|Vol. 13 No. 11 November 2011||
How tragic truly it is that some cannot bring themselves to acknowledge their need and dependence upon Jesus. We are all familiar with the “macho” types at least some of which deny their need for anybody. They are overfilled with pride or a sense they can handle life and everything that comes with it on their own terms and by their own power, “thank you very much.” Consequentially, relationships on all levels, including the spiritual dimension, suffer. However, it is not weak to admit you need Jesus.
Historically, there always have been men who have sought and “found” one excuse or another to excuse themselves for disallowing Jesus from becoming the principal person in their lives (Luke 14:26-27, 33). However, there is no reasonable basis for keeping Jesus locked out of one’s heart (Revelation 3:20). A heart hardened by sin is most often times the culprit.
Jesus, whose wisdom and power surpasses our own is well able to bring benefits to our lives like none other (John 10:10). It was imperative for the Queen of the South to inconvenience herself in traveling such tremendous distance to investigate the reports of Solomon’s wisdom and fame. In Jesus we find one whose wisdom and glory extraordinarily surpasses that of King Solomon (Matthew 12:42).
On one occasion, recorded by Matthew in chapter 8:23-27, Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat with His disciples when a terrible storm came, and they were afraid they were soon to be cast into the depths and drown. They cried out, “Lord save us, we perish.” Jesus, being both the “son of man” as well as the “Son of God,” holds power over the forces of nature. So, “he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (verse 26). The men marveled and exclaimed, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (verse 27). My friend, it is not weak to embrace Jesus since even “No water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth and skies.”
Today, all are under duress through the peril of prevalent sin and guilt. Men are captivated by its power and sinking deeper and deeper in its depths moment by moment. “Lord, save us, we perish” must be our plea. There is none other to deliver. There is none other to save. The apostle Peter proclaimed through the Holy Spirit: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Dear friend, do not allow foolish pride to stand between you and your Savior. “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23). Jesus’ Word still holds as true today as it did when first spoken: “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).
Why not study with some of our faithful brethren in the churches of Christ to learn what God calls upon all men to do to receive His offer of grace and pardon. You and I must “obey the gospel of Christ” rather than just make some type of “verbal cry” for salvation. See passages like Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Romans 6:17; 10:16; and, Galatians 3:26-27 and their contexts. May God bless you in your study and obedience through faith. Always remember, it is not weak to acknowledge your need for Jesus every waking hour of the day.
It is believed that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Does this make it true? Is Islam the one and only true religion? Consider some contrasts between it and Christianity (the Quran and the Bible) which clearly demonstrates the superiority of Christianity over Islam.
Involuntary Conversion vs. Freedom of Choice
Converts to Islam often came as a result of Muhammad’s success as a conquering war leader. For instance, in the early days of his new religion, Muhammad and his few followers were forced to flee Mecca due to his monotheistic stance in a polytheistic culture. He returned to Mecca years later with “ten thousand men… As they approached the city one of the leading men of the town was captured and brought to Mohammad. He proclaimed the faith and asked Mohammad not to destroy the city. Mohammad told him he would spare the people if they would accept the faith. Accordingly, Mecca was taken with very little bloodshed” (Mattox 171). In contrast, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7), commanded His disciples to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9); even when Peter drew his sword to fight for Jesus at His arrest and betrayal, Jesus rebuked Peter saying, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:53). Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him (Matthew 11:28-30), and He allowed those who were following Him for the wrong reasons to turn back and no longer walk with Him (John 6:66).
War vs. Peace
The Quran promotes killing and violence toward those who do not believe in Islam (9:123; 47:3-4; 61:4, 9), and non-believers should pay a tax in Islamic states (9:29). Jesus taught His followers to love their enemies (Matthew 5:44) and to:
“Repay none evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17-21).
God’s Love is Conditional vs. Unconditional
The Quran teaches that Allah (God) does not love unbelievers or those who reject the Islamic faith (30:45; 3:32). The Scriptures teach that God loves the whole world (John 3:16), even the ungodly (Romans 5:6-8).
In Islam, husbands are superior to their wives (21:228) and the testimony of a woman is only half of a man’s (2:282). The Bible teaches in contrast, “For you all are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).
According to the Quran, Muslim men may marry a girl who has not yet begun her menstruation (65:1, 4), have up to 4 wives at a time (4:3), divorce their wives for reasons other than adultery (4:129; 2:228; 2:230; 65:1), sleep with other women (concubines) who are not their wives (4:24) and beat their wives (4:34). According to the New Testament, marriage is for life and the only two reasons for remarriage are death (Romans 7:1-3) and adultery (Matthew 19:9). Husbands are to honor their wives (1 Peter 3:7) and love them as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:23-25).
The Quran teaches that if you kill yourself in killing the infidel (60:10-12), you will have the guaranteed reward of heaven. Yet, Jesus died not to harm anyone, but to give His life a ransom and bring salvation to all men (including His enemies) (Matthew 20:28; Romans 5:6-8; John 1:29).
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits… Every tree that does not bear fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 7:15-16, 19).
Mattox, F.W. The Eternal Kingdom. Delight: Gospel Light, 1969.