In Psalm 37:23, we are told that the steps of a righteous / good man are ordered by the Lord. Today, I saw a very practical outworking of that biblical truth; the Lord’s providence was clearly displayed in Redcliffe.
We arrived a little earlier than usual this morning, and after having a time of fellowship we set up our literature table and began our outreach. Before too long, we had people taking tracts and stopping to chat about the Lord Jesus.
The first person I spoke to this morning was a man who identified himself as a deist. He believed that God existed, but that we can discover God on our own and without the special revelation of God’s Word. He also told me that he didn’t like Christians, since all the Christians he knew were hypocrites. This objection of hypocrisy is a common claim, so I spent a little time addressing it. I stressed to this man that the standard we need to test everything by is not what people do, but rather by the Bible. If someone says they are a Christian, but don’t follow the example of the Lord Jesus, then we have grounds to question if they are really a Christian or not.
This line of reasoning seemed to strike a note with him, so he asked me to explain more about how someone actually becomes a Christian (I was more than happy to do so!). We chatted about how all of us don’t follow God’s standards, so we all need a saviour. The man told me that if everyone just loved each other, then the world would be a better place. This gave me a perfect opening to talk about personal sin. Using the command of Jesus to love one another in John 15:17, I asked if this man had always loved people in the way that Christ commanded. He admitted he hadn’t. I then asked, if he had loved God perfectly throughout his life; again, he admitted he hadn’t. I was then able to explain to him that none of us follow God’s commands, but Jesus loves sinners. This man listened as I shared about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. He also listened attentively as I shared with him the command of God to repent and believe in Jesus. At the end of our conversation, he shook my hand, said he had much to think about, then headed off down the street.
I went back to handing out tracts after this, but I noticed Col was engaged in a discussion with a Muslim man who worked at the kebab shop next to where we were evangelising. I listened into the conversation, which by now was about the veracity of the Scripture. The Muslim man believed that the Bible had been corrupted, and that only the Quran was correct. When I heard this I was reminded of an apologetic booklet I had placed in my bag, it was written to address such claims. At this stage I joined the conversation; I greeted the Muslim man and began chatting to him. I have spent time studying Islam, so I really enjoy talking to Muslims. This man was friendly, but was using the common arguments against Christianity. I addressed his claims about the corruption of the Bible, then I offered him the booklet as a gift. He very graciously received the gift and thanked me for being prepared to talk to him. Col and I were also able to share the gospel with this friendly Muslim worker. After our chat, he went back to the kebab shop, and we went back to witnessing.
Since it was quite a hot day, I thought it would be wise to take a break and go buy a cold drink. This is where I saw God’s Providence on display. I walked passed the kebab shop, to a little cafe which sells a Scottish drink I really like. I went to purchase it, but they said they couldn’t accept my card. So, I placed the drink back in the fridge, and walked down to a bakery to purchase a drink from them. Upon arrival at the bakery, I noticed a line of people out the door. I wouldn’t have time to get a drink from there, so I started to head back to the outreach. As I walked back, I decided just to buy a drink from the kebab shop, even though it wasn’t the type of drink I wanted, it was hot, so I needed something to cool me down.
When I walked into the kebab shop, the Muslim man I had spoken to earlier greeted me. He then had to rush off to do something. I took my drink from the fridge, then went to the counter to pay. A lady was standing at the counter, and when I put my drink down she said, “I’m glad you are here; perhaps you can help me in a debate. Myself and the other worker have been debating about if the Bible is true or not, and if Muhammad is mentioned in the Bible.” This was not the conversation I was expecting!
Since there were no other customers in the shop, I was able to explain the gospel throughly to her. I also happened to have a booklet in my bag that addressed the question of if Muhammad is mentioned in the Bible. This whole experience reminded me that the Lord orders our steps, as I had no intention of buying a drink from that shop, yet, the Lord wanted me to be there to proclaim Christ to the worker behind the counter. God’s Providence is a wonderful thing!
By now our outreach was beginning to draw to a close. I had a brief conversation with a pagan who said she was nothingness and that God indwells here. She wasn’t overly friendly towards us. I was also able to hand out a number of tracts. It was also during this time that we saw children come and take copies of a free Bible colouring book that we were giving away. We rejoice that God’s Word keeps spreading!
Would you partner with us in gospel ministry? At the end of 2019, my family and I will be moving to the UK where I’ll serve as a Pastor / Missionary at a small church in Cornwall. This is where we need your help! Would you please consider supporting us in this vital work. Donations can be made via: http://www.joshwilliamson.org/support-us/