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Saturday, 6 April, 2013
One very interesting chat I had was with a Roman Catholic man. When I asked him why he is going to Heaven, he responded, "It's by faith and works." So I pulled out my Bible to show him Ephesians 2 where it says we are saved by faith and not works, but he said, "How can you as a man interpret the Bible?"
Hear more about this in the video report below.
To God alone be the glory!
Friday, 5 April, 2013
"I met the first ever honest Atheist!"
Interesting encounter this week at the Gold Coast, with an "honest Atheist", I was shocked to hear it myself. I've never heard an Atheist hold to this position. Watch the 3 minute video below to hear about it.
Please pray for the people that we mentioned that God may save them for his glory. We have a great gospel to share, and if you live in the region and would like to join us on outreach, please contact us.
May God become all in all!
Monday, 1 April, 2013
On Monday, we had the privilege of being asked to evangelise at the Redlands Easter Family Festival. With about 20,000 people expected to be there, we knew it would be a great day to get gospel tracts out and speak to many people.
This is a 2 minute report from the festival:
To our faithful King!
Friday, 29 March, 2013
The gospel was preached faithfully on Good Friday in London. See the following video to hear Rob's sermon for the night:
Saturday, 30 March, 2013
Be encouraged, watch the following video battle log report below from Saturday's outreach and see how God is working in this part of Australia.
"God's Word never returns void" Brisbane Evangelism 30 March 2013
Who can compare to God? Praise be to Him!
Friday, 29 March, 2013
This was a Good Friday outreach at the Gold Coast. See the following 3 minute video for a report on it.
"The Atheists were listening" Gold Coast Evangelism - 29 March 2013 (Good Friday)
God is very good!
Friday, 22 March, 2013
Starting this week, our Gold Coast Battle Log reports will be in video format. This way you'll get to see snippets of conversations had, and hear from those on the team.
So go ahead and watch the first one and don't forget to share it. Thanks.
To God be the Glory!
Saturday, 23 March, 2013
We are excited to announce that the usual evangelism report for the Brisbane and Gold Coast street teams will now be in video format. The benefit of this is that you'll get to see snippets of what actually happens on each of the outreaches, the people we encounter, and get to hear from those on the team itself. We will strive to have a video uploaded for almost every week's outreach.
This is our first video Battle log for the Brisbane team.
To God be the glory!
Friday, 15 March, 2013
This particular Friday, Justin and I decided to make our way to the Gold Coast a couple hours earlier than usual, and continue our outreach till the usual time of 10pm. When we arrived we read through Matthew 10:24-42. In this passage Jesus commands not to have fear of men three times, a very good passage that counters timidity. With this in our minds and after praying, we walked to Cavill Ave.
Greek Orthodox young man
We handed out gospel tracts for quite a while, and then both started getting into some conversations with the people there. One chat I had was with a Greek orthodox young man. I asked him the question about whether he thought he was going to Heaven. He said, “Yes, because I try to do my best.” I then brought up Matthew 5:48 where Jesus commands us to be perfect. What that means is that trying to do our best will not be enough, God demands perfection and He cannot have any sin dwelling in his sight. But the problem is that we have all sinned against God.
I then asked the man, “Have you ever lied?” “Yes”, he said. I asked, “Ever stolen anything?” “Yep.” “Ever looked at a woman with lust?” “Every day”, he said. I then asked, “So if they are some of the standards on which God will judge you on the day of Judgment, would you be innocent or guilty?” He recognised his guilt, that he had not lived well enough and knew he was deserving of Hell. So I then explained the message of the cross to him, and that if he truly repents of his sin and trusts that the only reason why his sins are forgiven is because Jesus died for him, he would be saved. I also mentioned that Jesus then rose from the grave on the third day. I tried to stress with him that faith alone is what saves, not works.
But this is where he disagreed. He said, “how come James says that faith without works is dead. Therefore what saves a person is faith plus the things they do.” I explained that what James is talking about is that a genuine faith will produce good works, and a fake faith won’t. A fake faith won’t save, a real one will. But it is not the good works that save at all, it is the faith in Jesus. I then brought him to Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
This passage clearly teaches that faith alone saves, in no way can works contribute to our salvation. But he kept trying to go back to “faith without works is dead”. I would have to say that that verse in James’ epistle is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. For if people simply read the verse in context of the whole book, and then in the context of the whole Bible, it is very clear that the verse does not contradict Ephesians 2:8-9, or Romans 4, Galatians 2:15-21, etc etc.
Eason the Taiwanese
The next chat I had was an encouraging one with a Taiwanese guy called Eason. He is in Australia on a working visa and does not know much about Christianity. Right from the start he thought he was going to Hell because he has done too many bad things in his life. So after briefly touching on the issue of sin and the day of judgement, I was able to present him with the gospel which he has never heard before. I explained how Jesus, who is God in human flesh, lived a perfect life on this Earth, and yet was crucified on the cross in order to pay for sins, rising from the dead three days later. So that if he repents and trusts only in Jesus for his salvation, he would be forgiven.
This seemed to make perfect sense to him. So I asked him the question, “When will you repent of your sins, and trust only in the death of Jesus for your forgiveness?” He said, “Right now.” That was so exciting to hear. But I wanted to make sure he truly understood what I was saying, so I asked, “If God asked you, why should I let you into Heaven, what would you say?” He responded, “It’s only because of the death of Jesus!” I got his contact details and he’s able to meet up in the following weeks to go through the Bible together. Praise be to God. Please pray for him.
"Love the tracts, but it's missing one thing"
During this chat, there was a guy who came over and asked for one of my tracts that I had in my hand. I gave one to him and then he walked off. After I finished the conversation with Eason, this guy returned and said that he loved the tract, but it’s missing one thing – Acts 2:38. I knew immediately when he said that what his viewpoint was, he thought baptism was a requirement of salvation. I asked him, “Why do you think baptism is a requirement of salvation?” The only verse he could think of was Acts 2:38, and pointed out that lots of people in the book of Acts got baptised.
But Acts 2:38 does not really support the idea that baptism is a requirement of salvation, for verse 37 says that the people were “cut to the heart” and thereby implying that they were already beginning to believe what Peter had said up to that point. So in Luke’s (the writer of Acts) accounting of Peter’s sermon, he does not deem it necessary to record about Peter saying that you need to have faith (for he may have explicitly said it), for that is obviously implied based on everything Peter has said up to this verse. Therefore, Acts 2:38 should in no way be interpreted as saying that baptism is a requirement of salvation. It is something a Christian should want to do, but it’s not a requirement.
I then asked the man how he deals with texts like Ephesians 2:8-9. He had no answer. I then told him in the apostles’ day how the Galatian Church was saying that circumcision is a requirement of salvation (Gal. 5), and Paul says that is a completely different gospel and those who are teaching it he wishes they would be eternally damned (Galatians 1:8). So in the same way, if anyone adds baptism as a requirement of salvation have a completely different gospel.
His response was that those letters were written to people who were already baptised, instead he thinks we should just look to what the book of Acts says. That does not explain away those verses even in the slightest, and this man did not want to talk for much longer. I just tried pleading with him to not add works to salvation, but to trust only in Jesus alone for his salvation.
The Jehovah Witnesses - "144,000 only go to Heaven and that's full now"
Next I had three conversations not long after each other with three different groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The conversations all went in a similar fashion.
One of the longest was with a lady in a wheelchair and her husband. I said whether they thought they would go to Heaven. They said, “No, I’m going to live on the Earth forever.” I asked, “Who goes to Heaven then?” “The 144,000, and that number filled up in the 1930s”, she responded. I asked, “Where’s that in the Bible?” “Revelation 14”
So I asked her, “I’ve read that chapter before, and did you know that in verse 4 it describes the 144,000 as being ‘those who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins’. What that means is that the 144,000 are just male virgins, right?” She responded, “Oh, no there are women in that number too.” I asked, “How can that be when it clearly says that the 144,000 are those who have not defiled themselves with women for they are virgins.” She said, “That must be symbolic then.” I said, “Hold up, why is that detail symbol but yet the number of 144,000 is exactly precise and not symbolic? Do you see how what you’re believing in is inconsistent? Also, the fact that the quality of being a virgin is repeated twice in different ways more shows that it is not to be taken symbolically.” She said, “Um, I’ll have to look that one up.”
I knew that she would simply go back to the Watchtower and believe any explanation they could give her even if it was not good. So I challenged her, “As a Jehovah’s Witness, are you allowed to read theological books not published by the watchtower.” She didn’t like admitting it, but ended up having to admit that she is not allowed.
So I asked her, “Could the Watchtower ever be wrong?” She said, “Yes, they can.” So I said, “Then couldn’t the Watchtower be wrong regarding who goes to Heaven, who the 144,000 are and issues like that?” She responded, “Oh no way, they’ve done lots of study into this issue. They can’t be wrong.”
The problem with that is that the things that the Watchtower says they have been wrong about in the past were the very things they said they were certain about beforehand (eg: dates regarding return of Jesus, etc).
I then asked whether she believed in a real Hell. She said that she did not because how could a loving God punish people forever. So I brought her to Matthew 8: 11-12 -
“I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I explained that that passage clearly teaches that there is a real place of conscious torment and suffering. I then brought her to Luke 16 – Lazarus and the rich man, which makes the same point. She had no idea how to respond, and said she would have to really do lots of research in this. Please pray that she would, and instead of blindly believing the Watchtower, may she read God’s word instead.
Overall, a wonderful night was had by the team. Justin had a few conversations, and Greg and Judy and her daughter were able to join us as well for a few hours. To God be the glory! Praise God that His Word never returns void!
Sorry for the lack of recent reports here on the Battle log for the Gold Coast team, just reminding you that the team meets weekly even if no report gets put up. So if you are in the area and would like to join us, please feel free to contact me.
Friday, 30 November, 2012
On Friday evening the team met at Cafe Nero for a time of Bible study before we headed over to Leicester Square. Including myself, we were six in number. If was a very profitable time of study in the cafe as we considered the confidence we have in God’s Word. Proverbs 1:7 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” This means that in order to know anything, it must start with God. We can demonstrate this by reasoning in the following manner:
If I were to ask you for a knowledge claim you must appeal to something: to one of your senses, or to your reasoning, etc. But then I could say to you, "How do you know that is valid?" and you no doubt would say, "Because of this or because of that.” But then I could say, "And how do you know that is valid...?" and so on and so on. What this means is that you hit an infinite regress, because there is no stopping point unless you know everything. So unless you know everything, or have revelation from someone who does know everything, you can't know anything. It all starts with God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
A little later we arrived in the Square and I got ready to preach. There was a man sat on the bench behind me, and I recognised him as someone who had heckled me in the past. On that particular occasion he had been very vulgar and rude. Still, we had prayed that the Lord would use us as He so willed, so I got up to preach as planned.
As soon as I did the chap behind me came forward and began to heckle me, and he came at me hard. His speech was venomous and full of hate, not to mention vulgar and rude, and so I asked him to refrain from using such foul language because of the ladies who were present.
His reply was to call me a misogynist pig.
A misogynist is defined as a man who hates women. It's a word that has been levelled at Christians more and more frequently in recent times. It's basis is built on the notion that women are treated as unequal and inferior to men, in the Bible, because there are certain roles that men are called on to perform, and these roles are not permitted by God for women. A typical example would be that of women pastors.
A rebuttal is quite simple here. God has designated different roles for men and women, for a specific reason. These commands come from God and therefore must be followed. But God is not arbitrary and so these are not random commands. Men and women are wired differently, for the very purpose of performing their unique roles to the glory of God.
However, I would like to address the charge that I am a misogynist, simply because I said: "Sir, please refrain from using that language, there are women present." I believe he took issue with this because somehow it implies that women do not curse and swear, and so they shouldn't be given preferential treatment. That of course is not what I was saying. I was simply appealing to the gentleman's civility. I was also trying to expose his lack of respect for the audience, particularly the women, who generally speaking are not as vulgar as men when it comes to speech (although I do recognise the tide is shifting, and has been shifting for some time now).
Still, it must be noted that what I said on Friday night was in no way misogynistic. If anything, I was esteeming women above men. So his assessment of me was wrong, and for many reasons. I must admit though, it was quite difficult to counter his aggressive rhetoric, but having had the time to think it through, I will certainly be better prepared for next time.
I did not continue to preach open-air for too long, simply because our heckler had made that to be quite untenable. There were some young people in the crowd who had argued in my favour, to allow me to speak, etc, and so we got talking. I thanked them for their support and asked them where they stood spiritually. They said that they believed in God. However, as the conversation progressed, it became apparent that they believed the way to God could be found through any religion, it was not exclusive to Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this meant that they were unbelievers. They said that they believed in God, but clearly they did not believe in the God of the Bible, but rather in their own interpretation of God. I reasoned with them from the Scriptures and did my best to bring the truth to them, but they stood firm on what they believed. They left with a number of gospel tracts, and we can only pray that the Lord would open their eyes to the truth.
Shortly after I got speaking with a young man who seemed quite open. I discovered later that he is a Muslim. Even so, it was quite remarkable how open he was. I explained to him why I believed in God and why the Christian God is the one true God. He did not object to the notion that knowledge and reasoning must start with God. However, when I shared more directly on the gospel, he started to object. In particular, he took issue with the doctrine of original sin. He did not accept that man is born with a sinful nature. I argued that this was abundantly clear and so could not be refuted. We do not teach our children how to lie or steal, in fact we teach them not to lie and not to steal. If we did not, they would simply do what their nature compelled them to do. I explained that the Bible tells us that unless there is an objective authority above us, One who teaches and directs us in the way we should live, to know right from wrong, we will all simply do what is right in our eyes (cf. Judges 17:6). I took this even further and asked him the following:
What is it that holds us back from doing those things we know we shouldn’t? Well, it will either be our love for what is good, pure and honourable (with God being the very standard of what is good, as well as the one who instills within us the desire and ability to be good) or, it will be the threat of consequence.
If it's the latter (the threat of consequence), ask yourself this question: what does that tell us of the human heart? How shallow must the human heart be when the only thing stopping us from doing wrong is this knowledge we have that we will suffer for it?
This resonated with him somewhat, which was encouraging. We spoke at length on a few other topics, most importantly, why the God of the Bible is the one true God, and Allah is not. I illustrated this for him by addressing the subject of justice and mercy. The Bible and the Qur’an say that God, in His nature, is both just and merciful. Yet, one cannot be both just and merciful at the same time. Allow me to explain:
If you show mercy towards a person, towards someone who deserves justice, then you haven’t acted in a just way, and if you show justice towards a person who deserves justice, then you have not expressed mercy towards the person. The point of course is that you cannot be both just and merciful at the same time, because you are either merciful at the expense of justice, or you are just at the expense of mercy.
Looking now to Jesus, we learn from the Bible why He purposed to die for the world on a Roman cross. Jesus gave Himself up to be punished on our behalf. He bore the punishment for the sins we have committed so that we can go free. He never died on a cross because He had sinned, He died on a cross because He became the sin bearer. In so doing He is acting justly towards sin. Justice is being satisfied. At the same time He is acting mercifully towards those who have committed the sin.
The unthinkable has happened: Justice and mercy are satisfied at the same time.
It is to be understood in this way: God pours out His wrath against sin ~ justice is fulfilled. And by fulfilling His justice in this way, mercy is extended towards the one deserving the punishment. Forgiveness is not offered at the expense of God’s justice towards sin. Forgiveness is offered because God so graciously chooses to substitute Himself in our place.
“He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
The above reveals a God who satisfies fully His justice and His mercy in a logically consistent way. Yes, He does the unthinkable in substituting Himself in our place, but what He does is not illogical. God shows Himself to be consistent with His nature. He is just and merciful. And even though this “seemingly” is an irreconcilable problem, God solves it in a logical and rational way.
Moreover, because God shows Himself to be the perfect precondition for logic, this accounts also for Him being the perfect precondition for moral absolutes and the uniformity of nature, since God is indeed rational and logically consistent. Scripture reveals a God who is perfectly consistent in and of Himself.
This explains why every other theistic religion in the world is beset with the problem of a “god” who does not satisfy fully his justice and his mercy. Only in Christianity is there a mediator.
Acts 4:12 ~ “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
1 Timothy 2:5 ~ “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Only in a Mediator is there complete satisfaction for God with regard to His justice and His mercy. And only the Christian God offers to this world a Mediator, who stands in our place, taking upon Himself the judgment of God, so that we can receive mercy. Justice and mercy: two amazing attributes of God that reflect who He is, which come together beautifully on the cross of Jesus Christ.
As I shared this with my Muslim friend I could tell he understood the argument. Still, there was resistance on his part. This is to be expected, as the subject of justice and mercy attacks one of the very pillars of his belief system. If he acknowledges the necessity of a mediator, so that God can be both just and merciful towards us, he ultimately gives up his belief system. We parted on good company and he took an in-depth gospel tract to read. Do pray for him.
As we all started to wind down for the evening, I noticed that our angry and foul-mouthed heckler was engaged in a conversation with Roman. I wandered over and he began to boast how he had been able to have a much better conversation with Roman, one-to-one, in contrast to the conversation he’d had with me during the open-air. I explained that the answer to that was simple: “Sir, you used my platform (the ladder) to be your own platform, with the intent purpose to derail the message I sought to proclaim. Your agenda was to shut me down my being rude, vulgar, condescending and unreasonable.” To this he simply smirked disparagingly. Do pray that the Lord would soften his heart and open his eyes to the truth. Pray the Lord would save such a sinner as this, for we are all unworthy of His bountiful grace.
It was a tough evening for sure, but a blessed one all the same.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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