Watchman, What of the Night?
Text: Ezekiel 33
Title: Watchman, What of the Night?
Nightime can be a dangerous time. Thieves break into buildings and houses under the cover of darkness. Rape, murder, theft, aggravated assault all increase at night.
In our day, many people have security systems on their homes - CCTV - Alarms that will go off if a window or door is opened - to alert them to danger.
House fires is another danger of the night time - the Ventrellos had a kitchen electrical fire - they thank the Lord that it happened before they went to bed.
Fire alarms help alert us in our day to fires.
In Bible days, they didn't have smoke alarms, CCTV and security alarms - They had night watchmen who would stand guard on the city walls. They would see the danger - thief/ enemy/ fire and sound the alarm.
There is a verse in Isaiah 21:11 which says, "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?"
exp. The town crier back in the day would answer that question in men's minds by saying something like, "10 O'Clock and all is well." Is all well in our day?
I want you to think about how you would answer that today? WE ARE GOD'S WATCHMAN. Watchman, what of the night?
I. The Watchman's Duty. vv.1-3
1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
exp. Ezekiel - as a prophet of God - specifically had the calling of being the night watchman. What duty must the watchman perform?
A. Stay awake when other's sleep.
2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
exp. The watchman is working when other's are in bed. When others are at ease. He is out in the cold/ elements because he has a duty to perform to protect those who are at ease.
question: Does God find any who will fulfill the duty of the watchman today?
Eze 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
exp. God's judgment was coming - but nobody wanted to stand in the gap for the land - protecting it from the WRATH OF GOD.
ill. William Carey's book - "An enquiry into the obligation of Christians to use mean for the conversion of the Heathens."
1.) He was prepared to leave his wife and go.
2.) When they went they suffered much deprivation.
3.) He lost everything in a fire - translations....
app. If you want to be a watchmen - you are not signing up for an easy job. If you aren't willing to give up things for Jesus, don't even volunteer - The job of watchmen is to stay awake when other's sleep.
B. Be alert to what you see.
3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land,
REMEMBER - who is bringing the sword - not the enemy but GOD. v.2 When I bring the sword upon a land
question: What is the watchman watching for? The wrath of God coming in response to man's disobedience.
ill. In Moses day - that was a coming flood.
Genesis 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
In Jonah's day - it was coming destruction.
Jonah 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
In our day - it is the TRIBULATION AND HELL.
Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Luke 12:5 4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
app. Do you see the judgment of God coming?
C. Clearly sound the warning.
he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
exp. The whole purpose of the watchman is to SOUND THE WARNING AND SAVE LIVES.
Jon 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
Jon 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
exp. Jonah didn't want to go - because he knew the truth about preaching - preaching is sounding the warning and when a warning is sounded their is opportunity to repent!
ill. Seeing tornado/ straightline winds coming - yelling for everyone to get up to the lodge - get in the freezer - Huge old tree by the river came down.
exp. I yelled and people responded to the yell of warning.
app. Watchman - your duty is not just to be awake and alert. It is to sound the alarm.
II. The Watchman's Deliverance. vv.4-9
ill. Guards in the day of Christ - would forfeit their life for the life of a prisoner who escaped. Paul delivered his guard from death by letting him know that THEY WERE ALL THERE AND ACCOUNTED FOR.
note: The watchman has as great a spiritual accountability as those guards had a physical responsability - WE ARE DELIVERED BY DOING OUR DUTY!
A. If he cried out, the people are responsible to heed the cry.
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
ill. Chicago fire - many people got used to the constant warning about fires and were ignorant when the great fire took place. (Ira Sankey's biography.) THOSE WHO HEEDED THE WARNING WERE SAVED.
app. You could be here today - on your way to hell - but the alarm has been sounded - God's judgment is coming against the wicked. YOU HAVE A CHOICE - listen and live or neglect to listen and die. BUT BECAUSE THE WARNING HAS BEEN GIVEN THE RESPONSABILITY IS YOURS.
B. If he didn't cry out, he dies guilty, but the people's blood is on the watchman's hands.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
exp. Why - when he saw the judgment coming - didn't he cry out?
1. Irresponsible watchmen.
exp. No concern for his fellow man.
ill. Cain and Able
Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
app. Saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?" when you know hell is coming is as awful as murder. How could the love of God dwell in someone who feels no moral responsability to warn his brother!
2. Ignorant watchmen.
exp. Surely it can't really be hell. I know that is what it says, but I'm convinced it can't mean that.
ill. JW's - there is no hell - it is just the grave. Satan is cast into the fires of hell 1,000 years after the beast and the false prophet (men) and the Word of God say, Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
app. These religions are making men "twofold more the child of hell" than themselves. They are ignorant watchman.
3. Unconcerned watchmen.
exp. They are having such a good time in the city - there is a wonderful party going on - I hate to ruin it by sounding the alarm. They don't want the harsh message (Truth) they want something they like. 2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
note: The contemporary/ modern "church" is like this. Let's make church fun! "No warning about sin and judgment." Let's just entertain them to hell with our music and accepting atmosphere!
4. Traitorous watchmen.
exp. They are paying me well to be silent. As long as the money flows, who cares about those who will perish.
ill. These are those who make merchandise of the house of God - they live in multi-million dollar mansions and fleece those who would come to them to hear from God.
app. Those who were not warned will die in their INIQUITY but THEIR BLOOD is on the watchman's hands! Do you have blood on your hands today?
ill. Judas did - Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
C. The watchman has an inexcusable responsability given Him by God.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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.
app. What are you going to do about it friend? You know the truth this morning - God's judgment is coming against the ungodly. You have a lot of friends, family, neighbors who need to be warned!
III. The Watchman's Delight. vv.14-16
14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die;
exp. God's judgment can be averted. THE "THOU SHALT SURELY DIE" is true UNLESS men repent!
ill. Ninevah repented and God spared the city as He desired to do.
ill. The thief on the cross repented, and Jesus said, "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.
ill. The persecutor Paul when he turned to follow Jesus was made a preacher.
A. When men turn away from sin to righteous living.
if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
exp. Have you heard the watchman! Repent!
Repentance is a Biblical part of salvation - turning from sin to the Saviour.
Luk 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
def. Repentance is agreeing with God - It is sin! It is not right! There is no excuse!
ill. Witnessing to a recovering alcoholic - been taught in AA and Alcoholism is a disease. I stressed to him that it was sinful choice - but that sin can be repented of and forgiven by God.
app. Friend - you are not a victim. You are a sinner. But, BY GOD'S GRACE you can turn from your sin and do that which is right.
B. When men give restitution for their transgressions.
exp. Have you heard the watchman? Give restitution!
15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed,
exp. If you have stolen or harmed someone with your sin, you need to get right.
ill. James Stewarts - translator - left the meetings for a couple of days - came back saying that the messages on restitution had spoken to his heart and he had gone to make things right.
app. If you know you have wronged somebody - you had better make it right! How can you get right with God about your sin when you won't get right with those who have been hurt by your sin?
C. When men change by the Word of God.
question: Have you heard the watchman? Get in God's Word and live by it!
walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
exp. God's Word will change your life!
Psa 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Psa 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
app. God's Word will bring you to righteous living. God's Word will bring you to victory. Because God's Word will show you the way to complete forgiveness!
D. When men find complete forgiveness.
16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right;
question: Have you heard the watchman - repented, given restitution, gotten in God's Word, you will find there by God's grace - complete forgiveness.
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
song: Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power, are you washed in the blood of the lamb?
app. You can be!
E. When men pass from death unto life.
he shall surely live.
exp. This is the greatest joy to the watchmen - those who would have suffered death - live!
ill. James Roller
Phoenix AZ March 2017 - Five year old James Roller is being called a hero.
Family members said James heard several popping noises in the main room, and noticed a fire had sparked. James then woke up his sleeping mother, but by the time she realized what was going on, flames had already spread, and blocked the front door.
"The couch exploded and threw her against the wall, so she started breaking the windows," said Laurie Young. "She was just so scared because she couldn't save her baby and she was just scared that her baby had died because all she could see was flames everywhere in her room."
Doctors said the mother suffered major burns to her entire back, arms, and face. Both James and her mother were outside of the apartment when firefighters arrived on scene. It was firefighter Billy Pierce who entered the burning bedroom to look for Yuna Rose. She was laying on a mattress on the ground.
"She wasn't moving at all," recounted Pierce. "She had no purposeful movement. As I ran out of the house, I felt her take one breath. I was relieved somewhat at that point to know she was still alive and still had a chance."
Yuna Rose's burns is mostly on the lower half of her body.
The family lost everything in the fire, and both Yuna Rose and her mother are scheduled to have more surgeries. Both are expected to be in the hospital for several more weeks.
Praise God that the family survived because little 5 year old - James Roller.
app. The watchman's greatest desire is to see those warned respond and live.
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Watchman - What of the Night? What of the night?
Are you on duty?
Are you awake? Working when other's are at ease.
Are you alert? Do you see the judgment coming?
Sounding the alarm? When have you last sounded the alarm?
Have you delivered your soul from blood guilt? IS THEIR BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS?
THE WATCHMAN'S DELIGHT - is if you are a sinnner who heeds the warning!
Why die in your iniquity - when you can repent, follow God's Word and accept Jesus Forgiveness - receive everlasting life?
Watchman - what of the night? What of the night?