The message of salvation through faith in Christ apart from works was declared in Slough High Street on March 5th by Pastors John Sherwood and Peter Simpson, and Mr Graham Parkhouse from Epsom. 

Pastor Simpson preached from 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” All people are habitually sinners both by nature and practice, until they receive a new heart in the power of the Holy Spirit by coming in repentance and faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. So no one passing in the street could claim to be without sin. All therefore are guilty of having offended the God who is giving to them their daily breath. All should be deeply concerned about their spiritual condition, because their sin has separated them from the presence of the Holy God. It is quite possible to engage in much religious activity and duty, which frequently leads to pride, but never to deal with the root problem of a sinful heart, which only the new birth upon faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can remove. 

At one stage there was a long queue of people by a market stand waiting to buy  jacket potatoes. The preachers were nearby and facing the queue. What a good providential opportunity this was. May the Lord cause the hearers to see their need of the spiritual food which comes from Christ alone.  

Mr Parkhouse and Pastor Simpson entered into a conversation with a thoughtful non-believer about the Lord’s teaching of turning the other cheek. The man was reluctant to accept this teaching, arguing that wickedness can be so great that there are times when evil has to be met with an appropriate response, or to put it more colloquially, You have to give as good as you get to avoid being destroyed. The man went on to justify his assertion on the ‘eye for an eye’ principle in the Bible. Pastor Simpson tried to explain that this principle refers to the need for any punishment to be in appropriate proportion to the offence, but it is not a justification for engaging in personal revenge when sorely afflicted by another’s wrongdoing.

The sceptic also said that he could not believe in a God who permitted evil such as allowing young children to be sexually abused. The preacher responded that we cannot blame God for men’s free will act of wickedness. It is part of the nature of man that he is able to make moral choices, and even though he was born with a sinful heart, his captivity to the demands of that heart are not inevitable, because God by His grace offers release in the gospel. In any case, God is a righteous Judge, who will never allow the unrepentant wicked to go unpunished, and so the charge of injustice against God is totally unjustified.  

Pastor Simpson also told the man that God is not on trial, and gently warned him about the danger of blaspheming God by his assault upon God’s character. It is not for man to lay down the terms of his deigning to believe in God, or to blame God for all the problems of living in fallen world. The solution is not to blame the Almighty  for the wicked acts of other people, but to start by examining one’s own heart and one’s own wicked actions, words and thoughts, all of which are voluntarily entered into when a person refuses to acknowledge the sinfulness of his own nature. 

May the Lord be pleased to open this man’s heart concerning his need to flee to the Saviour, and indeed the hearts of many others who heard the gospel in Slough upon this occasion.