This is the second article in a series on the book of Ezekiel as it relates to the small church.

16 Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When 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, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

  Pastor, you are a watchman.  Anyone who does a series on Ezekiel hits this passage so since you were expecting it, why disappoint, right?

  In ancient times the job of watchman was essential to the survival of a city.  They had to be on duty 24/7 to let the people know if an enemy was approaching.  They were to sound the alarm so the citizenry could prepare for battle.

  Today’s small churches face many attacks from Satan who is our enemy.  He opposes God and His people on many different fronts and in many different ways.  Sometimes he comes in all of his ugliness.  At other times he appears as an angel of light.  The watchman must be vigilant to the devil’s ways and warn the church.

  Are you faithful in this area?  I know that many churches are trying to be mostly positive, especially in the sermon.  I preach these kinds of sermons too as people need to be encouraged in these depressing times.  But you must not fail to warn the congregation of the attacks of the devil.  Failure to do so is treason in God’s army.

  Do your people know to be on guard against the secularism pervading our society, even getting into the churches?  Have they been warned that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil?  Satan is evil and he hates your church and each member and will do all he can to destroy them.  If you don’t warn them, who will?

  There is a chilling, even fearful warning in verse 20.  There God says that if a wicked person dies without being warned that he will pay for his own sin, but the watchman will be held accountable for his blood.  If you see Satan coming and do not warn your people, they will suffer for their own sinfulness but you will be guilty before the Lord.

  Note that it is not the watchman’s job to make the people take the needed actions against the enemy.  He cannot make them take shelter when called for or go on the offensive.  His job is simply to let the people know of the danger.  What they do with that information is out of his hands.

  You are not responsible for the decisions your people make.  Many times through the years I have sadly watched people suffer because they would not listen to the warning I gave them.  But I have also had the joy of seeing people overcome through Jesus because they heard and took the right action.  But either way, the choice is theirs.  We are simply to warn.

  Pastor, you are a watchman.  Are you faithful to the call?