Old Testament times the cities would be fortified and protected by a wall. Those in authority would appoint a watchman to watch for invaders from the top of the wall all during the night.
God likens Ezekiel’s ministry to that of a watchman. He is to warn Israel of the impending judgment of God.
I.The Bloody Hands of the Sinner (The Wicked; Vs.4-5,9)
a.The Reprobate Will Be Caught Red Handed Adam Lanza will stand before God with bloody hands. (Caught red handed) Adolf Hitler will stand before God with bloody hands. Doctors and Politicians that are guilty of murdering children will stand before God with bloody hands.
b.The Rebellious Will Be Caught Red Handed c.The Religious Will Be Caught Red Handed d.The Righteous (Self-righteous) Will Be Caught Red Handed
II.The Bloody Hands of the Saint (The Watchman; Vs.6-7)
a.The Watchman’s Responsibility
i. Dr. Lee Roberson- “I feel personally responsible for all of the souls in Chattanooga,TN. I feel personally responsible for the souls of the entire world.
ii. What would you think of a fireman who knew the house was on fire, but didn’t try to save those inside? What would you think of a policeman who saw someone being mugged and turned the other way? What would you think of a teacher you didn’t try everything in her power to save the life of a child in a school shooting? Millions are going to hell and we turn away!
iii. Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.- Oswald J. Smith
iv. Their response is not our responsibility; but it is our responsibility to warn them.
v. Acts 20:20-26- And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, (Vs.21) Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Vs.22) And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: (Vs.23) Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. (Vs.24) But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Vs.25) And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. (Vs.26) Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
b.The Watchman’s Method
i. Blow the trumpet- Cry loud; spare not.
ii. God chose the foolishness of preaching to save them which would believe.
III.The Bloody Hands of the Saviour (The Word)
i. His hands were pierced and bleeding, but not for any crime that He had done. His hands were red because of my sin.
Sinner willyou stand before God red-handed? Saint will you stand before God guilty of the blood of your neighbor? A difference makers hands are hands that are clean. How do I cleanse my hands? If you are lost then you need to take the nail-pierced hand of Christ. If you are saved then you need to tell others about the bloody hands of Calvary.
Jesus is in he midst of preaching His famous sermon that we know as the sermon on the mount.
Jesus got up and spoke with authority and blew his audience’s ideology, philosophy, and way of thinking out of the water.
He said, “Ye have heard it said that ye shall not commit adultery, but I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart.”
He said, “You have heard it said that you shouldn’t murder, but I say unto you that whosoever is angry at his brother without a cause is guilty of murder.”
He said, “You have heard that you should perform your oaths, but I say swear not at all!”
His teaching totally contradicted and challenged the thinking of the normal person listening to his message because Jesus is perfect, undefiled, separate from sinners and he is pure in every aspect and His teachings were the very words of Almighty God and our Adamic, defiled, depraved nature and way of thinking is totally in contrast to that which is spiritual, holy, and right.
Our context is a great example of this. He said, “If someone slaps you on the face, then turn the other side and offer them the other cheek. If someone sues you and takes your coat then give them your shirt too free of charge. If someone asks you for something then give it to them.”
The teaching I want to focus on is found in vs.41- Whoever compels you, or constrains you or urges you, to carry a load for a mile, then go ahead and go two miles.”
In Roman times it was a law that if a Roman soldier asked a Jew to carry his pack then the Jew was required to carry the pack a miles distance. The Jew was not required to go any further than a mile.
Jesus is saying, “Don’t just do what is required of you, but go beyond the call of duty.”
We have been talking about the anatomy of a difference maker and I want to deal with the feet of a difference maker this morning.
There are 3 types of people in the world.
I.Those Who Do Not Do What is Required of Them (Less Than a mile people)
We have a welfare mentality in our country this day. It is amazing how many sorry lazy, slothful people we have in America today. They are healthy, they don’t have any physical problems, they are perfectly capable of working, but they sit around all day eating potato chips on the couch and living off of my tax dollars.
This same mentality has crept into the church.
We have certain obligations as Christians and we should perform our duties.
This is the guy who is asked to do a job and he only gets it half done.
a.What is Required of Us?
1Cor.4:1- Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1Cor.4:2- Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Faithful to Church, faithful to witness, faithful to give.
ii. To do Justly
Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
To do what is right.
iii. To Love Mercy
This has to do with loving people and wanting them to be restored and renewed.
iv. To Walk Humbly
This has to do with having a relationship with God and understanding who you are in comparison.
b.Not Doing What is Required is Sin
Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
Ex. King Saul was commanded to kill all of the Amalekites and he was partially obedient and God took the kingdom from him.
c.Some Have More Required of Them Than Others
Luke 12:48- But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
II.Those Who Do Just What is Required of Them (First Mile Christians)
a.God’s Attitude Toward the First Mile
I. Luk 17:7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? Luk 17:8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Luk 17:9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. Luk 17:10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
II. The man who works the 40 hours he agreed to is not to be praised. He will be paid or rewarded as was agreed upon, but this does not make him an extraordinary employee because he does the bare minimum.
b.Our Attitude Toward the First Mile
I. We think we have done something extraordinary and we should be praised and recognized.
II Rom.12:1-2- Giving our all on the altar of sacrifice is just our reasonable service.
III. God delivers us from the attitude of “Well I’ve done my duty.”
III.Those Who Go Beyond What is Required of Them (Second Mile Christians)
a.The Second Mile is Crucial to Success
I. Ex. Larry Bird shooting 1000 free throws early in the morning right after winning MVP of the NBA Finals. Why? He was a second mile basketball player and that’s what made him great.
II. Football team having 2 a day practices. 90 ft sand hill- Walter Peyton.
III. Mark Cuban- Cuban writes on his blog that it took an incredible amount of work to benefit from his luck. When starting his first company, he routinely stayed up until two in the morning reading about new software, and went seven years without a vacation.
IV. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz must be a frequent consumer of his company's products to maintain his frenetic schedule. Since returning to turn around the company, he gets into the office by 6 in the morning and stays until 7.
V. Sam Walton was known for his work ethic and built his store from nothing.
VI. If we want to make a difference in our community in the lives of those around us then we must go the second mile.
VII. Ex. In Bible College the difference between those who built great bus routes and those who didn’t wasn’t talent, but it was hard work.
b.The Second Mile is Considered Strange
I. First mile Christians love their neighbors, but second mile Christians love their enemies.
II. First mile Christians bless those who bless them, but 2nd mile Christians bless those who curse them.
III. First mile people do good to those who do good to them, but 2nd mile Christians do good to them that hate you.
IV. First mile people pray for their loved ones, but 2nd mile Christians pray for those that use them and persecute them.
V. First mile people forgive seven times, but 2nd mile Christians forgive 70x7.
It’s time some of us decided to be second mile fathers, husbands, soul-winners, etc.
Let us go beyond the call of duty and have a servants heart to make a difference in our community.
· Jesus is speaking of our perspective on life. He says that we should not be focused on temporal wealth (riches or mammon) but we should be focused on the eternal. He says that if our focus is on spiritual things then our whole body will be full of light, but if our focus is on ungodly or temporal things then our whole body will be full of darkness.
a.Delivered Eyes- The Natural Eyes Are Blind, But the Spiritual Eyes Can See
i. John 9:25- He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
ii. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I am found was BLIND BUT NOW I SEE.
iii. 2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
b. Distance Eyes- The Natural Eyes Are Near-Sighted, But the Spiritual Are Far-Sighted
i. Luk 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. Luk 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
ii. Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: Mat 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
iii. The natural man only sees the temporal, but the spiritual man sees beyond the grave and sees the eternal.
c.Distinguishing Eyes- The Natural Eyes Only See the Natural, But the Spiritual Eyes See the Supernatural
i. 2Ki 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 2Ki 6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 2Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
ii. Psa 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
iii. 1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
iv. Spiritual eyes can see wonderful things from the scriptures, but natural eyes cannot discern spiritual things.
a.Jeremiah Saw- Lam 3:51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.
i. Seeing physical and spiritual ruin on the mission field will affect your heart.
ii. Jeremiah’s view gave him a burden.
b.Jesus Saw- Mat 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Mat 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Mat 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
i. Jesus view caused him to pray.
c.Paul Saw- Act 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
a.The Object of Our Concentration-
i. Mat 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. Mat 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (If your focus is on Christ and the eternal then you will be full of light, but if your focus is on money and covetousness then you will be full of darkness.)
ii. Mat 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. Mat 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
iii. Psa 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
iv. Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
v. Hymn: Turn your eyes upon Jesus look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth shall grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.
b.The Obstacles of Our Concentration
1. Distracted by Difficulties (Problems)
a. Ex. Peter saw the storm instead of the Saviour.
b. Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
c. Mat 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
d. Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
2. Distracted by Duty
a. Luke 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
1. Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Mat 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
2. Sin in your life will keep you from seeing clearly and from having the proper perspective of others.
a. Don’t Look at Wine
i. Pro 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
b. Don’t Look at Women
i. Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
ii. Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
c. Don’t Look at Wickedness
i. Psa 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
· If we want to make a difference then our focus must be on Christ and His word and not on the things of this world.
God compares our hearts to dirt and He compares the word of God to seed.
Ex. The parable of the soils. Jesus spoke of sowing seed (the Word of God) into four different kinds of soils (The heart conditions of man.)
The most important issue is always that of the heart. “The heart of the matter is the heart.”
We are to love God with all of our heart. We are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with our heart for salvation.
God is concerned about having your heart.
God tells the children of Israel that they need to break up the fallow ground.
Fallow ground is untilled, uncultivated, undisturbed, unfruitful ground. It has never been influenced by a plough or planted by a seed of any sort.
I.Classifying Fallow Ground
a.Fallow Ground is Hard and Cannot Receive Seed
i. A Heart that cannot or will not receive God’s Word
b.Fallow Ground Produces Thorns, Thistles, and Briers (Vs.4)
i. A hard heart produces negative results in life.
ii. Bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, fornication, the works of the flesh.
iii. Israel’s sin caused them to produce hemlock (A poisonous plant)
c.Fallow Ground is Unfruitful
i. A hard heart does not produce good fruit.
ii. Ex. The fruit of the spirit, fruit of seeing others saved.
d.Fallow Ground is Dry
i. A Christian with a hard heart has no concern for the lost.
ii. There are no tears of joy or sorrow just indifference.
e.Fallow Ground Doesn’t Move Easily
i. Ex. You ever try to dig a hole with a shovel in super hard ground?
ii. Those with hard hearts don’t go to the altar, or make a move toward Christ in general very easily.
II.Cause of Fallow Ground
i. Soil hardens on its own if it is left to itself.
ii. Pro 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
iii. A child needs to be broken by the rod or he will become fallow ground.
iv. We neglect church, devotions, prayer life, witnessing, and we wonder why our hearts have grown so cold and indifferent.
i. Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
ii. Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
i. Mat 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Mat 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
ii. The ground becomes hard when animals and men step on it and trodden it under foot.
iii. Many people have allowed their hearts to become hard because of difficult circumstances in their lives that they had no control over.
III.Cure of Fallow Ground
a.Pulling- Get the Weeds out of your life.
b.Plowing- Put yourself under hard preaching.
c.Planting-Your heart needs to be planted with the seed of the word of God on a continually basis.
We live in a generation of hard hearted people. Berean needs to be a place where we are tender and soft to the things of God.