Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

The Kingdom

The Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom. Acts 20.25-27

Paul’s Legacy (4)

Pray Psalm 23.6.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.

Sing Psalm 23.6.
(The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
Goodness and mercy, full and free, shall ever after follow me,
and in the house of God, my Lord, shall I abide forevermore!

Read Acts 20.1-27; meditate on verses 25-27.

Preparation
1. What was the substance of Paul's teaching?

2. How much of the counsel of God did he teach?

Meditation
1
Notice the emphasis Paul maintained in his preaching and teaching: the Kingdom of God (v. 25). Not merely forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. Nor a Jesus Who will meet all your needs. On demand. No, Paul preached a new world, a new economy, a new community, a new morality, and a new reason for being: the Kingdom of God.

If we ever wonder about why the Kingdom of God is not coming on earth as it is in heaven any more than it is, the answer is simple. Few are preaching and teaching the Kingdom. Few are praying for it believingly. In churches today a form of “near Christianity” exists which emphasizes a gospel for you, and not the Gospel of the Kingdom. Until that changes, our churches and our influence for good will continue to decline.

Paul told these shepherds bluntly that they would not see him again (v. 25), so they’d better be ready to do the hard work of shepherding God’s flock, which they saw in and learned from him. Paul insisted that he had taught the whole counsel of God to the elders and people in Ephesus (v. 27). We need to follow Paul’s example in reading and searching, living and sharing all that God teaches throughout the entirety of His Word. Pastors and preachers may shy away from this, but we must not.

The times are desperate, and churches need to make sure they’re following in the footsteps of Paul and Jesus, preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God and making disciples who seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in everything they do.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul is trying with all his might to teach us that the past is just that—the past.

We know about his past treachery and murderous ways towards the followers of Christ. He also knew that his past was common knowledge. And yet, that is not what he dwelt on.

What he did dwell on in this text was his present and his future. He was a new man. Christ had made him such, and that is what he boasted about. “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight” (Jer. 9.24).

He wanted his present hearers to be relieved of their past, and to glory in their present and future with the Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit has the same message for us through Paul’s example. He wrote: “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20.26, 27). The eternal souls of all the people in his Personal Mission Field heard the Good News of Jesus from Paul, and they learned how to follow God’s Law. That work was not shunned but declared. He was a new man in Christ, not hampered by his past sins.

Paul expounded on this way of thinking and living: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5.17). “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2.20).

We agree with John’s assessment and remedy for our sin: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1.8, 9).

Forgiven. The past behind us. Now a new creation. Living because Christ lives in us. Are we, like Paul, ready to tell the whole counsel of God to those in our own Personal Mission Field?

For reflection
1. What do you understand by “the whole counsel of God”? Are you seeking the whole counsel of God in your own times with Him? Explain.

2. What’s the difference between preaching and teaching the Kingdom of God and preaching and teaching forgiveness and eternal life?

3. Meditate on Romans 14.17, 18. What evidence would tell us that the Kingdom of God was coming on earth as it is in heaven?

Believing that this was the last time they should see him, he appeals concerning his integrity. He had preached to them the whole counsel of God. As he had preached to them the gospel purely, so he had preached it to them entire; he faithfully did his work, whether men would bear or forbear. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 20.17-27

Pray Psalm 23.1-5.
Give thanks to God for His continuous leading, shepherding, and providing for you. Call on Him to be present with you as you go forth today to serve Him in your Personal Mission Field.

Sing Psalm 23.1-5.
(The Gift of Love:
Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
Because the Lord my Shepherd is I shall not want, for I am His!
He makes me lie in pastures full; I rest in Him by waters still.

My soul He quickens and will bless; He leads in paths of righteousness.
Though I may walk through death’s dark vale, I shall not fear – He will not fail!

The Lord is ever by my side; His rod and staff with me abide.
A table rich for me He spreads; with oil my Lord anoints my head.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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