Imagine a door that has incredible powers. It has the ability to cleanse you from every sin that you have committed. All you need to do is walk through it. But, it is a door that only opens once every 25 years.
You would need to travel to Rome and walk through the doors of the biggest basilicas in Rome, that were opened only on that occasion (see http://thecripplegate.com/walking-through-a-graceless-door/#more-69939). According to the Roman Catholic Church, it is the year of Jubilee.
In October 2015, however, Pope Francis broke with tradition by having each Roman Catholic (RC) diocese throughout the world designate one or more local ‘holy doors’ during what he called the ‘Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy’, so that Catholics could gain forgiveness of sins without having to travel to Rome.
Agape Evangelical Church, Poznań, meets near an RC church that has the Jubilee ‘Doors of Mercy’. Many claim the RC Church has changed. But this is just one of many practices that shows how it continues to teach a false gospel and lead millions into a false assurance of forgiveness. We know only of one door of salvation, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why the preaching of the true gospel is so needed in a country such as Poland.
Poland is a country where Catholicism continues to have a strong influence. Even those who would call themselves nominally Catholic find such ‘spectacular’ means of salvation attractive. People think it easier to jump through all kinds of hoops to be saved than heeding God’s Word, in acknowledging their sinfulness and turning to Christ.
The tragedy of the situation was brought home to me when I attended a funeral a couple of weeks ago in Włocławek. The priest spoke of the deceased’s ‘good works’, implying that he would find a place in heaven, and then exhorted the people to live a good life.
There was no true door of salvation offered to the people. I was glad, therefore, to get away from such things, and speak a little to some about where forgiveness of sins can be found, and pass on to them some booklets to read.
RC teaching tends to also infiltrate the evangelical churches, with many being ecumenical, or professing believers trusting in a ‘gospel’ that differs little from the RC Church.
One of the reasons I began a series of sermons on Mark’s Gospel was to encourage believers to think again about the great and complete salvation that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ; that they would be able to rejoice in that, as well as see the need to share that gospel to those around them.
It is so important you continue to pray for the preaching of the gospel here in Poland. I believe that the priority is preaching the Word of God. Please continue to pray for me as I seek to do this here in Poznań.
Last week we had the privilege of Pastor William Hughes visiting us here in Poznań. He spoke at our prayer meeting, when he shared about the work of God in his life, concerning how God saved him and then upheld him in his labours in the ministry.
On the Lord’s Day he preached to us a sermon on Joshua 3, encouraging us that, though we have an unknown pathway to tread, to trust God and obey his Word. We were helped by this message, and it was good for the people to hear such biblical, expository preaching.
During his sermon, Pastor Hughes said: ‘We are living in days when there is a type of mindset all around us in evangelicalism that hankers after the dramatic and the spectacular. Many people are seeking after signs and wonders and going in for the “big” things … people wanting to be entertained and amused, instead of giving themselves in worship and obedience and service.
‘It is also something that has made havoc and shipwreck in many people’s lives. Peter, in 2 Peter 1, contrasts the spectacular and dramatic experience that he had on the Mount of Transfiguration, with the “more sure word of prophecy”.
‘He emphatically downgrades the spectacular and upgrades the Word of God. The important thing for us as believers, as we face the unknown future, is not special visions, utterances and experiences … but the priority of the Holy Scripture’.
The sermon was also a great help, as we face the unknown future concerning a church building. It can be disheartening at times to see what is happening around us, and what is not happening.
In my studies of Mark’s Gospel, I have been helped by what J. C. Ryle wrote of our Lord: ‘He knew perfectly well that the great proportion of his hearers were hardened and unbelieving. He knew, as he spoke, that most of his words fell to the ground uncared for and unheeded, and that, so far as concerned the salvation of souls, most of his labour was in vain. He knew all this, and yet he laboured on’.
Please pray that we would labour on in preaching the Word, and as we personally minister to the saved and the lost. Jesus said, ‘I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved’ (John 10:9).
The author is a Grace Baptist Mission missionary in Poland