Friday, January 25, 2013

The Obligation of the Watchman on the Wall

(All Bible quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible)
Iv'e been in the Book of Ezekiel in my daily Bible reading the past few days. I read in Ezekiel 33:1-6 how God spoke to Ezekiel about the watchman on the wall. God gave the illustration of the people setting a man to watch to give them warning of  the enemies approach . He said if the watchmen sounded the alarm whoever would heed the warning would save himself. Whoever heard the alarm and didn't give heed and lost his life as a result, his blood would be on his own head but the watchman would be in the clear. But if the watchman saw the enemy approach and gave not the alarm, whoever would be taken by the enemy would die in their iniquity but their blood would be required of the watchman because he saw the enemy coming and sounded not the alarm. Then God told Ezekiel in verse 7, "So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me." God warned His prophet that he needed to speak God's word of warning to the Children of Israel, or else!

This was evidently transferred to the church age for the Apostle Paul said in 1st Corinthians 9:16, "...for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" What is the gospel? Certainly it is briefly defined in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 where the apostle declared the gospel to be the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. However he also wrote in 2nd Timothy 4:1-4, and charged Timothy "before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables..." Yes, the command is to"Preach the word,"

It is not the preacher's option what he preaches. Oh I know that we are given great latitude but we are not told to preach the newspapers, or the radio or television. We are not commanded to preach the latest stories from popular news magazines or even from the internet. Whatever the latitude we are given we are to "Preach the word..." It is interesting to note that in the command to preach God's word the preacher is also to "be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."

I found it interesting what a famous biblical scholar Adam Clarke wrote about this passage of scripture. Aside from preaching the word of reconciliation, and to at all times make the gospel of God known, he or she is to "reprove - Ελεγξον· Confute, the false teacher." (There will always be those who will stand against God's truth.) "Rebuke - Επιτιμησον· Reprove cuttingly and severely those who will not abandon their sins." (Not always easy to do but this is a command of the Bible.) "Exhort - Παρακαλεσον· Comfort the feeble-minded, the diffident and the tempted.With all long-suffering - In reference to each and all of these cases. And doctrine - The different modes of teaching suited to each." And Apostle Paul admonished in the previous chapter, 2nd Timothy 3:5, that those who have "a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." And again in  Ephesians 5:11  the apostle said, "and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." How do you reprove someone in this situation? Follow the admonition in 2nd Timothy 3:5, "from such turn away."

So a preacher of the gospel has more to do than just preach what some have called the sloppy agape love of God. He or she is to warn their hearers that there are things one can do that will bar them from God's kingdom. 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." And  in Galatians 5:19-21 the apostle speaks of the works of the flesh, "now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."  I am made to think of the child's song, "Oh be careful little feet where you go..."

I realize that this has been a long post but if you are a Child of God and have read thus far, be warned that there are things that the enemy will try to get you to do and will say to you like he said to Eve in the garden, "Hath God said?" and  "Thou shalt not surely die." (See Genesis 3:1b and 3:4b) If you are a preacher, God will hold you accountable if you do not warn the church at His word. My prayer is that we will take God's word seriously.  It is the only way we can truly know what God thinks about things today.

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