Recently, a friend of mine, brother Rick Couch from Georgia, came to our home for a one night visit and some open-air ministry at Lowes Motor-Speedway. We loaded up the big cross and went to the Speedway, where they were having an enormous car-show and sale.
We saw many thousands of people, all walking around, looking at cars, etc...
We noticed that the largest crowd of people were those who were gathered at the "cross-walk" just across from the main entrance to the speedway. So, we decided to set up the big 10ft. cross there to arrest attention to the "message of the cross". What better place to set up a huge cross and preach that message!
The NC State Highway Patrol were there directing traffic, which was very heavy, and they would hold the people for up to 10 minutes at a time to allow vehicle traffic to flow smoothly during the big event.
As we raised up the big cross and began to preach, Rick and I were both astonished at the fact that it seemed that everyone was listening intently to the message. People weren't talking among themselves, no one heckled, nobody cursed at us. They all just quietly listened to the message, as we drew attention to the huge cross, and our reason for being out there preaching.
"YOU are the reason we came here today, and YOU are the reason Jesus Christ suffered on the cross!" we told them.
I told them that God Almighty had separated all those who hear the message of the cross into 2 categories:
1) Those who see it as foolishness. These are the people who perish, which means they will spend a long forever in the lake of fire, which is the second death. I warned, urged and encouraged them not to be in that group.
2) Those who are saved. To these, and these only, the message of the cross is the power of God! This is the only attitude and response to the message that can be acceptable to God.
We told them that the cross of Christ was necessary for 2 primary reasons:
1) We are all part of the ultimate statistic: 10 out of every 10 people die!
In fact, in the next 24 hours 146,000 people will die around the world. No one gets out of this world alive!
2) We have all broken God's law, which the Bible says is holy, just, good and perfect.
I told them that God has an obligation to uphold His law and make it honorable. That "...He can in no-wise clear the guilty". He cannot set aside the execution of the penalty for breaking his law in showing mercy to those who are guilty of breaking it.
I reasoned with the people concerning their guilt for having sinned against such a righteous and good and holy Creator.
I reasoned with them, that everyone knows it is wrong to lie, especially when someone lies to them or about them.
I tried to make them see that everyone knows it is wrong to steal: especially when someone steals from them! And everyone understands how wrong it is to commit adultery when their spouse does it! But, Jesus Christ pointed out that whenever someone looks with lust, they commit adultery with that person already in their heart!
I expounded briefly of God's righteous judgment in threatening eternal wrath and endless punishment against His enemies.
Then, I explained that the only way in which God could wisely offer pardon and forgiveness to guilty sinners was to offer His own Son up as an innocent substitute, in order to satisfy the awful demands of the justice and vengeance due those who violated God's just commands.
I told them that the sufferings of Christ make it possible and even wise and just and good for God to forgive and pardon the sinner, whenever he turns away from his own way and believes the good-news, yielding himself in full and complete obedience and love to the mercy and grace of God with faith in the blood of Jesus Christ as the only remedy for sin and damnation. I pointed out that God requires that we all must believe the Gospel "good-news" that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and raised again the third day. And that, when God the Father raised up His Son Jesus from the dead, He broke the power of sin and death over all those who repent and believe the Gospel.
I knew I had only 5-10 minutes to speak to each group, so I said these things in the most plain, pointed and personal manner possible.
As we continued to preach, we watched as the faces of these precious people would show deep conviction, as if they were thinking, "Hey, this actually makes sense! I have offended GOD! I deserve to be sent down to the lowest HELL! But God is willing to show me mercy if I will only repent, believe and obey the gospel of His Son!"
We stayed there approximately 5 hours, and we estimated that we preached over 40 times to an average new crowd of between 25-50 people each.
It was perhaps the most fun I have had open-air preaching in many years!
TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY, HONOR AND PRAISE!!!