Let's look at the emotional story found in Acts 20:13-38. In this passage Paul said goodbye to a church he loved deeply, Ephesus, knowing that he would never see them again. This passage would make an awesome scene in a movie because it is filled with a full range of emotions for Paul and the church at Ephesus. I want to use this passage to explore how to preach guiltlessly.
Most of you reading this are not preachers or pastors. I know that. I think that preaching is something we are all called into in some sort of capacity and maybe it is "just" sharing the Gospel with the few around you. You don't need a pulpit to preach. You just need the story of what Christ has done for you. That is an endless story that I'm still discovering more of in my life. So, let's look at how to guiltlessly preach.
If you want to guiltlessly preach the Gospel you can't hold back.
"You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus." Acts 20:20-21
I have said this before but our job is not to convert, that belongs to God. Our job is to clearly present the Gospel without hiding any part of it. We can't turn it into a prosperity Gospel. We cannot turn it into a partial surrender. We have to preach repentance from sin to God and faith in our Lord Jesus.
If you want to guiltlessly preach the Gospel you must have courage.
"... in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me." Acts 20:23
Paul knew that trouble was coming but he followed Jesus anyway. He didn't want the guilt of not preaching to people because of a crippling fear. A guiltless preacher has courage. As John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."
You can guiltlessly preach if you follow the lead of Paul.
"... I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God." Acts 20:26-27
Don't feel guilty if you've spoken the truth and people don't listen. Again, it isn't our job to convert, just to present.
Once you've done all that God require of you then let go. Don't feel guilt for someone because of your pride. When you let go, let go. This is a hard part of guiltless preaching.
"Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20:32
This is a hard thing to do. We like to have control, but when God tells us to let go we need to leave it in His hands.
I know I just said to let go. However, don't let go until God tells you to let go. You can't guiltlessly preach if you don't finish.
"... I consider my life worth nothing, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me... the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24
Be relentless. This doesn't mean you aren't ever to let go. Rather, it means to value the task God has set before you above your own life. Trust that the cross that God gave you is worth the effort. Paul believed this. Do you?
Preach the Gospel. Declare the glorious work of God in Christ Jesus. Experience guiltless preaching today.