Thursday, April 17, 2008
WHY YOU OUGHT TO STREET PREACH
by Steve Streeter
Amos 5:10 "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly."
Acts 8:1-4 especially vs. 4 "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."
By way of introduction let me say that although there are a lot of "opinions" and "traditions of men" which "the brethren" will try to pass off as bible doctrine, I firmly believe that this Book that I hold in my hand (the Authorized Version, 1611 King James Bible) is THE final authority on what is and is not sound doctrine. By the grace of God, I want to show "Why You Ought to Street Preach" and show you that street preaching IS a bible doctrine, albeit one that is ignored for the most part in this, the Laodicean church age.
I firmly believe that much of the apostacy and limp-wristed "christianity" that fills the world today, can be traced back to a refusal to believe what God said by messing with His Book along with a refusal to PREACH the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! What this world needs to hear is good old fashioned, Bible thumping, hell fire preaching, not a bunch of sharing and caring, hoping and coping at "christian" seminars and feminars. God has chosen the foolishness of preaching but genuine preaching is getting hard to find. This world is going to hell at high speed, and it’s high time to pluck some out of the fire (Jude 23) before it’s too late.
Now before I get to the body of this message, I need to show you that this book is filled from cover to cover with street preachers. THE method God uses, both Old Testament and New, is open air PUBLICK preaching of the word of God! From Genesis to Revelation, from Enoch to Elijah, this book is filled with street preaching. In the Bible, you go where the sinners are, and PREACH! You don’t "share" your "feelings" about what "you" think! God said very clearly to... "PREACH the word..."
The common theme throughout is judgment and the second coming, like Enoch’s famous message, preached at the time of Genesis 5, and recorded for us in Jude 14-15...
"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Enoch was a STREET PREACHER!
Enoch lived in a wicked, ungodly day not unlike the days we find ourselves in. He preached a message five thousand years ago that is just as true today as it was then!
Or what about Moses in Exodus 32 preaching...
"Who is on the LORD’S side?"
Or how about Jonah preaching...
"Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
Jonah was a STREET PREACHER!
It’s a shame we can’t see the kind of results today that Jonah saw in his day! It’s a shame that there aren’t more preachers willing to lift up their voice and shout...
"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Hear Isaiah preaching...
"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."
Isaiah was a STREET PREACHER!
Jeremiah was told...
"Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD;" Jeremiah had a hard message to preach, but even when he tried to hold back, he couldn’t... "Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in is name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."
Jeremiah was a STREET PREACHER!
He had to preach the words God gave him... "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood."
Will YOU preach the words God has given YOU?
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Are you guilty of keeping back your sword from drawing blood?
Are you ever tempted to whine about your "tough calling"?
What about Ezekiel’s commission in Ezekiel chapters 2 and 3? God told him ahead of time that they would not listen, but to warn them anyway! I like what God said in Ezekiel 22:30...
"And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none."
God is still seeking "for a man among them" , will you "stand in the gap" ?
You may not get instant results, in fact, you may see very little results, but... "...then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them." They won’t be able to say, "no one ever told me!" What about Elijah’s outdoor preaching in 1Kings 18... "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." Elijah is an excellent example of the biblical use of sarcasm, I love it!
Open-air reproving and rebuking? It should be obvious...
Elijah was a STREET PREACHER!
Next is Ezra in Nehemiah 8:1-9. He had to tell the people...
"...mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law."
There is nothing like a sinner weeping after hearing the word of God preached from this Book and kneeling down right there in front of God and everyone and getting saved.
Do you realize this Book itself street preaches?Proverbs 1 says... "Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?" I’ve preached that message myself. They hated it. But then... "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly."
You realize, of course, you may be the only preacher some people will ever hear. Most folks these days are not going to attend a church where the truth is preached! If they go anywhere, it will be to get their "itching ears" scratched!
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
In Proverbs 8:1-5 it says...
"Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart."
Did you get that?
"...in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors..."
Sounds like anywhere and... "...every where..."
There are a lot of "simple...fools" out there that desperately need to hear the simplicity of the gospel.
Alright, there are lots more, but let’s move to the New Testament. Now, when John the Baptist shows up, the first thing he preaches is... "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
John didn’t mince words when dealing with the religious types either... "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:"
A harsh message? You bet, but one that needs preached! Religious lost people need to hear the truth, and not some watered down skim milk version either.
Face It, John the Baptist was a STREET PREACHER!
When Jesus Christ shows up, the first thing he preaches is... "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He too, had harsh words for the religious types of His day... "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
No sharing and caring here. No hoping and coping either. Just straight, hard PREACHING!
WWJD? "PREACH THE WORD..."
He certainly wouldn’t have any use for cute little fish emblems, little gold crosses and WWJD bracelets. My Bible says that... "...it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
Realize of course, it is those same religious types who will cause most of the problems you will encounter in street preaching, and these same people, who often claim to be "christians" who will do everything they can to shut you up, and shut down the preaching of the word! You must do all you can to obey Romans 13:1... "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."
But you’d better realize that at some point you will be required to take a stand like the disciples in Acts 5:29... "...We ought to obey God rather than men."
If you won’t take advantage of the freedoms you now have, you can rest assured you will not have the backbone to do the job when the "powers that be" try to stop you! You realize, of course, our Lord Jesus Christ did most of His preaching outdoors.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest preacher ever, was a STREET PREACHER!
He preached at the beach in Matthew 13, and in Matthew 10 He told the disciples... "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
How much housetop preaching have you heard lately? How many preachers ready to die on the firing line? Not many in Laodicean America!
Up until this point, God has been dealing with the Jew for the most part, only singling out the occasional Gentile, but when we get to the book of Acts that slowly begins to change. In the book of Acts, chapter 8:1, the church comes under "a great persecution" and pick it up in Acts 8:3-4... "As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went
every where preaching the word."
No, they didn’t hide out in their Y2K bunkers ... MEN and WOMEN... "went every where preaching the word."
Will it take "a great persecution" before you will be willing to go... "every where preaching the word."?
No, I do not advocate women preaching in the pulpit, the word of God is VERY clear about that. However, it is just as clear that ALL of us have a responsibility to do our part to fulfil the great commission. This includes men and women, boys and girls. It doesn’t matter what your age or gender, just open your mouth for the Lord Jesus Christ and the lost and backslidden world will shout "quite preachin’ at me."
"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
God uses the foolishness of PREACHING, not sharing and caring, hoping and coping!
Continuing in Acts 8, consider Philip in verse 5... "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them."
Philip was a STREET PREACHER!
Next up, Peter and John in Acts 8:25... "And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans."
Peter and John were STREET PREACHERS!
In Acts 8:35, Philip deals with the Ethiopian eunuch... "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." What does he do immediately after that? "...the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea." Notice, wherever the Spirit of the Lord took Philip
"...he preached in all the cities..." If YOU are led by "the Spirit of the Lord" YOU ought to preach "in all the cities" AMEN?
Now when Paul gets ahold of things, look out. Acts 17:16-17... "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the
market daily with them that met with him." Paul "disputed" with them! Notice, "in the synagogue...and in the market" What was he doing? Acts 17:18... "...he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection."
Paul was a STREET PREACHER!
Paul told them in no uncertain terms that God... "...now commandeth all men every where to repent:" Paul had a real burden for the Jews, hazarding his life to preach to them in the synagogues, but as his calling was to the Gentiles, he went where they were, out in the streets.
In Acts 20:20 we read... "And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have
shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house," Street preaching and visitation in one verse!
Publick open air street preaching of the word of God!
One more example?
How about Apollos, who was, according to Acts 18:24... "an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus." What did he do when he got there? Verse 28... "For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ."
Publickly? You mean open-air STREET PREACHING?
THE main method used in the Bible, is the same one that is almost completely ignored by today’s "christians"...
In Acts 28:28 Paul says... "Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." But only if someone will get out there and...
"Preach the word..." Paul gives the famous charge in 2Timothy 4:1-5... "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
Of course you should realize that even after you’re gone, Moses and Elijah will be street preaching in the tribulation (Rev.11), not to mention the angel preaching the everlasting gospel (Rev.14), so if you haven’t figured it out by now, if you’re going to line up with the preachers in this Book, you’ll have to be a street preacher first and foremost. In this book, you go where the sinners are, and tell them...
Turn or Burn,
Repent or Perish
Heaven or Hell
Prepare to meet thy God!
Now for the who, what, where and why of streetpreaching:
I. The Cause of God Defines It
(Eph. 3:1;8) "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles," "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"
There is a cause; (1Sam. 17:29 "...Is there not a cause?") the question is, where are the MEN these days?
Why is it that a man will make a complete fool of himself over the things of this world, but will not take a stand for Jesus Christ? Why do men refuse to take the spiritual leadership of the home? We are becoming a matriarchal, effeminate society. You can blame it on a lack of character or just plain laziness, but the truth is, if a man will not street preach he is either:
a) Ashamed; in spite of Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26; Ro. 1:16; 9:33; 10:11; Php. 1:20; 2Tim. 1:8-12; 1Jn. 2:28 and others, or...
b) Afraid; in spite of Josh. 1:9; Lk. 12:24; Ro. 8:15; Php. 1:20; 2Tim. 1:7; Heb. 13:6 and so forth.
The problem is, fear of man instead of fear of God!
Proverbs 29:25... "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe."
Who are you afraid of?
II. The Character of God Desires It
(1Co.1:21) "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
God is not a Calvinist, there is no such thing as limited atonement, "The Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
It is God’s desire that everyone hear the gospel, and the facts are, all too often they will not come to a church (one that preaches the truth) in order to hear it! Besides...
"...it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" Right?
And nothing looks more foolish to a lost man than streetpreaching, right? Then doesn’t it follow that God would be pleased to see you out there making a fool of yourself in the eyes of this world?
Who are you afraid of?
III. The Command of God Directs It
(Mk. 16:15) "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Okay, tell me, how are you going to "go ye into all the world" and "preach the gospel" if you won’t preach outside the doors of the church? Paul said... "...the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it."
But... "...how shall they hear without a preacher?"
You have a commission just like all the preachers before you. Peter said in Acts 10:42, "And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead."
You say you are not called to preach?
I doubt that every one of those in Acts 8:3-4 felt "called to preach". Proverbs 11:30b "...he that winneth souls is wise" and as you deal with lost people (and many saved backsliders) you’ll very soon be told, "quit preachin’ at me!" To which I simply reply... "...We ought to obey God rather than men"
Who are you afraid of?
IV. The Charge of God Demands It
(2Tim. 4:1-2) "I charge thee therefore therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
You will be judged someday on your obedience to the charge you were given. The charge here is very clear. "Preach the word", not only in church and not only when it’s convenient, but be "instant in season, out of season." Remember Acts 8? "they...went every where preaching the word." Paul said in 1Co. 9:16... "...yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" Remember what Jeremiah said back in chapter Jer. 20:9... "But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." You shouldn’t be able to keep your mouth shut! Unless your ashamed!
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Or afraid! "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Who are you afraid of?
Now, what are you going to do about it?
The cause of God defines it...
will you take up the cause?
The character of God desires it...
will you let them slip away?
The command of God directs it...
will you follow?
The charge of God demands it...
will you obey?
God says His word...
"...shall not return unto me void",
"...how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Amos 5:10 says... "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly."
That’s still just as true today! Paul said, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;"
How are you going to be a "partaker of the afflictions of the gospel" in this day and age, as long as you choose to sit back in air conditioned comfort on padded pews instead of getting out there on the front lines?
"Keep on the Firing Line"
If you’re in the battle for the Lord and right, Keep on the firing
line, If you win the victory, brother, you must fight, Keep on the firing line;
There are many dangers which we all must face, If we die still fighting it is no disgrace, COWARDS IN THE SERVICE SHOULD NOT HAVE A PLACE, Keep on the firing line.
Will you be out there on the firing line?
Or are you a coward?
"What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Who are you afraid of?