Knowing God In His Glory

YOU NEED TO BECOME A WATCHMAN

Jerry A Collins

SCC

9/9/01

 

ō      What is a watchman?

ō      How does a watchman function in his role?

ō      Why is there a need to have a watchman?

 

This past week I received a letter inviting me to attend a meeting of several people who are friends with a Christian married man who has been carrying on with another married woman, not his wife, for a handful of years. Several of these friends had come to him individually and as a small group to confirm these facts. While meeting with him the hope and intention was to wait, pray and hope that he would leave this woman and return to a relationship with his wife. This has not happened. What has happened is this other woman has become divorced from her husband, and the Christianís manís marriage and family is in shambles. Yet he refuses to do anything to stop the relationship with her or admit that it is wrong or be the least bit repentant of the relationship. Repentance of course being a change of mind resulting in corresponding change of action. The meeting I was invited too was to consider excommunication or a sort of exiling from fellowship with him until there is a change of mind and agreement to terminate this other relationship. I am going to suggest that the call for Ezekiel to become a watchman in the nation of Israel illustrates our need to be watchman in the body of Christ today.

1. WHAT IS A WATCHMAN? 1-9

Chapter 33 is a transition in the book of Ezekiel from the condemnation of chapters 1-32 to the future restoration of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom in chapters 34-48. In verse 1 we read that the Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel and in verse 2 God said Son of man speak to the sons of your people. This was very significant because for 7 years from 592 BC when Ezekiel prophesied the fall of Jerusalem and his wife died, to 585 BC when the messengers came and††

and reported the fall Ezekiel could not speak except to prophesy (24:26-27). But now God gives Ezekiel an illustration which He will use to give him his next assignment. God reminds Ezekiel that the normal way people protect a town, a village, a large city or a palace is to appoint a watchman in a tower, who blows a trumpet when someone is approaching. In verses 7-9 we might loosely paraphrase: So God said Ezekiel you are like a watchman in the tower and my word is like an approaching army. If you do not warn them they will be destroyed by that army. And they will be destroyed because they were unprepared. But Ezekiel, if you do not warn them, I am going to hold you responsible. If you do not inform them of my word, they will die in their sin but I will also ask you why you did not tell them. If you do tell them and they still do not get ready for that approaching army, then their destruction is because they refused to get ready and not because you did not tell them and you have delivered yourself. If you tell them what I say and they continue to live in sin, then it is their problem!

2. THE NEED TO BE A WATCHMAN 10-20

In applying this today we should not parallel the nation Israel with America or any other nation. God does judge nations as we see in 25-32 and America will be one of many nations God will judge for her sin in the upcoming tribulation period as recorded in Dan 9, Matt 24, Rev 6-18. No nation will get away with her sin. But Ezekiel describes Gods dealing with His own people which then was Israel but today is the church, the body of all believers in Jesus. We are all priests and temples of the HS. So there is a real sense in which we are watchman. But the camp over which we are asked to watch is not the nation but whatever part of this church we are involved with. Hebrews states in 5:12 that teaching others is an understood part of maturity. To those ruminating immature he says For though by this time you ought to be teachers you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God and you have come to need milk and not solid food. If you are maturing in Christ you have a flock and if you do not have a flock you are not maturing in Christ. Some of us have wives or husbands, some of us have children, some of our flocks include extended family members, childrenís classes, Bible study groups, one on one disciples, close friends in Christ who look to us for guidance in Godís Word. For those people we are a watchman! Like the nation of Israel of old, the church today needs watchman. Like a control tower in an airport giving guidance and direction, avoiding crashes anddeath.Thechurchis like an airport today without a control tower. There is little discipline or judgment about sin within the church. It is a lot easier to talk about the sin in the nation. 66 times in Ezekiel God ends His message of judgment with the phrase Then they will know that I am the Lord. This book is about the judgment of God promotes the knowledge of God. Judgment can be painful but it is a great teacher. Mark Twain is credited with saying I once knew a man who grabbed a cat by the tail and learned 40% more about cats than he knew before. More judgment, more knowledge.

3. THE MESSAGE OF A WATCHMAN

First a watchman warns someone about his sin. Ezekiel was to expose the sin of the people so that they could have an opportunity to repent of it and change their ways and avoid Godís judgment. Today we have the same responsibility. When a believer close to us, part of our flock of influence, pursues revenge, divorce, cheating customers, homosexuality, and we say nothing but instead be tolerant of and supportive of it there is a sense in which their sin is upon our hands. Second, a watchman can prevent us from sinning. Ezekiel acknowledges in vs 12 that the righteousness of the righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression. We have so many stories of people doing good things for the Lord with good reputations crash and burn because of some sin that has become known in their lives. How does that happen? God says because his righteousness will not deliver him from that sin. What he needs is a watchman who has a vested interest in his/her life to prevent sin from destroying them. Third, a watchman encourages repentance vs 12, 15,19. Someone may say Iíve already committed adultery, homosexuality, divorced/remarried. Iíve already followed thru with my revenge, cheated my customers, hurt my family. Well the good news is that no matter what you have done if you decide to repent and turn to God your sin will not get in the way of that. So confess it and repent and change then all that sin which is paid for on the cross will not effect your rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. The problem today is believers donít want to hear that.

4. A WATCHMAN ANNOUNCES GODS WORD BECAUSE ITS GODS

God tells Ezekiel in chapter 2 to announce His Word because itís His not because they will listen. Of course we must do it in a manner which does not cause people to reject it because we are obnoxious. But remember, there is no good bad news. You mite say I cant do that because I am a sinner too. I did not say those things were wrong. God did. If I am judge Iíll give you a bunch of rewards. But if I am not better listen to the real one. At judgment you will not regret your circumstances on earth only you sin/unbelief. Do not regret not being a watchman in someoneís life when one close to you sinned and no trumpet blew.††