SERMON TITLE: “Opening the Way: Open Doors of Faith”
SERMON TEXT: Acts 14:21-28
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: April 22, 2018, at First UMC—Tenth Anniversary in Marriott-Slaterville
Over the past 10 days or so, I had two opportunities to enjoy Ogden’s “Restaurant Week.” During this annual event, local downtown restaurants promote themselves by offering a special menu at lower prices, in order to attract more customers and bring new people through their doors.
This Ogden restaurant promotion reminded me of a Chamber of Commerce campaign that happened in Pueblo, Colorado, where I used to live. There, the local business owners in the historic district got together and created a colorful poster that showed only the doors of their restaurants and stores. Some of the doors were brown; others were black, green, blue, or red. Some doors had fancy knobs and hardware. Other doors were unique because of the type or shape of their windows. Like a puzzle, the poster challenged its viewers to identify the businesses to which the doors belonged.
I liked that poster so much that I bought one and hung it on the door of my church office. It reminded me that the church also has doors—doors through which we invite and welcome people to ministry and provide an opening to faith in Jesus Christ.
Open doors of faith is what I want to talk about this morning. All this month, we’ve been hearing about ways that God has opened up opportunities for faith development. God began opening the way with the grand opening of the tomb on Easter morning, so the women could see that Jesus’ body was no longer there. Next we learned about how the risen Christ opened the hearts of the disciples who walked home to Emmaus. Then we read about Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in Jerusalem, and how Jesus used their physical senses and an explanation of the scriptures to open their minds to understanding.
All three of those stories took place on or near Easter Day. Today’s scripture from Acts 14 happens much later, maybe 20 years after Jesus’ resurrection, during the first missionary journey of the Apostle Paul. As we consider these verses, let’s see what the ministry of Paul and Barnabas can tell us about how we might open doors of faith.