The Watchmen - Part 2
In God's Church, it seems, we have always had a sense that we were preaching the Gospel for the purpose of "getting members," in order to grow the Church. That is not correct! And, we do not have any grandiose idea that we are to build a work that will gather all the sheep into one flock – that is what Jesus, Himself, will do at His return.
“For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” (Ezekiel 34:11-12)
In God's Church we have a duty to feed the flock. “He [Jesus] saith unto him [Peter] the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said unto him, Lord, you know all things; You know that I love you. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)
In this verse we see that the resurrected Jesus Christ was defining the role of a shepherd. The role of the ministry is to have the flock look to the True Shepherd and Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. What is a shepherd supposed to feed the flock of God so that they might grow to the stature and fullness of Jesus Christ? Of course, the answer to that question is the true spiritual food, which is Jesus’ Himself – His life, principles and teachings.
“Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst… I am that bread of life.” (John 6:35, 48)
The Church of God is also to be preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Can the Good News of the Kingdom of God be preached without an element of warning to sinners? “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
And that is important to understand. It is not enough to simply believe that Jesus Christ will come again and establish His Father’s Kingdom – repentance is a required element to be in the Kingdom. The Gospel is the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God – of which no one will be a part without repentance. And we are keenly aware that we shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come (Matthew 10:23).
“This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14) And when the true Gospel is being preached in all the world it will contain the necessary element of repentance. It was the same in Ezekiel’s day.
“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. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou give him not warning, nor speak 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.” (Ezekiel 3:17-18)
Ezekiel’s warning message is about the necessity of repentance from dead works. Whose duty is it today to warn our people about the necessity of repentance from dead works? Has God appointed anyone today to be an end-time watchman? Is it right for us to sit back and think that it is someone else's duty? We, like the disciples, must preach repentance and the Gospel. When we know that calamity is about to come to pass on our nation – and we do not speak up to warn our people – how does the love of God abide in us?
||"The Watchmen - Part 2"