Are You Saved by Grace Alone?

Are You Saved by Grace Alone?

If not, then you’re not saved.

 

Dr. Trey Talley, Lead Pastor and Elder
Author of The Missing Gospel of Modern Christianity
 
If you don’t understand grace, then you will never rightly see your sinfulness or the holiness of God. However, our world and even many professing Christians have a view of grace different from what Scripture teaches. This is extremely problematic, because a correct understanding of grace is vital for a proper understanding of the gospel.

 

SO, WHAT IS GRACE?

Simply defined, grace is unmerited favor received from God. Saving grace is not deserved, earned, or merited by us. Sadly, many people have distorted God’s grace by having too high a view of themselves and too low a view of God. Such a skewed view will often lead people to assume that they have worked to achieve God’s favor and that He is obligated to give them His saving grace. However, the moment any amount of self-merit enters one’s definition of grace, it is no longer the same grace taught by the Apostle Paul.

To correctly understand the beauty of saving grace, we need to remind ourselves of what we truly deserve. We are all guilty before God and deserve His wrath. Paul explained to the Romans that sins do not just disappear or go unpunished. Instead, every sin of every sinner will be punished by God. He writes:

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
 
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil…. (Romans 2:5-9)
 
Wrath…judgment…fury…tribulation? Yes, this is the only thing that we truly deserve. However, Paul writes something absolutely amazing at the end of his gospel summary. He writes that he had “received grace.” Paul was a sinner who deserved the wrath of God, but now he was no longer a person owed the wrath of God; instead, he had received the free, undeserved, unmerited, saving grace and mercy of God. But, how can a sinner who deserves the wrath of God receive grace?
 
Many people think of themselves in a much better light than they should. It is human nature to compare ourselves to others, grade on a curve if you will. You might hear people say something like, “Well, I am much better than most people.”, or “I do sin a little, but not nearly as much as my friends.” Such statements reveal a distorted view of God’s holiness and their own sinfulness. As Paul teaches, every sin deserves eternal punishment, and the wrath that each sinner deserves is being stored up for the Day of Wrath when God will fully execute his judgment.

 

ARE YOU A GOOD PERSON?

“What about all the good things that I have done? Don’t they act as a counterbalance the bad things?” Although people often assume that they have done enough good to outweigh the bad, that is not the way God operates. God does not place all of a person’s good deeds on one side, and all of a person’s bad deeds on the other side to determine who will receive grace. Even if this were the case, there would be nothing for God to place on the “good” side of the scale, for the Bible says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.”, or as Paul writes, “None is righteous, no, not one.”1 While we might think ourselves to be “pretty good,” the Bible paints a much different picture of who we are by nature. As Paul writes in Ephesians:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.2
 
“By nature deserving of wrath,” that is who we are. Wrath is what we deserve, and wrath is what God owes us.

 

DO YOU DESERVE SALVATION?

Salvation is not given to those who are doing better in life than others. God does not look to see who is working the hardest in life at being good to determine who deserves salvation. Those who think they are deserving of salvation because of their own merit are the furthest away from salvation. Just look at the parable Jesus told of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisees depended heavily on their good works and believed that they had earned righteousness; however, tax collectors were the lowest of the low in Jewish society and were known to be horrible sinners. Let’s see what Jesus says of these two men who came to the temple to pray:

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14)
 
The Pharisee pridefully trusted in himself and bragged about his goodness to God. However, it was not the “good” Pharisee’s prayer that Jesus approved of, but the “sinful” tax collector’s prayer, who acknowledged his sinfulness and his need for mercy. The tax collector understood his position before God. He knew that he was a sinner in need of mercy and that he was in dire need of salvation from God. However, the Pharisee did not admit his sinfulness, or need of any mercy, and instead boasted of his own righteousness to God.
 
At one-time Paul, himself was one such Pharisee and not just any Pharisee.3 He had climbed the ranks and was the Pharisee of Pharisees, yet by the grace of God, he finally saw himself for the sinner that he was and realized that everything good he was doing was useless to earn his salvation.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith . . . (Philippians 3:7-9)
 
Paul realized that all of his self-righteousness had the total combined worth of a pile of trash. For many years, he had worked very hard to earn righteousness as a strict adherent of the law, yet once he encountered true salvation by grace, he understood that all he had done to try to earn salvation was useless. He now saw the error of his ways, understood his inability to earn righteousness, and looked to the only truly righteous One, God incarnate; Jesus Christ. By the grace of God, through faith in Christ Jesus, Paul had gained everything. What is more valuable than being saved from sin and the wrath and curse of God that we deserve as sinners? Nothing. Additionally, what is more wonderful than knowing that this salvation does not rest on us and our own record, but on the perfect record of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

WHO GETS THE CREDIT FOR YOUR SALVATION?

It is impossible to wrap our minds around the nature of God’s grace completely. Still, in his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul attempts to enlighten us once again as to the magnificent beauty of God’s grace to undeserving recipients:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)
 
According to this passage, who should receive the credit for salvation? The answer is, obviously, “God.” However, so many professing Christians still think that they have done something to deserve God’s grace in salvation. Yet, Paul says that salvation, “is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Some will at least agree that they need grace to be saved, but they still believe that salvation is a mixture of grace and their own good works. However, any amount of self-worth or self-merit changes the unmerited nature of God’s grace to a grace that is merited. We must remember that grace is not a reward, it is an undeserved gift from God. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:

Grace is a great word in the Bible, the grace of God. It is most simply defined in these words—it is favour shown to people who do not deserve any favour at all. And the message of the gospel is that any one of us is saved and put right for eternity, solely and entirely by the grace of God, not by ourselves… Do what you like, you will never save yourself… We deserve nothing but hell. If you think you deserve heaven, take it from me you are not a Christian.

Any man who thinks that he deserves heaven is not a Christian. But for any man who knows that he deserves hell, there is hope. Out goes all your self-righteousness. It is all by grace, and entirely the mercy and compassion and the grace of God. It is God, who, in spite of us, and in spite of the world being what it is, sent his own Son into this world and then sent him to the cross.4
 
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, preached salvation by faith in Christ that was received purely by the grace of God. Such saving grace is unmixed with human works. Even our faith, as Paul writes, “is not our own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”5 God does not believe for us, we believe, but we only do so because He has chosen to give us saving grace.
 

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE?

Rightly understanding your inability to save yourself and that God did everything brings humility and thankfulness. Every day, we should thank God for not giving us the wrath we have earned and deserved. Instead, He has given us His unmerited, undeserved salvation through Jesus Christ. He did all of the saving work; you did nothing.

Today, if you realize that you have been relying on your goodness to save you, repent of that sin, see yourself for who you truly are, and look to Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.

 

1. Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:10

2. Ephesians 2:1-3

3. Acts 22:3-5

4. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Christopher Catherwood, The Cross: God’s Way of Salvation, 74-75

5. Ephesians 2:9



10 Ways to Keep COVID from Causing Conflict in Church

10 Ways to Keep COVID from Causing Conflict in Church

By Trey Talley
Author of The Missing Gospel of Modern Christianity

The world, our country, states, governors, politicians, medical experts, news outlets, and social media are all divided over how to righty respond to COVID-19. Some people believe that the COVID-19 response from the world has been a massive overreach, while others might think that it was not nearly strict enough. Some think we should get back to life as usual ASAP, while others would prefer to keep stringent measures of isolation in place for the foreseeable future.

One thing seems to be for sure, everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter. Now it is one thing to watch the politicians and medical experts aggressively fighting each other about how we should all be responding to COVID-19, but what will you do to avoid the fighting from flowing into your church? Will tempers flare? Will friendships be lost. Will your church divide? 

COVID-19 appears to be on the decline, and the world on its way to recovery; however, the damage done to the unity of your church could last much longer. How could this be? I mean, after all, as Christians, we are all part of the body of Christ. We have the same salvation, same Savior, the same indwelling of the Holy Spirit, etc. As Christians, we are even commanded by God to be patient, peaceful, and understanding people, who strive to live at peace with one another. However, sometimes, even Christians are caught off guard by controversies and how to handle them correctly.

While much more could be said, hopefully, these practical steps will help you to keep peace within your church.

1. Close your mouth.

Just because you disagree with a comment, does not mean that it is necessary to voice your disagreement, especially if you know that there is a high likelihood of an argument erupting.

“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” (2 Timothy 2:23)

2. Love others even if it hurts.

Loving others sometimes means that it can even be a bit painful. Paul talks about a love that “bears” and “endures.” Bearing with and enduring someone implies that it is a difficult task. However, you continue to do so because you love them. 

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)

3. Be a peacekeeper.

Before every conflict, one has the option of choosing war or peace. As believers, we should strive for peace and comfort each other during these unusual times. 

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)

4. Honor one another, even if you disagree.

Is what you are about to say going to honor your brother or sister in Christ?

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10)

5. Be a good listener.

Good listeners are difficult to find in an argument. Usually, each person only wants to express his or her opinion. However, just listening to someone is often one of the best ways to avoid tempers from flaring. 

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)

6. You don’t have to talk about COVID.

Just because others are talking about the latest findings, quarantines, vaccines, etc. it does not mean that you are required to jump into the conversation. In fact, it may be best to avoid it altogether or to change the subject. See my blog, Speak CHRIST, not COVID.

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” (Proverbs 10:19)

7. Strive to keep harmony.

Children of God should not be fighting like those who are of the world. We should go over and beyond in trying to keep our relationships with other Christians harmonious, and in doing so, we individually and corporately become better worshippers of God. 

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6)

8. Be quick to forgive.

Yes, someone is going to offend you at church. What should you do? Get mad? Gossip? Stop talking to them? No, you are to forgive them. Remember, Christ forgave you, and as a Christian, you should be reflecting the forgiveness that you have received to those who offend you as well. 

“Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

9. Be kind.

Just because you disagree with someone does not mean that you have to get angry about it. Even if someone’s logic is skewed or even incorrect about COVID, it is no excuse to be mean.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

10. Don’t let your anger grow.

There is almost a 100% chance that someone in your church is going to make you mad about what he or she said about COVID issues, but don’t let your anger continue to build. 

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)

As your local congregation begins to come back together, do all that you can do to keep the unity of peace that is found in Jesus Christ. Remember, who you are and how God has called you to live. Love God and love His children.



Prepared to Die?

Prepared to Die?

by Dr. Trey Talley
 
The entire world seems to be talking about the Coronavirus these days and striving to take precautions not to get it. While it is a dangerous virus that brings a death rate of 2-3%, we must remind ourselves that death comes for every single one of us. The death rate of humanity is 100%. 
 
The point is that on occasion, such things as a virus will wake everyone up to the fact that they are susceptible to death. Such an awareness of mortality is shocking to many people who live their lives, striving to avoid the reality of death. However, the virus outbreak has led people to think about death on an hourly or even minute by minute basis these days. 
 
For many, they have chosen to cope with the sudden shock of their mortality by purchasing toilet paper. Quite odd. No one saw this one coming, but many specialists have agreed that with all of the uncertainty, people want a sense of power and control right now and that for whatever reason, some are looking to console themselves with plentiful supplies of toilet paper.  
 
One thing is clear; toilet paper will not protect you from Corona. Toilet paper will not protect you from death. And toilet paper will not protect you from the One that you will meet when you die.
When thoughts of mortality enter your mind, do you think to yourself, “Do I have enough toilet paper?” Or do you think the most critical question, “Am I prepared to die?” For whether it is from a virus, or something else, the fact remains that all humans die, including you.
 
So, what happens when you die? Should you be scared? Are you prepared?
 
The Bible says, that physical death is not the end of you but that you will be immediately judged by God. As the author of Hebrews writes, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”1 In other words, just as inevitable as death is for each one of us, so is the judgment before God that follows death. 
 
That means that every person will be judged by God Himself, and God’s standards are perfect. Has your life been a perfect example of living and obeying God in all of your thoughts, motives, and actions? If you are truthful, the answer is, “No.” So what will this mean for you when you die with your sin? It means that you will not go into non-existence because your body has died, but that you will be judged by God, be found guilty by God, and be punished eternally by God. God is a perfectly righteous Judge who cannot allow any sin, including yours, not to be punished. To do so would make God an unjust judge. 
 
The Bible is clear that upon judgment, each person will be eternally designated to Heaven or Hell. “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”2 Many people work hard to prepare for this life. Of the challenges that come their way, including the Coronavirus, are they prepared for what lies after this life? Are they ready to face their Creator?
 
Many people only fear earthly death and the pain that might be inflicted upon them here. Some even live in great fear that they may die, but Jesus says, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” The ultimate preparation must not be for this life, but for eternal life. What about you? Are you prepared to meet God?
 
There is great comfort and peace available for those who trust in Jesus Christ. You see, the very God who created you is also the one who has sent the Savior, Jesus Christ who is both God and man, to live a perfect life in the place of all of those who trust in Him, and to die on the cross and receive the punishment for the sins of all who believe in Him. This means that those who have been saved by God should have no fear of Him or fear of death. Why? Their sins have been removed, cleansed, and forgiven by the Judge Himself. The peace that every Christian should live with is knowing that the God that they will face is the very God who has removed their sin and given them eternal life. This means that they are prepared for death and for what lies after death.
 
When the brother of Martha died, Jesus comforted her by reminding her that death is not the end and that there is comfort even in death for those who know Jesus Christ. He said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”3 
 
What about you? Do you believe, as Martha did, that Jesus is the Lord, the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world? Do you believe in the One who died and rose from the dead? Do you believe in the One who is the resurrection and the life? Do you believe in the One who can guarantee that you will go directly from this life to everlasting life?
 
Long story short, in these troubling times, when mortality seems to be on our minds more than ever, make sure that you have made the ultimate preparation…to meet God. For those who have, may you find peace during the chaos, knowing that even in death, you do not need to fear, because of where and to Whom you are going. 
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”4 
 
1.  Hebrews 9:27
2. Matthew 25:46
3. John 11:23-27
4. John 14:1-6


Evangelism, Pecan Creek Church, Denton, Texas

Evangelism, Taking Jesus to the Streets (of Denton)! Part 4: Objections to Evangelism

Evangelism, Pecan Creek Church, Denton, Texas

Evangelism
Taking Jesus to the Streets (of Denton)! — Part 4
Objections to Evangelism

 

Objections are nothing new.

Not a Saturday evening of evangelism has ever gone by that I have not received opposition for sharing the gospel in a public setting. And if you share the gospel very often, you too will have people object and oppose what you are doing. However, this should not surprise us for the Apostles, Christ himself, and many Christians throughout church history have experienced opposition to gospel proclamation.
 
Does opposition to evangelism mean that it should not be done? Of course, not. We must obey God rather than man!
So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard (Acts 4: 18-20).

 

Who is objecting?

The World
Those whose sinful hearts love the sinful system of this world hate God and hate those who represent Him. Jesus warned His disciples, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:17). And John the Apostle said “do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you” (1 John 3:13). So, it is clear that the world will oppose anyone who preaches Christ. The reason many Christians are unaware of the hatred is often that the world sees no difference in the Christian and themselves. But, begin to speak openly about the gospel, and get ready to experience hatred.

Religious folks
We also know that the most religious people of the time such as the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees opposed Jesus Christ and His Apostles. They put Jesus to death and tried to do the same to those who followed Him. Even though these the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees were extremely tedious in the practice religion, they were greatly opposed to God. Just because someone is religious does not mean that they are right with God. The Sanhedrin, the council of 71 of the top religious men of the day are the very ones who put Christ to death and persecuted the Apostles. This was done in the name of God, yet it was a god of their own making, not the One True God. And of course, such hatred of God and God’s gospel did not stop with the hatred received by the Apostles.

Professing Christians
Christians opposed to evangelism? That’s right… many Christians disagree with street preaching. I, myself, once rejected it. Then I eventually searched the Scriptures and by the grace of God, the Lord changed my heart. So, I completely understand. I also understand that not all open-air/street preaching is the same. I admit that there are certainly bad examples of street preaching just as there are bad examples of pulpit preaching as well. However, I am saying that virtually every single week, I see biblical preachers who proclaim the gospel in a kind, gentle, and respectful manner in the public forum receive hate from those who profess to be Christians.
 

What are the objections of some professing Christians?

Well, here are some of the ones that I hear the most:

Q: Is street preaching even effective?
We cannot base “success” on pragmatism (numbers of converts or any other measurable results). Noah “a preacher of righteousness” found favor in God’s sight. And only seven people out of the entire world were spared from God’s wrath through his tireless efforts. The Old Testament Prophets were rejected and despised despite their faithful dedication to proclaiming the word of God. Neither Jesus’s earthly ministry nor Paul’s ministry to the Jews produced stellar numbers in their lifetimes. So, in light of these examples, results based on numbers should not be our focus. Instead, let us be obedient and faithful to Christ knowing that we can trust His promises.

Q: Have your efforts produced any fruit?
Many times, we have seen people respond positively to the open preaching of the word of God. However, even if we do not see any fruit, it does not matter. Although we may not see an outward response, God still may be doing a regenerative work in their hearts. The Word (the gospel) is the seed and we are to be sowers and waterers of that seed. We trust that through our efforts God will bring the increase in His time (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8, 1 Corinthians 3:6).

Q: Are there not better ways to engage the lost?
What matters is that the gospel is preached and people hear the word of Christ. There are numerous examples of this being accomplished through Open-Air preaching, open reading of the Scriptures and street evangelism throughout the Bible (2 Peter 2:5, 1 Kings 8:54-56, Ezra 10:9-14, Nehemiah 8:1-8, Jeremiah 7:1-3, Jonah 3:1-5, Isaiah 5:29; Amos 5:10, Matthew 3:1-2; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3, Matthew 5-7, Luke 9:5-7, Acts 3:11-26, Acts 8:6-8, Acts 13:44-52, Acts 18:27-28, Acts 17:22-34).

Q: Won’t people be offended?
Yes, and no. The same message which offends some is the same message that saves others. Why would the message of God’s love, mercy, and grace offend anyone? Why would anyone reject His free gifts of forgiveness and eternal life? It’s clear. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:18a that, “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing…” Unless God’s Spirit moves in the hearts of unbelievers they will be offended by the gospel, reject the Word of God and consider the message and the messenger to be foolish (1 Corinthians 2:14). They are offended not because the message of the gospel is wrong, but because it is right. So, if it is right why are they offended? Because, “this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19).

Conclusion
If no one ever taught you, let me be the first to warn you that opposition to the proclamation of the gospel is sure to come. And such hostility is to be expected from those who openly reject Christianity and religious zealots alike. However, such hatred did not stop the mouth of Jesus Christ or the Apostles from the public proclamation of the gospel, and neither should the hatred we encounter stop us. The gospel must be believed in for salvation, but how can people believe it unless they hear it, and how can they hear it unless Christians like you and me are willing to tell them.
 
~Jeff Patton


Gospel Street Preaching Denton Church Pecan Creek

Evangelism Taking Jesus to the Streets (of Denton)! Part 3, Street Preaching Examples

Gospel Street Preaching Denton Church Pecan Creek

Evangelism
Taking Jesus to the Streets (of Denton)! Part 3
Street Preaching Examples

Virtually every Saturday evening you can find me and others on the Denton Square openly proclaiming the gospel. Without fail, every week we have people come up to us who are shocked that we are in the public square speaking about Jesus. Sadly, this astonishment is not just from those professing to be atheists and agnostics, but even Christians. As we engage in conversation with any and all naysayers, it seems that they all have the same argument, “You should be doing this in a church, not out here for the general public to hear.”

Hmm. Are they right? Are we right? Should evangelism be reserved only for buildings with the word “Church” on them? Well, even though “open-air” or “street preaching” has become rare, it is nothing new. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years.

We see many examples of it in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures. It has been prevalent throughout church history, and it is through the open-air proclamation of the gospel that great awakenings and revivals have occurred.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, here are some excellent examples of street preaching in both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures.

Examples from the Old Testament

  • Peter calls Noah a “herald of righteousness” referring to his call for people to repent before the flood of Genesis (2 Peter 2:5).
  • Solomon “with a loud voice” addressed the entire nation of Israel (1 Kings 8:54-56).
  • In the “open square” Ezra called the people of Israel to repentance (Ezra 10:9-14).
  • While standing before the people of Israel, Ezra openly read and explained the law of God (Nehemiah 8:1-8).
  • Jeremiah stood at the gate of the Lord’s House and “proclaimed” the words of God (Jeremiah 7:1-3).
  • Jonah openly preached repentance to the Ninevites (Jonah 3:1-5).
  • The Old Testament prophets heralded the word of God at the city gates (Isaiah 5:29; Amos 5:10).

Examples from the New Testament

  • John the Baptist was the first street preacher to herald the good news in the open-air (Matt. 3:1-2; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3).
  • Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount in the open-air (Matt. 5-7).
  • Jesus’s disciples went about preaching on the streets in many villages (Luke 9:5-7).
  • Peter preached to all the Jews who were gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40).
  • After healing the lame beggar, Peter preached in the open-air at Solomon’s Portico (Acts 3:11-26).
  • Philip openly preached the gospel to large crowds in the city of Samaria (Acts 8:6-8).
  • Peter and John preached the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans on their way back to Jerusalem (Acts 8:25)
  • Paul openly preached the gospel to the entire city of Antioch (Acts 13:44-52).
  • Paul stood atop Mars Hill and preached to the men of Athens in the open-air (Acts 17:22-34).
  • Apollos publicly proclaimed Christ Jesus and boldly refuted the Jews in Achaia (Acts 18:27-28).

Examples in Church history

Many revivals and spiritual awakenings throughout church history were spurred on by street preaching. Some more well-known open-air preachers, since the Reformation, were John Bunyan, John Knox (founder of the Presbyterian Church), John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Charles Spurgeon. Other famous ministers such as A. W. Tozer and Billy Sunday were also brought to Christ by the means of street preaching.
 
Spurgeon not only engaged in street preaching but aggressively defended it, as you can see from his following statements:

“It would be very easy to prove that revivals of religion have usually been accompanied, if not caused, by a considerable amount of preaching out of doors, or in unusual places.”

“No sort of defense is needed for preaching out of doors, but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meeting-house. A defense is required for services within buildings than for worship outside of them.”

In summary, although preaching in the open air has become quite rare, it is thoroughly biblical and Christian. It is a means by which God calls lost sinners to Himself and a vehicle that has produced spiritual awakenings and revivals throughout history at many times and in many places. What about you, have you ever thought about street preaching on your city streets? Why, or why not? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at findoutmore@thechurchatpecancreek.com.
 
~Jeff Patton