Here’s this month’s Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
Every month a team from our fellowship at Calvary Wellington heads out to our regular fishing hole, the Naenae Market and Hillary Court shops. There we share the Gospel to those in our immediate community.
Once a month I publish a simple newsletter that is distributed to the fellowship (or for anyone else who stumbles across this website), as a way of encouragement, and as a tool to equip us to be better evangelists.
You can read the last Field Report from 17/9/22 here.
Gone Fishin’ Monthly Newsletter – October 2022
“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, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” (Ezek 3:18-19)
I pray you have all been finding new and unique ways to share the Gospel with the lost you come in contact with!
The Christian life is one that comes with consequences for what we believe in, and how we live. These can be evidenced by ridicule, hardship, persecution, and even death. We shouldn’t be too surprised when this happens, as this was all promised to us by Christ himself:
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you,and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”(Matt 24:9).
But in addition to all that, there may be consequences for things we do not do. We often treat the Great Commission like an optional extra to our Christian walk; something we can do if we feel like it, or only if we feel ‘called’ to do. This casual attitude to a direct commandment from Christ does us no favours, for it robs God of His due glory, and robs us of the joy of sharing the best news a sinner can hear.
In our verses today, God commissioned Ezekiel as a Watchman, to ensure that everyone heard the truth. And there were caveats attached to his calling. Watchmen need to be alert, and focused. They need to be able to relay the message their superiors give them. And they also had to warn people when they strayed from the commands relayed to them. If they don’t, then they fail at their task, bringing calamity both to the people he is responsible for, as well as himself. Two things we can draw from the text: the watchman’s bloodied hands, and his blameless hands.
The Watchman’s Bloodied Hands
“When…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.” (v18)
No one wants to hear bad news. Some take bad news very badly. So, instead of telling the truth, watchmen may play it down in order to soften the impact. This is OK, so long as the message itself is not watered down. Sure, it would be foolish to scream in someone’s face that they will go to hell if they don’t repent. But the message can be conveyed in a sane manner.
But not giving the message at all – or changing the message so that the original meaning has gone – is disobedience. The listener now either has no knowledge of the peril he is in, or has a warped sense of how to redeem himself. This person believed he was fine, but in fact is in big danger, as he will face the consequences of his sin. His blood is on the watchman’s hands. The watchman failed in his task to convey the bad news as per his masters’ instructions.
The Watchman’s Blameless Hands
“Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” (v19)
No one wants to hear bad news. But there are a few that can handle it. When watchmen are true to their masters’ instructions, they have no need to water down the message. They can come alongside, making their point succinctly – much like a doctor giving a patient bad news of stage 4 cancer. In this instance, the message is received, but also rejected. The listener knows the consequences of not heeding the warning, because they have all been laid out by the watchman. This listener is also in big danger due to not forsaking his sin. But as the watchman conveyed the truth, his hands are clean of the listeners’ blood.
This is true obedience – telling the truth regardless of fear. The fear of man is a real thing. And it’s even more real when it comes to giving them bad news. But “There is no fear in love, and perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18).
Watchmen who have been given a message to convey, but have no love, are just as evil as the one for who the message is for. To simply not care – to stand and watch someone die without offering them hope – is the most evil of crimes. This is the crime of depraved indifference. People who commit depraved indifference can be charged with murder, or manslaughter. Blood is on their hands.
The watchman has to tell the truth. Unless he tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, then it is a lie. And a watchman who lies is of no use to his master, and his masters’ people.
You will also note that in both instances in our passage, the warning is rejected, and the wicked man dies. Such is the sovereignty of God. So long as the watchman fulfils his duty, the rest is up to God. This gives the watchman hope, knowing the seeds have been planted or watered, and he can rest it in God’s hands, knowing if it is in His will, He will bring the increase.
Let us be obedient watchmen – let us not be slack in telling others the truth we have been commissioned to give!
I’ll see you at my place this Saturday at 10am for prayer before heading out to share the Good News!
Witnessing Tip: Expect great things, but prepare for rejection
If you expect conversion with every witnessing conversation, you will be disappointed.
God has pre-ordained some of them softened hearts.
We don’t know which ones they are, so pray for all, regardless of the outcome!