Have you ever seen a street preacher? Some carry signs that say ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near’. Others hand out leaflets or offer healing on the street. I have seen a few who threaten the general public with the prospect of hell if they don’t accept Christ (with a smile and a dose of love of course). A lot of the time I see people snigger at them. By and large people try and walk around them and not make eye contact. Others laugh at their feeble attempts to ‘convert’.
As a Christian, even I sometimes get frustrated by the signposts and warnings to the general public. Especially the ones that target groups of people saying that God hates them. Total bonkers.
Street preachers often make me feel kind of awkward. Surely there is a better way to tell people about God?
The reality is that most of these ‘manic street preachers’ want to share their faith in a very public way to reach those who would listen and incline their hearts to a truth that would fill the emptiness that only God can fill. They are willing to face the abuse and sneering from the general public knowing that they are sharing the good news of Jesus Christ who died for the sins of all people.
I am not confident when it comes to telling people about God. I like to share the happy, lovely stuff about God and ignore the bits about sin and hell in case I scare off the listener. However, sin and hell are a reality which is exemplified by the evil we see around us. How can we omit the reality of sin and evil when we speak to others about Jesus? Short answer: we can’t.
A Voice of One Calling on the Streets of Devon… “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is Near!”
Joel and I were out on a lovely sunny day in the city centre when we saw an elderly gentleman with a walking stick declaring the word of God by the side of the street. Standing next to him was his wife. We watched them for a while. People were avoiding making eye contact, some probably couldn’t hear them over the sound of the buses and others just ignored them completely.
We walked over to them.
“We were just listening from across the street. How wonderful it is to hear the gospel proclaimed.”
The man was a pastor called Peter and he and his wife Ann travel all over the south west, standing and preaching the gospel every Saturday at different places.
Ann said that we were an answer to prayer. They pray before they speak every Saturday that they would reach people, including other Christians. For the twenty minutes that we all spoke together, I felt so blessed with the fellowship we enjoyed with complete strangers. This was a glimpse of eternity. A family of believers coming together rejoicing and proclaiming God’s love and holiness together. Hallelujah!
The leaflets they were giving out did not omit sin or hell. It included it. But it was placed in context with the reality of God’s love, mercy and kindness. I wont cover everything in the leaflet here, but have included a picture below for you to read.
There is truth being proclaimed on the streets of our towns and cities if we cared to listen a little closer without making snap judgments. Joel had to listen closer because not everything you hear from people calling out on the streets is biblical truth! There is a reality of sin and hell. The kingdom of heaven is nearer today than it was yesterday. God’s justice and wrath are coming. But God has made a way through His Son Jesus who sets us free from our sin and we now can have a relationship with God. The sin that once separated us from God has now been dealt with through Christ.
It is a challenge to Joel and I to not be afraid to share the hope that we have in Jesus with the rest of the world. Seeing Peter and Ann’s boldness as they stood in truth reminded me that I do not need to be ashamed of the gospel – it is called ‘good news’ for a reason!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)
God bless 🙂