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Page 224

What is meant by the following statement? "Some members try to hold up the arms of the church officebearers, but others are weights to pull them down."

Why did Christ call the powers He gave to the church the keys of the kingdom of heaven?


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.

Verily I say unto you, Whatosever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

- Matthew 18:17-18

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

- John 20:23


    And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of thcm his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not.

    And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

    - Leviticus 10:1-2

    Which truth regarding officebearing is illustrated in each of these references?

    A minister once testified, "I have some members in my congregation who act in an opposite manner from Aaron and Hur who held up Moses' arms. These members are dead weights on the officebearers' arms to pull them down. I am afraid that the result of lowered officebearers' arms will be that Israel's enemies will make further inroads into the congregation."

    Read Exodus 17:8-13. What did the minister mean by using this example?


In Matthew 16 we read that Jesus declared to Peter, and in him to the church and its officebearers, "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" (Matthew 16:19).

What are these "keys"? The Heidelberg Catechism defines them in Question and Answer 83 as follows:

    Q. 83. What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?
    A. The preaching of the holy gospel, and Christian discipline, or excommunication out of the Christian church; by these two, the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers, and shut against unbelievers.

How do these two keys, the preaching of the gospel and the exercising of church discipline, "open" the kingdom of heaven for believers and "lock" it against unbelievers?


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