On the street, 29th November 2014
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
There are those that believe that the onus is on the preacher to deliver the Gospel in such a way as to convince sinners to the truth of the message of Jesus Christ. When someone is preaching and the vast majority of people walk by, apparently ignoring the preacher they are convinced that it is because the preacher is, “doing it the wrong way”!
The “right way” for them is to put on some type of show, either by performing using contemporary Christian music, mime or some other means of attracting people’s attention. Others believe that the way is to get people to come to their “Church” in order to attend a concert or some other form of social gathering.
There are those who disdain any message that would include speaking about the judgement of sinners, the need for repentance and the Lake that burns with fire and brimstone. “Love”, they tell us, “is what we should speak about.” “God loves the sinners and hates their sin” is what they emphasise. However it is not sin that will be condemned, it is not sin that will be cast into the lake of fire:
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)
Here we see the terrible truth laid out before us, that anyone whose name is not found in the book of life will perish.
It is with this in mind that we preach the message that we do. It is with this in mind that we warn the people. It is with this in mind that we return to the city centre week after week in order that people be given the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that they will know all that God has done for them and, by hearing, they may understand and turn from going their own way and turn to Christ.
Today two young men stopped to speak with Amélia on separate occasions. Both said that they were Christians and both were encouraged to see the team out preaching the message and handing out the leaflets. One of them, in particular, showed an interest in “attending our church”. John spoke with him explaining how that we did not operate in the same way as the majority of churches operate and that we did not “hold services”. John gave him one of our Business Cards which contains the details of the website and our email address should anyone wish to contact us.
A lady dressed in long, red robes came up to John. She was covering her head with a veil, which she lifted in order to speak with him. She was from Africa and began to speak very quickly, alternating between English and her native African language. She was very strange indeed. John could tell that she was deeply disturbed. He looked into her eyes and told her that she needed to receive the salvation of Christ. She explained that she had to cover her head because John was a man and that it was a “cultural thing”! Whenever John mentioned the name of Jesus Christ she added, “Jesus Christ of Nazareth”! She carried on walking, however she returned soon afterwards and walked up to Miguel. Suddenly she began to sing at the the top of her voice the hymn, “Amazing Grace”! Obviously this caused a number of people to stop and watch and gave opportunity for them to hear the preaching of the Word.
Nearby were two groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses who had boards and were offering people copies of their publications. Miguel seized the opportunity to tackle to subject of who Jesus Christ is compared to who the Watchtower organization says that He is. According to their doctrine the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name is Abaddon and Appollyon (Hebrew and Greek words meaning “Destroyer), is the Lord Jesus Christ. However this angel is recognised as being Satan, himself, by the majority of Bible commentators throughout history. So that the JW’s teach that Jesus Christ is actually Satan!
In the Hebrew scriptures just considered, it is evident that ʼavad·dohn′ is paralleled with Sheol and death. At Revelation 1:18 we find Christ Jesus stating: “I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” His power with regard to the abyss is shown at Luke 8:31. That he has destroying power, including the power of destruction over Satan, is evident from Hebrews 2:14, which says that Jesus partook of blood and flesh in order that “through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil.” At Revelation 19:11-16 he is clearly represented as God’s appointed Destroyer or Executioner. (Insight, Vol.1 page 12 at http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200000007)
Jesus stated quite clearly that He did not come as the destroyer:
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
The Greek text uses the word “ἀπόλλυμι” (apollymi) so it is evident that He cannot be the destroyer and any attempt to portray Him as such is purely blasphemous.
The city centre is becoming more and more busy in the lead up to Christmas. People are coming into the City from all parts of the region as well as from further afield, from other parts of the UK as well as from abroad. Whilst many Christians celebrate Christmas in much the same way as everyone else we do not. The feast of Christmas was originally meant as a religious holiday in order to bring Christians together to celebrate the Catholic Mass, more specifically the “Christ’s Mass”! Whilst most non-Catholics try to get “Christ back into Christmas”, the Catholic Church is seeking to get the “Mass back into Christmas”!
The world, however, has turned the festival into a wholesale feast of the flesh in which every whim is to be indulged in. Gluttony, drunkenness, covetousness, sexual immorality and greed are the order of the day for most people. As believers we are not to conform to such a celebration, but to take a completely opposite view. The scripture teaches:
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
Rather than help people to celebrate such a feast we ought to bring the Gospel to them that they might know the true Jesus Christ and not the one so often portrayed on Christmas Cards and the stained glass windows of Church Buildings. We ought to offer them the message of forgiveness and reconciliation; and that can only be found in the one who died on the cross for our sins and rose again so that we might have the sure, and certain, hope of Eternal Life!
Forget the man-made tradition of Nativity Plays, Tinsel, Lights, Presents, Turkey, Stuffing, Mince Pies, Booze, Office Parties, Pub Crawls, Decorations, Trees, Carolling, Manger Scenes, Three Wise Men, Angels, Shepherds and Midnight Masses! Jesus did not come into this world so that we might fill our flesh with all manner of carnal delights and Religious lip service! He came in order that we might know the Father by showing us what the Father was really like and offering Himself as an atonement for sin!
At the heart of the Gospel is a cross. A blood stained wooden cross upon which the Son of God (battered, bruised, wounded, broken and abandoned) died in agony of both body and soul! His death so brutal, so violent, shows us the depth of love of God, the depths to which He was prepared to go for us and the depth of the iniquity and depravity in the which mankind had sunk which would necessitate such a sacrifice in order to reconcile us to the Father!
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