A Watchman

So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

—Ezekiel 33:7

Ezekiel was set by God to be a watchman for the house of Israel. Everyone knows what a watchman is. He is one who is employed to be a lookout for danger. Israel was in danger of experiencing the wrath of God because of their insolence and rebellion. Ezekiel’s job was to warn Israel of this imminent danger.

As missionaries God has set us up as watchman. In Acts 18:9-10 our Lord encouraged Paul, “…Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city [Corinth].” Paul was a watchman for the city of Corinth. There are three things that we should always consider as watchman for our people.

We must always Consider our People. John C. Maxwell said it well, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We must love our people. We cannot love our people until we know our people. We should study our people, spend time with our people, and sympathize with our people. We should be in touch with their challenges and the heartaches that they endure. Our people will not listen until they know that we love them. Romans 12:15 instructs us, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Our Savior was NEVER aloof from His people. John gives us this witness in 1 John 1:1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;”

We must also Consider our Preaching. I am not necessarily referring to doctrine. That is important, obviously, but for the focus of this article I am addressing the art of preaching. A watchman is to cry aloud, to warn. Preaching is not teaching. They are different and are used distinctly throughout the New Testament. Teaching [didasko] in the NT is the systematic presentation of the Word of God. Preaching [kerusso], on the other hand, is the bold and unequivocal declaration of Truth. Paul told Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” The key word in preaching is intensity. Preaching should be passionate. We are watchman and the enemy is in the camp! 1 Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

Lastly, as watchman we must always Consider our Praying. This should not be last; it should be first. Too many times prayer is relegated the leftover parts of the day, or too often we tack it on as a token covering for our plans. In reality, though, we cannot love our people until we pray for them. It is then that God begins to love them through us. Our preaching will always be powerless and dispassionate without prayer. EVERY great movement of God came about as a direct result of the fervent prayers of God’s people. J. Sidlow Baxter said, “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons; but they are helpless against our prayers.” Amen! We as watchman will never be effective without earnestly interceding for the souls of our people.

God has “much people” among our people. We must be faithful watchman. We must consider our people. We must consider our preaching, and we must consider our praying.

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