On the Street, 18th January 2014
Miguel shares the Gospel with an elderly gentleman.
We are called to preach the Gospel in truth. We are called to speak the truth in love. Firstly we preach out of love for God, because we are commanded to:
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)
Secondly we preach out of love for our fellow man because:
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:13-14)
We neither dress it up in order to make the message more attractive and appealing to people, nor do we dress it down in order to make it more palatable to our listeners. We simply preach the message that All have sinned, All together have become filthy, All are under condemnation, All will be judged, that Christ died on the cross for All, that by believing ALL will be saved!
Some will take offense, some will try to ignore and a few will actually listen.
Donald Grey Barnhouse was, for half a century, one of the most widely acclaimed American preachers. Scholarly exposition and a popular approach marked his teaching. An unyielding faith, devotion to Christ, innovation, and great energy marked his ministry. He once stated:
Man is the same today that he has always been. He is a rebel against God. He may, in some generations, hide his rebellion a little more carefully than at other times, but there is no change in his heart. The men who builded the city against God back in the days of Babylon had the same hatred as that which possessed the men who nailed the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross.
With all this in mind we never come to the streets unless we have prayed the Father that we might be filled with the Holy Spirit. We ask for His wisdom in dealing with people. We seek His protection. We ask that we be enabled to speak His truth that men be drawn to Christ in order that they may be saved.
This week just as John began to preach a group of women with several children set up speakers in order to perform street dance. They have often done this as they deliberately seek to drown out our preaching. The worse thing about it is that they play songs that are filled with obscenities, which is hardly the type of thing that children should be listening to, or should be played in public!
In the face of the this the team had no other choice but to move to place where the sound of their music would not drown out the preaching.
Miguel and Amélia engaged with several people who stopped to inquire about what we were doing. Miguel spent quite a while with a man who said he was a believer. Miguel shared with him our beliefs and our vision and also our details should he want to learn more.
After John had finished Miguel preached.
Amélia was approached by a lady who believed that Jesus attended the Temple in Jerusalem in the same way that Christians attend “church”. Amélia pointed out to her that when Christ entered the temple He overthrew that tables and cast out the money-changers. This was not the same. The lady suddenly understood and said that she needed help understanding the Bible. Amélia gave her our details and we offered to meet up with her to have Bible studies with her. We shall see if she gets in contact.
Later Amélia was approached by a Muslim. He was interested in what Miguel was preaching and began to ask various questions about our beliefs. Amélia signaled for John to come over and John began to answer his various questions. Miguel also came over as he had, by this time, ended his preaching.
The man began to ask questions concerning eschatology, such as “If we believed that Jesus would return to Earth?” “What will happen before His return?” John pointed him to the prophecies of Daniel concerning the coming Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the rise of Anti Christ!” He was surprised that we believed these things, especially concerning the Anti Christ. John and Miguel told him that the Bible teaches about these things.
They then drew the man’s attention to the central message of the Bible concerning Atonement and Redemption. That throughout the writings of the prophets men have been taught to submit to the Son of God. That this Son of God spoken of by David and Agur was the Messiah who would be put to death (as spoken of by Daniel), beaten and bruised (as spoken by Isaiah) and would be the atoning sacrificial lamb for sin (as spoken by Abraham and John the Baptist). They shared with him that Moses stated that blood had to be shed in order to redeem the people from sin but that the blood of animals could not accomplish this forever. In fact these sacrifices established by Moses in the Law would serve only as a reminder of what God would do in the person of Jesus Christ. That Jesus’s sufferting and death would be the only means that we can be truly reconciled to God.
These are difficult concepts for Muslims to grasp because they are taught that their god, Allah, has no son and that Jesus (who they believe to be no more than a great prophet) did not die on the cross. In fact there is no doctrine of Atonement and Redemption in Islam at all!
They continued to hammer this message home with the man explaining how that none of us can atone for our own sins, nor can any of us redeem ourselves. The man (Abdul was his name) was repeating that which so many people of various religious faiths believe; that we can be saved if we try to do our best and be as faithful to God as we can. In Islam this is by submitting to and living by the “Five Pillars of Islam”:
- Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith
- Salat: performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day
- Zakat: paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor and the needy
- Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan
- Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca
In Roman Catholicism it is by submitting to and living by the “Seven Sacraments of the Church”:
For Buddhists it is more complex. Buddhism has different schools of thought with different pillars or Paths to enlightenment. But common to every School of Buddhism are the “Four Noble Truths”:
For Hindus it is the 4 Vedas which are four books of writings:
- The Rigveda, containing hymns to be recited by the hotar, or presiding priest;
- The Yajurveda, containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu or officiating priest;
- The Samaveda, containing formulas to be sung by the udgatar or priest that chants;
- The Atharvaveda, a collection of spells and incantations, apotropaic charms and speculative hymns.Ultimately every religion, whatever it may be, teaches that there are things that we must do in order to attain, or obtain, whatever the goal of that particular religion is; For Abrahamic faiths it is Heaven, or Paradise. For Buddhists it is the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished. For Hindus it is union with Brahman (The Supreme Being). Whatever the goal it is believed that a person must convert to a particular religion and be a faithful follower of that particular religion!
The Bible reveals that Eternal Life with God cannot come through converting to any form of religion—even Christianity! Eternal Life with God is found in a person–Jesus Christ!
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