#1) Are you listening to the Call of God to Action?

Ezekiel was a priest but God called him to be a watchman. Look at chapter 1:1-3,

"Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,

The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him."

Now turn over to chapter 3:16-17,

"And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me."

And so God takes Ezekiel the priest and makes him Ezekiel the watchman. What is a watchman?

In the ancient world in which Ezekiel lived, watchman were set at strategically important positions high up on a city’s wall to watch for approaching enemies. They were given the responsibility to look out for the safety and welfare of the people who lived within those walls. When the watchman saw trouble on the way, he was to warn the city in advance to that they could be prepared beforehand. The watchman would either shout or normally sound a trumpet to let everyone know that an enemy was approaching their city. The people of the city would close the gates and fortify their position against an attack.

This begs the question. Why would God send Ezekiel to be a watchman when the nation of Israel was already captive in Babylon? Isn’t it too late?

It’s never too late with God!! God wanted to teach His people not only about His justice, but also about His mercy and His love. God wanted His people to know that He wasn’t finished with them yet and that through them, the coming Messiah would enter the world. And so God wanted to use Ezekiel to send His people a message.

God is still using people to send His message of mercy and love.

II Corinthians 5:17-20 Paul writes,

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."

Like God called and used Ezekiel to be a prophet and a watchman, He is calling believers to be proclaiming the good news of the Gospel and to be ambassadors for Christ! We are to be watchmen for Christ and to warn the lost before it’s too late. Are we listening to the call of God?

In Acts chapter 20 and verse 31, Paul is saying his farewell to the church members in Ephesus and he gives them this testimony about himself,

"Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

Paul was reminding these believers that he was a watchman for Jesus and that he was free from the blood of all men.

Look up in Acts 20 verses 6 & 7,

"Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."

Paul could confidently say that he warned the lost of that great city and could stand before God with bloodless hands! Paul was faithful to listen to the call of God in his life.

That brings me to question two,

#2) Are you listening to the Caution from God about accountability?

God held Ezekiel personally accountable. Look again at Ezekiel 3:18 & 20,

"When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."

And down to verse 20,

"Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand."

God told Ezekiel basically that he was personally responsible for the lives of the people that he was supposed to warn.

Accountability is not a popular word in our society today!

We’ve developed a "victim" mentality.

-It’s McDonalds’ fault we’re fat.

-It’s our parents’ fault that we behave the way we do.

-It’s the government’s fault that we don’t have everything we want.

-It’s God’s fault when we face the consequences of our own sins, when we reap what we have sown.

Story:

During the Revolutionary War, a loyalist spy appeared at the headquarters of Hessian commander Colonel Johann Rall, carrying an urgent message. His message was that General George Washington and his Continental army had secretly crossed the Delaware River that morning and were advancing on Trenton, New Jersey where the Hessians were encamped.

The spy was denied an audience with the commander and instead wrote his message on a piece of paper. A porter took the note to the Hessian colonel, but because Rall was involved in a poker game he stuffed the unread note into his pocket. When the guards at the Hessian camp began firing their muskets in a futile attempt to stop Washington’s army, Colonel Rall was still playing cards. Without time to organize, the Hessian army was captured. The battle occurred the day after Christmas, 1776, giving the colonists a late present—their first major victory of the war.

One man’s inability to warn his army led to defeat.

Story:

A man who lived on Long Island was able to satisfy a lifelong ambition by purchasing for himself a very fine barometer. It was extremely beautiful and expensive. When the instrument arrived at his home, he as extremely disappointed to find that the indicating needle appeared to be stuck, pointing to the sector marked ‘HURRICANE.’ After shaking the barometer very vigorously several times, the man sat down and wrote a scorching letter to the store from which he had purchased this expensive instrument. The following morning on the way to his office in New York, he mailed the letter. That evening he returned to Long Island to find not only the barometer missing, but his house also. That barometer’s needle had been right—there was indeed a hurricane coming! He failed to heed the warning.

 

Are we going to have to stand before God someday with bloody hands because we failed to warn the lost about the coming judgment? (tell story about Darlene and how she told me after she had led me and Marg to the Lord that she had made a vow to God because she failed to witness to the Doctor before me and that she felt his blood was on her hands) I know that she is not going to hell because she didn’t witness to Doctor Merritt, but I feel she will have to stand before God and watch as that person’s soul is cast into Hell for all eternity!

Remember when Jesus told the story in Luke about the rich man and Lazarus? He said that the rich man was in hell being in torments. I believe in a literal hell today! Jesus spoke of a place called hell where souls go forever and ever.

John called it the Lake of Fire in Revelation chapters 19 & 20. "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

I don’t know about you, but we need to be more serious about telling people about Christ! We are to be watchmen like Ezekiel. We are to be warning people like Paul. We are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature!

Whose blood will be on your hands? Your parents, your spouse, your children, your co-workers, your best friends, who is it that God is talking to you about today?

We saw the Call of God to action, the caution of God about accountability, now we need to,

#3) Heed the command of God to be a witness.

Acts 1:8, Jesus’ last words to His disciples,

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Story:

When Dwight L. Moody was in London during one of his famous evangelistic tours, several British clergymen visited with him. They wanted to know how and why this poorly educated American was so effective in winning throngs of people to Christ. Moody took the three men to the window of his hotel room and asked each in turn to look our and tell him what they saw. One by one, the men described the people in the park below. Then Moody looked out the window with tears rolling down his cheeks.

"What do you see, Mr. Moody?" asked one of the men.

"I see countless thousands of souls that will one day spend eternity in hell if they do not find the Savior."

D. L. Moody saw people differently than the average observer does. And because he saw eternal souls where others saw only people strolling in a park, Moody approached life with a different agenda.

Jesus looked on the multitudes in Matthew 9:36-38. The Bible says,

"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."

Compassion is what moves us to action to heed the commands of our Savior.

Maybe you’re here today and you’ve never trusted Christ as your Savior. You need to come and let us take God’s Word and show you how you can be know for sure that you have a home in heaven today.

Maybe you’re a believer here today and you haven’t been the witness for Christ that you know that you should be. You come and ask the Lord to empower and enable you to be the witness that He saved you to be.

Let’s pray!