Pastor John Sherwood (Wood Green) and Pastor Peter Simpson (Penn Free Methodist Church) were preaching the gospel in Oxford city centre yesterday. We distributed our tract on the parable of the prodigal son, which includes the following four warnings :
1. All without Christ are far off from their heavenly Father, as if living in a foreign land.
2. All without Christ are slaves to the desires of their sinful and corrupted hearts.
3. All without Christ are dying of spiritual hunger.
4. All without Christ, as they reject God and His commandments, will one day discover their terrible mistake.
We entered into conversation with a passing Muslim who seemed to believe that many people were already righteous, and that therefore the Lord Jesus Christ did not need to help them. He argued that because the Lord said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24) that the the gospel was not relevant to most of the people which were there in Oxford’s Cornmarket Street, who were Gentiles.
Pastor Sherwood explained, however, concerning the woman of Canaan to whom the Lord said those words, that He actually gave her her wish, He cast out the evil spirit from her daughter, and Hew then commended her faith in Israel’s Messiah. Yes, His own earthly ministry was primarily directed to the Jews, but it is abundantly clear even in the Old Testament that the Messiah and His gospel would come to be a blessing to all nations. We read for example, in Psalm 86 :
“All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name” (Psalms 86:9).
Furthermore, the Lord Himself said of the Gentiles, when He healed the Gentile centurion’s servant, “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).
The preaching at one stage made the general challenge, Are you prepared to meet your God (Amos 4:12). One passing lady was also asked this individually, She replied, Not just yet. She was lovingly advised that the LORD will come as a thief in the night, and so she must make ready with urgency.
May the many who heard in Oxford indeed prepare to meet their Maker by trusting in Christ, before it is too late.