Sermon Text: Eze 33, God’s Watchmen

September 6, 2020 Church Blog, Sermons, Sunday Message0

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Proper 18A – Watchmen for the World

  1. All of our lessons are terrific this week, it was hard to decide on one for the sermon
    1. However, I came across an article on the Christian Post, a conservative Christian news website that I regularly read, that was very disturbing to me and should be for you as well.
      1. The findings come from the biennial State of Theology survey from Ligonier Ministries conducted with LifeWay Research.
      1. The headline was this, “More than half of American adults, including 30% of evangelicals, say Jesus isn’t God but most agree He was a great teacher.”
      1. An evangelical was defined as someone who believes, “the Bible is the highest authority for what I believe; it is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior; Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin; and only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.” – pretty basic definition of a Christian
      1. Yet 30 percent of people who agree with this statement don’t think Jesus was God (by the way that’s a contradiction you can’t really be a Christian and not believe Jesus is God)
      1. Further, the survey found that 65% of confessing evangelicals agreed with the statement, “Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.”
    1. I do hope you all KNOW that Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity, who was not created but has always been.
      1. We say it each and every week in our creeds, the Nicene is the more explicit of the two, “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father…”
      1. My point today is not to review the Nicene Creed or even argue that it has to be recited during service because it’s commanded by God (which it isn’t)
      1. But my point is that you can see the value of things like creeds because they teach the basic truths of Christianity that we are apt to drift away from if given the opportunity.
      1. This points to a serious lack of teaching that is happening in the church at large that so many church attenders, who consider themselves Christian, can fall into these heresies (false teachings)
  2. In our OT lesson the Lord says to Ezekiel, “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.” (Eze 33:7)
    1. The job of the OT prophets was to be a watchman, a sentry, pointing out spiritual dangers to the nation -an important task
      1. A watchman’s job is still important today, the military values it highly
      1. Do those of you who served remember your 11 General Orders, (I had to review them for myself), they are military orders on how to stand watch
      1. These are some – To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own. To quit my post only when properly relieved. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
      1. Violation of these rules is a court martialable offense with sentences in times of war including execution – it’s that important.
    1. The church and its ministers have always rightly believed that they have received that prophetic appointment as watchmen
      1. Ezekiel was a priest and prophet appointed by God to the Jews during the Babylonian captivity to bring words not only of judgment but also promise and peace – he was a teacher and preacher
      1. The church and its pastors are charged with the same mission, to speak the Word of God plainly as warning and as promise, Law and Gospel.
      1. But if the false teachings that Christ was created by God or that Christ isn’t God have been allowed to slip into the church unnoticed then the watchmen either abandoned their post or fell asleep
    1. Lest you think this appointment only applies to the church, each of us has that same charge privately, beginning in our own families and extending at least to our congregations.
      1. The home has always been the first place where the faith is taught and danger averted –
      1. We instill our values and our beliefs in our kids, it’s what the family does: Yes you will go to school…yes you will do your homework…no you will not do drugs…you will look both ways when crossing the street.
      1. The family’s importance for the faith was supposed to be the same (and has been until the recent era) as we hear from Deut 6, And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deu 6:6-9)
      1. In the congregation, especially through its elders, you ensure that pastors are proclaiming right doctrine, but they can’t do that unless the necessary learning was being reinforced in the home.
      1. If this is the state of the church in America, then American Christians have also failed in their duty to be watchmen in their own homes and congregations!
  3. But lift up your heads and be of good cheer, for while this may be the present state it doesn’t have to remain so – the job of the watchmen is to raise the alarm!
    1. Firstly, I do not see this kind of rot in our own church (either congregationally or nationally) we are solid doctrinally
      1. But that is no excuse for complacency, I will tell you a disturbing trend I see in my time in ministry (that I hear repeated from my brothers) is that confirmands routinely are biblically illiterate – it’s not uncommon that they can’t turn to the book of Genesis without looking in the index.
      1. The home remains the primary place of instruction, your role as the watchmen of God in your own home is vital.
    1. Secondly, because of our soundness God can use us as a beacon of truth and light in an increasingly fractured religious landscape
      1. Many of our brothers and sisters in the church didn’t turn away from the truth because they were obstinate but because the watchmen were derelict
      1. They are like the sheep our Lord spoke about in our Gospel, What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Mat 18:12-14)
      1. Our Lord shed His blood for them no less than for us…their sins have been covered by His blood and our Lord desires not the death of a sinner but that all come to repentance and a knowledge of Him. (Ezek 18:23, 33:11)
    1. Through the Holy Spirit our Lord uses His watchmen, like us, to find those lost sheep and return them to the fold
      1. This is a call, an appointment that has great promise for us to paraphrase the words of Mordecai to Esther, Who knows whether you have not been placed here for such a time as this? (Est 4:14)
      1. What a blessing that we have been entrusted with this message of hope of everlasting life through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.
      1. That through the Holy Spirit we are God’s watchmen for the sake of our families, our churches and the world!