And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
We are to preach all things pertaining to the way of salvation(Luke 7:30)–God’s righteousness, man’s sin, the coming judgment and need for men everywhere to repent, and salvation by faith in Christ’s atoning work–for all are important. Notice, Paul did not neglect any portion of the gospel, did not skim over or neglect any truth for the sake of keeping peace with men: for every aspect is designed by God, necessary and proper, as befitting and confirming the whole; and it is by preaching what God has authored that provokes understanding in the hearts of men. Notice, it is those who are not ashamed of the gospel who contend for it.
We have all received a particular warning[to take heed to continue in gospel truths]. If it were possible, the very elect would be deceived [Matthew 24:21]; and this implies that the coming deception during the great tribulation is so great, as to be imminent, if we are not wholly dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit to guide and reveal [and this, solely by faith in Christ’s atoning work]. Man cannot preserve himself; yet, the Holy Spirit is able to keep us free from harm, if we will but follow and obey.
The warning is great[for which cause, over a period of three years, Paul ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears].
The warning is real.Where we find false Christs, false prophets, and false signs, we are certain to find false gospels: for this is the purpose of all these things–to destroy men’s souls [and the flock of God]–by turning men away from true faith in Christ (John 10:10).
The warning concerns an ever-present danger[for which cause we are always to watch].
The danger isboth without and within: for false prophets will attempt to creep in unawares [without being noticed, rebuked, and removed]; and some among us will give in to vain ambitions, desiring a following, for which cause they will begin to teach corrupted versions of the gospel.Notice, those who corrupt the gospel are never content to believe these perversions in isolation, but are always intent upon enticing others away from the faith: even as they are deceived by the evil one.
The deception is falsely cloaked in an appearance of righteousness, even as Christ warns of wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).
We are called to encourage, comfort, and strengthen one another in all the truths of the gospel, even as our lives are confirmed by its miraculous working (Colossians 1:25-29).
We are commended to continue in the doctrines of Christ, as the following verses also bear witness. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed,” (John 8:31-32). “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” (Romans 16:17-18).
There is great danger in denying the gospel, but also, in refusing to contend for it[for our mouths echo our hearts, according to Luke 6:45]: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels,” (Luke 9:26).
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
This stealing is not overt, but hidden, carefully crafted by “good words and fair speeches,” which is why so many are deceived (Romans 16:18).
While we do not need agreement on all aspects of scripture to continue together as an assembly, there can be no disagreement concerning the message of the gospel itself: for it is the seed from which all fruit springs.
Why is the whole counsel of God important?
Because the word of God confirms itself, and the meaning of individual verses cannot be misapplied when considering how the whole of scripture bears witness of every aspect of gospel truth.
For example, there is a coming judgment: all questions concerning it [and any objection by those who oppose the gospel] are answered by the biblical record.
The word of God is a complete record, wholly fit and able to address any concern–and we should not fall short of declaring what it openly reveals–or go beyond what it authors.