Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood were proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified in the centre of Uxbridge on March 15th, assisted by three more immediately local Christians who handed out tracts and spoke to passers-by. 

Two people came up to Pastor Simpson and asked for prayer, one being a believer, the other not so. Both sought prayer regarding their housing situation. The minister prayed with them both on the spot. May the Lord help them both, and may the non-Christian seek God urgently to obtain salvation from sin and purpose for his whole life. He thankfully took a tract, but did not for the moment appear interested in spiritual matters.

One man came up to Pastor Sherwood as he was preaching and spent around five minutes abusively berating him and denouncing the gospel message. He even accused the preacher of doing what he was doing simply because he was well paid to do it. Pastor Sherwood replied that he receives no salary whatsoever for his work as a pastor (although of course he is entitled to).

Pastor Simpson had a discussion with a young Muslim who was standing nearby when he was preaching and who had some friends with him. The minister asked if him if he was a good person. He said that he thought that he was. He even claimed, when asked, never to have harboured any hatred in his heart. He was then told that if he thinks that, he is immediately guilty of pride, which is a sin. In reality, all people without exception are guilty of breaking God’s holy commandments. Sin is dangerous. It must be cast away (Ezekiel 18:31). The Muslims also said that Jesus was just a prophet, to which Pastor Simpson replied that He was fully God appearing on earth as fully human also. To affirm the Lord’s deity, the minister quoted John 20:28, where Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and My God,”, which titles the Lord willingly received and did not reject. 

Pastor Simpson was also asked by the Muslims about the current Israeli-Palestine conflict. In the interests of focusing on the gospel only, and not being sidetracked by any kind of political argument, the minister replied that only those who repent of sin and believe in Christ become God’s true people, the true sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). 

Pastor Simpson opened up his preaching by quoting Romans 3:10 and 23, “There is none righteous, no, not one … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.  All are controlled by hearts which are naturally inclined to sin and so all need new hearts, which is why the Lord Jesus taught, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7), meaning that each person needs to receive a new heart in the power of the Holy Spirit as he or she comes in repentance and faith to Christ for salvation. 

Pastor Simpson also emphasised, in his desire to reach and help Muslims with the truth of the gospel, many of whom were walking past, that the Lord Jesus is so much more than just a prophet. After all, all prophets of all the religions are but sinners. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, is unique amongst all men as being totally without sin. He is none other than the eternal Son of God, the Creator of the universe, who nevertheless became a man in order to accomplish man’s salvation.  

The minister also stated, out of concern that Muslims do not rely on their religious works for salvation, that repeating prayers so many times a day, fasting and going on a pilgrimage cannot in any way atone for sin. Only the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the Cross as He bore the penalty for the sins of the world, can take away the guilt of sin. Pastor Simpson also stressed when preaching the need for each individual to consider the significance of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ for them personally, and what is their response to it. 

A young man who disliked the preaching came and stood by Pastor Sherwood, lit a cigarette and started playing amplified music, deliberately doing so so as to drown out the preaching. Thankfully he only stayed for two minutes, but his attitude appeared to be, If the preacher is allowed to preach, then I am allowed to play my music. In any case, he said, “I do not want to listen to these lies”. 

Another young man, who has approached the preachers on a number of previous occasions strongly rejecting the message, came up to Pastor Simpson as he was leaving the preaching location and returning to the car park. Why not just get on with whatever he was doing and ignore the preacher, but he seemed impelled to approach. He proudly showed to the minister a tattoo on his arm of the yin-yang symbol of a black and white circle with two dots. This is an ancient Chinese occult symbol. 

Pastor Simpson, again as he had been doing with others, tried to challenge the hostile young man on whether he was a good person or not. He replied that he was good, saying that he tried his best. Pastor Simpson responded that the Bible teaches that no one is good by nature. He asked the young occultist, Have you ever harboured hatred in your heart? The man replied, “I hate you”, and he appeared to really mean it, not for a moment imagining that that such a statement invalidated his claim to essential goodness. 

Pastor Simpson then explained how the Lord Jesus taught that the spirit of hatred was little different from the spirit of murder (Matthew 5:21-22) in terms of guilt incurred before the holy God. The blasphemous and incredibly vulgar reply then came back along the lines of “I do not give a (blank-blank) what Jesus Christ says”. We pray that this young man has not yet hardened himself so much as never to be able in the future to embrace the gospel message. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). 

Earlier on, another passer-by had started to talk to Pastor Simpson, as Pastor Sherwood was preaching. At first he engaged in reasonable conversation, although he was somewhat inebriated. He was thankfully still able to think fairly coherently. Pastor Simpson tried to impress upon him the seriousness of all sin, rendering all worthy of an everlasting condemnation, and he also mentioned gently that drinking to excess was sinful in the sight of the holy God. The man then said to the minister, “I could say a lot more to challenge you about God, but I will not”. The preacher responded, “Try me : I am willing to answer any questions which attempt to invalidate the truth of the Christian message”. 

At this point, the man’s attitude completely changed. He resorted to an all-out display of nasty mockery, making an absolute exhibition of himself, and shouting at the top of his voice so that all going past could not but notice. “How can I possibly believe in a God who allows children to die”?, he roared. He then engaged in a derisory posture of prayer and worship in front of Pastor Sherwood (see photo below). It was astonishing how quickly he went from conducting a sensible conversation to engaging in a very unpleasant and blasphemous public rejection of all things Christian. Pastor Sherwood just ignored the man’s histrionics and carried on preaching. 

May the Lord come to Him in His great mercy, and indeed to many others in Uxbridge who heard some precious souls-saving words of gospel truth upon this day.