Summary: A Call to follow God through the doors HE opens and not try to walk through doors which others may open.
An Open Door
* When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.
-- Alexander Graham Bell
* What comes to your mind when hear the term open door? A door is a movable barrier use to open and close the entrance to a building, closet, room, or vehicle. Cyber Salvage is the business I frequent for computers and supplies. On the front of their building is a huge door which makes the building almost impregnable when closed and almost inviting when open. This is how a door operates and gives us our concept for Paul’s message and our message today. If it is closed, it is impassable and conversely, if it is open, it is a welcome sight because it means come in, this is the way.
* To read the life of Paul is to understand that He was all about finding the door God was opening and walk through it. At the same time, He had no desire to attempt to force open the door that God had shut. Several times he writes about God’s shutting the door and He does not disobey the leadings of the Lord. In our text, there are at least 3 open doors which we need to consider and understand.
1. Door Of Opportunity – At least 3 times a week I receive and email, normally in my junk box, that says, “Opportunity of a Lifetime”, or “This is your Opportunity to be your own boss” (reading this one, I wonder if it’s an advertisement for a divorce attorney). Seriously, everyone likes a good opportunity.
* Paul knew that any door which God opened was a great door of opportunity. Consider His words, I want to come to see you, spend time with you, and even stay there for the winter months, BUT God has other ideas. He has opened this door for me and I have to walk through His door. HCSB says “wide door for effective ministry” and KJV says, “A great door and effectual is opened for me.” He uses the word “great and effectual”. The Greek word for effectual is the word from which we get our word “energy” while the word for great is the word from which we get our prefix “mega.” What was so great about Paul’s open door, after all, he was in Ephesus. Why would a Christian think that this evil town was such a great place to be? It was a thriving, bustling city as well as a very decadent town! The Temple of Diana (Artemis) was located there. The worship of Artemis (or Diana) was an evil unto itself. Additionally, Ephesus reported was a sanctuary for criminals. For most, this is not the place to be, yet Paul understood the great opportunity for Him.
* It is in the darkest of night that the light shines the brightest! Someone once said, the pessimist sees the problem and the optimist sees the opportunity. The Bible says, in the opportunities “I” will help you to overcome the problems! From a purely humanistic view, Paul had no reason to remain in Ephesus, yet, Paul sense that God was breaking the ground for a great work and He, Paul, was to be a part of it. So Paul gave Himself FULLY to the work.
* It is my sense that God is preparing this congregation for a great work. The preparation is not easy or quick, but needed. As we move forward through these next 6 months, I believe, God is giving each one of us an “open door of opportunity” to be a part of a work which we cannot explain. How long since you were of part of something like this?
* On my desk I have the list of possible ways we can reach out and touch this community with the gospel, but my leading from God is that first we have some personal business to do in the area of our motivation.
* You see, our motivation should not be to build a “large membership,” that would be a result. Our goal is to be motivated to bring people the gospel of Jesus so that the Holy Spirit can change hearts and lives.
* Let’s do a motivation check. (don’t respond) How many would walk through an open door, if you know that $1M was awaiting you? In fact, how many would walk through that door on the outside chance there was that much money waiting? Now, would you walk through a door for 10 souls? Yes, you say. But what if that door required you to make a significant change to YOUR life? What if it impacted your schedule, you money, and even your hobbies?