Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 16 November 19:
Ezekiel 33:7-9 — “So you, son of man, I have made 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, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”
God holds His people accountable for testifying to the truth and warning the wicked whether they choose to listen or not. Why does God give us this burden of responsibility? “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die?’” (Ezekiel 33:11) God has commanded us to love others unconditionally. What could be more unloving than watching people head down the path of destruction and damnation while saying nothing? Some Christians have unlovingly chosen to abrogate their God-given responsibility and life purpose as Christ’s Ambassadors for sake of avoiding confrontation and preserving personal comfort and security. However, today’s readings make clear God’s response to the irresponsible messenger.
Today’s readings directly mirror what God said to Jeremiah about the messenger being held accountable for the delivery of the message. Jesus gave his followers the ‘Great Commission’ – “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20) The Bible says further, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Under the authority and power of God, we have been commissioned to serve as His messengers and representatives on earth, to proclaim a message of eternal consequence. This is a TREMENDOUS responsibility which must not be neglected. God will hold us accountable for how we perform our mission. We must warn the iniquitous, and we must be very careful not to ‘muddy the waters’ by adding or taking away from God’s word. What we think about an issue matters little; what matters is what God’s word says. To remain silent in the face of sin is tacit approval – “Qui tacet consentit” — “Silence gives consent.” What would Jesus say to the ‘consenting’ Christian? “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42) Are you warning those around you? Are you vocal in a lovingly confrontational way?
You are responsible and held accountable for delivering the message to all; how people respond is their responsibility, not yours. However, a negative response is not an opportunity for you to quit proclaiming Christ. Consider how many prophets, apostles and disciples in the Bible continued relentlessly to speak God’s truth to those who only persecuted them for it. Remember Paul who would proclaim the Gospel, get beat by the angry crowd, dust himself off, and preach even more to the same crowd – some believed. Your life mission is to proclaim Jesus and represent Him on earth. How are you doing?
– Proverbs 24:11-12 — Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
– Jeremiah 6:14 — They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 November 19: Share the Gospel with someone today.