“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:26–27, AV)
When I was studying engineering at Drexel University, part of the program was to work in a cooperative program (co-op) during the summers. I did my co-op at the US Steel Corporation as a Management Trainee.
My first assignment was in the Utilities Maintenance. One day, while all alone in the office, I took a phone call from one of the departments in the mill, requesting maintenance assistance. I was supposed to relay the message to the maintenance scheduler. However, I did not write the message down and forgot to tell the scheduler when he returned. This delayed the maintenance repair and it was my fault because I failed to give the message to the right person. Fortunately, it was not a major problem, but I was guilty anyway. The failure was on my hands, so to speak.
Paul in his discourse to the Ephesian elders made a statement that is very interesting and convicting. He stated, “I am pure from the blood of all men.” In the Scriptures the “blood” equates to life. In the context here, Paul referred to his responsibility for the eternal destiny of people. (We see the similar language used in Ezekiel 3:17-21.) What was his responsibility? He went on to state, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” While people have personal responsibility for the decisions that they make in regard to Christ, they still need to hear the gospel (Rom 10:14-17). Paul understood his calling and that he was to declare the message of hope. Here he indicates that the blood of people’s lives is not on his hands because he was faithful to preach the whole counsel of God’s word.
Today, we have the same responsibility. Every believer has been entrusted with the message of hope found in Jesus Christ alone. There are several responses for us today. First, we are not to hide this message, but to be witnesses of it in all the world. I wish I could say that I have been as faithful as Paul to preach it, but I know that I have fallen short. Yet, we must not let our failures and shortcomings defeat us. We must put them behind and move forward with the gospel and share it with those whom the Lord puts in our path.
Second, we must proclaim the whole “counsel of God.” We often like to share the good things that will tickle the itching ears of people. This often happens from the pulpit (2 Tim 4:3) and yet, it often happens in daily life. People sometimes will preach, “If you want to get to heaven when you die, just believe in Jesus.” Yet, the eliminate discussing the problem of sin, the reality of death, and the future judgment. The attempt to sugar-coat the gospel is a true stumbling-block to people. for all need to hear the whole truth.
Last, those that hear the true message of the gospel need to make a decision. Their decisions with regards to Jesus will mean the difference between heaven and hell, between eternal life and eternal death. There is not middle ground in eternity.