On the streets, 24th May 2014
When preaching the Gospel we preach the Law. Many Christians believe that we should not do this and many unbelievers accuse us of preaching hatred because of it.
Christians have been convinced that we should only tell people about love and how Jesus can change our lives for the better. It is argued that, as the Gospel means “Good News”, we should just concentrate on that which is “positive” and that to warn people of the consequences of sin and the judgement to come is too “negative”! Certain groups believe that our beliefs are out of date and that we should “move with the times”. As society has moved on so should we. That we should bring a message that is more “inclusive”and “Diverse”.
In the 1960’s Dionne Warwick sang, Lord, we don’t need another mountain….what the world needs now is Love sweet Love! And the Beatles sang, All you need is love!
In the 1970’s Diana Ross sang, Reach out and touch somebody’s hand, make this world a better place, if you can!
These sentiments have coloured the minds of so many people, including Christians. In the New Evangelisation, which was spearheaded by Pope John Paull II, Christians are doing that which Diana Ross sang about; reaching out to make this world a better place. Churches are also taking on board the idea of Inclusiveness and Diversity in order to change people’s perceptions about Jesus and make “church” appear more relevant to the needs of today’s society!
It is true that the Gospel means “Good News”, but it is only “Good News” because it is a message of Redemption from sin and Salvation from the wrath to come.
We preach the Law because the Law reveals to people the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). The Law of God reveals to us how God sees us and that we are in a desperate predicament, that we are sinners before God.
As sinners we stand condemned before God and destined for Hell! And it is here that the Love of God comes in:
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
It is only partly true that we preach a message of hatred, God’s hatred for sin and His anger at us for how we take pleasure in it. In fact the more pleasure that people take in sin the more they resent God for being angry with them, and the more they resent us for telling them.
Christ came into this world for one purpose:
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; (1 Timothy 1:15) and this is the Good News!
This week the team faced opposition from two areas; local businessmen and from local Christians. But God, yet again, intervened on our behalf. While Miguel was preaching a local businessman became angry accusing us of interfering with his business by putting people off buying his products. In the past both he and one of his employees have approached us demanding that we move. Today he called the Police so that they would move us on. Unfortunately for him we are not breaking the law and he was told that there was nothing that the police could do, in fact he was wasting Police Time which is, itself, a felony!
A young woman approached Miguel and began to show her opposition to what he was preaching. She identified herself as being a Christian. Miguel engaged with her taking time to listen and counter her objections by showing her from the scriptures why we do what we are doing. It was as he shared from the Bible that she became more amenable and more open to hear. All in all Miguel spent two hours with her explaining how that we must test everything that we are taught by scripture. If something doesn’t line up with the scriptures it can be rejected. He discussed with her the subject of Tithing comparing what is being taught in churches with what the Bible teaches. He discussed the need to apply ALL the Bible to our lives and not just parts. In fact it was more like a class on New Testament discipleship than anything else.
In the meantime Amélia was approached by one of the Muslim Missionaries that had set up a table nearby in order to proselytise. She came over and asked John to help her speak with him. Even though she is very fluent in English she still can misunderstand. He was posing the usual objections that Muslims have concerning Jesus being the only begotten Son of God, and His death on the Cross. John noticed that he was using a phone app to pose his questions. It is obvious that this app must have been developed by a Muslim cleric in order to challenge believers from the Bible. He was also joined by another young man. John’s answers confounded them and they stated that what he was saying didn’t make sense. John replied that he knew that it didn’t make sense to them, however it made perfect sense to him.
Whilst these Muslims are not born again they, like Nicodemus in John chapter 3, would never understand or gain entry into God’s Kingdom.
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