Summary: In this time when many are losing their jobs, their homes and their 401Ks let us learn why God uses closed doors to open others.
Why Does God Allow Some Doors to Close and Others to Open? (Acts 16:6-32)
In this time when many are losing their jobs, their homes and their 401Ks let us learn why God uses closed doors to open others. Our God is the one who opens doors that no man can close and opens other doors that no man can shut. He sovereignly works all circumstances for our good as long as we love Him and are called according to His plans. (Rom. 8:28,29)
Let us examine fifteen greater ways that God chooses to close some doors for us in order to open even better ones down the line:
1. GREATER PERSPECTIVES - God allowed the doors to close to Paul when he sought to go to Bithynia in order to launch a new ministry to Europe. The Lord wanted the gospel to spread throughout Europe in order to proliferate the good news of salvation through those who would hear the gospel through Paul’s ministry. God knows the one who will best multiply His message in greater quantitative and qualitative ministries.
2. GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF GOD - The Lord allowed several doors to close to Paul in order for Him to gain greater understanding of the Lord’s ability to speak through the Spirit’s prohibiting him from going into Asia. Sometimes, we learn more from unanswered prayer than when we get our way.
3. GREATER INSIGHT INTO GOD’S WILL - The Lord used the closed doors to teach Paul more about what He did not want him to do. Sometimes, things have to get worse before they can get better. In seeking God’s will it is important for us to know what we are not to do as well as what we are to do and where we are to go. Otherwise, we would think that God automatically guides us with a supernatural GPS system. Thomas Edison had to fail with over 300 experiments before he finally landed on the right type of filament for the electric light bulb.
4. GREATER PATIENCE IS DEVELOPED - Paul learned from this experience to develop patience and depth of character. He even wrote in Romans 5:1-5: "Tribulation works patience, and patience proven character and proven character hope and hope does not disappoint because the love of God is poured in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us." The Lord knows what He works in us is more important than what He does through us.
5. GREATER FRUITFULNESS - As a result of Paul’s ministry in Macedonia is able to start a vibrant church in the cityof Philippi, lead a demon possessed girl to Christ and deliver her from the power of Satan and lead the Philippian jailer to Christ and His household. Sometimes the closed doors allow us to see much greater fruit than if we would have gotten our initial prayers answered. Never despair when things do not go your way because God may have something far greater for you to accomplish through another means.
6. GREATER APPRECIATION OF GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND FELLOWSHIP WITH THE GODLY - As a result of Paul detour to Macedonia, he is able to make a tremendous leap in His appreciation of God’s sovereign capacity to control all circumstances, people and responses in cross-cultural ministries. We see that Paul successfully becomes all things to all men as we read about the joy that He experienced in his letter to the Philippians. He writes, "You are always in every prayer of mine for you always making requests for you with joy. For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day of Jesus Christ. Being confident that He who began a good work in you is able to complete it.’ (Phil. 1:4-6)
7. GREATER CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S ABILITY TO TURN A SEEMING NEGATIVE TO A POSITIVE - Many might have despaired when they were not able to do as they preferred, but not Paul. Paul saw how the Lord used the closed doors to open even better ones to the hearts of hungry people in Macedonia. The Holy Spirit always guides us to places, people and opportunities that are far greater than all we can ask or think according to the power that works mightily within us. (Eph. 3:20)
8. GREATER TEACHING TO OUR DISCIPLES - Paul was able to teach Timothy, Silas and Dr. Luke as they accompanied him on his detoured journey. In Acts 16:10 the use of the pronoun we indicates that Paul worked together in the fellowship of other godly men who partnered with him in this new exciting adventure sharing his burdens and joys.
9. GREATER IDENTIFICATION WITH MEN LIKE JOSEPH - After 22 years of capactivity, Joseph was able to say to his brothers, "You meant my capativity and slavery for evil but God turned it for good for the saving of many lives." (Gen 50;10) We have to remember that God has a much bigger plan than our own interests when it comes to the fulfilling of His will for our lives. Paul’s life was a living sacrifice being poured out for the sake of bringing many to the Savior and into maturity. Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free. No there’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for me.