"Islam Denies Christ's Crucifixion"
(The Blight Of Islam - Part 6)
1. When I was a junior high school boy I read a book, that I mentioned to you last weekend, titled "The Religions Of Man." That book introduced me to Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and of course Islam. Little did I realize at the time I read that book that God was preparing me for conversion and my call to the Gospel ministry, even ministry to Muslims.
2. Over the last couple of weeks, since the atrocity on September 11th, Iíve been thinking about the Muslims Iíve known in my lifetime, some of whom Iíve told you about. You already know about the chemical engineering students from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. But there are others Iíve not told you about, most of whose names Iíve now forgotten.
3. There was Omar, an electrical engineering student at Oregon State University. He couldnít find a job because as a Palestinian he couldnít qualify for any kind of security clearance, which almost every electrical engineer in the United States had to have in those days, no matter what kind of job he worked on.
4. There is Mike, who owns the computer store near hear and works on our Church computers. And then there is our Shiite Muslim neighbor and her son, from Iran. We once had a couple attending our Church for a while, he was a chemical engineer from Louisiana, married to a Muslim woman from Iran.
5. There is Yo, who owns a nearby auto repair shop. Yo owns a Harley Davidson police special motorcycle, and heís offered on several occasions to let me ride it. Yo was born here in the States, but his parents are from Afghanistan.
6. Then there was Mohammed, who worked at the Texaco service station up here on Foothill. He was also a Muslim, and he loved my little girl. When he read the Old Testament in Arabic he was astonished at how strongly the Jewish Bible condemned the wickedness of the Jewish people.
7. And then there is John, who runs the Chevron station on Myrtle Avenue, just south of the freeway. How many car washes he has allowed us to have there. And when our Church ran busses he let us keep a gas account so weíd only have to pay for gas once a month.
8. Folks, I have never known a Muslim person, to actually know one, who I didnít like, who wasnít friendly to me. Have you? So, understand that I am not inciting any action toward Muslim people other than being friendly to them, exhibiting love and concern for them, and seeking to bring them to Christ.
9. And these comments are made though I have a firm conviction that Islam is a religion that is completely wrong. You see, Islam is in error about the Lord Jesus Christ and about His saving work on behalf of sinners. That makes Islam dangerous to the souls of men who believe it.
10. Recognize that you can be wrong about a lot of things and be tolerable. But when you are wrong about the Lord Jesus Christ and about His death, burial and resurrection, when you are wrong about the good news that Jesus saves, thatís intolerable.
11. This evening we will examine the Islamic theology of Jesus and the Islamic theology of His death, burial and resurrection.
1A. WHAT IS THE ISLAMIC THEOLOGY OF JESUS?
1B. The Islamic Jesus Is Clearly Not The Jesus Of The Bible
1C. We know that during Mohammedís lifetime on the Arabian peninsula he was exposed to both Jewish and Christian people, and there are two likely reasons why he might have misunderstood what orthodox Christians believe about Jesus:
2C. First, it is possible that the veneration of Mary that was beginning about that time confused Mohammed, since he thought Christians believed Jesus to be the product of a physical union between Allah and Mary. But thatís a notion as repulsive to Christians as it is to Muslims.
3C. More likely is the suggestion that Mohammed picked up on Jewish slurs against Christianity. After all, the Koran refers to Jesus as Isa, which seems to be a derivative of Esau, rather than the normal Arabic word for Jesus. And this may be, since Jewish humor has always been heavy on word play. Beelzebub, remember, Lord of the dung heap, is a word play on a godís name thatís mentioned in the Gospels. So, it would not be much of a reach for Jews of his day to refer to Jesus as Esau, the profane son of Isaac, to ridicule Christianity.
4C. However it happened, Mohammed ended up thinking that the Christian notion of the trinity was comprised of the Father, the Son and the Virgin Mary, with the Lord Jesus Christís title as the Son of God being thought of by Mohammed as a clear indication (to him) that Christians believed Jesus to be the product of sexual reproduction. Such a perversion is rightly seen as a great blasphemy, by both Muslims and Christians.
5C. So, completely put off by what they wrongly think we believe about the Lord Jesus Christ, and being completely unable to understand the doctrine of the trinity, here is what the Muslims themselves believe: They believe Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin, but they think that only makes him a unique human being, and only a human being; though one who worked many miracles.
6C. Part of their misunderstanding about the virgin birth of Christ is their belief that mankind as a race is weak, but not inherently sinful. Islam sees man as basically good, and has no real concept of Adamís fall into sin. Thus, if mankind is not inherently depraved, if the human heart is not deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, then there is no need for a Savior, is there? And this is the Muslim thinking.
2B. But The Jesus Of The Bible Is Profoundly Different From The Islamic Conception Of Him
1C. The human race experienced a catastrophic fall when Adam sinned, a fall of such proportions, a fall of such magnitude, from such a height to such a depth, that men cannot rightly be understood to be weak only, as Islam envisions man. O no. Man is not weak only, though he is weak. He is also evil, depraved, wicked, defiled, unclean.
2C. Islam has no conception of manís sinfulness, which is why Muslims think you can be cleansed in the sight of Allah for prayer by washing your face, hands and feet with water or sand. There is no realization of manís defiling sinfulness in their belief system.
3C. But it was such a realization that prompted Job to cry out for a daysman, a referee, a go-between, who would lay his hand on both God and man. Job, you see, appreciated that he had no answer to God as a sinner, and that he needed a mediator. Of course, this is exactly the function the Lord Jesus Christ performs.
4C. Not realizing that the title "Son of God" has nothing to do with sexual human reproduction, but with the eternal relationship that has forever existed between the first person and the second person of the trinity, Muslims could no more be expected to understand the incarnation of Jesus Christ than could you or I. This is to be believed, not understood.
5C. I do not have to be able to imagine the workings of God to accept them as true when they are declared. Thus, when I am told in the Bible that God became a man, so that He might be both God and man, so that He might reconcile God and man, I am not being asked to accept that God bedded a woman named Mary! God forbid that such a thing should be mentioned.
6C. What I am being asked to believe is that Almighty God is powerful enough to work a great miracle, something unimaginable! He used a virgin as an instrument to fulfill His mysterious purpose of preparing a body for His eternal Son to inhabit while on earth.
7C. So, Islamís view of Jesus is distorted by an improper view of man, an improper view of sin, an improper view of the Bible, and an improper view of God. When you are confused about Jesus, my friend, you are hurtfully confused.
2A. WHAT IS THE ISLAMIC THEOLOGY OF JESUS CHRISTíS CRUCIFIXION, DEATH, BURIAL & RESURRECTION?
1B. Recognize That Contemporary Muslims Cannot Separate In Their Thinking The Cross Of Jesus Christ And The Banner Of The Cross, Under Which Crusaders Invaded the Middle East
1C. To them the Crusaders were Christian invaders, not armies trying to take back territory that had been seized by Muslims several centuries earlier. And the Crusader flags invariably had crosses on them. So, the historical baggage of the Crusades a thousand years ago, coupled with the Koranís lack of clarity on the crucifixion of Christ, makes for understandable confusion.
2C. In Sura 19:33, Jesus is quoted as saying "So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)." So, it would seem that the Koran acknowledges that the Lord Jesus Christ has died. But the Koran is not internally consistent.
3C. So opposed was Mohammed to Jesus being crucified that he later declares that Jesus did not die on a cross. Sura 4:15 reads "They slew him not nor crucified but it appeared so unto them." Muslims put forward the idea that the Jews got so confused in their effort to crucify Jesus that they accidentally crucified someone else, thinking it was Him.
4C. The Koranís teaching leads them to disregard anything related to the crucifixion of Christ, because their inadequate view of sin requires no atoning sacrifice. That also means they are convinced there was no death for Christ, no burial, and of course no resurrection. They are convinced Allah took Jesus directly to heaven, and that He will someday return to earth, marry, sire children, and play a role in the final judgment.
5C. Under all of these errors concerning the saving work of Jesus Christ is the notion that for Jesus to be arrested, tried, beaten, tortured, unjustly convicted, and then executed by means of crucifixion, was a terrible defeat for Jesus and for God. As natural men, they see no victory in any of this.
2B. But Christians Understand That The Crucifixion Of Jesus, With His Subsequent Death, Burial And Resurrection, Was A Stupendous Victory, And Not A Defeat At All!
1C. After all, Jesus left heavenís glory on a mission. And His mission was to redeem lost mankind and satisfy His Fatherís righteous demand for satisfaction for sins committed against Him. After all, my friend, when crimes have been committed criminals have to be punished for their crimes, do they not? Well, Jesus did what He set out to do. He won the victory!
2C. Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary, but not by means of human sexual reproduction. He walked on the earth, teaching and performing miracles, raising the dead and giving sight to the blind. And then He was arrested, tried, and crucified for crimes He did not commit.
3C. But what was accomplished with the Lord Jesus Christís crucifixion, that the Muslims do not see? The grace of God. Grace is a concept foreign to Islam which can only be demonstrated by God in connection with the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus.
4C. For God to be gracious toward wicked and guilty sinners His righteousness requires that punishment be meted out for our sins against Him. God is not holy and just without properly punishing sins. But what if the punishment for sins is rained down, not on the sinner, but on a qualified Other? What if Someone steps up to pay the penalty demanded by God for my sins?
5C. When Jesus was born of the virgin Mary the first step was taken to accomplish that. What Job had agonized for, a daysman, One to place one hand on man and the other on God, to reconcile man to God, was come to pass. Jesus, God Who had become man, walked the earth.
6C. The next step, when Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified, was not a defeat. It was part of Godís Own plan, predicted centuries in advance. "He hath born our griefs," Isaiah 53.4. "Wounded for our transgressions, . . . bruised for our iniquities," Isaiah 53.5. ". . . the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all," Isaiah 53.6. Written seven centuries before Christ.
7C. You see, the Lord Jesus Christ was the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. First Peter 3.18 summarizes it perfectly: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit."
1. Islam has no concept of the grace of God. They have a god of power, a god of might, a god to be feared. But their god is not the one true and living God. He is not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. God is perfect in all His attributes. He is all powerful. He is all knowing. He is wise. He is good. God is love. But, apart from allowing man to fall into sin and then devising a plan to save sinful men from their sins, there was no way for God to demonstrate the most sublime of all His attributes, the attribute of His magnificent grace.
3. So that is what Jesus becoming a man was all about. And that is why He took upon Himself our sins and went to the cross to pay for our sins. Then, after suffering the death of the cross and being buried for three days and three nights, He arose victorious over sin, death, Hell and the grave, because it was not possible for death to hold Him, Acts 2.24.
4. So, to my way of thinking, itís all about grace. The Lord Jesus Christ, His great sacrifice on the cross, His glorious resurrection and ascension to His Fatherís right hand in heaven where He now is. Itís all about putting on display the grace of our great God Almighty.
5. Those who are without a Savior, who find themselves repulsed by perverse notions and concepts of His incarnation, His crucifixion, His substitutionary atonement, His glorious resurrection and ascension, are not to be hated. Rather, they are to be pitied. What profound needs they have, that are without remedy.
6. Now, before this eveningís sermon, Brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song.
1. Please turn in your Bible to John 14.6. Let us stand for the reading of Godís Word: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
2. Before I comment on this verse, let me read to you the text of a web site I came across while researching this series of sermons on "The Blight Of Islam," comparing various religious leaders of the world:
To maintain that each of these leaders is equivalent, however, is to argue not from tolerance but from ignorance. Each one had his own distinctive message and mission. And in comparing Jesus with Zoroaster, Buddha, Socrates and Muhammad, we discover a number of unique features in Jesusí life and ministry.
First, only Jesus came out of a culture which was already monotheistic.
Second, his death by crucifixion is unique. G. Bernard Shaw once remarked rather cynically: "These refined people worship Jesus and take comparatively no account of Socrates and Mahomet, for no discoverable reason except that Jesus was horribly tortured, and Socrates humanely drugged, whilst Mahomet died unsensationally in his bed."
On the other hand, Jean-Jacques Rousseau in "Profession de foi du vicaire Savoyard," Emile, wrote:
What prejudices, what blindness it takes to compare the son of Sophroniscus with the son of Mary! What distance between the two! Socrates, dying without pain, without disgrace, maintained his character easily to the endÖ. The death of Socrates, philosophizing quietly with his friends, is the sweetest that one could desire; that of Jesus expiring under tortures, injured, ridiculed, cursed by his entire people, is the most horrible that one might dreadÖ. Indeed, if the life and death of Socrates are those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus are those of a god.
But Jesusí death on the cross is unique not only in its manner but also in its alleged redemptive meaning. Neither Zoroaster, Buddha, Socrates nor Muhammad claimed his death would save men from their sins.
Third, if we exclude later legendary and apologetic accounts, we find that early accounts attribute miracles only to Jesus.
Fourth, only Jesus spoke on his own unquestioned authority. Zoroaster and Muhammad acted as spokesmen for God, while Socrates and Buddha urged every man to consult his own conscience.
Fifth, only Jesus predicted he would be resurrected after his death, and only his followers rest their faith on such an event.
Sixth, only Jesus claimed equality with a sole, supreme deity. According to E. O. James, an authority on comparative religions, "Nowhere else had it ever been claimed that a historical founder of any religion was the one and only supreme deity."
Now one may argue that Jesus was a deceiver, though few have made that charge. Or one may choose to believe with G. Bernard Shaw that Christ was sincere but deluded:
Whether you believe with the evangelists that Christ could have rescued himself by a miracle, or, as a modern Secularist, point out that he could have defended himself effectually, the fact remains that according to all the narratives he did not do soÖ. The consensus on this point is important, because it proves the absolute sincerity of Jesusís declaration that he was a god. No impostor would have accepted such dreadful consequences without an effort to save himself. No impostor would have been nerved to endure them by the conviction that he would rise from the grave and live again after three days.
C. S. Lewis says Jesusí claim to be equal with deity leaves us only one other choice:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic ó on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg ó or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
3. So you see, the view that Islam has about Jesus is untenable. They believe Him to be neither the Son of God nor a madman. They are wrong. He is no madman. He is the Son of God.
4. Look, briefly, at our text, and see what it means. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
5. Three observations, among the many that could be made from this rich text of Scripture.
1A. First, OBSERVE THAT GOD IS FATHER TO HIS CHILDREN
1B. How Bleak Is The Religion Of Islam, That Worships One Named Allah, With Whom No Relationship Is Enjoyed, With Whom No Relationship Is Possible. And Is It Not The Same For You, My Friend? How Are You Different From A Muslim? God Is Not Your Father, Either. You Are Not His Child.
2B. Where, Then, Is The Comfort For Oneís Soul? From Where Comes That Which Fills The Emptiness In A Manís Bosom? Without A Father You Are A Spiritual Orphan, Isolated, Alone.
3B. There Is No Love For The Sinner From Allah. There is No Grace For The Needy From Allah. There Is No Comfort For the Afflicted From Allah. O, What Desolation! What Isolation! How Meaningless Is Life Without The Love Of God, My Friend, Without A Heavenly Father.
4B. But My God Is The God Of All Comfort. God, My Father, Makes Life Endurable.
1C. Listen to Second Corinthians 1.3-4: "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
2C. O, my friend, donít you wish you had access to that kind of comfort for your soul? Donít you wish you could be so comforted that you could, in turn, comfort others?
3C. The God of the Bible is that kind of Comforter to those who are His children, to those who own Him as their Father. Doesnít your heart long for Him tonight?
2A. Second, THERE IS A WAY TO GOD THE FATHER
1B. Islam Denies That Allah Is Known And That Allah Is Knowable. But Islamic Denials That Allah Is Known Or That Allah Is Knowable Has No Bearing On Knowing God.
1C. Because Allah is not God and God is not Allah. So, whatever may be true to the Muslim about Allah is not true to the Christian for God, or to the Muslim for God.
2C. Quite different than Allah, you see, is Godís desire both to know and be known of His children. And this speaks of a spiritual communion between God the Father and His children.
2B. The Bible Is Very Clear In Its Declarations That God Seeks Communion With His Creatures
1C. Why did God create Adam in His Own image and after His likeness, but for communion with him?
2C. Why did God give to the children of Israel instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle? Was it not so He might dwell among them, Exodus 25.8?
3C. Godís desire has always been to dwell with His creatures. Not to fulfill any need He had, but because God is good and He blesses us when He dwells in our midst.
4C. So, there is a way to dwell with God and for God to dwell with you, in a spiritual sense for now, and then more fully and completely in the future.
5C. After all, doesnít Revelation 21.3 say "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God"?
6C. For this reality to come to pass, and for God to dwell with His creatures, there must then be a way for us to come to Him.
3A. And, JESUS IS THAT WAY
1B. Jesus Is The Exclusive Savior Of Sinful Menís Souls, The Unique Avenue Of Approach To God
1C. Was not a prophetic description of the Lord Jesus Christ the name Emmanuel, meaning God with us? Matthew 1.23.
2C. As well, was not Jesus Christ fully human, yet without sin? Therefore, He and only He, unique among all that have walked on the face of the earth, is qualified to reconcile sinners to God.
3C. So, having paid the penalty for our sins with the shedding of His blood, the Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world. He now sits at His Fatherís right hand, the invitation having already been extended for sinners to come to Him for forgiveness, for cleansing, for reconciliation to God.
2B. But How Is This Relationship With God The Father To Be Established?
1C. It is not to be established by foolishly or wickedly seeking to approach God, for God is unapproachable. Our God is a consuming fire, and His holy nature prohibits the approach to Him by sinful creatures.
2C. God is so holy, His nature is so pristine, that directly approaching God is not possible by any so sinful as we are. Therefore, this Mediator is required, this One Who is capable of preparing us and cleansing us before taking us to God. This Mediator, of course, is Jesus Christ.
3C. By His doing and dying on the cross, the shedding of His precious blood, He prepared the way. So now, should you seek to come to the Father you must come to Jesus. And coming to Jesus, Who will cleanse you of all your sins with His precious blood, He will establish a relationship with the Father for you.
4C. That is why Jesus described Himself as the way, and indicated that no man cometh unto the Father but by Him. That is why His invitation has always been, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," Matthew 11.28.
5C. And that is why His invitation has always been backed with this promise: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out," John 6.37.
1. My friend, there is an emptiness in your heart. There are times when you feel as though you can feel it. Itís accompanied by a sense of loss and a sense of lack in your soul. You know something is dreadfully wrong.
2. I know what your problem is. Your problem is you are unconverted. There is no peace with God, no sense of sins forgiven, no comfort for your soul.
3. Islam says this comfort that comes from communion with God is not possible, because they say that Allah doesnít meet human spiritual needs, doesnít forgive sins in this way, doesnít comfort the soul. And Islam is right. Allah does do any of those things. God, however, does.
4. Jesus, the eternal Son of the living God, did become a man, the God-man. And He did suffer and bleed and die for sins, and rise again. Jesus is alive, my friend, saving souls every day.
5. So, I urge you to come to Him, as He has instructed. Come to Him and He will save you, forgive you, cleanse you, impart life to you, and take you to the Father. Then you will know the love of God in Christ Jesus.
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