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. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
(Ezekiel 33:7-9)

God laid these verses upon my heart this week.  They are hard for me because I know God is telling me that I have to warn someone from their wicked way.  But that someone is a friend, and it will be hard.  They may be angry, hurt, offended, say I am judging.  But I’m not.  I’m just leading where the Lord wills.  So tonight I am writing about it, searching out the scriptures I may use, figuring out my approach.  I figure we will all face this type of call at one time or another and maybe you will find this useful as well.  I will stick to the scriptures and my thoughts on why I am choosing them if I can.  I’ll try not to tangent off in a wormhole on you.

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. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
(Ezekiel 33:7-9)

These verses make it exceedingly clear that we are to watch out for one another as brethren in Christ, as the spiritual Israel, sounding a warning if we see a brother or sister walking wickedly or sliding into iniquity.  If we see one falling and fail to warn them then we will be held responsible, their blood will be on our hands as well as their own.  Now I do not want you to mistake me here, I don’t think a brother or sister straying, stumbling can cause us in anyway whatsoever to loose our own salvation, to face the final judgement of wrath.  I think however our rewards at the Great White Throne may be less if we fail to make the effort to show love and mercy to one of our own.  Jesus himself makes it clear that no man can snatch us from His hand, I believe that includes ourselves as long as we remain believers.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
(John 10:27-30)
However, if we warn them in love, making the effort to spare them the folly, pain and suffering culminating in death, of their sin then we will deliver our souls from the judgement of theirs will face, freeing ourselves from the burden of their sin.  That alone is enough reason for me, but it doesn’t tell me how to go about it.  I mean let’s face it when we are in a backsliden condition we don’t like hearing about it, being judged or reminded of it.  Fact is folks don’t always take kindly to a gentle nudge (or a not so gentle one) to get back on the narrow path.  So I want to be well prepared with a method and approach straight from the scriptures.  After all we can’t argue with God, well I guess we could but seriously, why waste our time and his, He’s God he’s gonna win.

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.  (James 5:19-20)

This verse from James is another one that is explicitly clear that we need to have each others backs in this walk with Christ.  We are to love and support one another as brothers and sisters, offering guidance, encouragement, and teaching always but particularly when we see one of our own erring in some grievous way.

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.  (Romans 15:14)

The knowledge we are filled with and equipped with comes from God, found in His Holy Word.  When we rely on His lead and use the tools He has given us then we can teach and admonish with goodness, kindness, love – drawing any who would stray form the fold close within again by pointing them back to our cornerstone, Christ.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.  (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

We must stand fast on our convictions, when they are firmly rooted in scripture, the infallible word of the Lord, for the Truth taught within is sure, just, and will correct without hurting in a malicious way our beloved brethren.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
(2 Peter 2:20-22)

You may wonder why we would bother, in many cases to correct a fellow follower of the Lord, to warn our fellow sheep.  We warn them not just for the reasons mentioned in James and Ezekiel above but because we love them and we do not wish to see them come to the dire straights portrayed in these verses from 2 Peter.  That if one who has been saved, has a full knowledge of Christ and his wondrous gift of grace, mercy, his love but turns from it, from the Light of the world back to darkness then it is likened to a dog returning to its vomit, we are warned it will be worse for them in the end that had they never accepted Christ and been saved at all.  That’s a fate I do not want to see any come to, especially not my brothers and sisters in the kingdom.

So I will turn to 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, and 1 Corinthians to guide my dealings with my brethern after admonishing them, as noted below.  I will continue to love them, pray for them, but I will refrain from keeping company with them that they will be ashamed.

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15)

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.  (Hebrews 10:38-39)

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.  (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

I at first wondered why God would say to keep ourselves away from one who is struggling in his walk, then it hit me.

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
(1 Peter 2:7-8)

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
(James 3:9-12)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9)

So you see when we admonish a stumbling brother or sister in love, with respect, dignity, kindness, sincerity, we are following God’s call.  We should not do so in a preachy, holier then thou, better than you, judgemental kinda way though, lest become a true stone of stumbling by dealing in any way less than love.  We should let Jesus’ example of how He dealt with His disciples be our guide, as well as taking into account the books of wisdom such as proverbs and psalms to back up our position, to support why we even bring the issue up, and to convict their hearts with the truth of God’s word.

 

 

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