"Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately." — Ezekiel 3:17
The apostle Paul saw himself as a watchman, someone who would be positioned on the wall of a city to keep watch for the enemy or any other danger that was approaching. A watchman would then run and warn people about what he saw. Paul told the Ephesian elders, "I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it's not my fault, for I didn't shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. So guard yourselves and God's people . . . " (Acts 20:26–28).
Paul was drawing on the words of Ezekiel 3:17–18, where God said, "Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, 'You are under the penalty of death,' but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths."
Declaring the truth of the gospel is a serious matter—a matter of life and death. And when we meet someone who doesn't know it, we have a responsibility as watchmen to proclaim it. If we know a believer who is going astray or who is doing things that are contrary to what the Bible teaches, we have a responsibility as watchmen to warn him or her of what could potentially happen. We don't do this out of hate, but out of love, because we want to help. We want to protect them.
The job of watchmen is not unlike that of lifeguards, who constantly scan the water to ensure that everyone is safe. Because lives are at stake, it is crucial they do their job well. So how are you doing as a watchman?
Copyright © 2009 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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