ALL TO WORSHIP: (from Revelations 3:7-8)
ONE: This message is sent to you by the one who is holy and true, and has the key of David to open what no one can shut and to shut what no one can open.
ALL: I know you well, you aren't strong, but you have tried to obey and have not denied My Name. Therefore, I have opened a door to you that no one can shut.
PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: Lord God, our Father, the Spirit of Jesus calls us, as He
called Your Son, to abandon our old selves and our old world to be free for new life and growth. Forgive us our fears and hesitations, lead us out of our worn-out phrases and habits, and help us to dwell in the gospel of Your Son, that His good news may become real in our times and in our world. We ask this through Christ our Lord who taught us to pray, saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.
ALL: Jesus has taught us that we must forgive, but at times we find this too hard to do. We have hurt others. At times we have become angered by the actions of another to the point that we carry a grudge, and sometimes, this grudge can define who we are.
One: We light this candle as a symbol of our faith in Jesus Christ to help us to forgive as we are forgiven, to help us love, as we are loved.
ALL: Faithful God, forgive us for our shortcomings and help us to forgive others. As we journey towards the cross this Lenten season, help us to let go of our grudges and to forgive, and to seek forgiveness where we have gone wrong. Amen.
Offertory Prayer: Good and gracious God, when Jesus was anointed at Bethany, He reminded us that our earthly time would be short in proportion to our heavenly time with You. We recognize that we only have so much time to love, to laugh, to give and to care in this world. In this time of giving we present these generous gifts to be anointed by You, Lord, to glorify the promise of everlasting life. Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN: Whatever wilderness the Spirit has brought to you,
walk in boldness, as a beloved Child of God. Walk in peace, under the shelter of the Most High. Walk in faith, knowing Christ walks with you. And with a touch of the Irish, may good luck be with you wherever you go, and may your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.
"And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, whatever doors you lock on earth shall
be locked in heaven, and whatever doors you open on earth shall be open in heaven."
Keys Unlock Doors
Alexander Graham Bell once said, "When one door closes, another one opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we don't see the one that has opened for us." If we look to God, He will open many doors for us. We know that He will always be there to show us the way, because when God opens a door, He gives us the strength and the courage to go through it.
Many of us have come to a crossroad in our life, and there are signs pointing in different directions. Which way are you going to go? Sometimes we feel like we're being pulled in different directions. So which road are we going take? Jesus said, "i am the door. Whoever comes in by me will be saved." Listen to Jesus calling you, and let Him speak louder than any other voice. if we follow Him, if we go through Him, we will enjoy life with Jesus now and forever.
God has many doors ready to be opened to us. God wants us to be free from sin, temptation, sickness and poverty, so He opens the door of freedom. If we keep His word, keep His Name, and remain strong, He will open the door of opportunity. If we read our Bible, go to church and praise God, He will open the door of worship. And perhaps the most important door is the door of salvation. Jesus is the door. If we let Jesus into our hearts and have fellowship with Him, then there is no place for the temptations of the devil.
Jesus said, "I am the door." Already this morning I have gone through seven doors, including the car door and coming through the door into church. Do you remember a T.V. commercial that was on a few years ago that showed an angel on one shoulder of a man, and the devil on the other. I don't remember what the commercial was about, but I'd like to think that the angel represents God with the door of opportunity, while the devil has the door of temptation and sin.
Think again of Jesus' words, "I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved." The door will stay open, even if we weaken. God wants us to have faith. God wants to direct all of us, and open doors of witness for Him. When Jesus says, "I am the door," he was really saying that He was the door to a relationship with God. God is the doorway to eternal Life.
A Sunday School teacher wanted to teach her class about this passage from John. She brought in a big box, large enough to fit a child inside. She told the children to pretend that the box was a room and in that room was a great reward. There was only one rule to be able to get into that box. Here is the one rule: All those who did not get out of bed this morning can enter the box. Oh dear, now there's a problem. Since everyone got out of bed this morning, no one can enter the box.
So the Sunday School teacher said that since they had already broken the rule to get into the box, what if they got in another way? What if they stepped over the side and climbed in that way? Does that count? What if they cut a hole in the side and climbed in
that way? Does that count? No. The rule is there is only one way to get in the box. If you come in any other way you are a thief and a robber.
Then the teacher stood at the entrance of that box. She said, "I have now become the door. The only way to get into the box is to come through me. I am the keeper of the box. Nobody else has the key to it, so you have to come through me. Since you have already broken the rule, the only way to get into the box is to come through me. So ask me, 'Can I enter the box?' All those that ask me will be allowed in."
The teacher's lesson was showing the children that Jesus leads to God and heaven. If you have broken all of God's rules and are not allowed to go into His presence and be accepted in heaven, what do you do? You go to Christ. He is the door! You have to go through Christ to be accepted of God. Those who enter in by Christ, the Door, believing in Him, will be saved.
God's Word tells us that there is only one way to get to Him and that is through Jesus. The Parable of the Shepherd was told by Jesus to protect the people from those who were selfish and untrue. He wanted us to know the truth. And because many of the people Jesus spoke to owned sheep, He told them a story about a shepherd who really cared about his sheep.
Every morning the shepherd would come to the sheepfold, open the gate and call each sheep out by name. The sheep knew the shepherd and trusted him, so they always followed him. Sometimes thieves would come to the sheepfold and climb over the walls and try to get the sheep out, but the sheep wouldn't follow because they didn't know or trust them. At night, after a long day out in the pasture, the shepherd would bring his
sheep back home and open the gate so they could go through into the fold and be safe, warm and comfortable through the cold night.
Jesus said that He was just the door on the sheepfold and we must come through Him if we want to be God's people. So what do we have to do to become of child of God? Repentance is a good start. Ask forgiveness for our sins. And we must believe that Jesus died and rose again for us. We must ask Jesus to come, for He is the only way to God and heaven. If people tell us that we can get to heaven by any other way except through Jesus, we know that they are like the thieves in Jesus' parable.
I am holding my life right here in this bunch of keys. Stand up if you do not own any keys. No one, of course not! We need keys to unlock doors. On this key ring I have keys to my house, to my car, to the church and to the hall. I have keys to my post office box. I have keys to children's houses and I even have a key to my neighbour's house and one for his pool. People lock doors to keep thieves and perpetrators out. We have valuable things with which everyone cannot be trusted.
Some things stay locked up because the key is lost and no one knows how to get in. Over the course of history there were many things that were locked up tight, and no one knew how to get in until Christianity came with the key to the door. One door to which Christianity had the key was the door of education. There are still some places in this world, unchristian countries, that don't take a lot of stock in education, especially for girls. But, by using the key to unlock the door of education, this door would be open to health, bringing in doctors, nurses and hospitals. This would in turn open the door for the protection of the weak, the orphans, the crippled and the maimed. Untreated, these people would be left to die. But the church has opened these big doors in many places and life for those people is so much more hopeful.
There are also some smaller doors that people would like to enter, but we will need keys before they will be open to us. One of the most sought after doors is the door of popularity. Who doesn't want to be well liked? Well, there are four keys that will open that door. They are sociability, generosity, good manners and a good nature. When you put these keys on your key ring, the door of popularity will be open to you.
We all want to be happy, don't we? We can open the door to happiness with the keys of little courtesies, pleasant words, smiles, well wishing and a clean conscience. Put these on your key ring.
Now let's try the door of great opportunity. How we long to open the door to big things! Here are the keys that will turn the locks; dependability, high ideals, promptness, hard work and determination. Put these on your key ring and close it up tight, for there are other keys which will open doors that we don't want to enter. These keys are grumble, nag, complain, exaggerate, bluff, half-done and late. These keys open the door of failure.
But the greatest key in the world is the gospel of Christ. This is the key that opens the kingdom of God. This key is available to you!