Summary: There are times when the Holy Spirit opens unexpected doors in our lives when we follow God

Unexpected Doors

Acts 16:6-11

June 10, 2001

Morning Service


I. Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

II. The Roles of the Spirit

 He empowers for daily living

 He bestows spiritual gifts

 He cleanses from the effects of sin

 He enables for service

 He teaches believers the things of God

 He seals us into the family of God

 He indwells for constant and continual guidance

Q – How does the Spirit lead us?

III. The Dove Man

It is said that a certain guide lived in the deserts of Arabia who never lost his way. He carried with him a homing pigeon with a very fine cord attached to one of its legs. When in doubt as to which path to take, he threw the bird into the air. The pigeon quickly strained at the cord to fly in the direction of home, and thus led the guide accurately to his goal. Because of this unique practice he was known as "the dove man."

We are shown another person who was a “dove man” because of the way he followed the leading and the guidance of the Holy Spirit

Paul’s Example for Following the Spirit

I. The Spirit closes the wrong doors at the right time

A. The Spirit closes the wrong doors at the right time

1. Paul had a plan for this missionary trip

a.) Paul had revisited all of his prior church plants

b.) He planned to continue his church planting work in Asia Minor, which is now modern day Turkey

2. The Spirit closed those doors

a.) The Spirit stopped Paul from going west into Asia Minor and Paul was also stopped from going north into the area of Bithynia. Paul was left with only one direction and one major destination – east to Troas

b.) If the Spirit closes a door it wasn’t the right one to go through – How do we know? We must remember the Holy Spirit is God

1.) He is timeless – he knows the future and the past

2.) He is boundless – He is everywhere all of the time

3.) He is peerless – He has unlimited power and provision

B. Timeless truths

1. The Spirit still leads step by step

a.) The Spirit closes the doors we are not meant to go through by removing the opportunities we should not pursue

b.) This process of trial and error requires you to try to do something great for God. It is impossible for you to be led by the Spirit without doing something to serve God

2. Following the leading of the Spirit is crucial

a.) The Spirit is the indwelling presence of God in your life! Therefore, it is critical that you are sensitive to the leading of the Spirit. Literally, the Holy Spirit keeps us in step with God

b.) The Spirit knows the whole picture of God’s plan. We see it only in part

II. The Spirit opens the right doors at the right time

A. Paul allowed the Spirit to have complete control

1. At a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Bobby Richardson, former New York Yankee second baseman, offered a prayer that is a classic in brevity and poignancy: "Dear God, Your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen."

2. The Holy Spirit was the leader, not Paul

a.) Far too often, we rely on human wisdom, creativity and ability to follow God. Everything except the Holy Spirit

b.) Paul realized that the Spirit was completing God’s plan and that he wanted to be a vital part of that plan

3. Paul was completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit

a.) Paul literally gave up his plans for ministry and followed the direction of the Holy Spirit

b.) The fact that Paul was surrendered to the Spirit was the primary reason that the Spirit could lead Paul

B. Timeless Truths

1. The Spirit wants to be your leader in life

a.) God has not changed between the first century and now. The Spirit is still in the business of leading God’s people

b.) The sad fact remains that the Spirit can only lead us to the extent that we are willing to follow

2. The Spirit will open the right doors in your life

a.) The Pastoral move

A minister received a call from a church that offered him a salary four times what he was then receiving. Being a devout man, he spent much time in prayer trying to discern what God wanted him to do. One day a friend met the minister’s young son on the street. "Do you know what your dad is going to do?" he asked. "Well," replied the youngster, "Dad’s praying, but Mom’s packing!"

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