Jim and Peter joined me this Wednesday, witnessing of our risen Lord in Fargate. Thank you to all of you who faithfully pray week after week for us as we work, I am sure that the Lord has moved many times in the past and recently in response to your appeals to Him.
This week Jim preached first and again the gospel sounded forth in the dark town, we call home. Jim had a couple of interactions with people who stopped and was able to give them the gospel and challenge them with the law of God. I did not get to hear much of the preaching as during it, a young lady came up and spoke with me. She is from a local church and said that she had heard us preaching a couple of times and had spoken to Jim before. Encouragingly she was interested in street ministry and wanting to know more about what we did. I gave her some information and an action pack and then unfortunately was drawn away from speaking further first by a phone call from a friend and then a conversation with a Muslim man.
The Muslim man was discussing Islam and Christianity with Peter, I joined the discussion and we talked for quite some time. As all Muslims do, Muhammad (I think) sincerely held that the Qur'an and their prophet Muhammad are the final revelation of God for the world. It is a massive offence to the Muslim people to tell them that the prophet they follow and the scripture they have trusted in are false, so I always try to do so carefully. We discussed for some time on the many aspects in which our two faiths contrast and contradict each other. The two things that seemed to make him stop and think were the command for Muslims to trust the prophecies and scriptures of the Jews and Christians (Sura 29:46 and 10:94) and the command for people to honour Jesus as God from those scriptures (Jn 5:22-23).
After Jim finished preaching we were kept busy for a period with one-to-one conversations and handing out tracts. As I left, the one-to-ones were going on still.
Praise God that He draws people to hear the gospel!
Just for a change this Friday it was rainy and grey, we have actually had great weather for the last couple of weeks. I arrived to find that Jim was already witnessing to a young man down by the bus stop at the end of Fargate. As Jim was in deep conversation for quite some time, I set up and began to preach while I waiting for him to come and join me under the trees that have since become our regular witnessing area.
As the gentle rain fell I began to preach on this great blessing of God that Britain receives regularly (and Australia doesn't). From this I called the people of Sheffield to think on the kindness of God to both the righteous and the unrighteous and how this demands that we should likewise love those around us, as it is written:
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mat 5:43-48)
While I preached on this two young ladies stopped to heckle and raised the thought that it is not right to love a paedophile. I responded first by pointing to the fact that Christians are called to hate the evil that people commit, yet love the people who commit evil. Also that it is sin for a person to hate anyone, making them guilty of murder in their heart before God. Secondly I pointed to the love with which we are to love them, a love that is not romantic or even sentimental, but rather a love that wants the best for them and wants them to be godly. God has modeled this for us in the person of Jesus; he loved God-hating sinners like us, and transforms Christians to live holy and godly lives through the work of the Spirit.
After this a group of Muslim men stopped and protested that someone could be right with God regardless of what they do, if they do enough good deeds. I spoke to them with difficulty because of the language barrier, but they listened carefully, sometimes requiring translations from a friend. Beginning with God's standards being much higher than ours I pointed them to the futility of pointing to good deeds as an excuse for crime before any judge (human or divine). Using this as a springboard I expounded the gospel to them and urged them to trust in Jesus and not their good works.
I wrapped up and stepped down from preaching, there were a few one to ones that were starting and I spotted an Indian-descent man standing nearby who had listened. Going over to him I spoke with him at length about the one True God who has made the heavens and the earth. He is a modern hindu and believes that there is no need for any particular religion as long as we work to be good to each other. I reasoned with him for some time and hopefully he left with something to think on as well as the tract in his hand. During this time Jim and Peter were hard at it giving out many tracts and speaking with people. As I finished speaking to the Hindu man the rain began to fall and Peter and I found cover under an awning for a time of fellowship. Shortly we were joined by Jim when he finished speaking to some school kids.
We pray that God would use all the words spoken in these two days to His glory and to save the souls of people in our city.