By Ng Zhiwen:
“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:26-27
Every now and then, you may chance upon a passage from the Bible that just hits you on the head and bowls you over, and you wonder why you’d not noticed the verse before.
The 2 verses from Acts (written above) did just that to me.
Can you imagine that… Paul told the Ephesian elders that he was innocent of the blood of all men… why? Because he had not neglected to declare to them the whole counsel of God.
How often has it occurred to you and I that proclaiming the Word of God (Note: In its entirety; not the cavalier selection of scripture to prove one’s own point) is a matter of Life and Death?
And why should it come as a surprise, since God Himself had said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3)?
Can you appreciate in what sense this is true?
I am ashamed to confess that I seldom speak the word of God. I am too easily a man-pleaser. For some people would stop their ears and threaten you because sometimes the Word of God is unpleasant, awfully unpleasant… it shows us up for who we are. Others sneer and mock, especially when they think of Christians who have not lived up to the standards of the word of God (God have mercy on us). The hypocrisy turns them off, or rather, it provides them with a convenient means of turning away from the confronting the truth of God’s word which holds true regardless of how poorly the Church has shone its light.
Proclaiming the counsel of God can be a most unpopular business…
Yet, when we realise that it is a matter of life and death – can we keep silent? Will it be that one day when we come before the Lord, our deeds would be made known, and there may be countless times when we ought to have spoken up, but didn’t – and that led to someone continuing on a path of self-destruction.
Are we afraid that we would turn people off? Are we worried that we would be judgmental, and become bible-thumpers [read: people who only know how to use the Bible to abuse others]? Dare we to speak the truth with love?
I pray for the courage of Paul.
Finally, let’s not forget the conclusion that Paul drew… “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” [Acts 20:28]
Let’s start by proclaiming the whole counsel of God to one another in the church, and to ourselves.