And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. And now behold, I know that all of you among whom I went about preaching the kingdom will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Acts 20:22-27
We must look to the Word of God for a knowledge of what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. Man’s watered down, feel good versions are such a blasphemous distortion of truth of the love and sacrifice of Christ on the cross. We must look to His example and His teachings He left us for the truth found in the Word of God. He tell us plainly in Luke 9:23-25:
And He was saying to them all,
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what has a man profited if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
The Scriptures we are reading today in Acts are a beautiful example of a true follower of Christ. Paul experienced a radical revelation of who Jesus truly was. God’s love for us is indescribable. The only language that makes it possible to understand is the language of the Holy Spirit. It is not comprehensive with the natural mind. It is spiritually discerned within our spirit. Once we receive the revelation of God’s love, not only for us, but all mankind, that truth burns within us. It makes us alive as never before, and our greatest desire is for others to know the love of our Father, the sacrifice of His Son, and the person of the Holy Spirit that will enter inside us to teach us all truth, to guide and comfort us, and He will never leave us – never. This is the truth that Paul gave His life for. How can we not when we know what we know from God Himself? Paul did not receive his revelation from man, but from God. Listen to his proclamation in Galatians 1:11-12:
"For I would have you know, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ."
We should never allow anyone to define God to us but God Himself. It is a way of life, not a one time experience. We must live under the authority of the Holy Spirit as He reveals God’s Word to us and under His leading and guidance day by day. "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the true sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
"For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God with your body." (1Corithians 8:20)
When we read Scripture out of our love for the Author, we will gladly choose to follow our Saviour and the great saints who have gone before us. We are compelled by our love of God, not fear and legalism. The motive you will find in Paul’s heart is simply His love of God. However, when we have the love for God, it is synonymous with a love for mankind and wanting all to receive a revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul was living a life obedient to the Holy Spirit leading Him. He tells us he is bound by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit is testifying to him in each city bonds and afflictions await him. Then he tells us he does not account his life dear to himself, but to His Lord Jesus that he might finish his course and the ministry he received from our Saviour to testify solemnly of His grace and love. Even though he knows his life on this earth is about to end, he has his face set like flint as prophesied of our saviour in Isaiah 50:7:
"For the Lord God helps Me. Therefore I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be shamed."
Paul declares himself innocent of the blood of all men, Jews and Gentiles, for he knows he has declared the complete Gospel and purpose of God to all men. Just as His Saviour, he has the magnificent satisfaction of knowing he has done the will of God for his life. It is all that matters at the end of life on this earth which we will all face. There are no exceptions.
Please join me in examining our lives to see if we are in alignment with the Word of God, and ask ourselves if we are fulfilling His purposes. Most of all my prayer is that we will be able to state with Paul we have received from Jesus Himself a revelation of His love as we seek it with all our hearts.
As we are constantly being asked what we want for Christmas, or are being told what others want for Christmas, let us think about what He might want for Christmas! After all, it is His birthday! One thing I believe for sure is that He wants us to declare the whole purpose of God in sending us His Son Jesus to express His undying love for His people who were walking in darkness. Luke 1:78-79 proclaims:
"Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace."
And for those of us who have received the same revelation Paul speaks of, let us not shrink back from declaring the whole reason for this fabulous time of year as we celebrate the greatest announcement ever made:
"THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD IS HERE!
And may we be able to say we too are innocent of the blood of all men, because we have not shrunk back from declaring the whole purpose of God to a lost and dying world in darkness.
In His love.
This is a beautiful home that displays two nativity scenes each year that I am blessed with daily that is located on Pipers Gap Road across from the turn onto Elkhorn Road. God bless Barry and Ann Branscome for all their efforts we are so blessed to enjoy! The lower one is displayed in a barn loft! They have not shrunk back from declaring the whole purpose of Christmas, and for that I am deeply grateful!