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The First Open-Air Sermon

By Gawin Kirkham


      "Where art thou?" -Gen. 3. 9.

      [This sermon outline was taken from the book, "The Open-Air Preacher's Handbook" written by Gawin Kirkham. Brother Kirkham was the Secretary of the Open-Air Mission of London, England. The book was published in 1890, but has a timeless message for street preachers of today.]

      Ask the Audience: "What was the first Open-air Text ?"

      The reply will generally be an inquiring look at the Preacher.

      Then tell them that the first Preacher was the Lord God Almighty: the hearers were Adam and Eve; the place was the Garden of Eden: and the Text was, "WHERE ART THOU?"

      I. Hiding.- Adam was hiding from God. This is what man has been trying to do ever since.

      II. Reason for Hiding.- FEAR. "I heard Thy voice in the garden; and I was afraid." (ver. 10.)

      III. Reasons for Fear.-

      God's Holiness.-Illus., MOSES- Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." (Exod. 3. 6.) ISAIAH- See Isa. 6. JOHN- "I fell at His feet as dead." (Rev. 1. 17.)

      MAN'S SINFULNESS-Illus., JOB- "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear," etc. (Job 13. 5)

      IV. How Men Try to Hide.- Behind their innocency; their ignorance; their respectability; their sincerity; their circumstances; their indifference; their religiousness, etc.

      V. Trying to do the Impossible.- "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper." (Prov. 28. 13.)" Though they dig into hell, thence shall Mine hand take them,'' etc. (Amos 9. 2-4.) Illus., DAVID"Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit?" etc. (Psa. 139. 7-12.) JONAH- "Rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." (Jonah 1.3)

      VI. Only One Hiding-Place.- The wounded side of Jesus. "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself." (Prov. 21. 3.) Illus., DAVID- "I flee unto Thee to hide me." (Psa. 143. 9.)

      " Rock of Ages! cleft for me,
      Let me hide myself in Thee."

      VII. It Will Soon be Too Late!- See Rev. 6. 12-17. Men hide themselves in dens and rocks, but are overtaken by the great day of wrath. Only those who are hid in Christ will then be safe.

      NOTE.-It is interesting, in connection with this subject, to notice that the first question in the Old Testament is- "Where art thou?" while the first in the New Testament is- "Where is HE?" (Matt. 2. 2.) This opens the door of hope to the hiding and the fearful ones; because "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19. 10.)

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