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God's Message Delivered

Acts 20:25-27
'Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.' (NIVUK)

Paul's final words to the elders of the Ephesian church were solemn. He knew that it was the Lord's will for him to be in Jerusalem by Pentecost (Acts 20:16), and that 'prison and hardships' lay ahead (Acts 20:23). Of all the cities Paul visited, he stayed the longest time in Ephesus; three years (Acts 20:31). He knew the people well and loved them dearly (Acts 20:37-38): it was a mutual affection and it was right to tell them that they would never see him again.

Paul's bond with those people was because of his Spirit-fuelled passion to preach about Jesus, the King. Through Paul's ministry, the church grew in numbers and in understanding of Christ's kingdom – what it is, how to enter it and how to live as children of the King within a hostile world. The importance of being part of a far bigger city, household, temple and building than Ephesus proudly boasted, greatly encouraged the believers; as Paul later reminded them from prison (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Paul's ministry was like Ezekiel's (Ezekiel 33:7-9). "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will be saved yourself." Paul preached the gospel of Jesus just as fervently to the unsaved; and then taught the believers all that God had revealed about how to live in His kingdom. He was confident that he had delivered God's message fully and faithfully.

These verses should affect us. We are each called to represent our Lord, to live His life and tell others about our relationship with Him. We are citizens of His kingdom, children in His household who are being built up as part of His temple. Christ-less souls around us are excluded from His kingdom until they welcome Jesus as Lord, in repentance and faith. How will they do that? We must explain the reason why we are in Christ (1 Peter 3:15-16). It is the normal responsibility of each believer, telling our friends and colleagues how they may be saved (Romans 10:13-14).

Saving Lord. Thank You for the people who told me about Jesus. Forgive me for my reluctance to say that Jesus is my Lord - depriving others of the opportunity to hear the way of salvation. Please help me to be much more aware of my responsibility to announce Your kingdom where I live and work; and please help me to communicate the message faithfully. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams