Ezekiel 3:17 Watchman

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by koreahog2005, Nov 9, 2004.

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Ezekiel 3:17 Watchman

  1. 1. The passage cannot be applied to Christians today.

    16.7%
  2. 2. The passage can be applied to church leaders today. A church leader is responsible in some sense

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  3. 3. The passage can be indirectly applied to all Christians. A person does not go to hell because of

    50.0%
  4. 4. The passage can be directly applied to all Christians. If a Christian fails to witness to a part

    33.3%
  5. 5. Both number 2 and number 3 are true.

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  6. 6. Other

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  1. koreahog2005

    koreahog2005
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    I heard an interesting sermon by a Korean pastor this past Sunday on Ezekiel 3:17-21. A parallel passage is Ezekiel 33:1-9. He basically said that Christians are watchmen, and if a Christian fails to witness to a lost person, then the lost person may go to hell because possibly no one else will witness to him, and the Christian who missed the opportunity to witness would be held responsible for him. I guess this misapplication of the passage is pretty common, but it’s popular because guilt motivates (at least temporarily). I heard about a case in America where a Christian man actually believed this, and he had a nervous breakdown because he literally could not relax or go to sleep at night. Instead of sleeping he would go to public places such as Laundromats and parks because he thought he might be the only one who would ever witness to certain people and give them a chance to be saved. He did not want anyone to go to hell because of his missing an opportunity to witness. The man unfortunately did not understand that God does not expect Christians to share the gospel in every spare moment. God wants them to have balance in their spiritual lives. Unfortunately, many Christians go to the other extreme and do not place enough emphasis on personal evangelism. Christians should have as their ambition, “whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9), and they should seek to be obedient to God’s great commission to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them. Their motivation for witnessing should be obedience and the joy of being used by God, not taking credit for saving someone or avoiding the blame for not saving someone.

    A couple of obvious problems with the common misapplication of the passage occur to me:

    1. If a person goes to hell because I fail to share the gospel with him, then he has a legitimate excuse. It would be at least partially my fault that he went to hell, not totally his own fault. We know that those who go to hell have no legitimate excuses.
    2. If a person goes to heaven because only I would share the gospel with him, then I have become his partial savior. He could approach me in heaven and tell me that if it weren’t for my witness, he would be in hell. We know that God would find someone else or something else (such as a Bible or tract) to witness to an elect person if I am disobedient, and thus all the glory belongs to Him.

    I’d like to get your opinions and comments on whether and how this passage can be applied to us. Here are some options:


    1. The passage cannot be applied to Christians today.
    2. The passage can be applied to church leaders today. A church leader is responsible in some sense for the Christians placed under his care after they are permanently saved. Hebrews 13:17a is relevant: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account.” Church leaders are not responsible for the salvation of church members, but they are responsible for the discipline, overseeing, and shepherding of church members (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-3).
    3. The passage can be indirectly applied to all Christians. A person does not go to hell because of a particular Christian’s failure to witness to him, but God will sometimes discipline a Christian for disobedience in the matter of witnessing.
    4. The passage can be directly applied to all Christians. If a Christian fails to witness to a particular non-Christian that later dies without receiving a witness and goes to hell, then the Christian is to some degree held responsible.
    5. Both number 2 and number 3 are true.
    6. Other
     
  2. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    My mother, now with the Lord, used to tell me, 'Many hands make light work.' If each of us witness about Jesus, after a while, everyone would hear His truth. Balance is everything; nevertheless, all Christians are agents for our Lord. Jesus said, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature/person.' [Mark 16:15] Reaching every sinner requires going to ' . . . all {areas of} the world,' even the isles of the seas.

    We all want to be saved, we all want His blessings; but being responsible Christians is where we many times fail.

    In Acts 1:8 God the Spirit empowers us to preach and witness ' . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth.' [​IMG]
     
  3. BobRyan

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    In Matt 28 Christ said "GO into all the world and make disciples of all nations teaching them all that I HAVE commanded you".

    Is that just to Christian leaders? Can you find a way out of that?

    If so - then you can get out of the problem in Ezek as well.

    Until then- "ALL scripture is given by inspiration from God AND is useful for doctrine".

    Think about it. You are obligated - bound by scripture, bound by the commands of God.

    As Christ said "IF you love me KEEP My commandments". John 14 (PRE Cross so it does not apply any more???)

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  4. koreahog2005

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    Bob, I agree with you that the great commission is for all Christians, not just for Christian leaders. You mentioned John 14:15: “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” The verb “love” is the verse is present, active, subjunctive. The Greek reads, “Ean agapate me,” for “if you love me.” A.T. Robertson commented on the verse:

    http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/RobertsonsWordPictures/rwp.cgi?book=joh&chapter=14&verse=15

    Huber Drumwright described this usage:

    Drumwright, An Introduction to New Testament Greek (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1980), page 127.

    Drumwright described the third class condition:

    Ibid., page 128.

    Brooks and Winbery described the subjunctive:

    Brooks and Winbery, Syntax of New Testament Greek (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1979), page 118.

    Vaughan and Gideon described the subjunctive:

    Vaughan and Gideon, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1979), page 102.

    Thus, John 14:15 is not saying that we will always be obedient to the great commission. Sometimes we are disobedient. Our disobedience, however, will not cause someone to go to hell. We should always try to be obedient. Last night, two Korean Mormon girls came to the door of my apartment. I invited them in and tried to lovingly explain the Trinity and salvation by grace. If I had slammed the door in their faces, I don’t think I would have condemned them to hell by doing so. God might, however, have severely punished me (disciplined me) for my disobedience to the great commission.
     
  5. BobRyan

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    But the point remains - if the OT pre-cross concept of "God's Commandments" is obligatory for the followers of Christ - as Christ points out in John 14, and if you are willing to continue to submit to His teaching even after the cross - then you have no more basis for rejecting God's Word in Ezekiel vs the words of Christ pre-cross in John 14.

    They are all binding. All scripture IS inspired and IS used for doctrine as Paul says to Timothy.

    And when Paul is writing about scripture - his QUOTE of scripture is ALWAYS of the OT.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  6. koreahog2005

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    Bob, I'm not sure where you're going with this. I don't reject any Scripture, OT or NT. The issues with Ezekiel 3 relate to interpretation and application. In other words, what does the passage really mean, and how does it apply to us? I think both of us agree that all Scripture is inerrant. I assume, however, that we do not agree about the interpretation and application of this particular passage. Perhaps it will clarify things if you will interpret and apply the passage. I will then react and explain how my interpretation and application differ from yours.
     
  7. ILUVLIGHT

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    Hi Koerahog.
    I do believe that we will be held responsible for those who the Holy Spirit motivates us to witness to. What the failure, to keep that responsibility will bring on us, I'm not sure of .

    I disagree Heb 13:17 should be applied to church leaders. It is clearly meant to be applied to political leaders. I do not submit to my Pastor nor do I believe that I should. I submit to Christ but my Pastor is just a man and I can't place any confidence in any Man.

    Psa 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

    Think about the impact of this claim that we are to submit to our church leaders. Ever wonder how many in the past who have been misled because of such a belief.
    May God Bless You;
    Mike
     
  8. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    koreahog2005,

    Your quote says,
    Ezekiel 3:18 speaks to your statement. If ' . . . a wicked man dies in his iniquity' does he or she go to Heaven or Hell?

    Thank the Lord that you are an excellent and faithful man of God in presenting the Gospel of our Lord. Your seed placed in the soil will germinate in the future as the Spirit of God penetrates the lives of these Mormons.

    Blessings on you and your faithful witness.

    Ray
     
  9. koreahog2005

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    Ray, I think Ezekiel was called to warn the Israelites of impending physical judgment from God. The righteous man mentioned in 3:20 physically dies for his sin, but he does not lose his salvation. Wicked men who die in their sin suffer both physical and spiritual judgment, but Ezekiel would be punished if he failed to warn them for impending physical judgment. Notice in the parallel passage, Ezekiel 33:1-9, that a “sword” is coming upon the land. This is a reference to physical judgment. Remember that in Ezekiel 5:1-2 that Ezekiel was commanded to take a sword, cut his beard and the hair on his head, burn one-third, strike one-third with the sword, and scatter one-third to the wind. This is a clear reference to physical judgment. Here are some quotes that might help.

    Lamar Cooper commented on Ezekiel:

    Cooper, “Ezekiel,” The New American Commentary, vol. 17, 1994, pages 28-29.

    DiAnna Paulk commented on Ezekiel 3:17-19:

    http://www.path-light.com/Ezekiel02b.htm

    http://www.solascriptura-tt.org/SoteriologiaESantificacao/CloserStudyPassagesSomeUseToTeachLossSalvation-Pipers.htm

    Quotes from Thomas L. Constable on Ezekiel:

    http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/ezekiel.pdf

    It's bedtime in South Korea. [​IMG]
     
  10. Primitive Baptist

    Primitive Baptist
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    Matthew 28:19 is one of the most misunderstood statements recorded in Scripture.

    It is commonly supposed that the apostles knew that they had received a charge to evangelise the world. If they did know it, they were culpably remiss in not acting upon it. But it is presumable that the words of our Lord did not convey any such idea to their mind. The Parousia, p. 105

    It was not until fourteen years after our Lord's ascension that St. Paul travelled for the first time, and preached the gospel to the Gentiles. Nor is there any evidence that during that period the other apostles passed the confines of Judea. Professor Burton's Bampton Lecture, p. 20

    The fact seems to be that the language of the apostolic commission did not convey any such ecumenical ideas. Nothing more astonished them than the discovery that 'God had granted to the Gentiles also repentance unto life' (Acts xi. 18). When St. Peter as challenged for going in 'to men uncircumcised, and eating with them,' it does not appear that he vindicated his conduct by an appeal to the terms of the apostolic commission. The Parousia, p. 106
     
  11. koreahog2005

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    ILUVLIGHT, you said the following:

    The same Greek present middle participle is used in Hebrews 13:7, 17, and 24. It is a present middle participle of the verb “hegomai.” Notice what the author of Hebrews says in each verse:

    Hebrews 13:7 – “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

    Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

    Hebrews 13:24 – “Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.”

    The Greek scholar A.T. Robertson commented on 13:7:

    http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/RobertsonsWordPictures/rwp.cgi?book=heb&chapter=13&verse=7

    Notice 1 Timothy 5:17:

    “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”
     
  12. ILUVLIGHT

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    Hi Koreahog;
    Maybe it's how I perceive the word "submit" This is how I view the meaning of this word;
    ("To yield, resign or surrender to the power, will or authority of another; with the reciprocal pronoun.")
    Submitting to a man for me is like having two masters and I can only have one.
    May God Bless You;
    Mike [​IMG]
     
  13. koreahog2005

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    ILUVLIGHT, I agree that as Christians we only have one ultimate master. Pastors (elders) serve as "undershepherds" while Jesus is our ultimate Shepherd. Elders are told to "shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight" but not "lord it over those allotted to your charge" while Jesus is called the "Chief Shepherd" (1 Peter 5:1-4). Another example: Christian children can obey their parents while being in ultimate submission to God.
     
  14. BobRyan

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    The first option you gave in your OP is that the text does not apply to Christians today. This is what I was addressing when I pointed out that the scriptures of the NT saints - are the OT and so we can not simply right it off as "something that does not apply to Christians".

    The text makes it clear that God is the one who gives the warning message to His servant. Then we are to take it to those whom He has placed in our charge or care. That might only be your own family members. It all depends on the extent to which God has called you to service - but called you to service He has - since the Matt 28 comission is the comission to the entire church.

    We are all called as witnesses to the faith of Christ.

    My point in referencing John 14 and obedience to Christ - is that this was never "optional". We are literally obligated by the dictates of God's Word.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. koreahog2005

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    Bob, I agree with you that the OT was the Scripture for the NT saints. I didn’t vote for the first option. I also agree with you that in some sense all Christians are called to be witnesses.
     
  16. ILUVLIGHT

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    Hi Koreahog;
    I guess we have to agree that we disagree on this one point. Hebrews 13:17 IMHO wasn't meant to be applied to our relationship with Church leaders. To me this is very threatening to our individual freedom of what we believe. The mistakes of such teaching is evident in the RCC and several other cults. I have strong feelings about this. In our times as things are in the world. Men are being deceived by the millions because they place there trust in men. I've seen people who view there Pastors as God like. Being infallible in everything they say and do. No mere man is due such a submission. They try to make it seem right with scripture for one reason, it's called "Power".
    May God Bless You;
    Mike [​IMG]
     
  17. koreahog2005

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    ILUVLIGHT, I think we have to distinguish between leadership and dictatorship. The Greek word used for "rule" in 1 Timothy 5:17 is "proistemi." In the NASV it is translated as "leads" in Romans 12:8, as "have charge" in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, and as "manage" in 1 Timothy 3:4,5,12. So, the husband/father is to manage or lead his household well. That doesn't mean he is to be like a totalitarian dictator who treats his wife and kids like doormats. Biblical leadership is essential for the local church and family alike. If the local church or family has no leadership, it is in trouble. There are checks and balances if the leader misuses his position in the church. He can be quickly removed from his leadership position by the other church members. The Pope's position in the Roman Catholic Church is very different from the pastor's position in the local church.
     
  18. Primitive Baptist

    Primitive Baptist
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    Thanks, koreahog 2005. That's why the church is in trouble today...lack of leadership. The congregations across this country have completely taken over the pulpit. They threaten to take away the paycheck if he starts preaching the Bible instead of what men and women want to hear. Then he's charged with legalism and ran off from the church and replaced.
     
  19. Primitive Baptist

    Primitive Baptist
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    I guess that's a good thing about being an Old Baptist...Our ministers aren't hirelings.
     
  20. BobRyan

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    Once again - we are in agreement.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

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