In the history of the Church, God has used certain men in a big way to get his work done. He used Peter to preach to thousands. He was the apostle to the Circumcision. God used Paul to preach to thousands. He was the apostle to the Uncircumcision.
In the past three centuries, God continued using certain men, whom he called, to get big things done for him. He used:
George Whitefield 1714-1770 – Whitefield could be heard by 30,000 people in open air preaching. He preached in the fields, at carnivals, near a horse race, at public hangings, etc. He preached in England and crossed the Atlantic 7 times to preach to the colonies in United States. He preached “Ye must be born again,” over 3,000 times. He preached hard against sin.
Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758 – he preached during the first great awakening. He is famous, even today, for his sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” God used John Wesley during this same period of time. John Wesley 1703-1791.
Charles Finney 1791-1875 – he was a lawyer who began studying the Bible. In 1821 he was saved. The Church was in bad shape then because no one was preaching the gospel. Finney preached that Christ died for all men and that every Christian had the responsibility to spread the gospel. In the 1820’s and 30’s the 2nd great awakening took place. There was a great movement of the Holy Spirit. Many people prayed for his meetings. He saw between 100,000 and 500,000 souls saved.
Dwight L Moody 1837-1899 – he preached in New England and on the West Coast and in England, Ireland, and Scotland, often attracting crowds of between 10,000 and 20,000 people. Great Britain, in 1873-1875, saw revival like the days of Whitefield and Wesley. In four months in London, he preached 285 meetings to over 2.5 million souls. He preached to 50 million people in 40 years. Thousands were converted to Christ. He devoted his ministry to saving souls and training others to do likewise. He was a personal soul winner.
Billy Sunday 1862-1935 – he preached to over 100 million people without amplification. A crowd of 20,000 could hear him. Through his preaching, it is reported that 1 million souls came to Christ. These were real conversions. Sons were reunited with their families who had prayed for them. Businessmen who had gotten saved ran their businesses ethically. Bars were closed. Cities saw a decline in the crime rate. Millionaires, bootleggers, businessmen, politicians, criminals, and common men came to Christ.
Mordecai Ham 1877-1961 – he entered the ministry in 1901. He started a radio broadcast in 1936. In November of 1934, Billy Graham was converted under his preaching. From 1901-1941 he held 289 meetings in 22 states. Over 300,000 souls were saved.
Bob Jones, Sr 1883-1968 – by the 1920’s he was one of the best known evangelists in the United States. By the time he was 40 he had preached to more than 15 million people without amplification. He didn’t keep records of his results. Dr. Ruckman said that he led over 500,000 people to Christ.
Oliver B Greene 1915-1976 – from 1935 to 1970 he held tent revivals. He began his radio broadcast in 1939. He saw over 200,000 souls saved through his ministry.
Billy Graham 1918-2018 – he preached to over 80 million people personally, with 3 million responding to his invitations, not including those who heard him on TV and radio. He had a great power of the Holy Spirit on him in his early revival meetings shortly before and after 1950.
What’s true about all these men is that God used them in a mighty way in their ministries to bring thousands to Christ through their preaching. That was how God worked in their generations. When God called these men they said, “Here am I; send me.”
Today, God is working through the individual witness of saints leading others to Jesus Christ. God has not raised up these kinds of men today. There are those who might disagree with me, because of the mega churches. But men like Joel Osteen are not to be compared to these great preachers of the last three centuries. Their numbers today are strictly the work of men. You rarely, if ever, hear the gospel preached. Their books are all about a better you. And they never preach against sin or hell.
Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is still dealing with sinners. And the question in our text is, “Who will go?”
God is calling you and me to go personally to tell those who are lost that they need to be saved. He is not raising up big name preachers. He wants you, like Philip, to go to that one sinner, like the Ethiopian eunuch, and tell him about the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ [Acts 8].
I believe that we have a very short time left before the Lord returns. We are seeing changes around the globe that indicate to me “the host of the high ones that are on high,” [Is 24:21] are lining up some things down here on the earth for the antichrist.
You are the one God wants to use. If you are swept in the news by what the world is doing you are really missing out on what God is doing. God wants to use individual witnesses to preach the gospel as powerfully as the men of old did.
So get yourself thoroughly right with God by dealing with the sin in your life. Get as close to the Lord as Mary, Martha’s sister, was to Jesus Christ. Be filled with the Spirit. Pray for your lost family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Learn the gospel well enough to preach it. Tell the Lord, “Here am I; send me.” And then go. Don’t wait on God to raise up another big name preacher. He wants to use you.
Who is it that the Lord is laying upon your heart right now? Who comes to mind that burdens your heart? Who are you yearning to see saved? Call them, walk along the sidewalk with them, sit in a lawn chair at an appropriate distance from them and preach the gospel. No telling how many souls the Holy Spirit has prepared for the preaching each of us can do. No telling what kinds of results the Lord can have through the preaching of hundreds or thousands preaching the gospel to lost souls.
Conclusion: Will you go?