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By: Alistair Begg - July 7, 2023

You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house. – Acts 20:18-20

In his meeting with the Ephesian elders, Paul reminded his brothers in the faith that the manner of his living and teaching among them had been transparent and sincere. In no way had his conduct resembled that of a dishonest salesman who desperately hopes that you will purchase the used car and drive away from the lot before you notice the rusted floor beneath the mats.

Paul’s time in Ephesus wasn’t a flying visit by a traveling evangelist who shot into town, endeared himself to the people, and then left again. No, he had spent at least two years there, staying involved, teaching the gospel, and building the church (Acts 19:1 – 20:1). The people in Ephesus had seen him in the streets and in the marketplace. Many of them had had the opportunity to have private conversations with him. They would have known that when he said that he served the Lord with great humility, he was telling the truth. They had seen the tears he’d wept over them and the trials he’d faced among them.

In other words, Paul’s ministry and Paul’s heart were transparent. There was nothing to hide, and he would never have sought to do so. Paul later wrote to the Corinthian church about the need for transparency, saying, “We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2). He also emphasized the great importance of transparency to his protégé, Timothy: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Paul believed that Christians ought to close the gap between what they say and how they live. The power and effectiveness of God’s word can be undermined if there is not transparency on the part of the one bearing the good news.

When you share the hope and truth of the gospel, those who listen should be able to investigate your life and confirm that you genuinely believe the truths that you are proclaiming. Inside and outside the church, the way you live should commend the gospel just as much as the words you say. This doesn’t mean you will be without sin; it does mean that your life will reflect that you have been transformed by God’s grace. Pray that God would help you, by His grace, to be a living testimony to the truthfulness of the message you proclaim.

About the Author(s)
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Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. His Daily Devotionals are presented here via a syndication agreement.
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