Summary: God’s warning signs
Third Sunday in Lent
† In Jesus Name †
Grace and Peace are yours, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mountain Driving/AC and Water Barrels
Caution – turn off air conditioning – to prevent overheating. As you leave the desert floor behind – heading up the grade on your way to Arizona, there are these signs. As you go along further, there are small turnouts – that have 55 gallon water drums, and again signs, warning us to beware of over-exerting the engines and radiators of our vehicles.
Most of us, probably don’t take them too seriously, after all, it is pretty hot down there, isn’t it? Turn off our air conditioning? Submit to a level of heat, that will overheat our bodies far faster that it could overcome our cars? Those signs aren’t really there to warn us, are they? Aren’t they just there for people that drive ancient antique cars, you know the kinds back in the 1970’s and 1980’s?
Then we come up on one of the turnouts, and we see examples, of what the signs warned us. Several modern cars, and even expensive cars, a Mercedes, and a Cadillac, and one of those fancy BmW convertible sports cars, sitting there – hoods up, with grey/white smoke billowing out from their engines, and water pouring out from under the car, evaporating almost as fast as it hits the ground.
Even as we drive by, our hands are quickly moving to the temperature controls, and our passengers are lowering their windows, just in time to catch that lovely smell, of radiator coolant that has burst lines. All of sudden, we take the signs more seriously, because we see the harsh examples of the truth, of which the signs were warning us. The signs and examples serve us, and keep us from having to sit in the sun, awaiting a wrecker to tow us to safety.
We need to read and pay attention to such signs and the examples, not just in our driving, but in our daily lives, and very importantly, in how lives as we deal with temptation and sin. Those danger overheating signs are an example of what we see in today’s scripture lessons. The question is, will we pay attention?
The Signs & Examples
The die is cast?
The various dies –
I would have us look at the Old Testament passage first. There, we shall see a description of a warning sign, that comes along, as we drive the road of our lives.
7“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
Our first sign, is the kind of person that is called a watchman – the person tasked with serving a community, and warning of them about the danger that is approaching. That person has the responsibility of warning the people, and the people are responsible for whether they pay attention, and act, based on the warning.
Pastors serve church communities today in such a role, even as prophets did in the past. This is done, as we instruct God’s people in His law, and in the repercussions, both in our lives today, and eternally, for disobeying God’s law. This is but one part of the preaching and teaching ministry of the church, and it must always be kept in tension with the proclaiming of forgiveness, and the grace of God. The goal remember, is not proclaiming the danger – but in doing so, that we may explain with them the joy that is found in being forgiven.
Even as the church is made up of a priesthood of all believers, we all serve each other in a similar way as well. Please listen carefully, I am not saying that we begin to look out for others are sinning, or that this is our primary focus. By no means! Using the driving up a grade illustration, if you pass a car, and it is billowing white smoke – don’t you beep your horn and get there attention? Similarly, a Christian who sees another in danger, would share God’s word, to call them away from the danger they are in. Even more, should we pray for people in such situations, and as necessary, turn to the pastor and elders, should we not know how to help.