Steven Furtick - Knocking Through The No
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Today I'm going to do exactly what I said I would do last week. I'm going to continue in the stream of teaching we started. I'd like to read you a Scripture, and then I'll sit you down. Then I'll tell you a story, and then you'll get excited. You'll stand up. You'll be shouting, throwing stuff at the stage, and the Lord will be glorified. I'm not going to exegete this verse, but just to set the table from Revelation 3:20… Jesus said, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me". I want to teach you a skill today that I know is going to help you to pursue everything God has put in your heart in the coming year, in the days ahead. It's something I've had to apply to my life, so such as I have I give unto you. I want to teach you about the skill of Knocking Through the No. Let's pray one more time that God would saturate our hearts with his Word today.
You've said you were here, Lord. We take you at your word. Whatever mountain we're standing on, whatever valley we're going through, you're with us. We thank you, Immanuel, Word made flesh. Make this Word flesh today. I offer myself to you. I'm just 5'8-1/2" and I don't know that much, but you can have my vocal cords, my lips, my tongue, my mind. I offer them to you. I pray that every person who logged on today or came to church would get exactly what they need from you…maybe not even what they asked for, but what they need from you. I trust you to do it. I thank you in advance. In Jesus' name, amen.
One day, when I finish my preaching ministry and go to take my rest with Moses and Elijah and Charles Spurgeon and Billy Graham, I know that probably I won't be in all of these books as a preacher where they're quoting my sermons 100 years from now. I don't even really feel like that's my intention. I'm satisfied, honestly, as a preacher, not if they put me in a book for 100 years from now. I'm not saying anything that deep up here, and I'm not making any of this up up here before people have already said it. I'm satisfied just if I can get you to put it on a sticky note and put it on a mirror in your house and it can get you through Monday. I know that might sound like a low goal, but let's be honest. With all of the voices, opinions, and insights that are flooding our phones, our minds, and our lives, even if we could just get a word to get us through the week, that's a powerful thing.
Last week, I did something that was so simple it felt almost silly. I did notice, though, that the simpler stuff is stickier sometimes. In order to get the message to stick sometimes… Not because I don't respect your intelligence. There's nothing I hate more than a preacher who will just pander to the audience, trying to get a laugh or a shout and really not saying anything of substance. I'm not aiming to be that either. Trust me. But just so we can have a handle to carry the suitcase out with, I'll try to give you something to think about.
Last week, I was getting you to think about where in your life you have been saying, "One day when…" and I held up this very note card. "One day when I get a bigger house, we're going to have some people over. We're going to make some friends one day when we get a bigger house, because we don't have a big enough house right now for them, but one day when we get it we're going to entertain. One day when we get these kids out of the house, that's when we're going to start making some friendships and everything". Then you die lonely and with a clean house, a small one, because you have to step out in order to expand. You have to start with what you have in order to see what it can be. I want you to have a vision for your life beyond today, and so does God.
That's why he said in Jeremiah 29:11, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future". It's wonderful to dream about that bigger house or the resources to really be able to do the things God has put in your heart or the things you would enjoy doing or create the experiences you want your family to have…to send them to college and they don't have to pay it off until they're 97, to be able to step into a season of your life that's not such a struggle to survive all the time. I join my faith with yours for all of the things you're believing God for, all of them that he put in your heart. In accordance with Psalm 37:4, may he give you the desires of your heart as you delight yourself in him.
I am convinced that the way we will get to this one day when you are free of the addiction, this one day when you are capable of expressing yourself with greater clarity, this one day when you will feel a closeness and nearness to God that is unencumbered by the demonic oppression that has been haunting you these last six months… The way we will get to the "one day when" is through the power of the one-day win. Everybody who woke up this morning with a new 24, make some noise. You know, like an offensive rebound in basketball and the shot clock would go all the way back to 0:24. Well, that's what happened when you woke up this morning. You got a new 24. "Yeah, but I really messed it up yesterday". We're not here praising the God of yesterday. Jesus said, "Here I am. I stand at the door and knock".
Didn't I just read you the Scripture? Revelation 3:20. He said, "Here I am," not "There I was". "You should have been there. You missed it". Not "There I'm going to be one day when" but "Here I am". Somebody shout, "God is here"! Tell your neighbor. Elbow them a little bit. Say, "Give me some room. God is here". "Give me some room. Scoot over a little bit. God is with me in this seat. God is with me in this marriage. God is with me in this singleness. God is with me in this transition. God is with me in this debt. God is with me in this custody battle. God is with me". Tell them, "I need some room. God is with me". Building upon that concept of the one-day win, just to let you know that God has given you the strength you need for today and the faith you need for tomorrow, let's go a little deeper into this principle. Are you ready?
All right. If you like to take notes, you might want to write this down. The doors of tomorrow's opportunity swing on the hinges of today's obedience. Let's talk about that for a little bit, not from my life or your life, but let's zoom all the way out and go to a place called Shunem. Shunem is a city in the Old Testament where the prophets would stop by and often receive their word from God. If you were a prophet in the Old Testament, it was different than being a preacher today. You weren't just trying to stand up in a sermon, holding up some note cards and hoping people will remember what you preached about on Tuesday. You spoke a word from God, and it could literally rout the enemy in another direction…the military enemy, not the enemy like sadness or something like that.
Elisha is the prophet I want to tell you about. He would speak to the king and tell the king where the enemy had set up camp so the king could avoid it or prepare for it and obliterate him. He was a very valuable… He was an MVP. He was a most valuable prophet. For that reason he lived a lonely life. When he would get to Shunem, the Bible says in 2 Kings 4:8-17, there was a woman in Shunem… In fact, let's pick up the story right there. "One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal". I urge you to pay every bit of attention you have to every word that comes up here, because all of them matter. Some of these little words in this text are hinges for you to understand what God wants to do in your heart. I'm going to start that verse over so you can really listen.
"One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, 'I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.'" That's what Holly says about me when y'all aren't around. Verse 10: "Let's make…" "I've got an idea. Hey, go down to IKEA. It doesn't have to be fancy". "Let's make a small room on the roof…" "We don't need more square footage to do this. We just need more simple faith. We don't need more square footage to do this. We already have room for it on the roof. We just need to take the roof we already have and turn it into a room". Why? "Well, I want to put a bed and a table and a chair and a lamp". This is getting expensive. "I want to put this room together for this prophet Elisha". "Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us".
This was a different day, so the technology would not enable Elisha to give them a heads-up. She said, "I believe in what this man is speaking so much, and I feel compelled to do something for him. I can't preach like him. I don't have a whole lot of space, but there is a room on the roof. What I'd like to do is four simple things. I'd like to get a chair and a bed and a table and a lamp. I just want to set it up so that whenever he comes, however he comes, for whatever he comes, he can stay there". And she did that. The Bible says in verse 11, "One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room…" Whose room? A few days ago it was her roof, but now with the power of an idea, the power of an initiative, the simple response of a woman and a trip to the store, it's his room. One day when he came to Shunem and he was doing whatever he was doing… Remember, he has already eaten several of her meals.
Now she has expanded the offer and given him an open-door policy to be able to say, "Whenever you stop by, whenever you need to rest, whenever your travels bring you through Shunem… We know you have options, but there will always be… You don't need an Airbnb. You don't need a Vrbo. When you pass through, you can stay here". I wonder. Does Jesus have that kind of open invitation in your life? "Lord, when you're looking to encourage someone, when you're looking to make a difference, when you are looking to right a wrong, when you are looking to meet a need… Whenever you want to come through, you can stay here. I made a room for you". Now, for all of the things you want God to do in your life this year and all of the things I want him to do in mine, because I have my list too, the question is…Have you made room for him to do it? Whatever the answer is to that, it's okay. That's where we're going to start.
Remember, it started as a roof, and it turned into a room. I think that's a revelation in itself. The roof can become a room. I think it's significant that a roof is the highest part of the house. I think it is significant that if she had looked all around in the house she would not have had a place for the prophet to stay. How many know sometimes you have to go higher in order to see the opportunity God has given you? Tell your neighbor, "I appreciate your opinion, but sometimes I've got to go higher". "I know you don't think I can do it, but you don't have to think I can do it. I know I don't look capable of it, but I don't have to look capable of it". Man looks at the outward appearance; God looks at the heart.
So, for everybody who is still dealing with a root of rejection from somebody who didn't see your potential or an opportunity that wasn't extended to you because you didn't fit the bill, I came with a word. Go higher! There's a room on the roof. I almost preached a whole message called "There's Room on the Roof". What is impossible with man is possible with God, because his ways are not your ways and his thoughts are not your thoughts. I'm going higher this year. I'm going to the top floor in 2024. "One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there". The room she built for him with no ulterior motive. Motives matter. The room she built for him because it was the right thing to do. The room she built for him completely flexible to the schedule of the purpose of God and when the purpose of God would pass through.
Some of us cannot be used by God because we want to stipulate all of the times he can do the things he wants to do in our lives for when we are ready and refreshed and reset, but she had a different kind of obedience to God. I have three things for you to take notes on. The very first thing you are going to have to be to be the kind of person who can see the kinds of things you are dreaming about God doing in your spirit, not in your flesh; in your heart of hearts, not in your habits… The first thing is you're going to have to be obedient. I didn't expect a shout on that, and you didn't deliver one. Good thing we were on the same page. I expected your stank face, and you gave me one, so we're good. I was ready for that response. Yet there's nothing in the text that says God told her to build the room. The Lord didn't say, "Build a room. Please build a room. Would you please build a room"?
I'm going to tell you why God didn't tell her to build a room: because God had options. Anybody could have built that room. It's a privilege to obey God. Sometimes when I stand up and greet you I want to say, "Thank you for coming to church," but then that doesn't even feel right. On a human behalf I am thankful, because I'm really glad you're here. Don't get me wrong. So thank you. But we know we didn't do God a favor when we came today, right? We know that, right? Just so we know that. God wasn't like, "If Teresa would worship me today, I could have all power. Man! If Jimmy would just give me the praise today, I could really get it done in the work. I just need a Jimmy praise today. If Peter would pray…" No, God doesn't need any of that. The kind of obedience I'm talking about in your life is very different than the human definition of obedience. Words do change over time. Phone used to mean something you talked to somebody else on when I was a kid.
Now if my phone rings for somebody to call me I'm annoyed because they interrupted the video I was watching on the phone. Phone is very different now. Listen to me. Obedience was different back then. Obedience to the Word of God was different back then. We don't do well with obedience to God in our culture. We are drowning in too many opinions to respect the power of simple obedience to God. I will not lie to you and tell you that I always know what God is telling me to do. I will say that every time I know he's telling me to do it and I don't do it, it blocks me up inside. I start blaming everything around me, but what I'm blaming on the outside is usually a result of what I'm blocked from on the inside. I need to establish that this obedience the woman demonstrated was not to the word of a man or the suggestion of a TikTok influencer. Her obedience was directed by her inner compulsion for what God was calling her to do. She says to her husband…
Now, he's the real obedient one. Right? "Go get a table. Go get a chair". We always preach about "Wives, obey your husbands". Well, here, the husband obeyed the wife and they all got blessed. I'll preach this at Reflect next year. Anyway, she said, "Let's just do it". The word that unlocked it for me wasn't that God said, you know, "On January 14 (or whatever time you happen to be watching this in the future), I want you to start a new business and file the papers of incorporation". "On January 14, I want you to ask her out. See her, third row in the back? I want you to join the Welcome team next year and give her a special welcome with your phone number". There's no specific word from God that tells her to do this. She did it to accommodate the purpose of God. You're about to be very impressed with this woman, if you're not already, because she said (verse 10), "He can stay there whenever he comes".
That's an open-door invitation for the prophet who preached the Word of God with power and rain came to the valleys in 2 Kings 3; the prophet of God who spoke the word and a widow's oil flowed in 2 Kings 4. She says to the prophet, "Hey, I want you to stay, and I want you to eat something, and I want you to know that whenever…" Stop trying to tell God the timeline. Stop trying to tell God when it should have happened by. Stop trying to control the timeline and start trusting the eternal God who sits on a throne. "Here I am," said Jesus. "I stand at the door and knock". What God has been teaching me lately in my life is that closed doors are important too, because sometimes what was behind that door that he closed would have killed me if he would have opened it before I was ready for it. Is this your word today? Is the Lord taking you up on the roof of your resources, the roof of your relationships? "Well, I don't have anybody in my life, so I feel very lonely".
Can I check your whole text thread for everybody you asked and reached out to? Or did you not even reach out and call it rejection? If I understand this text correctly, she opened the room. She set it apart. It wasn't apparent on the surface, but she took the space she had. God will not hold you accountable for what he didn't give you. God will not hold me accountable to preach Billy Graham's sermons. God will not hold you accountable to raise somebody who goes to Harvard if your kid is just supposed to graduate high school. He knows the plans he has for you and for them. I believe one of the reasons we can't see God do what he wants to do in our lives is there's no room for him to do it because our hearts are so crowded with what we think he should be doing because of what we've seen him do through others.
I was impressed by her obedience, but I was also impressed (this is the second thing you have to be) because not only was she obedient but she was open. Are you open? If God wants to do it through you… I know I'm being vague. In this woman's specific situation we're about to see what that thing was she needed that she didn't even know how to articulate anymore. Do you ever feel that way? "I know I need something right now, and I would reach out, and I hear you on that, but I don't even know how to articulate it. Besides that, when I came into church today and walked through those doors… You couldn't see it, Pastor Steven, but I was dragging disappointments behind me a mile long from every time I've had a new year and thought it was going to be different and it wasn't. From every time I told my friends, 'I'm going to get clean,' and now they kind of laugh at me when I say it. 'Yeah, we'll catch up with you in February and see how you're doing.' For every time I promised God, 'No, I'm really going to read my Bible this year.' And, Pastor, I haven't made it past Genesis 12, and I've been saying that every year".
(Genesis is the first book in the Bible in case you were slow catching on to that. That would be 12 days.) In case that's where you are today, let me give you this woman's story as an encouragement. This is an amazing story for those of you who are holding a disappointment in your heart as I speak to you right now. I never can tell what you carried with you when you came to church. I never can tell what you really have. I really don't know what happens when you close the doors at home. I can't tell that when you come in my doors on Sunday. I don't know what the conversations are like in your house. I don't know what the thoughts are like in your mind. I don't know what the doubts are like in the darkness. I don't know any of that, but this woman who was so great and so generous and so wealthy and so proactive… The Bible says in verse 11, "One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, 'Call the Shunammite.'"
That's the woman who built the room. We don't even know her name. She apparently wasn't in it for the credit. She wasn't in it for the glory. She wasn't in it for the approval of people. She was in it for the purpose of God. But how many know even if they don't call your name, God can? Even if they don't say, "Thank you," God can fill you with a blessing, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. God doesn't need them to call your name to know where to drop the package. He knows your name. He knows your neighborhood. He knows your zip code. What he has for you is for you, and nothing in heaven or hell can hold it back when he says it's time. I'm going to show you that now. I'm going to prove it to you from the text. Don't take my word for it.
Listen to this. He said, "Call the Shunammite". "So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to him, 'Tell her, "You have gone to all this trouble for us".'" "Appreciate the chair. Appreciate the lamp. Appreciate the bed. Appreciate the table". "Now what can be done for you"? "Now that you did all of this for us, what can be done for you"? That question, "What can be done for you?" and the answer to it hinges on what she did in verses 8 and 9. What God can do for you is not limited to who he is, because he's infinite. There's nothing he can't do for you, because he's God. There's nothing he can't accomplish, because he's God. So, the question is never…Can he do it for you? The question becomes…Have you given him room to do it? Or is your roof so cluttered with past hurts and expectations…? Are you even hearing me preach this message today or are you so bitter about the last church where you got your feelings hurt that you can't even receive the word of the Lord because somebody hurt you in church one time?
Yet I know you ate at a bad restaurant once in your life and you still eat. Are you really never going to enter heaven's restaurant again because of something that happened back then? Talk about disappointment. I want you to differentiate in your life that there is a big distinction between disappointment and bitterness. Disappointment does not stop God from producing in your life. Bitterness will. Bitterness will choke the seed of the Word of God before it has been watered. Bitterness will choke the seed of your hope and your potential before it has been developed. So I want you to watch a picture of this woman, because this is what I want you to be in 2024. Whatever happens, whatever doesn't happen, whatever "Yes" you get, whatever "No" you get, whoever likes you, whoever can't stand you, whoever likes you who you think can't stand you because you read too much into people… Whatever happens this year, whenever it happens, watch this woman who is disappointed but not bitter.
Watch what happens to this woman who is disappointed but not bitter. Can you forgive it? Can you move past it? Can you give God room to move through it? "What can we do for you"? He even has a specific idea. "How about I talk to the king for you? He owes me one". The king had just been in a drought, and Elisha said, "You'll hear no wind and you'll see no rain, but dig these ditches in the valleys and your troops will drink," and they did. "He owes me one. I just saved his butt. Let me go talk to the king for you. What do you need"? He said, essentially, "Do you need anything"? and she said, "No". Look at verse 13. "I have a home among my own people". "I don't need anything from you. You need something from me.
Now go back up to your room and lie down, take a nap, and sleep it off. I'm good". You know how guarded you are. You know how you won't let anybody give you any encouragement. The next time they start telling you you're good at it, just shut up and say, "Thank you". "Oh, no. I'm not that good. I'll tell you". I can't stand to compliment a singer in church. "You sounded so great". "It wasn't me; it was the Lord". I just want to say, "It wasn't that good, honey. If it was the Lord, it would have been a little bit better. But it was good". Now, we're about to find out why she wouldn't let him in. You're about to find out why you won't let it in either. I hear God standing at the door of somebody's 2024, and he's knocking. "Here I am. I stand at the door and knock".
I always heard that verse preached when people were about to get saved. "If you want to bring Jesus in your heart, here he is. He stands at the door and knocks". But that verse was actually written not to sinners who didn't know Jesus; it was written to a church that had forgotten how powerful he really was. God said, "I'm standing at the door of your religious heart, your Scripture-quoting heart, your good-doing heart, your 'I don't need anything' heart, your 'Barely getting by. Just surviving. It's another day. It's another year. What are you going to do about it?'" He said, "I stand at the door and knock".
That's God knocking. That's your heart beating in your chest. That's God knocking to let you know that if you are not, in fact, dead and sleeping in the grave, he is not, in fact, done with you yet. You would be accurate to say, "If I'm not dead, God isn't done". You would be accurate if you said, "This is my year". You would be accurate if you were to say, "This is the day that the Lord has made, and all things are possible to the one who believes". Are you open? The doors of tomorrow's opportunity… Do you want to tell your kids a testimony and leave a legacy to your children's children? The doors of tomorrow's opportunity swing on the hinges of today's obedience. Are you open? She said, "No". How do you like this? A prophet says, "Do you want a blessing"? and she says, "No. I need nothing. Dinner is ready in 30 minutes. Lie down. I make the room".
I don't think she was arrogant at all. I think she was disappointed. I learned something about God's opportunities, about the love he'll bring into your life, about the blessings, about the extensions he will give to you of a new season of purpose. I learned something. I learned that hope and disappointment swing on the same hinges. This is why you're guarded. To open your door to hope is to open your door to disappointment. Let me give you this like a friend. Okay? Are we friends? Okay. I want to be your friend for a moment. Avoiding disappointment is not a strategy for happiness; it's a recipe for resentment. Avoiding disappointment is not a strategy for happiness.
Now, maybe this is just for all of the middle-aged men like me. Maybe the youth can take a nap while I preach this, but for everybody who dragged two or three disappointments through the door with you today, I need you to know that the way to deal with the disappointments is not to close the door of hope. It is not just to accept "I'm always going to be an addict". It is not just to accept "I guess I ruined that relationship, and I don't deserve another one". It is not to accept "My family has always been treading water. I'm just lucky not to drown".
The grace of God is here, and Jesus is standing at the door and knocking. You think Jesus is knocking on the door just so your house won't burn down? He wants to come in. He wants to eat with you. He wants to cook for you. He wants to create with you. He wants to collaborate with you. He wants to guide you. He wants to fill you. He wants to reconcile you. He wants to make you a masterpiece according to his blueprint. He wants to do it! Are you open? She said, "No. My door is always open to you if you want something, but my door is closed if you want to do something for me". Elisha gives us a picture of the persistence of God, the persistence of his presence. "Here I am. I stand at the door and knock". A Scripture that was written to disobedient, lukewarm churches. "Here I am. I'm still here". Boom, boom! Your heartbeat is telling you he's still here. Boom, boom! This word is telling you he's still here. Boom, boom!
That person who came into your life last week, and you've already tried to shut them out… That was God at the door. That was God knocking. That thing inside of you that flutters a little bit and flickers a little bit when you get under a good word and you put Facebook off of your phone for 15 minutes and let this word come into your heart… That's God knocking. He still is. He is the Alpha and the Omega, he who was and is and is to come. Elisha lays there for a minute. She tells him, "No, I don't want anything". That's like those of you who have said, "I don't make resolutions. I don't make plans. I don't set goals. I don't do anything. Leave me alone". I went to the dental hygienist 10 years ago, and I said, "I need you to know something about me before you start working on my teeth. You can say anything you want to say. You can give me anything you want to give me. You can knock me out and put me to sleep, but when I go home I'm not flossing. You could give me a sponsorship for flossing, and I'm not flossing. I'd rather bring my teeth to you in an ashtray and ask you to put them back in than floss".
Isn't it amazing what we already decided we won't do before the word even went forth today? We're not talking about a lazy lady. She already built a room. Yet there is one thing in her life (there is one thing in your life) that she will not mention, and Elisha is about to find out about it. That's the thing God is looking for today in your heart. Elisha said (verse 14), "What can be done for her"? Persistent little prophet, isn't he? "I'm not a freeloader. I want to do something for her. What can I do for her? I can't build her a room. I don't even live here. I can't cook for her". Then Gehazi, the servant, said, "Well, she has no son, and her husband is old. I mean, did you see him carrying the table up the stairs? That was sad". Elisha said, "All right". This is the turning point of the text. We have to get here together. Elisha said, "Call her". You're like, "He already called her". No, no, no. The first time she came to Gehazi, but this time he called her back.
I believe God is calling somebody back today, because last year this time you had some things in your heart. You thought they would have happened by now. They didn't. You have allowed your timeline to cause your faith to die. You have allowed your timeline to become the throne at which you worship. You have allowed your heart to become so crowded with disappointment you cannot receive what God is doing today. Elisha says and God says, "Call her. Tell her I want her to come back". "So he called her…" In all of the years I've been preaching this Scripture since I was 17 years old… I have preached about what that woman did, how she was obedient. I have preached about when she did it, just whenever he came by, but I have never preached about where she stood when he spoke the word that changed her life. I saw it this week like it was a word for each and every one of us on every continent, in every county, wherever life finds you today.
The Bible says he called her and she came. "…she stood in the doorway". Just a few months ago, this was not a room at all. It was just an open space on the roof. But one day she decided, one day she committed, one day she intended and did it, and she built a room. Now she is standing not in the room she built but in the doorway of the room she built. I believe somebody is standing in the doorway today. You are standing between two things, and there is a voice calling you forth. It is the voice of the Lord calling you forward into freedom, calling you forward into movement, calling you forward into legacy, calling you forward into purity, calling you forward into abundance, calling you forward into generosity, calling you forward into your future. The hinges of the door that swings open to Elisha's chamber were on the same little hinges that were just a simple act of obedience days earlier.
I'm trying to get you to see that you keep waiting for God to open a door. Maybe he wants you to make your own door. This is going to help somebody from dying in the wilderness of "one day when". "Oh, when God opens the door…" There was no door at the beginning of 2 Kings 4. There was no room at all. There was just a woman with a heart for God to do something for him, to be obedient and to be open. Can God have your heart? We keep saying, "I surrender it to God," but surrender shouldn't keep you from taking initiative. Surrender should give you initiative to find a way to be a blessing, to find a way to be free, to call one of the counselors whose cards you've been looking at for years. There was no door. I wish I could preach this message at the Matthews Campus that literally used to be a shopping center.
When we went to lease 42,000 square feet, circa 2007/2008, we were told by one of the tenants in the strip mall, "No"! "No, can't put a church here. No, can't have a religious institution here. It'll strike business down". So, for a minute I thought, "Well, maybe we can't put a church there," because when you are told "No" from the outside or the inside, and everything you try to do to move it forward doesn't work or makes it worse, you get to a place… Watch. She's standing in the doorway. Verse 16. I have to give you this. Elisha calls her and says, "About this time next year…" Where do you want to be this time next year? What are you looking forward to having the victory over or at least incremental leverage over this time next year? Do you want to know a few Scriptures you can quote? Do you want to be able to say, "I'm leading a group of middle school boys now and helping them not to be as dumb as I was"?
Where do you want to be this time next year? Elisha says, "I know you didn't ask, and I know you said no, but about this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms". Her response, this woman of great faith, was "No". The Devil didn't say, "No"; she did. The Devil isn't blocking you; you are. "No, because I've been here before". My third point is you have to be obnoxious. Holly and I had a fight. Oh, y'all are paying attention now. You want to see, "Where is he going with this? Pastor Steven might be sleeping in a room on the roof in my house tonight. Holly is going to kick him out". We had a fight at the end of last year. Not 2023. In 2023 we had no fights. It was 2022. It was a fight about her (I can't believe I'm sharing this with you) trying to get me to see that God had put more in me than I was giving. Not in a nagging way. Not in a way that was saying, "You're not doing enough," making me feel bad. It wasn't shame-based.
There was something… We're talking in the text about a woman who couldn't have a baby, but it could represent anything you can't have that is a God-given desire. I'm not talking about all the stuff you want because you spend too much time shopping. I'm talking about the stuff you can't have, but it is a part of your future and you can't have it yet. She kept telling me, "There are more messages in you". Now, the thing you don't know… We keep promoting, and we're going to promote it even more that I'm putting a book out in a couple of weeks, a week before my birthday. I appreciate your enthusiasm. Holly was trying to get me to see when she was yelling at me…I mean, when she was exhorting me… She wasn't yelling. Holly can yell in a whisper. It's annoying. It's obnoxious. She was just speaking to the part of me that knew I was supposed to put out a book.
But I wrote a book in 2020, and when I went to publish it, even my own agent said, "No". It wasn't it. Nine months of writing a book, and then for it to just sit there in a binder… I told the Lord, "I will preach for thee, I will post Instagram clips for thee, and I will be a blessing to those you've called me to intersect in life, but I'm not writing another book". So, I was preparing this message, and I wasn't thinking about me. I was thinking about the thousands of people who will hear this message. You're holding a disappointment that's so heavy you have no room to receive the thing God is speaking in your life. What is that thing for you? Would you identify it? The Holy Spirit will do a whole lot better job than I could. That thing.
While I was getting this message ready, I read what the prophet said to the woman. Verse 16: "About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms". She said, "No! Please, man of God, don't mislead your servant"! Do you think maybe that's because she had encountered a few false prophets before? Do you think maybe some other prophets had stopped by and ate her food and slept in her guest room and made her promises? We've all been disappointed. We've all been let down. Now life has let you down so many times you won't even let hope in when it comes to avoid the disappointment. But I love God, and I treasure him, and I honor him as the God of my life. If Revelation 3:20 is true, that means that while my voice is saying "No," his hand keeps knocking.
The Bible says in verse 17 that even though she said, "No," and even though in this area of her life she didn't believe it was possible, the woman became pregnant. I read that text over and over, because I was looking for the point where she said, "I believe you," but she never even said it. Even though she didn't believe it was possible, the Bible says she became pregnant. Why? Because she didn't have the faith to become pregnant, but she had the faith to build a room. I came to say to you today that you don't have to know how God is going to do it. You don't even have to completely believe that he will do it. You don't have to quote all of the right responses back to God, but God keeps knocking through your "No". God is faithful even if you're faithless. I declare and decree over your life this day that about this time next year… I said, "About this time next year". I said, "January 2025".
About this time next year, you will hold a promise in your arms. Isn't it cool how Holly was right and there was another book in me? The book came in the mail this week as an announcement to you that whatever disappointment weighed you down, drop it. God said, "I've got another box with your name on it, and if you'll give me some room on the roof…" Come on. We're knocking through the "No". I feel the Spirit of God like a flood raising up a standard against the Enemy. He's knocking through your "No". One voice is calling you forward; one voice is pulling you back. One voice is saying, "Yes" and "Amen"; one voice is saying, "No," and you're standing in the doorway, deciding. It is truly a matter of life and death. You are standing in the doorway, deciding. The door was there because she made room. She didn't even say "Yes," but because she said "Yes" yesterday… I'm telling you what.
When we talk a year from now… I know all of y'all are going to still be in this church a year from now, because you're not a church-hopping, little baby bottle-toting Christian. You're going to be right here a year from now. You're going to be stronger in the faith a year from now. You're going to have Hulk Hogan biceps in the Spirit a year from now. You're going to be secure, and people aren't going to be able to tell you "No" and put you in depression for a week. A year from now, you are going to be holding something because you decided today to let hope in the door. I know the Devil has a way of getting you down and discouraged, and I know you have good reasons that you said, "No," but let me bring you back to my title. God is knocking through the "No". At our Matthews Campus today where they told us "No…" We went out there and prayed in the parking lot. Oh, yeah. Businessmen in khaki pants in the parking lot, in the loading dock of that building.
Not only did we end up getting those 42,000 square feet, but eventually we knocked down all of the walls, because God is known for knocking through the "No". You will be sitting in tomorrow what you will open your heart to God for today. Jesus said, "Here I am. I stand at the door". You are standing in a doorway. "Do I go back to it or do I go forward? Do I go back to these familiar patterns another year or do I go forward into uncomfortable freedom? Do I go back to that horrible relationship just so I can pretend like I have somebody or do I go forward into learning what it means to have a friend who sticks closer than a brother"? I see you. I saw you when I was studying, so I know the word is right. I see you standing in the door like the woman. There's one door, and there are two voices. Which one will win? That's the decision of the day, isn't it?
God is going to put an open door before you every day. It might be a little tiny door or it might be a great big door, but I know this: the doors of what God is calling you into hinge on your obedience to him today. I'd like you to bow your heads, because I don't want you to look around. I want you to look inside for the answers to what I'm about to ask you. In what area of your life have you told God "No"? I would suggest to you that it often has to do with who he calls us to become, not even just what he calls us to do. The way that works… Just like he called the Shunammite and said, "Come here," and she stood in the door, God will call you something, and then you will stand in the door.
The decision is…Will you believe that voice? When he calls you holy, will you receive that? I want to minister to somebody who has been dealing with crippling guilt. He called you holy. Every time that thing inside of you says, "No, I'm not. I'm not. I'm not. I'm just a piece of trash. I'm just a piece of crap. You don't even know who you're talking to…" That thing that gets on you that tells you that stuff to drag you out of the doorway and back into the past… I come against that spirit of condemnation today in the name of Jesus and by his blood to tell you, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus".
He is the door. Don't you see it? Everything you need is in him, and today you're in his presence. I leave you now with exactly where we began this message. "Here I am. I stand at the door and knock". And if you'll open the door… That's as simple as I know how to make it, church. If you will open the door… I don't know if that's a Bible reading plan. I don't know if that's a support group. I don't know if that's to tell somebody what's really going on. If you will open the door and make room on the roof, I'm believing a year from now you're going to hold something awesome in your arms. Come on. You're going to accommodate something amazing in your life.
Father, we thank you in Jesus' name that for all of the times we told you "No," you knocked again.
At this moment I want to give an invitation for all of those who need to receive Jesus Christ into your life and have a new beginning with him. The Bible says it is by grace we're saved through faith. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. This is an open invitation to anyone who says, "Today was for me. I'm giving my life to God today. I'm not living another year my own way. I'm not going to be half in, half out. Today I'm walking through this door to make Jesus Christ the Lord of my life and receive his provision for my life and receive his forgiveness". If that's you and this is your word, I'm going to pray a prayer with you. We'll pray it out loud for the benefit of those who are coming to God for the first time or back to God as a rededication. I want you to repeat this after me with confidence in your voice. Say:
Heavenly Father, today is my day of salvation. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sin that I could be forgiven and rose again to give me life. I receive this new life. This is my new beginning.
On the count of three, raise your hand if you prayed that. One, two, three. I want to celebrate with you. The doors are open. Welcome in. To all those online, just put it in the comments. "I received Jesus. Today is my day. This is my door". Hallelujah. Let's give God the greatest 24 seconds of praise we can. Thank you, Jesus! Come on. How many know praise opens prison doors? Fling wide, you heavenly gates, that the King of Glory may enter in! Hallelujah! I pray that you are open to what God said today. If that word had your name on it, let me know right now. If that box had your name on it… I know it's tricky. I told God I didn't want to preach a message of hype but a message of hope. And not a "hopethetical" message either, because I don't know if it's going to happen just like you want it, but about this time next year, if we win one day at a time… I believe you're carrying something awesome. I believe he has something amazing for you. Would you stand and give God praise as our campus pastors come to close us? I love you.