Friday 5 September 2014

‘How are they to call on the one in whom they have not believed and how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard, and how are they to hear without anyone to proclaim him?’

There has been much attention given to the plight of Christians living in Middle Eastern countries where they are suffering terrible hardships, now being violently wiped out, with attacks from Muslim extremists, particularly in Iraq, Iran, and Egypt. Christianity began in that part of the world, and Iraq as we now know it to be called, was a place mentioned in the Old Testament from centuries ago,

A more subtle approach is taking place in the United Kingdom, the United State of America and other Western nations. Legislation has been enacted in the UK, supposedly to protect minorities, which paradoxically has made them aggressive and powerful, and penalised the majority. Numerous arrests have been made of street preachers for quoting Scripture; and Christian men and women have been dismissed and suspended from their employment because they have refused to compromise their beliefs. In America a Civil Liberties Group, seemingly inappropriately named, has pursued Christians and displays of religion through the Courts.

The Churches must face this challenge with equal forcefulness. We have an added problem in that successive generations have grown up without having had any proper religious teaching.

The Church has now, more than ever, an urgent need to proclaim the gospel before it is pushed further into a minor sect. These are times of considerable stress for a lot of people, and materialism and hedonism only satisfy so far and then make things worse; most people need a spiritual dimension, and Christianity offers help.

It is a fruitless exercise however to portray the Christian faith and at the same time try to apply to to-day’s culture. We have to offer something different and special to show we are above the society’s approach. God provided us with the means to do this, it is called the Bible. This contains the Lord’s plan for all our lives. But people cannot respond unless they hear it, and they can’t hear it unless someone tells it to them.

We do have a problem in some parts because those who duty and responsibility to tell don’t fully believe themselves. I have been told by clergy that we cannot live by the Bible these days. Why on earth they are in ministry confuses me.

It is more than coincidence that the independent Evangelical Churches are where the growth is. I visited one village where there was an Anglican Church, a Methodist Church and an Evangelical Church. Just one had a good attendance; the latter.

When the Church preaches
we must give full obedience to God, and believes the Bible is the authoritative Word Of God;
that our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a Virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit;
that mankind has sinned causing separation from God; that only acceptance that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for the forgiveness of that sin and nothing can be done to earn salvation other than through Him;
that God raised Jesus from the dead and offers new life to all who place their faith in Him
we will demonstrate that we really do offer something that no other body or organisation or faith, can offer.

May God bless you. Be in Church on Sunday.

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