Steven Furtick - My Mind Is Under Attack
"I refuse to let unforgiveness in my heart block the future God has for me". He said, "So I want you to forgive, because I'm forgiving. We have to get our minds right". Here's what happened. This is the part of the text I couldn't figure out. Paul, who saw the greatest opportunities for the gospel… The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's the gospel. That if you believe in his name, you will be saved. That's the gospel. That his blood atones for your sin, that you don't have to have the blood of bulls and goats (Old Testament sacrifices), that by believing in his name you may have life. Nothing could stop the gospel from progressing through Paul. But he describes something very interesting, and I want us to study it today. He says in verse 12, "Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia".
Wow! So, we have Troas (that's a whole city), and we have Titus (that's one person). Let's look at this together again, because I don't know if you had your Starbucks today, and I don't want you to miss it. In verse 12 he said, "I went to Troas, and God gave me an open door to share the gospel in this city". Troas is also a port city. Do you see this? Zoom in on the camera. I don't know if this will work or not. I don't know if we can get close enough, but try to focus. You can't really see. Is there another camera? I need to show you this. I want to show you something, because it's a picture. Do you see it? Can you see Corinth? We could have done this professionally. I could have put it on the screen. It could have been great. Oh, look. There's Troas. See Troas? And there are Ephesus and Macedonia.
So, Paul is like, "I came here, Corinth, and I preached the Word in this important city," this isthmus that connects southern Greece to the mainland. It's important. He says, "You are more important to me than being right is. I'm not going to argue with you about this, because it's stopping the gospel from flowing. I'm not going to argue with you about this, because there's stuff that needs to happen. There's something important that needs to get distributed". See, Paul understands if the church at Corinth doesn't get right with him, it's going to affect the rest of his ministry to the Gentile world. So he said, "I'm letting go of the offense to seize the opportunity".
Why am I preaching about that? Because some of you are losing the opportunity because you won't let go of the offense. The opportunity is greater than the offense. So that's Corinth. Then there's Troas. Anyway, take my word for it. This is what I want to get to. Between the two is Macedonia. Now Paul has sent a letter to the church at Corinth. Are you following me so far? They said, "Paul is not a real apostle. We like Apollos better. We don't like Paul anymore. He told us to put our pants on and stop sleeping around and calling ourselves good Christians, and we don't like that. Paul told us to straighten up. We don't like Paul anymore. We liked him when he was telling us 'Be safe and receive the free gift of forgiveness,' but now he's trying to put something in place that will actually help us live in Christian freedom, and we don't like that anymore. We'd rather be slaves to these mute, deaf idols". Paul is like, "No, no, no. Stop that. You've got to stop that. God has given you an open door. You are an important city".
You are an important city. I'm not preaching about them; I'm preaching about you. You are an important city. If you have the confidence to say it, say it out loud. "I am an important city". Even though I came from a small town, I'm an important city. I am a shipping destination. I am a port for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am an opening to generational freedom. Yes, I am. I am an important city. "O little town of Bethlehem, from you shall come a ruler". I am an important city, and I have an open door, and God has placed opportunities in my life in this season that are amazing. The Word of God says that if God opens a door, nobody can shut it. That's in Revelation 3:7-8. The Lord told the church at Philadelphia through the apostle John, who was exiled on an island, and God still showed him a door… He was exiled on an island called Patmos, and God showed him a door. He was isolated in a terrible situation, but God showed him a door.
Listen to what he prophesied to the church at Philadelphia. He said, "These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David". That means Jesus Christ has a kingdom over which he has all authority. The key of David. That's the God you serve. So, when people leave you out, you're not locked out, because he has the key to that room. Not everybody likes you. Not everybody has to. If God is for you… You don't have to say anything. You don't have to defend yourself. You don't have to go back and forth. Let it go, and get through this door. The door is yours. So, he says he holds the key of David. "What he opens…" This is speaking about salvation. This is speaking about how Jesus Christ is the door, how you come to God through him, through nothing else, through no other system. He is the author of salvation. He is the finisher of our faith. He holds the key of David.
I'm preaching about Jesus now. He said, "What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door…" The Lord said, "I placed before you…" It's not going to be in your past. That's why Paul had to forgive. He said, "Whatever happened, whatever they did…" Look. Paul forgave the guy, but he didn't put him on his senior leadership team. He just said, "I'm going through the door". "What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I have put before you an open door that no one can shut". Now listen to what God says to the church at Philadelphia, and I believe he might say it to the church at Elevation too. "I know that you have little strength…" It's not about strength.
Can I show you something? This is really cool. Go back to 2 Corinthians, chapter 2. Verse 11 is one of those I've read out of context for years. I didn't even really know what it meant. I never really read it in the context of Paul's conflict, but now I have, and I saw something. He said in verse 11, "We have to forgive and get through this in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes". What was interesting to me was he didn't say, "In order that Satan might not overpower us". He said, "Outwit us," because the battle is not about strength; it's about strategy. Satan is not stronger than you. We just read this. If God opens a door, nobody can shut it…no devil, no depression, no trauma, no abuse. Nothing can stop the gospel of Jesus Christ from going forth in your life, in your heart, in your marriage. We give the Devil too much credit sometimes.
We'll say, "Oh, well, the Devil is attacking my marriage. The Devil is attacking my finances". That's where you're feeling it, but that's not where the attack is happening. He didn't say, "In order that Satan might not overpower us," because that would make it about your strength. We already know from John 16:33 that Jesus said, "Peace I give to you. My peace I leave with you. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world". It's not about the trouble in front of you. We could have a testimony service about your trouble. What's the point? We could all line up and play "Can I top your trouble"? "I have a headache". "I have a backache". "I don't have a back". "I don't have a head. I'm decapitated".
I've seen people do it. We top each other with our trouble, but that's not what this is about. It's not about what's happening in my life. Satan is not stronger than you. He can't make you do anything. If God opens a door to freedom, if God opens the sea, you can go through it. I don't care who's chasing you. I don't care who said you couldn't. I don't care how long you've struggled with it. It's not about who's stronger. It's about who's smarter. You're like, "Well, that's Jesus. Jesus has overcome the world. I'm not Jesus". But 1 John 4:4 says, "Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world". So, he's not stronger. That's not why you're stuck. He's not stronger. You have the Spirit of God. He's not stronger. The condemnation that haunts you in your midnight hour has been nailed to the cross. The written regulations have been nailed to the cross. That's dealt with. That is not what is standing at the door. Paul said, "I had an open door, but I had a troubled mind".
So, he sent Titus with a letter to the Corinthian church because he didn't know if things were going to be all right. Do you know your body can be one place and your mind can be another? Paul is at Troas, and God has given him opportunities, and he can preach the gospel to a whole city. He said, "But I couldn't find Titus, so I left". It isn't like he left because he wanted to. When Paul says in verse 13, "I said goodbye," that's the only time he uses that phrase in all of Scripture. It's a solemn farewell. He's almost embarrassed about it. He's like, "I couldn't get my mind right, so I couldn't seize the opportunity". That hit me, because I'm trying to raise these kids, you see. I know God has given me an opportunity to be a great father, but sometimes, if I'm honest with you, I'm sitting at the table with them, and my body is there, but my mind is on other stuff. Some of it is real, and some of it is completely fabricated, stuff that might happen three years from now…maybe. My mind will drift to the possibly and slip away from the present.
When I saw Paul, I saw us. He said, "I was in Troas, and so was the open door God gave me. Great things could have happened in Troas, but I had to say goodbye, not because of the trouble in Troas but because my mind was troubled". The Enemy wants to mess with your mind so much you can't even go through the doors God opens for you, that you can't even enjoy the moments God gives you. He wants to mess with your mind and scramble your perspective to the point where you can't even focus long enough to sit down and pray about something. He wants to get you so focused on something… I put down four things that spell the word door with each first letter. One was the disappointments in your life. One was the outcomes you can't control. One we mentioned: the offenses you can't get over, and one is the regrets of the opportunities you can't get back.
I realized that not only does God use open doors… so does Satan. Have you ever opened a door in your mind to the Devil, a door of just going down a trail? I like to imagine the Bible, how different it was from our day where… If Paul would have had the same technology as we have, none of this would have been an issue. Paul sends Titus with a letter back to Corinth over the Aegean Sea, and he goes, "All right. You go to Corinth, and when you get back, tell me how it's going. Tell me if they receive my correction". He's trying to reconcile the relationship, but he sends Titus with a letter, his trustworthy companion in the gospel. He said, "Titus, when you get there and find out, let me know".
Now, if Paul could have gotten on a Zoom call…just imagine with me…he could have stayed in Troas, because Titus would have gotten on the Zoom call and said, "Hey, Paul, it's all good. I have Aquila and Priscilla here. We're all here on the Zoom call, Paul. It's all good, Paul. We're all good. They got your letter, and they love you. It's all good," and whatever, whatever. The reason I wanted to show you the map is because between Corinth where Paul's mind was and Troas where his body was there was a sea, and to me, it looked like my mind. It looked like how sometimes my body is in one place but my mind is another. Paul, with a note of sadness said, "I had to say goodbye to the opportunity God gave me because I couldn't get my mind right in the process". Has that been you?
Let me give you a little test to see if that has been you. Have you been not letting new people love you because of how old people hurt you? Have you stopped trusting people, period, because you found out that people are not trustworthy totally? You never should trust anyone totally other than God. Even if they want to do good for you, they're going to let you down. They can't help it. It's the human condition. But for you to sit there and go, "Well, I'll never trust anybody with anything again. I have to do it all on my own. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. People are just…" Yeah, people are just people, and you're one of them, and Jesus died for all of us, so you have to get back in the game and do some stuff in this life and not get so bitter that you don't go through the door. Have you been standing in an open door, but the Enemy has gotten your mind so troubled you can't go through it?