I have had the phrase "Open Door" in my head for a few days now. I think it's thanks to my wonderful friend Ursula. Does anyone else live in the kind of Christian community where certain phrases are quite "fashionable"? I mentioned the other day that when I spent my 2 years in SGM a popular phrase was; "I am the worst sinner I know". Another preaching cliche was; "We will never move past the old rugged Cross". Well going slightly further back to my 20 or so years at New Covenant Church in Dunstable - it was quite fashionable to talk about "doors".
Here's an example of how it could be used for those unfamiliar with it;
"The Lord closed that particular door to me ... I am praying for a door to open so that I may ... why won't this door open?! It just seems totally shut! ... The door seems to be shutting so I may have to give up on that particular idea".
And so on! But last night I was having a rare night at home sleeping in my own bed and I kept dreaming about "open doors". In all sorts of shapes and forms and sizes. From the domestic house door to the massive gates on a medieval castle. They were all open! Open! And when I woke up a verse from Revelation (3:8) was going through my mind;
"'I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name".
I don't know if that's where Ursula got her blog name inspiration from but I must admit to getting slightly delirious when I let the implications of that Scripture sink into my mind. That surely is one of the New Covenant promises that Rob was addressing in his sermon - that become ours if we realise;
"Every promise God has made is yes and amen in Christ! So every promise - it's His absolute will for you to live in the benefits and fullness of New Covenant promises! Yet most Christians hardly live in any of them. What's the reason? The condition for all the promises to work is not you being more obedient or more holy or fasting or coming back under the law. The way you are going to come into every promise being fulfilled is that you get established in righteousness as a gift".
So when we realise that we are in the same situation as Abraham - if we will simply realise that God WANTS to bless us then that will be credited to us as righteousness and that's it then this "open door" truth becomes one for us all! I know I can write honestly that I've experienced the frustration of what feels like a "shut door". But if a door is open in heaven that NO MAN can shut then surely any door or gate on earth stands NO HOPE!
Ern Baxter used to comment on something Jesus said and it was ever so funny. He recalled the words of Jesus; "The gates of hell shall not prevail" and he said that Christians everywhere interpret that verse wrongly and speak of it as how we will retreat into our Christian strongholds and be safe from hell's gates. But Ern said;
"I have not ever been attacked by a gate! I have never seen a gate jump off it's hinges and chase me down the street!".
No rather what Jesus meant was that in the power of the New Covenant we will advance through the world with the advancing flame of the Gospel of grace and even the darkest, most strongest gates cannot withstand the marching New Covenant church! Even hell itself - the gates must burst open! Jesus Himself said that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church! That sounds pretty triumphant to me! When is the Church going to wake up and realise the power and glory of these truths!?