"Islam's Sword Point Evangelism"
(The Blight Of Islam - Part 3)
1. Because of the atrocity that took place in New York City and Washington, D. C. on September 11, eight days ago, I began last Sunday morning a series of messages titled "The Blight Of Islam," which is an examination of and an expose of the religion of Islam.
2. To begin that series of messages last Sunday morning, we considered the origins of Islam. Islam is a major world religion, having almost as many adherents as Christendom, at something around 1.3 billion people who claim to be and who consider themselves to be Muslims, more than tripling the number of Muslims there were in 1960.
3. I define Christendom as those who claim to be Christians, whether or not they are born again or have any Biblical conception of the Gospel. This understood, it is likely that there are more practicing Muslims in the world than there are Churchgoers in all of Christendom.
4. When considering the origins of Islam last Sunday I did not consider the content of Islam other than to remark on its existence. I did not look at its doctrines or its practices. Instead, I considered only the suppositions upon which Islam, or any religion for that matter, arising 500 years after the birth of Christianity and in close proximity to the birthplace of Christianity, would have to be built.
5. For Islam to rise up five centuries after the establishment of the Christian religion was founded Islam must have, in fact, if not necessarily consciously, supposed the Bible to be insufficient, supposed the prophets of the Old Testament era and the apostles of the New Testament period to have been uninspired, supposed the Christian faith itself to have been inadequate, and supposed the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, to be somehow and in some way unable.
6. My friend, in Isaiah 1.18 we find God, through the prophet Isaiah, extending an invitation: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
7. God wants people to use their powers of reason when addressing matters of sin, salvation and religion. Therefore, whatever a manís faith, his belief, is rightly understood to be, it cannot rightly be understood to be the belief in something, anything, without the full use of your mental capacities. Though many people do not, God wants people to think!
8. And when a person thinks about the suppositions necessarily involved in the founding of Islam 500 years after the founding of Christianity, that our Bible, our holy men, our religion, and our Savior are all wrong, then the origin of Islam is based upon false suppositions. And this is more the case when you realize that Islam actually pays some lip service to portions of Scripture, to some prophets, and to their conception of our Savior. So you see, Islam comes up short when a man seriously thinks about it.
9. Then, last Sunday night we considered the founder of Islam, the man named Mohammed, as he was compared to our glorious Savior. Reflect on what we know of the advance announcements of the coming of the two men, of their respective births, of their lives, of their brides, of their deaths, of their resurrections, and of their legacies.
10. There are hundreds of Old Testament prophecies, given centuries before Christís coming and life, that were fulfilled by Him, but not a single one predicting Mohammed. Oneís birth was miraculous, while the otherís was apparently routine and normal. Their lives were also dramatically different, with deaths directly attributed to Mohammed, while life was given to the dead by Jesus Christ, Who said, in John 10.10, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
11. Jesus did not marry a little girl who still played with toys, but Mohammed did. Mohammedís death was not a sacrificial payment for sinners, while Jesusí was. And when Jesus rose from the dead there were hundreds of immediate and credible witnesses to that fact, while even Muslim scholars doubt that Mohammedís so-called ascension into heaven was much more than a mythical rehash of Christís real ascension 500 years earlier.
12. Beloved, I could go on and on and on, but the press of time forces me to move on to my subject for tonight, the advance and spread of Islam, which really is a part of Mohammedís legacy, just as the spread of Christianity is part of the Lord Jesus Christís legacy.
13. Before dealing with specific details of the spread of Islam, let me readily admit that no religion is necessarily well served by those who claim adherence to that religion. You and I both know so-called Christians who are much more effective at driving people away from the Christian faith than they are at attracting men to Christ. And the same argument can be made, and presently is being forcefully made, by Muslims all over the world. They are appearing on radio talks shows, television shows, and in print media saying, "Please do not judge our religion by those terrorists. Those terrorists are no measure of our religion. We are peaceful."
14. If that be true then no Muslim would object to an examination of their religionís past. Therefore, in our scrutiny of Islam we now come more fully to a consideration of Mohammedís legacy, as we review the spread of Islam; its advance to the east and to the west from its birthplace on the Arabian peninsula.
15. Are you concerned about using contemporary terrorism as an indicator for an evaluation of Islam? Understood. Then letís bypass contemporary Islam, starting at the beginning, with both Islam and Christianity, to compare and contrast how those two religions initially spread over the earth.
16. After all, it would seem that the adherents of a religion who are most closely associated with the founder of that religion are more likely to reflect the character of the founder of that religion than those who come along centuries later. So, we will look to the early days of both religions to set the tone for what the real character of the religions really are. Weíll just start back at the beginning and compare Christianity with Islam..
1A. First, LET US COMPARE THE SPREAD OF CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM DURING THE LIFETIME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THE LIFETIME OF MOHAMMED
1B. First, The Spread Of Christianity Before The Crucifixion Of Christ
1C. Of course, the source of this information would be the four Gospels. But what do we find when studying the Gospels? We find that the Lord Jesus Christ gathered large crowds with His teaching, His preaching, His miracle working, His feeding of the multitudes. Drawing a crowd of interested listeners was never a problem for Someone Who gave sight to the blind and Who raised the dead
2C. But then we find that the large crowds were dispersed when He taught things the crowds didnít want to hear, leaving Him with only the twelve apostles. John 6.66-67: "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?"
3C. Of course, the twelve did not forsake Him, until the night before His crucifixion, when Judas betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver and the others ran away for fear. But all total, when you count the number of followers Jesus had shortly before the day of Pentecost, in Acts 1.15, the number had swelled, if thatís a good term, to 120.
4C. But how did the number of disciples grow to 120 over a 3 Ĺ year period of time? Was any force used? Was there any coercion? Read the Gospels through from beginning to end, my friend, and what you will find is Jesus demonstrating meekness, humility, a servantís spirit, and seeking the salvation of lost souls. Jesus said about Himself, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost," Luke 19.10.
5C. Those who followed Him had no promise of wealth, position, or power. Quite the opposite. He once rebuked two apostles who tried to jockey for position. The apostle Paul, called to be an apostle after Christís resurrection, was quite typical in his call to apostleship in this regard. The risen Savior spoke these words about him: "I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my nameís sake," Acts 9.16.
6C. So, Christianity didnít really spread all that much while Jesus was alive. He was peace loving and lifted up His hand to no man. His followers were instructed to turn the other cheek when persecuted. And the good news was spread by preaching and teaching, without any threat of violence to anyone. The violence that was suffered was suffered only by Jesusí followers.
2B. But Quite A Different Story Is Told Of The Spread Of Islam During Mohammedís Lifetime
1C. In seeking to spread his vision of religion, Mohammed ran into difficulty with those in the city of Mecca, who wanted him returned to the city to face criminal trial. But Mohammed gathered raiding parties that attacked the caravans traveling to and from Mecca.
2C. Fazlur Rahman, professor of Islamic Thought, University of Chicago, writes that Mohammed also had his opponents in the city of Medina killed, and ordered the mass execution of all the men of one Jewish clan who had collaborated with his opponents.
3C. By the time of his death Mohammed was the most powerful leader in Arabia. But the path to prominence was at the cost of many lives. How very different was the spread of Christianity during the lifetime of the Lord Jesus Christ and the spread of Islam during the lifetime of Mohammed.
4C. Jesus insisted on peace, dying to self, meekness, and turning the other cheek. His religion grew over the space of 3 Ĺ years to about 120 men and women. Mohammed, on the other hand, resorted to violence and the deaths of many who opposed him, along with wielding military might. But at the time of his death Islam basically controlled Arabia.
2A. Next, LET US COMPARE THE SPREAD OF CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM DURING THE FIRST 100 YEARS AFTER THE DEATHS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE FOUNDERS
1B. Have You Ever Considered The Spread Of Christianity During Its First 100 Years?
1C. As far west as Spain and Great Britain, to the continent of Africa at least as far south as Ethiopia, to India in the east, and I donít have any idea how far north, the Christian religion spread like wildfire, beginning with the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God in Acts chapter 2.
2C. A common misconception is that the book of Acts records the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome. But the book of Acts is not an account of the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome, since there were already Christians in Rome when Paul wrote to them, and later when he arrived there in chains himself. What the book of Acts does give us is an insight into the conduct of Christian ministry by the two most prominent leaders after Christís death, burial and glorious resurrection, the apostles Peter and Paul.
3C. God worked greatly in their lives, and they were mightily emboldened to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They almost always met great opposition when converts were made, resulting in beatings and imprisonment, and eventually martyrdom for both of them.
4C. But so effective were the ministries of these men that these words were used to describe them in Acts 17.6: "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." But how did they turn the world upside down? How did they spread the Christian religion, if you will?
5C. They were men of peace, who were pacifists in the face of persecution, who did not render evil for evil (First Peter 3.9), and who sought not revenge for wrongs done to them (Romans 12.19).
6C. Recognize that much blood was shed in order to spread the Gospel and advance Christianity. But it was not the Christians who shed the blood. Rather, those who opposed us shed our blood, while we shed no blood of those who opposed us.
2B. The Same Cannot Be Said For The Spread Of Islam Over A Comparable Period Of Time
1C. To be sure, the spread of Islam in its first 100 years was just about as far as the spread of Christianity in its first 75 years. But the method by which Islam was expanded was exactly opposite the method employed by Christians in spreading their religion.
2C. With the Arabs coming out of the Arabian peninsula it was 100 years of nonstop warfare and bloodshed. It took only 8 years after Mohammed died to capture Persia, Syria and Egypt. Another 70 years was required to reduce all of North Africa.
3C. And had not Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, stopped the Muslim armyís advance from Spain into what is today France in 732, you and I would all be speaking Arabic and praying toward Mecca five times a day.
4C. But wherever Islam met non-Islam it was always the same. Sword point evangelism. If someone would say something like "Allah is the one true God and Mohammed is his last prophet," bingo! He would then be a Muslim and be allowed to live. Sounds like contemporary Christian decisionism, doesnít it?
5C. Along with the warfare would be the accompanying raping and pillaging and burning always associated with the advance of Islam. And this is the undeniable history of Islam during its first 100 years. No educated person questions these facts. How dramatically different from Christianity could a religion possibly be, insofar as its contact with unbelievers is concerned?
6C. Christianity spread without the use of any physical force, without coercion of any kind, relying solely on the preaching of the Gospel that was empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. Islam comes along 500 years later and spreads over ground already exposed to the Gospel, but with the threat of bloodshed and the actual sword point to make Muslims out of the people who were conquered.
1. Notice, my friend, that we have not yet begun to evaluate what Islam actually believes. When looking at its origin, we looked at the necessary suppositions involved in the founding of the religion.
2. Then we examined the life of Islamís founder, the man named Mohammed, and some of the things that he did. And tonight we have examined the initial spread of Islam, and once again have seen the astonishing contrast that exists between Christianity, and this new religion come along five centuries later called Islam.
3. So, to this point we have examined what I would call the external evidence related to Islam, and for comparison and contrastís sake, Christianity, too. And this examination reveals, if it reveals nothing else, that Islam and Christianity have virtually no similarities beyond the fact that they are religions of one god who claim to have truth given to them by God directly. Their claim is the Koran. Our claim is the holy Bible.
4. I think our investigation of Islam has already yielded enough information from which to make an informed decision, and we arenít finished yet. The evidence that affects the intellect is mounting, and it all seems to be in favor of Christianity over against Islam.
5. After brother Isenberger comes and leads us in a song we will leave matters of the head and turn to matters of the heart.
1. For the first one hundred years of Islam, and while the founder of Islam was still alive, it was a religion that was spread by violence, by coercion, by warfare, by intimidation. In short, Islam was spread by means of the devices and means available to those men who are limited to the flesh.
2. Christ, however, never intended that His kingdom be advanced the way Mohammed advanced Islam. That is why, when He was brought before Pilate, the Roman governor, shortly before His crucifixion, He made this statement: "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence," John 18.36.
3. He made that statement in response to a question the Roman governor had asked Him: "Art thou the King of the Jews?" And He answered that way because, yes, He is king of the Jews, but His kingdom is not now a kingdom of temporal power and influence. Rather, for now it is a spiritual kingdom.
4. In His conversation with Nicodemus, which had occurred three years earlier, and which is recorded in John chapter 3, the Lord Jesus Christ conveyed a similar thought. He said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
5. Like Pilate later, Nicodemus could only envision a kingdom which could be seen, and which was built by the force of arms. And such is the case with Islam. Mohammed sought to build a kingdom for his so-called god by force of arms.
6. To be sure, spiritual conflict is real warfare. But spiritual warfare is not conducted by force of arms, as Paul related to the Corinthians when he wrote, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal," which is to say, not fleshly, not physical. Christians are not supposed to engage in spiritual conflict by means of physical struggle.
7. Listen to Paul describe the manner of the Christianís warfare, in Ephesians chapter 6:
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
8. So you see, the very idea of advancing the Gospel by force of arms, by threats and intimidation, by sword point conversion, by holy warfare, or by any other such means, is foreign to the very nature and character of our Savior. And as soon as anyone seeks to advance Christianity by forceful means it is no longer Christianity that is being advanced, but a perverted and twisted counterfeit that I call Christendom.
9. How, then, is the cause of Christ advanced? How is the Christian religion spread? How is the kingdom of God enlarged? How does a person become a Christian?
10. Certainly not by reciting a phrase, such as Islam demands: "Allah is the true god and Mohammed is his last prophet," or something like that. O, no. Such a conversion as that, and even such as passes for conversion in much of Christendom these days, isnít real conversion at all. Becoming a Christian is actually a matter of the heart, my friend. And you will never become a Christian until in your heart you want to become one. Consider:
1A. First, THAT YOUR HEART IS BAD
1B. You Are, Obviously, A Sinner. And Your Sin Condemns You To Hell. So Long As Your Sin Is Not Remedied Somehow You Have Only The Sentence Of Eternal Damnation Hanging Over Your Head.
2B. But A Truly Troublesome Symptom Of Your Sinfulness Is The Wickedness Of Your Heart, Jeremiah 17.9. Your Heart Really Is Deceitful Above All Things, And Desperately Wicked. So Wicked, In Fact, That You Are Unconcerned About Your Heartís Wickedness Unless Moved To Be By God.
3B. This Means, In And Of Yourself, There Is Absolutely No Hope Of You Ever Becoming A Christian, Which Means Your Sins Will Never Be Forgiven, You Will Never Be Reconciled To God, And You Will Go To Hell When You Die.
2A. Second, THIS IS BECAUSE REAL CHRISTIANITY IS A MATTER OF THE HEART
1B. Real Conversion Occurs, Real Salvation Takes Place, A Person Actually Becomes A Genuine Christian, When He Has Faith In Jesus Christ, Godís Son, The One Who Suffered And Bled And Died For Your Sins, The Only Savior Of Sinful Menís Souls.
2B. But Paul Explains Very Clearly To Us In Romans 10.10 That It Is With The Heart That A Man Believes Unto Righteousness. That Is, To Become A Christian You Must Do Something More Than Arrive At An Intellectual Understanding Of The Gospel. You Must Do Something More Than The Muslims Did To Become Muslims, Which Was To Recite A Phrase. Praying A Prayer Isnít Enough.
3B. Real Salvation Is A Matter Of The Heart, And You Must With Your Heart Believe In Jesus Unto Salvation, Lest You Remain Lost.
4B. But How, My Stubborn Friend, Will You Believe In Your Heart, So Long As Your Heart Is Wicked And Deceitful And Turned So Strongly Against The Lord Jesus Christ? You See, You Will Never Become A Christian Unless And Until You Want To Become A Christian. So, Something Must Happen To Your Heart To Make You Want To Come To Christ, Or Else You Will Never Come.
3A. This Means, Third, THAT ONLY WHEN GOD TURNS YOUR HEART WILL YOU EVER WANT TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN
1B. You Cannot Turn Your Own Heart. Youíre Too Stubborn, Too Blind, Too Wicked. And No One Else Can Turn Your Heart, Except God. Listen To This Verse.
2B. Proverbs 21.1: "The kingís heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." Your Heart Is In The LORDís Hand, To Turn This Way Or That.
3B. Do You See, Then, How Christians Are Not Made By The Point Of A Sword? Neither Are They Made By Some Manipulative Means, Such As A Sob Story Or Stirring A Man With An Appeal To Patriotism. That Stuff Is Entirely Ineffective In Getting Sinners Saved.
4B. Paul Described How He Made Use Of Godís Word, Made Use Of Faith, Made Use Of Truth, Made Use Of Prayer, Made Use Of Gospel Preaching, As He Was A Tool In Godís Hands, To Woo The Heart Of The Sinner To Want To Come To Christ, And Then To Come To Christ.
4A. Finally, CONSIDER HOW YOUR HEART MUST BE WOOED FOR YOU TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN
1B. The Means, Obviously, Is Preaching. First Corinthians 1.19: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
2B. But What About The Message In The Preaching? Itís The Cross. But Whatís Contained In A Message About The Cross Of Christ?
3B. Two Things, My Friend. The Wrath Of God And The Grace Of God. The Cross Of Christ Shows Us That God Will Punish Sin With Great Severity, Even When Itís His Son Heís Punishing. O, How That Should Make Your Heart Fear. And As The Song, "Amazing Grace" Says, Itís The Grace Of God That Teaches Your Heart To Fear. And Notice, It Must Be Your Heart That Fears, Since All Thatís Really Important In Real Christianity Has To Do With The Heart. There Are So Many Who Fear In Their Heads And Donít Get Converted. You Must Fear In Your Heart Godís Wrath.
4B. Then, Once The Spirit Of God Has Dislodged You From Your Lethargy By Making You Fear Godís Wrath, By Making You Fear God, Then Comes The Other Side Of The Cross Of Christ, His Great Love.
5B. O, My Friend. What Great Love Wherewith Christ Loved Us. What Great Sacrifice He Made, Not Just Leaving Heavenís Glory To Become A Man, But Taking Upon Himself Our Sins And Suffering The Wrath Of God On Our Behalf.
6B. Does It Not Move You When Someone Suffers And Bleeds And Dies For You? When Someone Suffers And Bleeds And Dies In Your Place? Donít You Think The Survivors In New York Will Remember For The Rest Of Their Lives The Firemen Who Died In Those Buildings Trying To Save Them? But Jesus Did So Much More.
7B. What Great Suffering. What Great Pain. What Great Horror He Experienced. What Great Punishment He Received. What Great Wrath The Father Poured Out Upon His Son, His Only Son. And It Was All For You. Does That Not Move You? Does That Not Win Your Heart To Jesus? If That Cannot Win Your Heart To Him Then Youíll Not Be Won To Him At All And Youíll Burn Forever.
1. So you see, Christians are made, not by being afraid of some Arab warriorís scimitar, like Muslims were so oftentimes made. Neither is a Christian made as the result of some man coercing him or manipulating him.
2. A Christian is made when God, by the use of legitimate means, woos a manís heart, first by fear, then by love. And it is when a man wants to become a Christian, wants to escape the wrath of God because he is afraid, wants to embrace the love of God in Christ, because his heart has been persuaded that Jesus is altogether lovely . . . that he will believe in his heart unto salvation.
3. Let God make you afraid, and not man. Let the love of God move your heart, not the love of a woman, or the love of a man, or the love of a country. Then come to Jesus Christ heart first, not head first.
Order this sermon on tape: or Mail/Phone