"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." 1 Corinthians 3:6-7
The Bible never commands us to win souls, but it does command us to be witnesses to preach the gospel to every creature and to be unashamed of the gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ. If you have been faithful to do that, then you are a success in the eyes of the LORD and will be rewarded accordingly. But if you have not done this, then you are a lousy soldier of Jesus Christ, and will suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ. "But God that giveth the increase" (I Cor. 3:7).
As far as we can discern from scripture, Jeremiah was faithful to preach the word of God under unreceptive conditions, and had no converts until after he died. Ezekiel and others were much the same, yet they were faithful to preach. The Lord has the perfect right to do what He wishes with His word and with His servants. He may use the word you preach as evidence against the people at the judgment, or He may use it to save the ones who are willing to listen and who are willing to yield their hearts. We preached at a flea market in Pensacola, Florida, on every Saturday morning for two years, and had two folks saved and some get right. However, we also preached in the Pecan Festival in Albany, Georgia, with twenty preachers and lots of one-on-one personal work with sinners under conviction, and we saw seventy-six folks saved in one day. Remember our opening text in Ezekiel 2:5: the motive is "yet [they] shall know there hath been a prophet among them."
If you are faithful to preach the gospel in the correct manner, and do proportionate one-on-one personal work, the odds are with you that there will be souls saved. While I was preaching in Montgomery, Alabama, a forty-year-old man named Don came running up to Bear with tears in his eyes. With a New Testament in his hands, he said, "I've gotta get saved; I've gotta get saved NOW!" Bear read him Romans 10: 13 and the man dropped on all fours in the middle of Montgomery and called on the name of the LORD. He told us he had been contemplating suicide all day because of problems in his life. He certainly displayed the joy of the LORD on him as he asked us, "Where am I? I want to remember where this is."
I was playing "Amazing Grace" on the accordion in Wilmington, Delaware, when a twenty-five-year-old man named Jerome came up to me and asked, with eagerness, if I would play it again. I did play it again, and then asked if he knew for sure when he died if he'd go to heaven. He replied, "No." In a matter of five minutes, I led him down the Romans Road and into the presence of our LORD and King.
We have seen fourteen saved in Jacksonville, Florida, in one evening. Two trusted Christ in Philadelphia. Three were born again in Albany, Georgia. Fifteen were converted in New Orleans. One black boy accepted the Lord in Montgomery, Alabama. Two precious girls will be in heaven because of a street meeting in Pensacola, Florida.
The following is the testimony of an ex-biker. (He is going as a missionary to Vancouver, Canada.)
Dear Brother and Sisters:
We thank you for touching our hearts. We don't
know you, but God has given us a love for you all. Please
don't ever quit. I got saved as a result of the street
ministry. I love street preachers, especially those who
love the sinners on the street, and I know that you all do.
Please pray that God would continue to break our hearts
for the sinner and for the lost souls in Vancouver, Canada.
"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Ps. 126:6).
"The entrance of thy word giveth light."
Sin is done in darkness both spiritual and, many times, literal. When someone shines a spotlight on the activities of sin, the rats tend to run and hide.
I know from many years of experience on the street, that sin can be hampered, stifled, kept in its hiding place, and at a bare minimum, if the light of the glorious gospel of Christ is consistently shined on the public streets.
Many Pastors have complained to us about the spiritually cold conditions of their cities, and that the blatantcy of sin is so prevalent. My reply, drawing from experiences pastoring a church with a street ministry, is that we preachers have been given charge of the spiritual heaters and lights. We will be held responsible for the amount of spiritual warmth and visibility in our communities.
I have seen many bars closed as a result of consistent public witness against them. I have seen lesbian bars and queer bars boarded up for Jesus. I have personally witnessed a demonstration of 150 homosexuals against the laws and legislation of the State of Florida foiled and squelched because there were some preachers willing to stand in the gap. I have watched the activities of homosexual churches be drastically altered as a result of public preaching. I have seen governors, legislators, and supreme court judges forced to publicly choose whether to identify with Jesus Christ or to deny Him.
Do you have a particular problem in your community? What have you got to lose by trying to solve it with a public witness?
One of the most valuable benefits of street preaching is that those who preach are mightily strengthened as they could not ever be in any other form of ministry. I have watched young men be filled with zeal for the LORD's work and, as a result, grow at a much more rapid rate than those who may exercise themselves in any other fashion. Street preaching is the steroids of spiritual growth, and is the most vital hormone in the development of the "last days," frontline soldier of Jesus Christ. Once injected, it travels fast into the bloodstream of the Christian, but I must warn you, "It can be habit forming!"
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