Newsletter and Coming Events – April 2017

 
  • MIKE WITNESSES ON CASTRO ST. MIKE WITNESSES ON CASTRO ST.
  • JACOB WITNESSES IN BERKELEY. JACOB WITNESSES IN BERKELEY.
  • JACOB WITNESSES TO MAN IN BERKELEY. JACOB WITNESSES TO MAN IN BERKELEY.
  • CAL WITNESSES TO WOMAN IN BERKELEY. CAL WITNESSES TO WOMAN IN BERKELEY.
  • DANIEL WITNESSES AT 5TH AND MARKET. DANIEL WITNESSES AT 5TH AND MARKET.
  • TOM WITNESSES TO PROTESTER AT ANTI-TRUMP WOMEN'S MARCH. TOM WITNESSES TO PROTESTER AT ANTI-TRUMP WOMEN'S MARCH.
  • JACOB PREACHES DURING MARCH FOR LIFE AT 5TH AND MARKET. JACOB PREACHES DURING MARCH FOR LIFE AT 5TH AND MARKET.
  • JACOB WITNESSES AT 5TH AND MARKET. JACOB WITNESSES AT 5TH AND MARKET.
     

Coming Events

Friday March 31, April 7, 14 and 28 5 – 8 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods.

Sat. April 1 and 15 Fifth St. and Market SF 12 PM – 4 PM

Sat. April 8  Berkeley Outreach (Shattuck St. near Center) 12:30 – 4:30 PM

LESSONS ON PREACHING

Anti-abortion group shows film on giant screen at Powell and Market during March for Life half a block from our outreach.

Anti-abortion group shows film on giant screen at Powell and Market during March for Life half a block from our outreach.

Dear Christian friends,

This is the seventh of an eight part teaching series on New Testament preaching from the book of Acts. My goal is to try to look at the Bible without any preconceived ideas. I learned a lot from this study, and I hope you did too.

The first thing that stands out is the extent to which New Testament preachers relied on Messianic prophesies from the Old Testament that were fulfilled by Jesus. In most cases, these messages were directed to a Jewish audience. But Paul also referred to Messianic prophesies when speaking with Agrippa, an Edomite familiar with Jewish matters, and Felix, a Roman less familiar with them. He told them, “I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen” Acts 26.

Another common theme was Christ’s suffering and resurrection. Peter, Stephen and Paul all spoke about it. Mentioning the resurrection of Jesus would be particularly powerful before a Jewish audience. It was well known that Jesus’ body was missing, and there was no good alternative explanation for what happened. Also, the Pharisees and Sadducees argued about whether the dead are resurrected. The statement that Jesus was resurrected would seem strange to the Gentile audience in Athens, but Paul nonetheless told them about it.

Peter, Stephen, and later Paul confronted their audience with specific sins. They all told the Jews that they had crucified the Messiah. Paul spoke with Gentiles about the sin of idolatry.

Many of the preaching situations were in response to a miracle—tongues at Pentecost, healing a lame man in Jerusalem and healing a crippled man at Lystra. Paul survived a shipwreck and being bitten by a poisonous snake. He healed people at Malta.

We are not given a lot of information about how to witness to a Gentile audience. The main example is Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17). Paul used an inscription from a Greek temple and quotes from two Greek poets to relate to his audience. His message was quite simple. He started with the concept that one God made all things, and that He does not dwell in temples. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men every where to repent. Because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained, whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he raised him from the dead.” Paul speaks of God’s judgment, the need for repentance, and the resurrection of Jesus as evidence that He is the One we must trust for salvation. In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabus told the Gentile crowd at Lystra not to worship them as gods, but that there was one true God who made all things, and left a witness in doing good, and bringing rain. Again, the message was very simple.

Later we have Paul’s witness before Felix and Festus, both Roman governors somewhat acquainted with Jewish law. Paul spoke with Felix about “righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment.” This caused the corrupt ruler to be afraid, but he didn’t repent. When Paul spoke with Festus about Christ’s resurrection, he thought he was crazy: “much learning has made you mad.” Paul also gave his testimony several times, how he had opposed the gospel and persecuted Christians before Jesus appeared to him.

Finally, we have Paul’s witness to the workers on the ship that wrecked and the natives on Malta. He used supernatural gifts—the word of knowledge and gift of healing—to persuade them that the God he worships is the true God. However, we don’t know what he said to these people.

The Gentile audiences we preach to today have more Biblical knowledge than did the people of Athens or Lystra. Today, some people know the Bible well, while others know very little about it. Also, many people are confused by false information about Christianity.

All the New Testament preachers were well aware of their audience, what they knew about the Bible, and the sins they needed to be confronted with (killing the Messiah, lack of self-control, idolatry), and tailored their message to the people they were talking to. They tried to relate to their audience, often using things they were familiar with. They spoke in a dignified manner about sin and repentance. There was no hint of pride or self-righteousness in their preaching. At the same time, they were not ashamed of the gospel. They boldly preached God’s word, even when they risked death and imprisonment.

On the Streets

Our first outreach of 2017, on Fri. January 6, was on Castro Street. In the past, we have had some unpleasant confrontations with militant homosexuals in this neighborhood which led to problems getting permits in other parts of the city. For the past few years, we have been more “low key,” not using signs or preaching in this area. We pass out tracts and talk with people. Things have been much more peaceful, and we have had some good conversations. Cal witnessed to Owels, Oden, “Wookie,” and “Empty,” all homeless men. (Many street people use made-up names.) “Empty” is a transsexual. He also witnessed to Alex, a homosexual Muslim, whom he saw the last time we witnessed in the Castro district in April. Dave witnessed to Daniel, a homosexual Episcopal pastor. Daniel asked him “Why don’t you help the homeless instead of harassing gays?” Dave responded, “How many homeless would be enough?” Daniel was silenced. I witnessed to Andres and Caleb, who attend Mission High School. I shared about the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus.

The next day, we witnessed at Fisherman’s Wharf. Rain had been forecast for the entire day. We put up our canopies, but had virtually no rain all afternoon. Tim Moon played music. Cal witnessed to a Muslim couple who said they were glad we were there, sharing our belief in God. Mike witnessed to another Muslim couple from Saudi Arabia who were taking pictures of Tim. He told them that only the blood of Jesus can take away our sins. They took a gospel of John and a Muslim tract.

On Fri. Jan. 13, we witnessed at Powell and Market. Jacob witnessed to Tom, who is an existentialist who thinks nothing is good or bad. He and Sean also witnessed to Philip, 30, who thinks he is Jesus Christ! He said he needed to come to earth once again, this time with a sinful nature, in order to really experience being human! I witnessed to Arye, 20, a non-religious Jew from Israel. I spoke about the Messianic prophesies Jesus fulfilled.

The next day, we witnessed in Berkeley. Jacob witnessed to Francion, a volunteer at a Socialist anti-Trump table near us. He also witnessed to Angelica, who said she was a “born again Catholic Jehovah’s Witness.” He quickly convinced her with scriptures that Jesus is God, explained the gospel and gave her a Bible. Dave and Jacob witnessed to Akbar, 19, who was raised in a Baptist Church but wasn’t born again. However, he was very open and thanked them for sharing with him. Dave witnessed to Steve, an anti-Trump protester who was raised in a Conservative Christian home in Atlanta. Dave also witnessed to Basio, a Muslim who was quite receptive. Cal witnessed to Dibri and Emily, both Sikhs.

On Sat. January 21, we witnessed at 5th and Market. Adam Hood and seven others from the Love-San Francisco 24/7 Outreach joined us. It was the annual March for Life, with about 100,000 pro-life people marching down Market Street. One group set up a giant screen nearby showing an anti-abortion movie that also clearly and effectively presented the gospel. Later in the day, a few thousand protesters who were part of an anti-Trump Women’s March passed by.

Jacob and Ben have been witnessing to Matt, a Jew from an atheist family. He has attended church and Bible study with them several times. They had dinner together after the outreach. He is very convicted and is counting the cost of following Jesus. Pray that he will be saved soon.

Ministry Needs

Thank you again for your prayers and financial support for our ministry. As we prepare for our summer outreaches, I noticed our tract supply is getting low. I estimate it will cost about $2000 to print more tracts. I appreciate whatever you can do to help with this need.

This winter we have had a lot more rain than usual. We have found that Powell and Market is the best location for Friday nights when rain is forecast. On rainy nights, there are a lot more people there than at other places in the city.

So far, we have not needed to change any Saturday locations. The rain has not lasted very long and we set up canopies to protect our sound equipment.

A lot of Christians will not witness in the rain. Then again, a lot of Christians won’t witness on warm, sunny days. When I think about cancelling an outreach, I remember Eccl. 11:4: “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”

I hope many of you will join us for an outreach this next month.

Yours in His love,

Larry Rosenbaum

 

 

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