A Watchman’s Vision
Title: A Watchman’s Vision
Theme: Biblically Achieving Our Call
Topic: Biblically Understanding CrossRoads’ Vision
“Stand at the crossroads and look… ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. I have appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet.’” (Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)
Biblical Explanation of Our Social Claimant
At this time in Biblical history, Judah was in danger of destruction because she had strayed from the ways of God. Therefore, the Lord raised up a prophet of God to admonish the people and gave them instructions on how to walk in a manner worthy of the people of God.
The New Testament has a warning of destruction for all who do not desire the ways of God, destruction that affects the life and soul of mankind. Romans 1:18-32 says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened… Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:18-32)
I would propose to you that in a world bound in the modern day wrath of God, there is a call upon the church to become aggressive in her fight for the souls of mankind.
Just what is our purpose at CrossRoads Ministries? Just what is our call? What is our belief based on?
Grasp our purpose / concept of prophet as watchman
The first step for us to enjoying God’s will is to understand our purpose in the “Great Commission.” The heartbeat of our ministry is found in what Jeremiah wrote to a people who were about to suffer the consequences of sin, “I appointed watchmen over you and said listen to the trumpet.” (Jeremiah 6:17)
The concept of prophet as a watchman is found throughout the whole counsel of God’s word. Hosea 9:8a gives us this truth, “The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman…” “Prophet” (nabiy) here is an inspired spokesman who is raised up by the Lord to proclaim the message from God, who does not contradict the law of the Lord, or one who speaks from his own mind or heart. (The Complete Word Study) Thus, a prophet is a spokesman for the Lord and one who speaks under God’s authority. (Exodus 7:1; Easton’s Bible Dictionary; Harper’s Bible Dictionary)
The whole Word of God as it was written by men who received the revelation from God (2 Peter 1:20-21) communicates the Lord’s mind and will to men. Anyone who is a spokesman for the Lord, preaching the Word of God is thus exercising the grace gift of prophecy for the purpose of proclaiming divine truths to mankind. (Easton’s Bible Dictionary; Harper’s Bible Dictionary)
In the New Testament the prophetical office is continued. Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet of the church. (Luke 4:2; 13:33; 24:19; Matthew 13:57; 21:11; John 4:19; 9:17) He is the Great Prophet of the Body of Christ and He has given the grace gift of prophecy to the modern day church. (Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 14:26-32; Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:20; Acts 11:27; 13:1; 15:32; James 5:10; Harper’s Bible Dictionary; Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
The Body of Christ who understands her purpose and call will have someone in their congregation who has the grace gift of “prophet” as mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. “Prophet” (prophetes) in Ephesians generally refers to those who have the Holy Spirit gift of speaking the heart and will of God to mankind. (The Complete Dictionary of the New Testament; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) Men or women exercising this gift have a healthy walk with the Lord and they are sent by Him to warn, correct and exhort people. It has been said of these Christians, “They love God and disturb people.” (Donald A. Leggett)
“Watchman” (sapah) in practical application is to have someone stand guard. When applied to the duty of being a watchful prophet with Jesus Christ in this dispensation, it is having a spokesman who is proclaiming the truths of God to a people who are being overcome by sins that feed the flesh, that embrace a world view and listen to Satan’s lies.
Where were watchmen stationed? Historical researchers tell us that whenever possible, towers were erected in fields, vineyards and especially in key positions around the city so as to have someone give a warning call. The church who grasps her purpose as being a watchman has someone with the Christ apportioned gift of prophet (Ephesians 4:11-12) getting the Word of God out to those suffering the consequences of not living for the Lord.
Those who are called of the Lord to exercise this gift are very much illuminated with the same exhortation that was given to Ezekiel, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman… so hear the word I speak and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself. …Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!..’” (Ezekiel 33:7-11)
Taylor in his teachings on the duty of the watchful prophet writes, “A dying person unwarned would be regarded as a murder victim. The murderer would be the watchman who failed his duty.”
The purpose of the watchman today is to proclaim the Word of God publicly, and give a warning of God’s modern day wrath which leads to His final surrender of mankind over to themselves just as warned in Romans 1:18-32. Through the teaching of God’s Word this watchman is used to bring conviction of sin and to point the lost to Christ Jesus.
By God’s grace on everyone involved in the ministry we can say yes, we are watchmen. For 9 years CrossRoads has been found on the second page of the Norton Telegram every Monday. It reached 4,600 homes, including every home in the Norton County area and beyond. These articles are also placed in the church section of The Telegram nearly every Friday. The Norton Telegram staff also visits our website regularly to get these Biblical teachings for their devotionals. New CrossRoads articles are placed on the front page of our website weekly. Christians and non-Christians, some being shut-ins due to age or physical ailments, have expressed thanksgiving to us for our Biblical teachings. CrossRoads Messages are in full transcript format and are found on two websites: standatthecrossroads.com and SermonCentral.com.
According to SermonCentral, we currently have 112 messages on their website with nearly 134,500 readings with a 90% rating saying these messages are helpful to those who read them. The viewings are now growing about 2,000 per week. For this I do praise the Lord.
Proclaiming the Word of the Lord
Once the church has grasped her purpose she is to fulfill her call by proclaiming the Word of the Lord. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 says, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in the view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word: be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:1-2)
The best corporations, the best men, in fact, everyone in the work force needs someone to remind them of their duties, even more so the preacher of God’s Word.
The Apostle Paul’s charge to Timothy was not to preach about the Bible, but to proclaim or herald the Word of God. To preach (kerusso) means to publicly announce, to publish abroad religious truth, the gospel with its attendant privileges and obligations in this gospel dispensation. The herald is to proclaim in such a way as to persuade, urge, warn and intrigue people to comply too the message. (Dictionary of Biblical Languages; The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)
In the early days of my walk with the Lord, I was so moved by Dr. Billy Graham’s faithfulness to preach the Word of God. There was that very familiar phrase in the messages he spoke forth, “The Bible says.”
In watching the film, “The Cross and the Switch-blade,” I took notice of the scene that presented David Wilkerson as a man who was not ashamed of the Word of God. Every letter, e-mail and transcript of messages I ever received from him was full of the Word of God. I excitedly opened his material with a full expectation of receiving something from the heart of God and my hope in the Lord was restored.
Once when Missionary David Haag was about to share a word to a group of Christians and stood to speak, some of the younger appointed leaders spoke out, “Don’t preach, Don’t preach!” To the delight of the God who created him, to the delight of the Christ who died for him and in the empowering of the Holy Spirit who anointed him, Missionary David Haag preached the Word of God anyway.
There is a Biblical term, “man of God.” It has been reduced to someone who is religious or has regular church attendance. However, Biblically the term “man of God” refers to God’s spokesman, often referring to men exercising the gift prophet, evangelist, apostle, pastor or teacher. Our key text in this division of the message was written to the young pastor Timothy to whom Paul accredited the term “man of God.” (1 Timothy 6:11) This term is given to the person who represents God by speaking His Word. In 1 Timothy 6:11-14 the Apostle Paul lists four marks of the “man of God,” one being a man or women who is faithful to fulfill the responsibility of their charge or calling. (Rediscovering Expository Preaching, John MacArthur)
CrossRoads Messages fulfill the ministry of watchful prophet The ministry is overseen by people who are called to and have proven faithful the “Preach the Word.” The one who proclaims God’s Word in this ministry that reaches out to those in this world, must be overseen by men or women of God who are Holy Spirit illuminated with 1 Timothy 4:13-15, “Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift… Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”
Those who prove faithful and unashamedly preach the Word do so because they have a firm belief in the foundation of what they preach. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword... it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrew 4:12)
Timothy was about to face false teachers and a people who no longer wanted to hear truth. Therefore, Timothy needed assurance and exhortation so as to not fade from his charge. Thus the Apostle Paul reminded the young pastor that all Scripture is God-breathed (theopneustos), that is, God’s words that were given through men superintended by the Holy Spirit so that their writings are without error.
CrossRoads Messages rest upon the foundational truth that the Bible is the Word of God, is Holy Spirit inspired, and is the key source from which we write. Over the course of a year, CrossRoads Biblical teachings cover all four areas on which Paul told Timothy to preach. CrossRoads Messages teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteous living addressing the times we live in today.
In the public distribution of CrossRoads Messages we fully trust that the Word of God is able to do the work God wants done in its readers’ spiritual hearts. The Book of Hebrews tells us the Word is living and active (energes) meaning energizing (Thru the Bible) having vital power in itself and exerting the same to the human soul. (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon) Paul is also teaching us that man’s thoughts cannot be kept to himself once he has been exposed to God’s Word. What mankind holds secret is brought to the surface before the Lord as he reads or hears the spoken word of God. (The Expositors Bible Commentary; Matthew Henry Commentary; Bible Knowledge Commentary; New Bible Commentary)
It is imperative that the word of God get into every home possible so mankind may be made aware of his heart condition in the eyes of God and may hear about Christ.
Faith comes by people hearing the message of God’s Word concerning Christ. (Romans 10: 17) As God’s Word goes out to the public, it will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it.
Isaiah 55:11 gives us this assurance, “So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) The word of God will either harden unto death or it will soften unto salvation bringing knowledge of and enjoyment in the will of God.
Understanding the results of planting God’s Word
Watchful Prophets are confident in their work with the Lord and have full understanding of the results of planting God’s Word. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
Through CrossRoads Messages we joyfully plant the seeds of God’s Word in the Norton County area and the internet world, knowing full well that Jesus taught that there are four types of soil which represent the hearts of mankind: 1.) The hard trodden-down pathways are like the hearts of those who hear, but the devil comes and steals away the Word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 2.) The rocky ground promotes shallow roots and is like the hearts of those who believe for awhile, but in the time of testing fall away. 3.) The thorny ground creates seed growth that is like those who have hearts of faith but whose faith is quickly choked out by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and the believers never mature. However, 4.) The fertile soil is like those with good and noble hearts. They will hear the Word, retain it, and, by persevering, produce a crop. (Luke 8:11 - 15)
Jesus taught clearly, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering, produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15)
The parable of the seed sower shows us that Jesus was not impressed by the crowds that followed and heard the words He taught. He knew that most of the people did not really hear the Word and receive it in their hearts in true repentance. Jesus gave this spiritual teaching to encourage the disciples in their future ministry, and to encourage us today. When you consider how much of God’s Word has gone out into the public over the years through teaching, preaching, and personal witnessing in different ways, it should not surprise us to see so little harvest. The harvest is small because what Jesus teaches is true, “Enter the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13)
Although most people will reject the message, there is that heart out there that receives. Not every heart will produce the same amount of harvest, nor is the harvest the same in every person. Some seeds will produce harvesters being used of God to bring others to Christ. (Romans 1:13) Some of the harvesters will give to the Lord’s work. (Romans 15:25-29) Other seeds produce good works and those able to grow in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10) Some seeds enable others to grow tremendously in Christ-like character (Galatians 5:22-23) and there will be those who will whole heartedly offer praise to God. (Hebrews 13:15) (Matthew Henry Commentary; The Bible Exposition Commentary; Bible Knowledge Commentary)
Getting the Word of God out of the church walls will find noble hearts in due season and Christ will have His harvest.
Rests upon the promise
Watchful prophets proclaim as Christ did, planting the seeds of God’s Word on every heart. They express a faith based on God’s Word. Every faithful servant of the Lord who takes the gospel out to lost souls rests upon the promise found in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Here we see the empowerment that is going to enable the Body of Christ to take the gospel of Jesus to lost souls around the world. Without the Holy Spirit’s leading there is no vision from God on what to do, there is no enabling to achieve the task set before us, and there is no draw for mankind to hear the message.
The heart of anyone who is a watchman proclaiming the message of the Lord in this sin-trodden world rests upon the promise found in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
The Apostle Paul did as he often does, suddenly moving from theology to a challenge. Suddenly the Holy Spirit speaks through God’s anointed to address the practicality in ministry so that we might stay steadfast in our callings. (The Daily Study Bible Series) Here we have the assurance that as surely as Christ is risen from the dead, Christians shall rise and be fully rewarded for their labors with the Lord. This will be fully enjoyed at the judgment seat of Christ. The challenge of the Holy Spirit to us is that we remain faithful and serve with an expectation that God is going to reward our labors with Christ! (Matthew Henry Commentary; New Bible Commentary; Commentary, Critical and Explanatory)
In Closing: The Word of God holds a truth or principle that lays deep in the heart of our CrossRoads Messages Ministry, which I believe should govern all ministry opportunities. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 in the King James Bible says, “And I beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you.”
To “know” (aida) generally means to know instinctively, (The Complete Word Study of the New Testament) to have intimate or close relationship with or have knowledge of the work someone is doing for the Lord. (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) In regard to CrossRoads, you should possess information about and have knowledge of the high status of this ministry. (Dictionary of Biblical Languages) Christians are to be able to take note of this work and identify the works of this ministry. (The New American Commentary)
To “partner” with someone in ministry means to have fellowship, to be a partaker in common experience in the work of the Lord. (The Complete Word Study; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) Therefore, quality ministries will make every effort to communicate, to share vision, battles, successes, and more importantly, prayer needs to all who desire to oversee the Lord’s work in a Biblical manner.
This why our website clearly explains our call, our vision, our doctrine and joyfully answers questions of concern. Our website gives people an opportunity to Partner with us by 1.) Giving thanks to the Lord for this ministry. 2.) Giving honor to the Word of the Lord and praying that it spreads rapidly. 3.) Praying to Christ Jesus for lost souls. 4.) Asking God to work through CrossRoads Messages to connect people to Bible believing and preaching churches. 5.) Seeking God’s will as you consider helping us meet the financial needs of this ministry.
On many occasions people have walked into my office with the purpose of informing me on how they would like to see me do messages for the Lord. Although they mean well it has done more damage than good and I found myself frustrated and unable to focus on what God has called me to do. To help me find peace of mind and fulfill God’s mandate of being able “with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2)
I have put this teaching together so people may be Biblically informed of my call and vision which is birthed from God’s Word.
Hebrews 13:7 tells me “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Considered the outcome of way of life and imitate their faith.” Over the course of 24 years the Lord has raised up preachers of the Word of God who have had an influence on my life, men who have been tested by trials and proven faithful to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word and who have withstood the test of time. Preachers like Pastor / Teacher Chuck Swindoll, Dr David Jeremiah, Pastor David Wilkerson, Pastor Carter Conlyn, Pastor John MacArthur, and especially Homiletical Teacher James Braga.
It is my Biblical conviction that what the Lord speaks to me through study of the Word of God should be written down and I must be diligent in these matters. (Romans 12:6; 2 Timothy 4:1-2; 1 Timothy 4:13-15; Exodus 17:14; Isaiah 8:1; 30:8; Jeremiah 45:1; Malachi 3:16)
The Holy Spirit on several occasions has led me to Isaiah 8:1, “The Lord said to me, ‘Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen…’” I love what Matthew Henry wrote in regard to the truths proclaimed in this passage of Scripture, “Those who speak and write of the things of God should avoid obscurity, and study to speak and write so as to be understood.” For this reason I have studied the Word of God and read messages of men whom God has put before my life, preachers who have put the messages spoken through them into print.
Matthew Henry is well-know for his six-volume Exposition of the Old and New Testament. It is called the Matthew Henry Commentary. It was written between 1708 and 1710. It is an exhaustive verse by verse study of the Bible. He wrote from 4:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. His nonconformist friends were so impressed by the worked he completed on the Old and New Testament up to the Book of Romans, upon his death, thirteen ministers took time to complete the work that Matthew Henry started. Matthew Henry Commentaries are still being used by the Lord to help people understand the Scriptures. Matthew Henry knew that the Lord had spoken to him, ‘Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen…’” Matthew’s Commentary shows clearly that the Lord had spoken to him about “Writing down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” (Habakkuk 2:2) When I study my Matthew Henry commentary, I find his teachings are in line with how the Bible teachers taught in the Book of Nehemiah, “They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.” (Nehemiah 8:8)
Once I was trying to teach three hirelings the truths in this message and we discussed Matthew Henry’s applications of these truths. There response was, “We think that Matthew Henry needed to spend less time at study of God’s Word and more time socializing.” Famous evangelical Protestant Preachers such as George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon read and used Matthew Henry’s Commentary, with Whitefield reading it four times, the last time on his knees. Spurgeon stated, “Every minister ought to read it entirely and carefully through once at least.”
CrossRoads messages and commentaries are written in a “Topical Illustrative Format.” We use Scripture to interpret Scripture with key Word definitions and illustrations to bring relevance to its teachings.
It is my hope and prayer that this message and the notes I have handed out to you give you understanding of our call, vision and belief of CrossRoads Ministries. Let us pray!!!