Open Doors – Closed Doors
The third reality concerning God’s revival is that the time for seeing it is now. It started in Acts 2 with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and it is God’s will that it continue throughout these end times. Peter preached it clearly: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…” (Acts 2:16) We are not waiting for God to do anything special. To the contrary, He’s probably waiting on us to do something special!
In the midst of terrible persecution, the early Church of Acts needed a full assurance that what they were doing was the will of God. There could be no room for doubt that it was the time and place for revival. These were men who hazarded their lives for the gospel and there was too much to lose if they were wrong. In Acts 4, Peter and John were apprehended by the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem and severely threatened. They were commanded to never preach or teach again in the name of Jesus. They answered strongly that they were compelled to continue witnessing about what they had personally experienced. They then called for the church to come together and pray with them. They prayed for boldness and courage. Why? They knew that they were called, and they had the strong conviction that this was the time for an apostolic move of the Holy Ghost in them and through them! During the prayer meeting, the house where they were assembled shook with God’s powerful witness that they were fully in His will. Then, again in chapter 5 they are arrested and brought before the authorities for the crime of preaching the truth. The answer in verse 29 is a well-known one, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” How true and how powerful this statement is! In the face of doubt, threats and open persecution, this should be our response: the time is now for what we must do! It started in Acts 2 and is continuing today if we will but enter into it with the same kind of dedication and spiritual resolve that the apostles had.
Much has been written concerning the messages to the “angels of the seven churches” of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Some see them as simple letters to different parts of the early Church, others as the “evolution” of the Church through its various stages. Whatever may be the actual intent and definite meaning of the letters, it is worth noting the last two of these “letters.” The messages to the church of Philadelphia and to the church of Laodicea have something in common. They also are the last two to be addressed before what many theologians believe to be the timing of the Rapture of the Church. The commonality in these two passages in Revelation 3 is a door.
The two churches are described differently, with different spirits completely. Philadelphia is shown to be a faithful group that has kept the word of the Lord’s patience through times of difficulty. A promise is given to those who will be overcomers and eventually known as pillars in the temple of God. When trials were so hard in the church there, the saints kept a little strength and never denied the name (or the will) of the Lord. In verses 7-8, however, we read of the secret to this enduring faithfulness. The Lord had set before them an open door, a door that no man could shut. This was a door that had been opened by God Himself, and once opened, no man had the power to close it. And it was a door that, when closed by the Lord, no man was able to reopen it. For the faithful of the church in Philadelphia, the key to their reward lay in working and living their faith by an open door experience. Their door was open, the time was right, and no man could shut the opportunities that were in front of them. They simply were obedient to the call and the time.
Later in verses 15-19, however, we read of a different spirit completely. The saints in the Laodicean church had become self-satisfied and foolish in their outlook on Christian life. They were “rich” and increased with goods to the point of considering themselves as in need of nothing. In actual fact, the Lord labeled them as “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” What a combination of attributes for a church! Then, in verse 20, we read of another door. This is a door that has been closed by men, and the Lord is unable to open it! Rather, He stands at the door and gently knocks, hoping that someone inside will open so that He can enter and truly fellowship with him. If the door is not opened from the inside, the Laodiceans will forever be left in their pitiful and carnal condition. Yet the promise of overcoming is still there for them, too. All it takes is opening this door.
Today’s Church must recognize the need for complete submission to the Lord, and also the need for response according to the times in which we live. We really are closer to the coming of the Lord than ever before. There really are more lost souls than ever before. And a self-centered and inward assessment that declares that we have somehow reached the height of holiness and now are in need of nothing will only preclude the promised revival. The time for revival is indeed right now!
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