Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 27, 1967

"Watch Ye"

John Bullock

In Paul's first epistle to the church at Corinth, we read in I Cor. 16:13, these words: "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." This verse contains four different commands, but we shall examine only the first statement - "Watch ye." This means according to Thayer, to give attention to, to be cautious, to be on guard, to be wide awake. We realize there are many reasons why a child of God should be wide awake and watchful, but we shall concern ourselves mostly in this article with only one thought which relates to the command - "Watch ye," and that is - lest one should become lukewarm.

Jesus said to a lukewarm church, "I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev.3:16). This is the action of the Lord toward all such members who fall into the same category. One terrible thought in relation to this church to which Jesus directed His remarks, it was ignorant and unaware of its spiritual status, for Jesus said in the 17th verse, "...And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." These people were attending the services, they were going through the different acts of worship, but they were only playing church. Perhaps they thought they were in fellowship with God just because they were attending worship, but Christ condemned them. The same holds true in the church today, for many measure faithfulness to the Lord of glory by regularity in attendance. When someone is heard to inquire about the faithfulness of a person, here is the reply, "He is really faithful and strong, for he is here every time the doors are opened." Attendance is essential to the salvation of any child of God, but let's not base our redemption on this one thing alone, for many members attend worship regularly, who can't give as they should, they never do one bit of work, and many of them have great potentialities but will not develop their talents. Others in this group of lukewarm people use what talents they have in their secular work, but refuse to use them in the greatest work of all - the Lord's work, and a LARGE SEGMENT of the church stands guilty in this way.

If all the sleeping folk in the church would come to life, become "fervent in spirit" (Rom. 12:11), be God's "peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14), and go about serving God with "fear and trembling" (Phil.2:12), many souls would be saved, who otherwise will not be. It is possible for a whole church at Laodicea, to be carried away by unreasoning elation, and to make inordinate claims for itself, that it is in fellowship with God just because it is "keeping house" in a church building. No member has become lukewarm by reason of any inadequacy of instructions in the New Testament, because it thoroughly furnishes us unto every good work" (II Tim. 3:17), therefore, God cannot be blamed if men are lost, because His way is simple.

If members who are neither cold nor hot, but who are lukewarm, would appropriate and observe Paul's words "Watch ye," there would be a great spiritual awakening among God's children, for each one would watch his time, his talents, his words, and his deeds, which would result in more lost souls hearing the gospel, more sick people being visited, more fatherless and widows being relieved in their afflictions, and truly God's name would be exalted and glorified like it should be. Members who are lukewarm are nauseating to the Lord, the taste of them is repulsive to Him, why? because in this dead and sleepy condition, these not only hinder their own spiritual progress, mar their own usefulness, but they imperil their own souls, and the souls of others. They take away from the Lord's church the beauty and luster it needs in order to shine; they do not practice what they preach, they thwart and frustrate God's grace, for they only give lip service to the King of all Kings — Jesus our Saviour. God help us all to heed the instructions — "WATCH YE."