Paul in writing to the brethren at Corinth, speaks of his present work while he was at Ephesus. In 1Cor.16:9 Paul describes the work there at Ephesus by saying “For a great door and effectual is opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” There are least 3 lessons we want to look at from this verse.
First, is that doors of opportunity, whether great or small, are opened to us by the Lord. John in Rev.3:7 states, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” John goes on to state that the Lord had opened a door for the brethren there at Philadelphia and that they should of course use it. You see the Lord gives us these opportunities based on our ability and our faithfulness to past opportunities, Matt.25:14-30, Lk.16:9-12. We should seek to redeem the time at every door of opportunity whether it be great or small.
A second thing we can learn from the text is that at least for Paul it was an effective work there at Ephesus. Not all doors of opportunity turn out to be fruitful. Yet in another sense, any time we do God’s will such as teaching, it is not really in vain, Is. 55:11. When we read Acts 19, we see many good things that happen there at Ephesus, John’s twelve disciples were baptized unto Christ, Jews and Gentiles were converted, erring brethren repented, the church had a powerful impact on idolatry, they were a fully organized congregation. We can have an effective work for the Lord if his word will prevail, Ac.19:20, “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”
A third thing Paul states is that there were many adversaries. You can bank on the fact that the devil is not going to set idly by and do nothing! Reading Acts 19, I Cor.15:32, and in 2 Cor.l:8-10, Paul had his share of the devil’s wrath. We too will face the same wrath if do God’s will. 2 Tim.3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
— Dan McKibben