Following Jesus Will Cost You!

Beheading

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet, because you are not of the world, but I chose you out o the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:18-20)

Is this verse a warning given to those who will become followers of Christ? The answer to that question is a definite–yes! Confirmation that you are a follower of Jesus Christ is that you are despised for His Name.

 The God of the Bible is unique and separate from the plethora of false gods worshiped by the world.

Satan, who dominates the evil world system, is identified in scripture as the “prince of the air” and “god of this age” and it is he who instigates the hatred towards Jesus Christ, and His followers. The One True God, Yahweh or YHVH (tetragram) is the object of Lucifer’s abhorrence and detestation.

JEHOVAH is separate from all other false gods because His Name denotes the eternality, immutability, and uniqueness of His nature. He is also Judge and Lawgiver Who has hatred (Psalm 5:5), Enmity (Nahum 1:2), and Vengeance (Deut 7:9-10; 32:39-42) towards the sinner every day. These same attributes and identification of YHVH was applied by the Lord Jesus Christ to Himself in chapter eight of the gospel of John as confirmation of His deity. Therefore, hatred or rejection of One was in fact denunciation of Both.

“He who hates Me hates My Father also” (John 15:23)

Mere association with Jesus or the God of the Bible sparks anger and hostility towards (by the world) those who represent Him. Why is there such antagonism and resentment towards true believers or followers of Christ? Jesus tells us that because of His coming the world has no excuse for their sins and that He testifies that its deeds are evil. Christ followers who demonstrate intimacy, love, obedience and fruitfulness will invoke a similar response from the world. Men and women who reject Jesus Christ (as Savior) do so by choice, not out of ignorance.

Paul Washer writes in his book titled The Truth About Man, that “Man is not a victim, but a culprit. He cannot, because he will not. His corruption and enmity toward God are so great that he would rather suffer eternal perdition than acknowledge God to be God and submit to His Sovereignty. For this reason, moral inability may also be called willing hostility.” (Washer, pg. 55)

In his book, Washer uses the relationship between Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37:4) as an illustration of moral inability. He writes, “Joseph’s brothers could not speak to him on friendly terms. It is not because they lacked the physical ability to speak, but because their hatred was so great toward him that they were unwilling to be friendly to him. In the same way, fallen man’s hostility toward God is so great he cannot bring himself to submit to God.” (Washer, pg. 56)

A similar example is revealed in the relationship or interaction between Jesus and Judas as recorded in the gospel of John. Judas having been selected by Christ to be His disciple was specifically chosen because God knew that he (Judas) would be the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.  “…and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12) Judas loved the present world and would benefit monetarily by betraying or benefits, deliberately offering Jesus to him by the chief priest for thirty pieces of silver. Notwithstanding, Jesus offered to Judas (the same night) the opportunity to confess, plus, repent of his disloyalty and to become a recipient of His forgiveness. His final act of love towards Judas is demonstrated in the passing of ‘sop’ to Judas during the last supper. “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it…”(John 13:26) According to Jewish tradition, the host (Jesus) would designate the first morsel of food to the special guest as a way of symbolizing friendship. Similar to Joseph’s brothers, Judas was unwilling to turn from his (satanically inspired) plot against Jesus which would eventually lead to both his physical and eternal death.

Disdain towards Jesus and Joseph can best be attributed to the depraved nature of the human heart. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murder…” (Matt 15:18) Men in rebellion against God abhor being confronted about their iniquities or transgressions. Jesus, having completed or accomplished the work the Father called Him to do would soon return to His original position glory. The responsibility of reaching the world with the “Good News” was delegated to His followers in the manner known as the Great Commission. “…I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world…As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

As servants of Christ, each believer will or should expect to experience similar circumstances to those endured by our Master during His earthly ministry. The ‘world’ (kosmos) refers to the created moral order in active rebellion against God and His followers. The Words of Christ, when spoken against the captives of this world system, bring opposition, hatred, suffering, and in some cases even death. Jesus clearly warns (verse above) all who believe in Him that they too will undergo persecution.

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for yo to follow in His steps.” (I Pet 2:21)

D.A. Carson summarizes this point well in his book titled The Gospel According To JohnHe warns, “Those who preach Jesus’ gospel and live in progressive conformity to His own life and teaching will attract the same antagonism that He did.” (Carson, pg. 525)

Do the Words of Christ coincide with the mindset or approach to ministry by today’s church leaders? Stay tuned for part two of this message.

Christ is the Hope and Real Meaning of Christmas

'The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.'  O Little town of Bethlehem

‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’ O Little town of Bethlehem

I was recently asked by a young disciple of Christ if the celebration of Christmas was in the Bible. My response to his question was an immediate—Yes! Both the wise men and shepherds came to worship and praise Christ soon after His birth. “

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)

“And they came in hast and found their way to Mary and Joseph and the baby as He lay in the manger…And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen just as had been told to them.” (Luke 2:16,20)

The specific day observed by Christians around the world to commemorate the annual celebration of birth of Jesus Christ is on December 25th. The feast of Christmas was developed by the early church to combat a heathen celebration known as “Saturnalia” or winter solstice. The primary reason for countering this pagan celebration was to place strong emphasis on the importance of redemption and to reflect on the early ministry of Jesus Christ. According to Walter A. Elwell in his Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, “Christmas is not only a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, but it is also a time to stress the importance of receiving Him into the heart. His incarnation celebrates not only his birth but also His messianic age, which is the beginning of the end of the world as it marches toward eternity.”

Much speculation is made over the actual date of His birth by both theologians and secular historians. Scripture does not reveal the exact date of His birth, nor does it stress the time in which believers should celebrate of the Lord’s incarnation. What we do know is that by the late fourth century, Christmas was celebrated by many people within the church. Elwell also writes, “The church thereby offered the people a Christian alternative to the pagan festivities and eventually reinterpreted many of their symbols and actions in ways acceptable to Christian faith and practice. For example, Jesus Christ was presented as the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2), replacing the sun god, Sol Invictus…” (Elwell, pg. 238)

Men like John Calvin, John Knox, the American Puritans, and many Presbyterians were in opposition to this practice. Mainly, because each generation incorporated into the its celebration many pagan customs (holly, mistletoe, Christmas tree, log fires, etc) and added new traditions (Christmas carols, nativity crib, etc). I would assume or suppose that the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church of Colosse would support their stance against such practices. He writes, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” (2:8)

It was the Lutherans, the continental Reformers, and most other Protestants who defended the observance of Christmas by Christians. They sought to take the opportunity to stress the doctrine of the Incarnation during this seasonal celebration. I would suppose or speculate (again) that these individuals stressed their freedoms in Christ as mentioned by Paul (in his letter to the Romans) as a motive for participating in the Christmas festivity. The strong or mature believer’s faith in the passage below permits or allows him to exercise his freedom in Christ.

“For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for god has received him…One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it…” (Romans 14:2-3, 5-6)

By the mid-twentieth century Christmas was celebrated throughout the world. Countries such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America joined Europe in its festivities, plus incorporating new customs into their practices. With the recent influx of Modernism or Liberal Theology, the twenty-first century church has incorporated both a great deal of materialism and  an almost reverent response to the character known as Santa Claus. The strong emphasis on adapting religious ideas to modern culture and modes of thinking has almost eliminated from Christmas its original objective of Christ worship.

In either case, each man, woman, and child will have to stand before Christ for evaluation. It is interesting to note that His judgment does not take into account religious traditions or personal preferences like celebrating Christmas. This commemoration is not mentioned in scripture; therefore each believer must follow the dictates of his own conscience (unless specifically prohibited in scripture). The objective by the early church was call attention to redemption and to reflect on the ministry of Jesus Christ. We too during the Christmas advent must take the opportunity to draw men, women, and children back from their obsession with toys, gifts, sports, parties, etc to the worship of Christ (Crīstesmæsse, meaning “Christ Mass). The objective of every believer should be to bring non-believers into the true knowledge and worship of Christ, but also to the understanding of His immediate return.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year from our family to yours!

What does it really mean to bear fruit (in Evangelism)

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” (John 15:16)

This is not an article on predestination or election, even though I could use the words of Christ to support each, but rather a note about suffering. Those of us chosen of God were specifically selected by Jesus Christ our Lord to bear fruit that would last throughout eternity. A good tree will demonstrate spiritual fruit such as godly attitudes (Gal 5:22-23), righteous behavior (Phil 1:11), praise (Heb 13:15), and leading others to faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 1:13).

Since I am an evangelist and was ordained by God to share the gospel with lost people I would like to discuss a view of witnessing rarely mentioned in Christendom. We hear much about tens, hundreds, and even thousands of people professing faith in Jesus Christ every year as a result of outreach or evangelism events (Crusades, Blitzes, Church Services, etc). Baptism figures totaled at the end of the year by Church and Para-Church organizations are used to provide evidence that their outreach efforts were productive or successful.

Nevertheless, it is important that believers consider suffering punishment, imprisonment, rejection, hardships; etc for the gospel as a form of fruit bearing. As example that strongly supports this statement is revealed in the life of the Apostle Paul. Consider his calling as revealed in chapter nine of the book of Acts. This great evangelist was told (by Jesus) that he was not only a “chosen” instrument but would “suffer for My names sake.” Our Lord foreknew that Paul would experience beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, imprisonments, hardships, hunger, thirst, sleepless nights and the like for preaching the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. Nevertheless, Paul and other messengers of God throughout both the Old/New Testaments as well as church history experienced similar circumstances.

Cover of "Ashamed of the Gospel: When the...

Cover via Amazon

John MacArthur in his book titled, Ashamed of the Gospel” writes, “…Jeremiah, for example, preached forty years without seeing any significant positive response. On the contrary, his countrymen threatened to kill him if he did not stop prophesying (Jer 11:19-23); his own family and friends plotted against him (12;6); he was not permitted to marry and so had to suffer agonizing loneliness (16:2); plots were devised to fill him secretly (18:20-23); he was beaten and put in stocks (20:1-2); he was spied on by friends who sought revenge (v.10); he was consumed with sorrow and shame eve cursing the day he was born (vv. 14-18); and finally, falsely accused of being a traitor to the nation (37:13-14), Jeremiah was beaten, thrown into a dungeon, and starved many days (vv.15-21).” (MacArthur, 88)

John Fox records in his book Fox’s Book of Martyrs the testimonies of hundreds of men and women who throughout church history suffered to the point of death for evangelizing the world. This would include Stephen, the Apostles, Christians under Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Christians in living Persia, France, Calabria, Bohemia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, China, Japan, Spanish America, Great Britain, Ireland, Scotland, United States, India, West Indies, Inquisitions under the Papacy, etc. Men like John Wickliffe, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Surgeon and the like all suffered some form of persecution for their faith and for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Would emulating the sufferings of Christ be considered bearing fruit in the eyes of God?

Scripture records that before the Bema Judgment seat of Christ, believes are rewarded for their fruitfulness. The Bible mentions at least five rewards and two of them pertain to leading people to Christ known as the ‘Crown of Rejoicing’ mentioned in Proverbs 11:30; Dan 12; and I Thessalonians 2:19-20. The ‘Crown of Life’ is given to those who successfully endure trials, persecution, or suffering (for His name) is mention in James 1:2-3 and Rev 2:10.

Even though the current climate in our culture or world opposes the teachings of Christ, believers must (like their predecessors) be bold, plus steadfast in the proclamation of the gospel. Even if it means consequences that would cause Christians to suffer some form of ridicule, rejection, or negative repercussions for His name sake.  Not only is there a reward in eternity for this sort of fruit bearing, but also an opportunity to produce fruit in this present life. Remember, God called you out of the darkness and into His marvelous light in order to produce fruit that will remain!

Test the Spirits II

 

The Masquerader

The Masquerader

Why test the spirits?  Because Satan masquerades as an angel of light and specializes in deception. Lucifer understands that the war for the souls of mankind or human beings begins in the mind. Therefore, he diligently works to create avenues to promote teachings, philosophies, doctrines, religions, etc. that contradict God’s Word. Reading a book, listening to the radio, viewing television and movies, formal academic studies, casual conversations, theological teachings and more are all various methods used by God, Man, and Satan to influence thought patterns. The Apostle Paul writing in his second letter to the church in Corinth addresses the concept that principalities and powers war for the minds or thoughts of men.

Paul begins chapter ten by addressing the (false) accusations that he walked in the flesh or had some type of moral flaw in his character.  The term “flesh” is used by his opponents to refer to man’s creaturely weakness which is prone to sinful passions. Paul refutes his antagonists who were making this accusation by admitting that he was a mere human being of flesh and bone, but shunned the allegation that he was dominated by sin. Paul lived, and walked, in the Spirit. Evidence of this fact is that he waged war against Satan with the supernatural artillery supplied by God.

 

Paul understood that the battle is for the minds and souls of both believers and non-believers. Worldly weapons such as guns, knives, philosophies, arguments, eloquence, propaganda, organizations, etc. are powerless against principalities and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. These principalities (Satan and demons) have ensnared men, placing them in bondage to sin. This is what is meant by strongholds. He uses this word as a metaphor to put forth an imagery of a fortress. People could take refuge behind the walls of a city when attacked because they were solid, high, and impenetrable. Satan and demons develop these strongholds through the use worldly or demonic philosophies, religions, propaganda, arguments and organizations, in order to entrap or ensnare the mind.

 

An anonymous author wrote:  “The mind is the taproot of the soul”

 

I once again met with the two Saudi Arabian students, and one of their friends in order to discuss the topic of science as presented in the Bible and the Quran. According to these Muslim men, Mohammad had supernatural revelation given to him by Allah which revealed such ‘science’ as pre-born humans in the womb as “clots” and “sperm” being stored in the backs of men. These are both addressed in the Quran:

 

“So let the man look to what he was created from. He was created from gushing water. It comes out from backbones (of the male) and breast (of the female). (Surah 86:5-7)

 

“The We made the nutfah (male and female sexual discharges) a clot of blood, the We made the clotted blood into a piece of flesh, the We clothed the bones with flesh, then We made it another creature. Blessed therefore be God, the most excellent of Creators.” (Surah 23:14)

 

Modern science proves that each of Muhammad’s above mentioned attempts to explain the reproduction process is incorrect. Yet, these men view these inconsistencies as proof that Muhammad received this revelation directly from Allah. The Bible’s claims of supernatural elements can in fact be supported by empirical science (reproducible). According to Dr. Harold Wilmington in his book titled Willmington’s Guide to Complete Bible Knowledge “It claims far more specific scientific statements than one might realize.”

  • The fact that the earth is spherical (Isa 40:22)
  • The fact that the earth is suspended in space (Job 26:7)
  • The fact that the stars are innumerable (Gen 13:16; 15:5)
  • The fact that there are mountains and canyons in the sea (Jon 2:6)
  • The fact that there are springs and fountains in the sea 9gen 7:11;8:2; Prov 8:28)
  • The fact that there are water paths (ocean currents) in the sea (Psalms 8:8)
  • The fact of the invisible atom structure of matter (Col 1:17)
  • The fact that all living things are reproduced after their own kind (Gen 1:21;6:19)
  • The facts involved concerning the human bloodstream (Lev 17:11)
  • The fact involved in the two laws of thermodynamics (Gen 2:1-3; PSA 33:6-9;102:25) Second law (Psa 102:26; Rom 8:18-23)

 

I presented this evidence to these men regarding the Bible’s accuracy in order to disprove the lie that the Bible is corrupt. Only the One True God, who made the heavens and the earth, could reveal these scientific supported truths to the various writers in both the Old and New Testaments. Many other Biblical concepts were presented or addressed (Grace, Hell, Jesus the Creator, Sin, etc)

The concept that consumed the most time of discussion was the idea of love. The Quran does not mention love other than the fact that Allah does not love the infidel (unbeliever).  This is found in Surah 30:45. Nowhere in the Quran does Allah demonstrate or express his love for the Muslim. Allah is unapproachable as well as unknowable. However, God’s love for mankind is demonstrated from Genesis to Revelation in the scriptures. His greatest gift or expression of His love is found in the writings of the Apostle John.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life…He who believes in the Son has eternal life…” (3:16,36)

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world…IN this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 4:9,10)

 

Paul writing to a young pastor warns him that people sitting in the church will be led away from truth by deceitful spirits promoting doctrines of demons. (I Tim 4:1) Apostasy will escalate as the church age draws to a close and the coming of Christ draws near. Demonic influence will reach its peak during the tribulation period under the dominion of the anti-Christ.  Demonically inspired teaching will lead people away from their original position in the Christian faith. (Unbelievers) Satan uses deception to make people believe that they are saved; on their way to heaven; have a relationship with God; doing the will of God; serving God; Good enough to please God, etc. The only way to expose his lies is to wage war with the truth of God’s Word!

 

Test the Spirit

sentThe Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle John to warn believers about false doctrine and false teachers in chapter four of his first epistle. In these last days, scripture teaches that both will escalate to the point where counterfeit religions and doctrines of demons will become widely accepted by the masses. For this reason, believers are told to “test the spirits, whether they are of God.” The word “test” is a metallurgist terminology used to assess metals in order to determine their authenticity. The Berean’s mentioned in the book of Acts (17:11-12) are an example of individuals who examined the teachings or theology of others in order to approve or disprove whether it was from God.

My recent (predetermined) encounters, with a Jehovah Witness and two Islamic Saudi Arabian students, supports John’s admonition. Both religions deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (not God), and insist that He was but a mere man or prophet of Allah. The Bible describes Satan as the father of lies and is responsible for promoting error regarding the true identity of Jesus Christ our Lord. According to scripture Lucifer uses false prophets, religions, doctrines, and more to propagate satanic lies in order to blind the eyes of unbelievers from the truth of God’s Word. In this same chapter, John describes the work of the Holy Spirit as “spirit of truth” and the activities of Satan as “spirit of error.”

The elderly Jehovah Witness man demonstrated, during our two hour conversation, that he was influenced or controlled by “deceiving spirits.” This was clearly evident by his attempt to use chapter eight in the book of Proverbs to support the concept that Jesus Christ is a created being. “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way…From everlasting I was established…” According to the Watch Tower organization, verse twenty-three confirms that Jesus was created by Jehovah.

This is clearly not the case! A basic “testing” or exegesis of the chapter and verse will lead any unbiased reader to conclude that throughout the chapter Solomon is referring to wisdom.

“Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice?…At the entrance of the doors, she cries out…To you O men, I call And my voice is to the sons of men, O naïve ones, discern prudence; And, O fools, discern wisdom…I wisdom dwell with prudence…”

Chapter eight of the book of Proverbs credits wisdom for everything that God created in order to illustrate that wisdom was first, as God was eternally first. Sadly, Jehovah Witnesses begin with a premise that Jesus is not God; therefore, they attempt to find verses in the Bible that confirm or support their erroneous view of Christ. In this case, the “spirit of error” is easily refuted or exposed by simply testing, plus properly exegesis the text in order to extract the intended meaning of the passage.

The Saudi men have also fallen prey to doctrines of demons promoted by false teachers and prophets. Mainly, due to the fact that they have never heard the truth about Christ, because Bibles are forbidden in Saudi Arabia and the truth about Jesus Christ is distorted by clerics. These men were told that the Bible is corrupted and cannot be trusted. However, when asked who corrupted it, and when it was tainted, neither man was able to respond. According to the Koran, Muslims are instructed (by Allah) to believe the Bible.

 “O you who have believed, believe in Allah and his messenger and the book, which he has sent down on his messenger, and the book which he has sent down before.”(The Woman, 136)

Muslims are instructed or commanded by Allah to believe in the Bible and its prophets. It is evident (from the above mentioned passage) that at the time of the writing of the Quran, the Bible was referenced, plus believed by Mohammad. Therefore, I was able to apologetically present Biblical truths about: Deity of Christ; Incarnation; Atonement, Propitiation; Crucifixion; Conception; Sinlessness; Death; Burial; Resurrection; Attributes; Creator; Inerrancy of Scripture; and more during our three hour conversation. I was also able to use polemics to refute the teachings of Islam.

Christians must understand that Islam allows no other religions or faiths to exist peacefully beside them. Stay tuned: we are scheduled to meet again next week. The Apostle Paul writing to the church in Romans admonishes believers in the city to witness or share the gospel with those who had never heard it.

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent…” (Roman 10:14-15)

The point of Paul’s rhetorical question is to emphasize the fact that a clear gospel presentation must proceed saving faith. Those who have fallen prey to “deceitful spirits” and “doctrines of demons” can still be saved from hell as well as error by hearing, plus believing the truths of scripture. Ron Carlson and Ed Decker write in their book titled Fast Facts On False Teaching, “In the light of Allah’s actual origin and his radical difference from the God of the Bible, we must conclude that Allah is not God. Nor is the name “Allah” a generic Mideast name for God, as many Christians think. Allah is the name of a false god who cannot save anyone from anything.

One-on-One with a Tanzanian Muslim (Part Three)

One-on-One with a Tanzanian Muslim (Part Three).

One-on-One with a Tanzanian Muslim (Part Three)

Hajj

Hajj

Scripture teaches that man is incapable of coming to God on his own because of moral depravity and enslavement to Satan. The world and all its fallen inhabitants are held tightly by sin and in the devils grip. The apostle John writes, “…and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” Paul Washer addresses this point in his book titled ‘The Truth about Man.’  He states, “It is the sure testimony of Scripture that there is only one true God. But in this passage, Satan is referred to as the “god of this world” in the sense that he is working with great power in this preset evil age, and fallen men have made him their “god” and live according to his will.” (Washer, pg. 71)

“…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe…” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

The affinity (they have much in common) between Satan and Islam (lying, murder, stealing, etc) mentioned in previous articles reveals the compatibility of fallen man with the Devil. Paul’s response to these truths was similar to most—denial. Many people reject the idea or concept that all unredeemed men are ‘followers of the devil,” yet scripture indicates that all men are born into the world under his dominion.

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, “that He might destroy the works of the devil…” (I John 3:8)

We soon began discussing the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’ and their inability to provide an acceptable sacrifice or substitute for sin.  The faithful Muslim who diligently practices the five pillars of Islam will receive from Allah a gracious welcome of “Peace,” and enters into the garden in order to sit on a cushioned throne in the shade where he eats fruit in abundance. He is also able to drink from rivers which produce milk, honey, and alcohol. Throughout eternity he will have beautiful women to enjoy sexually and produce children who will serve him.  (There is no reward mentioned for women in the Quran)

Therefore, in order to enter Janna good works must outweigh the bad according to the Quran. “Surely good deeds drive away the evil deeds. This is a reminder to those who remember. And be patient, so surely Allah will not waste the wages of the doers of good.” (Sura 11:114-115) Evil is wiped away by successfully performing or adhering to these actions:

  1. Shahada (Confession of the Creed) A testimonial that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. It must be repeated daily in a certain tone of voice in order to be valid. It must be honored or practice until death, otherwise denial of it nullifies any possibility of Paradise or Janna.
  2. Salat (Prayer) Repeated prayers from the Quran must be said five times a day in Arabic at certain periods of time. Before sunrise, at noon, in mid-afternoon, at sunset, and in the evening. Friday prayer at the Mosque at noon is mandatory for adult males who must practice the ritual of purity. Prayer is viewed as an expression of submission to Allah and not a communication or relationship with Allah. The Du-aa (supplication) is when Muslims prayers are given the opportunity to be accepted by Allah. Even then there are limitations (Late night, after the crowing of a rooster, beginning of war, and during Ramadan) Islam Awareness, Dawah
  3. Zakat (Alms-giving) A certain percentage of income is given at the end of the year to help others. Muslims believe that helping others purifies their own wealth, increases its value, and reminds them that everything they have is a trust from Allah. Every adult Muslim man and woman who possesses wealth of a certain minimum amount must give to the mosque leader who then distributes resources to the poor.

 Sadaqah (Truth and Honesty) In addition to the required alms, Muslims are encouraged to give in charity at all times        according to their means.

   4. Sawm (Fasting) Muslims abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Muslim calendar. Ramadan was the month during which Muhammad had his first encounter with the spirit in Cave Hira. The Quran is read and recited the entire month.

   5. Hajj (Pilgrimage) All Muslims, men and woman who are economically and physically able are to travel to Mecca at least once in their life time. The completion of this practice gives the Muslim both a satisfying feeling and a respected status in his or her community

Paul and I read the verse from chapter two of the book of Ephesians that states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9) Mankind is incapable of please God, therefore, the Lord provided a sacrifice for mans iniquity. John MacArthur writes in the MacArthur study Bible, “God the Father using the principle of imputation, treated Christ as if He were a sinner though He was not, and had Him die as a substitute to pay the penalty for the sins of those who believe in Him…One the cross, He did not become a sinner, but remained as holy as ever. He was treated as if He were guilty of all the sins ever committed by all who would ever believe, though He committed none. The wrath of god was exhausted on Him and the just requirement of God’s law met for those for who He died…The righteousness that is credited to the believers account is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, God’ Son.”(MacArthur, pg. 1772)

After an hour and fifteen minutes of discussion, Paul concluded our conversation by stating, “I will continue to practice the Five Pillars in hope that I will be accepted by Allah.” We agreed to meet regularly in order to compare and contrast the two belief systems. The responsibility of the believer or evangelist is to preach the Word and pray that God will give the increase!

One-on-One with a Muslim from Tanzania (Part Two)

 

Our conversation regarding Allah and Satan demonstrating the same characteristics gave us an opportunity to search the scriptures. God‘s response to Satan, the “father of lies” and those who emulate his example is the same. Lying violates the ninth command found in the Law (Ten Commandments) of God and He promises to “cast every liar in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone…” (Revelation 21:8). I made it a point to review the Law in order to ask Paul if he has ever violated or broke any God’s commandments. The purpose of the Law is to reveal or expose sin, so that the (repent) sinner might be justified by faith in Christ (Galatians 3:24-25). Those who reject the Lord’s propitiation (‘appeasement’ or ‘satisfaction’) for sin will experience His eternal wrath.

 

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“…But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers…and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

 

 

This verse catapulted us onto the topic of murder. According to the previously mentioned verse, murderers will also spend eternity in hell. I mentioned that the Qur’an is filled with hate, and those who practice Jihad are (according to scripture) murderers (I John 3:15). Nevertheless, the Bible commands believers to “love their enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Jesus demonstrated this type of love at Calvary as He prayed “Father forgive them…”. In order to understand Jihad as taught in the Qur’an, I have posted an excerpt (below) from my soon to be released evangelism training manual. (This book will help equip Christians to witness to Muslims).

 

 

 

What is Jihad?

 

 

The only guarantee given by Allah for Janna is an unwritten sixth pillar known as Jihad. In Arabic the word Jihad means “struggle” or “strife,” however, multiple verses in the Qur’an and Hadith confirm that it also implies a religious war against non-Muslims.  Suicide bombers are commonly used by Islamic caliphate to attack and kill non-Muslims. (Once Islam has its own state and military there will be no need for suicide bombings)

 

 

They are considered martyrs and receive a great reward by Allah because they are strategically helping to achieve the Islamic goal of world dominance.  Allah desires that the whole world submit to the law of Islam. Therefore, it is permissible to kill woman and children in Jihad because they are considered to be as their parents. They are mixed in with the enemy of Allah and perceived as combatants against Islam. http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/in-the-name-of-islam/

 

 

“Whoso fights in the cause of Allah, and is killed or gets victory, we shall bestow on him a great reward.” (Sura 47:4)
“Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive with their Lord and they have provision.” (Sura 3:169-171 Muhsin Khan)
“…and fight those who acknowledge not the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya tax with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Sura 9:29)
 

 

Three alternatives are offered to non-Muslims conquered by Islam or living under Sharia.

 

  •            Convert to Islam by renouncing faith in any other religion and embracing the teachings of the Qur’an.
  • .            Those who choose to keep their own belief system while living under Sharia are required to pay a tax (Jizya) of                  up to 90% of the family’s gross annual income.
  •            Death by decapitation for those who refuse to convert or pay the tax.

 

             

 

Allah and those who practice Islam have been categorized or identified in the Bible as liars, murderers, and unbelievers. The god of this world is using the Qur’an to encourage Muslims to deceive, lie, murder, and reject the Deity of  Jesus Christ. Those very things forbidden by God’s Law are embraced or practiced in Islam. By “testing the spirits” as instructed in the fourth chapter of John’s first epistle, we can discern that the author of the Qur’an is Satan. To learn of Paul’s reaction to these truth’s stay tuned for Part Three.

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Request This Week

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Pray

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.”

– Hebrews 13:3, NASB

The church universal is still being persecuted all over the world.  According to reports by International Christian Concerns known as our bridge to the persecuted church, Christians in the Middle East, Syria and Africa are facing serious persecution at the hands of enemies of the cross.

According to an article on their website:

300,000 Christians Flee War, Persecution in Syria

4/7/2013 Syria (Asia News)

Some 300,000 Christians are living as refugees after escaping war and persecution in Syria, Asia News reports. While people from every political, ethnic, and religious background are suffering in Syria’s civil war, Christians have found themselves in a very unique and frightening situation, having widely chosen not to take up arms or to openly support either the rebels or the regime. However, as time goes by, “host families do not have enough resources to help Syrian refugees,” the CNEWA director noted. By contrast, “requests are increasing day by day. Soon no one will be able to afford even the most basic aid.” Christians in Syria also fear they might become a target for Islamic extremists. (www.Persecution.org)

 

 

Please pray for safety, for shelter and help for the refugees and that above all our God will be glorified and His name proclaimed.  

One-on-One with a Muslim from Tanzania, Part 1

Fisherman

In order for the end to come Jesus stated, that “… the gospel must be preached into the whole world for a witness to all the nations.” In these last days, the Lord has enabled the church to fulfill the Great Commission by bringing various people groups from around the world to North America. Believers have been given the opportunity to engage these ethnic groups in one-on-one apologetic conversations. My recent encounter with an Arabic speaking Muslim from Tanzania confirms this point to be true.

‘Paul’ (not his name) agreed to meet with me so that he might be given the opportunity to dispel myths pertaining to Jihad and to find common ground among the two faiths. However, at the onset of our conversation, ‘Paul’ admitted that he was not a scholar in regards to the teachings of Islam and might have difficulties answering my questions. Though he is fluent in Arabic and is able to read the Quran in its original language he felt inadequate in his ability to interpret the Qu’ran. The purpose of Imams and clerics is to teach Muslims to overcome their weaknesses and to live in the straight-way.

In response, I emphasized that the Bible teaches that the role of the Holy Spirit is to reveal scriptural truths and to allow believers to live accordingly. Therefore, all Christians are able to read, as well as understand the Bible without the assistance of a church leader (pastor or teacher). Our conversation turned to the topic of the Qu’ran’s revelation of Allah. According to its teachings

“And they deceived and Allah deceived And Allah is the best deceiver.” (Surah 3:54)

‘Paul’s’ interpretation of this verse was in complete contradiction to the text as well as other verses that confirm this point. He stated, “The meaning is that Allah knows if a Muslim is lying…”

I interjected that multiple verses in the Qu’ran imply that Allah not only deceives but encourages his followers to emulate his example.

“Do you desire to guide those whom Allah has led astray? And whomever Allah leads astray, so you will not find for him a way.” (Sura 3:88)

“Allah will not hold you responsible for the mere utterance in your oath, but he will hold you responsible in regard to an oath taken seriously.” (Sura 4:89)

I also pointed out that all prophets of Islam do not lie. Case in point,  (according to the Qu’ran) Jesus is only a prophet and not God,  and (according to Scripture) He stated that Satan is the father of lies.

“Your father the devil…because there is no truth in him…Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature for he is a liar and the father of lies…” (John 8:44)

He along with other Muslims attempt to ascertain common ground by ignoring these truths and searching for less controversial passages that mask the teachings of Islam.

Nevertheless, the evangelist must be dogmatic about the fact the Quran contradicts the Bible.

They are complete opposites. Our discussion regarding the practice and teachings of Jihad lead to the opportunity for me to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I will address this part of our encounter in the next part of this series discussing my evangelism appointment with a Muslim from Tanzania.

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