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When They Open the Door...What Will They Find?
The story that I begin with is a true story.
Her name was Helen. She lived in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. They found her body one night at the door of Emmanuel Pentecostal Church. Helen had been trying to get into the church. But she never got further than the door.
There was a single man from that congregation that had an apartment in the church and he lived there as the caretaker and security guard. His name was John Harris. He heard what he thought was a scratching or clawing at the door of the church that night. He quickly got dressed and made his way carefully to the front door where he heard the noise.
First he looked out the little window in the front door and he didn’t see anyone there. Then he quietly began unlocking the door. Thinking it was perhaps a stray animal you can imagine his surprise when he opened the door and found the body of a woman laying there. In fact she sort of fell into the church as the door opened because she had been laying up against the base of the door.
At once he recognized the blood that seemed to be everywhere from obvious wounds on the woman’s body. She was still breathing but just barely. John immediately made his way to the telephone and alerted the police and emergency personnel. Then he called the pastor and told him what was going on.
The police arrived on the scene quickly and began to assess the situation. The emergency personnel showed up and tried to help the woman but she had already lost so much blood. Helen had been stabbed repeatedly and as a result of her wounds it was too late for her when they arrived and shortly life and breath quietly left her broken body.
This was an easy crime for the police to solve however, because all they had to do was follow the trail of blood that led to where the crime had taken place. It led them to her second floor apartment just around the corner and about three blocks away from the church, where she lived with her boyfriend. He was still there with knife in hand sitting on the floor of the apartment in a pool of blood. The police immediately took him into custody and arrested him.
But there where still some questions that were unanswered. The police wondered as they followed the trail of blood back to the church why Helen had come here to this church. Why didn’t she pound on her neighbour’s door for help? Why not to the little convenience store on the corner of the street that was open 24 hours a day. Why did she pass the phone in front of the store? If she had gotten help sooner there was a real good chance that she could have been saved before the loss of blood became too great.
The trail of blood went from her apartment down the stairs onto the sidewalk. It didn’t stop at any house along the way. It kept going for three blocks and they could tell that Helen, at times, had dragged herself along the sidewalk. There were places where there was more blood than others as she stopped along the way to, no doubt, regain strength. If she had just turned into one of the houses, but she didn’t and Helen kept crawling along to the church. She dragged herself around the corner of the third block and headed to the church. At the bottom of the steps to the church she must have laid there for a long time until she finally gained enough strength to climb the stairs. Up the stairs she went to the front door, where she had tried to open it up and that was where John, the caretaker, found her.
When the Pastor arrived he was able to identify the body as that of a young woman that he and his wife had taught a Bible Study to about a year ago. “So she is a member of your church,” the policeman said. “No, she doesn’t attend any church to my knowledge,” replied the Pastor. She had shown so much interest when they talked to her about the Lord. But she had never made it out to church. All she knew about the church was through that one Bible Study. So it was a mystery to the police why she did what she did.
Why did she struggle for three blocks and around the corner to the church?
Why was she trying to get into the church?
What did she expect to find there?
What did she expect to see?
What could getting into the church do to help her in the condition that she was in?
Those were the questions that were in the minds of the police officers that night.
With that story fresh in our minds, my question to you beautiful people, this morning and the subject of my message is this: When they open the door of your church, “What will they find?” When they open the door…what will they find and what will they see?
The very first thing that I hope people see when they open the door of your church is Jesus Christ.
In John chapter 12 there are many people in the city of Jerusalem that have gathered for the feast of the Passover. There were many people who desired to see Jesus because of the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead that was being talked about. This is the time that is referred to as the triumphant entry of the Lord into Jerusalem. This is where they laid palm branches in his path and cried Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. Verses 20 and 21 of John chapter 12 say this:
20And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
Wait a minute fellows everybody just saw Jesus. Weren’t you there to see him ride into Jerusalem? Didn’t you worship with everyone else? Didn’t you throw palm branches in his pathway? How are you asking to see Jesus when you just saw him?
You don’t understand Philip, I know that we just saw him amongst the crowd, but we desire to see him for ourselves. We don’t just want to have a general view from the sidelines somewhere but we want to really see him. We are not just looking for a group experience with the Lord but we are looking for a personal encounter with him.
Let me pause here to tell you that it is possible to come to church every Sunday and never SEE Jesus. It is even possible to feel his presence and power and never get a look at him. It’s possible for you to feel what everybody else is feeling while at church because of the crowd or the group that’s here but never feel him anywhere else and never really see him. But when I come to church I want to see him. In fact I don’t just want to see him at church I want to see him everyday.
When people come to my Church I want them to be able to SEE Jesus. When they open the door of this church I want them to be able to find Jesus here.
In the Bible when people saw Jesus it always caused some kind of a reaction in them.
For some people it filled them with great joy.
For others it caused them to fall on their face and repent.
For others it made them rejoice in the Lord and praise him.
For still others it caused them to fall at his feet in worship to the Lord.
At times it caused demons to leave those who were possessed.
At times it brought healing to those who were sick with disease in their bodies.
When some really saw him they laid down everything to follow after him.
A blind man saw him one day without sight and cried out to him, “Jesus thou son of David have mercy on me.”
When Peter saw him he said, “Thou art the Christ the son of the living God.”
When Thomas saw him he said, “My Lord and my God.”
When John the Baptist saw him he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Whenever people really saw Jesus it caused some kind of a reaction.
At your Church when you get people to see Jesus:
Instead of our selves,
In spite of our selves, and
Through our selves,
great things can happen.
When people see Jesus:
Drug addicts are set free from the habits of drugs.
Alcoholics are delivered from the bondage of alcohol.
Immoral living becomes a thing of the past.
Those who are down and out are brought up and over.
Those who are weary, worn, and sad are uplifted and restored.
Those with big problems in their life realize that there is a bigger God than any problem that they might have.
Those who can’t see the light of day begin to see the light of glory.
Those who have no hope in this life begin to have a hope in the life to come.
Those who have been abused and misused by life are tenderly brought into the care of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who have no one to lean upon during the struggles of this life find someone to cast ALL their cares upon because all at once they realize Jesus loves me and cares for me like no other.
Things begin to happen!
“When they open the door…what will they find?”
When people come to I want them to find HOPE not condemnation.
When they come through the doors of this church I want people to sense that this is a place of hope.
I want people to know that we accept them just like they are.
I want them to know that we accept people of all colours.
I want them to know that we accept people from all walks of life.
I want people to know that this is a place of hope and not condemnation.
When we cast the net out it will bring in all kinds of fish (people).
, “When they open the door…what will they find?”
When people come to my Church I want them to find PEACE not strife.
The Bible says in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.”
We can’t be at one another’s throats and expect people to see Jesus.
I realize that we are all unique people and we won’t all be best friends and that we all have different interest. But there is one thing that brings us together and that is our love for the Lord, which should produce a love for one another.
“When they open the door of this church…what will they find?”
I want them to find INTEGRITY not dishonesty.
I want to be a man of integrity and I want the church to be people with integrity.
When they open the door…what will they find?
When people come to Church I want them to find FELLOWSHIP not a cold shoulder.
42And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
I see in this verse that doctrine is important and prayer is important but also fellowship and breaking of bread is important also.
When they open the door…what will they find?
Finally, when people come to Church I want them to find SALVATION not damnation.
The church is nothing if it is not a soul saving station. The church is nothing if it is not a lighthouse for the lost. The church is nothing if it is not a hospital where the wounded and dying can find the way to the Lord. If we are not these things then we have become nothing more than a social club.
But that is not what we are – we are a church. We are the church of the living God. This is a place where people can be saved. In fact you can be saved today. You can see Jesus today before you leave.
36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.