Christianity & Islam

I Jn 2:18-19

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (NKJ)

Preached at FBC Toulon, IL on October 28, 2001 by Albert Harmon; see it at toulonbaptist.com

This is our third and final message in our mini series considering Mohamad and Islam. As I stated in the beginning, this was not meant to be an exhaustive study. There are many things that could have been said that were not. The purpose was to show the major differences between Islam and Christianity. We have looked at the Prophet Mohamad vs the Savior Jesus Christ. We also looked at Allah as compared to Jehovah. The final section is to compare Christianity to Islam.

If nothing else we have become more familiar with this major religion of the world that now claims one billion followers. We have also seen the beauties of our Savior and the Faith that He gave to His followers.

It is that that we want to take a closer look at this morning. We need to realize that Islam is one of the fastest if not the fastest growing religions in the world. In places where they are minorities they live quite peaceably. They make converts where they can a persuade many to become Moslems. They are growing very quickly in Europe and Africa. Nations that were once almost completely Christian at least in name are now seeing a dramatic rise of Islam.

In those nations where Islam is the religion of the majority, they attempt to become the religion of the governments. Then the government is used to enforce religious law on all citizens, regardless of what faith they are.

The most severe persecution of Christians is that found in Moslem countries. In areas where Islam has control, no dissension of Islam is tolerated. The penalty in those countries for converting from Islam to anything else is death. No religious services, books, broadcasts of anything other than Islam is allowed. No one is allowed to think outside the traditional line of Islam.

World Magazine just came out with a special issue just on Islam. They said that the thing that makes Islam more dangerous than the Communist of the past is that the Communist were not willing to be suicide bombers. With their belief in evolution they needed to say alive for them own well being. With Islam it is quite different. For the faithful Muslim who gives his life in fighting the enemy of Allah, he is promised eternal bliss in heaven. In the area of Palestine, suicide bombers will not have to worry about their families for there are special funds set up to raise and educate the children and take care of the widow. They are even considered martyrs instead of suicide bombers.

What then does the faith life and death of these two very divergent faiths look like?

  1. Followers
    1. To become a follower of Jesus, one must believe.
      1. Obedience and submission are expected but believing alone makes one a follower.
      2. The New Testament makes it plain that those who follow Jesus believe, trust in and rely on Him.
      3. Rom 4:3-8 3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." (NKJ)
    2. To become a follower of Mohamad one must submit.
      1. Faith is not considered more important than other elements of their religion.
        1. To believe in Allah is mentioned often but along with that is a list of several other things.
        2. Obedience and submission are the at the center of the Muslim faith.
        3. According to Islam Pharaoh of Moses day embraced Islam when he submitted to Allah when his army was destroyed in the Red Sea
      2. The religion of Islam is the acceptance of and obedience to the teachings of God which He revealed to His last prophet, Muhammad, Source = http://www.islam-guide.com/frm-ch2-3.htm
  2. Acceptance with God
    1. For the Christian, acceptance is on the basis of grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
      1. Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NKJ)
    2. For Islam, acceptance is on the basis of works.
      1. God can very trivially and effortlessly forgive the sins of all of Humanity no matter if they were to fill the lofty regions of the sky. Such a matter would be trivial and inconsequential for Him since He has already done much more than that such as creating everything we can ever see, hear or imagine. He loves to bestow His mercy and forgiveness on His creation and rewards the most trivial acts with the most tremendous rewards. In order to achieve God's reward one must have faith as well as works. http://www.beconvinced.com/RELIGION/CHVSIS.htm
      2. Koran 3:32 Say: "Obey Allah and His Apostle": But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith.; 57 "As to those who believe and work righteousness, Allah will pay them (in full) their reward; but Allah loveth not those who do wrong."
      3. Koran 3:195 And their Lord hath accepted of them, and answered them: "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: Ye are members, one of another: Those who have left their homes, or been driven out therefrom, or suffered harm in My Cause, or fought or been slain, --Verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath; --A reward from His Presence is the best of rewards."
  3. The Greatest Thing
    1. For the Moslem the greatest thing is obedience not love.
      1. Here is an example of their idea of mercy.
      2. Islam, a religion of mercy, does not permit terrorism. In the Quran, God has said: God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8) http://www.islam-guide.com/frm-ch2-3.htm
      3. "Any human being can embrace Islam. You do not need anyone's permission. You simply say and believe that there is No God except Allah and that Mohammad is his Messenger. Once you say this sentence, you automatically become Muslim. From there, you start carrying on with the duties of Islam. You must do what Allah and His messenger tell you to, and stay away from what they tell you to." http://www.al-sunnah.com/convert/becoming_a_muslim.htm
    2. For the Christian the greatest thing is love.
      1. Obedience is important but love is the greatest.
      2. Paul makes that plain in 1 Cor. 13
      3. Christians are to be identified with love.
      4. Love caused Jesus to come and die.
      5. Love caused Him to bear our sins on the cross.
      6. We are also called on to love one another.
        1. I Jn 3:11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, (NKJ)
        2. I Jn 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (NKJ)
        3. I Jn 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (NKJ)
  4. Position
    1. In Islam the primary relationship is of a servant.
      1. Even Jesus is no more than a servant in the Koran 43:59 He was no more than a servant: We granted our favor to him, and We made him an example to the Children of Israel.
      2. The servant relationship is the duty of the good Moslem.
      3. The idea of a servant is not foreign to the Old Testament but in the New Testament we are children of God.
    2. In Christianity the primary relationship is of a son.
      1. Throughout John's and Paul's writings Christians are referred to as the children of God.
        1. Rom 8:14-19 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (NKJ)
        2. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: (NKJ)
        3. Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (NKJ)
        4. Gal 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (NKJ)
        5. Eph 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (NKJ)
        6. I Jn 3:1-2 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (NKJ)
  5. Heaven
    1. For the Christian heaven is to be with Jesus.
    2. For Islam heaven is to have every sensuous desire satisfied.
      1. The Koran does speak often of the wonder it will be to be with Allah in his presence.
      2. But for the most part heaven is a lush garden with flowing streams.
      3. 43:68 My devotees! No fear shall be on you that Day, nor shall ye grieve, -- 69 (Being) those who have believed in Our Signs and bowed (their wills to Ours) in Islam. 70 Enter ye the Garden, ye and your wives, in (beauty and) rejoicing. 71 To them will be passed round, dishes and goblets of gold: There will be there all that the souls could desire, all that the eyes could delight in: And ye shall abide therein (for aye). 72 Such will be the Garden of which ye are made heirs for your (good) deeds (in life). 73 Ye shall have therein abundance of fruit, from which ye shall have satisfaction.
      4. Koran 55:56 In them will be (Maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or Jinn before them has touched; -- 55:70 In them will be fair (Companions), good, beautiful;

Christianity promises a security to those who believe. Their works will be rewarded but are not a condition of acceptance. Acceptance is in the person of Jesus Christ who died to take their place. Heaven is eternity with God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Islam is a matter of works and submission. Where everything depends on you. Your devotion is the basis of acceptance. The only sure way to achieve heaven is to die for Allah in battle or as a martyr. Which one will you beleive?  

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com