May 23, 2010
On the Offensive – Part 2
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Time:
Revelation 3: 7-13
Scripture: 
Topics: 

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Transcript

(00:01):
Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Revelation 3. I had intended to finish this letter this morning, but with so many things going on in the service, we’re going to take a second look, and then with the breaking of bread service next Sunday morning, we’ll wrap this one up next Lord’s day. But we’re going to continue to look at Jesus’ words to the church at Philadelphia. If you’re visiting with us this morning, this is the staple diet of our Sunday morning service. We just work our way through passages or books in the Bible expositionally, and allow God’s spirit to take his word and post it into our hearts with a fresh message from God.
(00:47):
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, “These things, says he who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens. I know your works. See, I have sat before you an open door and no one can shut it for you. Have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied my name. Indeed, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie. Indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet. And to know that I have loved you because you have kept my command to persevere. I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which will come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the Earth. Behold, I am quickly coming. Hold fast what you have. Let no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God. The new Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven from my God. And I will write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.”
(02:17):
On this Memorial Day weekend. Let me begin my sermon by quoting General George Patton, one of the great American commanders in the Second World War. In a speech to his troops, General Patton said this. “There is one thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying we are holding our position. We’re advancing constantly. We’re not interested in holding anything except the enemy.” It’s a great quote. In fact, Patton’s motto was this, always take the offensive, never dig in. And if you were with us the last time we looked at this ladder, you’ll realize that that’s exactly the message that Jesus Christ has for the church at Philadelphia. It was a church certainly was holding its ground, holding its position for Jesus Christ. They had not denied his name. They had not forsaken their faith despite the opposition and despite the obstacles. But the Lord Jesus Christ has something more for them. He sets before them an open door that speaks of an opportunity for greater service and wider impact for the kingdom of God.
(03:33):
And so, the Lord Jesus Christ challenges this church. “Don’t be digging in. I want you to go on the offensive.” And you and I want to be challenged by that. I think there’s a real danger. Given in increase in opposition of Christians and Christianity in our culture, that you and I could fall foul to the idea of spending our time defending our end zone. Protecting what we have out of fear of losing that which is ours. And I don’t want to say that’s wrong. In fact, that is something you and I must do. But it mustn’t be all that we do. Jesus wants us on the offensive. Jesus doesn’t want us digging in, hunkering down. He doesn’t want us simply to hold on. He wants us to break out and break through the enemy lines. He wants us to not forget the joy of scoring in the other end zone. And so, I want to be challenged by that, and I’m sure you do also.
(04:42):
Now, we started to look at this letter under three headings. We covered the first one the last time we were together. We looked at the key which speaks of power. Verse 7, “These things says He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one shuts and shuts, and no one opens.” Like every letter, this letter begins with a profile on the Lord Jesus Christ. And we saw two things. We saw his deity and we saw his dominion. The Lord Jesus Christ describes himself here as the one who is holy and the one who is true. And we won’t rehash what we looked at the last time, but it’s fairly clear that when Jesus Christ calls himself holy, he’s laying claim to equality with God because holiness is the essential attribute of deity.
(05:36):
And we saw that our Lord Jesus Christ is more than a prophet, certainly more than a mere man. He’s God in flesh. He’s the incarnate deity dwelling amidst humanity. And this part of this letter, as with this book squashes any little ideas that we might have of the Lord Jesus. Then we looked at his dominion. Having spoken of his deity, the Lord Jesus then goes on to speak of his dominion. He speaks about holding the key of David. We reminded ourselves that David’s name is often associated with the messianic office, and coming kingdom, and Jesus Christ here says he has the keys into that kingdom. It’s a throwback to an incident in Isaiah 22 where we read of Eliakim, and how he has the keys to the treasury of the king of Israel, and access into the king’s presence.
(06:39):
And we saw that that was indeed a foreshadowing of the one who would come and say, “I am the way. I am the truth, I am the life. No man comes to the father, but by me. There’s only one way to heaven. That’s through the one door that God indeed has set before us, the Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s not possible to move beyond Christianity without leaving it behind. There’s only one savior. There’s only one sacrifice. There’s only one name. There’s only one way. And we see in that Jesus’ dominion. But we move on now. We’ve not only looked at the key which speaks of power. And this is where we’ll kind of camp this morning. I want you to notice the door which speaks of possibility. The door which speaks of possibility. Let’s move on in the text of verse 8. “I know your works. See I have set before you and open door, and no one can shut it for you have a little strength, have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
(07:56):
There’s two doors in this letter. The first is in verse 7. It’s the door of salvation. Jesus has told us he’s the one who has the key of David. He opens the door into the kingdom, and no one can shut it. He closes it, and no one can open it. The second door is the door of service in verse 8. We have already established that Christ is the gatekeeper into God’s kingdom. He’s the door into heaven. He’s the turnstile to eternal salvation. But Jesus odds to that idea, this idea. That he who is the door, opens the door for people to find him. Who is the door? That’s what we have here in verse 8. “Hey, I’m the door. I’m the only way to God. I’m the one mediator between God and man, and I want people to come to know me so that I might introduce them to my father. Therefore, I want to open a door for them to find me, the door.” And so he says to this church, “Hey, I’ve sat a door before you, the door that’s going to lead them to me. The gatekeeper to the kingdom.”
(09:16):
This is a door of service. This speaks of an opportunity to preach the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ to a wider audience. In fact, if you trace the idea of an open door through the New Testament, you’ll see that it is consistently and clearly a metaphor for a wonderful opportunity to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. And also of God’s gracious work in creating a receptive audience. And doesn’t just speak of an open door, it speaks of open hearts that lie on the other side of that open door. Hearts that have been prepared by the work of the Holy Spirit. Hearts that are ready for you to open your mouth, and tell them of the good news, and the everlasting hope that’s to be found in the Lord Jesus. If you’re taking notes, write these verses down. Look at them in your own time.
(10:11):
The next chapter 14:27. It speaks of Paul and Barnabas’s first missionary report to the Jerusalem conference, and how the Lord had taken the gospel to the Gentiles. And we read in Acts 14:27 and how God had opened the door of faith onto the Gentiles. Not only had God given them an opportunity to preach the gospel, but God had prepared people to receive it. The next chapter, our 1 Corinthians 16:9. What does Paul say about the challenges he faced in Ephesus? “A great door and a factual is opened onto me, and there are many adversaries.” It wasn’t planned sealing, but God was doing something in Ephesus, and Paul describes it as an open door. What does he pray for in Colossians 4:3? And he encourages the Colossians to pray with them that God would open onto us a door of utterance. So, this metaphor and the image of the door is either used in the New Testament of the door of salvation, or the door of service.
(11:29):
In verse 7, we’ve got the door of salvation. Jesus is the one who has the key of David. In verse 8, we have the door of service as he calls his church to take this message through the open door that God had set before them. The open door that leads to open hearts. Now, before we move on, I want you to notice the movement of this text. Did you notice the natural progression of the text? The spiritual migration of the Christian? We go in the door of salvation, and we go out the door of service. That’s what ought to happen in the life of everyone who professes faith in the Lord Jesus. You come to know Jesus Christ, and then you want to make him known to those who don’t know him. That’s the way it works. If that’s not happening in your life, your Christian life is misfiring. It’s in the door of salvation and out the door of service.
(12:37):
We don’t have time to turn to it, but if you want to make a note of it, John 1:35-42, you’ve got that wonderful incident where John introduces two of his disciples to the one of whom John is a disciple, the Lord Jesus Christ. And in the text identifies one of them, his name’s Andrew. And Andrew does what? Having gone through the door of salvation himself, the Bible says, “And Andrew went to his brother Peter.” And what does Andrew say? “Hey, you got to come with me. I’ll find the Messiah.” And it says, “And he brought him to Jesus.” Andrew’s the Patron Saint of the Rank and File of the Church of Jesus Christ. He’s an example of what we all can do and what we all must do. God may not call us all to be evangelists in the strictest sense of the word, but we’re all called to be Andrew’s witnesses. We’re all called to bell bridges to people over which the gospel can be carried.
(13:40):
J C Ryle said, “No candle, which God lights was ever meant to burn alone.” How true. That’s what you’ve got going on here. Here’s a church that had capped the word. Clearly identified, they had capped the word, but they were also to give it away. We’re to keep it but not keep it to ourselves. We’re to keep it in the sense we’re to protect it so that when we share it, it’s the real gospel, the full gospel. But we’re to keep it so that we can indeed give it away. And the Christian life is one where we go through the door of salvation, and go out through the door of service.
(14:24):
Now, for a few moments, I want to make a start on what I’m calling God’s open door policy. I want us to look at this open door, and within the text, bring some things out concerning it. Because remember, God has set this challenge before this church to go through the open door, which represents some opportunity that they were aware of you would assume to have a wider witness for Jesus Christ. They weren’t just to guard their own end zone, they were to go and score in the other end zone. They weren’t just to protect the gospel, they were to proclaim the gospel. Few things, if you’re taking notes, open doors require foresight. Open doors require foresight. The fact is that the church at Philadelphia needed to open their eyes to see the opportunities that lay all around them to make an impact for the kingdom of God. Look at verse 8. “I know your works. See, Jesus is calling them to use the organs of perception. See, I have sat before you an open door.”
(15:36):
He wants to call to their attention the opportunity that they had to be a wider witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. They needed to see beyond what they saw and catch a vision for what God was willing to do through them in the lives of those around them. You and I need to be challenged by that because I don’t know what your set of circumstances are, but if this is a word for us, and I believe it is because verse 13 says, “He who has an ear let him hear what the spirit’s saying to the churches.” Remember, these are 7 churches representative of other churches in Asia Minor who are representative every other church of every other age. And one would want to assume while there’s an historical context, which is the primary interpretation of this text. One would want to assume there’s a secondary application that God has set before us open doors. That’s individually.
(16:40):
God has you in particular places in Orange County, places that I cannot be. Places that other people in this church cannot be. Some of us are in law enforcement, in the military, in the medical field, in the educational field, and we could go on. How strategic is that? And God has you there, and he has set you there, and he’s set before you an open door there. Because he wants you to be a witness there, okay? Doesn’t want you hiding onto your desk, wants you to being a witness for the Lord Jesus. And you’ve got to have the foresight and the vision. And you’ve got to have that mindset as you get up to see beyond what you see. To not just assume that people aren’t interested, and that the place that you’re in is not fertile soil for the gospel. You’ve got to believe that there are doors that are opening all around you if you have eyes to see.
(17:45):
John 4, Jesus engages a woman in conversation which was unusual for rabbis in that day. And then to butch, she’s a Samaritan which makes it a double whammy. And his disciples look and they go, “Hey, Jesus is speaking to that woman and she’s a Samaritan.” And they just watch what unfolds. The Lord Jesus engages this woman in conversation. She’s thirsty for reality and for redemption. Jesus talks to her about water. She’s at a well, but this is water that once you drink it, you never thirst again. This is the gospel. The woman hears it. She’s challenged by it, and she goes back into the city, it says in verse 28, with her water pot. And says to her friends, “Come see a man who told me all things that ever I did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to him.
(18:55):
They scroll down to verse 35. Jesus says to his disciples, “Do not say there are still four months and then comes the harvest. Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields for they’re already white for harvest.” I think at that moment the woman was coming out of the city with her friends, and their garments were shining in the sun like white fields. Jesus saying, “Hey, these folks are ready. The harvest is ready. This woman has heard the gospel, God is opening her heart. There’s an open door, there’s an open heart. Are you guys ready? For the fields are white.” God has always up to more than the human eye can see. All that disciples could see was this woman’s a Samaritan. Rabbis don’t do this. They were preoccupied with the issue of food, and they were prejudice by conventions and customs in their day. Jesus said, “Hey, do you see what I see?” They probably thought this woman was beyond redemption. And yet, Jesus said, “She’s like a field white on the harvest.”
(20:07):
Don’t work on the assumption that the people in your office are not as interested as you think. And that the office or the place you’re in is not fertile soil. And then, we need to be thinking as a church, how can we leverage every opportunity we have here for the gospel’s sake? In fact, the verb here is in the perfect in the Greek, which means a past action with ongoing results. Jesus saying, “I have opened a door and I continue to hold it open.” And so, he’s saying to the church at Philadelphia, “This is a prime time and a prime place for evangelism.” Let’s be honest, Orange County’s a prime place for evangelism, isn’t it? I mean, we’ve got more people to deal with than we can deal with. There’s people all around us, and we need to see that they are open doors.
(21:07):
Tomorrow morning, think of that primary spot where you work. Think of the door that takes you into that room and when you open that door tomorrow morning, I want you to think Revelation 3:8, “You have sat before me an open door. There’s people in here who Jesus wants me to speak to and reach for the gospel.” And remember the open door in the Bible implies that he’s already working on the other side of the door. We have to be sensitive and open. We’re not looking for opportunities, we’re looking at opportunities every time we look around us. Someone has said this, “Opportunity never comes. It’s here. It’s a question of will we get to it before it disappears?” Opportunity is always there for those who have eyes to see it and seize it. In fact, let me paint in a little bit of historical background here. I think fundamentally, when Jesus says to these believers, “Hey, I’ve sat an open door before you,” he’s speaking about the city they were in.
(22:20):
Philadelphia was founded in 140 BC for one overriding purpose. It was to be a base of operations for a campaign to Hellenize the world. Simply means that that city was founded to spread Greek language and Greek life. In fact, Sir William Ramsey, who’s done some great historical work on the Seven Churches, he says this. “Philadelphia was a missionary city from the beginning. It a secular sense, it was a missionary city. They were on a mission to spread Greek language, Greek life, and everything Greek. And I think Jesus is saying, “Hey, you’re in a city that wants to Hellenize the world. I want you to gospelize the world from where you are, and you’re in a prime spot to do it.” In fact, added to that is the geographical location of this city. Not just its historical genesis and its reason for being, but it was the ideal city among the seven cities mentioned in these letters for the spread of the gospel because it was located on one of the greatest highways in the world.
(23:40):
They were smack dab in the middle of a highway that led from Europe to the East. Open door, wouldn’t you say? Not just to Hellenize the world, but gospelize it. It’s a challenge I think, isn’t it? Helen Keller, the blind poet, once said, “There are none so blind as those who have eyes but do not see.” Jesus said to his disciples, “Look, the fields are white on the harvest. You see this Samaritan woman? She’s bringing people out of the city. They’re hungry for redemption. They’re hungry for reality.” In fact, when Paul was in Corinth, he had a tough time. Acts 18:9-11 tells us he was having a tough time when God met him, and said to him, “Hey, you stick it out because I have many people in this city.”
(24:40):
I was at a pastor’s retreat some time ago with Pastor Johnny Hunt from Woodstock Baptist Church in Atlanta, huge Southern Baptist church. And I was invited through a friend to enjoy a weekend with him and a number of pastors. And I remember one statement he made, “If you don’t see it before you see it, you’ll never see it.” You have to unpack that, but again, it’s do we look beyond what we see anticipating what God is doing, and what might be our role in the accomplishment of those things? Have you ever missed your exit? I have twice this week almost. Like a crazy man, I went over four lanes, thankfully there was no CHP around and exited where I needed to go. Oh, I knew what the exit was, but I was daydreaming. I was thinking about other things. It’s so easy to miss your exit. It’s the same spiritually speaking. We can be going breakneck speed through life, preoccupied with our stuff. What’s going on in our family? And yet, God wants us to exit through an open door into somebody else’s life for the purpose of the gospel.
(26:06):
Open doors require foresight. Secondly, open doors require fervor. Fervor. Open doors call for excitement, don’t they? And for engagement. An open door as a call to do something. Hey, I’ve sat before you an open door. You know the implication is come on through it, jump over the threshold. I’ve got something on the other side of it I want you to see and I want you to do. It’s a call to action. You’ve got it in Acts 16:6-10. Paul’s going through a number of regions and yet, he’s restrained by the Holy Spirit. Doors are closing. Then he comes down to Troas, and in the middle of the night he’s given a vision. A man from Macedonia’s saying what? “Come over and help us.” Closed doors, open door. Open door, a call to excitement. A call to engagement. It’s not enough just to see an open door. We must seize it, capitalize on it. And Jesus has sat before this church and surely sat before us an open door.
(27:25):
We’ve got all kinds of opportunities if we have eyes to see and the courage to seize the day that is ours to make an impact for Jesus Christ before the sun sets. They had an opportunity to move the chains up the field for the kingdom of God, and they had to act, and they had to act now. See, remember when we said this is in the perfect tense? “Hey guys, I have opened the door. It remains open.” But the implication is it could close, so act. Open doors require foresight and open doors require fervor. It is harvest time in the world, isn’t it? We’re told to sow. We’re told to plant. We’re told to water. And we’re told to expect increase from the hand of God. I Corinthians 3:5-9. “And God’s work is likened to a field, likened to a harvest. And the farmer has worked hard preparing the soil, planting the seed, and growing the crop. And when the harvest time comes, the crop must be captured.”
(28:36):
I pastored a little church in Northern Ireland called Carr Baptist Church. Half of the church were farmers. They had hands the size of baseball mitts. And I tell you, harvest time, they didn’t waste any time painting the barn, oiling the tractor, planting the floors outside the house. It was harvest time. The whole family was working in the field from dawn to dusk, bringing in the harvest because there was no time to waste while the sun shone. And before the sun set, the harvest had to be gathered in. And that’s Jesus’ image. We just read it, John 4. Guys, look, the harvest is ready. What are you doing painting the barn, oiling the tractor, planting flowers outside your house? Come on. It’s time to act and act now. We’ll try and get one more thought in. Qualification is an order. I thought this was helpful. It’s something that John Staud and his book on the Seven Churches brought to my attention. Maybe write this down. Think about it.
(30:00):
Our fervor to win people to Christ must nevertheless be made subject to Jesus’ work of opening the doors. Who opens the door? Jesus. And I think we must remember that. Okay, we’ve got to have foresight. We’ve got to look for the open door. We’ve got to have fervor and go through the open door. But it’s got to be a door he has opened. Christ alone has the keys, he opens the doors. And therefore, we are to go through the door that he is opening. It is not our job to open the door. It’s not our job to see of people. The open door and the open heart is a sovereign work of God. Let’s go back to the Act 16 story, okay? God has shunted Paul down to the coast. He’s now been called over to Macedonia. As he does that, he comes to Philippi. Who does he meet? Lydia. What does it say about Lydia? God had opened her heart. She gets saved and her whole family gets saved and they get baptized. It’s exactly what we’re looking for.

“I’ve sat a door before you Paul, and on the other side of the door, you’ll find open hearts on the other side of the open door. And I think you and I need to remind ourselves of that. The Lord must pry open the door to make the work of evangelism possible and profitable. Evangelism must never be an act of blunt force trauma. Hey buddy, you need to get saved right now. I’ve seen that. And you know what? God in the sovereignty sometimes miraculously, even works in the midst of that. But no, we are looking for open doors, those that Christ has set before us. Those hearts sovereignly prepared by God. And therefore, we need to be in prayer. We need to be walking in the spirit. We need to be open to those moments where God directs us like he did Philip to go and join himself to the chariot in Acts 8:26 following. “And there he found the Ethiopian eunuch of all things reading. Isaiah 53.” I think the door’s opening, isn’t it? What a coincidence.
(32:29):
Someone has said that a coincidence is where God works anonymously. That’s all it is. Listen to this. It is God that tells the soil of the human heart. It is God that breaks the stony heart to pieces. It is God that prepares the heart for the seed of his good word, and then God opens for us the gate into the field that he has made white on the harvest. Our job is to pray. Our job is to be available. Our job is to clearly speak and share the gospel. And our job is to look for the sun-ripened fruit that God is sending our way. And it’s all around us if we have good eyes to see, and the courage to reach out and pluck it for the glory of God.
(33:22):
That’s why we need to listen to John Staud. “Christ has the keys. He opens the doors. Then let us not barge our way unceremoniously through doors which are still closed. We must wait for him to make openings for us. Damage is continually done in the cause of Christ by rude and blatant testimony. It is indeed right to seek to win for Christ our friends and relatives at home and at work, but we are sometimes in a greater hurry than God. Be patient, pray hard, love much, and we are expectingly for the opportunity of witness. The same applies to our future. More mistakes are probably made by speed than by sloth, by impatience than deleterious. God’s purpose is often ripen slowly. If the door is shut, don’t put your shoulder to it. Wait ’til Christ takes out the key and opens it.” It’s challenging.
(34:17):
A while back I read a book by Jay Dennis on the life of Billy Graham. And in it he interviews Richard Bewes, Rector of All Saints Langham Place Church in London. In fact, that’s where Staud used to pastor. And he gave him an insight into the relationship between T.W. Wilson and Billy Graham. T.W. Wilson was like always at the side of Billy Graham. And he says, “One day I noticed, in fact, I noticed that over a week that they spent with me, that Billy Graham never went through the door first. T.W. would say, “After you Billy.” And then Billy would say, “Oh no, after you.” And he says, “I wondered why.” And then he began to think that’s exactly the role that T.W. Wilson has. He takes the calls for Mr. Graham. He goes ahead of him and sets up the campaigns. If someone’s asking to meet Billy Graham, he meets them first.”

“T.W., you first.” “No, Billy, you first.” “No, T.W., you first.” I think when you and I go through open doors, we always want to make sure that it’s Jesus Christ first, and then us second. Our evangelism will be much more profitable, much more helpful. Last and quick thought, open doors require faith. Open doors require faith. Did you notice what Jesus says here? “I’ve sat before you an open door and no one can shut it. For you have little strength, but you’ve kept my word and have not denied my name.” Sometimes the open door is so wide and the resources to meet it so narrow that it seems impossible. Therefore, open doors require faith. Such was the case with the church at Philadelphia. And I think such is the case often with you and with me. Jesus describes them as having little faith or little strength. That points to the fact that they had little known numbers, they were restricted in their resources, they were devoid of influence, and they were probably made up of the lower classes.
(36:40):
Remember what Paul says? “Not many noble, not many wealthy.” And you go, “Well, okay, here we’ve got a city trying to Hellenize the world, and it’s got the Roman Empire standing behind it. How do we a little assembly…” Jesus describes his people in Luke 12:32 as a little flock. God’s people will always be in the minority. Always in the minority. But that shouldn’t make us intimidated. It shouldn’t give us an inferiority complex. Because while we are few in number, limited in resources, devoid of influence maybe the least likely to succeed in the world’s eyes, our lack does not limit God. Our lack does not limit God, and that’s the whole point. Heaven is never in a recession. “Hey, I’m the Holy One. I’m true. I’ve got the key of David. And I’m setting before you an open door. You need to exercise some foresight, you need to exercise some fervor, and you certainly need to exercise some faith. Faith in me. I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. You link your feebleness to my fullness, and we’ll get somewhere.”
(38:13):
Listen to this as the team comes forward and we prepare to close. “Heaven’s work is never hampered for a lack of resources, but it is hampered for a lack of faith. A lack of obedience. A lack of sacrifice on our part.” Is that not true? I was thinking about this in my study on Friday, Romans 8:37. I read the verse, I quoted the verse in my mind, and then I slowly went back over the verse. “We are more than conquerors through him who loves us.” And I started to isolate some words. We are more than through Christ who loves us. That’s the way we need to think. Looking at ourselves, we’re not much. Looking at ourselves collectively, we don’t add up maybe to much given the needs. But we’re always more than through Christ. We can do more than we expect. We can endure more than we can take. We can achieve more than we can dream. We are more than through him who loves us.
(39:37):
More than conquerors. We are super conquerors, and that’s why we need to act abundantly, and we need to act audaciously. Little as much when God is in it, there should be no inferiority complex. It is the size of our faith in the greatness of God that will determine the impact of our lives. Think about that. It is the size of our faith, not the size of our church. Not the size of our resources that will determine the impact of our lives. This was the smallest city. This was the smallest church. But God sat before them a big open door for them to go through. I think I told you this story, the Lewis department store in Birmingham, England. Large chain store across the British Isles. It wanted to expand its department store in that city, and right adjacent to it was a small Quaker chapel. And they wrote the Quaker chapel a ladder basically tell them, “Hey, we’re out growing our space. We need to buy your property. Name your price.”
(41:01):
Month or two later, the Lewis headquarters, they receive a letter. “Dear Sir, we in the Franz meeting house note the desire of Lewis is to extend. We observe that our building is right in your way. We would point out however, that we’ve been in our site somewhat longer than you have been in yours, and we’re determined to stay here. So, we’re determined to stay and would happily buy Lewis’s department store. Please name your price.” The man who first read the letter took a double take and said, “Are these people crazy? This is ludicrous.” Until he looked at the bottom of the letter that was signed with the name “Cadbury.” Yeah, you get it. The owners of Cadbury went to that little Quaker chapel. They could name their price. And sometimes we forget who’s underwriting the work of the gospel across the world. The Lord who made heaven and Earth. The one for whom nothing is too difficult. The one who owns the cattle in a thousand hills. The Earth is his and the fullness they’re of.
(42:08):
The only thing’s going to limit our impact is our faith in God’s ability and God’s purposes for us. Let’s pray. Lord, we thank you for the challenge this morning. To be looking for open doors in each of our lives. Lord, help us to look a little closer where your cracking hearts open, where you’re turning the disinterested toward you. Lord, help us to look on a daily basis for the fields are white and the harvest is ready. And this is no time for us to spend our lives polishing our toys and manicuring in our gardens. It’s harvest time. Lord, help us indeed to act urgently and with fervor. And help us, oh God, to act with faith. Believing that what you call us to do, you’ll make a success of as we obey your word and your will.
(43:17):
Lord, we pray for those in the service this morning who haven’t yet opened their hearts to Jesus Christ, who is the one mediator between God and man. May they do it today before the sun sets on their life, and the doors of opportunity close because your word says you will not always strive with man. May they indeed find you this day. Lord, we pray that they won’t listen to the whispers of the evil one who always says, “Not today, tomorrow. Not today, tomorrow.” But the Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation.” Amen.