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The Open Door of God's Providence
1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12

Introduction:
A. These two passages deal with the will of God and the work of
   one of the greatest preachers to have ever lived, Paul.  It 
   was during this time that the gospel was preached to the 
   entire world (Col. 1:23).
B. But Paul was never satisfied to rest on his past successes.  
   He was continually seeking to take advantage of yet another 
   opportunity to teach the "Good News" and to change the 
   hearts of men.
C. As we look at these passages, we find certain things that 
   are still relevant to us today.

I. God's Opportunities Become Man's Responsibilities
   A. A great "door" is opened
      1. Greek word "thura" is defined as a gate or a porch.
         a. Means an entrance by which one enters
         b. Look at Rev. 3:20
      2. Paul was excited about opportunity of entering some-
         one's world to bring them into God's
   B. The "door" was effectual
      1. Greek word for effectual is "energes"
         a. English word "energy"
         b. Not only willing to be physically involved, but 
            emotionally involved as well
      2. In order for us to understand his eagerness, we must 
         see what he saw, feel what he felt and hope for that 
         which he dreamed
      3. Jesus saw the lost as being misguided souls who were 
         in need of care and direction in life - Matt. 23:37
   C. The "door" was an opportunity to evangelize
      1. Dealt with the social outcasts - 1 Cor. 6:9-11
      2. Ministered to both Gentiles and Jews - Col. 4:3
      3. As a body of God's people, we cannot close our eyes 
         and hearts to those who are in need of Christ the most
         and become nothing more than religious country clubs 
         catering only to the privileged few - Matt. 28:18-20
   D. The "door" offered a large audience
      1. The Christians at Ephesus needed to be grounded in 
         the faith as well as the heathens needed to be taught 
         of God
      2. Paul sought and took advantage of every opportunity 
         made available
      3. The church is the upholder of truth, therefore, we 
         must be about our Father's business - 1 Tim 3:14-15

II. The Providence Of God
   A. What is Providence?
      1. Providence is, "the foreseeing care and guidance of 
         God" - Psa. 37:25; Phil. 4:19; 2 Tim. 3:11
      2. H. W. Beecher said, "Everything that happens in the 
         world is part of a great plan of God."
   B. Providence And God's Presence
      1. Jesus promised that He would be with Paul during his 
         trouble-plagued ministry - Acts 9:16
      2. Before His ascension He reminded his disciples that he
         would ever be with them - Matt. 28:20
      3. We must be mindful of the fact that God is always near
         when we seek to do heaven's will
   C. Providence And God's Purpose
      1. God is a being of order and purpose
         a. Does not aimlessly exert his power and will upon 
            humanity just to have something to do
      2. Church is the result of God's eternal purpose - 
         Eph. 3:10-12
         a. Means that God intricately placed all the pieces 
            into place
      3. God prepared Paul to preach the gospel to the world 
         with no exceptions whatsoever - Gal 1:15-17
      4. The church is God's voice in the world
         a. Was established in order to glorify God and to 
            proclaim his saving message
         b. Eph. 3:10; 1 Tim. 3:15-16
   D. Providence And God's Power
      1. Kingdom would come with power - Mk 9:1
         a. Miraculous power - Acts 1:8; 2:1-4
         b. Emotive power - Acts 2:36-37
      2. Paul, as well as the other apostles, were endued with 
         a miraculous outpouring of God's grace which proved 
         them to be the ambassadors of our Lord Jesus - 
         1 Cor. 2:4; 2 Cor. 5:20
      3. Being that the miraculous moments have long since 
         ended - 1 Cor 13:9-10
         a. Our power lies within the Gospel of God - 
            Rom 1:16-17
         b. Must motivate us unto righteous living and soul 
            saving - Gal. 2:20
      4. Paul, sustained by God, was ready, willing and able 
         to preach the Gospel of peace when and wherever he 
         had an opportunity to do so

III. There Are Many Adversaries
   A. "Adversaries" (antikeimai) means, "to lie opposite to."  
      It is to be against something or someone.
      1. Being a Christian will bring one into conflict with 
         the world and its standards
      2. Knowing that opposition awaits, we must prepare our 
         hearts for the defense and deliverance of the Gospel 
         - Phil. 1:17; 1 Peter 3:15
   B. Adversaries that awaited him
      1. Religious Prejudices
         a. The Temple of Diana was located there - 
            Acts 19:24-35
         b. The church was often maligned in the mind of many 
            - Acts 28:20-22
         c. Paul was seen as being mad with his newfound 
            religion - Acts 26:24
      2. Gross Immorality
         a. Ephesus was filled with opportunities for 
            wantonness
         b. Christians were encouraged to live clean, correct 
            lives - Eph. 5:11
         c. Paul kept himself pure before God and man - 
            1 Cor. 9:27
      3. False Teachers
         a. These teachers were from within the fold - 
            Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 9:3
         b. We must keep this one thing in mind
            (1). We are in a battle to win the hearts and 
                 souls of man
            (2). We must oppose every pointer and principle 
                 that turns one from Christ unto the devil - 
                 2 Cor. 6:14
   C. Same adversaries await us today
      1. In the midst of ridicule and rejection, we, like Paul,
         must continue to march to the sounds of our commander
         Jesus Christ

Conclusion:
A. The world is full of people who are lost in sin.  The 
   problem is that most of them don't even know it.  Our God 
   has sent us into the world to seek the lost (Matt. 9:37; 
   Mk 16:15).  Will we go?
B. Paul knew that with God's orders there came responsibility. 
   But he also knew there came God's power, protection and His 
   daily providence.  Do we also understand this?
C. In the mind set of an old Negro spiritual, "Get right church
   and lets go home" Amen!


Original sermon by John T. Ferguson

The Open Door of God's Providence
1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12
(chart)

Introduction:
A. These two passages deal with the will of God and the work of
   one of the greatest preachers to have ever lived, Paul.  It 
   was during this time that the gospel was preached to the 
   entire world (Col. 1:23).
B. But Paul was never satisfied to rest on his past successes.  
   He was continually seeking to take advantage of yet another 
   opportunity to teach the "Good News" and to change the 
   hearts of men.
C. As we look at these passages, we find certain things that 
   are still relevant to us today.

I. God's Opportunities Become Man's Responsibilities
   A. A great "door" is opened
      1. Greek word "thura" is defined as a gate or a porch.
         a. Means an entrance by which one enters
         b. Look at Rev. 3:20
      2. Paul was excited about opportunity of entering some-
         one's world to bring them into God's
   B. The "door" was effectual
      1. Greek word for effectual is "energes"
         a. English word "energy"
         b. Not only willing to be physically involved, but 
            emotionally involved as well
      2. In order for us to understand his eagerness, we must 
         see what he saw, feel what he felt and hope for that 
         which he dreamed
      3. Jesus saw the lost as being misguided souls who were 
         in need of care and direction in life - Matt. 23:37
   C. The "door" was an opportunity to evangelize
      1. Dealt with the social outcasts - 1 Cor. 6:9-11
      2. Ministered to both Gentiles and Jews - Col. 4:3
      3. As a body of God's people, we cannot close our eyes 
         and hearts to those who are in need of Christ the most
         and become nothing more than religious country clubs 
         catering only to the privileged few - Matt. 28:18-20
   D. The "door" offered a large audience
      1. The Christians at Ephesus needed to be grounded in 
         the faith as well as the heathens needed to be taught 
         of God
      2. Paul sought and took advantage of every opportunity 
         made available
      3. The church is the upholder of truth, therefore, we 
         must be about our Father's business - 1 Tim 3:14-15

II. The Providence Of God
   A. What is Providence?
      1. Providence is, "the foreseeing care and guidance of 
         God" - Psa. 37:25; Phil. 4:19; 2 Tim. 3:11
      2. H. W. Beecher said, "Everything that happens in the 
         world is part of a great plan of God."
   B. Providence And God's Presence
      1. Jesus promised that He would be with Paul during his 
         trouble-plagued ministry - Acts 9:16
      2. Before His ascension He reminded his disciples that he
         would ever be with them - Matt. 28:20
      3. We must be mindful of the fact that God is always near
         when we seek to do heaven's will
   C. Providence And God's Purpose
      1. God is a being of order and purpose
         a. Does not aimlessly exert his power and will upon 
            humanity just to have something to do
      2. Church is the result of God's eternal purpose - 
         Eph. 3:10-12
         a. Means that God intricately placed all the pieces 
            into place
      3. God prepared Paul to preach the gospel to the world 
         with no exceptions whatsoever - Gal 1:15-17
      4. The church is God's voice in the world
         a. Was established in order to glorify God and to 
            proclaim his saving message
         b. Eph. 3:10; 1 Tim. 3:15-16
   D. Providence And God's Power
      1. Kingdom would come with power - Mk 9:1
         a. Miraculous power - Acts 1:8; 2:1-4
         b. Emotive power - Acts 2:36-37
      2. Paul, as well as the other apostles, were endued with 
         a miraculous outpouring of God's grace which proved 
         them to be the ambassadors of our Lord Jesus - 
         1 Cor. 2:4; 2 Cor. 5:20
      3. Being that the miraculous moments have long since 
         ended - 1 Cor 13:9-10
         a. Our power lies within the Gospel of God - 
            Rom 1:16-17
         b. Must motivate us unto righteous living and soul 
            saving - Gal. 2:20
      4. Paul, sustained by God, was ready, willing and able 
         to preach the Gospel of peace when and wherever he 
         had an opportunity to do so

III. There Are Many Adversaries
   A. "Adversaries" (antikeimai) means, "to lie opposite to."  
      It is to be against something or someone.
      1. Being a Christian will bring one into conflict with 
         the world and its standards
      2. Knowing that opposition awaits, we must prepare our 
         hearts for the defense and deliverance of the Gospel 
         - Phil. 1:17; 1 Peter 3:15
   B. Adversaries that awaited him
      1. Religious Prejudices
         a. The Temple of Diana was located there - 
            Acts 19:24-35
         b. The church was often maligned in the mind of many 
            - Acts 28:20-22
         c. Paul was seen as being mad with his newfound 
            religion - Acts 26:24
      2. Gross Immorality
         a. Ephesus was filled with opportunities for 
            wantonness
         b. Christians were encouraged to live clean, correct 
            lives - Eph. 5:11
         c. Paul kept himself pure before God and man - 
            1 Cor. 9:27
      3. False Teachers
         a. These teachers were from within the fold - 
            Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 9:3
         b. We must keep this one thing in mind
            (1). We are in a battle to win the hearts and 
                 souls of man
            (2). We must oppose every pointer and principle 
                 that turns one from Christ unto the devil - 
                 2 Cor. 6:14
   C. Same adversaries await us today
      1. In the midst of ridicule and rejection, we, like Paul,
         must continue to march to the sounds of our commander
         Jesus Christ

Conclusion:
A. The world is full of people who are lost in sin.  The 
   problem is that most of them don't even know it.  Our God 
   has sent us into the world to seek the lost (Matt. 9:37; 
   Mk 16:15).  Will we go?
B. Paul knew that with God's orders there came responsibility. 
   But he also knew there came God's power, protection and His 
   daily providence.  Do we also understand this?
C. In the mind set of an old Negro spiritual, "Get right church
   and lets go home" Amen!


Original sermon by John T. Ferguson