Wednesday, 26 March 2008
This past weekend saw both myself and Philip, along with some new faces, back on the street to spread the gospel through public proclamation, one-to-one witnessing and the handing out of tracts. On Friday night we were joined by Joanna and Carl, from two different churches, as well as my brother James, Antonio and his wife Lyudmila, and Keith from my church.
We began as usual outside Tooting Broadway tube station just after 6pm. It was bitterly cold but we set about handing out tracts and approaching people to witness to them. I stood up to preach open-air and managed to draw in a small crowd. I did a call out to a young man and took him through the law. He left when I started to preach the gospel but there were some other people who were stood nearby so we praise God that people did get to hear the message. We continued to talk one-to-one with people and hand out some more tracts after I finished preaching. At 8pm we got ready to leave Tooting Broadway and head on up to
We arrived at
After I finished preaching up stood Carl! It was only his third or fourth preach and I could see that he was a little nervous. However he preached for well over 10 minutes and used his testimony to show how God had changed him and of course ultimately saved him. After he finished we continued to do some more one-to-one's and hand out tracts. I found Kazaar and spoke to him some more. He told me that he was a Muslim and that Allah is his mercy would most likely save him, although he could not be sure. I showed him why he needs a Saviour and why Jesus is that Saviour. He was one of the most open Muslims I have spoken with but still you could tell that there was a lot to break through. He took a tract and I pray that God will continue to speak to him through the seed that was sown.
I had in mind to do another open-air but Carl had beaten me to it. He was up on the ladder once more and back in full swing. He needs to learn to project his voice a bit more but it was great to see his enthusiasm and desire. It wasn't long before he was being heckled and then surrounded by a crowd of Muslims. This is their strategy. They come in close and force you to back down. Afterwards I told Carl that he needs to tell them to stand back and that if they do not he will move to another spot. This is a constant struggle now and it seems that the Muslims of London are determined to come against Christianity in an aggressive way. Please pray that God would give us wisdom.
Before we left to go home I noticed that my brother James and Joanna were both in one-to-one conversation. James was talking with a liberal Muslim girl who professed that she did not live out her faith yet still had a great many objections towards Christianity. It became clear towards the end that she was not sorry for her sins and that she preferred to point the finger at others rather than admit her own guilt. Joanna was having a rather torrid time with a man who had heckled me earlier and was insistent that he explain to us the contradictions found in the Bible. It was difficult to debate with him as he was very argumentative and clearly had his mind already made up. This is street evangelism. This is what we encounter open-air. It can be tough but God's Word never returns void; onward we go! We left after 11:30pm, cold and tired but feeling privileged that God had used us. We had to get home to get some sleep as it was back to Tooting Broadway the next morning.
We arrived back at Tooting Broadway on the Saturday at 11:30. My brother James and Philip were with me and Joanna joined us just after 12pm. David Radcliffe, a chap from my church, also joined us as the afternoon wore on. It was very cold but there were still people about so I stood up and preached law and grace to the people. At one point it started to snow, that was very surreal! After I finished preaching we went about approaching people who had heard me preach. I got talking with a middle-aged man (his name has escaped me, and I'm disappointed with that, but the Lord knows his name so please pray for him) who was very nice to talk to. We had a good chat about a number of things. He mentioned that he had believed in God at one point but now science had swung his mind. Interestingly he had a decent knowledge of Scripture and Christianity and as we continued to talk we got speaking about the authenticity and veracity of Scripture. I explained to him that we have more manuscripts that any other ancient book and that the time frame between the date they were written and the time that Jesus lived (talking of course of New Testament manuscripts) is shorter than any other we have of any other ancient person. He was somewhat impressed with this and continued to give me his ear on a number of things. Before he left I gave him my card and told him that he is free to email me any time. He said that he would and so I do hope and pray that I will hear from him again.
All in all it was a great weekend of ministry. We do want to see fruit but we live in a time when man is very much enamoured with his sin. The church has done little to soften men's hearts with the power of the gospel and so we speak with people of hard hearts who love their sin. Preachers of years ago broke hard hearts with the law of God and healed broken hearts with the gospel of God's grace. Oh for that kind of preaching once again!!
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Saturday, 15 March 2008
The last few weeks have seen me suffer quite heavily with flu and so sitting in front of the computer and writing various snippets and articles has been something I have not easily desired. It has been very frustrating, however getting well has been my foremost priority.
Both Phil and I are very encouraged, however, by the continued support of Andrew and David from our church. We have not been out on the street now for two weeks (including this weekend), which is a blow; however I am excited going forward.
On Saturday 1st March I was approached by a young woman named Joanna, along with her friend. They had stood watching me preach open-air and had come up afterwards to offer their support. We had a great chat and they are keen to join up with the team. I am also meeting with someone else in the coming week who is interested in joining us. Next weekend we hope to be back with a bang and we are looking forward to see how God will be adding to our numbers as we go about organising the Operation 513 London team.
Please pray for us as we enter into this exciting time.
Monday, 10 March 2008
As we continue to look at the doctrine of Unconditional Election, the following article by John MacArthur is most helpful to aid us in our understanding.
The idea that God does what He wants, and that what He does is true and right because He does it, is foundational to the understanding of everything in Scripture, including the doctrine of election.
In the broad sense, election refers to the fact that God chooses (or elects) to do everything that He does in whatever way He best sees fit. When He acts, He does so only because He wilfully and independently chooses to act. According to His own nature, predetermined plan, and good pleasure, He decides to do whatever He desires, without pressure or constraint from any outside influence.
The Bible makes this point repeatedly. In the very act of creation, God created precisely what He wanted to create in the way He wanted to create it (cf. Gen. 1:31). And ever since the creation, He has sovereignly prescribed or permitted everything in human history, in order that He might accomplish the redemptive plan which He had previously designed (cf. Is. 25:1; 46:10; 55:11; Rom. 9:17; Eph. 3:8–11).
In the Old Testament, He chose a nation for Himself. Out of all the nations in the world, He selected Israel (Deut 7:6; 14:2; Psalm 105:43; 135:4). He chose them, not because they were better or more desirable than any other people, but simply because He decided to choose them. In the words of Richard Wolf, “How odd of God to choose the Jews.” It may not have rhymed as well, but the same would have been true of any other people God might have selected. God chooses whomever He chooses, for reasons that are wholly His.
The nation of
When Jesus told His disciples, “You did not choose Me but I chose you” (John 15:16), He was underscoring this very truth. And the New Testament reiterates it in passage after passage. Acts 13:48 describes salvation in these words, “As many as have been appointed to eternal life believed.” Ephesians 1:4–6 notes that, God “chose us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” In his letters to the Thessalonians, Paul reminds his readers that he knew God’s choice of them (1 Thess. 1:4), and that he was thankful for them “because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation” (2 Thess. 2:13). The Word of God is clear: believers are those whom God chose for salvation from before the beginning.
Even the foreknowledge to which Peter refers should not be confused with simple foresight as some would teach—contending that God, in eternity past, looked down the halls of history to see who would respond to His call and then elected the redeemed on the basis of their response. Such an explanation makes God’s decision subject to man’s decision, and gives man a level of sovereignty that belongs only to God. It makes God the One who is passively chosen, rather than the One who actively chooses. And it also misunderstands the way in which Peter uses the term “foreknowledge.” In 1 Peter 1:20 the apostle uses the verb form of that very word, prognosis in the Greek, to refer to Christ. In that case, the concept of “foreknowledge” certainly includes the idea of a deliberate choice. It is reasonable, then, to conclude that the same is true when Peter applies prognosis to believers in other places (cf. 1 Pet. 1:2).
The ninth chapter of Romans also reiterates the elective purposes of God. There, in reference to His saving love for Jacob (and Jacob’s descendants) as opposed to Esau (and Esau’s lineage), God’s electing prerogative is clearly displayed. God chose Jacob over Esau, not on the basis of anything Jacob or Esau had done, but according to His own free and uninfluenced sovereign purpose. To those who might protest, “That is unfair!” Paul simply responds by asking, “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” (v. 20).
Many more Scriptures could be added to this survey. Yet as straightforward as the Word of God is, people continually have difficulty accepting the doctrine of election. The reason, again, is that they allow their preconceived notions of how God should act (based on a human definition of fairness) to override the truth of His sovereignty as laid out in the Scriptures.
Frankly, the only reason to believe in election is because it is found explicitly in God’s Word. No man and no committee of men originated this doctrine. It is like the doctrine of eternal punishment, in that it conflicts with the dictates of the carnal mind. It is repugnant to the sentiments of the unregenerate heart. And like the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the miraculous birth of our Savior, the truth of election, because it has been revealed by God, must be embraced with simple and unquestioning faith. If you have a Bible and you believe it, you have no other option but to accept what it teaches.
The Word of God presents God as the controller and disposer of all creatures (Dan. 4:35; Is. 45:7; Lam. 3:38), the Most High (Psalm 47:2; 83:18), the ruler of heaven and earth (Gen. 14:19; Is. 37:16), the One against whom none can stand (2 Chron. 20:6; Job 41:10; Is. 43:13). He is the Almighty who works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11; cf. Is. 14:27; Rev. 19:6), and the heavenly Potter who shapes men according to His own good pleasure (Rom. 9:18–22). In short, He is the decider and determiner of every man’s destiny, and the controller of every detail in each individual’s life (Prov. 16:9; 19:21; 21:1; cf. Ex. 3:21–22; 14:8; Ezra 1:1; Dan. 1:9; Jas. 4:15)—which is really just another way of saying, “He is God.”
The following video, featuring R.C. Sproul, is also very helpful for us.
Saturday, 8 March 2008
Friday 22nd Feb saw us begin at Tooting Broadway. We arrived just after 7pm. It is a busy and noisy section of Tooting, and although there are a fair amount of people about, many of them are coming in and out of the Tube Station and are often in a hurry to get to where they want to be. Some people do congregate in the square and so there are people to preach the gospel to. It’s also a great spot for handing out tracts. There was only time to do one preach, but in that time a few people did stop to listen. Right in the centre of the square there is a statue of Edward VII, and so I used this as a platform to preach from. I mentioned that although Edward VII must have been an impressive king due to a statue being built in memory of him, however there is another King who is the King of kings. I talked about how this King is also our Creator and that one day He will judge us accordingly. I opened up God’s law and then transitioned into the gospel. Some girls were standing near the statue and were listening so I did a call out to a young girl called Claire. She appeared willing to converse with me, however she also seemed a little distracted, perhaps by her friends, and I could tell that I did not have a lot of time before she would leave with them. Taking her through the gospel I asked her if she understood what I had told her. She shrugged her shoulders, which was not a great sign, however when I offered her an in-depth tract she said, “Yeah, why not,” and came up and took it. Please pray for Claire.
After I finished preaching we had about ten minutes or so before it was time to head up to
We arrived at
After our Romanian friends left I got up to preach open air. I made reference to the fact that
I continued to converse with them for a time before they left. I gave them each an id-depth tract, which they agreed to read. The tract is written by Ray Comfort and is called “Why Christianity.” It is really well written and presented and compares Christianity with three other major world religions, one of those being Islam. It clearly shows why Christianity offers what these other religions cannot offer – salvation through Jesus Christ from the wrath of God because of our sin.
As our time at
Saturday morning dawned and it was time to once more head back to Tooting Broadway tube station. We arrived just after 11:00am. Andrew was there to greet us, which was great. No sooner had we finished praying that a woman approached me and asked, “Are you Robert?” Needless to say I was quite surprised. It turns out that a gentleman in our church, David Cunnings, had told her that we go out every weekend and so she had come to meet us. She had an impressive looking video camera with her and had brought it because she wanted to film the reaction of the crowd. She said she would like to come out and see us again and so took our details. The morning moved into the afternoon and was spent preaching open air, handing out tracts and speaking with people one-to-one. It was not a great morning in the sense that we managed to have good conversations with people or pull in a crowd, but we did hand out a great deal of tracts. We have our church details on all the tracts now and so I am really excited to see whether people will visit our church going forward.
All in all it was a great weekend. Praise God for His faithfulness.
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Now, if you are unrepentant, you have never obeyed your Maker. Every step you have taken has added to your crimes. When God has fanned your heaving lungs, you have breathed out your poisonous breath in rebellion against Him. How should God feel toward you? You have walked over the principles of righteousness with your unsanctified feet. You have lifted up your hands, filled with poisoned weapons, against the throne of the Almighty. You have spurned every principle of right, of love and of happiness. You are the enemy of God, the foe of man and a child of the devil in league with Hell. Ought not God hate you with all His heart?
Yet, in the midst of your rebellion He has borne with you. All this you have done, and He has kept silent. Dare you think that He will never reprove? Lo, I see, the Law given upon
My hearer, does not the Law of God convince you of sin? Under the hand of God’s Spirit does it not make you feel that you have been guilty, that you deserve to be lost, that you have incurred the fierce anger of God? Look here: have you not broken these Ten Commandments; even in the letter, have you not broken them? Who is there among you who has always honoured his mother and father? Who is there among you who has always spoken the truth? Have we not sometimes borne false witness against our neighbours? Is there one person here who has not made to himself another god, and loved himself, or his business, or his friends, more than he has Jehovah, the God of the whole earth? Which of you has not coveted his neighbour’s house, or his manservant, or his ox, or his donkey? We are all guilty with regard to every letter of the Law; we have all of us transgressed the Commandments.
And if we really understood these Commandments, and felt that they condemned us, they would have this useful influence on us of showing us our danger, and so leading us to fly to Christ. But, my hearers, does not this Law condemn you, because even if you should say you have not broken the letter of it, yet you have violated the spirit of it. What, though you have never killed, yet we are told, he that is angry with his brother is a murderer.
This Law does not only mean what it says in words, but it has deep things hidden in its bowels. It says, "Thou shall not commit adultery," but it means as Jesus has it, "He that looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." It says, "Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." It means that we should reverence God in every place, and have His fear before our eyes, and should always pay respect to His ordinances and evermore walk in His fear and love. My brethren, surely there is not one here so foolhardy in self-righteousness as to say, "I am innocent." The spirit of the Law condemns us. And this is its useful property; it humbles us, makes us know we are guilty, and so we are led to receive the Saviour.