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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - God Will Open a Door

Steven Furtick - God Will Open a Door

Steven Furtick - God Will Open a Door

This is an excerpt from: A Troubled Mind And An Open Door

God has you situated. Now, Corinth was a city that was situated… It was important because it was a cosmopolitan city that also represented a seaport. It was a flourishing place in terms of culture, because you kind of had to go through Corinth… It was the third largest city by population in its time. The only cities that were bigger than Corinth would be Rome and Alexandria.

So, Corinth is not only populated, but it's situated. I want you to think about this for a minute. It was a very important city because it was a port city. That meant the ships came through there, and it was situated well enough the distribution could happen and trade could happen and commerce could happen because of where Corinth was situated. On the other hand, Corinth was a very ungodly city, because the same situation that made it so effective for business made it susceptible to temptation.

Corinth was a city where there was a lot of sexual immorality. Back in the Bible times, they had different problems than we have today. They had sexual immorality even in the church. Some people were messing around in the church at Corinth. Can you believe those crazy Christians at Corinth? Paul spent 18 months with them, and he couldn't cast out all of these sexual devils. He couldn't cast out all of these idolatry devils. They were so greedy they were getting drunk off the Lord's Communion wine in Corinth. A bunch of crazy Christians in Corinth. I used to find it funny. Back when we started, people would say, "I don't go to Elevation because some of the people who go there aren't very good Christians". I would always think, "That should be your invitation to join us".

I always wish I could put a closed-circuit camera in their house when they talk like that. Just a little Nest Cam so I can catch you in the middle of the night doing the crazy stuff you do. Really, to get to the core of how crazy you are, I couldn't put the camera in a room. I'd have to put it… Paul is talking to a group of people who are very important to him. He has invested a lot in them, and they've hurt him deeply. Nobody can really hurt you deeply if you haven't invested in them greatly. The proof that I love you is that I have the capacity to hate you. You can't hate somebody you don't love. You can ignore them. You can be annoyed by them. You can be perturbed by them, and then you can pray for them, but you can't hate somebody you don't love. It's not that Paul hates the Corinthian church. It's that his relationship with them is so important, not only to him personally…

Now, it's important personally. We find out more about Paul through his writings to the Corinthian church than anything else he wrote in the Bible. If you want to really understand Paul's theological construct for justification by faith in Christ, not through works of the law, you should go to the book of Romans. But if you want to see inside of Paul's mind, how he thinks not only about our relationship with God but his relationship with others, you should read 1 and 2 Corinthians. It might interest you to know that as powerful as Paul was with God, he still had dysfunctional relationships with people through which God worked to get the gospel to the earth. The church at Corinth was important for Paul. It served, as it were, as a hinge for the gospel to go forth into the hitherto previously unevangelized Gentile world.

This important church in a seaport city that was established by the apostle himself, and now he's having to write them about a conflict that should have been resolved by now. He said, "I need to forgive you". It's not that I'm saying you're not important, fifth row, fifth seat, hunter green golf shirt, but all seats in this church are not created equal to me. I've learned through time that this seat, the one where Holly is sitting right now… That's the most important seat in the church to me.

Now, early in my ministry, I thought that having all of the seats full was the whole goal. But now where I'm at in my life right now, I think that if every seat in this church was full but my wife didn't respect my life enough to want to hear me preach what I had to say because of the way I live at home, I would be a hypocrite. I think if this seat… When Holly tells me… She told me last week, "That spoke to me". I said, "Well, good, because I kind of put some stuff in there for you". No, I didn't. What I'm saying is in the eyes of God, fifth seat/fifth row is just as important as this one, but not in my eyes. In the eyes of God, there's equal value to every human being.

So, if there's a millionaire on your row and then somebody who doesn't even know where their next meal is coming from… To God, the worth of his children is not based on something called net worth or occupation or any of these opportunistic ways that we see people, but to us, we have to learn to prioritize what's really important in our lives, what opportunities we give our energy to. Some of us are praying for God to give us things he simply cannot give us the way we're asking them to come. If we're asking God to give us peace in our lives but we have no priorities, we will never receive the peace God gave us through Jesus, who is our peace, when he died on the cross.

So, that's the setup, and here's the sermon. Paul said, "When I went to preach the gospel of Christ in Troas and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind". This is Paul, the point guard of the New Testament church to the Gentiles, saying, "I had an opportunity…" Now, Paul has seen God open so many doors, and so have you. How many of you…just wave at me…have seen God put you and situate you and position you in places that you could never earn or deserve and don't know how you got here? How many of you were smart enough and competent enough and did it all by yourself and created your own oxygen that you breathed into the lungs you formed with your hands in your mother's womb? Listen. Even your success was because of how God situated you.

The reason Corinth was important was because of where it sat in relation to the Mediterranean Sea. Some of us get very prideful about things we accomplished, but if God hadn't put Corinth by the sea, it wouldn't have been a port city. So, even when God blesses me, I understand that if he did not give the wisdom, if he did not give the strength, if he did not give the opportunity… I don't care if you're a professional tennis player. If somebody didn't give you a racket, if somebody didn't give you a ball, you could have all the athletic ability in the world… Without the opportunity God gives, all of your human ability means nothing. Even the ability itself comes from God. This is what Paul knows, and that's why he uses a phrase we can use too sometimes. We can say, "The Lord opened a door for me". "Don't be mad at me about the blessings I'm walking in. The Lord opened those doors for me".

I remember really early, when I was preaching, I invited myself to preach at a church. I didn't like it. I didn't like how it felt, because he said, "Yes". Once I got there, I felt like it was up to me to perform. I was 17 years old. The Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said, "Don't ever invite yourself somewhere to preach again. You can put your messages out. You can put them online. You can use all the platform and social media and all that. You can do everything you can do to get the gospel out, but don't ever situate yourself in a position through manipulation, because then you will carry the burden of performance". There's something awesome about knowing "The Lord opened this door". There's just something freeing about knowing "The Lord opened this door". There's something great about knowing "God brought me into this relationship".

See, you can get into a relationship and God not want you in it, and then you have to spend the rest of the relationship trying to get somebody to like a pretend version of you that you had to put on like a costume to get them to accept you. If you had to compromise yourself to gain their acceptance, what did you really get? There's something awesome about the Lord opening doors. There's something awesome about the Lord closing doors. I need both. Last week we talked about the red light and the green light, praising God for one and not the other.

Kind of foolish. The green light is only as effective as the red light. Do y'all want all green lights in the city of Charlotte, where everybody is just smashing into each other all the time? So why do we want all green lights from God just to be crashing into stuff we could have avoided if we would have heard his voice? Pray this: "Lord, open the door". Now pray this: "Lord, close the door. Either way, I want your hand on the knob". Everybody over 25 ought to give God a shout of praise. You don't know to shout over that closed door until at least 25.

What's interesting about this text to me is that we could argue the most important figure in the New Testament, other than Jesus, who roughly over a third of the New Testament is devoted to either his letters or his life…Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, the one who got knocked off his horse on his way to kill Christians… God closed his eyes and blinded him and sent him to Ananias in Acts, chapter 9, to receive his sight, and he spent the rest of his life taking the gospel to the known world. He started at least 14 churches, and he started out as a Christian killer. God used him to multiply in the earth the thing he tried to uproot in one season. Only God could do that. Only God could take somebody trained under Gamaliel and get him to let go of all of the traditions of men and call it rubbish.

He said, "The things I once counted as gain I now count as loss. God has completely reversed my understanding of my value system of what's important. What was once gain to me I now count as loss, and what was once loss I now count as the ultimate gain. All I want to do is know Christ, and all I want to do is make him known as I come to know him better. Now I know what's important". Of all of the churches he establishes… And he started at least 14 that we know about. That doesn't count all of the spin-off churches. That doesn't count all of the churches that had baby churches of baby churches and the grandbaby churches that Paul started. Every gospel drop that entered the Gentile world, Paul had a part in it, sometimes sowing in tears and pain. That's Paul who God opened a door for.

I want to say one more thing about that before I move on to the other that I'm going to say after I say this about that. The whole reason Paul took the gospel to the Gentiles was because the Jewish people rejected him. Sometimes rejection is one of God's greatest doors. While Paul was preaching in Judea, they didn't want to give up the customs and the rights of Judaism. God said, "That's fine. I'll open a door for you somewhere else". When God opens a door, nobody can shut it. If the door you're standing in front of right now won't open, it's not yours. God will open a door in the desert. We found out last week he'll put a green light at a Red Sea. He will lead you through, and one of the greatest ways God will lead you in your life is through people who don't like you and leave your life…to bring you to something else.
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