The team met as usual at our now local cafe for a time of fellowship, coffee, devotions and prayer. This has become an important time for us as we prepare for an evening of ministry.
Heading into the square I got ready to preach open-air. This afternoon I popped into Homebase and bought a new stepladder and it was great to get back up again to preach. During the first half of my message only a few people stopped to listen, which is fine. Whoever the Lord chooses to bring in is all in His hands. However, things were about to change…
A large group of young people walking past decided that my preaching warranted some investigation and so they strode up to me, all the while throwing questions and various taunts. They were all quite young, probably around 15 o 16 years of age. They were also fairly drunk, some more than others. I stayed standing on my ladder and engaged them in debate, but when they came up close and surrounded me I stood down. This is something that can be very frustrating and difficult to handle. It would be far better if they would stand back and “be the crowd.” However this happens from time to time and as yet, apart from firmly asking them to stand back, I have yet to find a working solution.
A young girl, who was not fully drunk but clearly had been drinking, approached me and said that she had been blessed by some Christians the week before and that she was now a Christian. I asked her what had happened and she told me that that she had been led to “say a prayer” and that upon doing so she was now a Christian. Two emotions arose in me as she told me this: anger and sadness. I was angry because it was very obvious that the gospel had not been properly and clearly communicated to her. She was not able to tell me what it meant to be born-again, or even that a person needed to born-again. She did not know what repentance meant. The way she conducted herself and the speech coming out of her mouth was almost clear evidence to me that she was not saved. Yet she had been told that she was. This happens so many, many times in the church today. The heresy known as antinomianism has taken the form of “easy-believism”, this idea that it is easy to become a Christian. It is not easy; it is in fact very hard to become a Christian. This is because a person must be prepared to surrender their entire life, they must be willing to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Christ. (Luke 9:23) As John MacArthur has said many times, it is hard to believe. I would encourage you to watch a video where Kirk Cameron interviews John MacArthur about this very issue. Click on part 1 and part 2 to view.
I was angry because it is not our job as Christians to dumb down the message or make it more palatable. By removing those parts that are hard to say we in effect change the message. When we remove the offence from the gospel then we have removed the gospel. So I was angry and of course I was also sad. Here was a girl who had been told she was now a Christian. Here’s my question: how is that love? How is it love to lead a person into a false sense of security only to see them die and go to hell? This is something that needs to change in the body of Christ today. We must preach the true biblical gospel, or we should rather not preach at all. So I would ask you to pray for her. Her name is Mary. Just so you know, I share with her the truth of the gospel, although she was pulled away by her friends before I could finish. She did take an in-depth gospel tract and also a Bible, which she had asked for. Do pray for her.
I also spoke with a young man named Billy. He was not quite sober himself, but he listened to me and said that I made a lot of sense. He was not prepared to surrender to Christ there and then but he sure was made to think. I am always amazed at how simple the gospel is when it is communicated rightly. It may be an offence to many, however it is not difficult to grasp. Christ Jesus came to this earth to save sinners. The good news of the Gospel is that the Son of God has substituted Himself in our place, has incurred God’s wrath for our sin, so that we might go free. It is indeed a simple message, but a message that is most profound and most life changing. Nothing will ever come close to it. Many tracts and Bibles were given away and we had some great conversations. I did preach a second time and got in a conversation with a woman who believed in evolution. She was simply aghast when I told that evolution was an embarrassment to true science and was completely erroneous. I rebutted her arguments and told her that there is indeed a God who made this world, One who will judge both the living and the dead. On that day we must all be ready. (Hebrews 9:28)
Soli Deo Gloria!!