I saw him after his first car accident, and needless to say, Chris had lost all his bravado, his confidence, and his hutzpah, as they say. He was sorrowful, a little scared, and even mildly shocked at his father’s response to his first vehicle wreck!
Oh the lengths our parents went to, and we go to, in order to help those we love avoid the pain and suffering of said mistakes made in the past.
Learn from our mistakes and your life will go so much easier!
And that’s true!
My father took great pains to share just enough detail about his shenanigans in high school and college in order to save me from his less than pleasant experiences.
The one that stuck in my mind was the story of the time he let some buddies ride with him that brought fireworks along for the drive. Now these knuckleheads actually thought it was a good idea to light them off, while dad was driving the car!
Now we all know I do not pretend to be an intellectual par-excel lance, but that seemed like a good rule to follow…never make friends with idiots that will light fireworks in your car while you’re driving!
Check that box. Well needless to say, dad gave me so much good advice, my high school and college days were relatively smooth, and I have virtually no regrets about my youth!
So as I stood there looking at Chris’s downcast countenance, I knew he was experiencing real regret, because he knew, he deserved Dad’s ire!
His father, Brian, is one of the best fathers I have ever known, and Chris was an only child, so he got everything he needed in the way of advice, coaching, counseling, preparation, and wisdom.
No matter what Chris was faced with he had the fatherly education necessary to be successful and Chris almost always was.
We told the girls in church all the time, to keep an eye on that kid, he is gonna be successful, faithful, and a great provider for a smart girl one day!
And he already was! He got a great job a Publix and worked his way up immediately as a young teenager.
He saved his money and had a nice car, and later a beautiful motorcycle he paid for with cash! He dressed great, went to church every week, participated in youth group all the time, and got great grades at school!
As Dick Vitale would say, he was a PTP and prime time player! IN THE GOOD SENSE OF PLAYER OF COURSE!
So with all that prep, you never expected him to do something as foolish as totaling his car, because he was driving too fast on a country road and lost control.
And all the warnings that his dad gave him came out that night when Chris called him to the crash site, and needless to say, Brian just laid in to him, like any dad would.
Thank God, all that was really damaged was the car, and Chris’s pride; but this is why our parents warn us and we in turn warn our children: Be careful what you do, who you affiliate with, and cutting corners. It’s really dangerous out there…learn from my mistakes.
After all, we never want to make the mistakes that we can never come back from.
Today in our Old Testament lesson Yahweh is directing Ezekiel to change his focus on speaking against the nations, to now warning the wicked to turn from their ways.
Our almighty Father had watched his errant children run roughshod over his kingdom for far too long and now they were in danger of losing so much more than their security, their loved ones, or even their homes.
Now they were in danger of losing their eternal life!
In the church today…this is the greatest concern for many, if not all of our beloved congregations in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod nationwide, and beyond.
We see that people are leaving the church and not coming back.
We see this in many mainline denominational churches; the hay day of the churches turning into mega churches is declining and optimism about its return is low.
Christians all over the World and here in America are turning from the Word of God and to progressive cultural trends as the solution; and that seems to make it even worse.
If were not gonna focus on the Word of God, why should anyone come at all? After all that’s what were supposed to give this World!
And this warning from Ezekiel should shame any pastor in any denomination that minimizes God’s teaching, because if the people lose their faith because we don’t teach it to them, indeed their will be blood on their hands.
But what do we do, about the ones that are leaving because they are not interested?
What can we say to those who feel that the way of our “Lord is not fair, but arbitrary and unpredictable?” (LSB Pg. 1339, Note on 18:25.)
Well we can be truthful with them and say, the only way that is fair is God’s Way. The only way that is not fickle is the consistency of our Lord! The only way that saves is our Creator’s way!
And verses 14 through 16 help us to warn them and give them salvation through God’s sure and certain way.
We learn from these verses that the wicked can be saved if they turn from their sin, do what is just and right, restore collateral on a loan, return what was taken by violent robbery, and walk in the statutes of life thereby not doing injustice…EVER!
Now it is a smidgen confusing because who wants to commit violent robbery? Or who wants to continue in wanton breaking of God’ Statutes of life? Who wants to be a social INJUSTICE warrior? These all seem easy enough to turn from, if we ever did it at all! Mission accomplished, were all good, right Lord?
Well maybe not! How are we doing at turning from all our sins? Do we always do what is just and right? Have we really restored the collateral on loans we have made?
I know I haven’t and probably never would, unless the Lord saw fit to adjust my attitude, change my heart, and truly amend my ways.
But how? Well, it’s the number one thing I live for, and the only thing worth having faith in with-out fear of it failing me! Never has and never will.
As I looked over these verses it occurred to me, it’s gonna be tough, if not impossible for God’s wicked children to heed these warnings from their Heavenly Father to “Watch Out” lest they be lost forever.
And I am not so sure it isn’t true for people today that have fallen prey to their unrepentant sinful inclinations.
Whether it’s abusing their bodies in ways that deny their virgin state as the highest esteem, or ruining and neglecting goods entrusted to them by laziness, idleness and even hate, or participation in the common occurrences of false testimony against their neighbor, or fallaciously dragging people to court to forcibly get something from their “friends”, or shrugging off of resistance to evil by defending their neighbor so no bodily harm or hurt should ever happen to them, or even willful disobedience in heart, mind, and body towards those righteously in authority over them; such unrepentant sins and many others flow as sensible and reasonable these days.
If you know them warn them, if you are them…WATCH OUT, lest you fall forever.
And tell them The Way.
For The Way that leads to redemption, is through the only one who can do all this perfectly and has again, and again, and again.
The way the truth and the life, is Jesus, the only one to ever walk on the Earth that did not fail and in whom we can have faith that he never will.
Jesus walked in the statutes of life like no one could. Because He simply could not fail, could not sin, and could not make a mistake.
Jesus, our Godman, gives us assurance today, that because he perfectly carried out the perfect fulfillment of our redemption, by being the perfect sacrifice for all our sins, now we have the perfect God to Watch Out for till He comes to get us again.
Watching Out, through His perfect Holy Word, His perfect Holy Worship, His Perfect Body and Blood, and His Perfect Forgiveness which redeems all our imperfections forever.
Watch Out, isn’t a warning, it’s a pledge and a promise that we will see our God Man again in the eternal flesh and go home to where He will WATCH OUT for us, forever.