Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 18, 1961

"A Door Opened, Which None Can Shut"

Pryde E Hinton, Dora, Alabama

We preach that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We say, with Paul, "but God gave the increase." But as a matter of fact, we are utterly discouraged by small crowds, lack of material equipment, seeming failures, etc.! We seem to think that great men, the great god Intellectualism, human wisdom, human institutions, etc., are indispensable to success in "the work of Christ." Paul knew that a power not his and not of man, had opened for him "a great door and effectual." (1 Cor. 16:8,9) When he and Silas began "the campaign for Christ" in Macedonia (Acts 16), God was supervising it. Was that "an open door?" Yes, but it took faith to see it! Then read how Christ sent Paul to Rome: Acts 21 through 28. In chains, no big "campaign kick-off," no "big top" under which to preach, no celebrities to thrust the campaign into orbit, no first class Bible school or college to get the campaign started and train workers! No humans to cheer and encourage but "the brethren" of the sect, of which the Jews said, "we know that everywhere it is spoken against." No tabernacles or "big top" — just his own "hired house," where "Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him" and that was "an open door?" "But only those who see take off their shoes!"

But those saints, including Lydia, Aquila and Priscilla, et al, did not trust "the arm of flesh." They believed that there is no restraint with the Lord to save by many or few. They believed that nothing is too hard for the Lord. So when they had success, they would return (when sent out by a congregation) to the church, and tell "all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the "Gentiles." (Acts 14:27) After showing that they were only "ministers" (servants) by whom men believed in Christ, they said "but God gave the increase." They not only said, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;" but also, "if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." "The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own!"

Christians today need sorely to study, even memorize, First Corinthians 1. "But one thing is needful," Jesus said. Paul affirmed that the gospel, which is God's power unto salvation, is all-sufficient. In spite of brethren's saying that we are "extreme brethren," or "antis," because we affirm that God has given his people one organization, the congregational unit, we stand here — with "few adherents," or none, if need be. God has always used humanly despised and seemingly weak people; small, despised means; and seemingly unpropitious circumstances and conditions his "wonders to perform." He permitted some to be sold into slavery, put into prison, beaten, ill-treated of the Devil, to suffer soul-discouraging set-backs, to experience complete failures in their first efforts; so that no flesh should glory in his presence. It is he who opens and no man can shut; who shuts and none can open.

Let's stand up for Jesus, while the doors are open. God finally shut the door into the ark: Gen. 7:16. Esau went beyond the point of no return, so far as his birthright was concerned: Hebrews 12:14-17. We are warned in the story of the ten virgins that when the door is shut, no man can open it: Matthew 25 :1-13.

May God help us to see with the eyes of our hearts by faith, the open doors before us now, and that shall be opened in 1961. And Hebrews 13:5, 6 is true and faithful, brethren. And if that seems insufficient, hold Romans 8:32 close to your heart, and believe that it's true. What glory and success would await us, if we would heed the loving reproof Jesus gave Martha in John 11, when she seemed to doubt his wisdom I "Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"