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Archive for April, 2021

Exploring Islam 10

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Exploring Islam

10. The Jesus of Islam

Part 1 – A Prophet with Miraculous Signs

Today we start looking at how Islam views Jesus. He is not the most important person in Islam, which is reserved for Muhammad, but as he is for Christianity it is prudent to understand how Muslims view him. This will be released over 3 successive weeks…

As we have seen in previous sections Islam views many characters from the Old Testament as Islamic prophets and the same is said of Jesus from the New Testament. Islam considers their understanding of who Jesus was and his religious affiliation to be the original correct one, and that Christianity has over time corrupted this truth to place him as the forerunner for their religious system.

As a prophet he was blessed by Allah with miracles in order to convince those who saw him of his divine messenger status. One of these was the production of the holy book called the Gospel which Islam views as containing a similar message to that of the Qur’an, but specifically given by Allah to the people of Israel. Jesus’ role as a prophet was to reach out to the Jewish people and properly teach them about Allah through using the existing Islamic version of the Torah (or Old Testament law) and his Gospel (Qur’an 5:49).

However, no original Islamic versions of these writings have been found. Most Muslims are not challenged by this as they place supreme authority on the Qur’an’s testimony. In addition to the Gospel Jesus displayed other signs, the first being his miraculous birth to a virgin named Mary.

She says – Qur’an 5:47 – ‘My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal has touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah creates what He will. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only Be! And it is.’

The account of Jesus’ birth in the Qur’an is remarkably similar to that found in the Christian Bible. However, the Qur’an also affirms that Jesus was capable of speaking ‘like that of an adult’ even when he was only a baby (Qur’an 5:110). This verse also lists other miracles Jesus did through the will and power of Allah; he breathed life into a lump of clay which turned into a bird, he healed leapers, and raised the dead. Jesus was indeed a prominent figure during his day.

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This now is available to buy as a book on Amazon :

UK/Europe – £3 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

USA – $7 – http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

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Exploring Islam 09

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Exploring Islam

9. The possibility of Salvation

We have previously looked at the concept of sin in Islam and Christianity, now we shall naturally move onto their ideas of salvation. Salvation is the common idea that there is a need to be saved from punishment and condemnation for sinful acts, ultimately seen in going to Paradise and Heaven. Paradise for the Muslim is not about spending time in the presence of Allah as his transcendence still remains even here. For the Christian, Heaven is all about worshipping God directly in his presence in a way which is not fully possible now because of sin. This fundamental difference can help us see how and why their routes for salvation are equally dissimilar.

 

Salvation Within Islam

Within Islam salvation is mostly a concept based upon works seen in belief and actions;

Qur’an 3:57 – ‘But as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will give them in full their rewards.’

It is something which at first glance is achievable by the Muslim on their own, unlike a Christian who believes that only God can help them out of their sinful predicament. Recognising that you are a slave unto Allah, after all this is what the word ‘Muslim’ literally means, and that it is your duty to be obedient to his law in the way you live your life.

However, despite the most ardent attempts by the most committed Muslim does not guarantee entrance into Paradise. Allah’s will in deciding who does gain entry is always above any actions by any person even if they are in accordance to the law. Ultimately, a Muslim’s salvation is in the hands of Allah, in a way predestined, and they will never know for sure their fate.

Qur’an 7:178 – ‘Whoever Allah guides – he is the [rightly] guided; and whoever He sends astray – it is those who are the losers.’

Salvation Within Christianity

(For more about salvation in Christian thought on this website, please do click here. )

These ideas are in stark contrast with salvation found in Christianity, of which only a summary is presented. In order for forgiveness to be given by God for humanity’s sin punishment must be borne by someone. Instead of every individual suffering death for their disobedience God, in Jesus Christ, chose to suffer the penalty of death on their behalf.

1 Peter 2:24 – ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.’

This is something alien to the Muslim where a substitutionary sacrifice for sin is outright refused as even possible. We will talk about how Islam views Jesus in a later podcast. Earning salvation for the Christian is therefore not achieved by their own efforts or successes even though the Bible does advocate a way of life which God wishes. Instead, forgiveness is a gift to humanity out of God’s grace, love and desire to have a real personal relationship with his creations which would not be possible with sin in the way.

Ephesians 2:8 – ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.’

Although there are concepts of predestination within Christianity, salvation once accepted by a person and confirmed by the Holy Spirit is guaranteed by God giving a sense of peace and assurance which a Muslim is forever searching for.

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This now is available to buy as a book on Amazon :

UK/Europe – £3 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

USA – $7 – http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

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John Stott – Looking back on a life devoted to serving God

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John RW Stott

Pioneer Outreach Worker

Today on Partakers Podcasts, we are looking back on the life of one of the most influential leaders of the Christian Church in the 20th Century. 27th April 2021 was the centenary of his birth. That leader, was John Stott. Come on in!

Introduction

G’day and welcome to Partake!  Tonight I want to give a reflection somebody who is indeed a servant of the Lord and took great delight in all of Scripture.  That person, is John RW Stott. By necessity, this is just a very brief introduction of the life of Reverend John Stott, and I concentrate mainly on his role as an evangelist. John Stott holds that he is more “an activist than a thinker”, which is certainly evident in his ministry as a pioneer outreach worker.  From the evidence of his life, we can see that has indeed fulfilled this thought.

Together we look briefly at:

His life and ministry

Being a pioneering outreach worker

His outreach theology

Outreach locally

Outreach globally

Influence

A lesson to be heeded

 

Conclusion

John Stott’s life exemplifies radical outreach and innovation, blended with a desire to serve Jesus Christ as Lord.  He is truly one of the twentieth centuries master servants of Jesus Christ.  To the staff and many members of the congregation of All Souls Langham Place down through the years, he is simply known as “Uncle John”.  He is unique in the Anglican church in that he has always been associated with the one church throughout his life and ministry. As we have seen here briefly, he was certainly one of them, and it is all to the glory of God that He raised up his servant, Uncle John.

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~

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POD – Psalm 104

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Psalm 104

Today we are listening to Psalm 104 which was used during the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday 17 April, 2021. Come on in!

1 Let all that I am praise the Lord.

O Lord my God, how great you are!

You are robed with honor and majesty.

2 You are dressed in a robe of light.

You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;

3 you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.

You make the clouds your chariot;

you ride upon the wings of the wind.

4 The winds are your messengers;

flames of fire are your servants.

5 You placed the world on its foundation

so it would never be moved.


6 You clothed the earth with floods of water,

water that covered even the mountains.

7 At your command, the water fled;

at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.

8 Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed.

9 Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,

so they would never again cover the earth.

10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,

so streams gush down from the mountains.


11 They provide water for all the animals,

and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12 The birds nest beside the streams

and sing among the branches of the trees.

13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,

and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.

14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use.

You allow them to produce food from the earth-

15 wine to make them glad,

olive oil to soothe their skin,

and bread to give them strength.


16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for –

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

17 There the birds make their nests,

and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.

18 High in the mountains live the wild goats,

and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.

19 You made the moon to mark the seasons,

and the sun knows when to set.

20 You send the darkness, and it becomes night,

when all the forest animals prowl about.


21 Then the young lions roar for their prey,

stalking the food provided by God.

22 At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest.

23 Then people go off to their work,

where they labor until evening.

24 O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!

In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.

25 Here is the ocean, vast and wide,

teeming with life of every kind,

both large and small.


26 See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan,

which you made to play in the sea.

27 They all depend on you to give them food as they need it.

28 When you supply it, they gather it.

You open your hand to feed them,

and they are richly satisfied.

29 But if you turn away from them, they panic.

When you take away their breath,

they die and turn again to dust.

30 When you give them your breath,

life is created,

and you renew the face of the earth.


31 May the glory of the Lord continue forever!

The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!

32 The earth trembles at his glance;

the mountains smoke at his touch.

33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

I will praise my God to my last breath!

34 May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the Lord.

35 Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth;

let the wicked disappear forever.

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

 

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Sermon – Jesus Christ’s Humanity – Hebrews 2:5-18

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Sermon – The Humanity of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:5-18)

To discover what more is said, please do download the audio to hear this sermon… Thank you!

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Hebrews 2:5-18 (NIV)

5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour
8 and put everything under their feet.’
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,
‘I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.’
13 And again,
‘I will put my trust in him.’
And again he says,
‘Here am I, and the children God has given me.’
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

1. Jesus made fully human

  • Be focussed only upon Him

2. Humanity of Jesus Christ

  • Jesus the man
  • Major Errors Concerning
  • Jesus’ Humanity
  • Why would Jesus become a man?

Conclusion

As Christians, because of God the Son becoming a human, in the man we know as Jesus Christ:

  • we were bought at a price
  • we have a new position before God
  • we were bought out of slavery to sin, into being servants to, of and for God the Son, Jesus Christ alone
  • we are Jesus’ personal possession and family
  • we are in an amazingly intimate and dynamic relationship with God.

Oh how easy it is to forget these things. Is it just me that forgets such things easily? I know that when I am disobedient towards God, have sinned against Him and others, that I have indeed forgotten these things – at least subconsciously.
Because of Jesus: you are his brother or sister, he loves you and because of his death and resurrection, you are in His family, if you have made that decision to be so. Because he loves you, you are being transformed into His image. You still have, and will continue to have your own identifiable personality and traits, but you are being changed and transformed into the likeness of Jesus. One day you will be normal just like me. Remember, because Jesus Christ died, rose again and ascended back to the Father, so will all those who claim Him as their saviour – we as Christians will live, die and rise again to ascend into glory. The Apostle Paul tells us that in Colossians 3.

God is wanting all people to be in relationship with Him. But it is our responsibility to choose that way! God does not force – He leaves it as a choice for humans to make as individuals. God’s love does not force, because if it did, it would not be love but tyranny. However, God’s love is compelling, magnetic and attractive, calling people into relationship with Himself. God’s love for humanity is exemplified in the Cross of Jesus Christ as we saw in part tonight. Let’s go from here to tell somebody this week about this God of love! We can at least ask, can we not?

Just as God loves each of us, as individuals, we are also to love others in our Christian family and those outside it. Jesus said that those outside the Church will know who we Christians are, by the love that we have for each other. Loving others within the Church is evangelism, a witness to those outside the Church, of and for the God of love we proclaim and live for. For example, if you know somebody has a need, and you can fill that need, why not be the answer to their prayers? That is love in action.

You and I are loved by God, as exemplified and exhibited in the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ – fully God and fully human. Let each one of us go love other people with this love to the glory of God the Father, through the name of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within you, seals you as God’s child and unites the Church as family.

Let’s go tell and show others about this Jesus and how he can help people – just as he has helped you and I and countless others today and down through history. Will there be one other person in heaven because of you and what you have said or done?

If you are not a Christian yet, and you want to hear more about becoming a follower of this Jesus, do ask somebody here to help you. Jesus is calling you by name to be in a loving, dynamic and intimate relationship with God. Jesus died so that you could be.  Jesus, the ideal man, the God-man says: “Come and follow me.” Will you start following him, even from right now?”

To discover what more is said, please do download the audio to hear this sermon… Thank you!

Right Mouse click or tap here to save this as an audio mp3 file

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

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