As a child, I remember watching movies with my parents, often waiting for the moment my dad would call out some part that made no sense to him. “Why would that person really do that?” or “There’s no way that person could still be alive after falling that far!” and other like phrases were regularly interjected into the storyline courtesy of my dad’s critical mind. His comments were not very helpful and definitely became a distraction throughout our family film nights. A loving, but slightly irritated “Shhh…” was a common addition at the end of each remark.
When viewing a movie, it’s hopefully obvious to most that the scenes in the script often times don’t happen in real life. That, of course, is the point of many story lines. But to my dad it was almost like a game to see if he could catch things that didn’t make sense. In reality, does it actually matter in a fictional story if a person really makes an unrealistic choice to further the plot line? To my dad it sure did, however to most people, probably not. And although I believe movies can be very powerful vehicles for teaching false beliefs, for a writer to have a character make a few illogical decisions that add a little extra drama or to move the story line along is nothing more than what happens in a fictional story written by men.
I can’t help but wonder if there are those within the church who view any in the body who are willing to point out the error running rampant throughout today’s professing Christianity the same way. I wonder if many see those moved to lovingly warn and teach the truth of God’s Word as distractions from the unfolding story of today’s ecumenical enigma calling itself Christianity? Too often, I believe those willing to thoughtfully and biblically point out the dangers coming into the church are thought of somewhat like the peanut gallery, like movie critics talking about things that don’t quite matter. But is that really the case? There’s literally a plot line penned by the enemy for this dark and dying world and sadly many Christians are playing a part in the story.
The enemy of our souls desires to see the entire world reject the True and Living God, however those who are born again are kept by the power of God and are sealed by the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing their entrance into the Kingdom of God. (2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5,Ephesians 1:14, 1 Peter 1:5) So what is an enemy to do with those who he cannot keep from eternal life? The answer is simple- make them as ineffective as possible. Confusion and subterfuge are both starring roles in his script.
One of Satan’s many seductive strategies in keeping saints sedentary is by promoting a storyline of Scripture synthesized with his own diabolical doctrines. The title might be something like “New and Improved Christianity-Joining Hands with the World”. Thankfully, some within the body of Christ do see the last days plan for an integrated and seductive move to ecumenism and are greatly saddened to watch some who are even part of the true body of Christ seeking after the enemy’s plot line. For those who have become seduced by Satan’s synthesized storyline, it’s as if those warning the saints are simply viewed as antagonists interrupting their comfortable entertainment. May we instead go back to the Word, diligently seeking the truth about the direction of the world and the church.
When a person’s truly been born again by the Spirit of God, passing from death to life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a new “story” is brought to light, one revealing a very real contrast between the True and Living God and the god of this world. In the script revealed in Scripture, one role that repeatedly enters the scene is the watchman, willing to warn when danger approaches. (Psalm 127:1, Isaiah 21:6, Ezekiel 3:17, Ezekiel 33:2,6,7) The watchman should not be “cast” by only a select few. In fact, the heart of a watchman should at some degree be within every believer. After all, same Spirit of the Lord upon the watchmen of the Old Testament is the same Holy Spirit indwelling all New Testament saints. The Spirit Himself is the Spirit of Truth, and Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit without measure, often warned those around Him, especially those claiming to be the religious rulers.
Rather than being viewed as perhaps an annoying critic, always pointing out incidentals and nitpicking the gnats that cause little to no harm, the role of warning the flock is one that is central throughout Scripture. To love the truth of God’s Word means we are going to hate evil, lovingly exposing the doctrines and practices that are going to cause the body to remain anemic, unable to grow and be strong in the Lord. In Ephesians 5, the Holy Spirit through Paul writes, “[H]ave no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph. 5:11. Again in Colossians 1 it says, “[Jesus] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:28. May we never allow the spirit of the age, the prince of the power of the air, to dissuade us from the high calling we have in Christ Jesus.
Although we all have different roles within the body of Christ, we are all called to grow in every area. Sure, some may have the gift of helps, but we are all called to be helpful. Some are given the gift of evangelism, however we are all called to share the good news of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Do we not even train our children to recognize the signs of danger? Why? So we can teach them to be nitpicky and critical of everything around them? No. We teach them to understand the signs so they remain safe and healthy and can continue growing with a mind that can think critically, as well as carefully and discerningly navigate the world around them. We should always desire to allow the Holy Spirit to teach them how to utilize God’s Word, the Bible, as their compass, no matter where they go. To do otherwise is really to hate a child, and so it is within the body of Christ.
Sometimes a script’s blunders and illogical actions may very well detract from a movie’s overall enjoyment level, however in the end the actions and characters are simply penned by writers. And although we must be on guard against many of today’s movie messages, regardless of what happens to the characters themselves, they are simply that, characters in a movie. Even if someone pretends to get shot and die, that actor is not really dead. At the end of the day, he will go home and live his life. Here lies the difference between simply critiquing a movie and being a loving watchman in the Spirit! In real life, men have eternal souls. We will all live forever! Eternity truly is not a fictional story written by some man, rather the truth revealed to every heart and written by the God who created the universe in six short days some 6,000 years ago. How important is it that we be sure to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth both to those within and without the body of Christ? I would argue it is vitally important! It’s not a matter of whether or not mankind will remain forever, but where we will all spend eternity that is at stake.
There is nothing critical or nitpicky in lovingly warning and teaching those around us according to the whole counsel of God. Having a watchman’s heart is crucial especially in the confusing times in which we live. May we all be willing to speak the truth in love, know our redemption draws near, knowing that this life is much more than a movie. May we never forget that eternity is the destiny of all who step onto this world’s stage. “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.” Acts 20:24