Before we end the year and move on to a few Daily Notes on the Apostles Creed, before returning to “Dare to be a Daniel”, I would like to do one last Note on “Watchman” and then one on “Predators in the Church”. Let’s deal with the former first.
There is a saving that has all the Biblical ingredients … “saved to serve”. Even though this saying is an accurate description of a saved soul, many hate the term because of its implications and some love the term because of a grateful heart. Generally within all Churches there will be saved souls and lost souls. That’s a given.
The duty of a watchman (pastor / teacher, elder, overseer, shepherd) is to bring saved souls, through education (teaching) to that place where they take their role and responsibility within the Local Church.
The task is never easy … much like taking a toddler and trying to teach him or her not to mess, be stubborn and do what you as the parents deem is right and fitting to be done at the age of the toddler. This girl or boy seldom does things willingly without coercion (sweet, ice cream, cool drink). Normally they react, get angry, shout or throw something. Spiritually that it the pastor’s experience and often he is working with both the saved and the unsaved. The following passage sums up what the pastor (watchman) might go through:
2Co 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.
On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God. In this passage, the Spirit is contrasting two realities. The one is the sweet, pleasant and pleasing smell coming from God upon His watchmen and returning to him because of those being saved. The other is the most awful, disgusting stench emanating from those being lost.
1) God is the Captain going into spiritual battle with the watchmen and gospel workers. Verse 14 speaks of this as a ‘triumphal procession” as the Gospel of Jesus is carried forth to people. The image is one of sweet smelling fragrance flowing all around … and the aroma is the “Knowledge” of God. This knowledge of God is the gospel and to God, when the gospel is preached, shared, taught, testified to … to God it is like the lovely smell of incense in His nostrils. The point here is that God is pleasured and glorified as His rescue plan to man is proclaimed.
2Co 2:15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
It is not whether souls are saved or lost, but that the Gospel is preached … because the Gospel is God’s only mechanism of reaching and saving lost souls. If you asked a carpenter or a mechanic which his prized tool was … he would take you to the tool he cherishes most and cannot do without to do his work. That is the Gospel to God. Now we come to the contrast …
2) To the perishing the gospel is the smell of death. Paul uses the word “we”, describing the watchman (pastor, evangelistic, Christian Worker) … but it is the message.
2Co 2:16 To the one we are the smell of death.
I made a fatal mistake on the Day of Reconciliation. We had a few people around for a braai. I had purchased lamb chops and boerewors. Instead of putting the wrappings into a small plastic bag and tying it up or washing the blood off it first, I dumped it into the big garbage bin. Although we use a bin liner, after a few days the stench was unbearable. I sprayed air freshener into the bin but in no time the stench returned even with the lid closed. By the time the Refuge Truck came long on the Monday, maggots were sliding everywhere in and on the bin. The smell was disgusting, horrible … it smelt like death. That is the picture here. The soul is in such misery because of sin … and progressively this “smell” increases as the lost soul lives rejecting the Gospel … only to find the misery (stench) continues to increase after death … in hell. That is what the Gospel Watchman is to those who reject the glorious Gospel of God.
3) To the soul being saved, the gospel is the greatest, sweetest smell imaginable. We have tried many different air fresheners for our bathrooms. The one I like best is Glade’s “Vanilla and Magnolia”. To me, after making use of the facility, a good spray of Vanilla and Magnolia leaves a clean, refreshing smell. You may have another choice, but the point is … none of these come close to the aroma released by the Gospel to those who has been saved. The Gospel releases a person from the depravity of sin and the bondage to sin that the knowledge of forgiveness, cleansing, removal of guilt (justification, positional righteousness and sanctification), and being made right with God through being born again is such that spiritually the smell is glorious. Refreshing, elevating and beautiful.
4) Many miss the real purpose of Gospel Ministry. Some use the pulpit for agendas of their own and subtly lead their “sheep” to the slaughter house. But Paul says … On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God. Because the watchman is a believer (in Christ) he knows he stands before God when he speaks the Gospel … or whatever message … because he is sent by God. His task is simple …
(1) He must fit people for the Master’s use. This is where saved to serve comes in.
(2) He must prepare people for that Decisive Day of the Lord.
(a) The one who thinks the watchman and the Gospel are the smell of death … they are prepare, without any excuses because they have heard.
(b) To the one who thinks the watchman and the Gospel are the fragrance of life … there is confidence because they are ready to meet the Lord. Here are two challenges to the Christian and non-Christian as well as to the watchman or Christian Worker …
Ecc 12:14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. On the Day the truth about everyone will be exposed. Follow God’s watchman now!
Ac 4:19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.
This was in response to preaching Jesus. How do you fare? Obey God or obey man … and man could be your Church’s leadership!
O Lord, our Glorious God, Thank You for the Gospel and thank You for watchmen. Bless them as they proclaim the Gospel, giving much fruit for the Kingdom. Amen.