Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How Important is the Truth?

Is the Truth More Important than Just Getting Along?

What stops people from all getting along? 
Language barrier?
Religious or ideological differences?
Skin color?
Economic differences?
Cultural differences?
All of the above?

I am going to pick four.
1.  The hardness of the heart.
2.  Language barriers.
3.  Religious and/or ideological differences.
4.  Lies.

James 4:1 says, ‘From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?’

The war starts within the individual whose heart is hardened toward God.  They are ruled by the things of the material world instead of the things of God.  If a man is jealous of his neighbor’s house, job, or wife, why not expand that to jealous of the neighboring nation’s houses, land, and people?  If a man or woman is not at peace with God, they cannot possibly establish a real or lasting peace within themselves, much less with their own family, and much less with those around them.

Language barriers certainly make for misunderstandings and lack of unity.  Even the same language but spoken in a different dialect can cause misunderstandings. 

Religious and ideological differences naturally pit people against each other.  If one is right, the other must be wrong. Nobody likes to have their personal life challenged. 

Lying is a common denominator for all of the above.

A hard heart is first necessary to be a lying heart.  To be a bold and bald faced liar requires a very hard heart.  This requires an ability to lie to one’s self on some level.  Ultimately, war begins in the heart of the individual and it spreads as far as it can go. 

Liars are not always easily spotted.  That is because they usually are able to lie to themselves. Liars are often quite cunning as well. One very effective tactic is to tell a lot of truth mixed in with a dreadful lie. Another very effective tactic they use is to simply change the subject.  Instead of trying to lie their way out of or into a particular situation, they simply act like the question is really something else.  For instance the war on terror has become a ‘question’ of ‘racial profiling’ instead of actually fighting a war on terror.  To a rational mind it is insane for homeland security to do what amounts to a physical assault on elderly people and small children who are simply trying to board a passenger plane.  It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with locating terrorists.  It is about cowards and bullies being careful not to profile likely terrorists. 

As hideous as the homeland security assault on the freedoms of the innocent may be, there is an evil circumnavigating the globe that is far worse.  It is an assault on the truth that is straight from hell.  There is a hideous coalition between Moslems and ‘Christians’ looking for similarities between Islam and Christianity that will bring about peace.  Evangelicals are not included in these meetings because Evangelicals would not be able to restrain themselves from attempting to convert Moslems. 

The absolute and unquestionable truth is that the Bible clearly states there is one way and only one way into heaven.  Allah’s book clearly gives a totally different way to get into the place Allah calls heaven.  THAT is the reason there is conflict between the two.  Can we find similarities between the two?  If they look hard enough and long enough there can probably some things that appear similar.  So what?  There are similarities between poison mushrooms and edible mushrooms.  If you find the similarities does that mean you can eat both poison and non-poison mushrooms without suffering the consequences?  The similarities do not change the fact that eating poison mushrooms will kill you!  Any so-called similarities between Islam and Christianity do not change the fact that both claim there is only one way into heaven, but they claim the way is different.  What matters is not any ‘similarities’.  What matters is which is the truth.  Is Jesus Christ who He claimed/claimes to be or is Mohammad correct in demanding worship of the god of the book written entirely by Mohammad?

Eating or not eating poison mushrooms is a life or death situation.  Choosing to follow Jesus Christ or Mohammad is a matter of eternal life or death.  Jesus Christ says following Him is the way that leads to life everlasting.  Jesus also says that rejecting Him leads to eternal torment in a place called hell.  Allah’s book claims he is the way into the place he calls heaven.  Allah demands murder of those who reject him as a guarantee of entrance into his heaven.  Jesus Christ requires simple belief in Him.  Those who have committed their life to Jesus Christ don’t have to do anything else to enter heaven. The God of the Bible died so sinners could be saved from hell and enter the kingdom of heaven.  The god of the Koran demands that people die slaughtering others in order to get into his paradise.  I really don’t see the benefit of working so hard to get into a place filled with murders.  Actually, that sounds like hell to me.

I could list a lot of differences between Christianity and Islam, but the main difference, the deal breaker in any sort of ‘compromise’ or ‘merger’ between the two, is Jesus Christ.  Christians accept Him as God, pre-existent, virgin born, crucified to death, buried, risen from the dead by his own power, and returning to earth to set up His kingdom. Islam claims Jesus was just a minor prophet, and very unimportant prophet at that.

Now how is anyone who takes either Jesus or Allah seriously going to find any similarities in that?  You cannot reconcile those differences.  Either Jesus Christ is telling the truth about who He is, or Mohammad is telling the truth about who Allah is. 

A second deadly difference between Christianity and Islam is the method of conversion.  If the God of the Bible had wanted people in His kingdom who had no choice in the matter, He would not have given human beings free will to choose Him or reject Him in the first place.  Those who go to Christ go of their own free will.  There have been instances where so-called Christians converted by force.  That is totally against what the Bible teaches and is an abomination to God.  Islam on the other hand is only following the Koran’s teaching when they convert by force.  If there is no conversion, they slaughter those who refuse to convert. 

That makes two differences in Christianity and Islam over which there can be no compromise.
Either Jesus Christ is the Son of God or He isn’t.
Either salvation is by grace through faith as the Bible says, or it is brought about through bullying to the point of murder.

Practically speaking – what does this mean?
It definitely means there is a fork in the road. 
Those following Allah to paradise are absolutely NOT going down the road that leads to heaven where Jesus Christ is preparing a place for those who love Him.  

Looking for similarities instead of pointing out the irreconcilable differences between Christianity and Islam paves the path to hell for many of the lost. 

It is important to mention one more thing.  Over and over we hear that Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked by evil people.  This is not the truth.  Actually in this you can find a similarity between Islam and Christianity.  Many and probably most people professing either faith are marginal adherents.  They don’t really read their book or apply it to their lives.  When a person begins to take their faith seriously, they read the book and begin to apply what it says to their lives. 
The Koran undoubtedly teaches to kill those who don’t accept Islam.  When a Moslem begins to take his religion seriously, he begins to do what the book says to do.
The Bible definitely teaches to love one another as Christ loves us; that Christ took the penalty for the sinner; that salvation is by grace through faith; and people have free will to accept or reject Jesus Christ.  When a Christian begins to take his/her faith seriously he/she begins to do the things Christ says to do.

There are millions of people in the middle in both Christianity and Islam.  They are social, or cultural believers, but they don’t take it really seriously.  In the case of Islam, they may be followers of Allah just to protect their lives, but they still don’t actually take it seriously as in actually doing what the book says to do.

So, the question becomes how seriously do you take your faith?  If it is just a cultural or social or political convenience, then you may be able to be content to look for the similarities between major religions of the world.  If you believe the Bible is true and that Jesus is the Son of God, then you will have to speak up when given the opportunity.

What Christians have on their side is the truth which is that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  The word of God has a power all its own, far beyond the ability of any orator to excel. 

Memorize and remember this:
Hebrews 4:12
 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Pray that Christians will have the courage to simply tell the truth.  Jesus saves.