This past weekend saw both myself and Philip, along with some new faces, back on the street to spread the gospel through public proclamation, one-to-one witnessing and the handing out of tracts. On Friday night we were joined by Joanna and Carl, from two different respective churches, as well as my brother James, Antonio and his wife Ludmiller, and Keith from my church.
We began as usual outside Tooting Broadway tube station just after 6pm. It was bitterly cold but we set about handing out tracts and approaching people to witness to them. I stood up to preach open-air and managed to draw in a small crowd. I did a call out to a young man and took him through the law. He left when I started to preach the gospel but there were some other people who were stood nearby so praise God that people did get to hear the message. We continued to talk one-to-one with people and hand out some more tracts after I finished preaching. At 8pm we got ready to leave Tooting Broadway and head on up to Leicester Square. We were due to meet Carl there at 8.30pm. I was greatly encouraged to see people from my church join us and also it was wonderful that Joanna had joined us too. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Carl, especially as we had only met once before. Antonio and Ludmiller were not able to come on up with us but we were very grateful that they had supported us thus far.
We arrived at Leicester Square just after 8.30pm. Carl was running a bit late so we went ahead and started ministering. A crowd formed and I did a call out to a man named Kazaar. He maintained that he would be guilty by God's standard but that it did not concern him that he could go to hell if he were to die. I told him about the terrors of hell and spoke about the certainty of God's judgment. As I was using an illustration to explain how Jesus has paid the fine for sinners so that through repentance and faith they can be saved, a young man began to heckle me and say that God is "here for everybody." I asked him to explain for me where that is found in the Bible. In return he asked me where my courtroom analogy is found in the Bible so I stressed for him that it was just an analogy and that it shows the loving-kindness of God back dropped against His divine wrath.
After I finished preaching up stood Carl! It was only his third or fourth preach and I could see that he was a little nervous. However he preached for well over 10 minutes and used his testimony to show how God had changed him and of course ultimately save him. After he finished we continued to do some more one-to-one's and hand out tracts. I found Kazaar and spoke to him some more. He told me that he was a Muslim and that Allah is his mercy would most likely save him, although he could not be sure. I showed him why he needs a Saviour and why Jesus is that Saviour. He was one of the most open Muslims I have spoke with but still you could tell that there was a lot to break through. He took a tract and I pray that God will continue to speak to him through the seed that was sown.
I had in mind to do another open-air but Carl had beaten me to it. He was up on the ladder once more and back in full swing. He needs to learn to project his voice a bit more but it was great to see his enthusiasm and desire. It wasn't long before he was being heckled and then surrounded by a crowd of Muslims. This is their strategy. They come in close and force you to back down. Afterwards I told Carl that he needs to tell them to stand back and that if they do not he will move to another spot. This is a constant struggle now and it seems that the Muslims of London are determined to stand against Christianity. Please pray that God would give us wisdom.
Before we left to go home I noticed that my brother James and Joanna were both in one-to-one conversation. James was talking with a liberal Muslim girl who professed that she did not live out her faith but had a great many objections towards Christianity. It became clear towards the end that she was not sorry for her sins and that she preferred to point the finger at other rather than admit her own guilt. Joanna was having a rather torrid time with a man who had heckled me earlier and was insistent that he explain to us the objections found in the Bible. It was difficult to debate with him as he was very argumentative and clearly had his mind already made up. This is street evangelism. This is what we encounter open-air. It can be tough but God's Word never returns void; onward we go! We left after 11:30pm, cold and tired but feeling privileged that God had used us. We had to get home to get some sleep as it was back to Tooting Broadway the next morning.
We arrived back at Tooting Broadway at 11:30. My brother James and Philip were with me and Joanna joined us just after 12pm. David Radcliffe, a chap from my church, also joined us as the afternoon wore on. It was very cold but there were still people about so I stood up and preached law and grace to the people. At one point it started to snow, that was very surreal! After I finished preaching we went about approaching people who had heard me preach. I got talking with a middle-aged man (his name has escaped me and I'm disappointed with that but the Lord knows his name so please pray for him) who was very nice to talk to. We had a good chat about a number of things. He mentioned that he had believed in God at one point but now science had swung his mind. Interestingly he had a decent knowledge of Scripture and Christianity and we got speaking about the authenticity and veracity of Scripture. I explained to him that we have more manuscripts that any other ancient book and that the time frame between the date they were written and the time that Jesus lived (talking of course of New Testament manuscripts) is shorter than any other we have of any other ancient person. He was somewhat impressed with this and gave me his ear on a number of things. Before he left I gave him my card and told him that he is free to email me any time. He said that he would and so I do hope and pray that I hear from him again.
All in all a great weekend of ministry. We want to see fruit but we live in a time when man is very much enamoured with his sin. The church has done little to soften men's hearts with the power of the gospel and so we speak with people of hard hearts who love their sin. Preachers of years ago broke hard hearts with the law of God and healed broken hearts with the gospel of God's grace. Oh for that kind of preaching once again!!
Soli Deo Gloria!!