Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sermon on the Mount Saturday 2018

Hello Project Ezra!  This is short notice (life has been very busy), but I’d like to encourage you to join us in the reading the Gospel in public this weekend for Sermon on the Mount Saturday.  As with Mission Good Friday, and future readings, this reading will be focused around a holiday, in this case Memorial Day.  This weekend should be great for finding local events where people will be out in public, which means more people to hear the Word.  The basic are this:

Invite a few friends to join you in taking to the streets sometime during the holiday weekend

Choose a spot with good foot traffic, or where people gather

Climb up on a bench, box, ladder, or something else that elevates you

Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and share the truth of the gospel

Be ready with tracts and Bibles for the follow-up conversations that follow!

There are lots of different places you could go for this reading.  A local park, particularly one with picnic tables (which are very likely to be used this weekend), a downtown shopping area (lots of sales going on), or near sporting events or parades are all excellent places to read the word.  Find a spot that allows many people to hear, but try to avoid blocking foot traffic or setting up right in the middle of someone's event.  The message of the gospel is offensive enough to many people.  We don't want our personal behavior to add to that offense.

The Sermon on the Mount is one of those passages in scripture that I believe provides very easy jumping-off points into the gospel.  I read it almost weekly in my own outreaches.  But for those of you who are new to this type of outreach, here are a few ideas of where to start:
You can read the text front-to-back or stop mid-reading to expand on themes in the text.  If you read through, you can point out of few points when you are done and then share a basic Gospel presentation.  Or you can hit those points mid-reading. If you do make stops in the middle, make sure you give the basics of the Gospel when you do.  It is easy to get put five or six mini-presentations into the reading that way.  It might also be helpful to briefly remind people of what you are reading as you go, or as you start back up after expanding on a passage.  Most people will not stay and listen the whole time, so this is important to prevent confusion.  You want people to know why you are there.  I’ll try to post of video of me doing this for future reference, after this weekend’s outreach.

Matthew 5:15-16 - Let your light shine before men.  This can be used to explain why you are sharing the message in the open air, that those hearing may praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:20-48 - There are many opportunities here to point out specific sins that many, if not all, of us are guilty of, and the fact that we cannot meet God's standard of goodness.  The most difficult, of course, is verse 48, where we are told that we are to be perfect.  None of us come close.

Matthew 6:1-8 - This is good for showing the difference between true faith and religious hypocrisy, which is very common in our day.  Draw the contrast between a said faith, and a real faith.

Matthew 6:19-21, 24 - Talk about laying up treasure in heaven rather than on earth.  Most of our society is striving after material and earthly success, things that will burn away on the Day of Judgment.

Matthew 7:1-5 - You could choose to discuss the difference between the hypocritical judgment discussed here, and sharing the truth of God's law, and the dangerous position of those who deny Him.  This is often characterized as judgment, when it is not.

Matthew 7:13-14 - Contract the narrow and the wide gates.  Most people in our society will claim that all faiths believe basically the same thing, though they obviously don't.  This is a good way to illustrate this.

Matthew 7:15-23 - This would be an excellent section to use as a follow-up from the previous passage.  There are many false prophets, and many false believers, in the world.  How can you truly know if you are in right standing with God?

Matthew 7:24-27 - If people are trusting in religious works or ceremonies, in their own goodness, or in the idea that God will forgive all sin, they are building their house on sand.  The only sure foundation for our lives and for peace with God is the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

I hope these ideas are helpful, and I look forward to hearing your testimonies, and seeing your pictures and videos.  When you share your experiences, it encourages others to participate.  As a missionary, people often look at me and think of someone specially gifted, even if that is not the case (I’m just another guy trying to follow God’s calling for me). But when they see someone who’s just an average person like them, it encourages them more. So please do share! Have a great weekend, and may God bless your efforts as you bring His gospel to the streets!

All for His glory,