Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson and Mr Graham Parkhouse were proclaiming Jesus Christ crucified for sinners in Slough High Street on January 9th.
At one point a man who had been drinking swore contemptuously at Pastor Sherwood, as he was preaching. Pastor Simpson tried to engage him in conversation, and told him that drink was not the answer to his problems. He confessed to being a broken person, and said how he was greatly distressed by the fact that he had been involved in killing people, when he served in the military. The minister tried to reassure him that that it was his duty as a soldier to kill the enemy in a war situation, and that God knows that and honours that. Pastor Simpson then encouraged him to read a tract on Jesus Christ being the Light of the world, asking him to promise to read it. The Lord Jesus is the One who alone can remove the spiritual darkness in which all people are living.
The man later came back to the pastor and thanked him for the conversation. May the Lord speak powerfully to his heart, and might he see the need to trust in Christ for personal salvation, and then he will be far more able to cope with all the griefs and tragedies in his life thus far.
As Pastor Sherwood was preaching a man came up to him angrily denouncing all that was being said and interrupting the preaching. Mr Parkhouse therefore endeavoured to take him to one side, so that the preaching could continue unhindered. The man said that the witnessing Christians were religious nutcases. He was angry that the preaching was misleading people by its stupidity. He claimed that Jesus Christ never existed and that science has proved the Bible to be wrong.
He also asked Mr Parkhouse whether he was putting up homeless people in his house. This is a common tactic of those hostile to the Christian message, trying to imply that the witnessing Christians do not really care for people. Of course, no hostile opponent of the gospel has any idea what any individual Christian is doing to help others in genuine material need. Indeed, it is an aspect of the Christian’s obedience for him never to broadcast and make known his acts of kindness and mercy to others in the material realm (Matthew 6:3).
Furthermore, it also needs to be be stated – in respect of the problem of homelessness and people living on the streets – that sin is very often the root cause of the problem, in that the homelessness has initially arisen, for example, because there has been a breakdown in family relationships leading to people not helping their relatives in need. Without in any way denying the needs of those genuinely suffering from homelessness through no fault of their own, it also needs to be observed many of those living on the streets are actually not doing anything at all to try and remove themselves from that sad predicament.
In any case, social needs affecting people’s material well-being, no matter how genuine and important, do not negate the need to deal with the soul also, because, as the Lord Jesus Christ taught, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
So the insinuation that the Christian message only has validity, if it focuses on satisfying people’s material needs, negates the reality that the God who reads men’s hearts is looking for a humble heart which seeks to honour Him. It is the creed of anti-Christian Marxism which argues that social and material needs are all that matters in human existence. This dangerous creed ignores the truth that man is not just flesh and blood, but also has an immortal spirit, and is answerable for how he leads his life to His Maker.
Furthermore, it is the providence of God which determines people’s material circumstances, and the Lord Jesus Christ has promised, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these (material) things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). In other words, repent of sin and put God first in your life, and He will then watch over your material needs as well.
Prayer is now being offered up that those who heard the gospel in Slough will be worked upon by the power of the Holy Spirit, that He might reveal to them the sinfulness of their hearts and the need to flee to the Saviour without any delay.