Summary: A message for an outdoor men's gathering, included as a series of messages by other ministers from the same passage.
Intro: Blood matters. Had we never been told this, there would still be a sense of it.
I remember watching my son around age 2, when he would get a scrape. The pain wouldn’t be such a problem. He would be mostly fine, until he’d look down at the cut knee or finger and see his blood seeping out. Then, the sense of foreboding would come over him! He was bleeding! Blood doesn’t belong on the outside!
Then, we learn about blood. We learn that it can transfer viruses, like HIV, and we have to handle blood with special caution. We learn that we don’t cure fevers by draining the blood out of a sick person.
We learn that our bodies depend on blood. In fact, about 1 of every 7 people entering the hospital needs blood.
Blood matters. Lev 17:11 God said it matters because life is in the blood. When we talk about requiring someone’s blood, we’re talking about life. When we see pictures of the aftermath of some terrorist’s car bomb, the pools of blood on the street are sobering, because those pools were someone’s life.
Blood matters – from the very first animal death to make clothing for Adam and Eve
To the blood of Righteous Abel
To the 1st sacrifice that was made after Noah left the ark
To the blood requirement God said would be made for anyone who sheds man’s blood
To the blood of a lamb that the Lord Himself provided to Abraham on Mt. Moriah
To all of the sacrifices of the OT, rivers of blood around the altar from hundreds of thousands of animals
To the sacrifice of a pair of doves or 2 young pigeons at the temple when Jesus was an infant
To the Passover lambs, slain over the centuries all over Israel right on through to the Lamb of God, Christ, our Passover as He was beaten, crucified, and pierced. Blood matters.
Since it was first spilled, blood on the outside has meant 2 things: guilt and death.
Misplaced blood means life is lost.
Remember Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth? Act 5, scene 1, Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking, musing over her guilt in the murder of King Duncan. She envisions a stain of blood that can’t be washed off her hands. She calls it a “damn’d spot!” It’s true. Let’s call guilt what it is: eternity in Hell. Life, lost.
I’m speaking 1st to men. Men, we should lead. God has called us to be leaders in our homes, His Church, and in our communities. I’m also speaking to manly men who have driven to MI, who are sleeping outdoors, and some who have been doing this for years. So, I’m speaking to people on the frontlines when it comes to building up this thing which is the House of God, the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth – a situation very similar to the text of Acts 20.
It is a tender scene. Paul has spent 3 years in Ephesus – longer than any place where he preached. He has invested himself into the lives of the Ephesians. Now, passing through on his way to what seems to be the end of his race, he arranges a rendezvous with elders/pastors/overseers of Ephesus; the Leaders. There will never be another gathering of these same men on again on earth. Last words, for Leaders. Recorded by Luke, it takes just 2 ½ min. to read.
Acts 20:26-27 (HCSB)
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of everyone’s blood, for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God. Paul wanted this remembered – the fact that his hands were clean.
These 2 verses leave us asking and answering an important question: How can we, leaders of the Church, assure that we don’t have innocent blood on our hands?
The big answer: Don’t shrink back from declaring the whole counsel, the purpose, the plan, the will of God. So, I want to exhort us to follow Paul’s example and not shrink back. It’s what you do with a sail when you don’t want the wind to catch it.
I. Don’t Shrink Back From Leading
The Church of this generation needs leaders, and the lost of this generation need for the Church to be well-led.
Think about it…Paul purposely skipped passing through Ephesus because he was in a hurry, but he still made it a point to speak to the leaders. They were the key to the health of the whole church. He understood that the Church would be at her best only when her leaders were at their best.
This is you, men. Sorry if you don’t like that, but it happened when you were conceived and given male chromosomes, and you confirmed it by coming up here to sleep in the woods! And if you haven’t gotten what that’s about yet, read a book by John Eldredge or something!