Acts 20:25-28 – 25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent[e] of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not [f]shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
Power for growth (7)Blessed is the man that trust in the Lord
Advice – we should think when studying the word of God. God is a God who calls upon us to think – Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD. Jesus reasoned – In Mark 12:28 – the bible says, 28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, [a]perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the [b]first commandment of all?” Paul reasoned from the scriptures. And so, as we listen, reason, think in order that the Holy Ghost might enlighten our understanding – powerful growth.
Introductory Prayer –
Our Father in Heaven, we thank you, that we can come to you in the name of Christ. It is the name dear God that stands for divinity, humanity. It is that name that said, let there be light. It is the same name that said it is finished. Jesus, is He who said, I and the Father are one. It is that name that said I am the resurrection and the life. It is that name that is coming back to resurrect all the righteous dead and the righteous living to take them with Him and to destroy His enemies. In the name of Jesus who healeth all our diseases and sicknesses – spiritual and physical in His name. The name that cast out demons and rebuked the devil, In His name, God bless us. Teach us your word. Subdue our rebellion, soften our hearts of stone that we may yield to the conviction of your spirit and decide to obey you. Take possession of my mind dear God, speak through me for your Glory first and for the blessing of you people, I offer this prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen
The power of growth –
Acts chapter 20 reading from verse 25. Paul has sent for the elders of Ephesus. I believe Paul spent more time at Ephesus than any other church, three years, teaching and preaching and building up that Church. And now he tells them in verse 25 – 25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent[e] of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not [f]shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Paul is saying, no man’s blood is on my hand. And every preacher should be able to say, no one in the church has his or her blood on my hands. Why? That is the next verse – 27 For I have not [f]shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God So, Paul is saying, if you are lost, it is not my fault. Whether was pleasant or un pleasant, says Paul, I declared unto you all the counsel of God. I told you all that I could in three years or I told you all that I could from Thursday until now. For I, have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Never hesitate to give people the truth whether it hurts or not, because the truth is precisely what they need for their sickness and that sickness is sin. Never hesitate to give the truth. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church [g]of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Now, Paul is telling the elders, feed the church of God. Now, remember, these are his last word to the elders. They will see him no more as later down in the chapter we are told. And so, these are the last word of a dying man. Feed the church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood.
So, what Paul is saying, because the Church is such an expensive purchase, the best thing you can do for that church, show respect for the cost is to feed the church and the only thing with which we can feed the church is the word of God. And so, Paul says, feed the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood, for I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter among you not sparing the flock. Paul is saying when I am gone, false teachers will arise. They will not make a move while I am in the church, says Paul, because I will resist them and I will rebuke them but as soon as I leave they will come in.
Now, how can you defend yourselves while I am gone? – the the word of God. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking [h]perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. speaking [h]perverse things – Like there is no trinity, like Christ had a beginning, that the Holy Ghost is not an intelligent personality. Speaking perverse things like Ellen White prophetic gifts is not genuine and that there is no such thing as a remnant church. Speaking perverse things that the atonement ended at the cross, that the ten commandments are optional. Men shall arise speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. – Now, the only way a preacher can warn a congregation is by giving them God’s word. He cannot warn them by quoting from the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated. The source of warning is the word of God. And Paul said, take heed therefore watch and remember that by the space of listen carefully, I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears. Paul said, I preached in the morning and I preached at night every day. Sometimes I cried, says Paul, warning you with tears. And now 32 “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace. Listen to me carefully, your greatest need and mine is a knowledge of God’s word and a willingness to obey that word. It is our only defense. A PhD is not a defense against deception. The greatest deceptions are spiritual deceptions. The bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:14 – 14 And no wonder! For Satan, himself transforms himself into an angel of light. But the bible says in Psalm 119:130 – 130 The entrance of Your words gives light. If Christ is light and Satan is light, how do we detect which one is the true light? Because the bible says in John 1:9 – 9 That[a] was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. If the bible speaks of the true light, you must conclude that there is a false light. How do you detect the difference? Because error in these last days will travel so close to truth, that even some so called grounded people will be deceived and the only protection against error is the word of God. Not simply read but obeyed because in the obedience to God’s word, the power of the word is released in the life.
If you are sick and you have to take cough medicine. The cough medicine does you no good if it stays in the bottle right next to your bed. You have to take it in. You have to swallow that pill, you have to take that intro muscular injection, it must enter into you, in order that its healing benefits might affect you.
The word of God is no different, it must be taken in. Jesus said in John 6:51 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” – because in the eating of the bread, and digested spiritually, the nutrients are taken by the spiritual blood to the cells of the body and that is how we develop this immunity against deception. The immunity against the deception does not lie in the clothes you wear – even though we have to dress properly when we come to the present of God. It does not lie on the houses in which we live or the car you drive. The Immunity against deception, lies in the word of God, working from within to enlighten the understanding, to stiffen the resolve of the member to stand for truth regardless of the cost.
And so, Paul says, now, I commend you to God – in other words, here is the conclusion of everything – I am giving you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified
I ask you as a brother in Christ, make the word of God your priority in everything you do.
In the Desire of Ages, page 668, 4, we have this very, very interesting quotation Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue.
Now, why am I saying that? In order to do nothing to offend God, we must know what offends God and what does not. We must know what pleases God and the only source of that information is the word of God. And of course, the counsel the commentary divine commentary from our Lord’s servant. Those who decide to do nothing in any line – in Education, economics, romance, social, recreational – in any line that will displease God – in other words, those who avoid sin like the plague, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue – People always ask, what should I do? – you will know what to do if sin is removed from the life, and if your desire 100% is to avoid displeasing God or let me say that positively is to please God. The mind committed to pleasing God will be led by the Spirit of God, in the right direction. Here is what you do with respect to the house, here is what you do with respect to you children, here is what you do with respect to your education. The spirit of God, which is the spirit in the word will direct that man/woman whose decision, whose determination, whose resolved is to do nothing to offend God.
And so, I say the Apostle Paul said, now I commend you to God. Don’t let Christ come and catch you by surprise. There are things going on in the world, that will result into the final events taking place very, very quickly. If we are not faithful now, we will not be faithful when crisis hits.aiting for you five minutes from now. Come to God now. Surrender the life to God now. Make a commitment to distance yourself and myself from sin now. Let this be your all and all your everything.
And now I close by directing your mind to genesis to Genesis 1:1-2 the bible says – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness [a]was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. – Now if you are looking at vs 2 and the earth was without form and void. Without form means it was in a chaotic state. God had created matter, but the matter had not been made into something symmetrical and attractive. The earth was without form and void meaning barren, waste, no life. The Hebrew expression Tohu wa-bohu. Now here we have just matter, chaos before God formed into something attractive. What brought order, beauty and symmetry out of chaos? – the word of God
Is there confusion in your life? Is there chaos in your family? – the word of God, that brought order out of chaos in Genesis 1:2 will bring order into your life. 3Then God said “Let there be light”. And there was light Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. Psalm 119:130 – The entrance of Your words gives light; John 8:12 – I am the light of the world Genesis 1:6-9 – Then God said, “Let there be a [a]firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”– the firmament, as a result of the word of God 9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. – that happened, by the word of God 11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. – that happened by the word of God 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; – that happened by the word of God 20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living [a]creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the [b]firmament of the heavens.” -that happened by the word of God 24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. – that happened by the word of God.
Let me tell you something that will shock you: 26 Then God said, let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness – that happened by the word of God. Let me put it a little more directly, Adam and Eve were created by the word of God. He spoke and they were formed. Yes, I know the picture in your head, that God stoop down and scooped up dirt in His hand – the bible doesn’t say that. Mankind was made by the word of God.
Let me draw your mind to a very familiar verse and as you reason, you will see what I am trying to say, even if it disturbs all your childhood beliefs on how man was made. Listen to a well-known verse: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Because we know, when Christ comes the second time, He does not set foot on the earth. Jesus does not set foot on the earth, He stays somewhere in the heavens, raises the righteous dead, draws them with the righteous living and they rise to meet Him in the air – He does not touch the earth. That is why when people are walking the ground and they say I am Jesus, you know that is a false prophet.
Now, listen to what the verse says: 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout – in other words, He speaks, He doesn’t make noise, He speaks. with the voice of an archangel – He says something with the trumpet of God. – These statements simply mean He makes a loud cry, He says something, very, very loudly- and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
Now, who was the first child of God to die? – Abel. So, if anyone is dirt, it is Abel. Abel is dirt, if anyone else is dirt. Now, from what was Adam and Eve made? What was Adam made? – dirt- the dust of the ground. That is what Abel is. How will God make a man out of the dust of the ground. How will God make Abel? You tell me? He speaks the word, and Abel will be formed out of dirt. Let’s lay a side Abel, let us go to Lazarus.
When Jesus said, roll away the stone, you know what Martha said? Lord by this time, he is stinking. What does she mean by he is stinking? He was decomposing. What is decomposition? – the return to dirt. Where was Jesus when He raised Lazarus? Outside the tomb. Did he touch him? No, what did He do? Lazarus, come forth, and that partially decomposed body, came out. How? By the word.
Now why am I saying this? Because there is a law by which God functions. What creates is what maintains. Whatever creates you, is what sustains you.
Go to 2nd Peter chapter 3. Let’s read from verse 5. Excuse, I will finish shortly. “The power to grow”, “The power to resist”, we could have called this presentation. It is all the word of God. 2nd Peter chapter three we will read from verse five.
Let’s say another prayer. Father in Heaven as I come to the conclusion of this presentation, please Father help me to speak clearly under the guidance of your Spirit. Let me say what He tells me to say please and let the same Spirit enlighten the understanding of your beloved people. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
The bible says in 2 Peter 3:5-7 – 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old. What does that mean? The entire heaven was made by the word of God. and the earth standing out of water and in the water. So, heaven and the earth were made by the word of God
Now, Psalm 33:6 – says by the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. What is the host of them?
Praise[a] the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! 2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.
Angels were just made by the word of God. He just spoke and they appeared. That is Psalm 148:1,2,5 He just spoke and the Angels appeared. God spoke and His word of creation formed Adam from dirt and Eve from a rib. And so, we go to 2 Peter 3. Let read verse 5 again, 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water Verse 5 tells us heaven and earth were made by the word of God. Now read verse 7- 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved. STOP. The word that created is the word that preserves
Go to chapter 1. Hebrews 1 we read verse 3. Let’s read from verse 1, so we get the connections – Hebrews 1:1-4: God, who [a]at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the [b]worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power. We have discovered, the powerful word that creates is the word that sustains. Now, that is a principle: what creates is what sustains. Now if we are sustained by the word of God, you must reason back and come to the conclusion, we must have been made by the word of God. All the creation was by the word of God. And when He comes a second time, He will raise up by the same word that brought the first man into existence. So, when you are holding the bible, you are holding the reason, the power that made you. And it is the power that will keep you.
And now, the Apostle Paul – Now I commend you to the word of His grace. This – the word of God. Which is able to build you up, to give you an immunity, so that the infection of error will not affect you. The mosquito of error will bite you but, but it will not give you malaria. Why? Because you have taken the medication of truth of God’s word. No matter how the devil bites and sticks you, it will have no effect because you are defended by “thus says the Lord”. Please make time for the word of God. Read it, obey it. When you read it, ask yourself, what is God saying to me, because the bible was written for you. Forget the person sitting next to you even if he is your spouse – the word of God was written for you
So, when you read – Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me. – you must put your name on this verse. Let’s say your problem is smoking, your name is John, you must read the verse, Philippians 4:13 says, John can quit smoking through Christ who strengthens him. And that is biblically correct. When you read, 1 John 1:19 – when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us all from our unrighteousness – You read the verse – my name is Sally – if Sally confesses her sins, God will forgive her and cleanse her.
I was doing a crusade somewhere in the world. This man came to for one-to-one counseling. He said Pastor I killed a man. Now what do I do as far as God is concerned for my spiritual life. And we talked about several things. His responsibilities to society and to God. I said, you need to confess that sin to God. It was 25 years ago, I guess he has paid his price, but hadn’t made things right with God. Confess to God and he said he would forgive me. Yes. Even if you don’t feel forgiven. The word of God has nothing to do with feel. If you say, I am sorry, God forgives you on the spot.
So, all your life you have beaten your wife, I am sorry. God forgives you. Because God’s forgiveness carries the power to avoid that thing in the future.
For the final time, now, I commend you to God, and the word of His grace, which is able to build you up. We need to be built up. So, when the enemy comes in, the walls of our defenses will not crumble. Let me say that again. We need to be built up by the word of God – and the word of God (bible) is what builds you up. So, when devil comes as a flood of the enemy the walls of our defense will hold. That is my appeal to you in the name of Jesus. It is for your own good, the good of your family, the salvation of your children.
How many will say with me, Father help me to make your word my priority. Can I see a right hand? I really mean that. Stand with me, heads bowed, eyes closed
Closing Prayer –
Dear God in Heaven, Jesus warns us that we should not let our hearts be over charged with subverting and drunkenness and the care of this world or the care of this life. Father the care of this life are all legitimate, finding a job, getting married, having a child, going to school, buying a house, selling a house – they are legitimate cares of this life. But Jesus’ warning was, don’t become so over burdened with the cares of the life, that the coming of Christ becomes a secondary concern. Father in Heaven, the devil is so crafty and so intelligent and so wise and canning, that he will take good things like the cares of this life, good things like taking care of the family, good things, like going to work, good things like buying a car and use them to so dominate of our time that we relegate and we demote you to a secondary place in our lives.
I have tried to speak to your people Father as clearly as I could, where I have been weak and ineffective forgive me. But I know your Holy Ghost is skillful dear God, let that Spirit now, work upon the hearts of those who have heard your word. Impress upon us, dear God, right down to the cell of our being that the word of God is our need, our defense, our nourishment, our light, our wisdom, our sanctification, because the word of God is Jesus Christ Himself. Father remove from us our love for the world, give us the love of that which is spiritual.
As the Apostle Paul writes and warns us in Colossians 3:1-2 – if ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ sits in the right-hand side of the Father. Set your affections on the things which are above, not on the things of this world.
And as your servant Ellen White says unto us – If your thoughts, your plans, your purposes are all directed towards the accumulation of the things of this earth, your anxiety, your study, your interests will all be centered upon the world. The heavenly attractions will lose their beauty, the glories of the eternal world will cease to have the force of reality to you.
What your servant is telling us, when our focus is day to day survival Heaven loses its attraction. Please God, please, convict us powerfully, take our hearts in your hand and squeeze them Father with the power of love until we yield completely, because we will be glad we did.
Now Father bless every man, woman, boy and girl, every guest, every visitor. Here is our prayer Father, I offered in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen