Heaven's Emergency Services
"As you go into all the world, preach openly the wonderful news of the gospel to the entire human race" Jesus (Mark 16 TPT)
"Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching." Paul (2 Tim 4:2 AMPC)
The word 'Preach' has a prolific presence in the New Testament. It makes well over 60 appearances, often in the form of a command. How does that word "preach" sit with you? It's loaded, right? As it should be. Reinhard Bonnke said, "The Gospel is ‘Good News’, not ‘Good History’, because when it’s preached, it happens." Preaching is the detonator to the explosive which is the kingdom of God.
I'd like to propose that as the proverbial frog of western Christianity has been quietly boiled over the past few years, evangelism and the public preaching of the gospel has become a rather "over the top", slightly embarrassing, optional extra for parts of the church. How did this happen, you might ask? My answer: when swathes bowed to the political spirit instead of the Lord, chose dignity (before man) over foolishness (for Christ), picked comfort over sacrifice, method over anointing, diplomacy over obedience, cowardice over courage, convincing heresy over plain truth and quiet selfishness over warning love.
Fear not, a blazing, remnant Bride is arising.
But we must own the fact that "preach" has been made a dirty word in the world and even in parts of the church. For good reason and I'll come to that. In some church circles, it's at best optional to preach, at worse it's frowned upon. You can give talks, you may "share", but don't get your preach on, "don't shout at me", don't sound so, well, "absolute" and "uncompromising". The devil wants to cut off our tongues, the devil wants us devoid of authority, bowing to the dictates of man rather than the impulse of the Holy Spirit.
There has been some abuse in preaching, yes; the loveless cymbal can clang easily in each of us this side of glory. But rather than throw the baby out with the (dirty) bath waters (of abuse), and play right into the devil's hands, may His preachers of today show their faithfulness to the scriptures and their courage, love and sacrifice before the people. And may the church honour the foremost anointing of the Spirit once again (Luke 4:18). It's time for apostolic preaching to herald over our lands and shake the very gates of hell.
THE LORD'S COMMAND
You see, as Paul and Jesus (above) make clear: evangelism and the public, open preaching of the gospel is not optional, it's a command. The question remains: who is really Lord of my life?
"Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." Paul the Apostle (Colossians 1 NKJV)
Preach. Warning every man, teaching every man, that every man may be presented perfect in Christ. Every, every, every. Preach. With urgency, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, convenient or inconvenient, welcome or unwelcome, showing people in what way their lives are wrong. Convincing them, rebuking, correcting, warning, urging, encouraging, unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching." Behold the sense of urgency and focus in Paul! (2 Tim 4:2) Perhaps we can see why he took a few beatings.
Imagine if our Fire Fighters got a 999 call and replied, "Sorry, I don't believe there's a fire, I'm going to stay home today." "Sorry, there's only one of you in trouble? Not worth my Saturday afternoon, mate." Forgive my poetic license but the firemen would end up in prison. These guys are under authority. No, these called, brave men and women do their homework, get their kit on, jump on their truck as fast as possible, put their emergency lights on, make a lot of noise and speed to those in peril of death. They lay their lives on the line for perishing human beings. Praise God for them. But with all due respect to the government's emergency services, the church has a job which is infinitely more important - literally.
"I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn." — John Wesley
In as much as there are physical and psychological emergencies littering our streets today, with honoured, trained and equipped emergency services at the ready for all, in fact there are spiritual crises and emergencies out there underlying them all. One person might be involved in a car wreck or a group in a burning building but everyone is going to die, stand before God, face judgment and end up in heaven or hell. To that end the hearing of the gospel is an emergency to all, with infinitely greater implications and consequences. Like Wesley, like John the Baptist, may the message of eternity make the church incandescent, burning, shining lamps, human fire engines pulling souls out of the flames.
The apostles in the Book of Acts, the reformers, revivalists and generals of old were like the emergency services in their sense of urgency to reach the lost of their day, to touch the sick and demon-possessed, to proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus and to warn of the impending Judgment. They had a biblical Christology. Who is Jesus to you? Is Jesus Saviour of the world or merely life coach? Is Jesus Lamb of God, who shed His blood for the sins of the world, satisfying the righteous wrath and judgement of a holy God, that we might be mercifully passed over and clad royally in His righteousness? Or was he some sort of new age guru who loved the poor and marginalised well but often, sadly, prone to hyperbole? Is Jesus dead in the grave or seated at the right hand of the Almighty? And who are we? Are we harmless, mildly irrelevant Christians or God's emergency men and women in a crisis hour of history? We must make our choice.
IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?
"The world can no longer be left to mere diplomats, politicians, and business leaders. They have done the best they could, no doubt. But this is an age for spiritual heroes—a time for men and women to be heroic in faith and in spiritual character and power." Dallas Willard
What's the reality, saints? What are the stakes? The bible clearly says that we are talking about eternal souls, everlasting fires of damnation or immeasurable weight of glory and paradise. It's better than we think and worse than we think. Right now, this minute, there are millions upon millions of UK souls not confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The name Jesus is an expletive. God is a byword and Christianity a sad, antiquated, at times mildy offensive joke - to millions. It has taken a gay, atheist, political commentator like Matthew Parris to openly rebuke and exhort the church into her calling, for Christ's sake. All the while Bishops and megachurch leaders stutter and stammer before chat show hosts and journalists over what sin is and isn't. Sometimes it feels as though we almost give reason and pardon for precious lost to continue on their merry way into eternal judgement and flames. And that is where they are tragically going, lest the church call the blood of Jesus and the word of Jesus a vanity.
This must make us mad! The church needs to get angry at injustice and idolatry again, lest we betray a lukewarm devotion to God and a moral indifference at the state of declension in society. What you hate, what makes you angry will always point to what you really love. There are too many "nice", harmless, tiptoeing kittens populating our church sanctuaries. Holy jealousy for the honour of the name Jesus, zeal for His blood-purchased reward, reverence and the roar of the Lion of Judah must return to the church!
Paul wrote, "to live is Christ and to die is gain." In light of such a hope, may these ones wrought in the image of God, wandering the broad road to destruction, do so over our dead bodies and certainly not whilst we are tickled for 90 minutes on a Sunday morning in order to spend the rest of our weekends mowing lawns, or browsing Ikea, Netflix and Instagram. No more! These are strong words, I know. There's no condemnation for any in Christ. Exactly the point of our cause. But there is realignment and repentance unto eternal works.
Have you died and accepted the call? Or is your life still your own? Your ego precious? Do you need another conference or Christian book? Or are you ready for the gutter fight for souls? You ARE in Jesus' name! Arise and shine! You were shaped and born for this hour - justified, anointed and sent - Heaven's emergency services and ministers of reconcilliation in a crisis hour. May we mow down sin and injustice, may we prowl the streets of our nation for the lost and perishing heathen, trampling satan under our hallowed feet. May every believer become a holy road block once again.
"People ask me, "When you stand in front of a million people are you not nervous?" My heart is shaking every time. I cry in my heart to God. Lord, here are people who will hear the gospel for the first time and for the last time. I am not here to make small talk. I am not here just to be nice, help me to preach the word so strong and so clear that even every child will understand. So that no one will stand before the throne of God and say "I am sorry I went to Bonnke but couldn’t understand." We need to preach the clear gospel. The gospel of salvation. The gospel I have heard in some places disturbs me greatly. They don’t even know the evangelistic message. They have not been told. In Jesus' name let's preach Christ crucified and risen from the dead. I get asked, "How do you prepare your sermons?" Church sermons serve meals. An evangelist is different. He is preaching to the lost. The evangelistic message is not a broth, a meal. It’s like a sword. Once you draw it, I know it will cut. And I go to the next city and I use the same sword. I draw it and I know it will cut. The more I use it the sharper it gets. It gets sharper every time. The evangelist goes to the highways and the byways. Goes to the sinners and draws the sword of the evangelistic gospel. It will cut. Don’t forget that. This will face you. I am not here to impress people. I am not here to show you how brilliant I can preach. I am here to see people pass from death to life. I am here to see people pass from the power of satan to God. I am here to see how people pass from hell to heaven. That is where my applause comes from." - Reinhard Bonnke
Dominic is a child of the King and a fool for Christ - an evangelist, teacher, author ('God Hunger: Meditations from a Life of Longing') and revivalist with a passion for street ministry and the priesthood of all believers. Before founding Jesus Fields, Dominic ran an itinerant ministry called Now Believe (www.nowbelieve.com) and is also founder of 'David's Tent', a three day annual Christian worship event in the UK (www.davidstent.net). Dominic is very happily married to Thea with a baby on the way.