The Watchman
by Dr. Ken Matto
(Hab 2:1 KJV) I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
One of the most important duties of a true Christian is to be a watchman to the group of believers God has placed them in. It is a sad but obvious problem in Christendom that the majority of Christians have ceased being watchmen and have chosen to "be at ease in Zion" and have allowed their church leaders or TV/radio preachers to do their thinking for them. The reason I can state this fact with confidence is just talk to 5 Christians and you will see how biblically illiterate they are with their paperback NIV’s in hand. We see the way the church has gone and how it has turned away from the cardinal doctrines of the Bible to follow creeds and man-made dogma. The church leaders who are chosen in these congregations are supposed to be adept in the Scriptures and to be able to spot a false teaching. Unfortunately, most church leaders are as dumb as dirt when it comes to the discerning between true and false doctrines.
This is why we are seeing a second great Exodus out of Egypt again. The Lord Jesus seems to be bringing the true believers out of the false churches and leading them into groups which grasp the truths of Scriptures. There is a true Scriptural church being formed in the world, one which is "outside the camp." (Heb 13:13 KJV) Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. Those true believers that have come out of the false churches are definitely bearing the reproach of Christ. We are pegged isolationists, non-conformists, disobedient, etc. When I speak about true believers coming out of false churches I am not speaking of a person who leaves the United Methodist Church and then joins a Presbyterian Church in the USA congregation. I am speaking of one who has divinely led convictions to leave behind their dead church and step out in faith and leave the results to God. (Mat 8:22 KJV) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
Now with many true believers beginning to form cell groups and churches, it is still incumbent upon them to maintain the staunch mindset of the watchmen to prevent their present assembly from ever becoming like the church of the world. Let us look at some standards for the watchman and apply them to our lives.
Takes his position seriously because his life is at stake too
The watchman knows that if he falls down on the job the enemy could utilize that breach and come into the place where he is guarding and could also kill him. The Christian must also be on the guard because false teachers and gospels do not make frontal assaults on the church, instead they make small continual encroachments until the church is subdued. The time to prevent a false gospel from coming into the church is to check it at the front door. Do not allow people to come into the assembly under the guise of "have an open mind." Whenever visitors grace your assembly let them instantly know where you stand on doctrine and do not relent. Remember, it is not you that has to meet their doctrinal standards, they must meet your doctrinal standards. Too many churches have rewritten truth to appease all the people instead of demanding adherence to biblical truth.
The Watchman identifies the enemy
A good watchman will study the enemy and know his uniform and method of infiltration. Down through the ages the church has been able to identify the enemy. It is only in recent years that the church has given the best seats in the house to the false gospels. Too many churches have embraced false teachings and because the church leaders are too biblically ignorant, they cannot spot a false teaching. When the Lord Jesus Christ walked on the earth the leaders of Israel were so darkened in their understanding they did not recognize who Christ was and how He fulfilled prophecy right before their eyes. As modern Christians if we do not identify the enemy we will be spiritually seduced by him.
The Watchman is up high
Normally the watchman is always in a position of height to be able to spot the enemy at a distance. The quicker the enemy is spotted, the faster the troops can act to ward off any type of attack. The Christian is in an exalted position by means of having the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. He gives understanding of the Bible and discernment concerning spurious teachings. When the Christian watchman is walking in the Spirit they can spot the false gospel immediately. Whenever the church or any individual accepts and amalgamates worldly knowledge in with the pure gospel they have brought their brand of gospel down from the height of Pisgah to the low world standards. The true Christian walks in a higher place than the world does.
His troops depend upon him for their safety
A good watchman realizes that he has been given a serious responsibility. The life’s blood of all the troops and many civilians depend upon him to be able to see the enemy first. In Christianity, God gifts many Christians with the ability to teach and preach and their people depend on them to deliver the truths of Scripture and not allow false teachings to sneak into the church. There are many weak Christians in the world and it is up to the group leader or teacher to train them properly in the Word. Teaching the Bible like being a watchman is a grave responsibility which must be taken seriously because the spiritual well-being of many depend on the teacher. There is something called the ripple effect which makes teaching the truth even more serious. The ripple effect is taken from a pond effect. When you throw a stone in a pond it makes ripples in the water. When you teach the Bible you can be sure that what you say will be passed on to others. You will either be a teacher of truth or a teacher of error.
Sounds an alarm when appropriate and sure
The good watchman does not sound an alarm until he is sure his people are facing imminent threat. If he sounded an alarm every time the trees moved or saw the shadow of an animal, he would be removed as a watchman. A Bible teacher must do the same thing. If the people in his group or charge are facing spiritual danger by some false teaching, then it is mandatory that he speak up. The attitude should never be taken that the others can figure it out for themselves. If you spot a false gospel encroaching in on your group, then you need to say something and warn the sheep. Once you sound a warning, then the true sheep will be able to discern the truth and hopefully you will trigger their spiritual perception and they will see for themselves the difference between erroneous doctrine and truth.
The watchman remains vigilant at his post
A good watchman will remain in a vigilant state. He will keep his eye fixed on the area he is to guard. A good watchman will not stick his head up every 15 minutes, instead will keep his eyes fixed. As Christians we must remain vigilant at all times lest the enemy gain advantage over us. This means that 15 minutes of bible study is simply not enough to repel the onslaught of false teachings which are aimed at the Christians. Satan doesn’t have to direct his false teachings at unbelievers, he is trying to derail the true believer and get him off track in his belief system. Satan will not come with a full frontal assault instead he will add seemingly compatible teachings and if these are not refuted the moment they are found out, then they will grow and obscure the true gospel to the point you will accept their teachings and then your group will be subjected to the false.
The Watchman waits for the dawn but works through the night
When a watchman takes his post at the beginning of his shift, he looks forward to the time when he gets off duty and can go and get some shut eye. He knows that he cannot dwell on the end of his shift as he must go through the entire shift before he can get some rest. As he goes through the night he consistently stays alert and watches for the enemy. We too as Christians look forward to the dawn when the Lord Jesus Christ will return and take all His children home. Until that time comes, we must continually work through the night of this spiritually bankrupt world. We must not focus on the dawn but get busy with the task at hand. It is good to look and desire the return of the Lord Jesus but we are not to sit down and set dates since that just establishes an escapist theology, akin to the Pre-Trib rapture where all the Christians are going to be taken out while the rest of the world goes through a time of tribulation. If we knew the date when the Lord was returning, then do we actually think we would do anything but just sit around and wait? Human nature is in itself lazy. Don’t kid yourself, necessity is not the mother of invention, laziness is. Our command in the Bible is to be faithfully sending forth the gospel until God cuts it off on the last day, then our rest shall come. There were two supposed dates for the Lord’s return which just passed us by December 21, 2000 and a date in January. I understand the new date is 2011. How futile is this quest and that is confirmed by history. Instead of us focusing on a date for the Lord ‘s return, let us focus on working to bring God’s elect into the kingdom. (John 9:4 KJV) I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Our responsibility as watchmen is to be sober, vigilant, and not to weary in our responsibility to those whom God has given to us as our friends and inner circle. We must guard and expose false teachings no matter who brings them. (Eph 5:11 KJV) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. This verse is significant because it warns us not to have fellowship with false teachings which is what we do when we accept extra-biblical theories and teachings. We must also avoid those who bring in these false teachings so you can protect the people God has given you. Satan will use any tactic, any person, and any situation to get you to accept false teachings. Keep in mind this one principle, "If it ain’t from the Bible, it ain’t." Saint is only one letter away from ain’t!
(1 Pet 4:7 KJV) But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  (1/21/01)