The Smartest Man in the Room
On January 1, 404 A.D, a monk by the name of Telemachus, traveled to Rome in order to encourage the churches in Rome. When he arrived he heard about the Gladiator fights in the Colosseum. Having never witnessed such things, Telemachus went to the coliseum. He was shocked by the barbarism, and more so by the reaction of the crowds cheering on the gladiators, screaming with glee as each vanquished fighter was killed. Heartbroken, Telemachus leaped onto the floor of the Coliseum and ran to stand between two of the fighters; pleading with them that they would stop the bloodshed. The crowd and the gladiators were so enraged by his meddling in their “games”, Telemachus was slain on the spot. His body was then pelted with stones hurled by the audience.
History records that Telemachus’ death wasn’t in vain. Witnessing the murder of this holy man sent shockwaves through the auditorium. Stunned silence gripped the stadium as men left one by one, in silence. God had used the zeal and courage of one man to change the course of history. The Romans abandoned their gladiator games from that day forward. (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)
Telemachus did not flow with the culture, but threw himself across the path of the culture and in this instance, turned the tide of the culture. Like Telemachus and like Pastor Wang Yi, of the Early Rain Church in China, we must be once again willing to stand in the path of the culture, or as Ezekiel said, to stand in the gap for the nation. We must run to the wall and interrupt the world’s hilarious merrymaking to sound the alarm – Judgment is coming! The storm clouds of God’s wrath are billowing on the horizon. Wake up! Wake up!
I am praying that the spirit of John the Baptist will again come roaring out of the wilderness. I am praying that the lament of Jeremiah will sound across the land. I am praying that the spirit of Noah will invade the church to warn of impending destruction, and we must not again be bullied into silence. Confession and repentance is the doorway to the Ark and there is no other way. There is no election that can save our nation. There is no President who can be our Savior. There is no judgment by the Supreme Court that can turn the tide of God’s wrath. Men may laugh and mock, they may arrest and imprison, they may kill us, they may throw the watchman from the wall — but so what? The warning must be sounded or the blood of millions will be on our hands. We must trust in the power of the Word of God; in the ability of the Holy Spirit to penetrate the sin hardened hearts of the people of America.
The word of the Lord came to me:“Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. (Ezekiel 33:1-9 ESV)
The Watchman is not in his place to bring an appealing or an affirming message. The Watchman is on the wall only to warn of impending danger. The culture hates it, but the church is not called to affirm perversion or immorality. The church is called to warn men of the danger that they face because of their sin. We are not called to go with the flow, to get in step with the culture. We are called to throw ourselves onto the floor of the arena and cry,
In an effort to be the church with a more appealing message we have become a church with no message. In soothing tones we have assured sinners that God loves them just like they are, but have neglected to instruct them that God will not leave them just like they are. Instead, He will dispatch the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to cleanse and transform, to change and deliver, to purify and sanctify to fulfill His will in us that we would be conformed to the image of his Son.
In China (and other places) they have banned the Bible. In America, we have sanitized the Bible. We have removed any and all words that might be found offensive to sinners. Under the weak hand of modern theologians the Bible in America has become the first transgender, polyamorous, sexually liberated holy book in history. The Bible has been edited and rewritten as a non-confrontational catalogue of moral fluidity. Instead of urging men to look into the mirror that is the Word of God that they might be changed into the image of Christ, we have peered into the wretched, tortured souls of men to reshape the revelation of God’s Holy Self into a chronicle of the self-destruction of humanity.
I am praying that God will raise up a new generation of Watchmen after the spirit of Jeremiah and Ezekiel; Watchmen who possess spirits that are alive to the voice of God who will not go the way of their peers, but who will stand apart, who will stand alone, and who will stand in the gap for the nation that God might not destroy it. Men laughed at Noah as he labored to build the ark, preaching all the while that judgment was coming. God had not only commanded Noah to build this boat upon which his family and the animal kingdom would be delivered, He commanded Noah to warn the people that sudden destruction would befall them because of their sin. They laughed, they mocked — they called him a fool. But in one hour the biggest fool on the earth because the smartest guy in the room.