And there sailed to Antioch, from where they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.…
I. This metaphor sets forth that THE SIMPLE ACT OF TRUST IN GOD, AS REVEALED IN CHRIST, IS THE WAY BY WHICH WE PASS INTO THE HOUSE OF GOD. Christ says, "I am the Door," and faith is the means of access. This faith is the outer door, the vestibule which leads to the real opening by which we enter into all the mystery and the sweetness of the Divine home. It is a very little, low door. There are a great many much more pretentious ways to God held out to men. There are the doors of contemplation, of asceticism, of ceremonial, of a self-righteous, proud, purity of life; but a man cannot get more than a step inwards if he tries them. But there is a narrow portal yonder, and if a man will go down upon his knees, and if he will leave his sins outside, it will be like one of those narrow passages with a little tiny aperture in it, where a hunted race used to take up their abode, and which widened out into a broad apartment where a man could stand in safety and warmth and home. We go through this narrow door of trust, but we come out into the large room of our Father's house.
II. The other side of the metaphor suggests THE MEANS BY WHICH GOD CAN ENTER INTO US. The door into our hearts is faith. There is no possibility, in heaven or in earth, for God to come with His blessings into any man's heart except through the door of that man's faith. You take a flask, seal it hermetically, tie a bit of canvas over the mouth of it, pitch that with tar, and plunge it into the Atlantic; and the inside of it will be as dry as if it was in the midst of African deserts. And as long as a man's heart is hermetically sealed, which it is by the absence of faith, it is all one to him, as if there were no mercy. The ocean of mercy and love is all outside of him. Notice, in passing, how small a thing a door is — just a piece of timber worth a few shillings. Yes! but if a king comes in, there is a dignity about it. Faith in itself is nothing; it is precious because it is a means by which we lay hold upon precious things.
III. THIS DOOR IS TO BE KEPT OPEN BY OURSELVES. We read of Lydia's heart being opened by the Lord; and we read of Christ knocking at the door, waiting for our opening of it to Him. These are two halves of a great truth. Lydia's heart would never have been opened had she not willed. You are responsible for exercising and for continuing to exercise this act of faith. This is one of those doors that shut to in a moment if not clasped back. Day by day we must get rid of the world's rubbish that tries to choke up the doorway, by prayer, by effort to expel the evil. The Lord stands before each of us and summons us, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors: and the King of glory shall come in." Let us answer, "Come in, Thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest Thou without!"
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.