On the street, 21st February 2015
We often come across Christians that tell us that they don’t know the Bible very well. We find that such people are often involved with churches that teach erroneous doctrines. Most, if not all, the churches that have been recently established in Manchester of Nigerian origins fall into this category.
The pastors of these churches are great manipulators of the Bible, twisting the scriptures to exploit their flocks with scriptures quoted out of context, reinterpreted scriptures and a mixture of African superstition and witchcraft. We have seen footage of churches in Africa where the preacher convinced his people to go on all fours and eat grass, as well as drink petrol:
Others sexually abuse people under the pretence of laying on of hands for healing amongst other things:
(Warning: before opening the following link be advised that it contains graphic details of the abuse of women by a preacher in Africa)
Discernment is often misunderstood by many Christians as being some form of 6th sense, that we somehow receive a feeling about something or someone, or an “inner voice” tells us that a thing is either right or wrong. Often people claim to have received what they describe as “a word from the Lord” or that the “Holy Spirit had just told them or revealed to them” this and that. This is not how discernment is gained. The Holy Spirit has revealed, through the scriptures, that discernment is gained by those who have sufficient maturity and are able to to handle the strong meat of God’s word; “those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)
As Paul stated we are to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:5). It is knowledge of the Word of Truth, as contained in the scriptures, that is needed and we need to know how to apply its teaching correctly. When scripture is mishandled, wrested or twisted, and used to support false teaching it will lead to destruction:
…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2Peter 3:15-18)
As Miguel was preaching this week three young men stopped and one of them began to challenge the message and the very existence of God. This young man was mocking and making lewd remarks. It was obvious that he was an attention seeker by the fact of his long dreadlocks (not something many young white British males wear) and the way that he wanted to draw attention to himself. John tried to engage him in conversation but he was having none of it. He moved away in order to heckle Miguel, meanwhile John engaged in conversation with his two companions. These young men were much more reasonable and were taking an interest in what John was saying, especially as John turned the conversation to the many messianic prophecies in the Old Testament scriptures that pre-date the birth of Christ by hundreds of years. He would have gone into these with greater detail if their friend had not interrupted and declared that they should leave. We pray that, in spite of their friend’s obvious hatred for God, the seed that was sown does take root in their lives and that the Holy Spirit may work in their hearts and minds to convict them of the truth.
John was approached by an elderly gentleman who claimed to be a Christian. He stated how good it was that we were there presenting the Gospel. He commented how hard the people in Manchester were towards the message. He also said that he admired our courage for standing out there, on the streets. John mentioned that he is often reminded of the Prophet Ezekiel’s calling:
What is more God told Ezekiel to preach whether the people wanted to listen or not:
…go , get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear , or whether they will forbear .
Our aim is not to preach a message that will fit in with people’s lives, that somehow Jesus is the missing part that will make their lives better. Our aim is to speak the truth, no matter how incompatible it may be with people’s lifestyles. People’s eternal destiny is at stake. Medics often have to amputate a limb in order to save the life of someone trapped in a car wreck. Just as there is no “nice” way of telling the person that they have to lose an arm or a leg so that they do not die, there is also no “nice” way of telling people that unless Jesus endured all that He did when He was taken, brutalised and crucified, then they would end up in the Lake of Fire for all eternity.
The Gospel message is good news for the believer, how ever it is bad news for the unbelievers. Just as Noah’s ark only saved those that were in it, so the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will only save those that have faith in it! The rest will perish. Noah’s ark only had a limited amount of room, the Gospel ark has room for everyone: