The Sinfulness of the Sin of Silence, Part 4: Be a Watchman!

“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 shall give 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,'” Ezekiel 3:16-18.

Granted, God has called pastors, and evangelists, and men to teach and preach His Word, and to warn sinners of their wicked way, pleading with them to turn from their sin and to trust in Christ for righteousness and salvation. But I am convinced by Scripture that every member of the body of Christ has been saved such that they can then become a vessel of mercy to a merciless world. Every Christian is a watchman of God in the sense that we all have been commissioned to make disciples of the nations.

We know that judgment is coming and that it is not a far off reality. No, unbelievers are condemned already, and the reality of it is coming quickly and nothing can stay Christ’s hand. As Christians we ought to be intimate with the realities of sin, death, hell, and the eternality of torment, and we ought to stand on these things as essential doctrines of the faith which serve to prod unbelievers towards Christ and believers towards a more consistent movement of biblical evangelism.

The world is like the people of Israel hidden behind a wall of security ignorant of impending and sovereign judgment and terror. God likens Ezekiel to the watchman who would keep watch day and night for rival armies and onslaughts. By God’s Word, Ezekiel is privy to His judgment against sin. He knows that it is coming and that when it does the sinner will die. But whose hands will be dirty of the sinner’s blood? Will Ezekiel be silent even though he knows that God is coming in wrath against sin? If he does, he is guilty of that sinner’s blood. Do you see the sinfulness of the sin of our silence? They don’t know what is coming, we do by the grace of God; we can blow the trumpet and warn them; we can offer them the way of salvation, – a salvation designed and purposed by God to save sinners from God. And this we must do lest we commit such a grievous sin, – that we would let the sinner walk into the eternal fires unwarned, – all the while watching them and saying nothing!

Paul remembered this text in Acts 20:26. What he says has always amazed me, –

“I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, (why?) for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

Is this our testimony today? Have you been a faithful watchman boldly declaring the whole counsel of God? This is the only means of new life in the dead heart. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ,” Romans 10:17. No one will be saved without hearing the Gospel of the grace of God in Christ. And they will only hear when we, being faithful to our post, “speak to warn the wicked from his way.” Oh, that every Christian might declare, “I am innocent of the blood of all of you,” no matter if the “all of you” includes a congregation, or your co-workers, or your colleagues at school, or your family members and friends, or the unbeliever on the other side of the intercom at the fast food line. Let us speak up and not be silent. Let us fulfill the duty and the delight of the watchman of God in Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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