Listen to a message from our Sunday service. The Open Door is located in Lafayette, Louisiana. Our focus is to know Christ, grow in knowledge of Him, and to serve others.
Everyone Has The Ability To Serve | Pastor Tim Wilcox
Message: Peter is talking about the sufferings of the world and brings in spiritual gifts. Why don't we get involved? We know our flaws and mistakes.
[04:16-08:20 Tim Wilcox's Testimony - God had a purpose]
There's a lot of labor that goes into running a church, but there's also spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are given to everyone who is a believer, to minister the grace of God to others. Ask yourself, "what does it mean to serve?" God has a plan for you. He wants to use you where you are with plans He has for you. We can look in the mirror and not believe who God says we are, because of our strength and weaknesses. The weaknesses are for our reliance on others. Find people in your life who you can be open and honest with, so they can place strengths around you. We as stewards of God's grace, will give an account for our lives before God for the abilities He has given us. The gifts are to show how good God is in our lives, resulting in joy. If there's no joy, you need to reflect on your reason for serving. Don't misunderstand the grace of God, it's Jesus doing everything and we just respond to Him.
1 Peter 4:11 is an overview of spiritual gifts, citing two categories, speaking and serving. Everything can be grouped into these two, one is upfront and the other is going on behind the scenes, respectively. God wants the glory. He has given you all these things in Jesus Christ for the His kingdom. The saying goes,"It doesn't matter who gets the credit as long as God gets the glory." We surrender and ask Him to control us, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us; it's a continuous process. It's an opportunity to live out the love of God, to live out His praises and His love. Use your gifts for the glory of God.
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:7-11 "But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." - NKJV
Indispensable Parts | Pastor Jeff Williams
Message: In a society and church where where we are made to feel dispensable, not needed, unnecessary and expendable, God never will. There are many parts making up the family of God, and every part is indispensable. In Corinthians 12, the church is starting to have division based on the importance of spiritual gifts. The message of this chapter is to value the place God has given to every member of the body. Paul explains the focus on the gifts can cause us to miss the point of them, to build the body of Christ in love. The gifts are a blessing, vital and needed in God's kingdom. The viewpoint can get distorted when gifts are seen as greater or weaker based on outward or inward application; also seen greater or weaker based on value. All gifts are valuable to the kingdom of God, the riches only having value in heaven, where He gives honor to those lacking it in the public forum. The passage of scripture addresses how we measure the gifts strength, what we view as honorable gifts and what we perceive as presentable gifts, but God places value on them all, everyone important.
[22:15-34:45] A testimony about the value of godliness in crisis.
We are valuable beyond measure, moving, guiding and directing the body into great glory for God's kingdom through us. Each and everyone of us are indispensable.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:22-25 "No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another." - NKJV
The True Advocate | Pastor Jeff Williams
Message: We need someone to speak for us sometimes when we're going through a hard time. [testimonial of advocacy] Scripture expresses the full fellowship we can have with God, Jesus Christ and should have with others. These relationships should grow in the abiding love of God. John wants us to know his reason for writing is to introduce the Advocate. There is an ongoing defense and comfort for our sin, but in Christ there has already been reparation for our sin. There two methods of purchase used by Christ. He died for our sin debt and us as the redeemed of the Lord. Secondly, redemption is the spilling of blood on the earth at His death, the earth also purchased. The "payment is full" was for the people and the place. Christ finished the work so we wouldn't have to stand for ourselves. Christ as the defender took authority, but there is one who accuses us before heaven, so He defends us before heaven. Even with Satan's limited access, he has not stopped trying to judge and condemn us, so Christ is there to remind him, "It is finished!" Psalm 94:22, "But the Lord is my defense and my God is the rock of my refuge." Christ is pleading our cause with God, seated on the right hand, defending and advocating, throwing out the accusations. In Romans 8:34, Christ died for it all, rose again and sits at the right hand of God, that our relationship with the Father would continue to grow, our faith not fail, our inner man be strengthened and our weapons be mighty with none greater. This is so the good work begun in us by God, faithful and just, will complete it until the day of redemption. Christ as comforter through the Holy Spirit, acts as advocate in a distressed world, when we have fallen short, reminding us Christ is righteous and our faith belongs to Him now and forevermore. When our flesh and Satan brings lies about who we are, the Comforter guides us in the truth, John 16:7, 12. This is not advocating ease, letting Christ do all the work. In Matthew 11:28-29, we are to take His teaching and instruction, learn to be like Christ and find rest there. The stirrings of the world will not so easily unhinge us when there is strength in the inner man and trust in God's unchanging Word. Our remembrance of the Way, the Truth and the Light, will be the things we can trust in, no matter what the world throws at us. Our strength is in His might, we are set free in His truth when we put on the new man, Christ's character and attributes, Colossians 3:10-12. Sin hinders our relationship when we take our eyes off God, but we are righteousness in Christ gives all access to the throne of God. Through convictions and chasenings of our sin, we are trained and disciplined to grow and produce peace with Him and within ourselves. [Personal testimony of Christ's defense and steadfast love] In Romans 5:1-2, Christ will not allow us to be accused of the things He's paid for, so we could have peace with God. Let us rejoice in the hope of this glory.
Scripture: 1 John 2:1-2 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." - KVJ
A Crown Of Rightousness | Pastor Jeff Williams
Message: A letter of Paul to Timothy as he nears the end of his life as he has kept the faith and awaits the crown of righteousness. Paul has been isolated and imprisoned, relying on the support of friends for survival. Paul reflects on his life in Christ and the witness of the Holy Spirit, caring little for his life, but that he might finish with joy in the plan God had for him.
God has a plan and purpose for each of us, carrying it out in and through us. Paul is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and it allows us to see ourselves. In 2 Corinthians 6:1-10, we sing the praises of God together , but his grace should not be taken for granted. God has delivered us and salvation is critical.
In all things we are in a fallen world and are in need, but are not to be part of this world. There are trials, because we proclaim the name of Christ, it arises from nowhere, so we're reminded of prayer, patience and God's plan.
In faith* we're called to finish the course, letting nothing forfeit us.
By* God, by the supernatural power in us, defensively and offensively, we are to fear nothing, He is greater than any situation. Nehemiah 4:14 is an encounter with overwhelming forces. It's a reminder to remember the Lord, fight by* the power truth and Word of God. People call us out, treat us wrongly, but God has another report of you. We are known and beloved by* Him.
As* we are in the middle of battle, there is a power available to us, when we walk in God's strength. The strength is His truth and promises as* our identity, that others my see us in Christ.
There are many crowns awarded to believers after salvation. The Greek word for crown in stephanos, royalty and honor, such is the name of Stephen the martyr. In the New Testament, it refers to the reward for the faithful, not to seize unearned, but for a follower of the Lord, obedient to stay on the course God had laid out. A crown of righteousness is given to those who long Christ's appearance and those in the struggle to keep Him first. With lamps lit and oil full are those living for His appearance in their life as Savior and Shepherd, seeking Him in prayer, studies, and testimony, anticipating His return. Everything we've done, outside the righteousness of God will be consumed by fire. In this there is conviction for the things we prized in this world above God, thereby missing the reward He has for us. It's a reminder to lean on the Lord as course to follow, as a ministry to finish, which produces an opportunity to reveal Himself and a good God to others. They're examining us, "reading our book", to see if we're holding fast to our profession of faith and the calling placed on us.
Maybe it's someone you know who persecutes Christians, what's your response going to be? When you are challenged, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?", do you say, "Yes, I do!"
The crown of righteousness is for believers, purchased by Christ and bestowed to the saints who love His appearing, putting everything else secondary to His work, calling and leading. Will we say, "I do!"? The crown is a symbol of trust and desire to be with Christ in every aspect of our lives, given by the righteous Judge to all those who love His appearance and anticipate it.
This is not our safe place, be expectant of Him; He is excited about you. Trust and lean upon Him, fighting the fight of faith, not only for eternal life but for the crown of righteousness of God, of Christ, in you.
Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:6-8 "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." - KJV
Sought Out But Not Forsaken | Pastor Jeff Williams
Message: Have you ever been in a place where things don't go your way, trouble on every side? God is there. In the scripture reference, Israel has been exiled, but God has a plan for deliverance from Babylonian captivity and restoration for the faithful remnant. Have there every been times when it's not easy to see God working, seeming long and feeling forgotten? Israel felt that way. Similarly, we often try to fix problems with church programs instead of Jesus Christ when we feel forsaken.
There are 3 key points to being sought by God often and not forsaken.
1. Your Salvation is coming. God desires to deliver us in the physical and also in the spiritual, a laying down of the natural for the supernatural. God has a plan to bring it all together and will not rest. All the while Israel is waiting to be rescued from exile. God is not resting until salvation is in every aspect of our lives. God will not hold His peace, wanting to redeem us into righteousness and reflect His image. Hebrews 7: 24-25 points to a continuous light, eternal salvation to the uttermost, which is a reflection of the completeness of the saving, a perfection, holy and without blemish. It is a salvation that frees us from the wages of sin and the chains of sin. No matter what it looks like from the natural eye, it's a never-ending presence.
2. His reward is with Him. A spiritual good work is being accomplished that is worthy of reward. Isaiah 62:6 reveals God's love sets watchmen over us to protect us. God is saying He will save Jerusalem and us, it will make praise in the earth. The watchmen have a constant duty. They are to discern and be prayer warriors for a people who are under attack from Satan who wants to steal, kill and destroy. God calls us to pray without ceasing, giving Him no rest. God reciprocates with reward, allowing us to trust in His name. Simply, we can trust God the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. It is important to be ready for His reward. Isaiah 35:10 encourages of God's ransom for us will return. Hebrews 6:11 encourages us to be seeker of Him, the sacrifice will be worth it. For the unbeliever, Luke 13:27-28 warns of being unknown while working themselves.
3. His work is before Him. In Isaiah 62:10 we are called to prepare a highway for people, removing distractions to the way of the Lord, let them see Jesus at the center of it all. We are to prepare our hearts to receive Him and not miss opportunities. Ephesians 2:10 makes us a part of His workmanship. In us and through us, Christ is a living word for someone to see and desire salvation. He wants to use us to uplift His Kingdom as we fix our eyes on Christ as the reference point in our lives. [Testimony of Godly care] God is ever-present and trustworthy all our days.
Scripture: Isaiah 62:11-12 "Indeed the Lord has proclaimed To the end of the world: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming;Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.’ ”And they shall call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.
Being A Believer | Pastor Jeff Williams
Message: Why do people refuse to believe in God when He is evident in all of creation? Most people suffer with pride, not wanting God to run their lives, which results in losing the meaning of life. The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” - Psalm 14:1. In Mark 9:14-29 The disciples are unable to heal boy with a mute spirit. The boy's father has brought him to Jesus for healing. Jesus heals the boy on the belief of the father, who repents of of his unbelief, but He has scolded the disciples for being faithless. By the actions of both and our actions now, we show our unbelief. Hebrews 11:1-3 defines faith as visualizing God's plans before reality. As we trust, His plans become steadfast and secure. The man's trust was shaken, wondering if even Jesus could heal his boy. He cast his sight on the natural, where eyes can be deceived. As his eyes left Jesus, his belief waned. The emphasis is a continual trust, regardless of what our natural eyes see. The man acknowledged his failure to believe and and asked for help from Jesus to believe. The power to heal came from his trust in Jesus. In our lives when the the Lord showed up, it was preceded by the thought of being alone, but He was faithful to be there, building our trust day by day. All things are possible to the believer with trust and faith. Faith is described as a mustard seed, small, but with everything it needs to flourish. At the moment an unsuitable environment changes to a condition conducive to growth, it explodes with life. The mustard seed is the natural, but the spiritual is the seed of Christ that will grow when nourished. Nourishment is a continual relationship as the branch is to the vine, connection is critical to growth. Our connection is with Christ and in Him we keep His commandments and experience joy. Let us be conscious of our unbelief, seek Him, trust Him and cry out His help as we journey with Him. Take the step of faith to make the Jesus the Lord of your life. We are to glory in Him, not in ourselves. He is excited about the day of our acceptance.
Scripture: Mark 9:23-24 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - NKJV