Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Watchman

For thus has the LORD said to me,
Go, set a watchman,
let him declare what he sees. Isaiah 21:6

"So you, son of man:
I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel;
therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth
and warn them for Me" Ezekiel 33:7

The Watchman On The Wall

The watchman is clearly one of the most important roles God can give any of us. How can I know this? Well this is the mission that God gave to the prophet Ezekiel when He spoke to him above.

When I think about a watchman, a story comes to my mind that I heard over thirty years ago, told by my first pastor Chuck Swindoll. I have pieced the story together from memory, and with online research so I’ll try to bring this one back to life for you, as best I can.

The scene was a battlefield outpost during the civil war. A young soldier was on guard duty in the middle of night. For any of you who have ever sat in the night as a watchman, you know how monotonous this time can become. The soldier had an amazing singing voice and was singing in the light of the moon. This is not normally a wise idea while watching for the enemy. An opposing soldier was a short distance away with his rifle aimed at the watchman and prepared to pull the trigger. The young singer then began a new song and filled the night air with a most inspiring rendition of: “Savior like a shepherd lead us” The man aiming his gun was moved to take his hand off of the trigger. He stood there in the dark shadows listening to the mesmorizing song in the night. Then he silently turned and slipped away.

The story now shifts to thirteen years later. It was Christmas Eve 1875 and Ira Sankey was traveling on a Delaware River steamboat. The war was long past, and the young singing soldier was in fact Ira Sankey, now the famous song leader for Dwight L Moody’s ministry crusade. Not able to make it home in time, and spend Christmas with his family, Sankey was feeling quite low. Wanting some time alone, he had gone to a quiet spot on the deck for some solitude and prayer, as the night slowly passed on the dark Delaware River. On deck Sankey was soon recognized by some of the passengers, who excitedly asked him to sing one of his own hymns; but Sankey had a different idea, saying that he preferred to sing “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us.”

Here are the amazing events that occurred next: “As he sang, the stanza “We are Thine; do Thou befriend us, Be the Guardian of our way” filled the night air. When he had finished, another man stepped out from the shadows and asked, “Did you ever serve in the Union Army?” “Why yes,” Mr. Sankey answered, “in the spring of 1860.”

“Can you remember if you were doing guard duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sankey answered ... very much surprised.

“So did I, but I was serving in the Confederate army. When I saw you standing at your post, I thought to myself, ‘That fellow will never get away alive.’ I raised my musket and took aim. I was standing in the shadow, completely concealed, while the full light of the moon was falling upon you. At that instant, just as a moment ago, you raised your eyes to heaven and began to sing… Savior Like a Shepherd lead Us ...

‘Let him sing his song to the end,’ I thought to myself, ‘I can shoot him afterwards.’ He’s my victim in any event, my bullet surely cannot miss him.”

But the song you sang then was the song you sang just now. I heard the words perfectly: ‘We are Thine; do Thou befriend us. Be the Guardian of our way.’ Those words stirred up many memories. I began to think of my childhood and my God-fearing mother. She had many times sung that song to me. When you had finished your song, it was impossible for me to take aim again. I thought, ‘The Lord who is able to save that man from certain death must surely be great and mighty.’ And my arm of its own accord dropped limp at my side.”

Is this a coincidence that both men were on the same steamboat on Christmas Eve thirteen years later; and that Stankey was led to sing the exact same song; and that this enemy soldier just happened to be listening to the song his mother sang to him as a child? I don’t think so. There is obviously a much bigger message here: God knows the beginning, the end, and everything in between. God inspired one man’s mother to sing the song repeatedly to him, in his childhood. And on both occasions, God put the song on Sankey’s heart; and both men were also placed on the deck of that steamboat just at the right moment; so that God could bring encouragement and assurance to them both. God performed this miracle ... so that these Christian men would know that Jesus, their Savior was with them both moment by moment, all of the days of their lives; and that He was continually leading and protecting them every step of the way.

That is a pretty inspiring story, don’t you think? Well, it is also for all of the watchmen that God has placed strategically throughout the world, for all times. Who are God’s watchmen here and now? Do you know anyone who is a watchman? What would his duties be? Who is the enemy that the watchman must look out for?

Well I am writing this post on the 2am to 5am watch. God awakened me and called me to the watch. Here are God’s instructions: “Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he sees” and; “therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” I am convinced that a key role of the watchman in our church today is to guard the truth. As a result; our training for this mission is that we must know God’s Truth, in order for Him to place His trust in us with this mission post.

I would assume that God has posted a number of watchmen in every Biblically committed church in the world. The enemy is the god of this world Satan, and he will deceive many with false doctrines. The teachings of the world have infected many of our churches today. The aim of the enemy is to replace the inerrant truth with the ideas of men that have had success in the secular and business world.

A watchman’s life will be lonely and it can get ugly. Jesus tells us: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also” John 15:18-20

I have a close friend who was recently asked to leave his church. What did he do to bring about this unloving and un-Christian end result? He challenged the leadership with the Bible. The teachings and ministry are moving in a direction contrary to scripture, and he followed the leading of God's Word and Spirit. Isn’t this what we are called to do? Yes, but church leaders who are not following the leading of the Holy Spirit are often uncomfortable when given scripture and asked; “pastor, could you explain how this verse applies to our church; or this situation?” A Biblically centered question in a Sunday school class will sometimes embarrass an unprepared leader.

My friend met with the pastor after he was asked to leave, but his attempts to have a conversation that was grounded in God’s Word and a Biblical reconciliation fell on deaf ears. This church is more like a social club; than a church that leads believers to biblical transformation by the renewing of their minds. If my friend had continued to challenge them, it may have resulted in a Matthew 28 rejection before the church body, but in that event the church would have had a serious problem … my friend has not acted in a sinful, un-loving, or un-Christian way. Instead he chose to “shake the dust off of his feet and move on. I can only say that my friend is an inspiration and an encouragement to me.

So, God wants to speak through watchmen. Whenever the church falls into the practice of following the lead of men and the world or blending it’s teachings with the wisdom of the world; rather than the Lord Jesus Christ and His eternal Truth, God wants for the watchman to sound the trumpet.

How is this most likely to play out?

The battlefield is for the hearts and minds of the people. It is a spiritual battle which our Lord and Savior is leading from His position in heaven. As Christians, we are not of this world. When we converted to Christianity, at that moment we became a member the royal family, the royal priesthood of the Creator of the universe and everything in it.

Currently, we remain here on earth as ambassadors for Christ, a watchman who has been strategically positioned by Christ with a mission. In the same way that God positioned Sankey on guard duty on the wall, in the civil war, He has also positioned each of us. Many of us, for a variety of reasons decide not to sing God’s song. We fail to sound the alarm and we fail in the mission that we have been given. This is why it is so critical that we know God’s Truth. We are the defenders of God’s Word. It is the foundation of our belief system. How will you know when God wants you to be the watchman? The Holy Spirit will move you from within, and by the power of His Word.

The enemy on the other hand wants to neutralize the Gospel.
A primary battlefield would be: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

The enemy knows that to destroy God’s Truth at its foundation in the hearts and minds of men is a victory for his evil plan.

So in America for the past hundred years, evolution and the philosophies of men have been put up against God's eternal Truth. This has been a primary battlefield. Now with multiple generations brainwashed by the public education system and this evolution heresy, Satan has gained access to the church through the minds of those deceived. A majority of Christian church members now believe the teachings of men over God’s eternal Truth. There is a smaller percentage who are following the Holy Spirit, and God’s Truth. These are the watchmen. When they sound the alarm, Jesus has made it clear “the world will hate them as they have hated Him” and as they hated His Hebrew prophets of old as well.

How has Satan’s next attack been planned to play out against God’s people. The attack is ongoing and currently under way. 

In the meantime, watchmen are to take God’s Truth listed below ... literally.

Watchman, the time for your watch is now.
Put on your armor and get out there on the wall:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Ephesians 6:10-20

God bless you my friends, Bob

Savior Like A Shepherd Lead US

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