How to be a Watchman in Today’s World
In the game of football, there is a difference between a friendly scrimmage match and the Superbowl. You can feel it in the air. You can sense it in each play. You hear it in the tone of the coach’s voice. You can see it in the eyes of the players and in the intensity of each play. At the Superbowl, the teams know the stakes are high. All are serious, and all know that now is the time to bring-on the ‘A’ game.
In the fourth quarter, particularly if the game is close, it is common for players to seemingly attempt the impossible or sacrifice themselves to ensure a win. The skill of the players and the intensity of the game make the Superbowl the most-watched sporting event in America each year.
Here’s the spiritual parallel: Today’s Watchmen are not playing in a scrimmage match or practice game. It’s the big game—the game of the ages—the epic battle of good versus evil. Watchmen are the first-string players in the game that began with the birth of the New Testament Church at Pentecost. Watchmen today know the prophetic clock is about to expire—it is the fourth quarter and the ‘time of the Gentiles’ (Romans 11:25) is about to come to an end. All of this should bring a profound sense of urgency and intensity to a Watchman’s prayer life and spiritual service. Question: Are you in the game? Are you aware that the hour is late and Watchmen have an essential role to play?
Noted below are five things today’s Watchmen should know and do:
- Watchmen are to watch for signs that God or “…If [the Watchman]…sees the sword coming upon the land…and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.”
Watchmen are to know the Word and prayerfully watch for the rise of evil and signs that God’s moving is imminent. Remember, these signs can be subtle. Few noticed a baby born in a stable and laid in a manger 2000 years ago. Today, few are aware of how the enemy moves to desensitize the masses to the evil embedded in media and the internet. Watchmen must pray to see with eyes of faith (Matthew 13:16) and be able to discern what God and the enemy are doing or about to do.
- According to Ezekiel 33:3-4 (noted in point one above), Watchmen are to warn. It is not enough to watch or see or to have special insight into what God (or the enemy) is doing or about to do. When an extraordinary movement of God is near (such as the Rapture), Watchmen are to sound the alarm and work to ensure as many as possible are spiritually prepared. Watchmen are to be bold and wisely persuasive. Verse 8 of Ezekiel 33 notes that Watchmen are to “Speak out to dissuade [sinners] from their ways.” Watchmen carefully (and prayerfully) confront. Watchmen warn and witness—there are no exceptions.
- Know that Watchmen can sound the alarm without being an alarmist. Watchmen understand the value of discretion and timing. The verse: “Like apples of gold in settings of silver, so is a word skillfully spoken” (Prov. 25:11, NET) guides their discussions. Watchmen know that the directive to witness is not a directive to blurt. The goal is not to sound the alarm; the goal is to draw people to faith in Christ. Sounding the alarm is part of what a Watchman must do, but Watchmen must do this in truth and love (Ephesians 4:15). Pray, seek counsel when possible, and ask the Lord to help you discern which happenings profiled in the news have prophetic significance. Share that prophetic signs indicate that we are living in the last days, but do not set dates for the return of Jesus or sound the alarm at every earthquake or volcanic eruption. Encourage vigilance. Implore sinners to turn to Christ and believers to be active in their walk with the Lord.
- Watchmen sacrifice. Watchmen are “cheerful givers” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Watchmen have a passion for investing in Kingdom work—in efforts designed to evangelize and disciple. Watchmen are quick to defer personal, temporal gratification for that which will yield eternal reward (Mark 10:29-30). Watchmen see beyond self, and sacrificially give to fulfill the call to build the Kingdom.
- Watchmen endure: The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Watchmen are not sprinters; they are long-distance runners. Watchmen know that in order complete the long-distance race and finish well, they must be committed to prayer (1 Thess. 5:17), the study of the Word (2 Timothy 2:15), participation in Christian fellowship (Heb. 10:25), and scheduling periods of rest (Exodus 20:8-10).
The call to be a Watchman is a profound calling. If I may return to the football analogy, there are 53 players and many coaches on a professional football team. Many play in the game, but only 11 are on the field when the final whistle blows and the referee announces the victor. I believe Watchmen today are that elite group of 11 who will hear the trumpet blow, and the Lord say, "You have finished well.” No one knows the day or the hour of the Lord’s return, but Watchman stand in readiness and will not be ashamed when He does (1 John 2:28).
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