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Taking It To The Streets

by Bernie Parsons

Taking It To The Streets

Mark 16: 15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Mark 16: 20: And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

‘But, brother Bernie, I don’t believe that is for us today! I think that this order to go into all the world was only for the Apostles.”  As a result of this thinking, I feel that we have turned the Lord’s plan on it’s head.

We say that the assembly is designed for us to bring in sinners and convert them to Christ. I’ve even assembled in a congregation where, more than once, the preacher preached the plan of salvation when the entire assembly was composed of baptized believers. The assembly is for the Christians.

1 Corinthians 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

We need to take the gospel to the world.

John 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 

Again, one might argue that this was only given to the Apostles. But consider this:

Luke 10:1: After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

 2: Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 

He sent out seventy other disciples, or students, to preach the gospel, besides the twelve Apostles. Notice an important aspect: He sent them two by two. We should practice this, as well. By traveling two at a time, we can encourage and bolster one another; we provide a united front; we have a witness in case someone wrongfully accuses us; and one might be inspired to offer an insight that the other might overlook. Now consider this:

 Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

 2: And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 

3: As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

 4: Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

 Acts 11: 19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 

20: And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 

21: And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. 

This was not the Apostles. In fact, the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem. Ordinary Christians, people like you and me, scattered into other countries to avoid persecution. Instead of hunkering down and hiding out, they preached the gospel everywhere they went. These people were excited, and they wanted folks to know why. We need to take a lesson from these brave hearts. Their very lives were at stake, but they believed the words of Jesus, which are recorded in:

Matthew 10:27-28 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:38-39 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

If you are still afraid of what people will say about you, think of you, or do to you, consider this:

Acts 4:13: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

As I said last night, the gospel of Jesus Christ does not operate at the level of the wisdom of men, but on a spiritual level. These men, uneducated by the world’s standards, had been educated by the greatest teacher of all time: Jesus Christ!

Acts 4:14: And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

15: But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

16: Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

17: But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

18: And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

19: But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

20: For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

21: So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.

22: For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.

Acts 5:17: Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,

18: And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.

19: But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

20: Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

21: And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

The temple was not a Christian “church building”. In essence, they were on hostile ground--enemy territory, as it were.

Acts 5:22: But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,

23: Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

24: Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.

25: Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.

26: Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.

27: And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,

28: Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.

29: Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Like these early Christians, we may find ourselves persecuted and abused because of our stance for the truth of God’s will.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Our commitment to the will of God may cause men to hate us, to persecute us, even kill us. This is something for which we must be prepared. This is where it gets real. Are you prepared to stand firm no matter what the cost?

II Corinthians 11: 23: Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

24: Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

25: Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26: In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27: In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28: Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

29: Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

30: If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

31: The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

32: In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:

33: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

Jesus had told his followers:

Matthew 24: 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

10: And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12: And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

John 16: 1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

2: They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

3: And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

Do you remember what Jesus said?

Matthew 10: 24: The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

25: It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

26: Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

27: What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

28: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Maybe you can’t just walk out tonight or tomorrow and take on the world—but you can take a small step in the right direction. Put aside your timidity and shame and speak out for the Lord. Let people know where you stand and what you believe.

Say that prayer of thanksgiving over your food in a public restaurant. Tell someone that you are enjoying this beautiful day that the Lord has made. When something special happens in your life, tell folks that you appreciate what God is doing for you. And when you tell someone that you are planning on accomplishing something, add the words, “Lord willing”, or, “if the Lord wills”.

In time, you will go from being ashamed of acknowledging that you are a Christian to putting your life on the line for the Lord.

2 Timothy 1:12: For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Titus 2: 11: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12: Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

God desires, and will have, a peculiar and a zealous people—a passionate, fervent people. We will stand out as peculiar—or distinctive. Zealous people are not timid people, reticent people. They will be known in the community, in the schools, and in the workplace. (When looking for congregations, we have sometimes been within a short distance, yet people were unaware of them.) We need to make the message and the life style known to the world.

Mark 16: 15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

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