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Peter and the Keys to the Kingdom


I've heard it said many times, "God uses broken people."  I do not doubt that statement.  As a matter of fact, we are all broken.  Paul says in Romans 3:10, "There is no one righteous, not even one."  He goes on to say in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  When God uses people to advance His kingdom, He definitely uses broken, flawed, and sinful people.  However, God is in the redeeming business.  Through Jesus' sacrifice, God calls broken, flawed, sinful people to Himself.  He forgives them of their sins, and He cleanses them of their unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  Peter is a perfect example of God's redemptive grace.  Peter was called by Jesus as a disciple.  It was Peter, in Matthew 16:16, who said, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."  When Peter surrendered his life to Jesus and walked with him, he did so through repentance.  And Jesus told Peter that his confession would be the rock that His church would be built upon.  He also included Peter in building up the church.  Jesus told him, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven."  Jesus said this and did this knowing that this same Peter would disown Him three times in the days to come.  In John 18:17, a woman asked Peter, "You aren't one of this man's disciples too, are you?"  Peter's response: "I am not."  In John 18:25, while Peter was standing next to a fire to get warm, the crowd asked him, "You aren't one of his disciples too, are you?"  Peter's response: "I am not."  And finally, in John 18:26, one of the chief priest's servants recognized Peter and asked, "Didn't I see you with him in the garden?"  Peter denied it.  He disowned Jesus three times, and the rooster crowed, just as Jesus prophesied.  Peter was a broken, flawed, and sinful man.  However, Jesus knew his heart.  Jesus knew his destiny.  Jesus forgave Peter of his sins - past, present, and future.  Jesus called Peter into something greater than he could understand, something greater than himself.  Jesus handed him the keys to the kingdom of heaven!  What a powerful example of God's amazing grace and awesome redemption!  Peter, later, would run to the empty tomb...and believe in the powerful resurrection of his Savior.  Jesus would finally command Peter in John 21, "Feed my lambs.  Take care of my sheep.  Feed my sheep."  He reinstated Peter in the gospel ministry.  Why?  Forgiveness.  Redemption.  Reconciliation.  Restoration.  It is Peter, in Acts 2, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, advancing the kingdom of heaven on earth!  I thank God for Jesus, my Redeemer, my Savior.  I thank God for the forgiveness of my sins - past, present, and future.  I thank God for the Holy Spirit, filling me and equipping me for ministry.  I thank God that I am a part of His body, the church, and I thank Him for allowing me to be a part of advancing His kingdom right here and right now!  Don't let sin enslave you and hold you back.  Don't let the fact that you are broken, flawed, and sinful keep you from experiencing God's plans for you.  Repent of your sins.  Embrace God's forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, and restoration through Jesus Christ, His one and only Son.  Believe it today!  Claim it today!  Live it today!

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