Leave It All On The Field

Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them:

“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. 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. 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. 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. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:17-35.

Paul withheld nothing from the disciples he made for Christ. Twice he mentions ministering to them with tears. He also says he is innocent of their blood because he withheld nothing they needed to know. Why their blood? Because the counsel of God is a matter of life and death. And he does not withhold the dire warnings; that false teachers will come to slay the flock. By the way, some are already in the room. It’s important to be vigilant against the schemes of the devil. Advancing the kingdom is warfare, not a Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Most of my life’s regrets are not things I have said and done. They are things I have NOT said and NOT done. There are countless times I have kept silent because I didn’t want to start something unpleasant. Or maybe I just told myself I was putting it off until later, until it was too late. Now i realize that if Jesus’s promise that I would be hated for His name’s sake is to come true, I might have to insert His name more often than I have. I might have to act in His name, as He has commanded. In short, if I’m not using the name of Jesus to cause trouble, I might be doing it wrong.

Just look at the life of Paul: tears, suffering, prison, beatings, plots on his life, warnings against apostasy. Do you know anyone like this today? I don’t. And I’ve been around awhile. Something is missing in the church in America. And it’s not just healing and miracles.

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