Summary: The apostle Paul would call this “An Open Door.” He refers to this thought in his first letter to the Corinthians. Today, we will be equipped in how to know a new opportunity or an open door when we see it and how to make a proper decision.
Opening Statement: I remember applying to graduate school back in 1994. I submitted all of the necessary papers and finally received my acceptance letter. I was so excited that June day as I read my letter of acceptance. That letter meant so much to me that I kept it. [Read a portion of the letter] I was finally going to attend a school where all of my required classes would be Bible classes. It was a thrilling thought! But, there were a few “small obstacles” that looked pretty big at the time. For example, I didn’t have any money (that tends to throw a kink in your plans). Donnette was pregnant with Will. I had no way of securing a place to live 3 miles from downtown Dallas, TX. Even if I did make it there, I had no job waiting for me. But still, somehow, I knew this was the right idea, but I wasn’t sure on the timing. It wasn’t until August, 1995 that I finally made it to Dallas to begin graduate school. It took an entire year of providential experiences to convince me that this was a very real possibility for me and that God had in fact set before me an open door. For example, Dallas Seminary gave me some advanced standing credits, due to my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. God provided a Dallas Seminary extension site close to where I lived so that I could at least begin my studies to see how they were going to go. He gave me the opportunity of taking a 1-week summer class on the DTS campus. Before I left after that week there in Dallas, I had a job waiting on me if I decided to return, a place to live, and an “A” in the class. And the icing on the cake was one evening after I got back from Dallas. God sent softball-sized hail on my 1987 Honda Accord, which was already paid for. So the insurance adjuster just wrote me out a check for the dents and damages, which I never had fixed, but used the money to move to Dallas, TX. That hailstorm, known by insurance agencies as “acts of God”, financed my trip to the southwest to study theology.
Transition: The apostle Paul would call this “An Open Door.” He refers to this thought in his first letter to the Corinthians. Today, we will be equipped in how to know a new opportunity or an open door when we see it and how to make a proper decision.
Title: An Open Door
Review: Last week we talked about being equipped. Today, I want to do some equipping.
Opening Statement: Have you ever wanted something to happen so badly that you began to orchestrate things and manipulate situations so that you could get what you wanted? Maybe it was a job, a boyfriend or a girlfriend that you wanted, a raise, an award. Rather than allowing God to orchestrate things and open the door in His time, you shoved and pushed and pulled and twisted and pried until you were just exhausted and spent. And still, the door remained closed.
Transition: Summer is often a time when we are tempted to do this. During our entire lives, but especially the summer season, important decisions are made, new opportunities are considered, and a transition into a new phase of life often occurs. We need to be equipped and prepared for these changes during this summer season. Paul helps us to do this. Paul occasionally used the door as a metaphor for opportunity (cf. 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3) or a place of transition. He does so in 1 Corinthians 16.
Background: Paul is in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, and he is writing to some friends in the church at Corinth advising them of his travel plans. Let’s read what he said…
1 Corinthians 16:5 But I will come to you after I have gone through Macedonia [Paul wanted to follow up on this church that he had planted in Corinth. New Christians need follow-up. But he also wanted to plant churches as he traveled to Corinth.] — for I will be going through Macedonia— 16:6 and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you can send me on my journey, wherever I go. [Paul wasn’t sure where he would end up after visiting the Corinthians.] 16:7 For I do not want to see you now in passing [There wouldn’t be enough time to visit.], since I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord allows. [Sometimes God changes our plans]. 16:8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, [Jewish annual feast or national holiday]. 16:9 because a door stands wide open for me, of great opportunity, but there are many opponents.