- Religion and Philosophy
Issa God's key to a relationship with Him
Muslims believe there is the one almighty God, named Allah, who is infinitely superior to and transcendent from humankind. Allah is viewed as the creator of the universe and the source of all good and all evil. Everything that happens is Allah's will. He is a powerful and strict judge, who will be merciful toward followers depending on the sufficiency of their life's good works and religious devotion. A follower's relationship with Allah is as a servant to Allah.
Though a Muslim honors several prophets, Muhammad is considered the last prophet and his words and lifestyle are that person's authority. To be a Muslim, one has to follow five religious duties: 1. Repeat a creed about Allah and Muhammad; 2. Recite certain prayers in Arabic five times a day; 3. Give to the needy; 4. One month each year, fast from food, drink, sex and smoking from sunrise to sunset; 5. Pilgrimage once in one's lifetime to worship at a shrine in Mecca. At death -- based on one's faithfulness to these duties -- a Muslim hopes to enter Paradise. If not, they will be eternally punished in hell.
Islam teaches that there is one supreme God, who is worshiped through good deeds and disciplined religious rituals. After death a person is rewarded or punished according to their religious devotion.
The Muslim people are of the most faithful in desiring to obey God. They are consistent and faithful to the death. They always are concerned about pleasing God. Muslims out of duty, trying to respect and love God even pray 5 times a day!
The MuslimS are far from hopelessness. By their acceptance of Jesus (Issa) as God's only plan to save mankind they would be some of the most powerful people of God. They would see and do miracles like Jesus (Issa) did, and also told us in His name we can do the same. All this to redeem all of mankind from sin.
Their is no need trying to find another way into heaven because our way has been made and all we need to do is to believe in His Son (Issa) as God commanded.
Islam makes a distinction between a messenger (rasul) who is sent with a Divine Scripture to guide and reform mankind, and a prophet (al nabbi) who simply carries information or proclaims Allah's news. Therefore, though all messengers are prophets, not all prophets are messengers.
The number of Allah's prophets is said to be 124,000, yet the Qur'an mentions only 25. Adam was the first prophet, followed by others, some of whom are: Abraham, Jacob, Ishmael, Isaac, David, Solomon, John the Baptist, Jesus, and also Muhammad, the final and greatest of the prophets; or the "Seal of the Prophets."
Allah raised up these prophets, among every nation (Sura 16:36), to provide mankind with firm and constructive guidance, so that they could walk the straight path of Allah, could live happily in this world, and could be prepared for life after death. Their fundamental message (Islam) was identical, remind- ing mankind of Allah's unity; the reward of a good life; the day of judgment; and the terrible punishment for unbelievers.
Thus, the belief that a prophet could never be killed; and their denial that Jesus, a prophet, died on the cross.
Their message was profound
Christians believe that God appointed prophets and others to speak to mankind His Word, the story of His redemptive acts in history. God revealed (nuzul) the interpretation of His acts to prophets, who passed it on to man by preaching, teaching, and writing.
Of the thirty or so prophets who are listed in the Bible, many are well known to Muslims, such as: Abraham, Moses, David, and John the Baptist; while others are not, such as: Miriam (Moses's sister), Nathan, Isaiah, Jonah, Joel, and Daniel; all of whom came before Christ. Others, like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter and Paul, wrote after Christ's departure, and, though not recognized by Muslims, they are, for Christians, believed to be the last of the prophets.
We know as well, that all of these prophets were descendants of Abraham and Isaac, sent down over a period of 2,000 years, chiefly to the people of Israel, whom God had chosen to be His Covenant people; in order that from them the Truth of God might be made known to all the people of the world.
They came from different classes of society, some rich, others poor, young and old; some scholars, and others with little education. Not all wrote books (Elijah, John the Baptist), but they all heard God's word, either through angels, by means of visions, by God's voice, or by receiving the message in their minds and hearts.
We know also that the prophets were not sinless, but were believers who knew their sins were forgiven. To some the power was given to perform miracles, which verified the message. Yet, others, such as John the Baptist, performed none.
Their message was profound, but clear. They defined the character of a righteous God, and what He requires of them, warning of His judgment on rejecting Him and His Law, yet, assuring them of his forgiveness and blessing if they accepted them.
The prophets most important message, however, was that since there are none who could obey the Law fully, they remained still in sin, and so deserved death. Yet, they need not despair, because God had promised to take upon Himself the guilt of their sins, by incarnating Himself and dying on the cross, thus taking upon Himself that penalty, and so freeing Him to forgive them from those sins, which then brought them back into a personal relationship with Him.
Muhammad in light of Biblical witness
In evaluating whether Muhammad was a prophet, a we must see Muhammad in light of the total Biblical witness culminating in Jesus the Messiah. To the extent that the prophet Muhammad 1) fully accepts the former Scriptures, and 2) points to the central significance of Jesus as redeemer, and 3) to the extent that the life and teachings of Muhammad exemplify suffering redemptive love, which is demonstrated by Jesus the Savior. I find him lacking in all three, coming no where near the divinity of Jesus (Issa), God hasn't given him the authority, as with Jesus we have all authority.
The myth of no commonality of Muslims & Christians
One of the biggest myths is that Christianity and Islam have little in common. In fact, the two faiths share many core beliefs. Among them are these:
— God is one, the creator of heaven and earth.
— God sent the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), the Psalms and the New Testament as his inspired word.
— All people (except Jesus) have sinned.
— Jesus, who is known as Issa in the Arabic language and the Koran (or Qu’ran), was conceived by the Holy Spirit, without sin, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, whom Muslims venerate.
— Jesus is the Word of God.
— Jesus performed miracles, including raising the dead, healing the blind and the demon-possessed.
— Jesus will return again and intercede for people at the Last Judgment.
Of course, there are also incompatible differences between the two religions. Muslims are truly monotheistic. They believe only in God the Father, and therefore do not believe that Jesus is also God, or as he’s sometimes called, the Son of God.
They do believe that Jesus is an important prophet, like Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses, and that Muhammad was God’s last prophet. They believe that the Koran was given to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, the same angel who appeared to Mary in the Bible.
In terms of moral behavior, however, there are many similarities with Christians . Muslims believe in prayer, fasting and giving to the poor, tithing up to 10 percent of their income. They are also concerned about the erosion of moral values concerning matters such as modesty, sexuality, abortion, blasphemy in movies and other entertainment and what Christians call “family values.”
Culturally, Christians often have more in common with traditional Muslims than with secular or agnostic Europeans and Americans.
Their is hope
There is great hope in reaching Muslims for Christ . Missionaries are conveying amazing stories about how Muslims all over the world are seeing visions of Jesus (or Isa, as they call Him) drawing them to himself. It’s hard to know the number of converts because the penalty for converting from Islam to Christ under the sharia law practiced in many Muslim countries is death, so many of the Christians remain hidden. But God is on the move in the Muslim world drawing people to Christ. No unbelief is so powerful that God cannot overcome it, and He does not do so by violence, but by drawing and persuading and opening hearts to the truth of the gospel of Jesus.
A relationship with God Through Reconciliation to God through Jesus (Issa)
We are told of only one occasion when Jesus said, ‘You must be born again’. This was to the foremost theologian of the day (Nicodemus), and Nicodemus didn’t understand (or pretended not to) what Jesus meant.
Salvation is about people coming into a right personal relationship with God. There is no formula laid down, but in the preaching of Jesus recorded in John’s Gospel (which was ‘written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name’ (John 20:31), and of the disciples in Acts, certain concepts occur over and over again. They are:
From John’s Gospel
John 1:12 Receive Jesus. Believe in his name …
John 3:3 Be born again
John 3:16 Believe in the Son
John 3:36 Believe in and obey the Son
John 4:14 Drink the living water that Christ gives
John 5:24 Hear the word of Jesus and believe
John 6:54 Eat Jesus’ flesh and drink Jesus’ blood (metaphorically)
John 8:51 Keep Jesus’ word
John 10:9 Enter through the door (Jesus)
John 10:27 Hear the voice of Jesus and follow Him
John 11:25 Believe in Jesus
From the preaching and writing of the Apostles
Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptized
Acts 3:19 Repent and return
Acts 8:37 Believe with all your heart that Jesus is the Son of God
Acts 10:43 Believe in Jesus
Acts 16:31 Believe in the Lord Jesus
Acts 17:30 Repent
Acts 26:20 Repent, turn to God, do things that show repentance
Romans 1:16 Believe
Romans 10:9 Confess Jesus as Lord, believe God raised Him from the dead
Eph. 1:13 Listen, believe
Eph. 2:8–9 Through faith, not works
1 Pet. 2:24 Die to sin, live to righteousness
1 John 1:9 Confess our sins
There are many other verses that could be annotated, but the above represent. Just as we summarized what the O.T. said on coming into a right relationship with God, to summarize what these verses say:
Hear the word of Jesus
Believe that Jesus is God, that He died for our sins and rose again
Repent of our sins
Obey Jesus as Lord
God & Religion
Its true, God does hate religion. And the reason is that religion is not relationship. Religion is all about us trying to impress God with large buildings, sacrifices, good works and inspirational cultural achievements. But, and this may be hard to hear, God's just not interested in us impressing him.
The reason isn't that surprising when you think about it. It's simply that, whilst human achievements might be truly wonderful, our hearts aren't. In fact, the human heart is dreadful.
During Jesus' ministry on earth there were some who thought that washing their hands might make them clean before God. Jesus responded that it's what comes out of a person's heart that makes them unclean. He said:
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.'
You see, Religion is like washing your hands to clean your heart - hopeless window dressing. You may as well put a band aid on cancer! And God hates that we do it. He hates that we pretend that religion is the answer. In the Bible God says, "They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."
What God wants is relationship. Not on our terms with our rules and rituals. He doesn't want us to do something to establish relationship with him. No, He's done what needs to be done. You could say, God's already done the religious thing. He sent his son Jesus to die on the cross to pay for our sin so that we can have friendship with him. Jesus' death is the only offering that pleases God. It is the only religious sacrifice that God accepts.
One way of thinking about this is that Religion is what we try to do to please God whereas Jesus' death and resurrection is what God has already done that saves us.
Faith in Issa
God is a loving God who has revealed himself and can be personally known in this life. With Jesus Christ, our focus is not on religious rituals or performing good works, but on enjoying a relationship with God and growing to know him better.
Faith in Jesus Christ himself, not just in his teachings, is how we experiences joy and a meaningful life. In his life on Earth, Jesus did not identify himself as a prophet pointing to God or as a teacher of enlightenment. Rather, Jesus claimed to be God in human form. He performed miracles, forgave people of their sin and said that anyone who believed in him would have eternal life. He made statements like, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8.12
We regard the Bible as God's written message to humankind. In addition to its being an historical record of Jesus' life and miracles, the Bible reveals God's personality, his love and truth, and how we can have a relationship with him.
Whatever circumstances we are dealing with in our lives, we can confidently turn to a wise and powerful God who genuinely loves us. We believe that God answers prayer and that life takes on meaning as we live to honor him.
Saved through faith, repentance and obedience
So why are their so many Muslims not getting saved? Because they have not entered into a right relationship with God through faith in His provision for the paying of the penalty for their sins through the death and resurrection of the Messiah (Christ, Issa), shown by their repentance and obedience to Christ.
If the Jews could be saved through faith, repentance and obedience, then why did God bother sending Christ. Wasn’t it all rather a waste of time? I mean, why didn’t he just set up a few non-Jewish missionaries—the new Jonah rather than Christ, the new Adam. Surely John the Baptist would have done the trick. No? But why not? You can be saved through faith without Christ according to your reading of the Old Testament. Then isn’t the New Testament just redundant?
The heartbeat of this page
So, in closing the point to this page is that God is calling ALL Muslims to come closer to Him through acceptance of Jesus Christ.
God is calling all to obey and be saved through Jesus. God doesn't want any single person to live or die without Jesus. Jesus the salvation of God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3;16
1 John 4:6-11
We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
God's Love and Ours Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
God is Love
Also means whatever you have done - God has dissolved it already in his love even BEFORE you do it, because God knew in advance what all you are going to do.
God created you out of pure divine love. God made you to his image and in love with you.
God made you to love you - to love you means to always love you - when you leave him as much as when you return.
God made you to love because you are a being of love - made of love and made to learn to love.
To learn to love requires experiences - God knows that - because God is more than love - God is wise love.