I Kept Nothing Back – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

I Kept Back Nothing

Acts 20:20 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,”

Intro: Paul made a statement that every one of us should be able to make. I Kept Back Nothing!

The coach would say it like this: Leave it all on the field!

We need a generation of Christians that can say, “I Kept Back Nothing!”

A. His contribution was Profitable

Every one of God’s people should be concerned with being a profitable asset to the ministry.


  • 10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
  • 11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
  • 2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Jesus said this in Luke 17:

  • 9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
  • 10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Every child of God should strive to be profitable.

Look at:

  • Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

This verse clearly teaches that every part of the body should be making a contribution to the body.

Every member won’t have the same contribution, but every member should contribute something.

God didn’t put you into the body to only receive and take.

The church is designed to help each other.

  • 1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

B. His contribution was Public

Paul’s contribution to the work of God was not done in secret.

The Bible says, “…and shewed you, and have taught you publickly…”

Look back at chapter 18 at the ministry of Apollos.

  • Acts 18:28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Social Media has been called “the public square.”

If you have social media, you should utilize it to its maximum potential.

Nobody is interested in your food. Seriously. Or your pets.

Use the public forum to shew and teach Jesus Christ.

Promote Him – not yourself.

Proclaim the Word of God. Apollos shewed “by the scriptures.”

If Apollos and the Apostle Paul were alive today, they would be proclaiming biblical truth in the public square.

They would be using every possible platform to propagate the truth. Are you?

Does everybody know you are a Bible-believing Christian?

C. His contribution was Personal 

He didn’t just yell at the crowds and preach to the mobs.

Paul took time to go house to house, ministering and teaching people on a personal level.

You and I cannot say we have kept nothing back until our labor has been personal.

Paul invested in individuals; in families; in young people on a personal and intimate level.

It wasn’t just general; it was specific.

It wasn’t just to the people in the church, it was to those in the community.

It was to the neighborhoods. House to house. He left nobody out.


I. With my MINISTERING – vs. 19

“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind…”

There was no holding back when it came to Paul’s work ethic.

He served the Lord with all humility of mind and was a working machine.

Paul had a testimony of being ALL IN when it came to the work of God.

He kept nothing back.

Look in this very chapter: vs. 7 and 11

He preached until midnight, and then sat up all night talking and breaking bread with the disciples.

Paul served in spite of:

               A. The Tears – “…and with many tears…”

If you can’t serve and minister through the tears, you won’t do much for God.

Tears were a normal part of Paul’s life.

Tears are a normal part of any Christian’s life, especially those that take God and the Bible seriously.

Just in this chapter, he referred to his tears and weeping. – Vs. 19, 31, 37

Notice these other references to Paul’s labor and work “with many tears.”

  • 2 Corinthians 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
  • Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet.”

  • Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

Many things will happen in the ministry that will bring tears, but we can KEEP NOTHING BACK!

We cannot let a broken heart stop us.

We cannot let the tears diminish our vision.

We cannot let the long nights of weeping weaken our service to God.

Let the tears be your fuel.

Let the weeping be your motivation.

               B. The Temptations – “…and with many…temptations…”

Serving God and being in ministry will not alleviate the temptations that will come.

In fact, you and will be greater targets.

               C. The Troublemakers – “…which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:”

These are not random issues that come up.

These are not harmless, innocent misunderstandings.

These people lay in wait.

It is premeditated.

It is planned.

It is demonic.

It is meant to interrupt and hinder what God is doing.

It is meant to bring the ministry to a grinding halt.

QUOTE: “The bigger the light, the bigger the bugs.”Pastor Chad Bailey


II. With my MESSAGE – vs. 21-32

               A. The Witnessing – vs. 21-26

Verse 21 says he testified both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks.

Verse 24 says he was consumed with testifying the gospel of the grace of God.

Verse 25 says he had gone preaching the kingdom of God…

In verse 26, Paul made a powerful statement: “I am pure from the blood of all men.”

He made a similar statement in Acts 18:4-6.

Turn to Ezekiel 33

  • 1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
  • 2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
  • 3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
  • 4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
  • 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
  • 6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.

               B. The Word – vs. 27-28

Paul didn’t hold back when it came to the Word of God.

He didn’t preach the fun stuff; the pretty stuff; the warm and fuzzy stuff.


He KEPT NOTHING BACK when it came to preaching the Word of God!

He admonished the Ephesian elders to FEED THE FLOCK OF GOD!

That meant a balanced died.

A biblical diet; not lollypops and ice cream!

               C. The Warnings – vs. 29-31

His burden for the unity of the church is crystal clear in Acts 29-31.

When it came to warning the church about wolves, HE KEPT NOTHING BACK!

Paul was a firm believer in warnings!

  • 1 Corinthians 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly,
  • Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
  • Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.


III. With my MONEY – vs 33-35

Paul was constantly teaching and preaching about the stewardship of money.

He hated it when people accused him of being in the ministry for money.

He defended himself and set the record straight on multiple occasions.

This was one of those times.

Keep in mind – these Ephesian elders had known him for 3 ½ years.

Yet Paul, in his last conversation with them felt the need to clear the air about his finances.

Notice what he said to them:

               A. His COVETOUSNESS

  • Vs. 33I have coveted no man’s silver or gold or apparel.

Paul was clear in many places – he had no desire to benefit from the people of God.

  • 2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:


  • Vs. 34Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

Multiple places tell us that Paul was a tentmaker and that he worked to pay is own way.

Acts 18

  • 1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
  • 3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.


  • Vs. 35I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

The Apostle Paul set an amazing example of giving.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

Conclusion: Paul set an amazing example of one THAT KEPT BACK NOTHING.

Let us follow his example and give all we have to the Lord. He’s worthy!