“On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles”.
Every missionary likes to come home to those who sent them. The church gathered to hear the stories of God’s grace. The team had completed their first missionary journey. To be home and share how God has worked through their lives was one thing but of most importance was the response from the Gentile world. They had responded to the gospel! God had opened a door.
Missionaries are not as concerned with open heavens as much as open doors. Open heavens are for stationary people inside buildings. Open doors are for people on the move, crossing borders, moving out and into enemy territory. What missionaries have learnt about open doors is that:
- Open doors come through prayer. Paul writing from a Roman Jail doesn’t pray to be released from prison but instead asks his Colossian friends to “pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah “(Colossians 4.3).
- Open doors can be found behind closed doors. When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he makes it clear that the gospel had spread because others were praying for open doors: “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advancement of the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is for Christ. Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly” (Philippians 1.12-14). What appeared, on the surface, to be a “closed door” for Paul (his imprisonment) had actually turned into an “open door” for him to preach Christ among the authorities and guards who held him, and also gave confidence for his brothers to preach Christ fearlessly on the outside.
- Open doors can be missed. The parable of the Good Samaritan shows us that our neighbour who we are called to love is anyone who is there. The Samaritan cared for the Jew simply because the Jewish man was there. He wasn’t going looking for a Jew to care for. It was an open door.
In one sense we are called to be missionaries whether in Jerusalem or to the ends of the earth. Therefore we should all seek for God to open doors so that we can share the gospel. Maybe He will do that today for you!