February 20, 2000       The Church with the open door.        Rev. 3

By Ronald E. George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church

As we move into the 21st century, the church should take note of the following:
"The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious."
-- The Marketing Imagination

Scripture Text:

Rev. 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

1. The church that has passed through the door 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it… God has given us the window of opportunity with the open door to church revival. As a church the Lord has given us an open door. The time is now for us as a church to step through the door to become the 21st century church. It is time to step through it to become the 21st century church of the living God.

2. The door swings both ways. We have to be willing to allow others to come in to join the work of the Lord. And, we have to be willing to go out and bring them in that they may know that there is a living God. There is only one God. And he is the one that we long to bring them to. Holding the door and going out both involve your desire to go with the Lord.

3. The church that doesn’t let the door slammers keep them out. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee… Some will come to try to stop the doors from opening to allow the lost to come in and the church to go out. While many churches are saving for a rainy day, this church is opening it's doors to many by investing time, talent, and treasurers in an effort to make sure that the church is fitting to be a place of worship. And that the doors of the church are made wide open to the masses of people who have never received Christ.

4. The church that persists to open the door for others. Are you holding the door? Resistance is furious, but the doors of hell will not stop the church. You have the keys to the gates.

"It's not whether you get knocked down. It's whether you get up again." -- Vince Lombardi, football coach, who took over the Green Bay Packers in 1959 after the team had lost 10 out of 12 games in the previous season. Selling Magazine, June 1995, p.65.

5. Timing is everything. . These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; Don't allow the door slammers to keep us from opening the door to those who stand without. Time will run out. He will close the door for you, for me, and for us as a church. When God called Noah to build the ark, God closed the door to the before the rain came. God had closed the door. We have to step through or open the door at just the right time. If you don't then you will slam the door in someone's face or you will have the door hit you in the nose.

6. Commitment is vital. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Without commitment when the first hurdle comes you will fall flat to never get up. Are you commited to the task of becoming the church that God wants us to be? Are you ready to step through the door? Come tonight to step through the open door given to us by the Lord.

Commitment takes a person to a whole new level when it comes to success. Look at the advantages of commitment as described by motivational speaker Joe Griffith:

You cannot keep a committed person from success. Place stumbling blocks in his way, and he takes them for stepping-stones, and on them he will climb to greatness. Take away his money, and he makes spurs of his poverty to urge him on. The person who succeeds has a program; he fixes his course and adheres to it; he lays his plans and executes them; he goes straight to his goal. He is not pushed this side and that every time a difficulty is thrust in his way. If he can't go over it, he goes through it.

-- Joe Griffith, Speaker's Library Of Business, Prentice-Hall, 1990, p. 55.

Are you ready to step through the door?

In a recent NCAA cross-country championship held in Riverside, California, 123 of the 128 runners missed a turn. One competitor, Mike Delcavo, stayed on the 10,000 meter course and began waving for fellow runners to follow him. Delcavo was able to convince only four other runners to go with him. Asked what his competitors thought of his mid-race decision not to follow the crowd, Delcavo responded, "They thought it was funny that I went the right way."

Delcavo was one who ran correctly. In the same way, our goal is to run correctly; to finish the race marked out for us by Christ. We can rejoice over those who have courage to follow, ignoring the laughter of the crowd. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness." (2 Tim. 4:7-8)