En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Archive for June, 2008

A Strange Fire In Worship Services Today!

Posted by Scott on June 30, 2008

The church today, possibly the Emerging Church and even many that do not claim the emerging title to their name are using “strange fire” in their services and calling it “worship”.  I want to speak about this topic in this post on a very serious note.  Our churches today have lost the seriousness, holiness, purity, and worthiness in the worship of God with our church services today.

Psalm 29:2 “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.”

God is worth our time, our efforts, our best, our minds, our hearts, our bodies, and our all.  Today’s church has reduced this to something very strange that is called “worship”, but resembles that of a Saturday night program on the Las Vegas strip.  The church has so diluted “worship” that true worship seems strange to most people.  The “seekers” certainly do not know what true worship is, because in these Emerging or similar churches true “worship” has never existed.

If you are at all concerned about the about truly honoring God in “worth-ship” worship, then read on.

In Leviticus 10:3 “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is that the Lord spoke saying, ‘I will be sanctified in them that come near Me, and before all the people I will be glorified…then Aaron held his peace.'”

This was what Moses told Aaron after Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu were struck down by God in the temple.  Why did God strike the two upstanding young men to their death?  They entered the temple and worshiped with “strange fire”.  The sin these two committed according to all we find in scripture is that they offered upon the burning alter “strange fire”.  THe command was that the alter would burn constantly without going out…the same fire all the time.  Now, in Exodus 30:9 we see that they were forbidden from offering strange incense, but nothing concerning “strange fire”.  Could it have been the strange incense that created the strange fire?  The claim is they brought the proper incense to the fire, but the fire was not right.

God had never warned these two men nor can we find anything concerning this prior to this account.  God simply made His judgement known on the spot when the “strange fire” emerges from the temple.  What could this strange fire have been I have often wondered.  Is God this specific about worship towards Him that He will kill someone for worshipping Him in a wrong way?  Is this Old Testament account obsolete with the ushering in of the New Testament?  What does God think about the so called “worship” that goes on in many churches today?  What is true worship anyway?  Is God really this serious about how we worship Him?  If God an orderly God or does He just allow us the freedom to worship Him however we see fit?

God has told us here in the Old Testament that “I will be sanctified…”  The Greek form of this is “hallowed” which is “holy”.  He alone is to be worshiped.  He is to be worshiped correctly, not by any means we humans think we want to worship Him.  He is not immused by the entertainment styles of worship today.  He is not amused at all in the entertainment musicial worship of today’s churches.   So, how are we to worship as to not create this “strange fire” in the prescence of God Almighty?  We need to be very careful in our quest to be relevant in church services.  Creating worship services that are “user friendly” or “seeker friendly” is not biblical from what I can find.

“I will be sanctified.”  This means that God will have His people demean themselves and carry themselves so as to hold forth their acknowledgement of His holiness, so that by their  carriage God may appear to be a holy God.  If we are not willing to sanctify God with our worship, if we are not willing to make God’s name appear to be holy, and if we are holding back His glory due Him, then God says He will demean us and carry Himself towards us so that by His actions He will make it very clear what a holy God He really is.  God is not willing that we go through life living unholy lives while supposedly worshipping Him as well. 

I have heard it often put this way, “He will be glorified in our life or He will be glorified in our death..either way He will be glorified.”

God is sanctified by the holiness of His people in their actions and worship towards Him by holding forth the glory of God’s holiness.  Remember that the saints of God snactify the Lord in their hearts by fearing God as a holy God with reverence to Him as a holy God. 

God also sanctifies Himself in ways of judgement on those who do not want to sanctify His holiness or His name in holiness.  Read Ezekiel 28:22 as God speaks.  God wants His people to draw near to Him which is far better, but He will draw near to us as well in order for His sanctification to be fulfilled.

Now, dealing with worship in church these days we must realize that we are there to honor a most holy and righteous God.  We are not there to feel better!  We are not there to worship in whatever manner we fill we can!  We are not there to let loose and be ourselves!  When at worship we are there to lift up the holy name of God, Elohim and Adonai.  We are to approach the throne of God in holy reverence with the highest fearful respect that God requires and deserves.  God is not to be mocked, yet many thinking they are worshiping God are merely mocking the name of Christ with the entertaining games, rock n roll music, and flipent ways of worship.  Music is not exclusive to worship.

You can worship in praise music, you can certainly worship in hymns, you can worship with only the message of God presented by the pastor, you can worship simply in prayer.  Music is not the only act of worship.  This seems to be an issue with churches today as the music must take up an hour of the service, then leave about 15 minutes for a very surface topical message that does little to sustain the listener for more than a one hour lunch on Sunday. 

Something everyone needs to understand is that God killer two upstanding young men that were the sons of Aaron and Nephews of Moses for worshipping with a “Strange Fire”…what would we think if God treated those worshipping in the church today this way?  We have the Word of God to stand firm upon.  We do not have to wonder what direction we are to take.  We do not have to wonder what the truth is.  We can rest upon the truth that is found in the Holy Bible from our youth into eternity.

Be very careful presenting ourselves before God in holy worship to Him.  Although Aaron’s sons came with the right incense to present to God, but it was the strange fire that God was not accepted by God.  Worship is not to be altered to be more seeker friendly folks.  Worship is about God not the worshiper per say.  Worship is our expression of bringing holiness to the name of God because He is worthy.

Each week we can go to church to hear glorious music, sing glorious music, and hear a wonderful message.  Is it near the same “routine” each week?  That is perfectly fine.  There is nothing wrong with it being similiar week in and week out. 

Worship:

-Music

-Instruments

-Expository message each week

-Glorious Special music in service

-Focus on God not seekers or believers

Draw  near to God and He will draw near to you.  Worship in truth-worship in faith!

Scott Bailey 2008

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The Church is Still Being Built By God Himself!

Posted by Scott on June 25, 2008

DadsDevoted

by John MacArthur

The church is the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament Temple. I’m not referring to a church building, but the body of all true believers.

It is a spiritual building (1 Pet. 2:5), the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16), the place where God’s glory is most clearly manifest on earth, and the proper nucleus and focal point of spiritual life and worship for the community of the redeemed.

God Himself is the architect and builder of this temple. In Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul writes,

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the church in the eternal plan of God. The church is His building (1 Cor. 3:9). Moreover, He is the immutable, sovereign, omnipotent Lord of heaven. His Word cannot return void but always accomplishes what He says (Isa. 55:11). He is always faithful and cannot deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13). His sovereign purposes always comes to pass, and His will is always ultimately fulfilled (Isa. 46:10). His plan is invincible and unshakable, and He will bring to pass all that He has spoken (v. 11). And he has spoken about building the church in the most triumphant words.

For example, in Matthew 16:18 Christ said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” He who knows His sheep by name (John 10:3)—He who wrote their names down before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)—He personally guarantees that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church He is building.

“The gates of Hades” was a Jewish expression for death. Hades is the place of the dead, and the gates of Hades represent the portal into that place—death itself. Hades is also the domain of the devil. Hebrews 2:14 refers to Satan as the one “who had the power of death,” and verse 15 says he used that power to keep people in fear and bondage all their lives. But now Christ has broken that power, and liberated His people from Satan’s dominion—in essence, he has broken down the gates of Hades. And therefore even the power of death—the strongest weapon Satan wields—cannot prevent the ultimate triumph of the church He is building.

There’s still more significance to the imagery of “the gates of Hades.” Gates are a walled city’s most vital defensive safeguards. Christ’s words therefore portray the church militant, storming the very gates of hell, victoriously delivering people from the power of death. Thus Christ assures the triumph of the church’s evangelistic mission. He is building the church, and the work will not be thwarted.

Christ’s promise in this passage should not be misconstrued. He does not suggest that any particular church will be infallible. He does not teach that any of the bishops of the church will be error-free. He does not guarantee that this or that individual church will not apostatize. He does not promise success and prosperity to every congregation. But He does pledge that the church—that universal body of believers under Christ’s headship—the spouse, the body, and the fullness of him that filleth all in all—will have a visible being and a testimony in this world as long as the world itself lasts. And the all the enemies of truth combined shall never secure the defeat or destruction of the church.

Notice also that the church is a work in progress. Christ is still building His church. We are still being joined together (Eph. 2:21). The church is still under construction (v. 22). God is not finished yet. The imperfections and blemishes in the visible church are still being refined by the Master Builder.

And here’s something remarkable: The plan for the finished product is a blueprint that was drawn in eternity past.

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Ishmael Must Go!

Posted by Scott on June 21, 2008

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: Genesis 21:8-13

But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” (Genesis 21:12).

If Isaac represents the gladsome fullness of the fruit of the Spirit, then Ishmael represents some pet manifestation of our self-life in which we find comfort and delight and that we do not want to surrender. Some place value on what they have long suspected is not what God would have but that they were reluctant to give up. Perhaps it is some long-standing habit that we have been defending. There can be habits or values in our lives that are really some form of self-indulgence. God may allow them for a while, but the time comes when He says, “Now, these have to go.”

God says that Ishmael could never share in the inheritance with Isaac. This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6). When the time comes for us to stand before our Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, our lives will be classified into two areas: works of wood, hay, and straw, which are of the flesh; and those of gold, silver, and precious stones, which are of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The Lord says to us as he says to Abraham, “Ishmael must go.” If you refuse to expose, examine, and remove that which is born of the flesh, even though God has said that it hurts you and He has shown you the peace, joy, and love that is the fruit of the Spirit, then you must face this choice as Abraham did.

Dr. Barnhouse once wrote, “Early in my ministry, I had the idea that I must strike out against all error wherever I saw it… if error was in some fundamental leader with whom I was in 95% agreement, I swung hard at the 5%.” This made Dr. Barnhouse a highly controversial figure, often unmercifully sharp and dogmatic. This zeal for truth became an Ishmael in his life. Then he tells how there came a time when the Spirit of God taught him to love, and he faced the choice—Ishmael had to go. He had to learn to be more understanding and more tolerant of some of the variant views of others.

He wrote, “Some time ago, I published a New Year’s resolution expressing regret that I had had differences with men who are truly born again. The results of that resolution were astounding. In the years that followed its publication, my ministry has been transformed.” The closing years of his life show much of his mellowing and of the sweetness of the fruit of the Spirit in one who before had been so harsh, critical, and demanding.

I don’t know what form Ishmael may be taking in your life, but I know there are times when God says to us, simply, this must go. There can be no manifestation of the life of the Spirit any longer until this is dealt with. Abraham obeyed. Early in the morning, he got up and took bread and a skin of water and, though it cost him heartbreak to do it, sent Hagar and Ishmael out, so that he might have the fullness of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Lord, I ask that I would sincerely long to be a completely yielded vessel of Your joy and strength and peace. May I have the grace to cast out Ishmael and find the fullness and joy of Isaac.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “Ishmael must Go! “ for more on this portion of scripture.

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The Suffering of Christ and Sovereignty of God!

Posted by Scott on June 20, 2008

 


By John Piper October 9, 2005 


What I would like to do this final session is magnify Christ in his suffering. And in the process I would like to venture the ultimate biblical explanation for the existence of suffering. And I would like to do it in such a way that you and I would be freed from the paralyzing effects of discouragement and self-pity and fear and pride so that we would spend ourselves—able or disabled—to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things (including suffering) for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

The Ultimate Biblical Explanation for the Existence of Suffering

I believe the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. I might have said more simply that the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of God. That would be true. But the Bible is more specific. The glory of God shines most brightly, most fully, most beautifully in the manifestation of the glory of his grace. Therefore, this is the ultimate aim and the final explanation of all things—including suffering.

God decreed from all eternity to display the greatness of the glory of his grace for the enjoyment of his creatures, and he revealed to us that this is the ultimate aim and explanation of why there is sin and why there is suffering, and why there is a great suffering Savior. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came in the flesh to suffer and die and by that suffering and death to save undeserving sinners like you and me. This coming to suffer and die is the supreme manifestation of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. Or to say it a little differently, the death of Christ in supreme suffering is the highest, clearest, surest display of the glory of the grace of God. If that is true, then a stunning truth is revealed, namely, suffering is an essential part of the created universe in which the greatness of the glory of the grace of God can be most fully revealed. Suffering is an essential part of the tapestry of the universe so that the weaving of grace can be seen for what it really is.

Or to put it most simply and starkly: the ultimate reason that suffering exists in the universe is so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering. The suffering of the utterly innocent and infinitely holy Son of God in the place of utterly undeserving sinners to bring us to everlasting joy is the greatest display of the glory of God’s grace that ever was, or ever could be.

In conceiving a universe in which to display the glory of his grace, God did not choose plan b. This was the moment—Good Friday—for which everything in the universe was planned. There could be no greater display of the glory of the grace of God than what happened at Calvary. Everything leading to it and everything flowing from it is explained by it, including all the suffering in the world.

The Biblical Pathway That Leads to This Truth

Walk with me now, if you would, on the biblical pathway that has led me to this truth. To this point it just looks like high-sounding theology or philosophy. But it is far more than that. It is what the very words of Scripture clearly teach.

Revelation 13:8

Let’s begin with Revelation 13:8. John writes, “All who dwell on earth will worship [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” That is a good, careful, literal translation. This means that before the world was created there was a book called the “book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” The Lamb is Jesus Christ crucified. The book is the book of Jesus Christ crucified. Therefore, before God made the world he had in view Jesus Christ slain, and he had in view a people purchased by his blood written in the book. Therefore, the suffering of Jesus was not an afterthought, as though the work of creation did not go the way God planned. Before the foundation of the world God had a book called “the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” The slaying of the Lamb was in view before the work of creation began.

2 Timothy 1:9

Then consider 2 Timothy 1:9. Paul looks back into eternity before the ages began and says, “[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us [that is, he gave us this grace] in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” God gave us grace [undeserved favor—favor toward sinners, grace!] in Christ Jesus before the ages began. We had not yet been created. We had not yet existed so that we could sin. But God had already decreed that grace—an “in Christ” kind of grace, blood-bought grace, sin-overcoming grace—would come to us in Christ Jesus. All that before the creation of the world.

So there is a “book of life of the Lamb who was slain,” and there is “grace” flowing to undeserving sinners who are not yet created. And don’t miss the magnitude of that word “slain” (esphagmenou): “the Lamb who was slain.” It is used in the New Testament only by the apostle John, and means literally “slaughter.” So here we have suffering—the slaughter of the Son of God—in the mind and plan of God before the foundation of the world. The Lamb of God will suffer. He will be slaughtered. That’s the plan.

Why? I’ll give you the biblical text which tells the answer, but let me state it again: it’s because the aim of creation is the fullest, clearest, surest display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. And that display would be the slaughter of the best being in the universe for millions of undeserving sinners. The suffering and death of the Lamb of God in history is the best possible display of the glory of the grace of God. That is why God planned it before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1

Here’s the Biblical support, first from Ephesians 1 and then from Revelation 5. In Ephesians 1:4 Paul says, “[God] chose us in him [that is, in Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” The goal of the entire history of redemption is to bring about the praise of the glory of the grace of God.

But notice that twice in these verses Paul says that this plan happened “in Christ” or “through Christ” before the foundation of the world. He says in verse 4: God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world in order to bring about the praise of the glory of his grace. And he says in verse 5: God predestined our adoption through Christ before the foundation of the world to bring about the praise of the glory of his grace. What does it mean that “in Christ” we were chosen and that our adoption was to happen “through Christ”? We know that in Paul’s mind Christ suffered and died as a redeemer so that we might be adopted as children of God (Galatians 4:5). Our adoption could not happen apart from the death of Christ.

Therefore, what Paul means is that to choose us “in Christ” and to plan to adopt us “through Christ” was to plan the suffering and death of his Son before the foundation of the world. And verse 6 and 12 and 14 make plain that the goal of this plan was to bring about “the praise of the glory of the grace of God.” That is what God was aiming at. And that is why he planned the suffering and death of his Son for sinners before the creation of the world.

Revelation 5:9-12

Now consider the second biblical support for this from Revelation 5:9-12. Here the hosts of heaven are worshiping the Lamb precisely because he was slain—killed, slaughtered.

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” . . . Then I looked, and I heard around the throne . . . myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

The hosts of heaven focus their worship not simply on the Lamb, but on the “Lamb who was slain.” And they are still singing this song in Revelation 15:3. Therefore we can conclude that the centerpiece of worship in heaven for all eternity will be the display of the glory of the grace of God in the slaughtered Lamb. Angels and all the redeemed will sing of the suffering of the Lamb forever and ever. The suffering of the Son of God will never be forgotten. The greatest suffering that ever was will be at the center of our worship and our wonder forever and ever. This is not an afterthought of God. This is the plan from before the foundation of the world.

Everything else is subordinate to this plan. Everything else is put in place for the sake of this plan: the display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God in the suffering of the Beloved is the goal of the creation and the continuing of the universe.

The Mystery of God Ordaining But Not Doing Sin

Do you see what this implies about sin and suffering in the universe? According to this divine plan, God permits sin to enter the world. God ordains that what he hates will come to pass. It is not sinful in God to will that there be sin. We do not need to fathom this mystery. We may content ourselves by saying over the sin of Adam and Eve what Joseph said over the sin of his brothers, when they sold him into slavery: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

As for you, Adam and Eve, you meant evil against God as you rejected him as your Father and Treasure, but Oh what an infinite good he planned through your fall! The Seed of the woman will one day bruise the head of the great Serpent, and by his suffering he will display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. You have not undone his plan. Just as Joseph was sold sinfully into slavery, you have sold yourselves for an apple. You have fallen, and now the stage is set for the perfect display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God.

For not only did sin enter the world, but through sin came suffering and death. Paul tells us that God subjected the world to futility and corruption under his holy curse. He put it like this in Romans 8:20-23:

The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

When sin entered the world, horrible, horrible things followed. Diseases, defects, disabilities, natural catastrophes, human atrocities—from the youngest infant to the oldest codger, from the vilest scoundrel to the sweetest saint—suffering is no respecter of persons. That’s why Paul said in Romans 8:23, “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Ezekiel tells us that God does not delight in this suffering. “As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11). But the plan remains, and Jeremiah gives us a glimpse into the mysterious complexity of the mind of God in Lamentations 3:32-33, “Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.” Literally: “He does not from his heart [millibbô] afflict or grieve the children of men.” He ordains that suffering come—“though he cause grief”—but his delight is not in the suffering, but in the great purpose of creation: the display of the glory of the grace of God in the suffering of Christ for the salvation of sinners.

The stage has been set. The drama of redemptive history begins to unfold. Sin is now in its full and deadly force. Suffering and death are present and ready to consume the Son of God when he comes. All things are now in place for the greatest possible display of the glory of the grace of God.

Therefore, in the fullness of time God sent his Son into the world to suffer in the place of sinners. Every dimension of his saving work was accomplished by suffering. In the life and death of Jesus Christ, suffering finds its ultimate purpose and ultimate explanation: suffering exists so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering.

Everything—everything—that Christ accomplished for us sinners he accomplished by suffering. Everything that we will ever enjoy will come to us because of suffering.

The Display of the Glory of the Grace of God in the Achievements of Christ by His Suffering

Consider the display of the glory of the grace of God in the achievements of Christ by his suffering.

1. Christ absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf—and he did it by suffering.

Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” The wrath of God that should have caused our eternal suffering fell on Christ. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

2. Christ bore our sins and purchased our forgiveness—and he did it by suffering.

1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” Isaiah 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” The sins that should have crushed us under the weight of guilt were transferred to Christ. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

3. Christ provided a perfect righteousness for us that becomes ours in him—and he did it by suffering.

Philippians 2:7-8, “He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The obedience of Christ by which many are counted righteous (Romans 5:19) had to be an obedience unto death, even death on a cross. This is the glory of grace, and it would come only by suffering.

4. Christ defeated death—and he did it by suffering death.

Hebrews 2:14-15, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” “‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55). This is the glory of grace and it would come only by suffering.

5. He disarmed Satan—and he did it by suffering.

Colossians 2:14-15, “[The record of debts against us] he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” With the record of all our lawbreaking nailed to the cross and cancelled, the power of Satan to destroy us is broken. Satan has only one weapon that can damn to hell. Unforgiven sin. This weapon Christ stripped from Satan’s hand on the cross. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

6. Christ purchased perfect final healing for all his people—and he did it by suffering.

Isaiah 53:4, “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17). The Lamb was slaughtered and the Lamb was raised from the dead, and the Lamb together with the Father will wipe every tear from our eyes. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

7. Christ will bring us finally to God—and he will do it by his suffering.

1 Peter 3:18, “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. The ultimate achievement of the cross is not freedom from sickness but fellowship with God. This is what we were made for: seeing and savoring and showing the glory of God. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

The Ultimate Reason Why Suffering Exists

The ultimate purpose of the universe is to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. The highest, clearest, surest display of that glory is in the suffering of the best Person in the universe for millions of undeserving sinners. Therefore, the ultimate reason that suffering exists in the universe is so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering and bring about the praise of the glory of the grace of God.

O Christian, remember what Carl Ellis and David Powlison and Mark Talbot and Steve Saint and Joni Eareckson Tada said: they all, in their own way, said that whether we are able or disabled, enduring loss or delighting in friends, suffering pain or savoring pleasure, all of us who believe in Christ are immeasurably rich in him and have so much to live for. Don’t waste your life. Savor the riches that you have in Christ and spend yourself no matter the cost to spread your riches to this desperate world.


© Desiring God  By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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Great Reading List for Layman, Teacher, and Preachers!

Posted by Scott on June 19, 2008

APOLOGETICS

Stanley Jaki, The Savior of Science (Scottish Academic Press)

Philip Johnson, Darwin on Trial (IVP)

Philip Johnson, Objections Sustained (IVP)

Philip Johnson, Reason in the Balance (IVP)

Francis Schaeffer, Escape from Reason (IVP)

Michael J Wilkins and J.P. Moreland, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Zondervan)

 

Biography

Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore: The Life of

Adoniram Judson (Zondervan)

Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Abingdon)

Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 2 vols. (Banner of Truth)

Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth)

C.H. Spurgeon, Autobiography (Banner of Truth)

 

CATECHISMS

Tom Nettles, Teaching Truth, Training Hearts (Calvary)

John Piper, ed., A Baptist Catechism (Desiring God Ministries)

 

THE CHURCH

Jay Adams, Handbook on Church Discipline (Zondervan)

John Armstrong, ed., The Compromised Church (Crossway)

J.L. Dagg, Manual of Church Order

Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (booklet; Center for Church Reform)

Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (book; Crossway)

Mark Dever, ed., Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life (CCR)

Mark Dever, A Display of God’s Glory: Deacons, Elders, Membership, and Congregationalism (CCR)

John Piper, Elders (Desiring God Ministries)

Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines within the Church (Moody)

 

CHURCH HISTORY

Mark Dever, Richard Sibbes (Mercer)

Tom Dowley, ed., Handbook to Church History (Fortress)

Greg Wills, Democratic Religion (Oxford)

 

DATING

Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye (Multnomah)

Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl (Multnomah)

 

Devotional

Augustine, Confessions (Henry Chadwick translation, Oxford World Classics)

Horatius Bonar, Longing for Heaven (Christian Focus)

John Bunyan, Grace Abounding (Anchor)

John Bunyan, Holy War (Christian Focus)

John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress (Penguin)

D.A. Carson, For the Love of God, 2 vols. (Crossway)

Jonathan Edwards, Charity and its Fruits (Banner of Truth)

Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal (Crossway)

Jerry Marcellino, Rediscovering the Lost Jewel of Family Worship (Audobon Press)

J.I. Packer, Knowing God (IVP)

Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenwards (Calvary)

J.C. Ryle, Holiness (Baker)

C.H. Spurgeon, Faith’s Checkbook (Whitaker)

C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (thin ones; Christian Focus)

Donald S. Whitney, How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian? (Navpress)

Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Navpress)

 

DISCIPLESHIP

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (Harper & Row)

Elyse Fitzpatrick & Carol Cornish, Women Helping Women (Harvest House)

John Stott, Basic Christianity (Eerdmans)

 

EVANGELISM

Joseph Bayly, The Gospel Blimp (Lifejourney Books)

D.A. Carson, ed., Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns (Zondervan)

Jonathan Edwards, Works on Revival (including Distinguishing Marks) (Banner of Truth)

Val Grieve, Your Verdict on the Empty Tomb (Paternoster)

Patrick Johnstone, Operation World (Zondervan)

Will Metzger, Tell the Truth (IVP)

Iain Murray, The Invitation System (Banner of Truth)

Iain Murray, Revival and Revivalism (Banner of Truth)

J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (IVP)

Mack Stiles, Speaking of Jesus (IVP)

Christianity Explained (Narrowgate Press, UK)

 

MARRIAGE & DIVORCE

John Murray, Divorce (Presbyterian & Reformed)

 

PARENTING

Ted Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Shepherd Press)

 

Prayer

Arthur Bennett, ed., Valley of Vision (Banner of Truth)

D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (Baker)

Samuel Prime, The Power of Prayer (Banner of Truth)

 

STUDY TOOLS

Handbook to the Bible (Zondervan)

New Bible Commentary (IVP)

New Bible Dictionary (IVP)

Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Bold Love (Navpress)

Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Bold Purpose (Navpress)

D.A. Carson, Doug Moo, Leon Morris, Introduction to the New Testament (Zondervan)

Raymond Dillard and Tremper Longman, Introduction to the Old Testament (Zondervan)

Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth (Zondervan)

 

Suffering

D.A. Carson, How Long, O Lord? (Baker)

Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Banner of Truth)

 

Theology

Louis Berkhoff, Systematic Theology (Banner of Truth)

F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Eerdmans)

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Westminster/John Knox)

D.A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Crossway)

D.A. Carson, Love in Hard Places (Crossway)

D.A. Carson, Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility (Wipf and Stock)

J.L. Dagg, Manual of Theology (Gano/Sprinkle)

John Flavel, They Mystery of Providence (Banner of Truth)

Timothy George, The Theology of the Reformers (Broadman)

Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom (Paternoster)

Wayne Grudem and John Piper, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway)

Martin Hengel, Crucifixion (Fortress)

Carl F.H. Henry, Toward a Recovery of Christian Belief (Crossway)

Robert Letham, The Works of Christ

Fred Malone, A String of Pearls Unstrung (Founders)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression (Eerdmans)

Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Westminster/John Knox, or SCM

Leon Morris, The Atonement (IVP)

John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Banner of Truth)

Tom Nettles, By His Grace and For His Glory (Founders)

J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness (Crossway)

J.I. Packer, Fundamentalism and the Word of God (Eerdmans)

J.I. Packer, God Has Spoken: Revelation and the Bible (Baker)

A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Baker)

John Piper, Future Grace (Multnomah)

John Piper, God’s Passion for His Glory (Crossway)

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad (Baker)

John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Multnomah)

John Piper, TULIP: What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism (Desiring God Ministries)

Ernest Reisinger, What Should We Think of the Carnal Christian? (Banner of Truth)

Thomas Scott, The Articles of the Synod of Dort (Sprinkle)

B.B. Warfield, The Plan of Salvation (Simpson)

David Wells, The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church (Banner of Truth)

David Wells, God in the Wasteland (Eerdmans)

David Wells, Losing our Virtue (Eerdmans)

David Wells, No Place for Truth (Eerdmans)

John Wenham, Christ and the Bible (Baker)

George Whitefield, Selected Sermons (Banner of Truth)

 

WORSHIP

Most Hymnals

Horton Davies, Worship of the American Puritans (Soli Deo Gloria)

Michael Horton, In the Face of God (Word)

Leonard Payton, Reforming Our Worship Music (Crossway)

David Petersen, Engaging with God (Eerdmans)

 

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Comparison of Christianity and Islam!

Posted by Scott on June 19, 2008

Click for Gospel Way home page Free online Bible study lessons and coursesFree studies of Bible inspiration and religious authorityFree Bible answers to questions about the church and worshipBible doctrine of creation vs. theistic and organic evolutionBible Teaching on Morals & Ethical IssuesFree gospel studies of salvation and forgiveness of sins by the sacrifice & death of Jesus ChristDenominations, Religions, and Bible TeachingIn-depth Bible instruction about Christianity, the Christian religion, theology, and doctrineFree brief Bible study articles about salvation, morality, and religion

 

Islam or Christianity? Jesus or Mohammed? Bible or Koran?

Islam or Christianity?
Jesus or Mohammed? Christian Gospel or Muslim Koran?

Islam, Mohammed, and the Koran compared to Jesus Christ, the Bible, and Christianity. A study of Moslem teaching compared to the gospel. What should a Christian believe?

The religion of Islam claims that Mohammed was as great a prophet as Jesus Christ, that the Koran succeeded the New Testament, and that Muslim (Moslem) teachings should be followed instead of Christianity. In this study we compare the evidence for Islam to the evidence for Jesus as revealed in the Bible: fulfilled prophecy, miracles, and the resurrection. Was Jesus the Divine Son of God crucified to save us from our sins, or is there just one individual Being in God (Allah)?

Introduction:

The purpose of this study is to examine the beliefs of Islam and the teaching of Mohammed in the Koran, comparing these to the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Brief Summary of Islam

“Islam” is the proper term for the religion revealed by Mohammed in Arabia in the early 600’s. “Islam” means “submission” (to the will of God). Adherents are called Muslims (“one who submits”) (often one sees the word as “Moslem”). Arabians are descendants of Ishmael, so Islam claims to be a renewal of the ancient religion of Abraham traced through Ishmael.

Mohammed was born in Mecca, Arabia, about 570 AD. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised by his grandfather and then his uncle. His family was aristocratic and influential. He grew up in times of religious and political confusion and uncertainty. At age 25 he married a wealthy 40-year-old widow named Khadijah.

At age 40 he began claiming to receive dreams and revelations, but was unsure of their source. He quoted these revelations to others who wrote them down. His wife convinced him these were messages from God, as Muslims today believe. But non-Muslims believe he developed such a deep religious fervor, out of concern for the needs of the people, that he began having dreams about religion and attributed them to God.

Rejected at first by the people of Mecca, he fled to Medina where he became a religious and political leader. By a series of violent battles he obtained income and converted people to Islam. Eventually he returned to Mecca and captured it by force.

When he died at age 63-65, a power struggle developed regarding who should succeed him. Several sects resulted, the major two being Sunni Muslims and Shi-ite Muslims. We will mainly consider Sunni Muslims (by far the larger group), though many of the same points would apply to other forms of Islam. Nevertheless, we should remember that there are wide variations among Muslims, just as there are among those claiming to be Christians.

Relationship of Islam to Judaism and The Gospel of Christ

Islam claims to believe in the same God as Jews and Christians, the God of Abraham, revealed in the Old Testament. Muslims generally claim that “Allah” is just their name for the God of the Bible. Significant differences exist, however, regarding how the religions view Jesus Christ. 

All three religions began from the work of major individual prophets. Jews’ beliefs were revealed by Moses, Christians’ by Jesus, and Muslims’ by Mohammed. Islam recognizes both Moses and Jesus as prophets (along with other Bible prophets), but it claims that Mohammed is the last of the prophets and his revelation supercedes those of Moses and Jesus.

All are based on written revelations claimed to be infallibly inspired by God. The Jews accept only the Old Testament, Christians also accept the New Testament, and Muslims accept the Koran (they also have great respect for Muslim traditions). Just as Christians believe the Old Testament was inspired but was replaced by the New Testament, so Muslims believe the Old and New Testaments were inspired but were both replaced by the Koran.

For these reasons many similarities exist among Judaism, the gospel, and Islam. Yet we will see that essential differences also exist.

Note – In this study we have mainly relied on the following sources about Islam:

The Koran (page numbers refer to the printing I own)
Encyclopedia Britannica (abbreviated EB), articles on “Islam,” “Mohammed,” and “Koran.”
World’s Religions (abbr. WR), article by Norman Anderson.
Christian’s Response to Islam, (abbr. CRI), William Miller.

Also other miscellaneous sources as noted.

(Note: This study refers several times to a lesson about “Evidences,” which summarizes the evidence for God, Jesus, and the Bible. It can be accessed from our website at www.gospelway.com/instruct/.)


Part I: Basic Doctrines


Since Islam claims to accept the Old and New Testaments, if its doctrines are true then they ought to harmonize with the Bible. So let us examine some basic doctrines of Islam and compare them to the Bible.


I. The Doctrine of God


Islam correctly opposes idolatry and teaches that there is only one God. But more is needed (James 2:19). So consider further:

A. Islam Says Jesus Is Not Divine.

Mohammed taught there is only one Divine Being in God. He denied the Deity of Jesus, saying He was just a man – a great prophet, but not the Divine Son of God. (Koran, 4:160-171 – pp60,61; 6:90-100 – pp77,78; 9:130; 19:135 – p168)

The Bible says Jesus is Divine.

John 1:1,14 – Jesus (the Word) was God, was with God in the beginning, and became flesh to dwell among men a man.

Colossians 2:9 – In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

John 20:28,29 – Thomas called Jesus “my Lord and my God.” Jesus pronounced a blessing on all others who believe the same (cf. vv 30,31).

How can Muslims deny these teachings and yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was a prophet?

[Phil. 2:6-8; Heb. 1:8,9; Tit. 2:13; Isa. 9:6; John 8:58; 5:23]

The Bible says Jesus is the Only-Begotten Son of God.

Matthew 16:13-17 – During His lifetime many people believed what Muslims today believe: that Jesus was a great prophet like other prophets. But Peter confessed that Jesus was not just a man but was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus Himself affirmed that Peter’s statement had been revealed by God.

John 10:35 – Jesus plainly admitted that He had said, “I am the Son of God.”

Matthew 17:5; 3:17 – Twice God spoke from heaven and claimed Jesus as His beloved Son. Bible writers claimed to be eyewitnesses that these things were true (2 Peter 1:16-18).

Romans 1:4 – The resurrection declared Jesus to be the Son of God.

To believe that Jesus was just a great man and a prophet is to belittle Him and to deny His own statements. To believe some other man was as great as Jesus is to blaspheme Him. If Jesus spoke the truth, then He was more than a prophet.

Muslims must either admit that Jesus was the Divine Son of God, or else they must admit they do not believe that Jesus and the Bible are true.

[John 3:16; 1:14; 3:18; 1 John 4:9; Colossians 1:15,18; Eph. 1:19-22; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28]

The Bible says Jesus has Divine characteristics.

He was eternal – Micah 5:2 [Isa. 9:6]

He was all-knowing – John 16:30; 21:17

He was all-powerful over created things – Matt. 28:18; Rev. 19:16; 17:14; Acts 10:36; Rom. 10:12; John 3:31; Rom. 9:5.

How could these characteristics be possessed by a mere man? Are these things true of Mohammed? If not, then how could he be as great as Jesus?

The Bible says Jesus is the Creator of the universe and the Judge of mankind.

John 1:3 – All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. [Heb. 1:2; Col. 1:16,17]

John 5:22,23 – The Father has committed all judgment to the Son.

2 Corinthians 5:10 – Jesus will be our judge; we must all appear before Him. Jesus will be Mohammed’s judge! How can Mohammed be as great? [Acts 17:31; Matt. 25:31ff]

What mere human prophet could create the universe or judge all mankind? Mohammed makes no such claims. These are the claims of a Divine Being. How can Muslims deny these teachings and yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was a prophet?

The Bible says Jesus accepted worship.

Jesus taught that no one but God should be worshipped (Matt. 4:10). Both men and angels in the New Testament refused to allow people to bow in worship to them (Acts 10:25,26; Rev. 22:8,9).

Matthew 28:9,17; Hebrews 1:6 – However, Jesus’ disciples worshipped Him, and angels are commanded by God to worship Him. [Cf. Rev. 5:12-14; Luke 24:52]

Jesus accepted worship such as was forbidden to man. How can Islam believe the Bible and believe Jesus was from God, while denying that He deserved worship? When they claim that Jesus was just a human prophet and that Mohammed was as great a prophet as Jesus, the Scripture says they are unbelievers (John 20:30,31; 8:24; Mark 16:16).

Islam is like a man who views a building from a great distance. He can tell there is only one building, but a closer view would reveal that it has three stories. So Islam correctly affirms there is only one God, but the greater revelation of New Testament shows that this one God consists of three separate and distinct individual spirit Beings.

(Note carefully:  Further evidence can be obtained about the claims of Jesus, the evidence that those claims are true, and the number of individuals in the Godhead from the links at the end of this study.)

B. Islam Says Men Cannot Conceive What God Is Like because He Has Not Revealed Himself.

Of course we cannot grasp fully the infinite nature of God, but Islam says it is impossible to have even a general concept of God’s character [WR-115; CRI-44,74]. But the Bible says:

John 1:18 – Though man has not seen God, Jesus knows Him and has declared Him.

John 14:9,10 – We can know what the Father is like because Jesus and His Father are perfectly united. To know what Jesus is like is to know what the Father is like.

Hebrews 1:3 – Jesus is the express image of the substance of His Father. [Col. 1:15; Matt. 11:27]

The fuller knowledge of God, which Islam lacks, is found in the revelation given by Jesus Christ.

Although Islam teaches there is one God, it still teaches error about God, for it denies the Deity of Jesus and ignores the Bible revelation of God’s nature. How can Muslims deny these teachings and yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was a prophet?


II. The Doctrine of Revelation


Mohammed said the New Testament and Jesus were from God, but his own teachings were better and replaced the New Testament. However, note the claims of the New Testament regarding itself.

A. The New Testament Is a Complete Revelation of All God’s Will.

John 16:13 – Jesus promised His apostles would receive all truth. Any teaching that a man claims to reveal from God, if it is not in the New Testament, it is not a part of God’s truth. [John 14:26]

2 Peter 1:3 – God’s power has granted all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus. What is left for Mohammed to provide?

James 1:25 – The gospel is the perfect law of liberty.

The teachings of Islam claim to be superior to the gospel. But how can one improve on that which is perfect and which contains all truth and all things pertaining to life and godliness. [Acts 20:20,27; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Matt. 28:18-20]

B. The New Testament Universally Meets the Needs of All Men.

The gospel provides what all men of all ages need in order to have a proper relationship to God.

Mark 16:15 – It is to be preached to everyone in all the world. [Matthew 28:19]

Romans 1:16 – It is God’s power to save everyone who believes, Jew on non-Jew.

The gospel of Christ is sufficient to give all men eternal life (John 20:30,31; Acts 2:39; 10:34f). No man in any future age will need any further revelation than the gospel. What more could Mohammed provide?

C. The New Testament Is God’s Final Revelation to Man.

The Old Testament predicted that another testament would replace it (Jer. 31:31-34). This promise was fulfilled in the New Testament. However, the New Testament does not, in turn, predict that it will be replaced by the teachings of Mohammed or any other Divine revelation. Instead it teaches that it is itself the final revelation. [Heb. 13:20f; 7:11-28; 8:6-13; 12:18-29]

1 Corinthians 13:8-11

This passage discusses spiritual gifts, which were the means by which prophets received revelation (cf. chap. 12). It says these gifts, including prophecy, would cease when “that which is perfect is come.” They would cease because they were “in part” – incomplete and imperfect.

Note: “That which is perfect” is contrasted to the spiritual gifts, which were “in part.” “That which is perfect” refers to something that completes or perfects what was incomplete or imperfect about spiritual gifts.

In what way were the gifts (including prophecy) “in part”? The only Scriptural answer is that, at the time Paul wrote, the gifts had only partially accomplished their purpose. They had been given in order to reveal or deliver the will of God. But that delivery was not yet complete when Paul wrote – the will of God had not all been revealed and recorded.

“That which is perfect,” therefore, must be the completion of that which was lacking in the spiritual gifts: it must be the completed revelation of truth. When the process of revelation was complete and all truth had been completely delivered and recorded in writing, then the gifts of prophecy would no longer be needed and so they would cease. But we have already shown that this happened during the lifetime of the original apostles (see above and note the “perfect law of liberty – Jas. 1:25).

The gift of prophecy was needed in an age when people did not yet have the complete written word to guide them. When the word was completely recorded by Jesus’ apostles and prophets, then prophecy would have completed it purpose and so would cease. By the time Mohammed lived, the gift of prophecy was no longer needed and had long since ceased.

Jude 3

The faith was “once for all delivered to the saints” (NKJV). “Once” is “used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition” (Thayer). The same Greek word describes Jesus’ death in Heb. 9:26,28; 10:10; 7:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:18, which teach that Jesus’ death will not be repeated.

Old Testament sacrifices did not completely remove sins, so they had to be repeated. But the death of Jesus was perfect and sufficient to completely remove all sin for all men of all ages; so it happened only “once.” There was no repetition.

Likewise, the true faith was delivered only “once.” The gift of prophecy was needed as long as God’s perfect testament had not been perfectly and completely revealed. But that perfect testament was completely delivered to men in the first century. It does not need to be delivered again, so it never will be delivered again. Therefore, the spiritual gifts by which it was delivered have ceased.

Everything Jesus did was perfect. He not only gave us a perfect sacrifice for sin, He also gave us the perfect New Testament to tell us how to receive forgiveness (Heb. 1:1,2; Jas. 1:25). Neither His sacrifice nor the revelation of His will can ever be repeated or improved.

To claim that Mohammed or any other man received later revelations or a better revelation is to deny the perfection of the New Testament.

Galatians 1:8,9

Having completely revealed His will in the first century, God preserved it for all future generations (1 Pet. 1:23-25; 3 John 2; Matt. 24:35; John 12:48). God’s word here says that if any man preaches a different gospel, he stands under the curse of God.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a perfect and complete revelation, given by God to guide all people until the end of time. So God forbids anyone to teach a different religious doctrine. (Matthew 15:9,13; 2 John 9-11; Colossians 3:17; Revelation 22:18,19; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:13)

Men have always wanted to change God’s will, hoping they could improve it or make it more suitable to themselves. Men who attempt this have often claimed to be prophets from God, but God has always warned us to beware of false prophets and resist them (1 John 4:1; Matt. 7:15ff; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; etc.).

So we have evidence that God authorized the New Testament to replace the Old Testament, but we have no such evidence that God authorized the teachings of Mohammed to replace the New Testament. Since Mohammed’s revelation is different from the gospel, the above passages show that we must resist his message, for the curse of God is on it.


III. The Doctrine of Salvation


A. Islam Denies the Sacrificial Death of Jesus and His Resurrection.

Islam denies that Jesus was crucified, that He died as a sacrifice for sin, and that He arose from the dead. (Koran 4:156 – p60)

The Bible teaches Jesus did die by crucifixion as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

Matthew 20:17-19 – Jesus predicted He would be crucified, then rise again.

Matthew 26:28 – He claimed that He would shed His blood for the remission of man’s sins. [20:28]

John 19:31-35 – John claimed to be an eyewitness to Jesus’ crucifixion. [Acts 2:23]

Ephesians 1:7 – Redemption and forgiveness are through His blood.

1 Peter 2:24 – He bore our sins in His body on the tree.

Hebrews 2:9 – He tasted of death for every man.

If Islam denies these statements from Jesus and the Bible, how can it yet claim to believe the Bible is from God and Jesus was a true teacher?

[Mark 8:31; Matt. 16:21; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:18f; Isa. 53:5-9; 1 Cor. 15:3; John 1:29; Heb. chap. 9:24-28; 10:9-13; 13:20f; Rom. 5:6-11; 2 Cor. 5:14,15]

The Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead, as proved by the testimony of eyewitnesses.

Matthew 20:17-19 – Jesus predicted He would be crucified and then rise again. [Matt. 16:21]

Luke 24:44-46 – Jesus taught that His death and resurrection was a fulfillment of prophecy.

Romans 1:4 – Jesus is declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 – He died for our sins, was buried, and arose as prophesied and as testified by eyewitnesses who saw Him alive.

The resurrection of Jesus is absolutely fundamental to the claims of Jesus and the gospel. The apostles repeatedly affirmed it to be true on the basis of eyewitness testimony. This is proof such as neither Islam nor any other religion can offer.

[Romans 10:9,10; 6:4-13; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:1-26; John 20:24-31; Acts 2:23-36; 17:30,31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Peter 1:3,4; 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Ephesians 1:19,20; Colossians 2:12,13]

The Bible teaches that salvation can be obtained only through Jesus.

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

We can only be saved through Jesus, no other way. Islam denies salvation through Jesus. Therefore, Islam cannot save and Muslims have no way to be saved.

The Old Testament had animal sacrifices. The New Testament has the superior, perfect sacrifice of Jesus. But, Islam has no sacrifice for sin at all. Without a sacrifice for sin, there can be no remission (Heb. 9:22). It follows that Islam not only is not a superior system, but it cannot save at all.

B. Islam Teaches Salvation by Law-Keeping without Sacrifice.

Islam offers only a vague concept of how man is saved. Evil is balanced against good, and if good outweighs, a person might be saved. Outward obedience is emphasized, not faith, love, or the condition of ones heart. [CRI-81f,84f]

The Bible teaches that all have sinned, and even one sin leads to eternal punishment.

Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

James 2:10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

This is why we need a sacrifice. No matter how much good we have done, it can never outweigh the evil of our sin.

Islam’s approach to righteousness is even less effective than that of the Old Testament.

Galatians 3:10 – Under the Old Testament, anyone who disobeyed in any point was under a curse.

Galatians 5:1,4 – The law was a yoke of bondage in which we should not again be entangled. To seek justification by the law is to fall from grace.

The law itself provided justification only for those who lived without ever sinning, and no one did that (except Jesus). This is why God replaced the Old Testament with the New. But Islam, like the Old Testament, is a system of strict law keeping. Islam does not even have the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.

So Islam claims to be better than the New Testament, when in reality it is worse than the Old Testament! To accept it is to return to a yoke of bondage, having no hope for salvation.

[Romans 3:20; Gal. 2:16; Heb. 8:6-13; 10:1-18; Acts 15:10]


Part II: Mohammed vs. Jesus


Since Islam claims that Mohammed is a prophet like Jesus, but his revelation replaces Jesus’ gospel, let us compare their character, claims, and proofs.


I. Claims


A. Islam

Muslims claim that Mohammed was the last of the prophets and his revelation replaced that of Jesus. Islam claims that the exact words of the Koran were given to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel, and therefore the Koran is verbally inspired. [CRI-46-50,33; WR-99]

Islam claims Jesus was a great prophet, but not Divine and not the unique Son of God. It admits Jesus did miracles, but denies He died as a substitutionary sacrifice to save people from their sins or that He arose from the dead. (Koran, 4:160,169; 6:90) [WR-100f; CRI-49,77]

B. The Gospel

We earlier studied passages where the gospel claims Jesus was more than a prophet: He was in fact the Divine Son of God who died to save men from their sins and then arose from the dead. The gospel of Jesus offers eyewitness testimony as proof.

Note that, whereas Mohammed made the general claim to as great as Jesus, the actual specific claims of Jesus were greater than any Mohammed ever made.

Furthermore, if Jesus really made these claims, then Islam must be untrue. If Jesus’ claims are true, then Mohammed cannot be as great as Jesus, as he claimed. On the other hand, if Jesus’ claims are false, then Islam is still untrue, since it claimed that Jesus was a true prophet. Either way, if Jesus made these claims, Islam is untrue.

Islam, therefore, denies Jesus ever made these claims. We have cited passages where He made the claims, but Islam denies those passages are genuine. So we must consider whether or not the Bible is an accurate record. And we must compare the evidence for Mohammed’s claims to the evidence Jesus’ claims. Anyone can make claims. What proof is there?


II. Character


A. Jesus

The New Testament repeatedly claims Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; etc.).

Muslims generally admit Jesus never sinned. The Koran nowhere claims that He sinned. [CRI-47ff].

So we have complete agreement that Jesus was a person of pure morals, wisdom, courage, love, and every other quality of goodness.

B. Mohammed

Many Muslims claim that Mohammed also never sinned. But compare his life to Jesus’ life:

Broken treaties

While ruling in Medina, Mohammed made a treaty not to attack Mecca for ten years. He then attacked them the very next year. [CRI-33f]

Violence and assassination

Mohammed used violence, including assassination, to defeat and convert men to Islam [WR-98; EB, XV-648]. Jesus converted people by teaching, persuasion, and example. He never used force, nor would He allow His disciples to use force, even when His enemies attacked Him.

Polygamy

Mohammed had 12 wives and 2 concubines at the time of his death. [CRI-32]

Revelations for personal convenience and benefit

* Mohammed revealed that men could have plural wives, but not more than four at a time (Koran 4 – p48). However, a special revelation said that he himself could have more than 4 wives. He had 12 when he died. (Koran 33:50,51 – p228)

* He revealed that no man could marry his own daughter-in-law. Then a special revelation allowed him to take the wife of his adopted son. (Koran 33:37 – p227)

* Arabs once starved him, because they opposed his teaching against idolatry. He then received a “revelation” condoning idolatry. As soon as they released him, he reversed the revelation and again said idolatry was wrong. [EB, XV-647]

Mohammed himself never claimed to be sinless.

In fact he admitted he and other prophets committed sin. But he never claimed that Jesus sinned. [CRI-26,50; WR-99]

So, whereas Christians and Muslims agree Jesus was sinless, there is much reason to doubt Mohammed’s sinlessness. Based on their character then, who was greater: Mohammed or Jesus?


III. Fulfilled Prophecy


Jesus unquestionably fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, and He Himself accurately predicted future events (see study on evidences). What about Mohammed?

A. Islam Claims that the Bible Was Changed to Eliminate Prophecies of Mohammed.

Some prophecies, that Muslims claim refer to Mohammed, were actually fulfilled in Jesus. But Muslims claim that Mohammed fulfilled other prophecies, but Jews and Christians changed their own Scriptures to remove these prophecies and destroy the evidence. [CRI-27,49f,70f,78; WR-101]

For example John 16:7 predicts the coming of the “Comforter.” Muslims claim this originally used the word “praised,” which is the meaning of Mohammed. But to cover it up, the Scriptures were changed. [CRI-78; WR-101]

But where is the proof of these changes in the Bible? As noted earlier, Muslims also argue that the Bible was changed to make it appear that Jesus was the Son of God, that he died for our sins and arose from the dead, etc. Where is the proof of these changes? There is none. However, there is much proof for the accuracy of the Bible.

The claims of Islam would require wholesale changes in the Scriptures.

As cited earlier, numerous Scriptures claim Jesus was the Son of God, etc. If the Bible did not originally teach this but did prophesy of Mohammed, then wholesale changes must have been made.

For example, the context of John 16:7 plainly states that the “Comforter” is the Holy Spirit (John 14:16f, 26; and 15:26). If this originally referred to Mohammed, major changes must have been made in the text.

The same is true for the many other teachings we have listed on which the Bible contradicts Islam.

The Bible promises that God would preserve His word forever.

1 Peter 1:23-25 – God’s word is incorruptible seed that will live and abide forever. It will not be like grass that grows and then fades. [Isaiah 40:8]

2 John 2 – The truth will be with us forever.

Muslims say that God failed to keep these promises, but He allowed the Bible message to become thoroughly corrupted. [Matt. 24:35]

Interestingly, the Koran contains similar promises that God would preserve it from corruption (15:9 p141). If Muslims believe God preserved the Koran without corruption, why would He not do the same for the Bible, which they also agree is from God?

Further, the Koran claims to confirm the Scripture that Jews and Christians had (2:89 – p18). Since the Bible we have today is the same as existed in Mohammed’s day, did the Koran confirm that which was corrupted?

The Bible repeatedly rebukes those who change its message.

Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Galatians 1:8,9; Revelation 22:18,19 and many other passages condemn changing the Scriptures. If Jews and Christians changed their Scriptures, as Muslims claim they did, then they knowingly and repeatedly violated these passages in their own Scriptures.

Rather, because of these warnings, both Jews and Christians have shown great care in making copies of their Scriptures through the centuries. Work was checked repeatedly, counting numbers of words and letters on each page, and proofreading each page to make sure no changes occurred.

The result is that many ancient manuscripts verify the accuracy of the Bible as we have it today.

* Several copies of the New and Old Testaments date before the time of Mohammed.

* Some translations of the Scriptures date long before the time of Mohammed.

* Scriptural quotations exist in the writings of many men who lived long before Mohammed.

If the claims of Islam are true, then all these writings should read as Islam claims that they originally read. But instead, all these ancient sources read just like modern copies of the Scriptures. There is no evidence of any kind that changes were made after Mohammed lived.

How could it be that all the copies of the Scriptures that existed in Mohammed’s time were found and changed, all at the same time and all in the same way, just to disprove Islam? Why can’t Muslims produce some manuscripts that still contain the passages Islam says existed? Why didn’t ancient Muslims find some of these manuscripts and save them? Why is it that we have so much evidence of the ancient content of the Bible, and none of the evidence agrees with Islam?

If the Jews changed their Scriptures to eliminate prophecies of Mohammed, why did they not do the same with the prophecies of Jesus?

Old Testament prophecy is one of the strongest proofs of Jesus’ identity. Christians do not have to claim that these prophecies once existed but were removed. They are all right there in the Old Testament!

Jesus and His apostles respected and used the Jews’ Old Testament Scriptures. They claimed the Scriptures were from God and quoted them just as they were. To prove their case, they never needed to claim that parts of the Scriptures were changed.

Why can’t Muslims do the same? What motive would Jews have for removing the prophecies of Mohammed but not the ones of Jesus?

The fact remains that Christians have proof of hundreds of prophecies in the Jews’ Old Testament as it exists now that Jesus fulfilled. Yet Muslims can find no prophecies fulfilled by Mohammed anywhere in the Bible. They claim Mohammed is as great as Jesus. Why then do they not have evidence as great as what we have for Jesus?

(For further discussion of the accuracy of the preservation of the Bible, see a link to our article on that subject at the end of this study.)

B. There Is No Evidence Mohammed Could Predict the Future.

Unquestionably Jesus accurately predicted the future. Even Islam admits Jesus was a prophet. The ability to predict the future is one proof of a prophet. Yet Mohammed rarely attempted to predict the future, and when he did he failed.

Mohammed once predicted there would be 73 sects of Islam, of which only one would survive. But Muslims admit there have been far more than 73. And today many sects, not just one, still survive. [EB, XII-711]

Deuteronomy 18:21f – When a man predicts the future and the prediction fails, he is not from God, so do not be afraid of him.

Islam claims that Mohammed is a prophet like Moses and Jesus. Both Moses and Jesus made prophecies, all of them came true, none failed. Mohammed made few prophecies, yet even so at least one of them failed. How then can Mohammed be a prophet like Moses and Jesus?


IV. Miracles


A. Many Eyewitnesses Testify that Jesus Did Miracles.

The Bible records many testimonies from people who saw His miracles (see study on evidences).

Even Jesus’ enemies and opponents during His lifetime admitted He did miracles.

The Koran confirms that Jesus did miracles (2:250, p31).

So, there can be no doubt that Jesus did miracles. But remember that the purpose of His miracles was to confirm that all His claims are true.

B. What Evidence Is There that Mohammed Worked Miracles?

No eyewitnesses testify seeing Mohammed do miracles.

Usually, there are no serious claims that Mohammed did miracles to confirm his message. When people do make such claims, they base them, not on eyewitness testimony, but on tradition or fables written years after the alleged events.

For example, one night Mohammed was allegedly carried to Jerusalem and from there ascended into heaven to see wonderful visions. However, no one saw it happen. His wife says he never left the bed. [CRI-24]

There is absolutely no eyewitness testimony to confirm any miracles done by Mohammed.

Muslims commonly claim that the writing of the Koran is a miracle.

We will see later that it is entirely possible for someone to write such a book by human wisdom.

Nevertheless, this is an invalid use of miracles. True miracles are events, in addition to the delivery of a revelation, done for the purpose of confirming the revelation to be from God (see references under evidences). While we should examine the revelation itself for evidence, that is a separate argument from miracles.

When one claims that the revelation itself is a miracle to confirm the revelation, he proves that he does not understand the purpose of miracles.

Others claim the rapid growth of Islam is a miracle.

Islam did grow very rapidly, but much of it came by military conquest. If that proves Islam is from God, then consider the military conquests of Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler, and Nebuchadnezzar? Do the military conquests of these men confirm that their religious beliefs were revealed from God?

Islam claims to believe in Moses and the Old Testament and in Jesus and the gospel. We have overwhelming evidence that Moses and Jesus did miracles to confirm the Divine origin of their revelations – evidence so clear even their enemies and Muslims admit the miracles. If Mohammed’s teachings replace Moses’ and Jesus’ teachings, then Mohammed must also have done miracles like Moses and Jesus did. But Mohammed’s evidence is insignificant compared to that of Moses and Jesus. How then can Mohammed be a prophet like Moses and Jesus?


V. Resurrection from the Dead


A. Jesus’ Resurrection Is the Greatest Miracle of All.

Many eyewitnesses testify to Jesus’ resurrection (see article on evidences). Muslims admit Jesus did other miracles, but deny He arose. Yet the evidence for the resurrection is far more abundant and convincing than the evidence for any other miracle He did.

This evidence is recorded in many ancient copies of the Scriptures written before Mohammed’s time. There is no evidence whatever that these records were corrupted in later years. Yet Muslims, who came some 600 years after Jesus, deny the eyewitness testimony.

B. Muslims Do Not Even Claim Mohammed Arose from the Dead.

Muslims hope someday they and Mohammed will be raised from the dead, but their hope is based on the teaching of a man still in His grave. The Christian hope is based on the example of one who arose to prove that we will all be raised. Muslims try to discredit the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, but that evidence is far more conclusive than any evidence that Mohammed did any miracles. How then can Mohammed be a prophet as great as Jesus?


VI. Unity of Scripture


A proof of the Bible is the unity of its teaching. Though some 40 different men penned its various books, yet these writings are completely harmonious with no contradictions. This is evidence that it is all the product of the mind of God, just like it claims.

There are no conflicts in history or geography between the Old and New Testaments. Gospel writers often use Old Testament prophecy and teaching to confirm that the New Testament fulfilled the Old.

A. Mohammed’s Teaching Often Contradicts with the Bible.

We might expect some difference in doctrine, since Muslims claim the Koran replaced the gospel. But there should be no conflict of history or eternal principles. Note some examples: [CRI-48; WR-95; EB, XIII-483]

* Mohammed said Jesus’ death was not a crucifixion, He did not die as a sacrifice for the sins of others, and He did not rise from the dead (4:157-159). The Bible teaches all these as fact (see above).

* Mohammed said Jesus was not Divine and not the Son of God (9:130; 19:135 – p168; 6:100 – p 78; 4:171 – p61), but the Bible teaches that He was (see above).

* Mohammed thought Christians believe that the Godhead consists of the Father, Son, and Mary, whereas actually it is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [CRI-73; WR-101]

* The Koran says one of Noah’s sons drowned in the flood (11:42 – p121), but the Bible says all his sons were spared (Gen. 7:1-7; 1 Peter 3:20).

* The Koran says Lot’s wife stayed behind and perished among the people of Sodom (26:171 – p202), whereas the Bible says she fled but looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:15f,26).

* The Koran says John the Baptist’s father was speechless for 3 days as a sign from the angel (3:41 – p37; 19), but the Bible says he was speechless from before the time his wife conceived till the baby was born (Luke 1:13,20,24,57-64).

* Mohammed referred to Haman as the minister of Pharaoh, whereas the Bible says he was minister of Ahasuerus, king of Persia in the book of Eshter. [WR-95; EB, XIII-483]

* Mohammed confused Miriam the sister of Moses with Mary the mother of Jesus. [EB, XIII-483]

* The Koran teaches men today may practice polygamy and divorce for any cause (4:3,20 – p48; 2:229-232 – pp29,30). Jesus said this was allowed under the Old Testament only because of the hardness of men’s hearts, but would not be allowed under the New Testament (Matt. 19:3-9). Islam claims Mohammed’s revelation is greater than Jesus, yet its moral standard is clearly inferior.

* The Koran teaches there will be marriage in heaven (52:5 – p284; 44:54 – p268), but Jesus said there is not (Matt. 22:30).

Muslim’s try to rationalize by claiming that the Koran has been preserved accurately but the Bible has been perverted. Hence, whenever there is conflict, the Bible is wrong and the Koran is right.

Yet consider again how much of the Bible this means has been corrupted. And remember that God promised He would not let His word be destroyed. There is no historical evidence that the Bible has been corrupted and much evidence that it has not been. If God can preserve the Koran without allowing it to be corrupted, why can he not preserve the Bible in the same way? (See above).

Christians also claim to believe the Old Testament, but in order to prove our case we never need to argue that the Old Testament has been corrupted. On the contrary, Jesus and His apostles and all Christians take the Old Testament, just as it is, and use it to substantiate our case (Acts 17:1-3,11; see article on evidences).

Islam claims to believe in both the Old and New Testament. Yet to make their case, they must repeatedly claim that the Old and New Testaments are corrupt. Why can’t they prove their claim, using the Bible as we have it, like Christians can do using the Old Testament? Why must they discredit the very messages they claim are from God?

B. Mohammed’s Teaching Contradicts Itself.

The Bible does not contradict itself, despite being written by 40 different men from widely different circumstances. Just one man wrote the Koran so, if it had no self-contradictions, it would prove little. However, it turns out that this one man did contradict himself.

* Mohammed commanded his disciples to use violence against those who reject Islam, yet he said violence should not be practiced in the name of religion (Koran 9:5,29 – pp102,111; cf. 2:256 – p32) .

* He forbade the use of images, then under threat of starvation he excused it, then later he again condemned it (see above).

* He first taught men to pray facing Jerusalem, then later said they must pray facing Mecca. [EB, XV-647]

* In fact Mohammed admitted having changed his doctrine at times. Muslim commentators themselves admit some 5-50 examples of such. [EB, XIII-483]

Jesus’ teachings harmonize with all previous Divine revelation, without arguing that it has been corrupted. But Mohammed’s teaching conflicts with previous revelation that he admits was from God. Jesus never changed His teaching and never contradicted Himself (1 Cor. 1:13), but Mohammed contradicted himself and changed his teachings several times. How then can Mohammed be a prophet as great as Jesus?

Conclusion

The evidence confirms the gospel of Jesus, not Islam.

Muslims make many claims for Islam, but there is no real proof that Islam is true. Anyone can make claims. Proving them is another matter.

Christians accept Jesus and His gospel, but reject Mohammed and Islam, on the basis of proof. The evidence is that:

* Jesus was sinless but Mohammed committed sin.

* Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, but Muslims cannot prove Mohammed ever fulfilled any.

* Jesus made predictions of the future that came true, but Mohammed made none that were fulfilled and at least one that failed.

* Jesus performed miracles as attested by eyewitnesses, but there is no eyewitness proof that Mohammed ever did any miracle.

* Jesus arose from the dead as attested by witnesses, but Muslims do not even claim that Mohammed arose.

* Jesus’ teaching agrees with itself, but the teachings of Mohammed contradict themselves.

* Jesus’ teachings harmonize with, and His claims are substantiated by, all Divine revelation that went before Him. He and His followers never discredit previous revelation. Mohammed’s teachings are not substantiated by prior revelation but contradict it, so Muslims repeatedly discredit prior revelations, while still claiming that those revelations were from God.

The evidence proves, not just that Mohammed was not a prophet like Jesus, but that in fact Mohammed was not a true prophet of God at all. His teaching bears none of the proofs of true prophetic teaching, but it does bear all the earmarks of being the work of a false prophet. (Matthew 7:15-23; 15:14; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; Acts 20:28-30; 1 John 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; Titus 1:9-14; 2 John 9-11; Romans 16:17,18; Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Peter chap. 2)

Philippians 2:9-11 – Jesus has a name that is above every name. To Him every knee will bow and every tongue confess. It follows that Jesus is greater than Mohammed and someday every Muslim will confess it. Everyone ought to confess it now while they have the opportunity to be saved.

Note: If you would like to study further about related Bible topics, we have a number of other study materials on our web site that should interest you. Please see the links listed below.

(C) Copyright 2000, David E. Pratte
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Topics for further Bible study

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What Claims Did Jesus Make?
Evidences for God, Jesus, & the Bible
Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection
The Inspiration of the Bible
The Preservation of the Bible
Number of Individuals in God
Why So Much Religious Confusion and Disagreement?
The Importance of Bible Knowledge

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Jesus said He Is God!

Posted by Scott on June 18, 2008

     
“I’ve heard that Jesus never actually claimed He was God.”

John 14:7-10 [7] If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” [8] Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”   [9] Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father’?  [10] Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

John 10:30  “I and the Father are one.”

John 14:11  Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

John 10:37-38 [37] Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. [38] But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

Matthew 27:43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, `I am the Son of God.’

John 17:11   I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one.

“When Jesus said ‘I and the Father are one’ didn’t He just mean they are of one accord, they are merely like-minded?

Taken alone, statements such as “I and the Father are one.” and “The Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” could mean simply that Jesus agrees with God.  But in the overall  context of the Bible this cannot be:

John 10:31-33  [31] Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, [32] but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”   [33] “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

John 17:5  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

John 17:10   [Speaking to the Father] All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

Note: “Son of Man” was a term referring to the expected Messiah.

Mark 14:61b-62   [61b] Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”  [62] “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Luke 22:66-70  [66] At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. [67] “If you are the Christ, ” they said, “tell us.”  Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, [68] and if I asked you, you would not answer. [69] But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”  [70] They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”  He replied, “You are right in saying I am.”

Daniel 7:13-14 [13] “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. [14] He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
 

Jesus clearly and repeatedly indicated that He is not the one who “calls the shots”.

John 14:31  the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

John 7:16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.”

John 8:42  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.”

John 17:3-12   [3] Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. [4] I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. [5] And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. [6] I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. [7] Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. [8] For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. [9] I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. [10] All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. [11] I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one. [12] While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
 

THE HEBREW BIBLE (OLD TESTAMENT)
SAYS GOD HAS A SON

 


From The Tanakh — The New JPS Translation
(c) 1985 by
the Jewish Publication Society

Proverbs 30:4 [JPS]

Who has ascended heaven and come down?
Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hand?
Who has wrapped the waters in his garment?
Who was established all the extremeties of the earth?
What is his name
or his son’s name, if you know it?

 


Proverbs 30:4 [NKJV]   Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?  Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?

THE HEBREW BIBLE (THE OLD TESTAMENT) SAYS THAT GOD WOULD COME TO EARTH AS A HUMAN MALE.

Isaiah 9:6-7 [6] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [7] Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. …

When Jesus claimed to be God incarnate, either:

  1. He was telling the truth.
  2. He was lying — He wasn’t God and knew it.
  3. He was a lunatic — He wasn’t God but thought He was.

This is known as The Trilemma.

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The distinctives of the Lord Jesus-Christ in the Koran!

Posted by Scott on June 18, 2008

What Does the Koran Say about Jesus?

 

 

1. Jesus was the only person to be born of a virgin, distinguished from all humans and prophets without any exception: “She said, How shall I have a son, whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchased. He said, Even so thy Lord has said: Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us. It is a thing determined.”(19) (Mary 16-24).

2. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all humans by being the Word of God, who is the very expression of the Self of God end His eternal Being: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, God’s Messenger, and His Word…” (4)The Women 171; (3)House of Imran 40).

3. Jesus Christ alone emanated from the spirit of God; for this reason He did not need a sexual, genetical birth. “The Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, God’s Messenger, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him.” (4)The Women 169)

4. Jesus Christ alone, in exception to all humans, spoke while in the cradle (19)Mary 22-32). The Koran tells us that Christ needed no one to teach Him anything, not even how to speak. The Bible says: “Who hath directed the spirit of the Lord, or being His counselor hath taught Him knowledge and showed to Him the way of understanding.” (Isaiah 40:1,13-14). Naturally, no one can teach the One who emanated from God’s Spirit for He is the All-knowing.

5. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all prophets with His infallibility and was the only one to be singled out for His perfection; for all the prophets had sinned, and their sins were mentioned in the Koran. However, Christ was the only exception, for “High honored shall be in this world and the next.” (3)House of Imran 45). Also, the Arab prophet (El-Bukhari) testified for the perfection of Christ and His infallibility, saying: “Satan pokes with his finger the side of every human at birth, except Jesus, son of Mary; when he went to poke Him, he poked the curtain.”

6. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all others in the sense that He was the Creator: “I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it and it will be a bird.” (3)House of  Imran 42).

7. Jesus Christ alone was uniquely incomparable in knowing men’s secrets: “I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely, in that is a sign for you if you are believers.” (3)House of Imran 48).

8. Jesus was matchless in making the miracles and the wonders which no other could make: “And I will also heal the blind and the leper…” (3)House of Imran 48).

9. Jesus Christ alone could raise the dead with the word of His blessed mouth: And I will bring life to the dead…”  (3)House of Imran 48; (5)The Table 110).

10. Jesus Christ alone exclusively enjoyed the prophetical title of “the Messiah”: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was God’s Messenger, and His Word committed to Mary…” (4)Women 169). The Old Testament made known the real identity of the Messiah, saying: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth… and this is the name whereby He shall be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

11. Jesus Christ alone exchanged responsibility of authority with God: “And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when thou didst take me to thy self, Thou wast Thyself the watcher over them.” (5)Table 117).

12. Jesus was the only one to become a Sign unto men and Mercy from God (19)Mary 20) unto men who fell under the burden and the shackles of sin; for which, God’s justice and holiness condemned them to eternal perdition. For this reason the only Savior, who can offer eternal salvation to men came to be a Mercy from God.

13. Only Jesus Christ could give His followers high honors and assurances concerning the day of Resurrection: “I will cause thee to die, and I will raise thee to Me, and I will purify thee of those who believe not. I will set thy followers above the unbelievers till the resurrection Day,”  (3)House of Imran 55)

14. Only Jesus will be the Judge who will come to this world to judge the living and the dead; the Arab prophet (El-Bukhari) confirmed this fact, saying: “The Last Hour will not come until the Son of Mary come down as the just Judge.”

 

Who is Christ Indeed?

If you meditated on any of the Koran verses that portray the Lord Jesus Christ, you find that they are inherent attributes that are exclusively distinctive of God; and that He did not share any of them with any human at all. Moreover, you find that the Lord Jesus Christ did not enjoy only one of these attributes, but He included all of them in His blessed person, so that He may leave no doubt concerning His deity and divinity.

The New Testament recorded that the All-mighty God became a perfect man (something that was easy for Him to do) and came from heaven to our earth to save men. The Bible says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God … and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14). Then the Bible continues the portrayal of Christ, saying:”And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16).

 

The Doctrine of the “SON OF GOD” in the Old Testament.

The Jews believe, as many of the Muslims do, that the idea of “The Son of God” was an innovation of Christianity, brought as a heresy against the faith in the One God. But if you study the Tenach, which is the Jewish Torah or Old Testament, you will find that the doctrine of God’s Son is braided, fused, and embedded in the very foundations of the Tenach. And in these few coming lines, we will present the strongest proofs that support this doctrine and prove that the Jews have rejected the very doctrine of their Holy Tenach concerning God’s Son. The second Psalm says: “Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.” (Psalms 2:10-12).

Who is this Son that God is admonishing the kings, the judges, and the people of the earth to give Him loyalty, honor, homage, and reverence? Which human son is worthy of having the whole world putting their trust in him? For certainty, there is no human who is worthy or capable to accept the responsibility of all humans putting their trust in him. For this reason, the wisest human that ever lived, king Solomon, made known that that Son is the Son of the Omni-potent Creator to whom nothing is impossible: “Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in his garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou knowest? ” (Proverbs 30:4)

Salomon excelled in proclaiming the truth when God revealed to him that that Son who became unto us wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:31), and who is the Word of God, was with God since the beginning, exactly as the Asharite group deducted in their argument concerning the Word or God and the eternality thereof; he said: ” The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was … While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was by him, as a master workman; And I was dailhis delight… ” (Proverbs 8:22-30)

Then came Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, to dissipate all the clouds of doubts concerning the identity of the Son of the All-mighty God, he said: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel; [which is, being interpreted, God with us.]”(Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Who is this Son who is worthy of homage, loyalty and honor as well as being entitled to be called The mighty God, the Everlasting Father? No one except the only and unique One, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, in exception to all humans for genetical birth did not become to Him.

If you studied the Tenach in depth, you find that the central theme of its entirety is the Lord Jesus Christ. It also contains more than three hundred prophecies about the expected Messiah. The prophets were given the privilege of predicting the details of every aspect of His birth, life, death, and resurrection. All those prophecies were precisely fulfilled in Jesus’ birth, its time, its place, and the events that related to it; and in His forerunner, and in His life, ministry, miracles, preaching, disciples, the Jews treating Him, crucifixion, burial, the period of His staying in the grave, glorious resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven. All that was done so that He could prove to men that He was not an ordinary human, but the God who forged history and fashioned the events so that the prophecies could be fulfilled, to prepare men to meet the True God who loved them.

 

Why Did Christ Come?

Christ came to save us from our sins and from the eternal torment that our sins brought upon us. We are sinners by nature and by choice: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:10-23). Moreover, we cannot save ourselves neither by our money nor by our good works, for the Lord’s salvation is by the grace of God; and there fore, it is a free gift: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Whereas God is most holy and pure, and whereas His holiness does not accept sin, our sins brought upon us the wrath of God, and we have become worthy of eternal perdition: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). Furthermore, we cannot save ourselves with self efforts, nor can we buy our eternity with a fistful of money or good works no matter how good they are. If a man condemned to death for breaking human laws cannot satisfy human justice with a fistful of money nor can he settle his debt by performing good works, how then can we expect to satisfy the absolute justice of God with a handful of money and some good works? God’s justice requires the most severe punishments, which led man to the fire of hell.

But the love of God for us is far greater than what we can imagine. Consequently, He sent His only Holy and Pure Son, to satisfy the divine justice which cannot accept other than the most severe punishment. For without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sin. For this reason, God demanded of man to offer the sacrifices for sins; but all those sacrifices would have meant nothing, nor would they have any effect, had they not been the symbol of the precious blood that was shed on the cross upon Mount Calvary: “… the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins … Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”(Hebrews 10:11; 9:12).

“The Great Sacrifice” that was mentioned by the Koran in (The Rangers 37:109), quoting the Torah, and telling the story of Abraham, when he was about to offer his son as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah, but God stopped him and gave him a lamb to redeem his son; was but a symbol of the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary. Here, we see the Koran calling it “the Great Sacrifice”, because that lamb was not an ordinary lamb, similar to the other lambs that were offered daily; but was a unique lamb, a gift from heaven to Abraham to redeem his son who was under the judgement of a sure death. Also, because God wanted to teach us, that: what happened on Mount Moriah (which is Mount Calvary), was but a symbol; first, of man’s situation and his sins that brought God’s judgement of eternal death in the fire of hell, upon him. Secondly, of the love of God who sent the Gift of Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). Then Christ died on the same spot where Abraham offered the lamb to redeem his son; symbolizing the death of Christ for man to forgive the sins of everyone that believes: “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:18).

Therefore, Abraham’s “Great Sacrifice” which was offered by Christ with His own blood, to redeem man and to nullify all other sacrifices, seeing that we need them no more: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God … For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (1 Peter 3: 18; John 3:16). And whereas Jesus Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit; i.e., His Son, He could not be held back by death in the grave; but He arose the third day from the dead with great glory, to prove His clam, and to establish His message: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25).

 

Who is a Christian?

 

 

 

 

Not everyone that is labeled as a Christian is a Christian. A person might be pious, or religious, but not a real Christian; the Bible says: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7 :21). Unfortunately, most of those who are labeled as Christian, are not even religious let alone real Christians. Moreover, in real Christianity, no nation can be considered a Christian nation, because Christianity is a personal relationship between God and the individual: “For many be called, but few chosen… Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 20:16; 7:13-14).

Therefore, a true Christian is a Christian neither by birth nor by heritage, nor by coercion, nor by force. But rather, he is the person who responds to God’s call and the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart, inviting him to eternal salvation. For this reason God excluded governments, states, and organizations from His salvation plan; because man always tends to abuse his powers, and then tries to justify his oppressive actions by claiming that he is acting on God’s behalf (And that is an excuse worse than the misdeed); as if God is unable to avenge. We should never forget what the almighty God said: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19). In contrast, Christ sent his followers as lambs in the midst of wolves. However, this does not mean that kings, governors and statesmen do not have the same chance like everyone else to be saved, for they are born sinners like the rest of us, and they surely need God’s salvation: (God) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). Moreover, the true Christian lives the godly life, in obedience to god, so he may be a light in the midst of this world of darkness. Also, the true Christian obeys the Lord’s commandment concerning baptism. A follower of Christ would find a fundamental group of believers with whom he would have fellowship, for mutual edification.

 

 

 

Necessity of Faith!

Even though God has completed the work of salvation and offered it to us as a free gift, we cannot enjoy God’s salvation unless we repent from our sins, and accept the lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior: “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions… But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (Ezekiel 18:30; Acts 3:19; John 1:12).

Here we find that the calling of God unto repentance was built upon love, compassion and mercy, with no intimidation, scare, unnerving or coercion, whatsoever. For the love of God inspires a respect to man and gives him the opportunity to make an important decision for himself. Consequently, God says: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life…” (Deut. 30:19-20).

The Bible stresses upon the center of faith, saying: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). Without this faith in Christ, there is no possibility to please God, nor receive eternal salvation or eternal bliss. Therefore, the answer to the most important question that faces man concerning the place where he will spend his eternity, is based in its entirety upon the individual’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. The Bible says: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9,13).

Therefore, as a sinner who desires and seeks to receive the forgiveness of your sins, eternal life, and the assurance of your eternity, [you can pray something like this]: “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. [I know that I am a dreadful sinner condemned unclean a part from Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.  Now I am praying asking you to forgive my sins once and for all and to give me eternal life. Thank you because you have heard [my] prayer.  In [the name above every name-Jesus Christ] I pray.  Amen.”

 

An Imperative Word

How may a guilty man have any hope from the justice of the legal code if he is brought before a judge who happened to be his opponent? The Bible confirms the fact that Christ will come as the Judge, saying: “The Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” (2 Tim.4:1). Islam has supported this fact as Mohammed said: “The Last Hour will not come until the son of Mary come down as the just Judge.” Then the Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ “will judge the world in righteousness… For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (Acts 17:31; John 5:22). Therefore, we see here a fact that does not allow questioning or argument; first, that “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); secondly, that the Lord Jesus Christ will come back as the righteous Judge of the living and the dead.

Here, we have to ask what is the account that man would give before the Judge? As the Bible teaches, Christ died for our sins, to give us complete forgiveness. But what happens if we reject that forgiveness? The Bible says: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18). Therefore, the most serious charge that man will face before the Great Judge is the answer we will give in response to the redemptive work of Christ for you. What will your answer be to His question: “Did you accept the redemptive work that I accomplished on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins?” The Bible replies, saying: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God, which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:7-12).

Therefore, the great case before the righteous Judge is based upon the fact whether you accepted or rejected God’s testimony concerning His son and His redemptive work on the cross. This means that if you rejected that testimony, you have discredited the testimony of God concerning His Son, and you will find yourself without excuse in the hands of an angry Judge, reaping the wrath that you have treasured for yourself against the Day of Wrath, whereon the righteous judgement of god will be given against every one that had decided not to believe the Word of God nor to accept His testimony. The prayer of my heart is that you have accepted the redemptive word of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, and have received Christ as your personal Savior, so that you will be found among the saved and the faithful. God Bless you. Amen.

Excerpt from: The gospel of Christ Jesus according to Saint John – As reviewed by the Koran and Muslim scholars, By: Dr. Ben Malik Jamil

Prepared for the Internet by:

www.TheGrace.com

 

 

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“Whosoever will….”

Posted by Scott on June 11, 2008

Just a response to things I have heard for nearly 40 years in the church:

I have heard many pastors, teachers and evangelist make statements when asked about Election…”What do you do with ‘Whosoever will…’?”  The claim is that “Whosoever will…” is the balancing act of “You did not choose me, but I-God chose you”.  There is no balancing act in this…both of these are on the same side.  I have read and heard stated a comment C.H. Spurgeon made one time…it goes something like this and may be paraphrased:  “we enter heaven through a door that says “Whosoever will come..” then as we enter we look on the other side and above the door it says “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…”  They ask this as though it is in conflict with Reformed Theology (Calvinism).  The fact is “Whosoever will come…and God chose us” is not in conflict with the Calvinist Theology at all…this is the same door, they are both on the same side, not some balancing act. 

As preachers, pastors, evangelist, and teachers we are to simply present the entire gospel truth found in God’s word to all.  The ears that hear and hearts that are regenerated (Born Again) is up to the Holy Spirit…whosoever hears the word of God and comes to God for salvation may come.  Where is the conflict there?  Fact is that the ears that hear and act upon what they have heard with a regenerated heart will come and those that act in this fashion are of the Elect (Chosen)!  Those that come with a repentant heart, given faith by the Lord, ready to believe, may come to God for salvation…whosoever!  I have never found the conflict that so many seem to have with John 3:16 and the Calvinist Theology….nothing in conflict at all.  The call goes out to all, but only those chosen will come.  It is a narrow way that leads to the narrow gate to access to our heavenly Father…this narrow gate is Jesus Christ alone taught by scripture alone!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

“For God…” salvation starts with God.  God is the initiator of our salvation!  As sinful depraved men we will not come to God unless He starts the process first.  He will draw us to Himself.

“…so loved…” this was His design not mans.  This love is a special kind of love for a special kind of people…His chosen people from all parts of the world.  His ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts.  God designed this before the foundations of the Universe came into existence.

“…the world…” this was His design for His people from all over the world.  It was a call to all kinds of people…Jews and Gentiles alike.  This salvation message was not just for the Jews, but for all who hear His call to salvation.  His people are all over the world not just in Israel, Jerusalem, America, or any other part, but all over.

“…that He gave His only begotten Son…” this is Jesus Christ the only Son of God…not an adopted son or daughter as we are.  This was a special and most important distinction so that we would not confuse Christ sacrifice on the cross as being just anyone on the cross…it was the one and only Son of the living God…God the Son Himself on that cross!  This was also fulfillment of prophecy from the Old Testament.

“…that Whosoever believes in Him…” those that hear His calling and act in true belief will be saved.  This belief cannot occur without being Born Again (regenerated) first, repentance of sins, then faith and belief.  This is not the free will of man, but the Sovereign Will of a gracious God.  This is not a cheap statement…God’s grace shown in this simple verse is not cheap nor should we cheapen it by dumbing it down so that anyone who blurbs out a few words can think he is saved…the true believer’s life will change in the direction of God not man’s desires.  Not everyone will come to a true faith and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Many will pray a prayer, walk an isle, get dunked ’til they bubble in some Baptistery, many will claim they are saved because their family was “Christian”, but they are just as lost as any atheist, agnostic, or skeptic.  Actually it is even worse to have come so close to Christ yet be so far from Him to not be known by Him though one may have went to church all their life, sung in the choir, taught Sunday School, prayed out loud in church, etc.  

“…shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  this is a promise.  As a chosen child of God we can rest upon this promise that if we sense the openness in our hearts to receive the Word of God, humbly come before an awesome God in true repentance at our sinful depraved life absolutely torn that we have acted this way before God, prayerfully ask for forgiveness of our sinful being, and believe in Jesus Christ that He is Who He says He is..this is a life changing belief that permeates our entire being, then we can live on that promise that we are saved…permanently saved!  We can live on the fact that we will not perish in hell, but will live on forever with God in heaven someday.  We can stand firm on this fact although millions will tell us we are stupid and uneducated to believe in such…count this as joy! 

To be chosen by God without any effort on my part is the most awesome fact in scripture.  This is true grace.  The fact that I was wondrously miserably going through life without God.  Yet, in God’s Sovereign plan I had been chosen before the beginning to be saved.  He knew that my depraved sinful evil wicked heart would not desire Him nor would it ever come to Him on its own…so, the Holy Spirit went to work on me years ago to regenerate my heart, so that at the proper time of His choosing and for His purposes I would receive the Word of God in my heart and accept the fact that I was and am a sinful person.  The fact that the only way out of such bondage was to ask for God to forgive me of this sinful state of being and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  Without God going to work on me first I would still be wondering aimlessly through life rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell.  You see, man loves his sin.  Think about it…before God radically saved you or someone you know, the love of this sinful life permeated every part of them or us.  Only God can changed that.  This was the life of being a dead man spiritually walking through life…a dead man cannot revive himself…God must grant the spark of spiritual regeneration. 

This is where people jump off the good ship….this spiritual regeneration will only be sparked in those to whom God has Elected!  We do not know who these people are, but God knows His own and He will not allow one of His chosen ones, His sheep to be lost.

“Election is the act of God whereby in eternity past He chose those who will be saved.  Election is unconditional, because it does not depend on anything outside of God, such as good works or foreseen faith (Romans 9:16).  This doctrine is repeatedly taught in the Bible, and is also demanded by our knowledge of God.”    John MacArthur “Considering Election”

Remember this, God will not give up His Sovereign Will at anytime in order to give way to man’s free will if He so intends to save a particular man.  If God gives man over to his own depraved free will that is tragic and means that the man is hell bound without hope.  Man’s free will is at war with God’s Sovereign Will, yet by the grace of God, man’s free will is beaten down in order for God to save His own. 

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

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Elected! John MacArthur

Posted by Scott on June 11, 2008

Considering Election (Not Politics)

John MacArthur
 

Election is the act of God whereby in eternity past He chose those who will be saved. Election is unconditional, because it does not depend on anything outside of God, such as good works or foreseen faith (Romans 9:16). This doctrine is repeatedly taught in the Bible, and is also demanded by our knowledge of God. To begin with, let’s look at the biblical evidence.

The Bible says prior to salvation, all people are dead in sin — spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). In this state of death, the sinner is utterly unable to respond to any spiritual stimulus and therefore unable to love God, obey Him, or please Him in any way. Scripture says the mind of every unbeliever “is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8, emphasis added). That describes a state of total hopelessness: spiritual death.

The effect of all this is that no sinner can ever make the first move in the salvation process. This is what Jesus meant in John 6:44, when He said, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” 

This is also why the Bible repeatedly stresses that salvation is wholly God’s work. In Acts 13:48 we read, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”

Acts 16 tells us that Lydia was saved when, “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”

Romans 8:29-30 states, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

Ephesians 1:4-5,11 reads, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will . . . also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

Ephesians 2:8 suggests that even our faith is a gift from God.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, the apostle Paul tells his readers, “God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation.”

Second Timothy 1:9 informs us that God “has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”

Occasionally someone will suggest that God’s election is based on His foreknowledge of certain events. This argument suggests that God simply looks into the future to see who will believe, and He chooses those whom He sees choosing Him. Notice that 1 Peter 1:2 says the elect are chosen “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” and Romans 8:29 says, “whom He foreknew, He also predestined.” And if divine foreknowledge simply means God’s knowledge of what will happen in advance, then these arguments may appear to have some weight behind them.

But that is not the biblical meaning of “foreknowledge.” When the Bible speaks of God’s foreknowledge, it refers to God’s establishment of a love relationship with that person. The word “know,” in both the Old and New Testament, refers to much more than mere cognitive knowledge of a person. Such passages as Hosea 13:4-5; Amos 3:2 (KJV); and Romans 11:2 clearly indicate this. For example, 1 Peter 1:20 says Christ was “foreknown before the foundation of the world.” Surely this means more than that God the Father looked into the future to behold Christ! It means He had an eternal, loving relationship with Him. The same is true of the elect, whom we are told God “foreknew” (Romans 8:29). That means He knew them — He loved them — before the foundation of the world.

If God’s choice of the elect is unconditional, does this rule out human responsibility? Paul asks and answers that very question in Romans 9:19-20. He says God’s choice of the elect is an act of mercy. Left to themselves, even the elect would persist in sin and be lost, because they are taken from the same fallen lump of clay as the rest of humanity. God alone is responsible for their salvation, but that does not eradicate the responsibility of those who persist in sin and are lost — because they do it willfully, and not under compulsion. They are responsible for their sin, not God.

The Bible affirms human responsibility right alongside the doctrine of divine sovereignty. Moreover, the offer of mercy in the gospel is extended to all alike. Isaiah 55:1 and Revelation 22:17 call “whosoever will” to be saved. Isaiah 45:22 and Acts 17:30 command all men to turn to God, repent and be saved. First Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 tell us that God is not willing that any should perish, but desires that all should be saved. Finally, the Lord Jesus said that, “the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

In summary, we can say that God has had a special love relationship with the elect from all eternity, and on the basis of that love relationship chosen them for salvation. The ultimate question of why God chose some for salvation and left others in their sinful state is one that we, with our finite knowledge, cannot answer. We do know that God’s attributes always are in perfect harmony with each other, so that God’s sovereignty will always operate in perfect harmony with His goodness, love, wisdom, and justice.

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