Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Evangelism Tips

The Awakened State of Sinners

John Wesley called the awakened state of man as “the almost Christian.”  Wesley believed that most people in the church were that way, they were aware of their sins but they had not truly become children of God.  They were servants of Christ but not sons.  All sons are servants but not all servants are sons.

Wesley believed that Romans 7 described the awakened state.  While nearly all Calvinists that I know of teach that Romans 7 is the normal state for Christians and Martin Luther taught that a Christian is both a sinner and a saint at the same time, Wesley taught (along with Arminius I might add) that Romans 7 describes people who are not saved.  This is what Wesley deemed the awakened state, where a person is aware of their sins and aware that they are not pleasing to God so they seek to please God by their works or by their flesh.  This cannot merit salvation (Romans 4:5).  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:7-8).

Sadly many in the modern church are in that state as well.  Many of the seeker sensitive churches preach an easy gospel that is without conviction, without true repentance, without a true knowledge of God’s holiness and our sinfulness before God.  They preach a message of “come to Christ” but they fail to convict sinners of their sins.  They ignore the Bible’s call to repentance (Mark 1:15-16).  They fail to preach repentance for the forgiveness of their sins (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19).  They seek to lead people to Christ using the goodness of God but fail to preach His just wrath nor His forbearance and patience with sinners (Romans 2:4).  Just this week I listened to two local seeker churches “sermons” and both were focused on the flesh rather than God, on what the sinner can get from God rather than repentance from their sins, and they both gave “altar calls” where the sinners just said a prayer and were said to be saved by grace.  Both failed to preach the gospel where sinners see their sins and repent of their sins against God.  Both failed to present Christ as the propitiation for our sins (John 1:29).  Both preached a message of “Christ wants to fill the void in your life.”  That is not the gospel.  That is what many people are hearing week after week in many churches.

The Arminian should preach the law of God to produce the awakened state.  Of course, the Spirit of God is the one who produces mighty conviction of sin (John 16:8-11).  The almost Christian will see their sins and their need for Christ but they don’t know how to respond to the call of God to salvation.  People believe (because of their sinfulness) that they must do something to earn salvation.  This is human thought through and through.  World religions attest to this fact.  Religious people are consistently trying to earn God’s favor, His forgiveness, or His salvation.  They think that they will be saved if their good works out number their bad works.  Others believe that their actions (sacrifices, prayers, etc.) will bring salvation.

The truth is that only Jesus Christ can save us from the wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Isaiah the prophet saw the work of Christ in Isaiah 53:4-6:

4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

The Lord Jesus is the hope for our salvation.  Jesus is the hope for the awakened sinner who sees his sins but doesn’t know how to flee from them.   The hope for the sinner is not rehabilitation or reform.  The hope for the sinner is to be born from above (John 3:3-7).  The hope is for the Spirit of God to regenerate the sinner to bring about new life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Titus 3:5-7) and this only comes through faith.

Romans 3:21-26 is full of the richness of God’s mercy and grace given freely to the sinner in Christ Jesus our Lord:

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The sinner is justified before God only grace through faith in Christ alone (Romans 5:1).  The sinner is not justified before God by a combination of human works and God’s grace (as many cults teach).  We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  Why is this?  Because the sinner cannot merit God’s salvation.  Consider good works for a moment.  How many good works must we do to earn God’s forgiveness?  What works qualify as “good” works?  How do we know that our wicked hearts will not produce pride in our “good” works?  How will we know if God approves of our “good” works?  Are there any “good” works which we consider good but God considers as bad?  How can we know?

The awakened sinner, writes Wesley, fears God but does not love Him.  The Christian loves God and fears Him (Romans 11:20-22; 1 John 4:18).  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) and the Christian has a healthy fear of God (Hebrews 10:31).  Too many do not fear God but sadly few actually love Him either.  The awakened sinner fears God and knows that the judgment of God is just in punishment of their sins but they do not love God.  They seek to win God’s approval by reforms, by vows, by religion.  They find Romans 7 to be true, that they are too sinful to do any “good” works.  Their flesh simply will never please God.  They find in their awakened state that they are fully aware that they are sinners but have no peace with God.

The gospel is the solution.  The gospel brings peace.  Jesus is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6).  Jesus came to bring peace (Ephesians 2:14).  Jesus came to bring us not just peace in the storms of life (as many seekers preach) but He came to bring us peace with God whom we have greatly offended by our wicked sins.  The holy God of the universe is the one that we have violated.  He is the offended one.  When we talk about salvation we are saying that we are being saved from something and that something is the wrath of God that we justly deserve for breaking His laws and shaking our fists at Him.

The awakened sinner is not saved.  The duty of the evangelist is to preach Christ to the awakened sinner and call the sinner to faith and repentance through Christ.  The blessed Holy Spirit aids us in this preaching.  The Spirit works on the sinner’s heart to free the will to believe freely the gospel of God’s grace and mercy.  May we preach Christ and Him crucified for our sins.

Evangelism & Personal Testimonies

There is no denying that a personal testimony of salvation in Christ Jesus is powerful.  Three times in the book of Acts we read of the powerful conversion of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-22; 22:1-21; 26:1-23).  Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) reads: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

So a testimony can be powerful.  I have listened to many people share how they came to faith in Christ.  It always blesses me to see the hand of God leading these sinners to faith in Christ.  It amazes me that people come to faith in Christ in so many different ways (by that I don’t mean different in the sense of the gospel but from many sins and many different places in life).  The Lord continues to save lost sinners from rich people to poor people from people here in the United States to people in China, the gospel is moving!  I rejoice in sinners being saved!

However, I do want to warn us that we must guard against the temptation to make evangelism all about our testimony.  Evangelism must include the gospel and the gospel is found in the Word of God.  The Word of God is the supernatural means by which God converts sinners.  The Word of God cuts sinners (Hebrews 4:12-13) and the Word of God brings about faith (Romans 10:17).  The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and He opens the sinners heart to the gospel (Acts 16:14-15).  As the gospel is preached from the Word of God, the Lord, by His grace, opens sinners hearts and frees the bound will of the sinner so that the sinner can either repent or reject the gospel (John 1:12-13).  The sinner who repents is saved by grace through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God (1 Peter 1:20-25).  The Lord calls sinners to Himself through the preaching of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).  The gospel found in the Word of God is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and God saves those who believe the gospel that is preached (1 Corinthians 1:21).  This salvation is His work (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) that God may be glorified!

We must then preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).  A testimony should never replace the Word of God.  The reason why is simple.  A sinner can hear a testimony from a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Catholic, a Muslim, etc. and each of them can describe how they were “saved.”  They will each talk of the virtue of their religion and how faith in their religion will bring peace, forgiveness, wholeness, healing, peace, etc.  And the sinner is wondering, “They all have powerful testimonies of their religion but who is right and yet who is to say that the others are wrong?”  The Christian, without the Word of God, has nothing to stand on but their subjective experience and each of us has a different experience with life.

The foundation then for the disciple preaching the gospel must not be our testimony.  It must the truthfulness of God’s Word.  The Bible alone is the truth of God (John 17:17).  The problem with the testimony of the above religions (or even atheists for that matter) is that they must borrow from the Bible to make sense of their own experiences.  The foundation for the disciple is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  It is not our testimony.  Apart from the Bible, the disciple is nothing but a subjective story among others.  With the Bible, the disciple is full of the truth of God and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).  We must be faithful to quote and preach the Word of God to sinners.  When sharing the gospel with a sinner, don’t just share your personal testimony (that is okay by the way) but make sure you quote the Word of God over and over again to show that your testimony is based not on your subjective view of reality but upon the Word of God.  I even encourage you to begin witnessing to sinners with the Word of God before sharing your testimony.  Forgiveness of sins, peace with God, repentance, justification, sanctification, etc. are all based not on our testimonies but upon the Word of God.

Again, I rejoice that people are being saved by grace.  I rejoice that sinners are turning from sin to the Lord Jesus and finding that He is indeed a wonderful Savior but I warn us all to preach the Word of God.  Sinners must hear the gospel to be saved (Romans 10:14-17) and we must preach the Word of God faithfully as God has called us to (Matthew 28:19-20).  The Word of God is the seed to salvation (Matthew 13:18-23).  I pray that our gospel would be full of the Word of God.

Disarming Arguments Against Evangelism (Part 2)

This is part of a series of posts on this subject.  You can find the first post here.

Does it work?  This is the question that I often hear from pragmatic leaders in churches.  They want to know if the evangelism method I aspire works.  In other words, does it produce numbers?  Does it get people coming to my church?  Will my money increase?  Well they don’t ask this but this is the underlining motive I fear.  Numbers, sadly, are equated with success.  If your church draws large crowds, you must be doing something right.  In our day, churches do not revolve around doctrine but around methodology.  I know of Pentecostal churches that were planted and based off Reformed Calvinistic models and yet because the Reformed church has had success, doctrine is not an issue.  I know of other church leaders willing to travel to listen to T.D. Jakes or Creflo Dollar since they have large success and no one questions their faulty theology simply because of numbers.

Sadly, I also have had people bash certain forms of evangelism because, to them, “it doesn’t work.”  Take open air preaching.  I enjoy open air preaching.  I am nervous when I do it.  I fear more than anything that my words may not glorify God.  I want to honor Christ when I preach to the masses.  One brother was asked how many people had he led to Christ preaching in the open air and his response was great, “All of them.  I always lead people to Christ by exalting Him as Lord and Savior.”  Great answer.  True open air preaching should be focused on exalting Christ and lifting up the wonderful salvation that God has given to us in His Son.  In Acts 5, the angel gave instructions to the Apostles what to preach in verse 20.  This led to gospel conversations in verse 25.  Open air preaching should point people to Christ and hopefully produce one-on-one gospel conversations that could lead to someone repenting of their sins.

Yet how often do people criticize open air preaching!  Sure I have seen the “anger preachers” preaching in the open air.  They attack sinners by name and often will point out things from afar.  I know of one brother in the Lord who had longer hair.  He truly loved the Lord Jesus and was seeking Him.  While walking across a university campus he heard someone yelling, “Hey hippie, cut your hair you sinner.”  He turned to see an angry open air preacher pointing at him.  When he responded, “I love the Lord Jesus brother.”  The man replied that no true Christian man would have hair like a woman and proceeded on with his “sermon.”  This bothered my friend much that this man had judged him merely by what he saw and not by his heart.

The faithful open air preacher should preach both law and grace.  Ray Comfort teaches that we should preach “law to the proud, grace to the humble.”  The law of the Lord brings conviction of sin (Romans 7:7) and the law also humbles the proud and self-righteous (Romans 3:19-20).  Jesus used the law to humble the rich man in Luke 18:18-24.  Jesus used the law on the woman at the well in John 4:16-18.  Yet Paul used grace in Acts 16:30-34 with the Philippian jailer.  We should allow the Spirit of God to help us discern where people are when witnessing to them.  It is actually easy to see who is proud and who is humble when you begin witnessing to someone.

My point in all this is not to simply lift up open air preaching.  It is just one method.  The disciple of Christ can have various methods in evangelism but don’t make excuses for not sharing your faith.  Don’t say in your heart, “Well, I don’t like that so I won’t do that.”  Your pride may keep you from sharing your faith at all.  Certainly, there are methods I don’t like.  That doesn’t keep me from sharing my faith.  I want to obey Christ as Lord (John 14:15) and He said to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19).  The heart of God is for the lost (John 3:16).  That should be our hearts as well (Romans 10:1).  We are called to imitate Christ (1 John 2:6) who said He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  That should be our heart as well.  Whether you pass out tracts, hold up a cross at a busy intersection, preach in the open air, one-on-one witnessing, doing good works for people to preach the gospel to them, etc. we all should be preaching the gospel to the lost.  Any form of evangelism that doesn’t preach the gospel is not evangelism!  The copout for the American church seems to be either friendship evangelism (in which people never share the gospel) or the social gospel where they feed the poor, clothe people, build houses, etc. but never share the truth of the cross.  How tragic that people will die and go to hell while Christians never bothered to share the truth of the gospel with them!  How tragic that people will go to hell who we helped but didn’t really help!

My earnest prayer to God is that the Church would exalt the Lord Jesus in our evangelism.  The focus should not be numbers.  The focus should be on discipleship (Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:41-42).  Don’t make excuses for not sharing your faith.  Don’t be lazy.  Don’t be full of self-righteousness and pride.  Go out and share the gospel with a lost sinner.  Remember the words of Paul the Apostle in Romans 10:14-17.  How can your lost sinful neighbors, co-workers, family members, etc. ever know the gospel if they don’t hear the gospel?  Don’t be lazy thinking that they will hear from TV or from the radio.  Be bold and share your faith.

May the kingdom of God come (Matthew 6:10) and may we all be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19)!

Disarming Arguments Against Evangelism (Part 2)

This is part of a short series of posts on disarming augments that I have heard on evangelism.  I have found that people, because of the flesh, will come up with various arguments against sharing the gospel with the lost.  This series is designed to answer those arguments and to provide disciples of Christ with biblical answer for sharing our faith.  These posts are not in any given order.

In the previous post, I examined how fear is often used to cripple us from preaching the gospel to the lost.  The Scriptures promise us that we have the power of the Spirit for evangelism (Acts 1:8) and Acts 4:31 demonstrates how we can pray for the boldness of the Spirit to share our faith.  We must, however, step out and begin to share our faith for this supernatural boldness to come.  God is not going to zap us and we receive some sort of subjective experience that now prepares us to share our faith.  We must, in faith, trust God and step out and begin to share our faith (Hebrews 11:30).

Another objection that I have heard (and have used myself) would be the lack of knowledge.  It is amazing to watch men of God such as Ray Comfort share the gospel with the lost.  They seem to always have an answer for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15).  Yet I often have stumbled in my own witnessing.  I have been sharing the gospel with a lost person and they have asked me questions that I just didn’t seem to have an  answer for.  Other times, I would try to give an answer only to later realize that I could have said this or that but it was too late.  This lack of knowledge can cause a disciple to shut up and not share their faith.

My solution to this is two-fold.  First, the disciple should spend time in the Word of God daily to learn more about their faith.  As we abide in the truth, the truth will naturally get into our minds and hearts (John 8:31-32).  In Matthew 28:20 Jesus taught His disciples to not just baptize disciples but to also observe all that He had commanded.  The Word of God will bring conformity in both word and deed (Romans 15:18).

Secondly, the disciple should memorize the Word of God.  The principle of hiding God’s Word in our hearts finds its root in the Old Testament.  God commanded His people to hide His Word in their hearts (see Deuteronomy 6:6; 11:18; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:11).  The Lord Jesus spoke of the good heart in Luke 8:15.  That is what the disciples heart is to be.  A good heart that stores up the Word of God.  The prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 15:16 that he ate the Word and it became “to me a joy and the delight of my heart for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.”  

While a disciple will no doubt benefit from reading apologetical books or from reading theology, it is the Word of God that is our sword (Ephesians 6:17).  How did Jesus answer both the enemy and His critics in the Gospels?  With Scripture (Matthew 4:4-10; 15:1-9; 19:1-9; 21:14-16; 21:42-44; 22:41-46; etc.).  If Jesus our Lord answered the devil and His critics with the Word of God, so should we.  The Word of God cuts deep not just in us but also in our hearers (Acts 2:37; Hebrews 4:12-13).

Each of us have different understanding and are different in our knowledge of God’s Word.  This should not keep us from witnessing.  A witness in a court of law simply tells what they have seen.  They are not there to convince the jury but to simply testify to what they have seen or heard.  This is true of biblical witnessing.  God alone saves sinners by His grace.  The Spirit of God convicts sinners as we witness (John 16:8-11) and His job is to draw sinners to salvation (John 6:44; Acts 16:14-15).  Our job is simply to testify to what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).  We are to speak all the words of this life (Acts 5:20).  The Holy Spirit takes our witnessing and He opens sinners hearts to the gospel truth.

In my own witnessing, I have witnessed to people for hours and then to someone just for a few minutes.  Time is not the issue.  The gospel should be the issue.  We should fill our witnessing with as much of the Word as possible.  Human reasoning only goes so far.  We need the supernatural power of the Word of God to see sinners saved.  In fact, salvation is the work of God and not of men (John 1:12-13; 3:3-5).  When the Lord saves a sinner, He does so by His grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) and not by meeting a person half way or by the Lord doing His part while the sinner does his part.  Our job is to preach the gospel to the lost sinner and the Lord will take our seed and He brings forth fruit in His timing (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Yet how can we witness what we have not been seeing or hearing?  We must abide in the Word of God so that our witnessing is in truth and not merely based on our own experience of coming to Christ for salvation.  The Word of God is our solid foundation to build on and not our own subjectiveness (2 Peter 1:16-21).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/06/2014 at 3:36 PM

Disarming Arguments Against Evangelism (Part 1)

This is part of a short series on arguments I often hear from people who are not sharing their faith in Christ and are not seeking to make disciples according to Matthew 28:19-20.  The posts are not in any given order.

One of the most familiar arguments I have heard from people who are not sharing their faith is fear.  Fear of man has stopped many from sharing the gospel with the lost.  Yet I once heard Ray Comfort say that he too was fearful each time he stepped out and begin to talk about Christ.  I believe the flesh naturally doesn’t want to discuss the things of God.  Our flesh (along with Satan) wants us to remain silent and it’s okay to live our faith so long as we are not trying to win others to Christ.  The moment that we step out and begin to overcome our fear and talk to someone about Christ, we will be faced with fear.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of mockery.  Fear of persecution.  Fear of saying the wrong thing.  Just fear in general often halts our evangelism.

I have no doubt that the disciples faced fear like we do.  Yes they were confident in the Lord but their heart beats much have raced as they too stepped out and begin to preach Christ.  In Acts 4 we read the account of the Apostles praying for boldness.  The disciples had been warned in Acts 4:17 not to speak anymore of this name: the name of Jesus (v. 18).  The disciples stood firm in their faith in Christ (Acts 4:19-20) and so the Jews threatened them again (Acts 4:21).  The disciples went to prayer and they prayed for God to grant them boldness in the face of persecution from the Jews (Acts 4:23-24).  They praised God that He was sovereignly in control and not the people (Acts 4:25-26) and that His sovereign will would be accomplished just as it had been done through Jesus (Acts 4:27-28).  They then prayed a marvelous prayer: a prayer for boldness to preach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:29) and to glorify the name of Jesus (Acts 4:30).  Acts 4:31 says they were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.  God heard their cries and He answered their prayers.

How often have I had to pray Acts 4:29!  I am fearful as anyone else is of speaking to others about the Lord Jesus.  I find it amazing that I can talk to strangers about sports, about politics, about the weather but not about the eternal things that really matter (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).  Each and every person will die and stand before the judgment throne of God (Hebrews 9:27).  They must hear about Jesus (Romans 10:14-17).  The gospel saves but it is not a silent gospel.  It is a preached gospel that saves sinners (1 Corinthian 1:21).

The lies against preaching the gospel because of fear are many.  Friendship evangelism is one of the biggest lies in the Western Church.  Friendship evangelism is the cop-out of many evangelicals to never sharing their faith verbally.  They claim that they are building friendships to lead to Christ yet never utter the name of Jesus, never speak of His grace and His mercy, never talk about sin, never speak of God’s demand for repentance and holiness.  Friendship evangelism claims to be preparing people for the gospel but never shares the gospel because the gospel is not preached.  The law of God (that shows sinners their sin and their need for a Savior) is never used.  Friendship evangelism is nothing more than something the devil has given people to try to soothe their guilty conscience.  They know the command of God (Acts 1:8) yet they consistently ignore His command to preach the gospel to the lost.  So instead of repenting, they turn to friendship evangelism to justify themselves and never open their mouths to the gospel that saves.  There is not one example of friendship evangelism in the entire Bible.  None.

Friend, my advice about fear is this.  First, repent of not sharing the gospel with the lost.  I too have had to repent of not sharing the gospel with the lost.  We are all guilty at times.  Secondly, pray Acts 4:29.  Pray Proverbs 28:1.  Pray Acts 1:8.  Third, go out and open up your mouth and share the gospel with the lost.  God is not going to just buzz you with power.  We must be willing to step out in faith and trust Him that He will give us boldness as we preach.  Over and over again I have seen Him show Himself faithful in this regard. I can pray for boldness (and do much) and when I step out and begin to share the gospel with a co-worker or the lady at the restaurant or the perfect stranger on the street, I have seen the Lord give me boldness time and time again.  Sadly, we often pray for boldness but then sit back and just wait for God to zap us before we go.  Notice in Acts 4:31 that it says that the disciples “continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”  They stepped out and God stepped in.  That is how He works (Hebrews 11:30).  God works through our obedient faith (Colossians 2:12).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/05/2014 at 10:06 PM

Let the Gospel Upset People, Not Us

There is no denying that the gospel makes people upset.  I have watched it with my own eyes as I explained the gospel to a lost person and then they turn into this ugly, ranting, mean-spirited person who hates God and hates the gospel.  Up until I explained the law of God, they were pretty nice to me and were cordial but when I begin to explain the justice of God Almighty in pouring out His wrath on humans who violate His just laws, it was here they turned on me.  People hate the gospel and more than that, they hate the God of the Bible (Romans 1:18-19).

With this in mind, I pray that we who preach the gospel to the lost would remember that people can get upset with the gospel or with God but let it be because of the truth of the gospel and not us that make them mad.  In other words, yelling a person or simply calling them names is not befitting for the disciple.  I seek to be a 2 Timothy 2:24-26 model when it comes to evangelism.  2 Timothy 2:24-26 reads (NIV):

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Notice verse 25.  Opponents are to be gently instructed.  This is not yelling at them.  Pointing a finger at them.  Accusing them.  This is preaching the gospel to the them in grace and love.  1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV) expounds:

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Notice that Peter the Apostle says that we are to give our answer for the gospel with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.  And he adds that people are to see our good behavior in Christ.  I pray that the crowds who hear us preach in the open air would see our good behavior in Christ as we deal with mockers.  I pray that those whom we give out tracts to would see our gentleness and respect.  I pray that those who are offended would be offended at the gospel and not at us.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:21 that God saves people through the folly of what we preach.  Let that be true.  May it not that people see us as the folly by our actions.  They may think the gospel foolish and they may think we are foolish for preaching, handing out tracts, standing with a cross, etc. but let it be the gospel that they find foolish and perhaps our actions for the gospel but not our own foolishness in our yelling, hurling insults, etc.

I write this because I rejoice that so many people are now rising up to preach the gospel in the open air.  There are more street preachers today than ever.  More people are going out to hand out tracts.  I rejoice that there are many people who are becoming passionate to share the gospel with the lost.  But let it be that our hearts are broken for the lost (Romans 10:1) and that our burden comes from the Lord (Matthew 9:37-38).  Let it not be our pride that drives us out to preach.  Let it not be our own self-righteousness that drives us out to preach.  Let us plead with the lost through tears.  Let us preach the gospel and leave the results to the Lord.  Let us exalt Christ and not ourselves in our preaching and pleading (2 Corinthians 4:5).  Oh may people leave our preaching angry at God or angry at the gospel but let them not take offense because of our actions toward them!  Let us preach the gospel remembering that we too once were just as lost, just as dead in our sins, just as blinded as they are now (2 Corinthians 4:4; Titus 3:1-3).  It was the mercy of God that saved us (Ephesians 2:4).  Take no pride in your salvation but humble yourself before the Lord (Romans 11:20-22).  Remember your chains that He broke off.  Don’t allow pride to rob you of exalting Christ even in the midst of harsh opposition to the gospel (1 Peter 4:12-19).

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