On the street, 1st February 2014

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Miguel preaching at Cross Street, Manchester.

I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. (1 John 2:21-23)

Strong words from the Apostle John but short and straight to the point.  These words of John should not be ignored or overlooked.

The churches in this country largely overlook the truth of these words in their attempt to win over unbelievers into their camp.

Today Miguel preached as John and Amélia handed out leaflets and had conversations with people who stopped to converse.  On one side of Miguel was a group of campaigners encouraging people to reject the State of Israel and support the cause of dismantling the State of Israel in favour of a Palestinian State.  On the other side was a group of Muslim missionaries seeking to promote Islam as the only viable way.

Miguel preached, as we believe, on the futility of religion as a means to come to God.  He spent quite some time dealing with objections to Roman Catholicism, especially in light of the continued scandals within the Church of Rome.  One of the anti-Israel protesters walked up to Miguel and began to denounce him for being bigoted and against Catholics.  Miguel pointed out that he had no problem with Catholic people as they were the victims of the powerful clergy of the Catholic Church.  The Vatican is corrupt to its core.

He also spoke concerning other religions, including Islam, how that every religion teaches that we (as people) must work to prove ourselves worthy of God.  Whereas the Bible states that there is absolutely nothing that any of us can do that will persuade God that we are worthy of Him.  Only on account of what Jesus Christ has done by dying on the cross does God accept anyone.

As Miguel was preaching he was approached by a Muslim passerby who began to challenge Miguel saying that we all believed in the same God.  Miguel pointed out that the man’s god has no son whereas the God of the Bible HAS a Son.  The man walked away. 

Amélia noticed that a man was listening to Miguel so she approached him.  At first he was mocking but she told him that God knew what was going on in his life at which he became more sober.  He was a Muslim and began to ask Amélia some of the usual questions that Muslims often raise.  The most common question being, “Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus is God?”  Amélia signaled for John to come over in order to show him from the Bible these things.  John opened to the Gospel of John chapter 1 where it states:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made……And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3 & 14)

John explained to him how that the Word is God to which the man replied that this is what the Qur’an says also.  John explained how this word that was God became human and lived amongst men as the Son of God.  He asked John, “Why did God need to do this?” so John explained to him concerning the need for Atonement and Redemption.  John explained from the Bible that which Moses taught concerning sacrificial offerings and the requirement for blood but that these were weak.  These animal sacrifices needed to be offered over and over again.

Then John spoke concerning Abraham’s conversation with his son when God had told Abraham to sacrifice his son.  The Qur’an recounts this story but it is Ishmael and not Isaac as the Bible narrates.  In order not to distract from the point John does not name the son just that Abraham was about to offer his son.  The boy asked his father where the animal for sacrifice was to which Abraham replied:

My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8)  However when we read further on we see that it was not a lamb that Abraham sacrificed:

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. (Genesis 22:13)

What Abraham offered was not the Lamb of God but a ram, a full grown sheep.  The next time that we hear of the lamb of God is when John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to his followers:

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

John explained that in order for there to be proper atonement for the sins of man a man would need to be offered and redemption paid for in the blood of a man, and that this is what Jesus did by dying on the cross.

John then took him to Isaiah chapter 53 to show him how Jesus suffering and death were the fulfillment of prophecy.  He also showed the man that the prophet Daniel prophesied that the Messiah would be put to death:

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26)

Jesus the Messiah was put to death but not for himself, rather for the sins of the world.  Also 40 years after the death of Christ the Roman Titus led his armies into Jerusalem and destroyed the city leaving it desolate.

The man listened very intently and thanked John for explaining these things to him.  He said that his name was Akbar.  We ask you to pray with us for him that the seed that was sown in this man’s heart today will grown and bare fruit.

While John was speaking with this man Amélia was approached by one of the Muslim missionaries.  After John had finished speaking with Akbar she signaled for him to speak with this man.  This man was very different to Akbar.  His questions were not intended out of genuine interest but simply to find fault.  John spoke to him of Jesus´s words to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, that in order to understand the things of God he needed to be born of the spirit.  Like the Pharisees this man was looking at the scripture through his carnal understanding and, of course, he was simply confused.

This man stated that Muslims and Christians have common ground because we have many beliefs that are the same.  John pointed out that in reality there was no common ground.  His god has no son and our God does.  So we do not even believe in the same God.  In Islam there is no need for atonement and redemption.  In order for god to forgive we simply need to repent.  John pointed out to him that the Bible does not teach this.  God’s forgiveness is not based upon our repentance but on the atonement that Christ made for us via His death and that His blood is the price paid for our redemption.

He began to throw up other questions, that were really more of a smoke screen, to get off the topic.  He was not about to accept anything that John and Miguel (who had now joined in with the conversation) had to say.

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