We Are Loved These verses tell us that the love of Christ for a lost world is the prime motivation in all Christian living and service. We do not try to make Him known to others in order to earn salvation. Our own personal salvation is settled in Him. Here are the main differences between Christianity and the religions of the world. We work because we already have salvation. They work to obtain salvation. We witness because we delight to speak of the One we love. They witness hoping that God may love them. We long to tell others knowing that they too can be saved. They make even the knowledge of their gods something which has to be striven for. This great love of Christ led Him to Calvary to lay down His life for us all. It reaches out and it embraces even the worst of sinners. Christ alone, on that cross “had laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). This same love is now “shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom. 5:5). It is literally poured out there so that our emotions are taught to feel as the Lord Jesus felt and to have the same longing for the lost.
We Are Commissioned
The love which comes into our being from the Lord Jesus is directed by the Word of God. We are told to teach, to preach, and to be living witnesses: teaching as learned men and women; announcing the Good News as royal heralds; and living as those who can give an honest and accurate account of what we know, as in a court of law.
In Matthew’s gospel we are told to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19). In Mark’s gospel we are told to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk.16:15). In Acts the disciples are promised power from the Lord to be His “witnesses to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The key word is “go!” It is emphatic. If we ignore it, we are disobedient servants.
We Are Watchmen
We are familiar with gospel texts such as, “Flee from the wrath to come” and “Prepare to meet your God” (Lk. 3:7; Amos 4:12). That the wrath of God is terrible, and that men ought to take it seriously, is something which no longer fills our hearts and minds with horror. So the urgency of our message easily loses its potency.
God imposed upon the prophet Ezekiel a heavy dual responsibility. The message was uncompromising: “I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel … Give them a warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness … he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul” (Ezek. 3:17-19).
This was a warning to the individual sinner. However, in Ezekiel 33 the warning is to the nation, and the method is the trumpet to sound an alarm. It signifies the voice of God speaking (Lev. 23:24; 25:9. 1 Th. 4:16; Rev. 4:1). As watchmen we are like lookouts on the city wall. Ezekiel 3 is more about personal evangelism but we are also messengers to the nations. Think of the people God used to speak to kings and to other great ones: Ehud, who was a shifty character if ever there was one (Jud. 3:15-30); the little maid who spoke to Naaman’s wife (2 Ki. 5:1-14); the shepherd boy David who reminded Israel that God was God and who taught the Philistines that God does not need powerful weapons of war (1 Sam. 17:31-51); Jonah who must have been a strange sight to the great ones of Nineveh (Jon. 3:1-10); and the Great Babylonian nation that needed Daniel, a captive, to explain the revelations of God (Dan. 7-10).
And what are we? Nothing much in the world’s eyes and estimation. Yet God has called us to bring the message of “Christ crucified” to the lost and warn of the coming judgment. As we see the danger approaching let us arise and blow the trumpet of warning, for God has chosen us, weak and foolish as we are, to rouse from sleep those who are about to perish (1 Cor. 1:18-29).
We Are Needed
“But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). Never forget that those who are lost are our co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. If we love them as God does, we will want them to be with us in eternity.
We must remind ourselves of what Paul wrote to the Romans: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent?” (Rom. 10:14-15). Have we been sent? Yes! And we have the commission mentioned above.
“Though I was blind, now I see” (Jn. 9:25). This was the testimony of the man who was born blind. He had hardly been saved five minutes when he was given the chance to preach the Good News to the Pharisees. If he could do this, then we can give our testimony to those around us using the same words. They may not respond, but God has begun a work in them. And as Paul wrote, when God begins a “good work” in someone, He will complete it (Phil. 1:6).
We Are Ambassadors
Great is the dignity of the ambassador. In ancient times the ambassador was sacred. Today, Christian ambassadors may be considered foolish, but the message we have is the message of God: “God … has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19). An ambassador may reconcile the parties in a dispute. He may even work out peace terms between the warring states. The battle ground is earth, and soon, because the terms of reconciliation have been refused, we shall be removed and all-out war will commence. But the victory is already won, and the enemy will meet his final defeat and captivity at the gates of the Holy City (2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20; Zech. 14:1-3).
We Must Be Gentle
We must remember that the trumpets of warning and of war may sound in our ears, but we are the emissaries of peace. Timothy was given good advice which should govern our attitude and conduct: “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
By Roger Penney
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org