Summary: To declare “the whole counsel of God” requires the declaration of these wonderful truths about the Lord Jesus.
THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD
"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.
Paul had called for the elders of the church at Ephesus to meet him in Miletus. Paul did not want to spend time in Ephesus because he wanted to reach Jerusalem in time for the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). In a very emotional meeting with the elders (Acts 20:37) Paul told them that during the two years he spent in Ephesus he had declared to them the whole counsel of God. Paul preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2). To declare “the whole counsel of God” requires the declaration of these wonderful truths about the Lord Jesus. Proclaiming each one of these truths is essential if we are to preach the complete gospel message.
I. JESUS CHRIST PRE-INCARNATE…OUR CREATOR!
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:3-4.
Paul gave testimony of this wonderful truth in Colossians 1:16-17. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
II. JESUS CHRIST INCARNATE… OUR EXAMPLE!
"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth, who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return. When He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him, who judges righteously." I Peter 2:21-23.
Several years ago (and to some extent today), the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” reminded Christians that we needed to ask ourselves this question in our daily lives. The initials “WWJD” could be found in a variety of places. I still have a pair of dress socks that was given to my by one of the members of our church that had been embroidered with those initials. “WWJD” stills serves as a reminder to me about what should prompt my everyday actions.
III. JESUS CHRIST CRUCIFIED… OUR REDEEMER!
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
"Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." I Peter 1:18-19.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14.
Such a great body of Scripture can be added to these verses. The central message of the Bible is the substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus. Dr. Jacob Gartenhaus, long since gone to be with our Lord, wrote in the foreword of my book “Types of Christ in the Old Testament” (Exposition Press, NY 1960) the following.
“Jesus is the sum and substance
Of the Law’s old shadows true;
He is the centre and circumference
Of the Psalms and Prophets too.
IV. JESUS CHRIST RESURRECTED…OUR JUSTIFIER!
"He was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." Romans 4:25.
Matthew Henry explains this verse thusly: “By His death He paid our debt, in His resurrection He received our acquittance, Isaiah 53:8. When He was discharged, we, in Him and together with Him, received the discharge from the guilt and punishment of all our sins. This last verse (v. 25) is an abridgement or summary of the whole gospel.” (Matthew Henry “Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible”, pp 849; Moody Press, Chicago 1983).
Paul again in 1 Corinthians 15:17 stresses the overwhelming necessity of our Lord’s resurrection; “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
V. JESUS CHRIST ASCENDED…OUR ADVOCATE!
“But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:24-25.
“…who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Romans 8:34b
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Acts 7:55-56