The Unstoppable Gospel!

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Whilst flying out from Edinburgh earlier today, as the morning sun gently illuminated small towns and villages below, I found myself despairing.

As I looked down on these tilt-shifted, miniature streets and houses, the question entered my mind – just how many of those people were waking up today in the knowledge and fellowship of their God and Saviour?

How many had rejected Him?

How many had never even heard the Gospel?

All of a sudden I felt very small as I was forcibly reminded of the vastness of the task, of our mission to share the live giving Gospel in this our beautiful country.

My worry and thoughts were self-centred and self reliant, the task is incredible, and the opposition and darkness does grow day by day. The first verse of Psalm 97 came to my mind:
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
    let the distant shores rejoice.

Our sovereign, ever reigning, never failing God has called us to follow and to serve, and He alone will give us the means and opportunities to share the Gospel, all for His Glory.

In Church History classes we looked at the early church, a small assortment of believers, no visible attributes, by all human reckoning they should have gotten nowhere with their ‘new religion’, some words from Plinius Caecilius the Roman governor of Bithynia, as he faced a new problem:

Meantime this is the course I have taken with those who are accused before me as Christians. I asked them at their own lips whether they were Christians, and if they confessed, I asked them a second and third time with threats of punishment. If they kept to it, I ordered them for execution.

The matter seemed to me worth deliberation especially on account of the number of those in danger; for many of all ages and every rank, and even of both sexes are brought into present or future danger.

The contagion of that superstition has penetrated not the cities only, but the villages and country: yet it seems possible to stop it and set it right.

He, evidently, did not manage to contain and stop the ‘contagion’!

Here we are, 2000 years and many more miles away, and the Gospel has not, and will never be stopped.
The task is indeed massive and our calling to serve is serious, but the power of the Word of God remains the same.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
–  Romans 1:16

 

Uber to the Airport

I’m writing this, coffee in hand, from a dark corner of Glasgow airport. This will be a short one just a few thoughts – mostly because my battery is almost out and the charger is hopefully making it’s way to the correct plane, along with the rest of my luggage…

We have the instruction to be ready in and out of season. Well I’ll be honest, at 6/7am I am the most ‘out of season’ that you’ll find me.
For a wee treat to myself this morning I thought I’d get an Uber, Mohammed picked me up – a pretty cool looking guy in his mid 20’s, he had been up and working a long time before my alarm went off this morning.
We got chatting, covered the usual topics-  however, my answer of “Oh, I’m a student” didn’t satisfy him, he dug a bit deeper, so I explained that I was attempting to study to eventually become a minister.

Learning from previous previous experience, I sat back a bit and awaited the awkward silence, it didn’t come. Mohammed had plenty more questions and by the end of the relatively short journey we had covered large swathes of Christian and Islamic teachings.

So why do you care about my Uber journeys?

It dawned on me that we were able to have much of that conversation because we had both read some of the content on the other side of the fence. He was able to reference Scripture, I could bring to memory some badly mangled passages form the Qur’an.

I wan’t to make clear that this advice is not for new or even for younger Christians, the day will come, but not yet.
But if you’ve been on the walk for a while now, I would advise at least having a basic knowledge of the main differing viewpoints you will face as you go out with the Gospel.
It helps when talking to a Muslim or a J.W or a Mormon, that when they talk about Jesus, salvation, redemption, forgiveness etc. that they mean something totally different to you and I.

Study Scripture first, make sure you have a good working grasp of the theology and doctrines, always make sure that you read far more Scripture than you do any other text.

I’l be honest, once I began to look into the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon, my heart broke – its quickly apparent that these are nothing but man-made documents, written  for the benefit of the original authors, and not as the Word of God.

I know some of my dearly beloved family in Christ disagree with this method, but I fully believe that having even a basic working knowledge of the beliefs of those you talk to can enable you to share the Gospel in a more pointed and beneficial way.

[Of course, this is all humanely speaking, as with all out witnessing it is the Spirit that convicts and converts, God deserves all the praise and glory! But He does choose, in His perfect plan, to make use of us weak jars of clay]

If you want to get an insight in to basic JW/ Mormon/ Muslim teaching, Rev. Dr. James White is my go-to guy: