THE MINISTRY OF THE EVANGELIST EVANGELISTIC PREACHING
By Charles Mahaney
The Book of Acts explodes from the Word of God with the heat of revival. This great church was born in revival. What started in the Spirit can not end in the flesh. By the outpouring of God’s Spirit with the speaking in tongues, something was instituted for the church that nothing else can replace.
Under a holy anointing from God, a man became God’s mouthpiece, a spokesman for Jesus Christ. Peter, filled and fired by Pentecost, preached the first message for the church age, and 3000 responded to his evangelistic preaching.
From Jerusalem the Word was preached every where and hearts were touched by the finger of God. Whole cities were stirred. Men were called to river bank revivals, lonely desert meetings, and crusades where thousands were converted. The church was born, and God sent out His preachers who were anointed when they preached. The Word was confirmed. These men were true evangelists.
The evangelistic field is not a place to learn how to preach, or to try your wings and see if you have the call. It is the front line. Evangelists are not second string. They are the first string.
Evangelistic preaching is preaching that starts in the high mountains of inspiration and then flows down through every avenue of life. It is preaching that demands a verdict. Evangelistic preaching puts people on the ground of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. No body can stand at the Cross and hear the hammer and the dripping of Christ’s blood and leave the same as he came. This is crusade preaching. It is tears, sweat, and altar work. It is late night and early morning prayer meetings. Evangelistic preaching is knocking on doors of hearts with decision preaching.
To these kinds of men it sometimes seems that it would be better to take a church and settle down. That is great if you are called to be a pastor, but some selected men are called, for the good of the church and the world, to enter the inner circle of the evangelistic ministry. This kind of preaching means to agonize, to pour yourself out, and then pack up and move on.
The hour is late. The spirits have gone to war, and even the sinners sense something is about to happen. The world is on a collision course with Armageddon and a black eternity. There is no purgatory. There is no grey zone. It is light or dark; it is saved or lost; it is heaven or hell. People must make their decision, and we have men who can stand at the crossroads of their lives and, knowing the terror of hell, persuade men with evangelistic preaching.
As we hear the thunders of the last days and the rumbling wheels of destruction, God has a secret weapon. No matter what age or environment, when ever circumstances presented the need, God has always met the challenge with a man. God does not anoint machines or methods. He anoints men. Out of obscurity, a called and anointed man comes speaking against the iniquities of his day.
John stepped from the desert, eagle-eyed and lion hearted. Paul, bound by chains, brought many to the Cross. Isaiah preached with the thunders of Sinai and the fore gleams of Calvary.
A need for soul-hot evangelistic preaching has pierced the heart of God’s church. It is dawning on us that it is too late for games. We are exhausted from fighting spiritual battles with carnal weapons.
We can get by without many things in the church—things that may be helpful and not harmful, but we can survive without them. We can make it without cartoon characters, singing revivals, and movies. They are entertaining and we all enjoy them, but we can not make it without old-time, One God, Jesus Name, Holy Ghost, window rattling, shingle- slapping preaching.
Evangelistic preaching demands a change, a move, either up closer or back farther. It puts the hearer in or out. This kind of preaching is as it should be—preaching as it will be when the winds of renewal fan the fires of revival. God’s weapon and tool to fight and save is preaching, heart-warming, soul-filled, Spirit-anointed preaching. No uncertain trumpet sound. No thin voice cry; but a trumpet in Zion.
It has been said, “What a service! We didn’t even have any preaching.” What a mark of immaturity! His Book says preach the Word—not submit it for discussion in academic circles. Preach it like a bugle on a clear morning. No music can take its place. No show or drama can fill in for it. No promotion can cover for it. Evangelistic preaching plays a solo part in God’s blue print. For the endtime, it is His master plan.
Evangelists are men that can preach. They may come from our ranks and have been raised on a Pentecostal pew; they may be like brands plucked from the fire, with backgrounds in deep sin; but they all have one thing in common—they have been touched by God and everyone who hears their preaching will sense the awe of the supernatural.
Just because someone sings and the saints shout does not mean we have had revival. We can not mistake rattle for revival. We need harvest preaching. Hell, the Cross, the blood, and judgment demand a decision.
God’s weapon is heaven-touched, God-breathed, evangelistic preaching. A sermon born in the head reaches the head, but one born in the heart reaches the heart. God’s kind of sermon is born in the crucible of prayer, and in studying the Word, not by picking dead men’s brains, not by listening to the latest cassette tape. Just because the sermon worked for a man a hundred years ago in England, or it sounded good on tape does not mean it is going to touch those lost people in tonight’s revival service. We must shake people because we have been shaken.
Some things we have do not frighten the devil, but this kind of preacher does. The demon said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Acts 19:15).
Evangelistic preaching tears to shreds the fabric of personal ambition and pride. Preaching is a place where two roads intersect and a decision must be made. This kind of preaching flows to every status of life and never returns void.
Peter, James, and John became witnesses to His deity on the mountain of transfiguration, for through the prism of His flesh burst His incandescent deity. It was not deity shining down on Him; it was deity shining out from Him. It would have been great to stay on the mountain and build three tabernacles and fellowship with each other all the time. They could have stayed and talked about who Melchisedec was or when the church is going to be raptured. But the Lord told them to go down, down from the mountain to preach. We need to get our message down, down where the common man can understand it.
In Gethsemane and at Calvary, Jesus of Nazareth tasted death for every man. The blood that was drawn from the veins of Christ saves. He entered into the holiest not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with His own blood. He entered in once and for all, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
There is a blood bank. It takes away the sense of guilt sinners feel. It is the vaccine of glory, the antidote that will stop the wages of sin. Evangelistic preaching brings His Word of redemption to the sinful world of men.
Jesus our Lord was an evangelistic preacher. He helped poor people. He fed hungry people. He healed sick people. He forgave wicked people. His sermon on the mount, recorded in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew, when put to work in people’s lives, solves the moral problems that afflict. He gave people the answer.
Evangelistic preaching has the power to empty every jail. We could turn prisons into warehouses. We could remove every lock on every door and throw away all the keys. We could sell earth’s armored weapons for scrap. There is that much power behind heaven- touched preaching. There would be no more divorce, bars, or bookies. There would be no more traffic in human flesh. Words like thief, cheat, slander, gossip, envy, lying and hypocrisy would disappear like the morning mist chased away by the warm sun. We know all these are only potential; they will not happen. Everyone did not accept Jesus, and He said some would not accept us. Not all will accept the message of deliverance, but many will, and this kind of preaching gives them a chance.
The Holy Spirit is writing additional chapters to the Book of Acts in these days of visitation. His kingdom is strong. His witness is worldwide in scope. The investment he put in Calvary is ripening fast. World events are synchronizing toward our Lord’s return. In the midst of the terrible shaking our world is experiencing, we as God’s preachers must plant our feet firmly and preach like we never have before.
Evangelistic preaching must be kingdom-minded preaching. You always build on another man’s foundation. The church and the endtime harvest of souls must always push their way to the forefront on our list of priorities.
Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). We can not forget the Builder, It is not left to committees or the presbytery, but Jesus of Nazareth is the Builder. He did a fantastic job in the Book of Acts and He is doing a good job today.
God’s preachers are the channels that God uses to reach people. A man who gave everything to preach, wrote: “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life” (II Timothy 2:4). Preachers are to minister. When we get our eyes off of Jesus Christ on a cross and risen from the dead, we become blind to the blessings of travail and wrestling with God for the message of the hour that will touch the lost. We cannot allow the riches of this world and man’s popularity to rob us of the Shekinah and the anointing of Almighty God.
I speak from ten years of experience on the evangelistic field. A true evangelistic preacher has to make a decision. He must either preach to the lost people in front of him, giving them a chance for salvation, or he can do some grand slam preaching to get a response from good church folks. He can bless and blast Jesus name people with Acts 2:38 and the Oneness of God. This will usually pull a good response from any of our people. Then after church at the restaurant, everyone will come by and slap him on the back and say, “Hey, Brother Evangelist, you really shelled the corn.” But I ask, did he really touch that sinner? Did the sinner know what the people were waving their hands and hollering about?
This kind of preaching may never get you a youth camp to preach, but if we do not touch that sinner in that crusade, no matter how good we sound, we have failed. An auditorium without an altar is just another auditorium. Musical instruments do not make a revival. If God does not meet with us and do business with us, we simply have another program, a well planned effort. The lateness of the hour demands more than that. We need evangelistic preaching!
Something marvelous happens when that time of the service comes. In the Tabernacle before the priest could trim the lamps, he bad to burn incense. Before we take that sacred desk and hold the souls of men in our hands, we need to burn incense, to send those prayers to God. There is no substitute for revival praying before revival preaching. It will free the sin slave who sits among us. It will flash revelation across the souls of the inquirer.
When an evangelist takes the pulpit and he has touched God, everybody feels it. When he reads from that holy Book, all of heaven stands at attention. He reads, then prays, and then it happens. Lips of clay are touched by the coals from God’s altar. Everyone should feel at least one time the challenge, the responsibility, the joy, and the terror a man feels in this place of awesome responsibility.
The service hangs heavy with destiny. You have the anointing resting heavily upon you. You have the message and you begin to hammer it home. You put your sweat, your hoarse, sore throat, your aching lungs, and all your heart into it. You come to a place where you know this is it. With God’s help, you have touched their heart. You cannot go too long or you will loose them, and yet you cannot cut it off too soon. The time comes when you give your wife that secret signal. She slips to the piano and starts to play the invitation song. Every head is bowed, every eye is closed, and it happens. God draws them and they come weeping to an old-fashioned altar.
You are back in your trailer or in the evangelist quarters. Your family is asleep, but you are all keyed up. It will be a couple more hours before you can fall off to sleep. You look into the dark and you feel good. You gave it your best shot, and it worked; they came. Then you remember a long-haired boy and a clean young couple who didn’t come. Was this your only chance to touch them? Will you see them in a casket?
You slip out of bed and lay on your face on the floor. You search yourself asking God if you did all you could. Did I say all I could? Then it dawns on you. You had better fast again tomorrow, pray a little longer, and study a little more. Maybe you can touch more people tomorrow. You pray, “Oh God, we must reach them!”
This is evangelistic preaching!