Recently I had the honor of serving my King in doing my first Open Air, on Rideau Street, in front of the Rideau Center, in Ottawa. I was blessed in having a few guys from Jeremiah Cry Ministries encourage me in doing so! At first the nerves were high, but we prayed that God would give me the words, courage, strength and boldness to step up to the plate and open air preach. The one thing I kept in mind constantly before, during, and after, is that this is for the advancement of the Kingdom of God, and in doing so I’m obeying the command in Mark 16:15 which states, “and he said to them, “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”” Also the fact that all throughout the New Testament we see men of God preaching in the open air! It was an experience that was very humbling and crucifying of the flesh!
Open air preaching, and street outreach in general, has been something I’ve been extremely passionate about ever since I’ve been saved. Although, it’s something I hadn’t been able to push myself into a whole lot until recently, when I had the blessed opportunity to go out with Chris, Kevin, and Mike from Jeremiah Cry! For many who may not know, a few months after I got saved God placed a strong desire in my heart to want to start a ministry that would be used to go into the world to preach the Gospel, and to encourage and equip Christians to do the same! Although still in the early stages, the ministry I started is called Truth Hold. It’s my hopes and prayers that God will grow Truth Hold to become something He uses for His glory, to spread the Gospel all over and encourage Christians to get out there! Just as are my hopes and prayers for this article to do so!
Let’s first look at why evangelism is so important. The first and most obvious reason, is that God commands us to do so (Mark 16:15). Jesus gave us the command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature! So to not do so, is to disobey our Savior! To put it bluntly, to not share our faith is to disobey our Savior, and to disobey our Savior is to sin! The next point is well, why wouldn’t you want to share your faith!? After all, we were saved when we least deserved it, when we deserved to spend an eternity in Hell, shouldn’t we want to share the Good News with the world? Let me give you this analogy. There’s a doctor that knows you have a fatal disease, and instead of telling you that you have this disease and telling you about the cure, he simply smiles and says “you’re in perfect health!” Not a very good doctor, is he? The same goes for us. We know all of us have a disease – sin. We as Christians know about the cure for that disease – Jesus Christ. Shouldn’t we be warning as many people as possible about this horrible disease (sin), and how to be free from it (repentance and full trust in Christ)? We most definitely should be!
I’ll give one other analogy that I give to people when they ask why I share my faith. Imagine you have seen a child in the street, and coming full speed at him(or her) was a full sized truck! Would you smile and wave? Or would you scream with all that’s in you, with an extreme sense of urgency saying “MOVE! GET OUT OF THE WAY! THERE’S A TRUCK COMING FULL SPEED TOWARDS YOU!” Or better yet, dive in and push her out of the way! Well, we as Christians know that people are headed straight for Hell if they haven’t repented and put their full trust in Christ alone. So why aren’t more of us warning people with a sense of urgency? We should be out there preaching the Gospel because we care deeply, and don’t want anyone to end up in Hell! It’s very serious, 150,000 people die every day. So many are living in enmity with God, and the wrath of God abides on them! John 3:36 says “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Romans 2:5-11 describes that those with a hardened heart towards God, are storing up His wrath! Wow. Very serious indeed! We should be warning people of the wrath and punishment that’s to come if they don’t repent and put full trust in Christ, with everything we have!
Do you see the importance of evangelism yet? Remember, in preaching the Gospel, we are working towards the advancement of the Kingdom of God! There’s no greater honor than to be slaves of righteousness, serving our perfect and holy God to advance His kingdom! We were once slaves of sin, but were bought with the blood of Christ, becoming slaves of righteousness! Romans 6:18. George Whitfield once said: “I was honored today with having a few stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cat thrown at me.” What an honor indeed to serve and suffer for our King!
Do you know what keeps most people from getting out there and fulfilling the Great Commission of Mark 16:15? You may be surprised at the answer. It’s a pride issue, which of course is a sin issue. It goes completely against our flesh. The number one reason people don’t get out there is because they’re afraid of what people may think of them! We naturally as sinners, have a pride issue, and that pride issue can keep us from getting the Gospel out there and obeying our Savior’s command. Search deep down, we all have it. What is there to be afraid of though? What matters most is what our God thinks of us, not what man does! Matthew 10:28 tells us not to fear the one who can kill the body, but fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell! We aren’t here to please man, we’re here to please God! Romans 1:16 also says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. . “ It’s sad to say, but when we don’t share our faith in fear of what people may think or say, we’re being shameful of something amazing that has saved us from what we truly deserve – Hell. We have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!
In our sinful flesh, it’s very easy to get nervous about sharing our faith for whatever reason. But remember what Philippians 4:6 says: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We’re to be rooted deep in God’s Word and in prayer! When we pray for things that are inside God’s will, He will provide. He proved that with myself, when I prayed that He would give me the courage, boldness, and strength to open air! Does that mean it will be easy? Not necessarily. But He will give us enough of what we need to get it done!
You may say that you don’t know how to share the Gospel. Although open air and one on one’s can get into very detailed conversations on various topics such as evolution for example, all you really need to know are the basics! Sharing your faith can be thought of as consisting two parts. The first is the Law. You need to show people the disease (sin) first and foremost! If you ask someone if they think they’re a good person they’ll generally say yes, which you then can ask them to do a little test to find out if they are indeed “good.” Take them through some of the 10 Commandments. God gave us the Law to show us how corrupt we are, how filthy our hearts are! Ask them if they’ve ever told a lie, most people will say yes. Someone who’s told a lie is considered a liar. Ask if they’ve ever taken anything that doesn’t belong to them, irrespective of its value. If so that makes them a thief. Ask if they’ve used God’s name in vain, explain that’s very serious. It’s called blasphemy and it’s using the breath God gave you to curse His holy name! I usually take them through a 4th one, I tell them that Jesus said if you look at someone to lust after them you’ve committed adultery in your heart. I then ask if they have ever done that. If they answered yes to all (which most people have broken at least 3 out of 4), then by their OWN admission, they’re a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart! Then ask them if God judges them by those standards when they die (and of course He will), will they be innocent or guilty? Most will say guilty, if not, explain that if you break the law, you are indeed guilty. Then ask if they deserve Heaven or Hell. A fair portion will say Hell, if they don’t, explain that a guilty criminal deserves justice and therefore is deserving of Hell!
After you’ve used the Law as a mirror to show them their sinfulness, explain the good news to them – the cure. Explain that God sent Jesus Christ to be fully God and fully man, to live a perfect life that we could never achieve, who then died a brutal death, taking God’s wrath for our sins upon Himself, then being raised from the dead 3 days later, defeating and conquering sin and death! Explain that we have a debt so deep we can never repay it, but that Christ paid our price! All we need to do to have that price credited to our account is to sincerely repent and put full trust in Jesus Christ! It’s really that simple! Don’t be discouraged if you get some really hateful and hard hearted people. Remember that God is the one who does the work in people’s hearts and that we too were once haters of God, and lovers of unrighteousness! We will be hated for His name’s sake, but it’s an honor to be! Jesus said in John 15:18: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”
We’re all running the same race and wanting to bring glory to our God, and fulfill the Great Commission! Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Now go out there and serve your King!