The doorbell rang. Of course! Right when I’m in the middle of something!
I went to the door, looked through the stained glass, and knew immediately who it was. I could tell by the mid-length floral dresses. It was the Jehovah’s Witnesses–again.
I opened the door and they began their regular and rehearsed routine. But I cut right to the chase. “Thank you very much, but I don’t need information from anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is truly God.” They had the look in their eyes like they knew they were in for an up-hill battle.
The two ladies at the door couldn’t answer many of my points from Scripture about Jesus being true God and our true Savior who gives eternal life in heaven to all who believe (not just 144,000). They needed to bring in the cavalry for reinforcements.
I shared more truths from Scripture, but they simply wouldn’t listen. Finally, I made one last-ditch effort to wake them from spiritual slumber. They needed a huge wakeup call from the full force of God’s Law.
I smiled and calmly stated, “My name is Phil. I want you to remember that. I want you to remember so that on the Last Day when Jesus comes and you find out you were wrong, you will know that at least one person tried to tell you and warn you.”
Recently I have been writing about a particular topic–homosexuality. In a broader spectrum I have actually been writing about unrepentant sin of every kind–sinning against God without care, sorrow, or regret. The last two days these posts have been a hotbed of discussion and opinions. One of the more common things I have heard from people is this:
“It’s none of your business.”
“It’s none of your business what other people do. It’s none of your business what people do in the privacy of their own homes. It’s none of your business because it doesn’t affect you.”
But don’t get me wrong, I haven’t only heard this from people living the homosexual lifestyle or in favor of homosexuality. I hear this from the church prospect whose living situation isn’t pleasing to the Lord. I hear this from prescription pill addict who won’t admit he has a problem and is in danger of going to prison. I hear this all the time from many, many people. They all say the same thing:
“It’s none of your business.”
But listen to what the Lord said to the prophet Ezekiel 33:7-11:
7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.
10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’ 11 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, people of Israel?’
It was Ezekiel’s job, his commission, his mission, and his ministry to be a watchman for the people of Israel. Just as a city watchman would stand on the city walls and warn of impending danger, so Ezekiel’s job was to warn the people of Israel about the danger of their sins.
Amazingly, the Lord even told Ezekiel that if Israel did not repent of their sins and Ezekiel had not warned them, then he would share in the guilt and responsibility of their sins!
Ezekiel was to be a mouthpiece for the Lord. Why? Because the Lord does not desire that people go to hell. The Lord wants people to turn from their sin and evil ways, to repent, to be forgiven, and to be in heaven. That’s what the Lord wants, and that’s what the Lord wants us to tell others.
Imagine you are at the Grand Canyon. What a beautiful sight! But suddenly, to your horror, you see a blind person walking around the rim of the canyon. The person is using a cane, so he has some awareness of the danger. But he chooses to walk in danger anyways.
It gets worse! Terribly worse!
You see that blind person walking toward the edge. Slowly but surely he nears that edge. Then, sadly, he even walks off and falls to his peril.
You stood by and watched the whole thing take place. But you didn’t say anything. Why? Because it was “none of your business.”
Was it really loving of you to “mind your own business”? Would you not say that though that blind person brought on his own death, you also shared in culpability because you said nothing?
That’s exactly what God told Ezekiel, and that’s exactly what God tells his people today. We are his watchmen. It is absolutely, completely, definitely our business what other people do because it our job, our commission, our mission, and our ministry to speak the Word of God to others.
No, we are not to stand in judgment of others. That’s for God to do. No, we are not to look down our noses at others as if we have never sinned and we are so much better. That’s neither realistic nor loving.
But rather we are supposed to be God’s watchmen carefully, clearly, and lovingly proclaiming the truth. Listen to the apostle Peter:
15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
God wants us to be prepared to speak his truth, to be his mouthpiece, to be his watchmen. Yet–so importantly–he tells us to do so with gentleness and respect. It is in love for the eternal salvation of those living in sin that we proclaim God’s message: “Turn! Turn from your evil ways!” (After we preach the message to ourselves first!)
Many have told me before, “It’s none of your business.” Well actually, yes it is. God has charged me as both Christian and pastor to be a watchman and to proclaim his truth with gentleness, respect, and love.
And besides, I care! I do not want to see people walk off the edge of the cliff!
So, fellow Christians, stand your watch. Care. Love. Proclaim God’s truth.
It is your business.
Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe
1. It gives us feet that run
2. It gives us voices that sing and shout
3. It gives us eyes that see wonders
Text: Isaiah 52:7-10
It’s amazing how quickly Christmas loses its luster. Children pick up on this quickly, too. As toddlers, children are happy to open any present at all. It could be a pencil or an eraser or a new pair of underwear. They’re excited. They even love playing with the boxes.
Then they get a few years older and it isn’t quite as special anymore. My sister sent some presents to the kids this year. One of them wasn’t in a box. Noah squeezed it once and said, “Oh. I know. It’s a blanket.” As they get older the joy of gifts departs as they become selective receivers. “I didn’t want Batman jammies! I wanted Ironman jammies!” Even the toys that brought the funniest reactions and the biggest smiles are soon lying on the floor forgotten and broken.
This only continues as we get older. At a certain point in your life you don’t really care all that much about getting presents. You only want to be sure you got your wife enough to keep her happy for a few days. As you get older yet and your body begins to ache you see things like Christmas lights as a pain to take down rather than a joy to show off.
What is Christmas anyways? We have a little fun here and there. But we spend too much money. We eat too much food and feel like slobs. We scrub our homes from floor to ceiling only for family and friends to trash them the next day. We get a couple days away from work, but then we feel behind when we get back to work. Christmas is great, but sometimes it’s better when Christmas is over!
If Christmas has lost some of its luster, if you’ve lost some of your Christmas cheer, if you could use a bit of a refocus for Christmas and for your life, then listen to the joyful words of Isaiah this morning. He reminds us that Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe. Read the rest of this entry
You know, I’m feeling kind of tired today. I have had a busy week, a newborn in the house, my family is in town, (I may have just cried during my son’s baptism), I don’t know if I am in any condition to preach a sermon today. So who wants to fill in for me? Is anyone willing to finish this sermon? Don’t look at Pastor either; he had a busier week than I did. So who’s it going to be? …
It would be silly for me seriously expect one of you to preach for me this morning. This is my job. I get paid to do this. I’ve been trained to do this. Just as you wouldn’t expect me to come and do your work at your place of employment, I shouldn’t expect you to preach, right? I mean it is my job, and Pastor’s job to preach on Sunday, lead Bible class, visit the elderly, make outreach visits, rebuke people out when they are sinning. This is what we get paid for. This is what we were called here to do for you. We would just be lazy if we expected you to do these things, right? Read the rest of this entry