Acts 20:26-27 – Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
In nearly every philosophy class, business management class or self-help seminar, the hypothetical question is asked, “what would you want to have written on your tombstone?” The point of this question is to help people think forward to the end of their lives, and to truly ponder what will make them feel as though their lives counted.
Here in Acts 20, Paul delivers his final address to the elders of the church in Ephesus. He called them to a nearby town to say his goodbyes. What Paul says, here at the end of his ministry to this congregation, is exactly the thing that every minister of the gospel should want said about him when he finishes a season of ministry anywhere.
Without question, I want this to be the mark of my ministry anywhere I go, that I would not shrink from declaring to the people the whole counsel of God. I want those who sit under my ministry to know that, when I am no longer there, they heard from me the true gospel. I desire to model by my preaching and counseling that the word of God is valuable, inspired, inerrant, totally true, and trustworthy. I want people to know that salvation is a free gift of God, by his grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. I desire that people know everything about the gospel of Christ, the hard as well as the easy. And so I strive in my labor here to preach to the people the word of God, in season or out of season. I live to declare God’s glory, his love, his righteousness, his mercy, his justice, his faithfulness, and his wrath.
In your own life, take time to think about what others would say about your spiritual influence on them. Are you someone who shrinks back from declaring to others the whole counsel of God? Are you one who hides or shaves the rough edges off the truth? Or, are you, like Paul, a person who tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth for the glory of God? Let your goal be to declare the whole counsel of God, and do not shrink back in the face of any opposition.
Lord, your word is far too valuable for us to shrink back from telling the truth to those around us. I pray that, whenever I leave this ministry or this world, I would be able to declare with honest humility that I did not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God to all who would listen. Bless me, I pray, with the opportunity and the courage to preach your word with boldness, confidence, and effectiveness.