And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 18, Number
In this issue:
September 11, 2001 raised Americans' interest in the religion of Islam. With the recent growth and threat of ISIS there continues to be special concern about radical Islamic terrorism. Recent acts of terror in Paris, France and San Bernardino, CA reaffirm our need to understand Islam.
Christians should know the facts about Islam. We are not interested in hyperbole, exaggeration or false descriptions of the Muslim religion. Neither are we interested in "sugar-coating" the realities of this faith. The facts speak for themselves.
In 2013 there were about 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, or 23% of the world's population (Pew Research Center). Muslim sources put the number at slightly over 2 billion, estimating that at current growth rates (almost 3% per year), 1 in 3 people on earth will be Muslim by 2030 (Muslim Population in the World).
Christians welcome examination and are willing to contend for the faith which has been delivered by God to His saints (Jude 3). We use the inspired Scriptures to test and confirm all truth, including whether Islam is from God or men (Jno. 16:13; Acts 17:11-12; 2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6). We are ready to give a reason for our hope by the same word of God (1 Pet. 3:15). Indeed, any belief system that withdraws from open and critical examination of its doctrines and practices shows its inherent weakness (1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Thess. 5:21).
Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jno. 8:32). Are Muslims willing to have their faith examined in the light of the word of Christ (whom they say was a prophet of Allah)?
What is Islam?
“Islam, began in Mecca, claimed to be the revelation of God (Allah) through the angel Gabriel to a man named Muhammad. Muhammad was born in approximately AD 570-571” (A Brief History of Islam, Ney Reiber).
Almost 600 years before the religion of Islam was founded by Muhammad in the 7th century, the Spirit of God inspired Christ's apostle to write, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8). Islam's founding happened far too late to hold any credibility as being from the true God and His Son Jesus Christ. What they say an angel said does not harmonize with what Christ's apostles taught.
Terminology of Islam
To understand Islam it is helpful to spend some time learning some of its vocabulary.
Islam. Its root word means “peace” (salaam); It means “submission to the One God”. “It means submission to the One God, as well as to live in harmony with other people and with the environment. A Muslim is, therefore, any person, anywhere in the world, whose obedience, allegiance and loyalty are to God, Lord of the Universe, and who strives to live in accordance with God’s laws.” (StudyIslam.com)
Muslim. “A submitting one”; adherents of Islam are called “Muslims” (Moslems). “A Muslim is one who believes that ‘there is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God” (Understanding Islam, Thomas W. Lippman, 1)
Allah. “Allah is the name of the One and Only God”. Muslims say this is the name of the God of Abraham:
“Allah is the name of the One and Only God. Allah has ninety-nine beautiful names, such as: The Gracious, the Merciful, the Beneficent, The Creator, The All-Knowing, the All-Wise, The Lord of the Universe, The First, The Last, and many others.
“He is the Creator of all human beings. He is the God for the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus and all others, including those who do not even believe in Him. Muslims worship God, and put their trust in Him as they seek His help and guidance” (Introduction to Islam, StudyIslam.com, link now broken).
We must be clear here that the Allah of Islam is not the God of the Bible. Islam rejects the Biblical teaching of the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), viewing it as polytheism (Jno. 1:1; Heb. 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-18). One cannot be a Muslim and believe in the God revealed in the Bible.
Muhammad (ca. 570-632). To Muslims, he is the last Prophet and final Messenger of Allah. Born Ubu'l Kassim in Mecca, he was orphaned early in life and reared, first by his grandfather, then his uncle. Though illiterate, he became a successful businessman, self-made philosopher, religious, political and military leader, and the husband to 12 or 13 wives. At 42 years of age (AD 612) he claimed the angel Gabriel visited him in a cave and commissioned him as the Messenger of Allah and the last Prophet of Allah to mankind.
Qur’an (Koran). The word means “recite” or “recitation”. Allah is said to have given this holy book to Muhammad who recited it. “The Koran purports to be the successor and continuation of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, incorporating their teachings in a new revelation that gave the people of Arabia an enlightenment previously accorded only to Jews and Christians” (Lippman, 57). The Qur'an is taken as the literal word of Allah. None of it was written or compiled during Muhammad's lifetime. Its standard text has existed unchanged in its original idiom since the 7th century. Islam says the Qur'an can only be accurately learned and read in Arabic, and that it is "a book in which all things are written" (50:4). By contrast, the apostles of Jesus were guided into "all truth" by the Holy Spirit (Jno. 16:13). The New Testament of Christ gives us all things necessary for life and godliness, equipping us for every good work (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Furthermore, the gospel of Christ is for the whole world, Jews, Arabs and every other race (Mk. 16:15; Rom. 1:16). The Qur'an preaches a message far different from Christ's apostles, and thus brings a curse, not a blessing (Gal. 1:8-10). The Qur'an is the work of man, not God.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Revelation 2:1-7
1. The Lord adds saved people to His
church, Acts 2:47. The saved join themselves together into local churches,
Acts 2:44; 5:12; 11:20-23; 14:23.
I. "YES", IF YOU ARE A GENUINE PARTICIPANT IN WORSHIP.
A. To Praise and Honor God for His Mercy, Power and Holiness, Psa. 5:7;
II. "YES", IF YOU ARE A GENUINE PARTNER IN THE CHURCH'S WORK.
A. "Coming in and Going Out", Ac 9:26-29.
III. "YES", IF YOU ARE A GENUINE PART OF THE BODY.
A. You are a Meaningful Part of this Body, 1 Cor. 12:14-19; Rom.
12:3-8; Eph. 4:11-16.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25-33
1. "Nothing in life is free".
I. THE HIGH COST OF LOW MORALS, Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:13-16; 4:1-3.
Morals Will Cost You Your Good Name and Influence, Prov. 22:1 (10:7), 2-5;
Eccl. 7:1; 1 Cor. 15:33-34.
II. THE HIGH COST OF LOW (FALSE) DOCTRINE.
Law is Good and is for the Unholy and Profane, 1 Tim. 1:8-11; 2 Tim. 3:15-16
(Rom. 7:12-13); Jno. 12:48.
Terror and Faith
There are terrorists among us, radical Islamists whose goal of jihad is achieved by death, disruption and destruction. Their terrorism took 14 lives in San Bernardino last week, with more lives being taken by this enemy around the globe every day.
The Bible says some things about terror that we should know. God's faithful people continue to take comfort and retain hopeful patience in the face of terror's threats, persecutions, pain and even death. Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28).
Those who trust the Lord will not be afraid of any terror. "He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday” (Psa. 91:4-6). Prov. 3:25-26
The wicked cannot hide from the terror of the Lord's judgment. "They shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the Lord And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily” (Isa. 2:19).
God's judgment is described as sudden terror from which there is no escape. Because Jerusalem had forsaken Jehovah, He would "cause anguish and terror to fall on them suddenly" (Jer. 15:6, 8).
"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2 Cor. 5:11). Will you be persuaded to trust and obey Him to be protected from sin's ultimate terror?
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 12/14/2015
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA