Today I bring you a message that some will consider a bit strong. I tell you that it is a strong message because we will be analyzing our role as Christians. Before we proceed to the scriptures that we will be reading today I want to ask a question. Has anyone here ever received a message that was not to your liking? Let’s examine our past and let’s look into our present, let’s try and remember to see if this has ever happened to us. I ask this question because there is a large number of people that when they receive a strong message they just simply get mad. They don’t look beyond the message, they just get mad. I am talking about people that because of the flesh, that because of the first instincts, they go into a state of rebellion and disobedience. With this in mind let’s now read the Word of God to see why God allows us to hear these messages that make us mad.
Ezekiel 3:16-21 – And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 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. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
Let’s begin by analyzing this word "watchman." What does this mean? To have a better understanding of the meaning of this word we are going to have to transport ourselves to the past for a brief moment. As we have discussed on other occasions, the cities of antiquity were very different than our cities now a days. Today we see that there exist a great number of cities with a large number of inhabitants, but during Ezekiel’s time, the cities were very small in comparison. Also in those times they did not have all the protection that we have now, therefore, the only way that a governor could protect the citizens of the city was to have walls built around the city. Walls and doors that were built and fortified in order to defend against an attack from the enemy. This does not mean that the city was constantly closed. The normal thing was to have the doors open in order for the citizens and the visitors to have access to and from the city. But the doors were closed to prevent the enemy from entering the city once there was a warning. They could always protect the city as long as they were not caught by surprise, because in all reality that was the only easy way to take a city. This is where we begin to see the importance of the watchman. The watchman was a person or persons that were responsible so that a city would not be taken by surprise. We are talking about people that, in my opinion, had the most important job in the entire city. They would stand on the walls or towers of the city constantly watching their surrounding and scanning the horizon. They had an entire city that counted upon them to warn them. They had to maintain a vigil and constantly look for signs of activity in the surroundings.
It did not matter whether the weather was good or bad, sunny or rainy, lighting or thunder, the watchman could never desert his post under any circumstance. The watchman could not fall to sleep, he could not afford not to be paying attention. He had to have his eyes wide open at all times, constantly searching for signals that would indicate that an invasion was about to take place. Then, if a watchman spotted or observed signs of trouble, his duty was to blow a trumpet to alert the people, have the doors closed, and for the soldiers to man the walls to defend the city. This was the job of the watchman, one of constant vigil and to warn of danger. With this in mind let’s continue.
How can we apply this to our lives today? Here we see that Ezekiel received a great responsibility. He was not called to be the watchman of a city, he was called to be a watchman for the nation of Israel. He was called to bring to them His message, he was called to bring His message to all of those that had rebelled against God, all of those that were living in sin. Let me tell you that his task was not an easy one, I tell you that it was not an easy task because the message that he had to bring them was not one that would encourage them, he was not bringing them popular messages. He was bringing them messages and strong words from God. I ask you, is this too different from us now a days? I tell you that there is not too much difference between our time and Ezekiel’s time. When we examine the conditions that exist in the world today we can see that there is a large number of people that have rebelled against God. We will be able to find believers and non believers that are doing not the will of God, but the will of the flesh. People that have allowed the enemy to enter their lives slowly and by surprise.
Brethren, in these verses God is talking to us. As I said in the beginning, I am sure that most at one point or another have received a message that was not to our liking. I am sure that most of us have received a message that has made us angry. This is especially true of the ministers and all of the people that have taken seriously the mission that God has given us here on earth. I tell you this because all of the people that have taken seriously the mission that God has given us here on earth do not only have only have popular messages. Brethren, I believe that I can speak for the majority of the ministers and of preachers when I say that we do not prepare a message with one person in particular in mind. I can guarantee you that I do not. Preparing a message is something that is very time consuming, and more than anything, it requires a lot of prayer. I tell you this because if we bring a message without prayer, if we bring a message without first confirming that it is from God, then we are not doing the will of God, but are doing the will of the flesh.
Why do I say all of this? I tell you this because if when we receive a message we feel that we are being reprimanded, I want us all to realize that it is not a man doing it, but it is God with His powerful word. But we also have to be very careful when it comes to this. I tell you this because it is at that instance that the role of the watchman, the role of a faithful Christian is developed. I tell you this because the enemy will attempt to infiltrate into our lives in many different ways. Like we discussed last week, we all have to be able to discern the difference between that which is of God and that which comes from man. We have to be able to discern between the doctrine of man and the doctrine of our King and Savior. Like we have seen, the role of the watchman is to maintain a constant vigil, it is to loudly sound the trumpet once an attack has been spotted. I tell you this because we have to jelaously protect the blessings that God has given us. We have to maintain our sight on that which is of God and abandon the things of this world.
Here we see that God referred to Ezekiel as: "Son of man." Look closely at the importance that this has. God could have chosen an angel or a legion of angels, but He did not do that. God chose a simple man, He chose us. We have all been called to His service. All of us that have decided to serve Him were selected and called to be the watchmen of this world. We may not always bring a popular message, we may not always bring a message that will please a person, but we do have to bring the message that God wants us to bring. It is our responsibility to bring the truth where the lie exists, it is our responsibility to bring the light to the darkness.
Brethren, it is not only our responsibility and obligation, but when the day comes that we will be face to face with our creator we will have to account for what we have done. We will also have to account for all that we have ignored, or what we have assumed is not our responsibility. Why do I say this? I say this because God will judge all watchmen according to their faithfulness. Here in these verses we see that we will not only be judge for our actions, but also for the actions of others. The Word of God says:
Ezequiel 3:18-21 – 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. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
In other words, what this is telling us is that if we see things that are wrong, if we see things that we know are against the will of God and we don’t do something to correct it, or at the very least speak to the person and point out that what they are doing is wrong, then we will have that person’s blood in our hands. This is why I say that all preachers o minister of the Word has to deliver the message that God has given to him in his heart, this is why all people that profess to be a believer, all people that has made a commitment with Christ has to always bring forth the truth. It’s not easy, the Word of God is not easy, but it is life. The Word of God can be and is the difference in a person’s life. Brethren, the watchman, the believer, the preacher, that does not sound the trumpet to alert, the one that does not bring forth the truth, the one that does not call it as it is, then in all reality is not a watchman, in reality is not serving God the way God wants us to serve Him. I say to you that all of those will have to account for the blood of others. We will have to account for all those things that we do as well as all of those things that we don’t do. Brethren, we have to always maintain this responsibility in our minds. I say this because we all have a great responsibility as the people of God. We all have a great responsibility as the Church of Christ. Yes brethren, as Christ’s church we have been called to:
Mark 16:15-16 - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
To conclude. We have to be faithful servants of God. Our mission as the people of God here on earth is a serious matter. We hold in our hands the difference between life and death of a person or persons. God despises evil, but He restores the life of all of those that come to Him. This responsibility that we have is not something that we can do when we feel like it, but it is something that we have to do at all times. Yes brethren, although at times a message may be to our disliking, although at the sound of the trumpet we may feel bad because it has revealed our sins or wounds, we can’t close our ears to them. We can’t close our ears to them because it that message we have received the message of life. In that message that our flesh has hated, God has demonstrated that obedience to His word leads us to eternal life. Because through repentance, because of Christ’s forgiveness the salvation of each man exists. In Christ’s blood there is life. Let’s never stop being faithful watchmen of the Word of God. Let’s never allow the enemy to separate us from His will and truth.
Preached: October 8, 2000