And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 18, Number
In this issue:
To understand Islam it is helpful to understand the sources of authority to which Muslims appeal as authoritative.
The Quran and the Sunnah are accepted by Muslims as Islam's two sources of theology, rules of conduct and social action. The Quran is thought to be the exact words of God, with "its authenticity, originality and totality" intact (Introducing Islam, Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr). "The Prophet’s sayings and deeds are called Sunnah” (Ibid). The Sunnah is regarded as "the verbally transmitted record of the teachings, deeds and sayings, silent permissions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, as well as various reports about Muhammad's companions. Along with the Quran, the Sunna makes up the two primary sources of Islamic theology and law. The Sunna is also defined as 'a path, a way, a manner of life'; 'all the traditions and practices' of the Islamic prophet that 'have become models to be followed' by Muslims" (Wikipedia).
By way of contrast, Jesus Christ has "all authority" in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). His words, including those of His verbally-inspired apostles and prophets, constitute binding authority upon all people, both Christians and non-Christians alike (Matt. 28:19; Jno. 12:48; 1 Cor. 14:37; Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). There is no comingling of the authority of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Islamic faith. Their sources of authority contradict each other and deny the validity of the other.
Islam rejects the authority of Jesus Christ and demands allegiance to the teachings of false prophets. The problem is that Islam came onto the world scene seven centuries too late. It is a usurpation of the authority of Christ.
What is Shiria?
We hear much these days about Sharia law. In Islam, "Sharia is the code of law based on religious principles that regulates the conduct of all Muslims, a code that covers social, commercial, domestic, criminal, and political affairs as well as devotional practices" (Understanding Islam, Thomas W. Lippman, 71). In contrast to the Quran and the Hadith (the reported sayings, deeds and approvals of Mohammad), sharia is primarily a moral code, made by men and which evolves with history (Ibid).
Lippman explains, "Technically, sharia is not the same thing as jurisprudence, legal science, or legislation, but as a practical matter the word is commonly used even by Muslims as synonymous with Islamic law, including all its sources and its subsidiary principles and disciplines. A call for a return to sharia means a return to a legal system based on the Koran" (Ibid).
Islam is a theocracy that combines religion with civil authority and rule. British author V. S. Naipaul observed, "No religion is more worldly than Islam. In spite of its political incapacity, no religion keeps men's eyes more fixed on the way the world is run" (Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey, Naipaul, 178; cited by Robert Spencer, Islam Unveiled, 94). As an example, Spencer notes that Naipaul "cites a typical article from the Tehran Times, published in the early days of Khomeini's revolution: 'Politics is combined with religion in Islam'" (Ibid). The article recommended a political partnership between Iran and Pakistan "with reformation and adaptation to present needs in full conformity with the holy Koran and Sunnah," concluding that "Iran and Pakistan with a clarity of purpose and sincere cooperation can establish the truth that Islam is a complete way of life" (Ibid).
By way of contrast, the gospel of Jesus Christ is "a complete way of life" (Lk. 9:23; Gal. 2:20). Christians are indeed to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness", but not through a ruling theocracy with political and commercial agendas (Matt. 6:33). Jesus said His kingdom is "not of this world", thereby rejecting a governing theocracy on earth (Jno. 18:36). His kingdom "does not come with observation", but is "within you" through conversion of the heart and a life of faithful discipleship (Lk. 17:20-21).
One True Religion
There is no doubt that Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive. Any ecumenical effort between the two dilutes the gospel of Christ and destroys true faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
The Quran says "the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam" (3:19). In it Allah says, "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (Submission to Allah), Never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (their selves in the hell fire)" (3:85).
Islam rejects Jesus as the Son of God. “Islam rejects the notion that Jesus, peace be upon him, was the son of God. Rather it honors and respects him as one of the great messengers and prophets of Allah to the Children of Israel" (“How to Become a Muslim,” The Islamic Bulletin). The Quran says, "Those who say, ‘The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,’ preach a monstrous falsehood, at which the very heavens might crack, the earth break asunder and the mountains crumble to dust. That they should ascribe a son to the Merciful, when it does not become Him to beget one!” (19:88)
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" is the confession Peter made and that was accepted by Jesus (Matt. 16:16-17). Islam says "peace be upon" Jesus as a prophet of Allah, yet it denies the identity He professed as a "monstrous falsehood"! Islam cannot have it both ways. Of course, that is the nature of false teaching. It contradicts the truth while it boldly asserts that its error is true.
Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life", the only way to the Father (Jno. 14:6). Only in Jesus is there salvation from sin (Acts 4:12). Islam corrupts divine authority, denies the Son of God and refuses the "one faith" that identifies Him and that came from Him (Eph. 4:4-6).
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Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:1-13
1. Procrastination is a stumbling
block to accomplishment (Prov. 23:7).
I. WHY DO PEOPLE WAIT TO OBEY THE GOSPEL?
A. Convenience, Acts 24:24-25.
II. WHY ARE YOU WAITING TO BE SAVED?
A. To be Saved: Believe, to Confess Faith, to Repent and
be Baptized? Acts 22:16
III. WHY ARE YOU WAITING TO GROW IN YOUR PERSONAL FAITH? Heb. 5:12-6:3
A. Time Gives Us Opportunities to Grow; We Must Seize the
IV. WHY ARE YOU WAITING TO BE A BETTER SPOUSE? 1 Pet. 3:1-7; Eph. 5:25, 28-29
V. WHY ARE YOU WAITING TO RENOUNCE SIN AND COME TO GOD FOR MERCY?
A. Must You "Bounce on the Bottom" before Coming to Yourself? Lk. 15:14-21; 2 Pet. 3:9
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
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Necessity Excludes Boasting
Scripture Reading: Galatians 6:11-15
1. Pride may display itself in boastful words and actions;
in self-righteous assurance of self and condemnation of others, Lk. 18:9-12.
I. WHAT IS BOASTING?
A. To Take Pride in Something; to Boast of that which Constitutes a Source of Pride, 2 Cor. 7:4; 8:24; 2 Thess. 1:4; Jas. 4:16.
II. BOASTING IN OURSELVES OR BOASTING IN GOD?
A. Justification by Works would Allow for Boasting, Rom. 4:1-4; Rom. 3:20, 23, 27; Eph. 2:9; Titus 3:4-5; Gal. 6:14.
III. PRINCIPLE: NECESSITY EXCLUDES BOASTING.
"Necessity is Laid on Me", 1 Cor. 9:16.
The Vatican announced Friday that Pope Francis has certified a second miracle they say was performed by Mother Teresa, thus paving the way for her canonization as a Catholic saint next year. The Vatican said the cure of a Brazilian man of a viral brain infection in 2008 was the result of intercessory prayers by the nun.
The good works of Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, are not in dispute. At her death in 1997 "her Calcutta, India-based Missionaries of Charity order had nearly 4,000 nuns and ran roughly 600 orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics around the world" ("Pope Francis approves miracle required to make Mother Teresa a saint", foxnews.com). What do the Scriptures say about the Catholic practice of canonizing saints?
1. The age of miracles has ended. “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away” (1 Cor. 13:10). Miracles revealed and confirmed the gospel message (Mk. 16:17-20). Their purposes have been accomplished; the gospel is certified complete.
2. Good works do not save a person and make that person a saint. "Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt. 7:22-23) Answering the call of the gospel is the only way to become a saint (Rom. 1:7, 16-17).
3. Every Christian is a saint. Christians are "sanctified in Christ Jesus" and are "saints by calling" (1 Cor. 1:2, NASB; cf. 1 Pet. 2:9-10). Christ calls every Christian to live separate from sin (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1).
4. The Catholic Church has no authority to make any person a saint. There is rich irony here: An apostate church declaring (non-biblical) "miracles" to make (non-biblical) "saints" to whom Catholics pray in non-biblical ways. Who gave it such authority? Men, not heaven (Matt. 21:23-25).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 12/20/2015
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA