Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Preventive Maintenance

This past week we received a letter from a paving company we have used in the past. The owner of the company was thanking us for our business, and used the letter to remind us not to “let your Parking Lots go unattended too long.” He wrote, “With the rising costs, a little maintenance goes a long way!”

The letter reminded me of the passage in Ezekiel 3 where God instructed the prophet to warn Israel as a “watchman.” Interestingly, Jehovah not only instructed the watchman to warn when Israel was guilty of sin, but also to warn righteous Israel so that she might avoid sin!

Note the following verse from that chapter, “Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul” (vs. 21).

More and more often we hear of Christians who don’t want to hear about the dangers that threaten to bring destruction to them. If it be false doctrine that is being preached elsewhere, they wish to be spared from any refutation, saying, “It is not a problem here, so we don’t need to hear about it.” If it is a problem with immodesty, social drinking, adultery, gambling, etc., they say, “We don’t have anyone practicing those things, and don’t need to hear preaching on them.”

Jehovah revealed to Ezekiel the need to warn the righteous man that he should not sin. Further, he directly correlates such a warning with the continued righteous behavior of the man of God. Simply put, the reason righteous people act righteously is because they heed the warnings regarding the immediacy of sin. If the warnings cease, the dangers increase, and sin is at the door.

Peter wrote, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10). He called this exhortation a reminder, and wrote, “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you” (vs. 12-13).

It is the responsibility of the preacher to continually warn about sin, and expose error. Rather than react with exasperation that he is preaching yet another sermon on “the issues”, or is warning for “the hundredth” time about some temptation of the flesh, why not recognize the responsibility given to him by God to “stir you up by reminding you”, and give heed to his words? In so doing he will have discharged his duty as a “watchman” of spiritual Israel, and you shall “surely live because [you] took warning.”

“I have not written you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it…” (1 John 2:21).