Many times have I heard that question. After all, God hasn’t spoken to anyone I know of personally, like He did with Jeremiah and Isaiah. All we have is some ancient writings and instructions designed for thousands of years ago. So how can I, or you, or anyone, know that God wants them to do something to spread the Gospel around the world? Of course, we all know the scriptures that say things like “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
And we all agree that someone should do that. But should *I*? Should *YOU*? I’m sure God meant for the Apostles to do that then, but that was a long time ago. It’s far from being a specific command for ME to preach the Gospel to every creature, isn’t it? After all, we can all come up with good excuses – we’re either too young, too old, too inexperienced, too tired, too poor, too busy, too far in debt, or any of a number of other excuses I’ve heard. So how can we KNOW that WE, PERSONALLY, are obligated to obey this command?
Ezekiel 3:17-19 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 givest him not warning, nor speakest 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. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
Now let’s draw an analogy. Let’s say you’re in an ancient city. There are guards all around the top of the city wall who are supposed to be watching for dangers to the city, but they’re all playing cards, or drunk. You are just a lowly serf, with no rank or title or responsibility. A janitor, let us say.
And yet you look out through a knothole in the wall and see an enemy coming to destroy the city! What can you do? What would you do? What MUST you do? You now know something that no one else in the city knows – and that knowledge makes you RESPONSIBLE to warn your friends and family! Your first task would be to warn the watchmen – “Hey up there, the enemy is coming!”
Their response, of course, is “No, the enemy isn’t coming. Don’t you know that WE are the watchmen? If the enemy was coming, WE’D know. Mind your own business, janitor!” And they went back to playing cards, laughing about a lowly janitor presuming to tell them how to do their job. Clearly they weren’t interested in listening to you any more. So where would you go next? I would think that your next thought would be to tell your friends and family that the enemy is coming.
They would of course say “If the enemy is coming, why haven’t the WATCHMEN told us? Who do you think you are?? Leave this sort of thing to the professionals!” And after arguing with them they, too, refuse to listen to you. Then you go to the town square and shout it to everyone that if they don’t wake up now they will all be killed when the enemy comes!
They then ride you out of town on a rail, laughing and making fun of you. What next? You know that once this village is overcome by the enemy, that they will soon attack the other villages nearby, so you move on to the next village, where many of the same things happen, but perhaps a few listen to you this time.
That little analogy is a very good practical example of what we are talking about. The janitor had no responsibility to the village to watch for the enemy, but when he saw the enemy coming, THAT KNOWLEDGE MADE HIM RESPONSIBLE! By KNOWING that evil is coming upon a people when no one, or almost no one else knew it, HE WAS OBLIGATED TO WARN HIS VILLAGE! If he HADN’T, it would have been HIS FAULT that they were massacred!
Ezekiel 33:6 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.
God HOLDS THIS JANITOR RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS NEIGHBOURS SINS IF HE HASN’T WARNED HIM! If you KNOW that his way of life is leading to pain and suffering, and the ultimate downfall of this nation, and KEEP SILENT, GOD WILL LOOK TO YOU FOR PAYMENT FOR HIS BLOOD!
Ezekiel 33:7-9 …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. 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. 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.
Or, let’s try a different analogy. Let’s say you have two children, one 8, and one 4 years old. Both are standing near a hot stove. The younger child doesn’t know about fire, and reaches out to touch the stove. The older one sees him doing it, and knows the stove is hot, but is either too busy, or too tired, or too young (or any of the other excuses I quoted at the beginning), to warn his younger sibling and keep him from being burned.
I ask you, who will you hold responsible for this child’s burns? Is it not the older child? The older child will tell you “But you didn’t TELL me to watch him!” How will you respond? Will you not say “But YOU KNEW he was going to hurt himself, it was your RESPONSIBILITY to warn him because YOU KNEW THAT WHAT HE WAS DOING WOULD LEAD TO PAIN!”
Of course you would. So would any sane parent. And so would God. Anyone who knows anything about the Bible knows that Christmas and Easter are Pagan. They know that the law of God is still binding, and that anyone who breaks it is not only not going to be saved, but will bring suffering upon themselves in this life as well. They know that sin leads to pain, and that this nation’s sins will come up before God one of these days. Many of us know these things, and many more.
If the Janitor had stuttered, would it have given him an excuse not to warn the watchmen, his family, and finally the whole town? What if he had had a limp? Or looked like a geek? Or wasn’t able to write well? Or had been poor? Would any of these things have excused him from warning the rest of the village? I think not. No more do they excuse you or me.
Lamentations 2:14 Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.
This nation’s prophets have seen empty things for them. They have said “God loves you!”, when God feels no such emotion for a sinning, rebellious people. They have said “Just believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved!”, never telling them to repent, or to change their life! Their messages and their preaching CANNOT turn away the coming captivity of this nation, or the SUFFERING of EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD IN IT!
They have spoken FALSE things, and SMOOTH things, things that people enjoy hearing, but which CANNOT HELP THEM! God speaks of these ministers, these FALSE SHEPHERDS of Israel, and pronounces a curse upon them! When God says REPENT, lest you DIE, they plead with them to do good, but promise that God will love them even if they don’t! When God says thou shalt NOT have idols, they say “well, I’m sure a Dreamcatcher or two would be alright. God will understand”!
Jeremiah 48:10 Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.
God says they are CURSED who do the work of God deceitfully! THEY ARE CURSED WHEN THEY KEEP BACK THEIR SWORD FROM BLOOD! You see, God has given any of us who understand His truth a mighty sword. A sword which lays open the hearts and doings of the world.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And he expects us to USE this sword, and pronounces a curse upon anyone whose sword does NOT bring forth blood! Anyone who DOESN’T USE THIS SWORD OF GOD, HIS TRUTH, to lay bare the sins of mankind and prick the consciences and hearts of the wicked is CURSED!
Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Which of us hasn’t heard this scripture? Who hasn’t heard it used to encourage people to endure suffering and pain. But which of us ever stopped to read the CONTEXT?
Proverbs 24:11-12 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
If you weaken, if your heart quails and you DO NOT WARN THOSE who are heading for destruction, if you come up with some lame, pathetic excuse about not knowing what to say or what to do, or not being able to do it for this reason or that… does not God notice it? And will he not reward you according to your works? Think about it. Carefully.
Because the people that I have known who had this glittering sword of truth, given to them by God, did not use it for condemning sin. Oh, perhaps one or two sins, but never as they should have. They always kept back their sword from blood. They didn’t want to offend this “babe” in Christ, they said.
All too often they never get their sword bloody at all. Rather than using their sword for what it was intended, they use this truth of God to pat themselves on the back. They use the sword as a mirror – they look in at the blade of the sword and see themselves and preen, and say “Wow, aren’t we cool, we know so much!”
Well, this isn’t why God gave you truth. And it isn’t why the Janitor looked through the hole in the wall and saw the enemy coming. It wasn’t so he could feel good about knowing the enemy was coming while the whole village was in darkness. It was so he could USE that knowledge to save his friends. And if they didn’t listen, well, he’d go to the next village and talk to them. Somebody, eventually, would listen. And if he worked his entire life to only save one life, it was a life well spent.
Matthew 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Everyone I know tells me “but I’m doing all I can! What more can I do?”. My answer is that you are doing all you can WITHOUT RISKING ANYTHING! The first-century church was built of men who “hazarded their lives for the gospel”. Have you? Sure, you may have made a few enemies for the gospel’s sake, but have you been run out of a city yet? Does your city as a whole even know you exist, or what you believe?
Christ promised that you would be run out of cities, and it COULD HAPPEN TODAY, but I don’t see it happening. Most ministers I know could NEVER get thrown out of a city. Why should they be? As Christ said,
John 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Only by bloodying your sword in that city, by condemning their sins, by condemning the fact that the blood from one crime spills over into the blood from another crime, by CRYING ALOUD, and SPARING NOT, and SHOWING THE NATION THEIR SINS (Isaiah 58:1), can you be HATED OF ALL NATIONS FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE!
Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
What is there about YOU that ALL NATIONS could hate? There probably aren’t a dozen people in the world, outside of your inner group of confidants, who even know what you believe, much less hate you for believing it! But if you find ways to shout the truth of God from every rooftop, and preach the obedience to the law of God from every streetcorner, and SHOW the townspeople their sins, you WILL be hated of all nations, and you WILL be run out of that city!
And that leads me back to the original question – what if God hasn’t sent you? What if He isn’t asking you, personally, to do that? All the scriptures to the contrary that I have shown notwithstanding… well, it just doesn’t matter. It’s a moot question.
Jeremiah 23:21-22 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But IF THEY HAD STOOD IN MY COUNSEL, and had caused MY PEOPLE to HEAR MY WORDS, then they should have TURNED THEM FROM THEIR EVIL WAY, and from the evil of their doings.
Maybe God hasn’t sent you! Maybe He hasn’t sent me! Maybe He doesn’t even know we’re alive! IT DOESN’T MATTER! Because if we STAND in the counsel of the Lord, and cause people to HEAR HIS WORDS, and PREACH THE PLAIN, untarnished, unadulterated, UNDILUTED TRUTH from the BIBLE, WE WILL TURN THEM FROM THEIR EVIL WAYS!