Understanding Acts | The Word | Acts 20.25-31 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | Apr 20, 2023

“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” Acts 20.25-31

Paul begins with a dramatic statement, “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.” Is he dying? Is he going away? We know he has a fourth missionary journey that he will be taking to Rome. This statement, however, is sobering and will one day happen to all of us in work, life and ministry. One day will be our last day to be at certain assignments and to be with particular parts of Christ’s Body.

I’m reflecting personally upon Churches/ministries in which I was once deeply involved in the town where I life – First Baptist Church, First Methodist Church, Faith Academy, Rock Pile just to name four. Those are vital and wonderful ministries but the Lord has taken me into different areas of service and growth.

But back to Paul! He declares that he is “innocent of the blood of any of you,” an odd and weighty statement. This is because he has “not hesitated to proclaim” to these people “the whole will of God.” And then he offers a series of warnings — keep watch over yourselves, over the flock. He charges them to “be overseers, be Shepherd’s,” because people will arise, from within your own ranks, who will “distort the truth in order to draw away disciples.

So what is the warning that he mention specifically in v.31? The distortion of the truth of the Word of God.

Now someone might ask, how do we exactly know what truth is? I mean, there are 75 churches in the small community in which I live. Some condemn others for not being truthful. Some appear too lax on following the Word of God and others too tight? To quote my seminary dean, “We believe what most people at most times in most places have believed about God’s Word.” The Bible can be rightly divided, it can be rightly interpreted, but in order to do so, it must be studied, read and believed. We believe like a child but also with reason and wisdom. Those who do not believe the Bible is God’s perfect Word will find themselves meshing with culture, doing things contrary to what God’s Word says, and living a life of what the Bible calls “sin.”

I am not here to judge, but to challenge myself to read and believe. To trust and see. To know the Word made flesh, Jesus, and the Word written down, the Bible. And I pray the Holy Spirit gives me the grace to accurately understand and apply this Word to my life.

The warning wasn’t just for first century Ancient Near East churches but it’s for all of us in our daily lives. Cling to the Word of God, pray for clarity and strive for obedience. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” (Hebrews 4.12).

“O Lord God, your Word is a lamp unto my feet! A light unto my path! Your Spirit reveals your Word to me. Help me battle the flesh, my desires, needs and wants. Help me want what you want. To love what you love. To go where you send me. Come now, Spirit of God, fill me with your power and might. I praise you God for your kindness and patience as I seek to know you better. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen