Jesus did not mean for us to understand that Peter holds the keys to Heaven!
3) The Lord did not say Peter is holding the keys to the Church!
4) The Lord did not mean that the eternal destiny of our souls depended upon Peter!
What the Lord Jesus meant was that to Peter was given the administration of the of the “kingdom of heavens” here on earth.
Peter was designated the first appointed witness to the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” after the Lord returned to Heaven and after Pentecost when, each of the Apostle were filled with the Holy Spirit along with more than a hundred more.
Let us see this again in the context Jesus intended:
Mat 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
Mat 18:13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
Mat 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
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.
Mat 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
The keys to the Kingdom then, is being a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Having the keys to the kingdom is having the “Gospel Message”!
We open the door to Heaven when we are witnesses for the Lord!
We close the door to Heaven when we refuse to be witnesses of the truth of the “Gospel”!
But it was not yet time.
*Mat 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
Mat 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Why did Jesus say this?
These 12 men were not ready to be true witnesses of the Gospel, because they did not yet have the faith and they did not yet have all the truth.
1) They needed more preparation.
2) The death, the burial, and the resurrection had not yet taken place.
3) The disciples needed the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, this would take place at Pentecost after the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
4) Most all the people did not understand the First Coming of the Messiah.
These things were to be clearly understood!
1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Peter then shows us why he was not ready:
Peter did not have the Holy Spirit with in him, so Satan made an attempt to use him.
*Mat 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
You see the most important thing for us all is to believe what Jesus says!
Verse 21 said: “from that time forth Jesus began to show His disciples what was going to happen”.
Jesus knows our future long before it happens!
Then Peter, who thought he understood it all, decided he knew more than his Master.
The Lord Jesus was using direct words and not symbols and parables.
The entire known world was fixing to change because of the knowledge given to these disciples.
Jesus was about to usher in the Kingdom of God making it possible for all believers to live eternally in the presence of God Himself.
These disciples needed to pay attention to what Jesus was saying.
The Lord Jesus Christ our God was totally committed to die for us!
Luk 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Luk 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
God gave us the Bible so we could understand what and why He does what He does, and especially so we can understand what is in our near future.
We could say that Peter just was not paying attention, but the Lord Jesus leads us to the truth.
*Mat 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Notice just after Jesus had appointed Peter to lead the soon to be Apostles, Satan sticks his ugly head in to again try to stop the Church before it begins.
You see Satan can enter anyone who does not have indwelling of the Holy Spirit!
2Ti_2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
This world either does not understand this or they reject it saying, the Satan does not exist, but it is still the whole complete truth.
It is by the Lord Jesus Christ that we break the bondage of Satan.
Notice the Lord Jesus did not speak to Peter, Jesus spoke directly to Satan!
As for Peter, he had to keep his mind on the things the that were important.
The Lord Jesus came to die, but that death must remain His choice and not something Satan was involved in!
Joh 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Mar 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
We just cannot allow ourselves to be used by Satan!
Then Jesus explains what He means by being His disciples.
*Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
If we are to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must deny ourselves.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Because the Lord Jesus gave all He had even His life, then who are we if we are unwilling to do the same.
It must be our will to follow the Lord Jesus Christ!
This means it must be our desire, our wish, our purpose, our determination be as much like the Lord Jesus as we can!
It is hard to deny one’s self, but it is a necessary thing to be a servant of the Lord and to be in the family of God!
We must say no to the world and yes to our Heavenly Father!
We must take up our own cross and follow the Lord, if for no other reason than because the Lord said so!
We must be a companion, a disciple, of the Lord Jesus Christ!
This body of flesh has no value, after all it was made from the materials of this world, but that soul is Heaven made and more valuable that all the materials upon this earth.
We must understand that once this union of life and soul is created, it will exist forever.
It is just a matter of where we go at the end of this world.
One will be in torment forever.
The other will be glorified and live with the Heavenly Father forever.
We have it in our ability to choose where we will spend eternity, it just takes faith.
1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
The Lord Jesus is praying that we will choose right.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.