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Can You Handle The Truth?

October 13, 2011

He’s not the only guy to do it.  In fact, I bet that most everyone has done the same exact thing at one point or another.  Maybe you were a little kid, and just didn’t understand what was going on.  Maybe you were a teenager, and just stayed out a little too late the night before.  Or maybe you were a grown-up, and really have no good excuse…at least no excuse you would want to share.  All of a sudden that feeling hit you…that feeling that you’re falling…your whole body snaps as you brace yourself…only to find…you’re not falling, and the only thing that was about to impact anything, was your head on the pew in front of you.

 Take a moment and read through Acts 20.

 Eutychus doesn’t have the best legacy in the Bible.  Because listen…not only did he fall asleep during a sermon…he fell out of the third story window that he had been leaning against.  So it’s not a kid dozing off during the home stretch of a thirty minute sermon…nobody stops the service for that.  People shut things down when a guy falls out of the window.  Whether or not he was actually dead does not seem to be Luke’s focus here.  Instead, he demonstrates Paul’s zeal for preaching, and the love that he had for talking with others about eternal things.

 Paul then continues traveling and ends up in Miletus, where he sends for the elders of the church in Ephesus to come join him.  For a visual representation of how complicated all this travel is, just turn to the map in the back of your Bible that shows Paul’s third missionary journey…if you can follow those arrows…you’ll have some idea of what was going on.  But once the elders from Ephesus arrive, he begins what we might call a debriefing about the three year period of time that he spent with them.  It is within this context that we find verse 24, which says, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”  I point that out, because that’s a dangerous verse…it’s probably the only verse you recognize in this passage…but it’s a dangerous one to quote…unless it’s true.

 What we have to understand is just how committed Paul was to the ministry of the gospel.  He even says, “The Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.”  Listen, he’s not going in blind.  He’s not delusional.  He understands what is coming for him, and despite that, he pursues what God has called him to do.  He knows that he needs to get to Jerusalem…he’s taken a beating in pretty much every town he’s been to…and he doesn’t have any naïve thoughts that it will be different in that city either.  As he’s reminding the elders of his calling, and his time in Ephesus with them, he says, “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

 I wonder how many of us can say that about our friends…our families…our coworkers?  How many of us can say, like Paul, that we have shared with the people in our lives the whole counsel of God?  It’s a valid question whether you are an elder or not.  Because in the end, what those people need from us is not pity or enabling…what they need from us is the truth.  Have you ever thought of it that way?  All that Jesus has ever called us to testify is the truth.  All we’re charged with is sharing the truth of the gospel, “of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The whole counsel of God is the truth…which is far greater than false hope or wishful thinking…share the truth today…and maybe begin with you.

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