In November of 1993 the church were I was pastoring was set on fire by an arsonist and the building was destroyed. I remember that when I received the call from the fire department, I rushed to the church, and it was already engulfed in flames. When I got my car parked and ran back to the building, the firemen were trying to break down the front doors so that they could get into that part of the building to try to stop the fire from spreading there. The building happened to be about 130 years old, and had solid oak doors, that again, were 130 years old, and whenever the fireman would swing his axe, it literally was bouncing off the seasoned wood, barely making a dent in it. As he continued to swing, hitting the doors with blow after blow and barely making any progress, I was standing behind the retaining rope shouting at him, "I have the keys!" He continued to swing away until finally one of the other firemen walked up to him and said to him, "You need to stop and listen to this guy, I think he said he has the keys." They stood and talked for a moment or so and finally the second man walked over to me and asked, "Did you say that you have the keys to this door?" I handed him the keys, they opened the doors and went inside.
I was sitting here a little while ago reflecting back on that night, and the thought hit me about the scripture in Mathew 16 where Jesus said: "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." I thought, "how many of us act like that fireman, working so hard to gain access to something that we already hold the keys to?" Think with me about what Jesus actually said here. He said that he was giving us the keys of the kingdom... that the gates of hell could not prevail against. We so often treat this as a defensive scripture, that hell cannot come against us; but this is not what Jesus said at all. He said the gates of hell would not be able to stop us from gaining access! Read it again and see if that is not what he said! Our mission, our purpose as the living breathing Body of Christ is to launch an assault on the forces of hell, and taking from within those gates what is rightfully ours. So many of us need to stop acting like helpless victims and understand that Jesus has made us to be priests and kings, with full authority, and the keys, that enable us full access to assault the gates of hell and bind the forces of darkness. We need to shout, "I have the keys!"