In Long Beach, California, you can visit the Queen Mary, a ship that’s been turned into a museum. It was originally launched as the ultimate luxury cruise liner of its time. But during World War II, it was commandeered to carry troops back and forth in battle. You can go onto the ship now and see examples of both setups: When it was a luxury liner, it accommodated 3,000 people with every possible convenience; in wartime, however, it was refitted to house 15,000 people. Rooms that once slept one couple could now hold eight soldiers.
Wartime and peacetime demand different things. The same is true for us.
In his farewell message to the church leaders in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul shares with them the values he’s lived by, values that give us crucial insight into how the Holy Spirit wants all believers to think about their lives.
Paul starts by saying that in his life, he made sure his generation knew the truth: “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable …. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:20a, 26-27 ESV).
Paul saw himself primarily as the bearer of a message. As a messenger, he was not responsible for whether people liked the message—only that they heard it. For Paul, this was very serious business: “I am innocent of the blood of all.”
That seems like an odd statement. But Paul uses strong language because he sees the gospel as the life or death message that it is. Continue Reading…