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Friday, 22 June, 2012
From Rob Hughes, London team leader, currently on mission with JeremiahCry Ministries in Glasgow, Scotland:
Yesterday was a real blessing witnessing with the team. It's truly wonderful to labour with so many faithful men of God in the proclamation of God's Word.
Here are some of the great conversations I had...
I spoke with a chap (David) who beats himself up over the wrong he has done in the past, and so he labours to "fix" the past through many good deeds. This is ultimately a self-righteous pursuit to justify oneself in the eyes of God.
I explained to him that forgiveness found in Christ sets us free. We are saved and transformed, the evidence of which is seen by the good deeds we perform. When we receive salvation our desires change. The born again man wants to perform deeds "...in keeping with repentance." It doesn't mean he never sins, however the new desires born in him propel him to exalt the Lord with his life.
R.C. Sproul explains it like this:
"We are covered in an alien righteousness, a righteousness that is not our own, but under that covering we are still inclined to break the law of God. Justification declares us righteous, it does not make us sinless.
We are granted citizenship in God’s kingdom based only on the righteousness of Christ, but good works are not an optional part of the Christian life. In fact, believers must do good, not to secure justification but to evidence their justification."
There is great freedom found in Christ. We do not live under a heavy burden with regards to living a godly life. As new born believers we do not live godly lives in order to receive favour with God, rather we live godly lives out of gratitude and praise to God because we have already received favour with Him.
This is why we read in Galatians 5:1: "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
I explained this as best I could to David. He did listen and appeared to get what I was saying, although it seemed that he was more concerned with earning favour with God, instead of humbly receiving the grace that God offers. He left with a tract and a New Testament. Do pray for him.
Together with others on the team, I also spoke with two young men who had grown up Catholic. They appeared quite nominal and were very open to hear the gospel. As we shared with them it definitely appeared that the light came on. They really seemed excited to understand and know why the Son of God lived as a man and why He died on a cross for the sin of the world.
~ Jesus lived a sinless, perfect life, in order to be the perfection we can't be, and then He died on a cross to pay the penalty for the sins we have committed. As a result of what Jesus has done, when a man repents and trusts in Him, God treats that man as if he lived Christ's life, and He treats Christ as if He lived that man's life.
It was a blessed day indeed. Do pray for all those who heard the gospel.
Saturday, 12 May, 2012
The temperature was cool, as the team met beforehand for prayer together. This evening, we had a very decent sized team ready to speak to people about Jesus. After reading Romans 10, concerning how “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ”, and that “people cannot hear without someone preaching”, the team moved over to Queen St Mall to begin our outreach.
Luke was keen to kick off the preaching for tonight, and so once the free Bibles table had been set up, he stood up on the soapbox and begin to preach. Luke is a new-ish open air preacher, and he did well this evening in presenting the gospel. It is good to see him grow in confidence and zeal for open air preaching. He did not have any hecklers and after about 20 minutes he concluded his message calling for people to repent and believe the gospel.
After this, Blake stood up to preach and started off by preaching about the parable of the Prodigal son. By this time, a bunch of guys from the Brisbane Atheists (really, agnostics) group had arrived and started debating with Blake. They discussed issues such as evolution and whether it is true. Blake argued that it isn’t because of the extreme lack of evidence.
He then preached about the coming judgement and that the fact that we’ll all stand before the creator God one day to give an account of our lives. This then lead to him preaching about sin, and about the only way of forgiveness of sins, by faith in Jesus Christ – his death and resurrection. He preached probably over an hour, answering all the various questions people had.
After this, Josiah and then Alex faithfully preached the gospel, calling all who were listening to repent and trust in Christ alone for their salvation. One of the people listening to Alex asked the question, “How can God send people to Hell forever for a finite crime?” Alex responded by saying that it is up to God the judge to define the punishment, and he has defined it thusly.
But he also mentioned that it’s not as though those who will be sent to Hell, will instantly stop sinning. It’s likely they will keep on sinning, and therefore keeping extending their sentence there. Alex then pointed out that because the punishment for sin is so severe, it really shows how important it is to have your sins forgiven.
Meanwhile, Luke and a few other team members reported to me that this evening they had been having some great witnessing encounters with people. Tonight quite a number of Bibles were given out to all those who were interested including a bunch of teenagers. This group of teenagers had been hanging around for the whole time we were there, at first being really immature in the things they were saying and doing, but a number of the team were able to witness to them throughout the evening, and it appeared that a lot of them were having a change of heart. They wanted a Bible and said they were going to start reading it. Please pray that God will draw them unto Himself and grant them repentance and faith.
To God be the glory for another great night!
Saturday, 5 May, 2012
There was a chill in the air today as we prepared to witness in Canberra, but surprisingly there were still quite a few people out and about in Garema Place. The team met at 2pm for a time of prayer, and it was great to see some new people come and join us on the street. I was particularly happy to have Chris from Goulburn Baptist Church come out and join us. He is young and very keen to share the Gospel, given some time and training I think he’ll do very well.
After about thirty minutes in prayer we split up and began to engage in evangelism. A few of us headed down the centre of Garmea Place and there we set up to begin our open air preaching. Ben was the first man up for the day. Within minutes of him beginning to preach some youth began to gather to mock the Gospel. But as with all things God was in this, and he used those young people to help draw a crowd. The group of youth sat down and listened as Ben preached. Some scorned and mocked, but others seem to be paying attention. In this situation I am not concerned if people mock the Gospel for I don’t know what is happening in their heart, while they may be putting on a “mocking face” their heart may truly be convicted.
Ben preached for about thirty minutes, then it was my turn. Some of the youth stayed around and listened. One young man from the group professed himself to be an atheist, so I began to ask him questions as to why he was denying God’s existence. The young man had no answers, he simply said he didn’t believe, but didn’t know why he didn’t believe.
After speaking to him I continued to preach, and I spoke on why people hate the Gospel. I shared how the Bible declares we love our sin and hate the light, and it’s for that reason we reject Jesus. As I was explaining this I heard a woman begin to yell out at me. It was the same woman from last week who screamed at me. As with last week I couldn’t understand much of what she said. She ranted and raved about this being a free country so people shouldn’t have to have a preacher stand and preach. I tried pointing out that because this is a free country that I would stand and preach, but she wasn’t having a bar of it.
She then walked in front of me and started to yell out, “HE HAS A GUN!” At first I thought she was confused about the Bible I was holding in my hand, but then she continued to yell that I had a gun and was going to start shooting people. I pointed out I had a Bible, and that was more powerful than any gun, but still she yelled out “HE HAS A GUN!”
While these kind of hecklers are frustrating when you are trying to preach, I’ve found that God still uses them, and as this lady ranted a crowd began to build. Now all I needed was an opening to share the Gospel. Soon enough the lady stopped yelling and with that I began to talk about the Gospel to all those who would listen. Most people in the crowd stayed in order to see if the lady would start yelling again, but as long as they were there I made sure they’d hear the good news about Jesus Christ.
During this time I was able to engage with a young lady named Carly, who believed herself to be not bad enough for hell, but not good enough for Heaven. We spoke for a bit about sin, and how we all need the Saviour, then as I got to the good news she turned and left. Fortunately one of the team members saw this and he was able to give her a tract and share the good news with her.
I preached for about thirty minutes, and I had to deal with my heckling lady a few more times during my open air. After I finished preaching Ben got up to preach again.
While he was preaching I had a chance to talk to an atheist whom I had spoken to a few months earlier. This time he was calm and wasn’t yelling at me. I asked him why the change, and he said his mentor had taught him not to yell at Christians. To me it sounded very much like an atheist discipleship movement. Here you had an atheist, who is being mentored (discipled) by another atheist, who is training him in the art of ‘nothingness’. (Tell me, how is atheism not a religion?)
We chatted for a bit, but the conversation wasn’t going anywhere. We spoke about how we both wished that atheists and Christians were informed about what they believe and why they believe it, and then we began to talk about comic books (as the local comic bookshop was having a free give away). At the end of the conversation we parted on good terms, and we both said we’d chat again next time we see each other. Please pray for him.
Ben preached for the rest of the day, while the rest of the team handed out tracts and had one to one conversations.
Overall it was a good day, the Gospel was proclaimed and Jesus was exalted!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 28 April, 2012
One of the greatest joys of open air preaching (apart from sharing the Gospel), is being outside. It is great to be able to proclaim the Lord of Creation outside in the Creation. Today was one of those days where it was perfect weather, and it was a real joy to be outside proclaiming Jesus. The Lord truly blessed us with great weather for today’s outreach.
When I arrived in Garema Place I noticed that the team was already there, and they were already praying for the ministry. It was great to join up with, and work alongside about 8 people who were passionate about spreading the Gospel. But what was a really encouraging was that the team was made up of different age groups. We had younger men, right up to men who would have been in their retiring years. All of which came together with the common purpose of preaching Jesus.
While we were praying I happened to notice two Mormon missionaries doing their rounds. As soon as we finished our prayer meeting I excused myself and went up to the LDS elders with the purpose of sharing the Gospel. I was surprised to see that one of the elders was a man that I had spoken to on March 10, 2012. This time he wasn’t by himself, but was with another elder. The elder I had spoken to in the past seemed to now be a little bit hostile, but the other elder was friendly. I got the impression they didn’t want to talk, so I gave them a “Joseph Smith - Million Dollar Note”, they laughed and went on their way.
After this I rejoined the team. From there we split up and began to go witnessing to different people. Since I was planning to preach I made my way to the centre of Garema Place and began to prepare for my open air. While I was getting ready a man came up to Jeremy and I asking if we could give him $130 so that he could buy a drum. He said he’d be prepared to sit and listen to the preaching if we would pay him. We refused to give him money, and that’s when the man became “strange”. He started talking about how if he gets a drum he’d play demonic music to stop the preaching, and then he went on to talk about how he killed Jesus, and how he has raped Jesus. I’ve spoken to this guy before so I knew he was impossible to reason with, so I all I could do was speak a few words about who Jesus is, and then he left. However, every time he walked past that day he would say something or make obscene gestures.
After this, I stepped up and began to preach. My text for the today was John 3:16. Now you may be wondering, “Why would you choose that text?” Simple, everyone seems to know it, or know of it, so I thought I would use something they know of as a bridge to sharing the Gospel. Some preachers refuse to use John 3:16 in the open air as it has been abused, but I don’t think the abuse of the text is grounds to stop preaching a text of the Bible. I would rather use a Scripture that people are familiar with, and then explain that verse to them. That’s what I did in Canberra today.
I started off by talking about how Australians today have no hope, but then I swung to the Gospel and spoke about the message of hope found in Jesus Christ. As I preached a few people listened, but for the most part it was quiet. But that was soon to change. While I was preaching this lady began to walk towards me yelling. At first I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but as she got closer it was plain to hear that she wanted me out of Canberra. While some people would see this lady as a hinderance to the Gospel, I saw her as a blessing to the open air meeting, as by her yelling the crowd began to grow. God used what Satan meant for evil, for good. God was using the heckling to grow the crowd.
The woman ranted for a bit about how I shouldn’t be preaching in Garema Place, then she walked off. As she walked off I spoke about why people hate the Gospel. This in turn brought more hecklers to the forefront. Two homosexual men began to mock God, and even openly bragged about mocking God. Then in front of the crowd they began to kiss.
When homosexuals kiss in front of an open air preacher, it is normally done for shock value. But in reality, most preachers have seen it all before, so it isn’t that “shocking” to us. We just use it as a tool to share the Gospel all the more. And, God once again showed Himself as being sovereign by using their actions to grow the crowd to hear the Gospel.
Around this point I put a challenge to the crowd to see if there were any good people listening. One young man named Jack replied that he was a good person. I began to engage Jack with the Ten Commandments, and I must say, Jack was very open to listening. He would answer, then nod in agreement as I shared the Scripture. The crowd was also listening to the Law, and the Gospel.
After walking Jack through the Law, I explained the Gospel to Him. I pointed out that Jesus is kind towards sinners, and that He died in the place of guilty criminals. But, I didn’t leave the Gospel there, I told him of the resurrection also. Once I finished explaining the Gospel to Jack, I asked if he had any questions. He did, and he asked them. They focused around “Science disproving God” and “What about rapists etc, will God forgive them?” I answered his questions, and called on him to worry about his own sin, and to trust in Christ.
I then turned back to the crowd and called on them also to trust in Christ, to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus.
With that, I finished my open air and stood down. But God wasn’t finished yet. All around the team was having one to one conversations. People in the crowd took tracts, and were wanting to talk.
One young lady came up to me and began to ask me questions about homosexuality. I answered her by explaining to her that it was a sin, but then I went on to talk about Jesus being the friend of sinners. Some of her friend had joined us by this stage and they were asking questions as well. I spent some time answering their objections and explaining the Gospel to them. They all took tracts and left.
After this Ben began to preach, and as he did I noticed that there were still many conversations being had. I was later told that one lady from Belgium stopped, and she was shocked to see open air preaching as she believed that Australians were laid back. Jeremy was able to share the Gospel with her for a good time. I was also told that one black African man stopped to listen to the Gospel. He said that he had been searching for truth, and that he wanted to know who God is. He said that when he heard the preaching he had to stop and listen, stating that it made sense to him. He was very grateful that the Gospel was proclaimed. One of the team members spent ages sharing Jesus with Him, and calling on him to trust in Christ.
Overall the day was awesome! God showed Himself as great by allowing His Gospel to go forth. Please pray for all those who heard the good news of salvation.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Below is an audio of my (Josh Williamson) open air message:
Friday, 27 April, 2012
It was another great night of ministry this past Friday, much to be thankful for! The Lord is a good God, and to be used by Him for the glory of His name is an amazing privilege indeed.
The team on Friday was Kofi, Kwabena, Kwadwo, Winston, Lauren, Steven, Annika, Gareth (plus his mate James, who is not a Christian) and myself. It was certainly interesting to have James join us. Gareth did tell him we would be ministering the gospel, yet he was still keen to attend. I think he was curious and it certainly showed. As a good friend to James, Gareth has been a great witness to him, which is awesome.
Click here for a short video intro of the team.
During the open-air preaching it was encouraging to see a good number of people stop to listen. About five minutes in three young guys began to heckle me. They seemed to be in their late teens/early twenties. They threw a barrage of questions at me, to which I answered as best I could. I have to say that I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve said to people, “There’s only one of me, and three of you. I can’t answer you all at the same time.” You have to take control when you preach open-air, of course it’s important to be godly in the way that you speak, but at the same time you must be firm. They moved on after a short while and I was able to address the crowd more fully. Praise God that the gospel went forth! After I finished preaching James approached me and commented on how well he thought I spoke. Receiving praise from others is certainly not the reason we preach, however in this instance it was very encouraging, particularly for the reason of who it was giving the praise. I was thrilled that James came. He heard the gospel during the open-air, he listened in on the conversations we had with people, and I also had the opportunity to speak with him more personally later on in the evening.
Shortly after I had finished preaching, my three hecklers returned, demanding answers from me to their many questions. One question, in particular, focused in on slave-labour; does God enforce slave-labour. I immediately responded by saying that in no way does the Lord condone the abuse of men or women within the context of slavery. In response, they questioned why I had chosen to wear a Puma top, as apparently Puma clothing is produced through slave-labour in the East. I explained that even if that were so, I certainly do not condone slave-labour. It is terrible to think that there are many products that we use, or wear, in the world today, that are tainted by the inhumane abuse of men and women in their various productions. This is a reality of the world we live in, and in some way or another we all make use of products that come from a very questionable and regrettable source.
It is important to understand that the Bible in no way condones slavery. It does not condone slavery, it simply recognises that it exists. It is the fallen nature of man that compels him to subjugate his fellow man to his will. Having said that, not all forms of slavery in Biblical times looked like the slavery of centuries later. Often it was simply the case of a master and his servant. The servant was still a slave, but the treatment was fair and just. Of course, this was not always the case in biblical times. Abuses were very common. However, slavery in more recent times almost always included heavy physical abuses, and it is to that connotation that we tend to think of when we speak of slavery today. So, with this understanding, we see in the Bible not a condemning, or condoning of slavery, but rather a regulating of it by calling for the highest form of Christ-honouring conduct (See Col. 3:22 & Col. 4:1). The New Testament therefore condemns all abuses of slavery on both sides.
I continued to engage with them, answering different questions along the way. Over time I began to talk more exclusively with Lewis. He seemed far more interested and listened more closely to what I was saying. As I explained the gospel to him it was clear he understood what I was saying, in fact he also accepted many of the ramifications which arise from the gospel (the fact that we are all guilty and therefore deserve justice, etc). I was able to move the conversation in the direction of Christ, explaining why it was necessary for God to become a man. Click here for a brief, but concise, expansion on this subject.
At one point Lewis’ friends tried to pull him away, but he resisted, insisting instead to hear out what I was saying. I was greatly encouraged.
To the left you can see Gareth sharing the gospel. He is really growing in confidence and ability, and it is so encouraging to see. When a young Christian steps out like this to share his faith with others it helps to cement what he believes, it also helps to equip and grow him in his ability to answer objections and defend the gospel. So encouraging! I told Gareth that every conversation he has is preparation for the next conversation he will have. This of course is true for all of us. I would encourage you to step out and share your faith, the Lord is our strength, and even when we are not faithful, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).
During the evening Kwadwo had a conversation with Marco, a postmodern relativist (with a Catholic background) from Italy, and Winston spoke with “T,” who showed conviction for his sin and was open to hear the gospel. You can see two short videos of their conversations here and here respectively.
To the right you can see Lauren and Annika sharing the gospel. I was very pleased to see them working together, I think it’s helpful and wise for young women to join up, as and when they can, when ministering on the street. Later on Annika had a great conversation with a young man, who is really wrestling with eternal and spiritual issues at the moment. She expresses well her thoughts on that conversation below. As you read, do pray for him.
“...my heart really hurts for this guy please pray that he would be saved!!!
He thinks about whether there is a God, as well as the purpose of life and what is right and wrong constantly. He said: ‘If you had any idea how much I think about this you would think I'm crazy, it's like it's just burning inside me and you can't get away from it.’
He also said he has heard other people’s conversion stories and really wishes it would happen to him so he knows for sure God is real and he can believe.
Said he has considered Islam, as on the outside Muslims really appear to be obeying God and devoted to him.
Said he knows he has a conscience, and knows he deliberately chooses to sin, but at the same time he feels like it is impossible for him to escape sin because no matter what, he knows he still chooses to sin. He said he knows that God (who he is not sure exists?) already knows if he is going to heaven or hell, which scares him but he knows he has responsibility for his own choices.
He said: ‘Please convince me so I can believe it with my whole heart,’ as he was struggling to grasp it enough so that his lifestyle could change.
The funny part was, a club promoter kept coming up trying to pull him away... The promoter then said he was a Christian. John said to him: ‘I'm sorry man, but you say you're a Christian and yet you are pulling people into a club and helping them to sin?? Don't take this personally but you are messed up.’ He then started telling the promoter about sin!
He got my church details, pray that he comes or that another Christian would come along and continue to witness to him. He was so unsettled, this has obviously been on his mind a while.”
As Annika shared the gospel with him, she made it clear that only the Lord can truly convince us. The reason anyone becomes a Christian is because he or she responds to His call, the call to repent and trust in Him. Just as it was with Lydia, when the apostle Paul spoke with her, it is the Lord who must open our hearts, so that we are able to pay keen attention to the message we are hearing (Acts 16:14b).
Pray too for a young man named John, who Annika spoke to. He agreed that he was sinful and that God should punish him, but he would not accept that there was no way for him to earn salvation on his own. This sure is a stumbling block for so many people. It is so important for people to understand that, apart from Christ, there is no salvation for any person. It is the finished work of Christ that satisfies the justice of God. Praise the Lord that it is offered freely to all who call upon His name! (Romans 10:13)
It was definitely a full night of ministry. Much to be thankful for and much to pray for! Click here for a short debrief of the evening.
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Friday, 20 April, 2012
After an encouraging time of fellowship and Bible study in Cafe Nero, the team headed into Leicester Square to share the gospel. As we arrived in the Square I was thrilled to see that we finally had more space to minister and preach. The building work they are doing for the Olympics is rapidly moving ahead and I was very pleased indeed.
The team for the night was the following: Kofi, Kwabena, Kwadwo, Lauren, Steven, Victor, Marie, Gareth, Emily, Roman, and myself. It was Emily’s first time with us and I was thrilled she came. Click here to see a short video of the team getting ready.
As I preached I spoke of our great need to repent and trust in Christ. Within the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, I encouraged those listening to take a step back and to look at their lives, to ask themselves important questions regarding where they will spend eternity. The Lord was pleased to draw in some interested listeners, and the team did well to engage with them in further conversation after I stepped down.
During the evening the Lord blessed me with two really good conversations. The first was with Adrian and his friend Alan. They both took the time to listen and thanked me for sharing the gospel with them. Alan, in particular, seemed to really take on board what I was saying. I urged them to think carefully about what they had heard and they said they would. They both took a Bible and I also left my contact details with them. Do pray for them.
The second conversation I had began in a group dynamic, but after a while changed in that I was able to speak more personally with a young chap named Manic. At first he seemed to be joking around with his mates too much, but thankfully I was able to point out to him (through the use of a gospel tract and a bit of humour) the seriousness of what I was saying, and he began to listen intently as I shared the gospel with him. It was encouraging to see him settle down and act more serious, particularly when just a few minutes earlier he was hardly open and responsive. Do pray for him.
Lauren and Emily spoke with a chap named Liam, who was very open to the gospel and even said he’d been thinking about Jesus. It was great for Emily and Lauren to engage with someone willing to listen, and they were both thrilled when he agreed to take a Bible from them. Do pray for him!
Here is a short video that gives you a brief summary of my conversations, as well as showing Annika and Lauren in conversation. After they had finished I quickly got Annika’s thoughts. Here's a short video.
Kofi, Kwabena and Kwadwo had a fairly long chat with a chap named Jack. Although he said he was a Christian, he expressed an unbelief in the deity of Christ, insisting instead that Jesus is an angel. Kofi showed him from the Scriptures that this is not true, and shared with him the truth of God’s Word. You can view a short video here, from Kofi, regarding their conversation with Jack.
It was an encouraging night for sure. Here is a short debrief of the evening.
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Saturday, 21 April, 2012
The sun was out, and the weather was beautiful as we arrived in Sydney for a day of outreach. Since moving to Goulburn in April 2011, I’ve wanted to be able to do regular outreaches in Sydney, but so far with all my work in Goulburn I’ve found it rather hard to make the two hour journey to the Sydney CBD. But today the opportunity to preach Christ had finally arrived.
There were three of us who came out for the outreach this day, Peter Noble, Sean and myself. At 11:30am we met at the Town Hall and from there we began to minister. I must admit things were a bit different today, I have been on many outreaches, but what I saw today I’ve never seen done
before. Peter Noble had brought along a wheelie bin that he had modified to use as a portable sound system for his work as a Christian hip hop artist, now while that was fairly cool, what he did with it was excellent. Peter jumped on the mic and began to do some Christian rap on the streets of Sydney, and as he did this held tracts in his hands. Many people came up to him to take tracts, and many hung around to listen. During this time Sean and I were able to have some excellent conversations with the people who stopped to listen to the music.
I got to speak to one young lady from Sydney who had grown up in a “Christian” home, but that all changed she said when she discovered that she was a lesbian. She said when she came out as a lesbian her parents, family and friends all condemned her and had nothing to do with her. As a result she was hardened towards the Bible. The conversation I had with her started off by her coming to take a tract, then reading it, then she wanted to talk about how the Bible views women. We spoke for a bit about the Old Testament laws, and also about how the New Testament viewed women, she seemed very surprised to find that the Bible is not anti-woman, but rather, Christianity is the only religion that affirms a woman’s value. From this point we spoke about the issue of sin, and how all sin is a crime against God (even homosexuality). She was quite open at this point, so we continued to talk about the Gospel. But then the hurt of the past came up. She spoke about how all her “Christian” friends left her when she said she was a lesbian, and how no one would speak to her. In reply to this I took her to John 4 and spoke about the woman of Samaria and how she was a despised woman, an adulteress who no one liked, but then I showed her Jesus, sitting by the well talking to her, and revealing that He is the Saviour. I was able to show her from that Scripture that Jesus is a friend of sinners, and that He is able to save the vilest of criminals.
When she heard this she said, “I like Jesus, He’s really good.” To which I replied, “No, you don’t like Jesus, as if you did, you’d do as He said.” This then led into a conversation about repentance, and how even though Jesus says the hard things, He says it out of love towards the lost. By the end of our conversation she was nodding in agreement with what I had said, and stated that she would read John’s Gospel. Please pray for her.
By now the rapping had finished, so we headed down to the Pitt Street Mall for some open air preaching. Peter Noble was the first man up, he preached on true Christianity and not just honouring God with your lips. As he preached a man came up to me all angry about the preaching. Turns out he was a local busker who hated what we were doing. He said that we weren’t allowed to preach here, and if we didn’t stop he’d call the police and rangers. I requested he do call the police as I knew we weren’t breaking the law. The man went off in a huff and then started calling people.
Peter Noble by now had finished preaching, so I stood up to preach. I spoke on “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” While I was preaching I noticed two police officers ride towards me on their bikes. They then stopped behind me and listened for a bit. I was later informed that a woman from a shop had also complained about the preaching and called the police, upon seeing them she rushed up to them, but the police told her that we weren’t breaking the law and thus we could continue.
After I finished preaching Sean got up and preached, and a few people stopped to listen.
Overall it was a great day of witnessing. Sydney is hard ground, but is in desperate need of the Gospel. Please pray for all those we spoke to today.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, 13 April, 2012
Friday night was an encouraging night of ministry. Although the weather was quite miserable, we were still able to share the gospel with a number of people. There were eight of us in total and it was great to be out together!
Here is a short video that introduces you to the team as we were getting ready to minister the gospel.
The Lord was pleased to use the open-air preaching to bring in a reasonably well sized crowd, which the team used well to initiate some conversations.
Annika spoke with a man named Cyprian, who she had also spoken with a few weeks earlier. He is from Transylvania and is Catholic in his faith. As he listened to the gospel he acknowledged that it is Jesus who saves us, however he also insisted that he must do certain Catholic rituals in order to get to Heaven. This is the big problem with Catholicism today. It seeks to come under the Christian umbrella and it likes to say that we are saved by grace, however because of its many traditions and doctrines it cannot say that we are saved by grace alone, and that comes out quite clearly when you meet and talk with a Catholic.
As Annika opened up God’s righteous standard to Cyprian, he admitted that he didn’t know for sure if he was good enough to go to Heaven. He said that he believed the Bible and so she encouraged him to read the gospel of John, and to look especially for Jesus’ words that make clear He and He alone is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). Do pray for Him, that he truly understands the grace of God, that none of our works can save us.
I had a great conversation with a man named Tim. He was very pleasant to talk to and he gave me his full attention as I shared with him. I was quite amazed at how attentive he was and at one point wondered if he was really taking it in or was simply being polite. I do know I was able to share the whole gospel with him, and for that I rejoice. He did ask a few questions as I spoke, which encouraged me because it showed that he was listening. One question he asked was this: “But surely our good works count for something.” I answered his question in two ways:
Firstly, none of our “good works” are good, by God’s standard. When an unbeliever does a good work (like a fireman saving a person’s life) that good work is good, in and of itself. However, God always looks at the motive behind the “good work.” Sinful man always performs good works with an ulterior motive. His agenda is to justify himself before God. Sinful man, when pulled up for any particular sin, will almost always fall back on something good he did prior to his transgression. Justifying oneself always results in self-righteousness. So when a “good work” is carried out with a sinful motive, that “good work” is not a good work in God’s eyes, rather it is as though it were a filthy rag before Him (Isaiah 64:6).
Secondly, I pointed out that even if it were the case that we had performed some good deeds in our lives, that were accompanied by a pure motive, the truth is we have also committed very obvious and blatant wicked, sinful works. In the eyes of the law, a good work is unable to absolve a guilty criminal from absolute justice, and since God’s standards are infinitely higher than human standards, the same is even more true. A just and holy God will by no means pardon the guilty (Exodus 34:7), since this would not be justice. This is why God became a man, so that by living a righteous life He Himself would be the righteous perfection we cannot be, and then by taking upon Himself the punishment we deserve, justice would finally be satisfied, the result of which is mercy then being extended to the world. This is what the Bible calls “the grace of God,” and it makes Christianity unique among all world religions in existence today.
Tim left with much to think about. Do pray for Him.
As the evening wore on, the rain started to fall far more heavily. You can see what I mean in this short video.
Our evening together concluded in prayer, and we thanked the Lord for all of the precious opportunities He gave to us. What a privilege it is to be used by Him for the gathering in of His people.
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Saturday, 10 March, 2012
Today the team consisted of Rob Hughes and myself. We made our way to Brentwood High St and prayed. I managed to hand out loads of tracts and I had one very long conversation with a gentleman called 'John'. Our discussion began with Him claiming he had never broken any of Gods Laws; ever... So I continued with the proposition of either Him being God himself ie - perfect, or He's calling God a liar since Gods Word says that he has sinned.
John eventually realised that he was calling God a liar and back tracked on his initial statements. He had quite a lot of Biblical knowledge but was using it to justify his rebellion against God. We eventually got to the Gospel and I tried to expound upon it a little so He didn't miss the point. I gave him a good person tract and we eventually parted. He seemed to understand what his predicament was by the end of our talk. I pray he repents and gets saved. SDG
Andrew chatting to 'John' courtesy of Rob Hughes
Saturday, 10 March, 2012
Garema Place, Canberra (ACT)
“CHINA, CHINA, FREE TIBET, FREE TIBET!!” They were the cries I was met with as I crossed the road and entered into Garema Place. In front of me I could see the brightly coloured flag of Tibet, and the large signs of the protesters. “China OUT: FREEDOM” seemed to be the cry on everyone’s lips, and as I made my way to the merry-go-round I couldn’t help but think that the freedom theydesire is not the freedom they so desperately need. The Tibetan protesters were after a temporal freedom, but they were completely unaware of the eternal freedom they lacked, and that they would need in the years to come.
As I walked I mediated on the John 8:34-36, “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (ESV), My prayer for today was that God would be abundantly kind to sinners, and grant them freedom in Jesus.
As I neared the merry-go-round, I was met by Ji. It was good to see that I wasn’t going to be the only one out witnessing today. Since we didn’t know if anyone else was coming we decided to wait and watch a busker paint for a bit. To my surprise this busker was familiar to me, he was a heckler of mine from Brisbane. It was good to see him, although it was sad to see that he was still very much unconverted.
After waiting for a time we decided that it was time to head off and do some walk up witnessing. It was just the two of us today, so we decided to stick together. Ji soon approach a couple of young people who sitting where the Tibetan protesters had been, handed them a tract, but it soon became very clear they weren’t interested in talking, so we made our way to another man, whom Ji managed to get into a good conversation with.
As Ji witnessed to this man, I decided to hand out a few tracts. Not many people took tracts, and there seemed to be a real apathy to anyone wanting to do anything, I looked around Garema Place to see if I could spot someone to witness to. It was then that I spotted a man about 150 metres away, he was dressed in black trousers, white shirt and was wearing a tie, this immediately triggered something in my brain, my first thought was, “This is a Mormon missionary trying to deceive people”, as I watched him a bit more, I noticed the black name tag on his pocket, this confirmed my suspicion, so I made my way towards him in order to engage him in conversation.
When I neared the Mormon missionary, he turned and began to walk away at pace. As he walked away he would go up to people, try to force something in their hand, then walk away quickly. This he did for about 700 metres. Finally, I was able to catch him up, and as he approached me I greeted him, and began a conversation.
The missionary was friendly, and very young. We began by chatting about general things, such as the weather, Canberra and where he was from. It turns out that this white Mormon missionary was from mainland China, and for 18 months he had been in Australia on mission. We spoke briefly about persecution of religious groups in China, and he said that the Latter-Day Saints were persecuted as they refused to proselytize.
The conversation then swung to the spiritual and we began to discuss the person of Jesus. I informed Elder Y---- that I was a Baptist minister, and that I was interested in learning what he believed, so we sat down on a park bench and he began to explain to me what the Latter-Day Saints teach. For about five minutes he spoke, reciting from memory the Mormon doctrine that I had heard so many times from different missionaries. He spoke about how they believed God had restored the only true church through Joseph Smith, and how once you die you have a chance to be forgiven if you would accept Joseph Smith as a prophet and believe the Book of Mormon.
He then went on to talk about the nature of God, and it was during this time that he began to “attack” the doctrines that the Christian church holds to. He questioned the Trinity and stated that the concept was false, and how the Mormons knew that God had a body, as did Jesus. It was at this point I stopped him, and asked him to explain to me what he thought the doctrine of the Trinity was. Elder Y---- paused at this, he wasn’t quite sure what Christians believed in relation to the Trinity, all he had been told was that we were wrong.
After thinking for a bit, Elder Y---- gave this definition of the Trinity, he said, “Christians believe that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are one God, in one body.” I pointed out to him that what he had just presented was known as Modalism, and it was a heresy that had been denounced by the Church for 2000 years. Elder Y---- seemed shocked, and he asked me to explain the doctrine of the Trinity. I presented to him some basic Biblical arguments, and then he said, “That makes sense, I can see where you get that from.”
We then moved on to a different topic, and this was the topic of Jesus Christ, who He is, and what He has done for sinners. Elder Y---- declared that to be saved we must, “1) Have faith in Jesus; 2) Repent; 3) Be Baptized; 4) Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; 5) Endure to the end.” These five steps according to Mormonism was all anyone has to do in order to be forgiven.
Seeking to clarify what he meant I asked him, “So, what you are saying is this, I must do something to be saved? I must have faith and works?” To which he agreed by saying, “If you don’t do something, you won’t be saved.”
This statement didn’t surprise me, as all Elder Y---- was doing was saying what the Book of Mormon says in 2 Nephi 25:23, "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."
I then asked Elder Y---- if he had his Bible on him, he didn’t so I pulled out my iPhone and opened my “Mormon Scriptures” app. I turned it to Ephesians 2:8-9 and asked him to read it, as he read the text from the King James Bible (the Bible the Mormons use) you could see the light go on, he realised that he had an issue to answer. The text reads: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
As he read it, I asked how both statements can be true, how can 2 Nephi be right, if Ephesians 2 is correct? Elder Y---- got out his notepad and pen, and began to write the verses down. I then encourage him to look at Titus 3:5, Romans 5:1 and all of Romans 4 to see that salvation is a gift from God. When I said, “Salvation is a gift from God”, he replied, “Yes, but we must repent, that is a work!” So I took him to 2 Timothy 2:25 and showed him that repentance is a gift from God also.
From this point I was able to explain to Elder Y---- that the Gospel was all of grace. I showed him from the Scriptures that we had sinned, I pointed to our judgement, then I pointed to Jesus who died for the sins of His people. I then went on to talk about 2 Corinthians 5:21 and how by the work of Jesus we are counted as perfectly righteous, that we have His righteousness imputed to us, as a result, we don’t have to work to make ourselves right, as in the eyes of God we are perfect in Christ.
Elder Y---- was silent, and he didn’t quite know how to respond, but then he began to fall back into the training he was given. He used the argument that “The Bible had errors in it, it wasn’t translated correctly. So I asked him, “If the Bible is translated incorrectly, and the LDS church knows where the errors are, why haven’t they fixed it? Moreover, why do you use the King James Bible if it has errors in it?”
Elder Y---- had nothing to say, but just said, “I don’t read my Bible much, or the Book of Mormon, but I’m told they are both God’s Word.” At this point I put a question to him, I said, “Is God perfect?” Elder Y---- replied that God was indeed perfect, so I said, “Does God make mistakes?” Again, Elder Y---- said God couldn’t make mistakes, so then I asked, “If the Bible is the Word of God, and if the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, then surely they shouldn’t contradict themselves, right? They would flow in perfect harmony.” He agreed with this statement, so I asked, “Why then does the Book of Mormon contradict the Bible?”
Elder Y---- looked stunned, he said, “I don’t know, are you sure, the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible?” I informed him I was sure, and said, “If I can show you contradictions would you agree the Book of Mormon is wrong, and it isn’t God’s Word?” Elder Y---- replied by saying if there were contradictions then clearly the Book of Mormon couldn’t be God’s Word.
So I asked him, “Where was Jesus born?” Elder Y---- replied, “I don’t know.” To which I said, “Do you know where the Book of Mormon says Jesus was born?” Again, he stated he didn’t know.
At this I opened the Book of Mormon on my “Mormon Scripture” application to Alma 7:10, “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.”
“Where was Jesus born?” I asked, “Jerusalem” came the reply.
Then I went to Matthew 2:1, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,”
“According to the Bible, where was Jesus born?” Elder Y---- was silent, then said, “Bethlehem”, “Can Jesus be born at both Bethlehem and Jerusalem? Did God get confused at where His own Son was born?”
Elder Y---- said, “That’s a contradiction, they both can’t be right.”
I then went back to 2 Nephi 25:23 and compared it to Ephesians 2:8-9. Once again I stressed the Gospel, and pointed out that both the Bible and Book of Mormon can’t be correct, one has to be wrong. Elder Y--- agreed, and said, “I’m doubting the Book of Mormon, maybe it’s wrong.”
At this he said he had to go, but asked if he could have my number to call me. I gave him my number, and also a in-depth tract explaining the Gospel. Please pray for him that God would open his blind eyes and allow him to see Jesus.
After this I made my way back to Garema Place, and found that Ji was still witnessing. The rest of the afternoon was spent with us talking to people about Jesus, and the day finished with a discussion with a Jehovah Witness who was out handing out material. He had very little knowledge of what they believed, and even admitted to not believing it. I challenged him from the Scripture that Jesus is God, and He is to be worshipped and adored. I explained to him the Gospel, but this man flatly rejected it, and desired to stay in the error of the Watchtower. Please pray for him also.
Soli Deo Gloria!
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