A CARING CHURCH SHARES CHRIST

25 May

Ancient cities were obviously quite different from our cities of today. Most were smaller and not as protected as today.

To protect those living in the city, walls were built (Trump would have loved that). Guards were then posted along the walls of the city to warn the people of any enemies approaching. There were watchmen who were responsible to make sure that the city would not 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 watch, always looking for any possible threat to the city’s safety.

It did not matter what the weather was good or bad, sunny or rainy, lightning 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 and giving 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 is 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 empowering of the Holy Spirit, you and I have been assigned the task and responsibility of being watchmen for our generation. Everyone who has decided to know and serve Christ has been selected and called to be a watchman to this world. We cannot 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.

A man once prayed like this: “Lord, bless me and my wife, my son John and his wife, us four and no more.” A childless couple prayed: “Lord, bless us two, and that will do.” An old bachelor prayed: “Lord, bless only me, that’s as far as I can see.” You and I cannot take such a care-less attitude. As a caring church, we must share Christ with a lost world. As watchmen, we are called upon to see the need and to sound the warning.
We are responsible and obligated to faithfully sound the alarm.

The necessity for sounding the alarm is established clearly in the pages of Holy Scripture.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

Do you realize that there are between 95 and 100 million totally unchurched people in America? An estimated 180 to 190 million Americans are not born again. If this group were a nation to itself, it would be third largest people group behind China and India.

Without Christ, they will all die and will go into a Christless eternity filled with pain, suffering, and torment.

Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sins, it shall die.”

Regardless of how we are received, 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.”

Back in the 80’s, Mt. Saint Helens belched gray steam plumes hundreds of feet into the blue region sky. Geologists watched their seismographs in growing wonder as the earth danced beneath their feet. Rangers and state police, sirens blaring, herded tourists and residents from an ever-widening zone of danger. Every piece of scientific evidence being collected in the laboratories and on the field 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!” blinked battery-powered signs at every major crossroad. “Warning!” pleaded radio and television announcers, 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 Truman refused to budge. Harry was the caretaker of a recreation lodge on Spirit Lake, five miles north of Mt. Saint Helens’ smoke-enshrouded peak. 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 18 May 1980, as the boiling gases beneath the mountain’s surface bulged and buckled the landscape to its final limits. Harry Truman 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?
Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

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. But each of us must decide whether to accept or neglect this offer.

Every individual is accountable to God for what they do with the Gospel. It does not matter how well our message is received; it is still our obligation to declare the good news of the Gospel. It is 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 are 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.

Ezekiel 3:18-19

18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

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 an ocean bay. He came up sputtering and yelling 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 drowned man was so upset by that display of callous indifference that they sued the sunbather. They lost. The court reluctantly ruled that the man on the dock had no legal responsibility whatever to try to save the other man’s life. We say how awful this young man 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?
James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.”

Romans 14:11-12 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. [12] So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

We must faithfully sound the alarm clearly.

I Corinthians 14:8 “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”

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