From the Field – the Open Door pt. 1 – May 8, 2017

Written by | May, 2017
Post Tags
Post Categories Uncategorized

Open Door (part 1)

The Open Door
“And when they arrived, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

What is an open door for mission work or outreach? In Rev. 3:8 we learn that the Lord set before the church at Philadelphia an open door which no one could shut. On Paul’s second missionary journey there was definitely a closed door in Asia Minor. “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them…” Acts. 16:6-7 We today though are not privy to a direct message from God as to a specific open or closed door.

For us we should go back to the Great Commission given by our Lord to His church and repeated in all the Gospels. We are well familiar with Matthew’s record in Chapter 28 of how as we go we are to make disciples of all nations. In chapter 16 of Mark’s Gospel the words of our Lord remind us again about going and that in the process we are to preach the Gospel to the whole of creation. Luke records the resurrected Lord’s words to His church in the prophecy in chapter 24, “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations.” John records the scene that Easter evening when the Lord said to His apostles, “I send you.” In John’s twentieth chapter the Gospel writer reminds all how the church represented there by the apostles has the precious proclaiming power of the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus, repeating the Master’s very words. The assumption, the injunction, and the prophecy is that we will go.

Another assumption, too, is to treat the world as an open door. Read through the contexts of the previously cited chapters and see no limitations. Wherever each of us is it is as a witness to Christ, as one who declares the wonderful deeds of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. As it is with the individual, so it is with a group of Christians. We have been given the power of the Gospel of forgiveness. This is the compass and stabilizer for our group’s movement, as well as the heart for the individual’s life trip.

In life’s Divine Manual besides the direction being given us geographically, the will of God is explicitly stated. He is forbearing, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9 Our God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim. 2:4 Not only do we go and witness knowing it is God’s desire, it is also a fact. God in Christ has forgiven all mankind their sins. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” 2 Cor. 5:19-20 As ambassadors for Him we seek an audience for His Word. If they will not allow us to speak or if upon hearing they reject it, then the door would appear closed. But notice that we make the attempt to present the Gospel message as His emissaries. We see the closed door demonstrated after the attempt to give the Good News by those of the seventy, “But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’” Lk. 10:10-11 On Paul’s first missionary venture after an initial receptiveness at Antioch in Pisidia they “stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and went to Iconium.” Acts 13:50-51 The door closed for a time. But then Paul returned to that city of persecution as well as the others strengthening the souls of the converts.

In sending out the twelve the Lord also said the same to them as He did to the seventy on the closed door, “And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.” Mk. 6:11 In that of the twelve and of the seventy the clearly stated assumption prior to the marking of the closed door is that they went and sought to gain a hearing for the Word. In Paul’s case at Antioch of Pisidia he and Barnabas were there, had preached, and the Spirit had converts. Then the door was closed.

How can we today determine if a door is open or closed to the Word? There will be no vision of a man of Macedonia beckoning to a certain place in a dream, nor will there be a divine revelation of the Spirit to stay clear of yet other places. All the world we should assume is the open door until we see through the exercize of common sense that the place, town, district or nation is closed to the Word. Individually also we should assume there are far more opportunities (open doors) to witness through than we have taken advantage of.

And then we have an old saying that where there is a will there is a way. How about Bible smuggling? North Korea has been in the news lately. Bibles are being smuggled into the ‘closed’ country of North Korea. Into closed communist countries Bibles were smuggled in. This has gone on in the past and is going on today, Praise God! Just check out Brother Andrew, God’s smuggler. In the April issue of ‘Voice of the Martyrs’ they have a map showing the countries where it is difficult, dangerous and even illegal or highly restrictive to bring Bibles in. In the list there are at least fifteen Muslim countries were the Bibles need to be smuggled in. We need to be like the apostles and consider how we must obey God rather than man in this area. Acts 5:29