Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, Jan. 21, 2001, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
DO YOU HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS?
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Acts 18:4-6; 20:26-27
Text: Acts 20:26
Acts 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
Introduction: Tomorrow will be the 28th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which has made our country guilty of slaughtering an estimated 40 million babies in the womb since that time.
In that sense, the hands of Americans are full of blood. But this message is not about abortion.
Isaiah 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
Isaiah 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
Ezekiel 23:37 That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them.
Ezekiel 23:45 And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.
In the New Testament, we find that someone has blood on his hands when he is guilty of murder:
Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
The connection of witnessing with being pure from someone else’s blood is from a passage in Ezekiel, part of which I will read to you:
Ezekiel 3:17-18 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
I want you to consider three truths from the passage in Ezekiel which apply to us today:
I. THERE WAS A COMMISSION
Ezekiel 3:17a Son of man, I have made thee a watchman …
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
In a sense, every Christian has a commission. Every Christian is a watchman. All of us should be proclaiming the gospel of Christ.
A. We have a commission to the population of this world
- The reason Paul was pure from the blood of ALL men is that he had declared to them ALL the counsel of God.
- Acts 20:26-27 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
- Some people say that Paul was pure because he had preached to them everything that God counselled. I don’t believe that. I don’t think any preacher can preach all of the counsel of God in a LIFETIME, let alone the three years in the context.
- I believe the ALL is a reference to the all MEN of Ephesus.
Notice the “ye all” two verses earlier in 20:25 and “every one” four verses later in 20:31.
- EVERYONE is a prospect. We are never treading on another church’s territory when we witness on their street or in their neighborhood.
- Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
B. We have a commission to preach the gospel
- Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
C. We have a commission to persuade the godless
- Notice the first verse of our scripture reading:
- Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
- Thank God, we have Divine HELP in this task. The Holy Ghost works on the INSIDE of people while we speak to them from the OUTSIDE.
II. THERE WAS A CHARGE
Ezekiel 3:17b … therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
Our charge as watchmen is two-fold:
A. We are to hear the word
- We must hear the scriptural word
- The “gospel” preached by many people is not anything in the Bible.
- Those who listen to Jesse Jackson hear a SOCIAL gospel.
- We must hear the SALVATION word.
- The gospel is the power of God unto salvation – Rom. 1:16.
- The gospel of Christ is a specific message – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
B. We are to herald the warning
- With a sense of urgency
- With a spirit of compassion – tears (Ps. 126:5-6)
- Acts 20:19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
III. THERE WERE CONSEQUENCES
Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
A. There are consequences for the wicked
- If he receives the warning, he goes to heaven.
- If he rejects the warning, he goes to hell.
B. There are consequences for the watchman
- If he sounds the warning, he is guiltless.
- If he is silent, he is guilty — his hands are filled with blood.
- What could this mean?
- Perhaps it will mean an awful responsibility at the Great White Throne Judgment. What if YOU had to be the one to cast your loved one, friend, or coworker into eternal fire — that one to whom you did not witness?
- Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.