From the Pastor’s Desk: Watchmen

Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,

August is almost past and September is fast approaching.  There are many exciting things to be on the lookout for in the life of our church:

* the men will restart our monthly fellowship breakfasts.  These will include time for food, fellowship, and study of a particular passage or topic.

* the ladies will restart their monthly ‘mugs and muffins’ fellowship time.  This time includes food, fellowship, and a bible study or testimony.

* we will kick-off our Cornerstone Theology Club.  For those interested, we will meet once a month (likely in the evenings at an area restaurant) to discuss a classic work of theology and its application to our lives.

* the HOUSTON REFOMRED THEOLOGY CONFERENCE with Dr. David Murray is scheduled for Friday, Sep 27th.  Go here to register:  Childcare will be provided and dinner will be served at 6:00PM.

Please let me know if you have any questions about what is to come in the life of our church!

Finally, this week’s devotional (attached) is a reflection on the role of the ‘watchmen’ in Israel and in the church today from Ezekiel 33.

From the Pastor’s Desk
Mid-week Devotional

Ezekiel 33:7, “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel.”

Ezekiel 33 begins the third major section of this book (1-24, 25-32, 33-48).  In Ezek 33:7, God comes to Ezekiel and declares that he is to be Israel’s ‘watchman’ (cf. Ezek 3:16-21).  Verse 3 describes the role of this watchman as ‘seeing the coming sword’ of God’s judgment and blowing the trumpet to warn the people.  In other words, the prophet as watchman is to warn the people of God’s judgment upon their sin; or as v. 7 puts it, “whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them a warning from me.”  The watchman is called to be faithful to his task of proclamation – proclaiming the name and character of the God who is holy and just, and who cannot stand to look upon iniquity.
This text has a primary application to pastors today.  Pastors are called to be the watchman for their people.  That is, they are called to the sacred task of preaching the word of God, a word that is ‘living and active and shaper than a double edged sword’ (Heb 4:12).  They are called to faithfully proclaim the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27): the love and justice of God, the person and work of Christ, the need for faith and holiness, the role and importance of the church, etc.  They are to have that mindset that characterized the prophet Micaiah, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak” (1 Kings 22:13-14) Thus for a ‘watchman’ to hold anything back from God’s people is an offense before the Lord and a stain upon his calling.  For as the apostle Paul tells us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16).  It was the false prophets who were rebuked by God for saying, ‘peace, peace,’ when there was no peace (Jer 6:13-15).

I want to close with three exhortations:
1. To faithful watchmen: may you continue to boldly proclaim God’s word.  Take heart that God is sovereign and good, and his word does not return void.  Preach the word is season and out of season, and pray the Holy Spirit to accompany such preaching with his power.
2. To those faithfully watched: may you diligently pray for your pastors.  Pray that God would protect him from the snares of the evil one.  Pray for his family and his ministry.  Pray that he would remain in the ‘old paths.’  And pray that his preaching would yield a bountiful harvest to the glory of Christ.
3. To those unfaithfully watched: may you also diligently pray for your pastors.  Pray for conviction.  Pray that God would pierce their hearts and impress upon their minds the sacredness of their calling – their calling to be faithful to the task of the proclamation of God’s holy word.

God bless and I look forward to worshipping with you this Lord’s Day,

Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC),