Open Doors Means Many Adversaries

What It Will Take to Impact OUR World

Zechariah 3


Pastor Craig Ledbetter

24 Oct, 2010   AM

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (1Cor 16:9)
For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries


A.     God is always opening doors – making a way for a believer to go forward and do God’s will


1.      In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul is excited! He is back in Ephesus, for the second time

2.      The first time he was here, a riot broke out because of Paul’s preaching and teaching about idols – the people were upset about losing their worship of the sex-goddess Diana

3.      Paul had to leave Ephesus with very little to show for his labours there – discouraged

4.      Now, here he was again in Ephesus, and a church was forming! 12 grown men had just gotten born again, and baptized, and Apollos had joined up with Paul, along with Aquila and Priscilla, and Ephesus was responding to the Gospel now!

5.      Opportunities were opening up, left, right, and centre!

6.      But along with all the opportunities, there were obstacles!


B.     There is a natural tendency to think that when God opens doors, when “opportunity knocks”, that everything will go smoothly, and you won't have any trouble, hardship, or failure.

C.     But God’s word tells us that the opposite is true: that when a great and effective door is open, when the potential is there to be really used by God, and blessed by God, then there will be not a few, but many adversaries to try and stop you. A human tendency is to look at opposition and problems as a sign that you are doing something wrong. That may be sometimes true, but it can also be true that when you begin to go the direction that the Lord has opened for you, and start to do exactly what he has called you to do, that opposition seem to multiply before your eyes!

D.     Life never went smoothly for Paul


1.      2 Cor 11:22-33

2.      2 Cor 4:6-18

3.      It sometimes discouraged Paul even (2Cor 1:8)


E.      There is a rough road for those who seek to follow Jesus (Mt 8:19,20). But I would easily rather this way of living, with all its troubles, than my old ways (Psalm 146:9)

F.      It is possible for trouble to come because you're going the wrong direction and walking in disobedience to God. Other times, however, the adversaries are there precisely because you are heading in the exact direction the Lord wants you to go, and the opposition is fierce because of it.

G.     I want to encourage everyone here this morning to impact our world, no matter the adversaries, no matter the hurdles! Win your best friends, and your worst enemies! Turn this world upside down, no matter the cost! What ever door the Lord opens, let’s all go through!


II.    Message


A.     The Christian’s Open Doors.


1.      Everything God has ever done for us has been an open door

2.      When we heard the Gospel, it was an open door to forgiveness (John 10:7-9)

3.      When God gave us our families, it was an opportunity to raise them for God

4.      When God gave us a ministry, it was to impact our world (2Cor 2:12-14)

5.      When God brought you across the path of someone lost, it was an opportunity to win them to Christ (Acts 14:27)


B.     The Christian’s Adversaries.


1.      Yes, it is true, that with each open door, there are going to be many land-mines, many hurdles, many enemies, many traps and pot-holes…


a.       Self hinders us (Rom 7:18-20) – all the old habits, all the things we love

b.      Other Christians (Rom 14:21) – they can put us off, and upset us, and derail us – IF WE LET THEM!

c.       Enemies (Prov 4:16) – they can ruin your day

d.      Past hurts and bad attitudes that we just can’t seem to forgive and get over

e.       But the worst of all is Satan himself who hinders us


2.      Just remember, Christianity is all about OPEN DOORS (Rev 3:7-9), not the adversaries. Our eyes are on Jesus, and His will, not on the problems we might experience trying to do His will!


C.     The Example of Joshua the High Priest (Zechariah 3:1-9)


1.      The Scene (3:1)


a.       Joshua was the Jewish High Priest of the day – about 550 years before the birth of Jesus

b.      He not the Joshua who led Israel into the Promised Land, but another man

c.       He is performing his duties as the high priest in the Temple – attempting to make atonement for the nation of Israel

d.      He thought he was alone in the temple. It was not a very popular place at the time.


1)      The Temple had been rebuilt by Ezra

2)      The city of Jerusalem was being rebuilt by Nehemiah

3)      But there were not massive crowds – just a few – most were busy in the fields, working


e.       Joshua is just standing there for a moment, pausing, thinking

f.       And the Lord God showed the prophet Zechariah something wonderful!


2.      The Standing (3:1b)


a.       Joshua was actually standing in the rebuilt Temple – a miracle, because it had been destroyed some 90 years earlier by Nebuchadnezzar because of sin among God’s people – and yet here he was, actually standing again in God’s house!

b.      Joshua was back where he was supposed to be

c.       Trying to be faithful, trying to do right

d.      And if you and I had seen him, we would have noticed that he was wearing the cleanest of garments as the High Priest, offering sacrifices once again for the sins of the people, and obtaining forgiveness for them as the high priest

e.       But there was more to see than met the eye


3.      The Struggle (3:1c)


a.       God transforms the view so that you see another layer – a spiritual reality behind the physical

b.      Like removing the curtain of a stage so you can see back-stage

c.       And guess WHO is right there?


1)      Satan


a)      Resisting every step Joshua was taking, every right decision, every effort to serve God

b)      Waiting for the right moment to cause Joshua to fall, and give up his attempts

c)      Joshua was just pausing for a moment, and had no idea that Satan was there,


1.      Pushing, resisting him, trying to cause him to give up, and quit – have any of you ever been at that place?

2.      Wrestle him down, trip him, distract him, hold him back


d)      Job did not know that Satan was behind all his troubles

e)      Now you might better understand why discouragement is so rampant – so easy to feel – because there is someone in the background, who is determined to get you to fail!


2)      But THANK GOD, the Angel of the Lord was there as well – Jesus in the Old Testament!


d.      The truth is this: there is always more going on than what we see


1)      You and I see a beautiful day, and no problems

2)      Realize that with every good day, there is an enemy out there who will make it his job to ruin it for you, and cause you to fall


e.       The flip-side: Some of you may be facing a load of struggles and problems, but just as the devil is there to resist you, so also is God’s presence!

f.       Other Examples of people who faced great adversaries while trying to do right


1)      David was to be king of Israel, but had an adversary for 7 long years – Saul

2)      Jonah had the greatest ministry ever, but struggled against bitterness that nearly ruined him

3)      Job was doing right, and yet the devil came along and tripped him up bad

4)      The same will happen to you!


4.      The Scolding (3:2)


a.       Joshua cannot hear what is said next, but praise God, it was said loud and clear!

b.      Jehovah God (the LORD) said, “Jehovah God rebuke you Satan!”


1)      Here is the Trinity in the Old Testament (Cf Heb 1:8)!

2)      He didn’t say, “I” rebuke you!

3)      He speaks to the Angel, and tells HIM to rebuke Satan!

4)      When you and I rebuke someone, we are maybe just yelling at them

5)      But look at what happens when GOD speaks a rebuke (Ps 18:15; Isa 66:15)

6)      You don’t want God’s rebuke!


c.       Aren’t you glad when a bully gets in trouble? When someone ELSE gets scolded instead of you? Well, here, God is scolding Satan for interfering!

d.      Jerusalem belongs to God – no longer to the devil – AMEN!


1)      For the previous several generations, Jerusalem had been taken over by other countries

2)      But no longer! It belonged to God, and was open for the Jews to return to worship God

3)      It still today belongs to God, not to the Palestinians, or the United Nations, or to the Jordanians, or the Syrians – it belongs to God!


e.       Joshua belonged to God as well – this is great!


1)      He had been a brand, plucked out of fire


a)      A metal rod with an insignia on the end

b)      Heated up in the fire

c)      Joshua had been through loads of troubles, and problems

d)      And now he was out of the heat


2)      No longer under God’s wrath

3)      Hey! When we tell folks the Gospel, and tell them they can be free from sin’s punishment, we are pulling people out of what? (Jude 1:22,23)


5.      The Saving (3:3-5)


a.       Joshua was wearing the cleanest, bets garments as the High Priest

b.      But God saw only filthy garments – same with all of us (Isa 64:6)


1)      Don’t you tell me you are a pretty good person – that is what you and I may THINK!

2)      But God says differently!

3)      All of us have sinned, and come short of the glory of God – never measure up!

4)      Rom 1:29-31 says “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: [all the while] knowing the judgment of God


c.       So, is there any hope? DEFINITELY!

d.      God acts, and saves this man from his sinfulness


1)      Being High Priest did not make him forgiven

2)      Only a Lamb can do that (John 1:29)!

3)      God steps in (“I have…”) and cleanses, purges away all his sin, and puts new, clean garments on him

4)      Again, this is what was happening behind the scenes

5)      In a moment, while Joshua was just standing there, as Satan was getting ready to wrestle him into defeat, God steps in and saves him, washes him, and cleanses him!!!

6)      The Lamb always works! The High priest always carried the blood of a lamb with him into the Temple (Heb 9:6,7)

7)      The blood that he was carrying for the forgiveness of others, actually worked for HIMSELF!


e.       God now dressed Joshua up as the High Priest on the INSIDE (3:5)

f.       That’s what God does to any sinner who bows the knee and calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ to wash them from all their sins!


6.      The Promised Success (3:5b-9) - How to Overcome YOUR Adversaries


a.       The Angel spoke now to Joshua. Up until this point, everything has been going on without Joshua knowing, but now he hears a voice protesting, warning, helping him:

b.      “If you will do the following, you will always overcome your adversaries:”


1)      You must “walk in God’s ways” means to do things HIS way, the Bible way


a)      Go on through God’s Open Doors – whatever God asks you to do


1.      Get saved, TODAY

2.      Start reading your Bible

3.      Start opening your mouth, giving your testimony of what God has done for you

4.      Start being faithful to church, every meeting

5.      Start praying about everything!

6.      To quit is to give the victory over the Satan! He deserves no victory!!!


b)      Use Good (Rom 12:21) to overcome evil


1.      Be a blessing back to the people who hurt you

2.      Pray for your physical enemies


2)      You must “keep my charge” is to obey God’s commands


a)      Most people want to negotiate with God, and only do as little as possible – God says they are not suggestions!

b)      So, fight lawfully, Biblically. 2Ti 2:5 says, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

c)      You don’t wrestle against sin with another sin like lying, or moving from drugs to drink, or divorcing your mate – that’s exactly what the devil wants you to do!

d)      When you start just doing things God’s way, God takes care of your enemies (Prov 16:7 says, “When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”)


3)      You must look to the coming BRANCH, which is a STONE. A ROCK!


a)      The Angel there was talking about Himself! About Jesus coming! The Branch, promised Messiah from the line of king David

b)      Follow Jesus – He has already Won (John 16:33)

c)      The Angel announces that when He comes, God will be able to remove the iniquity of all the Jews, all in ONE Day! When did that happen? At the cross!!!


III. Conclusion - Challenge


A.     God is always opening doors – making a way for a believer to go forward and do God’s will

B.     But know this… there will always be adversaries, obstacles, hindrances to keep us from doing those things

C.     We looked at the Christian’s Open Doors.  Everything God has done for us has been an open door


1.      When we heard the Gospel, it was an open door to forgiveness

2.      When God gave us our families, it was an opportunity to raise them for God

3.      When God gave us a ministry, it was to impact our world

4.      When God brought you across the path of someone lost, it was an opportunity to win them to Christ


D.     We then Looked at The Christian’s Adversaries: Self, other Christians, enemies, past hurts, & Satan

E.      Then we looked at The Example of Joshua the High Priest in Zechariah 3


1.      We saw Satan

2.      We saw the Struggle

3.      We heard the Scolding, praise God, of Satan!

4.      We watched the Saving of that High Priest from Satan’s grip


F.      The challenge for each of us is, like Joshua the High Priest, to:


1.      Go on through every door that God opens for you – not what the world opens, but what God opens… you being here is no accident


a.       Get saved, TODAY. Don’t any of you realize that if you are saved, then you already have overcome? 1Jn 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

b.      Get battling today – resist HIM that is trying to resist you!!!


1)      Eph 6:10 -13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

2)      1Pe 5:8,9  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith!

3)      Jas 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


c.       That means…


1)      Start reading your Bible

2)      Start opening your mouth and giving your testimony of what God has done for you

3)      Start being faithful to church, every meeting

4)      Start praying about everything!


d.      To quit is to give the victory over the Satan! He deserves no victory!!!


2.      Get into the habit of obeying God’s commands – living by the Bible

3.      Keep your eyes and mind and thoughts NOT on the adversaries, the problems, the hurdles, but on the STONE, the ROCK of our salvation, that can remove the sinfulness of entire nations all at once, if they will just let Him!


a.       Draw your life from the branch – life giving, soft, touchable

b.      Build your life firmly on the Stone – firm, solid, the foundation!

c.       These are the two natures of the Messiah – you can trust Him!