Steven Furtick — There's Another Door!
Let's go together to Mark 2:1-12: "A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the Word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four of them". All right? And: "Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus, and after digging through it lowered the mat," so we've got four men, and we've got a mat. This is March mat-ness. It's the final four. Whoa. You're so hateful. You are so hateful. I worked on that joke for about three hours this week, and look how you treated me. I'm gonna find me another church where they appreciate advanced humor. I am. One of these days, you're gonna look up here. It's gonna be somebody not as funny as me. You're taking my wit for granted. Kidding. I'm kidding. I see some of the guests looking at me.
Now, let's get back to the text. "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" What did their faith have to do with his sins? Is it possible that your life affects more than your life? Is it possible that your example affects more than your existence? When He saw their faith, He said: "Your sins are forgiven". "Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 'Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?'
Immediately Jesus knew in His Spirit that this is what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them," because He is such a savage that He wins an imaginary argument. He responds not to what they said, but to what they thought, that they didn't get the chance to say. So He knows your intentions. Touch somebody, say, "You can't fool Him". You might be able to fool me, but you can't fool God. He knows your motivations, and He knows your thoughts, too. So He said to them, He responded to their thoughts: "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins". Dot, dot, dot. "He said to the paralytic, 'I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.' And he got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, 'We've never seen anything like this!'"
This is remarkable. This is miraculous. But Mark 2:2 is really where my sermon hinges. "So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door..". Touch your neighbor, give 'em my title, say, "I got good news. I know your heart was broken, I know you lost some things, but I got good news. There's another door". Turn to your next neighbor, the one you really wanted to talk to, and tell 'em, "There's another door".
So let's lay a principle here, overlay it, on this narrative for Mark 4. Here's the principle. Life's biggest opportunities aren't always obvious. After the fact, they seem obvious. You know, that it was an idiot that cut Michael Jordan from the team, but life's greatest opportunities aren't always obvious.
Holly paid me a compliment Friday, I think it was a compliment. She said, "I didn't know what I was getting when I married you". What I took that to mean is, "It's so much better". What I took that to mean is, "It's an Ephesians 3:20 kind of thing". Exceeding, abundantly above all that she asked or imagined. I think that's what she meant. I did not clarify. Sometimes, assumption is a beautiful marriage tool, but I just took it like that. Anyway, she said, "I didn't know what I was getting". When I looked across the North Greenville University cafeteria, and saw that silly boy with the buzz cut and an extra-large, Superman t-shirt that I bought for a $1.25 at Goodwill, she didn't know that there was a Superman inside that silly shirt.
I'm just talking a little bit. This is what she said. She said, "I didn't know what I was getting when I married you". Because life's greatest opportunities — I'm having fun. Just enjoying my life. This is scriptural. This is thoroughly scriptural. Life's greatest opportunity — Moses delivered a nation. I am calling you to deliver an entire people group. "So what will You give me as a sign"? Your stick. The stick in your hand that you are using to shepherd sheep is the sign that I'm going to give you, but I am going to point to your calling through something that, to you, seems common.
So God disguises calling as common. God wraps calling in diapers, and allows the Savior of the world to be born in a barn, so much so that the people He came for missed Him, because life's greatest opportunities aren't always obvious. It was interesting to me that callings can appear common on the surface, to the point that Gideon was called a mighty warrior, while he was hiding in a wine press. Why would God hide such a mighty calling in such a wimpy man? Because sometimes, Superman wears a baggy shirt. Sometimes, God uses earthen vessels to release something that has precious value.
I'm preaching to somebody today who has been deceived about your destiny. You thought God was gonna show up in your situation, looking like Superman. Instead, God shows up in your situation, looking like a mustard seed. The seed doesn't look like the tree, it shares the genetic code of the tree, but according to the exterior, there is nothing to associate the seed with the tree. And might it be that what God is doing in your life right now is not obvious, but that does not mean that there is no opportunity. For He says, "When I open a door, no man can shut it. And when I decide to do something through your life, no season, no person, and no human limitation can stop me".
I was always interested to learn that after David made his biggest mistake by sleeping with Bathsheba and having her husband, Uriah, killed on the front lines of battles, he went in and had another baby because the one that was born from his mistake died, but the next one he had was named Solomon, who was the wisest man who ever lived at that point in time, and David's greatest wisdom was born after his biggest mistake. Now, it's not always obvious. It's not always obvious that you are becoming wiser. Usually, wisdom feels like dumb decisions. While you are gaining wisdom often, you have to gain wisdom at the expense of today for tomorrow.
It's very powerful. It's a principle I preach a lot, and I forgive you if you're a little bored right now, because this is pretty much what I try to say every single week. I try to show you how reward dresses as responsibility. God is not going to put the reward right in front of you. He is going to wrap it in responsibility. David had no clue that Goliath was waiting for him. He just knew he had bread to take to his brothers. It was his responsibility that unlocked his reward. If he had waited for the possibility of an opportunity to demonstrate his warrior-ness, if he had waited for Goliath to show up, he never would have had the opportunity to see what God could do through him, but it was in his assignment — that his giant was waiting.
Now, if this is true, it gives a whole new meaning to what John 11 says, that when Jesus heard Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was a little while longer. Because Jesus is about to show all of those in Bethany that resurrection is not an event, but a person. "I am the Resurrection". But if Jesus shows up and heals Lazarus when they want Him to, He will not have the opportunity to reveal who He is, that they don't yet perceive Him to be. And so, in His waiting, which seems cruel to Mary and Martha, He is actually staging a miracle so that when He gets there and Lazarus has been dead, it's a good thing because resurrection dresses like death.
Sometimes, God lets something in your life die but don't worry when it dies, resurrection is who He is, and what He does. And if you can get the stone rolled away long enough to believe for a little while, I hear a voice calling Lazarus out of the grave. See, the grave clothes wrapped up the revelation of who Jesus was. When He got on the scene and said, "Lazarus, come forth". The grave clothes had no choice but to fall off, because the voice of the Lord unwraps death to present resurrection. Raise a miracle today. I come to preach to you!
And the greatest opportunities are not always obvious. The greatest opportunities are often hidden. Jesus even taught in parables, to hide the wisdom of God from the people who wanted to understand it with their human minds. He didn't want the elite to get it. And so, He put it in parables. He hid it. He hid the Kingdom. The Kingdom didn't come announcing itself with trumpets and red carpet. It wasn't obvious. It came looking like conflict. Now, Mark 2 is the first of five conflict dialogues, where we see this carpenter from Nazareth doing ministry in Galilee, having to confront the wisdom of this world to reveal the wisdom of God.
He's teaching one day, and so many people have come to see Him, the crowd has gathered. In Mark's Gospel, the crowd is not necessarily a positive thing. We would think that if Jesus was trying to build a ministry, He would need a crowd. Jesus is so savage, sometimes if the crowd got too big, He would start running people off by saying stuff they didn't wanna hear. He really would, and you'll have to read how He fed people, and they were happy. But after they ate their happy meal, He turned around and said, "I'm not your Burger King". I know I'm mixing restaurants, but go with the illustration. He said, "If you eat My flesh and drink My blood, then you can have this Kingdom". And they said, "Whoa. I was into the miracles, but this took a dark turn. This cannibalism thing," and even the disciples couldn't understand it, but Peter did after, and when he was recounting to Mark, so Mark could write this gospel account, he talked about the crowd. The crowd had gathered, and they were listening to Jesus preaching.
And the Bible tells us about four men who brought their friend, and they could not get in because of the crowd. They had high hopes, you could say that their hopes were through the roof. Ah! Great expectation. But then, they were met at the door. They're — by the way, there are four doors in this passage that are not obvious. Four doors in this passage, this passage, and in our lives, that are not obvious, because life's greatest opportunities are not always obvious. So they come to the front door, and they can't get in. This represents the door of disappointment. How disappointing it must've been that after you have carried your friend all this way, only to find out at church that not only is there no room in the main auditorium, but they're not even seating in overflow. Thank you very much. You can watch live stream.
These men were met at the door with disappointment. And so, if they had subscribed to the theology that many of us live our lives according to, they would've turned around, and gone home, because obviously — everybody say, "Obviously," it's not God's will for our friend to get healed today. If it were God's will for our friend to be healed today, we would have gotten in the door. But these boys — I wonder, do I have four crazy ones? Just four. These boys said, "We did not carry you all this way with your heavy self to turn around and go home now".
Now, I think these boys had a little bit of a — well, maybe this is the Monk's Corner in me, but I picture their conversation — I picture these boys — these boys didn't drive a Prius, that's what I'm trying to say. These boys, they're met at the door with disappointment, not to mention the man's disappointment. He's learned to deal with disappointment. His entire life is a disappointment. He can't walk, he can't dance, he can't do what other people do. But they've come this far, I said they've come this far, and they didn't come this far to go home.
So Bubba says to Tommy, "Hey, man. I was looking around. I didn't see no security cameras back there around the south entrance, man. I reckon wonder if you could..". Bubba and Tommy, and who else? Rufus. Roof. Rufus. That's the last one, I promise. He said, "What you reckon if we get around there and..". they're whispering, 'cause they don't want the man on the mat to know what they're about to do. Don't tell everybody all your plans. Just — sometimes, you just gotta do stuff. You don't always ask permission. Sometimes, it's better to ask forgiveness. What if we went up? I know we can't get in, so what if we went up? Sometimes, you gotta change levels. Let me get behind my pulpit.
Sometimes, the reason you can't get in that door is because it wasn't your door, God is calling you higher. Who am I preaching to? Sometimes, the reason you got rejected is because it was the wrong level of relationship. And if those people would've liked you, it would've actually limited — I'm caffeinated today. High-five somebody, say, "Go higher". Come on, when they go low, we go high. He's calling me higher! So they go up, and they do not find a door, they make a door. Have you ever had to make your own door? Nobody gave me money to start this church. Nobody sponsored me officially. I wish they would have. But you know, I'm kind of glad they didn't, 'cause I had to learn how to dig. And sometimes, one of the greatest things that can happen to you in your life is to be turned away at the front door, because you discover another door. Somebody shout, "There's another door". This is not the normal door. This is not for normal people. This is not for people who want to quit 'cause the WiFi was a little slow, or skip church 'cause it was 43 degrees. No. This is for the people who are determined! Somebody shout, "I'm determined".
Now, we have a froo-froo view of faith. We think of faith as being something to fall back on. Not Mark. Mark mentions faith four times in his gospel, and none of them represent an attitude. They always represent actions. Faith to Mark is something you can see. Actually, it's something that you can see in response to something that you cannot see. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen". So it is something that you can see in response to a hope that you can't see. That's a series right there. There's another door. And when Jesus, Mark 2:5, saw their faith, not heard their faith. It wasn't that they talked about how much they trusted God. It's that they refused to go home that easy.
I'll tell you this real quick. Just a little side thing. Me and Chris were trying to write a song the other day, and I said, "I know this is the 51st revision on this song, but I want the devil to know I'm gonna keep coming, 'cause I feel like we're supposed to finish this song". Chris Brown looked back at me and said, "If that joker doesn't know that by now about us, he hadn't been paying attention.' 'Cause I'm gonna tell you something, I'm not always the smartest, but I don't turn around the first time somebody tells me you can't come in this door. That's just not how I'm wired.
Now, it's fine. It's fine. If you don't like me, you don't have to, but I'll find somebody who does. It's fine. Some people, when I started Elevation, didn't wanna come 'cause they said it was a cult, and that's fine, but I'll find another way. See, if you just got four good friends, just four good friends, and sometimes, if you don't have four, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and me, that's four.
Those boys were like, "We ain't going home. He's heavy. No. No, no sir. We'll put him up on that roof, and we're gonna dig through that mud, and we're gonna make a door. We're gonna make a door". I'm gonna get through to my kid one way or another. I'm not just gonna give up on him, not that easy. I'm gonna find a way to get through. I might have to shut up, I might have to speak up. If that doesn't work, I'll do the other. I might have to hug 'em, I might have to try some different ways. But now, we come to the door on the ceiling.
There's another door if you can't get in the front door, go up, it says, and another door. You gotta make it. It's not gonna look like a door, you gotta dig through it. It's a door, but you can't see it. It's not visible, it's not something you can see. It takes faith. And faith is something you can see, in response to something that you can't see, so gotta make a door. And Jesus respected their carpentry. Jesus liked their work. He actually, in Mark 2:5, He's preaching, and there's a distraction overhead. Now, He's not even healing this day. It's not even on His agenda to see sick people. Some of life's greatest opportunities are not always obvious. And some of God's greatest invitations will show up in the form of an eruptions.