“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 33:8-9)
Evangelism is one of the primary missions of the Church. We are each called to be watchmen, to sound the warning to the lost, to share the gospel with them. But many of us don’t really see the necessity or the importance of evangelism. Some of us think that we are poor speakers, or we claim “It’s not my gift.” or “It’s not my ministry.” Or maybe we feel that the alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, homosexuals and perverts deserve the life they lead and are not worthy of our efforts. But the fact is, every Christian is commissioned to preach the gospel, in different ways to different people at different times.
In this passage in Ezekiel we see the urgency for spreading the gospel to everyone. And that urgency has to do with the consequences that befall the people we neglect or who we reject: the torments of Hell for all eternity. A lot of people, even many who call themselves Christian do not like to think about Hell. Some may even think “Hell! Get real! That’s so medieval! There’s no such thing. Hell is only a story, a fairy tale meant to frighten kids so they will mind their manners and obey their parents.” Or some might say as many Christians do “God is so forgiving that He would never send anyone to Hell.”
This in fact is quite common in our culture. Everyone likes to think that their loved ones are all in heaven. This is especially true when the loved one is a child or is someone who has died tragically in a car accident or terrorist bombing or at the hands of a psychopathic killer. Naturally we like to think that the loved one, the innocent person has gone to heaven simply because of the violent, unexpected and tragic way they died. But the truth is we just do not know. It may comfort help us go on, but we just do not know and the alternative is really very scary and disheartening. No one knows what is in store for them. Who knows that maybe the person you greet this afternoon at the supermarket or in the restaurant might not be plunged into Hell before tomorrow morning. It is vital that we carry out the great commission and bring the gospel to the lost before it is too late