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FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

This is the day the LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.    

Exodus 6:2-8 Romans 11:33-36 Matthew 16:13-20 Psalm 95               

Bible readers often need to be reminded to read passages in their full context. In so doing, we find that a difficult passage sometimes is clarified by the passages before and after it. How helpful that tip is for us today.  When we turn to the often misunderstood passage from the text, our thoughts are once again turned to Jesus, not Peter, as the builder and owner of the church. Jesus says, "I will build my church and later, I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven."       While on this instructional retreat with His disciples, Jesus taught them additional important truths about His person and work. The work of Christ was to open the door to heaven. Just as a locked door needs a key to open it, so also the door of heaven. Our terrible sins have caused that door to be locked to us. The key that opens it is the gospel truth that Jesus won forgiveness of sins for us on Calvary's cross. Because of Jesus's redeeming work, every person who turns to Jesus and confesses his sins receive personal assurance of complete forgiveness. Our heavenly Father, for Christ's sake, forgives all our sins and wipes our record clear.      

Now, as the builder of the church, Jesus makes all believers His representatives. To all who confess with St.Peter, "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus provides the tools with which we are to carry out this work, namely the keys of the kingdom of heaven.      

Christian friends, We have the authority and responsibility to make use of these keys. We are to use these keys to lock the door of heaven to unrepentant sinners, as long as they do not repent. We are to use the same keys to open wide the doors of heaven to look to Jesus alone for forgiveness. That is the way Jesus wants to use us as He builds His church.  

Help me to mend my ways,O LORD,                                                                          And gladly to obey Thy Word,                                                                                   While here I live, abide with me;                                                                                 And when I die, take me to Thee. Amen  

PRAY with me. O Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life, grant me without all doubt to know Your Son Jesus  Christ, to be the Way, theTruth, and the Life, that following His steps, I may steadfastly walk in the way that leads to eternal life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen  

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