Four Passages for Gospel Passageways
August 4, 2017 by Trent Hunter 0 comments
Jesus wants to give you an open door.
In Sunday's sermon we looked at Revelation 3:7–13 where Jesus says to the church at Philadelphia, "Behold, I have set before you an open door" (Rev. 3:8). As we naturally ask about so many lines in the book of Revelation, what does that even mean? A door to where? Jesus is talking about an open door for the gospel in their city. A great opportunity for a small church.
The church at Philadelphia had a gospel-advancing optimism. Here are four ways we can cultivate the same at Heritage.
First, pray for an open door.
In Colossians 4:3, Paul wrote, “pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ.” Paul was praying in perfect accord with God's desire and design for his life as a Christian. And so we pray for an open door at our workplace, at the next family gathering, and in the cul-de-sac. Wherever we find ourselves, we can pray for an open door for the gospel. Don’t get tired of asking God for opportunities. Pray, ask for prayer, and do it again.
Second, partner with others in going through the open door.
Interesting, in 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about diverting his route from an open door to join up with his partner Titus. He writes, "When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia" (2:12–13). Titus was important to Paul because of the gospel work they shared. Paul kept track of Titus, groomed Titus, and got to work with Titus for the establishment of new churches. When we make friends at church, we do so not only for our mutual edification, but for our shared mission.
Third, publically praise God for what he does!
Acts 14:27 speaks of Paul and Barnabas: "when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles." When God saves, let's talk about it. When God grants an opportunity for us to speak of Christ's salvation, let's share that with one another. And in all of our talking and sharing, let our lips be filled with praise to God for his grace.
Fourth, prepare to go through the open door.
There's something that we see on repeat in the book of Acts. Over and again, the disciples are "strengthened" as they come together. That is, they are strengthened for their witness in the world. Acts 16:5 says, "the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily." Do you see Sundays this way? This is one important reason that we gather: to be strengthened for our witness. So, as we sing, as we hear the Word preached, as we join in a class, and as we gather with our Shepherding Groups, let's grow in God's strength to go with Christ's salvation. Here in Acts, a quality of discipleship was followed by an increase in the number of disciples. The Lord doesn't always do that. But he does delight to do that. May the Lord do it among us.
For more encouragement on this topic, check out a great little book by Mac Stiles, Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus. Then, Click here for a link to Sunday's sermon, "An Open Door in Philadelphia: Words for a Witnessing Church.
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