#DailyDevotion Take Heed To The Whole Counsel Of God
Act 20:26-27 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, (27) for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God…29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (30) and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them…32 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…35 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.’”
I remember the first sermon I preached as a vicar (pastor in training). My supervisor told me it was commendable that I wanted to preach the whole counsel of God, but I didn’t have to do it all in one sermon. Paul in his time at Ephesus declared unto them the whole counsel of God but he had taken a while to accomplish this. He made sure he covered all aspects of the teachings of Jesus. The church today follows in this tradition. The church has what we call the lectionary, a series of readings from the Old Testament, the Epistles and the Gospels, which cover every teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ over the course of a year. Simply preaching on one of the lectionary texts diligently, the pastor will be able to say with Paul he preached the whole counsel of God.
Now Paul warned that fierce wolves would come in after his departure to the churches not sparing the flocks. Satan is always working in the church among men of perverse wills who try to draw people away twisting the words of scripture. It is the reason we have so many different faiths and denominations of Christianity today and all the various sects. Some men want to teach something new other are trying to hold fast to the true teachings. We must be diligent to only teach what the scripture teaches in context. This is the job of both laity and the clergy. We need not fear though. It is the Lord’s church and it will prevail. But our fear is for those who fall away, following those who would devour them with their false teachings.
The word of God’s grace is able though to build us up and give us an inheritance among the saints. That word is Jesus. When we focus on all that God has done for us in Christ Jesus, giving all glory to Jesus we will not be so easily led astray. More often than not we are lead astray from the teachings of Jesus by focusing on what we must be doing. While we always want to commend people to good works, it is more often a perversion of what we are called to do which detracts from the gospel and the glory of Jesus. It is the forgiveness of sins that sanctifies us, makes us holy, and gives us a share in the kingdom of God.
That said, while the kingdom of God is given to us by grace, the Lord wants us busy to be acting like him. He did the work of salvation and gave us freely his righteousness, wisdom, redemption and holiness. Now he calls us to work, not just for ourselves, but that we might have something extra to give to those in time of need. Paul gives us a quote from Jesus that isn’t written in the gospels, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Isn’t it wonderful that this word of the Lord is preserved through Paul. Jesus did however in the gospels speak about being of service to other and how the one who is great in the kingdom of God is the servant of all. Let us set out therefore to serve one another and to give freely of ourselves as the Lord freely gave to us and be blessed like him.
Heavenly Father, grant that your word of grace may be active in us to preserve us in the faith unto life everlasting. May we be diligent in our Lord’s teaching that we may correct those in error to save them and give us your heart that we may give all good things you have blessed us with those who are in need. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.