I grew up in a culturally diverse community. Nowhere was this more evident than at the Belvedere Plaza Theater. In the age before Netflix and Hulu we caught the latest flicks on the big screen. At the Belvedere, watching a movie was a true communal experience. The audience was fully engaged. We did not merely watch the drama unfold. We advised, chided, and cheered the characters, especially if the movie was suspenseful. The Dolby surround-sound was drowned out by cries of “Girl! Don’t you go in there!” And “don’t you do it. You know he’s gonna get you.” Every warning louder and more earnest than the one before.
Hapless teens strolling through abandoned campgrounds were always walking through doors better left alone. They clearly needed our counsel. And my little theater community was not shy about warning them, loudly and colorfully, to watch out and keep out. Everyone knew that an open door led to nothing good.
We all have a fear of open doors. Yes, they represent opportunity, but they also represent uncertainty. Uncertainty about what is ahead of us and uncertainty about what is inside of us. We never know what is behind the next door. Or how we will handle it. But the open doors we often fear the most, are those the Lord opens.
Though opened by the Lord who loves us through all eternity, who gives us life and works all things for our good, we struggle to shake off the fear that we know more about our happiness than He does. That it is somehow a divine trap. He opens a door that no man can shut. But will we follow Him to it and through it?
The message to the Church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3 is remarkable. Christ has no word of condemnation, only commendation for this church. His message to them is filled with the imagery of the open door. He is the Lord who holds the keys. He is the one who opens doors which no one can close and closes those which no man can open. Philadelphia was founded as a gateway city — not to defend the Greek cities to the west, but to evangelize peoples of the east with Greek life and culture. And now the Lord has a more important gospel for the Philadelphian Christians to carry.
He calls them to the open door. Doors in the Bible often represent new opportunities for ministry, but they also represent the path from life to death and from loneliness into community. All these things are part of Christ’s call come to and through the door he has opened. For Christ not only opens the door but, John’s gospel tells us, He is the door – the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way for us to come to the Father, find real community, and pursue a life of meaning and purpose.
He has opened a door which no man can shut. Are you afraid to go through it? Join us this week as we examine the message to the Church in Philadelphia from Revelation 3:7-12 and consider the call to follow Christ through the open door.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm at The Arkansas DreamCenter at 1116 Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube. For the Order of Service, click here.