Sermon #1282 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: ZION’S WATCHMEN
Text: Psalm 127:1
Reading: Ezekiel 33:1-16
Subject: The Characteristics of Those Men Who Are
Watchmen Upon The Walls Of Zion
Date: Sunday Morning - May 25, 1997
Tape # T-74
I have no idea why the Lord has so strongly impressed this message upon my heart. I studied and prepared with another subject in mind. But everything I have read this week, almost every conversation I have had relating to spiritual things, and the things I have observed have all impressed upon me, in one way or another, my responsibilities to you and to this generation as a gospel preacher, as a watchman who is responsible for the souls of men. Therefore, I want to preach to you this morning about Zion’s Watchmen.
I realize that I am not preaching to an assembly of preachers. Yet, I believe my message is from the Lord and that it is a message needed at this hour. If you are a believer, there are some for whom you are responsible as God’s appointed watchmen. If you are not a believer, you will be wise to hear God’s watchman and heed the word he has from the Lord for your soul.
Proposition: Faithful pastors and gospel preachers are God’s appointed watchmen upon the walls of Zion.
We will begin in Psalm 127:1. I want us o go through the Scriptures and briefly, but carefully, observe what God says to us in his Word about Zion’s Watchmen. I will begin and lay the foundation for my message in Psalm 127:1. Then we will look at each of the succeeding passages of Scripture wherein God the Holy Spirit gives instruction about Zion’s Watchmen. You will have no trouble following me. We will not be flipping back and fort through the Bible. We will begin here, at Psalm 127 and go forward. We will not go back, but straight forward through the Scriptures. Now, hear this word from God by the mouth of his servant David.
I begin here because this is David’s word to his son Solomon, the preacher to whom God gave great wisdom, the man raised up by God to build his house and keep his city. Though he was an instrument in the hands of God, though he was personally responsible for the building and keeping of God’s church and kingdom, his father David, by Divine inspiration, here informed him that the work was God’s work alone. The same thing is true with respect to myself and to all other men who stand as watchmen upon the walls of Zion.
I am responsible for what I teach and preach here, and for what others teach and preach here. I am responsible to build and build up the house of God in this place. Yet, no matter how faithfully and diligently I labor, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”
I am responsible to protect the city of God in this generation, by the faithful exposition of Holy Scripture, from the intrusions and assaults of Satan, from heresies, from strife, from worldly influence, and from the evils that arise in our own wicked hearts. Yet, it is written, “Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” In other words - Though God uses human instruments to do his work in this world, the success of their labors is altogether dependent upon the Lord God himself, and the glory is his alone.
Now, I want us to go through the Scriptures and see what God teaches us about those men who are responsible to serve him as watchmen upon the walls of Zion. If you are taking notes, we are going to look at ten or eleven texts of Scripture. Obviously, I do not intend to expound each passage. We will simply read them; and I will make some brief comments about them. But I have culled from these passages ten words by which all Zion’s watchmen (both the false and the true) are described.
I. Faithful gospel preachers are GUIDING WATCHMEN.
Gospel preachers are not priests, and must not be used as such. But they are guides to your souls. Those who seek the Lord, when they come to the house of God, ought always to come looking for Christ. You have every right and reason, when you come to hear me or any other man speak for God, to expect that man to take the things of Christ and show them to you. Whenever you come to the place of worship, it is always right to say to God’s servant as the Gentiles did to Philip, “Sir, we would see Jesus.”
· In His Eternal Deity!
· In His Covenant Engagements!
· In His Wondrous Incarnation!
· In His Representative Obedience!
· In His Substitutionary Atonement!
· In His Glorious Resurrection!
· In His Royal Exaltation!
· In His Priestly Intercession!
· In His Triumphant Return!
· In His Mighty Accomplishments!
· In His Everlasting Praise!
II. Those men who are faithful to the souls of men are often, of necessity, REPROVING WATCHMEN.
It is not the right or the responsibility of pastors and elders to keep a check on the lives of God’s saints and try to run their personal lives; or even to personally look them up and confront them because of something that may be amiss in their lives. That may, at times, be necessary. But, as your pastor, as God’s messenger to your soul, it is my responsibility to study and prayerfully seek a message from the Lord for you and faithfully deliver it to you. If I can get a message from God and deliver it in the power of his Spirit, it will smite your heart, wound your spirit, and take away the veil of excuses by which you would hide your sin.
III. Every faithful gospel preacher is also a TEACHING WATCHMAN.
It is the responsibility of the watchman to understand the times, so that he may show sinners the danger of their ways and arouse up sleepy saints in the night of spiritual darkness, affliction, and distress.
A. The watchman speaks plainly and truthfully, promising that the morning will come, but also the night.
There will be a resurrection morning, a morning of everlasting joy, happiness, and peace. But, as long as we live in this world, we must live as children of light in a world of darkness.
B. The watchman invites and urges sinners to come, inquiring into the knowledge of the Lord.
I have no time for debates and endless questions about meaningless things. But I am delighted to spend all the time and energy I can showing sinners the truth of God.
Faithful men are not afraid of honest inquiry. They are always ready to answer because they study the Word faithfully.
C. God’s watchmen constantly call those who hear them to return and come to the Lord.
· Lost Sinners.
· Fallen Saints.
IV. Now, look at Isaiah 52:7-8, and understand that faithful gospel preachers are all BLESSED WATCHMEN.
I use the term blessed here to describe them not so much because they are happy and blessed themselves, though they are, but because they bring happiness and blessedness to those who are blessed of God to profit by their labors. Notice how Isaiah describes these blessed watchmen.
A. They are welcome messengers to needy sinners.
B. They bring good tidings.
C. They publish peace accomplished.
D. They bring good tidings of good things.
· Electing Love!
· Effectual Redemption!
· Irresistible Grace!
· Immutable Mercy!
· Eternal Salvation!
E. They publish salvation.
F. They say to Zion, “Thy God reigneth!”
G. They all see eye to eye and speak as one man!
V. However, not all watchmen are faithful watchmen. Those who are not faithful to the Word and truth of God are not faithful to the souls of men. They are BLIND, SELF-SERVING WATCHMEN.
A. They are blind watchmen, not just naturally blind, but willfully blind to the truth of God.
B. They are dumb dogs, male prostitutes (Deut. 33:18), men who prostitute the gospel and the glory of God. “Beware of dogs!” (Phil. 3:2) - Vicious Intruders!
C. They are lazy dogs.
D. They are insatiably greedy dogs.
E. They are shepherds in name only, utterly without spiritual knowledge or understanding.
F. They all walk in their own way and serve their own lusts.
Blessed are those people and those churches who are not cursed with such blind, self-serving watchmen!
VI. In Isaiah 62:6-7, the Lord God describes his faithful servants as Divinely APPOINTED WATCHMEN.
In these two verses, the Lord tells us four things that are true of every God called, God ordained, God sent preacher.
A. God’s watchmen are men who have been set upon the walls of Zion by God’s own hand.
B. They are men who never hold their peace. They cannot be bribed, or threatened, or enticed into compromise.
C. They constantly talk about one thing - They always “make mention of the LORD.”
· His Attributes.
· His Accomplishments.
· His Aims.
D. “They give him no rest” - They are earnest in prayer, seeking the salvation of God’s elect, the establishment and increase of his kingdom, for the glory of his name.
VII. Regretfully, more often than not, it must be acknowledged that God’s servants, no matter how faithful and earnest they are, are IGNORED WATCHMEN.
John Gill wrote, “These are the words of the Lord to the people, whom he would have judge for themselves, and not be blindly led by the false prophets and priests; directing them to do what men should, when they are in a place where two or more ways meet, and know not which way to take; they should make a short stop, and look to the way mark or way post, which points whither each path leads, and so accordingly proceed. Now, in religious things, the Scriptures are the way mark to direct us which way we should take: if the inquiry is about the way of salvation, look up to these, which are able to make a man wise unto salvation; these show unto men that the way of salvation is not works of righteousness done by them, but Christ only: if the question is about any doctrine whatever, search the Scriptures, examine them, they are profitable for doctrine; they tell us what is truth, and what is error: if the doubt is about the matter or form of worship, and the ordinances of it, look into the Scriptures, they are the best directory to us what we should observe and do.”
In these two verses, the Lord God gives five solemn words to all to whom he sends faithful gospel preachers.
A. He commands us to seek and ask for the old paths, the paths of Enoch, Noah, Job, and Abraham, the old paths of salvation and life by the imputed righteousness of Christ.
B. He tells us to walk in the good way, the way of faith in Christ, who is the Way.
C. He promises rest to all who walk therein. Christ is our Sabbath. Coming to him he gives us rest. Taking his yoke upon us, we find rest unto our souls (Matt. 11:28-30).
D. God commands all who hear the glorious blast of the gospel trumpet to hearken to the sound of it.
E. Yet, most who hear his Word refuse to obey the gospel. - “We will not walk therein.” “We will not hearken.” Most men and women are going about to establish their own righteousness, and therefore will not submit to the righteousness of God.
VIII. However, blessed be his name, God does raise up some, here an there, from time to time, as he sees fit, to be INGATHERING WATCHMEN.
Read Jeremiah 31:3-9. The Lord God is describing this gospel day and the sure blessings of the new covenant, the everlasting covenant of grace. It requires no comment from me.
IX. Ezekiel 3:16-21, like Ezekiel 33, describe every man who speaks for God, all who claim to speak for God, and all who assume that they speak for God as ACCOUNTABLE WATCHMEN.
A. God’s servants receive the Word from God’s mouth and faithfully deliver it.
B. They warn the wicked from his way to save his life.
C. They earnestly plead with sinners in Christ’s stead to be reconciled to God.
D. By their faithful preaching of the gospel, faithful men are freed from the blood of others.
E. By withholding the gospel of Christ from men, false prophets bring upon themselves the blood of those who perish under their influence.
X. Now, I want you to look at Hebrews 13:17, and hear what the Holy Spirit says with regard to FAITHFUL WATCHMEN.
Some of you may sometimes wander why I preach to you as I do, why am always so intense in preaching to you, why I never deviate from preaching the gospel to you. Here is the reason.—I know that one day soon I am going to see your face before the judgment bar of God almighty, and will give an account as to the grounds upon which and why you must either be saved or be forever damned under the wrath of God.
Application: Perhaps you will now understand a little more fully what is meant by “the burden of the Word of the Lord.” Maybe this message will help you to understand the weight of Paul’s words.
Bear with me a moment longer, as I try to persuade those in our midst who are yet without Christ to flee from the wrath of God.