“Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
-2 Timothy 4:2
The definitive lesson in the New Testament describes the Biblical styles of a minister’s preaching, and classifies three areas in which true Bible preaching is exercised in order for the word of God to “not return…void, but…accomplish that which I please, and…prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”, saith the Lord (Isaiah 55:11). The greatest preacher in the New Testament admonished his young convert Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). Howbeit, within the ranks of open air evangelism, there never seems to be a Biblical order or balance to many street preachers’ open air efforts, with most street preachers unrighteously over emphasizing only a single approach to Bible preaching, while neglecting or completely ignoring the other two. This ignorance of the scriptural mandates so permeates many open air preachers in their public communications, that it quickly spreads like leaven and begins to overwhelm their personalities, their private communications and their entire ability to minister and compassionately deal with even the mildest sinner that haplessly finds themselves confronted with the over bearing, braying ass of open air divinity come lately, that feels that there is only one thing street preachers should be doing and that is rebuking everyone about everything.
I. Open Rebuke
With the modern day folly that permeates American Street Preaching ministries, we shall deal with the secondary ministration first. Because, with such an arrogant fascination with “open rebuke” by many errant street preachers, it is sadly humorous to the author just how many open air preachers ignorantly believe that rebuking sinners is the only thing open air evangelism is about. A one hour search of the countless streams of videos posted on U-Tube by egotistical, ‘Look at Me Preachers‘, will demonstrate how little else some street preachers who utilize the internet for bragging time, think a street preacher should do. There are literally hundreds of hours of videos of circus hawking, self proclaimed street preachers, displaying their grandiose efforts at “Me Rebuking Sodomites”, “Me Rebuking Mormons”, “Me Rebuking Drunkards”, “Me Rebuking Hollywood Pervert”, “Me Rebuking a Drunk Mexican”, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam! So overtaken with this evangelistic opiate of Titus 1:13, “rebuke them sharply”, that little else matters to these show boat evangelistic clowns dressed in their multi colored street preacher’s underwear, that the preaching of the cross has completely disappeared from the open air market of every major public event in America; replaced by the mindless and heartless cacophony of religious rants about everything wicked and evil in the darkened and corrupted mind of the religious jokester behind the bull horn of Satan’s war against God ordained Bible preaching! It is the work of Satan to corrupt the minds (2 Corinthians 11:3) of the children of God (vs. 1, 2) and ministers of God (vs. 12, 13) into thinking that “open rebuke is better” than everything. And it is equally true, that “IF OUR GOSPEL BE HID, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4). And Satan accomplishes both the corrupting of the preacher’s mind and the blinding of the lost sinners mind in one scheme, and that is to replace the preaching of the gospel with a 24 hour rebuking ministration. “Open rebuke is better than secret love” (Proverbs 27:5), but IT IS NOT better than “reproofs of instruction” (6:23), “the preaching of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18), “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), and “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proverbial admonition of contrast about “open rebuke”, is a comparative truth limited solely to the applications of “secret love”. That is, “open rebuke is better than secret love” in circumstances involving someone loving someone secretly as an excuse for overlooking their sin publicly. But that has nothing to do with the open air preacher upon every street corner he finds himself standing. And Satan has devised a plan (see 2 Corinthians 2:11) to flood the ranks of open air evangelism with literally hundreds of Clowns for Jesus, dressed in shorts and underwear, with every conceivable religious saying painted on the front of their undershirts, the back of their undershirts, on the buttocks of their shorts, and down the pant legs. Satan dresses these gospel hot dogs in every conceivable hat known to man, from construction hard hats with scripture written all over, to bush hats, WWII army helmets, Australian bush hats, ball caps, night caps, Santa Claus stockings and camo colored Mossy Oak hunting hats; all with thousands of religious rants and partial verses of scriptures written thereupon; with shoulder carried street hawkers sandwich boards front and back, with 200 other “rebukes” painted in an attempt to cram every religious cliché on one side, all in the name of Jesus! And these Comedians for Christ do nothing but rebuke every soul that comes by them thinking they do God’s service, and they are the biggest bunch of worthless, religious braying asses known in the history of the church.
Having so said, the SPF has never embraced the cowardly theology that you should never openly rebuke anyone, for fear of driving them away from Christ. The Bible is adamantly in support of driving some people away from Christ (see Revelation 20:15), but not everyone! Granted, there are situations and circumstances where “one thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one” (Isaiah 30:17), but if the Bible student of the Scriptures and historic open air preaching will read the Bible and effectively listen to what the Bible says, he can learn in short order, that the Bible makes less to do of open rebuke than preachers do. Howbeit, there is an order of magnitude in all that God does reveal and say, and the Bible being our text book, the Scriptures do specifically tell the street preacher the who, the when and the where of both reproving and rebuking and exhorting, in the New Testament admonition to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). The SPF has taught for years that street preachers in obeying the call of God to “preach everywhere” (Mark 16:20), will always fall under the infamous entitlement from the scripture of being “fools for Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:18/ 3:18/ 4:10), but you do not have to be a “dumb ass speaking with a man’s voice” (2 Peter 2:16). Having observed just about every imaginable street preaching scenario known to man over the last 34 years, the author believes that the number one cause of this recent escalade of “open rebuke”, stems from the over excited novice (1 Timothy 3:6), who has found an avenue to stand like a man, talk like a man and look like a man in a adolescent’s body, who can fake his instability in the fast paced excitement of the open air evangelistic service amongst Bible rejecting liberals. The present world wide revival of open air preaching, has been inundated with fresh new faces young and old, since it doesn’t take a PhD to preach in the streets and lanes of the cities. However, it does take more than a novice whose only claim to fruits of repentance is having forsaken walking down the beach front in his underwear following the Devil, for walking down the boardwalk in his underwear following Jesus (Mark 14:51, 52). The novice, in any aspect of the ministry all have one thing in common, regardless of their ministerial slant, and that is the absolute refusal or inability to be taught and trained by experience. He either does not have any experience by reason of years, or he has never learned anything from what he experienced.
The SPF has for years taught experienced and inexperienced street preachers to ignore the hecklers that routinely gather around the open air evangelist, and preach the gospel of Christ to the gathering crowd behind the hecklers, that are obviously listening. It is paramount to the success of any public assembly, that the street preachers ignore the front line hecklers and preach to the multitude behind them, that are being drawn to the meeting by the antics of the hecklers, but who are captivated by the courage and message of the street preacher. An experienced and Holy Ghost filled street evangelists of any age, can carry a crowd and completely captivate their attention with the gospel message in short order by so doing. Howbeit, what the author has seen countless times within the last three years, is the growing number of young rebels who lack a cause and the courage to carry one, who for whatever reason are drawn to street preaching but not to open air evangelism; and the former does not succeed without the latter. They love the appearance of anarchy and riot that accompanies some street meetings where the devil raises opposition to the learned and experienced street evangelists preaching with the power of the Holy Ghost. What the observant Christian will notice during these moments, is that these young street vainjainglers are without exception, completely void of courage to stand alone and follow Jesus Christ in the Biblical principles of holiness and the manifestation of the righteousness of Christ in their personal lives, that makes them stand out in the world as those “peculiar people” (Titus 2:14/ 1 Peter 2:9). They do not have the personal courage to be different from the world. Howbeit, it seems almost contradictory when you find them so attracted to street preaching when it obviously takes a certain amount of courage to stand in the face of an angry crowd, until you both watch them in their personal lives and countenance, and then listen to what and how they are preaching publicly.
The author loves studying street preachers as much as he loves preaching with them. What is missing from the ranks of the experienced open air evangelists, are the old salts that are wise enough to stand back and study the rest of us as we preach, in order to have the spiritual discernment from God to guide both of us into the future of this world wide revival of open air preaching. In so doing, what the author has observed countless times, is a novical street preacher, who otherwise lacks personal courage to follow clear verses of Scriptures as they relate to his personal life, who will seemingly face an angry crowd to preach about their sinful life in ways that he will not apply to his own personal life. He will rebuke the world over and over for things, that he will not rebuke himself over. He openly lacks the courage to correct himself or be corrected, while seemingly demonstrating the courage to rebuke others over much of the same failures in his own life. And just about every street sermon he delivers rapidly turns into a revolving whirlpool of “open rebuke” that escalates into a back and forth banter of religious cacophony of “foolish questions…and contentions, and strivings about the law that are unprofitable and vain” (Titus 3:9), that completely makes the entire encounter void of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Reason how depraved! The cause of this tragic misconception and ignorance of the Biblical mandate for every preacher is found in 1 Corinthians 9:27, and revolves right out of a the street preacher’s guilty conscience about such hypocrisy that leaves the self conceived and self deceived “street preacher” with the thoughts of his bad heart “accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:15). He excuses himself and accuses everyone else. That Biblical revelation of the heart begins to manifest itself so much in his preaching, that it turns his style of delivery into a whirlwind fury of back and forth rebukes where the Devil completely turns the open air pulpit upside down upon the novice street preacher, and the hecklers begin doing to the preacher, what the preacher should be doing to the hecklers.
As the SPF has taught for years, the street preacher should be using the hecklers to gain the attention of the crowd, and keeping the hecklers at bay verbally by throwing them a scriptural reproof every so often to rant and rave about, so they do not notice that no one is listening to them, while the preacher delivers the gospel to the crowd standing behind the hecklers listening. Howbeit, with the novical know it all street pulpiteer with a guilty conscience, the devil quickly turns the banter of his own guilty heart against him, and the hecklers begin throwing at him every kind of question, rebuke and raucous accusation, that verbally captivates the preacher’s attention from the message of God, so that the poor diluted street puppet doesn’t notice that no one is listening to him. They are too busy laughing at him to listen to him. And the preacher while trying to ignore the hecklers and preach to the crowd behind them, quickly falls to preaching to the crowd behind them, the rebukes he would like to give to the hecklers in the front row. And when the street preacher does that, everyone trying to listen in the rear, quickly sees that the street preacher has no spiritual discernment from God to reach the listening crowd at the rear about what is bothering their conscience, and the glorious gospel of Christ is quickly dropped right out of the open air meeting to the damnation of the crowd and the condemnation of the street preaching novice.
Brethren, “open rebuke is better than secret love”, but it is not better than the gospel of Christ! And what the author just described is so prevalent in today’s open air ministrations, that this old grey haired preacher would admonish every street preacher in America with this “open rebuke”:
If you are not going to be right from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet,
before “the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13),
then SHUT YOUR MOUTH about everyone else’s sin,
and just preach the gospel, until that same gospel gets a hold of your heart,
like you profess to want it to do to everyone else’s!!!!
Because until you do, you cannot be trusted to know who to rebuke and when, by the Scriptures, and not by your pathetic feelings about your worth to God! This old man loves street preachers, but “am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”(Galatians 4:16). “Do not err my beloved brethren” (James 1:16). “The words of the Preacher, the son of David…it is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools” (Ecclesiastes 1:1/ 7:5). Because, hey street preacher, “rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee” (Proverbs 9:8), but a scorner won’t! “A scorner heareth not rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1), and a scorner will not even accept a reproof (look at it…Proverbs 9:8).
So what is this constant open rebuke that you practice on everyone but yourself??? In the Bible, very few people are rebuked, and the exchange is not what these egotistical loud mouths make of it. The majority of Biblical rebukes are aimed towards God’s people (Mark 8:33/ ), nature (Psalm 106:9/ Matthew 8:26/ Mark 4:39/ Luke 8:24), or the devil (Matthew 17:18/ Mark 1:25/ 9:25/ Luke 4:35/ 9:42) and those God loves (Revelation 3:19); much more than they are aimed at the world or the common sinner on his way to hell. God Almighty rebukes politicians (Nehemiah 5:7), “the heathen” (Psalm 9:5), “the proud” (Psalm 119:21), his closest disciples (Mark 8:33), false prophets (2 Peter 2:16) and his children (Hebrews 12:5). And rebukes in the Bible are not the level of verbosity practiced by so many. A biblical rebuke, can be as short as 12 words in a dream (Genesis 31:24, 42). A biblical rebuke can come in the form of a question (Genesis 37:10). But “open rebuke”, though better than secret love, never takes precedent over reproofs of instruction in the word of God.
It should be clearly noted by the “preacher” (Romans 10:14/ 1 Timothy 2:7/ 2 Timothy 1:11) and “able minister of the New Testament” (2 Corinthians 3:6), that the New Testament admonition from the greatest example of both, placed the ministration of reproving people ahead of rebuking them (2 Timothy 4:2), “reprove, rebuke”. Those two corrective aspects of Bible preaching are both completed in conjunction with the ministration of “exhortation” (vs. 2) as the definitive ministerial closing to every sermon, as long as each is done “with all longsuffering and doctrine” (vs. 2). Every preaching message or sermon should wind itself down into an exhortation, or else it fails the New Testament prescriptive order. Howbeit, the Holy Ghost set “reproofs” ahead of “rebukes” in the New Testament order of Bible preaching, the reason of which should have been obvious for the preacher that reads his Bible more than he watches videos of himself preaching. Because a preacher may claim to be a preacher of the Bible, doesn’t mean he adheres to the Bible in his personal life or his ministerial life. You will find all kinds of fanciful, self exaggerated opinions about themselves walking around pretending to be Bible preachers. They call themselves ‘BibleBob’, ‘BibleGreg, BibleJim…Lawrence…Bill…Sammyboy…and Rufus’ (see Romans 16:13 for the latter). One of the afore mentioned Bibleboys was seen parading down Bourbon Street during the 2005 Mardi Gras, carrying a Banner, in his usual undershirt for God, wearing a Crocodile Dundee hat, with black leather motorcycle gloves on, and blue bug eyed sunglasses that made him look more like a fruit fly than a preacher, and the lassie was holding a video camera up behind his head with one hand, filming himself walking down Bourbon Street, braying loudly against everything and everyone in his atypical “rebuke them sharply” style of evangelism. Howbeit, the avid Bible reader and student of “thus saith the Holy Ghost” (Acts 21:11/ Hebrews 3:7), would have noted clearly that the work of the Holy Ghost never includes rebuking the world for anything, for Jesus Christ himself clarified the work of the Holy Ghost at His advent into the world involved “reproving” rather than “rebuking”.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost.”
“And when he is come, he will REPROVE the world of sin,
and of righteousness, and of judgment”.
– John 16:8
“Open rebuke is better than secret love”, but it is not better than “reproofs of instruction”, for “reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23). Jesus Christ being both “the way” and “the life” (John 14:6), the ministerial and communicative work of the Holy Ghost, as “the Comforter” (John 16:7, 8/ c.f. 15:26) in dealing with the world, is to “reprove the world of” the following.
- Of Sin, BECAUSE they believe not on Jesus Christ (John 16:9).
- Of righteousness, BECAUSE Jesus Christ went to the Father, and the disciples can see him no more (vs. 10).
- Of Judgment, BECAUSE the prince of this world is judged (vs. 11).
Howbeit, the open air preacher, unlike his pastoral counterpart, deals mainly with the world and not with the saints. In dealing with the world, the Holy Ghost “reproves”, not rebukes. And the Holy Ghost “reproves the world of sin” (John 16:8) first. That is why the SPF and the Acts of the Street Preachers has constantly emphasized, and actively taught that a street preacher has to preach against sin and the sinner. Howbeit, only after the Biblical order, and the majority of that verbal assault upon sin should be structured in “reproofs of instruction” (Proverbs 6:23) when it is powered by the Holy Ghost, not rebukes. For “reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23), and that is the direction the open air evangelist directs people unto. But it requires “reproofs of instruction” rather than this continual onslaught of “open rebuke”. The reason for this is two fold, from the passage in John 16. First of all, the Bible clearly places the work of the Holy Ghost in reproving the world of sin first, because until a person knows what sin is, they will not be taught about what is right, neither will they return unto that which is right! Hence, the Holy Ghost “will reprove the world of sin” [FIRST], “and of righteousness [SECOND]”. Secondly, the Biblical reason for this is one of “the first principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 6:12), that the path away from God is reciprocal, in that it will lead you back to God the same way it lead you away from Him.
Brethren, allow this street preaching bishop of the Anabaptists to teach you something. The evangelist’s job is to persuade the “wicked to forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts” and convince them both to “RETURN…RETURN…RETURN unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). The path away from God is a path away from “the light of life”(John 8:12), which is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is “the TRUE LIGHT, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), for “IN HIM was life; and the life was THE LIGHT OF MEN” (vs. 4). Hey Street Preacher! Jesus Christ is “the beginning and the ending” (Revelation 1:8), to teach you that “IN THE BEGINNING God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) so that every person in this life starts in the same place, and the Bible identifies that place as the person of Jesus Christ, of which the New Testament affirms that “IN HIM we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1/ John 1:1) is not a period of time, but the very person of Jesus Christ our Lord. And “IN HIM was life; and the life was THE LIGHT OF MEN” (John 1:4), even “the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (vs. 9) “so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Every person born into this life has “the light of men” and “the light of life” to give them sufficient knowledge of God so that if they will glorify Him as God, and go by the light they have, that “light of life” will lead them unto Jesus Christ “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). But “when they knew God, and glorified him not as God, neither were thankful” (Romans 1:21), it set them upon a path away from God into a path of the knowledge of evil, because “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28), and that knowledge of God was “the knowledge of good” (Genesis 2:17) for “there is none good but one, that is God” (Matthew 19:17/ Mark 10:18). That departure from “the path of life” (Psalm 16:11/ Proverbs 2:19/ 5:6) is the identical retraceable path back to Him, for it began with “the knowledge of GOOD and EVIL” (Genesis 2:17/ 3:3-7, 11); “good” first, and then “evil”. Every child’s departure from God begins there (Deuteronomy 1:39) with the knowledge of good, and “there is none good but God” (Matthew 19:17/ Mark 10:18), to “an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12), to the full “knowledge of evil”. A person’s unbelief leads to sin: hence, the Holy Ghost reproves the world of “sin, because they believe not on Jesus Christ” (John 16:9/ Hebrews 3:12). And every lost soul’s “return unto the Lord” (Isaiah 55:7) will be the reverse of that same path of knowledge. Hence, the Holy Ghost “reproves the world of sin [first]”, then “of righteousness” (John 16:8), in order to return him back along the path he took with “an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). It has to go that way in order for the sinner to “find that place of repentance” (Hebrew 12:17). Therefore, the Holy Ghost “reproves the world of sin, BECAUSE they believe not on Jesus Christ” (John 16:9), and those “reproofs of instruction” (Proverbs 6:23) will lead him back into “the way of life”. Howbeit, this constant abuse and over emphasis of “open rebuke” will likely do more to discourage the sinner than encourage him to seek the the truth and “the glorious gospel of Christ…the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6).
The reason for this, is because “rebukes” are just as the word says. The word is kin unto its root: ‘re’ [from Latin: go back/to do again/re-do/re-peat]….buke: meaning to chop/to cut/i.e. buck [like in a Buck knife/sawbuck/bucksaw for cutting and chopping firewood/from the Old German busche…chop wood]. A rebuke is a repeated sharp cut with “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6). The author says repeated, in that the prefix “re”, is indicative of the “two edged sword” of the Spirit (Hebrews 4:12) that cuts deep in both direction. It is not just a cut, but to cut again. As the word of God says of itself, “It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him” (Job 20:25). The sword “pierces even to the dividing assunder” (Hebrews 4:12). That is the meaning of the word. Spiritually, it is as close to an open manifestation of the Sword of the Spirit as it gets; even God’s “glittering sword” (see Deuteronomy 32:41/ Job 20:25). And one of the first principles of the oracles of God is that just the sure sight of such “a flaming sword which turn[s] every way” will “keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). But the preacher’s job is not to “keep the way of the tree of life”. God has Cherubim to accomplish that task (Genesis 3:24) “till the seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Galatians 3:19). The open air preacher’s job is to follow the leadership of the Holy Ghost in dealing with the sin of the world, and the Holy Ghost “reproves the world of sin” (John 16:9).
Brethren, can ye not see that the open air preacher’s job is to set the sinner back into the way of life, and Jesus Christ is that way (John 14:6). And “reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23). A “reproof” is just as the word is [‘re’: from Latin: to do again….proof/prove/proofs]. ‘Proof’ is what is offered in support of something; to substantiate something. ‘To prove’ something, is to try it, to test it, to demonstrate its quality. When Saul gave David his personal armor to wear into battle against Goliath, David put them off saying, “I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them” (1 Samuel 17:39). The New Testament admonition to the Christian is to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Preacher, if you could just master that in your open air dealings with the sin of the world. The Holy Ghost “reprove[s] the world of sin, because they believe not on Him” (John 16:9). A Biblical reproof of instruction to a sinner about his sin, will do more to change his heart attitude about his sin and the remedy for it, than ever an open rebuke will do to drive him away from it. As sad is it to say, a lot of these new generation street preachers are following the mentality of the muslims, in that the remedy of sin for a thief is to cut off his hand! There are many street preachers whose attitude and mode of operation, is aligned with the angel of death (Hebrews 2:14/ Exodus 12:29) more than “the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve” (Acts 27:23). To reprove the world of sin, is a correction that firmly and strongly remonstrates against the offense, but reasons with the sinner in offering a constructive admonition to repent as well as an avenue by which to turn from their sin unto God, that they might find “a place of repentance” (Hebrews 12:17). Brethren, you cannot chase a sinner down a one way path to hell, corner him at the end of the road where the bridge of life is collapsed into the valley of the shadow of death; then right in the midst of the misery of his sin, when he is danger close to going over the brink and precipice of his broken bridge to nowhere, then just kick him off the cliff, or cut the rope he’s dangling from after going off the cliff, and wonder why he didn’t turn from his destruction and follow you back out the right way before he hit the bottom of the gorge! In deed and truth, every sinner reaps what they have sown, but Jesus Christ even gave the Jezebel of New Testament Christianity “space to repent” (Revelation 2:21).
A reproof, is a repeated correction of instruction: hence, “reproofs of instruction” (Proverbs 6:23) concerning the wages, condemnation and ultimate end of sin, that proves something to the sinner. You cannot reprove someone without proving something to them, that they are lost and miserable in their sin, and dead while they live to pay for every sin they commit against a Holy, Righteous God who will some day “judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained” (Psalm 9:8/ Acts 17:31). It does little for the sinner in addressing his sin, when the correction proves nothing to the sinner, except that the preacher can be judgmental. A biblical reproof, makes the case against the sin and the sinner being corrected, that proves the point and convinces the sinner of his sin. That is what Jesus Christ meant when he responded to the unbelieving Jews (John 8:31), “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (vs. 46). It is the same word for “reprove” in John 16:9. A reproof has to provide sufficient proof to convince the sinner of his sin and the penalty of it. A true biblical reproof does the following;
- It is connected to inspirational preaching (1 Corinthians 14:24): that is what “prophesying” is all about, Spirit filled preaching.
- It is convincing (vs. 24): “he is convinced of all” [all things that were spoken to him].
- The words that were preached will judge the listener (vs. 24): “he is judged of all”.
- It will manifest the secrets of the unbeliever’s heart (vs. 25).
- It will move and motivate a person to repent and humble himself (vs. 25): “and so falling down on his face”.
- It will compel the receiver to come to God (vs. 25): “he will worship God”.
- And it will convince the receiver that God is with the person doing the reproving (vs. 25): “and report that God is in you of a truth”.
Throughout the Bible, examples of reproofs of instruction are everywhere, and should be noted by the open air evangelist, for even the admonition to “reprove” is not at all what many preachers would make of the discipline.
- Abimelech used a payment of money to Abraham as an illustration and reproof to Sarah his wife, for not putting a watch over her eyes when in another man’s house (see Genesis 20:1-16).
- God will many times reprove a sinner over and over, before the Lord moves against him suddenly (Proverbs 29:1).
- A reproof should be so effective that the recipient falls silent, while contemplating how he should answer when he is reproved (Habakkuk 2:1).
- Light will work effectively as a reproof to wicked deeds (John 3:20).
- Because “all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light” (Ephesians 5:13).
- Arguing is not considered Biblical reproof (Job 6:25).
- It is vain imagination to try and reprove someone who is in a desperate situation (Job 6:26).
- A godly reproof will set things in order that are the subject of the reproof (Psalm 50:21).
- You should not reprove a scorner (Proverbs 9:8).
Reproofs work best on people who can understand what you are saying (Proverbs 19:25).
- Just as the Bible mandates that judgment be according to righteousness (John 7:24/Isaiah 11:4), so too must reproofs be founded upon equity (Isaiah 11:4).
- As light dispels darkness, so does reproofs “the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11).
- A godly reproof will astonish people (Job 26:11).
Open air ministerial experience will demonstrate repeatedly the wisdom of the above Biblical admonitions. Howbeit, the open air preacher must learn to exercise all of the above within the reach of his preaching or in direct conjunction with it; but he should not allow it to replace his preaching. Ray Comfort’s witnessing techniques are clear demonstrations of the dangers involved when preachers leave off the Biblical necessity of preaching (1 Corinthians 1:21), to administer nothing but catchy, psychological reproofs as some new ministerial tool for mastering the sidewalk banter of the open air evangelistic service, where sinners gather to listen to a street preacher preach the gospel of Christ, and the street evangelist’s ignorant companions just have to engage the listener in some profoundly vain ‘Way of the Master’ scripted card trick with the law of Moses, instead of allowing the sinner to listen to the preaching. Ray Comfort’s ‘Way of the Master’ is a Satanic way of “minister[ing] questions” about the law (1 Timothy 1:4-10) but not “according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (vs. 11), in order to squelch and silence the preaching with a more “soothsaying” approach of ministering, that turns the present revival of open air PREACHING back to the graveyard silence of Fundamentalists 1950’s and 60’s witnessing campaigns of damnation and destruction. The Holy Ghost “reprove[s] the world of sin” (John 16:8), but never according to “the wisdom of the wise, and…the understanding of the prudent” (1 Corinthians 1:19), but according to the wisdom “which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (2:13), and that wisdom is absolutely based upon the commission of Christ in 1 Corinthians 1:17, Mark 16:15, 20 and John 20:21.
Also, the Bible student of Open Air preaching should note that the Holy Ghost reproves the world of not just sin, but “of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). That alone, shows you that “reproving” is not just about correcting folks. The Holy Ghost “reproves the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (ibid.), in “proving again” the Biblical aspects of all three. Brethren, that is what the word “reprove” means…….’to prove again’. And the Holy Ghost uses the communicative process to deal with the world about sin, righteousness and judgment. And the preacher will not understand the definitive aspects of Biblical reproofs, until he realizes that the Holy Ghost reproves the world of sin, righteousness and judgment for the causes given in John 16:9: “of sin, BECAUSE they believe not on me; of righteousness, BECAUSE I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, BECAUSE the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:9). A preacher’s job in being full of the Holy Ghost is to prove again to the world that sin is the ultimate proof and demonstration of unbelief. Eve sinned because she didn’t really believe anything she said about God, nor anything God said about her, namely, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Eve could tell you what he said (Genesis 3:2,3 “ye shall not eat of it”), and Eve could tell you what she thought he meant by what He said (vs. 3, “neither shall ye touch it”), but she neither believed exactly what God said, nor did she believe what she thought he meant, or she wouldn’t have eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When she “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” (vs. 6), she believed more of what she “saw” and “desired” than anything that God said. Her unbelief was manifestly proved by her sin! She didn’t quit believing because she sinned, she sinned because she didn’t believe regardless of what she said. The common sinner has inherited from Grandma Eve the inward desire to go by what you see more than what you hear.
Additionally, the Holy Ghost “reproves the world of…righteousness, BECAUSE I go to my Father and ye see me no more” (John 16:9). Jesus Christ came to this earth the first time to manifestly declare God’s righteousness, and that central theme to Christ’s first coming is completely removed from the gospel message today by the very ministers that profess to be preaching it in what the Bible refers to as “the ministration of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 3:9). And the reason that theme of God’s righteousness is absent from the gospel message is because the ministers are not right! And they have no intentions of getting right! That is why the best of them have removed “the righteousness of God” from the gospel message of salvation and either replaced it with a Roman’s Road to hell, or the Law of Moses. And both camps have failed to see, that from the beginning of Paul’s admonition to the Romans about salvation and the law, he made it manifestly clear that
“NOW the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,
being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
EVEN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
which is by FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST unto all and upon all them that believe.”
“For all have sinned.”
Brethren, the Holy Ghost “reproves the world…of righteousness, because Christ Jesus went back to His Father and we see Him no more” (John 16:9). Now, reason Brethren amongst yourselves: why would the Bible link those two things together, the one being the reason for the other? Why would the Holy Ghost reprove the world of righteousness because Jesus Christ went back to the Father and we see Him no more? That is the second most important work the Holy Ghost does in the world, because Jesus Christ came into this world as a walking, breathing, living declaration of God’s righteousness, of whom even “the heavens declare his righteousness” (Psalm 50:6/ 97:6), “being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (Romans 3:21). But not by the New Testament Open Air Ministers?????? And why? Because this modern day corrupted mentality (see 2 Corinthians 11: 3) of the ministry of vain shew, fails to recognize that the declaration of God’s righteousness is “for the remission of sins that are past” (Romans 3:25), because those are the only sins a person has committed to date: and the righteousness of God does very little for mankind, when mankind cannot see it with their eyes, look upon it, and with their hands handle it (1 John 1:1) and have that righteousness of God “manifest” itself unto them (vs. 2) and work the same in them in making them so right in God’s eyes, that both God the Father and Jesus Christ will have close fellowship with them (1 John 1:3). Jesus Christ was the living manifestation of God’s righteousness, walking on earth “in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). Christ was and is the righteousness of God manifest in the flesh, that produced “godliness” (1 Timothy 3:16) walking in the midst of the world.
Howbeit, when the very righteousness of God “was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), He declared of that transformation, “a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5) that would be connected with “the volume of the book” (vs. 7) of God, wherein was written “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” (vs. 9). And the work of the Holy Ghost, in writing that book (2 Peter 1:21), said of Christ’s body, “there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:46). “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual” (vs. 47), so that man would see when “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9), that what God Almighty did in manifesting Himself in the flesh of the Son of man (1 Timothy 3:16), He can likewise do in man, by “the body of Christ”, in making us “the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21) by “the ministry of reconciliation” (vs. 18), called “the ministration of righteousness” (3:9), in establishing the body of Christ as “that which is spiritual” (1 Corinthians 15:47). That body “which IS SPIRITUAL” was and IS to be the visible recipient of “the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17) as a open demonstration that “as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS unto eternal life by Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:21). But the Scriptures mandated that such a transformation is entirely based upon the child of God not allowing “sin to therefore reign IN YOUR MORTAL BODY…neither yield ye your MEMBERS as INSTRUMENTS OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS unto sin: BUT yield yourselves unto God as those alive from the dead, and your MEMBERS AS INSTRUMENTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS unto God” (Romans 6:12, 13). Howsoever, today’s open air minister for the most part demonstrates no open manifestation that “the ministration of righteousness…the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:9/ 2 Peter 1:1) has done anything for the minister to make him any different from the world he preaches to, beyond his loud mouth and self exaggerated opinions about his worth and difference from those he is rebuking. And when the Gentile world cannot “see Jesus” (see John 12:20, 21) and “the life also of Jesus…made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:10, 11), then the Gentile world that “seeks after wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22) clearly demonstrate Biblically as “the children of this world that they are wiser in their generation than the children of light” (Luke 16:8), and reject the vain verbosity of the run of the mill street preacher who looks like the world, lives like the world, acts like the world, dresses like the world…but talks like a Christian! Because the average “men of this world, who have their portion in this life” (Psalm 17:14) can easily recognize those vain show boats of open air evangelism who likewise want their “portion in this life”, even if they vainly attempt to talk like “children of light” (John 12:36/ Ephesians 5:8/ 1 Thessalonians 5:5) while looking like and living like “the children of this world” (Luke 16:8/ 20:34/ Ephesians 2:2). What the vain street preachers of this world and not “the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5/ 6:5) failed to see from the Bible, is that God gives a certain “TRAVAIL…to the sons of men to be exercised in it” (Ecclesiastes 3:10), and that travail works in the worldly street preacher just like it works in the worldly man on the street the former vainly preaches to; and that travail from God is this condemnation, that “He hath set the world IN THEIR HEART, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from THE BEGINNING to THE END” (vs. 11).
And “the mystery of God” (Colossians 2:2) even “the mystery, which from THE BEGINNING of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9), which mystery “from THE BEGINNING to THE END” (Revelation 1:8/ Ecclesiastes 3:11) and “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18) and “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17) has been to reveal “the righteousness of God” (1:17) and “declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past” (Romans 3:25) “through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). And that “offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL” is said to be specifically by the surrendering of Jesus Christ to the will of God (Hebrews 10:7) in offering his body that was prepared for him (vs. 5) as a one time offering that would be acceptable both physically and spiritually by “taking away the first that he might establish the second” (vs. 9). That is the ‘Establishment Clause’ of the Holy Bible: “He taketh away the first, that he may…may…may ESTABLISH THE SECOND” (Hebrews 10:10…the number of the Gentiles). But Satan has beguiled and mocked the body of Christ in America in 1776 with “the Establishment Clause” of the United States Constitution, whereby Congress was ordered to “make no law respecting the ESTABLISHMENT of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. And that freedom was the right to be accepted for being whatever kind of Christian one wanted to be or the right to be no Christian at all and still be accepted: and it worked just the opposite of the wording, in preventing “the establishment” of the body of Christ, “whose body we are” (1 Corinthians 12:27) as living manifestation of “the life also of Jesus” in “our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:10, 11) as the declaration of “His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past” (Romans 3:25). And because American Christians were given the right to be whatever kind of Christian they think is right in their own eyes, it produced a Christianity that is only right in their own eyes, but not “before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13), neither in the eyes of mankind (Proverbs 27:20) that subsequently cannot see an evangelistic child of God “always bearing about in the body…in the body…in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:10). Jesus Christ has gone away, and the world sees Him no more, not because the Holy Ghost does not reprove the world of righteousness, but because the street preacher isn’t right before God, and isn’t going to live the kind of Christian life that will make him right before God and man, so that “the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in his body… his mortal flesh” (ibid.). And that is why Jesus Christ said the work of the Holy Ghost is to “reprove the world of…righteousness, becaue I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (John 16:8, 9). Dearly beloved Brethren, it takes more than a hyper critical mouth to “reprove the world” of righteousness!
And thirdly, the Holy Ghost “reproves the world of…judgment, BECAUSE the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:8, 9). That work of the Holy Ghost is the only means by which a street preacher can produce the fear of God in a lost man’s heart. Because, “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24), and you cannot produce a fear of that God, that Spiritual God, in a person who has no spiritual life in him by only hounding him about his sin. That is why the Holy Ghost “reproves the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”: not just what is evil in a person’s life, but what should be good in a person’s life and the judgment of God in light of both the good and evil in that person’ life. And the Holy Ghost reproves the world “of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (16:9). The reason for this, is because the devil is the only spiritual life a lost man has. A lost man, spiritually, is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:2), just as his great grandparents Adam and Eve died spiritually the very day they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). That is why when a person is born again, it is “the spirit” that is “born of the Spirit” (John 3:6). Howbeit, though a lost man’s spirit be “dead in trespasses and sins”, the devil, as “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and “the prince of this world” (John 16:9) called “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) becomes the only spiritual life the world knows anything about, becoming “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Hence, the Holy Ghost “reproves the world of judgment…because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:9), to strike fear into the heart of man because his thoughts are messed up. The author says thoughts, because the Bible connects the mind with the spirit (see Ezekiel 11:5/ Romans 8:5, 27/ Ephesians 4:23/ Philippians 1:27/ 2 Thessalonians 2:2/ 2 Timothy 1:7), and the lost man’s spirit being dead, he is very susceptible to having his mind spiritually altered by propaganda, drugs, influence and “brain washing”, of which the devil is an expert at blinding the mind (2 Corinthians 4:4) and corrupting the mind (2 Corinthians 11:3). Thus, the Holy Ghost can trouble the mind of the lost world, by reproving the world of judgment, based upon the fact that the “spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2) will be judged. This is done scripturally by reproving the world for their lousy thoughts in order to convince the “unrighteous man” to forsake “his thoughts: and…return unto the Lord” (Isaiah 55:7). “The unrighteous man” (55:7) is the man that is not right! His thoughts are not right! His ethics are not right! His friends are not right! His family is not right! His heart is not right and he is not right!
Brethren, it is an absolute mandate for open air evangelists that they learn to preach to a person’s heart; to reach his mind and “effectively” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) trouble a lost man’s way of thinking. What is missing in the street preacher’s ministration is the ability to link the thoughts and intents of a lost man’s heart with the works of the devil himself, and convince him that Satan is real, and that God has a place of judgment “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), to put people in as well who are “of their Father the devil, and the lusts of their father they will do” (John 8:44). Why is it, that street preachers cannot preach on judgment to the depth that it troubles the minds of lost folks, long after the preaching has stopped? The answer is like unto all the above. The street preacher fails to even know what “reproving the world” is all about. It is the work of the Holy Ghost, but it is not all about “rebuking” and “correcting”. The word is a repetitive style of discourse, where the preaching goes over and over and over again upon the same topic, that drives the message home to the heart of the lost sinner, to convince him of “sin, righteousness and judgment”. It isn’t as much about “much speaking” (Matthew 6:7) as it is about repetitive speaking. Hence, “reprove”…’proving again’. In 1979, the author was a young, fervent street preaching Bible student in Florida, whose open air fervency took a hold of his four year old son’s heart and imagination. The author had constructed and painted scriptural sign boards that he mounted to run the entire length of the bed of his 1959 Chevy pickup truck, out of which the author and his fellow students would preach from all over Escambia County, Florida. The author’s four year old son loved his daddy, and wanted nothing more than to be like his daddy, so the lad would stand in the back of his father’s truck, parked in the front yard, and preach to all the cars driving by in front of the house every chance he had. Instead of playing cowboys and Indians, or hide and seek, the little lad would come in and get his mother to dress him in his Sunday suit, and he would go out and climb in the back of his dad’s old step side and preach for hours to all the cars passing in front of his house. At his young age, all that he knew to preach was, “You’re going to hell!” And “you need to repent and get saved!” But he spent hours telling everyone passing just those two things, repeatedly. One year later, a grown man and his wife, in their early thirty’s came to Bible Baptists Church, and practically ran down the aisle at the close of the service, falling on their faces to get saved. After the pastor had prayed with them, the husband, who worked for the local power company testified before the church, saying, “For over a year now I have driven by a little house located behind that shopping center just up the highway there, and every day for the last year I have seen this little boy standing in the back of his daddy’s old beat up pickup truck, telling me “You’re going to hell!” And finally, he’s convinced me that I’m going to hell, and I just couldn’t take it any longer. So I had to find out where that kid’s daddy went to church, and I am so thankful I came here today and got saved!” That man and his family are on the mission field today, and have been serving Jesus Christ for the last thirty years. All because the Holy Ghost reproved him of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. What the Holy Ghost used to save him, was the reproofs and exhortations of a very young lad that knew only to preach over and over again the same theme, “You’re going to hell”; and then call them sinners to repentance with, “You need to repent and get saved!”
That call to repentance is what the Bible refers to as an “exhortation” (2 Timothy 4:2). “Reprove, rebuke and exhort” are the admonitions and instructions to “the able minister of the New Testament” (2 Corinthians 3:6), with the last style of communicative preaching being that of an exhorter (see Romans 12:8). Contrary to most Baptists preachers’ views of John the Baptists, he was not a constant rebuke to the world, but rather, his preaching style was that of an exhorter; the Bible linking “exhortation” with preaching.
“And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people“.
Exhorting is the Biblical style of preaching, most given to open air evangelism, since the days of the open air preaching of John the Baptists. That biblical style was picked up and used extensively by the Apostle Paul (Acts 13:15/ 20:2/ 1 Thessalonians 2:3), who taught his preaching students to “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13), connected it to the preaching style of those who could prophecy unto men (1 Corinthians 14:3), and admonished “he that exhorteth…to wait on our…exhortation” (Romans 12:7, 8). The latter admonition an absolute mandate for the exhorters of today, just as with any ministering and teaching (vs. 7). The Bible requires that the preacher must to learn to “wait” on his exhortation in three areas.
- Wait upon the Lord for the inspiration of the Spirit (Psalm 62:5/ 130:5/ Isaiah 8:17/ 40:31/Job 32:8). An exhortation has to have inspiration from God or it will fail to capture the attention and draw the heart and mind into communion with God. Inspirational preaching is so lacking in today’s open air ministration of madness, where the preacher is mad, and he tends to make everyone else the same way.
- Wait upon the day when God brings you to “the place of hearing” (see Zephaniah 3:8/ Psalm 25:5/ 130:6/ Acts 25:23) where God has prepared a people for that hour, and “given them an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear” (Deuteronomy 29:4/c.f. Ezekiel 40:4 c.f. Mark 4:9) what God “tells you in darkness…and what ye hear in the ear…preach[ed] upon the housetops” (Matthew 10:27). In every street meeting and open air meeting, the prayerful servant of God will always recognize and find that “place of hearing”, and in that place will be available a particular folk that are just as ‘perceptive’ to see and hear what the preacher saw and heard in finding the place. In every open air meeting, you will find the experienced evangelist, looking around, praying and studying the location as well as the people coming and going, before he ever sets up. If the preacher does his job, before opening his mouth, he will be praying and studying the occasion and event he has come to preach at for just the right “place” where people can and will hear, and he will also be studying the faces, countenances and actions of those gathering, coming and going, for the tell tale signs of a people capable, willing and open to watching and hearing him.
Wait for your turn to speak, with this Biblical order of mandate, that “if any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace” (1 Corinthians 14:30, 31) in order to preach “one by one, that all may learn”. One of the most important aspects of every meeting where preachers assemble to preach, is to maintain either by will or by directive leadership, the discipline and humility to “first hold his peace” (1 Corinthians 14:30) and preach “one by one”. Exhortations are inspirational thoughts directed outwardly to the listener, and many times it is very difficult to get the young, novice to hold his thoughts until it is his turn to preach. In the church house, over stepping the speaker occurs when the exhorter is sitting in the congregation and gets an inspirational thought from God as the preacher is preaching, and he just has to jump up and interject that thought verbally, that has so impressed his heart. When he does, he short cuts the inspiration from God on anything further God may “be reveal[ing]” (see vs. 30), and he interrupts the inspirational thoughts the ministering preacher is working through from the pulpit. On the street, such interruptions occur when the preachers standing near by as the fellow minister takes the stand and preaches, and as the evangelists preaches, the young novice and the old novice as well, just have to grab every passerby that stops to listen, to speak to them one to one, instead of just shutting up, and allowing those who have stopped to “see, and…hear” (Deuteronomy 29:4) to do just that. Contrary to the educated ass braying opinions of 99% of American ministerial philosophers residing full time in the church pulpits, God did not call us to do personal work. God called us to preach, and that preaching involves reproving, rebuking and exhorting, for “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”.
Over the last thirty five years, the author has known very few really excellent and gifted exhorters, but every one were street preachers. But without exception, they have to be inspirational men both in their private communications from God, and in their devotional lives towards others. The word is παρακαλεω: “para” [παρα] from whence we derive “para-graph/para-chute/para-dim/para-pet, etc.]…meaning all around; and καλεω/ kaleo, from which we get the root word “call”. An exhortation is a call, and all around call, or a call that encompasses the admonition at hand. Hence, a “call to repentance”. Additionally, it involves the outward, verbal beckoning to encourage those listening to react. The English is ‘ex’ [exit/out/outward] and hort [from Latin HORTARI: encourage/excite, from whence we derive ‘oratory’]. It is the outward, verbal encouragement to act upon the message. Not just the impartation of ideas and thought, but the outward encouragement to act upon those ideas. Very few street preachers are masters of this type of an appeal. The Bible places it last in the three part admonition to “reprove, rebuke and EXHORT”. Within the church house setting of more refined style of preaching, delivered from the pulpits, the exhortation would be the ‘Invitation’ at the end of each sermon, beckoning sinners to the altar. The average street sermon from the novices and know-it-alls, many times does more to drive the congregation back, than to beckon them forward. Such endings lack the exhortation to accomplish much of anything for the effort.
“I exhort therefore.”
– Paul the Apostle/1 Timothy 2:1
The Old Testament ends with an exhortation for the fathers and their children to both turn (Malachi 4:4-6), and the New Testament ends with this eternally final call, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17), and every open air message should end with the same call to repentance.
“Wherefore, when I came, was there no man?
When I called, was there none to answer?”
And even when the answer is “no man, Lord” (John 8:11), the Bible still calls with this everlasting exhortation, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would NONE OF MY REPROOF; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they DESPISED ALL MY REPROOF. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Proverbs 1:24-32). Brethren, every saved child of God, including the open air evangelists, got into the kingdom of God that way, as “the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6), “for ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” ( 1 Corinthians 1:26). Because each and every time, God’s dealing with the sons of men is always the same, and it begins with a reproof, then a rebuke when necessary, and finally an exhortation unto righteousness, and the best of God’s evangelists are master’s of both. But Brethren, “let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40), and this love affair with open rebuke at the dispensing of all other Biblical admonitions is not right in the sight of God or man, when the Bible clearly says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, FOR REPROOF, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
February 21, 2017