BIND AND LOOSE
I am very happy that Matthew 18:17-18 is in the Bible. The Roman Catholic Church says that the pope, as Peter’s successor, has the sole authority to bind and loose. However, the local church is mentioned in Matthew 18. If you have a problem which two or three believers cannot settle, you should bring this problem to the church. The church here certainly must be the local church. It cannot be the universal church. If the church in Matthew 18 is the universal church, where shall we find it when we have a problem that two or three believers cannot solve? The church in Matthew 18 is surely the local church, and the local church has the authority to bind and loose. In Matthew 16:19 the Lord Jesus told Peter that he had the authority to bind and loose, but in Matthew 18:18 the Lord changed the subject from singular to plural. Matthew 16:19 says, "Whatever you (singular, Gk.) bind" and Matthew 18:18 says, "Whatever you (plural, Gk.) bind." This means that we too have the power to bind and to loose. The authority that Peter had, we also have. Have you seen your position? Have you seen your authority and rank? We all can bind and loose, just as Peter did. Peter was a stone, and we also are stones. Peter had authority to bind and loose, and we also have this authority.
FROM CLAY TO STONE
Many Christians have not seen the authority and the position which has been committed to them. However, if we are going to realize our position and authority, we must be transformed. We were pieces of clay; we must become stones. By nature as a human being, Simon was clay, but the Lord Jesus changed his life and transformed his being. The Lord Jesus not only changed Simon’s name, but He also transformed his being into a stone. In the New Jerusalem there is a piece of foundation stone with Peter’s name on it (Rev. 21:14). He was no longer a piece of clay; he had become a foundation stone. Peter in the four Gospels was clay, often taking the lead in making mistakes. But if you read the New Testament carefully, you will see that this muddy Peter was under the process of transformation. In Acts 1 Peter was no longer muddy; he had become a piece of transparent, precious stone. In the four Gospels Peter was somewhat opaque, but when he stood up in Acts 1, he was transparent.
ONENESS BY THE SPIRIT
Some Christians insist upon the so-called Pentecostal experiences, saying that without them we cannot have the Holy Spirit. How about Peter? Before Pentecost had actually arrived, Peter was transparent. He was so bold, strong, and positive, remaining in Jerusalem with one hundred and twenty, praying for ten days in one accord (Acts 1:14). One hundred and twenty people prayed for ten days in one accord without dissenting or disputing. Do you doubt that they had the Holy Spirit? Without the Holy Spirit they could not have done it. They were Galileans who had given up their own country and were staying in Jerusalem in spite of the threatenings of the Jews. One hundred and twenty people prayed for ten days in one accord! If they did not have the Spirit, I am afraid they would have begun to fight after only ten hours. Their being in one accord and continuing in prayer indicates they had the Spirit within them before the day of Pentecost.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)