On the streets, 19th April 2014
He is not here, He is risen!
After the scurrilous article that appeared in the local newspaper that called street preachers “Preachers of Hate” the team continued as we have always done.
John preached on the subject of the death and resurrection of Jesus. He asked why it was that of all the millions of people that were crucified by the Romans it is only the crucifixion of Christ that is remembered? What makes His crucifixion any more significant than all the others? The answer being that He was the only one to have died by crucifixion and subsequently come back from the dead! John spoke of the nature of man, that in man is both the capacity to do so much good yet, at the same time, we are all capable of committing the most wicked of actions. On the one hand we can care for the weak and defend the abused, yet at the same time destroy human life as it is forming in the womb!
John spoke about sin and what sin is according to the Bible; the transgression of God’s Law. He quoted from the 10 commandments and declared how that we all fall short. For this reason Christ came to die in order to atone for our sins and redeem us through His shed blood!
Whilst John was preaching Miguel and Amélia were approached by a couple of Christian brothers that we have known for several years. One of them began to attack Miguel verbally accusing him of having no love and simply making everyone angry! It was obvious that he had read the newspaper article attacking Street Preachers in Manchester and simply began to repeat the accusations laid out in the article. The article had spoken about a fellow street evangelist who had recently won a court case against the Police who had arrested him because of a complaint made against him by two Homosexuals that he had been “preaching hatred”. He had been kept in the police cells for 18 hours without food and without water. Even though he is a diabetic he was refused medication. The court found that he had been wrongfully arrested, wrongfully detained and had not committed any criminal offense. As a result of this our friend was awarded a considerable sum of money in compensation. (One thing to note is that our friend is not actually a Street Preacher, he simply hands out tracts and engages people in conversation). The young man accused our friend of only suing the Police for the sake of financial reward! Miguel stood up to him countering his unprovoked verbal attack, after which the two brothers left.
Interestingly enough, as Miguel was preaching, several complete strangers approached John and commented that the team was doing a good job and that they should keep up the good work! Most of these people were not even believers. Other people approached John and Amélia for copies of the leaflets they were handing out obviously wanting to read what it was that we preach that is “Hateful”.
A man who admitted to being an atheist heard Miguel as he read from Romans Chapter one. He took exception to his reading the part that states:
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:26-27)
He came to Amélia to challenge what Miguel was reading saying that this was “hate speech”! John spoke up defending the Bible, and reminded the man about how the people who fought the hardest to have the Bible banned were the ecclesiastical authorities, namely The Vatican. John pointed out that there is no mention of a clergy of priests, vicars and cardinals anywhere in the Bible, that ALL believers are called priests by the Apostle Peter and that all believers are called saints by Peter as well. It is to the Bible we look for instruction as to how to live a Christian Life. He challenged John to give him his own opinion rather than simply quote from the Bible. John replied that his opinion was that, “what the Bible teaches is correct!”
The man went away commenting that John had argued his case very well but that he was still unconvinced.
The scripture states:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
As most people are perishing most people do find what we preach to be foolishness. In fact the Apostle Paul, in writing to the believers in Galatia, spoke of the Cross as being “an offense” (Galatians 5:11)
It is our firm conviction that the Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus died for sinners so that sinners may come to repentance. For this reason people need to have things spelled out for them. They need to understand why they are considered to be sinners by God and what it is that Jesus went through in order to bring reconciliation between them and God. The death of Jesus shows what God thinks of sin. The very nature of His death reveals the nature of our sin so that it would require Jesus to endure all that He did. But it also reveals something of the nature of God in that He was willing to submit Himself to such suffering in order that we may be forgiven!
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Even so without the resurrection of Jesus Christ all of this would be pointless! As the Apostle wrote:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (1 Corinthians 15:14)
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