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SOS Monthly Newsletter - February 2007
Street Preaching in the Bible
Dear Christian friends,
In Bible times life was much simpler than it is today. Communication of ideas and information was found in a limited scope. In today’s world things are much different. From the written page to the internet, the transfer of information is radically different.
Why then should you consider or emphasize the description of PREACHING found with SCRIPTURE? Should there be STREET or PUBLIC PREACHING today? The most obvious answer, as we will fully document, is God's instruction within SCRIPTURE. In this paper we will show the weakness found in contemporary approaches vs. the strength and power found in God's way.
The common understanding of the word "PREACH" is assigned to a select few: Pastors, Evangelists, etc. Additionally, the idea of "PREACHING" within the believer's understanding has been re-defined as witnessing, which for all practical purposes has eliminated the practice as found in Scripture. These two points work together to quench those who read and would follow the men in the Bible, leaving no example to follow. The high tech world of books, radio, and TV has become the main venue for getting the Word out. While looking like the most obvious way, their substitution for God's way has left most of the world unreached.
All of these approaches share a common ingredient: they only communicate to those who want to hear or those who are already believers. The vast percentage of the audience is hearing information they already possess. Literature is useful, but only to those who take the time to read it. Witnessing is good, and should be the mainstay in a believer’s life, but again it is very hard to reach more than a few. While God uses these methods to reap some of those who are ready, the rest of the world goes without. In addition, it should be noted, the methods of today are very expensive, and a poor use of God’s money and the church’s time.
Public preaching is the most effective way to get the Gospel to the most people in the shortest time at the least expense. AND PUBLIC PREACHING IS THE NUMBER ONE METHOD OF OUTREACH USED THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE, OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW TESTAMENT…
What then is PREACHING? According to Noah Webster, "Preach" comes from a Latin word meaning to "proclaim publicly… a sermon urging acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action, specifically in an earnestly tiresome and officious manner." The Prophets through Christ and the New Testament church told it like it was and paid the price for their boldness and "officious" manner. The word “officious” is defined: "volunteering one’s services where they are not asked for or wanted; meddlesome" and "high-handed." We possess the truth and as such it requires such an approach.
As we have outlined, PREACHING today...typically refers to invited people, invited speakers, and scheduled services. BIBLICAL PREACHING, however, conforms to the above definition, and is often to hostile crowds outside "religious" services, to those who would seek to even kill the messenger. With these things in mind, let us now explore the subject within SCRIPTURE.
THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Old Testament is rich with accounts of PUBLIC PREACHING.
"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…" (Proverbs 1:20-21)
"CRIETH" means shouting out loud. "WITHOUT" means outside. "CHIEF PLACE OF CONCOURSE" means where the biggest crowds are.
"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." (Proverbs 8:1-3)
Old Testament prophets often PREACHED at the GATES of the city. The gates were the busiest places in town. The cities in Bible times were surrounded by walls for protection, and all traffic in and out of the city went through the gate. It was the place to be to get a message to all visitors (Genesis 19:1) as well as the citizens (going in and out to work in the fields), and the king and all dignitaries.
A man PREACHING at the gate would not only reach large crowds, but also have an IMPACT on and a direct outreach to such varied arenas as: the business community, court decisions, idolatrous meetings, soldiers, government, etc. "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. (Amos 5:10)
Amos was a STREET PREACHER!
They "lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate…" (Isaiah 29:21)
Isaiah was a STREET PREACHER!
"Thus said the Lord unto me, Go and stand in the GATE of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the GATES of Jerusalem; and say unto them, Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem that enter in by these gates: Thus saith the Lord…" (Jeremiah 17:19-20)
"The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Stand in the GATE of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord. (Jeremiah 7:1-2)
Jeremiah was a STREET PREACHER!
An interesting point about these men is that most of them spent most of their time not reaching those in other countries, or the most reprobate sinners, but God’s "chosen people," who had the Bible, as they entered the house of God to worship the LORD!
"Thus saith the Lord; Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah…and thy people that enter in by these GATES." (Jeremiah 22:1-2)
"Then read Baruch in the book of the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lord…at the entry of the new GATE of the Lord’s house, in the ears of all the people." (Jeremiah 36:10)
"Then the Lord said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the STREETS of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them." (Jeremiah 11:6)
"The word of the Lord came to me, saying, Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord…" (Jeremiah 2:1-2)
"CRY ALOUD; SPARE NOT; LIFT UP THY VOICE LIKE A TRUMPET, AND SHOW MY PEOPLE THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS AND THE HOUSE OF JACOB THEIR SINS." (Isaiah 58:1)
In JUDGES 9:7 when Jotham had a message to get to a crowd of people in Shechem (who wanted to kill him), how did he do it? "Jotham went and stood in the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and CRIED, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you." (Judges 9:7)
Jotham found a safe place from which they could all hear him, and LIFTED UP HIS VOICE. Jotham was an open air preacher (ca. 1300 B.C.)
The best example in the OLD TESTAMENT of a foreign missionary is JONAH. GOD sent him to warn Nineveh. Did he rent a hall and invite people to come to a scheduled meeting, enticing them with "special music" and Gospel entertainment? No. Jonah was charged to preach to Nineveh (as we are to the world!), not only to those who would attend his meeting, but to the whole city.
The BIBLE says Nineveh was "an exceeding great city of three days journey" (Jonah 3:3); i.e., it took 3 days just to walk around it. Diodorus confirms that Nineveh was 60 miles in circumference (Herodotus records that a day’s journey was 20 miles). Jonah 3:4 says "Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he CRIED, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Jonah went "a day’s journey" into Nineveh, a city of 3 day’s journey, and CRIED. He was PREACHING as he was walking, i.e. OUTDOORS. Jonah was a STREET PREACHER, walking the streets as he preached his message of judgment and truth. (To be continued. From www.soulwinning.info/sp/lessons/01.htm)
On the Streets
On December 9, we had a permit to minister in Berkeley at their Christmas fair. The streets were closed and filled with dozens of street vendors. Chuck Girard was in the area, so he ministered with Paul Coca, Tim Moon and Phil Taylor. Thousands of people heard the gospel that afternoon.
On December 16, Tim Moon ministered with us at UN Plaza in San Francisco. We witnessed to many people until about 4:30 PM, when heavy rains drove almost everyone from the plaza.
On January 7, we held our first Saturday outreach of the year in Berkeley. Paul and Noreen Coca played music. We had many good conversations that afternoon. I spoke with six teenagers about Jesus. Paul and Noreen witnessed to five 12 and 13 year-old boys, all of whom said they were gay! Please pray for these youth.
Note: Outreaches are subject to change. Call (510) 531-5325 or 541-9903 (cell phone) to confirm outreaches or for more information.
Friday February 9, 16, 23 7:30 - 10 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods.
Sat. February 10 and 24 12:30 4:30 PM Berkeley Outreach (Telegraph and Haste St.)
February 17 12-5 PM San Francisco Outreach (UN Plaza, 7th St. and Market)
August 10-18 SOS-San Francisco
Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support for this ministry. We still have several openings in our evangelism house for spiritually mature Christians with an interest in evangelism. Sadly, it has become very hard to find such people.
Our Tape of the Month is Give Me Souls by Nicky Cruz. On March 2-3, a team from the New Life Drama Company is coming from Tennessee to minister on the streets with us. A team will also be witnessing at the Chinese New Year Parade, Sat. March 3. I hope you can join us that weekend.
Yours in His love,
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