Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Rather early in the Scripture, when God confronts Cain about his sin of murder, Cain asks God if he is his brother's keeper. God's answer is, put simply, "Yes."
For Saint Andrew's Day, November 30, we traditionally read Ezekiel 3:16-21. Here Ezekiel is told that he is a watchman for Israel. If he wants to have a clear conscience before God, he must tell the people the truth. And the truth about sin and righteousness really stings sometimes.
The Scripture warns us about sin. We need to be willing to bring those warnings to our world. In the Bible sin is a terrible thing. It infects our world, ultimately bringing death and destruction. What other deadly conditions would we cover over as if they didn't exist? It is right to warn people about sin. And while we're at it, we warn ourselves and receive those warnings from others. Those warnings may just save our lives.
What if we warn people about the consequences of sin and they pay no attention? God tells Ezekiel that he is not going to be held responsible for the disobedience of the people he warns. Ezekiel's conscience can be clear, but the results of sin will still remain.
In the New Testament, Christians are identified as heralds of God's truth. We bring God's Word to our neighbors, lovingly and clearly, urging them to life, not to death. And, like Ezekiel, we are our brothers' keepers. We bring warnings as well as encouragement that, in Christ, sin and death have been taken care of. The goal of all our ministry is to direct our world into the loving hands of Jesus, who has given himself into death on our behalf, so we might have life in him.
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