Preaching on Resurrection Day
We were blessed to be able to go to the central Catholic Cathedral on Resurrection Sunday to preach the Gospel to the crowds who were there. It was a blessed day to the glory of God. We stood outside on the steps and as people were exiting the Cathedral after Mass, we were lifting our voices like a trumpet and declaring salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to Scripture alone for the glory of God alone!
At one moment, an angry Catholic man with a murderous spirit became furious with us, shouting at us with all his might, commanding us to get down from off the steps of the Cathedral and go somewhere else with the Gospel. He shouted curses and profanities in our face and even tried to snatch away the microphone. Another joined him, rebuking us sharply in religious fanaticism. A large crowd gathered at such a sight, and for a moment it appeared that a riot may break out. But the angry man soon stormed off in a rage, and the devil won for us a nice sized congregation in the open air, people curious to hear what could have caused such an uproar. I proceeded to thunder forth the blessed Word of the Gospel, denouncing counterfeit religion, exalting Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior, and calling the listeners to repent from vain religious traditions and to believe solely in Christ alone to save them. Blessed be the Lord, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us disperses the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ among those who are perishing!
Many who stepped out of the Catholic Mass stepped right into an open air Gospel meeting, and heard the truth that the Christ who died is no longer dead but risen, and alive, and at the right hand of the Majesty on High, whose perfect finished work can save, completely and forever, all who come to God through Him with broken hearts of repentance and empty hands of faith. The power of His resurrection can break the yoke of sin and set religious sinners free from the bondage of Romish deception. He is a perfect Savior who accomplished for us a perfect salvation, and we can be secure in the mercy of God forever by simple childlike faith in His blood.
We must speak the truth to Catholics
There are two short sayings that devoted Catholics who don't know Christ personally still don't understand, and those are, "It is Finished!" and "He is Risen!" This is because in Catholicism, Christ's atoning work isn't finished but is continued every Mass as the Eucharist becomes the literal "body and blood, soul and divinity" of Jesus Christ and is offered again and again as a "propitiatory sacrifice" for those present. Thus the Catholic "Jesus" can't atone for sin once and for all, but needs to keep being offered on Catholic altars as a "victim" during every Mass to suffer again for the remission of sin (contrary to Heb. 10:11-14). Furthermore, since such a "Jesus" needs to be offered continually, there is no triumphant resurrection in their theology which guarantees perfect divine forgiveness and new life for those believing. There is no real resurrection power of Christ to transform, impart new life from above, and make sinners into new creatures who have victory in salvation by faith. While they acknowledge the resurrection in their theology, they know nothing of its power in their experience, because the Catholic “Jesus” needs to keep being offered as an atoning sacrifice every Mass.
I have a burden to reach such priceless souls with the truth of God’s grace, love and mercy. Though we expose the darkness of Catholicism, we do it by shining the light of God’s Word, the light of the Gospel of Christ. As we focus on preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ as the perfect Savior and only sovereign Lord, we lift up the Person and finished work of Christ high, calling all to repent and believe on Him. As we do that, His glorious light exposes evil deeds and false religious traditions. So it is not that we’re just going around and bashing Roman Catholicism. That’s not our purpose, our aim, or our style. Instead, we go forth preaching Christ the living Savior, and as we do, the Word of God exposes the lies of the devil by unleashing the truth of God which sets sinners free. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Though our focus and emphases is on the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must not be cowards with the truth of God. We must cast down everything exalted against the true worship of God. It is Biblical to correct and expose religious deceptions which blind people from seeing the truth. At Sinai, Moses destroyed the golden calf religion and grinded it to powder. At Mt. Carmel, Elijah executed divine judgment on the prophets of Baal. In fact, all the Hebrew prophets preached strong and hard against idolatry. Jesus Himself didn’t permit the religious lies of the Pharisees and Sadducees to go unabated, but rebuked them harshly all throughout His ministry. The apostle Peter accused the Jews who crucified the Lord of glory in the name of religious zeal, pointing out their sin and calling them to repentance. Paul exposed the false religious system of Athens, being moved by a holy compassion, exalting the one sovereign God and calling them to repent from their idolatry and worship the One who will judge the world in righteousness. Even Timothy and Titus were told to rebuke “with all authority” religious teachers who were stuck in false doctrine and deceiving others. Therefore, it is biblical to use the sword of God’s Word to destroy the vain idols of religious tradition when that religion contradicts the truth of God’s written Word. This is not unloving, but is the duty of true love. According to the Lord, it is unloving to let people continue in fatal error and lose their souls. “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.” (Lev. 19:17)
Of course, as ministers of Christ, we must examine our motives, that everything we do and say be done in humility and love for the glory of God. We must “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). But while it may be possible to speak the truth without love, it’s certainly not possible to love without speaking the truth. So-called “love” without truth is just carnal affection. And truth without love is Phariseeism. But true love cannot cease to proclaim what is true, since love “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6). If we love souls, we must be bold to preach the Word and not adulterate it for the purpose of pleasing men (see 1 Thes. 2:4). Those who are too cowardly to proclaim the truth have no place among the soldiers of Christ –they’re place is with the rest of the cowards in the lake which burns forever (Rev. 21:8). God is jealous for His truth.
But oh, my dear brethren, if only I could rip out my heart and spread it out before you that you may see the love contained therein for these perishing souls! So many precious souls are lost and dying and being thrust over the edge of eternity into a perpetual night of eternal despair! We must warn them! We must cry out and lift up our voices! We must plead and pray and preach and persevere until we spend ourselves in the service of God! We have no time to be lukewarm, no time to divert ourselves with worldly amusements, no time to play the hypocrite and sing smooth songs of sweet Christian lullabies as we cozy ourselves to sleep on padded pews! The King is coming and He will not tarry! On that Day, He will stain Himself with the blood of those who haven’t washed themselves with His blood! (Rev. 19:13) Saying, “But oh, they’re not the elect if they end up in Hell” is no excuse! If you’re doing absolutely nothing to reach out with the truth of Christ then their blood is on your hands! Oh, far be it that I enter through those gates of glory all alone, with no souls following my lead! Where then will be my glory and crown of rejoicing in that day? (1 Thes. 2:19) The church of Jesus Christ needs a baptism of urgency in this final hour. If I am “beside myself” here, it is unto the Lord (2 Cor. 5:13). Oh, if only a few more of us would lose our carnal dignity and turn crazy for Christ, that we may “become fools to become wise” (1 Cor. 3:18).
Open Air Preaching
We have not ceased proclaiming Christ in the open squares of this giant city. Recently, we had one of the best open air meetings we’ve had in a long time. As I preached, and Lina translated, people really began to listen and gather around. We used no gimmicks or tricks, just the pure Word of God with a Bible in our hands. The grace of God was upon us as we expounded to these persons the way of everlasting salvation. I began preaching at about 7pm. Eventually, the speaker died out and we continued with our voices. Faces were showing evidence of the Word at work. Some rejoicing, some angry, some broken, one man even weeping in front of everybody. Spontaneous questions burst forth from time to time, mixed with a few hearty “amen’s”, some angry comments, and a couple hecklers. By the time I stopped preaching, now running out of unction and longing for a drink of water, and stepped down from the stool, it was past 10pm. I had preached over 3 hours! And Lina had translated all that time without stopping! I had to dismiss the crowd, who still was waiting to hear more, and we spent the next hour talking personally with those who were listening.
We’ve also been preaching in another place next to a different Catholic Cathedral. Here, there’s a long line of people waiting to get on a bus every Friday (about 50 people at a time). It takes a good 20 minutes between buses, and not everybody fits on when the bus comes. So we get at least 20 minutes to preach the Gospel to the people. Many of them listen intently as we preach and take tracts and Gospels of John afterwards. It’s been wonderful.
Recently, my soul was cast down within me and I was discouraged. Yet, I was able to talk to a brother in Christ by telephone, and he exhorted me to keep pressing on for the glory of Christ. His words were a refreshment to my soul. We went to the bus stop shortly after that, and I preached the Gospel to the line. The Lord gave me consolation, as three different people came forward acknowledging their sinfulness and need for Christ, telling us that they want to get right with the Lord. Three precious souls genuinely expressing their need for salvation, who otherwise may have never heard! We left them with Scriptures and instructions on how to cast themselves upon Christ in simple faith, with exhortations to read the Word and seek Christ desperately until they know they’ve found Him. May God get glory from them. “Salvation is of the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9)
Outdoor Street Market Evangelism
We continue to go to the nearby street market to set up a Gospel booth and give out free Bibles and Gospel literature to those passing by. My goal with this was not to be there myself all the time, but to use it as a way to get some of the ladies in our church involved in evangelism. So far, the plan is working! Praise God! Just last time, Lina and I didn’t have to be there at all (other than I had to go just to help set up) as two ladies filled the position and gave out tracts and witnessed to passers-by. There’s been some interesting conversations with people of all kinds of beliefs at this booth. Though the people are mostly all Catholic, there’s been some run-in’s with a new-ager, Jehovah-witness, and more. It’s a great place to plant seeds. There is still much to do, and things we can do to improvise this outreach, and more people that can get involved. Pray that the Lord would make this outreach fruitful and use it to get more involved in reaching out to their communities!
Last update, I mentioned that there’s a street preacher here in the city that was in need of a solid doctrinal foundation, and that it was my intention to begin teaching him. His name is Artemio. Since then, he’s been coming to our house every week and we spend a good 4 hours or so together going through a course called “Fundamentals of the Faith” and also going through some things I’ve prepared. This brother is 60-something years old and preaches on the streets every week with fire and passion. He’s hungry to learn and is very bold for Christ. His Bible is falling apart though and so we’re hoping to be able to purchase him a new one if the Lord provides. Being elderly, and having a family, and not having a steady job, he is poor according to the world’s standard so he can’t purchase Bibles and other helpful literature. But he has read everything we’ve given him and has been very receptive to truth, wanting more things to study. It is my hope to be able to put more materials in his hands for his personal edification, and to continue to help him with Gospel tracts and evangelistic materials. Here's a picture of Artemio and I:
In two weeks, Lord willing, it is my plan to resume teaching every week in our local church. My theme will be basic doctrines of the faith and I intend to systematically teach through basic theology. The believers here are in great need of basic theological teachings, as most of the teachings they receive have a “practical” or “devotional” emphases. Though they know how to live a practical Christian life, they get confused often over doctrinal issues. There needs to be balance –all “theology” with no practical emphases will result in a bunch of knowledgeable believers who lack passion and devotion, but all “devotional” and “practical” exhortations without theology will result in spiritually immature believers who don’t know how to rightly interpret Scripture or clearly discern doctrinal error and heresies. So it’s my hope, seeing this great need, to bring things back into a proper balance and fill in the holes where there are things missing, if the Lord permits. In order to be spiritually mature, believers must be trained to be “skillful in the word of righteousness”, weaned off the milk of the Word and slowly be fed a little meat, that they may, “by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:13-14) May the Lord give us grace.
Brother Aaron is scheduled to arrive in Guadalajara on May 12. We have moved to a new house which can accommodate us all, and hope to preach a lot for God’s glory.
After Aaron arrives, we hope to start having meetings in our home on Sunday evenings, to pray, sing, and teach the Word of God. We will invite a core group from our church, the neighborhood around us, and the people from the center of the city that we preach to every week. We may also begin visiting another drug rehabilitation center once in a while to share the Word and testify.
How is my Spanish coming along? I have written out my first sermon in Spanish and plan to preach it soon in the open air. Of course, I will read it word for word. But Lord willing, it will go well, for I feel like a child who cannot speak.
Resources for your Edification
- TESTIMONY: On Resurrection Sunday (my spiritual birthday) I had an urge to testify to the grace of God. So here is my video testimony, right in one of the squares we preach in. Go to www.youtube.com/puregospeltruth and watch the most recent videos to see all three parts.
-LATEST ARTICLE: “Our Great Necessity for Evangelistic Power” –An exhortation to the church to seek God for personal renewal and revival, that God may use us to reach souls. Read it on the blog here. -Please leave your comments! Share your testimony related to the subject, comments, etc. I want to hear your thoughts.
We earnestly solicit your prayers over everything mentioned in this newsletter, and for the Lord to be with us, and for physical provision in these days of trial.
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MAY THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!!!
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 1:11)