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The Ideological Struggle with Islam

What President Obama and the media in the West does not understand that is that battle with Islam is not over human rights.  It is not over land for peace.  It is not over the desire to live in peace and under a republic.  The struggle of Islam is that the fundamental desire is to control the world by force.  This is both taught in the Quran as well in the Hadith.  The Muslim prophet Mohammad set this example by his own life.

For the Christian, we know that the struggle over Islam is a spiritual battle.  In reality, the hope for the Middle East does not depend on the United States, the United Nations, or Israel.  The hope for the Middle East is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel is the only true solution to the war with Islam.  Nations will try to fight the Muslims with weapons of warfare but in reality, the heart of the Muslim must be turned away from their false worship to the true and living God.

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us how to fight this war:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

This battle with Islam will be fought and won when the Church preaches the gospel to the lost Muslims.  I praise God that He is indeed saving Muslims all across the 10/40 window.  Yet this should be the Church’s call to prayer, to call out to God for Him to save Muslims and this alone will bring true peace to our wicked world.  I call to Christians to pray for ISIS to repent before the Lord Jesus (1 Timothy 2:1-6).  Despite what we might think of the lost Muslims who are committing wicked deeds in the name of their god, we should remember Ezekiel 18:32.  We should remember 2 Peter 3:9.  We should remember that Jesus shed His blood on the cross not just for us but also for the lost Muslims (Revelation 5:9-10).

I urge you to pray Psalm 110:1 and Matthew 6:10 over the 10/40 window.  Pray for the Lord to pour out His Spirit and bring salvation to the nations.  1 Corinthians 15:25 promises us that all His enemies will be placed under His feet at the end.  I pray that the Lord’s enemies will repent and turn to Him in true faith.  So many Muslims want to practice their religion in peace but dear friends, they still are lost and on their way to hell.  They still need to know the truth of salvation (Romans 10:14-17).  Let us pray that their eyes will be open to the grace of God that brings salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Let us pray that the God of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) will reconcile lost Muslims unto Himself.

Friends, the hope for the Middle East is not found in war.  It is found in the gospel of Christ being preached.  This alone will turn the Middle East away from their false religion toward the truth of God.  This gospel will end the violence, will end the corruption, will end the torture, and will end the backwards thinking of so many in the Middle East.  This gospel will bring true peace (Ephesians 2:15).

The Resurrection Is The Key

Islam claims that the faithful Muslim is to not only study the Quran and the Hadith’s but they are to seek to copy the example of their prophet, Mohammed.  The difficulty, of course, is that Mohammed lived in the 7th century.  Yet faithful Muslims claim that we are still to copy his example and seek to be just like him in all that we do.

In Buddhism, the teachings of the Buddha are studied and the believer seeks to apply them to their lives.  Again, the example of the Buddha is to serve as an example and he is the truly enlightened one that we are seeking to be like.

In Hinduism, the vast amount of gods means that we are to be devoted to our god.  We are to fulfill our duty to our god.  It is our work that we must do.

A pattern exists when you study world religions and cults and that is works for salvation (if they believe in some sort of salvation) or we must copy the examples of the religious teachers.  We are to copy the examples of these prophets, teachers, leaders, apostles, etc.

This is not so with Christianity.  No doubt the Lord Jesus left us an example that we should follow (1 Peter 2:21-24) but His example is one that we realize we can never obtain in that Jesus was absolutely perfect and sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Even the Quran states that Jesus (though in Islam, He is just a prophet) was sinless.  But the more I study Jesus and His life, I realize that I can never obtain His perfection.  I am imperfect.  I am sinful by nature.  Jesus, on the other hand, left us a perfect example and one that we can seek to copy (1 John 2:6).

But the key to Christianity is not the teachings of Jesus.  It is not the example of Jesus.  It is the resurrection of Jesus that is the key.  Paul the Apostle makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 15.  The key to our saving faith is in the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 10:9-10).  It was the resurrection that caused the Apostles of Christ to go forth with His gospel (Matthew 28:16-20).  It is the resurrection of Christ that transforms the sinner into a saint of God (1 Peter 1:18-21).

While I agree with C.S. Lewis that grace is a fundamental difference between world religions and Christianity, grace is based on the resurrection.  Without the resurrection of Christ, there could be no grace (Romans 4:24-25).  Grace flows to us because Jesus is alive and because He sits at God’s right hand (Hebrews 7:25).

My prayer is that the Church would go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) preaching the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  To this day, faithful Muslims visit the tomb of Mohammad in the city of Medina.  Christians have no tomb of Christ to visit where His body lays.  We have an empty tomb because Jesus is risen from the dead.  He reigns now forevermore (Psalm 110:1).  Jesus empowers us now by His resurrection power to go forth and make disciples.  This is what will change our world.  This precious gospel, that Jesus shed His blood for our sins (Galatians 1:4), is what we will change our world (2 Corinthians 5:17).  I rejoice that Jesus is risen and I will see Him face to face (1 John 3:1-3).

It is only by His grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).  May we settle that issue now and realize that nothing I can do can earn God’s salvation nor His favor.  My works are tainted by sin (Isaiah 64:6).  Yet Christ bore my sins on the cross and His blood washes away all my sins so that I now have peace with God through His finished work on the cross (Romans 5:1).  I am a child of God not by my works but because of His grace toward me in His holy Son (Titus 3:5-7).

The False Notion That All Religions Worship the Same God

I heard a song this morning while working that claimed in it that all religions essentially worship the same God.  The song was calling for religions then to be peaceful toward each other since we all are seeking to worship the same God.  The song, along with modern culture, is oblivious to theology or they would not write nor utter such non-sense about God.  Anyone can study the various religions and see that they don’t all worship the same God.  Just consider Islam and Christianity for example.  Both of these are the two largest religions in the world.  Both claim to worship the one true and living God.  Both believe the other is wrong with the exception of a few liberals among them.  Now let us put this to the test.

  • The God of Christianity is triune in the person of God.  The false god of Islam is completely one (absolute monotheism).
  • Jesus is the Son of God in Christianity, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit.  Jesus is the Messiah in Islam but just a man.  Allah does not begot.
  • Yahweh has revealed Himself as a loving, good, merciful, compassionate, and graceful God who saves those who have faith in His Son.  Allah is said to be merciful and compassionate but there is no concept of grace in Islam because there is no understanding of personal sinfulness in Islam.
  • Yahweh transforms His people from the inside out through the work of the Holy Spirit.  Allah demands outward performance to worship him.
  • Christianity claims the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  Islam claims the Quran is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.

So after that very brief survey of Christianity and Islam, only a foolish person would read that and then assume that these two religions worship the same God.  Jesus said that He was the only way to God (John 14:6) and Paul the Apostle said that there is only one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Islam would deny both claims.  Christianity claims from Revelation 20:15; 21:27 that only those who have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life will be in heaven.  The rest will be destroyed in an eternal hell (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).  Islam teaches, for the most part, that only faithful Muslims will enter into heaven.

For the disciple of Jesus, we have known this.  We know just from talking to people that no two religions are the same.  I have found that even people who claim to be Christians, who claim to be evangelicals, that they often worship a god of their own imagination.  The great Puritan Stephen Charnock called most people “practical atheists.”  Charnock noted that people often did not deny the existence of God with their lips or minds but with their lives (Titus 1:16).  Charnock wrote,

“This secret atheism is the spirit of all sin.  Every sinful motion practically throws off God’s law and sovereignty, declaring Him unworthy of His being.  If it were allowed to be carried to its logical end, every sin of mankind would impugn, dethrone, and annihilate God, while setting up the sinner as a wiser authority.”

All sinners, whether they claim Jesus or not, operate as practical atheists when they refuse to worship and submit to the Lordship of Almighty God.  You and I likewise are acting as practical atheists when we sin against God and refuse to obey Jesus as Lord (Luke 6:46-49).  As Charnock goes on to note, we all want to be our own gods.  This was the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:5) and is still true today of us all who rebel against God and His Word.

May the Church rise up to answer the false notions of modern culture.  Only Jesus saves and all who die without Him are doomed (John 3:18; 5:24-25).  The Church must preach the truth of Jesus to the world (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15) and the world must hear the gospel to be saved (Romans 10:14-17).  We must preach the truth of the gospel to all including the false religions such as Islam or Buddhism or any others.  The world must repent or face the holy wrath of God (Acts 17:30-31; Romans 1:16-18).  May we disciples of Jesus be active in preaching the gospel to the lost by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/12/2013 at 4:15 PM

Muslims, Prayer, and Disciples of Jesus

The wonder of the cross.  The cross opened the door for so much.  The cross opened the door for us to be forgiven of all our sins before a holy God through the giving of His perfect Son (John 1:29; 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21) who fulfilled prophetic prophecy in the giving of His life for our sins (Isaiah 53).  In Jesus Christ and through faith in Him, we have peace with God (Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:1).  He is our peace with God (Ephesians 2:17).

The cross also opened the door the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon God’s Church (Acts 2:1-4, 16-21, 38-39).  The Spirit of God abides in us now, individually (1 Corinthians 12:13) and He is the promised blessing to Abraham (Galatians 3:14).  The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin and now the Holy Spirit abides in us (John 7:37-39).  We receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:2).

Even more, the cross opened the door for prayer.  The cross enables the child of God to come into the very presence of God (Hebrews 4:14-16).  This honor of coming into God’s presence is not through rituals or words (Matthew 6:7) but through the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14).  When we approach God the Father through Jesus Christ, we are able to communicate with God directly through His name and for His glory (Mark 11:22-24).  Jesus is our high priest before the throne of God the Father so that we can pray to the Father through the Son and He hears our cries because of the Son (Hebrews 7:25).  1 John 5:14-15 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

Notice that through Jesus we have confidence in prayer.  Prayer is not rituals.  Prayer is not uttering words.  Prayer flows from the heart where the child of God pours out their soul before the Lord (Psalm 62:8).  Jesus Himself taught us to begin prayer by honoring the Lord and by acknowledging that we have the honor to call God our Father (Matthew 6:9).  We have the confidence that God our Father hears us when we call and will answer us in His time and for His glory (Luke 18:1-8).

Compare that with Islam.  Muslims believe the following about prayer and notice the ritual and how distant their view of prayer is compared to the teachings of Jesus.  We read about Muslims and prayer:

Every day millions of Muslims turn toward Mecca and pray. They are required to pray five times a day – at daybreak, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening, although there are some Muslims who combine prayers. The prayers are said in Arabic, no matter what the person’s native tongue.

Prayer in Islam is ritualized, with some critics saying the ritual takes away from the spiritual. But Muslims don’t see it that way. The five prayers, together with the movements involved in them, are designed to combine meditation, devotion, moral elevation and physical exercise. The prayers can be said together at mosque or alone.

The prayer is begun by saying “Allahu akbar” or “God is most great” – then Muslims recite the first 7 verses of Chapter 1 of the Qur’an. Before a prayer can be said, though, Muslims must go through a ritual cleansing – this to ensure they are both physically and spiritually pure before going before Allah.

Notice all that the Muslim must do to pray.  They must pray in Arabic.  Thankfully, the child of God through Jesus, no matter the language, can approach the throne of God (Ephesians 2:18).  Notice that the Muslim prayer is admitted to be very ritualistic.  Not so with the child of God.  God hears us and He sees us even before we ever utter a word (Psalm 139:1-4).  Notice that the Muslim must pray to Allah five times a day but the child of God can pray always (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Notice that the Muslim must go through ritual cleansing to pray but the child of God simply comes in the name of Jesus who died for our sins (1 Peter 2:24-25).  Through Jesus, we are able to pray at all times (Luke 11:1-13).  Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7) and we are free to come before God the Father (Hebrews 10:19-22).  No works are needed for the child of God to pray.  Only faith in Jesus Christ who died for us (Ephesians 2:8-9).

What do we do with this knowledge?  Everyday millions of Muslims pray five times a day to a false god (1 Corinthians 10:20).  Many are sincere in their devotion to Allah but they are not saved, they have no peace with Allah.  Yet do we pray more earnestly than the pagans?  Do we pray more earnestly than those in cults or false religions such as Islam?  Here we have the truth of God given to us in His Word (John 17:17) and we have the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ (John 20:31) yet what do we do with this?  We should pray!  We should pray for Muslims and others involved with false religions to be saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus.  We should pray that the millions of Muslims who pray each day in their ritualistic praying would come to know that Allah is not pleased with their sacrifices.  The true and living God desires them to repent and be saved through His Son (Matthew 28:19-20).  The heart of Jesus is for Muslims to learn that we can call God our Father (Galatians 4:6).  Jesus died to reconcile us back to God (2 Corinthians 5:19).

I urge you to pray.  If Muslims are willing to pray in vain five times a day, should not the child of God pray always?  Bear in mind that prayerlessness is a sin (1 Samuel 12:23).  Let us not forsake prayer knowing that the Lord hears us when we call (Psalm 123:1-2).  And let us pray for Muslims to be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-7).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/23/2012 at 10:00 AM

Beware of Idols

In 1 John 5:21 John adds this as his final words in the letter, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”  What a way to end a letter.

Idols are false gods.  Yahweh is the only true and living God.  There are no other gods as He states Himself in Exodus 20:3.  Yahweh says in Isaiah 44:6-8:

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts; “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.  Who is like me?  Let him proclaim it.  Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people.  Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.  Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it?  And you are my witnesses!  Is there a God besides me?  There is no Rock; I know not any.”

It’s pretty clear from Isaiah 44:6 that Yahweh is the only God.  There are not numerous gods in the universe and we humans only worship this God.  God the Father does not have a god over Him who was His father.  Yahweh is eternal.  Yahweh has always been God.  He will forever be God.

Therefore, any other gods are false gods and they are idols.  Yahweh mentions idolatry in Isaiah 41:12-29.  Here He states in Isaiah 41:22 toward idols and asks them to declare the past (why it happened the way it happened) and the future.  In verse 24 Yahweh states, “Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.”  I would say that Yahweh hates false gods.  Yahweh is opposed to any gods whom we humans try to set up above the one true God. Whether it be the gods of religion such as Allah in Islam or the Buddha in Buddhism or the myriad of false gods in Hinduism.  It could be the false gods even of so-called Christianity such as the gods of the cults.  Other gods include the gods of money and materialism (Matthew 6:24 where money is personified as Mammon).  It could be the gods of entertainment and pleasure.  It could be the false gods claimed by people who claim to be Christian but their gods serve them and live to make them happy.

We must beware of idolatry.  People can become idols.  This world can become idols.  Even our own flesh can become idols.  All gods of this age fall under the rule of the god of this world, Satan (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).  Satan lies to humanity and convinces us to serve false gods whether they be the false gods of religion or the gods of our imaginations or the gods of money, power, and so-called wisdom.  We must careful to avoid making anything an idol.  I have seen people make theology into their idol.  I have seen people make experiences their idols.  I have seen people make the Bible an idol.

No wonder then that 1 John 5:21 would close with the words that we must keep ourselves from idols.  Idols will rob us of the joy that comes from being in Christ Jesus.  Since Jesus alone is our salvation (Isaiah 43:3, 11; Matthew 1:21; John 14:6) then we must be careful to stay close to Him.  Hebrews 2:1-4 warns us against turning away from the gospel because there is only wrath apart from the gospel of Christ.  Hebrews 10:29-31 is even tougher saying that if we turn away from Christ, there is no sacrifice for our sins left.  We will face the judgment of God alone (v. 31).

Beware then of idols.  Don’t allow them to take root in your life.  Make sure that Jesus is Lord of your life (Luke 14:25-35) above all others.  As Jesus states in Luke 14:25-35, He must be our love and devotion above all others and all things.  Jesus is to be the only one that we look to for salvation for He alone is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).  If we fail to serve the true and living God, Yahweh gives us over to our flesh (Romans 1:18-32) which only brings the wrath of God that alone can be appeased in Christ (1 John 2:1-2).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/22/2012 at 7:26 PM

>If Jesus Was God, How Can He Worship God?

>I recently was witnessing to some Jehovah’s Witnesses and they questioned me and another brother by asking a question that JW’s are taught to ask, “To whom did Jesus pray to?  To whom did Jesus worship?” The obvious answer is that Jesus prayed to His Father (John 11:41-42) and He taught His disciples to pray to His Father (Matthew 6:9).  Jesus likewise worshiped His Father (Matthew 4:10).

But the problem with the JW’s question is an age old question.  I was watching a National Geographic video online about Muslims visit to Mecca and one convert to Islam was a woman from Texas who was raised Catholic and converted to Islam while in college.  She said that what was the drawing point for her was when listening to call in show on the radio, a person asked, “If Jesus is God why did He worship God?”  This, she said, caused her to rethink Jesus and consider other religions in which she ultimately became a Muslim.

People have often wondered about many sayings about Jesus such as His teachings on praying to His Father or to passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 that seem to put Christ below the Father.  If Jesus is God, the question is asked, how could He become a man and still be God?

The problem with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslim understandings about Jesus is the mystery of the incarnation of God.  Philippians 2:5-11 speaks of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Here Paul says that Jesus laid down certain attributes of God when He became a man.  He never ceased to be God but He did voluntarily lay down certain attributes.  For example, the New Testament says that Jesus was thirsty (John 19:28), He was weary (John 4:6), and He slept (Mark 4:38) yet the Bible says that none of these things are things that God does.  Yet as a man, Jesus did these things.  In fact, Jesus was tempted by sin yet the Bible says that God cannot be tempted by sin (James 1:13) but as a man Jesus was indeed tempted to sin (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Passages such as Matthew 6:9 or Matthew 24:36 or 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 must be seen in light of the incarnation of Jesus (Matthew 1:23).  When we enter into eternity, all enemies will be defeated and Christ will present the perfect kingdom to the Father (Matthew 28:18).  This doesn’t mean that Christ is not co-equal and co-eternal with the Father but it shows the beauty of the trinity involved in the plan of full redemption.  At this point, all of God’s creation will be laid at His feet.

Furthermore, Jesus said that if we have seen Him we have seen the Father (John 14:9).  Jesus never said not once in the New Testament that He was the Father but He did say that He and the Father are one (John 10:30).  Colossians 1:15-18 makes it clear that Jesus possesses all the divine attributes of God and Colossians 2:9 says that all of the fullness of God was in Christ Jesus.  John 1:1 says that Jesus has always been God and He remains God.  Romans 9:5 says that Jesus is God in the flesh of a Jew.

The JW’s went on to ask us, “To whom does the Father worship?”  My friend with me didn’t skip a beat and he said, “According to Hebrews 1:8-9, the Father calls the Son God so the Father praises the Son.”  The JW didn’t know what to say.  Even the poorly translated New World Translation has Hebrews 1:8-9 translated much the same.  The Father, who is God, calls the Son God in Hebrews 1:9.  That is incredible.  Even in the New World Translation calls Jesus God in John 20:28 which would be blasphemy if in fact Jesus were not God.

Jesus is God the Son and the wonderful truth is that He sits at the right hand of God the Father to make intercession for the saints of God (Hebrews 7:25).  Unlike the Muslims, we have one who sits at God’s right hand for us.  Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us that we can come before the Father because of the incarnation of God.  Jesus cries out before the Father for us (Romans 8:34).  I don’t have to earn God’s righteousness as the JW and Muslim does.  I have God’s righteousness in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22-24; Philippians 3:9).  I don’t pray out of obligation nor do I offer vein prayers with the same words over and over again as many religions including Islam does (Matthew 6:7-8).  I come into God’s presence because of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 John 1:7).  I come before the Father not fearing that He hates me but knowing that He loves me in His Son (Romans 5:8-9).  I am able to worship God in spirit and in truth because of Jesus Christ (John 4:23-24).  I don’t have to fear death because of Jesus (Hebrews 2:9).

As I watched this video on Mecca and the Muslim pilgrimage, I am thankful to be a Christian.  I don’t have to go to Jerusalem to find God.  I don’t have to fear coming before God.  I don’t have to wonder if God knows me or if He is satisfied with me.  I don’t have to go through vein rituals to come into God’s presence.  I don’t have to spend my energy walking the streets of Mecca or Jerusalem or any other city for God came to me in the person of Jesus and I am saved through Him (John 3:3-7).  I urge you to pray for the nearly 1 billion Muslims to hear the gospel and repent and be saved (Acts 17:30-31).  Like the Jews whom Paul prayed for in Romans 10:1-4, I pray this for the Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses and many other religions.  Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6) and these poor Muslims are seeking in vein for a god who doesn’t exist.  Unless they repent, they will die (Luke 13:5; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; Revelation 21:7-8).  My prayer is that the gospel will bring eternal life through Christ into Saudi Arabia and to Jehovah Witnesses as well (Romans 6:23).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/27/2011 at 5:56 PM

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