God Will Open and Close Doors

An Open Door for Ministry

Book of Acts Chapter 16

If we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, then we must always follow the lead of the Holy Spirit!

Many people fall into the trap that the Holy Spirit is a “thing” or they say “it” when the Holy Spirit is a person, in fact the third person of the Holy Trinity.

One man said the Holy Spirit was only an influence emanating from God the Father.

This man was condemned by the Council of Churches, but his teaching still exists in many cults, one being the Jehovah’s Witness.

We must understand that only the Holy Spirit can understand the mind of the Lord Jesus.

1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit has a will that matches the Will of God!

It was the Holy Spirit that forbad the Apostle Paul to preach in Asia, but directed Him to preach in Europe.

It was our Heavenly Father who sent the Holy Spirit to guide us in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

It is the Holy Spirit who will guide us to the truth of our world!

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Joh 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Joh 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Knowing all these things we would be foolish not obey the lead of the Holy Spirit!

The Apostle Paul knew this to be the truth!

*Act 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
Act 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
Act 16:8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

We should understand that when we are in the ministry for Jesus Christ, we will be led step by step by the Holy Spirit who lives within us!

It seems that when Paul finished his first mission trip and after a while, he had returned to Antioch of Pisidia, and Paul was deciding upon a second missionary trip and just where he would begin.

The Holy Spirit forbade Paul to go westward into the Roman province of Asia, which is now Turkey and not modern Asia.

Paul was planning to penetrate Asia for the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is good to note that the seven churches from the Book of Revelation are all in this part of Roman Asia which again, is not Asia as we know it today.

The Holy Spirit also forbade Paul to go towards the North.

Paul could have ignored the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Paul’s missionary journeys would have ended with no results.

So the only direction that was left was to go toward Troas.

It was at Troas where Paul had his vision of Macedonia, we call the Macedonian Cry.

*Act 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
Act 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Paul saw a vision during the night but we should not think of this as a dream. There are differences between a vision and a dream.

A vision is applied to things seen of a marvelous character seen objectively such as the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mat 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Dreams are far different!

Notice that the Holy Spirit did not just come out and tell Paul what to do.

The Holy Spirit opens and closes doors.
The Holy Spirit tugs at our heart.
The Holy Spirit sees if we are listening.
The Holy Spirit stopped Paul from making his own plans.

We see that we cannot have our own salvation plan, we have to trust the Lord in His plan!

Paul’s plan was still important, the cities of Asia certainly needed to be reached for Jesus Christ.

We can just say that Paul’s timing was wrong, and did not match the will of God at that time.

Note, the Apostle Paul was not given any reason for the rejection of his plan, the Holy Spirit just closed that door.

In fact, all doors were closed except for the direction Troas.

We can also understand that Luke has now joined to this group of missionaries.

Luke may have joined to help take care of Paul.
Luke may have joined to be a medical missionary.
We can be sure that Luke joined this group because the Holy Spirit led him to do so.

We can understand that Luke was a medical doctor.

The truth is, that only God knew His reasons for choosing Europe and we know that God knows best.

We know that God follows His own sure plan that He knows will work best for His own will to be followed.

What is the will of God?

1Ti_2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

God wants everyone to be saved but God leaves that choice up to us.

Paul now had his direction, and he already knew his message which was to preach the Gospel, the same message we all have.

The Holy Spirit shut the door to Asia.
The Holy Spirit shut the door to Bithynia.
The Holy Spirit opened the door to Troas.
The Holy Spirit showed Paul the vision of the man in Macedonia.

Paul followed the lead of the Holy Spirit, knowing that this was the right thing to do.

*Act 16:11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;

Once we understand that the Holy Spirit is opening the right door, then we should immediatly obey the Lord’s call!

God had chosen that the Gospel should first go to Europe!

This does not mean that God would not send someone else to Asia, it just was not going to be the Apostle Paul at this time.

What group has hindered the spread of the Gospel as much as Satan?

We would have to say it is the Church simply because the Church has not always entered into the doors opened by the Holy Spirit, but many times have chosen to barge through the doors that were closed by the Holy Spirit.

It is the same for not praying when encouraged by the Holy Spirit to pray.
It is the same for everyone who gives to promote the Gospel when the Holy Spirit has pushed us to give more.
It is the same when the Lord called us to be His witnesses but we ignore that person the Holy Spirit has drawn us to witness to.

We should remember a few things!

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; “but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Again I can feel the guilt of myself as I study these passages.

The Apostle Paul once wrote about his conversation with a king:

Act 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”:
Act 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

How many of us can say these words that Paul said?

How many of us can say, “I have never been disobedient unto our heavenly calling”?

*Act 16:12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

At this time Philippi was the gateway to Europe and it lay on a road built by the Romans.

The way was called the Ignatian Way.

The city of Philippi was named after Philip of Macedonia who was the father of Alexander the Great.

Philippi was now a proud Roman colony and, in many ways, it was like a miniature of Rome.

Rome founded these colonies to help keep the peace. Rome also encouraged veteran soldiers to retire in these colonies and would grant them citizenship if they did so and many did.

These colonies were loyal and their service was to Rome. They totally rejected the influence of the world around them!

The location of the Philippian Colony assured the spread of the Gospel to the Gentiles!

Both businessmen and salesmen travelled to and from this city from all over the world.

We know that Paul desired to evangelize Rome, but we should also notice that the Gospel moved at a faster pace than did the Apostle Paul.

Act 28:13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:
Act 28:14 “Where we found brethren”, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

The Church at Philippi was founded on Paul’s second missionary journey, and so begins the Gospel into Europe and from Europe all around the world.

The Gospel came to America from Europe.

Paul had wanted to go to other places, but the Holy Spirit insisted that the Gospel go to Europe first.

Note, Paul was not the only missionary, and the Gospel was moving in all directions at all times just as it is today.

Paul had gone to Troas because it was the only open door to him, but Paul did not understand these things at that time.

By one vision the Holy Spirit changed the cradle of society, and the world has not been the same since.

Let us take a quick look at the founders of the first church in Philippi.

Lydia a businesswoman.

Act 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
Act 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

A slave girl who was possessed by an evil spirit.

Act 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
Act 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
Act 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

A jailer who was guarding the Apostle Paul who had been locked up again for preaching the Gospel.

Act 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
Act 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Act 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Now if these people could start a Church for Jesus Christ then it should not be a problem for anyone if we would just listen to the Holy Spirit and go where he says to go and never try to barge through a closed door!


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