March 7, 2014.
“And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shallgive them warning from me. 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 I will 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 for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.'”
This is quickly becoming one of my favorite passages of scripture. Ezekiel was a prophet called by God to preach a hard message to a people who didn’t want to listen to him. God set him over his people as a watchman. This may sound pretty cool, but it came with a huge responsibly. When God told him to warn the people, he was to warn them. If he didn’t, the people would die and God would require their blood on Ezekiel’s head. Talk about pressure! Yet God is faithful and righteous, and told the prophet that if he did warn the people as he was supposed to, his job was done, regardless of wether they listened or not. Sound harsh?
I believe we live in a similar, if not harder, situation today. We are called to seek and to save the lost, a people who do not want to hear the good news. The gospel is offensive, but we should not be ashamed. Jesus’ mission while he was on the earth was to save the lost. He is who we are to model. We are the watchmen. Do not be so naive to think that it is just fine to skip out on our duty. God was going to require the blood upon the head of Ezekiel. How much more if we do not profess the story of his son, who was given as a sacrifice for our sins.
As a side point, I believe another lesson we can draw from this story is the responsibility that teachers and leaders have in the church. We are held to a higher standard and will be judged accordingly:
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
To often today do leaders not take their job as seriously as they should. It is one thing to believe and practice the wrong thing. It is that much more to teach others untruth. This is dangerous and we should understand the gravity of the situation before entering into that role. I would always suggest prayer before you enter into a leadership or teaching position. Ok, side point over.
So, is it enough? Will sitting the pews every Sunday morning send you on the fast track to heaven? Or are we required to do more? I am not preaching a doctrine of perfection, as we all know that we fail constantly. But I am preaching a doctrine of action. James talks a lot about works through faith, and he doesn’t allow for a faith without works. Good news; we have good news! Will you not share it today? Remember the last words of our Lord and Savior before he ascended:
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”
These are his last words and our main mission. Not the cares of this world, our job or even our family. Our main mission is to seek and save the lost. Let’s pick up the scythe and go out to the harvest.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Suggested Daily Reading: Ezekiel 3, Matthew 28, James 2-3.
The Lord send laborers into the field!