7/16/17 “WHAT IS AN OPEN/CLOSED DOOR?” – Pastor Shane Idleman

Complete Sermon Notes

What is a Open/Closed Door?

ACTS 16: Timothy Joins Paul and Silas, AND The Macedonian Call –

“They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.”

  • Forbidden – Not conforming to usual selection principles.

CLOSED DOOR! God will stop you if you’re humble and teachable –

  • CLOSED: Illegal, Lacks Wisdom, Wrong reasons/motives, or we are Running.

Caution: You can force it open with a spirit of rebellion – “God gave them over…”

OPEN DOOR! 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

  • Prov. 16:3, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” He will bring them to fruition if you let Him guide.

KEY to hearing God:  Spirit-filled Is Spirit-ruled.

  • We want NT power and direction, but do we want NT holiness?

  • Who are we fooling? If we are living in the flesh – too busy for prayer, too hectic for study, too tired for meditation – we won’t discern the right voice.

How do I know to leave it shut or pray that it opens?

  1. Pray – “God, search my heart and motives. This appears to be a shut door, but will You show me if I should keep contending for it?

  2. Integrity – Don’t manipulate things or try to make things happened. Don’t skew information to those who are offering godly counsel. Are you seeking counsel?

  3. If God wants to open a door, He will open it!

Is there peace about the closed door, or is there a continual stirring for it to open as you seek God not your flesh?

EXAMPLE: When I watch fixer-upper.


  • EXCERPT FROM Forks Over Knives: we are programed to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy.

  • THE WAITING TIME sifts our motives, clears our thinking, and refocuses our direction.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

God redirected Paul as he sought Him.

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

  1. Never move on a vision or dream alone unless you know it’s from God – it aligns with His Word and His nature.

  2. God’s will is to help others – it rarely has to do with comfort, pleasure, and avoiding pain.

This is why I often tell those who move or leave a job to “get away from here,” to be careful in their assumptions!

  • Our first impulse shouldn’t be to run from trouble but to seek God!

But sometimes, God will use trouble, challenges, and being discontent to move us on. If you’re filled with the Spirit you’ll know – if you’re filled with the flesh life will be chaotic.

  1. I have tremendous and sustaining peace – Spirit Ruled.

  2. “In the multitude of counsel there is safety.” Spirit Ruled.

  3. You’re not leaving out of anger and frustration. Spirit Ruled.

  4. You’re not running from your problems – but walking toward God’s will. Spirit Ruled.

  5. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything! Spirit Ruled.

And sometimes, God will use trouble and challenges to put us right in His Will – to get us to our “breaking point,” or to reach others at their breaking point.

Paul and Silas Imprisoned in God’s Will

  • 16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.

If you’ve dabbled in this, there may be an open door for the enemy.

  • 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

Are people clear about who you are, or confused about what you stand for?

18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed [godly annoyed], turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

When you confront darkness, there is a price to pay – it is warfare!

25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

  • Praising not complaining; being thankful vs. being disgruntled – are sure signs that you’re being led by God.

  • They weren’t running and banging on the prison doors – God how can you use me here?

26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

  • The ministry of reconciliation – go to people in their pain. But we often run from the pain, seek pleasure, and conserve energy.

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

  • Baptism was a priority – August baptisms.

  • What must I do? I’m Baptist! I’m a good person! I’m religious! I’ve always known God! I was raised in a Christian home!

Belief is abandonment – I’m abandoning all other gods. I’m abandoning my sin. I’m abandoning my way of doing things!

  • Is anyone asking you, “What must I do to be saved?”

If not, it’s because they don’t see the difference. You’re not praising God in your difficulties – you’re complaining. You’re not pointing others to Him – you’re concerned about your own direction.

THE OVERARCHING BENEFIT: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

  • Could it be that your kids are not following the Lord because you’re not?

  • Could it be that they have no passion for the things of God because you don’t?

  • Could it be that you are passing down the same sins and the demonic strongholds that you struggle with because we “don’t want to deal with them”?

  • Could it be that the reason your family isn’t saved is because you’re not saved?

That prayer room should be full today!