On the street, 11th October 2014

20140607_121534Since Miguel is away this weekend John and Amélia continued the work of evangelism in the city centre.  Whilst John preached Amélia handed out leaflets.

Several people approached Amélia to converse with her.  One gentleman, who described himself as a Moslem AND a Christian, stopped.  Amélia asked him how he could be both as Islam teaches that God has no son and the Bible teaches that He does?  He was not inclined to answer and returned the leaflet to her, changing the subject onto the matter of Abraham and the Promised Land before going his way.

Another gentleman, who we have known for some years now, began to give her a hard time.  His issue was that we did not have a “proper church”.  To his mind, and that of many others, church is a building in which Christians gather.  Amélia tried to explain to him that we are the church (“we” meaning the believers and not us as a group).  We have had this conversation with him on a number of occasions.  Although he says that he knows what the word “church” means he still can’t accept that, because we fellowship with other believers outside of the confines of a church building, we have a “proper church”.  This is in spite of the fact that there were no church buildings for the first few centuries of church history, and that the word “church” simply meant the believers in a certain city or town.  This is a concept that he simply refuses to accept because he is tied to a religious system where buildings are central and where Christianity is what is practiced within the four walls of that building.

Israel in the time of Christ held to this same view.  All that the people knew of God was confined to their temple and the rituals that went on in and around the temple.  The people were dependent upon the priests for their relationship with God and noone could enter the holiest place where God dwelt except the High Priest (and even he was only permitted to enter once a year on the Day of Atonement to make sacrifice for the people).  Christ came to reveal to us that we have no need for man-made temples and priests, that this form of religion only served to keep the people from God and that we can have a relationship with God as His sons and daughters because of His atoning sacrifice at Calvary.

Christ did not come to found a religion called Christianity, He came to reveal to us what God was like in a way that people could understand by being the very embodiment of God in human form.  This is why He could say to His disciples:

….he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; (John 14:9)

and why it is written:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…..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 & 12)

As John was about to finish preaching a young man stood listening.  When he finished John approached him.  He stated that what John had been saying was true, that it didn’t matter who people were they needed God.  From the wealthy to the poor, the politicians to the electorate, all will have to face death one day and without Christ they will die in their sins and be lost forever.  He thanked John for his message and left carrying one of the leaflets.

Our prayer is that God will use the little that we have in terms of our message and leaflets and use them, that they will accomplish what they are meant to in terms of bringing people under the conviction of the Holy Ghost.  As John preached today, “Everyone is being told to start preparing for Christmas and New Year, yet how many are preparing for the one thing that is inevitable–death?”  As Jesus put it:

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36-37)

God is offering us His Son and we either accept Him or reject Him.  Jesus Christ is the ONLY one who God has provided for salvation and the forgiveness of sins, if we reject Jesus we reject His forgiveness and cannot be saved!

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