On the street, 22nd November 2014
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21)
When we stand amongst the crowds of people preaching the message of Jesus Christ people often come up to us in order to argue against what we are saying. Their intention is not to engage in honest debate but simply to justify their unbelief. such as the two people today who were arguing with John and Amélia and saying that God did not exist, that we all evolved and that what we were saying was a lot of “Bull Manure”.
We preach an uncompromising message; that we are lost, facing certain condemnation, unless we turn to Christ for forgiveness and receive his salvation.
People are hard hearted, and, as the scripture states, they are: lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…
(2 Timothy 3:2-4)
People often comment, particularly Christians, that what we do by preaching is “ineffective”, that “no one is listening”, that we are “putting people off” and that it is “foolishness”! We warn them, as did the Lord and the Apostles:
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19)
the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (Acts 17:30)
But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. (Acts 26:20)
We may appear foolish in the sight of men. We may appear to be preachers of hatred. We may appear to cause some to become offended. But this is how men of God have always appeared in the sight of people. The message shines a light into the very depths of their souls, it exposes the thoughts and intents of their hearts and that, as the prophet declared:
Their heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
People resent being told this, yet men have always despised the truth. As was shown by the amount of people that called out that they “love being Gay”, made obscene gestures and shouted obscene remarks. Even children are given to mock and blaspheme the name of Jesus!
Some place their faith in religion, that this will make God happy with them, but religion is a vain thing when it comes to pleasing God. In fact Paul warned Timothy concerning those that trust in their religion as:
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: (2 Timothy 3:5) adding this instruction, “from such turn away.”
Some believe that by trying to keep the 10 commandments this will please God. But how can it? Every time we try to keep them we fall short and this does not please God, in fact it grieves Him. Some add various forms of conditions such as dietary requirements, abstaining from certain forms of drink, keeping certain feast days which are not even in the Bible, giving a prescribed amount of money to the church etc. Man-made traditions which Paul warned against:
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (Colossians 2:23)
Religious people take offence at this because they have been deceived into thinking (either by their priest, vicar, pastor or even themselves) that all these external forms of religion are essential, and that without them God is somehow displeased. Yet the total opposite is true, these things do not commend us to God, rather they get in the way.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)
So Paul continues to point out the necessity for faith in Jesus, because He is the source of everything–not religion:
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
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