Acts 20:18-21 ESV
“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as ministers of his gospel of salvation, this should be our testimony in heart and in life, too. We should be those who serve the Lord Jesus and our fellow Christians with integrity and with humility of heart and mind. And, we should be those who weep over the sins of other Christians, and over the sins of the world, too.
And, if we are truly living for the Lord Jesus, and if we are doing what he says, and if we are following him in his footsteps, and if we are speaking the truth of the gospel, and if we are opposing the lies, we should be facing trials, too, from the enemy of our souls. For, we should be hated, rejected, and persecuted as Jesus was hated, rejected, and persecuted, too, because he told people the truth that they didn’t want to hear.
And, the truth that we should be proclaiming is the same truth that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught us. And, that is that the truth in Christ Jesus is we must die with Christ to our old lives of living to sin and self, that we should be made new in our minds and hearts of the Spirit of God, and we should put on our new selves in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23).
Acts 20:22-24 ESV
“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
When I accepted the call of God on my life, to write whatever he gave me to write and to put it on the internet, I knew that I was going to face rejection, opposition, persecution, and disapproval, and that people were going to distance themselves from me. And, all that did happen. And, it isn’t just writing what he gives me to write, but also saying what he gives me to say to others, and that is sometimes met with opposition and rejection, as well.
So, when I accepted God’s call on my life, I also had to accept into my life the cost of following Jesus Christ in doing whatever he asked me to do. I had to consider my life as dead to me but alive to God. If I did not do that, I could not have followed the Lord in this calling on my life. For, I must be willing to have the whole world be against me and hate me because I proclaim to them the truth which will set them free from their bondage.
Acts 20:28-30 ESV
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
Now, we are not all overseers, but we all have a responsibility to one another in the body of Christ to build one another up to maturity in Jesus Christ our Lord, and to encourage and strengthen one another in our walks of faith in Christ Jesus (Eph. 4:1-16; Ro. 12:1-8; 1 Co. 12:1-31).
And, we are all to be watchful and prayerful, and to be those who test whatever we hear to see if it is truly from God. But we must test what we hear against God’s Word IN CONTEXT. For, many liars and deceivers are teaching the Scriptures, but out of context to make them say what itching ears want to hear. And, we must also test what we hear against God’s divine character and his revealed will for our lives.
For, there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing within the fellowships of the church who are teaching what is false (half-truths), and who are leading many people away from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ to follow a cheap grace gospel which requires no repentance, no walks of obedience to our Lord, and no submission to his Lordship over our lives.
Acts 20:31-32 ESV
“Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
So, we need to be alert (aware, watchful). We need to have our minds and hearts in tune with the Spirit of God so that we can see error when it is right before us. But we are not going to be alert if we are still giving in to the flesh as a matter of habit, and if we regularly resist the Holy Spirit and his promptings in our hearts.
For, God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God without conscience and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we await our Lord’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
God’s grace, which saves us from our sins, delivers us out of our bondage to sin, and it empowers us to walk with our Lord in righteousness and holiness, pleasing to God. It crucifies us with Christ in death to sin, it transforms us away from sin to God, and it resurrects us with Christ to newness of life in him free from slavery to sin, and now living as slaves to our Lord and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17).
For, God’s will for our lives is that we be holy, set apart (unlike, different) from the world of sin, and set apart to God and to his righteousness. His will for us is that we live free of the control of sin over our lives, and that we walk in purity of devotion to him, desiring to please him in all that we do.
But he doesn’t expect us to do this in our flesh. Actually, it is impossible to live holy lives pleasing to God in the flesh. For, it is only by God’s grace, and in his power and strength, that we are able to live lives which are set apart from the world and unto God.
So, if we will just surrender our lives to him, he will give us all that we need to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. We just have to believe it, and then do it.
Abide in Him
An Original Work / July 31, 2013
Based off Ps. 27:14; Is. 40:31; Jn. 14-15
If you wait for the Lord, put your hope now in Him,
He will give you His strength and endurance within.
He will renew your strength, so you will not lose heart.
You will soar on wings like eagles, never depart.
“If you abide in Me, and My words live in you,
You will walk with Me daily and follow what’s true.
I will live now in you; give you peace now within,
If you obey My teachings and turn from your sin.”
“If you listen to Me, and do all that I say,
I will give you My comfort; be with you always.
I will heal all your pain; life with Me now you’ll gain,
If in fellowship with Me you always remain.”