The doors are open. That is what we preachers say at the end of a worship service. This is a welcome to anybody to join the congregation, become a candidate for baptism into the Christian faith, or for a believer to publicly rededicate his or her life to God. Open doors are a good thing, right? Unless it is your home, and in that case, you would close and lock your doors and let in only those you wish to enter into your home.
The Doors to God
Have you ever wondered whether or not the doors are open to the Lord? To be honest with you, that is never a question I have ever asked. I like to say that I was born into the church – essentially I’ve been in the church all my life. So, I learned about God very early in my life and this sort of thought never ran through my mind. Yet, there are very many people who believe that their connection with God is closed off. In other words, they believe that the doors to God are closed and locked shut.
So, we must first answer this question: are the doors closed and locked shut to God? Now, I can say to all of you who may believe that they are, those doors are not locked shut. The doors are open to the Lord! I am going to get to the point of how I am able to tell you that the doors are open in just a little bit but first, I want to talk about some history. In this history, you will see why we should appreciate the doors being open to us.
But at one point in time
In a recent Sunday School lesson, we saw this picture of the people’s relationship with the Lord in Old Testament days. We saw where Moses was called to come close to the Lord while others had to stay back (Ex. 24:2). Moses had a personal relationship with the Lord, and this was something that many of the prophets in the Old Testament days enjoyed. Yet, this sort of closeness was not something the people were able to enjoy.
We see what I mean by this in the story of Job. We know that the Lord watched over Job and thought very highly of him (Job 1:8). Job was a blameless and upright man that had faith in the Lord. Yet, in his day of troubles, we saw Job sour a bit in his faith. (I do not intend for this to a bad thing; many of us have days where we sour a tad bit.) Job complained about his misfortune which eventually led to him wishing that there was a mediator that would talk to God on his behalf (Job 9:33). The relationship with the Lord was not as personal as Job would have wished.
You see, access to the Lord was partly restricted and blocked. This restriction of access to the Lord for Job went back to Adam’s sin in the garden. In the garden, you will see that Adam and Eve dwelt with and even had interactions with the Lord – they had open access (Gen. 2). But, we know how the story goes, they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:6).
After their sin in the garden, we are told that the Lord put Adam and Eve out of the garden (Gen. 3:23). We are told that God blocked off access to the garden and, more specifically, the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). Because of their sin, Adam and Eve were no longer able to dwell in the garden with the Lord. The blocking off of the garden is also symbolic of access to the Lord being blocked. In other words, the doors had been closed shut.
To talk metaphorically here, after that point, God would look at mankind from His window – at a distance. The only way the people could have access to God was through the prophets. In Old Testament times, the people would have to rely on the priests to teach and assist them in the Lord’s instructions. In Jesus’ day, they would have to go to the scribes and Pharisees for assistance in learning to live by the Mosaic Law.
Yet, there was a problem with this that I have mentioned in some of my recent sermons. That problem: many of the religious leaders, through their actions, were shutting off access to the Lord (Matt. 23:13). Following God’s instructions was the only way to get the Lord to open His doors, but those religious leaders were keeping the people from God!
The Doors are Open
Whenever I read about Old Testament living, I often put myself in the shoes of the people. Could you imagine living a life where your relationship with God is not as close as it could be today? Yes the people could go to the tabernacle and temple to the priests, or listen to the prophet, but many were still left in the dark. I cannot imagine having the troubles that life can bring on, and not be able to cry out to the Lord personally! I cannot imagine dealing with things physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually without being able to pray a prayer to the Lord personally!
This was the place that Job found himself in: he badly wanted to talk with God personally about his troubles, but he felt the doors to the Lord were shut! (This is how many people feel in our world today.) He knew that the Lord would be able to help him with his problems! I believe that there were many faithful believers like Job who lived in the Old Testament days – people who desired a close personal relationship with God.
Access to God
God has always intended on having a personal relationship with mankind. To open back up the doors, we are told that God sent His only begotten Son (John 3:16). The world was in darkness and God opened His doors and from those doors came the true Light that shined in our world (John 1:9)!
While in the world, we see in our key verse today that Jesus taught us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” You see, Jesus taught a great deal about His Father and one of the most important things He taught was that we have access to Him! Jesus said, if you ask Him, it will be given to you; if you seek Him, you will find Him; if you knock (on the door), it will be opened to you.”
Three ways to access the Lord
There are three ways for which we have access to the Lord that I want to focus on in today’s sermon for all of you. Firstly: we have been taught that the doors are open to God for us through prayer (Matt. 6:5-6). Jesus said, whatever we ask the Father, in His (Jesus) name, the Father will give to us (John 16:23). Whereas in Old Testament times where the people had to go to the prophet or priest, we, through Christ, now have open access to the Lord! Let’s go a step further.
Secondly: Jesus taught us that the doors are open to the Lord for us spiritually through the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-16). We should not ever think lightly of this form of access that we have with God. I say this because there are many times where we are so worn out and torn down by life that we cannot even find the words to pray. Listen to this: in those times, the Holy Spirit will intercede on your behalf with the Lord! On this thought, Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered in our weakness when we do not know what we should pray for (Rom. 8:26)!
Eternal Access to God
Lastly: we have access to God eternally through the blood of Jesus. Jesus said He is the way to God, the truth and life! He said that no one can have this sort of access to the Lord if they do not come through Him (John 14:6)! Jesus became the propitiation of our sin by which the Lord will now come and dwell with all of those who believe in Him (Heb. 2:17-18).
I hope you notice that all of this access was given to us (mankind) by God — He gave of Himself by giving His Son and then by giving His Holy Spirit. Thanks to God, the doors are always open to us and we have eternal access to Him.
Thankful for this access
We are now in the season of thanksgiving. I am often told that I’m disrespectful towards the holiday of Thanksgiving because I will start listening to Christmas music November 1st. Of course I certainly disagree because I don’t believe you have to wait for one day of the year to be thankful. I believe we, especially we as true believers, ought to celebrate Thanksgiving every second of every day! We have so much to be thankful for!
I am so thankful that the doors are open to the Lord for every last person that chooses to knock on God’s doors. You see, I am very much thankful that I do not have to be dependent on some other man or woman to talk to the Lord for me! I am thankful that I can call the Lord up and He will always answer my call! You see, I am also very thankful that when I am beat and worn out from life, that the Holy Spirit will intercede and talk to God for me! Lastly, I am thankful that one day I will have an eternal rest in the kingdom of my Lord where I will rest in peace and joy with all of God’s children!
Are you thankful?
Think about this question for a moment: Are you thankful that the doors are open for you? Are you thankful that you can walk in and talk to the Lord at any time and that He will be there for you?! We should certainly be thankful for this access. God always has an open door for us and welcomes us to come in to Him. The writer of Hebrews wrote that we should draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).
So that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need – this is what I am so thankful for. I do not know what you have gone through, but I am thankful that in what I have gone through, I have had this access to the Lord. In this year of 2020, I hope that many of you are also thankful for the access that you have with God. I certainly hope that you have used your access to Him, especially with how this year has been. God’s doors are always open! We should be willing to go through those doors to see Him and talk to Him!