You are the Watchman / Advent mid-week

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Pastor Donald Beaumont

Ezekiel 3:16-21

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you would have delivered your soul.

Ancient cities were different from our cities in this day and age. Most cities were small in comparison and didn’t have all the protection that we have today. To protect those living in the city, walls were built around the city to fortify it. Watchmen or sentries were then posted along the walls of the city to warn the city dwellers of any approaching enemy. As long as they weren’t taken by surprise the gates in the walls of the city could be closed and the city could be defended. The watchmen were responsible so that a city wouldn’t be taken by surprise. Their job was to stand on the walls or towers of the city constantly watching their surroundings and scanning the horizon. They had an entire city that counted upon them to warn them of imminent danger. They were required to maintain a constant vigil, always looking for any possible threat to the city’s safety. It didn’t matter what the weather was good or bad, sunny or rainy, lightening or thunder, the watchmen could never desert their post. They had to be alert at all times. If watchmen spotted or observed signs of trouble, it was their duty to blow a trumpet alerting the people, have the doors closed, and give the soldiers time to man the walls to defend the city. He was held accountable for giving the necessary warning of all impending danger. The very lives of the people in the city were in their hands.

It’s with this in mind that God declares that Ezekiel was a watchman to Israel and was therefore accountable to God for sounding the warning of God’s displeasure and judgment of sin. With the issuing of the great commission and the endowment of the Holy Spirit, you and I have been assigned the task and responsibility of being watchmen for our generation. Everyone who is a Christian is also called to be a watchman to this world. We can’t simply sit back, resting upon the knowledge of our established relationship with God guaranteeing our home in heaven, and be totally oblivious to and unconcerned about those who are without Christ or who have cooled off in their companionship with Christ.

Did you know that there are between 95 and 100 million totally unchurched people in America? If this group were a nation, it would be the third largest people group behind China and India. Without Christ, they’ll all die and go into eternity filled with pain, suffering, and torment without Christ.

Our responsibility is to sound the alarm. Ezekiel 33:4 "Then whosoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head."

Mt. Saint Helens hiccupped with steam hundreds of feet into the sky. Geologists watched their seismographs as the earth danced beneath their feet. Rangers and state police, sirens blaring, led tourists and residents from the zone of danger. Every piece of scientific evidence predicted the volcano would soon explode with a fury that would leave the forests flattened. "Warning!" blared the loudspeakers on the patrol cars and helicopters hovering overhead. "Warning!" "Warning!" "Warning!" was heard over the radio, television, short wave and citizen-band operators. "Warning!" echoed up and down the mountain, and lakeside villages, tourist camps and hiking trails emptied as people heard the warnings and fled for their lives.

But Harry refused to budge. Harry was the caretaker of a recreation lodge on Spirit Lake, five miles north of Mt. Saint Helens. The rangers warned Harry of the coming blast. Even Harry’s sister called to talk sense into the old man’s head. But Harry ignored the warnings. From the picture-postcard beauty of his lakeside home reflecting the snow-capped peak overhead, Harry grinned on national television and said, "Nobody knows more about this mountain than Harry and it don’t dare blow up on him... On May 18, 1980, as the gases beneath the mountain’s surface bulged and buckled the landscape to its final limits. Harry cooked his eggs and bacon, fed his sixteen cats the scraps, and began to plant petunias around the border of his freshly mowed lawn. At 8:31 a.m. the mountain exploded.

Did Harry regret his decision in that millisecond he had before the concussive waves, traveling faster than the speed of sound, flattened him and everything else for 150 square miles? Did he have time to mourn his stubbornness as millions of tons of rock disintegrated and disappeared into a cloud reaching ten miles into the sky? Did he struggle against the wall of mud and ash fifty feet high that buried his cabin, his cats and his freshly mowed lawn? Or had he been vaporized (like 100,000 people at Hiroshima) when the mountain erupted with a force 500 times greater than the nuclear bomb which leveled that Japanese city?

The Bible tells us, every individual is on a direct collision course with God’s judgment. God has provided a haven in Christ designed to keep people from suffering eternal death and separation from God.

Every individual is accountable to God for what they do with the Gospel. It doesn’t matter how the message is received; it’s still our obligation to declare the good news of the Gospel. It’s our responsibility to bring the message that God wants us to bring regardless how it is appreciated or acted upon.

2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." Earnestly proclaim the word of God whether or not the situation or time is favorable.

We’re accountable for our faithfulness to our responsibility to sound the alarm. The day is coming when we will be face to face with our Creator and have to account for what we have done or neglected to do as watchmen. 

In 1928, a very interesting case came before the courts in Massachusetts. It concerned a man who had been walking on a boat dock when suddenly he tripped over a rope and fell into the cold, deep water of the ocean. He came up sputtering and yelled for help and then sank again, obviously in trouble. His friends were too far away to get to him, but only a few yards away, on another dock, was a young man sprawled on a deck chair, sunbathing. The desperate man shouted, "Help, I can’t swim!" The young man, an excellent swimmer, only turned his head to watch as the man floundered in the water, sank, came up sputtering in total panic, and then disappeared forever.

The family of the man who drown were so upset by the callous unconcern, that they sued him. They lost. The court ruled that the man on the dock had no legal responsibility to try to save the other man’s life. We say how awful this was; but is it any less callous to allow those who cross our paths to speed their way to hell without any warning from us?

Bethel Lutheran Church

32410 Willowick Drive
Willowick, OH 44095

P: (440) 943-5000

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