I Did Not Shrink

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.”

When we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, we need to live exemplary lives which show that what we are teaching we are also living. It doesn’t mean we are perfect people, but that we are fully committed to following our Lord in obedience to his commands and to serving him always.

We are to be humble people, too, taking no credit for ourselves for what the Lord does through us, but who give God all the glory and praise for any praise we receive from other humans. For, if we are truly serving the Lord, we are doing so in the power of God’s Spirit and not in our own strength.

We should also be those who willingly lay down our lives and our reputations in order to speak the truth that people need to hear, and who are willing to be hated, rejected, falsely accused, attacked, and misrepresented so that others will not be deceived, but so they will follow the truth, too.

And as ministers of the truth of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and of the gospel of our salvation, we must be those who are teaching repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord, for this is what is due him, and this is what he requires of us (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

Acts 20:22-27 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. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

Our Lord never promised us that following him would be easy, or that we would not face hardship, persecution, trials, and tribulations. He definitely did not promise smooth sailing or that we would never face storms. In fact, he said we would, and that it is part of the Christian life.

But, as his followers, we should be willing to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of the gospel of our salvation, and for the sake of righteousness. We should not try to hold on to our lives, or to this world, but we should see that we were put here to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and not for ourselves.

So, it is with purpose that we should live our lives for the glory and praise of God and for the salvation of human lives. Our goal in life should be to please our master, not ourselves, and especially not those who are not serving our Lord, except for where specified otherwise in Scripture.

Our lives should be committed to doing whatever it is God has called us to do, but especially to the work of sharing the gospel of our salvation so that many will be saved. But we need to be sharing the truth of the gospel, and not the lies that are mostly being spread these days.

We should be able to say with Paul that we did not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God to the people and that we are innocent of the blood of all, for we did not love our lives more, and thus we did not withhold the truth in order that the people would not find us offensive.

Acts 20:28-31 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. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.”

As followers of Jesus, we are to care for the flock, not as overseers (unless you are one), but as fellow servants of Jesus Christ and as fellow members of the body of Christ. We are to look out for one another, and to encourage each other in walks of holiness and purity.

For, fierce wolves are now among us disguised as pastors, elders, worship leaders, Christian authors, fellow Christians, and as government leaders who care about the people and who are looking out for what is best for us, according to their own words, much of which cannot be trusted.

We daily have men (and women) speaking twisted things which dilute and alter the gospel of our salvation to make it appealing to the flesh, and who divert us from what the Scriptures teach, and who tell us we can’t hear the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts, but that we need to listen to them.

And they are indeed drawing away many disciples after themselves with their smooth sounding arguments and their deceptive and manipulative teachings which are of men and not of God. For they are tickling itching ears with their sugar-coated messages.

Therefore, we are to be alert. We are to test everything we see (or think we see), and everything we read, hear, or perceive against the Scriptures (in context) and against God’s holy character and will for our lives, and in prayer.

We are to be followers of God, not of men, no matter who the man or the woman is or says he/she is. We are all human. We are all flesh. We are all fallible. So, don’t put any human on a pedestal or he/she may fall, and don’t raise any human above God or to god-like status.

Courageous!

An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard, but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.

They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.

He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.

By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.

Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.

Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.

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