Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood were proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified in the centre of Slough on October 18th.
As Pastor Sherwood was preaching, a man came by and was upset with the preaching on the grounds that he was a Buddhist. He sadly also claimed to be a good person in direct contradiction of the most basic tenet of the gospel message, namely that “there is none righteous, no not one’ (Romans 3:10).
At one stage both ministers felt it appropriate to openly challenge the some people in long-tern addiction to alcohol who were sitting nearby and who have often been seen before. They were told that their drunkenness was sinful before God and an indulging of the lusts of the flesh. Repentance before God is the only solution. They of course took exception to this direct approach, with one man trying to defend himself by saying that the Lord Jesus turned water into wine. Pastor Simpson responded that that wonderful miracle was in order to bless a wholesome family celebration, not in order to indulge sinful and shameful excessive drinking.
Yes of course in trying to deal with a problem of serious addiction sympathy is often appropriate, but it was obvious that in these particular circumstances what was needed was a firm but kind rebuke about the dangers of continually and unnecessarily indulging a sinful lifestyle. The drunkards, which included a woman aged around 35, were told that the Lord Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit is able to take away their cravings for alcohol, if they submit to Him in repentance and faith. Indeed, the same applies to those who are addicted to drugs as well.
The alcoholics could have just ignored the preachers, but they wanted to oppose, debate and challenge. It was felt that this was a good sign – they were interacting with a presentation of the gospel. As the conversation progressed, they appeared to soften and be less hostile, because they must know deep down that their conduct is indefensible whatever whatever other problems they might have had to contend with.
May the Lord open their hearts to see the need to turn to the Saviour as a matter of urgency. It is He alone who can deal with all the consequences of being governed by an unregenerate heart.
Pastor Simpson had a long conversation with a man who was a former Slough town councillor and who was sympathetic to the gospel preaching taking place in the High Street. He expressed concern about the general state of Slough, and in response the preacher endeavoured to impress upon him the fact that politicians are simply incapable of solving the underlying problems in society, whatever economic policies they might advocate. It is only the preaching of the gospel which can accomplish real fundamental change in respect of the well-being of society, because this well-being is ultimately an aspect of the providence of God. It is He who causes societies to prosper or to go into decline according to whether or not they are honouring Him.
Even if the politicians were able to find all the money necessary for sufficient housing, always readily available healthcare and full employment, the plain fact is that the population would still be made up of sinners within unregenerate and wicked hearts, hearts which can only be transformed by the power of the gospel.
Pastor Simpson also had a conversation with a lesbian young woman, who also said that she was ‘transgender’, and when the minister asked her what her birth sex was, the person replied that it was none of his business. What was particularly distressing was that this young woman claim to be a Christian, whilst at the same time sporting tattoos and occultic symbols and openly condoning following a lifestyle which the Bible calls sinful.
The preacher gently and courteously tried to explain that one cannot hide behind ‘the love of God’ to justify an ongoing and flagrant rejection of God’s commandments. Sadly, the young woman was claiming that “Jesus loves and accepts everyone”. Pastor Simpson referred to passages in the Bible where homosexuality is clearly condemned as being sinful. The lesbian replied that this is the 21st-century and that we cannot now follow the teachings of an ancient book. It was explained to her that the whole of the Bible constitutes the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it carries absolute authority in every generation, because all Scripture in both Old and New Testaments is given to us by the Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11).
May the Lord cause this young woman to see the seriousness of sin and the need to flee to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. May many others also who heard the gospel in Slough upon this day be brought to the same conviction of sin and realisation of their lost condition.