Apologies for late posting of this. We have just recently returned from a family holiday break.
Present today: Gideon, Phoenix, Peck, Jarryd, Mike, Di, June, Frances, Maree & Isaac. Simeon met us down at the shops.
Praise God for a big team today!
I opened with a Gospel Extract from Charles Spurgeon, titled “Necessity of the New Birth”:
“I was staying at an inn in one of the valleys of Northern Italy, where the floor was dreadfully dirty. I had it in my mind to advise the landlady to scrub it, but when I perceived that it was made of mud, I reflected that the more she scrubbed the worse it would be.
The man who knows his own heart soon perceives that his corrupt nature admits of no improvement. There must be a new nature implanted, or the man will be only “washed to deeper stains”. “Ye must be born again.” Ours is not a case for mending, but for making new.”
We discussed how, when exposed to the Gospel, man’s first attempt of making reconciliation to God is via a self-centred move to clean his life up. All this results in is a bigger mess than when he first started. The only true way is for God to wash his filthy heart clean, and give it new desires in line with His will.
We prayed for boldness today, that there would be no hesitation to tell people the truth!
It was a cool start to a warm day down at the shops. The Lord providentially cleared the fog just in time. When I arrived, most of the others were already into some serious chats.
The first good chat I had was with Steve. He was a Maori Warden (someone who helps indigenous Maori folk). He was very chipper and full of life. I asked him what happens after we die, and he said hopefully heaven. I asked why hopefully, and he said he was a bit of a ratbag in his time, but he was trying to make up for it by doing good for his people and his community. I asked him about lying, stealing, blasphemy, lusting, and using foul language. He said yes, he had done them all. I asked him if God were to judge him for those things would he be innocent or guilty? He said probably guilty. Reward or punishment? Punishment. Heaven or hell? Hell, but God is kind and forgiving, and will let me off. I said yes, He is forgiving, but not at the expense of His justice. If a judge let people off all their crimes, would he be a good judge? He said no. I said it’s the same thing with God. We have broken His rules, and deserve His punishment in His jail cell called hell. Then I told him the good news that Jesus offers to take his hell punishment as a free gift, so that he didn’t have to go to hell. He thought that was funny. I asked him what where would people go if they refused to accept the gift of Jesus taking their hell punishment for them? He said hell. He wasn’t laughing anymore. I said he had a choice to make – he could either try and work his way into heaven, and receive the punishment for all the sins he had committed, or he can accept Jesus gift of taking his hell punishment for him, and go to heaven. He said he would think about it, although I wasn’t convinced he was genuine about it. I gave him a tract, and left him in God’s hands. I saw Simeon talk with him later, so hopefully he watered what I sowed earlier, and God gave the increase!
I met Rex coming out of the butcher shop. I asked him what happens when he dies. He said heaven. I asked why, and he said that Jesus had forgiven all his sins. I asked which sins, and he replied the ones like smoking, drugs, sex. He started saying how he did all these things, but Jesus had freed him from them. I asked what about lying, stealing and lusting? Oh yeah, they are bad as well, but Jesus washed them away. I asked if he went to church, and he said yes, to Destiny Church. That set off alarm bells, as they are a prosperity church in NZ. I asked him if we are promised a good life as a Christian. He said yes and no – God gives us good things as well as bad things. He had to go, probably as he was feeling a bit uncomfortable. I pray the tracts I gave him will change his heart.
Near the end of the outreach, I spotted a young guy soaking up the sun outside on of the shops. I sat down with him and offered a tract. He took it and put it in his pocket. I asked if he will make it to heaven. He said yes because Jesus has saved him, and he doesn’t sin anymore (!) The last person I heard saying this was the heretical Joyce Meyer. He quoted a verse in Romans 6 to back him up. From memory it was somewhere around verses 6-10. I explained that he had pulled it out of context, and to read the whole of chapter 7, where Paul says that he sins all the time. He didn’t want a bar of it. He heard it from a church that he went to, a local one, which from experience was a bit dodgy. He recognised Phoenix, and wanted to go to her church. When he found out that it was the same one I attended, it probably put him off. I just pray that he would read Romans 7, and come to his senses!
So it was an awesome outreach, with many people spoken to. We pray that to those Gospel seeds that were planted and watered, God will be gracious to grant the increase!