The gospel of Jesus Christ was being proclaimed in the centre of Slough on May 17th by Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson, who were assisted by Mrs Lesley Pilkington.
At one point Pastor Simpson referred to Ezekiel 18:31, “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit : for why will ye die”.
He went on to explain that sin is like a killer disease which must be avoided at all costs. People have taken very serious precautions against Covid-19, whose infection fatality rate is at the most 0.4%, but in contrast, so many do not take seriously the plague of sin, which has a 100% infection fatality rate, unless there is the urgent response of repentance from sin and faith in the Saviour.
Mrs Pilkington had a long conversation with a middle-aged man who confessed to being a Christian, although he did not particularly approve of the methodology of the preaching, and he did not appear to be clear about the nature of a personal faith in Christ for salvation.
However, he was very intelligent and was willing to talk, and he seemed open to Mrs Pilkington’s explanation of the message of salvation and the new birth. He encouragingly said that he wanted to talk again the next time that the witness was taking place in the High Street. May the Holy Spirit draw him to a fuller understanding of the gospel.
As Pastor Simpson was preaching, a man walked by, and because the subject of the preaching was the forgiveness of sins, the minister asked the man if he knew that he himself was forgiven. He replied that he was a Muslim, the implication being that the Christian gospel did not apply to him.
So Pastor Simpson responded, Yes, you are a Muslim, but do you actually know that your sins are forgiven? Sadly, the man continued to disregard the question and walked on disapprovingly.
The preacher then asked a young Muslim lady who was looking his way the same question, Do you know that your sins are forgiven? He also added, Do you know that you are going to heaven? Are you a good person?
The young woman replied that he relationship to Allah was seen in her attending to her religious duties which include praying five times a day and at some point going on a pilgrimage. Pastor Simpson politely suggested to her that, by emphasising such duties, she was in fact trying to earn a place in heaven, whereas salvation is God’s free gift, and no person can ever be good enough to earn it.
The young woman replied by arguing : So you can commit as much sin as you like and then simply ask Jesus for forgiveness and go to heaven? The minister responded, Certainly not, because coming to the Lord Jesus Christ includes repenting of all sin from the heart, and then receiving the Holy Spirit, who grants to the believer both the desire and the power to overcome sin.
Pastor Simpson then explained that when the Lord Jesus died on the Cross, he was carrying the sinner’s penalty and was satisfying the demands of God’s justice, so that the believer can be acquitted and set free. God cannot just forgive sin by overlooking it. He can only forgive, because justice has first been satisfied when the son of God for the sins of the world.
Pastor Sherwood and Mrs Pilkington also endeavoured to explain the way of salvation to the Muslim young woman. She regretfully did not seem at all convinced, but at least the conversation was polite and constructive. The lady, in line with Muslim teaching, did not believe that Jesus actually died at Calvary at all, meaning of course that Isalm denies the reality of the central event of the Christian revelation.
May the Holy Spirit work powerfully upon this young Muslim’s heart, and indeed upon the hearts of many others who heard the gospel in Slough upon this day, so that there will be a realisation of the absolute necessity of the shed blood of the crucified Saviour being applied for anyone to ever find a place in heaven.