I am sure you’ve heard of “working from home.” But have you heard of open air preaching from home? I want to share what I think was a singularly unique experience to me. Maybe you’ll think so, too!
My 3 year old son Wesley had just gone outside into the backyard. My teenagers were on the couch with my 9 month old and my wife was gone. All was quiet on our little street and then I heard the doorbell, or a knock. I looked over and saw a man in a suit with a young boy. I figured they were Jehovah’s Witness, and headed over to the door.
The young boy showed me a pamphlet and was trying to talk to me. You could tell it was taking some courage for him to do whatever he was doing. Had he been a boy scout or a basketball player raising money for a trip, I’d have bought popcorn or candles or whatever he was peddling to encourage him.
After I took the pamphlet I looked quickly at it to find the JW markings. The man was saying something about Scriptures and the boy was talking about love…and I told them to hold on, while I went and grabbed a tract.
I always try to give JWs a tract because I have been told they are not allowed to take them. It’s a test, in a sense. If they take it, fine. If they refuse, it opens the door to asking them why I should take their stuff and they don’t take mine, etc.
So I went out on the porch and started asking the boy what he thought. He kept saying they were walking around to ask people what “they thought.” I asked him if he believed Jesus died on a cross for sinners, and he mumbled yes and then the older man corrected me and said Jesus died on a stick. I repeated that He died on a cross and then asked if they believed Jesus is God. The boy just stared and the man said “No.”
I don’t intend to prove this here, but if you do not believe Jesus Christ is God, (and not just “a” god, but the God) you do not believe the saving gospel.
So I started talking to the boy and telling him that whatever the man he is with has been telling him is false and will lead him to Hell. I started explaining that Jesus had to be God to die in the place of sinners; that if Jesus was only a man that He would not have been able to satisfy God’s wrath for sinners!
The reason I did this is twofold.
- I have found that JWs usually travel in pairs, (like Sith), and, like Sith, there is usually a learner and a ‘master.’ I believe all men who hear the saving gospel of grace and of Christ’s glorious resurrection can be saved, but I’ve found experienced JWs particularly hard to interact with. But a 9 or 10 year old child who was obviously nervous about whatever faith he had? I was sure I could get him thinking and maybe be used of God for his salvation.
- As I mentioned, the context was that I had a 3 year old alone outside, a couple of teenagers watching a baby and no wife at home. I didn’t believe I had time for a friendly conversation where I slowly tried to lead them to the gospel. Nor, honestly, do I want to listen to their beliefs. I know many wonderful Christians who will sit and listen to pagans share their thoughts and many times blaspheme Christ. I do not believe it is my duty to allow them the privilege.
The man immediately recognized what was happening and saw he would get nowhere with me and said, come on, let’s go. And he led the lad away. So I quoted Matthew 18:6 to him. They, of course, kept walking, so I kept talking, louder and louder. Within seconds I was open air preaching from my porch to this man and this child as they met with one of their cohorts across the street. I continued to preach the necessity of the new birth, believe in the deity of the Christ and the truth of the resurrection for the justification for sinners. You could see the bewilderment as I do not think they expected this, nor probably ever encountered it.
I started to hope I had neighbors who would hear the preaching too! I saw a family walking toward the house who looked like they may be the young lad’s family and I started preaching in their direction. Finally, they all headed as far away as they could until I could no longer see them.
I am sure some (Christian) people would not feel comfortable with this story. But when was this young man going to hear the gospel if not from the preacher whose door he was brought to providentially? Do I know how many more days any of those folks had before they met their maker? Do you not believe that it is through the foolishness of what we preach that men are saved from the wrath of almighty God?
I am not saying that is the only way to interact with JWs (or anyone). But I am grateful to God for the opportunity to preach His Word today, even if it was only for 3 minutes. 6 people heard the gospel, my own children heard me preach the gospel and saw the importance of it.
Maybe the sweetest part was coming inside and praying with my children for the salvation of sinners and then singing hymns together as worship of Jesus Christ! May God be praised and may He have mercy on the men and woman and children who visited my neighborhood today.