A WATCHMAN OF GOD
Ezekiel 33:1-33
 
“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.”  Ezekiel 33:7
 
According to Ezekiel 33, a watchman was to warn the people of impending danger.  If the people responded to the warning, they would be spared.  If they ignored the warning, they would suffer loss.  On the other hand, if the watchman failed to warn the people, he was held accountable and would suffer loss.
 
What was he told to warn the people about? Verse 11 “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”  The reason for the warning is that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked.  Their wickedness was that of violating God’s written law which included idolatry, bloodshed, sexual immorality, and failure to heed Ezekiel’s warning.  They had actually adopted the pagan practices of their neighbors and mingled them with that which God had ordained.  Their attitude was that as long as they went through the motions of worship, they would be all right with God.  Isaiah 29:13  “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”
 
Have things changed?  Is there a need for a watchman to warn the people?  In 2 Peter 2:1-22, we are warned of false teachers like the false prophets of Israel that misled the people into a false sense of security, while encouraging them to indulge in paganism.  In 2 Timothy 3:1-9, we find a description of those who would be a party to this:  “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:5.
 
Who are the watchmen of today.  According to Acts 20:28-31, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:1-4, and other New Testament passages, the watchmen are the elders of the church who have been charged with pastoral care.  They are to lead - have oversight; feed - preach and teach the Word of God; tend - protect from dangerous error, subtle deception, and false teachers, and promote spiritual healing of the hurting.
 
There is a warning in Acts 20:28-31 that implies that in the latter times, more and more deception will come from those who have taken on the task of being a watchman or of exercising pastoral care. What should we do about those pastors and teachers who are involved in deception or who do not believe in the fundamentals of the faith?  What about those who claim to believe in the fundamentals of the faith but cooperate with those who do not or who are in apostasy?  In Acts 20:28-31, Paul’s warning implies that we should continue to give the warning.  We are also commanded to avoid cooperating with them in any spiritual endeavor, to mark (identify) those brethren who walk disorderly, and to separate ourselves from those who violate scriptural principles.  Amos 3:3, Romans 16:17-18, 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, 11:1-15, Ephesians 5:11, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Timothy 4:2-4.  
 
Because of this, just as the Old Testament prophets of God were not very popular in their time, neither are those preachers of today who, as watchmen, take the above view.  However, a pastor as a watchman is charged by God to carry out this responsibility even though it may not be very convenient in his church, community, or country.  2 Timothy 4:1-5.  If he compromises the fundamental doctrines of the faith for any reason, he has violated the teachings of Scripture and has brought shame upon his office. 1 Timothy 1:3-11, 1:18-20, 4:6-16, 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:8-26, 3:12-17.
 
What are the fundamental doctrines of the faith? Time and space do not allow for a detailed list.  However, it must start with the Bible as the absolute, complete, inerrant, and inspired Word of God.  Without this, there is no authoritative basis for Christian doctrine concerning the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), angels, sin, salvation, the church, and future prophetic events.
 
If you are a pastor facing opposition for doctrinal integrity and adhering to the Word of God, hang in there.  You are not alone.  If you are a member of a church that has a pastor that is trying to maintain doctrinal integrity and be true to the Word of God as a watchman, come alongside him and support him.  It can get awfully lonely at times.
 
In His grace,
Pastor Ernest F. Brodie Sr.
Robertsville Bible Church