- One God
- End Times
- The Five Pillars
I want you to turn with me in your Bibles to the Acts of the Apostles chapter 4, and we're only going to read a couple of verses of this sermon preached by the apostle. Peter is preaching here, filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking to the rulers and the people and elders of Israel, and he says in verse 9: "If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole", that is the man who had been healed there by the power of God through the apostles, and you remember he went walking and leaping and praising God. "If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner", or the chief cornerstone. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved".
The Islamic faith has a familiar presence in most Western countries today, and that's why there is a specific particular interest perhaps in your heart and mine concerning what this faith espouses, preaches, and believes. But you may not be aware, you certainly will be by the end of tonight, that the Muslim Islamic faith is an evangelistic faith - now not in the purest sense of preaching the good news of the evangel, but it is a faith that seeks to proselytise, it seeks to win people to its belief. In that sense, it is evangelistic. We see this in this quotation that you will see before you tonight from Salem Azzam, who is the Secretary General of the Islam Council of Europe, and he says this: 'The first objective of the Islamic council is to assist, support and supplement the activities...of da'wah' - that is 'mission', Islamic mission, the attempt to convert people to the Islamic faith right across the globe. That is the first objective of the Islamic council, and he belongs to the General Islamic Council of Europe.
Now if you can remember back to the 1990s, you will recall perhaps that nominal Christians - both in the Anglican Church and also in the Roman Catholic Church - were told that this would be the decade of Christian evangelism. But as we look back on the 1990s with the gift of hindsight, we would do well to ask the question: who was evangelising during the 1990s? And indeed: who is evangelising in our present day and age in which we live? Because across the United Kingdom, buildings that were once used in Christian worship are now inhabited by Muslims, and have been turned into mosques and are now worshipping the god 'Allah' under the Muslim banner. There is a great influx of the Muslim faith in the United Kingdom - this picture before you on the screen is Regents Park mosque in London, which is now the home of one of the largest mosques in Europe. It is estimated that there are now 2 million Muslims in the United Kingdom. There are probably just over 200 mosques in the UK also. On a daily basis there are 22 million copies of Muslim newspapers that are published. Two million Muslims, 22 million copies of their writings in newspaper form, and that in anybody's estimation is a sign of very good health.
Of course, they are in good health because we now live in what is commonly called a pluralistic or multicultural society. Although we welcome anyone to our shores, and that has to be said, because we don't want to be misconstrued as being in any way inciting racial hatred - that is not what we're doing, we are analysing, critiquing a faith in relation to what the Bible has to say. But we have to be alarmed and astounded at the inroads that this religious philosophy and Muslim faith is making on the institutions of our life here in the United Kingdom, that many many years ago were founded upon the word of God.
I'm going to show you a little video clip just now, and this video clip is of the first Baroness admitted to the House of Lords, Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman sworn into the second house, the House of Lords. She swore in under the name of Allah, rather than under the name of God, and you will see the explanation of it and her swearing in...
[Begin video transcript]
Uddin: "As the first Muslim to enter the House of Lords, it was very important that I was able to say 'in the name of Allah'"
Uddin swearing in: "I, Pola Manzila, Baroness Uddin, do swear by Almighty Allah that I will be faithful, and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law - so help me God".
[End video transcript]
Now the Muslim Council of Britain has now co-opted a man called Joe Ahmed-Dobson, who incidentally is the son of Frank Dobson who some of you will remember was a former Health Secretary in the Labour government. He is now a converted Muslim, and he has been opted to chair the regeneration committee for the British Council of Muslims. In other words, to forward this evangelism thrust, to regenerate Islam in the United Kingdom. A new study was done by a man called 'Yahya' (formerly Jonathan) Birt, who is the son, incidentally, of Lord Birt the former director-general of the BBC, and he did this study which uses a breakdown of the latest census figures to conclude that apart from the immigrants that are Muslim in the United Kingdom, 14,200 white indigenous British people have converted to Islam in the last while - 14,000 indigenous British people converting to Islam. So it's not just Muslims flying in from Arab countries that are bringing this faith to our shores, but people are actually being converted in the United Kingdom, and at times some celebrities and very high-profile people in the world of politics.
There are approximately 1.2 billion Muslims in our world tonight. Now to understand that, you need to compare it to those who are called Christians - and of course, we mean nominal Christians, those who name the name of Christ, whether they're born-again or not - there are approximately 1.9 billion Christians in the world today, broadly speaking. 1.2 billion Muslims, beside 1.9 billion Christians. Now it has to be said that although the Muslim faith purports to be one united religion, there are certain sects in it, just like many other faiths in the world. You may have heard of the Sunnites, the Shi'ites, and even the Sufis - and these are sections, and there are many more, of splits within the Muslim faith. Incidentally the Koran actually condemns such divisions, yet nevertheless they are there for all to see.
But the Muslim faith as a general religion is moving on in massive strides in our world and in our land, so much so that it has been predicted and projected that by the year 2025 a third of the world's population will belong to the Muslim faith. In fact, by the year 2010 it will be the second-largest religion in the United States, and tonight it is the second-largest religion in the whole of Europe. It is the fastest growing religion in our world today. Now can I just say, before I go on any further, that that should be a tremendous challenge to us as Christians tonight. Those who we believe do not have the truth, but have error, are taking their false message and spreading it right across our continent, right across our nation, across the whole world at a staggering rate. We need to ask ourselves, we who have the truth: what are we doing with it? What are we doing in relation to missionary efforts, and giving to the mission field, and going to the mission field? What about our lives? We need to examine our lives in the light of the word of God, and ask ourselves why we're not making the impact on our nation that Muslims are making in this very day and age in which we live! I wish I had longer to spend on that.
But what comes out of such a challenge to us is the question: why is there such an explosion of the Islamic faith in our nation and across Europe? I'll tell you why, and part of it is our fault I believe: when Muslims look at Christians and the Christian religion as a whole in the United Kingdom, do you know what they see? They see an institution which they regard as being filled with homosexual depravity in the priesthood, filled with misconduct, hypocrisy, division of all sorts of sects and denominations - and they conclude that there is no truth, there is no power or merit in Christianity in the West. Do you know what they see when they look at us? They see a mission field, they see a country that is ripe for conversion to Islam, conversion to a faith that will stand up for what it believes, a faith that is black and white. That's why there are supposedly 1000 missionaries trained every year that are thrust out of Islam right across the world to evangelise people for Allah.
Can you remember the excitement when the Berlin Wall fell down, and the Iron Curtain was dropped? Communism was defeated - what were the Christian missionary organisations doing? They were all excited: 'Let's get the Bibles in, we've been prohibited for years, let's get in there and preach the gospel - no one knows how long it will be until the Iron Curtain comes down again and the walls are built'. Friends tonight, we need to waken up in our own land and realise that we're living in a similar situation! There are people out there, and they have no thought of God, but they're crying out for meaning in their life - and one of these days somebody's going to come along and knock their door from a confusing cult or false religion, maybe it'll be a Muslim, and show them their way, and they'll believe it.
What a challenge to us tonight! What are we doing with the truth of the Gospel? These Islamic countries are becoming increasingly zealous. Of course, what we are most familiar with just at the moment, which is perhaps not so characteristic of the general religion as a whole, is the troubling growth in extreme militant strains of fundamentalist Islam. Osama Bin Laden, suicide bombers in Jerusalem and right across the Arab world, and even infiltrating now our world here in the United Kingdom it would seem. There are more countries in the Middle East now that are run by Islamic regimes, most of them wanting to reintroduce what is called 'Shari'a law', which is simply Islamic law in its most extreme forms. Among other things Islamic law demands that a person caught in adultery should be killed, should be executed. If you're found to be a thief, they take your hand and they chop it off - that is Shari'a law. But there are other Muslims who believe that Shari'a law should be universally imposed upon the nations of our world. They think all countries should have a complete rule of Shari'a Muslim law, and that's why Muslims are moving in and infiltrating into every nation as we speak, and seeking political power wherever they can. Now not all Muslims are of that strain, but particularly the fundamentalist type wants to infiltrate nations with Shari'a law and the Muslim fist of iron.
Now of course, one of the major catalysts for fundamentalist Islamic faith today is the zeal against the re-emergence of the state, the modern state, of Israel in the 1940s. Now I don't have time to go into all of this this evening, but save to say that the word of God clearly says that Israel were God's chosen national people, that Abraham's son Isaac was the son of promise. But the Islamic faith believes that it wasn't Isaac that went up with Abraham to Mount Moriah and was almost sacrificed, but it was his other son of Hagar who was called Ishmael, the father of the Arab race. They believe he was the one who had the promise, he is the rightful inheritor of the land, and so there is the struggle over what they call falsely 'Palestine', which is the land of Israel, and they believe they inherit all the promises that are rightfully Israel's in the word of God.
That is a major aspect that contributes to fundamentalist Muslim thought today in our world. But another is the backlash against Western secularisation. You see, Arab lands are getting a lot of dollars because we're buying oil off them, and because we're trading with them sometimes Western influence can infiltrate their society and their culture, and fundamentalism is a backlash against that to get back to Muslim basics and away from Western secularisation. Now those are two things, only minor things, that can contribute to, if you like, the major strides and the forward surge of the Muslim faith in our world today.
Now, the Muslim faith has a universal appeal in message, and it is refreshing to many to hear certainty coming from religious preachers in our day and age. We have to say that as we'll analyse it tonight, that the Muslim faith has a very simple credal statement, and the tenets of their doctrines are simple for anyone to understand. It is not a racial religion, in other words you're not born a Muslim like you're born a Jew. Anyone can join what is called the 'Ummah', the community of the faithful. There are no racial barriers, and therefore that's the reason why it has spread so quickly - it's very easy becoming a Muslim. It has spread particularly in our modern age through the black African countries, and more recently in the United States of America through preachers like Louis Farrakhan, who is of the Nation of Islam. Now many Muslims would not associate with Louis Farrakhan, but nevertheless it shows how accessible the Muslim faith can be to anyone of any race, whatever colour, whatever credal background or religion they may come from.
But the fact of the matter is this, and we must maintain this, and there needs to be a voice, a political voice today to articulate this: whilst we welcome anyone of any faith to our shores, and we defend - and I say this again - we defend their right to worship their god in their own way, we have to say that many of these faiths do not invite the same liberty to Christians in their lands. Tonight, in Muslim countries, there are Christians laying down their lives because of the faith of the gospel that they will not deny. Christians are being killed, preaching is outlawed, missionaries are being expelled on a continual basis from countries; while Muslims are intent in other lands of freedom to spread their message of their gospel by Jihad - the sword, if necessary.
Now let's look tonight at the origins and the beliefs of this faith of Islam. Of course, the founder of Islam, you will already know I'm sure, was Mohammed. He was born in 570AD and lived in Mecca, his home. He later lived in Medina because he was driven out of Mecca, but nevertheless Mecca is now the centre of that religious faith - it is 'the Mecca', and that has become a euphemism for the centre of any faith or any religious belief. Mohammed believed, as he was akin to going out into the wilderness, and particularly going to one cave, that on one of his visits as he meditated and as he contemplated religious thought, that the angel Gabriel appeared to him. This was the initial appearing that would continue for 23 years after that, and the angel Gabriel - no less - gave this command to Mohammed: 'Recite in the name of the Lord who has created, Created man from clots of blood, Recite, seeing that the Lord is the most generous, Who has taught by the pen, Taught man what he did not know'. Now the Arabic word for 'recite' is the word 'Qur'an', we spell it in English 'Koran', but the transliteration is 'Qur'an' - that is 'the noble book', 'the holy book', the 'bible', if you like, of Islam.
So Mohammed was told to write down what God was reciting, word for word, to him. Muslims believe that the Koran was written down by God on tablets in heaven, and came down and then was recited to Mohammed and he wrote it all down, but his interpretation was not in it - human agency was not involved. So Mohammed was given these revelations of God that were never given before to men. Now the astounding thing was that the original growth of the Islamic faith was akin to its growth even today. Within a century of Mohammed being given these revelations, supposedly, of God; within a century Islam conquered an area that was greater than the Roman Empire in its heyday - within 100 years! Today Islam is almost right across globe, as it were, it's going into countries and places in the major continents of our world, particularly at this moment into some dark communities in Africa. It is the sole religion, really, of the Arab nations of our world today.
Now let's look tonight at the doctrines of Islam. Some say there are five - there really, I suppose, are six, and we'll look at them very briefly tonight. Very simple: first of all, there is one God, and that one God's name is Allah. One true God, and his name is Allah. There is not a triune Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; one God, all seeing, all knowing, all powerful. Then a second doctrine is that of angels, angels are particularly important to the Muslim faith, and you can see that when you realise that the chief angel Gabriel was the one who imparted this knowledge and appeared to Mohammed and gave him the rules and regulations of this faith. There is also a fallen angel in the Muslim religion called 'Shaitan', which is very similar to 'Satan', as you can see in the pronunciation. The third doctrine is that of Scripture. You might think the Koran is the only holy book in the Islamic faith, but it is not. They believe in four inspired writings: first is the Torah, that is the first five books of your Old Testament - the Hebrew Bible from Genesis through to Deuteronomy. The second is the Zabur, which for us is the Psalms of David - they believe that God inspired those writings. The third is the Injil, which is basically the gospel entitling the whole works of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, our Saviour. Then the fourth book is the Koran, Allah's final word, his final revelation that was given to Mohammed via Gabriel - for 23 years Gabriel dictated to Mohammed, in that cave, the Koran.
The fourth doctrine that underlines the Muslim faith is the doctrine of Mohammed. The Koran lists 28 prophets of Allah, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, and even our Lord Jesus Christ - but of course, Mohammed is the last of the prophets, and he is seen to be the greatest of them all. Then the fifth tenet of belief is the end times: they believe that the dead will be judged, they will be resurrected and Allah will judge them, and those who are righteous will be sent to heaven, and heaven is a place of sensual pleasure where there will be supernatural virgins. You know, and you have heard, why some of these young men blow themselves up in suicide bombings - because they believe they're going to inherit some kind of world with 70 supernatural virgins, that just continue on in virginity, and they'll have this sensual, sexual pleasure for all eternity because they're serving Allah. That's their heaven, and those who are unrighteous - and that simply means those who oppose Allah and Mohammed - they will go to hell to be tortured forever. The sixth tenet of the Muslim faith is predetermination, or predestination. They believe Allah has predetermined everything by unchangeable decrees - 'que sera sera, whatever will be will be'.
Now the word 'Islam' gives us a little insight into the practices of the Islamic faith. The word 'Islam' means 'submission to the will of God'. The word 'Muslim' comes from that, and it means 'one who submits to the revealed will of God'. So to be a holy person, and to follow God in his revealed way is to submit to God's will. Now in Islam, you submit to God's will through the 'five pillars of Islam'. These are important to remember: if you fulfil these, and if you remain in the Muslim faith, and if you sincerely repent of your sins, you will gain - perhaps - 'Jannah', which is heaven. It is a salvation of works.
What are these 'five pillars', these five religious practices that you have to be involved in to perhaps be saved? The first is this: the declaration of the faith, the 'Shahada' they call it. The declaration of the faith is simply the proclamation, a verbal confession: 'There is no true God except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah'. You've heard, perhaps, Muslims saying that: 'There is one true God and that is Allah, and his true prophet is the prophet Muhammad and there is none other'. That is the declaration of the faith, the confession of the faith - and you need to practise this everyday, and say it over and over again.
The second pillar of Islam is simply prayer, 'Salat' they call it. You would have seen pictures of many many Muslims praying and kneeling on the ground, and praying devoutly to their God. The Muslim prayer involves confession of sins, which begins first of all with the purification of the body. They ritually wash themselves, and it ends eventually with the purification of the soul. They have strict religious rituals laid down on how to purify the place where one prays, how to perform one's ritual, the washing of the body, and so on - and even the exact movements and the exact words of the prayers themselves. The final act, you will remember seeing it perhaps in the media, is to bow down, and for your head in prostration of prayer to symbolically bend in submission to Allah with your forehead touching the ground. Now that is to be performed, as the second pillar of Islamic practise, five times a day - morning, noon and night.
Let me show you a little video clip of a young Muslim boy - this is tremendously touching. He tells us a little bit, and shares with us how he prays, and then there's a little explanation about why Muslims face a certain way in order to pray:
[Begin video transcript]
Narrator: "This is Rizwan" [Boy praying in Arabic in the background] "Rizwan is 10 years old, and every day he says his prayers. He prays in a language called Arabic. He always uses exactly the same words, and exactly the same movements, and he always faces in exactly the same direction. Rizwan isn't the only one who prays like this, there are hundreds of millions of others. They are known as Muslims, and they follow the religion of Islam. There are Muslims in almost every corner of the world".
[End video transcript]
That was just to show you the mass of people bowing down in this act of 'Salat', this act of prayer. Now the third pillar of Islam is that of fasting, 'Saum' - and that is done in the month of Ramadan, you may have heard it or seen it written in your diary. That is the month of fasting, the month of Ramadan, and there's no drinking, eating, or sexual relations during the daylight hours of the month of Ramadan. Now you can eat as much as you like and drink as much as you like when the sun goes down, but during the daylight hours they observe this fast. The fourth pillar of Islam is that of alms, charity to the poor - this is very important, because Mohammed was an orphan himself and valued charity greatly. Then the fifth pillar is that of pilgrimage, 'Hajj' as they call it, to Mecca. Some of you may have seen Mecca in photographs, but it's absolutely astounding - and if you look at that picture you will see this black cube in the centre, it is called a 'Ka'aba', and that reputedly was the temple of idols in which Mohammed went and found Allah to be the chief god of the idols. The Meccan people believed and worshipped many many idols, and the chief of the idols was Allah. Mohammed decided, through this revelation by God, that there were no other gods - these idols were all false, except for one, and that is Allah, and so he founded the religion of Mohammedism or the Muslim faith, Islam.
Now each Muslim is encouraged to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life if they're able, physically. If they're sick, they don't have to do it, but nevertheless if they can afford it, and if they're able to do it, they're meant to do it in the first half of the last month of the lunar year. Now I don't know if this video clip is going to work, it's unfortunate if it doesn't, but it shows you the extent of what people do, and how they get to Mecca, and what they do when they do get to Mecca.
[Begin video transcript]
"A person who visits a holy place is called a Pilgrim, and every year Muslim pilgrims come to Mecca from all over the world. The pilgrimage is known as the 'Hajj'. Some of the pilgrims come by boat, some of them fly into Mecca by plane, these people have travelled over land by bus - they've come from Jordan. Some are rich, some are poor, some are young, some are old, but all are bound for Mecca. For most of them it is a long hard journey, and they're only expected to go on it if they can afford it. Many of these people will have spent their life savings to come here. At last they arrive at the Ka'aba, still the centre of Mecca just as it was in the time of Mohammed. Each of the pilgrims will walk seven times around the Ka'aba. Those who are too old are carried on stretchers. Mecca is the heart of Islam, Muslims turn to Mecca every day when they're alive, and they even turn to it when they're dead. These are Muslim tombs, and as you can see they're all facing in the same direction - towards Mecca".
[End video transcript]
You got the gist of that, didn't you? The multitudes of people flocking to Mecca, and worshipping their god in this way. Now it might appear at just a casual look at the Muslim faith that there is quite a lot in common with Christianity. The fact of the matter is, many people believe that the Muslim faith worship the one God that we worship as Christians and as Jews - Allah - and that 'Allah' is just an Arabic name for God. But the fact of the matter is, on closer inspection you will see very clearly that that is not the case - the Muslim god is not the Christian God, or the Jewish God. Now if you were to compare two ten pound notes this evening, one a genuine and one a counterfeit, how would you discern between the genuine and the counterfeit? How would you locate the difference, which was genuine and which was false? Well, what you would do is first of all, you would not concentrate on the similarities. You wouldn't look for the similarities, because obviously they would be the same and you could not tell that which is false from the similarities - they look alike when you concentrate on the similarities, so you concentrate on the differences, because it is the difference that will show which is genuine. Two genuine notes will have no differences. So when you home in on those things which are counterfeit, those things which are different, you see that those things are difficult to counterfeit in the genuine sense - to take what is true and to make a counterfeit of it, when it is not found in that particular religion.
So what we're asking tonight is: what is missing from Islam that proves that it is a false faith? What is missing from the Islamic faith, that we say that it is not truth, that it's different from Christianity and it's different from what the Bible teaches? Well, here's the first and most obvious thing: the God of the Bible is missing from Islam. The God of the Bible is not found in the Koran. Now, I alluded to this little box here in the middle of the stadium in Mecca. Of course, I told you a moment or two ago that that Ka'aba was full of idols, and Mohammed came along one day and he rejected all the other idols and he chose Allah as the chief god, and he named this as the one true living god. But what most Muslims do not know, or at least will not admit, is that the name of 'Allah' existed before the Muslim faith was founded by Mohammed. Now this is very controversial, but nevertheless I feel it's so important because the name 'Allah' is found in its origin in polytheistic paganism. Now one of the chief tenets, the first one of the Muslim faith, is that there is one God and only one God and his name is Allah, and his prophet is Mohammed - but the fact of the matter is, if you go back far enough, historians and archaeologists proved this: you will find that the name 'Allah' was found as one of many many gods, even in this Meccan temple.
In fact, according to the Encyclopaedia of Religion, I quote: 'Allah is a pre-Islamic name corresponding to the Babylonian god Bel'. In fact, much ancient worship included the worship of the sun god, the moon god, and the stars - and, in fact, the worship of Baal that we read of in the Old Testament was a worship of the heavens like this. But many scholars have now pointed out that in the Arabian world the sun god was female, and the moon god was male, and he was called by various names - but one of the names by which he is called is 'Allah'.
Allah was married to the sun god, and they had three daughters, and these three daughters were viewed as high deities above all other deities - so you can see what's happening here. Mohammed took away the other gods and chose Allah, but Allah was not the true and living God, he was the chief of many gods. In fact, the Encyclopaedia of World Mythology and Legends says this, I quote: 'Along with Allah...they worshipped a host of lesser gods and the daughters of Allah'. In fact, archaeologists have dug up numerous statues and hieroglyphic inscriptions in which a crescent moon was seated on the top of the head of a deity symbolising that they were the moon god. Do you know that the religion of the Crescent today is the religion of Islam? You see it on top of their mosques, you see it on some of their flags - the crescent and the star. Now I believe that that is the origin of that symbol. Now if you want to read more about that, there is a very interesting book entitled 'The Islamic Invasion' by a man called Robert Morey.
But apart from this, the God of the Bible is not the god of Islam simply because the God of the Bible is a God of love! You will not find the God of love in the scriptures of the Muslim faith. Allah, as we find him revealed, cannot love the sinner. You will not find in the Koran a love for the sinner, or a love for the ungodly - it is missing! In fact what god does in the Koran with sinners, is he cuts their hands off, he stones them to death - it is a religion of law, and not a religion of grace. The fact of the matter is, although in Islam Allah is called 'the forgiving, the merciful, the all-compassionate', you will not find one instance in the Koran where he exercises that power to have compassion over, for instance, one who is caught stealing, or one who is caught in the act of adultery - yet we find in John's gospel that the Lord Jesus had such compassion on one caught in the very act, who the Pharisees, the legalists, were going to stone.
Our Saviour is a Saviour who demonstrated the love of God in that while we were yet sinners, Romans 5:8, Christ died for us, Christ died for the ungodly - that is a gospel of grace, unmerited favour, you will not find that in Islam - in fact, you will not find it in any other religion but the Bible, Christianity. What you see before you on the screen tonight is John 3 and 16 in Arabic: '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'. Also verse 17: 'God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved'. The heart of God is a heart of love, God is love - but a God of love is missing from Islam! That's why we would have to say that the caricature that is often painted of Islam is a hateful religion, it is a religion of the sword - and we have to be careful of general caricatures, but nevertheless that is the aura that emits from that religion in the West, because the God of love is missing.
The second thing that is missing from Islam is the Christ of the Bible. They do not believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, they do not believe He is the incarnate Son of God, as John 1 verse 1 says; as John 1 verse 14 says, that He was God manifest in flesh; as John 10 and verse 30 says, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself saying: 'I and my Father are one'. Of course, the Pharisees and religious Scribes were going to stone Him because He, being a man, was trying to make Himself God. Now the Muslim faith will go as far as to say He was a prophet, and He was a sinless prophet at that, but He is not the Son of God and He is not the Saviour of the world - in fact, anyone, they say, who calls themselves God or equates their prophet to be God is committing blasphemy, indeed committing the unpardonable sin. Friends this evening, the Bible clearly says, and it's written on every page of the New Testament, that Jesus Christ is God's Son and God the Son, God manifest in flesh, the Word of God incarnate.
This is what the Koran says in Surah 4:171-172, speaking of people of the book - that simply means Christians or Jews, and they have a measure of respect for Christians, not so much Jews today nevertheless, but Mohammed did originally. 'People of the book, Go not beyond the bounds of your religion...the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Allah. So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three'' - in other words a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - 'God is only One God!'. Now not only does the Koran deny the triune godhead, but it actually denies, in places it would seem, that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross. Surah 4:156-158 says: 'it was made to appear so', that He died on the cross. Some Muslims believe that God caught Him up before He went to the cross, or God caught Him up on the cross. Others believe that someone else was crucified in the place of the Lord Jesus Christ by mistake, some actually believe that Judas Iscariot was crucified in place of the Saviour! Others believe that yes, He was on the cross, but He did not die.
Can I turn you for a moment to 1 Corinthians 15, and here we have the revelation of the apostle Paul, the revelation of God to the apostle in verse 3. This is the message the Corinthians were saved by, verse 3: 'I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins', He died for our sins, 'according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep'. Verse 17: 'And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins' - this is the message that God revealed to men, and that was preached by the early church, and it is the message that Christ died for our sins, rose again - and if He didn't die for our sins and rise again, we are still in our sins, Christ is still in the grave, and we are all lost and damned for all eternity. But praise God tonight, it is an historical fact that He died, He rose again, and we are saved - and it is Mohammed that is in the grave!
The Christ of the Bible is not the Christ of Islam. Mohammed also believed that Jesus Christ foretold his coming, that is Mohammed's coming. He called himself the 'Ahmad', and it is believed that when the Saviour talked about a Paraclete in John's gospel that He was talking about Mohammed and not the Holy Spirit. In fact, some Muslim traditions even add that Christ is to come again, but this time He is going to marry, and He's going to have children, and He's going to break the symbol of the cross and acknowledge Islam to the world.
The third thing that is missing from Islam is the salvation of the Bible, or we could call it the grace of the Bible. For a Muslim, sin is lack of obedience to God's law, lack of obedience to Allah is sin - but they do not have a sense of sin as having a need to be forgiven because we have an inherent sinful nature. You see, a Muslim is sinful only by an act, or by the lack of that act, but he does not see himself as a fallen creature, as a sinner by nature as Romans 3:23 in the Bible says, that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Now, take this on to its logical conclusion: if they don't see themselves as inherently sinful by nature, then they conclude that they do not need a Saviour. That's why they don't recognise Christ as a Saviour, because they don't need redemption. Redemption from an external source is not needed - why? 'Because I can get salvation through following the five pillars of Islam, and believing the faith and the doctrines and tenets of it'. So salvation in the Islamic faith is earned by a legalistic system of obedience, and one day Allah will hopefully outweigh your bad deeds with your good, and you'll get into 'Jannah', into heaven - whatever that may be - hopefully. But who of us, who of us can outweigh the good over the bad? Especially when the Bible reveals that that is not what God requires, what God requires of us is to believe in the Son of God who was sent from heaven - the Gospel of grace that He delivered to us through His death and resurrection, that gospel that Paul preached in Ephesians 2:8-10, where he said: 'It is 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' - it is a gift undeserved!
Let us never lose this, and I'll tell you: you don't hear it preached too often these days - even from evangelical, so-called reformed Protestant pulpits - that there on the cross, our sin, by imputation, was laid on Christ; and by faith His righteousness is exchanged for our sin; and He imputes, by grace in the act of faith, His righteousness in us. That is the Gospel! But it's missing from Islam...
Can I ask you a couple of thought-provoking questions at the end of this message. It's applicable to a Muslim if he's here or she's here. It's applicable to a member of the Baha'i faith, or a Buddhist. It's applicable to a Jehovah's Witness, a Mormon, in fact any of these particular labels that we've used over these nights. Do you know why? It's applicable to anyone who is not a Christian. The first question is this: who is Christ? The Bible clearly teaches that Christ is the Son of God, He is God the Son, He is the Saviour of the world who died, rose again, and is returning to judge the world and will reign on the earth for a thousand years, and then commit those to hell who have disobeyed Him, and those taken to the eternal state who are in obedience to Him in the gospel. Is that the Christ you believe in? Not a prophet, not a good teacher, not a good man, but the Saviour of the world and the Son of God.
Here's another question: do you expect to go to heaven? Most people say: 'I don't know, I hope so'. Listen, the gospel of God's word is simply: you can know that you're on your way to heaven! That's why Jesus came, and died, and rose. That's why the word of God was given: that men might be sure, and the only way to be sure is through Jesus. Do you have, tonight, the assurance that He will accept you? Listen, don't make the mistake of thinking that He will accept you because of something that you are, or something that you have. The only way that God accepts a sinner is when a sinner pleads by faith His own Son. You need to identify with the work that He accomplished on the cross, you need to identify yourself as a sinner, and put your hands up and confess - say 'Lord, I'm guilty of everything that You've charged me with. Jesus wasn't guilty of it, yet He suffered for it. I thank You for that, and I trust that as sufficient to save me, and I ask that You'll give me His righteousness through His death. Save me now!'.
Do you have a low view of yourself and a high view of Jesus Christ and His grace? Because if you don't, my friend, you can't be saved - and there's no other way. There is no other way! If there has been a motto verse for this series over these ten weeks, surely it has been this one from the very words and lips of our Lord Jesus - John 14:6, Jesus said 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me'. Will you not take Him tonight, and the work that He has accomplished for you on the cross? But Christian, can I end with a challenge to you: look at the millions - yes, billions - that are in darkness tonight. I end with the question I began with: what are you doing about it?
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the tenth recording in his Strongholds Shaken series, titled "Islam" - Transcribed by Preach The Word. The inclusion of images and diagrams in this transcript is done without intention to breach any copyright restrictions. If this has been done in any instance, please contact us and we will willingly remove the offending item.
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