With the rest of the team away or at work I headed into Sheffield to witness alone. Yet in the words of my saviour I was not alone, for it is written "behold I am with you until the end of the age".
Beginning with tracts I handed out material pointing people to Jesus and calling them to repent and be saved in His name. I was and always am saddened when I see tracts torn up and left on the ground. This is not only inconsiderate of those who must clean the streets but shows the hardness of man's heart toward God. I truly believe that in our natural state man would tear the very presence of God from the world if we could.
I got up to preach and began to proclaim the word of God to any who would stop to listen. Some boys stopped and while they stayed to listen they where very hard of heart and said to me repeatedly "you're just making a fool of yourself". Perhaps the street preacher does appear foolish and I may seem foolish, but oh to be a fool for Christ.
Oliver stopped to discuss what I was preaching and give his opinion. This was focused on a vague love that God in his opinion is for all people. Oliver believed that there is a fellowship of belief that he shares with all believing people of all religions and that they worship the same God. I would be interested to see him try and convince a Muslim and a Buddhist that they worship the same God! With all this focus on sentiment I was not surprised when the loving commands of God for the good of His people produced a very prickly reaction in Oliver. He believes that there is no absolute truth and law in the world except the absolute truth that his opinion of the world is correct, an arrogant position to take. I strived with him for some time for the sake of the gospel but he eventually left unmoved. Pray that God will be gracious to him, his current authority is himself and he is in danger of death and hell eternally at every moment of every day.
A man in a leather jacket had also stopped and told me that he was in training to be a lay preacher for one of the local churches. Unfortunately he evidenced very little of the grace that should be present in a minister God. His behaviour during the preaching was more consistent with a mocker or a judge than a minister, with arrogant interruptions and contradictions. This could only tear down the credible preaching of the gospel and though my preaching is weak in the extreme I was saddened to see a supposed brother tearing me down in public to display his own superiority. To end it all he used foul language, swearing to Oliver and merely smirking when rebuked.
I raise the issues of this man not to shame him in return but in the hope that he and others would consider carefully their behaviour in light of the bible's demands that Christians and most of all ministers of the gospel be above reproach and gentle with other Christians. There is nothing but shame brought to the gospel by exulting ourselves over one-another and living contradictory lives, preaching the word of God but not living it. I pray that in future this man would seek to build up street preachers by approaching them in private to offer help from his knowledge of scripture.
Today was cold and very wet and so we didn't go to Sheffield, pray that God will give us more clear weather that we can preach more regularly.
Armed with the word of God and tracts I walked into the centre of town and began giving out tracts, many people were taking tracts and I think that at least 150 tracts went out! A few people were curious as to what the tracts were about but no one went beyond that today.
Going up to the Peace Gardens I saw Owen, a young man that I have spoken to in the past. Despite the opposition of some of his friends Owen has continued to be open to speak with me about the gospel and tells me that he is considering the things of God carefully. He is troubled by the lack of opportunity for some people to hear the gospel and be saved; at this I called him to consider himself before God. No one can believe for any others but YOU are called to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. I left to consider the things of God and we will be praying for him until we meet again.
In the centre of Fargate I set up to preach and with fear and trembling at the enormity of what I was doing I preached. I preached from the great commission and the commands of the law, calling people to turn from their well-loved sin and trust in God. In as many ways as my weak mind could muster I called the hard hearts of Sheffield to trust in the atoning death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. A few people stopped and listened for a while but not for long. This town is so hard, pray that God will send His Spirit to break their stony hearts and drive them to the saviour!
Sam is a young man who calls on the name of Christ and we have spoken a couple of times before. Sam attends a catholic church and his family is catholic in background. With this in mind I sought to encourage and build up the faith that Sam professed. He struggles to see that the word of God is unchanged so I discussed with him the amazing accuracy of the bible we have now verified by the documents of thousands of years ago. I also encouraged Sam, as I do all Christians I meet, to live lives that honour the Lord they claim. Christ calls us to take up our cross and follow him (Mat 16:24-28) or to put it another way, to die to self and live to God (Rom 6:7-11), so I encouraged Sam to kill off the old sinful ways in him and live to glorify Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter called Christians to be always growing in the faith towards perfect love (2 Pt1:5-8), so I encouraged Sam to examine himself to see if he is growing in the faith. Indeed to consider if he truly is in the faith as we are all commanded to do.
Dear Christian reader, do you trust that God is sovereign and omnipotent? Then trust His word in full, it is able to make you fit for all good works (2 Tim 3:16-17). Are you actively killing the sin that remains in your heart and mind and living a Godward life? Are you growing in the graces of God and seeking to increasingly be the savour and aroma of God in this corrupt and sin stained world.